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Rain endangers wheat crop
Yield to suffer if it continues to rain: PAU scientist

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The intermittent rain along with strong winds that blew in the region during the past 24 hours, has again made farmers worried. According to experts in the meteorological department of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), next 24 hours were again crucial as weather was expected to remain the same with rain and thundershowers at many places.

Head Meteorological Department, PAU, Dr GS Bains, told The Tribune that the persisting weather was very bad for the ripened wheat crop. He said the onset of summers was much earlier and now the sudden rain. All this was happening due to the westerly disturbances. He said though the wheat grain had already been formed, but rain and strong winds would have adverse affect on its quality and the yield would also be less.

Chief Agricultural Officer, Yadvinder Singh, said during the past 24 hours 2mm rain was recorded in Samrala and 6.5 mm in Ludhiana whereas in Jagraon area, it was highest with 9 mm of the rain. He said though no reports of damage had come from farmers in the district but if the weather remained the same, problem would arise during harvesting of the crop.

“The standing crop gets flattened due to the rain and strong winds and then farmers will be forced to cut the crop manually as combines will not be able to cut the flattened crop”, said Yadvinder Singh.

Sukhwinder Singh Dullowal of Hambran village near here said he had sown wheat in 18 acres. Crossing his fingers for bright, sunny weather, he said, “If the rain continue to pour, the quality of grain will get affected. Instead of pure golden yellow grain, it will be blackish-brown with lots of moisture. Rain will have its affect on the quality of the grain. We pray to the god not to be cruel to us.

Those who have sown oilseed crops in their fields are much worried. We have seen bad times earlier, too. Tall claims of governments fall flat when it comes to providing compensation to farmers”, he rued.

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Double blow to farmers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 25
Upset over the damage caused to the wheat crop by the recurrence of the rain accompanied by high velocity winds that lashed many parts of the state, farmers begged for clement weather from the almighty.

Farmers along with commission agents and other traders offered prayers at a few gurdwaras of the area. This followed the last night’s showers accompanied by high winds which not only flattened but also soaked the wheat crop in the rainwater.

Apprehending failure of the crop that was expected to be ‘bonus’ yield this year, farmers, predominantly Sikhs visited gurdwaras for praying to the gurus for the clement weather.

Apprehending that the recurrence of the rain had caused an extensive damage to mature crops of wheat and mustard, Gurbachan Singh, another farmer of Chhanna village, regretted that the government would not come to the rescue of affected farmers, obviously for fear of the election commission.

“ Now, when we can't bank on politicians and bureaucrats we can seek justice from Gurus,” sighed Gurbachan Singh who, among other farmers was still waiting for compensation for damage caused to the last paddy crops.

The rain also dashed the hopes of farmers, who after fighting with menace of sap-sucking aphid and yellow rust, were preparing for ripening of the wheat crops.

While the fields in the vicinity of habitations were saved from the loss, last night’s rain had caused extensive damage to the ripened crop in the fields along highways and link roads.

The Tribune had published story farmers' flight and demand for special girdawari for initiating process for the payment of compensation. Though the special girdawari had been ordered the revenue officials were yet to visit fields of affected farmers.

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Passengers panic as train fails to stop
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, March 25
Those travelling on 3050 (Duplicate Howrah) got panicky when the train instead of making its scheduled halt at the local railway station, didn't stop for those waiting to board or for getting down from it.

The passengers forcefully brought the train to a halt after pulling emergency chains at the unmanned level crossing near the Lalheri road. The train was then once again diverted to the railway station to facilitate the passengers to board or get down from it. The lapse led to heated arguments between the station master, train driver and irate passengers.

“The train reached near the Lalheri road level crossing. A tragedy was waiting to happen if the level crossing was open”, alleged commuters.

The duplicate Howrah mail reaches the railway station at around 9.36 pm, where it halts for a few minutes. As per the Khanna GRP officials, another train 3006 (Howrah mail), too, runs on the same route but does not halt at Khanna.

“The railway authorities at Sahnewal swapped the number of both trains, which led to confusion at the railway station. Instead of signalling the duplicate Howrah mail to stop, railway authorities signalled it to go ahead,” the GRP official added.

Both trains run from Amritsar to Howrah. Initially, the station master refused to admit any kind of lapse. When irate mob could not be brought under control, he resorted to admitting that Sahnewal railway authorities had swapped names of both trains, thus leading to confusion.

The matter was brought into notice of senior railway officials and Government Railway Police (GRP) officials were also informed.

Panicked passengers of the train cursed the station master and the driver of train. Heated arguments exchanged between the passengers, commuters and the railway staff and after which the train was again brought back to the railway station.

The GRP officials said no written complaint had been received in this connection by anyone, however, a departmental enquiry would be initiated by the Railways in this regard.

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No one turns up for MC auction
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
In a major impact of recession, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) failed to get even a single bidder for its two auctions that were held here today.

