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Setback to BSP
Pahalwan, supporters join Congress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
In a big jolt to the BSP, the general secretary of the Punjab unit of the party, Gurmail Singh Pahalwan, joined the Congress along with his supporters here today.

Jaimal Singh Couhan, president of the Punjab Rajput Sabha, also joined the Congress with Pahalwan.

They were welcomed into the party by the chairman of the Punjab Congress campaign committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, working president Lal Singh, leader of the opposition, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and the national spokesman for the Congress and Ludhiana candidate Manish Tewari.

Pahalwan was taken in an open vehicle by Congress leaders to the mini secretariat where Tewari filed his papers.

Pahalwan had contested the last Assembly elections from Ludhiana Rural and polled about 25,000 votes. He said he had joined the Congress without any precondition. “It is homecoming, he remarked, while pointing out that he had left the Congress in 2002 due to some differences with the party leadership.

He said he was impressed with the qualities of the Prime Minister and the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh. He said: “Dr Singh has done Punjabis proud, particularly Sikhs who are now recognised the world over as a respectable, responsible and intelligent community”.

Pahalwan refused to be drawn into any controversy about the BSP. He said: “I simply felt that I should join the Congress as it was better placed to lead the state and the country as compared to the BSP.”

He said he did not have differences with any of the BSP leaders, but he wanted to be with a national party with a great vision. “Moreover, I have spent most of my time with the Congress and I wanted to return home,” he said.

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200 join Youth Congress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
At least 200 youngsters from Ludhiana yesterday joined the Youth Congress under the leadership of former minister Santokh Singh Chaudhary.

The youngsters, along with local leaders, went to Congress candidate Manish Tewari’s office at Welcome Palace and assured him that they would work for the party’s success. The youth joined the party in the presence of Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, president, district Youth Congress (rural), Jalandhar.

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Public ire against political drama
Manish Tewari’s convoy blocks traffic
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The virtual carnival during the filing of the nomination papers by Manish Tewari, Congress candidate, proved to be a nightmare for thousands of commuters on the Ferozepur road here today.

Vehicles were ferrying party leaders and workers from all over the district since early morning on the Malhar road. People were expecting a visit by Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister, and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the opposition in the state Assembly, among others.

People were waiting for leaders inside a party palace when suddenly it was announced that Manish would first file his nomination papers at the Civil Secretariat. His specially designed truck stopped at the lights adjoining the Ferozepur road, waiting for his supporters to join him in their convoy. Traffic then came to a virtual halt for half hour.

Commuters were peeved as the overall traffic remained affected for more than two hours. Narinder Kaur, travelling by an autorickshaw, said: “Where is the administration? Don't they know what happens during such occasions? The Deputy Commissioner and his staff should be made accountable for public convenience during such times.”

Ram Gopal, a commuter, said: “I am late by more than an hour to reach my factory. My boss will not understand how I could get late by one hour.”

Harmeet Singh, a resident of Haibowal Kalan driving a car, said: “I was taking my paternal uncle, who is very sick, to hospital. It has already been more than an hour since we entered the city limits and the traffic flow is still slow.”

Darshan Singh, a senior citizen, said: “Public must take the blame. Instead of questioning leaders on what they had done, a common man joins the election campaign as if he is attending a fair every time. The voter is still to act wisely.”

Since the flight was delayed, the programme at the venue, where hundreds of workers were waiting, went off-track and the convoy began its journey towards the election office.

There was public ire over the ongoing “political drama”. Mohan Lal, a factory worker, stated: “What good are public rallies? I have to go to my work and am already very late. I don't know how a common man can be fooled again and again. Every five years, we see the same drama and then things are back to square one.”

Narinder Kaur said: “Why blame the administration? These rallies are organised by leaders chosen by people. Unless people force the leaders to reconsider their activities, don't expect any changes.”

Lacchman, an autorickshaw driver, said at two places cops came and banged on his vehicle and asked him to take another road. I did not. “I literally shouted back that I too was carrying common people to their destination. Politicians have not purchased roads.”

