L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Husband, in-laws booked in dowry case
Victim is a former teacher
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
A former teacher with Sacred Heart Convent School has become the latest victim of the evil of dowry. After suffering alleged harassment for over five years, she has taken the battle to the in-laws’ camp by lodging an FIR against them.

Months of struggle of the victim, Abha Malhotra, have paid off with the Division No 5 police finally registering a case of dowry and criminal intimidation under Sections 498-A and 506 of the IPC against her husband and his family.

According to the FIR lodged last night, the accused booked were her husband Amrik Singh alias Ashu, father-in-law Inderpal Singh, mother-in-law Harjeet Kaur, brohter-in-law Kanwaljit Singh and wife of Kanwaljit Singh, Gunit alias Mona.

The accused reside near Pumpkin Public School, Gurdev Nagar.

Abha had run from pillar to post to ensure police action in the matter. The FIR also mentions the case was registered on the basis of an inquiry ordered by DIG Ludhiana.

She states in the FIR that she was harassed since her marriage in 2002. She alleged her in-laws always taunted her for not bringing enough dowry. She was physically assaulted and constantly abused. She somehow managed to pull along, hoping things would improve.

The FIR further states her condition worsened when she gave birth to a girl.

She alleged the in-laws threatened to kill or dump her saying who would bear the expenses of the marriage of the daughter.

She said after suffering for years, she decide to come out in the open to save her life and that of her daughter from constant harassment. She even had to leave her job due to pressure from the in-laws.

SHO Division No 5 police station Shawinder Singh Dhillon said no arrest had been made so far. "The Crime Against Women cell is further investigating the matter."


Burger buns infected with fungus
On the date of manufacturing itself
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Having bought the burger buns of a top brand company 'Cremica' from a renowned department store in Sarabha Nagar, Raman was in for a shock on seeing the pack of buns infected with fungus. What was more shocking was that the buns were bought on June 9, the same date as that of manufacturing.

Raman, a resident of Shamsher Avenue, said he bought the pack of burger buns along with other items from Sindhi Shop, an outlet in Sarabha Nagar. "After reaching home, I noticed fungal specks on the buns and immediately called up the customer care service of Cremica, who failed to give a satisfactory reply to my query," said Raman.

The fact that the buns were infected on the very date of manufacturing, three days prior to the date of expiry i.e. June 12 has put a question mark on the “quality control” measures taken by the company.

The burger bun pack priced for Rs 20 bears the batch number 090608 MLDH.

A senior doctor, while pointing towards the ill effects of consuming fungus-infected food, said it could result in gastroenteritis and even serious poisoning, endangering life.

The customer concerned even called up at the residence of the owner of Cremica and was categorically asked to approach the customer care service or the manager, marketing.

Despite repeated calls at the customer service number 9815900206, the manager, marketing, Cremica, was not available for comments. 



Dhanda inspects roads being recarpeted
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Chief parliamentary secretary, Local Bodies, Harish Rai Dhanda today inspected two major roads in city, being recarpeted afresh. He got the samples of premix on Humbran Road and Chandigarh Road tested in his presence. He even checked the thickness and density of three different samples. 

Two of these were taken from Chandigarh Road and one from Humbran Road.

Talking to The Tribune, Dhanda said he wanted to see for himself whether the material used was of good quality and whether the contractors were following the specifications for laying a road or not.

After checking the samples, he found the density and thickness of material as per specifications. ‘‘The thickness of all the three samples was 50 mm. The contractors were following the terms and conditions properly. The density was also in accordance with the specifications, ’’ said Dhanda while expressing satisfaction.

He added he wanted to convey a message to contractors that they were accountable even when they were laying the road. ‘‘In normal circumstances the problems in a road come to light only when the work is completed. Then samples are taken and action is proposed. By that time public money is lost and the road is in bad shape,’’ said Dhanda.

Dhanda got the samples tested on the spot in the presence of MC officials and contractors.

