Wheat Procurement
Pvt traders walk away with major share of pie
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
With the government agencies taking a backseat, private traders are making hay by procuring wheat in bulk at Amritsar grain market. The place is abuzz with activity these days as produce has started pouring in large numbers from the adjoining villages.

Even though four government agencies --- FCI, Markfed, Punjab Agro and Punsup --- have arrived here, they are yet to start with the procurement process. Last year, out of the total 5.5 lakh quintals of wheat procured, 9,300 was purchased by Markfed. The rest went in the kitty of private traders.

According to records of the market committee, the first lot of wheat arrived here on March 5. A total of 2,899 quintals came during the first ten days.

The traders are purchasing wheat at upto Rs 947 per quintal against the minimum support price of Rs 750 plus Rs 100 as the bonus. The lowest price quoted at the grain market so far is Rs 815. Marketing committee officials say since the quality of wheat is pretty good this time, and there are no distress sales, farmers are keen on getting a better deal from the private contractors instead of going to the government agencies who cannot offer anything more than the MSP.

Due to the long spell of cold wave, the moisture level was upto 23 per cent in the initial stock that arrived but now it has reached the normal level of 12 per cent, said an official.

“The arrival of wheat has got delayed by a month and the auction process is nearing completion at grain markets in some districts. We are tying to provide every possible facilities to the farmers so that they do not face any problem in selling wheat. The auction time has been scheduled as 11 am and 3 pm everyday,” he said, adding that a hike in price of tudi (residual crop used as cattle feed) has forced farmers to go for manual harvesting at many places.

Bachchan Singh, a farmer from Gumanpura, said he has already dispatched his produce to the grain market. More farmers are arriving with their crops. “It’s been a good season by and large. The weather gods have been kind,” he added.

According to a section of farmers, wheat production is likely to fall by 5 to 7 per cent this time due to the inconsistent weather conditions in some parts of the region. “At places like Patti in Tarn Taran district, standing wheat crop was affected by hailstorm. The farmers are hopeful that the damage would be take care of in the ongoing annual crop assessment scheme of the government and they would get adequate compensation ,” said Ranjit Balli, another farmer. Many farmers are also of the view that this time private agencies are getting in direct touch with the farmers for buying wheat.

“The ahrtiyas are aheadof government agencies in buying the wheat stock. In fact the entire purchase so far has been made by them,” said Bachhitar Singh of Tarn Taran.

Some farmers attributed the decline in arrival of wheat to hoarding by big farmers, who were hoping to reap rich dividends in the coming months.

Markfed has fixed a target of purchasing 50,000 MT of wheat above the MSP under the commercial trading pool after making profit to the tune of Rs 2 crore. The organistion has also fixed a target of purchasing 19.80 lakh MT, including 2.50 lakh MT, in the state pool under the aata-dal scheme.



Canines unleash terror on city streets
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
The spiraling canine population in the holy city has reached an alarming proportion and accordingly there have been surge in the incidents of dog biting.

The city which is said to be providing shelter to around 60,000 stray dogs needs immediate action to control the menace.

The non-governmental organisations and animal lovers at CNRD (catch, neuter, release and deposit) following the procedure prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), oppose any type of killing, poisoning or electrocution, and insist that killing does not reduce the incidents of rabies.

But one question always hovers over the city? How come the canine population is on the increase despite various steps taken by the administration? And the quick response to it suggests the culling process is probably ineffective.

Even though it is another matter that most of these cases of dog biting go unreported, the residents rued the inefficiency of district administration who say number of cases are increasing day by day.

They said that dogs attack people especially during nights and that too in groups.

A number of complaints to authorities have fallen on deaf ears, they alleged.

Prof Mohan Singh said that municipal corporation should monitor the canine population not only when the situation gets out of control but on a regular basis.

He said that all the stray dogs should be vaccinated so that their population could be checked.

He rued that the municipal corporation comes into action when someone files a PIL in the high court against the administration and the HC issues direction in this regard. He said the administration should launch a campaign to catch stray dogs and other animals wandering in the city.

Prof Singh said that the administration should earmark a site where these stray animals could be kept and vaccinated and taken care of.

He said the administration should also ban the owner on the pets to various parks in the city including the famous Ram Bagh, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

He said that the municipal corporation should also ensure that owners of pets get them registered with the medical officer of health department. If any body was found violating the orders they should be fined accordingly.



Stats Wise
10 per cent Amritsar teens obese: Study
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
Nearly 10 per cent of school-going teenagers in Amritsar are suffering from obesity. This shocking statistics are result of a survey conducted by Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute. A total of 1,280 students of class VII to X participated in the study.

