L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Weather leaves farmers worried 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Farmers in the region are concerned over the inclement weather. Although the rain and low temperature are considered to be good for wheat as this will delay its early maturing, but the winds that are accompanying these rains have reportedly caused damage to the crop at several places.

As strong winds accompanied rains and at places hail storm, the crops were reportedly uprooted leading to considerable loss. There is no good news from the weather front either. Weather experts have predicted sporadic rains with strong winds thus adding to the fears of the farmers.

The farmers say as the wheat crop is in its full growth having attained the maximum height, the strong winds lead to instant uprooting and damage. Moreover, the crop is at the maturing stage. Although the exact estimates of the damage are not available, the reports from different quarters suggest considerable damage to the crop.

In the Ludhiana suburbs, the wheat crop has reportedly been damaged in large areas. Jaswinder Singh of Bajra village said the standing wheat crop had been levelled due to the winds, which continued blowing for quite some time last night. However, the damage was not extensive and it was only in limited stretches.

However, there was a saving grace. He said only the crop, which was completely uprooted, would get damaged. Otherwise the crop, which had fallen flat, could recover depending on the extend of damage to the stem. He said in due course it would recover but only if the weather remained fair and there were no more strong winds.

Meanwhile, the weather is likely to remain cloudy with strong possibility of rains during the next 24 hours. The rains might be accompanied by the strong wings again, the forecast said. Thus adding further to the worries of the farmers. 

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‘Commercialisation’ of education, health flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
The Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), Punjab, has taken a serious note of the “anti-people” state policies contributing towards commercialisation of education, health and other civil amenities, which has been declared as fundamental constitutional rights to every citizen of India irrespective of their socio-economic status, caste or creed.

Dr Darshan Kheri, newly elected general secretary of association, said the issue was discussed in a meeting of the AFDR held under the chairmanship of Professor Jagmohan Singh. It was felt that in the past, the policy shift of state has made the education, health and other civic amenities out of reach of common masses.

‘‘Under the cruel advocacy of 'liberalisation, privatization and globalization' (LPG) regime, the government is going away from the philanthropist concept of constitutional directive of right to health, right to education, right to employment. In this way the government itself has come forward as a major culprit in curbing the fundamental human rights of the Indian populace which has made all these basic necessities as commodity for the business houses to reap huge profits from the adversaries of common men. ’’

‘‘Human right movement of India should concentrate on these issues to initiate social awareness campaign to get these granted for every poor and every deprived. Only this way Indian state can be compelled to stick to the pro-people policies keeping in mind every strata of society. This may be the real solution for continuous price rise, un-employment and indebtedness.

Dr Kheri further told that in the coming days the AFDR would organise a massive

campaign to aware the common masses, co-coordinating with other like minded

organisations of Human rights movement. In this meeting the new district body was elected in which Professor A.K. Maleri would head as President, Finance Secretary Ms Manjit Kaur and Dr Harbans Singh vice-President, Jagmohan Sehora as Joint secretary.

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Gurjar takes charge as DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Sumer Singh Gurjar here today took charge as Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana. He replaces Ashok Kumar Gupta, who has been appointed special secretary, department of education, Punjab.

On his arrival at the mini-secretariat, Gurjar held an introductory meeting with the officers of the administration and sought first-hand information about various ongoing projects in the district.

The new Deputy Commissioner asked the officials to perform their duties earnestly and give maximum time for the redress of the grievances of the people.

He said timely completion of the development projects would be his priority, adding that he would be always accessible to the public. "Anybody can walk in anytime," he said.

Sumer Singh Gurjar belongs to Dausa district in Rajasthan. He is a 1998 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service.

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Text books to cost more
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Prices of school books and note books are all set to rise as printers are planning to increase prices. This is happening as paper mills are increasing the basic price of paper and paper board between 15 per cent and 25 per cent. This will directly affect our industry, said general secretary of the Offset Printers Association Kamal Chopra.

He said the printers and the packaging printers would further suffer as they took up jobs on yearly or half yearly contractual basis. “The customers would be unwilling to pay for this increase, which would lead to losses”.

The proposed increase by paper mills is on account of shortage in the supply of imported waste paper. Blaming Chinese markets for creating this shortage, Chopra said, “China is a major buyer of international waste paper, a raw material for paper and board industry. It has purchased a significant stock of international waste paper, which has created a scarcity of it in Indian markets”.

Due to the lesser supply of raw material, the mills had to cut down on production earlier too, he added.

