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Sangat Darshan
Badal okays Rs 40.22 crore for development
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said the government had prepared a detailed plan of more than 10,000 crore for the urban and rural development of the state, out of which funds amounting to Rs 5,500 crore would be spent to provide basic amenities, including sewerage, water supply, roads, streetlights, etc. in all cities of the state.

He was addressing well-attended gatherings during sangat darshan programmes at five places covering 11 municipal wards in the Ludhiana (north) constituency here today. The sangat darshan programmes were held at Pindi Dayal Dharamshala, Chanan Devi Government High School, Salem Tabri, SAN Jain School, Daresi, Sekhewal and Sunder Nagar.

He said the sangat darshan programmes were proving to be very effective for on-the-spot redress of the problems of people at the grassroots level.

The CM announced to sanction development projects to the tune of Rs 40.22 crore, including roads projects of Rs 23.78 crore, sewerage and water supply projects of Rs 14.49 crore and streetlights projects of Rs 1.93 crore, in all these wards.

Presiding over the sangat darshan at Pindi Dayal Dharamshala, Badal, on the request of MLA Harish Bedi, sanctioned development projects of Rs 1.95 crore for ward No. 29, Rs 3.99 crore for ward No. 30 and Rs 3.73 crore for ward No. 32.

Listening to the problems of the people, the CM announced grants of Rs 25 lakh for six dharamshalas and community centres in three wards and also asked the MC commissioner to immediately commission required numbers of new tube wells, wherever, the shortage of drinking water prevailed. In his next programme at Channan Devi School, Badal sanctioned development projects of Rs 2.27 crore in ward No. 24 and Rs 2.52 crore in ward No. 25. There, the CM sanctioned financial assistance ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 to about 24 poor students/needy persons.

In his third programme held at SAN Jain School, Daresi ground, he sanctioned development projects of Rs 3.32 crore for ward No. 33, Rs 3.19 crore for ward No. 34 and Rs 3.53 crore for ward No. 35.

On the demand of the school management, the CM announced to further extend the lease deed of the government land allotted to the school. He also announced that a beautiful public park would be developed at the site of the old fort near Daresi ground. Badal also sanctioned grant of Rs 40 lakh for 12 dharamshalas in these wards and announced to pay the fee of a poor BCA student for three years, who prayed before the CM for financial assistance for further studies. The Chief Minister also sanctioned financial assistance to 36 needy persons.

At another sangat darshan programme at Sekhewal, the CM sanctioned grant of Rs 3.41 crore for ward No. 22 and Rs 3.37 crore for ward No. 23. Badal also assured the fast repair of the roads and streets in these wards. In his fifth, sangat darshan held at Sunder Nagar, the CM sanctioned development projects of Rs 4.34 crore for ward No. 19, Rs 1.42 crore for ward No. 20 and Rs 4.16 crore for ward No. 21. He also listened to the individual problems of the people and issued on-the-spot directions to the officers concerned for immediate redress. He also directed the departments of food and supply and social security to organise special camps to issue yellow cards and fill the pension applications of the beneficiaries.

The Chief Minister called upon the people to extend full cooperation to the government machinery for ensuring cleanliness in all parts of the city to check the spread of diseases. He said the government would release sufficient funds for other development projects of different departments to ensure the fast development of Ludhiana.

Prominent among others who accompanied the Chief Minister in sangat darshan programmes included BJP president Prof Rajinder Bhandari, MLA Harish Bedi, minister for jails Hira Singh Gabria, CPS Harish Rai Dhanda, chairman of the Punjab Traders Board Madan Lal Bagga, deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar, MC mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura, MC commissioner G.S. Ghuman, ADC (D) Priyank Bharti, SSP R.K. Jaiswal, etc.

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Badal gives patient hearing to grievances
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
In an attempt to establish ‘direct rapport’ with city residents, Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal once again held a sangat darshan at five different venues here today. Despite being Sunday and Dhanteras, hundreds of complainants reached the venue for an early redressal of their problems.

Though the first sangat darshan was scheduled at 9.30 am at Pindi Dyal Dharamsala near Kailash Chowk, but those having grievances thronged the place around 7.30 in the morning. Even the heavily deputed police force found it difficult to control the complainants at the first venue.

The situation became much chaotic at one time and the CM himself had to make repeated requests to the complainants on mike to be patient and cooperative.

