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Aids
Alarm bells go off in district
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The Punjab State Aids Control Society has sounded an alarm bell in the districts of Ludhiana and Amritsar that have the maximum number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state and have been put under Category A.

Despite the efforts to control AIDS in the district, the health authorities have failed to evolve a foolproof system. A separate AIDS wing had been set up in Ludhiana under the guidelines of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACO) under the district programme officer.

Ludhiana and Amritsar are the only districts where these special wings had been set up.

The Integrated Counselling and Testing Centre (ICTC) at the civil hospitals in Ludhiana, Samrala, Payal, Raikot, Jagraon, the DMCH and the CMCH, despite being the last resort for HIV/AIDS patients, is unable to reach out to a large number of patients.

Counsellors at these centres refused to give the number of positive cases on the pretext of “confidentiality”. A senior doctor, maintaining anonymity, said: “It is difficult to ascertain the authenticity of the records as a large number of positive cases from targeted areas do not come in the open. At the same time there is no need to hide the number of patients as it invalidates the cause of helping patients to come out in the open and the general public to treat them with respect.”

Dr Geetika, district programme officer for AIDS in Ludhiana, said: “There is no time to lose as it is the need of the hour to tackle the problem. I have already started holding meetings to deal with emergency. ICTCs, gynaecology clinics, public and private blood banks and NGOs have been asked to send detailed reports of positive cases.”

She also spoke of the shocking revelations by the team of experts on “Red Ribbon Express” that accelerated the process of consolidating the AIDS control programme in Ludhiana.

Creating awareness was the top priority as slum dwellers, truckers, IV drug users, commercial sex workers and their clients were among the worst affected, the district programme officer stated.

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Highway Mishaps
State has only one speed-reading Gypsy
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Though the Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, has claimed to “change the face of Punjab, but the reality is different.

The state transport department, generating revenue worth thousands of crores per year for the state exchequer, has only one Gypsy to check the speed limit of vehicles on highways. Despite the occurrence of fatal accidents due to over-speeding, the government has failed to provide a sufficient number of vehicles to check speed.

According to sources, a vehicle to check the speed limit on highways costs about Rs 25 lakh with attached radars. The radars pick up the speed of the vehicles from about a distance of 1 km. Cameras atop the jeep take the pictures of the number plate of overspeeding vehicles.

A number of accidents occur on national and state highways every day. Due to overspeeding, several lives have been lost in the recent past, but the state government seems to be least bothered about it.

The department aims at challaning speeding vehicles on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway, Kohara-Katani road, Samrala-Chandigarh road, Doraha-Khanna road, etc. in the future. On an average, 100-150 vehicles are challaned within a week in the district by this jeep.

An employee at the district transport department here said the vehicle was sent by the department to achieve the challan target.

Another employee said: “It is unfortunate that the state transport department has got only one Gypsy, which was sent to each district on rotation. In Ludhiana, it comes after every two-three weeks for about seven days to achieve the targets.”

District transport officer Chander Gaind admitted that there was need for more such vehicles.

“The government has assured us that each district will be provided with a special vehicle,” he added.

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No water in Kila Raipur as panchayat fails to pay power bill
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 26
For thousands of residents of Kila Raipur, in this district, known in the entire world for its annual "Mini Rural Olympics", the going has become tough for the past one week as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has disconnected the power supply to the village tube well for the non-payment of power bills worth more than Rs 9 lakh by the village panchayat.

With no water for drinking, cooking, taking a bath or washing clothes, the people in the village, including women and children, find it difficult to perform their daily chores. The only source of water supply available to the villagers is a few submersible pumps, installed in the residential houses or fields of a couple of big farmers. It is not uncommon for those denied water supply to make a beeline for getting water from these pumps and at times, ugly incidents take place in the melee.

To make the matters worse, a number of hand pumps in the village had gone dry many years ago as the groundwater level had drastically gone down in the entire area making the availability of water solely dependent on tube wells.

Officials of suburban circle of the PSEB confirmed that the power supply of two tube wells in the village had been disconnected for the non-payment of energy bills for the past more than four years. "We have been carrying on correspondence with the village sarpanch and officials of the public health department for the past several months for clearing the pending bills without any response. In these circumstances, we had no other alternative other than to disconnect the power supply.”

A few residents of the village attributed the situation which had led to disconnection of power supply and denial of water to the entire population of Kila Raipur of the "panchayat's own making." Without mincing word, the agitated residents laid the entire blame on the functionaries of the panchayat and the sarpanch.

Kuldeep Singh, a resident of the village, claimed that the residents were prepared to pay the water charges, which go towards payment of energy bills, but for the past many years, no one had bothered to collect money from the villagers. The panchayat, entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the water supply, ought to have realised that unless the energy bills were paid, the power supply was to be cut sooner or later.

On the possibility of restoration of power to tube wells against part payment of arrears, the officials at the sub-division level said they were not competent to say anything on the matter. The deputy chief engineer of the suburban circle was not available for comments.

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PAU gets art gallery
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Dr MS Randhawa’s dream to open an art gallery on the Panjab Agricultural University campus was realised here today.

MS Randhawa Art Gallery was inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor MS Kang and Dr Randhawa’s wife, Iqbal Kaur, today.

