L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Sons shoot at man, victim untraceable 
5-acre plot bone of contention
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The greed of owning ancestral property worth over Rs 1 crore had led two sons and their six accomplices to shot at their father and whisk away with badly bleeding victim, fearing dead, in two cars at Noorwala road late last evening.

The incident that spreads shock wave in the region owing to the daring shooting and taking away of the victim kept the police on the toes all day with neither the victim, Bhupinder Singh,65, resident of Hawaas village, reportedly admitted to any hospital nor his body was traced.

Police sources disclosed the bone of contention between the victim and his son Amarjit Singh and Jaswinder Singh was a prime piece of about 5 acres of land in Hawaas village. The old man wanted to sell it off at over Rs 1 crore.

These two, along with the accomplices, have been booked for attempting to murder the old and kidnapping him. Sources said the FIR would be updated if his body was found.

He had already sold off another piece of land. He was living separately from his sons. The accused sons were allegedly forcing him to tranfer the ownership in their name.

The police said on the basis of the police investigation so far, the two sons, having a criminal background, came to the Noorwala road and attacked Bhupinder Singh, who was driving a scooter.

Cheema said the accused came in an Innova car and a Gypsy. The victim was taken away in the Innova car while his scooter was loaded in the Gypsy.

He said the accused could have gone away with the crime had some persons not seen the shooting and the victim. These witnesses told the police about the direction from which the old man had come. The police also found a bunch of keys from the spot. Further inquiries about the old man led them to a street where the police learnt a look alike lived.

The police opened the lock and found the identity card of the man from a room.

The police has also got leads about one of the accomplices who was said to be a hardened criminal with 15 criminal cases.

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No let up in rain, cold
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The overnight rain seems to have added to the woes of the people here as the day temperature continued to remain below normal. Although the night temperature increased a little bit, that did not provide any respite from the intense cold. Meteorological experts maintained that the weather was likely to remain so for another 48 hours.

It rained overnight and intermittently during the day breaking the prolonged dry spell. During the past few years, December went off warmer.

The intense cold coupled with intermittent rains during he past 24 hours kept most of the people indoors. There was practically no hustle and bustle in the markets. While all educational institutions, banks, offices and business establishments remained open, the normal activity was affected with a few people turning up.

Weather experts said it had been after a long time that such severe cold has started in December. "Rather it started in the first week of December itself and has been continuing since", said a met expert.

While people have been taken by surprise as they never expected the beginning of the month itself so cold, the cold would be good for the wheat crop as it may take some more time for the germination of seeds. Otherwise the wheat would germinate earlier which was not good for the crop.

After a long time, people have been extensively using woollens and warm clothes. "Usually, we expect such cold in January, but this year it started in the beginning of December itself", said Uma Sharma, a government school teacher. She said, even the students were finding it difficult to attend the class in such a severe cold. “We are asking students and parents to cover themselves well to avoid biting cold”, added Sharma.

The weather has also taken its toll on railway traffic. Many trains are reaching late here due to the heavy fog on way.

It has been a harrowing time for the passengers who have to wait for hours together on the railway platforms. Railway officials here said they could hardly do anything about it. Because the situation was too unpredictable.

Dr G.S.Bains, head of the agro-meteorology department of Punjab Agricultural University, said that total rainfall recorded in December was 13mm while 3mm rain was recorded in the past 24 hours.

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SDM booked for beating up wife
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Ending days of parleys of striking a compromise between subdivisional magistrate (SDM-East) Jagvinderjit Singh and his estranged wife Navdeep Kaur, the city police today booked the SDM for beating up his wife and her mother.

It is a rare occassion when a serving SDM has been booked in a criminal case in the same district where he was serving. He has been booked under Sections 323 and 325 of the IPC at the division no 5 police station. He has not been arrested so far.

The woman had alleged on November 29 that the SDM had beaten her up. Both were having strained relations for long. She was admitted to the civil hospital. She had lodged a complaint but the police had only wrote a DDR, saying the allegations would be probed first.

The couple were not living together for a long time now. The immediate provocation was the dispute over the custody of their wards. 

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150 shanties burnt in fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
As many as 100 migrant families from Bengal were rendered homeless after a major fire broke out in their shanties reducing everything to ashes in the wee hours at Islam Ganj area behind Manju cinema today.

