L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Tax staff on warpath
To boycott surveys till demands are met
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Income Tax employees have decided to boycott tax surveys from tomorrow. The impact of the decision will be severe as business activity is on the peak during the festive season and it provides ample opportunities of revenue collections to the department.

The decision taken by grade C employees is in protest against the non-fulfilment of their demands by the government in spite of the pay commission's recommendations.

While it will bring cheer to the industry, which is quite wary of tax surveys during the festive season, the move has added to the worries of senior IT officials as the department is already falling short of its targets by around 20 per cent in comparison to the previous year.

Among the categories of employees who have decided to boycott the surveys are inspectors, tax assistants and suprintendents, who are unhappy that in spite of the sixth pay commission recommendations, the government did not give them the desired hike. The employees had also demanded that retired employees should not be reappointed. However, as these demands were not met, they decided to boycott surveys.

As most of the operational work during surveys, including stock verifications and the collection of important documents are done by these employees, the process is likely to be hit this time.

The festive season provides opportunities to the department to nab tax evaders as high-value transactions take place during this time.

The department has set a revenue target of Rs 1,400 crore, including TDS for the current financial year. While the Central Board of Direct Taxes is looking at a 20 per cent rise in comparison to the revenue collection last year, sources said the department was grappling with slow growth in revenues this year.

90 boxes of hosiery items seized

Officials of the mobile wing of the sales tax department seized over 90 boxes of hosiery goods and other items from the railway station here today.

The goods were not supported by proper bills, said the officials. The surveys were conducted under the supervision of Tejvir Singh Sidhu, assistant excise and taxation comissioner.

Surveys in Giaspura

Officials of the income tax department conducted surveys on several industrial firms in Giaspura today.

The surveys that started this morning were conducted under the supervision of additional commissioner Rupinder Brar. The surveys were on till the filing of this report.

According to sources, the surveys were conducted on Sourvenir International, Ari Sudana Spinning Mills and a few more units.

Officials examined stock details, bill books and other important documents of these firms.


Dhussi bundh under threat
Sandbag wall being created; villagers seek permanent solution
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Manieawal (Ludhiana), September 30
Residents and the administration are working for the past one week to save the collapsing structure of the Dhussi bundh in the village which can flood at least 40 villages.

Scores of hired workers and villagers continue to fill up the bank of the Sidhwan Bet by erecting a sandbag wall to divert the water flow in the 250 yards area, approximately, with the potential of a breach.

Sand bags have averted the immediate tragedy. However, the villagers are not satisfied as the gushing waters continue to erode more banks. Ramesh Kumar, assistant engineer in the Irrigation and Drainage Department, said the structure meant nothing more than a temporary solution. Another rain or water released from dams could lead to a critical situation.

In order to face the situation, a large number of trees on the banks have been chopped off. More than 12 tractors are fetching sand at the site from the neighbouring areas. "The sand bags will erode in a short time and the embankment will once again be prone to a collapse," Lakhwinder Singh, sarpanch of Ghamnewal village.

The gushing waters had reduced the embankment to a foot in width and would have collapsed anytime but for the timely reaction by the civil administration. Gurlovleen Singh Sidhu, SDM (Jagraon), has been at the site since September 24, the day he got the message regarding the possible collapse of the last portion of the bundh.

Gurlovleen Sidhu pointed out towards a fresh collapsing structure in the embankment when the Tribune team visited the site today. "The whirlpools, here, are very unpredictable. These tend to erode the sand in the bottom of the river which can lead to an embankment collapse. Finding no other solution, we had to chop off trees to fill the banks. Only permanent solutions are rebuttment, spurs and stud structures," Sidhu added.

Approximately 150 workers and villagers are working at the site. Besides the residents from Manieawal, villagers from Ballipur Khurd, Ghamnewal, Ballipur Kalan, Bhatha Dhuan and Talwandi Khurd, besides others, are camping at the site.

Lambardar Jagroop Singh from Balipur Khurd said: "The immediate danger was averted because of timely information by kanungo Pawan Kumar to the SDM. Dalwinder Singh, sarpanch of Bhatha Dhuan village, pointed out towards a flow of dark waters of Budda Nallah into the river and said it was this water which is responsible for the weakening of the embankment, pollution of water and even spoiling of the soil.

Raghbir Singh, sarpanch of Maniaewal, said: "We are scared of scores of troubles related to floods in case no permanent solution was found".