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MC removes gates on street
Decision draws mixed response
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
While the final decision on installation of gates on streets and roads was yet to be taken in the Municipal House, the municipal corporation today removed gates on a street in Kidwai Nagar following a complaint by some area residents.

The MC squad, along with a JCB machine, went to the area this afternoon and removed the gates on both the ends of the street on the directions of the municipal commissioner.

The residents had met municipal commissioner GS Ghuman on April 15 and urged him to remove the gate put up on a 30-feet road stating that it was causing inconvenience to them.

Talking to The Tribune, residents Usha Jain, Rita, Rani, Anjana and Baby said, “The gates have been installed by some other residents and were kept under lock and key 24x7. The closure of gates was causing a lot of inconvenience to us and that is why a deputation amongst us, along with area councillor Gurdeep Singh Neetu, had met the commissioner. We are really happy that finally our voices are heard.”

However, a faction of the residents was not happy with the removal of gates. Maninder Singh and Minkle, who supported installation of gates, said, “There are 70 houses on one side of the street and all of them want that gates should be put up. It is just two houses on the opposite side that are opposing the move.”

They claimed that three years ago the area SHO had allowed them to put gates after there were repeated complaints of thefts in the area. They added that area councillor Gurdeep Singh Neetu, too, helped them in their move and supported them.

Maninder said, “The officials took advantage of the afternoon and removed the gates without giving us notice or showing us any documents that they had been asked to do so.” Citing examples which had happened in the absence of gates, he said, “There was a bullet firing and regular reports of stereo thefts from cars that forced us to put up these gates.”

Later, these residents also protested and blocked the street for some time against the MC’s move.

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‘Overcharging’
Patient’s kin create ruckus at hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
High drama prevailed at Guru Teg Bahadur Charitable Hospital today after the family of a patient, Bimla Devi, created ruckus on the hospital premises, alleging that the doctor concerned asked for more money.

A profusely bleeding Bimla Devi (65) was admitted to the GTB hospital on Thursday, following which the consultant gynaecologist, Dr Vineeta Munjal, asked her husband Bhag Mal to leave.

Having undergone prior treatment, the patient was taken to the OT today and the doctor asked the patient’s son to make arrangements for blood and suture.

The patient’s son, Mukesh, alleged that they had already deposited about Rs 20,000 with the hospital which was double the actual amount asked before the patient’s admission.

“The problem started when the staff nurse asked for a suture set during the operation and I (after giving her the same) asked her to return the rest so it could be given back to the chemist. The nurse instigated the doctor who left the operation and came out asking us to take the patient back and refused to go ahead with the operation,” Mukesh claimed.

He also added that the doctor even asked his father to pay Rs 15,000 more on the spot, and he suffered a heart attack and was admitted to emergency.

Dr Munjal refuted the charges, saying that the patient's family had just made a payment of Rs 2,000 till date, which could be checked from the hospital records. “The woman’s husband approached me saying that their sons do not support them and asked for maximum concession, which was made as per hospital norms.

“But today, his sons appeared and refused to pay for the things required for the operation. I had just come out to tell them that it was impossible for me to carry on till they made the payments. Thereafter, they resorted to vandalism and we had to summon the police,” she added. The patient’s family has written to the hospital authorities, asking for the termination of services of the nurse.

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Poll, god-sent opportunity for turncoats 

The Lok Sabha elections have come as a god-sent opportunity for the turncoats in almost all major parties as well as other opportunist outfits, which mostly make their appearance during election time for making most of the occasion. In the run up to the elections, almost every day a few self-styled activists quit the party and then announce joining some other outfits, all in the interest of the city, or even the country. The drama is not only frequently repeated in the political functions of all parties that matter, but more often than not, one or the other senior party leader publically welcomes the new entrants, who are described as assets to the party. Promises of extending due “izzat-maan” to them and adjusting them in the party set up are also showered on the unabashed “dal-badloos”. Little do the party leaders realise that such opportunist hardly carry any weight with the voters, and they can in no way influence the outcome of elections except for causing minor embarrassment to the parties they quit or join.