"I will not leave before listening to your grievances, but please follow the rules," he kept on saying.

Meanwhile, one of the complainants Om Prakash Sikka, an octogenarian who came with his grandson, complained to the CM that one of his sons wanted to grab his 500-square yard plot in Haibowal Kalan.

"The Chief Minister has asked the official concerned to listen to my problem and I have handed over my case file to him. Although my son has already been given his share, still I am being harassed by him," said 
the father.

A handicap female, Shashibala, accompanied by her young married daughter, asked the Chief Minister to provide financial assistance as there was no breadwinner in the family.

The CM asked one of the officers to provide her a relief sum of Rs 10,000. "Even though the amount is peanuts, I feel satisfied that at least he listened to me patiently," she added.

One of the complainants Chandan Das, however, said the whole exercise by local MLAs and the CM was being done to get a good vote bank.

"Ultimately, the CM asks officials to look into the matter and we are left with nothing but to make rounds to the government offices where we face harassment and humiliation at the hands of department employees," he said.

People were seen arguing with the police personnel on duty to let them go near the dais where Badal was sitting along with local MLAs and other senior officials.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal, area councillors and other senior officials kept on asking complainants to go by turn. A local MLA had to intervene when an area resident tried to violate the security norms.

Some of the officials on duty, however, looked perturbed over Badal's repeated visits to the city.

"We should be given a break at least during festival days. We will be on our toes till late in the evening," said one of the officers.

Sidelights: It seems there was no need of security for common people even during festival days as hundreds of police personnel were deputed on entire route from where the convoy of the Chief Minister had to pass through. 

Auction to allot cracker shops

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday made it clear that from the next time, no officer would be given an authority to allot cracker shops to the dealers. The allotment would be held through auction only, he said. 

Badal spoke these words while interacting with the mediapersons during third sangat darshan at SAN Jain School, near Daresi grounds. On asking what will be his next step in the alleged involvement of deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar in allotting cracker shops on "preferential basis", the Chief Minister said he had not received any written complaint against the officer by anyone. "But we will definitely look into the matter," he assured. Badal also said he would request the police officials not to use tight security during sangat darshan programmes as it gave a wrong impression to the public. He said the programme was held for the general public, who had every right to approach him directly.

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MC issues guidelines for safe Diwali
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Urging residents to have safe Diwali, municipal commissioner G.S. Ghuman has issued a few guidelines and has urged the people to follow them.

Dos and don’ts

  • Do not store inflammable material
  • Check electric wiring to avoid short-circuit
  • Burst crackers in open areas
  • Fire safety measures must in shops and malls

Call in emergency

  • Sunder Nagar fire station 2600651
  • Gill Road fire station 2531600
  • Haibowal fire station 2305111
  • Focal Point fire station 2670101

 

In a press release issued here today, Ghuman directed all the industrial units not to store inflammable material like thinner, benzene, spirit and turpentine oil, etc. he said the industrialists should get the wiring checked to prevent short-circuit. He has also asked shop and mall owners to make arrangements for fire safety measures to avoid any untoward incident.

Urging the residents to burn crackers in open areas or parks, he said the elders should accompany the children in order to avoid any mishap. People should not store kerosene oil or petrol in kitchen and wear cotton clothes, the commissioner added. In case of fire, all occupants of the house should come out and should look at the floor if there is huge smoke inside the room. The important numbers in case of emergency are: 101 and 2743111.

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Infrastructure goes waste at Sukhmani Centre
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
The Sukhmani Centre, set up in the municipal corporation building (Zone D), Ludhiana, is an example of how an infrastructure developed as a part of a pilot project goes waste.

Set up during the previous Congress regime in November 2004 with an aim to bring together all departments under a single roof and give residents an experience of multi-service, single-window system, the centre is closed for the past two years.

The unit of the centre is centrally air-conditioned and was equipped with computers for quick and easy clearance of bills. Initially, the residents were satisfied with its functioning as they revealed that the facility was like that available in Chandigarh where one could submit all the bills under one roof instead of visiting various offices.

Gurtej Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar, said, "The drop-box facility available at the centre was the best. You just need to attach a cheque with your power bill and Rs 5 and drop it in the box just a day before the last date.”

According to information, the centre has been closed for the past two years and since then the infrastructure had been lying unused.

