L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cracker Stall Allotment
Badal orders probe against DC
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The deputy commissioner is in the dock with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announcing an inquiry against him over the allotment of firecracker stalls in the city.

Badal said the inquiry would be conducted by the commissioner, Patiala division, and action would be taken following the report.

The CM, who was addressing a sangat darshan programme, said following the allegations that money exchanged hands during the allotment of stalls, he had ordered the inquiry. The government had also decided to auction firecracker stalls in the state to make the system transparent.

The allotment of cracker stalls was embroiled in controversy. Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain had blown the lid off the “scam” after the allotment. He had alleged that lakhs of rupees exchanged hands during the allotment and held the deputy commissioner responsible for it. He had even written letters to the CM in this regard.

Gosain had raised the matter during the last sangat darshan programme also. The CM had at that time not made any announcement and preferred to be quiet over the issue.

Lashing out at the DC, Gosain had said all government officials and politicians were servants of the public and their corrupt behaviour was spoiling the image of the government. He said he would also discuss the working of the DC, Sumer Singh Gurjar, against whom he had received several complaints.

The allotment done through draw of lots was embroiled in controversy and had to be postponed following the allegations.


Beyond the role of khakhi
Jyotika Sood/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The police is generally criticised for the way it handles public at sangat darshan, but today people were lining up to meet a particular cop. The reason: he was writing applications for unlettered complainants.

Shish Singh of the Punjab police, instead of sitting idle and having tea like his colleagues, took it upon himself to help such people.

Reluctant to talk to the media about his noble work, he just said he was with the Ropar police and he was trying to help those who could not read and write.

Sapna Rani, in her 70s, got an application written from Shish Singh. “People generally write applications and letters only if you pay them, but this man didn't ask for anything,” she said, blessing him “Rab aenu bahut taraki bakshe te eh hamesha khush rahe” (God bless him with promotion and may he always remain happy).

Raj, a labourer who, along with his friend, got an application written from Shish Singh, said he had forwarded an application for financial assistance to the Chief Minister as his child had to undergo an expensive surgery.

Giving his best wishes to the cop, he said once the application was approved, his daughter would get a new lease of life.



Suicide by farmers
PAU gets Rs 9 lakh grant for survey
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 7
The Punjab Government has released a grant of Rs 9 lakh to the Punjab Agricultural University for undertaking a survey of suicide deaths by farmers in Punjab.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had asked the PAU to undertake the survey and the economics and sociology departments had been assigned the task. The department had sent a request to the government for a grant of Rs 9 lakh nearly four months ago.

After The Tribune highlighted it last month, the state financial commissioner (revenue), Romela Dubey, convened a meeting to review the situation. The government then ordered the immediate release of the grant. The economics and sociology departments would start the survey next week and the selection of people who would conduct the survey has begun. The survey would be conducted in districts of Sangrur and Bathinda and is expected to be completed by January-end.

There have been conflicting reports regarding the suicide deaths by farmers, particularly in the Malwa region. An NGO has put the suicides at 30,000 while the BKU groups have estimated that these are between 10,000 and 11,000.



No action yet in club row
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The incident of hooliganism at Satluj Club on Wednesday night is not an isolated case as similar cases have been reported in the past too.

While no action has been taken against erring members even 48 hours after the incident, club members remember the old days when nobody could create ruckus in the club. And if they did, they were suspended.

Members said when Arun Goyal was the deputy commissioner and president of the club, several members had been suspended for misconduct.

Later also, some members were suspended for misbehaviour. The matter had even gone to court and the suspension was challenged, but the constitution of the club was held supreme.

Members said though the environment of the club had deteriorated over the years, no action was being taken against anyone for misbehaving or creating ruckus on the premises.

During the past year, many such cases had been reported, but no action followed. Some members were accused of using indecent language for dancers during a presentation at the club.

At the time of the elections also a similar incident had taken place.

Certain members said they were so disgusted with the atmosphere and management of the club that they had stopped visiting it altogether. ‘‘I did not get my membership renewed as I felt the club was not meant for decent people now,’’ a former member said, adding that the management was weak as it could not take action even after a written complaint.

Yogesh Bansal, general secretary of the club, said the matter was with the DC, Sumer Singh Gurjar, who had said he would mark the inquiry to the ADC-D yesterday. ‘‘He would do it tomorrow as he was busy with sangat darshan throughout the day,’’ he added.



Taking up the challenge
Pak coaches recount their experience teaching special kids
Manav Ghuman/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
They are making sincere efforts to try and make an impact on mentally challenged children by giving them basic education and skill development tips to improve their quality of life.

