L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Cheats aplenty at athletics meet
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
In a virtual collapse of the event management, the ongoing 53rd Punjab School Athletics Meet at Guru Nanak stadium is witnessing rampant use of banned steroids and overaged players continue participating in the events unchecked.

Not just one aspect of event management, the venue is also witness to scores of incidents of thefts. Participants have lost their cash as well as sports gear.

The visibly overage lot of athletes have been chiseled as the athletics meet is drawing to closer.

Even the use of steroids is increasing among the athletes with each passing day.

Not even this complaint of theft, made by an athlete of Sacred Heart School, stunned organisers who were seen visibly upset after the incident. The student complained that someone had stolen his bag containing mobile phone and car keys when he was participating in the javelin throw event. The boy reportedly came alone and left his kit bag close to where his event was taking place.

The act of theft is also on the rise due to the irresponsible manner of the teachers who came along with the respective district athletics teams to participate in the athletics meet. The teachers, along with the fleet of athletes, throng the stadium to have a sun-bath ignoring the fact that by doing this they are obstructing the smooth conduct of the games.

A physical education teacher said, "I made repeated requests to a teacher who came from other district to stay away from the venue as the javelin throw event was taking place but he in turn quarrelled and threatened me that he would complain against me."

Assistant education officer Rupinder Singh Ravi said, "The recently concluded kabaddi tournament has caused serious damage on the fencing of the stadium due to which several entry and exit points have been created in the stadium. The offender athletes use such routes and went scot-free."

When asked about the participation of the overage players? He said, "The document and certificate related to the date of birth of an athlete has been closely scrutinised by a team of teacher."

He added that strict action will be taken if any athlete will found guilty. 



Looking Ahead
Drive against foeticide, drugs to intensify
Adulteration in food items to be checked
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 27
Having performed rather well on crucial issues related to health like drive against female foeticide, adulteration of food items and unregulated sale of addictive drugs during the year that is coming to a close, the health administration will continue to maintain focus on these areas in addition to strengthening the awareness and education network on diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis.

According to Dr Sat Pal Sharma, civil surgeon, who assumed office here in April this year, the skewed sex ratio in Punjab, perhaps the worst in the entire country, is a cause for major concern, and in the absence of corrective measures, might have serious social repercussions in time to come.

"We have been relentlessly working to ensure scrupulous implementation of the provisions of Pre-Natal Sex Determination Test Act (PNDT Act) in the city and other towns in the district. Penal action as per the law has been taken against a large number of offenders violating the act and a couple of court cases have also been instituted to deter the ultrasound scan centres from conducting the foetal sex test and termination of pregnancy in case of a female foetus."

The department had achieved a huge success in curbing unregulated sale of addictive drugs with massive seizures of tablets, capsules, injections and cough syrups which would have been, otherwise, sold to drug addicts.

Another thrust area for the department, says Dr Sharma, is rampant adulteration of food items which poses a serious threat to public health and leads to a variety of diseases. "Practically, none of the eatables are spared by the profit-motivated traders, vendors and manufacturers. To curb this menace, the department will continue to work with more zeal and commitment."

However, being more realistic, the civil surgeon observed that the war will go on between the department and the offenders as far as issues like female foeticide, adulteration of eatables and sale of addictive substances are concerned.

The performance on national health programmes like pulse polio vaccination, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, creating awareness on AIDS and motivating the people to adopt family welfare measures, the progress was satisfactory and all targets will be achieved, Dr Sharma claimed.

"We are especially targeting awareness of AIDS which is so far an incurable disease and prevention is the only alternative. Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres (ICTCs), which were earlier working only at district headquarters, have now been made operational at subdivision level as well for a better reach to the potential victims and those already afflicted with AIDS." 



Demand for gold declines
As commodity trading picks up
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
Shunning real purchases, city investors are fast taking to virtual holding of gold through commodity markets. Though the trend has made those in the industry unhappy, it is attracting jewellers as well. A lot of them have entered commodity trading with a view to hedging their risks and earning profit.