While the 1.31 acre land on the Ferozepur road, with a market price of around Rs 126 lakh, found no receiver, even a cycle stand parking at Sabzi Mandi, with a minimum price of Rs 1.21 crore at Salem Tabri, too, turned out to be a flop show. According to information, both auctions were to be held at 11 am in Zone D and A offices of the MC and officials kept waiting, but no one turned up.

As far as the land is concerned, the MC had decided to auction it on chunk basis with a reserve price of Rs 1 lakh per sq yard and fixing Rs 63,40,000 as eligibility fee. Apart from it, the civic body also gave some benefits like construction of a building up to a height of 45 metres and ground coverage of 50 per cent. But all efforts of the civic body proved to be futile.

The market price of this land is stated to be around Rs 126 crore and the property dealers say that the land is being sold in the area at the cost of Rs 2 lakh per sq yard. However, the MC had fixed Rs 63.40 crore as minimum price for selling the prime land.

The room at the MC zone-A office where the auction of the cycle stand parking was to be held remained empty. The contractor who had the contract for the financial year 2008-09 termed the reserve price as too high and declined to take part in the auction.

Blaming the failure of auctions to recession, MC officials said: “We expected a lukewarm response, but did not think that no one would turn up. The reserve price was lowered to ensure that there would be competition. However, the whole process turned out to be a waste.”

Talking to The Tribune, Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura said” “The entire process would be repeated by issuing advertisements as there were no receivers.” He was optimistic that the MC would be able to find takers next time.

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35 nursing students have nowhere to go
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The future of as many as 35 nursing students of BSc (Basic) and (Post Basic) at Sigma Nursing College, Jaspal Bangar, in the district is uncertain after they left the college due to “incompetent” staff, inadequate infrastructure and lack of security in the college hostel.

The students belong to districts like Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Faridkot and Tarn Taran.

The students had taken admission to the college in December 2008, but left the college as the college and the hostel compound lacked basic infrastructure. Soonafter, they approached HS Gill, Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), and he promised to shift the students to other nursing colleges in the state against vacant seats.

Each student had paid approximately Rs 98,000 fee per annum in the account of the nursing college.

But even after three months, the university has failed to do anything for these students. They also met the Secretary, Health, who stated that it was the prerogative of the Vice-Chancellor to transfer the students.

Bhupinder Pal Singh, father of a nursing student, said there was no proper security for girl students as there was just one watchman in the hostel situated in the middle of the fields.

“Also, there was no provision for medical aid and the students had no one to depend on in times of emergency as even the two teachers (assigned the duty of hostel girls) left the hostel after the closure of the mess,” he said.

Pointing toward the delay in shifting them to other nursing colleges, seven students present at the Deputy Commissioner’s office, where they had gone to submit a memorandum today, stated that there was no reason for the delay in the transfers as there were 24, 11 and 20 vacant seats in the nursing colleges at Amritsar, Kotakpura and Bhikhi, respectively.

The Vice-Chancellor said the girl students would be adjusted in other nursing colleges at the earliest. “I have initiated an inquiry against Sigma Nursing College pertaining to the complaint against the faculty and the infrastructure,” he added.

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Revenue officers complain against SDM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Sub-Registrars of Ludhiana East, West and Central offices today protested against the alleged ‘‘high-handedness’’ of the SDM (W). They alleged that it had caused acute hypertension to a naib tehsildar.

Jagseer Singh, president of the Naib Tehsildars Association, Patiala Division, alleged that work pressure by SDM Prem Chand had caused immense mental pressure to SR-W, Jaswinder Singh Tiwana, yesterday, who had to be taken to hospital.

They said he became so hypertensive that he fell unconscious and was still in that state at the DMCH.

They met the Deputy Commissioner, Vikas Garg, in this regard. They claimed that the DC pacified them and assured prompt action in the case.

Garg said he had intervened and the matter would be sorted out soon. Several issues were involved, he said. He stated that they had not struck work. It was just that they met him in the morning and went back to the offices soon after.

SDM Prem Chand said he had not pressured anyone. He said he had just asked the naib tehsildar to visit Baddowal yesterday for an election related work. ‘‘I asked him to go there as the EC had marked a complaint to me from that area. He went there immediately and did not even protest. There was no problem. I do not know how these allegations cropped up today,’’ he said.

The tehsildars said Prem Chand had written a letter to the Election Commission, complaining against their colleague. ‘‘Despite working so hard, complaints are being made against us. He has written that we do not work even though we are overburdened,’’ a tehsildar said, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile, as the revenue officials remained away from office for a few hours, the public had to suffer. To discuss the matter further, revenue officials of the district were holding a meeting till the filing of this report.

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Six injured in roof collapse
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Six persons were injured, one seriously, when the roof of a house collapsed in Street No. 18 at New Madhopuri here today.

While Naresh (28), Nanak Chand (35), Kalpna (10), Alpna (7) and Sunny (4) sustained minor injuries, the condition of Soma (30) is stated to be critical. All the injured have been rushed to the Civil Hospital.