Dr HP Singh, medical superintendent of the hospital, said the survey was conducted to ascertain the root cause of multiple problems in adulthood. The total sample size consisted of 55 % boys and rests were girls. To calculate the figures Body Mass Index (BMI) scale was used.

The research also pointed out that teenagers between 13 and 16 years of age were in danger of becoming obese if a drastic change was not brought into their lifestyle and eating habits.

Dr Singh said obesity was the single-most important cause of multiple problems in later life. It not only causes early onset of joint pains and arthritis but is a major cause of heart diseases and diabetes. It also results in low fertility. The survey found that the burden of studies restricted the time for physical and extra-curricular activities in schools. Since the sample was from economically-sound families, junk food was mainly responsible for making kids fat.

Singh said parents and schools should come forward to help cut the intake of junk food amongst the kids. “Schools should ban sale of fried food , chips beverages on campus,” said the doctor, adding that crash diet courses were of little help.



‘Proper foreign policy need of the hour’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
A country like India needs a carefully crafted foreign policy which should adequately reflect the aspiration of its citizens. This was said by former high commissioner of India to New Zealand Bal Anand while delivering a lecture on "India's external relations - an insider's overview" at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).

Anand said the policy should primarily reinforce India's sovereign national interests, strengthen the fabric of its multicultural society, firmly secure its national frontiers and hasten the development process. Terming Jawaharlal Nehru as the architect of India's foreign policy, he said the war against international terrorism has been an immense challenge for our country.

The other challenges include the energy security to sustain the high rate of growth, coping with instability in the middle-east and promoting a more equitable equation between the developing and the developed world.

He said two of India's neighbours are nuclear powers. “In this scenario, we have to carefully balance our policy, giving peace and security foremost consideration,” he added.



Campus Notes
AETI strikes gold in placements
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
The Amritsar Engineering and Technology Institute has recorded success rate of 90 per cent in placement of their 2007 batch in various national and multinational corporations at the recently held campus placement programme.

Principal Dr H.N. Chandrawat, said the top IT companies, including SCICOM Technologies, DELL BPO, MCC BPO, Perot Systems, Jain Netis, Daikin India, Wipro BPO, MGF, Infosys technologies, Intelligent Information Systems and String Technologies had visited the campus for on-the-spot recruitment.

ICFAI students

The 12 MBA students of the ICFAI National College here got placements in the top MNCs, including IT companies and banks.

The centre head, Col Ved Mitter, told newsmen that during the campus placement programme top companies namely Kotak Mahindra Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Destination One, India Infoline, Religare, Fullerton and Centurion Bank of Punjab had taken these young management graduates on their payrolls.

Khalsa convocation

The 101st convocation of graduate students of Khalsa College would be held on April 15 in which Rajmohinder Singh Majithia, MP, would be the chief guest while Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, would present convocation address.

Satyajit Singh Majithia, president, governing council, vice-president Charanjit Singh Chadda and other members of the management would also participate in the convocation.

Yoga camp

Bharitya Vidhya Bhavan Kendra will oragnise a seven-day yoga camp from April 24 to April 30 at DAV College Sports Complex in Shastri Nagar here.

The chairman of Amritsar Kendra, Avinash Mahindru, said the camp would be held under the expert guidance of Swami Karamvir, founder of Pitanjali Foundation, Lonawala, Mumbai.

The camp will begin at 5.00 am with singing of bhajans and recitation of mantras. Swami will also treat patients with yogic, ayurvedic and acupuncture technique.

Mahindru said all those suffering from serious ailments like diabetes, asthama, hypertension, obesity, kidney and heart problems might consult the swami.

Visit to JSS College

Prof B. Suresh, president of the Pharmacy Council of India, New Delhi, and principal JSS college of Pharmacy, Ooty, Tamil Nadu, visited the Government Polytechnic College here.

Sureshapprised the staff and B.Pharmacy students of the latest regulations in the field of pharmacy. He emphasised that the students should adopt a clinical approach in their profession.
Earlier, Dr Piara Singh, principal of the college, welcomed him.



‘Sachian Sachian’ released
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
A compilation of essays “Sachian Sachian” by Balwinder Fatehpuri is an attempt to highlight rampant corruption and problems ailing our society. The book was released by former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University H.S. Soch at a function organised by the Mansarovar Punjabi Sahit Academy.

Academy president R.S. Bindra said: “The essays are a satire on the social evils we all face in our daily life.” Fatehpuri, he said, had reflected on crucial issues in a creative way which makes the book a must-read.

He added that the writer seems to have made the observations in the book based on his personal experiences. Fatehpuri also has to his credit “Lute Gaye”, a compilation of humourous poems, and “Khariyan Khariyan” and “Kharian Khotian”.



