L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC staff honour ‘tainted’ officials
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
They might be the accused for the Vigilance Bureau, but they are heroes for agitating MC employees. S.S. Bhatia (MTP) and draftsmen Mohinderpal and Nirmal Singh, who were arrested and subsequently released on bail by the bureau, were honoured by employees during their token strike here today, seeking the withdrawal of cases against them.

The three were arrested a few days ago in a case of corruption pertaining to building bylaw violations at Gulchaman Gali. They were released two days ago on bail.

Employees boycotted work even as people who had come for their work felt harassed. A rally was also organised and attended by representatives from all five MCs of the state. It was also attended by joint commissioners Mohinder Pal, Vinod Sharda and A.S. Sekhon.

Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda addressed the protesters and assured them that he would take up the matter with the government.

He arranged a meeting of the agitators and the principal secretary, local government, for tomorrow. The employees threatened that if the issue was not resolved, all MCs of the state would go on strike.



For once, labourers have their say
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Farmers and the industry here are trying hard to procure labour which is in short supply this season.

With rain playing havoc with wheat this time, labourers are seeking a Rs 500-Rs 700 hike in wages for harvesting as against last year.

Due to a shortage of workers, farmers are ready to pay Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,000 per acre to labourers, over a sum of Rs 1,000-Rs 1,400 paid earlier.

The industry, too, is making efforts to woo workers. Enterprises that have been grappling with this problem for over three weeks now, after labourers left for Holi, are willing to pay them more.

“This time they are asking for Rs 2,100 onwards for an acre, which is much higher than last year. We have no option, but to agree as there is an acute shortage of work force. Also, they would have to put in more efforts this time as the crop had got damaged during rain,” Amarjit Singh of Leel village said.

Apart from the wages for harvesting, an average farmer pays separately for thrashing and loading.

For labourers it is the time to make money as the money that they get during these three-four weeks is much more than what they earn in factories.

“The money this time is good. We are expecting more than Rs 2,000 an acre which means roughly Rs 400 to Rs 500 for a worker on a daily basis. Many of us did not go back to the factories as we barely make Rs 2,500-Rs 3,000 a month there,” Radhey Sham, a labourer, said.

Farmers queue up outside the railway station every morning to fetch labourers.

The shifting of workers is adding to the worries of industrialists who said their production had already declined by 20 per cent to 30 per cent. “I had 15 workers in my factory, but am making do with just three now. We are willing to pay more to retain and procure workers, but they do not seem to be interested. The situation may normalise after the harvesting is over,” Varinder Kapoor, an industrialist, said.



Wheat harvest banned at night
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
District Magistrate Sumer Singh Gurjar today banned the harvesting of wheat by the combine from 7 pm to 8 pm under Section 144 of the IPC.

These orders shall be effective from April 7 to May 31.

The district magistrate stated that as the harvesting season had started and crop was expected to start flowing in mandi. In routine, the combines operate for 24 hours.

He said in case of the harvesting of moisturized and unripe crop during the night hours, the produce does not fulfill the specifications laid down by the government and the procurement agencies express inability in purchasing such crop.

He urged the farmers to harvest the ripened crop during the day time, so that; they did not face any problem while selling their produce. He warned of stern action if any combine operator caught violating the orders.

Gurjar has also directed the officers of food and supply and other purchase agencies to strictly implement the orders issued by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution (department of food public distribution), Central government, making it compulsory for purchasing by private companies/ individuals only in the mandi yards.

He assured the farmers that entire wheat stock that arrives in the mandis would be purchased at the earliest. Arrangements had also been made for the timely payments to the farmers for the wheat purchased by them.

He said mandi-level supervisory committees had been set up to dispose off the problems faced by the farmers.



Cornered, accused feigns heart attack
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The police today found itself in a spot when a hit-and-run accused, caught in Chaura Bazar after a 2-km hot pursuit through the congested elevated road, collapsed, claiming he had suffered a heart attack.