Soma is hearing and speech impaired. According to the other victims, Soma could not run for cover when the roof was collapsing and could not scream for help. Even rescue workers had a tough time locating her.

The incident took place at around 11.30 am. Residents, along with the police, rescued the victims and rushed them to hospital.

The residents said the house was in a bad shape due to the overnight rain and the roof gave in this morning.

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Another proclaimed offender nabbed
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 25
The Sudhar police has nabbed a proclaimed offender for cheating his nephew.

The offender, Ranjit Singh, was accused of making a false will with the convenience of two others to grab the property of his father, Bhag Singh, and cheat his brother Pishora Singh of Rajowana Khurd village.

Pishora Singh moved an application in the court in this regard and the court on October 15, 1997, directed the police to register a case against the three accused under Sections 420, 419, 471, 467 and 468, IPC.

Meanwhile, Ranjit Singh escaped to Canada before his arrest. Another accused, Surjit Singh, had died while Raghubir Singh, a member of the panchayat, got acquitted in the case.

Ranjit Singh returned to India about a fortnight ago after 11 years and was living in hiding at Raikot in a rented accommodation to conceal his identity.

He was arrested from the Sudhar bus stand when he was about to board a bus for Raikot. The police was tipped about his arrival by the aggrieved family.

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Youth found dead near roadside
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 25
A youth was found dead at the roadside near Dakha village here today.

The unidentified youth, around 28 years of age, was inflicted with grievous wounds around his chest.

The victim was spotted by Gurjit Singh, a member of the panchayat who was on his way to the fields in the morning. He later informed the police. The victim seems to have died in a hit-and-run case. He is suspected to have been hit by a speeding vehicle late in the night.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC against the unidentified driver and the vehicle following the statement of Gurjit Singh.

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Action games a hit with kids
But behavioural changes worry psychiatrists

Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Is your kid hyperactive and jumps all the time? Caution! He might be a victim of a syndrome where machines rule the man. Believe it or not, no one ever thought that machines would rule a man, but it's true. The online game portals providing action games are affecting the behavioural pattern of kids these days.

Teenagers are becoming more impatient, rude and callous, all thanks to the action filled games, which kids are hooked to.

Kids today are net savvy and gone are the days when children used to play outdoor games. Presently, they are glued to computers, laptops or play stations and busy playing games. Online games are also popular among school going kids. Different categories of games that are online include adventure, action, skill, beauty, cooking and the list is endless.

The most popular game category is "action", which gives an opportunity to kids to play with guns, tanks, rockets and missiles. Even the names of these games suggest their nature like cannons, shoot and throw, tower defence, wreck of the city, strategy, art of war etc. that are popular among teenagers.

Harman, a student of Class IX is hooked to online games. "I like playing action games and "wreck of the city" is my all time favourite. In this game I have all the freedom to break the rules, I enjoy when the police chases me and I give them a slip. I also compete with my cousins online," he quips.

Harminder Kaur, a mother of two, commenting upon the trend said her kids were always hooked to the computer and play games. "The games are taking a toll on their behaviour. They are getting impatient and their behaviour is getting harsh and ruthless," she adds.

Another teenager Jashan Grewal is also following the league. Jashan is ambitious to join Army so he loves playing action games. “I get the opportunity to play with guns, tanks and missiles through these games.”

City-based psychiatrist opines that the behaviour of the kids is affected by their surroundings. "If they are all the time hooked to their computers and playing with guns and tanks, it will naturally affect their behaviour. Kids should be asked to play outdoor games, which will also keep their mind fresh," she added.

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Tewari chides Akalis for fielding Galib
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Congress has already intensified its campaign for the coming parliamentary elections in the entire constituency with the party candidate and national spokesman of the AICC Manish Tewari today visiting different areas in the Gill assembly segment. In his speeches, he ridiculed the Akali Dal saying nobody in the party had the guts to face him in the elections and they had to field a Congress defector (Gurcharan Singh Galib), who had already been rejected by the party as well as the people.

Addressing a meeting at Ghawaddi, Tewari took the ruling alliance in Punjab to task asking it to explain to the people as to what they had done during their two-year tenure despite liberal and generous grants from the UPA government at the Centre.

He also had a dig at the outgoing member of Lok Sabha Sharanjit Singh Dhillon for his remarks on the Ladhowal airport. “Dhillon has no moral right to speak to the people as he has ran away from contesting election despite having won it last time. It is unheard of that a sitting MP should surrender his seat and run away to seek shelter elsewhere.”

The Congress nominee stated that he would soon be presenting the performance report of the outgoing MP both inside and outside the Parliament.

The SAD member of Lok Sabha never opened his mouth. He not even participated in any debate and never asked any question.

Tewari also addressed public meetings at Tibba. He was accompanied by other party functionaries like Jagjivanpal Singh Gill, Paramjit Singh Ghawaddi, Balwinder Singh, Harinder Singh Alamgir, Jaswinder Singh and Balwinder Singh Judge.

