L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



AGRICULTURE

89 pc Punjab farmers in debt
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Punjab agriculture is passing through the phase of stagnation productivity, rising costs of production and dwindling natural resources. Due to economic hardships faced by farmers, the indebtedness has assumed alarming proportions and many of them have reached the stage of acute distress.

According to a recent study conducted by Sukhpal Singh, H.S.Kingra and T.K.Dhaliwal from the department of economics, Punjab Agricultural University, here, about 89 per cent farmer families of the state are indebted to the tune of Rs 1.78 lakh per farm family.

Due to the cotton crop failure, this problem became more serious in the cotton belt of Punjab where almost 93 per cent farming households are in severe debt trap.

An abrupt rise in the number of suicide cases in Punjab is clearly an indication of sorry state of affairs of agrarian structure of the state. Those who committed suicides were mainly small farmers and agricultural labourers. Economic hardship, indebtedness, crop failure and intoxication were the major causes behind the rural suicides in the state. While the peasantry faces such severe crisis, one can imagine the plight of agricultural labourers in the state as major field of their employment (agriculture) got squeezed.

The use of tractors and harvester combines has displaced farm labour on a large scale, especially women and unskilled workers. The demand for human labour in the farm sector in Punjab has decreased significantly since the late 1980s.

The present study examined the economic conditions of agricultural labour and estimates the income level, consumption level and assets structure of the agricultural labourers.

It was concluded that Punjab was in the forefront in adoption of new agriculture technology due to well established canal water system and large reservoir of sweet ground water floating under the surface. No doubt, the technology had increased the production and productivity of crops and consequently improved the income and consumption of the farmers but the employment opportunities of agricultural wage labour has got squeezed due to over mechanisation, said Sukhpal Singh.

In Punjab, an average agricultural household earns Rs 28,769 per annum from all sources of income. The most important component of income of these people is the hiring out of casual labour in agriculture, about 57.45 per cent of the total income is exclusively earned from this source. These households spent a major part of their income on consumption items like on cereals, pulses, milk products etc. They also spent a considerable proportion of their income on marriages and other socio-religious ceremonies.

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Protests as booked teacher rejoins
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahhmedgarh, November 15
Despite opposition by residents of Rauni village in Payal subdivision, a tainted Punjabi lecturer of Government Senior Secondary School at Talwandi Rai, who was booked by the Raikot police for allegedly misbehaving with girl students of the school 10 days ago, has joined duty at school in Rauni village.

Office-bearers of various social and political organisations at Talwandi village have reiterated their demand to dismiss the teacher, who, according to them, had tarnished the image of the highly respectable profession.

Sources at Rauni village near here revealed that Bhupinder Singh, a lecturer in Punjabi, had joined the village school despite opposition by the residents of the area.

The Raikot police had booked Bhupinder Singh after female staff, students and their parents had staged a protest at the GSSS, Talwandi Rai, 10 days ago. The girl students of class XI and XII of the school had accused the teacher of misbehaving with them and attempting to outrage their modesty. He was also accused of instigating boys to indulge in love affairs with girls of their choice.

Though the students had reported the matter to Surinder Pal Singh, principal of the school, the latter, allegedly succumbing to political pressure, fail to take action. Efforts made by some members of female staff to safeguard esteem of the institute proved futile.

Situation turned unruly when a delegation of parents of the affected students led by office-bearers of the PTA and other leaders felt offended and reported the matter to the police.

According to Pal Balwinder Singh Talwandi, president, block Congress, office-bearers of various social and political organisations had reiterated their demand to dismiss the suspect who had brought bad name to the institute.

“While the police will take its course to act against Bhupider Singh, we will meet the authorities in the education department and the civil administration. Residents of the area feel that transfer was not a punishment,” said Talwandi, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

However the district education authorities had assured them that he would be soon transferred to another station. Bhupinder himself had also assured that he would behave in a decent manner. As 10 posts had fallen vacant here due to transfer of teachers by a high official during his surprise checking and Bhupinder Singh was to retire on March 31, he was allowed to join.

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Amloh school honours meritorious students
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 15
In this era of globalisation, we should make effort to provide quality education to the younger generation and to inculcate spirit of discipline and brotherhood among them. This was stated by Fatehgarh Sahib DEO Roshan Lal Sood on annual function of Amloh Public School here yesterday. He was the chief guest and distributed prizes among students who excelled in sports and academic field.

School principal Meena Goel stated in the annual report that Gurjeet Kaur, a student of Class XII, secured 83 per cent marks and was placed in the merit list of Punjab School Education Board, other students like Ankit Mittal, Satwinder Singh, Ramandeep Kaur, Amaninder Kaur secured above 84 per cent marks in the matriculation examination, Gurpreet Kaur, a Class V student, got second position in the painting competition of four districts organised by the board.

Students Rupali Dhir, Raghbir and party, Isha and party, Monica and party presented Saraswati bandana, comedy skit, Durga Utsav, Ras-Lela, respectively. Chorography of Vashika while Dedsh Ranguli was presented by Ashu Gupta. Giddha and Bhangra got appreciation from the audience.