Women coaches of these special children, who have come from Pakistan to be part of the 11th Punjab State Special Olympics, have paid attention to every child’s personal behavior, health, food, care and small needs.

Amna Yousaf has been lending a helping hand to these children for seven years. After completing her master’s in English Literature she had other plans till the day she visited Chambeli Institute at Rawalpindi.

After attending some workshops, she joined the institute as a volunteer. Though Amna is also working as consultant in a firm, special children are her main concern.

A table tennis player and an athlete, Amna encourages children to take up sports and provides them with basic training.

“Patience is crucial while teaching such children. Though, sometimes, I have to be strict but in a limit. We teach them innovative techniques and make the practice session interesting,” she adds.

Sazia Nareen from Lahore has been working with these children for the past eight years. There were two special kids in her family after which she decided to work for such children.

After doing her master’s in special education from Panjab University, Lahore, she got involved with “CAMPASS”, an institute, and there has been no looking back ever since.

Rukhenaz, serving as principal of National Special Education Centre, has been taking care of the needs of the special children for 21 years. After postgraduating in botany from Panjab University, Lahore, she joined as a volunteer and today is heads the organisation.

“A lot of patience is needed while dealing with such children. At times, I use to get disturbed but that was taking toll on my family life. Over the years I have tried to control my temper and never take problems to my home,” she adds.

Neelam has been working for Mehnaz Fatma’s Special Children for three years. After doing master’s in Islamic history, she did a certificate course and joined the institute.



Sangat Darshan
Elderly people seek pensions
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
With Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visiting the rural constituency of the district today, his series of sangat darshan in the city comes to an end.

Badal, who held sangat darshans at six places covering 15 municipal wards in Ludhiana today, released grants worth Rs 219.81 crore. These include Rs 81.85 crore for the construction of roads, Rs 74.38 crore for water supply and sewerage, Rs 13 crore for street lights, Rs 16.38 crore for construction of a community centre, Rs 4.72 crore for development of parks and Rs 28.67 crore for development in unauthorised colonies.

The main complaints, which came to light during sessions today, were different pensions. The venues of the sangat darshan (Milan Palace) was thronged by elderly people who complained that they had given application for pensions to their respective councillors but nothing has been done so far.

Talking to The Tribune, Bimla Rani, who had applied for widow pension, said, “I had given my application for pension to councillor Rattanjit Kaur and reminded her of it many a times but to no avail.” A Class X pass out, Bimla said since her kids were small she couldn’t even work and has been depending on her in-laws for her daily expenditures.

Similarly, Mahinder Rani in her 70’s along with her husband, too, had come to request Chief Minister Badal to give them old age pension, as they had no kids.

This weeping lady, who didn’t even know how to read and write, was begging people to write an application for her as an official at sangat darshan had told her that only written complaints would be addressed. Even mentally challenged Gagandeep (15), who got ill after falling prey to doctor’s negligence, was seen roaming with his father. Being carried by his father in his arms, Gagandeep was feeling anxious due to heavy rush.

While the hopes of these three people were shattered, story remained different for Satnam Singh. “I along with my wife and two daughters met Badal and told him our woes. He has directed administrators to start handicapped pension for me and my wife,” he added with a smile.



Changing land use with impunity
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 7
Residents of HIG flats of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in Sant Ishar Singh Nagar here are being harassed due to the result of illegal change of land use by some flat owners, who have converted their buildings into fully or partially commercial establishments.

A bakery owner, claiming to be an NRI, had first set up a commercial unit in the garage and servant quarter on the ground floor and obtained a commercial power connection by misrepresenting facts and later installed heavy machinery, much to the annoyance of residents.

The bakery owner also lodged a complaint with the police against some flat owners, whom he suspected of having taken up the issue with LIT officials and other departments.

He alleged that Vikas Raikhy, owner of a flat on the second floor of the same building, was posing a threat to his life and was obstructing the smooth running of his business.

Residents maintained that clause 4 of the sale agreement clearly stated that the owner shall not use the flat for any other purpose other than staying. The agreement also said any violation could lead to the forfeiture of the dwelling unit by the LIT.

That the commercial unit was established by the flat owner in contravention of the terms of the agreement is clear from a letter written by the executive officer of the LIT to the executive engineer, city west division, PSEB, that commercial power connection on the said premises was illegal and should be disconnected.

Residents alleged that the PSEB authorities were also dragging their feet on the matter. “The PSEB merely wrote a letter to the bakery owner to stop the commercial use of the premises and submit a test report of residential use of power within seven days. However, even after non-compliance by the bakery owner, no action was taken,” residents said.