The art gallery has been opened as part of Dr Randhawa’s birth centenary celebrations.

The first show at the gallery included paintings collected by Dr Randhawa.

Prior to this, the paintings were housed at various libraries and various guest houses at the university. Now, these have been put together under one roof.

The collection includes paintings of BK Roy, Jaswant Singh, Jarnail Singh, MS Gill, HS Purewal, Dev, Tarlok Singh and Kirpal Singh.

“Dr Randhawa collected these paintings during his visit to several places. He was a great lover of art,” Dr AP Singh, editor of the university magazine, said.

He had even written the price of Rs 200 at the back on one of the paintings with his signatures.

The paintings are based on different themes. Some are based on mythological episodes while others depict the rich and varied Punjabi culture.

“It was three years ago that the idea of setting up an art gallery on the campus occurred to us. We talked to the then VC and he approved of it. It took us three years to give it shape,” AP Singh said.

The gallery will be lent to artists to showcase their works while students and faculty could exhibit their work free of cost.

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Illegal Construction
Vigilance team inspects buildings
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Following various complaints regarding the illegal construction received by the vigilance department of the local bodies, a team of officials visited the city today and inspected some buildings.

According to sources, some buildings are at Vishal Nagar and another is at Iqbal Ganj Chowk.

They said the department had received complaints from residents at Vishal Nagar about some buildings being constructed on the space meant for public parks.

The team also took away relevant documents for enquiry to Chandigarh.

Interestingly, a colony in Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura’s ward is also under vigilance surveillance and the municipal corporation has failed to provide important documents in context with that colony. The colony is spread on 10-12 acres.

One of the complainants, Rajinder Singh, said: “I had brought illegal construction at Vishal Nagar to the notice of the municipal corporation on December 12 and the ATP, SS Bindra, issued a notice under Sections 269 and 270, IPC, according to which work should be immediately stopped and the building should be demolished.

But no action was taken. After repeated reminders and visit of the municipal commissioner, GS Ghuman, to the site on Janauary 9, no action was taken.

“I was forced to bring it to the notice of the Chief Vigilance Officer and Local Bodies Director, SK Sharma, in Chandigarh on January 28,” he said, adding that he had forwarded another complaint pertaining to illegal construction.

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Budget talk at MC
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The core committee of the MC met here today to discuss the proposed budget for the coming financial year.

According to the proposed budget, the civic body is planning to get a revenue of Rs 652.55 crore, which would be spent on development work.

The maximum money is expected to be collected from VAT, which would be above Rs 249 crore, while Rs 75 crore would be collected from house tax. Apart from it, Rs 8 crore is expected to be earned as advertisement tax. The civic body has also hoping to earn Rs 20 crore from miscellaneous income and Rs 10 crore from the selling property.

As far as the expenditure is concerned, the civic body is planning to spend Rs 47.86 crore on civic amenities like parks, streetlights, drains, bridges, roads and solid waste management.

Before the meeting, the expected income of the municipal corporation was expected to be around Rs 540 crore. But after the discussion with committee members, the expected income has been “increased”.

Talking to The Tribune, councillors said: “Before the core committee meeting, the agenda should have been circulated to all councillors as they needed time to go through the proposal before the budget meeting scheduled for February 28.”

However, some municipal officials and core committee members said there were some changes and after incorporating those, the agenda would be circulated.

The protocol says that the agenda should be circulated 72 hours before the budget meeting.

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Post offices to offer rly reservation facility
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 26
The head post offices in six major towns of Punjab, including Ludhiana, will soon offer the facility of online railway reservation.

The new facility, to be made functional at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Faridkot and Ferozepur by the April-end, will not only reduce the rush of people at reservation counters, but also add to the revenue of the department of post by way of commission on the sale of tickets and service charges to be collected for reservation.

Talking to The Tribune today, Dharmendra Kumar, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of Ferozepur division, said the proposal had been agreed upon in principle by the two departments and the department of posts had been asked to provide a counter each for reservation in the designated head post office of the respective towns.

Postal employees to be deployed at the reservation counter would be provided with short-term training and staff had been identified for the purpose, he said.

“Once the post offices provide us with the space and counters, we shall initiate steps for networking of the computer terminals with the main server at Delhi so as to start the service without delay. For the time being, the reservation facility will only be available in head post offices in these six towns, but later counters could be added and more post offices could be selected for the expansion of this facility depending on the response of the public,” he said.

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Three booked for loan fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Banks that are already grappling with recession have witnessed a steep increase in the number of home loan fraud.

In this connection, the Division No. 2 police has booked three persons for allegedly taking a loan worth Rs 7.5 lakh from a back on the basis of fake registration papers.

The complainant, Ashok Kumar, manager of the State Bank of Patiala, Miller Ganj branch, alleged that the accused Amarjit Singh and Jasbir Singh, in connivance with the former bank manager, took a loan of Rs 7.5 lakh by submitting fake registration of property.

The matter came to light when the accused did not submit the loan instalments. When the bank verified the registration of the property, it was found to be fake. The bank then lodged a complaint with the police.

The accused were booked after two years of investigation by the economic offences wing. The accused are absconding.