‘Nimbu-pani’ season

With the temperature rising every passing day, roadside stalls of “nimbu-pani” and “shikanjavi” are back in the city again. The vendors have put their stalls outside educational institutes, hospitals, bus stands and stations. People can be seen quenching their thirst during daytime. The price of lemon has increased with an increase in the demand. A vendor on the busy Ghumar Mandi road said he had purchased 2 kg of lemon yesterday, which were consumed in less than five hours. “I have purchased 4 kg today as the prices of lemon are going to shoot in coming days”, the vendor added.

Let’s go green

With the mercury touching 40 degrees mark in the city, the harsh summer has already set in. During the day, the Sun makes the afternoons uncomfortable. It is just mid April and the city has started switching on air conditioners leaving the environmentalists worried on account of the chlorofluorocarbons released by these cooling machines. While for the offices, these have become a necessity; the households can do with just desert coolers for the time being. It would save electricity as well as the environment. Then why not? We should go green.

Lust for money

While science has progressed leaps and bounds there are still some who believe in astrology. Seeing people having faith in them they sometimes take liberty to settle their financial gains little realising that they are playing with people’s emotions and feelings. Recently one of my friends went to a so-called astrologer who was believed to forecast the true future. She along with her relative went to this astrologer at some temple for match making. Taking a cue that both girl and boy’s families were interested in solemnising their marriage, this astrologer instantly gave a “no” to their future prospects. And then after some calculations recommended performing a particular “pooja” if they still want to take the risk of getting them married. When asked about the expenses of performing the “pooja” he replied around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000. After that my friend enquired what the particular “pooja” was about from some other astrologers she came to know that this “pooja” was performed when somebody is on the deathbed. I was shocked to know that how this particular astrologer can manage to speak lies even while sitting in a temple. Money is always on the mind of such astrologers who play havoc with other’s life without realising the gravity of the situation. While people still continue to take their life’s important decisions according to them.

Irresponsible attitude

Stray cattle have always been a menace on the city roads and have resulted in numerous accidents. City residents crib and complain about the “terror” walking on the road but not many care to lodge an official complain against the same. Recently, a college student, while trying to avoid hitting a stray bull on the road, hit a tree and fell off his motorcycle. Fortunately, the young man escaped with minor bruises. Cribbing and complaining, the boy got up and regained balance. When the onlookers suggested that he should inform the local municipal corporation about the incident and that immediate action should be taken for removing the cattle from the road lest more accidents take place, the boy remarked, “I am safe and that is what is most important to me. Whosoever is concerned, should call up the authorities.” Such incidents prove the fact that there are numerous educated youth who lack a sense of responsibility towards society. No wonder the city is in such sad state.

Shopaholics

The city is indeed an abode for the shopping maniacs as it provides an opportunity for women from every stratum to shop at short intervals. If the glitzy malls are a boon for the upper middle and elite classes, it is the Chuara Bazaar, Ghumar Mandi and Field Ganj markets that accommodate women from the working class. But what is common is the ‘gusto’ with which the women shop. It’s bugging to see the luxury cars queued up in front of the showrooms and malls every evening as it happens to the ‘happy shopping hour’, which leaves little space for the commuters on these commercial roads. Similarly, there is no respite from the maddening noise of auto rickshaws carrying women in the crammed markets, which are a nightmare for the people to cross in the evenings. Most surprising part of the shopping sprees is the common factor between the elite and the middle-income groups as it is the flamboyance of the garments that attracts them the most with only difference being the price tags and the brand name.

Contributed by Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Kanchan Vasdev, Manav Ghuman, Charu Chhibber and Anshu Seth 

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Cong ignoring dedicated workers:Front
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
The Azad Front, Punjab, comprising of those who had contested municipal, Assembly and Parliament elections as independent candidates, had charged the Congress leadership with ignoring dedicated party workers and giving preference to well-connected and wealthy persons in selection of party nominees to different bodies.

In a statement here today, Harwinder Happy, president of the Front, said the base of the Congress was shrinking. Speaking in the context of the claim of acting president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Lal Singh that the Congress was like an ocean, Happy commented that the party had now been reduced to a river and it was fast turning into a pond.