The cops were startled at the turn of events. They immediately shifted the accused-turned-victim, Pawan Kumar, to the Civil Hospital with the help of book traders.

The book trader was declared out of danger by doctors who said the man had not suffered heart attack, but may have felt uneasy.

It all began at noon when the trader, driving a Maruti car, allegedly knocked down two cops riding a scooter on the Jagraon bridge. One of them suffered head injury.

The other cop was also injured, but he chased the accused, who entered the congested Chaura Bazar and later into the narrow book market. But there was no escape.

Soon after he was slapped by the police, he collapsed clasping his chest.

The joy of the police turned into despair at the condition of the man.

Later in the evening, both parties agreed to drop charges and reached a compromise.



Bengali tantriks flout ad guidelines
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
The recent arrest of Baba Khan, an alleged Bengali tantrik, who claims to solve “any” problem within 10 hours, is just an isolated case among dozens others spread over different parts of the city hoaxing simple people with professed powers of black magic. The Division No. 5 police raided the premises of another tantrik, Maya Bharati, near the Aarti Chowk. However, the tantrik managed to escape.

The “tantriks” are engaged in fooling people with possible cure for all problems in life using “yantra”, “mantra” and “tantra”.

Interestingly, the local television networks are flooded with advertisements that allure gullible people with a promise to end all problems related to jobs, those ditched in love, hypnotism, consequences of witchcraft, family related issues and marital discords. The local cable operators are openly flouting the advertisement rules.

The so-called god men have trapped thousands of naive immigrants in their witch-craft nets. A casual visit to their dens reveals that the place is visited even by financially well-offs in the city. “Our baba sometimes visits the house of a rich industrialist in a Mercedes car,” a helper at one of the dens said. His companion added: “Our place is also visited by the educated class. I recognise at least a few teachers who frequent our place”.

These astrologer and tantriks are particularly favourites among women, who are anxious about their love affairs, careers of their children and the businesses of their husbands. “There is no dearth of women seeking revenge on their neighbours as well as relatives. I must tell you that the suggestions posed by the tantriks are sometimes rather bizarre”, Ram Lal, a tea vendor said.

Radha Rani, a housemaid, said: “The city has been witness to child sacrifice cases also. I heard a case in my locality wherein the family had butchered their daughter in anticipation of a male child. The family was arrested, however, the tantrik managed to escape. I think these tantriks are as much a part of the crime as the parents”.

Sanjeev Panday, a resident of Sham Nagar, said,” Tantrik’s are inciting and duping innocent people. The police should take stringent action against such people. If tantriks are able to solve all problems then there won’t have been any problems in this world.”

Interestingly, the deputy commissioner is empowered to put a ban on such advertisements, but he seems to efface this reality and such tantriks are making full use of the opportunity and are busy duping people.

Tark Sheel society member Jaswant Jirakh said, “We have submitted memorandums to the deputy commissioners and SDM’s across the state for imposing a ban on such institutions which are duping innocent people of the state. They are following non-scientific method which is against the law. The society is planning to launch a state wide protest against these tantriks.



Protest by railway staff
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
Led by activists of the Northern Railway Men’s Union (NRMU), railway employees held a demonstration here today in support of their demands.

Speakers at the rally, including divisional secretary Daljeet Singh, focused on anomalies created by the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission that had led to resentment among workers.

They urged the railway authorities to take steps to remove anomalies and concede their pending demands for which the employees were holding rallies and demonstrations all over the country from April 7 to 12.

Their other demands include payment of overdue bonus, an end to abolition of vacant posts, scrapping policies of privatisation and outsourcing railways and curbing the steep rise in prices of essential commodities.

The NRMU leaders said a divisional-level rally would be held in Jalandhar tomorrow.



School buses impounded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
As many as 10 private buses on contract with Sacred Heart School, BRS Nagar, and Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, were impounded today by the district transport office for not carrying proper documents.