The association has now decided to take up the issue with paper and board mills. It also urged the state and Centre governments to take adequate steps in this regard.

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It’s Dal of the Badals, fumes Calcutta
Sukhbir’s elevation as SAD acting chief
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, March 12
It was December 30,1998, Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the then president, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, urged Parkash Singh Badal to give up the post of president of the Shiromani Akali Dal and pay more attention to the administration of the state.

Parkash Singh Badal was then chief minister and president of the Shiromani Akali Dal. Tohra had also suggested that he could appoint Gurdev Singh Badal, then senior vice-president of the Akali Dal as acting president of the Akali Dal or he even said that Sukhbir Singh Badal could be made acting President of the Akali Dal.

Parkash Singh Badal took affront to the statement of Tohra and felt that Tohra had given the statement to humiliate him (Badal) and he himself was keen on becoming the president of the Akali Dal. Thus, war between the two stalwarts started. Tohra was expelled from the Akali Dal and removed from the presidentship of the SGPC despite the fact that he had submitted his resignation from the post of the president of the SGPC.

Tohra formed the all-India Shiromani Akali Dal and panthic morcha was formed in 2002 which resulted in the defeat of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the Vidhan Sabha elections and the Congress government under the leadership Captain Amarinder Singh was formed. After the defeat of the Akali Dal, Badal had a rapprochement with Tohra and Tohra launched agitation at Patiala against the arrest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal Mr Sukhbir Singh and other family members and helped Badal in retrieving his lost position.

Now history has repeated itself and Sukhbir Singh Badal has been made the acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal by the political affairs committee of the Akali Dal today at Chandigarh.

Strongly condemning the act of Badal in installing his son as the acting president of the Akali Dal, Manjit Singh Calcutta, a senior Akali leader and former minister and Tohra loyalist said he wanted to know from Badal what was the fault of Tohra that he was humiliated and disgraced for his assertion that the chief minister had huge burden of state administration and he should give up the post of the president. Manjit Singh said that the Akali Dal was the family Dal of the Badals. 

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Bhattal's appointment hailed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
The secretary Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Parminder Mehta has hailed the appointment of former chief minister and senior party leader, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal as the Congress Legislative Party leader. She would also become the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

Mehta said with such a vast of experience, Bhattal would be able to provide effective leadership to the legislative party in the assembly. He observed she was one of the most outspoken and uncompromising leader of the party. Her leadership has led to lot of enthusiasm among the workers and boosted their morale.

The supporters of Bhattal celebrated her nomination as the CLP leader. They also distributed ladoos. Mehta claimed she was a leader with a mass base who loves to live among the workers only.

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Govt will fulfil promises, says Gabria

Ludhiana, March 12
Punjab minister for jails and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) legislator from the Ludhiana rural segment Hira Singh Gabria has said that the SAD-BJP government will fulfil all its promises made to the electorate.

Speaking at a felicitation function organised by the Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan at Aggar Nagar here last evening, the minister said under the stewardship of Parkash Singh Badal, the government will pay full attention to the welfare of the people, particularly the poor and the downtrodden sections of society.

He said the process had already been set in motion for the supply of foodgrains at subsidised prices as had been promised by the ruling alliance. "The government will give top priority to the plans for generating more employment opportunities for the youth, infrastructure development in the state and promotion of trade and industry," he added.

Punjab Pradesh Aggarwal Sammelan state chief Amrit Lal Aggarwal hoped that under the new leadership, the state would usher in a new era of peace, prosperity and communal amity. — OC

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Real estate boom goes bust
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 12
With the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bhartiya Janata Party alliance replacing the Congress in the state the real estate prices have started to fall. The real estate dealers were already apprehensive of the change of guard as general perception remains that during the Akali rule the property prices come down considerably. At the same time it has come as a major relief for the common man for whom owning even a small house had become a distant dream.

On the other hand, the Akali-BJP leaders are not apologetic about the crash in the prices of the properties. They have been asserting that the real estate prices had touched all-time high, making it practically impossible for the common man to own property.

The Congress has been using this argument against the Akalis that during their rule the real estate prices usually crash. The party considered it as one of its main achievements that the prices of land had shot up too much everywhere and the ordinary farmers had become millionaires overnight.

Quite a number of real estate dealers said that they had feared the worst which had happened. Most of them were waiting and watching the elections. The dealers said there was not much likelihood of the real estate making any immediate recovery in the near future as the investors were quite apprehensive about the policies of the new regime.

