P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Organic farming withstands rough weather
Rajnish Sharma

Nabha, April 14
A comparison of damage to wheat crop during last week's rain made by an NGO, Kheti Virasat, shows some interesting facts. While the recent rains in Punjab and parts of the northern India created havoc for crop grown by chemical farming, the crop grown by organic farming or with indigenous seeds withstood the rough weather.

The cluster of 150 farmers, formed by Kheti Virasat in Nabha block of Punjab who are practising organic farming as well as sowing indigenous varieties of wheat, did not observe any significant damage to their crops. This has proved further that indigenous seeds and organic farming should be promoted.

Not only this, crops grown through organic farming have a higher nutrient value too.

Farmers who have grown crops through chemical farming have observed damage to their wheat crop in the range of 25 to 30 per cent while the farmer who has grown indigenous variety through organic farming will have a complete yield.

Director of Kheti Virasat, Surinder Singh, told this correspondent that these observations had given a boost to the movement of organic farming. He said his organisation would request the government to frame an organic farming policy for Punjab and encourage farmers to grow organic crops.

He said organic farming refers to the way food is grown and processed. It is an ecological system that relies on healthy, rich soil to produce plants that resist pests and diseases. The use of chemicals (fertilisers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics etc) is prohibited, while practices that work with nature such as crop rotation, cover crop planting, use of animal and plant waste, composts, biofertilisers and biopesticides, beneficial insect release are encouraged.

He said the organic products market is growing at a high rate in both India and internationally. If sincere efforts are put in by the government of Punjab, it could again bring prosperity in the agriculture sector.

He added that India has over 200 million potential customers for organic products to be tapped and the developed world looks to India for organic products. The market for medicinal, aromatic and dye organic plants, neutraceuticals and cosmeticals is also emerging at a rapid pace. The world market for organic products is $ 35 billion and growing at 7-15% per annum. The USA alone accounts for $ 11-13 billion followed by the European Union ($10-11 billion).

Nearly 130 countries produce organic products. Australia is the largest organic producer with 11.3 mha under organic cultivation followed by Argentina (2.8 mha) and Italy (1.05 mha).


Expel those indulging in ragging: Sud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Medical education and research minister Tikshan Sud today issued directions to all government and private medical, dental, Ayurveda, homoeopathy, paramedical and nursing colleges to immediately expel the students indulging in ragging.

In a communiqué addressed to the vice-chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, director, Medical Education and Research, and others, the government has reiterated directions of the minister to effectively ensure a ban on ragging at their respective institutes during new session beginning next month.

The minister said any laxity shown by the authorities concerned in implementing the guidelines in this connection would invite stern disciplinary action.

Making it imperative for the management to implement the latest guidelines of the Supreme Court against ragging, the minister said the every institute was required to nominate medical superintendent as nodal officer to check the practice. He said old and senior students and their parents should be notified regarding new directions of the Supreme Court.

Calling upon the principals to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis, he said they and their staff must watch out for any sign of depression among new students and such cases should be probed deeply.

Appealing to senior students to welcome new students with love instead of ragging them, he said junior students expected their seniors to depict leadership qualities in such situations. 


Power boost: 250-MW unit inaugurated
Harbinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Lehra Mohabbat (Bathinda), April 14
Two more units of 250 MW will be commissioned here and two of an equal capacity at Bathinda, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced here today. He was here to inaugurate the 250-MW unit III of stage II of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP), putting in motion the process of doubling the state’s own power generation from 4500 MW to over 10,000 MW. He said unit IV of stage II with a 250-MW power generation capacity would be commissioned in June.

The CM lauded the engineers and workers at the GHTP who had worked to make the project a success.

He said while the state required 11,000 MW of power, it was generating only 6,200 MW at present.

As the unit has been in the news for tripping over 20 times a month since it began operations, chief engineer (construction), GHTP, P.S. Baweja said he the unit was better than the ones at Bathinda or Ropar.

Chairman Y.S. Ratra, however, declined to comment on any operation-related query when contacted. He said, “It is a big day for Punjab and a step to curb the shortage of power.”

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, while addressing the large gathering termed the Congress regime as poor and praised the development path that his party and the CM were treading upon.

While leaving the venue, the CM listened to the farmers’ grievances briefly as he was running behind schedule. 


