L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Admn begins repair work
Eroded Dhussi bundh along Sutlej
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The administration today began repair work on the eroded Dhussi bundh along the Sutlej.

The bundh had been washed away by the receeding waters yesterday at several points.

In Mattewara village, the villagers alleged that they were protecting the bundh on their own and the administrative machinery reached today only after news reports highlighted it as the most sensitive point.

Jasdev Singh of the village said they had been putting sand on the weakened bundh with negligible help from the administration.

With the Sutlej already inundating parts of Moga and Jalandhar, the district administration started the repair work on a war footing today. The water level might rise if there was further rain, sources said.

The repair work started in Issepur, Kehra Bet, Mattewara and Dhulewal villages.


Lodhi Fort: Another portion crumbles 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Four days after a minaret of the Lodhi Fort collapsed, another portion fell on a house in Killa Mohalla area today. An old cannon also fell along with the debris. Earlier, one more canon was found from the remains of the minaret. The house of Anil Kumar, a resident of the area, could have been damaged had the rubbles not fallen on a neem tree.

The residents said the structure, which was already in a dilapidated condition, collapsed due to the heavy rain since the past few days.

People voiced their concerns about the safety of their houses as well. Historians pointed out that if the restoration work was not carried out on a war- footing, the structure would soon disappear.

Principal secretary (archaeology) Swaran Singh, while talking to The Tribune over the phone, said, “I have received a report about the fort being damaged due to the vagaries of the weather. A team of archaeologists will be sent for studying the fort’s condition. The team will submit the report about the matter to him within a week.

‘‘We would then decide what kind of conservation work could be undertaken for restoring the fort’s old glory. We will definitely do something after studying the exact problem,’’ he added.

Sultan Sikander Lodhi constructed the fort in the last decade of the 15th century. Spread over 5.6 acres, the fort was built on a mound on the banks of the Sutlej which earlier used to flow near it. But today its course has changed. It seems the fate of the fort changed with the change in the river’s path as people for constructing houses usurped the land vacated by it.

The fort remained neglected, as it was not declared a protected monument. Neither the administration nor the people have cared for this structure. 



Monkey menace in city area
Three residents bitten
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Monkey menace looms large at Dugri part I these days. Three stray monkeys have created panic among the area residents who feel scared while coming out from their houses during morning. These monkeys have bitten three residents, including a school going kid, in the past few days. The residents lodged a written complaint to the municipal corporation recently, which washed its hands off from the problem saying it was the forest or wildlife department’s duty to apprehend the monkeys and they could not do much.

Talking to The Tribune, one of the resident K.K. Thapar said that monkeys had created panic among the residents. He said one of these stray monkeys had bitten his neighbour’s daughter-in-law three days back. “We all feel scared. They are seen creating nuisances at our lawns in the early morning hours. We always keep a stick with us for our security. They can attack anytime,” he complained.

Another complainant Ravinder Singh said most of the times monkeys targeted the school going kids. “Recently, a monkey bit a small school going boy on his leg. They attack kids as majority of them hold eatables in their hands while going to school. They create more troubles for the commuters on roads between 6 am to 7.30 am,” said Ravinder Singh.

District forest officer Mahavir Singh said the department was aware of the problem, but there were not enough traps. “We have asked the residents to submit medical reports so that they can be sent to the chief wildlife warden at Chandigarh. The department has got just five traps which are not enough to apprehend monkeys whose number had increased in the city,” he said.



Roadways employees hold protest
Not to ply buses tomorrow 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Punjab Roadways employees took out a protest rally against the anti-employee policies of the government here today. The employees have also threatened not to ply buses on August 20 if their demands were not fulfilled by that time.

Addressing the rally, Manjit Singh Gill, president, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), alleged that the government was adopting dilly-dallying tactics. They are demanding promotions, jobs on compassionate grounds to the kin of deceased employees and stopping of contractual system beside others.

CITU leaders like Gurmukh Singh Katani, Harjit Singh Grewal, Swaran Singh, president of employees union, and Amrik Singh Mangat, secretary of the union, were also present on the occasion.



Harshit steps in to help Ishmeet’s family
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Distraught over the untimely death of his closest contemporary, Ishmeet Singh, Harshit, Ishmeet’s friend and co-singer from Star Voice Of India, feels that it is his duty to be there for Ishmeet’s family for the rest of his life.

Harshit along with Abhijeet is planning to be a part of the star show that will be staged in Ludhiana after mid-September to raise funds for Ishmeet's family.

