L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Flag march held in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Security forces, including contingents of para-military forces and the local police, carried out a flag march through various areas of the city to instill a sense of security and confidence among the residents who are panic stricken due to the ongoing sectarian conflict.

Earlier in the morning, activists of Sikh organisations, brandishing swords carried out a protest rally through the old city forcing shopkeepers to close shops in the area. All markets in the old city and some in the new also remained closed for most of the day.

Meanwhile, a Sacha Sauda dera at Gohar village on Ludhiana-Ferozepore road wore a cantonment like look with the heavy presence of cops and para-military force personnel. The forces were rushed there late last night following reports of a possible attack on the dera. However, no untoward incident was reported today. The dera has also not been vacated. Though the number of premis in the dera was quite less, the place was in full control of Sacha Sauda officials.



Police stages flag march
Our Correspondent

Khamano, May 18
In view of the ongoing violence in Punjab, the Khamano police with the help of police personnel staged a flag march in city under the command of S P(D) Fatehgarh Sahib Shamsher Singh Boparai.

He appealed people to maintain peace and assured that everyone was safe in the district because the police of district has made elaborate security arrangements.

The Khamano SHO Balwinder Singh Randhawa, and about 65 police personnel took part in the flag march. 



150 PUDA employees face retrenchment, threaten stir
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
As many as 150 employees of Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority are fearing retrenchment following the dissolution of PUDA and formation of GLADA.

We were originally employees of the housing board. But after the formation of PUDA, we were retained. 

Claiming that the government had decided to give them retrenchment notices after the formation of GLADA, the employees claimed that the government was merging different divisions of the authority and many employees, including some senior rung officials, had become surplus.

While at least 1,000 employees were fearing that they will be shown the door in the state, 150 employees in Ludhiana have received feelers that they should make alternate arrangements.

According to Jarnail Singh and Baljinder Singh, office-bearers of Joint Action Committee formed specially to oppose the move, the senior officials of PUDA have started threatening the employees that they would be done away with if they did not toe their line.

Out of the four different divisions of PUDA they just want to retain one. And after dissolving of the rest three, so many employees would be out of work.

“We cannot allow the state government to play with the future of so many families. If they will not consider it sympathetically then we would be forced to agitate,’’ they said. They further claimed that starting from Class IV employees many XENs and SDOs too were likely to be shunted out. ‘‘We have been told that lists have already been prepared and notices would be served to them soon.’’

The PUDA was formed in 1995 after the housing board was dissolved. ‘‘We were originally employees of the board. But after the formation of PUDA, we were retained. How can they throw us out when we have served the office for so many years, asked the employees.

They said they had given their youth to PUDA and when it was the time for the authority to look after the interests of its employees they were being treated like that. They said those in the senior age bracket would not be hired by private companies and they are also not eligible for any government jobs.

“They should adjust us one way or the other. If not in GLADA, then we should be absorbed in some other departments where vacancies are available. This way both the government and the employees would benefit from this arrangement.”

The employees are going to meet chief administrator of PUDA at SAS Nagar within a day or two to make him aware of the situation. ‘‘If the solution is in our favour then it would be fine. Otherwise we would come out on the streets.”



Industry dumps hazardous waste treatment plant’s proposal
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The hazardous waste treatment facility at Dera Bassi has got negative response in industrial circles even before becoming operational formally. Industry is opposed to the recent proposal of getting the existing hazardous waste tested in the laboratory before treatment.

Nimbuan Greenfield, the facility for the operation of which a fresh deadline of July 31 has been set, would facilitate collection, treatment and disposal of industrial waste from across the state. The recent proposal, say industrialists, would cause unnecessary delays and interruption in getting the waste treated.

If the problem is not sorted out well in time, it could mean a delay in the treatment of hazardous waste.

The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Nimbuan Greenfield, located in Nimbuan village in Dera Bassi, was promoted by industry itself at the initiative of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) with a view to create hazardous waste management facilities in the state. Estimated to cost over Rs 17 crore, the state government received a grant for the facility and industry too is contributing some amount. It would cater to 1,800 units, including 520 large and medium units, in the state.

