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Local Bodies Department
Vigilance cell under scanner
Many cases not brought to their logical end
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The vigilance cell of the Local Bodies Department has come under the scanner as even after registering various cases against municipal corporation officials, many have not been brought to their logical end.

The biggest example is the case where 19 employees of the engineering wing of the Municipal Corporation (MC) were chargesheeted on account of sub-standard works executed in the civic body. These officials were chargesheeted on March 4 due to the failure of road samples that were taken jointly by Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, and vigilance officials on December 2, 2008.

While the vigilance cell is still busy with its inquiries, the officials have already started making payments for the projects, which had failed on technical grounds. According to sources, payment of more than Rs 3 crore have already been made for these road constructions, samples of which had failed.

Apart from it, the municipal officials even do not take the orders of the vigilance cell seriously, which stand clear from the fact that the CVO had ordered the MC to take Rs 1.3 lakh from a contractor which the MC has failed to collect till date. The fine was levied as the road samples of 22 ft road at Durga Puri had failed the quality test.

Terming the nexus between municipal officials and the contractor as the reason, sources said: "After the orders were passed by CVO AK Prabhakar, neither the officials bothered to collect the amount nor the officials tried to enquire about what has been done in the case."

Similarly, many cases of the building branch too are under vigilance scanner where the wing has been enquiring and the buildings have been completed and are functional.

The sources added that red tape and lenient attitude of the vigilance cell of the local bodies department towards the officials is another reason why employees do not fear them. "The municipal officials are only scared of state vigilance department. The enquiries by local bodies' vigilance are generally managed by the officials," said sources, adding that be it building and roads or town planning wing of the MC, the officials are hardly bothered about these enquiries due to their dilly-dally approach.

The CVO said the enquiries by his vigilance cell were technical in nature, so they would take more time.

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Bus service a hollow promise
Shelters serve SAD-BJP’s purpose
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Instead of providing city residents with the local bus service, the Municipal Corporation has provided bus shelters on the roadsides that too are being used for appealing people to vote for the SAD-BJP combine in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Posters on bus shelters, carrying photographs of SAD-BJP leaders, appeal people to vote for the party. It seems the Local Bodies Department wants people to give their mandate in the SAD-BJP’s favour. All this despite the fact that there is no bus service in sight, a promise long overdue.

Not bothering that putting posters on a public place is a violation of the code of conduct that came into effect a month ago, the banners are carrying pictures of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Local Bodies Minister Manoranjan Kalia, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, LK Advani, Balbir Punj, Rajinder Bhandari and SAD candidate from Ludhiana Gurcharan Singh Galib.

These have been donning the roads in many parts of the city, including Chandigarh Road, Dholewal Chowk and the Kochhar market for the past many days but no action has been taken.

The bus service was promised for the city many years ago. Grappling with traffic and pollution problems owing to mass plying of autorickshaws on roads, the city badly needs a public transport. The fact has been highlighted by the media a number of times. Many announcements have been made by different leaders at different point of time. Trial runs have been successfully completed and routes identified. Still the scheme remains a non starter.

A few days ago, the Local Bodies Department had even boasted about the service in newspaper advertisements. The advertisements mentioned starting of bus service as an achievement of the government but the reality remained that it has always remained a non starter.

Sources said the MC had earlier given this space to advertisers for thousands of rupees. But with the elections around the corner, only politicians’ pictures were being put on them. This was causing a loss to the state exchequer also. 

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Now, take regular lessons via satellite
Punjab Education Department to launch Receive Only Terminals (ROT) programme in schools
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
After successfully implementing the EDUSAT programme in urban government schools, the Punjab Education Department, under the Sarv Shikhsha Abhiyaan, is launching a new programme - Receive Only Terminals (ROT) — in government schools.

The programme is meant to update the knowledge of class X-XII students in rural areas. EDUSAT was confined to science stream but ROT will cover all streams - humanities, commerce and science.

According to sources, the education department has decided to open 500 ROT centres in Punjab. A total of 49 fully equipped centres have been opened in Ludhiana district. Each centre is equipped with a plasma TV, dish, back-up battery and an UPS.

District EDUSAT coordinator Narinder Saggar said a total of 10 terminals had been installed till now.

“The idea behind this scheme is to stop the flow of rural students to city schools for better education. EDUSAT has got two way communication where students can interact with the resource person and clear their doubts, but the ROT will have a one-way communication wherein students will only listen to the resource person taking regular classes,” said the coordinator.