Harshit, the runner-up in Star Voice Of India, was in the city today to meet Ishmeet's family.

Commenting on not turning up at the time of Ishmeet's death, Harshit, while speaking to The Tribune, said, "I have a problem dealing with deaths and mourning. It aggravates to the extent of a phobia when the person concerned is close to me. I was not brave enough to bid adieu to Ishmeet, which is why I postponed my visit."

He also reacted to the comments made by some senior singers on the absence of Ishmeet's co-performers during his last rites stating that such comments were uncalled for and against the spirit of music.

“I am still not able to reconcile with Ishmeet's death as every moment spent with him is fresh in my memory, especially when Ishmeet rushed to the stage to hug and compliment me on my performance of "Rut aa gayi re" at Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar”, says Harshit.

The feeling was mutual as Ishmeet was at his best during the same show with his scintillating performance of "Kehne Ko Jashn-E-Bahara Hai" from Jodha Akbar, he stated further.

When asked about the touching moments spent with Ishmeet, Harshit was all praise for his friend, adding that they were alike in more than one way - be it their cool temperament or liking for romantic music. We had a lot in common that made us 'inseperable buddies', he added.

Harshit talked about his forthcoming projects with Bollywood biggies Mukesh Bhatt, Lalit Pandit and Vishal Shekhar. “But what is more important is that from now on all my songs will be dedicated to Ishmeet for we started our singing career together," said Harshit.



Youth stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Naveen Kumar Noni was allegedly murdered by a few persons in Shivpuri area today evening. He was standing outside his house when a group of five to seven persons surrounded and stabbed him several times.

According to the Division No.4 police, he was probably killed due to some old enmity with local goons. Sources revealed that Noni, too, was involved in brawls and criminal cases.

Meanwhile, an unidentified man’s body was found near the Maharbaan Road on Monday when rainwater accumulated for several days receded. The Meharbaan police said the man seemed to be aged between 40-45. His body had stab wounds.

The body was swollen, suggesting it was lying in the water for couple of days. The police said efforts were on to trace the identity.



Penalty of Rs 6 lakh slapped in power theft cases
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, August 18
The enforcement and field staff of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has detected nearly a dozen cases of power theft in different areas falling under the CMC division of the city and a penalty of more than Rs 6 lakh has been imposed on the defaulting consumers.

Giving this information, H.S. Randhawa, deputy chief engineer, City East Circle of PSEB, said that energy meters of a large number of consumers in different categories in Harcaharan Nagar, Samrala Chowk, Kidwai Nagar and Shivaji Nagar were inspected by the officials under supervision of N.P. Singh, additional superintending engineer.

The meters of those consumers where seals were found to be tampered with were brought to the ME laboratory. After thorough testing cases of power theft were established against a consumer in commercial category, two in small power category and some half a dozen domestic consumers.

Demand notices of penalty amounting up to Rs 6 lakh had been issued to the defaulting consumers, Randhawa added.



Conviction upheld in cheque bounce case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, August 18
A fast-track court headed by Additional Sessions Judge, Manjinder Singh, has upheld the conviction of Krishan Lal of Sourth Anarkali, New Delhi, in a cheque bounce case.

The court found no infirmity in the sentence awarded by the lower court. The appellant was taken into custody and sent to jail after the verdict.

Earlier, Judicial Magistrate K. K Bansal had sentenced the accused to one-year imprisonment on Feburary 10, 2007. He was also burdened with a fine of Rs 5000. The accused was convicted on a complaint filed by Pritpal Singh of Kot Mangal Singh, Ludhiana.

The complainant had submitted before the trial court that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 80,000 from him. In order to repay the loan amount, he issued a cheque later in October, 2004.

He presented the cheque to the banker of the accused. But the cheque bounced due to insufficiency of funds in the account .Despite serving a legal notice,the accused failed to make the payment. Thereafter, the case was filed by him.

The complainant had also appealed against the order of the trial court.



22-yr-old woman found hanging
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
A 22-year-old woman, Monica, married to a karyana shop salesman, was found hanging at her house in Dabba Colony late this evening.

Her husband Pardeep Kumar saw the body when he came home in the evening.

Though the police said it seemed to be a case of suicide, no suicide note was found.

The Shimla Puri police said investigation was on to find the reason which led the woman to kill herself.

The woman belonged to Ram Nagar Colony of the city.