The Humbran Road and Chandigarh Road had recently hogged headlines when senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal had inspected these and found that the contractors were not using machines according to specifications.

The commissioner had stopped work on the roads asking the contractors to get the required machinery before restarting the work. 



Amanpreet Case
Cops fail to provide safe custody to prime witness
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Making a mockery of justice, the 12-year-old maid, who is the prime witness in the Amanpreet murder case, is being shuttled around by the accused and the complainant with the police remaining a mute spectator.

The minor girl, Anju, is sandwiched between complex and dangerous legal entangles of what she allegedly saw or did not see. Neither the police nor any social organisation has come forward to help her out.

Instead of providing protection to her, the Model Town police first allowed the relatives of the deceased Amanpreet Kaur to take her along on June 6 evening, when the murder first came to light.

The cops could have recorded her statement immediately but kept on dilly-dallying on the assumption that she was a migrant and would run away later. No effort was made to provide her a safe and comfortable environment to get the truth out.

The police cried foul next day only when the maid stated before mediapersons how she had seen the murder. Eventually, the maid was handed over to the cops on June 7 afternoon, after the police persisted the witness should be given safety and no coercion could be allowed.

However, the very next day, the maid accompanied the parents of the murder accused, Sukhdeep, alias Shelly, to a press conference in a hotel. The police did not ensure she was given safe custody. No effort was made to produce her before the magistrate as early as possible to record her statement.

Daljit Singh, maternal uncle of the deceased, said they would not have the taken maid away if the police had recorded her statement on the spot. He and other relatives of the deceased allege police was dilly-dallying on using her as a witness.

Her statement was eventually recorded after relatives persisted. But the cops never brought her account on record due to which the need of her second statement before the DSP Sarabha Nagar arose.

Harmohinder Singh, father of the accused, reportedly said they had no idea who took the maid away.

He said they learnt only later that the maid was an alleged prime witness and had to produce her before the media to clear their side of the story.

Caught between the two parties besides the police, Anju has probably seen the worst side of the criminal justice system. She is being pulled in different directions with the truth fast getting buried in the melee. 



Park panel up in arms against MC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Residents of I-block of Sarabha Nagar are up in arms against the horticulture wing of municipal corporation for “victimising” them by issuing a notice to the park management committee for not maintaining the park well and not paying maintenance even a month after submitting the bill.

The PMC led by S.S.Chana had submitted a bill on May 2 but even after so many days they were not paid the maintenance. Instead the MC slapped a notice on them that they were not maintaining the park well.

The angry residents held a meeting today in which they decided to adopt a collision course if the MC did not pay them their due that was ordered in their favour, and their counterparts, by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Braille press in a shambles
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Jamalpur (Ludhiana), June 11
The only braille press in the state, located in the vicinity of the city, is in utter shambles. The virtual ruins in 12 acres house approximately 80 blind students and handicapped students. The press is just another sad story of misappropriated funds and mishandled ambitious projects of the government. The costly infrastructure lies waste.

The government seems to have turned a blind eye to the project for the blind. Gurpreet Singh, president of the Sports Association of the Blind, said the expenditure had been carelessly made on aspects where it could have been avoided. The manpower distribution is also totally mismanaged.

Broken furniture and abandoned machines reveal the picture of absolute neglect at the site. "I don't remember any bureaucrat or a minister to have visited the site ever since its inauguration by Chief Minister Beant Singh in 1993", Devinder Singh, president of the Bharat Netarheen Sewak Samaj, said.

A casual survey of the site revealed that the site needed immediate landscaping. The grass grows wildly and it has turned the Braille Bhawan into a virtual jungle. The only gardner recruited for the press spread over 12 acres is working as a watchman.

The centre now provides a perfect breeding ground for stray dogs.