R.K. Garg, executive engineer of the LIT, said to his knowledge, no change of land use had been permitted at Sant Ishar Singh Nagar. He said the specific complaint would be looked into.



Stubble Burning
Respiratory problems on rise among kids
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Unchecked burning of paddy stubble by farmers has not only worsened the eye and respiratory problems among children and adults living in rural areas but has also led to the scarcity of masks at the drug stores in the rural areas. The increase in demand of masks has forced a few chemists to sell these at double the price.

Forewarning by agricultural experts and environmentalists that the process will ruin the soil fertility and led to the health and environmental hazards among residents have fallen on deaf ears. This is evident from the lackluster implementation of the laws pertaining to burning of paddy stubble.

Disposable masks are priced at Rs 4 and Rs 5. But, the chemists are selling it at Rs 10 in villages especially in Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Jalandhar districts. Similarly, the price of thick masks, too, has gone up to Rs 50 from Rs 30.

Owner of a retail drug store Mohinder stated that there was no MRP on these products, which was why the chemists were increasing prices as per its demand.

“A large number of children have fallen ill due to the respiratory disorders due to the paddy and wheat burning. Dug stores don’t have ample stock of masks to cater to patients of four to five villages,” pointed Resham Singh from Mansuran.

Referring to the influx of patients complaining of bronchitis, laryngitis, distress and difficulty in breathing, Dr Rishi Bhardwaj working in a village dispensary near Phillaur said, “The smog is dangerous for the asthma patients and the rural doctors are holding awareness camps in a few areas. They have advised residents to cover their noses with a clean cloth before going out and wear glasses to protect their eyes from the smoke.”

Aslam Parvez, who is heading rural medical services association, claimed that teachers have told doctors that on an average 30 to 40 per cent students were suffering from cough, shortness of breath, frequent nasal symptoms, wheezing and asthma. This is adversely affecting their physical and mental abilities.



17 mediation centres to be opened today
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, November 7
In order to reduce the pendency of lakhs of cases in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the state judiciary has, for the first time, decided to set up 17 ‘mediation and conciliation centres’ at the district-level for speedy settlement of the cases by amicably persuading the litigants. These centres would start functioning from tomorrow onwards.

Justice S.B.Sinha of the Supreme Court would inaugurate these mediation centres through video conferencing along with Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and the district and sessions judge concerned.

The rehearsal for the same was going on from the past couple of days. The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court was personally monitoring the entire process and taking inputs from Sessions Judges on day-to-day basis.

One such mediation and conciliation centre would start functioning in the district courts complex at 11.30 am. District and Sessions Judge G.K.Rai disclosed this while addressing the mediapersons here today.

Giving the details, Rai stated that initially Additional District and Sessions Judge Kishore Kumar and Randhir Verma, Civil Judge (junior division) would handle the cases in the mediation centre as ‘mediators’.

Later, a panel of lawyers, psychologists, and social activists would be constituted to replace these judges. These persons would also undergo training programme of at least 40 hours, for acting as mediators.

At least 150 cases involving matrimonial disputes, domestic violence disputes, recovery suits, cheque bounce cases would initially be taken up, added Rai.



Workshop on peripheral vascular disease
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, chairman Cardio-Vascular Sciences, Sigma New Life Heart Institute, recently attended an advanced workshop on Minimally Invasive Interventional Techniques in Peripheral Vascular Disease.

The workshop was organised by the International VIVA group (Vascular Interventional Advances), in association with the Vascular Society of India in New Delhi, and Dr Bedi was the only doctor from Punjab amongst a selected group of surgeons and cardiologists from all over India.

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a blockage of arteries of the leg that can lead to serious consequences like severe pain in the legs, inability to walk, gangrene, loss of limb and even death. PVD affects one in 20 adults over 50 years of age and the total number of cases being over 42 millions, the disease can be very easily diagnosed by a painless test called ankle brachial index (ABI), which is being done free of cost in Sigma New Life.

The faculty interacted with the world leading doctors, including Dr Rocha, and Dr Donald Jacobs from USA and Dr David Grosser from Australia who showed some of the intricate steps in stenting of complicated PVD.

This experience would go a long way in making this advanced therapy available to the people of Punjab, Dr Bedi said. He also stated the incidence of PVD was quite high in Punjab due to the high fat and high calorie diet of people of this region coupled with lack of regular exercise, high rate of diabetes and a genetic predisposition of North Indians .

With minimally invasive endovascular surgery, very good results of treatment are possible with minimal invasion of the body and a quick recovery. This latest modality is now available in its advanced form in Ludhiana. 