Industry so far has been dumping its hazardous waste on its own. “We have been waiting for quite some time for the facility to start so that all this waste is treated. However, now they have told us that we should get the piled up waste tested in government approved laboratory, one of which is in Ludhiana, or at Patiala, which would mean additional costs and unnecessary hassles. We are strongly opposing it,” said K.K. Seth, general secretary, Ludhiana Engineering Association.

The Nimbuan Greenfield Limited authorities have asked industrialists to get the waste tested before getting it treated. “They are saying that it is important to know the nature of the waste in order to help determine its further use. But it would mean undue costs and hurdles to us. If they are setting a project worth crores of rupees they can also set up a laboratory for testing or manage it on their own. It is quite unfair to expect industry to do this task,” said Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

The facility would be the first of its kind in North India and has the support of the Ministry of Commerce under the Improvement of Industrial Infrastructure upgradation scheme as a specialised infrastructure. The government has sanctioned a grant of Rs 12.69 crore as 75 per cent of the cost of the project.



Role Reversal
Harassed by bahu, saas kills herself
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Women committing suicide due to troublesome mothers-in-law is often heard, but an aged woman of Urban Estate, Dugri, today jumped to death before a running train allegedly due to harassment from daughter-in-law. The woman claimed in a suicide note that she could not bear the harassment at the hands of her daughter-in-law and her relatives any longer and hence was ending her life.

On the basis of the two-page suicide note, filled with heart rending tale of woes of victim Dilip Gandhi, the Government Railway Police booked her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi, Sonia’s mother Harinder Sethi and sister Chhina Walia for abetting Dilip to commit suicide under sections 306, 34 of the IPC.

All accused live in Chandigarh. Sonia is the daughter of a retired Superintendent of Police M.S. Sethi.

Interestingly, the main reason behind the dispute between the family members was the immigration of Sonia’s husband Gursharan Singh Gandhi to Canada. Sonia and other accused were allegedly vehemently against Gursharan’s move.

The victim says in the suicide note that Sonia and other accused allegedly opposed Gursharan’s immigration to such an extent that he was forced to return to India after spending a few weeks in Canada. He had managed to go abroad after a six-year wait. Once back home, the in-laws forcibly took his passport and other documents away.

Additional SHO, GRP, Harbans Singh said the woman jumped before the Ludhiana-Jakhal train around 5:30 am today. The police later recovered the suicide note, which revealed her identity. He said no arrest had been made so far.

The suicide note revealed that the victim was quite religious. She began the note offering prayers to Sikh gurus and tendering an apology for ending her life, given to her by the almighty.

She wrote: “She had no other option as the harassment by the daughter-in-law and other accused was driving them mad”. She said her son was married to Sonia 10 years ago. They had a daughter from the marriage. Her son managed immigration after much effort but Sonia always opposed his decision.

When my son finally went to canada, she went to her parent’s house and threatened to register a case of dowry against us. My son tried his best to cool down things. But he was threatened with such dire consequences that he returned home”.

She further claimed that her son went straight to his in-laws house in Chandigarh where he was forced to part with the passport. Later, he took a Rs 9,000 per month job with the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle.

This money was insufficient for the family and there was no compromise by the accused. The accused then humiliated her in public by levelling cheap allegations, which she could not bear and decided to end her life. 



City youth drowns in Kurukshetra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Just a month before his marriage, a resident of Barrewal, here, allegedly drowned under mysterious circumstances in a sarovar at Kurukshetra on May 15.

His body was found yesterday and cremated in Barrewal late last evening.

The victim, Parminder Singh, alias Bittu, had gone to Kurukshetra with a religious jatha of a Barrewal-based godman. However, he allegedly slipped and fell in the sarovar.

He is survived by his mother, two brothers and two sisters. He was the main bread-earner of the family and ran a good business of machine tools. Family sources said they were finalising his marriage which could have been scheduled next month.



Man sets room afire to kill ex-friend

Ludhiana, May 18
A plumber allegedly adopted an unusual way to murder two persons by setting the room, in which they were sleeping, on fire on Dabba road, Sherpur Kalan, this morning.