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BJP campaigns for water conservation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The underground water was being so badly exploited that the number of tubewells in the state had gone up to 14 lakh from two lakhs in 1970s.

This was stated today by BJP leader, Avinash Rai Khanna, during an awareness campaign on water conservation launched by the party here today.

He said the installation of submersible pumps in industrial units and even in households had caused the elixir of life to be wasted indiscriminately.

Things had come to such a pass that the earth was being converted into a dessert, rain water was not being absorbed and threat of earthquakes was looming large. He called on people to plant trees in front of their houses so that water can be absorbed effectively.

‘‘We should start the conservation of water from our houses first. We should stop wasting water in kitchen and the bathroom.

Those industries that use water should treat and recharge it. Otherwise, time would come when our children would not have water to drink, ’’ remarked Khanna.

BJP state supremo, Rajinder Bhandari said during its regime in the country, the BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proposed to connect several rivers so that the water could be stopped from flowing down the sea.

Those states that were devastated by floods every year could provide extra water to famine- struck states.

Other speakers who listed the importance of the conservation of water were BJP leaders Sudhir Aggarwal, Subhash Verma, Harish Bedi and Parvin Bansal.

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False Conviction: 11 yrs after, no cop held accountable for faux pas
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Five residents of Tallewal village in Barnala had already served imprisonment for murdering a man who was never killed. But, the police department is yet to fix the responsibility of the police officials who had falsely booked them. These five men were convicted in 1998. One of their accomplices died while languishing in the Central Jail. Now, the Jagraon and the Barnala police are blaming each other for the faux pas.

Ludhiana, March 25
Three months after a case was registered against five innocent convicts of Tallewal village in Barnala, who had already served imprisonment for murdering a man who was never killed, came to light the police department is yet to fix the responsibility of the police officials who had falsely booked these persons.

Those who were convicted in 1998 after being implicated in a false case for killing Jagseer Singh, son of Nacchhattar’s rival Sukhdev Singh are Nacchhattar, Sheera, their accomplices Amarjit Singh, Surjeet Singh and Nikka Singh. Unfortunately, Sheera died while languishing in the Central Jail in Barnala and the rest four had served many years in jail.

Though the case came to light in mid-December people of this region were shocked to learn that the future of five persons and their families were ruined due to police mistake. Now, the Jagraon and the Barnala police are blaming each other for the faux pas.

SSP Ludhiana (Rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said yesterday that they had passed on the case to the Barnala police for further probe. On the other hand, DSP (D), Barnala, Satwant Singh Dude, said they had not booked any police official since they were waiting for the investigation report from the Jagraon police.

The case was cracked by the Jagraon police as Jagseer Singh, for whose murder all these people were convicted, was tipped to be alive and was visiting Tahiliana Sahib gurdwara falling in the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana (Rural) police. He was arrested from Seeloani village after a brief chase.

The Universal Human Rights Organisation (UHRO) took up their case yesterday. Surat Singh Khalsa, their spokesman, criticised the police inaction. One of the innocent convicts, Surjeet Singh was also present on the occasion.

Khalsa said the police had crossed all limits by pushing five innocents behind the bars. He demanded a CBI probe into the case and compensation from the government.

‘‘Will they be able to return their precious years? They can’t. Still they can make their lives better by compensating them to live comfortably,’’ added Khalsa.

The five have been ruined. They had sold their land holdings for fighting cases. They were now forced to live in penury.

Nacchhattar Singh lost his teenaged son, Sheera, Surjeet Singh lost two daughters and parents for want of medical care in his absence, Nikka Singh’s wife left him and married another man when she heard he was sentenced for 26 years in prison. Amarjeet Singh, too, could not educate his daughters as his wife somehow managed after washing dishes in the houses of landlords in the village.

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N. Rly to upgrade safety, improve amenities
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 25
The Northern Railway will lay special emphasis on revamping safety and bringing about qualitative improvement in passenger amenities at the railway stations. This was stated by General Manager of the Northern Railway, Vivek Sahay, who was here to inspect nearly 12 railway stations, including Amritsar, Beas, Jalandhar, Phagwara and Ludhiana today.

While talking to mediapersons here, Sahay said the Ferozepur division in the Northern Railway had highest number of level crossings among all railway divisions in the country, and out of 2,500 level crossings about 1,000 were un-manned with a high rate of accidents.

“We are focusing on ways and means for cutting down the mishaps at unmanned level crossings and a process has been initiated under which one of the two crossings located at a short distance from each other will be closed down and the other will be manned.

While implementing this scheme, the local population will be taken into confidence to save them from any avoidable harassment.”

In the wake of quite a few accidents between school vans and buses at the unmanned level crossings in the recent past in Punjab, he said the field staff of the railway safety organisation would hold counselling camps in schools where the buses regularly cross unmanned level crossings to educate the drivers about safety precautions to be taken for avoiding mishaps.