The wheelchairs meant for the handicapped students are broken and there are no play stations. The literature meant for the blind is eating dust in the library. The government does not provide free braille literature to students who are over 18 years of age. Those above 18 years cannot even purchase literature from here. The printing press has only one emboss printer. As many as two emboss printers have outlived their life.

There’s only one narrator who at the audio centre is using age-old cassettes. A worker, on condition of anonymity, said, "A good samaritan donated Rs 2 lakh but as the department has no provision to accept the donations, the amount was lying unused for four years and was only recently used by the department.

Rakhi Gupta Bhandari, director, Social Welfare, said, "We are taking up the issue with the secretary concerned tomorrow. Acute shortage of staff and also funds, to a certain extent, are the main reasons for the poor results. The matter will be sorted out at the earliest".



Power in villages
Centre to grant Rs 154 cr to board
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The Union government has approved 17 projects for augmenting the power distribution system in rural areas of Punjab. It will provide funds worth Rs 154 crore to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) under the Rajiv Gandhi Nirman Yojna. The ambitious scheme aims at providing electricity to at least 1.25 lakh “power-less” villages in the country in a phased manner at an estimated expenditure of Rs 33,000 crore.

This was stated by trainee officers of the Power Resources Organisation, Union government, on the concluding day of the three-day training programme for PSEB engineers here today. They said such training programmes were being conducted all over the country to make SEBs more efficient, financially viable and to enable them to cut down transmission losses.

Such programmes had already been conducted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Meghalaya and Assam. In Punjab, such trainings were conducted in Patiala and Jalandhar.

PSEB engineer-in-chief B.S. Bath said training imparted to the engineers and technical staff of the electricity board would help them achieve better efficiency in transmission, distribution of power as well as in financial matters. 



Tampering with Voters’ List
People ask authorities to rectify it
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 11
Accusing civic authorities of allegedly tempering with the list of electorate of a few wards, candidates and residents have urged the higher authorities, including the state election commissioner to impress upon the officials concerned to rectify the schedules.

Denying allegations, the authorities maintained that the discrepancies were rectified as and when reported.

Fake and duplication of votes and deletion of genuine electors from the list were the allegations leveled by the complainants. In a communiqué to the higher authorities, including state election commissioner Pooja Sharma of ward No. 9 has alleged that the authorities had deleted the names of genuine voters and incorporated fake electorates for obliging a former president of the council.

According to her, names of at least 59 voters appeared twice in the list and there were dozens of fake votes also. Names of members of a few families living in Shiv Kutia, who had earlier opposed the former president, were deleted for obvious reasons. Their names appeared in the 2002 electorate list at serial Nos. 707 to 730.

Apprehending fake voting the complainant has demanded deletion of at least 20 votes that according to her had been enlisted in the name of those who died long ago.

In another complaint Balak Ram has accused the authorities of deleting votes of his clan for political reasons. Though name of his family members were in earlier lists, the authorities deleted them this time. However, the

authorities maintained that 59 names that had been entered twice had already been deleted. There are now 1,208 votes and not 1,269 as disclosed earlier, officials maintained.



Stray-cattle menace on rise
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 11
Stray cattle here are creating a nuisance for the commuters and pedestrians as a large number of cattle roam on busy roads of the city.

"Many accidents have taken place due to stray cattle and the number of such victims is on the rise. Stray cattle can be seen roaming on the stretch adjoining the GT Road, Amloh Road and near grain market any time", said Manveer Singh, a resident of the city.

The problem aggravates during the night hours when the commuters especially those on two-wheelers fail to detect the cattle on the roads, said Harman, a resident of Lalheri road. He said there were only two cattle shelters in the city wherein around 1,300 stray cows were being kept for the past sometime.

Most of the cattle found on the roads are those that are no more productive for dairy purposes.

The residents said the milk-giving cows were either taken away by farmers or dairy owners of nearby areas. Due to paucity of funds and lack of space the gaushalas are also unable to accommodate all stray cows.