At the Crossroads
Death of a scholar

He was not a scholar who is generally cooped up in his cellar surrounded by books. He was the person who believed in disseminating knowledge to the eager minds. He could talk at length on any topic without faltering a bit. His reservoir of information was full to the brim in regard to literature, Punjabi as well as English, history, geography, folklore and culture. He was never short of words, rather he had the capacity to coin new expressions. His presence in Punjabi Bhawan (Ludhiana) ensured the success of a seminar or book release function.

Prof Mohinder Singh Cheema was born at village Sahowal in Sialkot on August 5, 1930. He received his education in Lahore and, after Partition, in government college, Ludhiana, for his graduation and postgraduation in Punjabi. At the start of his service, he was posted in Government College, Muktsar, as a lecturer in Punjabi. Thereafter he served in Government College, Karamsar, Gurdaspur and Ropar.

Since 1968, he had been a member of the teaching staff of Government College, Ludhiana, from where he retired in 1988. As a teacher, he earned both name and fame on account of his method of teaching that aimed at establishing rapport with the students. He was rightly called Teachers’ Teacher.

He had been a founder member of the Punjabi Sahit Academy, Ludhiana, and served this institution as its general secretary also. He was senior vice-president of Prof Mohan Singh Foundation as well as Adeeb International. Apart of these, he was the patron of many associations, such as ‘Sirjan Dhara’ and ‘Punjabi Sabhiacharak Manch’. He was deeply associated with the activities of the Government College Lecturers Association during the service. Lately, he was the president of the Ludhiana Chapter of Government College Retired Lecturers Association.

My association with Prof Cheema as a colleague dates back to 1982, although we had been well acquainted with each other years ago. He was the pivot of the literary and cultural activities of the college. He would hold the audience spellbound with his oratory for a long time. As a professor-in charge of the college magazine ‘Sutlej’, he inculcated in the students the spirit of thinking new thoughts and expressing those in literary forms. After retirement, he contributed to his weekly column, ‘City Scan’, for some years.

The death of this scholar in the early hours of August 15 has plunged the educational as well as literary world into grief. He will be bidden farewell (Antim Ardas) on Tuesday. But that will not be the end, rather the beginning of the reappraisal of this dedicated personality.

— N.S. Tasneem 



No ‘azaadi’ to move on roads 

Independence Day turned out to be a day when the city residents were denied their right to move freely on the roads. With the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal unfurling the Tricolour at a state-level function at Guru Nanak Stadium here, all the roads around the venue of the function were heavily guarded. There were traffic chaos on busy intersections of Bharat Nagar, Fountain and Mata Rani Road during the early part of the day. As if this was not enough, anybody who is somebody in the political arena, right from legislators and councillors of all political parties down to self-styled leaders and even "mohalla pardhans", organised his or her own function to celebrate Independence Day by encroaching upon public roads, busy chowks and disrupting all vehicular traffic in the process. Some independence this.

Humour in language

Punjabis with their irresistible urge to evolve as an English-speaking community can go to any extent trying to master the language. Artistes from Punjab visiting overseas believe little in taking translators, simply because they are confident of their aptitude to learn the language. An acclaimed folk singer from the state, having taken a troupe to Australia for the first time, was overwhelmed with his achievement of “successful oration in Punjabi”. Unable to hold back his excitement, the singer called for one-to-one interaction with the local media. Keeping up with his newfound interest in English language, the singer carried on the conversation in English, giving the journo of an English daily a tough time to check her chuckles. The best came when the singer pronounced 'musicians' as 'magicians' in English with a Punjabi accent, making the journo finally burst into laughter.

Open threat

The manhole in the local civil hospital on a bend has been left open, posing a serious threat to walkers in the compound as well as vehicles. Rajni Singh, a housewife, said her son had a miraculous escape last Wednesday. He just managed to pull himself out of the hole, invisible due to the heavy downpour. Hari Singh, father of the boy, said, "The authorities only seem to be waiting for an accident.”

Prolific author

Niranjan Tasneem, a leading figure in local literary circles, added another feather to his cap this week with the release of "Splendid Mirror of Life". This was his 31st book on fiction and criticism in English, Punjabi and Urdu. Tasneem retired from the local Postgraduate Department of English at Government College in 1987 and later taught at Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar. He is a recipient of Shiromani Sahitkar award by the Punjab government and also the Sahitya Akademi award. He has also been a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla.