The DTO, Chander Gaind, said the department would take strict action against bus operators who did not care about the safety of schoolchildren.



Man electrocuted

Ludhiana, April 9
A roadside vendor was electrocuted by high-tension wires close to the roof of his house in Peeru Banda Mohalla, Salem Tabri, this morning. Bhagwan Rai had gone to sleep on the roof last night and was found dead in the morning. — TNS



Labour shortage worries farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Though farmers have started harvesting the crops in a few parts of the district but the shortage of skilled workers is worrying them. Those depending solely on manual harvesting and whose standing crop has been flattened due to inclement weather recently, are a worried lot.

A large number of labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, on whom majority of manual harvesting depends, have preferred not to return as they are getting good wages in their native states. And those left in the city, have started demanding handsome wages for the farm work.

Tarpinder Singh from Massitan village near Koti Isse, who has been on a lookout for skilled farm workers at the railway station said here today that the shortage of workers had aggravated their problems. Tarpinder, who owns 7 acres at Massitan, said till recently he used to get workers who used to charge Rs 1,300 per acre. “But now they have started demanding up to Rs 2m200 per acre which was not possible for meager farmers like me. What will we get if we start paying huge amount to them? At the same time, I can not dictate my own terms. I am ready to pay up to Rs 1,700 per acre but they are not willing to work”, Tarpinder complained.

Santosh Yadav, a migrant labourer from Bihar, said the harvesting work demanded a lot of hard work but they were not being paid well by farmers in Punjab. “Through manual harvesting they get grain as well as fodder which is also sold at high rates in the market. But they are not ready to pay us accordingly. So we prefer not to do farm work. Secondly, a large number of us are being paid well for the same work back home. Why should we spend so much on rents, railway fares and leave our families behind if we do not get good returns?”, Yadav asked.

BKU (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said the shortage of farm workers had become a major problem as traditional labour had already left this work. “The migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar demand more than Rs 150 per day which is very costly. The harvesting used to get over by end of April, is expected to be prolonged till May because of the labour shortage”, said Rajewal.



Punjabi Sahit Akademi poll
Deepak Manmohan pulls out of race
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Convener of the Punjabi wing of the Bhartiya Sahitya Akademi Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh today withdrew his candidature for the post of president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi.

In a faxed message, Dr Deepak Manmohan said: “At the time of filing of my nomination paper, I was not aware of the fact that writer Prof Duleep Kaur Tiwana was also contesting for the post. It is our moral duty to show respect to her by electing her unanimously.”

The panel of Gurbhajan Gill got a shot in the arm yesterday after eminent poets Ravinder Bhatthal and Hamdardvi Naushervi withdrew their candidature in his favour.

Bhatthal is the outgoing general secretary of the akademi.

Sudharshan Gaso from GMN College Ambala has also withdrawn in favour of the Gill panel.

During his campaign in the Bathinda-Barnala belt, Gill claimed to have garnered support from different quarters, including Ram Swaroop Ankhi, Om Prakash Gaso, Principal (Dr) Surjit Singh Bhatti, Dr T.R. Venod, Dr Satnam Singh Jassal and Prof Preetam Singh Rahi.

The panel of candidates for different posts in the Gill panel includes Inderjit Singh Hasasanpuri, Dr Shinder Pal Singh, Dr Surinderjit Kaur and Dr Joginder Singh Nirala.



One held with illicit liquor
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 9
The Hathur police has arrested Neeraj, alias Durga, of Shivpuri Gali No. 7, Ludhiana, from Lakha village with illicit liquor.

The police seized 18,930 ml illicit liquor from the accused.

A case under the Excise Act has been registered by the police.

Two booked

Ajmer Singh and Devinder Singh of Majri allegedly assaulted Jaswinder Singh of the same area with sticks. A case under Sections 452, 323, 34 and 506, IPC, has been registered at the Dehlon police station.The injured has been admitted to the Ludhiana civil hospital.