Besides ROT and EDUSAT, Satellite Interaction Terminals (SITS) is also being extended to the students of classes IX and X from the current academic session. Earlier, this programme was only for the competitive entrance examinations like AIEEE/ CET/PMT but under the new programme, regular classes of English, science and maths will be conducted through satellite. The schools under this scheme have received the time table which is up to September.

Novel way

  • The new education programme will update the knowledge of class X-XII students in rural areas
  • Unlike EDUSAT, ROT will cover all streams -humanities, commerce and science
  • A total of 500 ROT centres will be opned in Punjab
  • Each centre will be equipped with a plasma TV, dish, back-up battery and an UPS

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Road mishaps claim 2 lives
Tribune Reporters

Mullanpur Dakha, April 3
A scooter rider (PB-07-F-2219) was killed in the main market when a motorcycle rammed into it today. The deceased, identified as Manjinder Singh Pappy (35), sustained major head injuries.

He was rushed to Pandori Hospital, where he was declared bought dead.

Motorcyclist, Amandeep Singh of Khanjarwal village, however, managed to escape from the spot.

Khamano: One person was killed and another injured in a road accident on the Khamano-Khanna Road near Barwali village last night.

According to sources, Sukhwinder Singh Shinda, a resident of Nasrali village, and Ram, a resident of Thakur Khera, UP, were on their way to Khanna on a motorcycle when a speeding truck coming from the opposite direction collided with their motorcycle.

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Gang of bike thieves busted

Khanna, April 3
The police here claims to have busted a gang of motorcycle thieves with the arrest of four of its members, including a junk dealer. The accused, all residents of Khanna, used to steal motorbikes from Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh. 

They were arrested during a ‘naka’ near Galwaddi village. The accused have been identified as Gurcharan Singh, Harcharan Singh Lakhwinder Singh Lucky and junk dealer Chaman Lal Kabaria. — TNS

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Newly married abducted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
A newly married girl was allegedly abducted from her residence by some persons in the Salem Tabri area here today. The incident took place this morning when around 15 people, who had their faces covered, barged into the house of Navjot Singh and started quarreling with him.

While a few men caught him, the other picked his wife Kamalpreet Kaur and fled the spot.

Navjot Singh alleged the hand of his wife's relatives behind the abduction. He said the couple solemnised love marriage against the consent of their parents.

He alleged that her wife's cousins Gurpreet Singh and Honey abducted her.

The police has registered a kidnapping case against the persons and started the investigation.

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2 held for making ransom call
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The CIA staff of the Ludhiana police has arrested two persons allegedly for making a ransom call to a city resident.

The accused have been identified as Ranjit Kumar and Mithlesh Manjhi, both residents of Bihar. The duo made a ransom call of Rs 85 lakh to Gurpreet Singh, a resident Ayali Kalan and threatened him of dire consequences if he informs the police. The accused were produced in the court today. 

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Nod to Rs 263 cr budget for PAU
K.S.Chawla

Ludhiana, April 3
The Board of Management of Punjab Agricultural University has approved the budget estimates for 2009-10 worth Rs 263,89,32,900 with a deficit of more than Rs 92 crore.

At least 60 per cent of the total budget will be spent on research while 19.42 per cent on teaching and 10.12 per cent on extension education. The expenditure on general administration will be 10.39 per cent.

According to AC Rana, Comptroller of the university, the Punjab government will contribute Rs 100 crore as grant-in-aid whereas the expenditure will be Rs 205,70,50,000. The contribution by the ICAR for various schemes will be Rs 36,72,20,500 and centrally sponsored scheme will be worth Rs 5,97,67,300. The university will be able to generate Rs 10,90,00,000 from its own resources.

Punjab Agricultural University has been facing severe financial crunch and repeated requests to the Punjab government have not brought any fruit so far. The major problem before the university authorities pertains to the payment of pension to the retirees who have been agitating against the university and the government. The university authorities have paid the pension to the retirees in February, 2009. The retirees have also been given the LTC and the DA. The Punjab Government has not given any concrete grant commitment for the pensioners so far.

The government has been making ad hoc contributions for the payment of pension to the retirees. The retirees have already approached the high court which has asked the PAU authorities to clear the arrears by March 31.

An expert committee headed by Dr SS Johl had recommended levy of 50 paise for Rs 100/ as cess to be charged from the producers for helping the PAU. The Chief Minister once accepted the recommendation and later backed out under pressure from the farmers lobby. This would have helped in collecting Rs 150 crore annually. 