Boy cooked up abduction story, claims police
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The boy who had complained that he was abducted on Saturday had cooked up the whole story, disclosed SHO Gurdev Singh here today.

Sonu Singh, a migrant from Bihar, took the city police for a ride by saying that he had been abducted by organ traders for a transplant on September 25. The entire story was concocted, claims the police.

Gurdev Singh said, "We received information that the boy was leaving for Bihar tonight without informing the police. We called the boy at the police station for questioning. Realising the gravity of the matter, we put pressure on the boy and he finally told the truth.”

According to the police, the boy had stayed with a truck driver. To ascertain that this time the boy was speaking the truth, they took the number of the truck driver and cross-checked with him.

The boy told the police that the fear of being beaten up by his elder brother had made him concoct the story of abduction.

Sonu Singh had shocked everyone with his startling revelation to the police, when he had claimed he was abducted for his organs by four persons on September 25. Sonu Singh had claimed he was rescued from the clutches of his abductors in the wee hours of Sunday and reached the factory where his brother worked. He had also stated that two more children were in the custody of kidnappers. When the police sprung into action and went to the spots mentioned by Sonu, the latter said he had forgotten the place and the police party returned empty-handed. 



Man stabbed, body found from house after 1 week
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The body of a man stabbed to death was recovered by the police from a house at the Daba colony near Shimlapuri here this morning.

The body was in a decomposed condition when it was recovered by the police.

The man is identified as Arvinder Singh, alias Kala (30), who was running an iron and aluminium door manufacturing business from his home at the Daba colony.

According to the police, Kala was stabbed to death a week ago. After murdering the victim, the assailant locked the body in a room and fled from the spot, says the police.

Residents of the area had complained to the police of foul smell emitting from the house of Arvinder Singh.

The Shimlapuri police reached the spot today morning and broke open the lock of the house and recovered the body.

According to the police, the man bled to death as he was stabbed several times in the chest and stomach.

The victim was living separately from his parents. His parents have been informed about the incident.

The police is investigating whether the victim had an altercation with someone.

The police has also questioned the family and neighbours of the victim.



Punjab preaches, doesn’t practise
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The state government’s claims of putting in efforts to promote Punjabi and villagers in Punjab seem to be contradictory from its formulated policies.

Initiating its recruitment drive, the state government has invited applications for filling the posts of excise inspectors for which the candidates have to appear in tests of English language, mental ability, computer proficiency and general knowledge. But intellectuals in the region feel that the conditions were against the poor and rural section and only urban population will get the benefits.

Earlier, the medium of examination was English but when objections were raised on the issue, the medium was changed into both English and Punjabi. Expressing concern over the government policies, president, Education Forum, Punjab, Prof Tarsem Bahia, said those having command over English language would succeed while the ruralites will suffer as there is no paper of Punjabi language.

"The major reason for poor results in B.Ed entrance this year was that the government had made English language compulsory while earlier students had to appear in both Punjabi and English tests. Out of 22,000 students appeared, only 12,000 could clear the entrance tests of B.Ed. The results were just 36 per cent as compared to 72 per cent last year. Most sufferers were the rural students", said Prof Bahia.

The intellectuals believe that conditions of clearing mental ability tests or having command over computers were also against the students coming from rural background. The students getting computer knowledge from computer centres in cities will perform much better than his counterparts from the rural areas, they feel.

"As computers are not part of the curriculum of rural students, they should be given time to get the training. Computers are not part of their degree course but for excise inspector posts, they need to get a training certificate of 120 hours from a certified institution. The ruralities should be given notice in advance so that they can clear the condition", said Prof Ravinder Singh, a retired principal.

A convention of experts from all over the region, including retired IAS officers, former vice-chancellors, principals and representatives from the Bharti Kisan Union, was held on September 28 at Chandigarh to discuss the issue. Since this recruitment procedure could become a model for the future recruitment, the delegates felt that the government needs to amend their policies to provide benefit to the rural population.



Woollen items’ export dips
Exporters eye C’wealth countries
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Export of wool and wool-blended products declined to Rs 1,800.62 crore in 2007-08 from Rs 1,919.36 crore in the previous year. On account of this reduction of more than 6 per cent, the export target for the current financial year has been reduced to $550 million against $635 million in 2007-08, said Ashok Jaidka, chairman of the Wool and Woollens Export Promotion Council.