Sahay, who was accompanied by departmental heads of commercial, operating and personnel departments at the headquarters in Delhi and divisional heads at Ferozepur, further said the Ludhiana-Chandigarh rail link was expected to become functional by the next year.

About passenger amenities at the Ludhiana railway station, he informed that a new 20-foot wide foot over bridge, providing access to all platforms, as also the main entry point on the GT Road and the Civil Lines side, would be fabricated at the railway workshop at Jalandhar.

The process of recruitment of porters had also been set in motion after revised policy was approved by the Union Railway Ministry.

Replying to a question on delay in approval of major projects like railway over bridges and under-passes in the city, and elsewhere, Sahay informed that a special organisation was being set up at the headquarters for this purpose and efforts would be made to speed up approval of all such projects, if otherwise in order.

Top brass of the GRP, including IGP Paramjit Singh Sarao and Additional Inspector General Mohinder Singh Chahal conducted a surprise check of the security set up at the railway station a few hours before the visit of the general manager late in the afternoon. According to Chahal, the security preparedness about key areas like track duty, anti-sabotage and railway infrastructure were reviewed and the staff given necessary instructions.

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Gate of Contention
Assn returns cheque to Dhanda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The issue of installation of gate in a street in Kitchlu Nagar took a new turn yesterday with The Dr Kitchlu Nagar Residents Association returning a cheque for Rs 50,000 to Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda.

The cheque No. 633928 of the SBI was retuned to Dhanda through a courier as it had come through his discretionary funds.

Talking to The Tribune, association’s president Virinder Bhakoo said: “This decision was taken after a few residents of the F-block encroached upon a public road by putting iron girders after converting the green belt into a road. Apart from it they have also erected iron gates that was causing problem for other residents.”

He added that they had even complaint about it to the municipal corporation and the authorities had also sent its squad, but no action was taken.

He alleged that the residents had come to know that Harish Rai Dhanda had directed the municipal officials not to remove the gates and the decision of returning the cheque was taken after knowing it. Bhakoo alleged that Dhanda was known to some residents and was supporting them.

He said, “The iron girders which were removed on March 20 by the corporation’s squad were again installed. It’s really bad to see that people have no fear from the civic body.” Bhakoo also alleged that some hooligans were engaged from outside the locality to disturb him. He added that if the corporation fails to remove girders and gates in a week, the residents would be forced to file a PIL.

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Inflation down by 0.44 per cent
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
India's annual rate of inflation has fallen to a historic low of 0.44 per cent in over two decades, providing room for the Central Bank to cut interest rates for protecting the economy from the global recession. In the corresponding period last year, the rate of inflation was 7.78 per cent.

This is the lowest inflation rate since annual numbers in the current index started in April 1995. The previous low was of 1.13 per cent on February 2, 2002.

While the index for primary articles rose by 0.2 per cent, that for manufactured products fell marginally by 0.1 per cent. The index for fuels, however, remained unchanged.

According to economists, the base effect is strong the inflation should fall further and could even reach zero.

The softening rate of inflation is fast leading to deflation, which means there is a sharp reduction in demand. In the prevailing conditions, medium and small-scale industry is finding it difficult to survive.

Keeping in view the difficult economic conditions, Avtar Singh and Upkar Singh, general secretary and joint secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, Ludhiana, have requested the Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai, to cut key rates by at least 200 points to spur the demand in the slowing economy as there is no liquidity problem with the banks.

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Biz Word
Organic rice launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Kohinoor, the makers of basmati rice have now introduced 100 per cent natural rice. Grown without the use of synthetic or petrochemical-based pesticides, fertilisers or genetically-engineered seeds or plant material, Kohinoor Organic Basmati Rice comes with certified approval from the IMO, the Institute for Marketecology, Switzerland. According to Gurnam Arora, joint MD, Kohinoor Foods, "To keep the natural characteristics of our organic basmati rice, we conduct special contract farming for this in Dehra Dun, which is in collaboration with the Uttarakhand government under their 'Organic Basmati Export Programme'. We procure our organic basmati rice by coming in contact with the farmers, helping them in production and by using the required technology for growing this rice. We have contracts with group of farmers and this farming is done in 750 hectare.”

Tie-up: TVS Motor company has joined hands with Coca-Cola India in an innovative cross-category tie-up to co-partner the latter's novel 'Thunder Wheels' initiative. Through this, consumers stand a chance to win an Apache RTR 160 motorcycle. All a consumer needs to do is purchase a bottle of Thums Up and SMS 'APACHE' followed by the nine digit unique code that is printed under the crown to 58558 from their mobile phones. Additionally, consumers also have the option to call 186 0233 0233 and register their code through an interactive voice response system (IVRS). Winners are chosen by way of a computer generated lucky draw. The 'Thums Up Thunder Wheels' initiative is applicable all India and is open till April 30.