The accused, Raj Kumar, adopted this way to take revenge from a fellow plumber, Naveen Yadav and his brother Raj Yadav. While Naveen was burnt to death, Arvind was admitted in a local hospital with over 60 per cent burns.

Police sources said Raj used to be a good friend of the deceased but Naveen owed him Rs 22,000 and it was due to this that they fell apart. Raj allegedly got so incensed on not getting his money back that he came to the one room rented accommodation of the victims in the wee hours today and set the room on fire.

Naveen perished in the flames while his brother somehow managed to come out. Raj is reported to be absconding. — TNS



Looting case: Victims were raped, too

Ludhiana, May 18
The armed robbery at Bonker Dogra village turned more gruesome today with the polcie claiming the accused robbers had allegedly raped two women also.

Police is suspecting the involvement of Baurai gang in the incident now as these criminals were known to rape women of the house they robbed. — TNS



At the Crossroads 
Trailing clouds of longings

The name of Sahir Ludhianvi or Prof Mohan Singh acts as a catalyst to rouse a person residing in Ludhiana from his deep slumber. Manjit Indira's free verse, ‘Taarean da Chhajj’ (A tray full of stars), has captured the true image of Prof Mohan Singh as a person as well as a poet during the last decade of his life. She came into his contact as a teenager in 1969, so as to learn the art of poetic composition, when the poet was 65 years old. He was at that time Professor Emeritus at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, whereas she was studying in Govt College for Women for her first degree. Incidentally her father was Prof. Mohan Singh's student when he studied at Sikh National College, Lahore during the 1940s.

Manjit Indira has emerged in ‘Taarean da Chhajj’ as the true chronicler of Prof Mohan Singh’s poetic attainments and his longings for a beautiful lady without mercy. All through his life, he could not come out of the stupor of his love unreciprocated. To this inquisitive girl, he confided that Amrita Pritam too loved him, although he adored her passionately. Later, she shifted her glance of love to Sahir Ludhianvi and then settled down with Imroz. On his part, Mohan Singh remained rooted to the spot where he had the glimpse of ethereal beauty. Wistfulness clung to his soul and he could not alter his gaze that was intent on a mortal frame. This reminds me of a couplet by Aasi Ghazipuri wherein he wonders what divine image did Farhad (Kohkan) see in his beloved Shireen that he undertook such a hazardous task of hewing a rocky mountain for the sake of a mere woman:

Sach sach batao kaun thha Shireen ke paikar mein

ke mushte-khak ki hasrat mein koi Kohkan kyun ho

Manjit Indira has done for Prof Mohan Singh what Maitraye Devi had done earlier for Rabindranath Tagore. She had been associated with Tagore from her childhood. She also enjoyed a long exchange of letters with Tagore. In her book 'Tagore by Fireside', she gives an account of Tagore's sojourn at Mungpu, a village in Darjeeling district, where he had been with her as a houseguest on four occasions. In the words of Marjorie Sykes, it is an "intimate word-picture of a great man 'at home' among his friends."

The same is the case with Manjit Indira who has, like Maitraye Devi, recorded word for word the conversation the poet had with her on several occasions. Earlier, Mohan Singh had never been presented so candidly by his contemporaries. His weaknesses as a man generally overshadowed his achievements as a poet. Manjit Indira has struck a balance between the man and the poet in this remarkable book. She ends the account of her association with the poet for nine years, the period of time when she graduated from a college student to a college teacher, with the words:

He has left this world forever

Now many a time I fantasize

He may visit again this earth

I would shower lots of love upon him,

Taking the earth and the sky in my embrace,

So he would merrily slake his thirst

At the font of my dedication.

Manjit Indira has emerged as a significant poet during the past few years. Her distinction lies in intellectualising and not romanticising, her emotions. She has all along been engaged in establishing a rapport with the male principle of love. As yet, there is no dichotomy in her mind regarding the justification of her own point of view. She simply tries to empathise with the compulsions of the man she loves. Like two orbits in the space, she wants to move in her own sphere but at times the convergence of these orbits on each other is a welcome gesture of intimate relations.