Thanks to the decline in the demand for gold, an increasing number of jewellers here are taking to trading in commodity market. Jewellers apart, even leading investors are preferring virtual holding of yellow metal instead of going in for real purchase.

While most of the jewellers are trading indirectly, that is as clients, via trading in bullion, they are able to hedge their risk and make money as well.

In city markets, a decline of roughly more than 40 per cent in demand has been recorded this time in comparison to last year. Attributing the sluggishness to price fluctuations, jewellers said real demand was rapidly getting replaced by commodity trading, a trend not being considered positive by those in this industry.

"Commodity trading is being preferred. Due to price fluctuations, people do not seem to be interested in investing heavy sums of money in making actual purchases. They are opting for commodity trading where they can invest only a small margin and become owners of heavy quantity," said A.R. Sikri of Anand Jewllers who also represents the Ludhiana Jewellers Association.

Commodity market here is recording a fast growth with bullion topping the list. "A daily trading of roughly Rs 70-80 crore is taking place here. Bullion tops the charts and even jewellers are getting into it as clients," said R.C. Singal, president of LSE Commodities.

This marriage season, said jewellers, there was no significant rise in demand. 



Rs 85 cr okayed for upgradation of sewerage plants 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The Centre Government has approved Rs 85 crore project for upgrading of Balloke and Jamalpur Sewerage Treatment Plants being set up under the Satluj Action Plan in the city.

This was stated today by senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal after attending a meeting on the issue in the city. The meeting was attended by commissioner Vikas Partap, mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura, managing director, Sewerage Board, Pardeep Chadhary and other officials of the Municipal Corporation and sewerage board.

He said the capacity of Balloke STP would be upgraded by 100 mld and that of Jamalpur STP would be increased by 50 mld.

A project for the augmentation of water supply, sewer lines, sewerage desilting was also discussed at the meeting. It would be taken up by the local authorities shortly.

The authorities also took up the issue of legalising of illegal connections that were a cause of many disease outbreaks in the city. ‘‘We have simplified the method of legalising all such connections so that the residents avail the opportunity to get their connections legalised.’’ said Bansal.



Muslims to burn Aroosa’s effigies today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The Aroosa Alam issue failed to die down today with the Jama Masjid, the central religious authority of muslims in the state, declaring that Muslims in different parts of the country would burn her effigies after tomorrow's namaaz.

Mustkeem Ahrari, a spokesperson of Jama Masjid, said Aroosa had called Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid as illeterate after he had pronounced a fatwa against her for her alleged relations with former Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh.

Mustkeem said she had refused to acknowledge the Shariat law and this had left the Muslims of the state angry. He said to protest against her outburst against Imam, they would burn effigies of Aroosa in different parts.

They will burn an effigy outside the masjid tomorrow in Ludhiana, Hamid Hasan Kasmi will burn her effigy in Amritsar, Noor Mohammad and Abdul Shakoor will do so in Patiala, Nawab Ali and Akbar Khan in Malerkotla, Fardeen Iqbal in Moga. Similarly her effigies would be burnt in Faridabad in Haryana, Rampur in UP, Najibabad, Saharanpur and Kerala also.

The spokesperson said they would not tolerate disrespect to the Shariat law and the Shahi Imam also. 



Teachers’ protest enters second day
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 27
Activists of a few teachers’ union continued to protest against the alleged anti-education policies of the state government, on the third day today. They were protesting against the seminars being organised under the Sarab Sikhya Abhiyan at schools here and in villages falling under Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.

Though the teachers got their presence marked during the opening and closing sessions, they did not attend any lecture. The resource persons and experts, engaged by the authorities, had to return empty-handed.

Meanwhile, veteran educationists accused the authorities of providing platform to office-bearers of a few unions to launch a movement against the government by organising activities, like seminars.

A large number of teachers, associated with the Government Teachers Union, SCBC Teachers Union, Democratic Teachers Front and the ETT Teachers Union boycotted seminars being organised at MGMN Senior Secondary School here and GSSS schools at Kanganwal, Pohir, Dehlon, Latala and Malaudh villages.