Double whammy

Mobile phone subscribers often go in for various value-added services and packs to get the maximum by paying the minimum. Companies, too, promote their products almost making one believe that they are offering services nearly free of charge. However, occasions like festivals come as a double blow to the subscribers. This Raksha Bandhan, too, companies sent text messages telling their subscribers that SMSes would be charged at a higher rate. The rates applied to even those who had availed free packs, etc. It only added to the unhappiness of consumers, already irked by poor services dished out by companies.

Tables turned

It is usual for the cops to arrive late on the crime scene or wherever they are required. But, at times, the cops, too, are left complaining about the late arrival of officials of other departments. Samrala police learnt it first hand near Dhulewal village a couple of days ago when they were the first to reach in response to the SOS calls of villagers for protection against the rising water of the Sutlej. The police officials kept calling district administration officials only to get a response that they were on the way. When the team did not reach after waiting for more than an hour, the cops began lecturing on the importance of time.

Amusing excuse !

A law-abiding journalist always used to wear a helmet even when the traffic police was resting. He hanged his headgear on his scooter one day. When he came back, he was shocked to see that his helmet was consumed by stray dogs playing near his bike. And that day happened to be the eve of Independence Day when traffic cops were on their toes. A cop stopped him at a chowk only to tell him he was not wearing a helmet. Innocently, the journalist replied, "Only today it was consumed by dogs." The cop laughed and said that he heard a number of excuses in his career but he was hearing such an excuse for the first time. And he let off the journalist for making an "amusing excuse!"

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth, Sanjeev Bariana, Shivani Bhakoo, Shweta Pathak, Jupinderjit Singh, Kanchan Vasdev, Mohit Khanna



CPI lambasts govt for inflation, sell-out to US 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has called upon the people to support the nationwide general strike by trade unions on August 20 to protest against the “total failure” of the government to curb inflation and price rise that was adversely affecting the common man.

The party further flayed the Centre for overlooking the crucial issue of providing security to the farmers and its outright move to “sell” the sovereignty of the nation to the US government under the Indo-US nuke deal.

Addressing a district council meeting of the party here today, Dr Joginder Dayal, member, central executive committee, said the CPI had withdrawn support to the government because the Congress-led UPA had failed to meet the commitment to the people of India. "The coalition government was drifting away from the common minimum programme which would have given some relief to the farmers, strengthened the food security in the country and also given respite from unprecedented price rise. But instead of taking action against the hoarders, the government is singing the chorus that price rise is due to a global trend."

He said the "Rural Job Guarantee Scheme" and "Right to Information Act", passed after forceful pleading of the CPI, were showing positive results. Dayal was of the firm view that the Indo-US nuclear deal will not only force the country to toe the US line, force India to buy arms worth crores from the US, follow anti-Iran policies and also make India import outdated technology.

"As per the Hyde Act, we will have to prove to the US government every year that we are going according to their wishes." He contradicted the government claim that electricity from nuclear power plants will be cheaper and hazard-free. "This has not happened anywhere in the world and it is three times more expensive than gas which we could have got from Iran and twice that of coal. The US has not ordered any such plant since 1973," the CPI leader maintained.

The district secretary of the party Kartar Singh Bowani expressed grave concern at the situation developing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and deplored the inaction on the part of the government in restoring normalcy. "It is an irony that after so many days of turmoil, the government has failed even to call a meeting of the people concerned." He strongly criticised the BJP and some Islamic fundamentalist organisations, which were giving a communal colour to the explosive situation in J & K.

The district council also elected an executive committee to carry forward the affairs of the district party. Dr Arun Mitra and Bharpur Singh were elected assistant secretaries of the district unit.



Shiv Sena men stage dharna, block traffic 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
Vehicular traffic on one of the busiest intersections of Mall Road, Link Road and Ferozepur Road - Bharat Nagar Chowk here, was disrupted for more than half an hour today as activists of the All-India Shiv Sena staged a dharna demanding the restoration of land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board at Baltal in Srinagar.

Long queues of vehicles on all four sides of the intersection could be seen for quite some time even after the traffic was restored and the protesters were persuaded to lift the blockade by the police.

Addressing the workers, state president of the party Kamlesh Bhardwaj charged the central government with pursuing a policy of appeasement of separatist elements.

Other speakers, including Baljit Singh Jassian, senior vice- president of the party, sounded a note of warning to the anti-national elements in the valley to either desist from their communal and provocative activities, or be prepared to face the consequences.

The party later submitted a memorandum to the district administration calling for an amicable solution to the deadlock on the shrine board land without further delay.



Power board staff hold rally
Nationwide strike tomorrow 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board organised a rally at the city central division office today for mobilising support for forthcoming nationwide strike on August 20.