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City Concerns

Regular religious processions, mainly shobha yatras, on city roads continue to inconvenience travellers. Traffic on Jagraon Bridge, Ferozepur road, Ghumar Mandi and a majority of old city roads continues to be bad and there seems no respite in sight.

As if the enormous traffic on city roads was not enough to cause jams, shobha yatras, with deafening music and a sea of humanity, break the regular flow of traffic. Residents are peeved and feel there is no forum to address their woes.

Do you have a workable advice for the city administration to help hundreds of commuters from unwanted delay? Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be emailed to ludhianaconcerns@tribunemail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.

— City Editor

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COMMUNITY

Promotion Policy
UGC to decide after consulting teachers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to separate the implementation of pay scales from implementation of regulations. It has assured that wherever ambiguity was found, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) notification will be applied. Not only this, the UGC has further cleared that the regulations will be finalised in consultation with the teacher bodies and the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisation (AIFUCTO) within three months.

Prof Thomas Joseph, president of AIFUCTO, sent this communiqué to members of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) today.

The PCMA had supported the cause of young readers/ lecturers (selection grade) to place them in the pay scale of Rs 37,400 to Rs 67,000 as and when they complete three years in the scale of Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,300 without any rider as per the ministry’s notification.

The UGC, in its recent draft (regulations) put on the website had ignored the MHRD notification and had attached riders with this promotion. Later, the UGC in its clarification had exempted incumbent readers/lecturers (selection grade) on January 1, 2006, but the position of readers/lecturer (selection grade) working presently was not clear. Following this, the PCMA secretariat had approached the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (AIFUCTO) for getting the issue resolved. The representations were also sent by the PCMA to HRD Minister Arjun Singh for clarifying the position of young readers/lecturers. A massive dharna was also organised by the AIFUCTO at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on February 23 that was attended by PCMA executive vice-president Ashwani Bhalla.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Bhalla said today that the state government should implement the pay scales without any delay. He said the association would cooperate with the Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (PFUCTO) and the Punjab Government College Teachers' Association (PGCTA) in getting these scales implemented.

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Quick reaction team not so quick
Most cops are potbellied; on the verge of retirement
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The much-hyped quick reaction team established to handle any kind of eventuality in the light of Mumbai terror attacks is struggling for existence.

With most of the personnel either approaching retirement or having potbellies, head of the team SP (city-1) HK Bansal would soon need to rechristen the name of quick reaction team.

The 30-member team comprising 30 cops of different ranks attended a week- long training at Jahan Khera. After undergoing training at the local police lines, Bansal selected only 15 personnel and rest of the 15 were shown the door.

Now, they are being vigorously trained to meet any kind of eventuality arising in the city. The team is being taught to work specifically on time taken to respond and handle extreme cases.

The cops are made to be active and reach a required place in the minimum time possible, plan the task and complete it effectively.

But unfortunately, there will be no other quick reaction force to succeed, as the department is struggling to set up another batch as majority of the cops are physically unfit.

A senior police officer holds the successive governments accountable for such situation. "For approximately a decade, the recruitments have been stalled by the government. So we have to manage with the existing staff."

According to sources, the cops, who were earlier part of the 30-member quick reaction team, were in their late 50s and could hardly do the rigorous training. The sources further said these cops had requested the seniors to discharge them, as they were not in position to undergo strenuous training regime.

In order to avoid criticism, a senior cop said, "We had intentionally inducted the aged police officers so as to motivate the relatively younger police officers. We wanted to generate the feeling of competitiveness amongst the cops, if being senior they can undergo hard training, than why are younger cops shirking from their duties."

The sources also revealed that the majority of the cops who were part of the 15-member squad no longer wish to be a part of it. “I have spent good 10 years struggling in the police service and now I am in the middle of my career. And just when I was thinking that the struggle would end, I have been named in the quick reaction team. Now I will be at the forefront of any terrorist strikes in the city," said a cop on the condition of anonymity.

Besides, the quick reaction team has not been provided the latest artillery as promised by the department during its inception.

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In death, she gives vision to others
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 26
Showing rare courage, a father donated the eyes of her daughter who died at the age of 20. He was willing to donate other organs but the doctors did not advise him to do so. Jasbir Singh Jassi, a businessman by profession, dealing in electrical goods at Mullanpur Dakha is himself uneducated but he wanted his children to do higher studies. His son is studying in Canada. His only daughter Ramandeep Kaur was a student of Class 12 at Sacred Heart Convent School, Ludhiana.

She had studied at Sacred Heart Convent School, Dalhousie, till her matriculation. She was an all-rounder. She excelled in academics, sports and curricular activities. In 2008 she won the first prize in the doll-making competition that was organised by the Sportking Institute of Fashion Technology.

After a brief illness the doctors at DMC&H diagnosed some serious incurable intestinal ailment at the last stage. Thereafter she breathes her last within few weeks of the diagnosis on February 20 at around 4.30pm. Though the loving daughter was gone, Jassi wanted not to loose her permanently. He narrated his wishes to AK Banerjee, a friend. Banerjee is the president of a social welfare society, Sadbhavan Society, Ludhiana. He advised him to donate the eyes of his daughter to some needy children and they contacted eye surgeon Ramesh Mansooran, who took the donated retina of Ramandeep and replanted it to the eyes of 10-year-old boy Amit Kumar from Jalandhar city who lost his sight due to some crackers a few years ago.

