L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PAU Pension Issue
For now, assurance alone from CM
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 17
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has assured Punjab Agricultural University vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang of helping the university in meeting its financial needs, including the pension fund.

A meeting, presided over by the chief minister, was held in Chandigarh today to discuss the financial crisis of the PAU and in particular the pension issue of retirees of the PAU.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the vice chancellor to make the payment of the pension to the retirees within one month and the university is faced with the problem of “no funds” to meet the direction of the high court.

The vice chancellor had informed the Chief Minister about the high court direction and the financial crisis being faced by the PAU.

Today’s meeting was attended among others by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, principal secretary finance (FCD), secretary agriculture, Dr S.S. Johl, former deputy chairman of the Punjab planning board.

The vice chancellor presented the case of the PAU before the meeting and Dr Johl also presented the report of the committee, which he is heading.

Dr Johl is understood to have suggested to the chief minister to levy a cess on the sale of agricultural produce mainly wheat and paddy as he has also talked to some of the farmer unions who agree to help the university in meeting its financial crisis.

This way, funds worth around Rs 150 crore were expected to be collected, which would bail out the PAU.

The chief minister is understood to have agreed to the proposal and a mechanism would be formulated soon.

When contacted over the phone, Dr Kang said he was positive that the chief minister would help the university in tiding over the financial crisis.

The immediate concern was of meeting the pension needs of retirees as directed by the high court, he said.


Uniform Fee
Pvt colleges say it’s not feasible
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
In the wake of Panjab University deliberations for a common fee structure in affiliated colleges, private colleges in the city have expressed their helplessness in making the move practicable on ground under the current financial conditions.

The university has 116 colleges affiliated with it, out of which 95 are non-government colleges, which cater to around 80 per cent of total students.

The authorities of private colleges of the city feel that uniformity in fee structure is not feasible on account of lesser sanctioned posts, increased expenditure on infrastructure, expenditure on the state-of-the art science labs, gymnasium facilities and maintenance expenditure.

Meanwhile, all private colleges affiliated with the university remain on tenterhooks as the university had earlier directed them not to publish fee structure in their respective prospectuses.

It may be recalled that in October, 2007, Panjab University had constituted a committee to look into the possibility of having a uniform fee structure in private colleges and give it’s recommendations for implementation.

After three to four meetings, the matter was brought to the PU syndicate on May 18. The syndicate then recommended extending the existing committee by adding more members.

Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Boys principal Prof T.S. Anand expressed his disagreement with the intended policy of uniformity in the fee structure.

He said: “This is practically not possible especially when government has shrugged off its responsibility of funding private colleges to the extent of 95 per cent.”

Earlier, the government used to compensate around 95 per cent of the losses where as the management used to pay only five per cent from its own pocket.

But over the years, the state government grants had been shrinking in the annual education budget.

The posts of teacher have decreased, while the number of students has
almost tripled.

The colleges are forced to opt for makeshift arrangements and are recruiting lecturers on ad hoc basis.



Chaos rules as candidates rush to file papers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 17
The last day of filing nominations for the municipal council elections being preceded by two holidays, officials had a tough time in handling candidates and their supporters today.

Confusion prevailed about closing time for submission of nominations. While the nominations were received at the office of joint sub-registrar here till 3 pm, the returning officers at Raekot and Payal accepted nomination papers till 6 pm.

Payal SDM Neeru Katyal said directions regarding the extension of timings were received from the district authorities today morning. The documents were received between 11 am and 3 pm on all other days.

Situation became chaotic when a large number of candidates and their supporters arrived at the sub-tehsil in the morning.

Things got out of control because candidates feared getting late for the filing
of nominations.

The police had to make extra security arrangements for safety of the candidates and their supporters, who marched in groups to file the nominations.

Senior leaders of various parties also accompanied the candidates. Several candidates were seen filing their papers in a hurry as they feared getting replaced at the last minute.

As many as 54 candidates filed their papers for 15 wards of the town raising the number of candidates to 128.