Blood donation camp

Mullanpur Dakha, November 7
The NSS unit of Swami Ganga Giri Janta Girls College, Raikot, today donated 35 units of blood. There were about 52 volunteers but the team of Dr Gurparshad Mangla of Regional Blood Bank, Ludhiana, approved 35 girls for donating blood after their checkup. 

The camp was organised by the in charge NSS department of the school, Kanwaljeet Kaur Sembhi, and was inaugurated by Dr Manmohan Bhanot. Dr Savita Uppal, principal of the college, termed blood donation as the best service towards mankind.

She said the college was organising a blood donation camp since 1993 and over 500 units of blood had been donated till date. — OC



Polish dancers set stage on fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Polish dancers in their regional costumes danced to the tunes of bhangra during the Punjab Multi Cultural Festival held here today.

Students of various universities from Poland put up a spectacular display of their folk tradition at Ramgarhia Girls College. The event was organised by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council.

Fifteen Polish folk artists led by their director Jedlinio and Henryk are on a four-day tour of Punjab. All members of the group were well-versed in traditional dances of their region.

Girls dressed in black skirts and white shirts, while boys in cowboy hats and brown pants with white shirts and red jackets brought the culture of their country alive on stage.

Arthur P. Lompart, head of the division of culture and education in the Embassy of Poland at New Delhi, was the guest of honour.

He added that Punjab had a special place in the hearts of Polish community. “We are here to strengthen our ties with Punjabi community, share common ideas, traditions, beliefs and brotherhood,” he said.

The artists later gave gifts as a token to love to Davinder Singh Chhina, Ranjodh Singh, Balwinder pal, Karanbir Singh, Rajinder Shoal, D.M. Singh and Principal Jasbir Kaur.



Economic meltdown hits exports
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, October 7
The worldwide meltdown has badly hit the industrial production, affecting export of engineering goods in particular. Orders for export of engineering goods worth several crores of rupees are held up and importers are seeking reduction in rates. Even consignments in transit are not being cleared by importers.

Enquiries made by The Tribune revealed that prices of iron steel had fallen drastically both in the international market and local markets.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, said construction activity all over the world had come down and the demand from West Asia, which had been importing steel from India had come to a halt.

Export orders worth several crores were held in abeyance as importers were insisting on revising the prices, which local manufacturers were resisting.

“We have purchased material at higher rates and executed the orders. How could we reduce the same and face losses?” said Avtar Singh.

The union government has withdrawn duty on export of steel in order to enable producers to export goods. However, there was no demand from foreign buyers. At least 15 per cent export duty was imposed to check the export of steel in the wake of its rising prices three months ago.

Avtar Singh said the overall industrial production had fallen by 40 per cent following recession in the industry. The saving grace was that migrant labour was away to Bihar to participate in Chhat Puja and the industry had not felt its shortage. The labour would start arriving from the next week onward. The industry will have problem of providing employment to them.

He said the Central government should increase the export incentive to help exporters handle the present crisis. President, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, P.D. Sharma was critical of the policies of the Central government in tackling the present recessionary trends. He alleged that the government was only bothered about the big industry and was not concerned about the small-scale ones.



From Schools & Colleges
PTU youth festival concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
The Punjab Technical University (Zone IV) Youth festival organised at GNIMT concluded here today. Sarojini Gautam Sharda, PCS, registrar PTU, was the chief guest. The theme of the ongoing youth festival was ‘freedom struggle’. The festival comprised of various theatres, cultural, fine arts and literary events.

Additional troop allotted

Lt Col RP Singh, commanding officer, Ludhiana, allotted an additional (Junior Division) troop consisting of 50 cadets to BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh. Speaking to the cadets, RP Singh said he was immensely happy to grant an additional strength of 50 cadets to the school.

DP Guleria, principal, conveyed his message to the cadets and lauded on the requirement of students to become cadets too.

SK Mehta, manager, capt SP Singh, Lt Gurwinder Singh and Manju Bhatti attended the inauguration.

Declamation contest

The 9th Inter-school Vedic Declamation contest was held here today in BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar. Students from 11 elite schools of Ludhiana participated in the contest. Each school was represented by two students, who had a choice to express their views in English 
and Hindi.

In English, BCM Arya Model Sr. Sec. School stood first, GNI Public School stood second followed by Tagore Public School that bagged the third prize.

In Hindi, BCM Arya Model Sr. Sec. School stood first, B.C.M Sr. Sec. School, Focal Point, bagged the second prize followed by DAV Public School that stood third.

Prize distribution function

An annual prize distribution function was held at Teja Singh Sutantar Memorial Senior Secondary School, Shimla Puri. Harmeet Kaur, former principal, Ramgarhia Girls College, was the chief guest and congratulated the prize winners. Principal Gurbachan Singh Grewal thanked the guests and parents for being a part of the function.