The other recipient of the eyes was a 7-year-old girl, Sukhdeep Kaur from Vishnupura village in Patiala district. Not only he donated the eyes of her daughter, he bore all expenses of replantation and he even went to the extent to adopt Sukhdeep Kaur for her education throughout her life. On Rakhi day she will be bought to his house to fulfil the ceremony in place of Ramandeep Kaur.

The bhog of “sehaj path” and “antim ardas” of Ramandeep Kaur will be conducted at Gurdwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Block-E, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Ludhiana.

Jasbir Singh, talking to this writer, said when he expressed his wish, the family and relatives were shocked. Though it was not a easy task to get them agreed, my wife, Jaspreet Kaur, supported me. My son, Ravinder Singh, talked to each of the dissident relatives and got them agreed with me. Surprisingly, all this happened within two hours and now every one is happy over my decision.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ramesh and Banerjee said Jasbir Singh showed the courage only a rare person could have shown. They said the time demands that the eyes and other organs of the deceased should be donated to the needy person but the prevalent superstitions did not allow the family to do so. They said a few persons with the mentality similar to that of Jasbir Singh could change the scenario. Salute to the courage of Jasbir Singh and his family.

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Govt staff hold rally, seek pay panel’s benefits
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
Led by state president Sukhwinder Singh and district president Vijay Marjara, government employees held a protest rally to press for their demands under the aegis of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union at mini secretariat here today. The protest was organised against the failure of the government to adopt the recommendations of 5th Pay Commission and implement other accepted demands.

Hundreds of government employees from different departments like the deputy commissioner, health, excise and taxation, treasury, irrigation, social security and Punjab Roadways offices took part in the rally where the speakers made scathing attacks on the state government for its callous and indifferent attitude towards them.

Addressing the rally, Sukhwinder Singh lamented that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had assured the union functionaries at a meeting on January 27 that report of the pay commission would be received by February 15 and implemented with immediate effect. It was further assured that new pay scales to the employees would be given accordingly.

In a veiled threat to the ruling coalition, he said the employees would not hesitate to oppose the nominees of the SAD-BJP combine in the coming Lok Sabha elections if the government failed to concede all pending demands, including implementation of the pay commission’s report, without any further delay.

District president of the union Marjara said as per representation given by the union to the Pay Commission, a minimum master scale of Rs 10,000 be given to the government employees. Accordingly, the pay scale of clerks be fixed at Rs 16,500 to Rs 31,150, for junior assistants it should be Rs 19,800 to Rs 35,500, for senior assistants Rs 24,800 to Rs 51,400, superintendents Rs 28,250 to Rs 51,400 while superintendents grade I be given the scale of Rs 31,150 to Rs 56,000.

Addressing the rally, other speakers, including Varinder Kumar, general secretary, Sushil Kumar, acting general secretary, and Iqbal Singh, press secretary, called upon the state government to give effect to the recommendations of the Pay Commission and grant due benefits to the employees with effect from January 2006.

The activists of the union further demanded exemption from typing test for those recruited on compassionate grounds, recruitment of regular clerical staff, creation of clerical cadre as per norms in new districts, implementation of norms for stenographers and grant of financial powers and departmental promotion committees to the district heads of respective departments.

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At the Crossroads
People too busy to smile

According to Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Humour is a quality of the mind- “The ability to laugh at things that are amusing”. There is subtlety in its expression, aiming at highlighting inconsistency in a situation. There is no scope in it for being satirical or sarcastic. It is generally gentle and benign.

Nowadays, humour has taken a backseat. People are too busy to display their sense of humour and in case, someone makes a humorous remark, the other person feels offended.

In a humourless society, people flounder around in search of material gains. They have no time to stand and stare in a vacant frame of the mind. It is the vacant frame of the mind that is poised at welcoming a witty remark.

Geoffrey Chaucer displayed his sense of humour while delineating the characters of the pilgrims to Canterbury. The Wife of Bath, with gat (gap) teeth, had married six husbands at the church door, “besides other company”. Such a remark is like the wink of an eye or the twist of a lip. This displays the quality of the poet’s mind. At the same time, it expects a hearty response from the reader.

Once the mood is set, the portrait gallery gains colourful dimensions and the characters become vibrant. The sense of humour has made a 14th century poet relevant.

At home, Urdu poet Akbar Allahabadi displays his sense of humour in a playful manner. At times the play on words induces a delightful response and a bewitching smile- “Hum a.b. padte rahe, aghyar b.a. ho gya”. (While we were still repeating a.b., the rivals gained the degree of b.a. (bachelor of arts). At heart Akbar is a reformist, but he proceeds by touching the funny bone of the reader-

Beparda nazar aayen jo chand beebian

Akbar ghairat-e-qaumi mein gar gya

Puchha jo humne aap ka parda kya huwa

Boleen ke aqal pai mardon ki par gya.

(Yesterday I came across a bevy of women. On seeing them, Akbar’s religious sentiments were deeply hurt. I asked them what had happened to their veil. They replied, it had fallen on men’s good sense.)

