L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Eviction from NH-1
4,000 shops face closure, thousands to be homeless
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The eviction of residents from Samrala Chowk to the Jalandhar bypass for the widening of National Highway number 1 would mean the closure of at least 4000 shops, small units, restaurants and petrol pumps in the area, besides rendering thousands homeless.

The closure of these establishments would mean at least 6,000 persons losing jobs if not more. All these people would have to be relocated.

Office-bearers of the Bypass Traders Association said these people, on an average, support a family of five, and kitchen fire would not burn in their houses if the civic body went ahead with the eviction process.

The municipal corporation had issued notices to residents alongside the road within a stretch of 3 km to leave 328 square feet space on either side.

The residents as well as traders have now joined hands to support the Congress in their dharna against the move on January 29.

State Congress president and other senior leaders would address the dharna in front of the municipal corporation office on that day.

"There are at least 4,000 shops only on the entire stretch. Then there are units not only on the road but in the interior parts of the area. Besides, the owner of shops, one or two more persons who work as helpers would also lose the job," said a trader.

He added that even children would sit on the dharna, as they, too, would be the sufferers.

The traders asked whether the administration was sleeping when the residents had got their properties registered with the government. "Had they known that this was the land for NH-1, they should have banned the sale and purchase of property there.

Why should a common man be punished for government's wrongdoing?" asked a trader.

The Congress is taking up the mater on the plea that if the SAD-BJP government could take the issue of 18 ministers for security guards in the Assembly and write to the court, they could take up the matter of thousands of people also.

"Where will they go now? They have no place. They already spent what they had on constructing these houses and shops. It would be a cruelty on them," said a trader.


Watching Obama's Inauguration 
‘It was a lifetime experience’
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Watching the swearing-in ceremony of the US President Barack Obama while sitting amidst the audience was a lifetime experience for city girl Ketki Arora. Sharing the experience, Ketki said the enthusiasm among the Americans on the occasion was overwhelming.

Nearly 30 lakh people came to witness the inauguration of Obama, and the freezing temperature did not deter their spirits. Eighteen-year-old Ketki was one of the six students selected from India to be part of this historical moment.

She is a student of class XII at Pathways World School, Delhi. She also attended the global youth leaders conference held in the USA and got selected to be part of the inauguration ceremony.

"People there were crazy to watch the inauguration of Obama, the first black President of their nation. I saw tears in the eyes of people while Obama was taking oath. I personally feel things will change in the positive manner after Obama," she added.

Ketki felt in a totally different world in the USA. Surrounded by people in lakhs, she was ecstatic. "It was awesome, sitting among people and witnessing the historical moment of the oath-taking ceremony of the first black President of the USA," she quipped.

Ketki came back this morning and added, "The rich memories will remain always close to my heart. The big difference, Ketki feels, between the people of India and the USA is that people there take keen interest in their leaders and politics. In our country people lack real interest, while people there are emotional about their leaders. The huge crowd gathered at the ceremony proved the point," she said.



Teachers not paid salary for 14 months
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The teachers at Malwa College, Bondli, Samrala, have not been paid their salaries for the past 14 months.

Thanks to the continuous tussle between the two groups of management that the staff (about 10 lecturers) has been made the scapegoat.

Even the authorities maintain that an "unhealthy" atmosphere prevails at the college these days and any unruly incident can happen anytime on the campus.

Prof Varinderjit Singh Kaler, a teacher, said that neither the principal nor the management paid any heed to the woes of staff members, who have not been paid the monthly salaries for the past 14 months.

"Despite repeated attempts, nobody wants to listen to our plight. Regular dharnas/strikes have become normal routine in the college. We feel helpless and have represented the case to the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), but the outcome will come only if management handed over the certificate to state government regarding clearing all the retirement benefits to retirees," said Prof Kaler.

Another teacher of the college and local (Samrala) unit secretary of the PCCTU Prof Jagdeep Singh said that in the present circumstances, it had become impossible for the teachers to get both ends meet.

"We have to provide education to the children, there are other household expenses. For how long can we run life like this? All the saved money is dried now as college management has not paid a single penny to us," complained Prof Jagdeep Singh.

According to information, there has been an ongoing tussle between two groups on the hold of the college. Even the teachers are divided in two factions. The teachers have not been paid salaries as the state government has not released the grant to the college. The reason for the non-release of grant is that due to internal politics, the management has not submitted a certificate to government which says that all retirement benefits have been paid to retirees. As per the high court directions, the colleges will be stopped the grants if managements failed to produce the certificate of clearing all the retirement benefits.

