L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Ruffians barge into hospital, assault staff
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 18
Three unidentified youths barged into a hospital in the Model Town area last night and assaulted the security staff when they were stopped from misbehaving with nursing employees.

The ruffians, at least one under the influence of liquor, had come in a white Indica car and gained entry into the reception area of Deep Hospital where one of them started misbehaving with a nurse. A doctor intervened and in retaliation, one of the youths punched him.

Other doctors raised the alarm and security personnel, besides staff members, overpowered one of the accused. The other two, however, managed to escape.

Dr Baldeep Singh, managing director of the hospital, said the accused was handed over to the police. The accused had also snatched a gold chain of a doctor while fleeing.

While the SHO of the Model Town police station was stated to be on leave, the staff on duty said no case had been registered so far. A police official, who did not want to be identified, told Ludhiana Tribune on the phone that guardians of the accused had come to the police station and a compromise was being worked out.

Dr Baldeep, however, maintained that the hospital had not withdrawn its complaint against the intruders. 



Shingar Blasts
Reward notice put up outside police stations 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Over two months after the Shingar cinema blasts rocked the city, the police has finally put up notices outside local police stations of rewarding those providing concrete information about the incident with Rs 1 lakh.

The announcement was made a few days after the blast took place. The police has now publicised the award by painting the announcements, as the investigation into the case has not made much headway.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said though the police was working on some leads, the cash reward had been publicised to attract more information.



Poll fever at district courts 
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, December 18
Shifting of sub-registrar Mukesh Sharma has become a major issue in the District Bar Association (DBA) elections, scheduled to be held on December 20. K.R. Sikri, a contestant for the post of DBA president, claimed that lawyers and the general public were unhappy at the style of functioning of Mukesh Sharma. 

“It would not be tolerated any more,” he said, alleging that on an average, the sub-registrar returned 40 to 50 documents presented before him for registration without citing any reason.

Earlier also office-bearers of the DBA had tried to persuade the sub-registrar to change his working style, but nothing changed.

Sikri said Mukesh Sharma was honoured for his honesty by the state government, but it had sent a wrong signal to the bureaucracy. The impression had gone out that all other officers were dishonest.

On the construction of a lawyers’ chamber complex consisting of 232 chambers, he said the cost of the chambers was high. He would make efforts to bring a grant from the government to cut the cost by half. Efforts would also be made to ensure that at least Rs 2,500 was given to young lawyers in the beginning of their career and up to five years of practice.

Another contender for the post, Parveen Talwar, said he was a visiting faculty member of the Panjab University Regional Centre and several lawyers had remained his students.

Talwar said he would promote brotherhood in the legal fraternity. He would also ensure proper parking for lawyers and cleanliness around the lawyers’ complex. He is being backed by the sitting Bar president, Hemant Kalia, and former Bar president, Balwinder Goel.

The third contestant is Parupkar Singh Ghumman. He had remained president of the Khalsa College Students Union thrice.

His main agenda is to ensure respect for junior lawyers. He said the construction of chambers complex would be speeded up and a grant would be sought from the state government to cut down the cost of the chambers.



Electrician killed in roof collapse 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
An electrician was killed and three labourers were injured when a recently constructed roof collapsed in Bhagwan Dass Colony, Salem Tabri, here today. Rakesh Kapoor, owner of the house, said the electrician, Kala, was working under the roof and the two labourers were working on it when it collapsed.

The electrician was fitting a pipe in the ceiling when the mishap took place.

The Salem Tabri police said a case may be registered on the basis of the statement of the injured or relatives of the deceased.

The labourers, Ram Milan, Vijay and Diwali were discharged in the evening.



Pay up or face disconnection, warns PSEB
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 18
In the wake of mounting unpaid energy bills against different government departments, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has adopted a tough posture and issued notices to defaulters to make payment of outstanding bills by December 25 or face disconnection of power supply.

Different departments of state and central government in central zone, which include Fatehgarh Sahib and Ludhiana districts, are said to owe Rs 1.6 crore to the PSEB.

Efforts made by board officials to recover outstanding bills for past several months have so far proved futile.

The biggest defaulter is Punjab police, which owes a little over Rs 25 lakh to the PSEB. Other big defaulters are central government departments (Rs 15 lakh), government hospitals and dispensaries (Rs 6 lakh) and sports department (Rs 3.75 lakh).

Central zone chief engineer B.S. Bath said they had given enough time to defaulters to clear their pending bills. Some could have had genuine procedural problems that might have led to the delay. “But at the same time, the board cannot wait indefinitely for payments that are due on the basis of power consumption.”

He said the defaulting departments had been given one last opportunity to pay their outstanding bills by stipulated date, failing which their power supply will be disconnected. 