'Alakh' (2006), her seventh collection of poems since 1974, is Manjit Indira's unique contribution to Punjabi poetic literature. This work depicts the heightened interplay of feelings and ideas, besides presenting the chiaroscuro of sensations and sensibilities. Love, she believes, is such a touchstone as would test the sincerity of a person's inner urges and their outer manifestations. Time comes when the waves of emotional outpourings recede and the shingles of pent-up urges are laid bare. These are the moments when the truth of living belittles the sham of existence.

— N.S. Tasneem



Security tightened to keep dera trouble at bay
Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, May 18
Though the civil administration is claiming the return of normalcy to the town and its surrounding villages, the area close to Naam Charcha Ghar at Jalaldiwal, near here, has virtually turned into a cantonment.

Twenty-five activists of Dera Sacha Sauda who were arrested in connection with a case registered under Sections 341, 323, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC for allegedly attacking activists of certain Sikh organisations last night were released on bail today. However, a case under Section 435 of the IPC has been registered against unknown person for torching a tractor trailer belonging to a resident of Jalaldiwal village.

Meanwhile, SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhular, has urged leaders of various social and political organisations to help the administration in maintaining peace and tranquillity among various sections of society.

He, however, warned that anti-social elements found exploiting the religious sentiments of common people would be dealt with a strong hand.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that a majority of residents were not concerned about the dera controversy. Even leaders of various political parties, including Congress and SAD, hesitated to comment on the issue. “Though we know that the police is acting on the instance of the SAD leaders we do not wish to complicate the matter by interfering in the issue,” said a senior Congress leader. However, residents were satisfied with the deployment of extra force.

According to information received from Gurpreet Bhullar and Mukand Singh Sandhu, SDM, trouble had started when a group of activists of Sacha Sauda had started pelting stones and bricks on activists of Sikh organisations returning from Talwandi Sabo yesterday evening.

As hundreds of activists from both sides started converging on the spot, the police had to use mild force to disperse the mob that had damaged a few vehicles belonging to Sikh activists and a portion of the wall of the dera. Many cops, including a DSP, had to push tractors and trolleys to safeguard life and property of both the factions.

The police was yet to establish the identity of the owner of Massey Ferguson tractor and the trolley that was torched by activists of the Sikh organisations. The vehicle was being used for fetching bricks and stones to the dera.

Preliminary investigations revealed that dera activists had stocked a large number of bricks and stones on the roof of a room situated on the front of the dera. However, they (dera activists) maintained that the bricks had not been stocked deliberately but were required for the construction of a part of the dera.

Appreciating the role of the officers deputed on disaster management, Bhullar claimed that rank and file had acted with cool head and strong hands. “As activists of both sides had ignored warnings given by Narinder Singh, DSP, a mild cane charge was resorted to disperse the mob,” justified Bhullar.

The police is also keeping vigil at certain religious places in the rural part of this region. As senior functionaries of Damdami Taksal had been camping at certain religious places at Lamma Jattpura and Bopa Rai Kalan, the authorities fear reaction from activists of these organisations.



Muslims pray for peace in state
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Members of the Muslim community here today prayed for peace and communal harmony in the state. Hundreds of Muslims, who offered the weekly Friday prayers under the leadership of Shahi Imam Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianvi, prayed for peace in the state in the wake of recent violent incidents. The community also condemned the bomb blast in the Mecca mosque of Hyderabad, which left five persons dead.

Addressing the Friday congregation, the Shahi Imam said the government should ensure peace at all costs. He expressed his regrets over the recent violent incidents. He said no religion allowed to hurt the feelings of any other religion. He pointed out that religious issues should be handled with care since these were quite sensitive. He regretted that certain actions of Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh of the Dera Sacha Sauda had hurt the religious feelings of the Sikhs.

The Shahi Imam said respecting the sentiments of the Sikhs, Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh should tender an unconditional apology to them. He said this was the only way to prevent further violence and bloodshed in the state. He also appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to rise above the partisan considerations and order an independent probe into the circumstances.

On the bomb blast in Hyderabad mosque, he said the government should take curative measures and restore the confidence of the minorities. Condemning the blast and expressing his sympathies with the bereaved families, the Shahi Imam urged the Karnataka government to pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the victims. He appealed to people not to get provoked at any cost and ensure that they maintained peace under all circumstances.