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Clean chit to Tytler
CBI influenced by Congress: BKU
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) supremo Ajmer Singh Lakhowal today strongly reacted to the clean chit given to Jagdish Tytler by the CBI, the alleged mastermind of 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, saying the Central agency had been influenced by the Congress.

In a statement issued here today, Lakhowal said the Congress had always discriminated against the Sikh community. He said the massacre of the Sikhs after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the instance of senior Congress leaders like Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar was an ample proof of anti-Sikh attitude of the party.

He said the party had further rubbed salt into the wounds of the Sikhs by giving party tickets to Tytler and Sajjan Kumar in the coming Lok Sabha elections, showing utter disregard to sentiments of thousands of Sikh families, who had suffered during 1984 riots.

Lakhowal asked the Congress leadership to review its decision to nominate Tytler and Sajjan Kumar as its party candidates. Also calling upon the Sikh masses to ensure that such criminal and communal elements could not enter the Lok Sabha.

"The BKU has already declared the Congress as an anti-Sikh party after the 1984 attack on the Akal Takht and the people will ensure that the party is defeated in the coming elections," he added.

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Protest against CBI report
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 3
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD), led by the SAD working committee member Randhir Singh Bhambri, Karamchari Dal state chief Karamjit Singh Bhagrana and city president Darshan Singh Cheema, marched through streets and burnt the effigies of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar at Nabha Chowk here today.

The protesters raised slogans against the allotment of tickets to Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar by the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections and the CBI report, which had given a clean chit to them in a case related to anti-Sikh riots of 1984. 

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Ram Navami celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Students celebrated Ram Navami with devotion at Bharatiya Vidya Mandir. The same day being the occasion of Durga Jain, hymns were also sung.

Principal Sunil Arora extended best wishes to the students and also wished them good luck for the new session.

New session

The second academic session of Vardhman International Public School started with recital of Gayatri Mantra, followed by Hawan Yagya by the student of the school.

Dr Ramesh Passi inaugurated an epistemology centre named after Aristotle. Also, Gyananjall library dedicated in the memory of late Sukh Varsha Rani Jain was inaugurated by president of the Mata Budda Devi Jain Educational Society Vijay Kumar Jain. SP Bhumla of MR Bhumla and Sons announced scholarships to meritorious students.

Farewell

A farewell party of final year students of LLB was organised at University Institute of Laws, Punjab University Regional Centre. The students presented many cultural items. Jaspreet Singh and Rinku Pathak were adjudged Mr and Ms Farewell, respectively. Gurjit Kaur and Jaspreet Singh got prizes.

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Brick-kiln owners threaten protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
An emergency meeting of the Punjab Brick Kiln Owners Association was held here today. Presidents and secretaries of the many districts and subdivisions attended the meeting.

Members of the association condemned labour union leaders of Amritsar, and Tarn Taran, who attacked Brick Kiln owners while demanding higher wages than those fixed by the Punjab Government.

Kuldeep Singh Makkar, president of the Punjab Brick Kiln Owners Association, said, “Around 200 to 300 workers refused to work. When the owners requested them to resume work and hold discussions in a democratic manner, the furious workers attacked the owners with bricks.”

He said police officials called the labour union’s chief and the brick kiln owners for negotiations, but the owners, who were the victims in the episode, were arrested and a false case was registered against them under Section 307 of the IPC.

Sarabhjeet Dhillon, general secretary, Punjab Brick Kiln Owners Association, Ludhiana, said the owners immediately stopped their production work and protested against the police.

He warned that their association would go on a statewide protest, if the police did not take back the case registered against the owners.

Makkar said, “We are trying to solve the matter, but if the government fails to release our members within five days, we will call for a statewide agitation and will be forced to shut down our kilns across the state. We will stop the sale of bricks in the state from April 8,” he added.

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Liquor vends on greenbelt
Commissioner’s orders under cloud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman’s orders that no liquor vends will be allowed to come up on the greenbelt has raised a question on what the Municipal Corporation (MC) had been doing last year when these vends were selling liquor fearlessly.

Contrary to this, sources said the shops on these belts were of the people who had political connections and their demolition would not be easy. “Vends on the greenbelt are of associates of the political party in power. At present, these vends are of relatives of SAD-BJP leaders and ministers,” they added.

However, the Commissioner’s directions do not reveal till what date vends on the greenbelts would be removed and what efforts taken to avoid new liquor vend to mushroom up.

According to information, a liquor vend could not be set up within 50-meter radius near an educational institution or religious place. However, the corporation has not cleared its stand on this particular direction, which is being openly flouted.