Launched: Hindustan Lever, under its health and wellness brand Ayush, launched Ayush Rakshak Rasayana, a low calorie, low fat, concentrated nutritional powder with no added sugar, here. It's endowed with rich nutrients that help reduce the risk of degenerative and lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Made with five different coloured fruits and green leafy vegetables, just two tablespoons of Ayush Rakshak Rasayna provides one serving of one's daily requirement of fruits and vegetables. The product is available at Rs 600 per 150g.

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Fee Hike
Parents submit memo to DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Resentment is growing among parents of the students studying in private schools affiliated to the CBSE. The school managements have raised the tuition and admission fee from this academic year.

A deputation of parents of the students studying in the Kundan Vidya Mandir, yesterday met the Deputy Commissioner, Vikas Garg, and presented a memorandum against the management for increasing the tuition fee.

Rakesh Jain, a parent, told The Tribune that KVM management had raised the tuition fee by Rs 450 per month for Class IX and X and Rs 350 per month for the junior classes. They are charging Rs 23,800 as admission fee. They made it mandatory for students to pay Rs 210 for school bags and Rs 50 for calendar. He said they met the management and principal, but didn’t get any positive response.

The Deputy Commissioner has asked the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kuldeep Singh, to look into the matter.

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From Schools & Colleges
PAU VC awards degrees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Addressing the degree holders on the occasion of annual convocation here today on the premises of SDP College for Women, chief guest Dr MS Kang, Vice-Chancellor Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), said in present scenario, education had to be viewed as a dynamic force capable of generating goodwill and liberating masses from the bondage of old system and also from the tyranny of concepts, beliefs and ideologies.

Dr Kang conferred degrees on 800 graduates and postgraduates in the disciplines of computer science, commerce and arts. A souvenir published by the department of economics was also released.

Awarded

The 47th annual convocation and prize distribution function of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College was organised here today.

Dr Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor Punjabi University, Patiala, delivered the convocation address and presided over.

In his address, Dr Jaspal said contribution of parents, teachers, institution and society in helping students to earn their degrees, should not be forgotten by the latter. He impressed the need of developing vision and dreams to be pursued by the prizewinners.

Career counselling

A career-counselling session was held at the Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, for recruitment in armed forces.

Col Saazi Abraham, director Army Recruiting office, Ludhiana, guided the students for joining the Army.

Various eligibility standards were discussed with students like age, qualification, physical fitness, etc. to appear for the NDA, CDS, UPSC and Women-Short-Service Commission. He said the life in Army was full of adventure, honour and glory, which gave social security and recognition, apart from monetary and non-monetary dividends.

Graduation ceremony

Graduation ceremony of Kindergartens’ students was organised at BCM School, Dugri. Amarjeet Kaur, DEO, presided over.

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Tips on financial management
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 25
A seminar on “financial management and investments” was organised at Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology today.

About 80 students of MBA, B.Tech and MCA participated in the seminar. Sanjeev Bhatia, a city-based businessman and financial planner spoke to the students on importance of mutual funds and equity.

Bhatia urged the stakeholders to invest in mutual funds at an early age i.e. between 18 and 30. “Mutual funds are important avenues for long-term financial planning,” he said. “As the rates on bank deposits are falling, mutual funds provide an alternative for investments instead of the traditional methods of saving money.”

“Financial decision-making is also an important part of the modern day financial management process. The particular entities involved in financial management also need to be able to take the financial decisions that are intended to benefit in long run,” the resource person added.

Dr J.S. Sohal, director of the institute said: “The seminar discussed the challenges involved in teaching young people about money. It intended to increase the students’ knowledge about various funds and their general level of comfort in making the crucial investment decisions.”

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KN Sharma to lead PAUTA executive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The new executive of Punjab Agricultural University Teachers' Association (PAUTA) was announced during the annual general meeting here today.

President Dr KN Sharma will lead the new executive. After taking the charge, Dr Sharma said the focus would be on the welfare of teachers. He said the immediate issue was the implementation of the pay scales. He also said that his team would follow the varsity norms.

Dr Sharma appealed to the teachers to safeguard their interests. The annual report was read by former general secretary, Mukesh Siag, and treasurer presented the records to the new executive during the meeting.

The new team has already been elected without opposition. The other office-bearers of executive include Dr Harmit Singh Kingra- vice-president; Dr K.S. Sangha- general secretary; Dr Jaspal Singh Virk- joint secretary and Dr PS Brar- treasurer.

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Rajewal is education council chief

Samrala, March 25
On the last day of filling nominations for the president and other office-bearers of the Malwa Education Council at Malwa College, Bondli, BKU president Balbir Singh Rajewal was the only one to file his papers and was elected its president. Boycott of the poll process by Jasmel Singh Bondli, a former senior vice-president, thus paved the way for Rajewal’s unanimous election. Meanwhile, this group had decided to elect office-bearers on their own on April 12.