President of Govardhan Gaushala Pushap Bithal says there are around 1,350 cows in both gaushalas of the city but due to lack space and absence of any help by the government, they fail to accommodate all cattle roaming in the city.

He said the expenses of gaushala were collectively borne by the members and donors. Most of the cows are milk-giving and become self-sufficient with the sale of milk. "The MC and other government organisations should come forward to tackle the menace", he said. 



PAU in a fix over payment of pension

Ludhiana, June 11
The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) authorities are in a quandary over the issue of payment of pension to retirees. While the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the vice-chancellor to make the payment of pension to retirees within a month, the Punjab government has expressed its inability to meet the financial needs of PAU.

The two-judge bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia on a petition by the Punjab Agricultural University Pensioners Association on May 27 directed the PAU vice-chancellor: “In case the petitioners are found entitled to the relief claimed then it should be released within a period of one month.”

Vice-chancellor Manjit Singh Kang said they had received a copy of the high court order and he had informed the Chief Minister and the chief secretary, Punjab, about the directions of the court. He said they had also sent the copies of the petition filed by the petitioners to the state government.

Meanwhile, there was a meeting between the vice-chancellor and the PAU team on the one side and chief secretary Rameshinder Singh and principal secretary, Finance, and financial commissioner (Development) on the other last month at Mohali where the vice-chancellor was told to raise the funds for the university and the state government officers expressed inability to do so.

According to Kang, the PAU team was told to strengthen the corpus fund. The vice-chancellor said there was no corpus fund with them and the state government had not conveyed anything about the announcement in the Vidhan Sabha by the finance minister while presenting the state budget where he “earmarked a corpus fund of Rs 50 crore for PAU”.

In a separate letter to the Chief Minister, the vice-chancellor has pointed out that he has inherited the financial crisis and it was the duty of the state government to “lift the burden of pension off my shoulder”. The vice-chancellor also brought to the notice of the chief minister certain utterances by the financial commissioner (Development) which had complicated the issue.

It has been learnt that PAU has Rs 10 crore out of the Rs 20-crore special grant given by the state government to meet the pension fund. The pensioners were paid pension for the months of November and December 2007 and January 2008. The pensioners have not received pension for the past four months - February to May.

Kang said they could make payment of pension for four months with Rs 11 crore which was with them. But the same had to be revalidated by the state government because the amount was to be utilised before March 31. He said they were seeking revalidation of the same from the state government.

The vice-chancellor said he would meet the Chief Minister and other senior functionaries of the state government to press upon them the need to bail out PAU from the financial crisis.



Industry absorbs 42 needy students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
At least 42 needy students from different districts of the state out of 50, have been absorbed by various industries and a salary package of Rs 80,000 per annum to Rs 1,08,000 p.a. and incentives based on their performance have been offered.

All these students from Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Malerkotla, Karamsar, etc belong to the SC, ST and OBC sections of society. "It was an exercise towards shaping young minds into useful instruments of society, as without them the story of social growth will remain incomplete", said S.P.Oswal, Chairman of Vardhman Group.

Vardhman Group of Industries absorbed eight students while Shreyans Paper Mills, Ahmedgarh, absorbed two students. Other industries which provided placement included Reliance Communications, Ludhiana Circle 7, Tata Indicom 9, ICICI Prudential 4, ICICI Lombard 9 and JCT Mills Phagwara 3. 



Residents protest overflowing sewage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Residents of Bhagwan Chowk in ward number 70 yesterday staged a dharna to protest choked sewers that had made their life a hell.

The overflowing sewers had flooded the roads in their area and the sewage even entered their houses. They staged a dharna on the road and raised slogans against the MC.

Paramjit Singh, a resident, said they had complained to the area councillor several times but to no avail. The sewerline was not able to carry load of risen population.

The entire line needed new pipes with an increased diameter. The authorities did not care.

The residents said due to sewer overflow, an epidemic could break out any time. 