Nearly 150 shanties and household goods were destroyed in the fire. So was the intensity of fire that rickshaws and bicycles of many dwellers were melted. Even the utensils were half burnt. The jhuggi dwellers had a providential escape as they spotted the fire as soon as it broke out. Otherwise many would have been caught sleeping.

Most of the families were away to Murshidabad in Bengal to celebrate Id otherwise a stampede could have taken place in the area, said fire fighters.

Timely intervention of fire fighters checked the flames from spreading to nearby congested Islam Ganj area. It took them four hours for 12 fire engines to douse it. They had a difficult time in reaching the plot where jhuggis were located as the area was barricaded by the railway authorities to prevent rickshaw pullers and others to reach the railway track and cross it illegally.

According to additional district fire officer Kartar Singh, they had to fix the water pipes from under the railway track. He added that the flames were high and spreading fast. It was threatening many trains also that were passing through the area after every 15-30 minutes.

‘‘Had the fire not been controlled in that area only, any train passing nearby could have caught fire. Flames were so high that the residents of nearby area were apprehensive that it could engulf their houses. Overhead water tanks of many house bore the brunt of the situation. We had to work very cautiously and finally we succeeded in controlling it,’’ said Kartar Singh.

The ADFO said the cause was a campfire lit by dwellers to keep themselves warm. As many huts were made of thatch, these caught it very fast. Within four hours all shanties were reduced to ashes.

After the flames were controlled many jhuggi dwellers were seen rummaging through the ashes to find some goods. 

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Youth saves drowning woman But can’t rescue husband
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Khanna, December 13
In a dare-devil attempt, a young boy jumped into a canal near Doraha to save a couple which had incidentally fallen into the canal. Though the boy Balbir Singh managed to save the wife, he could not pull out her husband from the canal who subsequently drowned in the water.

According to the information, Balbir Singh, a resident of Satnam Nagar of Doraha, who was on his way to Ludhiana, spotted a couple struggling against the stream and without giving it a second thought, he jumped into the canal to save the two. Though he managed to rescue 32-year-old Kuldip Kaur, her husband Kamaljit Singh, aged 35 year was swept away by the water currents.

As Balbir Singh came out of the canal along with Kuldip Kaur, both fainted on the banks due to the extreme cold temperature of the canal water. Some other passersby immediately reached the spot and rushed the two to a local private hospital, where there condition as stated to be out of danger.

On regaining consciousness, Kuldip Kaur said she along with her husband, both residents of Ishar Nagar of Ludhiana, had gone to meet their relatives near Doraha on a motorcycle. On their way back to Ludhiana, her husband stopped the bike along the canal to answer to a call of the nature. Following this, he knelt along the canal to wash his hands and incidentally got off balance and fell into the canal. Kuldip Kaur also jumped in the canal to save her husband.

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Blind murder solved; 5 held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The city police has nabbed 5 criminals of a gang who were accused of involvement in several robberies and murder of a night watchman Jang Bahadur in Gopal Nagar last month.

SP Gurpreet Singh told mediapersons that the accused were identified as Sunil Kumar, Ashwani Kumar, Chander Shekhar, Raju alias Ganja and Vikram Singh.

They had been charghed with killing watchman, robbing a woman apart from committing several other snatchings and robberies. 

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Cloudy weather good for wheat: PAU expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Dr G.S.Bains, head, department of agrometeorology, PAU, Ludhiana, has said that the city received 13 mm of rain during the past three to three days. Today’s figure being 3 mm (till 2.30 p.m.) and that the weather will remain cloudy during the next 24 hours.

By and large, the weather is good for wheat, sugarcane and oilseeds crops.

However, the prevailing weather conditions are favourable for the development of late blight potatoes. Late blight disease can cause extensive damage to potato crop if timely and appropriate management measures are not taken. It develops very fast when maximum humidity coupled with cloudy weather prevails.

According to the head, department of plant pathology, there are chances of further 
development of this disease and the farmers should follow the university’s recommendations on the management of the late blight of potato. The current weather conditions are highly conducive for development and spread of the late blight. Isolated incidence of the disease has been observed in Hoshiarpur and a few adjoining areas, he added.