The decline has been attributed to strengthening of rupees vis a vis dollar, a high rate of customs duty on wool waste and specified textile and garment machinery, rigid labour policy, high transaction costs and erratic power supply. Besides, the shortage of skilled and semi-skilled manpower and lower rates of incentives like duty drawback contributed to the downfall, said exporters.

Keen on meeting their targets, the exporters are now identifying markets that offer them good opportunities. "The (Commonwealth of Independent States) CIS region offers ample scope for increasing export of woollen products. The ministry of commerce and industry has also approved the market research in the CIS countries in order to open warehouse-cum-showrooms there," added Jaidka.

The council has also chalked out an export promotion programme under which it will participate in various exhibitions across the world. It will include expos in Milan, Hong Kong Fashion Week, Pret a porter in Paris, Expocomer, Panama, Textile Expo in Moscow.



Tributes paid to Pandit Shardha Ram
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 30
Tributes were paid to Pandit Shardha Ram Phillauri, author of famous Hindi prayer ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’, at a function organised by Pandit Shardha Ram Phillauri Memorial Society at Agar Nagar Community Centre here today to celebrate 171st birth anniversary of the poet, author and freedom fighter.

Chief guest Manish Tiwari, secretary, All-India Congress Committee, said Pandit Shardha Ram was a freedom fighter as well, who had fought against the British rule.

Other speakers, including Krishan Kumar Bawa, chairman of the society, Ashok Makkar, president, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, chief patron, Jasbir Singh, former minister, and Ramesh Singla recalled the contribution made by Pandit Shardha Ram towards promotion of literature and printing technology in the region.

Dr Harmohinder Singh, head of Hindi department at Guru Nanak Dev University, dwelt at length on the literary creations of Pandit Shardha Ram, while Kamal Kishore and Swami Nishtha Nand delivered discourses on the theme of ‘Om Jai Jagdish Hare’.

Functionaries of several temple committees were felicitated.



Malaysian delegate visits PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Dr Nayan Kanwal, editor-in-chief of the agricultural journal ‘Pertanika’ from University Putra, Malaysia, visited PAU and held discussions with vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang regarding Punjab agriculture and the Communication set-up at PAU yesterday. "Punjab Agricultural University is considered with esteem in Malaysia," said Dr Kanwal, adding that he had been keeping connected with the university through its website.

Dr Kang elaborated on how the PAU was serving the cause of farming in Punjab, saying PAU was ensuring food security to the nation.

Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director, communication, also joined the discussion with Dr Kanwal. He delved on the activities of Centre for Communication and International Linkages.

Dr Kanwal said Malaysian agriculture was largely based on palm oil and rubber. He shared the activities of publication division of University Putra, Malaysia. He showed keen interest in the Museum of Social History of Punjab.



Govt to raise plan outlay by 25 pc: Manpreet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Financial condition of the state has improved tremendously with revenue deficit having declined from Rs 1,700 crore to Rs 1,200 crore, Value Added Tax (VAT) collections having grown by 40-per cent and stamp duty collection also rising by 25 per cent in comparison to the previous year. The government has decided to increase plan size by 25 per cent every year. This was stated by finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal at a lecture on 'Development Agenda for Punjab’, conducted by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here last evening.

Badal said in spite of problems, the state was not in a position, where finances could not be improved further. "We have strong development plans that include developing an institute of technology in Ropar alongwith an IT park for industry, an Indian Institute of Management in Mohali, two central universities, and one more international airport and a six-lane highway from Baddi to Ambala and Pathankot to Ajmer."

Asserting on the need for a strong education base, the minister said initiatives by industry were equally important for overall growth of the state.

Expressing concern over slow growth of industry, he said the government was committed to provide a good infrastructure in order to give a fillip to industrial growth.

General secretary, LMA, K. N. S. Kang said there was a need to review the reasons of slow growth of the state in comparison with other states. A detailed evaluation would help us deal with the loopholes and emerge stronger, added Kang.

Anil Kumar, president of the association, was among others present on the occasion.



Farmer found murdered; probe begins
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 30
The police has initiated a probe into blind murder of a farmer of Lalton Kalan village of the district whose body was recovered from a deserted place this morning.

Property dispute is suspected behind the murder.

Atma Singh (60) was allegedly murdered last night. His profusely bleeding body was spotted by villagers at a deserted place near the village crematorium.