Bicycle prices to go up for 3rd time
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Those planning to switch to bicycles after the fuel price hike are in for a disappointment as manufacturers of cycles are all set to increase prices by roughly Rs 100 a unit.

This will be the third increase in bicycle prices that recorded a hike of roughly Rs 165 between December last year and April this year. Post-hike, the commonly used 22-inch ‘Roadster’, that is currently available for around Rs 1,850 would cost Rs 1,950 onwards.

The rise in fuel prices and another increase in steel rates has increased costs of most input material as a result of which manufacturers of bicycles and parts are contemplating a hike. Even as this may spell trouble for this industry in terms of reduced demand and customers shifting to electronic bikes, industrialists said they had no other option than to effect a hike in prices.

"We will have to increase Rs 35 per unit due to increase in fuel prices and Rs 65 due to steel price hike. Not only bicycles, but prices of bicycle parts, too, will have to be increased if the industry is to survive," said Charanjit Singh Vishwakarma, president of the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

The bicycle industry here has been grappling with problems particularly after steel prices began recording a continual rise. The fuel rate hike that was expected to generate demand for cycles has rather shocked the industry which is suffering again with prices of items like tyres, pedals and polythene packing material, too, heading for a further increase.

After a long gap, the industry had heaved a sigh of relief as steel prices had mellowed. But prices have begun looking northward in the last one month and ingot that had reduced to Rs 32 per kilo has again touched Rs 40.

The hike in steel rates has been effected not only by main producers but also by secondary steel manufacturers.

What is adding to the worries of the industry is increasing preference of people for e-bikes that are largely imported from China. 



Equal treatment for all

This is with reference to the letter "Customers dissatisfied at banks" by Ravi Chander Garg, published in Ludhiana Tribune on June 7, 2008.

Besides dissatisfaction, these days customers are also discriminated against by the banks. Too much emphasis is being given to customers who have huge account balances or personal relations with the banker.

Further, whenever a customer presents his problem to the banking authorities, besides being ill-treated, he is told that he is not eligible for certain “facilities” as he is a small account holder and those “facilities” are meant exclusively for the “big customers”.

Bankers give special treatment to those clients who are known to them because of which other customers have to wait for long hours.

Moreover, extra concessions in rate of interest as well as other schemes are provided to these “big customers”.

Banking authorities, therefore, must consider the matter at priority and steps must be taken to eradicate customer discrimination.

Pawan Kumar Jain, Ahmedgarh 

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



JE, SDO booked following death of two
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 11
A junior engineer and sub-divisional officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board have been booked after two persons, including a minor, were electrocuted.

Anand (11) and Gurpreet (28) came in contact with live wires that were hanging loose over a shop on Sunday evening. Anand had gone to retrieve a ball from the rooftop and following a screeching sound, Gurpreet rushed to the spot to save Anand.

The duo came in contact with 11 KVA wires that were inches above the shop’s roof.



Biz Word
Singapore tourism offers packaged tour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The Singapore Tourism Board has come out with packages and offers for tourists this season.With the annual Great Singapore Sale-2008, organised by the tourism board, tourists can look forward for attractive offers and discounts,the board said in a press note issued here today.

"The Great Singapore Sale-2008 is a good opportunity to strike good bargains. We are getting good response from Ludhianvis particularly as the it is vacation time for kids too," said Rupjeet Saggar, a tour operator.

International tourists can avail tourist-privilege cards, that can be used along with the passport, for enjoying heavy discounts throughout the season, said Saggar.



Mealy bug poses threat to cotton crop
PAU stresses on immediate eradication of weed
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Mealy bug has started appearing in the cotton belt of Punjab and immediate measures are required to manage this pest. As the persisting weather is favourable for multiplication of this pest, the experts at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here have warned that once this pest migrates to cotton, its management will be very difficult.