Clintons visit Jagraon doctor in US
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 14
Former US President Bill Clinton is making all-out efforts to woo Punjabis, particularly those based in California, in his bid to solicit their support for his presidential candidate wife Hillary Clinton.

Since more than 60 per cent of the one-million strong Indo-American community comprises Punjabis, the Clintons are in no mood to leave any stone unturned to fetch their support for the last leg of primary presidential polls to be held in the states of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia, Oregon, Indiana and Portrico between April 22 and last week of June.

“Though Hillary has already emerged winner in the primary poll held in California on February 5, the Clintons are keen about the Punjabi community in the state as they feel Punjabis can affect Hillary’s prospects in other states. The Clintons and their Democratic Party feel Punjabis have made a tremendous contribution towards the overall development of the US,” observed Calfornia-based medical oncologist Dr Amarjit Dhaliwal while talking to The Tribune here.

Dr Dhaliwal, who originally hails from Jagraon, was here to meet one of his relatives and currently undertaking a tour of Punjab.

Dr Dhaliwal earned a rare honour in the vast Central California area on March 30 when the former US President and his wife Hillary visited his Modesto-based home and met about 300 Punjabis and their representatives at the place apart from holding political discussions with Dr Dhaliwal and others.

“It was for the first time in Central California that Bill and Hillary Clinton turned up at the home of a Punjabi professional or that of any Indo-American. I see it as a big honour,” said a beaming Dr Dhaliwal, who was among the 535-member electoral college of the USA in 2004 from California.


Badal claims credit for progress of state
Bhanu P. Lohumi
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, April 14
The SAD-BJP combine today celebrated Baisakhi by firing salvos at the Congress and accusing it of discriminating against Punjab and perpetrating injustice on the people of the state.

Addressing a congregation at the historic Damdama Sahib Gurdwara here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal held the Congress responsible for pursuing wrong policies and blamed its biased attitude for the ills faced by the state.

The brief speech of Chief Minister was a unique blend of religious fervour, emotions, promises, accusations and praise for the valour of the people of Punjab who had made supreme sacrifices for defending the country.

Slogans of 'Jo Bole So Nihal' rent the air as Badal made revered references to Guru Gobind Sahib and the sacrifices made by the Sikhs.

Stressing that development of infrastructure including roads, power, irrigation and drinking water would be on top of the agenda of the government, Badal said 8-hour electricity supply to farmers and 24-hour power supply to industrial units would be assured in the near future.

Another 250-MW unit of the Lehra Mohabbat Thermal plant would become operational from today and the foundation stone of a 2000-MW power plant, to be set up at a cost of Rs 10,000 crore, would be laid soon, easing the power situation considerably, the CM said. In next three years, three new projects at Fakharsartheri, near Malout, Rajpura and Vaniwali, near Mansa, would come up to meet the shortage of electricity.

“Our government has also got Rs 180 crore sanctioned from the Centre for the development of Talwandi Sabo and Shri Anandpur Sahib which are holy shrines of the Sikhs,” he added.

He said that 20 lakh packets of Bt cotton seeds would be made available to farmers, The process of issuing appointment letters to 14,000 teachers would begin from today and domestic flights from the Air Force station in Bathinda would commence soon, he added.

Badal also announced the setting up of Guru Granth Sahib University at Fatehgarh Sahib at a cost of Rs 100 crore and disclosed that the Bathinda-Talwandi Sabo road would be four-laned by next Baisakhi.

Sukhbir also accused the previous Congress government of not protecting the interests of the state and said it was only after the SAD-BJP came to power that issues like water and MSP for wheat were taken up effectively with the Centre.

”Our government is a government of the farmers and the poor and all our policies and programmes are being tuned to raise their socio-economic status,” he said, adding that the Congress government did nothing for the people and had left a huge debt burden of Rs 51,000 crore.


Capt, Bhattal address media separately
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo/Bathinda, April 14
While Capt Amarinder Singh Badal and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal refrained from blaming each other in public, they held separate press conferences.

Just after leaving the venue, Amarinder addressed some mediapersons at a petrol pump situated near Takht Damdama Sahib.

He accused Bhattal of being self-centred. Only if she changed her biased attitude would they be able to work together in the party, he pointed out. The Captain clarified that he had no personal grudge against Bhattal.

