L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cable Trouble
Residents forced to buy set-top box
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
City residents will have to dish out more for better quality television viewing in the coming days. As technology gets superior, channel service providers are providing set-top boxes at an additional cost to residents which come with a promise of more number of channels and a better quality picture.

For residents, it means an additional cost of, at least, Rs 600 to procure the set-top box along with the routine monthly charge that varies between Rs 150 and Rs 300 depending on the locality. While service providers term the development as an "upgradation", residents rue the extra burden, refusal of which will mean a compromise on quality.

"My cable operator asked me to buy a set-top box which will ensure that we get all channels we want to view. However, I decided not to incur the additional expense. But ever since the channels I get are changed by the operator without informing us it has killed the joy of watching television," said Sheena, a resident of Ghumar Mandi.

With the competition in the field of services in cable viewing getting intensified, cable service providers said technology upgradation had necessitated the move. Besides, those who go in for set-top boxes, would get an array of value addition services, they said.

"Channels have upgraded the technology and more than 120 of them have gone digital. It will not affect the existing subscribers. The ones who want to go in for the set-top boxes, will get benefits," said Sunil Talwar, director, Siti Cable.

He said it was the initial phase of introduction of this technology and Ludhiana was the first city in Punjab to go in for it.

To attract more subscribers, service providers are offering these boxes at the discounted rates. "The amount being charged right now is much lesser than the actual cost of the set-top box. The services, that are likely to be added in the coming days, will be much more. These may include internet and interactive TV," he said. 



Writers descend on city
Sahitya Akademi poll today
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
It was a day of hectic activity for writers with Punjabi Sahitya Akademi going to the polls tomorrow. A galaxy of literary personalities from various places descended here for the elections that would be held at Punjabi Bhavan.

Three groups led by Surjit Pattar, Jaswant Zafar and Gurbhajan Gill are the main contenders for various posts.

The post of president drew much debate with city-based writer Gurbhajan Gill remaining firm on contesting while a host of others withdrew in support of noted author Dalip Kaur Tiwana.

The Zafar group, too, declared unconditional support to Tiwana.

Deepak Manmohan from the Pattar group withdrew his nomination for the post of senior vice-president, leaving Prem Singh Bajaj (Gill group) and Sukhjit (Zafar group) in the arena.

Jaswant Zafar, Sukhdev Singh and Gur Iqbal Singh would contest for the post of general secretary.

The poll plank is the welfare of the literary body and literatteurs in the state.

Other than this, the Pattar group has promised the timely publication of books while Jaswant Zafar has promised the use of technology, increased transparency and constitutional amendments for the betterment of the akademi.

“We want to bring freshness and would focus on standardising academic work. Several constitutional amendments are also needed for the betterment of the akademi,” he said.

Gurbhajan Gill, on the other hand, said he would try to improve the financial condition of artists and get more funds for the akademi.



BJP, BYJM rally against price hike
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 12
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bharatiya Yuva Janata Morcha held a rally at local Bhagat Singh Chowk in protest against the rising prices of essential commodities last evening. They also organised a protest march against the United Progressive Alliance government, holding it responsible for the scenario.

The procession was led by Jatinder Kalra, president district Sangrur, Vijay Goyal, president of local unit, Prem Gupta, secretary, Sandeep Puri, Sita Gogna, Hira Lal Goyal, Ashoo Tosh Vinayaka, former president BYJM Ramesh Ghai, former president Yash Pal and others. The march passed through Railway Road, Chaura Bazar, Gandhi Chowk, Bazar Bazazan, Mahavir Road, Sabzi Mandi and Galla Mandi.

Speakers said the prices of essential commodities like pulses, flour, and others were increasing rapidly, making it difficult for the common man to survive.

They pointed out that UPA leaders, including chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had claimed to provide relief to the “aam admi” (the common man), but had failed to keep the promise.

They alleged the government was looking after the interests of huge corporate houses only, while the common man was left to suffer. The protesters also expressed concern over the rising unemployment in the nation.



No headway in suicide case
Mahesh Sharma

Sahnewal, April 12
Even after three days of “intensive investigation” into the suicide by a college student, Inder Pal, the police is yet to check the circulation of obscene MMS showing the victim engaged in an unnatural act.

Though a lecturer and six students were booked under Sections 306 and 120-B of the IPC, no arrest has been made so far. The police is yet to ascertain the antecedents of the suspects who had filmed the student in a compromising position and used it to blackmail him.