Addressing the rally, trade union leaders said the strike would mainly focus on demands like curbing inflation, rise in prices of essential commodities, scrupulous implementation of the labour laws, fixation of working hours, lifting of the ban on new recruitment of the government and public sector employees.

According to Roshan Lal, president, AITUC (PSEB), Ludhiana circle and Ramesh Kumar, president, Technical Services Union, City East circle, electricity board employees were demanding scrapping of the Electricity Act 2003, setting up a pay commission for employees and doing away with proposed unbundling of the board. The employees will also put pressure on the government to accept their demands.

Pawan Kumar, Walaiti Khan, Arun Kumar, Rachpal Singh, Jagir Singh and Balraj Singh Sekhon were among others who spoke on the occasion. 



Bank officers observe strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
On a call given by the All- India State Bank Officers Association, officers of the State Bank of India group observed a strike today in support of their demands here.

They protested against the merger of Saurashtra Bank with the SBI. While branches of State bank remained open, normal functioning of the banks suffered.

The clearing house functioned smoothly.



Shabb-e-Baraat celebrated 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Shabb-e-Baraat, considered a pious night by the Muslims, was celebrated in the city with religious fervour. Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, organised a function to mark the occasion here last night.

Devotees paid obeisance at the mosque throughout the night. A langar was organised for the devotees who offered namaaz. Addressing the gathering, Shahi Imam Maulana Habi Ur Rehman Sani called upon the people to pray for the peace of the world.

He also asked them to spend their lives for the welfare of others. Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda was also present at the occasion.



Prof Cheema remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The Malwa Sabhyacharak Manch Punjab today condoled the demise of Prof Mohinder Singh Cheema, an eminent writer and educationist.

The manch held a meeting here today in which the contribution of Professor Cheema to the city, Punjabiyat and literature was remembered. The patron of the manch, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, said Professor Cheema was a rare personality.



Deficient working of sub-post offices

Many big as well as sub-post offices have been functioning in various parts of the city. Standing instructions have been issued to these offices to start their working at the scheduled time that normally starts from 9 am and ends at 5 pm.

But either the post offices open too late or their employees start working late, which puts the public to inconvenience.

Besides, scarcity of necessary items like postal stamps, envelopes etc is also a common feature at the sub-post offices. One such sub-post office adjoining the police chowki situated at Vishwakarma Chowk in the Miller Ganj area usually opens very late and ends its working before the stipulated time.

The Department of Post, therefore, must enquire into the shortcomings in these offices and sort out the problem to mitigate the difficulties caused to the public.

Ravi Chander Garg, Ludhiana

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.



Steel consuming units hike rates
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Unable to get steel at previous rates from large steel companies, steel consuming units have begun quoting higher rates to their buyers. The impact would soon be visible in prices of cycle and cycle parts, fasteners and other items that use steel products.

While large steel companies have not officially announced any hike in steel rates, manufacturers of steel consuming units complain that the local offices of these companies are unwilling to sell steel at previous prices. They said these companies were seeking much higher rate for items like HR Coil.

From the previous rate of Rs 43,000 per metric tonne, manufacturers said large companies were offering HR Coil for Rs 10,000-12,000 more per metric tonne. This has increased input costs for manufacturers.

“We have now started quoting higher rates to our buyers. It may hit demand specially due to an overall declining trend in steel rates but we have no option other than to cover up for the rise in input costs by seeking higher rates,” said S.C. Ralhan, regional chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council.

Not refusing that it would fuel inflation further, industrialists said the practice of charging high and not declaring it officially by the large steel companies was “unfair” and had led to this situation.

Particularly hit are small and medium-scale manufacturers who are finding themselves on a weak footing when it comes to bargaining.



Vegetables offer high productivity: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Vegetables offer high productivity per unit area and provide a valuable source of income leading to improved livelihood.

This was stated by the head, department of vegetable crops, Dr D.S. Cheema, who observed that prosperity depended on people’s nutritional security for which vegetables played an important role. He told that vegetables were an important source of micro-nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin B, C and E as well as folic acid, iron, magnesium etc,besides, supplying a fare amount of carbohydrates, protein, fibers, anti-oxidant and energy.

Considering the shrinking land holdings in Punjab, Dr Cheema said that adoption of vegetable crops on a large-scale was an important alternative to cereal- based agriculture. He said that vegetables were grown on an area of 1.68 lakh hectare producing 2.54 million tonnes with average productivity of 15.1 tonne per hectare. About half of the total area was covered under potato which was raised for fresh marketing and seed production.