Principal of the college Prof Jagmohan Singh said that unless the management paid Rs 65 lakh to the retirees (gratuity, leave encashment etc), grant will not be released by the state government. He said, "The atmosphere in the college is pathetic. I had spoken to the president of management, who said that he cannot clear the dues all alone. Things will be settled only after the elections of management, which are near March 2009.

But any major unpleasant incident can happen anytime as even the staff and students are also divided in two factions here," said the principal.



Treatment of effluents from dyeing units
‘Trained manpower lacking’
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Four days after the state government set a deadline for the local dyeing industry to ensure discharge of effluents into Buddha Nullah as per the stipulated standards of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, Dr BK Guha, senior professor of environment (retd), IIT (Mumbai), landed in the city to take stock of the effluents treatment plants.

"Main problem of a majority of the local dyeing units is that even though they have proper treatment plants in place, they lack trained manpower required to operate them," Dr Guha said. He further said the treatment plants of one-third of the 12 dyeing units in the city had fairly good water treatment plants. "Few plants have minor deficiencies which can be rectified while the rest one-third require upgradation. I will study the case in depth and submit my report by the first week of February," Dr Guha said.

He said he had noticed that members of the Federation of Dyeing Factories' Association, Ludhiana, were full of enthusiasm and would leave no stone unturned to do the needful for their industry. "They have understood the gravity of the problem and are ready to cooperate fully and do whatever is required to ensure compliance with the norms. This I think, solves half the problem," Dr Guha remarked.

Dr Guha said the members of the local dyeing industry would upgrade their treatment plants as soon as the report was submitted.

"As far as the report of the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, which gave the dyeing industry a clean chit is concerned, I have not seen it personally so I cannot comment on that. However, after proper treatment, the effluents from the units can be discharged into the nullah without the fear of toxicity or disturbance to the aquatic life," he said.

Office-bearers of the association said the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, had given them a clean chit.



Four get life term for murders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Additional Sessions Judge M.S. Virdi today sentenced Balwinder Singh and Beant Singh to life term for murdering the paramour of the former's wife.

The judge, however, acquitted Balwinder Singh's wife, Baljinder Kaur, who was also booked in the murder case by the Jagraon police. Balwinder Singh, belonging to Sawaddi Kalan village, had murdered Sukhdarshan Singh after the former got a wind of his wife's relations with the latter.

The Jagraon police had registered a case against Balwinder, Beant and Baljinder Kaur under Sections 302 and 120-B of the IPC on March 2, 2002, on the complaint of murder victim's brother-in-law, Surjeet Singh.

In an another case, the Court of Sessions Judge GK Rai has sentenced Manjit Kaur of Manuke village on the charges of killing her husband Mandip Singh.

The co-conspirator Daljit Singh, brother-in-law of the main accused, was also held guilty by the court.

The duo was sentenced to undergo rigorous life imprisonment.

According to prosecution, Manjit Kaur was having illicit relations with Daljit Singh, who was her sister's husband. When her husband came to know this, he got annoyed. Then a conspiracy was hatched and Mandip Singh was strangulated on August 29, 2006.

An FIR was registered against the duo on August 30, 2006, at the Jagroan police station.



Ban on rice export checked price rise: Khush 
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, January 24
The world food situation is not very bright and there has been increase in the food prices by two to three times in 2008. Moreover, the world food buffer is also depleting fast as compared to the high sex ratio. This is a matter of serious concern.

Gurdev Singh Khush, world-renowned rice breeder, in an interview with The Tribune, made these observations. Khush was in Ludhiana for addressing the annual convocation of the College of Agriculture, PAU. Later, he also addressed the annual convocation of the university as Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, who was supposed to address the same could not make it to the city due to the fog.

According to him, the prices of rice rose from $250 (US) to $ 1,090 per tonne in 2008. It now settled at $ 600 per tonne. ‘This is sad for the poor people who spend 50 to 60 percent on food grains. They face lots of hardships. Depletion of food stocks is taking place and population is increasing at higher rate. This is not a healthy situation’, he added. At present the world food buffer was 150 million tonnes.

Referring to the Indian food situation, he said at present India’s position was better it had a buffer stock of 50 to 60 million tonnes. The Government of India has banned the export of rice and this has helped in checking the price rise.

Khush, who is known as ‘Paddy Daddy’ in the world, disclosed that the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines, Manila, had developed 330 varieties of rice. These varieties were being cultivated in at least 150 million hectares.

Khush observed that scenario of Punjab was good as production was increasing. But, that too at the cost of sustainability as water level was going down.