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Non-teaching staff unions kick off poll campaign
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Though the elections of the Non-Teaching Employees Union of Punjab Agricultural University is scheduled for November 29, different factions have already started up with their warm-up activities. The PAU Employees Forum held a meeting of the field staff today.

President of the PAU Employees Forum D.P.Maur said their main objective was to get implemented, the long-pending demands of PAU employees. The achievements made by the front during the last tenure were also highlighted. Besides, the members chalked-out next programme, if they came to power.

The members said their main concern was to get enough fund from state government so that pensioners did not face any problems. The members were of the view that if state government could provide subsidy to industrialists and farmers worth crores of rupees, then why could not it take out university from the existing financial crunch? The members said generating own resources by selling land belonging to PAU was not the right solution.

Besides, the Punjab government had promised promotion scales to employees from January, 1996, but these were not implemented so far. "We will make sure that employees get their due", said Maur adding that vacancies also needed to be filled immediately.

The association members said they would demand annual increments for tractor drivers and farm workers in addition to other demands.

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Trends in English literature discussed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
The Sahitya Akademi-sponsored symposium on trends in post-Independence Indian English Literature, was held at Guru Nanak Auditorium, GGN Khalsa College, here today. More than 120 delegates comprising universities and college teachers and PG students participated.

The symposium was inaugurated by Dr S.P. Singh, former VC of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. In his inaugural address, Dr Singh dwelt at length on the differences in Indian English literature before and after Independence.

He wondered how Indian these Indian writers were as they expressed themselves in a language which was not their own.

Principal Dr T.S. Anand introduced the theme of the symposium and introduced the galaxy of scholars who have come from different parts of the region.

Prof Anis-ur-Rehman, Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi, spoke on the thematic trends in Indian English poetry after 1947. Dr N.K. Ghosh from Agra provided an overview of Indian English literature and the influence of market forces.

Dr Rana Nayar, Panjab University, Chandigarh, spoke on the shift in the patterns of Indian English Dramatic literature. Dr Manjit Inder Singh, Head, Department of English, Punjabi University, Patiala, focused on the changing contours of Indian English diasporic fiction.

Dr Satnam Kaur Raina from Jammu University analysed the importance of psychology in Indian English literature. Prof N.S. Tasneem was honoured for his services to English, Punjabi and Urdu literature on the occasion.

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Namit, Kanika in Horlicks Wiz Kids finals
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
Namit and Kanika Kamboj, the two local students, who won the city finals of India's largest inter-school fiesta, Horlicks WizKids 2007, held here in August, are ready to fly to Bangalore to participate in the national finals scheduled between November 17 and 21. As many as 54 teams from various cities across India are taking part in the competition.

Namit and Kanika study in Class IX at BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School. They are doing the city proud by working on an issue of relevance at a young age. Both students are working on projects related to environmental problems.

After attending special workshops and various training session during the first four days, the participants will take part in the main competition on November 21. The final four National winners will represent India at Brazil this year.

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Former PAU don awarded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 15
P.P.Gupta, retired professor and head of veterinary pathology and additional director of research, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, has been awarded Nemichand Jain Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in the field of veterinary pathology.

The award was given by the Indian Association of Veterinary Pathologists (IAVP) at its annual conference, held at Tirupati recently. It is the highest IAVP award given to an individual.

Gupta is an eminent bio-medical scientist and is recipient of a few international and national awards.

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Lok adalat tomorrow; 22 Benches constituted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 15
The District Legal Services Authority is all set to organise a state level lok adalat at district courts complex, Ludhiana, on November 17. Justice Mehatab Singh Gill, chairman, State Legal Services Authority, will inaugurate it.

Sessions Judge G.K.Rai said 22 Benches had been constituted to hear the cases of litigants. Each Bench would be headed by a judge and assisted by two members. Special enquiry counters would be set up to guide the litigants for reaching to the Benches concerned.

Judicial officers have done spade work by holding pre lok adalats. They have tried to persuade the parties to settle their disputes through lok adalats. We expect better results on the day of lok adalat. It will also bring respite to the litigants and certainly reducing the burden of huge pendency of cases, Rai added.

He appealed to the masses to actively participate in the lok adalat for settling their disputes. Civil suits, cheque bounce cases, matrimonial disputes, traffic challans, accident compensation case, consumer related cases, labourer-employers disputes would be taken up in the lok adalat.

To review the progress a meeting of the officers’ concerned was also held here under the chairmanship District and Session Judge. He directed municipal authorities to ensure the proper cleanliness in the and around the courts complex. He also instructed the police authorities to make elaborate security arrangements on that day.

Those who attended the meeting included Additional Sessions Judges M.S.Virdi, A.K.Mehta, Sanjiv Berry, Gurbir Singh, Civil Judge (Senior Division) K.S.Cheema, Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajinder Aggarwal, Gurpreet Singh Toor SP (D), Rupinder Singh, SP (Traffic), Chander Gaind, DTO, and B.K.Gupta from the corporation.

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