When contacted, municipal corporation commissioner G.S. Ghuman said the MC had requested the district administration to vacant the area, but to no avail.

ADC (development) Priyank Bharti said, “The district administration has shifted most of the computers and only some furniture has been left, which would also be shifted soon." He added that the centre was closed because all departments had opened their own bill collection centres and not many people were coming to the place. 

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Commission agents at sheller owners’ mercy
Reject purchased paddy for extra bucks
Rakesh Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, October 26
Tonnes of paddy await an entry into the rice shellers’ godowns as loaded trucks are being returned by the sheller owners on account of high moisture content in paddy.

Interestingly, neither the moisture testing machines are cleared by the authorities concerned nor do they have any technicians to test the moisture. Moisture testing is done by the gatekeeper of the shellers, allege sources.

The commission agents of Mullanpur Dakha also allege blackmailing at the hands of the rice shelling mills owners. Various agencies such as Markfed, Punsup, Pungrain and Punjab Agro industries purchase farmers’ paddy after checking the moisture of their produce with diligence. This paddy is then stacked at various shellers as per allocation by the purchase agencies. The rice shellers, in order to make some extra bucks, are rejecting the purchased paddy and charge extra Rs 2,000 to 3,000 from the commission agents.

Unable to bear the harassment and financial burden, the commission agents are coming forward with their complaints. Former chairman of market committee, Manjit Singh Bharowal, proprietor of Manjit Singh and Sons, Mullanpur, alleged that the departments concerned were well aware of this exploitation of the commission agents, but were silent as the high ups in the department had a nexus with the sheller owners.

He alleged that the rice sheller owners have their own moisture meter (moisture checking equipment) but have tempered them for vested interests. Moreover, their moisture meters are not checked and approved by any department. He said though the Punjab government has allowed moisture up to 17 per cent, their meter shows 2-3 per cent higher moisture.

The secretary of Arhtiya Association, Rajinder Singh, said since the commission agents had to incur expenses to the tune of up to Rs 8,000 in unloading paddy and then repacking after it gets dry to the acceptable moisture level, the rice sheller owners are taking an advantage of the mentality of the agents charging extra paddy to cover the moisture level.

Though Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal has warned the sheller owners of strict action by blacklisting them and cancelling their allocation, no action has been taken in this regard. Rice sheller units are even ignoring the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that the trucks once loaded will not be rejected.

Today, some truck drivers approached the media and narrated their tale of woes. Drivers Sikander Singh and Sarabjit Singh said they loaded their trucks from the grain market in the morning but the owners of Virdi Rice Mills and Hanumant Rice Mills rejected the paddy and returned the truck in the evening.

Some commission agents blame their leadership for this exploitation. They say the president of the Arhtiya Association, Anand Saroop Mohie, is not a commission agent in the grain market. He is the owner of rice shelling units. He never cares about the problems of commission agents.

Roop Basant Singh of the CPM today warned the rice sheller owners to stop the exploitation of the commission agents or be ready to face the consequences. 

ADC constitutes 9-member panel

After reports of alleged misdeeds of the sheller owners, additional deputy commissioner (ADC), Ludhiana, Kamalpreet Kaur Brar visited the grain market and after hearing the problems of the commission agents, constituted a nine-member committee to look into the matter.

The ADC said once the paddy was loaded in the truck, it could not be rejected by the shellers owners. She asserted that the level of moisture must be settled at the grain market only before loading of the trucks. She, however, denied having knowledge of any out of the way settlement in terms of extra paddy or cash charged by the sheller owners for unloading of the trucks.

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300 bags of paddy stolen
Our Correspondent

Machiwara, October 26
Some unidentified miscreants decamped with 300 bags of paddy from a sheller near Urna village, falling under the Machiwara police station, on Friday night.

According to information, Punjab agro purchase agency was sending the paddy to the Gobind rice mills near Urna village when some persons came in a truck and started picking the bags of paddy from the mill and escaped. 

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City Concerns

The country seems to be going through tough times with natives of different states asking for the ouster of people belonging to other region. The assault on Bihari students appearing for the railways examination in Mumbai, followed by violent outburst on the streets in Bihar, has shown us an ugly side of the growing regionalism.

Ludhiana city is one of the best representatives of the secular face of India with presence of people from diverse regional background. The migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh constitute a major portion of the city migrant population.