Setback for 250 fabric units
Entry tax forces buyers to look out of state
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Around 250 fabric manufacturing units here have received a major setback as their buyers have shifted to other states.

Manufacturers rue that fabric, being non-taxable, recorded an increase in prices after implementation of entry tax as it could not be adjusted.

“Fabric making units here are no longer competitive. Earlier buyers used to source fabric from here but now they procure yarn from other states and have shifted their sourcing as well. However, for units here there is no other option but to increase prices as, unlike other items where entry tax is adjusted against VAT amount paid by a business owner, they cannot adjust this tax,” said Vinod Thapar of Knitwear Club.

Confusion prevails among industry even a month after implementation of entry tax. Industrialists are particularly perplexed over cases related to job work and refund of tax.

For those engaged in import of yarn for the purpose of job work the situation has become difficult as on one side the department wants them to deposit entry tax, on the other tax experts say provisions related to the tax do not include yarn imported for job work under the purview of this tax.

Adding to their worry is the “heavy” penalty of 200 per cent. “The yarn imported for job work is not meant for consumption within the state. However, the excise and taxation department is asking tax at 4 per cent to be deposited in this case. There would be no adjustment and job work would be rendered unviable if entry tax is imposed on it,” said Narinder Miglani of Selection Knitters.

Industrialists said penalty of 200 per cent of tax amount was forcing them to deposit the tax without any hope of its refund or adjustment.

“Before implementing the tax, this aspect should have been taken care of. What happens when the amount paid as entry tax cannot be adjusted. We do not know whether we would get refunds as adjustment can take place only when VAT is paid on a certain item,” said another industrialist.

Similarly in case of those engaging in export of items on which VAT is not payable, the issue of refund or adjustment is causing worry.

Taxation experts said confusion prevailed among industry on account of several provisions of entry tax. “A large number of traders are complaining of such issues. The provisions should have been clarified before implementation itself,” said Jatinder Khurana of Taxation Advisers Association. 



IPNI science award for PAU teacher 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) has selected the PAU additional director of research (agriculture) Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh, as the winner of the 2007 IPNI Science Award that carries a plaque and US$ 5,000 in recognition to his contributions in soil science, out of various international nominations received.

Dr Aulakh, a doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and a postdoctoral research fellow and a scholar at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, was a visiting scientist with USDA-ARS (1989-90).

He is currently the chief scientific investigator of the FAO/IAEA coordinated research project on integrated soil, water and nutrient management for conservation agriculture.

The IPNI science award recognizes his outstanding contributions in research, extension and education with a focus on efficient management of plant nutrients and their interaction in relation to crop production. 



Impact of reforms on state economy highlighted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The planning forum of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Civil Lines, organised a symposium on “Impact of economic reforms on Punjab’s economy” here today. Dr S.S. Johl, former vice-chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, presided over the symposium and Prof H.S. Shergill from Panjab University, Chandigarh, was the keynote speaker.

Amarjit Singh Grewal, former director, Outreach, PTU, Jalandhar, who was the guest speaker, spoke on “Transformation of rural Punjab into knowledge economy”, while Dr Vikram S. Virk from Government College, Kapurthala, made his presentation on “Punjab financial crisis - Can it be put on rails?” Principal T.S. Anand welcomed the guests and introduced them to the audience comprising students and faculty members from different colleges.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Johl emphasised on mismanagement of abundant resources and spoke on the structure of agriculture, exports, food economy and education and taxation.

Dr Shergill in his keynote address said Punjab’s economy was in a mess and the economic reforms had not given much to the state economy.

He suggested various ways by which the state of Punjab’s economy could be improved and insisted on setting up of agro-based industries and imposition of development tax.

Dr Virk highlighted how Punjab used to be one of the most prosperous states of the country, but was now growing at below 5 per cent per annum whereas the country was growing at the rate of near 9 per cent. 



Tool to save fruits developed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The city-based Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET), has developed the pomegranate aril extractor, a hand tool for breaking of pomegranate and consequently easy separation of aril from its peel.

The pomegranate aril extractor appears simple but it works as a very important gadget for saving fruits and vegetables while harvesting and cutting from damage. Use of proper hand tool not only safely removes the fruit from tree or branch, but also effectively recovers the edible portion from it. CIPHET is willing to license the design of this hand tool for its commercial manufacture and the negotiations for this are going on with prominent hand tool manufacturers in Punjab. 



Tobacco abuse on the rise among children
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Tobacco abuse is on the rise among children in the city. Not only children from the lower strata of society but those belonging to the elite class are falling prey to this.

This, because parents cannot spare enough time to spend with their wards. Psychologists in the city also blame media for corrupting the minds of adolescents.

There is virtually no check on the sale and purchase of tobacco products here.

Children of migrant population openly sell cigarettes, bidis, tobacco products by the roadside.

