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Poor quality of seeds ruins crops
Farmers allege shopkeeper duped them
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Farmers of Lohat-Baddi village in Raikot tehsil are running from pillar to post trying to show the authorities in the administration how poor quality of seeds ruined a full season of crop in their fields. More than 50 acres of crop under Bt Cotton and approximately eight acres under paddy crop have wilted without any yield "because of poor quality of seeds purchased from a local shop".
  •  Farmers bought seeds from one shop
  • Owner of the shop has put up shutters
  • Farmers deny that quality of land was bad
  • Queries have been marked

The farmers are alleging that the seed provider in the village had duped them by providing sub-standard quality of seed. The district agriculture authorities, on the other hand, maintain that the quality of land was not very good and there was heavy paucity of water resources.

Farmers vehemently deny the claims of the administration. "If the quality of land was bad then the entire area should not be growing any crop. This is not the case as could be gauged on ground with other crops visible all around. As many as nine farmers who grew Bt Cotton in approximately 50 acres complain of a complete wash out. The complainants include Bacchitar Singh, Attar Singh, Ranjit Singh and Mehar Singh besides Sukhwinder Singh who grew eight acres paddy, separately".

Yadvinder Singh Chhina, chief agriculture officer, said the shopkeeper concerned had put up his shutters. " We are looking into the case and waiting for the report before any final action. I can only say that the quality of land under question was not very good. The area also has the problem of water."

Mahender Singh Seelokalan, president of the district unit of the Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, said the matter had been taken up with different authorities at the district level, including the deputy commissioner and the district agriculture officer, but to no avail.

“We organised two dharnas to raise the issue. One was organised at Lohat-baddi village and another one at Mandi Ahmedgarh. The administration will have to ensure that compensation is paid to the farmers, failing which we will be left with no resort but to agitate”.

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Dengue, diarrhoea cause alarm
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
With the drop in mercury, the incidence of various tropical diseases has increased in the region. With a change in weather, diseases like malaria and dengue fever have become more common which calls for immediate attention. In particular, vigorous action is needed against mosquito-borne diseases, which tend to take an epidemic form almost every year during these weather conditions.

Do's

  •  Maintain body fluids in case of diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Take all preventive steps against breeding of mosquitoes
  • Eat fresh fruit, vegetables
  • Keep body parts covered to avoid mosquito bite

Don’ts

  •  Eat out, particularly uncovered and fried items
  • Consume chilled drinks
  • Expose yourself to sudden change of temperature

According to a physician and medical superintendent of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Dr Sandeep Puri, both malaria and dengue are characterised by high fever and can lead to low platelet count. Therefore, there is need to diagnose these conditions correctly because the specific treatment is different in each one of them. The serology test for dengue should be done 6 to 7 days after the onset of fever and not immediately, he advised.

He said symptoms like bleeding, intense abdominal pain, reoccurring vomiting and low blood pressure ought to be taken as warning signs of dengue fever which require attention and immediate hospitalisation.

Dr Gautam Agarwal, consultant physician, says that more than 40 per cent of patients visiting the hospital OPD are infected with seasonal diseases. “Changing weather and wrong eating habits in festive season also give rise to acute illnesses such as influenza, fever, and whooping cough among the people.”

He advised that parents should take greater care of their children as diseases like diarrhoea and flu could, at times, prove fatal for children. Dr Agarwal stressed that people should be educated about preventive measures against seasonal diseases along with proper management of conditions like diarrhoea and dysentery. “In case contamination of water is suspected, boiled water should be used for drinking to prevent diseases such as gastroenteritis and diarrhoea. Care should also be taken to avoid over-ripe or under-ripe fruits and maintain fluids level diarrhoea or vomiting.

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Where are the little girls they worship?
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Gathering sufficient number of little girls (kanjaks) for the Navratra puja appears to have become the toughest task of the nine-day sacred period. The problem stares people in the face on this day when they want little girls, preferably below the age of 5, for the puja. As many people performed the puja to mark the conclusion of Navratras on asthmi today, many could be seen waiting in queues outside houses where little girls went in groups.

The problem is even more severe in posh localities in the city where residents are reluctant to send their children to other houses. "This time it was even tougher than the last year to find small girls for pooja. Even as I personally visited several houses yesterday itself and requested them to send their daughters for the kanjak puja, I had to wait for more than one and a half hour after preparing the prasad for the girls. It was only after I requested my neighbours to send the kanjaks who had come to their house that I managed to get seven girls together,” said Renu Verma, a Sarabha Nagar resident.

The kanjak pooja is performed on two days, ashtmi and navmi, by people. For the prayer, a certain minimum number of girls, seven, nine or 11, along with one boy, are made to partake the prasad prepared by the host.

“Earlier, it was so easy to find them and they moved around in groups. All one had to do was just step out of the house and you would find a group of girls. But today I faced such a problem that ultimately I went to our nearby temple at around 10.30 am, where, too, it was not easy to find girls as many people there, belonging to lower- income groups, had dressed up their little boys in frocks so that they get money,” complained Sneh Lata, a resident of Civil Lines.