Khush said: “We used to grow crops like legume and pulses and they used to add nitrogen to the soils. We have now opted for organic farming which has a very little scope as only vegetables and spice could be grown but not rice and wheat as the yield of these crops is less by 30 per cent under organic farming. Opposition to the recommendations of the Punjab Farmers Commission is very unfortunate. It is not a wise action.’

Question-All efforts to diversify the agriculture from rice wheat rotation, including introduction of contract farming, have failed in Punjab?

Khush -This primarily because of the low level of income from crops other than rice and wheat. The contract farming also failed because there was no assured marketing of the crops.

Moreover, the efforts were also half hearted. We have not found alternative crops. Soya bean is one it, which can give better income. Ten years ago, we had recommended cultivation of Soya bean and nothing has been done so far. The PAU scientists should strengthen work on Soya bean.’

Speaking about the financial crisis in the PAU, Khush said it was the duty of the state government to provide adequate funds to the university. It was wrong to sell the land of the university. This was a premier research institute in agriculture and had a name in the internationally known scientific institutes. It should not be allowed to starve of funds. Khush was keen on meeting Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal during his stay in Punjab but could not meet him probably because of the pre-occupations of the Chief Minister.



Sukhbir's induction as Deputy Chief Minister 
Senior Badal kills two birds with one stone
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, January 24
Soon after the rehabilitation of the traditional Akali leadership during the post "Operation Blue Star" period, Parkash Singh Badal had intelligently gauged that there would be vacuum of leadership in the younger generation.

A crop of Sikh youth had been swept away in the wake of militancy. Many were languishing in the jails while others had been overawed by the persecution that Punjab witnessed. At that time Parkash Singh Badal thought of bringing his son to the political arena, as there were virtually no adversaries for him. The other Akali leaders also thought likewise.

The elections that took place in 1997, more than 40 per cent of the ticket was given to sons and relatives of the Akali leaders. Badal having risen as the party president had earmarked his close relations for the constituencies in the Malwa area. Young Sukhbir was asked to cultivate those who were new entrants into the Akali politics. Since there was a coalition with the BJP, secular face had also to be kept.

With his election to the Lok Sabha, Sukhbr Singh was inducted as the Minister of State for Industries under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Although Sukhbir was elected to the Parliament twice, like his father he was also looking toward Punjab as his basic domain.

Senior Badal was keen that Sukhbir should succeed him in Punjab. In the Akali Dal, Sukhbir was rated as the leader of the young brigade and kept a close watch on the Youth Akali Dal where he ensured installation of only those who were loyal to him. As a matter of fact, this small coterie of young people always thought of Sukhbir as the Chief Minister.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir also formed a new organisation known as Students Organisation of India (SOI) for strengthening his hold on the political scene in Punjab.

As the Akali Dal failed to secure absolute majority in 2007 Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab, the policy tilt towards the BJP began to recoil and the ministry that was formed under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal was dependent on the strengthening ties with the BJP. It was in the wake of this political situation that the BJP demanded the Deputy Chief Minister post and a coordination committee where in they wanted sizable representation.

BJP also wanted to expand its base in the rural and semi-urban areas. This opened the eyes of the Akali Dal and there were clashes between the BJP and Akali workers in the panchayat and municipal elections that followed the formation of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab. Parkash Singh Badal in such a situation remained the saner voice and did not let his equation come under strain with the BJP.

However, he hastened and cleverly managed to install Sukhbir as the SAD President. Sukhbir and his brother-in-law, Bikramjit Singh Majithia, remained in the vanguard and kept a close watch on Akali ranks at every level and ensured that nobody raised voice against Sukhbir. Soon Sukhbir was able to have his own group within the party and the dissent could not be loud.

As Sukhbir started making policy statements without any executive authority, the supporters of Sukhbir raised the issue of making him the Deputy Chief Minister. Senior Badal prevailed upon senior BJP leaders and secured their consent for inducting Sukhbir as the Deputy Chief Minister giving shock of life to the BJP leadership in Punjab.



Organs of brain-dead can save many lives: Docs 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Organs of brain-dead people could help add many years in the lives of those suffering from organ failure.

This was stated by Baldev Singh Aulakh, Head, Department of Urology, DMC, during a motivational lecture organised by the Gift of Life Organ Donation Society here today.

Aulakh said there was a shortage of organs that could be taken from brain dead people. Though a large number of people are declared brain dead and are forced to sped most of their lives as vegetables, their near ones never decided to donate their organs.

"We have to motivate people for such donations. Once we start realizing how noble this gift would be, the world would be a beautiful place," he said adding that in India even the doctors were scared of asking the relatives of a brain-dead person to donate his organs.