Who needs to be blamed for the current state of affairs at different places in the country and what preventive measures were best suited to diffuse the situation? What are the immediate concerns and long-term possible solutions to maintain peace? What steps need to be initiated to maintain the secular face of the city where outsiders too could live without fear?

Responses, in not more than 200 words can be emailed to [email protected] or sent to Ludhiana Tribune office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.

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Punjabi teachers left in the lurch
Out of 77 teachers in Ludhiana, only 13 have been given appointment letters
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Appointment letters were issued here today to as many as 251 B.Ed teachers of master cadre and around 440 JBT teachers by the education department, Punjab, and were asked to report at the place of their posting tomorrow. All appointments of the secondary and primary teachers have been made on a contractual basis for a period of three-and-a-half years.

The appointment letters to the B.Ed teachers were issued in the office of DEO (secondary) while the JBT teachers were issued letters at the in-service training institute by Amarjot Kaur, DEO (primary). All appointments have been made under the “C” category (rural areas).

There are four categories A, B, C and D. “A” category pertains to the urban areas, “B” category to the surrounding areas, “C” category to the rural areas and “D” to the border areas and the kandi areas.

There was a strong resentment among the Punjabi teachers as out of 77 teachers in Ludhiana, only 13 teachers have been given the appointment letters in the district.

Ajit Pal Singh, president and Satvir Singh, a member of Navniyukat Teachers’ Union said they have been coming to the DEO’s (secondary) office daily since October 1 to expedite the process of issuing the appointment letters. But now only 13 teachers of Punjabi have been able to get the letters and rest have been left in the lurch.

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Colourful activities mark Diwali celebrations
Lovleen Bains
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 26
Diwali was celebrated by the students of Green Grove Public School with fervour and gaiety. Students showcased their talent through a plethora of colourful activities.

Jasbir Kaur of class VII in English, Sukhneer of class VIII in Punjabi and Latashi of class VI in Hindi spoke on the essence of Diwali in the form of narrative poems. Pulsating group dances by class VII and I exemplifying the spirit of oneness, was followed by group songs by students of class VIII, IV.

The show was appreciated by all for its well-coordinated series of events by Akansha and Hasrat of class VI. A card making, candle decorating and diya decorating competition was also held in the school.

Students of class I to IX participated and displayed colourful diyas and candles. The event equivocated the democratic and socialist fervour of India.

President of the school, JPS Jolly, and principal S George conveyed their greetings and best wishes to the students.

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Play safe
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
Diwali is a festival of lights that is celebrated all over the country with great fanfare and zeal.

Though it brings light into our lives, the lighting of firecrackers can pose health hazards and lead to mishaps.

During Diwali, children seem to be more vulnerable, since they are the ones who are most enthusiastic about lighting crackers.

Making these remarks on the eve, Dr Vijay Obed, professor and head of plastic surgery and burns at Christian Medical College and Hospital, said it was extremely important to know the difference between a legal consumer firework and a dangerous explosive device. The firecrackers, if lighted carelessly, could cause a serious injury or even death.

Firecrackers could actually lead to numerous health hazards. Besides, these enhance noise and air pollution levels. The harmful chemicals emitted through smoke are known to cause asthma, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis and other respiratory problems. Moreover, the noise and dazzling light could cause optical as well as ENT-related problems.

In a word of caution, Dr Manish Munjal, professor in the department of ENT at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), observed air bursting shells and zooming rockets were worth watching but hazardous to nature, animals and human beings.

Dr Munjal said senior citizens, children, infants and asthmatics form the most vulnerable group.

Every year post-Diwali, people visit the ENT specialists with markedly reduced hearing due to the damaged “human amplifiers" (perforated ear drums) and fractured delicate bones of the ear, which required expensive micro-surgery of the ear. Moreover, damage was caused to the nerve cells accompanied by unsteadiness and ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears.

Dos

  • Buy fireworks of authorised/reputed manufacturers only.
  • Light only one firework at a time. Others should watch from a safe distance.
  • Keep the fireworks to be used at a safer place.
  • Organise a community display of fireworks rather than individuals handling crackers.