In posh localities, where people are reluctant to send their kids, the task is even tougher. In many cases, people even send the prasad, along with gifts, to the house of a friend or neighbour who has a little girl.

Performing the pooja, too, is becoming a costlier affair as the quality of gifts given to the kanjaks is changing. The market offers a wide variety of gift items like toys, stationery, purses, etc. “I was quite surprised to see the variety. I picked up beautiful purses and filled them with chocolates. It did cost me a little more, but then it is also a status symbol,” Seema, a resident of BRS Nagar, said.

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City Centre Scam
Sandhu denied bail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
Additional Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh today dismissed the regular bail application filed by former Additional Advocate General of Punjab Harpreet Sandhu, a co-accused in the infamous City Centre scam case.

The Vigilance Bureau had arrested Sandhu on September 28. He was facing charges for allegedly striking a deal in the allotment of the City Centre project between Today Homes Company and top politicians of the state after taking Rs 3 crore.

The accused remained in police custody till October 4. Thereafter, he was remanded in judicial custody. During the police remand, the Vigilance Bureau could not recover even a single penny, which the accused had allegedly taken from the Today Homes company.

After hearing the arguments advanced by District Attorney Mitter Sain Goel and defence lawyer, the Judge had reserved the orders on the bail application for today.The orders were pronounced at 4 p.m. At that time the wife of the accused, relatives were present in the court room.

Prosecution had demanded the dismissal of the bail application of the accused with the plea that granting of bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the ongoing investigation. On the other hand, the counsel for accused had alleged false implication. He had argued that since his client had worked as law officer with the state’s Vigilance Bureau during the Congress government and persued the corruption case against Parkash Singh Badal. This was the main reason for falsely implicating him in the case.

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Pak delegates visit PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
A group of Pakistani lawyers and journalists visited Punjab Agricultural University today. Addressing the delegates, the PAU vice-chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang said need for making serious efforts to usher in love, peace and fraternity in the region has acquired greater significance than before on account of the prevailing differences, religious intolerance etc. Our efforts should be directed not only for strengthening Indo-Pak ties but for the global cause of higher magnitude, said Dr Kang.

The Pak delegation comprised of Rana Ameer Khan (Assistant Advocate General, Punjab), Shahida Parveen, Usman Ameer Khan, Zafar Ali Khan Raja (poet, writer and editor), Tasawar Zafar, Seerat Zafar, Mohammad Irshad Chaudhary, Laif Chaudhary, Syeda Gulam Fatima (labour liberation activist), Jahangir A. Jhoja (Supreme Court Advocate) and Mohammad Jaleel Butt (educationist).

Rana Ameer Khan said get-together across the borders should be a regular feature and suggested Dr Kang to lead a cultural delegation from PAU to Pakistan. The delegate members were bid a farewell by the officials of the centre for communication, languages and culture, on their departure for Barnala to observe a two-day festival dedicated to Prof Mohan Singh. 

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Truck union agrees to lift paddy at govt rate
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 19
Timely intervention by the civil and police administration not only averted the clash between activists of the truck operators union, Kup, but the lifting and the procurement of the paddy also started at the two purchase centres.

The stalemate was broken when office-bearers of the union agreed to shift the bags procured by PUNGRAIN at fare specified by the agency.

However, a few rice sheller owners were reported to have promised to compensate the operators for the difference of payment. The truck union activists had reportedly backtracked when a Congress leader and former president of the union offered to provide a truck at the government rate for lifting the paddy.

Vehicle owners registered with the Dasmesh truck operators union, Kup, started lifting the paddy bags that had been stacked at the yard for a few days. Lifting was started under tight security.

According to Sangrur’s additional deputy commissioner Indu, commission agents and farmers of the area had complained that at least 150 truckloads of paddy procured by PUNGRAIN had been lying stacked at the purchase centre yards at Kup and Falaund for a few days. The situation aggravated after truck operators refused to shift paddy at fare offered by the procurement agency.

After talks between various parties failed the additional deputy commissioner urged Atma Singh, a Congress leader and former Union president, to provide truck at the fare offered by the agency. Initially, the union activists threatened to oppose the administration’s move but later sensing permanent ousting from two purchase centre agreed to lift bags at the fare offered by the agency.

A large number of police personnel were called from Malerkotla and Sangrur for controlling the crowd if riot-like situation arose. The centre looked like a cantonment.

Indu and Parveen Vij, DFC, Sangrur, said the administration would ensure timely procurement and lifting of bags so that the farmers and commission agents were not harassed unnecessarily. Malerkotla SDM Jaspal Jassie was deputed to keep vigil on the situation. 

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Post-blast: CPI asks people to donate blood 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 19
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has made a fervent appeal to city residents to come forward and donate blood for the victims of the cinema hall bomb blast, who were being treated at Christian Medical College and Hospital here.