“I have been in the Army. So, I follow the principle that first serve others, and then think of yourself. But this is missing in Bhattal as she got a respite from the corruption cases due to collusion with the Badals,” he alleged.

Lashing out at the government for registering “fake” cases against Congress workers, he said, “If the leaders of the ruling party want to express their anger, they must target me, not my supporters and voters.”

On the other hand, apparently having received a tip-off about the Captain’s press conference, Bhattal too arranged a conference with media persons at Bathinda. She said Amarinder must adopt the Congress mindset and work for the party’s welfare.

Asked about speculations over Amarinder’s alleged plan to defy the party high command, she said, “It would be the biggest mistake on his part. I have warned all members of the Congress that whoever commits a wrong will have to face the music.”

About the two factions raising slogans at the Baisakhi conference, she said since the atmosphere was charged, it was only natural and not a case of indiscipline.

Clarifying on her respite from the corruption cases, the PPCC chief said there was no role of the Badal government in it as the orders had been issued by the judiciary.


Rana Gurjit pitches for Khadoor Sahib constituency
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 14
The Congress MP from Jalandhar today made his intentions clear to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Tarn Taran parliamentary constituency, rechristened as Khadoor Sahib after delimitation, while addressing the party’s rally to mark Baisakhi at Chohla Sahib, about 50 km from here, today. With Jalandhar having been made a reserve seat, Rana Gurjit Singh had to move to the Majha heartland.

The general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Harminder Singh Gill, and Sukhdev Singh Shehbazpuri, district Congress committee chief said Rana would win the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from this constituency if given a chance.

However, talking to The Tribune, Rana Gurjit Singh said he would contest from Khadoor Sahib if the party gave him ticket. Addressing the rally, the Congress MP came down on the political patronage being extended to the spread of drug menace in the border area of Punjab. He alleged intoxicants were being smuggled from Pakistan and finding their way to the youth who are becoming addicted to these destroyers of life.

Rana said the power supply in the state had been deteriorating and the worst suffers were the villagers. He said summer was yet to set in, but villages were hardly getting any power supply.

The atta dal scheme launched with fanfare by the Badal government had also turned out to be a flop show. It was a fraud played on the poor people of Punjab, he alleged.

Rana Gurjit Singh opposed the tax exemption being given by the Akali government even for obscene films. 


Supporters also put up separate shows
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 14
Fissures in the Punjab Congress widened with supporters of former CM Amarinder Singh and those of PPCC chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal putting up separate “welcome shows” for the two leaders as they left the city and proceeded towards Talwandi Sabo to participate in the party’s Baisakhi conference there today.

The Bhattal group left no stone unturned to leave an impression that she has full hold on the Punjab Congress. Bhattal travelled from Chandigarh along with a large number of supporters and reached Patiala. Capt Amarinder Singh’s supporters also put up a parallel “show of strength” in their bid to show that he was the “real hero” of the party. On expected lines, the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) and its chief Vijayinder Singla threw his weight behind Capt Amarinder Singh while former minister Lal Singh and former Mayor Vishnu Sharma accompanied Bhattal in her car.


Cong coordination panel meeting today
Amarinder not to attend: Sonia
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today faxed message to Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressing inability to attend meeting of the newly formed state-level Coordination Committee scheduled to be held in Delhi tomorrow.

He has strategically reactivated himself in state’s politics via traditional Baisakhi day political conference at Talwandi Sabo today. His supporters competed against those of Bhattals’ and some of them even left the venue after he delivered the penultimate speech before Bhattal.

After the function at Talwandi Sabo, Amarinder said he had received a notice from Bhattal regarding the committee meeting.“I forthwith sent a fax message to the Congress president expressing regret at being unable to attend the meeting and also detailing reasons for such action”.

Amarinder also said the committee should be reconstituted anew claiming Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal had deliberately recommended the names of leaders opposed to him, for induction in the committee. He said Congress general secretary and in charge for Punjab Affairs Margaret Alva had asked Bhattal to recommend names for the committee keeping in view all groups and views in the Pradesh Congress.