Dr Cheema said that potato seed was supplied to different states and Punjab had established itself as a seed producing state of the country. The vegetables produced in the state were not sufficient to meet requirement of its population. "For meeting the requirements, we need to double the production of vegetables and also to meet the requirements of the processing and seed industry", he said.

Dr Cheema further informed that the PAU had a priority to develop varieties/hybrid of vegetable crops suitable for fresh market, processing and export, to standardise production technology in the open field conditions as well as protected conditions and to standardise techniques for reducing post-harvest losses.

Dr Cheema explained that a collaborative project "improving vegetable production and consumption for sustainable rural livelihood in Jharkhand and Punjab" with AVRDC-RSCA, Hyderabad, and "validation and dissemination of IPM in vegetable crops" with Sir Rattan Tata Trust etc. had been undertaken. He said PAU had evolved 109 improved varieties of different vegetables of which 28 had been identified at the national level. 



Scientists suggest direct sowing of paddy 
Answer to water and soil conservation problem
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 18
Direct sowing of paddy has been recognised as an answer to the water and soil conservation problem by agricultural and soil scientists. They have urged the authorities to undertake organised research to find out a solution to a few drawbacks of the technique.

Dr Sardara Singh Johal, former vice-chancellor and former vice- chairman of the Punjab Planning Commission, averred that the direct- sowing technique had emerged as an alternative to the traditional method of transplanting saplings raised in nurseries.

Dr Johal was talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after appraising the success of crops cultivated by farmers of the area by adopting the technique evolved by Gurinder Singh, an electrical engineer and a farmer of Kalarh village near here. As the technique, if utilised judiciously, can check the receding water table to prevent our own land from desertification, we can now think of seeing the second green revolution soon.

"Though it is premature to comment on the exact quantum of economic gain the cultivators will have by sowing paddy directly, observations have revealed that the newly designed seed drill has curtailed the irrigation expenses to about half of those incurred on traditional crops," said Dr Johal.

However, he apprehends that the technique will not work in the case of Basmati.

Claiming that the problem of weeds had been solved partially by the use of certain weedicides, Dr Johal urged the authorities to undertake organised research to find out a solution to a few drawbacks of the technique.

Dr Kanwal Barjinder Singh, a soil scientist of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, asserted that the new technique had been successful in regulating wastage of water due to runaway water.

Besides improving the economic position of farmers by reducing irrigation expenses, the technique would improve soil quality, claimed Dr Singh.

Referring to observations made during his ensuing research on the subject, Dr Singh claimed that irrigation expenses could be reduced to 33 per cent by making adjustments in sowing period also.

Swayed by the success stories of peasants adopting direct sowing of paddy during the past two years, a large number of farmers living in this area were made to adopt the technique by Gurinder Singh.

Irrigation expenses were reduced further with the designing of a new drill this year.

Contrary to the practice of first preparing seedlings of paddy and then transplanting them in standing water by migrant labourers, Gurinder had tried and succeeded in growing paddy crop by directly sowing soaked rice seeds in the reasonably wet soil.

The procedure is expected to save about Rs 2,500 per acre that is normally spent on puddling and transplantation. The amount spent on weed control is compensated by the reduction in the vegetative phase of the crop. 



Rain makes school inaccessible
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 18
The alleged apathetic attitude of the contractor and civil officials, who supervised the construction of Satya Bharti School opened by the Bharti Foundation at Fatehpur village in Payal subdivision, has led to a situation in which students, their parents and teachers will have to wade through knee-deep water during every rainy season to reach the main building.

The costly infrastructure, including computers and other electronic and electric gadgets, might also get damaged due to persistent dampness and water-logging, apprehend residents of the area.

The school, recently inaugurated by former SAD minister Mahesh Inder Grewal, remained surrounded by a pool of water during the past few days due to intermittent rain. A part of the road had to be broken to pump out water from the compound.There are about 50 students.

Enquiries revealed that the villagers, apprehending water- logging had repeatedly asked the officials supervising the construction of the school to raise the plinth level of the building by about two feet above the adjoining road. But their advice was not heeded to. Intermittent rain during the past few days has transformed the compound into a pool and villagers had to break a portion of the road to pump out water to enable students and teachers reach the premises.

Malkit Singh, sarpanch, said the education department and the sponsoring organisation had been apprised of the situation.