A land dispute is said to be the reason behind the attack. No arrest has been made so far.



Biz Word
Fidelity launches transacting facility
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Fidelity today launched Fidelity Online, the company's financial gateway to help investors in learning and planning as well as transacting and tracking their investments in Fidelity funds. According to the company, investors will now be able to invest, redeem and switch their lump sum and SIP investments on line following a short registration process.

Country head and MD, Fidelity Fund Management, Ashu Suyash, said,"With Fidelity Online, we have taken the next step in developing alternate channels to enhance customer choice and convenience whether he is looking for information or to transact. We will now be able to give our investors greater ease in managing their Fidelity portfolios from anywhere, anytime. Whether it is viewing valuations of their portfolios or conducting transactions, Fidelity investors now have the option of doing so at their convenience.”



Saving muskmelon from downey mildew
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Downey mildew disease is a limiting factor for successful growing of various cucurbit crops, especially muskmelon in Punjab.

According to plant pathologist Dr Chander Mohan, the disease attacks almost all varieties of muskmelon grown in Punjab and severely affects its yields.

Farmers in the districts of Amritsar, Kapurthala and Nawanshahar cultivate cucumber crop under low plastic tunnels.

Temperature and humidity in plastic tunnels were favourable for the growth of downey mildew pathogen and the disease appeared in cucumber fields.

Farmers who sprayed Indofil M-45 or Ridomil-MZ could effectively control the disease.

However, in fields where no spray was done, the disease later developed into severe form.

From cucumber fields the disease is now spreading to muskmelon, say the expert.

Elaborating the symptoms of the disease, Dr Mohan said initially the disease appeared in the form of water-soaked lesions on the under surface of lower leaves.

The corresponding area on the upper surface showed yellow lesions.

Later, grey fungus growth developed on the underside of these lesions and was visible only during early morning hours as there was high humidity then.

These lesions later increased in size and merged with each other giving blighted appearance.

“As a result, the growth of vines stops thereby adversely affecting fruit yield and taste.”

Scientists suggest spraying of crop with Indofil M-45 using 300-600 gms fungicide in 100-200 litres of water. Two spray should be done at weakly interval, said Dr Mohan.



Schools go trendy
Introduce innovations in education

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Beginning of the new session has brought surprises for parents of the school goers with most of the city schools introducing a number of innovations.

From electronic blackboards to colourfully painted Disney walls to dedicated play stations and language labs, new education techniques are the latest trends that the industrial town has started to follow.

The primary sections in most of the schools are going through a significant change. Stress has been laid on the fact that the students should feel at home.

In most of the schools, the primary sections are turning into no-homework sections.

"We do not believe in homework being given to students of the primary classes as we believe that what children are learning in schools is enough for them," Said Jayashri Gupta, principal of Ryan Public School.

Gone are the days of dull and barren classroom walls. The primary section walls of KVM School are all decked up with Disney and jungle book paintings.

Principal S.C. Saxena says, "From this year onwards, we have paid special focus on the primary education. We have made some significant changes. We have constructed a fun swimming pool for children, a play station and a language lab to help them understand the complexities of alphabets in a better way. We are inviting parents to give their suggestions on the areas where they feel the school needs an improvement."

Priyanka, headmistress, Sanatan Vidya Mandir, Hambra road, said, "We are trying to make homework student-friendly by giving some creative colour to it. We are trying to make teaching more activity and assignment-based.



School refuses to refund security
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Jagdeep Bhargav, parent of a kindergarten student of G.D. Goenka Public School, has alleged that the school authorities are not refunding the security even though they are required to do so in case a child shifts to another school.

Businessman by profession, Bhargav, whose daughter has left the school, said the authorities had refused to refund him the security amount of Rs 5,000 and asked him to produce the original receipt.