Nirmal Singh, Balbir Singh Dhaler, Balwant Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Harbans Kaur, Kamikar Singh, Karnail Kaur and Surinder Singh addressed the rallies at these schools.

According to Pardeep Sharda, coordinator, the teachers had marked their attendance at the opening and closing of the seminars during these day. But, they stayed away from the classes. “However resource persons were ready to deliver lectures,” said Sharda.

Meanwhile, educationists have accused the authorities of misguiding the government about the utility and pattern of the seminars. “Instead of proving beneficial for the students, the seminars and allied activities have proven felicitators of union leaders in organising protest rallies,” alleged Gian Chand Sharma, an educationist.  



Kapoor elected Gujranwala education council chief 

Ludhiana, December 27
Former pro vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and a renowned educationist Prithipal Singh Kapoor was elected president of the Gujranwala Khalsa Education Council that runs five prestigious educational institutes in this town. Harmohinder Singh Bhadpur was elected secretary of the council.

S.P.Singh, outgoing president and former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, proposed the names of Kapoor and Harmohinder Singh which was seconded by Prithipal Singh Nalagarh and Jaspal and the election was held unanimously. The general body authorised the president to nominate the other office-bearers and form sub-committees.

Kapoor besides holding the post of pro vice-chancellor, he has also served as the principal of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College. He was also associated with the UGC committee which revised the pay scales of the college lecturers and the rules for the selection of the lecturers and the principals of the colleges.

He is at present member of the national monitoring committee for minority education set up by the HRD ministry at the Centre. The five educational institutes run by the Khalsa Educational Council are Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Boys. The GGN Institute of Management, GGN College of Pharmacy, GGN Institute of Vocational Studies (distance education) and Gujranwala Guru Nanak Public Senior Secondary School.

Kapoor assured that he would try to revamp the educational institutions according to the emerging trends in various fields of education. 



Residents sore over lack of amenities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
Residents of Sukhdev Nagar on Bhammian Road are up in arms against the local authorities for not providing them with civic amenities though they have been demanding them for the last two years.

Ravi Chander Garg, a resident of the area, said their road was not recarpeted for the last many years. It had developed potholes and due to passing of heavy vehicles through the roads, clouds of dust were always engulfing the area.

He added that the road was not recarpeted since he had constructed his house in the area. The top layer had almost worn out.

Pardeep Bhandari, another resident, said the tube well supplying in the area developed a snag off and on and they had to go without water for many days.

The electricity wires were also hanging loose posing a threat to many lives. Numerous complaints to the Punjab State Electricity Board had also fallen on the deaf ears.

‘‘I do not know why are we treated as children of a lesser God. Why does not anybody come to our rescue despite our complaining again and again?’’ asked Garg.  



Interviews for key PAU posts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
Interviews for the prestigious posts of director of research, dean, college of agriculture, and dean, college of home science, of Punjab Agricultural University will be held on December 29 and 30 on the university campus.

The post of director of research has been lying vacant for the past six months and the interview for the same was held three months ago. But no one was selected for the post. There are seven candidates for the post of director of research, including one from the US. This candidate also applied for the post earlier but did not turn up for the interview. There are some candidates from within the university campus.

The post of dean, college of agriculture, will fall vacant on January 31 as the present incumbent Dr G S Chahal will be retiring on that day. College of agriculture is the most important affiliated college of the PAU. In fact, this is the mainstay of the university. There are 10 candidates for the post of the dean, college of agriculture. There are five candidates for the post of dean, college of home science.

Mrs Neelam Grewal was selected for this post but the board of management of the university did not approve of the selection and asked the university authorities to readvertise the post.

The post for the dean, college of home science, had fallen vacant with the voluntary retirement of Ms Dhillon who also applied for the post last time.

There are more than half a dozen posts of heads of departments of various departments who will also be selected after their assessment by the committee during the two-day interviews. 