According to returning officer and officiating principal Jagmohan Singh only Balbir Singh Rajewal filed his nomination for the post of president and no one stood against him. Thus he was elected president. Kamaljeet Ratan, a former adviser of the British Embassy, was elected general secretary, Baldev Singh, sarpanch of Bondli, was elected senior vice-president, Jaspreert Singh as its vice-president and Satinderjit Singh Bajwa as treasure. Others who have been elected executive members are NK Sharma, Rachpal Singh, Alamjit Singh Mallmajra, Parmjit Singh Bhullar, Ujagar Singh Jaggi, Kamaljit Singh, Mangat Rai, Jaiwant Singh and Gurinder Singh Samra. — OC

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Emphasis laid on Punjabi culture
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, March 25
The postgraduate department of Punjabi, GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar, conducted a national level one-day seminar on Punjabi language and its culture, current scenario in collaboration with Punjab University, Chandigarh.

Dr Sardara Singh Johal, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjab University, Chandigarh, inaugurated the seminar. Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti delivered the keynote address.

Dr S.S. Deol termed the declining trend of joint families, as the basic cause for deteriorating culture of Punjab.

Dr Amarjit Singh Grewal read his paper on Punjabi culture-historic and present aspects.

Dr Boota Singh Brar read his paper on the present situation of Punjabi language.

Dr Guriqbal Singh discussed the present situation of Punjabi culture.

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City Concerns
Political dharma missing

With the elections round the corner, voters are once again witness to speeches promising stability, reforms and development and giving reasons why progress has eluded the country. Allegations against political rivals and the blame game continues to form a major portion of political debates. Voters have a strong opinion against unkept promises. This is what a cross-section of voters have to say on the issue.

Politics has been turned into a profession, but with no equity. Professional dharma is missing in politics, and politicians continue to thrive. They win the elections and forget what they had promised the voters.

A prominent political leader said on a TV channel that they contest the elections to occupy the office. This is fine, but there are certain responsibilities and liabilities attached with the office, which the politicians forget after assuming charge.

The same is the case in Ludhiana. Although, the city is the hub of political and industrial activity, it is in a state of neglect as far as infrastructure and other civic needs are concerned. To win the elections, every time candidates are fed on false promises. After getting elected, the leaders are mainly concerned about their personal agenda and try to ensure that their kin enjoy the benefits of their political position.

Even after 62 years of Independence, the situation has not improved. It is only deteriorating. A serious debate in the country is required to ascertain whether there is a need to insert an amendment to the Constitution to empower the voters to roll back the elections of candidates that have won in case they prove incapable of delivering.

VP Chopra,
Ludhiana

Hollow promises

The prosperity of the city, its integrity, stability, infrastructure, sewerage, sanitation and roads that hold the key for a happy future are in a state of neglect. A politician convinces voters on good governance and assures them that some mechanism would be in place after the elections, but nothing ever happens.

Some poll promises by various political parties included a new airport, flyover, flourishing IT sector and industrial development, corruption free functioning and jobs. Till date, these are mere announcements. Ludhiana covers a vast area, huge population and various segments of voters and people should be aware while casting their vote.

New MPs need to make a commitment towards the wellfare of citizens as they have to play the role of torchbearers and need to rise above petty considerations. They need to put Ludhiana on the path to progress and self reliance with a good and disciplined governance.

Harpreet Sandhu,
Ludhiana

Make leaders accountable

Leave the past behind. We need a strong willed, sincere and, mostly importantly, an educated leadership. One also needs to remember that any leadership is nothing but a reflection of the electorate. Voters have to wake up and understand this and make leaders accountable.

Living abroad, I have gained a wider perspective. There are several issues that are ailing our city. Going by international town planning standards, Ludhiana is akin to a huge concrete slum. Do we even have a master plan, a vision document on how we want Ludhiana to look like in, say 2020 (a fashionable time horizon for government schemes) or even 2200? Let’s look at the quality of our air, soil and water. What to say of the civic amenities. The city is bursting at its seams.

What has the industry in Ludhiana (which is using outdated and highly labour intensive technology) giving to stakeholders of Ludhiana? What is the industry giving us? Polluted air? How much tax do these entrepreneurs pay? The fruits of the industry are going to a handful of beneficiaries while the spillover ills are affecting us all. I want to question all Punjabi leaders. Why are we encouraging an obsolete model of industry in this city when there is little employment generation for local workers? Should we really be encouraging small-scale manufacturing? Or should we try to harness something else, like services. Do we have a vision document for our youth?

We have made it illegal to discharge industrial effluents into Budda Nullah, but its common knowledge that there are several ingenuous units that have dug holes in the ground and started discharging it into pits. This is not easy to detect and is deadly as ground water is being poisoned with carcinogens.

Why are we not curbing autorickshaws? They are the single biggest source of air pollution. Do we even have a plan to tackle parking problems. In any developed country, new construction needs to pass a stringent building consent issued by the local city council. But in our city, nobody spares a thought to the aesthetics of the skyline. A city mohalla leader or a councilor’s son can flout bylaws and get away with it.