“However, Bhattal chose to submit a list of her supporters only”, he said adding the committee was lopsided with three Patiala leaders being included in it solely because they opposed him. “The objective of the committee is to discuss the differences in the party and decide the party’s stand on them. What discussion can I do against brute force,” he said adding he would like the committee to represent all three regions of the state - Doaba, Malwa and Majha equably.

On whether he had interacted with Bhattal today at Talwandi Sabo and what needed to be done for genuine rapprochement between them, Amarinder said Bhattal needed to change her present stance. “She needs to move away from appeasing the Akalis and take up aggressive posture adopted by me”. He said if Bhattal failed to do so, she would only damage the party in the process.

The former CM also made it clear the Congress worker was being demoralised in the present set-up. 


Boy’s drama of abduction flops
Rajnish Sharma

Nabha, April 14
Aganrahitpal Singh here staged the drama of his own abduction. He returned home after 20 days after his ‘plan’ flopped.

DSP Arshdeep Singh Gill said Aganrahitpal, a resident of Guru Nanak Pura mohalla here and studying in RIMT, Gobindgarh, failed to return after he left for his college on March 18. Gill added that the police was informed about his missing and extortion calls. He said the boy kept the police on its toes for almost a fortnight, before it concluded that the boy was misleading his parents. He said a weak student with pressure of parents for meritorious performance preferred staging a drama of his abduction after watching a crime show on TV.

Aganrahitpal called up his father Gursaran Pal Singh in his office in Malerkotla in a changed voice saying his son had been abducted. Next day as abductor, he sent an SMS to his father and asked him to check his mail. He had sent this mail from a cyber café in Amritsar. In the mail he wrote of his abduction and impending murder. After a couple of days, he sent his clothes and mobile via courier from Jalandhar and left for Hardwar.

A police team, led by SHO Gurinder Singh Bal, finding things fishy, raided his possible hideouts in Amritsar and Jalandhar. The courier company and cyber café employees recognised his photograph, when shown by the police in Jalandhar and Amritsar.

The SHO said from these revelations they concluded that the boy was befooling his parents and playing hide and seek with the police. A psychologist’s help was taken and Aganrahitpal was persuaded to return home. During these days he largely stayed in gurdwaras and dharam shalas.


7-year-old boy kidnapped
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 14
Lakhbir Singh (7) was kidnapped by two migrant labourers as his father allegedly refused to give advance payment to them. A case was registered at Lopoke police station in Amritsar (Rural) police district here today.

According to complaint by a relative of the victim and resident of Khiala Kalan village, said the two accused, Shiv (19) and Ranjit (20), used to work at their farms and asked for advance money from the victim’s father Baldev Singh.

However, the police was clueless about whereabouts of culprits.


Turban Ban
Radicals meet Pak PM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 14
Representatives of the SGPC and radical Sikh organisations of different countries today met Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani at his residence in Islamabad and urged him to take up the issue of a ban on turban with his French counterpart.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from Islamabad, Dr Pritpal Singh, convener, American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said Gillani accepted the offer of the Sikh delegation to participate in a seminar scheduled to be held in Lahore on October 20 to mark Gurta Gaddi Divas. He had also promised to take part in a religious function to be held at Nankana Sahib.

Among the delegates were Avtar Singh Sanghera, UK-based Babbar Khalsa leader, Baldev Singh, leader of the SGPC jatha, Sham Singh and Bishan Singh, both former presidents of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, Bibi Surjit Kaur from Jammu and Kashmir, Jaswinder Singh Dhuri and Talwinder Singh Chaheru.

To a question, Dr Pritpal Singh replied that Sikh leaders would hold a meeting with the chairman of the Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board in connection with the formation of international gurdwara prabandhak committee.

Harwinder Singh Sarna, former president, DSGMC, who could not meet Gillani due to his busy schedule, said the Pakistan government had already written to Parmjit Singh Sarna, DSGMC chief, so as to include him in the proposed committee.


Tiwana silences her critics
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Newly elected president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi Dalip Kaur Tiwana has sought to put to rest all doubts raised by her critics that she may not be able to devote enough time to the akademi.

“Patiala is not far, the president does not necessarily have to be from Delhi. In this age of technology, distances have been bridged and I understand that now I have a big responsibility on my shoulders. I would give my best to work towards the welfare of the akademi and our culture,” she said soon after her victory in the akademi elections.