The nomination papers for the town were handed over to tehsildar Amandeep Singh Bhatti while for the Raekot municipal council, the papers were handed over to Raekot SDM Mukand Singh Sandhu.

Meanwhile, the Payal SDM received nominations for Doraha and Payal. The contest would be straight at almost all wards of Payal where 22 prospective candidates have filed papers for 11 wards till today.

Interestingly, while there is a code of conduct for the candidates contesting assembly or Parliament elections, there are no such guidelines for the candidates contesting the council or other local bodies elections.



Flooding: Admn fails to budge
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
Two days after Baniewal village, near here, was flooded and 150 acre of agricultural land was under water, no operation was launched by the district administration to help farmers drain out water.

The fields remained inundated as villagers expressed their anger towards the callous administration. They said that in spite of media reports, the administration had not woken up.

“Not even a patwari visited us today. We kept waiting, thinking somebody would come to take stock of our plight, but to no avail. It seems as though we are not living in our own country,” said lambardar Sant Singh.

He added that crops worth lakhs of rupees were damaged and fields were still
under water.

“Somebody should have paid a visit. Even political leaders, who make rounds during elections, were nowhere to be seen. We are disgusted.”

The agony of these farmers who had lost crops, including bananas, lady’s finger, stevia, chilli, fodder and paddy, was highlighted in these columns today.



MC razes jhuggis
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A demolition squad of the municipal corporation removed jhuggis near Rockman factory here today.

The action followed failure on part of the dwellers to remove the shanties themselves. The dwellers were given a warning last month to leave the area but they stayed put.

The municipal corporation today went to the scene and removed structures encroaching on the MC land.



Seizure of explosives
Police carries out search
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
The police carried out a search operation in crowded and religious places and vital installations throughout the day after 24.5 kg explosives were seized in Jagraon.

The arrested terrorists were reportedly planning to target crowded places and
vital installations.

Panic gripped the Feroze Gandhi market when an abandoned car was found. A bomb disposal unit and sniffer dogs searched the car till the owner came.

The police searched car bazar in Feroze Gandhi market, bus stand, railway station, temples, shopping complexes and vital installations of telecommunications.

Announcements were made at these places to call the police if some suspicious substance or unscrupulous person was spotted.



Euro 2008
Cable operators restrained from telecast
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 17
The Delhi High Court has ordered in favour of ESPN STAR Sports (ESPN) in its suit for permanent injunction filed against cable operators across the country against unauthorised broadcast of the ongoing UEFA Euro Football Tournament 2008 (TM) and the forthcoming Asia Cup-2008 starting later this month.

The court in its orders has restrained all cable operators from unauthorisedly showing the two tournaments through their cable networks.

The Euro Cup is being telecast on ESPN and STAR Sports and Asia Cup-2008 cricket tournament will be telecast on ESPN and STAR Cricket channels.

According to a press release issued here yesterday by the ESPN sports channel, it was stated that the channel in its suit before the Delhi High Court claimed that the defendants, around 100 cable operators, were taking unauthorised connections and accessing signals of the plaintiff without taking licence from the company.

After this order, anyone showing Euro 2008 and Asia Cup 2008 through any unauthorised means or any other channel will be held in contempt of court and
liable for prosecution.

The court has also permitted ESPN to take action against all cable operators not party to the suit but were found unlawfully utilising the feed of ESPN, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket.

Vijay Rajput, chief operating officer, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said: “We are delighted with the verdict. The court has made it clear that piracy will not be tolerated. We will have a team of observers across the country to ensure that piracy does not happen and in case we spot any, we will align with the police to bring the guilty to book.”

Mr Justice Sunil Gaur of the Delhi High Court being prima facie satisfied by the material disclosed to it by ESPN, restrained 100 cable operators from transmitting and/or telecasting in any manner without licence from the ESPN the telecast of UEFA Euro 2008 and Asia Cup 2008.