Trust honours meritorious students
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 7
Students of Government High School, Jartoli village, who had secured top positions in the board exam, were felicitated by the Lambardar Sampuran Singh Memorial Trust at a function chaired by Gursewak Singh, a social activist. Sarabjit Kaur, principal Government Senior Secondary School Kilaraipur was the chief guest of the function.

Addressing the gathering, various speakers, including former president Government Teachers Union Baldev Singh Latala, and president Punjab School Teachers Union Sikandar Singh Jartoli appreciated the role of organisers in promoting education in the village. Speakers called upon leaders of social and political organisations to join hands to help the government meet the crisis faced by state-run schools.

“It is high time we understood the gravity of the situation and help children from the lower strata of the agrarian society, worst hit by the financial crisis faced by the government,” Jartoli said, regretting that the successive governments had failed to maintain standard of education at the state-run schools.

Students presented a cultural programme on the occasion. Organisers presented cash prizes worth Rs 4000, 3000, 2500 and 1500 to students achieving first four positions in their respective board classes.

Jaswinder Singh, Gagandeep Kumar and Arashdeep Kaur were honoured for standing first in their respective classes. Navneet Kaur, Jaspreet Kaur and Satnam Singh got the second prize. Dharamjot Kaur, Manpreet Kaur and Simarpreet Singh secured the third positions in their respective classes. Ramandeep Kaur, Amandeep Singh, Sukhdeep Singh and Gurdeep Khan were present Vaid Sadhu Singh Memorial Award for standing fourth in their respective classes.

Sikander Singh Jartoli, general secretary of the trust, said the family of the late Sampuran Singh had earmarked a huge amount for honouring meritorious students of the school eight years ago. 



Govt schemes affecting regular teaching
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
Government beneficiary schemes for the students’ welfare are creating more problems rather than solving them. Padho Punjab, Radio programme, Midday meals are encroaching upon the time to be devoted to other regular subjects.

During a visit to various government primary schools, this reporter was informed that two hours were devoted to ‘Padho Punjab’ focussing on Punjabi and Maths. Teachers said regular subjects like English, Social Studies and Science were suffering and there was hardly any time to finish course of the regular subjects. During the remaining hours, they had to serve midday meals.

Moreover, the children who are served midday meals are not satisfied with the food. The daily menu consists of dal roti, sweet rice, halwa, sabzi roti and salted rice. Children from well-off families don't like these meals and get their own tiffins.

In government primary schools, there is hardly any clerical staff and it is the duty of teachers to maintain the complete paper work. Interestingly, after three months, teachers are required to measure the height and weight of every child just to access how much the child has gained strength after consuming ‘Sarkari Roti’. In one of the primary schools, the strength is 250 and there are 6 teachers. Three of them have gone to attend the government seminar and rest of the three were handling 250 students, Padho Punjab, Radio programme, midday meals and regular subjects. What kind of efficiency can be expected with this teacher-student ratio and, that too, at the primary level.

The DEO (Primary) said the Padho Punjab scheme has been started from November 3 in the schools. But reportedly, this scheme was already in operation for the past two months. In one primary school, they were already following the Padho Punjab scheme since September and in another school this scheme started a month ago.



Students’ strike continues

Ludhiana, November 7
Strike by students of DD Jain College for Women, Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College and Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women continued today in protest against the fee hike.

At DD Jain College, parents of students also joined the strike. The management claimed that they were charging as per the Panjab University instructions.

Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College management assured the students that the matter would be resolved by Monday. At GNKCW, students and the management also had a meeting. — TNS



‘Indian studies must be integral part of syllabi’
Our Correspondent

Doraha, November 7
Dr Harish Narang, dean, Jawarhar Lal Nehru University, while inaugurating the 3-week refresher course in English organised by Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, asked the scholars and academicians of India to unite and fight for the Indian studies, which have still not been assigned their rights despite the fact that many third world countries have marched much ahead in the field of literature and literary studies.

Speaking against the foreign studies, which are still continuing to be a part of almost all the Indian universities, he asked the framers of the syllabi to incorporate Indian writings or for that matter other regional writings in the recent syllabus. He said since most of the Indian writers were as good as or even better than British writers, there should be no reason why a particular course of study should be followed even after 51 years of India’s independence from the clutches of foreigners.

He asked the academicians to hold cudgels against the teachings of foreign studies in India and wage a war beyond English. He said 75 per cent of the syllabus should bear the works of Indian, Pakistani, Australian, Nigerian, Kenian, South African writers etc. He further said the foreign studies should be given only as much due as required and there were many more current and significant issues like female foeticide, communal harmony, Hindu-Muslim Unity etc, which needed to be discussed and focussed rather than continuing with the same old books and same old foreign writers for centuries together. The vote of thanks was, however, extended by Dr Harbir Mankoo.