HIV patients worse off as outreach workers 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
The long-awaited recruitment of HIV positive patients as “outreach workers” have not brought a smile to their faces. Instead, the workers are worse off than earlier.

The government has appointed them on half of the promised salary of Rs 6,000. For the patients, their compulsory medical treatment costs more than Rs 6,500 per month. In the scenario, the salary of Rs 3,000 appears as a cruel joke to them.

As many as 13 HIV patients, who were employed by the Punjab State AIDS Control Society as outreach workers are not happy with the kind of treatment meted out to them.

They alleged that the State AIDS Control Society had cheated them. It had promised to give them Rs 6,000 per month but later the society appointed them on Rs 3,000 per month only.

These patients were made to sit for more than five hours before they could finally get their appointment letters at a function conducted by the Punjab State AIDS Control Society at Mohali on December 20.

The patients were also bitter as not a single HIV patient has been appointed as a councillor by the State AIDS Control Society. The patients complain that they cannot make two ends meet with such a meagre salary.

Some of these patients had earlier resigned from their jobs as they could not meet the heavy expenses on the treatment of HIV.

Mehar Singh, president of an HIV positive people’s body, said, the Punjab State AIDS control Society had not appointed a single HIV patient as a councillor despite 34 posts of councillor available. He said an HIV- infected patient could be a better councillor.

Even Jagjit Singh Mann, chairman of the Punjab Networking of Positive People (PNPP) is disappointed by the selection procedure. He said the State AIDS Control Society must have forgotten that they have employed HIV patients and not daily wagers. 



NSS camp organised
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 27
A 10-day NSS camp is being organised at Smt Jawala Devi College of Education under the leadership of programme officers, Harpal Singh and Shamsher Kaur, at Sanghol, near here.

Students organised a cleanliness drive at Kalewal village; educated children, adults and also apprised them of a few social evils during the door-to-door campaign yesterday. This camp was inaugurated by college director R.K.Sharma on December 23.

Various committees were formed under the leadership of Neeraj Kumar, Bhupinder Singh and Rohini, all lecturers. The students attended camps on that day and later a cultural programme was organised in the evening. 



Manch to honour eminent persons at ‘Lohri Mela’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
The Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch will honour nine distinguished personalities for outstanding performance in their respective fields at the "Lohri Mela" to be organised at Punjabi Bhawan here on January 10, 2008.

Stating this here today, Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman of the manch, said a committee headed by Prof Mohinder Singh Cheema had been set up to finalise the persons from out of a large number of nominations received from different quarters. Other members of the committee will include Surinder Singh Kooner, Pawan Diwan, Ravinder Ranguwal and Joginder Singh.

According to Ranguwal, convener of the body, more than two dozen renowned Punjabi singers and artistes were expected to participate in the mela, which will also feature "gidda and bhangra" besides many other items. A healthy baby competition for male and female babies will be held under the supervision of Dr Iqbal Singh and Dr Manoj Sobti.

On the eve of the mela, a seminar on female foeticide, drug addiction and AIDS will be organised on January 9, 2008, to focus on the need for mass mobilisation against these social evils, said Bawa.

Many more sub-committees will be set up to oversee arrangements for the mela in the next couple of days, he added. 



US dons apprise students of engg programme
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, December 27
Dr R.S. Kanwar, professor and chairman, Department of Agricultural and Biosystem Engineering, Iowa State University (USA) and Dr P.K. Kalita, associate professor and division leader, Soil and Water Resources Engineering, University of Illinois, addressed the faculty and students of Bhutta College of Engineering and Technology (BCET) today. 

They apprised the students and faculty about the engineering education programmes in the USA.

They highlighted the importance of engineering education, including hands-on-experiences, as a part of the engineering science and design. According to ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), USA, requirements, engineering students must attain competence in 16 skills, including problem solving, communications, engineering science, engineering design and practices, cultural adaptability and ethics. 