Investigations revealed that Atma Singh had been living with his son Gurdeep Singh after the death of his wife a few years ago. The villagers were shocked to learn about his murder as he had no enmity with any villager.

Though the police was yet to find the reason behind the murder, the villagers suspect that the victim had lost his life due to his property.

Atma Singh, allegedly acting on the wishes of some relatives, had transferred ownership rights in connection with a piece of land in the name his nephew recently. Probably the transfer of property may be the reason behind his murder.

According to a complaint lodged by the deceased's son, Atma Singh had left his house at about 8.30 pm yesterday. When he did not return home for a long time, members of his family started searching for him in the night. But none of the villagers could provide information about the sudden disappearance of Atma Singh. His body was spotted by villagers in the morning.

Preliminary investigations by a police team revealed that Atma Singh had been murdered with a sharp-edged weapon. Nature of injuries on chest, arms and a knee suggested that he was attacked with a knife from a close range.

R K Jaiswal, SSP, Ludhiana, said, "We have constituted an SIT to probe the murder. Though we have received some vital clues, we cannot disclose these at this stage as it would affect the progress of investigations".



All doors closed on this polio-hit youth
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Different governments have come and gone but 21-year-old polio-afflicted youth Pritpal Singh continues to be a victim of red tapism and bureaucratic wranglings.

He had made rounds of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to get grant from the CM's Relief Fund for five years and now he is left to face the apathy of the incumbent government.

From a clerk in the administration to All-India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi, he has knocked at all the doors but to no avail.

He has travelled to Delhi a number of times despite his handicap yet nobody had helped him though scores of promises were made to him.

Today his only possession are the worn-out letters issued to him by various functionaries and a pair of calipers that were provided to him by a local NGO. The NGO had offered to help him setting up a xerox shop. They were willing to provide him with a copier machine but he had to arrange for a shop.

He has made several rounds of officials but nobody has come to his help. "I just need a small booth. That will help me for my needs," he says but there is nobody who can provide him with the space.

"Wherever I go I am asked for security deposit. I do not have a single penny. I cannot even rent out a booth as property prices are skyrocketing, " he said.

Throughout the regime of the Congress government in the state, he made rounds of the CM and other offices as Sonia Gandhi had asked the CM to provide him money from relief fund.

"I had gone to Sonia thinking she would help me as she was a woman leader and would be compassionate. She gave me the letter that was never honoured by Capt. Amarinder," he said.

He said he was made fun of by various leaders. A senior leader, to whom I was directed by none other than the former CM himself, told me laughingly, “If Soniaji could not help you how could anyone else do it? Go to her again. She is so rich. Why doesn't she give you some money?”

Pritpal is the only son of his parents. His father, who is a sewing machine fitter with a factory and earns peanuts, is not keeping well. His mother had been helping him by working as maid in some households but after she developed fracture in her leg, she is unable to do so.

Pritpal contracted polio when he was only one. Now, he cannot move his legs and has to wear calipers to stand erect.



Wedding Venues
Bright hues make way for pastels
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Wedding season is round the corner and one thing residents of the city want to really look good, apart from themselves, is wedding venues. People these days make sure that the wedding venues are really jazzed up and the theme they are using is unique and exceptional. This year the themes that would be in vogue are contemporary and urban with a focus on fusion. Apart from flowers, much attention would be paid on additional things like seashells, religious motifs, vases, bamboos, designer carpets and line-in raw silk. Replacing the vivid and dazzling colours are English colours like off-white, soft green and light pink.

“I have asked my décor stylist to play less with the flowers so that it can make way for more accessories and would give the ambience a chic and contemporary look,” quips Shaheen Grewal, who is getting married in October.

People are opting for different themes for different functions today. Be it a cocktail or engagement party and reception or Sangeet ceremony, they want to give a different look to each function. The Arabian theme for the cocktail parties gives altogether a different look to the place. With colours like red, orange and yellow, hanging curtains, sitting arrangement on the floor, the place is really jazzed up.



Turbaned look catches on in showbiz
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
After the success of ‘Singh is Kinng’, the turbaned look seems to be the in thing in Bollywood. Production houses are cashing in on Punjabi culture and a turbaned look for their heroes.

After Akshay Kumar, it is the turn of Bollywood bigwigs like Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan to sport the turban. And, in the small screen, you have Pankaj Berry taking a fancy to it.