Dr HS Bhatia, director, Academic Staff College, Guru Nanak Dev University, said “Many expert scholars from various universities of India shall subsequently be introduced to the participants, who by their literary expertise and uniqueness in Indian English literature and literary theory, shall share their research-based understanding, thus, opening new vistas of knowledge and researches by the young participants of the course.”

Dr Parminder Singh, professor, department of english, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, the course coordinator informed the course shall comprise of lectures, discussions, workshops, seminars, project work and a multiple-choice test on the trust area of the course ie ‘Trends in Indian Literature and Literary Theory’.



Fancy dress competition for children
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The members of Astha Ladies Club organised a dance and fancy dress competition, Taare Zameen Par, at a city hotel yesterday. About 52 children of the club members participated in the competition. The young children were eager to show their dance performances and show their exotic costumes.

The members held the competition to celebrate Children’s Day. Mona Sood, the chairperson of the club, said they had preponed the day, as they had to hold the function during their weekly meetings.

In the competition, Ria stood first. She was dressed up as a ‘flower seller’ followed by Sia and Vasu, who was dressed as ‘Singh is King’. Nakul and Apsara secured third positions.

There were two age groups in the dance competition namely, above and below 8 years. The winners in below eight years group were Sejal, Tanisha, Sia Singla, and Rahul, while in above eight years group, Anikhet, Ritik and Prabhleen were declared first, second and third, respectively.

The members staged a thought provoking play on the burning issue of ‘Female Infanticide’. Inspite of being amateurs, the participants were outstanding and left the audience spellbound.



Kids carnival at Ebony
Tribune News Sevice

Ludhaiana, November 7
Brightly coloured fancy dresses, rainbow coloured brush strokes, fun parties and exciting prizes await children at the Ebony Kids Carnival, a three-week-long festival of fun and laughter, to be kick started from tomorrow and would conclude on November 23.

The Carnival will be held at Ebony store, Ludhiana, and simultaneously at all Ebony department stores in Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Faridabad. It will have various theme activities planned for each weekend, including two days of fancy dress competition, painting competition and a grand finale-cum-kids party.



Farmers allege favouritism in sale of wheat seed
Rakesh Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, November 6
Farmers and secretaries of co-operative societies of the area have accused officials of Punseed Corporation Ltd., Mullanpur, of adopting the policy of favoritism in disbursing seeds meant for farmers.

Shamsher Singh, secretary-cum-sales officer of the Co-operative Society, Chowkiman, alleged that after confirming the availability of wheat seed from regional manager J.S. Rai, they deposited a demand draft for Rs 60,500 with them on November 3.

However, they were still awaiting the seed. They had to return empty-handed everyday from godowns at Mullanpur, they added.

Similarly, Buta Singh, secretary-cum-sales officer of the Co-operative Society, Bhumaddi (Khanna), Nachhater Singh, secretary-cum-sales officer of the Co-operative Society, Kaklaha (Isru-Khanna), Gurminder Singh, a farmer of Rattowal village, and others claimed the same.

They said the authorities were not giving them dates for delivery or availability of the seed.

They alleged that though the godown had a regular supply of seed, the stock was being sold to private dealers instead of farmers.

The Mullanpur office of Punseed Corporation Ltd. caters to the needs of nine districts, including Ludhiana, Sangrur, Ropar, Barnala, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Mohali.

Regional manager J.S. Rai refuted the allegations. He said prolonged paddy season and subsidy on seed by the Punjab government to the tune of Rs 500 per quintal was the reason behind the shortage.

He, however, refused to divulge the waiting list of farmers and cooperative societies.

He said they used to sell 1.5 lakh quintal seeds annually. This time they had sold 90,000 quintal seed.

Now they have purchased 2.2 lakh quintal seed from private sellers for farmers. He said this year Punjab Agro had also entered the market to sell improved certified seed and had purchased 2.5 lakh quintal seed from private suppliers. He said the shortage of seed would end in a few days.



Villagers apprised of employment scheme
Our Correspondent

Khamano, November 7
A workshop was organised at BDPO office here under the supervision of block samiti chairman Avtar Singh Ria to disseminate information about NAREGA, a scheme meant for untrained and unemployed persons of villages.

In his address, the chairman said those who wanted to work under the scheme should be of the same village, ration card holders and not less than 18 years old.

BDPO Nishan Singh apprised sarpanches and panches of the scheme.