“Though we had cautioned the officials and the contractor at the time of construction, they ignored our suggestion to raise the plinth level. Now, it seems that we will have to make necessary arrangements for safe entry of students in the school during every rains season,” said Malkit Singh.



Lecture on technical manpower
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 18
The Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology (LCET) today organised a lecture for students and faculty members for discussing the role of technical manpower in the changing scenario. P.S. Sohi, a political science teacher, was the resource person. Although the country has become stronger but a lot is still required to be done.

He called upon the faculty members to provide technical knowledge apart from inculcating discipline and humanitarian values in the students.

In India 65 per cent of the total population comprises of youth. If they are equipped with the right technical and moral education they can prove to be an asset for the nation. The entire world, especially developed countries like the United Kingdom, USA and Canada, is looking upon us for their technical and other manpower needs.

He spoke about the developments taking place in China, which has emerged as skilled manpower resource.

LCET director J.S.Sohal and Pawan Kumar presented the memento to the speaker. 



Arya college students observe strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
About 80 students of Arya College for Boys went on strike for 3 hours today to protest against the shifting of canteen from ground floor to first floor. The striking students alleged that the new canteen lacked basic facilities and students will continue to protest in case management failed to shift it on a suitable place.

Vice-president Resham Singh of Arya College Students’ Union alleged that the principal and the SHO of the division concerned had threatened his family of dire consequences if he continued with the strike. He said, “It is difficult to sit in this make-shift canteen as it is adjacent to the washrooms, where the furniture is broken too. What is the need to shift the canteen every year during admissions and examinations? The students had gone to the principal thrice, but he did not give any satisfactory reply,” complained Resham Singh.

The students have been asked to meet the principal and senior faculty tomorrow at the college campus to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Dr S.M. Sharma, principal of the college, said he had asked the students to wait for a few days, but they went on strike all of a sudden when he was not in the campus. Regarding the allegations of threat by the vice-president of the students union, Dr Sharma said that these were baseless allegations. “We are hopeful to get this issue resolved at the earliest,” he said.



Doctor attends meet on metabolic surgery
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 18
Gurdip Singh Sidhu, director, Sidhu Hospital, Doraha, who also happens to be the vice-president of the Asian Metabolic Surgery Society, attended the Asian consensus meeting on metabolic surgery “ACMOMS 2008” organised at Trivendrum recently for reviewing

the scientific data on obesity and its related diseases, clinically relevant to Asian population and genotype.

A new set of guidelines and recommendations defining BMI/waist-hip ratio, was formulated specifically for Asian population, by electronic voting and consensus.

“With these guidelines, Asian suffering from obesity and its related co-morbities become eligible for bariatric/ metabolic surgery at a much lower BMI, which will help in the prevention of a host of obesity-related diseases known as metabolic syndrome”, he explained.

He said Asians were more prone to central obesity, compared to the western population, where distribution of fat is uniform throughout the body.



Overburdened docs seek premature retirement 
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
With the ban on the recruitment of doctors in the state extended further, the number of doctors has decreased manifold thereby affecting the working of civil hospitals in the state. Poor infrastructure, shortage of doctors and paramedical staff has increased the workload of regular doctors who are performing duties at more than one stations.

A gynecologist comes for three days a week at Civil Hospital in Raikot, a psychiatrist visits Civil Hospital in Ludhiana on alternate days, in Mansa civil hospital an orthopaedician visits the hospital for three days while a gynecologist and a radiologist visit civil hospital in Khanna.

Overburdened and weary of traveling from one station to another, a large number of doctors are applying for premature retirement following which the state government has issued instructions to the health authorities against relieving them.

Concealing his identity, one such doctor from Raikot said, “I applied for premature retirement long time ago but the health authorities have refused to relieve me. I will wait for some more time before moving the court as the department can’t retain me against my wishes,” the doctor added.

On the other hand the government by doing so is encouraging the doctors to go ahead with their private practises along with the government job as they are safe from departmental action after putting in their resignation with three months notice period.

A senior employee working at ESI Hospital, Ludhiana, while hinting at the missing health services policy in the state stated, “A large number of doctors who were not relieved after three months notice period are “fearlessly” carrying on with their private practice as the department.”

However, this has made the condition of people who depend on government hospitals for their treatment miserable. On numerous occasions either have been found absent from duty or they are serving at more than one hospital leaving the patients with a little choice but to consult private doctors in the vicinity.

In the absence of a regular radiologist people have to pay Rs 500 to Rs 700 at private clinics as compared to a nominal fee of Rs 150 at civil hospitals.