This correspondent talked to Pankaj Berry at Kamal Amrohi Studios, Mumbai, while he was shooting for the teleserial Ranbir Rano. He is playing the role of a jolly sardar in the serial. The actor says he likes playing a sardar but finds it difficult to laugh whole-heartedly due to the artificial beard and moustache.

Going down memory lane, Berry said initially he sported a turban as he belongs to a Punjabi family. "It was a tradition in our family that one of the children in the family should maintain long hair. During my tenth standard, I got a haircut and after that my elder brother sported a turban in my place," he says.

He says it is the personal choice of a person whether hair should be kept or cut. “One should not be forced into anything, as that yields no results. Punjabi culture is rich and varied, and the film industry likes to depict it. A Punjabi number is necessary to make the music of a film popular,” he declares. His present serial Ranbir Rano is set in Punjab's town Dera Bassi.

Pankaj Berry, who has acted in popular serials like “Gul Gulshan Gulfam”, “Sanjha Chullah”, “Junoon”, “Discovery of India” and “Kitty Party”, feels that these days the subject matter of the serials has undergone a sea change, and the coming times would definitely see more serials with serious themes.

Discussing his plans, he said he might opt for film direction but acting would always remain a passion with him. "I plan to make a film on some social issue. My forthcoming films are “Vikalp”, based on cyber crime, and “Aisi Deewangi”, a love story", he reveals.



Teachers' rally today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The Government Teachers' Union will hold a protest rally outside the DC office tomorrow for their long-pending demands.

In a press note, the union has demanded that their primary demands should be accepted. Their demands include implementation of the pay commission report at the earliest, filling of 50,000 vacant posts, schools under zila parishad be brought under the education department, government schools be made Adarsh Schools instead of opening of Adarsh Schools and false cases against ETT teachers be taken back.

The union will hold a protest rally tomorrow in which government schoolteachers as well as ETT teachers from Ludhiana district will participate.



Biz Word
Aviva launches endowment plan

Aviva Life Insurance has launched a single-premium endowment plan with guaranteed maturity benefits for the small investor, confused by the fluctuating share market.

Named Indiabond, the plan offers a 7 per cent compounded return on maturity. If you pay a single premium of Rs 1 lakh for a policy term of 10 years, you would get a maturity benefit of Rs 1,96,715 plus life cover. You could start with a minimum of Rs 50,000.

No sales yet

Sales, that are a year-long phenomenon in the city, were barely seen this week, in view of the “sharadh”. Retailers are now preparing promotional offers for Navratras and the festive season. Some enterprising ones have already begun publicity for offers on Gandhi Jayanti.

New player

Aegon Religare Life Insurance opened shop here this week.

Its CEO, Rajiv Jamkhedkar, says: “In India, we generally believe that having an insurance policy and 'being adequately insured' is one and the same thing. As lifestyles change with marriage, child birth or a child's education, it is necessary to reassess the insurance cover. One must also assess the savings required along with the protection cover.” The insurer claims to introduce the industry’s first in the policy kit given to policy holders -- the customer’s medical report.


Hunting for a match just got simpler. The Ludhiana centre of Shaadi.com has introduced personalised matchmaking. The service has been designed to suit specific requirements and give value-for-money output. The centre would act as a mediator and not just represent the family, but also assist in “handpicking” prospective matches.

Nokia N96 is here

The latest from the Nokia's stable is N96. At Rs 34,999, this gizmo is optimised for speedy web access and entertainment and claims to be a "perfect blend" of style and cutting edge technology.

A 16 GB memory, that can be increased to 24 GB with an optional micro SD card, allows its user to store hours of media. With 24 GB, you can store up to 18,000 songs, 20,000 images, up to 60 hours of video or 20 full-length films. It comes with a preloaded unique security application that allows consumers to track their handset if it is lost or stolen.

Washroom concepts

Hindware has come out with new bathing concepts for bathrooms, with a variety of bathtubs, multifunctions, massage tubs, shower panels and water closets. Its promotional "jackpot" offer gives a chance to buyers to win prizes ranging from gold-plated cutlery sets, Apple I-pods, holiday package vouchers, domestic air tickets to a Honda City car.

— Shveta Pathak



Computer teachers to protest on Oct 11
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Computer teachers from across Punjab are up in arms against the state government for allegedly making false promises and have threatened to hold massive protests if their long-pending demands were not met. The teachers have also decided to hold a state-level rally in Bathinda on October 11 in favour of their demands, in which computer teachers from all over the state will participate.