“My father is a daily wager. He purchased these products so that I can sell them by the roadside and make money. A majority of buyers are my friends (teenagers). I sell them the products on credit too. At the end of the day, I am able to make around Rs 400. During winter, tobacco products sell more,” said Shripal, a minor selling the products on the Ferozepur road.

Small children make groups, smell adhesives like spirit, shoe polish, nail polish removers, Iodex on handkerchiefs, which can hardly be detected.

Navneet (name changed), a student of class IX of a local school, said he had been taking tobacco products for the past seven months.

He said he felt more convenient with this form of addiction as compared to cough syrup and tablets, as shopkeepers, too, sold these products easily.

“I love chewing ‘gutka’. I am told that they are not injurious to health,” claimed Navneet.

Almost on all major roads in the city, including Ferozepur road, Rani Jhansi road, Pakhowal road, Mall road, etc, stalls of tobacco products are put up openly by migrant labourers’ wives and kids.

Anand Sharma, a psychologist, said he had been approached by several parents with the problem.

“The media is playing a havoc with the lives of adolescents. Sex, vulgarity, carefree lifestyle depicted in films corrupt innocent minds. More unfortunate is that parents cannot spend quality time with their wards. They are being looked after by maids and servants. Not only boys but schoolgirls too are hooked on alcoholic drinks like red wine and vodka. Tobacco abuse is common among poor people because of lack of awareness about the deadly products. It is more painful when educated parents from good background complain about addiction among their wards,” said Sharma. 



US doctor visits PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Dr Viraj Beri, head of department of soils, PAU, said Dr Stephen R Grattan from department of land, air and water resources, University of California, Davis (UCD), USA, visited PAU as a Fulbright senior specialist under the programme sponsored by United States Education Foundation. This is the first visit of a Fulbright senior specialist to PAU.

During his stay in PAU, Dr Grattan delivered lectures and held interaction sessions with faculty members. He discussed issues of mutual concern for UCD and PAU, with the PAU vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

Dr Kang said the visit of Dr Grattan would help to develop collaboration with US Institutions as climate of California and that of Punjab were similar in many ways.

Dr Grattan was honoured by the Ludhiana chapter of the Indian Society of Soils Science. He visited experimental areas of PAU regional station, Bathinda.

According to Dr Beri, the visit of the US scientist coincides with an ICAR sponsored training “Impact of intensive agriculture on environmental quality” under the auspices of centre of advance studies, at department of soils, PAU. 



ICAR team reviews research work on citrus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
The Quinquannial Review Team (QRT) of the National Research Centre (NRC) for Citrus comprising Dr S.L. Mehta, R. Jayarajan, V.J. Shivankar, K.K. Jindal and R.C. Batra visited Punjab Agricultural University to take stock of research work being carried out on citrus.

Dr G.S. Chahal, dean, college of agriculture, discussed different problems being faced by the citrus industry of Punjab with the team members. Dr H.S. Rattanpal said the team visited various places, including farm of council for citrus and agri juicing Punjab, Jallowal; multi fruit processing plant, Jahan Khelan, and kinnow orchards of Hoshiarpur district.

Dr Gurkanwal Singh, deputy director horticulture-cum-nodal officer (citrus), explained the latest trends in the industry at high-tech citrus nursery in government garden and nursery, Chaunni Kalan.

Dr Navprem Singh, fruit research station, Gangian, elaborated about research trials of citrus, mango, litchi and banana being conducted at the station.

The team also visited the department of horticulture where the members were provided with an overview of citrus research being carried out by PAU by Dr J.S. Randhawa, head, department of horticulture.

Dr B.V.C. Mahajan appraised the team regarding facilities for storage of fruits in cool chambers, ripening of banana with ethylene and residue testing at Punjab horticultural post-harvest technology centre. Dr Ajit Singh Sidhu and V.K. Mehan explained about the disease-free citrus plant production facility developed at PAU. The ongoing research on genetic transformation of rough lemon for salt and Phytophthora tolerance in the tissue culture laboratory was shared by Dr Rattanpal.

On the behalf of the review team, Dr K.K. Jindal gave his presentation and discussed prospects of citrus cultivation in India.  



Koodiyattam artiste enthralls students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
Koodiyattam artiste Kapila Veenu enthralled students of Shifaly International School with her performance here today. The artiste, while talking about the dance-drama from Kerala, said Koodiyattam narrated mythological tales. “Psychologically and also physically, this dance form is highly demanding. As it required a complete dedication by the artist, learning it was not very easy and it had only a few performers now and was largely restricted to Kerala,” she said while talking to The Tribune.

She is associated with the dance for over 17-years now. Veenu, who learnt it from Guru Ammannur Madhava Chakyar, said this oldest living Sanskrit theatre form required a stern regimen.