Don’ts

  • Approach immediately to the misfired crackers.
  • Attempt to make crackers at home.
  • Allow small children to handle fireworks.
  • Throw or point crackers at other people.
  • Carry fireworks in the pocket.
  • Store crackers near burning candles and diyas. 

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Shopkeepers ignore admn’s order
Not willing to sell crackers at special areas
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 26
Due to the failure of successive governments in setting up a fire brigade at the local town, here, residents will have to celebrate Diwali under fear of accidental fire.

Though the civil administration has earmarked special areas for sale of crackers none of the shopkeepers applied for permission to set up shops there.

Sale of crackers, including those causing high decibel noise and air pollution has been going on for past many days. Authorities have failed to initiate action against them, as majority of them have set up godowns outside the town.

Meanwhile, the civic and health authorities here, with limited resources at their disposal, claimed to have made "sufficient" arrangements to meet any exigency due to bursting of crackers during Diwali days.

While authorities at the municipal council office were seen busy arranging tankers for keeping water in stock for fighting any accidental fire, the health authorities were readying their equipment for the purpose.

MC president Usha Sood, claimed that the equipment available had been updated for emergency use.

"As we have no fire brigade at our disposal, we have directed our staff to get water tanks filled and keep them ready in all respects. We have also requested the management of a paper mill to lend their fire brigade in case of emergency," they added.

Dr Rajesh Garg, head of the eye department at the local civil hospital, said sufficient arrangements had been made to handle cases of eye injuries caused due to bursting of crackers.

Extra stocks of lotions, medicated fluids and medicines had been purchased for the purpose, he claimed.

Observations revealed that none of the shopkeepers had applied for permission to sell crackers at marked places adjoining MGMN Senior Secondary School and tube well No. 3 here.

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All work, no rest strains cops
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 26
The state police seem to have ignored suggestions of researchers and recommendations of a few organisations regarding fixed duty hours and periodic holidays besides amendment in the recruitment rules.

What to talk of implementation of weekly holiday, declared by the state government a few months ago, the cops are not even allowed to take enough sleep. The tendency if not checked, might frustrate force's fortitude to face threats from terrorist organisations, besides deteriorating health.

Perusal of records and duty rosters revealed majority of cops posted at police stations in this part of Malwa were not allowed periodic holidays, even over seven months after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced to allow compulsory weekly-off to the policemen from rank of constable to inspector.

While the staff strength was not sufficient at any of the police stations of the area, frequent VIP duties weakened routine security arrangements in towns and villages. It was observed that certain cops had to perform duty round the clock. The cops who were deputed on bank security duty during day besides routine patrolling had to keep a vigil during night dominations being supervised by senior officials.

Further investigations revealed that failure of cops to have enough sleep and rest had resulted in poor performance. Some cops were seen catnapping during their forced long duties. Those deputed on VIP duties, including chief minister were no exception to the sloppiness.

Besides experts in other organisations, Mohinder Singh Teji, a PPS officer, had suggested amending the recruitment system by making aptitude test compulsory for the aspirants. Fixed working hours and periodic holidays would enhance efficiency, he said.

A study undertaken by Teji, showed officials in the police headquarters and those posted in the district responded differently to questionnaire given by the official. A large number of respondents were reported to be dissatisfied and 12 per cent were extremely dissatisfied.

Comparative studies revealed that district police officials were more dissatisfied than those working in the field.

Analysis of the results showed that workload, lack of entertainment, poor promotion facilities, corruption and discrimination were responsible for overall dissatisfaction among cops of all cadres. 

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No end in sight to dengue
Over 1,500 confirmed cases of the deadly disease reported in city 
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 26
There is no end in sight to the spread of dengue in the district. At least 50 to 80 cases of dengue are still being reported at local hospitals every day.

The figure of confirmed dengue cases in the city has crossed 1,500, with six fatalities so far. The official claim of deaths is eight, including two from outside the city.

The health authorities are not ready to concede that the number of dead is more than eight.

Officials of the health department are shifting the responsibility squarely on the municipal corporation for failing to take preventive steps. However, the health authorities too have done little to check the spread of the disease.

The city was struck first by gastroenteritis in July and August when around 1,500 cases were reported. This was followed by pouring in of dengue cases in September and October.

Every year, the rich municipal corporation grapples with the epidemic of gastroenteritis. However, both municipal and health authorities have failed to curb the spread of the disease year after year.