The decision was taken here today during a meeting of the working committee of the Computer Teachers' Union. The meeting was attended by all the district presidents of the union besides the state chief. The meeting also issued a memorandum to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal regarding their demands.

"Statements by Akali leaders that they have fulfilled the demands of the computer teachers of the state are false. Our demands are still pending. We want to be regularised at the earliest, failing which, we will protest in a big way. On earlier occasions as well, we protested but to no avail. This time, we will see if the government fulfills our demands, else we will take to strict form of protest," said Gurvinder Singh, state president of the Computer Teachers' Union.



Selection rally from Oct 3
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
The Centre for Training and Employment of Punjab Youth (C-PYTE), Nabha, will hold a selection rally in Patiala, Sangrur, Ludhiana and Barnala from October 3 at 9am onwards.

Youths will be trained for recruitment in the Army, paramilitary forces and private security-agencies.

The boarding and lodging facilities will be free during the stay and a stipend of Rs 400 per month will be given to the participants.

Those between the age of 16 and 27 and can read and write English and Punjabi can apply for the course in security, while those between the age of 17.5 and 23 years can apply for armed and paramilitary forces.

The minimum height and weight should be 170cm and 50kg, respectively.



Workshop on medical education held at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
A symposium-cum-workshop on ‘Recent Trends in Medical Education: Role of Information Technology’ was held at DMCH under the aegis of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Punjab Medical Council (PMC).

The symposium was a part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the MCI. The speakers emphasised the need to enhance the learning and teaching environment in medical education. 



Free dental check-up from Oct 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Christian Dental College will organise free dental check-up from October 1 to October 31, in collaboration with the Colgate.

This dental checkup campaign will be formally inaugurated by Dr Abraham G. Thomas, director, CMC. During the campaign, the patients requiring specialised dental treatment will be provided treatment on concession in the hospital. Dental awareness will also be created among the people on oral hygiene and correct method of brushing.

An exhibition on oral health will also be held throughout the month. Patients can register themselves for free check-up from 8am to 5pm daily.



Books no more kids' best friends
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
Books are man's best friend. This phrase seems to have lost meaning for the GenNext for whom books mean nothing more than the never-ending school syllabi. This 
is the primary reason why Ludhiana has no district library of its own. Visit to the libraries is limited to the eleventh-hour study by students.

With the boom in the electronic media and advent of multimedia like the Internet, hundreds of television channels, radio, play stations, online games, everything, including even books, has been digitalised. And as a result, people are losing interest in reading. The worst effects of technological boom can be seen in kids.

Children these days prefer to surf the Net, watch television and play online games instead of reading. Ravinder Kaur Grewal, principal, Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, says: "There has been a steep decline in the reading habit of children over the years. Kids like easier methods of gaining knowledge than devoting a few hours to reading. Moreover, parents have no time to spend with their kids and inculcate in them habits like reading and writing. For them, if the child is doing well in studies, it is good enough even if he/she is unaware of who Shakespeare or Wordsworth were."

"I think it is for the teachers to tell the students about the benefits of reading good books. We organise book fairs and give books as prizes whenever a student excels in some exam or contest to inculcate reading habit in them," 
added Ravinder Kaur, a 
commerce teacher.

The gradual decline in reading habits among kids is often attributed to the lack of motivation from parents and overburden of studies. "We have so much syllabus to study that at the end of the day, we don't even feel like looking at the books, be it the syllabus books or comics, magazines or any other book," says Manpreet Kaur, a Class-XII student.

Sandeep Singh of Class XI thinks that after putting in 12 hours of studies, one needs a break from books. "Watching my favourite programme on Discovery is my way to unwind after long hours of studying and reading some book to relax is definitely not my cup of tea," he remarked.

Parents, too, agree. Sameer Kumar Sharma, father of a 14-year-old, says: "Who has the time to read these days? Though I think the knowledge that one gets from books surely has no match, but internet is an equally good medium. With just a click of the mouse, you can get details of anything and everything under the sun so where is the need to sit and study all those fat books."

Many even think buying books is a waste of money. Confirming that reading habit among kids are on the decline, city book sellers blamed the growing "instant noodle" culture. They are of the opinion that people want everything in an easy-to-use form. Reading requires a lot of time which is what exactly the younger generation doesn't have with so many things to take up, including studies, career, friends and trends.