Filthy city

It’s a matter of shame that the city known as the Manchester of India, has become the one full of garbage. Not even a single residential area has been speared. Visit any corner of the town, you find heaps of garbage lying on the roadsides. Even, the important highways like the Ferozepur road are littered with the garbage. At times, it is difficult to pass through the road due to the stink emanating from the garbage dump near the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University office.

Similarly, there is a huge dump of filth near the road leading to Sarabha Nagar, on the Ferozepur road. The local municipal corporation has failed to keep the city clean.

Sheetal Chawala



Slowdown in US economy to affect exports: Expert 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
Slowdown in the US economy is unlikely to end in near future and will continue affecting exports of developing countries to a great extent. 

Most developing countries are exporting their products to the US and the slowdown will reduce the consumption capacity in the US economy, said Dhruv Narain, managing director, financing group, Goldman Sachs, USA, while delivering a lecture on “International Capital Markets- Evolution and Impact” conducted by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here last evening.

Narain explained that banks in the US had taken high risks resulting into heap of debts which had caused liquidity crunch overall. This slowdown had affected common man the most in the US because of non-hike in their wages in comparison to their day-to-day expenditure that had escalated on account of inflation, he added.

Over 70 per cent of GDP in the US is based on consumer spending, which is the maximum contribution in any economy across the world, said Narain. Profits are restricted to few corporates, resulting in financial imbalance. The economy there is struggling with growing budgetary deficits and it will continue in near future as well, he opined.

Talking about the impact on other economies, he said Indian businessmen should take full advantage of the strong rupee as far as imports and investments in the US were concerned in the current scenario. Developing nations have been playing safe so far in the international business market and the transformation is a bit difficult in their present business models, but a transition should take place.

K.N.S.Kang, general secretary, and Anil Kumar, president, LMA, were also present on the occasion. 



Luxury tax to hit hotel industry: Assn
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 27
Condemning the proposal to impose luxury tax, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab today said if implemented, it would wipe off the hotel industry in the state. The association also threatened to shut operations if the government went ahead with the proposal.

Addressing a press conference here today, Manjit Singh Nagpal, president of the association, said occupancy in hotels in the state had already declined to 25-30 per cent in the last few years as the government was not encouraging tourism. "There hardly are any visitors, religious or even for business purpose. As a result, the industry is performing very badly. The luxury tax will worsen the situation and we would have to discontinue operations if it is cleared."

The association members said multiple taxes were already a big burden on hotels and restaurants here. "There are several taxes, Value Added Tax (VAT), bar fee, house tax etc. Besides, even electricity tariff charged from us is on commercial rates instead of industrial rates," said Bikramjit Singh Bhaiya from Bathinda.

Amarvir Singh, general secretary, Paramjit Singh Budiraja from Jalandhar, Ajit Singh, M.S. Mangat and Ravi Mohan from Hoshiarpur were also present. 



450 examined at eye camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 27
More than 450 patients were examined and those in need of surgical correction, were operated upon free of cost at a eye check-up camp, organised by Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib Charitable Hospital at Dakha village in this district yesterday. 

The camp was held in collaboration with the Rotary Club and the Canadian Sight Organisations.

Dr Brijinder Singh Rana, eye specialist, who led the team of doctors and supporting staff at the camp, said laser treatment was provided to patients of diabetic retinopathy at highly subisidised cost.

He said the hospital would hold such camps for treatment of cataract and diabetic complications at different places in the city and rural areas on regular intervals.

Medical superintendent of the hospital Dr R.S. Sodhi expressed gratitude to the different social bodies for extending support to the institution in its bid to reach out to the people and offer free or low cost treatment to them.

Others present at the camp included Bakshi Mohinder Singh, president of the hospital managing committee, Joginder Singh Makkar, Inder Singh Chawla, Balbir Singh, Parupkar Singh, Joginder Singh Eros, Surinder Singh Bindra and Harbhajan Singh. 