The well-know Punjabi poet, Suba Singh, composed “Modern Heer”, in which he presented a parody of “Heer Waris Shah”. His effort was to treat a serious subject non- seriously like Heer’s wedding to Saida and to make fun of the vainglorious persons like Kaido Lunga. When Heer’s father Sultan asks the Qazi to go ahead with the wedding ceremony, even though Heer was opposing it completely, the poet describes the scene hilariously-

Just as the hounds run after a rabbit

And strike it hard on drawing near

The Qazi rushed through the marriage ceremony

Grown bold on hearing the Sultan’s word.

About Kaido Lunga, Heer’s maternal uncle, a saint in appearance but a villain in intentions, the poet depicts his ingrained hatred for him. He is unsparing in his comments on the structure of his body that manifests his malice towards the lovers-

Heer’s uncle Kaido was always intoxicated

And spent his time at the Takkia

He had a snub nose and narrow eyes

He looked like a ‘bijju’ from across the Chenab

He walked by throwing his weight on the lame leg

And gave a strange jerk to his body.

In the modern age, humour is absent when it is most needed. People are jostling with one another so as to show their one-upmanship. They do not realise that, in this process, they are losing their grip over the matters concerning their hearts. The mind and the heart have their own realms, although they converge on each other during cheerful moments. In tense moments, a word or a sentence spoken humourously can dispel the fog over the horizon. Then sunrays of understanding filter through the smoky atmosphere. Thereafter, everything is visualised in the right perspective.

I do not blame the younger generation for losing their sense of humour due to their involvement in severe competitions. Indeed they have been gradually weaned off from the springs of jollity and joviality. In the dreary atmosphere, the young minds do not respond, in the right sense, to a remark made in a lighter vein. They sometimes react in disdain and the elders feel disappointed and dismayed.

There is still time to fall back on the sources of gaiety and cheerfulness. Instead of the dour looks, lingering smile should brighten the face.

— NS Tasneem

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Woman succumbs to burn injuries
Family blocks highway for 4 hours

Rakesh Gupta

Raikot, February 26
The woman who sustained burn injuries succumbed to her injuries at the DMC&H yesterday night. She was stated to have set herself over a minor altercation with her husband on February 24. Jaspreet Kaur got married with Lakhvir Singh for more than seven years and had two sons. At the time of incident her husband and a mason with a few labours that were doing some construction at home tried to extinguish the fire and in this attempt Lakhvir Singh also suffered some burn injuries.

The woman in a badly burnt condition was referred to DMC&H while Lakhvir Singh was admitted to Bansal Hospital here. She was in a critical stage with over 70 per cent burn injuries.

On February 24 itself JMIC of Ludhiana Yukti Goyal, took the statement of the victim who got her statement recorded that she accidentally got herself afire by the bursting of Stove. She stated that none of her in-laws had any kind of involvement in the incident. On the other hand the parents of the victim, including Shamsher Singh and uncles Sarabjit Singh and Harbans Singh, recorded their statement claiming this to be a dowry burning case. They claimed that the in-laws of Jaspreet Kaur were demanding Rs 20,000 in cash. They also claimed to have audio and video recordings of her stating that Lakhvir Singh had set her afire while his parents grabbed her and the sister of Lakhvir Singh doused her with kerosene.

At least 200 villagers, including men and women, gathered at the civil hospital Sudhar where postmortem was conducted and later on at around 3.30 pm they seized the state highway at the Sudhar Canal bridge by putting the body of Jaspreet Kaur there. Raikot SHO, Gurdial Singh, and SHO Sudhar, Mohan Dass, tried to persuade them to lift the dharna but they demanded an FIR to be registered. Later on, the DSP (D) Jagraon reached the spot and was negotiating with the protesters. They had not reached to some conclusion till writing of the report.

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From Schools & Colleges
Tips on interview preparation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) Student’s Chapter and Training and Placement Cell of Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) organised a seminar by former professor in the mechanical and industrial engineering department, Roorkee University, Dr Bhupinder Singh, here today.

He delivered a lecture on ‘Job Search and Interview Management’ and enlightened students about various job opportunities available in the market.

He said, “The jobs in the organised sector are awarded on the basis of skills, certificates, degrees and body advantage. Electronic media, internet, campus guidance, government bulletins, public service commissions, employment bureaus and private placement agencies are various sources of information.”

He further said screening tests, preliminary written tests, skills and trade tests, certification from referees and interviews (telephonic or online) were the evaluation techniques of employers and selectors. He also gave tips to the students for preparing for the interviews. The importance of good physique and sound health was also discussed.

Seminar

A seminar was organised by the department of history at DD Jain College for Women here today. Shvinder Pal Kaur, head of the department, spoke on production and trade in the 16th and 17th century. The speaker was given a warm welcome by the college principal and members of managing society on the occasion.

Painting contest

An inter-college on-the-spot painting competition “Expressions-09” was organised in the department of fine arts at the Government College for Women here today. The function was presided over by college principal RK Aulakh. She praised the students and teachers for organising such creative events. About nine teams comprising 112 students participated in the event.

The competition included pot-painting, still-life painting, landscape, life-drawing, poster making, collage making, composition etc.

Graduation ceremony

The tradition of the graduation ceremony has been invented to highlight and enhance the importance of Sat Paul Mittal School. The fourth graduation ceremony of Upvan was held at Nehru Sidhant Kendra here today.