Due to favourable weather the disease can spread to other areas. The farmers of Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Nawanshar and Ropar have been advised to give one application of Ridomil MZ or Curzate M-8 @ 700g/acre in 350 litres of water immediately so as to prevent the further development of late blight. In rest of the state, farmers have been advised to continue spraying Indofil M-45 (700g/350 litres of water/acre) at weekly interval.Proper coverage of the crop with fungicide spray solution should be ensured by using adequate volume of water. Farmers should not use metalaxyl 35% for giving blank sprays. The late planted potato crop needs to be protected against the late blight disease.  

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Music programme at GNN college
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 13
The music club of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, organised a musical programme entitled ‘Classical and Light Music’ in the music hall of the college yesterday. Principal Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu chaired the programme. Prof Neeraj Gandhi cast a spell on the audience for hours together by singing ghazals.

The musical atmosphere at the college reached its climax when Prof Neeraj Gandhi started singing Ghazal ‘Kuch din to baso meri aankhon mein’ in his rich, mellifluous voice.

Gautam, Mohit and Gagan accompanied him on Tabla, Flute and Guitar.

Ishwar Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Manjeet Singh played upon Tabla in collaboration (Jugalbandi) and won applause from audience.

The audience was left spellbound when the junior artists, Surjit Singh and Rabab Singh played various musical instruments.

Director Prof Jaswant Singh Gill, Principal Dr Narinder Singh Sidhu, college staff and students were present. 

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GND Polytechnic alumni form new panel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The Guru Nanak Dev Polytechnic Alumni Association recently organised its general body meeting on the college premises. During the meeting, the old executive committee was shelved and the new committee constituted.

Ranjodh Singh of G.S. Radiators was unanimously elected as president for the second consecutive time.

The reconstituted general body is as follows:vice-presidents- Gurvinder Singh and Avtar Singh; secretaries-Baljit Singh Walia, Ajit Singh Virdi and Baldev Singh; and treasurer-S.S.Ubhi.

Principal Birjinder Singh proposed the vote of thanks. The association also decided to provide aid to needy students and the members raised a fund of Rs 3.5 lakh. 

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At the Crossroads
In communion with divine spirit 

Ludhiana, December 13
When a person visits a place of worship, something inscrutable happens to his soul. He seems to be in another world where he is in communion with the divine spirit. At such moments he is oblivious of his needs and concentrates on his craving for the unknown. Indeed the “finite” heart yearns for the “infinite” glory.

Even when one talks about spiritual matters, one cannot help using the terminology of wine, cup and cup-bearer. In the words of Miza Ghalib-

Har chand ho Mushahida-e-haq ki guftgu

Banti nahin hai baada-o-saghar kahe baghair

(The conversation may be about spiritual matters, but it is not possible to avoid the use of words like wine and cup)

The Sufi poets of Iran referred to the songs of love concerning Laila Majnun and Sheerin Farhad,while the Sufi poets of Punjab highlighted the “Kissa-kav” of Sohni Mahiwal and Heer Ranjha.The aim was to link “Ishq-e-Majazi” (profane love) with “Ishq-e-Haqeeqi” (sacred love).

Persian poet, Hafiz Shirazi, could not help craving for the tresses of his beloved and seeking the glow of her face. His metaphoric allusions to wine and tavern annoyed the clerics of his times. They considered his verses blasphemous and refused his burial within the precincts of Shiraz.Now, of course, after Maulana Rumi, Hafiz is regarded as the greatest Sufi poet in his country. Still a few of his couplets are not easily accepted, as the revelation of divine love, by the orthodoxy-

Khoon-e-ma aan nargis-e-mastana raykht

Waan sar-e-zulfe-preshan neez hum

(Her narcissus like eyes caused my bloodshed. Besides, her dishavelled tresses too played that game)

Jayadeva, a great name in Sanskrit poetry, has given lyrical expression to the love of Krishna and Radha in his long poem Gita-Govinda. Like the “Song of Songs” in the Old Testament, it is a mystical allegory. Krishna is at once human and divine, whereas Radha’s beauty is celestial, although enshrined in earthly mould. In this Indian Song of Songs, Krishna sublimates his sensuous love for attaining bliss which he finds in unification with Radha-

The music of the Lord of Love

Who melts all hearts with bliss;

For now is born the gladness

That springs from mortal sadness.