GPI Singh, secretary of the society, spoke about Nicholas, an eight- year-old child, who was shot in Italy and was declared brain dead. His parents decided to donate his organs and he helped numerous people. 



Ad hoc vets seek regularisation 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Weary of the indifferent attitude of the state government towards veterinary doctors working on contract basis with the Zila Parishads, the veterinarians went on today.

The Punjab State Veterinary Doctors’ Association (PSVDA) in its recent state executive meeting held in Ludhiana decided to go on the strike against the state government for having failed to regularise their posts.

President PSVDA Dr Abdul Mazid in a statement issued yesterday stated, "The contracts of the veterinary doctors are coming to an end but the veterinarians have not been regularised so far. Also, the Zila Parishads have added to the miseries of the veterinarians as there was continuous interference of the politicians in the working of dispensaries."

The government has showed complete disinterest in development of dairy and agricultural allied services in Punjab. The SAD-BJP government claiming to be farmer friendly is actually self contradictory in its activities.

The association further criticised the state government for its proposal to open two new veterinary colleges in Punjab adding that the existing veterinary officers are subjected to harassment in contractual jobs.

"We have no job security, no medical security, no provision of annual increments in salary. Moreover, 50 per cent veterinary hospitals of Punjab have no electricity connections, no water supply, no regular medicine supply, and their buildings are in bad conditions," aggrieved the veterinarians.



Clothes for gizmo freaks 
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Clothes that pocket gizmos like mobiles and iPods are in thing these days. Earlier fatigues were strictly military code for uniform. Only men of “British sarkar” wore khakis.

But not till a bunch of gadget geeks multiplied gizmos and couple of fashion gurus made their models wear the same and strut down the ramp in none other than those bulky multi-flap jackets and 12-pocket cargos. Not only guys but also gals prefer wearing the multi-pocketed clothes today.

“I hate carrying excess baggage with me and then go nuts searching for keys, cell, lip gloss in a bag. I want things to be easy and nothing beats clothes with pockets, they makes life simple,” says Mansha, an interior designing student, who finds her pockets the safest of all safes.

“I've just spent a huge amount on clothes that have pockets,” quips Jaspreet, as she gets ready for college in her cargo pants, and her waist pouch.

“It's a no-fit fashion that's doing the rounds and people come in looking for cargos and waist pouches,” tells a salesman at a leading shop in the city. Today college-going girls pick from low-waist and cotton capris with pair of cross-cut pockets, a pair of palm-size flap pockets on the thighs and knees, he added.

For the adventurous, there are the rugged and loose cargo full pants with eight to 10 flaps, zip pockets available in earthy colours. “They look cool and I can shove in money and my cell phone,” says Nitin, as he makes a buy.

“They are best when you are out trekking and camping,” he adds.



Advertisement Rights
Despite BJP’s opposition, MC invites tenders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Tenders for the advertising rights that were invited on January 9 despite being opposed by BJP councillors, senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal and Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal, were filed here yesterday.

According to information, the municipal corporation already filed a caveat in this regard as they were expecting an opposition from the BJP quarters.

Talking to The Tribune, corporation's law department head KS Kahlon said: "A writ petition was filed by seven parties under the name of Aamir Advertisers in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the case was heard by a double Bench headed by Justice Kher."

He revealed that the petitioner had stated that the corporation was trying to oblige a few big advertisers by following this move.

In its reply the corporation stated that the tenders were opened to all and since it was a big deal a company with sound financial background was needed. Besides this, the civic body also attached a Supreme Court's judgement.

Kahlon said the petition was disposed off yesterday itself and the process of inviting tenders went on smoothly.

Meanwhile, there were reports that the corporation was not accepting tenders of a few advertisers who had come to submit their applications. But after mediapersons intervened, the tenders were accepted. 



‘Thekyo Theke’ enacted
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
It was an amazing situation for city residents when they tried to rescue husband from the clutches of his wife who was thrashing him badly. But to their astonishment it was not a real situation but artistes from Jaspal Bhatti's School of MAD Arts were enacting a street play.

Street play titled "Thekyo Theke" was today enacted at Bhadaur House and opposite Ludhiana Stock Exchange in Ludhiana.

Play elucidating ill effects of alcohol and drugs attracted attention of every passer-by. The play explains how the opening of more and more liquor vends are spoiling the habits of people. The group got an overwhelming response from people.