For 2008-09 the corporation had charged Rs 3,60,000 per vend per year.

The Finance and Contracts Committee will decide the annual charges for 2009-10, which is likely to meet after the Lok Sabha poll.

The issue of greenbelts had rocked the city even last year but the failure of the MC in demolishing these vends forced the residents to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court and only after the directions of the judiciary, the vends were demolished.

The excise department officials said they had sanctioned only 200 vends in the MC limits and there were no directions on whether liquor vend could be opened in a residential area or not.

Despite repeated attempts, the MC Commissioner could not be contacted. 

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Cong workers take out scooter rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The Congress candidate and the national spokesman Manish Tiwari took out a scooter rally here today. The rally started from Daana Mandi and concluded at Bhagwan Chowk, Janata Nagar.

Flagging off the rally, Tewari said the Congress would definitely win from Ludhiana and Akali candidate Gurucharan Singh Galib would certainly lose.

He said, “People feel insecured and threatened as laws are not maintained and regulated properly.”

Tewari said he was confident about his victory in the upcoming elections. He further said, “With every passing moment, my faith gets strengthened as I see so many supporters around me.”

Tewari was accompanied by senior party leaders and legislators comprising District Congress Committee president Jagmohan Sharma, District Youth Congress president Dimple Rana, legislator Harmohinder Pradhan, former legislators Surinder Dawer, Milkiat Singh Dakha, Milkiat Singh Birmi, Prithipal Gayal, KK Bawa, Nahar Singh Gill and Dr Manjit Kaur.

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Youth body fields candidate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 3
The Youth Organisation of India (YOI) today fielded Karan Singh Nagpal from the Ludhiana constituency to take on Congress and SAD candidates in the coming elections.

His candidature was announced here by chairman of the YOI Maninderpal Singh, who said the candidates of prominent parties were playing petty politics.

He added a young candidate, who was sensitive to the needs of people and social issues like dowry, eve teasing, female foeticide and environment issues, was the need of the hour. People were sick of the old candidates who had nothing to offer.

If elected to power, Nagpal promised to bring down the crime rate in the city, rout corruption and drug trafficking.

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Tewari charged with poll code violation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 3
The Legal Wing of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has charged the Congress candidate from Ludhiana Manish Tewari with violation of the model code of conduct for the parliamentary polls.

In a complaint forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-electoral officer, acting president of the legal wing Iqbal Singh Gill has alleged that the Congress nominee had put up a a signboard at a government land on Ferozepur Road which violated the provisions of the model code of conduct.

Gill further charged that while Tewari was maintaining his residence in Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar here, his security staff had encroached upon a piece of public land in front of the house where a cabin had been put up for security personnel, obviously at the behest of the Congress candidate.

Not only this, the code made it mandatory that all security personnel of the candidates contesting elections should be wearing their uniform while on duty. But the security staff accompanying Tewari was seen in safari suits at political meetings in violation of the code of conduct.

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197 get degrees

Doraha, April 3
As many as 197 students were conferred degrees during convocation and prize distribution function of Doraha College of Education, here today.

Dr SS Johl, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, was the 
chief guest.

Dr DR Vij, the guest of the honour, gave away prizes to the winners and toppers.

Deena Garg, Harmanpreet Kaur and Hina Budhwar, who won first, second and third positions, respectively, during the session 2006-07, and Kamalpreet Kaur, Mandeep Kaur and Pushpinder Kaur, who got first, second and third positions, respectively, during the session 2007-08, were specially awarded. Pawaldeep Kaur and Mandeep Kaur Gulati, best all-round students for the sessions 2006-07 and 2008-09, respectively, were also honoured. — OC

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Cricket trials tomorrow
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 3
The Ludhiana District Cricket Association (LDCA) will conduct trials to select the under-16 probables at Arya College, Civil Lines, here on April 5 at 8 am. Players will also be picked up for the regional coaching centre, being run by the association at the same venue.

Players born on or after September 1, 1993, are eligible for the trials.

The selected probables will play practice matches prior to the final selection of the Ludhiana squad for the forthcoming Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Championship for the ML Markan Trophy to be organised by the Punjab Cricket Association at various venues in the last week of this month.

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28 shortlisted in b’ball trials
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 3
Around 60 aspirants from the city, including different schools, turned up for the trials conducted by the District Basketball Association, Ludhiana (DBA), here today to pick up district boys and girls teams.

The selection panel, headed by senior basketball coach S Subramanian, Brij Bihari, Ashwani, Mohan Lal and Capt Gulzar Singh, supervised the aspirants before shortlisting 14 players each in the boys and girls sections.