Jagram, an employee of Lahore Book Store, says: "There is no reading trend in the city. People here are more concerned about what car their neighbours have bought recently, which hotel they are throwing a party in and how much money did the man-next-door spent on his anniversary. Books are nowhere on their priority list. Only old timers like to buy books. Our major clients are NRIs but the locals shy away from spending money on buying books." No wonder the city has very few libraries, he adds.

It seems the time is not away when books will be confined to the shelves of book stores and libraries with no takers.



Medical camp in girls’ college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
A free medical check-up camp was organised at Ramgarhia Girls College during the NSS camp here today. A team of doctors interacted with students.

They stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle to keep fit. Students were given tips on healthy lifestyle and importance of exercise and ways to fight obesity.

Volunteers were also guided on homoeopathic cures for common ailments.



From Schools & Colleges
Girl cadets get training in civil defence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 30
An exhaustive programme to impart information and training to 400 senior wing and 200 junior wing girl cadets from 25 schools and colleges of the Ludhiana district was organised at Government College for Women where an annual training camp is being organised by 3 Punjab Girls Bn NCC, Ludhiana, from September 26 to October 5.

As part of this training programme, lectures by civil defence instructors Jagwinder Singh, Shashi Kant Goyal and Darshan Singh were organised. The cadets were given information on civil defence, emergency rescue method, first aid, fire fighting- its objectives, structure and its role in rescue during disaster. Besides, various rescue operations were demonstrated.

Colonel Deol, in his concluding note, complimented the civil defence personnel for educating the NCC girls.


The ISTE student chapter of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) organised a seminar on "Understanding published financial statements" here today. Students of MBA III and MCA I attended the seminar. Dr Y.P. Sachdeva from PAU was the resource person. He shared his views on Indian and International standards as well as accounting principles and doctrines. He discussed with the students the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Performa of published financial statements like balance sheet, profit and loss statement and cash flow statement were also shown to the students. Students had an interactive session in the end.

Hindi fortnight

Hindi fortnight concluded at Jesus Sacred Heart School here today. Rangoli and poetry competitions were held on the occasion. The fortnight was started on September 14 on the occasion of Hindi Divas.

All display boards and class board pillars were decorated with Hindi writings like slogans, proverbs, word meaning, life stories of poets and writers of Bhakti Kaal as well as Hindi literature. Various activities like Hindi declamation contest, poetry writing competition were held.


A seminar on easy way to memorise faster and retain for longer hours was conducted on the premises of Bharatiya Vidya Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar, here today by Col Toor from Learning HR. Students were told about simple laws of association, visualisation and ridiculous thinking.


A declamation contest was held at Khalsa Girls Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines, here yesterday. Students spoke about Mahatma Gandhi's life. School principal Ravinder Kaur Grewal exhorted the students to follow in Gandhi’s footsteps. A book fair was also organised on the campus. The students bought books on the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.


The Darhan Education Foundation which runs 16 schools in India and abroad by the name of Darshan Academy, organised a seminar on "Building Bridges Through Education" at Sirifort Auditorium. The seminar commenced with the lighting of a traditional lamp by Rajinder Singh, Tejinder Khanna, Lt-Governor of Delhi, Dr Karim Nazafi, cultural counsellor, Embassy of Islamic Republic of Iran, New Delhi, Padma Vibhushan Geeta Chandran and Arti Mehra, mayor of Delhi.

Rajinder Singh said the real purpose of education got defeated because it didn't teach the right understanding which eventually leads to the right action. The root of all actions needed to be understood clearly, he said. Other distinguished guests also expressed their views on the subject. A cultural programme was also presented by students of Darshan Academy, Delhi.

Placement drive

Whirlpool held a placement drive at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College here yesterday. GM of the company Pankaj Rai and technical head Anirudh Keskar were present for the selection process. As many as 150 students appeared for the written test which comprised aptitude and technical portions.


Social science teachers from Sahodaya Schools (west) participated in a seminar at GRD Academy. Principal of the academy Aneeta Kundra emphasised the need to hold such seminars to keep pace with the changes taking place in the CBSE curriculum and also in the new teaching-learning methodology. Head of the social science department Hamsa Priestly enlightened the teachers about various ambiguities in teaching of social science. Chairman of GRD Academy Raja Singh also attended the seminar.



Arrival of Paddy
Grain market still unready
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, September 30
Even as the paddy has already started arriving, the market committee of Doraha seems to be in no mood to accord it a hygienic welcome.