"I told the authorities that I have lost the original receipt and requested them to accept my affidavit, but the school authorities refused to entertain the request and asked me to submit the original receipt," said Bhargav.

Bhargav said, "I have got the application signed from principal of the school Deep Bedi. Despite this, the clerical branch refused to refund the amount.”

On the other hand, Ekta, a receptionist at the school, said, "We asked the parent to submit the original receipt, but instead of producing the original document, he started threatening the school authorities and used language, which was uncalled for."



Award for two dental surgeons
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
Vice-principal and head of pedodontics Dr Vivek Saggar and reader, department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Dr Sameer Kaura, have bagged the first prize in the “case presentation” under senior clinician’s category at “Nobel Biocare World Tour 2008”, an international implant conference, held at Mumbai from April 4 to 6.

The meeting was attended by more than 2000 delegates from all over the world.

Symposium on joint disorders

A symposium on joint pains, organised by the department of medicine at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here today was attended by 140 delegates from the city and surrounding areas. Vice-principal Dr Jagdeep Whig welcomed the delegates. Dr Sujata Sawhney, consultant, pediatric rheumatology, and Dr J. Maheshwari also spoke on various types of joint disorders. Dr Sanjeev Kapoor and Dr Sri Ram, consultants in rheumatology, Indian Spinal Centre, New Delhi, deliberated on the role of laboratory test in joint disorders. The sessions were chaired by doctors like Dr S.B. Khurana, Dr G. Avasthi, Dr J. Dhanoa, Dr J.L. Bass, Dr Harmesh Singh Bains and Dr Mohammed Yamin.



Arvind Malhotra felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 9
Students and staff of Shanti Tara College felicitated secretary of the college Arvind Malhotra today for his victory in the recent elections of the Sutlej Club, Ludhiana.

Principal of the college Balbir Singh said the decision to honour Malhotra was taken at a joint meeting of students and staff of the college here yesterday.

Expressing gratitude to the organisers, Malhotra assured that he would continue working for the overall development of the club.

Malhotra had defeated Sanjiv Mehta by a margin of 850 votes, it was claimed.



Biotech block inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 9
Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, inaugurated the biotechnology block of GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar, Ludhiana, on the college campus today.

During an interactive session with staff of the college, Professor Sobti stressed on the need for updating knowledge of teachers. Appreciating the role played by the management committee in creating optimum atmosphere for education, Professor Sobti called upon the teachers to make the maximum use of equipment and gadgets for welfare of the students.

According to principal of the college S.S. Deol, the vice-chancellor also visited the examination centres of the university on the premises.

President of the college Manjit Singh Gill felicitated Professor Sobti.



RIMT students win laurels
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 9
Students of RIMT-Institute of Management and Computer Technology gave an impressive performance at the recently held Bizcoons ’08, an inter-college cultural programme organised at Chitkara Business School.

The institute grabbed top honours in seven events out of the total 12 events.

Rahul Sharma and Sandeep Kalra (quiz competition), Gaurav Prasher (in poster making) and Akshay Narang (rapid fire chess), all of MBA second semester, got the first position.

In face painting competition, MBA second semester student Gaurav Prasher secured second position for the institute.

Preeti and Sagar Gupta, and Rahul Duggal and Ravi Sharma, all of MBA second semester, secured third positions in trace the face, rapid fire chess competition and quiz fight with pencils.

The students were accompanied by faculty member Tarandeep Kaur.

The chairman of the RIMT group and director general have congratulated the students.



Aussie scientists visit PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
Dr Tanveer Khan, Dr Neil Turner and Allen Harris from Australia and Dr P.M. Gaur and Dr Krishnamurthy from ICRISAT visited Punjab Agricultural University yesterday to review the research activities of two collaborative projects of Ascochyta - blight resistance and salt tolerance in chickpea.