He said unemployed youths of the village would be employed for 100 days every year and paid 102 every day. He said five villages of the Khamano block — Bhamian, Barwali Khurd, Ria, Raipur Raiyan and Nanglan — had been selected under the scheme.

Under the scheme, village ponds would be dug to tap water for the village. He said payments would be made through cheques and the accounts of beneficiaries would be opened in banks with zero balance facility.

He added job cards would be necessary for those who wanted to work under the scheme and the making of job cards had already been started.



Killing of saint in Orissa
RSS, VHP activists stage protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
Activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today demanded immediate arrest of those who had killed Swami Lakshmananand and his four disciples in Kandhmal district of Orissa on August 23. They also staged a protest in front of the mini secretariat.

In a memorandum submitted to the Union government and the Orissa government through the district administration, the protesters alleged that the heinous and inhuman act was committed by Christian missionaries, who were nursing a grudge against the Hindu saint for his work for the betterment of tribals through creating awareness in the fields of education, health, scientific farming and allied professions for more than four decades.

“The services being rendered by the slain saint and his followers were standing in the way of the evil designs of Christian missionaries, who had hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Swami Lakshmananand and others in order to carry forward their task of religious conversions,” the memorandum charged.

The activists urged the government to issue specific directions to the Orissa government to apprehend the culprits and bring them to book, as also take effective steps to curb the work of religious conversions being carried out by Christian missionaries in the state.



eHatti, online portal for special kids
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
eHatti, a non-profit organisation committed to making differences in the lives of children with special needs, is the brainchild of young entrepreneurs for providing an online platform for selling items made by physically and mentally challenged children.

The products like candles, mugs, cards and bed sheets made by children from Ek Prayas and Nirdosh School have been put on sale on this website www.ehatti.com.

Arpan Phull, a city resident who graduated from IIT, Delhi, went on to establish Elfsys, a startup in the field of wireless sensor networks. Currently working as a researcher for Singapore defence in Singapore Arpan is passionate about technology and enjoys exploring new cultures and places. “I got the inspiration to form eHatti from an organisation in Singapore and I plunged into the project with an aim to evolve something new and with a motive to create a platform for the underprivileged children,” Arpan went on to add.

Subhash Chander, a retired government employee, who is also the general secretary of the organisation, feels that most of the schools for underprivileged children lack support, funding and marketing of manufactured items and eHatti is just the right step towards their self-sufficiency in terms of finance. “Through this site we have consolidated the emotional ties with these children as it would be our constant endeavour to maximize their reach through Internet,” said Subhash.

The vision of eHatti is to build an online platform like ebay, selling only items made by non-profit organisation. There are millions of mentally and physically challenged children in India who continue to be plagued by discrimination. The aim of eHatti is help them become independent and boost their morale.

The website offers cash on delivery options and an integration of a payment gateway is already in progress. The proceeds from the online sales will go towards building better facilities for physically and mentally challenged children. The website is also registered as non-profit organisation with the Government of India.



Welfare trust formed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
With an aim to work towards the welfare of mankind, Sadbhavna Welfare Trust was formed at the Ramgarh Road, Sahnewal,yesterday.

The trust will work in the field of social welfare, medicare, education and spiritual upliftment of society.

President Paramjit Singh Kanwar said the trust had been established for the advancement of social, moral, physical and spiritual growth of people without the distinction of caste, religion or status.

The trust has started a stitching training school at Begowal village, near Doraha, to help needy women.



Two dead, 1 hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Samrala, November 7
A man and his wife died and another sustained serious injuries in an accident that took place near Hedon village. XEN Jaswinder Singh and his wife Harpreet Kaur were on their way to Chandigarh from Ludhiana. On reaching Hedon village their car collided head on another car coming from opposite direction.

The accident was so fierce that it took about more than 30 minutes for the villagers to evacuate the couple from their car. Bhupinder Singh, who was driving another car, has been refferred to DMC, Ludhiana. He condition is stated to be serious.



Small units should shift

New Janta Nagar and Shimla Puri areas have been kept as residential in the master plan for the city. The association of the small-scale industry is worried lest the units be shifted out. It is urging politicians to declare the area non-residential and it may have the bargaining power as it pays political parties money for elections.

The election commission should take note of this.

The government should take into account the plea of residents while taking any decision in this regard. It can’t be a commercial area in view of the orders of the High Court. It is better that the industry maintains cordial relations with the residents who have been here since 1972 and let them live in peace.

Sher Singh, Ludhiana

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874 kg poppy husk seized, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Khanna, November 7
The local police today arrested Tarsem Singh of Garhi Tarkhana village and Parkash Singh of Nurpur Mand village for allegedly trying to smuggle 874 kg poppy husk in a truck. The truck carrying the contraband was stopped during a special naka laid last night.