Park cries for help
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, april 17
Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Park, situated on the GT Road along the periphery of the East Mohan Nagar Industrial Area, is crying for attention from the Ramgarhia community and the Municipal Corporation.

An important feature of the park, a 20-feet-high statue, made with bronze, is also in bad shape as no authority is bothered to ensure the upkeep of this park, thus showing utter disdain for the great Sikh warrior.

The park was set up with the joint efforts of the community and the civic authorities about 15 years back in the memory of the great and gallant Sikh general.

The boundary walls, which enclose the memorial, have also been broken and the green space has been vandalised much to the dismay of the people living around.

The park has turned into a garbage dumping ground of sorts with an open drain spewing the waste water from a faulty tap.

This has given an ugly look to the once beautiful garden which used to greet the visitors coming to the city for paying obeisance at Golden Temple and enjoying retreat ceremony at Wagah. The English citation on the side of pedestal has been left incomplete by the committee which had installed this statue.

Visitors are disappointed with the poor upkeep of the Jassa Singh Ramgarhia Park which could easily become a place of tourist attraction.

When this correspondent visited the park, young boys were seen playing cricket at the pedestrian walkway of the park.

Residents say the pitiable condition of the park is an insult to the great Sikh warrior who was the founder of Ramgarhia misl in and around Riarki area of Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Batala.

Jassa Singh had also fortified and constructed the fort of Ram Rauni at Amritsar. His misl had more then 5000-men-strong cavalry, always on move and helping Dal Khalsa whenever Afghanis or Mughals attacked.

He occupied the area to the north of Amritsar between the Ravi and the Beas rivers. He also added Jalandhar region and Kangra hill areas to his estate. He had his capital at Sri Hargobindpur, a town founded by the sixth Guru.

Ranjit Singh, a shopkeeper staying close to the park , says the foundation of the statue had been laid with great fanfare by political leaders and members of the Ramgarhia community. He expressed dismay over the apathetic attitude of the big wigs of the society.

The iron grills protecting the park have allegedly been stolen and sold by the addicts living in the nearby slums, rue the residents. The wild growth of vegetation in the park has become an eyesore for the people entering the holy city.



Garbage galore: Dang comes to rescue of Chheharta residents
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
The residents of the Chheharta area here, who have been seeking attention of the municipal corporation to provide better civic amenities, have got a stronger voice in the form of former MLA Satyapal Dang.

It is learnt that the Government Senior Secondary School, Chheharta, is in a dilapidated condition and the area within the boundary wall needs to be cleaned up. There is a big garbage dump right across the main road outside the school building.

Dang in a letter to municipal commissioner Hussan Lal, pointed out, “Visitors taking the highway are shocked to find the school building in such a bad condition.

According to the school authorities, the responsibility of upkeep of the school is with the MC but no effective steps to maintain it are being taken,” he said.

There has been a long-pending demand that there should be daily disposal of waste as the heaps of garbage pose a health hazard in Chheharta. The pit-holed roads and low lying areas provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Dang also said to curb health hazards in the area, the system of cleaning and sweeping of public roads and streets needed to be radically revised and overhauled.

The system of mohalla sudhar committees has not worked and the sanitation system is far from satisfactory.

He suggested that the urban local bodies, MC in this case, should have its own whole-time safai karamcharis, without common weekly holidays for them. 



Dastar carnival draws huge crowd
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
Akal Purakh Ki Fauj, an NGO, organised ‘Dastar Carnival- 2007’ yesterday to mark the birth anniversary of Khalsa Panth. The carnival gave a great impetus to ‘Dastar Svaiman Lehar’, being run by the organisation in the holy city and its neighbouring areas, to encourage the Sikh youth to sport turbans.

The carnival started following ‘ardaas’ at Sant Singh Sukha Singh Senior Secondary School from where Sikh youths and students, dressed in traditional Sikh attire, marched towards Akal Takht in the form of a religious procession.

Giani Gurbachan Singh, head granthi, Golden Temple, held the ‘ardaas’ at the culmination of the march and honoured the Sikhs participating in the procession with siropas (robe of honour).

Earlier, the procession was welcomed by the head granthi, manager Harbhajan Singh, assistant-secretary Daljit Singh Bedi and others outside the Information Office at Darbar Sahib.

Jaswinder Singh Advocate, director of the organisation said the main objective of the carnival was to encourage the youth to don turban which was an inseparable part of the Sikh religion.



Diets don’t work

No matter how much weight you loose dieting, it will always come back, warn researchers.

Though dieting could see a persons weight drop by five to 10 per cent, the loss was not sustainable in most cases.

And, to make matters worse for people who keep going on diets, it’s highly likely that you will be a few kilos heavier that you were before you went on the diet. — ANI



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