Dr N.S. Malhi, director, extension education, talking to The Tribune, said because of the recent rains, weeds that acted as a source of multiplication and carryover of this pest to cotton crop had been emerging. "Immediate eradication of the weed is essential," he stressed and advised that weeds along water channel, roads and banks of irrigation canal and uncultivated land should be eradicated without any delay. Heavy build up of pest on the weeds would be more difficult to wipe out, he added.

Dr Malhi said the village panchyats should make farmers aware about mass eradication of weeds to reduce the damage by mealy bug. The cultivation of jowar, bajra and maize as barrier crop could help in migration of this pest to cotton crop. Since non-recommended hybrids were more prone to mealy bug attack, these should be monitored regularly. He advised the farmers not to use insecticides for the control of this pest at this stage as it would result in new pest problems on cotton.

Meanwhile, cotton grower Sukhchain Singh from Faridkot, appreciating the efforts by PAU experts to generate awareness about the pest, said till recently farmers were using insecticides to remove the bug from congress grass and weeds. "But we have been told to burn the weeds and waste shrubs near the production area as it is the best remedy," he said adding that last year, almost 40 per cent of his produce was destroyed due to mealy bug attack.

Cotton farmers from villages Shamkhera, Balochkera, Gurusar Jodha near Malout, Lambi block and Sammewali, Madrasa, Maujigarh villages in Budlada were much worried about their produce. Condemning the state government's role for providing no guidelines to cotton growers, another farmer Charnan Singh said last year mealy bug had destroyed much of their crop. "We are getting technical guidance from KVKs being run by PAU," he said.

Dr A.K. Dhawan, coordinator of the project on management of mealy bug on cotton at PAU, said population of mealy bug was building up on weeds. Congress grass was the most preferred host of this pest in cotton belt. Village panchyats should play an active role in eradication of weeds harbouring this pest. "The farmers can approach various centers set up in the cotton belt or Krishi Vigyan Kendras for guidance," he said.



Farmers opt for paddy
Lured by good MSP, they forgo state govt’s warning
Tribune News Service

Galvaddi (Khanna), June 11
The Central government’s decision to grant handsome MSP to farmers who opt for paddy crop has lured them to increase the area for sowing this water-guzzling crop. This has dealt a severe blow to the state government’s move on diversification of crops with farmers opting paddy over other crops for this kharif season. “All of us have decided to opt for intensive paddy farming this time. We got handsome price for wheat and now the government has promised an equally good MSP for paddy as well”, said Surjan Singh, a farmer having 5 acres land in Khanna.

Unaware of the depleting water table and claims of diversification by the Punjab government, these farmers are busy in paddy cultivation these days. Even problems of shortage of labour and increasing input cost due to depleting water table has not deterred them from abandoning crops under diversification. There is hardly any small or marginal farmer opting for crops like sugarcane, flowers, vegetables or pulses. Farmers from Khanna villages were not aware of the scheduled power cuts. They have already roped in generators and have stocked diesel in this regard.

Agriculture department officials revealed that this time the area under paddy plantation would increase manifolds as compared to the previous years. At Fatehgarh Sahib, the department officials confirmed that the area under paddy cultivation would increase by about 1,500 to 1,800 hectares.

As per farmers’ unions and agriculture department officials even the cotton crop in Malwa has get severe blow. “Discouraged by last year’s mealy bug attack, Malwa farmers are taking to paddy cultivation. Even quality water scarcity in Malwa has failed to deter them. Similarly, farmers living in Fatehgarh Sahib and Khanna, grew sugarcane, but pending payments with sugar mills and poor response has discouraged them,” said Ram Singh, district president, BKU Ekta (Ugraha) in Mansa.

The farmers and union leaders revealed that the government’s much-hyped diversification policy has remained only on papers. Farmers still continue with wheat-paddy cycle. “There were a small percentage of farmers who really look for diversification. Rich farmers with more than 30 to 50 acres prefer to diversify just two or three acres, whereas small farmer does not even risk that,” he added.