The acclaimed writer, however, said she was never a part of any controversy and that she would like to work with all writers unitedly. “Gill is like my younger brother. For me there is no party, no group. We will all work together.”

Heavy politicisation of elections this time bothered quite a few litterateurs who said it was sad that several candidates tried to hog limelight. Renowned poet Surjit Pattar, who supported Tiwana, said writers should resist from such tactics.

Sukhdev Singh, who emerged winner for the post of general secretary, said he would focus on bridging the gap between writers and authors. “We would promote Punjabi writers by translating their works and organising interactions between readers and authors.”

Badal extends congratulations

Chandigarh: Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday congratulated Punjabi writer Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana. He said with her becoming president, the status of the Akademi would touch the pinnacle of glory. Education minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur, information and public relations minister Bikram Singh Majithia, member of Parliament Sukhbir Singh Badal and media adviser Harcharan Bains also congratulated Dr Tiwana and her team.


More results declared 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 14
Amid demands for recounting and allegations of use of unfair means, elections to the executive body of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi were more or less completed today.

Inderjit Hasan Puri, Anoop Singh, Avtar Jaura and Shinder Pal Singh were elected vice-presidents. Joginder Singh Nirala from Jammu was elected vice-president for the post reserved for candidates living outside Punjab. He defeated Karamjit of Kurukshetra University.

Fissures among various groups refused to die even after the counting was over. Gurbhajan Gill, who lost to Dalip Kaur Tiwana for the post of president, sought recounting of votes. Another candidate Surinderjit Kaur also asked for recounting of votes. However, presiding officer Harbir Bhanwar turned down their demand on the ground that it was made after the results were announced.

Dr Surjit and Harjinder Walia alleged foul play in the counting process and demanded a recounting even as the counting was on. Conceding their demand, all votes for the post of vice-president were counted again. This delayed the announcement of the results.

In the case of executive members, Gurcharan Kaur Kochhar was polled the largest number (426) of votes followed by Ravi Ravinder (387). The other executive members who got elected were Lok Nath, Sharanjit Kaur, Sham Sunder Deepti, Surinder Rampuri, Saroop Singh Alakh, Swarnjit Kaur Grewal, Kuldip Singh Bedi, Jaspal Mann Khera, C. Markanda, Bhupinder, Hamdard Vir Nausharvi and Mahinder Deep Grewal. Sudarshan Daso from Ambala was elected unopposed.

The counting for the post of senior vice-president has been deferred and the result would be declared on April 27.


Undertrial former cop’s death
SDM to conduct probe
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, April 14
Mystery shrouds the death of a former cop who was brought here on production warrant by the Verowal police from the high- security central jail, Amritsar on April 12 night.

The police alleged former cop Sukhdev Singh alias Sukha who was dismissed from Jagraon police following theft cases and declared proclaimed offender had died for want of medical aid.

Passing the buck to Health authorities S.P.(headquarter) Rashpal Singh Ghumman and Balwinder Singh DSP Goindwal Sahib alleged the deceased was first taken to Mianwali rural dispensary when he complained of serious abdomen problem but could not be treated there because there was no doctor there. Consequently , he had to be taken to Tarn Taran’s civil hospital. Without giving any treatment to the former cop , the Tarn Taran Health authorities referred him to mental hospital , Amritsar . However, mental hospital authorities refused to admit the former cop without court orders. Then he was taken to civil hospital , Tarn Taran where he died . Ridiculing the decision of sending the patient to mental hospital , its director Dr B.L Goyal said there was no provision of admitting undertrials without court orders.

However, Dr Amrit Kaur , civil surgeon said Sukha was chronic drug addict and died following withdrawal syndrome. She, however, failed to give satisfactory reply why Sukha was not given timely treatment when he was brought to civil hospital, Tarn Taran .

Additional deputy commissioner Kirpal Singh said he had directed SDM Khadoor Sahib to conduct the inquiry to find out facts .


Sodomy cases highest in Ludhiana
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
A study based on sodomy cases and sodomy-related deaths in Punjab over a two-year period, besides holding the industrial city of Ludhiana responsible for as many as 23 per cent of such cases, also makes out a case for introducing sex education amongst children of the migrant population of the city.