Troupe members said it was Jaspal Bhatti’s New Year resolution to enact 52 street plays in the entire state. "We have enacted at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Abohar, Ganga Nagar and Bathinda and very soon we will be going to other cities," added one of the members of the troupe.

The members of the troupe included Lalli Gill, Bunty, Harsimran, Rajini, Navdeep, Amrinder, Sahil and Anup Sharma.

"The concept of the street plays is not popular in Ludhiana but it is good to see these youngsters delivering a social message through a play. May be the real like situation created by these artistes help people realise the gravity of ill effects caused by consuming liquor and drugs which are gobbling down society," added Ravinder, a spectator of the play. 



Samrala to have bypass soon
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 24
Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal today laid the foundation stone for constructing a bypass for connecting the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road with the Samrala-Khanna road from Otalan village up to the ITI. With this, there won’t be any need to raze the shops and commercial buildings for widening the road.

Lakhowal said this 8.76-km bypass would be constructed at the cost of Rs 7.96 crore. The width of the road would be 18-foot in the initial stage with the three-foot brick-paved road for widening it at a later stage. All link roads of the state will be constructed within three years, he added.

He informed that on the Chief Minister’s direction cases of dues pending with affected farmers had been handed over to the Deputy Commissioner for reviewing the land rates.

He said the board would construct curves on both sides of the bypass on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road. The tenders would be called in the next few days. He demanded that the price commission should be given constitutional status for announcing the crop rates. Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker CS Atwal, MLA Jagjivan Singh Khirnia, BKU president BS Rajewal, Santa Singh Umaidpuri and a few others were present on the occasion. 



Awareness rally held
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 24
Jatindera Greenfield School, Gurusar Sudhar, found a novice way to celebrate Republic Day. They held an awareness rally here and Gurusar Sudhar today to commemorate the Republic Day.

The rally covered current issues like terrorism, violence, peace, humanity, etc. Schoolchildren along with their teachers voiced against terrorism in order to beckon peace.

They were carrying placards and banners with messages “Peace, truth, non-violence: Three tools of Gandhi Ji”, “Plant humanity grow life”, “Let humanity flourish and terrorism perish”, Save life save earth”, “Stop bloodshed generate life”, etc.

Principal Suman Arora said youth was the power of nation and society needed to stand against terrorism so that earth could be made a perfect place to live.

People appreciated the efforts made by the school and responded positively. The local police also provided security around their respective area. Director of the school Manpreet Kaur Dhaliwal applauded the efforts of the students and teachers.



Councillors oppose removal of illegal hoardings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
The municipal corporation, which has always been criticised by councillors for its failure in getting the illegal advertisements removed, faced strong opposition from a few area councillors here yesterday.

According to information, during its drive at the Fountain Chowk, the civic employees were stopped by Congress councillor Ashu, councillor Ruchi Jain's husband and Balkar Singh. The employees were told not to remove specific hoardings from the area. The corporation’s team had to return empty handed.

The issue of the illegal hoardings has been dominating the city since long and Congress, BJP and SAD councillors have always rebuffed it for indolent attitude.

Even Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman had on numerous occasions tried to remove illegal advertisements from the city, but the councillors’ intervention had always put the civic body in the dock. It's not for the first time that the councillors had intervened in the corporation’s affairs for their personal preferences. There have reports of councillors or their relatives being involved in the advertising business.



Pension for poor voters sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Activists of the Arthic Andolan Parisangh today in a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner sought voters' rights of economics in the state.

The activists led by its district president Sukhwinder Singh Shakti stated that they were advocating "'voters'-pension" for the poor and unemployed people so that they, too, could live a dignified life.

Shakti said they wanted that the voters' pension right be taken up for discussion in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. "We are submitting the memorandum to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal through Deputy Commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar," he added.

"We want that such people should be given pension till they find a job to eke out a living. After all so many responsible citizens pay taxes for building the nation and the government should take care of those who cannot help themselves due to some reasons," he added. 



Workshop on micro-organisms at farm varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
A three-day state-level workshop on "Micro organisms: Let us observe and learn" being organised by the Centre for Communication and International Linkages (CCIL) and the department of microbiology under the aegis of Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) began at PAU yesterday.

Dr DK Pandey, senior scientist at the department of science and technology (DST) was the chief guest while Dr Tejwant Singh, dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities at PAU, presided over.

Dr Pandey elaborated about the objectives of the workshop and highlighted the programmes aimed at popularisation of science undertaken by the National Council for Science and Technology. "Providing hand-on experience to the teachers in scientific techniques and tools prove useful for stimulation of scientific temper among the students," observed Dr Pandey saying that this was the objective of the present workshop.

Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma, additional director, the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, remarked that besides these deliberations, the demonstration of modules involving kits, manuals, posters, CD-ROM, etc. visit to laboratories, hand-on experience on microbiological experiments in relation to food microbiology, clinical aspects of microbiology and related fields will also be organised.

She said the event was catalysed and supported by Rashtriya Vigyan Evam Prodyogiki Sanchar Parishad, the Government of India and the department of science and technology, the Government of Punjab.

As many as 33 science teachers from different schools of Punjab will be imparting theoretical information about the microbiological techniques, equipments and procedures through different technical sessions by eminent scientists of PAU.



Trainees awarded certificates

Ludhiana, January 24
A function was held in the PAU department of horticulture to award certificates to the successful trainees of the Gardeners' Training Class (GTC) for the session 2008-09 yesterday.

The certificates were awarded to 20 successful trainees. Dr Jagtar Dhiman, the chief guest, said theoretical and practical training in horticulture, including fruits, vegetables and flowers along with allied ventures such as mushroom growing, seed production and bee keeping would go a long way in their careers.

GTC in charge Dr JS Sarabha highlighted the job opportunities available to the trained gardeners and said the next batch would be admitted in June-July. — TNS



Cultural programmes mark R-Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
ABC Montessori celebrated Republic Day at their newly opened pre-school in the city situated at Thapar Nagar, Ludhiana. A group of children sang the national anthem with lot of enthusiasm. A debate was also organised wherein the children were encouraged to speak on the topic “India”.

Speaking on the occasion, Munish Saddana, director, ABC Montessori, Ludhiana, said, "We at ABC Montessori celebrate all significant days so that the children from a young age learn the importance of national days and inculcate a feeling of patriotism.”

The Republic Day was also organised at Everest Playway and Nursery School yesterday with great pomp and show. The students performed colourful programme. Poonam Sharma, principal, explained duties of the students and told them how they should achieve their aims by following the noble path.

Peace march

To give befitting answer to terrorism, a peace march was organised by Tagore Public School, which was flagged off by Jaspal Singh, secretary and vice-president of the school.

Students from classes V to XII enthusiastically participated in the march, holding colourful banners highlighting peace.

They were lead by Amrita Gakhar, principal, who was joined by the vice-principal and head mistress of the school. It was organised to commemorate 58th Republic Day.



Declamation contest at Green Grove
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 24
An Inter-house Punjabi declamation contest was organised for junior students at Green Grove Public School, Mohanpur, today.

The students were divided in two categories. Topics for classes 1st and 2nd were “My school” and “Importance of Time”. The students of Nehru, Gandhi, Tilak and Tagore House participated in the competition. Winners of the competition were Patwant who stood first, Khushpreet second and Ramnik third.

For classes III to V the topics for the contest were “Qualities of a good student” and “Discipline”. The students enthusiastically participated in the competition. Navneet, Amrita and Gurjot bagged first, second and third positions, respectively.

President of the school JPS Jolly appreciated the students for their efforts and principal S George felicitated the winners.



Inter-college contests held
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 24
Inter-college competitions were held today at AS College for Women wherein 13 colleges from Ludhiana participated.

Guru Nanak Institute of Designing and Technology from Ludhiana bagged first prize in these competitions.

Nearly 200 students participated in competitions like website designing, error handling, quiz, debate, soft toy making, fashion show and face painting.

Principal Rekha Bhardwaj gave away prizes to winners. 



Dulcha Brar submits joining report
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 24
Dr Dulcha Singh Brar, a former DSW of Punjab Agricultural University, today submitted his joining report to the Vice-Chancellor following a stay order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court against repatriation/ transfer of the petitioner to the department of entomology.

Dr Brar has submitted his joining report to the post of Director Student Welfare. The university authorities, however, have not commented anything on the matter.



Youth run over by truck
Our Correspondent

Raikot, January 24
A youth was killed when a truck hit a motor cycle today evening and injured another.

The victim is identified as Vivek Mishra (20) of Rohtak while the injured as Anil Kumar of Jind in Haryana.

They were employed with Bala Telecom System of Rohtak that has the contract of repairing telephone exchanges in Punjab.

They were going to Ludhiana on their motor cycle (HR 12 G 7794) after completing their job at Bassian when they were hit by a truck (PB 10 P 9341) coming from Raikot. The youth died on the spot.

The Raikot police has yet to complete the formalities after admitting the injured to a private hospital. 



Mystery shrouds death of farmer
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 24
Mystery shrouds the death of Amarjit Singh, a farmer of Phallewal village in Ludhiana district, whose body was found lying in a street at Hargindpura village, near here, yesterday.