Barkha Thapar, general secretary, Parent School Association, was the chief guest for the day, who was welcomed by school principal Dr Rajeev Chauhan. The audience was mesmerised with the panache of the students of junior school, as they made everyone tap their feet with a spectacular haryanavi dance.

The chief guest was overwhelmed with joy and appreciation to see the confidence of young students. Suneet Sidhu, head, junior school, proposed a vote of thanks.

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‘Punjab needs another Dr Randhawa’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Randhawa’s Punjab came alive during the Dr MS Randhawa’s birth centenary celebrations at Punjabi Bhavan here today. Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal inaugurated an art gallery on the premises of Punjabi Bhavan. The maiden show at the gallery included the paintings from the life of Dr Randhawa.

Dr Randhawa’s life comes before one’s eyes while seeing his pictures, which included Dr Randhawa with varied personalities like Dr Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Balraj Sahni and Dara Singh. The pictures that caught everyone’s eye included Dr Randhawa relaxing at his farmhouse in Kharar and Dr Randhawa sitting amidst the farmers and listening to their problems.

Manpreet Badal was all praises for Dr Randhawa and said “Punjab needs another Dr Randhawa”. He promised to give an annual grant of about Rs seven crore to the Sahit Akademy.

“People in his Dasua village still remember Dr Randhawa, as he used to solve the problems of the farmers. The photograph in the art gallery depicts the same," Badal added.

Rajinder Pal Singh, Avtarjeet Dhanjal, Sidharth, Surjeet Lee, Karamjit Singh, Shiv Singh, Jodh Singh, Deepak Tandon, Diwan Manna and Amarjit Grewal also spoke on the occasion.

Acclaimed artist, Sidharth, said Punjab had produced wonderful artists and they had been ruling the world. According to Sidharth, Anish Kapur, Avtar Dhanjal, Sohan Kadri, Gurdeep Singh and Arpana Kaur are the five Indians that have been outstanding.

“Punjab has produced personalities like Amrita Shergill who needs no introduction worldwide,” he says proudly.

According to him the time is changing and people are now accepting art. “Even parents are now encouraging their children to pick up colours and brush, which was not a trend earlier,” he adds.

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Punjabi culture moves international artistes
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, February 26
Impressed with Punjabi style of living and hospitality, international folk artists and students from Poland and Greece declared to work for Punjabi heritage and let the other cultures and communities know about the society, peace and prosperity of Punjab, particularly historic traditions, during a function here yesterday.

About 38 international delegates students, folk artists, musicians, singers, folk dancers and festival organisers from Wieliszew (Poland) and Karditsa (Greece) were on a 10-day visit to Punjab. They were invited by Punjab Cultural Promotion Council’s (PCPC) director Davinder Singh Chhina to participate in the Punjab International Folk Festivals, organised by PCPC and to explore the heritage of Punjab.

The PCPC organised the felicitation ceremony on the occasion of the conclusion of Punjab International Folk Festivals (February 2009 series). Festival director Davinder Singh Chhina honoured Promyki folk group, director Dr Dariusz and director of Karagouna Karditsa Folk Group from Greece Chrysis Theologi. All other delegation members were also felicitated.

Polish Group’s translator Anna Pruzskowska said she had become a great fan of Punjabi heritage.

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Power situation to worsen in summer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
In the wake of the ongoing power crisis in the state inspite of several assurances given by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard, the industrial sector fears that things will only get worse in the summers.

Surviving without regular power supply is very difficult and the industry would have to suffer irreparable loss if things continue to remain the same, said VP Chopra, president, Federation of Punjab Small Scale Industries Association (FOSPIA), in a press note issued here today.

He further said despite several assurances given by the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister that there won’t be power cuts from March onwards, secretary, power and irrigation, Suresh Kumar, had categorically stated at a meeting in Chandigarh that power situation would only worsen in summers and Punjab would have to deal with power shortage for another three years.

Chopra said the state had drifted to a very low position even as it was the leader some years ago.

The association said the state which was already reeling under the global economic crisis, needed a new road map for reinvesting the industrial economy especially in the small-scale sector which was the backbone of the economic development.

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Agricultural marketing must, says VC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
“Agriculture sector is the prime source of livelihood for nearly 2/3rd Indian population contributing about 18 per cent to the gross domestic product,” stated Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice- Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), while inaugurating the 22nd National conference on Agricultural Marketing here yesterday.

Dr Kang said the demand for food was growing rapidly due to the increasing population and rising incomes. He projected a need of about 280 metric tonnes of grain by 2025 to feed about 1,300 million people.

He further said the inefficient marketing in emerging nations resulted from improper and inadequate market infrastructure. He also emphasised on the elimination of factors leading to farmers’ exploitation. He suggested some policy initiatives, including export-oriented programmes, agricultural diversification, shift towards high value crops and enterprises etc. as a part of the marketing in the future.

Dr MV Rao, who presided over the function, said India was deficit in food grain production in the past two decades. He traced the sequence of developmental landmarks that ushered in green revolution in Punjab, Haryana and other parts of India enhancing food grain production to touch nearly 231 metric tonnes in 2007-08.

He also highlighted the significance of market support to farmers saying that had there been no market support in terms of minimum support price of wheat and rice in particular, the green revolution might have been a total failure.