The cable operators have been restrained from telecasting/transmitting any other channel or in any other manner infringing the copyright/re-broadcast right of ESPN STAR Sports, the order read.

The court has also barred unnamed cable operators who may be found indulging in cable piracy of the two tournaments.

The police authorities concerned have been directed to render all assistance to ESPN to enforce the order of injunction.



Speaking Out
‘Hike not fair’
Cable companies are asking subscribers to pay Rs 250 as monthly charges to their operators. While companies say
they have taken the decision to ensure smooth revenue inflow, the move has caused resentment among residents.
Shveta Pathak talks to a few of them to find out what they have to say about the hike.

Chaman Lal Hike in cable charges is unfair. At present, we are paying Rs 150 a month and now, the companies want an increase of Rs 100. This would affect our budgets. The direct to home (DTH) services, too, require heavy initial deposit. We will be forced to switch to DD. — Chaman Lal

Jagdev SinghThe quality of cable services is deteriorating each day and even if we lodge a complaint, none attends to it for days. The operators keep changing channels arbitrarily. Most of the times we cannot find the channels we want to watch. The increase in monthly charges is uncalled for. — Jagdev Singh

VeenuZooming inflation has already hit household budgets. Everything has gone expensive and now, even cable companies are asking subscribers to pay more. We are paying Rs 200 a month. Increasing competition should have benefited the customer, but it is otherwise. — Veenu

Raju MalhotraThe move is totally unjust as the cable charges are already very high. While in case of other service providers like the telecom sector, the rates are declining, in this case, it is reverse. I have decided to go without a cable connection than to pay the hiked charges. — Raju Malhotra

Rajni KapoorI would switch to the DTH service if my cable operator increases charges. This month we paid him the old rates only, but companies want subscribers to pay more. Now that their services are worsening, it will be wise to look for other options. — Rajni Kapoor

Vinod GuptaAlthough this month we paid Rs 200 only, the cable service provider is constantly flashing a ticker on the TV screens asking us to pay Rs 250. Even Rs 200 are not less. I will switch to the DTH service if there is hike in charges. — Vinod Gupta



Man conned out of Rs 2.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 17
A Khanna resident was duped of Rs 2.5 lakh in cash by an unidentified person at the local State Bank of Patiala branch here today.

The accused had taken the money from the victim on the pretext of depositing it with the bank cashier.

In his complaint to the police, the victim, Tarlochan Singh, alleged that an unidentified man wearing black trousers and white shirt took away cash on the pretext of depositing it with the bank cashier.

He alleged that the man took the money from him taking advantage of heavy rush in the bank. He allegedly asked people with large amounts to stand in separate queue.

The man then took the money from the victim on the pretext of giving the amount to the cashier through a different window.

The man, however, fled the scene and could not be traced. The CCTV camera installed at the bank was working and efforts were being made by bank officials and the police to identify the person. No case had been registered till filing of the report.



Man kidnapped, robbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A resident of Kanganwal village has alleged that three persons riding a bike kidnapped him after forcibly stopping his car.

He was later let off near Jalandhar bypass. The kidnappers took away Rs 1,200 and his mobile phone, he alleged.

The police said the youths could be the same who had robbed a petrol pump on the Chandigarh road yesterday.



From Schools
Summer camp ends with variety programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 17
A 15-day long summer camp organised at BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road, concluded here today.

A special programme was organised to mark the closing ceremony. The participants were in high spirits and their parents cheered them on the outstanding performance.

The participants presented programmes like bhangra, bhajan, gymnastics and yoga. The students were awarded the certificates by Satyanand Munjal, who was the chief guest.

Talent hunt

Kiddies' Paradise School, Kochar Market, organised a talent-hunt competition in which around 80 students displayed their talent in dancing, music, public speaking, joke cracking and poetry recitation.

Children danced to the tunes of Punjabi and English songs. School director Randhir Singh, while briefing about the camp activities, appreciated and encouraged the students to participate in more and more extracurricular activities to keep fit and fresh mentally, physically and intellectually.



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