R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Ludhiana, said a special investigating team had visited Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, to get first-hand information about the NSS camp organised at Purana Kila in December 2006, during which the incident was filmed. However, no vital clue was found. The MMS had also not been “intercepted” yet.

“Nobody could provide the exact sequence of events leading to the tragic death of Inder Pal. We are yet to establish to what extent the victim was harassed,” he said.

Jaiswal claimed that the SIT had been directed to be cautious during investigation as the matter pertained to the future of students. “While trying to nab the guilty, we have to watch that no innocent person is harassed,” he said.

Inder Pal was physically challenged and worked as an insurance agent to supplement the income of his parents. 



Parks safe, reassures SSP
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Following the arrest of three cops in the rape case of a minor girl at Rakh Bagh last night, the SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, said at a press meet here today that all city parks were safe.

He said the police could not indulge in moral policing. If anybody came across a cop extorting money, the SSP should be informed and he would take action.

In the past, stalkers had been on the prowl on city roads and in parks in late evening hours. Reports of their extorting money from young couples by threatening to expose their relationship to their parents were received often.

There were instances when the stalkers had even outraged the modesty of some girls, but the incidents went unreported to the police.

Yesterday’s event also came to light only after several evening walkers came across the girl who was crying inconsolably. They took her to the deputy commissioner’s house.

The victims had been claiming that the stalkers had been posing as cops and also looked like them. They would move about in a group and target couples huddled in parks.



Overcoming breast cancer
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
For Dr Ritu Biyani Joseph, a dental surgeon, who was diagnosed as suffering from the breast cancer, it was not a “really bad” experience as she hoped of coming successfully out of it. Even the physical and emotional aspects did not deter her from continuing with her daily chores as a working mother, an environmentalist and a mountaineer.

As she says, “The life must go on and one must face it boldly.” When she was diagnosed as suffering from the breast cancer in 2000, Dr Ritu was 39- year- old and her daughter, Tista, was just eight. “Being in such profession helped me to come out of it well”, Dr Ritu added.

First woman from the Guju-Marwari community to join the armed forces, Dr Ritu has served in the Army dental camps for the past 10 years. Talking about her post-cancer experience, she said her passion for driving sprouted into project, “Highways”-a unique blend of adventure sports with a cancer awareness mission across the country, the very first of its kind in the country. To her credit goes a solo drive of 30,220 km in 177 days.

She has conducted 140 sessions across 23 states as project Highways along with her teenage daughter. Dr Ritu and Tista have also been featured in the Limca Book of Records 2007 and 2008 for undertaking the first ever mother-daughter duo cancer awareness expedition.

Dr Ritu has travelled extensively across India for emphasising on benefits of timely diagnosis, especially of the breast and cervix cancer not only in urban India but also in the remote and tough-to-communicate stretches of the country. “I have reached out to women in some of the most remotest corners like Ladakh, North-East, Kutch dispelling myths and stigmas related to cancer, importance of early detection and demonstrating and teaching self-breast examination”, she added.

Since April 2006, she has reached out to more than 40,000 people across the country with her cancer awareness campaigns. Like a one woman army, sponsored or self-sustained, she continues clipping kilometre after kilometre with her mission.



Punjabi labourers elude farmers, industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Punjabi workers are eluding farmers and industry and preferring other job opportunities. Commanding better wages in loading and unloading and opting for other career options, the number of labourers within the state has significantly declined this harvesting season.

Industry, which is passing through the phase of acute labour shortage, too is forced to rely on migrant workforce with barely 10 per cent workers from within the state available this time.

“They seek higher wage in comparison to migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. If a migrant worker is willing to work for Rs 1,800 an acre, a Punjabi worker demands nothing less than Rs 2,100, affecting small farmers. Besides, the ones who work with commission agents get a share in the produce and manage to make extra money,” says Surjit Singh Gill, a farmer from Sudhar village.

The farming community, despite shortage of labour and increased wage this season, is in a better position than industry as migrant workers are preferring to work in fields in the hope of making more money.

While Punjabi labourers formed over 30 per cent of the workforce in factories before, now the number has reduced to less than 10 per cent, says industrialists.

For industry, which relied on workforce from within the state when hit by labour problem some two years ago, the trend could spell more trouble in the future.