Amarjit Singh had been absconding in a forgery case registered at the Sadhar police station over 16 months ago.

While the family of the deceased alleged that some cops had allegedly beaten him to death, the police maintained that he had died of heart attack.

The body of the farmer was handed over to his kin after getting postmortem conducted under Section 174 of the Cr PC. Further action, if required, would be initiated after the receipt of postmortem report.

Amarjit Singh (40) of Phallewal village had died under mysterious circumstances at Hargobindpur Mini Chhappar village on Friday morning. His body was found lying in a street by passersby at about 9 am.

Members of family of the deceased, including his widow Binder Kaur, had alleged that a havildar posted at the Sadhar police station had beaten him to death and thrown the body in the village in the wee hours yesterday. They demanded a probe into the sequence of events leading to his death.

Denying allegations levelled by the family of the deceased, Paramjit Singh Gorayan claimed that none of the cops from his circle had ever tried to apprehend Amarjit Singh, who was wanted by the Sudhar police in connection with an FIR registered under Sections 420, 465, 467 and 468 of the IPC on August 31, 2007.

Amarjit Singh, along with five other persons, had been booked for duping Harjit Singh of Sarabha village.

The Sadhar police had initiated the process for getting him declared a proclaimed offender from a court at Jagraon.

Referring to information received from office-bearers of panchayat at Mini Chhapar and villagers, Gorayan said that Amarjit Singh, in an effort to evade arrest, had started living in a rented house in this village. He was reportedly a heart patient.

"It was in the morning yesterday that a neighbour identified Amarjit and informed the Sadhar police that he had been hiding at Mini Chhapar. He (Amarjit) overheard the neighourer conversing with the police and tried to run away from the village before the arrival of the police. However, he fell on way and died probably due to heart ailment," said Gorayan. He asserted that proceedings under Section 174 had been initiated to know the actual cause of the death.

The proceedings under Section 174 were initiated on the statement of a villager, who had stated that he had seen Amarjit running away and falling in the street.

No external injuries were noticed on body.



1 kg opium seized, two held 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 24
Two members of a drug peddlers’ gang, who had been supplying narcotics and psychotropic drugs, to the youth in this part of Malwa have been arrested. One kg opium and a motorcycle used in committing the crime have been seized from their possession.

Those arrested have been identified as Buta Singh and Surjit Singh, alias Bhullar, residents of Sangowal and Baghela villages in the Mehatpur block of Jalandhar district.

According to Malerkotla DSP, a police party led by a SHO (City) arrested the accused while they were going to handover the drugs to a women living in the area on Friday. The cops got suspicious when the motorcycle-borne youths tried to speed away on seeing them.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused had agreed to supply the consignment at a purchaser’s residence on being paid Rs 10,000 per kg extra.

They revealed that in order to avoid arrest they used to go on the motorcycle to some distance and then one of the accused used to travel by bus or an auto rickshaw to avoid being caught by the police.

The kingpin of the gang, who distributes opium through network of peddlers, was yet to be identified.

Students, drivers, heart patients and prosperous farmers were stated to be their permanent customers. 



Two killed in accidents 
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 24
A retired Army man and a rickshaw puller died in accidents that took place in the city yesterday.

The victims have been identified as Gurdev Singh, a retired Army man working in a factory at Focal Point, and rickshaw puller Shyam Lal, a resident of ward No. 25.

Gurdev, who was on night duty, died after his cycle was hit by a vehicle in the wee hours yesterday. He was declared brought dead by doctors at the local civil hospital.

The rickshaw puller died after being run over by a speeding train on the Samrala road while he was trying to cross the level crossing below the flyover.

The bodies were handed over to the family members after post mortems. Cases have been registered in this connection.



Spice penalised for changing cell number 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 24
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the Spice Communication to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation to an aggrieved woman for changing her cell phone number without any justification.

The company was also directed to pay Rs 2,000 as litigation expenses apart from restoring the connection of the consumer with the previous number. Members of forum Puja Dewan and Rajesh Bhagat while deciding the complaint filed by Amarjit Kaur of New Janta Nagar, Ludhiana, pronounced the orders.

The complainant submitted before the forum that she had purchased one prepaid lifelong validity connection from the telecom company on January 31,2008, in the name of her son, Tarandeep Singh, from a company dealer.

After activation, she along with her husband was using the connection without any interruption. They gave this number to their near and dear ones. However, on February 11, 2008, the company changed the number from 98555-99933 to 98556-55533 without any prior notice.