The entire produce of the poor farmers is at stake as, ironically enough, there is hardly any ground prepared in the grain market to accord it a befitting place. On one hand, the garbage is being openly dumped by the residents as three garbage containers are placed in the grain market, and the wild grass has covered majority of the market place on the other. Pigs and other stray animals dominate the scene, where the grain is to be placed and stored for days together.

While the government has directed special arrangements to be made at the procurement centres, the market committee of Doraha has yet to initiate adequate measures to provide a sanitised base to paddy, which is rapidly arriving.

The farmers, whose crop is to be brought here rue that the authorities are least bothered about the fact that the crop requires a sanitary placement. "The government, through advertisement and other sources, is pressurising us to bring healthy crop, but on the other hand, we are being provided such a miserable place for our hard-earned yield," said one farmer, who brought his produce today.

"One can very well imagine that if the humidity of the overgrown wild grass enters the yield, it will be rendered unfit for sale and consumption? As it takes days for the ultimate lifting of the crop, paddy will get destroyed by the time, thus holding the farmers responsible for the objectionable yield."

"Is it not shameful for the officials of the market committee to show such grave unconcern regarding maintenance of the grain market, where a farmer's entire investment is to be placed?" another farmer regretted.

Meanwhile, one of the commission agents said the produce was normally expected till October 15. "As the new variety HR47 has arrived much earlier than PUSA, the ground was not fully prepared for the same. However, the uprooting of grass has already been initiated," he said.

Payal Tehsildar Mandeep Singh Dhillon said he had directed the secretary, market committee, to make the necessary arrangements and that too at war-footing so that the farmers could not have to suffer due to negligence at the other part.



Procurement in full swing
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 30
The paddy procurement is in full swing at the grain market here.

Around 1,500 tonnes of paddy was procured today. Various government agencies procured paddy at the MSP of Rs 880 per quintal. Pungrain procured 34 tonnes. Total 1,500 tonnes of paddy was procured by Markfed, Warehouse, Punjab Agro and Punsup.

Meanwhile, private players had procured paddy from Rs 900 to Rs 950 per quintal. The government has announced Rs 880 MSP for A grade paddy and Rs. 850 for common variety of paddy.

Markfed chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal visited the grain market on Monday to oversee the procurement process. He assured farmers of fair and transparent paddy lifting and directed all agencies to ensure that farmers get due of their produce.



BKU lashes govt for delay in lifting of produce
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 30
Alleging that farmers of Punjab had suffered losses to the tune of crores of rupees due to delay in procurement of paddy by the Union Government, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has reiterated its demand for payment of adequate bonus on paddy to compensate the farmers.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Puran Singh Shahkot, Bhupinder Singh Mahesari and Harjit Singh Kadian, general secretaries of the BKU, maintained that while fixing the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy at Rs 850 and Rs 880 for fine and superfine variety, the government had ignored the recommendations of the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission which had suggested the price of Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,050 per quintal.

The BKU leaders pointed out that as a result of unseasonal rains and strong winds, the paddy crop had suffered damage and the harvesting cost had further gone up. The delay in the commencement of paddy procurement by central agencies had further worsened the situation and a large number of farmers were forced to sell their produce at a price below the MSP fixed by the government.

The government should raise the MSP to a suitable level while at the same time relax the norms of purchase in terms of moisture content and damaged grain.



TT: Three cheers for Apeejay Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 30
Apeejay School, Jalandhar, lift three titles as the CBSE Cluster XVI Table Tennis Tournament came to an exciting finish at Gobindgarh Public School (GPS), Mandi Gobindgarh, here today. Fatehgarh Sahib DC Surjit Singh Dhillon was the chief guest.

Students of GPS entertained the gathering with some lively folk dance performances.

Results: Boys under-14: Apeejay School, Jalandhar, beat AV Public School, Fazilka (3-0); girls under-14: Apeejay School, Jalandhar, beat DAV, BLRS Nagar, Ludhiana (3-1); boys under-16: Apeejay School, Jalandhar, beat GPS, Mandi Gobindgarh (3-1); girls under-16: DAV, Amritsar, beat Alpine International School, Ludhiana (3-2); boys under-19: Alpine International School, Ludhiana, beat KVM, Ludhiana (3-1); girls under-19: DAV Public School, Amritsar, beat Innocent Hearts School, Jalandhar (3-2).



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