“The number of Punjabi labourers in our factories is now under 10 per cent, while earlier it used to be quite high. We banked on them when the industrial town faced protests by labour unions, most of whom were migrants. However, now Punjabis do not want to work overtime and also seek higher wages than their migrant counterparts, which is why their number has significantly fallen,” says Charanjit Singh Vishwakarma of Vishwakarma Industries.

Industrialists say given the trend industry may have to totally rely on migrant workers for getting its job done in factories.



Electricity board reimposes power cut
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 12
After about one week’s relief due to the untimely rain, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has reimposed power cuts. The compulsory weekly offs for the industries has also been reimposed.

The untimely rain had provided relief to the industry as well as to general consumers.

According to official information available here today, the urban feeders will be subjected to three-and-half hour power cut daily. Half an hour power cut will be imposed from 7.30 am to 8 am followed by 11 am to 12.30 pm and 10.30 pm to 4 pm.

Meanwhile, power supply has been affected badly due to the negligible release of water from the Pong Dam and Ranjit Sagar Dam.



Mohali-Chandigarh road link
Notice served on Railways
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 12
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has given an ultimatum to the Northern Railway to settle the dispute over land, which has led to stoppage of work on a major Mohali-Chandigarh road link.

The final notice issued by GMADA on April 8 stated that if the Railways failed to settle the dispute on the basis of the revenue record within five days, it would be presumed that the department had nothing to say in this regard and the case registered by the Railways would be treated as null and void.

Thereafter, GMADA would restart the work of laying storm sewer and construction of the road on the area that was actually related to GMADA.

On February 16, the Railways had got an FIR registered against a GMADA contractor, arrested the driver and impounded the JCB excavator after a signal cable of the Railways was damaged while digging the earth for laying pipelines along the 200-feet-wide road being constructed to connect Sector 48 in Chandigarh with Sector 65 in Mohali.

The Railway authorities that claimed that pipelines were being laid in an area that belonged to them also stopped the digging work.

The notice sent by the GMADA divisional engineer to the senior divisional engineer (I) Northern Railway, DRM office, Ambala Cantt, further stated that work of laying storm sewer was in progress and was stopped after an FIR was registered against the contractual agency and it was claimed that sewer was being laid in an area belonging to the Railways.

Meetings were called to sort out the matter on March 11 and again on March 13 but no representative of the Railways attended these.

However, Railways kanungo Vinod Sexena attended a meeting called by GMADA at the site on March 18 and said he would make the position clear on March 26 after reviewing the related revenue record. Even, GMADA officials had given the kanungo the relevant record but he failed to turn up at the site on March 26.

GMADA further stated that the road link was a prestigious project and had to be completed within the stipulated time. If the Railways failed to settle the issue within five days, GMADA would go ahead with the work, which was stopped nearly two months back.

The road being constructed by GMADA will connect Chandigarh to the proposed airport in Mohali and ultimately touch the National Highway 21 (road passing through Kharar).



Fill Mandi Board vacancies: Engineers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
A meeting of the Punjab Mandi Board Engineers Co-ordinance Committee was held here today. The meeting was attended by SDOs and JEs of the mandi board.

Jatinder Singh, convener of the committee, said many issues were discussed at the meeting. He said the main demand of the members was of filling the long-pending vacancies with the mandi board. He said the workload had increased but there were no fresh recruitment.

The members said Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal had also approved the filling of 50 per cent of the vacancies but nothing had been done so far. The members threatened to adopt agitational path if state government did not look into the matter and filled the required posts.



Chamber chief refutes allegations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Seeking to refute all accusations that his honouring ceremony was a move to secure chairmanship for industrial board, planned to be formed by the state government, P.D. Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, yesterday said he was 
not interested in the chairmanship of any industrial board.

Sharma stated in a press note that he had earlier applied as a candidate but had clarified that he was not in line for chairmanship. He said he had also written to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on the matter.



World Health Day
Manpreet wins poster-making contest
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 12
A poster and slogan-writing competition was organised in Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School to celebrate World Health Day today. Students from Classes VI to X took part in it under the guidance of trainee teachers of the Doraha College of Education, who are being trained in the school.

Jaidev, Class VII student, spoke on the high incidence of coronary diseases among Punjabis who suffer at 35, whereas all over the world, only people above 50 years are afflicted with heart disease. The trainee teachers then delivered a power lecture on the health and balanced diet, global warming- its causes, effects and efforts, diseases types and prevention.