Ex-servicemen call to maintain peace
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
While the state is grappling with violence and arson arisen out of the Dera Sacha Sauda controversy, ex-servicemen of Ludhiana have appealed to the masses to maintain peace and harmony so that this “difficult time too passes away”.

In a clarion call to general public and political parties, Major Sher Singh Aulakh, Capt Sardara Singh and Capt Gurdeep Singh, all retired officers, have said this was a “political upheaval” and they should not allow their tempers to get flared up no matter what the provocation was.

“Punjab has faced a lot of hardship in its history. First, it was the pain of the Partition, then the wounds given by 1984 genocide and the injuries left by the trouble torn time of terrorism. But the brave residents of the state overcame everything.

This is the time to show maturity once again so that certain anti-social elements, who are trying to disturb peace and tranquillity, are snubbed once and for all”, said Major Aulakh. He added that more than anything else it were rumours that were affecting the scenario the most.

He called upon the state government to find a solution for the crisis amicably. “Representatives of all political parties and religious leaders should sit together to resolve the issue before it is too late”.

The ex-servicemen also expressed their reservation in calling the armed forces for the present crisis.

“There are sufficient forces in the country that can help control the situation. Calling the Army should be the last resort”, they added. 



Insurance officers observe strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
In protest against the "anti-officer" policies of their management the General Insurance Officers All-India Association observed a strike today.

A demonstration was held outside the regional office of New India Assurance Company at the Mall Road, here.

The officers submitted a memorandum of their demands to chief regional manager S.K. Jain.

The association members condemned the introduction of a test for promotion of officers. "The management is putting undue pressure on us for facing competition from private players," they said.

They said they would prefer a dual channel for promotion, that is seniority and written test, instead of a single way only.

Sore over transfer and mobility policy of the company, the members of the association said officers were being shifted in an "irrational" manner which was causing them a lot of harassment.

Among other demands that were raised by the employees were re-introduction of appointments on compassionate ground, introduction of additional casual leave, half day leave and enhancement of casual leave, removal of wage anomalies after the last wage revision and rationalisation of the transfer and mobility policy.



Expect fewer power cuts this summer, says Bath
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
PSEB Chief Engineer P.S. Bath, who took charge a few days ago, said customer satisfaction was his top priority in addition to ensuring that minimum power cuts were imposed during the peak summer season.

The PSEB was well prepared to handle the situation that might arise out of the growing demand for power. He agreed that while the demand and consumption had increased steeply the availability of power was much less. The board was quite hopeful that only scheduled cuts would be introduced and there would be no unscheduled and unannounced cuts.

As of today, the situation was perfectly under control. He said even in the northern grid there was perfect balance between the supply and demand. However, there was a possibility that the demand would increase in the coming months as more power would be diverted to the agriculture sector.

On the customer care, he said, the board was holding special darbars where people are invited to air their grievances. Most of their problems are resolved on the spot as senior officers are present on such occasions. He said the functioning of the department was being streamlined to ensure complete satisfaction to the customers and suggestions and opinions were being sought at every level.



Road repair begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The councillor of ward number 49, Rakesh Prashar, today got inaugurated a road repair project worth Rs 24 lakh in Lakkar Bazar and Machine Market, here, today.

Addressing the gathering the councillor said that the work would be completed soon.

He claimed that almost all development works in his area were completed by the end of his tenure. If the Congress gave him a chance to contest elections this time also, he would serve the area residents once again.



Anti-graft forum to support govt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The Pubalic Anti-Corruption Forum has welcomed the announcement of the Akali-BJP government in the state to root out corruption from the government offices in the state.

The forum has extended all cooperation to the government on this issue.

A meeting of the forum was held here today under the chairmanship of its president, Kishen Sharma. Addressing the meeting, the general secretary of the forum, Ashwani Marwaha, observed that there was rampant corruption in the government departments.

He hoped that the government will take proactive measures to root out this evil from its offices.

Marwaha said, the government had taken some good decisions and targeted some corrupt officials.

He hoped that this campaign against corruption is carried forward and taken to its logical conclusion to provide clean and transparent administration to people.