Amarpal, Rajdeep fastest runners
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana,December 27
Amarpal Singh of Ropar and Rajdeep Saini of Jalandhar won the 100-m race in the boys and girls (under-19 year’s)sections, respectively, to emerge fastest runners on the penultimate day of the 53rd Punjab Schools Athletics Meet being held at Guru Nanak Stadium, here today. In the under-17 year’s section, Bhagwant Singh of Gurdaspur and Supreet Kaur of sports centre, Badal,finished ahead of others in the 100-m race and were adjudged the fastest runners among boys and girls, respectively.

Simarpartap Singh of Guraspur in the boy's under-14 years and Kamal Kaur of Sangrur in the girl’s section clinched gold medals in the 100-m sprint and were declared the fastest runners.

Results: Boys (under-19): 100-m race: Amarpal Singh of Ropar 1st, Amandeep Singh of Ludhiana 2nd; and Navjot Singh of Amritsar 3rd;(under-17):100-m race: Bhagwant Singh of Gurdaspur 1st, Amrinder Singh of Ludhiana 2nd; and Manindervir Singh of Amritsar 3; (under-14): 100-m race: Simarpartap Singh of Gurdaspur 1st, Pawan Kumar of Ferozepur 2nd and Gurjant Singh of Muktsar 3rd.

Girls (under-19): 100-m race: Rajdeep Saini of Jalandhar 1st; Harpal Kaur of Sangrur 2nd and Navdeep Kaur of Jalandhar 3rd; (under-17):100-m race: Supreet Kaur of Sports Centre, Badal,1st; Ekamjot Kaur of Ludhiana 2nd and Sumandeep Kaur 3rd; (under-14) 100 m race: Kamal Kaur of Sangrur 1st, Jasbir Kaur of Ludhiana 2nd and Tandeep Kaur of Ludhiana 3rd.

Boys (under-19) 400m race: Inderjeet Singh of Ludhiana 1st, Devinder Singh of Sports School, Jalandhar, 2nd and Gurpreet Singh of Bathinda 3rd; (under-17) 400 m: Karamjit Singh of Patiala 1st,Ransher Singh of Ludhiana 2nd, and Balkar Singh of Jalandhar 3rd;(under-14) 400-m race- Jatin Jain of Patiala 1st, Purandeep Singh of Patiala 2nd, and Parminder Kumar of Ludhiana 3rd.

Girls (under-19):400-m race Rajpreet Saini of Jalandhar 1st, Simranjit Kaur of Taran Tarn 2nd and Sukhwinder Kaur of Jalandhar 3rd; (under-17) 400- m race: Ramanjeet Kaur of Sangrur 1st; Pardeep Kaur of Hoshiarpur 2 and Poonpreet Kaur of Gurdaspur 3 rd; (under-14) 400-m race: Amandep Kaur of Sports Wing, Kairon, 1st,Kamal Kaur of Sangrur 2nd and Arwinder Kaur of Ludhiana 3rd.

Boys (under-19) 3000-m walk: Parminder Singh of Amritsar 1st, Balraj Singh of Amritsar 2nd and Kuldeep Kumar of Sangrur 3rd; girls (under-17) 3000-m walk: Sukhvir Kaur of Amritsar 1st,Kamalpreet Kaur of Muktsar 2nd and Rimpi Kaur of Amritsar 3rd.

Boys (under-19) triple jump: Navjot Singh of Patiala 1st,Prabhjot Singh of Sangrur 2nd and Jagminder Singh of Ludhiana 3 rd; (under-17) triple jump- Arpinder Singh of Sports School, Jalandhar, 1st and Jagroop Singh of Taran Tarn 2nd and Jasdeep Singh of Sports School, Jalandhar, 3 rd.

Javelin throw (boys under-19): Bhupinder Singh of Sports School, Jalandhar, 1st,Karamvir Singh of Sports School, Jalandhar, 2 nd and Gagandeep Singh of Amritsar 3 rd.

Sudesh Bajaj, district education officer (secondary), Ludhiana, and Varinder Kumar, district education officer (elementary), were the chief guests today. 



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