Alok Sandhu,
New Zealand

Make politicians deliver

Voters will again face a dilemma. My humble suggestion to people is to take charge and compel politicians to deliver. We have been imploring them for over 60 years now, but to no avail. Let us challenge them to face excommunication and also warn them of confiscation of ill-gotten property in a democratic manner.

To begin with, let people stop receiving politicians unless they surrender official vehicles and police protection. We need true leaders to our service and not criminals requiring police protection. Let us awake from slumber and protect our rights by doing our duty honestly. If we do not do our duty honestly, we have no right to expect our leaders to be honest. We produce our leaders. They do not fall from the sky. If we rise above all considerations and act, success is bound to follow and things would change for the better.

DN Sharma,
Ludhiana

Curb power

Election promises have been broken for as long as elections have been held and this trend is likely to continue. We should not believe them. As and when we give power to our leaders, it’s abused and would continue to remain so as tomorrow’s office-holders would step in.

Social security will be safe only if it is completely taken away from politicians so that we may be able to spend, save or give away freely every rupee we earn. Election campaigns will be clean when politicians no longer have the power to pass bills that help or hurt companies and special interest groups.

Further, safety from terrorism will be assured only when our politicians quit trying to run the affairs of other countries. We will have to remove government control from education if we are determined to afford a competent, safe school for our wards.

There are a lot of other evils that can be taken care of if we withdraw undue power to politicians. We will have to change or handle the situation at our own level. Let’s join hands and say no to the elections.

Bhawna Garg,
Ludhiana

Mass Pollution

Politicians fighting elections have now become mass pollution (MP). We have to vote for the correct person to get a Member of Parliament who has the will to do the right thing. The government should enact legislation which prescribes a minimum standard of decorum and deportment for all MPs, besides penalties and punishment, for breach of trust. We could also try the presidential system.

However, knowing hooligans and outright criminals who now make up the overwhelming majority of MPs, such a thing would never be enacted. These miscreants will keep behaving like wild animals.

People deserve the government they elect and they should vote for an MP who promises and implements his words and does not offer liquor, money and other endearments to get vote. We want an honest and transparent administration.

Major Kuljit Singh Sidhu (retd), Ludhiana

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Municipal union not to support Gagar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
The Municipal Worker Union today withdrew its support to the Sangharsh Committee being headed by Hansraj Gagar.

In a press note issued here today, union's general secretary Ram Jatan Pawar stated that the decision was taken during a meeting held at the Gill Road under the leadership of Ram Gopal.

He said the union had been supporting the committee till date because of its policies and ideology.

However, after retirement of Gagar, inner frictions have started dominating the committee and due to this reason he has taken the decision.

Apart from it, the union members also decided that they would take part the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh convention to be held in Amritsar.

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BKU demands subsidies for farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU), Punjab, today termed the roll back of subsidies to farmers in view of code of conduct unjustified.

Led by Avtar Singh Mehlon, BKU president, the farmers staged a protest in front of the mini secretariat stating that the subsidies on free power connections, seeds and farm machinery were rolled back under the garb of the poll code.

They should be provided with these.

They submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner of India through the Deputy Commissioner stating in view of ensuing paddy season, they should be provided with these subsidies.

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NGO honours Lajwanti
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 25
Lajwanti, 105-year-old, who has been living at Swami Vivekananda Ashram since its inception in 1992, was honoured by NGO New Hope. Lajwanti was honoured with "Great Mother Award".

Speaking on the occasion, N.S. Nanda, president of the NGO, said the aim is to look after the elderly who are being ignored and abandoned by their children. He appealed the children to serve their parents with love and affection and advised the inmates of the asharam not to loose heart and live with high morale. A cultural programme was also presented on the occasion.

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Inderpreet, Harpreet adjudged best athletes
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 25
Doraha Public School organised its first annual athletics meet here today.

Sukhpal Singh, chairman Doraha Group of Institutes, inaugurated the meet.

The event began with march past and students participated in 400m race, 200m race, long jump, shot put, sack race, wheel and borrow race, skipping race and slow cycling etc.

Amrit K Gurm, director Doraha College of Education, was the chief guest.

Class VIII students Inderpreet Kaur and Harpreet Singh were declared best athletes.

Results:

100m race (boys): Harpreet 1, Navjot 2 and Munish 3

100m race (girls): Inderpreet 1, Manpreet 2 and Anmol Kaur 3

400m race (boys): Harpreet 1, Piyush 2 and Sushil 3

Long jump (girls): Simarpreet 1, Avneet 2 and Charanpreet 3

Shot put (boys): Gunreet 1, Manjap 2 and Ankit 3

Chati race: Jaspal 1, Shivreet 2 and Anmol 3

Skipping race: Gurmukh 1, Harmanmeet 2 and Anhadvir 3

Frog race (boys): Sarabjot 1, Mannat 2 and Karanvir 3

50m race (girls): Ridhima 1, Manvir 2 and Harmehar 3

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