Sangat darshan on May 23
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation would hold sangat darshan to redress the grievances of residents of Zone-D on May 23.

The programme would start at 10am and would continue till 2pm in the Zone-D office in Sarabha Nagar.

Problems related to house tax, sewer and water and other related to civic body would be heard and redressed on the spot, said a communique by the zonal commissioner, here, today.



Tributes paid on bhog ceremony

Khamano, May 18
Tributes were paid to freedom fighter Dharmpal Verma, on his bhog ceremony at Mansooran road, Khamano. He had died a few days back.

While paying tributes, SGPC member, Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnia, said freedom fighters played a big role in the freedom struggle and it was others’ duty to take care of their families.

The Khamano DSP Balwant Singh, Kashmira Singh, Youth Wing leader of Bilaspur, Khamano SDO Gurtej Singh Chahal, some other prominent persons and large member of people were present at the time of bhog. — OC 



2 assaulted due to old enmity, 10 booked 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 18
In two separate incidents, Raikot and Dehlon police has booked ten persons on the charge of assault.

In the first incident, Gurjit Singh, Harchand Singh, Balwinder Singh, Maghar Singh, Hari Singh, Jagtar Singh, Jaspal Singh and Raju of Dhalian village, allegedly assaulted Surjit Singh of the same village with an iron patti.

The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC, against the convicts.

The injured has been admitted to the Ludhiana Civil Hospital. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind the attack. In the another incident, Hardeep Singh Gaggi and Surjit Singh of Sehlon Kalan village, allegedly assaulted Parmjit Singh of the same village with a sword and gandasi.

The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC. The injured has been admitted to CMC, Ludhiana.

Some old enmity is said to be reason behind the assault. No arrest has been made so far in both the cases.



Withdrawal of subsidy scheme flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations today said that discontinuation of the centrally sponsored Credit Linked Capital Subsidy Scheme by the government has come as a rude shock to the small-scale sector.

The move would force the sector to shelve their plans to upgradation of technology which is vital for competing in global market, said V.P. Chopra, president of the federation today.

He said the credit-linked capital subsidy scheme provided bank loan with a 15 per cent capital subsidy for installation of new machines to upgrade technology. "Especially micro-level units, that constitute more than 93 per cent of the total SSI sector, would be hit hard as they cannot afford to adopt new technology without the assistance of bank loans with subsidy element."

Condemning the decision further, Chopra added that such measures would jeopardise the plans to upgrade and modernise production activities of small units in the 11th Five Year Plan.

"Small-scale units are already passing through a crisis like situation and the government should continue with the scheme at least for the 11th Five Year Plan," the federation demanded.



Industrialists meet Kalia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
An industrial delegation, under the banner of Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, met Industries and Commerce Minister, Manoranjan Kalia, to discuss their problems.

Joginder Kumar, president of the federation, said the industrialists had also sought an appointment with the Prime Minister to discuss issues, like levy of service tax on electroplating heat treatment, incentives on a par with other states and freight equalisation etc.



‘Scientific temper can curb bankruptcy’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Punjab is marching towards economic and social bankruptcy and this could be prevented only through scientific temper. These views were expressed by B.S. Ramoowalia during his one-day visit at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Lauding the role of PAU, Ramoowalia said that ever since its inception, the university had left no stone unturned in directing rural economy towards progress.

However, the need today was to recognise emerging challenges. The state government should come forward with a foolproof policy towards this end, he added. Exodus from the villages towards foreign countries had been occurring due to a lack in meeting the needs of forthcoming generations.

Ramoowalia said that students of PAU had earned a great name in foreign lands and the university was looked upon with utmost respect. The university must maintain this level, he urged.

During the visit, Ramoowalia exchanged views with Dr V.K. Sharma, registrar, PAU, regarding the working of the university. Interacting with Dr N.S.Malhi, director of Extension Education, Ramoowalia pointed out the declining ratio of students with rural background in schools of higher learning. He opined agricultural universities of the country should be converted into rural development universities for this purpose.

When he appreciated PAU's campaign for saving water, Dr Malhi informed him that 70 per cent of paddy was sown on recommended dates last year and the trends were positive this year too.



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