Just a message was delivered at her cell phone that the number has been changed. Company officials were approached but to no avail. They even failed to reply to the legal notice sent to them.

On the other hand company officials failed to contest the complaint by filing written reply or adducing evidence, despite availing many opportunities for this purpose and as such, the forum struck off their defence.

"There is no reason explained on record as to why, all of a sudden, connection of the complainant was changed arbitrarily, causing inconvenience and harassment to her. Even after appearing through counsel, they failed to place on record any evidence or record to prove that the connection of the complainant was legally and validly changed due to certain reasons", observed the forum while deciding the complaint. 



Ludhiana Academy retain basketball title
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 24
Holders, Ludhiana Academy accumulated six possible points from three matches in the semifinals’ league to top the points table and retained the title in the men's section in the 59th edition of the Senior Punjab Basketball Championship held during the 23rd Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Festival that concluded at Jarkhar village, near here yesterday.

In the last league fixture, Ludhiana Academy cagers proved too good for Gurdaspur district whom they overpowered 79-65 to emerge champions. The Ludhiana Academy cagers beat Mansa district 64-46 yesterday.

Gurdaspur district with two wins and one loss secured five points to finish at second spot while Mansa district with four points had to content with third position.

Earlier, in the match played at Guru Nanak Stadium, the Ludhiana Academy overwhelmed Muktsar 64-43. In another match, Mansa district managed to prevail upon Muktsar 56-53.

In hockey (boys), Punjab and Sind Bank Academy stamped their superiority by registering 4-1 victory over Jarkhar to clinch the title while in the girls’ section, Haryana XI romped home victors against DAV School, Amritsar, (7-1).

In volleyball (shooting), Panjeta outplayed Dulay 15-12 and 15-4 to emerge champions while in kabaddi (all open), Ludhiana outnumbered Kapurthala 38-20 to bag the top honours.

The organisers honoured international players Jasjeet Kaur and Sardara Singh along with Prof Sarwan Singh Dudike, an eminent sports writer for their contributions in the field of sports.

Punjab cabinet minister Hira Singh Gabria presided over the prize distribution function. He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club.



79 players shortlisted
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 24
As many as 79 players which include 27 for the residential scheme and 52 sportspersons for the non-residential scheme were shortlisted at the end of the three-day selection trials conducted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) for its training centre, opposite Guru Nanak Sports Complex, here today.

More than 300 aspirants attended the trials in disciplines of athletics, basketball, handball, judo, volleyball and weightlifting for the boys’ under the residential as well as non-residential schemes, besides in the judo and volleyball for girls’ under the non-residential scheme in the age groups of 14 to 19 years.

The in charge of the SAI Training Centre, Ludhiana, and coordinator, Punjab, Harbans Singh informed that budding players were put to motor ability tests which were performed in all six disciplines by the panel of 15 experts deputed by the regional directorate, SAI, North Zone, at Sonepat.

These standardised super tests were taken to test athletes' speed, strength, endurance, flexibility and agility, which are the basic qualities for any kind of sports movement.

This was followed by skill and performance tests and on the basis of these qualities, the potential players were called for the medical examination and interview to know the physique and mind of these athletes.

Assistant director, SAI, and in charge, Maustana Sahib, Sangrur, SAI centre, Karam Singh headed the experts panel said the names of the trainees for the Ludhiana centre would be finalised by the end of next month.



Youngsters wait to showcase skills
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 24
Enthusiastic youngsters have been awaiting to showcase their skills during the one-day T-10 Gully Cricket Tournament slated to be held at Guru Nanak Engineering College, here on January 28.

Four teams will be seen in action and six matches will be played in a day.

Probables selected to represent four teams, namely gully 1, gully 2, gully 3 and gully 4, have been attending a coaching-cum-training camp being organised at the same venue. The playing members will be finalised at the conclusion of the camp on January 27.

Besides Ludhiana, this tournament will be played at seven other centres, namely Jalandhar, Kanpur, Lucknow, Thane, Pune, Nasik and Surat. All players taking part in this tournament are amateurs, who will get an opportunity to live their fantasies on a big ground they have been deprived of hitherto.

In charge Charanjeet Bangu informed that the objective to hold this tournament was to provide a platform to the amateurs to perform and be seen live on television.

Top team from each city would qualify for the final play off to be staged in Mumbai. These eight teams after qualifying for the play off would be divided into two groups of four each with the top two teams of each group qualifying for the semifinals.

The winner of group A would meet the runners-up of group B in the first semifinal while the winner of group B would take on runners-up of group A in the second semifinal to settle for the title clash.



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