The study, conducted after studying more than 100 cases of sodomy and sodomy-related deaths in Punjab by the State Chemical Laboratory of Patiala during 2005-06, found that children of migrant labourers as well as those from the lower strata of society were falling victim to sodomy due to sheer ignorance.

A senior government doctor, D.C. Sharma, who headed the laboratory during the period of the study, said 73 per cent of the victims were below 15 years and did not understand the meaning of this unnatural act. He said what was more pathetic was that the age group of six to 10 years constituted the largest group of 40 per cent of all reported cases.

Dr Sharma said this was the group which was easily lured by anti-social elements offering them sweets or other allurements, including showing of television. He said this group also included children who were below five years. These children, who constituted 7 per cent of all reported cases, did not understand the meaning of boyhood and could not relate their problem properly, often complaining only of pain.

Ludhiana district, which has the largest number of sodomy victims, has also earned the notorious reputation of reporting the highest number of victims in the age group of six to 10 years. This, the study says, could be due to a large number of migrants living away from their families for long periods of time.

However, no age group seems to be immune against this crime. The number of sodomy victims is 14 per cent in the adolescent age group of 16 to 20 years, 8 per cent 21 to 30 years and 5 per cent above 30 years. The youngest victim was a four-year-old boy of Mansa and the oldest 62 years of Ludhiana district.

As far as district-wise percentage figures go after Ludhiana, the most number of cases have been reported from Faridkot (6 per cent), followed by Mansa (5 per cent) and Nawanshahr (4 per cent).

The study also found that 31 per cent of all cases reported to the chemical examiner during this two-year period were found to be positive for the presence of spermatozoa. Dr Sharma said this did not rule out sodomy in other cases and there were seceral reasons for the non-detection of spermatozoa, including non-ejaculation due to the cries of the child. For this, the laboratory had used other diagnostic tools, including physical examination.

The study has recommended that since more victims of sodomy were innocent children, it was of utmost importance that laboratory reports of samples were given in a reasonably shorter period. Dr Sharma said the criminal case in such cases had to be filed within 90 days failing which the accused could be released on bail.


Baisakhi fest concludes
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, April 14
The three-day Baisakhi celebrations concluded here today. Thousands of pilgrims paid obeisance at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib.

The bhog ceremony of the akhand path was performed today. Akhand paths were started at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Sisganj, Bhaura Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and Qila Nandgarh. At Kiratpur Sahib, the path was started at Charan Kamal Sahib Gurdwara, Gurdwara Patalpuri and Sheesh Mahal. The SGPC organised various religious ceremonies. All three days Panj Piaras baptised devotees at the Takht 


Baba Farid varsity VC lobbies for extension
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 14
Lobbying has started for the post of vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences as the term of the vice-chancellor, Dr Ravinder Singh, is due to end in a few months.

Dr Ravinder Singh was picked by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for this post.

He was appointed vice-chancellor after he had demitted office as director, Research and Medical Education (DRME).

According to sources in the Medical Education Department, Dr Ravinder Singh has started lobbying for an extension and sought the help of some senior Akali Dal leaders of the state.

Hailing from Patiala, where he worked as principal of Government Medical College, Dr Ravinder Singh managed to hold key assignments during the Congress rule. He held the post of DRME, Punjab, principal of Government Medical College at Patiala, and head of the surgery department at the Government Medical College and Government Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. 


Rs 150 bonus on wheat MSP sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 14
The National Agro-Rehabilitation, Institutions Environment and Consumer Forum (NAGRIEC) today urged the Union government to give Rs 150 per quintal as bonus on wheat to farmers.

Speaking to reporters, chairman, NAGRIEC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, said the existing minimum support price offered to farmers to procure wheat for the national pool not being enough, there was a strong case for bonus to farmers over and above the MSP. He said input costs had gone up and farmers needed to be compensated in this regard.

Gidwani said global shortage of wheat and increase in the consumption would make procurement of wheat difficult and to avoid repetition of past two years when the Union government had failed to procure required quantity there was need to offer to farmers something extra in financial terms. He said food prices were shooting up in the entire world and adequate procurement of wheat would help keep wheat floor price down in the national market.

Gidwani said there was need to procure 20 million tonnes of wheat to keep wheat floor price under control in the national market, he added. The estimated consumption in PDS would be in the range of 15 million tonnes, he added. 


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