The selected cagers will represent Ludhiana in the coming Sub-Junior Punjab Basketball Championship scheduled to be held at Sangrur from April 6 to 9, according to Teja Singh Dhailwal, general secretary, DBAL.

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Nozit ends
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, April 3
The three-day annual North Zone Inter-Medical College Tournament (Nozit-09) organised by the DMCH, concluded here today.

Dr SB Khurana, former principal of the DMCH, was the chief guest on the occasion. Punjabi pop singer, Amrinder Gill enthralled the audience with his popular numbers at the Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan.

Results:

Table tennis-men’s team (semi finals)- GMC, Patiala beat CMC, Ludhiana (3-0) Anupreet Bassi beat Prashant 11-7, 11-8, 11-7; Rohit beat Anish 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9; Rohit and Nikhil beat Prashant and Anish 11-7, 11-4, 11-5.

DBDC, Faridkot beat DMCH ‘A’ Ludhiana (3-0) Saurabh beat Tarundeep 11-7,5-11,11-8,11-9; Ankit beat Rakesh 11-5, 6-11,11-8,11-7; Saurabh and Ankit beat Tarundeep and Rakesh 11-9, 10-12, 11-7, 11-8.

Finals- GMC, Patiala beat DBDC, Faridkot (3-0) Anupreet Bassi beat Saurabh 11-7, 11-5, 9-11, 11-8; Rohit beat Ankit 11-8, 11-9, 10-12, 11-5; Rohit and Nikhil beat Saurabh and Amit 11-8,11-13,11-9, 12-10.

Men’s doubles (final)- Rohit and Nikhil (GMC, Patiala) beat Akshit and Amy (GMC, Amritsar) 11-7,6-11,11-8,9-11,13-11.

Men’s singles (final)- Rohit Kalia (GMC, Patiala) beat Anupreet Bassi (GMC, Patiala) 11-8,11-7,9-11,11-5.

Women’s team (final)- UFHT, Haldwani beat Adesh Medical College, Bhatinda (3-0) Shruti beat Jaspreet Kaur 11-7,8-11,11-9,11-6; Manra beat Manir 11-8, 11-9, 11-7; Shruti and Manra beat Jaspreet Kaur and Manir 11-9, 10-12, 11-13, 11-7, 11-8.

Women’s singles (final)- Shruti and Manra (UFHT, Haldwani) beat Aprajita and Ashima (CMC, Ludhiana) 11-8,11-9, 13-11.

Volleyball- GMC, Chandigrah 1 and Adesh Medical College, Bhatinda 2.

Badminton (men)- GMC, Chandigarh 1 and CMC, Ludhiana 2.

Badminton (women)- DMC, Ludhiana 1 and CMC, Ludhiana 2.

Open men's singles- Mohd.Kazim (GDC, Amritsar) 1 and Briz Mohan (UFHT) 2.

Open men's doubles- Mohd.Kazim and Dinesh (GDC, Amritsar) 1, Mayank and Nihal (GMC, Chandigarh) 2.

Open women's singles- Chandni Rajput (UFHT) 1 and Aprazita (CMC, Ludhiana) 2.

Open women's doubles- Chandni Rajput and Shilpa (UFHT) 1, Priya and Ruhani (DMC, Ludhiana) 2.

Chess (women)- Archna (UFHT) 1, Poonampreet (GMC, Chandigarh) 2.

Men- Gaurav (GMC, Chandigarh) 1, Ankush (CMC, Ludhiana) 2.

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200 attend trials for hockey academy
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 3
Over 200 boys attended the two-day trials to select players for the Mata Sahib Kaur Jarkhar Hockey Academy conducted at Prithipal Singh Memorial AstroTurf Stadium on the Punjab Agricultural University campus here today.

According to Jagroop Jarkhar, spokesperson of the academy, more than 100 boys appeared in the U-14 years age while 77 players in the U-17 years and 25 boys in the U-19 years attended the trials. More aspirants were expected to turn up on the second day, he added.

Olympian Hardeep Singh, along with coach Harminder Pal Singh, Kulwant Singh Sohal, Gursatinder Singh, Ajay Pal Singh Roomi and assistant education officer (sports), Ludhiana, Rupinder Singh Ravi supervised the aspirants.

The selected boys would be provided diet, boarding lodging and playing kits, said Satinder Singh Gill, president of Mata 
Sahib Kaur Hockey Academy, Jarkhar.

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