Punjabi Sufi poet, Shah Hussain, laments as the pang of separation is too much for him to bear. He chooses the imagery of a married girl who still resides at her parental home. She is keen to enter the house of the bridegroom but has been denied, for the time being, access to it. The intervening period is full of travails and tribulations. The affliction is so intense that she is writhing like a fish out of water.

Shah Hussain identifies himself with the maid in suffering, as for him God is the bridegroom. The folk tale of “Heer-Ranjha” comes handy and the poet exclaims-

Dard vichhore da haal, nee main kainu aakhan

Ranjhan Ranjhan phiraan dhudhendi

Ranjhan mere naal, nee main kainu aakhan

(To whom should I relate my pangs of separation? I am seeking Ranjhan in the outer world but he dwells in my inner self.)

Later, Bulhe Shah gives a new dimension to this theme of the love of “Heer and Ranjha.” He is fully aware of the role of legendary romances in the lives of the common people. The mystic love of these two lovers has gained sanctity, during the past centuries, in the utterances of the Sufi poets. Bulhe Shah transcends the bounds of self-centered love and invests it with divine magnificence-

Ranjha Ranjha kardi nee

Main aape Ranjha hoi

Saddo nee mainu Dhido Ranjha

Heer na aakho koi

(By repeating the name of Ranjha,I have identified myself fully with Ranjha. Now, I should be known as Dheedo Ranjha, as I am Heer no more).— N.S. Tasneem 

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BIS seminar on standardisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The mechanical engineering department of the Bureau of Indian Standards conducted a seminar on standardisation for sewing machines here yesterday.

The seminar was addressed by Bhupinder Singh, deputy director-general, North, BIS. 

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Fire means sleeping outside for jhuggi dwellers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Fire in shanties and a subsequent rainy day means sleeping outside in the open on a cold winter night for the families of jhuggi dwellers who lost everything belonging to them this morning. Though it did not mean huge losses to the evaluators as only jhuggis were burnt, it meant losing homes for the dwellers who had been living in this plot, owned privately by a scrap dealer for the last 28 years.

Mohammad Niazzudin, a dweller, said they lost everything. Not even a glass was left to take water. Everything suffered a damage. ‘‘It rained throughout the day, so we cannot start the reconstruction work. This means we will have to sleep outside in the cold weather with our small kids tonight,’’ he said.

Jalaludin Sheikh, another dweller, said that nothing was left in the fire. ‘‘We lost our blankets. We cannot spend money and buy blankets today. We do not know what will happen to us. And the weather god is also unhappy with us today. Had it been a bright sunny day, things would have been better, ’’ he added.

Niazzudin said his rickshaw was also burnt. ‘‘How will I earn bread and butter for my children now? I do not know. I require money to buy a new one now. Only some scrap is left, ’’ he rued.

While the men were busy arranging for resources to keep their kitchen fires burning, women were seen rummaging through the remains. Some were even in tears when they said that they had suffered a major setback in life.

‘‘We had to beg to give our children food. How unfortunate can anyone be? We had nothing when we came here. After working for 28 years, we made this city our home. And today we are homeless,’’ said Jamila, a woman, summing up the sentiments of many like her.

She added that there were many families that did not know that they had lost everything in the fire. They had gone to Bengal to celebrate Id. ‘‘They would come to know about it after they come back.’’  

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Bandh today; 50 detained
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The city police took more than 50 persons belonging to various Hindu and Sikh organisations under preventive custody to avoid untoward incident on a bandh call given by some Hindu organisations tomorrow and call by Sikh organisations to protest the bandh.

SSP R K Jaiswal said two companies of the Punjab Armed Police have been requisitioned to keep the city peaceful.

Apart from that, anti-riot squad will be deployed all over the city to ward off any trouble. 

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Mobile unit for tracing stolen vehicles 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 13
To accelerate identification of stolen vehicles, the Payal Circle police has established a mobile stolen vehicles checking unit that will monitor random checking of vehicles in the area. The unit, besides watching out for stolen vehicles, will also circulate information about fresh thefts to other units of the state.

According to Gautam Cheema, SSP, Khanna, the first booth of the unit was inaugurated at Doraha toll bridge on the Ludhiana-Khanna road yesterday. SHO, Payal, Naveen Kumar, supervised the working of the booth on the first day of its functioning.