Dr R Radhakrishna, president, Indian Society of Agricultural Marketing, said agriculture had to play a major role in building a better nation.

Eminent economist Dr SS Johl said proper management of stock was important at the national level.

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Ex-Army officer with a mission
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
In yet another endeavour to reach out to the people with a 'never say die' attitude, Lt Col DB Sharma (retd), the acclaimed educationists conceptualised Senior Citizens Conclave. The conclave with its 143 members from the elites includes doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, educationists, industrialists and ex-military officers.

Says Sharma in his capacity as the conclave's general secretary, "it is a vibrant platform for the people playing their last innings to shun away the feeling of worthlessness and alleviate the sufferings of poor, handicapped, under privileged and exploited sections of the society."

Fondly referred to as 'Fauji Chacha' in his initial years at KVM School, he was instrumental in making the school a coveted institute in the city. "I was happy serving the Army but it was destined for me to step into the shoes of an educationist as I just couldn't turn down the offer to join KVM," he revealed.

Against all odds, he accepted and successfully dealt with the challenges during his tenure at KVM School, which strengthened his resolve to bring reforms in school education. Abiding to the maxim of 'Integration through education', he became the director of Sat Paul Mittal School, which has emerged as an institution with a difference.

Having been accredited with a man of principles Colonel Sharma was picked up by Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust as their organising secretary. The trust is instrumental in carrying out philanthropic activities for economically weaker sections and promoting Indian cultural through significant events.

This multifaceted personality as the chairman of Temple of Humanity Trust has initiated another project under the name of Adarsh Public School. The school caters to the children from economically weaker section who are provided with free lunch also.

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DMCH starts bone-marrow transplant
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
DMCH today started the regular bone marrow transplant services, which will be a boon for the patients suffering from blood cancer and many other diseases, including thalassemia, aplastic anemia and in-born metabolic error.

Sandeep Jasuja, assistant professor of oncology, DMCH, has successfully performed autologous bone marrow transplant in a 26-year-old female patient suffering from lymphoma (a type of blood cancer) at DMCH.

He told mediapersons about three types of bone marrow transplant( autologous, allogenic and cord stem cells).

Autologous bone marrow or stem cells transplant means collecting the patient’s own stem cells before giving high dose chemotherapy and later on reinfusing the same stem cells into the patient.

This procedure is of short duration and takes approx a month stay in the hospital, the doctor added.

The doctor further stated that autologous transplant had less risk of GVHD (Graft Versus Host Disease) and doesn’t require prolong immunosuppressive therapy, it has less mortality and morbidity and cost procedure as compared to allogenic bone marrow transplant.

Stem cells transplant requires special room equipped with HEPA filter and positive air pressure.

These special facilities are now available at DMCH, said JS Sekhon, professor and head, Oncology Department, DMCH.

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Pay panel recommendations
Parents condemn fee hike in schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The parents of students studying in private schools demonstrated at MGM Public school, Dugri, against the fee hike. A strong resentment prevails among the parents of children studying in public schools over the fee hike with the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

Parents were opposing the school management, as after the ongoing economic recession this fee hike will further aggravate their problems. The president of MGM Public School, Gajjan Singh, said they had raised the fee for the first time in the past five years.

He further said the revised annual charges for Class pre-nursery to KG were Rs 11,500, Class I to II were Rs 14,000 (for new students), Class III to V were Rs 16,000, Class VI to VIII were Rs 18,200, Class IX and X were Rs 21,900, Class XI and XII were Rs 26,500.

Gajjan said the fee had been revised to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. DAV Public School has also increased the fee by Rs 200 to Rs 400 per month. According to a circular issued by the principal, RS Patyal, they had to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission with effect from January 1, 2006.

Patyal disclosed the salary bill as per the Sixth Pay Commission would be Rs 38,73,782 per month as against the previous salary bill of Rs 22, 30,258 per month. Arrears to be given from January, 2006, to March 31, 2009, would account to Rs 2,09,87,100.

The revised fee structure of DAV School for Class LKG to III -old fee was Rs 800 whereas new fee will be Rs 1,000. Class III- old fee was Rs 850, new fee will be Rs 1050. From Class V to X- old fee was Rs 680, new fee will be Rs 1,000 per month, respectively. Patyal claims that the fee structure of his school is still lower as compared to other schools of the city.

AR Gupta, whose grandchildren are studying in DAV Public School, said the fee hike was going to upset the family ex-chequer, as they would have to pay Rs 400 extra each month for two children. Besides the fee, the parents had to bear many other expenses as the school had also increased the bus fare by Rs 100 per month.The principals of Sacred heart Convent School and Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School were not available despite repeated attempts of contacting them to inquire about the fee hike in their schools.

Senior educationists opined that the steep hike in the tuition fee was unjustified. Dr DR Bhumbla, former Vice-Chancellor, Agricultural University, Haryana, strongly felt that the Sixth Pay Commission had done no good to the poor and the middle class parents. The Sat Paul Mittal School has raised their fee by Rs 500 per month. The Delhi Public School has charged Rs 2,150 as education fee from the pre-nursery students.

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Rs 5-lakh grant for college
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Manpreet Singh Badal, state Finance Minister, presented a grant of Rs 5 lakh to Khalsa College for Women here today. He was presiding over the annual prize distribution function of the college.