They oversaw the field experiments at PAU research farm and salinity work at PAU and regional research station, Bathinda. They also paid a visit to PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

Technical programme for the next year was also discussed with the coordinating team of the university.



MBA degrees awarded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 9
ICFAI National College (INC) organised its annual function on the college campus here on Wednesday. Successful students of the 2005-07 batch were awarded MBA degrees. Laptops were given free of cost to students of the 2007-09 batch. INC is a constituent of the ICFAI (Institute of Charted Financial Analyst of India), Hyderabad, and is committed to provide career-oriented educational opportunities to MBA students. INC is currently operating in 177 districts around the country and is planning to reach out to 500 districts in due course of time. Addressing the students, Jagpal Singh Khangura complimented the role being played by the ICFAI in bringing quality education at their doorsteps. He also inaugurated the 16-week summer internship programme.



Dr Gulati takes over as state IAP chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 9
Dr Rajinder Gulati, medical officer in charge, department of paediatrics at ESIC Model Hospital here, has taken over as president of the Punjab branch of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP).

The other office-bearers are Dr Surinder S. Bedi (Ludhiana) vice-president, Dr Puneet Juneja (Ludhiana) secretary, Dr Lovi Likhi (Ludhiana) treasurer, Dr Vineet Arora (Ludhiana) joint secretary and Dr Jagmohan Singh Dardi (Hoshiarpur) president-elect.

The executive members are Dr V.K. Ajay (Sangrur), Dr Kunj Lalwani (Jalandhar), Dr Abha Sharma (Kapurthala), Dr Harinder S. Raikhy (Patiala), Dr Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal (Moga) and Dr M.S. Pannu (Amritsar).

Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Dr Gulati said the state branch of the IAP was committed to the betterment of child survival. The association would be meeting the Punjab health minister shortly in this regard.

He said there was need to develop primary, secondary and tertiary level of healthcare. He said for the training of birth attendants there was need for a partnership between the public sector, private sector, IAP, National Neonatology Forum and the Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of India.



Chess for Deaf
TN, Delhi continue to dominate
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 9
Participants (men) from Tamil Nadu and Delhi continued to dominate the proceedings on the second day of the 4th National Chess Championship for the Deaf being organised by the Association of the Deaf, Punjab, at the Samiti Kendra, Sham Singh Road, here today.

In the fourth-round matches, players from Kerala and Maharashtra, too, registered victories, while hosts Punjab managed to romp home victor in one encounter.

Assistant excise and taxation commissioner H.P.S. Ghotra and municipal corporation councillor Narinder Singh Malhi were the chief guests today.

Padam Passi, Rajinder Sharma, Vikas Sharma, Varinder Sharma and Arvinder Preet Singh, office-bearers of the organising committee, were present there to extend help to the participants and officials.

Following players recorded victories in their respective fourth-round matches to advance into the next round: M.K. Alguraja of Tamil Nadu, M. Sivaraj of Tamil Nadu, G. Spenser of Tamil Nadu, Mohd Rashid A.C. of Kerala, T.P. Ganpathy of Tamil Nadu, S. Harikrishan of Tamil Nadu, A. Venkateshsra Rao of Andhra Pradesh, K. Moses Peter of Andhra Pradesh, Utpal Sharma of Assam, Gaurav Arora of Delhi, Anil Mahajan of Punjab, Mukul Singh of Delhi, Rishikesh Anand of Delhi, Hussain Koya of Kerala, Dhru Chawda of Andhra Pradesh, Musabbir Hossain of West Bengal, V.N. Saji of Andhra Pradesh, Jayesh Lavarkar of Maharashtra, Pinkul Nath of Assam, Sanjay Akolkar of Maharashtra, Ajay Patel of Madhya Pradesh, Nanjee Bhatt of Jammu and Kashmir, Jainarayan Tantuway of Madhya Pradesh, Kharul Islam of West Bengal, Manab Saha of West Bengal and Adhik Sawant of Maharashtra.



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