Manpreet Sekhon stood first in the poster and slogan writing competitions organised on the occasion. Similarly, Ravleen Kaur was awarded second prize. The third prize was shared by Ramanpreet and Karanvir, respectively.

Students participating in the poster and slogan-writing competition organised to celebrate World Health Day and on right; a student delivers a lecture on World Health Day at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School in Ludhiana on Saturday. ing Competition held at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School to celebrate World Health Day today. 



Manch backs Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The Vishav Punjabi Sabhyacharak Manch today said that Dalip Kaur Tiwana should become and inspiration for others by withdrawing her candidature from the post of president.

Jasdev Singh Jassowal, president of the manch, while supporting Gurbhajan Gill, said he would be able to efficiently pursue interests of the literary body.



Three-day meet on cotton ends
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
A three-day annual group meeting of the All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (AICCIP) concluded at Punjab Agricultural University yesterday. This national level event, wherein at least 375 scientists deliberated on various aspects of cotton improvement, production and protection technologies. The breeding trials planned to be conducted during 2008-09 were also discussed and finalized after reviewing the progress of a few centres for the current year.

Discipline-wise discussion on the results presented was held by various scientific panels for plant breeding, entomology, pathology, and agronomy, physiology and biochemistry of cotton. The meeting of varietals identification committee was also organised. Some promising genotypes were identified and discussions on new molecules for insecticides, fungicides, herbicides were held for identifying agro-chemicals for inclusion in the trials.

Talks on the transfer of technology were held wherein subjects of front line demonstrations in cotton, maintenance of nucleus and breeders seed production etc were held by experts. 



Wheat Lifting
MLA’s ultimatum to govt
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 12
The state government had announced the procurement of wheat from April 1 this year and the arrival of wheat in the local grain market has started but no government agency has yet entered in the mandi, said Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, after a survey in the grain market here yesterday.

The MLA reminded the farmers that during the Congress rule in the state, the problems of farmers were given a top priority and there was no problem of procurement or payment to the farmers whereas the present SAD-BJP government believed in hollow slogans.

The MLA gave an ultimatum to the government to start procurement within 24 hours failing which the Congress workers will launch a stir and will sit on indefinite fast.

Talking to the mediapersons, Dharamsot said more than 10,000 quintals of wheat had arrived in the mandi. Among others, Punjab Pardesh Congress secretary Dr Swatantar Karkare, Youth Congress state general secretary Jasmeet Singh Raja, block Congress chief Shingara Singh Salana, media in charge of MLA, Pargat Singh Annian, Youth Congress district general Secretary Shiv Kumar Garg, block chief Umesh Kumar Mintta, Arhtia Association chief and councillor Jiwan Kumar Puri, Congress leader Jagjit Singh Macchrai were present on the occasion.



Rs 7.8 lakh project for PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has sanctioned a research project worth Rs 7.8 lakh to Punjab Agricultural University department of food science and technology for conducting research on the “application of hurdle technology to extend the shelf life of bakery products.” 



From Schools
BCM school awards Cambridge University certificates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, today handed over the certificates issued by the Cambridge University to those who had cleared their young learners’ English exams (starters, movers and flyers).

Young learners’ test papers are checked by the Cambridge University faculty. Thus, children are prepared for language tests that they might have to face at later stage, school principal Paramjit Kaur said. Ila Vij from British Council, New Delhi, was the chief guest.

Baisakhi celebrated

Spring Dale Senior Secondary Public School celebrated Baisakhi here today.President, Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Pritpal Singh, and Hajuri Ragi Jatha Bibi Mandeep Kaur Khalsa were the chief guests.

The celebration started with recitation of “Chaupai Sahib” and “ardas.”

A fancy dress competition for students of Nursery, LKG and UKG was also organised on the occasion. Principal and founder of the school, Avinash Kaur Walia, spoke on the importance of this festival. Results: Fancy dress competition: kindergarten section: Yaskaran Singh Ist and Onkarjot Kaur IInd; primary section: Akashdeep Singh Ist and Bableen Kaur IInd. traditional dress competition: Gurnoor Ist; Jagminder IInd; Amritpal Kaur IIIrd. Primary section: Sukhpal Singh Ist; Komalpreet IInd; Kajal IIIrd.