The chief guest awarded 259 awards to meritorious students. The minister said the delay in budget was not deliberate, but was in the interest of the people of Punjab.

He said 15 other states had also delayed their budgets. No new taxes would be levied in the next budget, he assured, adding that there was an increase of about 30-35 per cent in the next budget, which amounted to approximately Rs 8,500 crore.

He said that in the first year, the budget of the state was Rs 4,000 crore, but in the second year, it went to Rs 5,100 crore. “We are expecting the new budget will be about Rs 8,500 crore,” he said.

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Panchayati Raj chief seeks grants for members
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 26
Rajiv Gandhi Panchayati Raj Sangathan's, Amloh block chairman, Baljit Singh Anian, has urged the Chief Minister Punjab to introduce allowances on the pattern of civic bodies for the member panchayats, sarpanches, members of block samitis and the zila parishad which comes to roughly Rs 3,000, Rs 5,000, Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 per month, respectively, so that they could work more effectively for the development of their respective areas.

He further stressed the need for releasing development grants to the panchayats irrespective of their political affiliations. The government should immediately release Rs 3 lakh grant for gram panchayats members who were elected unanimously, he added.

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Gastroenterology panel formed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
On the eve of “International Endoscopy Conference” held at Hyderabad, the gastroenterologists and hepatologists of Punjab and surrounding regions formed the “Punjab Gastroenterology Forum”.

Senior gastroenterologists from Punjab and Chandigarh were present at the meeting.

Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, MS and head of gastroenterology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, and Dr Nirmaljeet Singh Malhi, chief gastroenterologist, Deep Hospital, Ludhiana, were respectively elected as the president and secretary of the organisation.

It was decided to hold Continuing Medical Education (CME) on GI and liver diseases. Renowned speakers from abroad and India will be invited for delivering the talk during these deliberations.

Dr LS Chawla, former Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, congratulated the efforts of the group and said the forum would go a long way in improving the self-educational needs of the 
gastroenterologists of 
the region. 

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Nationwide strike by lawyers today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
The lawyers were all set to observe nationwide strike tommorrow, in order to show their resentment against the cops of Tamil Nadu, who had allegedly exceeded their limits in clash with lawyers on the premises of the Madras High Court.

This was stated by Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Balwinder Goel, while talking to the reporters here today. He justified the decision of the legal fraternity for observing total strike. He informed that the decision to observe nationwide strike was taken by the Bar Council of India.

As per the call of the BCI, we would observe strike to show our solidarity on this issue. District Bar Association President Parupkar Singh Ghumman, Secretary Kamaljit Sharma, Vice-President Anil Kaushal has supported the call given by the council.

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Raghvir Toor joins SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Raghvir Singh Toor, Councillor of Ward No. 33, joined the SAD in the presence of Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, along with his supporters here today.

As the Ludhiana Congress Committee (I) general secretary he had contested the last elections as an independent following differences with his organisation office-bearers.

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CRIME
 

Two snatchers arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The Division No. 8 police has arrested two youths for allegedly snatching a mobile phone from a pedestrian at Guru Nanak Pura. According to the police, the two accused had spread panic in Upkar Nagar and surrounding areas by going on a snatching spree.

The accused have been identified as Paramjeet Singh Pamma (24) and Rahul Kumar, alias Billu (23), both resident of Jodhewal Basti.

The accused were nabbed while they were trying to escape after snatching Manoj Kumar’s mobile phone.

The accused Paramjit Singh slipped from the motorcycle after snatching the mobile phone of Manoj, while Rahul managed to escape from the spot.

Paramjit Singh Pamma was handed over to the police who further told the whereabouts of his accomplice.

The Division No. 8 SHO said the accused were drug addicts. They used to snatch mobile phones and sell it for buying drugs.

During the interrogation the accused admitted snatching mobile phones from Sunder Nagar, Civil lines, and many other parts of the city.

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SPORTS

Cycling Meet
Pbi varsity cyclists rule the track
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 26
On the second day of the All-India Inter-Varsity Cycling Championship being held at the Punjab Agricultural University velodrome, riders from Punjabi University, Patiala, proved their mettle winning two out of four titles here today.

Other two titles were shared by Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Kerala University, respectively.

In the 3000 m individual pursuit for women, Gurpreet Kaur outpaced her opponents to win the top honours. Sukhpal Kaur of Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Priyanka Desai from Pune University secured second and third positions, respectively.

In 1000 m scratch race (men), Sarpreet Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, fetched the title followed by Kamninder Singh, also from Punjabi University and Satbir Singh of Panjab University, Chandigarh.

In the men’s section, Jagdeep Singh of Panjab University won 4000 m individual pursuit event while the second place was bagged by Jasvir Singh Sararo from Punjabi University and Ram Swaroop Jakhar from Bikaner University stood third.

Mahita Mohan from Kerala University added another gold to her kitty when she won the 1000m scratch race today. The second and third positions were bagged by Gurpreet Kaur of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Mable Antony from Kerala University, respectively.

Meanwhile, teams from Kerala University besides Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Panjabi University qualified for the final in the 3000 m team pursuit event in the women’s section while teams from the Karnataka University and MGS University, Bikaner, advanced into the final in the men’s 4000m team pursuit. 

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