PAU holds workshop on farmers’ suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
A workshop to discuss the methodology for conducting census on “Farmers’ Suicides on Account of Indebtedness in Punjab” was organised today at Farmers’ Service Centre of PAU. The departments of economics and sociology of the university will conduct a census of farmers’ suicides in Sangrur and Bathinda districts on a pilot basis.

Presiding over the workshop, PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang emphasised the objective and comprehensive assessment of this complex issue facing our contemporary agrarian society. He emphasised the need to look into the phenomenon of farmers leaving agriculture in Punjab. Dr Kang assured that PAU would work in conjunction with all stakeholders for a scientific and systematic investigation of the issue.

The workshop was chaired by eminent economist Dr S.S. Johl who stressed on the need for covering all sections of rural society in the proposed census. He also highlighted the need to include genetic effect along with socio-economic factors in the investigation.

Dr R.S. Sidhu, head of the economics department, elaborated upon the issue and discussed the methodology and various factors which were expected to influence the incidence of farmers’ suicides. According to him, the census would aim at preparing a list of farmers’ suicides and scientifically delineate the role of debt in this context. In the workshop, issues related to farmers’ suicides, together with potential causes, were discussed.

Leading farm economists from Punjabi University, Patiala, including Dr Lakhwinder Singh Gill, Dr Kesar Singh Bhangu and Gurpreet Singh deliberated on the subject. Dr H.S. Shergill from Institute of Development and Communication, Chandigarh, said this topic needed to be studied comprehensively and other relevant components such as farm labourers and artisans should also be included in the study.



From Schools
Quiz contest at Kiddies’ Paradise
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
An inter-class quiz contest on "Save Nature Save Earth" was held at Kiddies' Paradise school in which nearly 60 students participated with great zeal. Teams were named as moon, sun, star, mountain, tree and cloud. Moon team comprising Mandeep and Gunesha stood first while Nandini and Gurleen’s tree team and Harsh and Sifty’s sun team bagged second and third positions respectively. 

School director Randhir Singh congratulated the winners and encouraged the students to save water and nature’s bounties to make this world a paradise on earth. Children also pledged to plant at least one plant each to keep the environment green and healthy.

CAMP CONCLUDES: The fortnight-long summer camp organised by SDP Senior Secondary School, Basti Jodhewal, concluded here today. Various activities like yoga, bhangra and other sports were held during the camp. Sonia Arora, in charge of the yoga camp, taught different yog asanas to the students. Students were also taught computer basics during the camp.

VISIT: Col M. Johur, commanding officer, 3 Punjab BN NCC, visited Spring Dale School here today. It was his first official visit to the school after taking over the command of the NCC Battalion. He was welcomed by school director Avinash Kaur Walia, principal Sandeep Raikhi, staff members and students. Col Johur expressed satisfaction with the arrangement provided to NCC students in the school. Highlighting the aim and objectives of NCC, he appealed to the students to join NCC as it would help them in their all-round development and inculcate in them, qualities like self confidence, discipline, sportsmanship, self defense, team spirit and physical fitness.



Computer workshop for teachers concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The first computer training workshop organised for computer teachers of various schools of the state concluded today at Government Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

As many as 22 teachers from Ludhiana, Faridkot, Kapurthala, Jagraon, Moga attended this camp. Trainer Brijpal Prajapat said the objective of this campaign was to teach basic technology skills to teachers who had little or no computer experience.



Pooja tops in MSc entrance test
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Guru Nanak Girls College has introduced MSc (chemistry) from the current session 2008-2009. The college organised a two-week crash course from May 1-15 for the preparation of the entrance examination of MSc (chemistry) conducted by Panjab University.

All students who attended the crash course qualified for the open combined entrance test (OCTE). Pooja Manchanda bagged the first position in OCET.