The accused, however, tried to break the cordon but were nabbed by alert cops. During investigations Parkash Singh revealed that the poppy husk was to be sold at different places in Punjab. A under the NDPS Act has been registered against them.



Connect told to compensate consumer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 7
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the HFCL Infotel Ltd (connect) to compensate a consumer for wrongly disconnecting her two cell phones for a couple days, without any fault of her.

The forum ordered the company to pay Rs 1,000 as compensation and Rs 500 as litigation costs. The orders came on a complaint moved by Dr Amita Jain of Sunder Nagar.

The company had disconnected the cell phones with the plea of non-depositing of the bill. Whereas, the consumer was found to have lodged four complaints with the customer care cell of the company regarding non-delivery of the bill.



Torch relay for special children
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 7
A torch relay for the 11th Punjab State Special Olympics was held today. The relay started from Guru Nanak Public School and reached Sarabha Nagar market. It then moved to Sutlej Club where Punjabi folk singer Labh Janjua entertained special guests.

Special children danced to the tune of song “Jee karda” from movie “Singh is King”.

A coach, Sazia, said the aim of the event was to transform communities by inspiring people to open their minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities.

“The ultimate goal of the Special Olympics is to help persons with mental disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by providing them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skill and talent through sports training and competition and by sensitising public of their capabilities and needs,” she added. 

In 1963, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of former president of USA John F. Kennedy, organised a day-long camp in the backyard of her house for mentally challenged children. The movement spread to 150 countries covering millions of children. First International Special Olympics Games in 1968 saw participation of three countries and a Special Olympics World Summer in 2003 saw 150 countries taking part.



ATP tournament at Jassowal from today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 7
Harvest Tennis Academy will organise AITA National Tennis Tournament for Boys and Girls u-16 (singles and doubles) at Harvest Tennis Academy at Jassowal village (Kular), around 25 km from here, from November 8 to 14.

The tournament is being organised under the auspicious of the Punjab Lawn Tennis Association and All-India Tennis Association (AITA). This is for the first time that the tournament is being conducted outside of Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai. Around 160 players from all over India will take part in the tournament.

Stating this here yesterday, Simmy Saran, vice-president, Harvest Tennis Academy, said the main draw for boys will be of 64 (52 DA, eight qualifiers, four wild cards) and for girls 48 (36 DA, eight qualifiers, four wild cards). The qualifying draw for both boys and girls will be open. The draw for doubles event will be of 16 with 14 direct entries and two wildcards. All main draw matches will be best-of-three sets. The qualifying format for the national event will be best of 17 games. However, the last match in the qualifying will be best-of-three tiebreak sets.

The qualifying round matches for boys will be played on November 8 and 9, while for girls these will be played on November 9 and 10 and the main draw matches will be played from November 10 onwards.

Interested players have been asked to get their names registered at the office of the academy in person. The players must bring their ITN card for the entry, she said.



Sant Ishar eves emerge champs
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 7
Sant Ishar Singh School, Rara Sahib, emerged winners in the girls’ section (u-14 and u-19 years) of the Ludhiana Sahodaya Schools Complex Volleyball Tournament that concluded at Nankana Sahib Public School, Gill Park, here yesterday.

In the girl’s u-19 years section, DAV Public School and NSP School secured second and third positions, respectively, while in the u-14 years category too DAV Public School and NSP School finished at second and third place, respectively.

In the boys’ section (u-19), DAV Public School outplayed Spring Dale Public School to bag the top honours, while CFC Public School had to content with third place.

In the boys’ u-14 years section, DAV Public romped home victorious and Spring Dale Public School finished runners-up, while CFC Public School secured the third position.

Gurmail Singh Sangowal, member of the SGPC, distributed the prizes. Gurcharan Singh Gill, director, Nankana Sahib Education Trust, along with school faculty members and students were present at the prize distribution function.



Boxing coach Sandhu honoured
Our Correspondent

Raikot, November 7
International boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu were honoured at Dadahoor village, near here, today. He was visiting his native village Sultankhan Wala.

He was responsible for India bagging two gold medals in the individuals’ event in Paiching Olympics this year.

He was honoured by panchayats, sports clubs and other social institutions. He was accompanied by Surinder Singh Sangha, principal of Dashmesh Girls College, Badal, Daljeet Singh Kalsan, silver medallist of the 1982 Asian Games, and Sarabjit Singh Toor, principal of Bhaini Baringa School.

Sandhu said everyone had the capability to win, but motivation and confidence made all the difference.



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