Bhartiya Vidya Mandir

Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar and the Kitchlu Nagar Branch, celebrated Baisakhi and Ram Navmi on the school premises here today. The programme began with the lightning of the lamp by principal Sunil Arora and Vice-president M.M. Vyas. The tiny tots of Classes I and II danced on the beats of traditional music. A quiz contest was also organised on the occasion.

Tagore Public School

The students of Tagore Public School celebrated Baisakhi with fervour. The entire premises was decorated in Punjabi style. Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda was the chief guest. The Tagorians displayed their dancing skills and a fancy dress competition was also organised for tiny tots of the kindergarten section.

Founder’s day

Founder’s day was celebrated with religious fervour and fanfare at GRD Academy school’s gurdwara here today. Addressing the students and teachers principal Aneeta Kundra congratulated them for completing 15 successful years in the field of education. The chairman also congratulated staff and students for organising such an impressive programme.

The chairman and the principal also took part in a cultural programme organized by the pre-primary wing. The tiny tots, dressed in colourful traditional attires, danced to the tunes of old folk songs.



PCTE students develop ‘robosoccer’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
‘Robosoccer’, a game created by students of computer science of the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE), stole the show at the intra-college IT festival, “Athena 2008”.

“When boys play soccer it’s something very customary, when girls play, it gains attention, but if robots play then it is something astonishing. This is what robosoccer is all about,” said Dr K.N.S. Kang, director general, PCTE Institutes.

Dr Kang added that AC current was converted into DC current and the power supply was provided to the robots through adapters.

An arena of silver wires was constructed and the current was passed through it. Robots played soccer while being operated through remotes. The robot that scored maximum goals was declared the winner.

The game has been developed by BCA (II) students - Arshdeep Singh, Tohish Arora, Aseem - under the guidance of PCTE faculty member Navjeet Ghai and computer science dean Prof R. Kumar.



200 women attend cancer survirors’ meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Dr Ritu Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital organised a breast cancer survivors’ meet here today, in which about 200 women took part. Dr Ritu Biyani Joseph from Pune spoke about her initial reaction to the disease, the treatment and her family’s reaction.

She stressed on a positive reaction and said support was needed from family members and community. Patients should be given treatment options, but doctors should not confuse them by telling them several alternatives.

The doctor should be specific about the treatment available and with concern for the resources of the patient, she said.

Dr Ritu is committed to the cause of spreading cancer awareness among women.



Medical facilities to be reviewed, says Health minister
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 12
Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Punjab’s health and family welfare minister, here yesterday said the medical services provided in various jails of the state would be reviewed to bring improvement in the health facilities being provided there.

She said especially for women inmates in jails, there was a requirement of specialist services like gynecology. She said she would be visiting various jails in the state to take first hand information regarding the health services being provided there.

She added that as part of this drive, yesterday she had visited the Central Jail, Patiala, where more than 100 women were lodged. She said a special medical camp was organised during the event.

She also directed the authorities to depute regular pharmacist in the jail. She also announced to provide a dental chair unit worth Rs 1.25 lakh for the Central Jail, Patiala. 



450 examined at health camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 12
At least 450 patients, mostly children and elderly, were examined for dental and eye problems at a medical camp, organised jointly by the United Masihi Dal and the Operation Blessing India at Sanjay Gandhi colony, here yesterday.



PBA on lookout for tall rural players
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 12
The Punjab Basketball Association (PBA) has chalked out a plan for selecting tall and talented boys and girls from rural areas of Punjab and preparing them to play for the state and the country.

PBA president Rajdeep Singh Gill said the Baba Lodhiana Academy which was launched in 2002 had enrolled tall players and provided facilities like accommodation besides educational facilities. This academy has produced nine players who represented India in various international tournaments and brought fame to the country.

Jagdeep Singh, captain, Indian basketball team, Yadwinder Singh, Dilawar Singh, Sukhbir Singh Dhillon in the senior section while Gurpreet Singh and A.Samuel in the junior section, products of this academy played for India.

In the women's section Kiranjeet Kaur represented India in the Commomonwealth Games held in Melbourne, Australia while Harmander Kaur played in the Asian Basketball Championship.

Now, the tall boys and girls in the age groups of u-16 and u-19 years from rural areas would be picked up for training. They would be provided accommodation besides latest coaching and playing kits.

The players who will excel at the national-level tournaments would be honoured by the association,Gill added.

Players have been asked to contact Dr S. Subramanian, chief coach, Punjab Basketball Association at Guru Nanak Stadium here. 



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