Sherpur, Gyaspura, Dhandari and colonies adjoining the Budha Nullah are the worst hit by gastroenteritis due to poor sanitation.

Similarly, dengue caught the municipal authorities off guard this year. Fogging machines were found out of order and fumigation could only be carried out in October. The corporation has 11 fogging machines but none was found operational. The corporation had recently purchased five new fogging machines but these were yet to arrive.

According to the health authorities, they had been writing to the district and municipal authorities for organising awareness camps but to no avail.

An officer in the health department said letters were sent to the deputy commissioner and the municipal corporation for taking preventive measures against dengue but in vain.

During his recent four-day sangat darshan programme here this month, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced to provide free treatment to dengue patients.

However, enquiries revealed that free treatment was available only at the local civil hospital where cost of platelet separation or cell separation was Rs 60 per unit. The cost of the same procedure at private hospitals varied from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 
per unit.

Dr Raju Singh Chhina, medical superintendent, DMCH, said the kit for platelet separation was very costly.

Dr Chhina said they were getting 70 to 80 patients with symptoms of dengue every day. They had admitted 1,700 to 1,800 patients with symptoms of dengue so far at the hospital.

Sarbjit Singh, an employee of Punjab Agricultural University, said he had spent Rs 87,000 on the treatment of his niece who had suffered from dengue recently.

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PAU gets 3 months’ time to release pension
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted three months time to the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to release pension to the retirees, said vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

Dr Kang said they had moved the high court for extension of time for the payment of pension to the retirees in response to the earlier order of the court directing the PAU authorities to make the payment of the pension to the retirees within one month of the order issued on May 27, 2008.

The confederation of Punjab Agricultural University Pensioners’ Association had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking direction to the PAU and the Punjab government to make payment of pension in May 2008. Dr Kang disclosed that the retirees had been paid pension up to September and he had now written to the Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal to extend financial assistance to enable the PAU to pay pension to them.

The vice-chancellor, who looked relieved with the orders, said that he was making efforts to press upon the state government to release money to the university to meet the pension liability and he was confident that the government would come to the rescue of the varsity. Dr Kang said that he would meet Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to seek special grant for the PAU to meet the liability and seek funds for research and other development activities.

The VC revealed that out of the total special grant of Rs 20 crore received in March this year, the varsity has already disbursed Rs 10 crore as pension to the retirees. The university had now sought revalidation of Rs 10 crore and if done, the retirees would get pension up to December. The university was solely depending on the state government for pension fund as the university had exhausted its FDRs (fixed deposit receipts).

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Youth Fest
Doraha college rules the roost
Our Correspondent

Doraha, October 26
The students of Guru Nanak National College, Doraha, brought laurels to the institution by securing 41 awards in a total of 43 items conducted in the Ludhiana zone-A youth and heritage festival of Panjab University.

The items that grabbed first position were shabad, classical music vocal, rangoli, bhangra, classical dance, Indian orchestra, group folk orchestra, folk instruments, kavishri, instrument music (non-percussion), embroidery and Punjabi folk dance, while the individual first prizes were won by Davinder Singh in shabad, Gulam Ali in group singing, Mandeep Singh Saini in bhangra, Sukhwinder Singh in group folk orchestra, Ranjodh Singh in kavishri, Megha Sharma in vaar/kali and Parmeet Singh in Punjabi folk dance.

The items that secured second place were gazal, group song, clay modelling, essay writing, drama, mimicry, elocution, instrument (percussion), phulkari and crochet. Individual second were Rajbir Kaur in group dance and Harvinder Singh in shabad.

The third prize was won by the team of folk song, collage making, poster making, cartooning, group dance, mime, pakhi designing and knitting. Jasdeep Kaur of gidha team and Gurmeet Singh of group folk orchestra team were placed third.

According to principal, Narinder Singh Sidhu, the inter- zonal festival would be held at GNN College Doraha from November 16 to 19.

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Biz Word
Flame-retardant wires
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
KEI Industries Limited has launched its new range of flame-retardant PVC-insulated wires for residential complexes and commercial establishments-Conflame.

KEI Conflame is ideal for wiring in multistoried buildings, hotels, hospitals, commercial establishments and residential complexes. A specially formulated flame retardant PVC compound shields it. KEI’s Conflame consists of flame-retardant low-smoke PVC, insulated single core unsheated and copper cable (up to 1100 volts AC). The conductors, drawn from bright electrolytic grade copper, are annealed and bunched and insulated with specially formulate “flame retardant low smoke” compound.