Sharanjeet Kaur stood 20th, Harpreet Kaur is 97th, Harleen Kaur secured the 108th rank and Ramanjit Kaur was placed 125th. 



Medicos pledge to spread AIDS awareness
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 11
Office-bearers of a few social, educational and medical organisations have vowed to commit themselves to the cause of educating the masses about sources and consequences of HIV/ AIDS.

The oath was administered on the occasion of the district-level HIV/AIDS and injective drug users sensitisation workshop held at Hind Hospital here today. Anil Kumar, executive director, Shryans group of Industries Ltd, presided over the function and Dr Paramjit Kaur, head, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Government Medical College, Patiala, was the chief guest. Responding to a call given by Sangrur district health officer K.C. Goel, these office-bearers vowed to join a crusade launched by the state government for eradicating AIDS.

Terming HIV and AIDS as very destructive, K.C. Goel called upon the medical staff to equip themselves with adequate knowledge before launching a crusade against the dreaded disease.

Goel apprehended that if the menace remained unchecked it would engulf 45.4 million persons by 2010.Whereas, the toll in World War II was estimated to be around 43 million and nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki claimed 70,000 lives.

Dr Goel claimed developing positive attitude towards suspects and patients was more important than medical treatment as stigma and discrimination had already multiplied their problem.

Terming drug addiction to be major cause of spread of the dreaded disease, Dr Paramjit Kaur regretted that the consumption of liquor, opium and psychotropic drugs had become a fashion among the youth. Unfortunately, parents were feeling helpless. Poverty, ignorance, lack of awareness, unemployment, low-social status of women and political instability were among other factors responsible for spread of this disease, she claimed.



Blood donation camp on June 14
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
CMCH will organise a blood donation camp on the occasion World Blood Donors Day on June 14. The day is dedicated to Karl Landsteiner, the Noble Prize winner,who invented the blood group system and was born on this date.

The hospital stated that the blood is the fluid of life because it transports oxygen, nourishment, hormones and even disease-fighting substances from one part of the body to another. And its loss due to any injury or disease is life threatening. Through science has made countless discoveries and inventions, we are not yet able to make this magic potion which has no substitute. Requirement of safe blood is increasing and regular voluntary donations are vital for blood transfusion services.

Dr Sheila Das, pathologist, head, blood bank, who is also CMCH vice-principal, said there was no artificial substitute for blood donation. A donor only needs to be between 18 to 60 years with 50 kg or above; pulse rate, body temperature and blood pressure should also be normal. Both men and women can donate. Young people, in particular, are in demand because they are generally healthier than other age groups and thus able to give.

She further informned that a healthy human has approximately 5.5 ltrs of blood out of which only 350 ml is taken depending upon donor’s weight.The withdrawn blood volume is restored within 24 hours and the hemoglobin and cell components are restored in two months. Therefore, it is perfectly safe to donate blood after every three months. Women can donate once in a year while men can donate two to three times in a year. 



Amarwant selected for national camp
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 11
Consistent performance during the past couple of years in India and abroad has brought Amarwant Singh in line with the future Indian soccer stars as he has been picked for the national coaching camp to be organised at Goa. He is the lone footballer from Punjab whose name figures among 30 campers.

Defender, Amarwant, hailing from a sleepy Bhukhri Khurd village near Ludhiana, hogged limelight when he represented the state in the 43rd edition of the Junior National Football Championship (North Zone) held at Malerkotla two years ago. For his stupendous performance in this event, Amarwant Singh was adjudged the player of the tournament.

He led the Mahilpur Academy football team which emerged state champion last year.

On the basis of this,Amarwant Singh, who passed his plus two examination this year from Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanansu, was chosen as a member of the national junior team which toured Germany and Iran for cocahing there, however, India failed to qualify for the international soccer tournament.

The All-India Football Federation has been organising this three month-long training camp to prepare the national junior team for the upcoming international tournaments slated to begin in September.



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