Baseball: Girls practising with men’s team
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Upbeat after being given the much needed money by the state government, five baseball players selected to represent India in the upcoming second edition of the Women World Baseball Series-2008 to be held from August 24 to 29 at Matsuyama, Japan, are testing their mettle with the men baseball team at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) before flying to Japan.

Punjab information minister Vikramjit Singh Majithia, who came as a godsend person, provided the required money so that Sukhjeet Kaur, Kuljeet Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Daljeet Kaur and Navdeep Kaur could compete in this mega event.

These players of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, Ludhiana, are part of 18 probables picked up for the world event, in which eight countries will take part.

Grateful to the government gesture, they are now determined to give their best in the upcoming baseball world cup. Arguably the youngest team to participate in the world cup, they have nothing else but courage to fall back on.

The girls belonging to humble backgrounds were finding it hard to arrange money for the tour. It was only after the media highlighted the issue that these deserving players could miss the golden opportunity to don national colour, the state government came forward to bailout these girls.

One of the players, Daljit Kaur, a resident of Moga district, it is like a dream come true. Youngest among the five sisters her father, a diabetic, had recently undergone surgery in which his half foot had to be amputated. “It was very difficult to arrange money under such circumstances. I will try to give my best shot in the up coming world cup as money is not the concern any more,” said Daljit.

Expressing gratitude towards the media for its support, she said, “It would not have been possible if the media did not highlight the plight of the players.” Ever since the money has been provided by the state government, the players are infused with new vigour and are rearing to perform.

Sukhjeet says: “We know that we have to lock horns with the top names like the United States of America and Australia. That is why our coach made us play with the opposite gender.”

Expressing her views, Navdeep said, “It was difficult to play against men and our coach strictly told the boys to be ruthless in order to make us fully prepared for the upcoming event.”

Punjab Baseball Association general secretary and coach of the team Harish Kumar said, “As there is lack of experience in the squad, we decided to make them play with the men’s team as competing with the teams like the USA and Australia is not an easy task. I hope playing with the men’s team will add to their confidence.”



Inter-zonal schools tourney 
PAU zone players dominate
Anil Datt
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 18
The PAU zone players dominated the proceedings on the opening day of the Ludhiana District Inter-Zonal Schools Tournament for boys, being organised by the education department on the Punjab Agricultural University campus grounds and at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

In basketball (boys u-19), the PAU Zone got the better of the Khanna Zone 50-36 while the Ludhiana II Zone proved too good for the Jagraon Zone 50-25.

In the boy's u-17 years section, the PAU Zone proved its mettle against the Khanna Zone by registering an easy victory 56-24 and then drubbed the Jagraon Zone 60-28. In another encounter, the Samrala Zone faced tough resistence against the Sahnewal Zone over whom they prevailed 32-24.

The Ludhiana II Zone outnumbered the Sahnewal Zone 40-24 to begin their campagin in style in the boy's u-14 years section while the Jagraon zone managed to scrape past the Khanna Zone 14-12.

In handball (u-14), the Ludhiana II Zone outplayed the Kila Raipur Zone 6-1; the Khanna Zone defeated the Jagraon Zone 8-6; the Samrala Zone blanked the Sahnewal Zone 5-0; the PAU Zone beat the Raikot Zone 10-7 and the Ludhiana II Zone outclassed the Jagraon Zone 9-4.

In the u-17 years category, the PAU Zone defeated the Khanna Zone 7-1; the Ludhiana II Zone thrashed the Kila Raipur Zone 14-4 and the PAU Zone beat the Samrala Zone 15-4.

The Ludhiana II Zone outplyed the Kila Raipur Zone 14-5 in the u-19 years section while the PAU Zone beat the Khanna Zone 105 and the Raikot Zone squeezed past the Sahnewal Zone 8-6; the Ludhiana II Zone beat the Samrala Zone 15-6.

In volleyball (u-14), the PAU Zone beat the Raikot Zone; the Ludhiana II Zone defeated the Jagraon Zone and the Khanna Zone outplayed the Samrala Zone.

In the u-17 years section, the PAU Zone got the better of the Sahnewal Zone; the Samrala Zone beat the Sahnewal Zone and the Raikot Zone beat the Kila Raipur Zone.

Similarly, in the u-19 years category, the PAU Zone lads beat the Khanna Zone; the Samrala Zone outplayed the Raikot Zone; the PAU Zone defeated the Sahnewal Zone and the Jagraon Zone prevailed over the Ludhiana II Zone.



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