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Dhanteras
Gold sales look north as prices dip
Charu Chhibber/ Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Under the prevailing global economic crisis with trade and industry suffering and stocks nosediving, city residents had something to cheer about on Dhanteras following decline in the prices of gold and silver. The markets were bedecked and equipped to woo the customers on the festival.

Fallout in the international market, where gold prices dropped sharply because dollar hit a two-year high against major currencies, has led to the drop in the prices of gold in the domestic market even as concerns over the growing possibility of a global recession took centre stage.

The precious metal was quoted at around Rs 12,300 per 10 grams here today. The fall in the domestic gold prices has led to increased sale of the yellow metal with wedding season round the corner.

Amritpal Singh, store manager at Reliance Jewels on the college road, said they had received good response to the festive offer they had launched on Dhanteras. "Sales were higher than the normal days and we are also offering 100 per cent off on the making charges of diamond jewellery and 50 per cent off on the making of gold jewellery," he said.

At the same time, banks were also busy selling the gold coins. Baljinder Gill, an officer in the ICICI Bank, said the sales of gold coins had really picked up. "We are selling 5, 8, 20 and 50 gram coins. A combo pack of Laxmi-Ganesh coins of 250 grams each are the hot favourite among the customers," he said. To meet the demands of the customers on Dhanteras, all branches of the bank were opened on Sunday also.

Another jeweller Vineet said the prices of gold were fluctuating. Ten days earlier, gold was priced at Rs 14,000 while today the price is Rs 12,300. "After Diwali, the prices are expected to shoot up again and reach up to Rs 16,000.

City resident Aashima said she had bought gold coins for the coming festival. "Dhanteras is an auspicious festival and brings prosperity. So every year, I buy gold on this festival," she said. 

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Gazal book released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 26
Prof Mohinderdeep Grewal’s third gazal book ‘Akharan De Deeve’ was released today at a function held by the Vishav Punjabi Sahit Vichar Manch. The book contains 102 gazals on different subjects.

Prof Niranjan Singh Tasneem said poetry of Grewal was modern and expressive of the pain and suffering of society. He said Grewal was the writer and speaker of the general masses. Sardar Panchi termed Grewal as technically sound gazal writer who used 'zihaf behar' in gazals which was rarely used by others being the most difficult one.

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2 booked for using combine at night

Khanna, October 26
The Khanna police today booked Kala and Iqbal, both residents of Cheema village, for using a combine in his fields at around 10.30 pm yesterday. The police registered a case against them under Section 188 of the IPC.

Police officials said the duo had flouted the orders of the deputy commissioner by using the combine at late hours. The police is investigating the case. — TNS

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Co-op society secy booked for embezzlement
Our Correspondent

Raikot, October 26
The Raikot police has booked the secretary of a co-operative society for embezzling funds to the tune of Rs 7 lakh.

Sub-registrar, co-operative societies, Raikot, said the secretary of co-operative society, Pakhowal, Paramjait Singh embezzled the society funds.

The matter was reported to the police on February 23, 2007. After inquiry, the allegations were found to be true. The Raikot police has booked the accused under Section 409 of the IPC. 

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Football Tourney
Nankana school win title
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 26
In a one-sided affair, Nankana Sahib Public School, Ludhiana, clinched the title in the final match of Ludhiana Sahodaya School Complex Football Tournament which concluded at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir compound here today.

In an encounter, the winners drubbed St Thomas Public School at 3-0, as their opponents failed to meet the aggression and sharp moves by Nankana forwards.

In a keenly contested match for the third place, hosts Bhartiya Vidya Mandir lost to Sutlej Public School. The game was evenly poised till the long whistle which saw both the teams locked 1-1. The tie-breaker also failed to produce any result as both the teams succeeded in scoring thrice. In the sudden death, Sutlej boys got the better of BVM, winning the match by scoring the decider.

Chief guest of the function, Shivtar Singh Bajwa, president of the District Football Association and secretary of the Punjab Football Association gave away the prizes to the winners.

Principal of BVM Santosh Mehra congratulated the winners, other participants and lauded the organisers for meticulous arrangements during the tournament.

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