Cheema said initially, seven officials, including a computer operator and traffic personnel, were deputed to verify ownership of vehicles passing from the area. In case of suspicion about the ownership of any vehicle or genuineness of documents, the staff could scrutinise records available on the internet.

At present, details of all vehicles, reported lost or stolen from various parts of the state, were available on the website of the department.

The SSP further said the mobile booth might be shifted to other places from time to time. “Though the booth may be established at one place, all SHOs and patrolling teams will keep in touch with the in charge of the unit. This will help to arrest the thieves or snatchers immediately after information about theft was received at the unit,” claimed Cheema.

Cheema urged office-bearers of various social and other organisations to educate people of their respective areas about relevance of establishing the unit. He said information about a theft or unclaimed vehicles could be given on telephone number 01628-259100 or toll_doraha@yahoo.com.  

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Charges for treating hazardous water slashed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Getting hazardous water treated at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) would cost industrial units less now. The Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society for Electroplating Units, the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) formed for the purpose of putting to operation the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP), has reduced per litre charges from 46 paise to 40 paise for treatment of water up to 10 lakh litres, and from 40 paise to 32 paise for quantity between 10 lakh to 20 lakh litres. The minimum monthly charges, too, have been slashed from 1,500 to Rs 1,000.

Slashing of charges comes as a relief to member units. However, the society is still waiting for nearly 200 units (of the total 500 in electroplating industry) to avail membership.

"The plant, which initially faced problems due to lower membership is now running smoothly. After talking to the contractor, the cost of getting water treated has been reduced only a few days ago. This cost per litre now stands slashed and so are the monthly charges," said Joginder Kumar, CEO of the society.

While the SPV had set a target of making 500 members by mid-June, during the initial phase, so far only 325 units are getting their hazardous water treated through the facility. About 200 units in the electroplating industry are yet to make any move in the direction.

This is despite lot of hullabaloo prior to putting the plant in operation about warnings by the P. Ram Committee. Strangely, neither the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) nor the committee itself has taken note of this response from the industry. 

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Students donate for underprivileged kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Students of Ram Lal Bhasin School participated in a ‘Child for Child Programme’ recently. They donated generously for the welfare of underprivileged children through the Smile Foundation. This foundation reaches out to over one lakh children every year through various education and health care projects across the country. 

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Dharmendra lauds Lohri celebrations for girlchild
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 13
Film star Dharmendra has lauded the initiative of the Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch, a city-based social body, headed by Krishan Kumar Bawa, in motivating the people of the region to celebrate the festival of Lohri for the newborn girlchild. The mega star also evinced keen interest to participate in the next Lohri mela to be organised by the manch.

Bawa, along with other functionaries of the body, had gone to the residence of Dharmendra in Mumbai to offer greetings on the 72nd birthday of the film star.

On his return to the city, Bawa said meeting with “Punjab da puttar” was a cherished moment when Dharmendra remembered many of his old friends and events of his younger days.

According to Bawa, the mega film star emphasised that in the wake of the dwindling sex ratio in Punjab, the worst in the entire country, a mass movement needed to be built up to curb foeticide and mobilise people against sex bias among children. 

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11 Thai students visit PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
A delegation of 11 Thai students of Sahibjada Ajit Singh Academy, Ropar, visited Punjab Agricultural University yesterday along with their teachers Dharam Dev and Anupam.

They were taken around the fields, laboratories and museums. The students keenly watched the artifacts and other exhibits displayed in the museum depicting the rural life of Punjab. They visited Dr Uppal's museum on water resources of north-western India, museum of farm power and machinery and the centre for communication, languages and culture.  

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Neuro clinic for kids opened
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 13
The paediatrics department at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here has now added the services of a neuro-development clinic to its general services for children. This clinic would cater to disabilities of children, related to their normal brain development and also to various learning and behavioural problems.

Cerebral palsy and mental retardation are two common and known manifestations of illness of children in this group of disorders which have been the focus of attention of most paediatricians.

Dr Tejinder Singh, professor and head of the department of paediatrics, said the clinic would work under the supervision of Dr Jugesh Chhatwal and Dr Monika Sharma, the latter having trained at the Trivandrum Medical College. Anne Thomas, a child psychologist trained at Chennai and CMC, Vellore, is also part of the team.