They revealed that quite a number of deals would run into rough weather now. Because every property deal takes some time to mature from the payment of advance upto the final settlement. With property prices already having come down by about 50 per cent, it is difficult for them to make payments for final settlement. With the result many of them thought it better to forgo the advances they had paid, as they do not want to suffer further losses.

However, former minister and the Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal defended the fall in the real estate prices. He asked, "how many people got benefited from the so-called real estate boom?". He observed that the common man with limited income had given up the hope of owning a house thanks to the "so-called real estate boom".

He maintained that the rise in the prices of property during the Congress regime was part of the general price rise of the essential commodities. He said, "everything, roti, kapda and makan had become unaffordable for the aam admi during the Congress government". Grewal said, it is not that the Shiromani Akali Dal was not keen to bring in investments. But that does not mean the common man should suffer.

He questioned the Congress claim that the real estate prices had shot up as there was too much development and investors were coming from outside. He asserted that there would be much more investment now. At the same time, the housing would be made affordable for everybody. 

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‘Maayaka’ perpetuates good values, says serial team
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
"Through our current serial ‘Maayaka’ running on Zee TV, we have tried to perpetuate all good values among the young so that they become good people. Through the feedbacks we have received, people have reacted favourably to it," said Sudhir Pandey and Nandita Puri, acting as Brij Malhotra and Mohini Malhotra in the serial.

They were in the city for the promotion of the serial. On a whirlwind trip, the cast had come after being in Amritsar and Jalandhar.

Sudhir Pandey replying to a question that all serials on different channels have the same kind of family drama, replied, " We do not have control over the theme or storyline of a serial. We are offered a role and if we like it, we accept it. I felt the role of father of three daughters was very good, as he wants to impart good values in his daughters and asks the in-laws to treat them well, so I accepted it and am happy doing it. It propounds family values."

Nandita Puri said," The story of the serial by writer Anjana Sood is very good. An artiste can perform better if he/she relates to the character one is enacting. I feel very comfortable, as it is about human relations, and projects different emotions. Although people keep telling us that serials on almost all channels have their base in families, they continue to watch them, hence the producers keep producing such serials. The TRPs decide the story lines of the serials."

Earlier, the ZEE team had visited Nirdosh, a school for mentally challenged, run by the members of Inner Wheel. The mentally challenged presented a dance in honour of Sudhir Pandey and Nandita Puri.

Pandey promised that he would tell producers to make serials on the problems of mentally challenged children.

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Contractor issued notice for failing to complete road work
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
It takes more than two years for the Ludhiana municipal corporation to recarpet a road as important as an approach road to the Civil Hospital that is used by a number of patients everyday.

Inquiries revealed that the road had been in need of repair for the past more than two years and the estimate to recarpet it was passed in March 2005. It took more than one and a half years for the work order to be allotted to a contractor in October 2006, and finally when the things were set rolling, the contractor failed to complete the work within the stipulated time of three months.

For failing to complete the project worth Rs 28 lakh, the municipal corporation has issued a notice to the contractor who was allotted the contract to recarpet the road.

An MC official, who did not want to be identified on the plea that contractors were politically well-connected ,said they had issued a notice to the contractor and he was asked to complete the work soon, as it was causing inconvenience to the commuters and patients to the hospital.

The official said the work order was allotted to contractor Vimal Tandon in October last year. As per the guidelines, he had to complete the recarpeting within three months, but failed to do so. The official said the weather had also played a spoilsport.

Area councillor Sanjay Talwar said he had taken up the matter with senior officials of the MC and the contractor himself. He said despite his repeated reminders, the work was yet to be started. ‘‘It is the fault of the contractor and the area councillor has to face the blame,’’ he said.

Sources in the MC said the contractor was being handled softly by the authorities. ‘‘If some other contractor had delayed the work like that, he would have been blacklisted. in his case, they are dilly-dallying and just giving a notice to him. ’’

They added that if a contractor jumps the deadline, his card deposit is forfeited directly. But in this case nothing of the sort happened. The contractor’s earnest money was returned to him while the work is yet to be completed. 

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'Islam preaches peace, brotherhood'
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Speakers at a seminar sought to dispel certain myths and misgivings about Islam and said the religion preached peace and brotherhood.

The seminar "Tolerance and brotherhood in Islam" was organised by the Roohani Foundation, Punjab.