On classical dances, she said, “There was no dearth of learners. Any classical dance transforms one completely, not only at the physical level but also psychological and spiritual level. They are growing immensely popular.” 



Non-affiliated schools

There are thousands of private schools in Ludhiana running without the affiliation of any education board. Some of them are even up to the level of tenth standard.

Teachers who are just matriculate pass or have done +2 are teaching in these schools.

It is imperative to conduct a survey on these private schools on war-footing in order to make them fulfil requisite conditions and thus be affiliated with some board.

Moreover, such schools do not deposit any school-tax for the money collected by way of monthly fees and annual admission fees from students, whereas the income of these schools might be in lakh of rupees per month.

Income tax department must conduct raids in these schools on daily basis to meet the target as set by the government in this current fiscal.

Jai Gopal Kusla



One held for opium smuggling 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 18
Jaswinder Singh of Geeta Colony, Jagraon, was arrested by a team of Anti Narcotic Control Cell, Ludhiana (rural), headed by Inspector Amarjit Singh from the Sugar Mill area, 5 kms from here. The police allegedly recovered 1 kg of opium from his possession. 

A case under Sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act was registered against him. According to press note by Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ludhiana (rural), the police party was on patrolling when they found the accused carrying a bag on the road leading from Sugar Mill to Kothe Ath. The preliminary investigation revealed that Jaswinder Singh earlier used to get supply of opium from Ajmer Singh of Pheru Rai, who is now in jail in a case of recovery of 15 kg of opium. Investigation further revealed that the opium was being brought from Mandsor (Madhya Pradesh) at the rate Rs 42,000 and being sold in retail for Rs 60,000 a kilo. It was his eighth supply.


Four persons, including a congress leader, have been booked for fabrication of false documents under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC by the Sidhwan Bet police. According to the information, Haman Kumar, a congress leader of Sidhwan Bet, his brother Ajay Kumar, Renu Raina, a stamp vendor, Jagraon, and Arjun Singh Nambardar fabricated an agreement pertaining to a plot of 11 marlas and later filed a case in the court at Jagraon against the real owner for the execution and registration of the sale deed.

Vishal Kumar of Shastri Nagar, Jagraon, moved a complaint against the four and after preliminary inquiry conducted by Bhupinder Singh, DSP, Jagraon, the police registered the case. Haman Kumar has been arrested where as the other three are absconding.  



Principals to conduct Class V exam 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 18
A general meeting of the members of the association of the Punjab School Education Board Affiliated Schools, Punjab, was held at Rajindera Model Senior Secondary School, Haibowal Kalan, here today, under the presidentship of Rajinder Sharma, along with Narinder Bangia, I.M. Dutta, Ravinandan Sharma, Sukhpal Singh and other representatives from various districts of the state and discuss the problems of class V examination.

Rajinder Sharma informed the delegation that class V examination would be conducted by the principals of the schools.

He said the proforma for the examination fee and centre statement was available at the Punjab School Education Board website: www.punjabschool.indiaresults.com. 



B’ball: Harminder, Paramjit to lead Punjab squads
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 18
Harminder Singh of Punjab Police and Paramjit Kaur of Ludhiana will lead Punjab men’s and women’s teams, respectively, in the 58th Senior National Basketball Championship to be held from December 21 to 28 at Puducherry, according to Teja Singh Dhaliwal, honorary general secretary, Punjab Basketball Association.

The teams (men): Jagdeep Singh, Dilawar Singh, Gagandeep Singh and Amritpal Bhandari of Baba Lodhiana Academy, M.K. Mishra, Maur Singh and Varinder Singh of BSF, Amninder Singh of Punjab Police, Mandeep Singh of Gurdaspur, Pawandeep Singh of Patiala and Gurpal Singh. Dr S Subramanian and Balkar Singh Brar will accompany the team as coach and manager, respectively.

Women: Kiranjit Kaur, Kamaljit Kaur, Harminder Kaur and Rajanpal of Ludhiana, Sarabjit Kaur, Rajnarinder, Raman and Jyoti of Jalandhar, Harpreet Kaur of Amritsar, Reena of Kapurthala and Harneet Kaur of Muktsar. Devinder Singh Dhindsa and P.S. Noorpuri will be the coach and manager of the team, respectively.

The Punjab men’s team has been placed in the group consisting of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Rajasthan and Chandigarh, while in the women’s section, Punjab are placed in the group with Indian Railways, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. 




Soccer trials on Dec 21
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 18
Trials to select the Ludhiana football team (boy’s u-19) will be conducted here on December 21 at Guru Nanak Stadium at 10 am. The players born on or after January 1, 1989 are eligible for the trials. They have been asked to bring their original date of birth certificates. 



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