The services of a physiotherapist (with training in neuro-developmental therapy and occupational therapy), paediatric orthopaedics surgeon, otolaryngologist, speech therapist and paediatric ophthalmologist will be assimilated in the clinic in the near future, to provide all-round support and care to children with developmental disabilities.

According to Dr Singh, most parents continue to suffer with minor and major mental and behavioural disabilities of their children, largely because of lack of focus on these problems by doctors and paediatricians in general. Minor deviations are assumed to be normal by both the well concerned parents and doctors alike. Often minor learning problems end up being a great handicap for the children in adult age.

"Problems in learning and other school-related severe problems, mental retardation and cerebral palsy are easy to recognise. But there is a larger group of children who are likely to develop problems later on and need special attention and monitoring, such as babies born premature, with low weight at birth and those that have serious problems at birth. Older children who suffer meningitis and encephalitis also pose a risk for future mental and behavioural problems," he said. 

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Hockey tourney 
Northern Railway eves win title
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 13
The Northern Railway, Delhi, survived numerous anxious moments before romping home victorious against the Western Railway,Mumbai, 2-1 to win the title in the XIth All-India Mohinder Partap Singh Grewal Women’s Hockey Tournament that concluded at Prithipal Singh Astroturf Stadium at Punjab Agricultural University, here today. All goals were scored in the first half.

The final started with bang with both teams trying to seize the initiative. It were the Northern Railway eves who went into the lead in the 13th minute when Balwinder Kaur, after dodging past a couple of defenders rolled the ball into the net (1-0).

The Northern Railway enhanced the lead in the 33rd minute when Suman converted a penalty corner to make it 2-0. With a few minutes to go for the lemon break, Western Railway's Binita Toppo scored a goal off the penalty corner to reduce the margin 2-1.

After changing ends, players of both teams went all out, however, failed to capitalise on opportunities which came their way. The Northern Railways eves forced four penalty corners,three of which went abegging while the losers got equal number of penalty corners but could not translate any of these chances.

In the match for hardline cup, South Eastern Railway, Kolkata,pipped the North Eastern Railway,Gorakhpur, 2-0 afer leading by one goal at the half time.

Subhadra opened the account for her team in the 11th minute and Banita made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute. Pargat Singh, director, sports, Punjab, gave away prizes to the position holders. The winners received a cash prize of Rs 50,000 while the runners-up pocketed a cash prize worth Rs 35,000, besides running trophies.

Ranjita of the Western Railway, Mumbai, was named the best player of the tournament while Rani and Ritu (six goals each), both of the Northern Railway,Delhi, shared the best scorer's award and Suman of the Northern Railway was declared the best scorer (penalty corner). 

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Government to promote sports in Punjab: Majithia
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 13
Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for water supply, sanitation and information and public relations, Punjab, has stated that the state government has chalked out a comprehensive plan for promotion of sports. 

Under the plan, young players of all the sports disciplines would be selected at the school-level and extensive training with international-level sports equipments would be provided to groom them as national and international players.

The minister was addressing sportspersons who had come to the XIth Mohinder Partap Singh Grewal Women’s Hockey Tournament organised at Punjab Agricultural University here today.

This year’s tournament was dedicated to Harnek Singh Gill, a former international hockey player, trustee and senior vice-president of the organising committee of this tournament. Majithia expressed serious concern over steep decline in the representation of Punjab players in the different national teams from 30 per cent to only 7 per cent.

He said to regain the previous status in the sports arena; the government would ensure maximum competition exposures for the players by arranging a number of sports meets at all levels.

He said a comprehensive new sports policy would be announced in the next month and funds amounting to Rs 2 crore would be spent to purchase sports equipment and for maintenance of stadiums in the state during this year.

Further elaborating, Majithia said to provide international-level training facilities, 1,600 sports wings were being set up and the budding players would be selected at the primary school-level and continuous coaching would be provided in the sports academics to nature them for the national and international tournaments.

He said special attention was being given to encourage the hockey in Punjab. Each hockey player who played in India’s winning team of the Asian Hockey Cup held at Chennai last year had been given a cash award of Rs 5 lakh.

He added that the government had also given cash prizes of Rs 1 crore to the sportspersons of different games, who won medals at international level. He also announced a grant of Rs 51,000 for the organisers of this hockey tournament. 

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