Chief organiser of the seminar and chairman of the Maulana Faruque Alam Razvi asserted that Islam was an "international phenomenon that gives the message of peace and brotherhood to the humanity". He demanded a public holiday on the Id Milad-ul-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad.

Among others who particpated in the seminar included Dr Abdul Naeem 'Azizi', who presided over the seminar, while Mohammad Ayaz from Malerkotla conducted the stage.

The speakers included Allama Maulana Abdur Rahman Qadri Bareilly Sharif (president Qaumi Party, Delhi), M. Hasnain and Mohammad Irfan (gen secy, Human Rights and Anti Corruption Forum) was also there. Izhar Alam, IPS, was the chief guest, while minister for tourism and jails Hira Singh Gabariam was the guest of honour. Maulana Mohammad Sajid Razvi Naqshbandi Mujaddidi (Sajjada Nasheen Dargarh Sarhind Sharif) was the main speaker. 

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Leading litterateurs honoured 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 12
Several leading litterateurs were honoured with late Kartar Singh Dhaliwal prize at a function organised here by the Punjab Sahitya Academy at Punjabi Bhawan yesterday. Punjab Minister for Tourism and Culture, Hira Singh Gabria was the chief guest on the occasion.

Addressing the function, he said, any society that does not honour its litterateurs or intellectuals cannot be called a healthy society. He said these intellectuals evaluate and assess various aspects of the society and later recreate everything and present it before the society.

Kartar Singh Dhaliwal prizes are presented every year to outstanding intellectuals and litterateurs by the academy.

During the function, the prize of best writer was conferred on Kirpal Singh Kasel. He was honoured with a cash award of Rs 1 lakh. Kartar Singh Dhaliwal prizes, which included prize money of Rs 21,000, were awarded to Dr Gurcharan Singh, Piara Singh Bhogal, Dr Surinder Gill, Dr Gurmel Singh and Sukhwinder Amrit for their contribution in the field of literature. Young poet Harvinder Pandhal was honoured with an award in young generation category. He was presented a cash award of Rs 11,000.

Dr Ranjit Singh said that Kartar Singh Dhaliwal prize was established by Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, Charanjit Singh Dhaliwal and Surjit Singh Dhaliwal, settled in the USA. The prizes are given in memory of their father. Since 1985, more than 100 litterateurs have been conferred with this prize so far. 

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Tax evasion: ETOs to apprise CM
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 12
The Excise and Taxation Officers’ Association (ETOA), while reiterating its commitment to achieve the targets of revenue collection for the current financial year, has decided to take up the crucial matter of evasion of taxes and the resulting loss of revenue with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and senior most officials of the department.

A general body meeting of the association held here yesterday discussed in detail the problems being faced by the department in enforcing tax compliance. It was the general consensus among the members that the common modus operandi for tax evasion and other impediments in the way of revenue collection be brought to the notice of the government so that effective steps could be taken to plug the loopholes.

Giving details of the deliberations, ETOA general secretary D.S. Garcha said several other issues like pay scales, infrastructural requirements of the department and working conditions were also discussed at length. The ETOs present in the meeting were of the view that the proper infrastructure and working atmosphere had to be created if the government wanted the officers to give better performance and deliver the goods.

The meeting also elected office-bearers: patron — Paramjit Singh; president— Balkar Singh; general secretary— Deepender Singh Garcha; cashier— Balwant Rai; joint secretary— Harmeet Singh Grewal; propaganda secretary— Rajinder Singh; executive members— S.S. Ruby, G.S. Bal, Randhir Kaur, B.S. Sekhon, Tarsem Sehgal, B.K. Virdi, Balwinder Singh. 

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House burgled
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 12
The house of Raj Singh of Pakhowal village was allegedly burgled by some unknown persons. The burglers stole Rs 2,000 in cash, one gas cylinder and a VCD player from the house. Case under section 457, 380 IPC has been registered by Raikot police. No arrests have been made so far.

Two held with poppy husk

Parminder Singh and Amrik Singh of Talwandi Kalan were arrested by Sidhwan Police from Sawaddi Kalan village after the police recovered 85 kg of poppy husk from their possession during patrolling. Case under sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against the two.

Three booked for assault

Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under sections 341, 323, 148, 149 IPC against Simranjit Singh alias Soni of Dholan, Gurpreet Singh of Salempura, Seela of Sherpur for allegedly stopping Vijay Kumar of Sidhwan Bet and assaulting him with a sharp edged weapon. Some old dispute is said to be the reason behind this incident. No arrest has been made so far. 

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