The local unit of the party, which met here yesterday evening under the presidentship of Arun Mitra, strongly condemned the dastardly act of terrorism which claimed six lives. It also asked the people to maintain peace and harmony and extend all possible assistance to the victims.

In a resolution adopted at the meeting, the party called upon the masses not to fall prey to the evil designs of disruptive elements which were trying to disturb the communal harmony. The government ought to deal with these forces with an iron hand so as to create a sense of security among the people.

Addressing the meeting, Mitra urged the Chief Minister to immediately convene an all-party meeting against terrorism and disburse the compensation promised to the families of the dead and those injured in the bomb blast.

Later, a CPI delegation comprising Joginder Dayal, member of the National Executive, Mitra, Ramesh Rattan, secretary of city committee, O.P. Mehta and Vijay Kumar, trade union leaders, visited CMCH and the civil hospital and interacted with those undergoing treatment. 

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Blast victims get Rs 2 lakh ex gratia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
Cheques for ex gratia grants among families of the six persons killed and 37 injured in the bomb in Shingar Cinema,as announced by the Chief Minister, were distributed among the victims at CMCH today. Minister for tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria , MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon and deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar handed over the cheques to the affected persons.

Gabria said the for Rs 2 lakh each had been distributed as ex gratia grant to the next of the kin of the deceased.The cheques for Rs 50,000 each have been given to the 18 seriously injured persons and of Rs 25,000 each to 19 persons with minor injuries, he added. Expenditure incurred on the treatment of 37 injured persons who were admitted to a few other hospitals will be borne by the state government, he added.

The deputy commissioner said the cheques of those who were not present today would be handed over to the SDM.

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Pedestrian killed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon,October 19
A major tragedy was averted when a truck driver who had lost control over his vehicle, speeding truck that gone out of control of the driver, screeched to a halt after jumping over a road divider near a bus stand on the GT Road at local town today evening. However, a pedestrian who was about to cross the road, was killed in the incident.The victim has been identified as Harpal Singh, son of Gurbachan Singh of Sidhwan Kalan village.

According to sources, a large number of passers by escaped unhurt when the driver of the speeding truck ( PNF 3517) lost control over the vehicle. 

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Letters
Pressure horn

Pressure horn is being used in excess by drivers in Ludhiana. Our young generation creates nuisance by frequently using pressure horn. It seems they have lost their good sense. Sometimes, they use the pressure horn even on a vacant road.

The excessive use of pressure horn can affect the alertness of an individual while driving. Further, change in the heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased discharge of adrenal hormones, change in skeletal muscle tension, galvanic skin response are the possible clinical manifestations of stress concomitant with noise. Excessive use of horn gives rise to quarrel, anger, illness, accident, etc.

I, therefore, request the authorities concerned to make a challan mandatory for excessive use of horn or introduce some regulations in order to control the noise pollution by the use of horns.

Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.

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Five booked for committing fraud 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon,October 19
Satnam Singh of Akalgarh, Jarnail Singh of Ludhiana, Inderjit Singh Agent of Delhi and Jaswant Singh Sidhu of Delhi have been booked by the Sudhar police under Sections 420, 120-B of the IPC for defrauding a man. As per an information,these four persons received Rs 33,000 in cash from Hakem Singh of Hans Kalan in 2003 for sending Sidhu’s son to the United Kingdom. But,they neither send him to the United Kingdom nor returned the money and cheated the complainant.

Assaulted

Jagmohan Singh,his son, Jatinder Singh, aliias Jotti, Ajmer Singh, former sarpanch, Mandeep Singh and his brother, Sukhdeep Singh, all residents of Bhattian allegedly waylaid Swaran Singh of the same village, assaulted him. The Humbran police has registered a case under Sections 341, 324, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind the assault.

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Tantrik arrested; missing girl found
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 19
The district police yesterday found a 17-year-old girl, abducted by a ‘tantrik’, in Nandpur Kalour village near Bassi Pathana. The 62-year-old ‘tantrik’ has been arrested. The godman had sought shelter in the house of the girl’s parents in Kotla Fazal on October 3, saying there was an evil spirit in the house that he would get rid of.

SSP Nilabh Kishore said the tantrik, identified as Pran Nath, stayed in the girl’s house for at least four months after which he disappeared. He took the minor girl along with him.

SP (detective) S.S Boparai said the police learnt that the tantrik, who was referred to as ‘Babaji’ by the locals, was associated with a dera in Gardhiwal in Hoshiarpur district. The police learnt the tantrik had returned to Fatehgarh Sahib district, following which he was nabbed. 

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Speed up VAT refunds: Industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 19
In a meeting with the financial commissioner taxation S.S. Brar and excise and taxation commissioner, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said delay in VAT refunds was a critical issue that needed to be addressed urgently.

“Refunds are not made mainly due to staff shortage. Measures like e-filling may be introduced to speed up the process,” said P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber. The chamber also said cases under the Old Sales Tax Act shall be settled as deemed assessment.

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