Citing examples, he said the pathetic prospects of the party in states like West Bengal and Maharashtra had forced a party like the Congress to play second fiddle to the Trinamool Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.

Happy said persistent neglect of the sincere and dedicated party workers had led to a situation in which two-time Congress MP from Ludhiana Gurcharan Singh Galib was denied party ticket in 2004 and again in the coming elections which made him quit the Congress and join the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) to contest Lok Sabha elections on SAD (B) ticket.

In a word of caution to the Congress leadership, he said the cadres were drifting towards regional parties, particularly the SAD (B) in Punjab, and the party would have to pay a very heavy price for maltreating its workers in times to come.

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With Election Commission getting strict 
Candidates start buying space for political ads
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
With the Election Commission getting strict with putting up of banners at public places, ‘‘smart’’ candidates have now started putting political posters at the spaces auctioned by the municipal corporation for the advertisements.

While the election department religiously removed all billboards last month, the candidates found a smarter way for getting themselves highlighted. Their pictures were put up on these billboards that were auctioned to advertisers by the corporation.

Since these are considered as paid advertisements, the local election department could not remove the same. They realised this only after several billboards were removed much to the protest by advertisers, who said they had paid for this space to the corporation.

The local election authorities have now announced that these would be calculated in the expenditure of a candidate. Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer Vikas Garg said they could not remove these boards but they would make sure to get these calculated in the expenditure.

These billboards are now found all over the city. These carry pictures of AICC supremo Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress candidate Manish Tewari. On others we come across SAD leaders, including Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal and local candidate GS Galib, besides several others. These billboards also boast about the achievements of these governments along with their election symbols.

A company charges thousands of rupees for an advertisement. It remains to be seen how much will they charge from the candidates. ‘‘We cannot deny space to any leader. You never know which government comes in power. We have to get advertisement contracts also. Who will help us then, ’’ asked an advertiser?

Deputy Commissioner Garg said they had directed the candidates to submit the bill of these billboards also along with their expenditure. ‘‘If the expenditure is beyond the directed limit, we will report the matter to the election commission, ’’ he added. 

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Despite promises, nothing is going to change 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
Nothing will change in the city and things will rather go from bad to worse. This is the impression of the overwhelming population of this industrial hub of the state.

Whenever elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha or the Lok Sabha general elections take place, parties make big promises for the betterment of the city. But, what is the plight of the town today- the worst- says Gurcharan Singh, who retired as a principal of a government college and is settled in this town. “We have seen this town growing in an haphazard manner and the authorities concerned have never bothered to set things right. The town is the most-polluted city of the state,” he laments.

Various leaders are making promises for improving the environment of the town. Manish Tewari, Congress candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha, has stated that he is shocked to see the situation prevailing in the town. “Where was he during the past five years. He fought the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2004 when Congress was ruling the state. He should know that the city suffered the maximum during the Congress regime. After seeking elections in 2004, Tewari never bothered about the town and has returned to this city for once again contesting the election and is now making promises of changing the face of the town,” said Gurcharan Singh.

SS Channa, who retired as a secretary from the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, more than 15 years ago has been single-handedly fighting for the welfare of the town? He along with a few residents formed park management committees for looking after the municipal parks in the town. They reached an agreement with the municipal corporation for maintaining the parks. Under the agreement, the corporation was supposed to pay Re 1 per metre as maintenance to the park management committees and the rest was to be met by the committees itself. Immediately after the formation of the Congress government in Punjab in 2002, the new municipal commissioner broke the agreement and refused to make the payment to the committees. Channa had to knock at the door of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and finally the Punjab and Haryana High Court which directed the corporation to comply with the agreement.

Even the new SAD-BJP government failed to fulfill the agreement in the toto. All municipal parks which number 787 have not been covered and less than 400 parks have been covered by the new regime.

Channa has written to the Chief Minister and other functionaries for taking steps for improving the environment of the town. He laid emphasis on greenery, removal of the garbage and harvesting of water. According to Channa, groundwater of the town has already been polluted and is not fit for human consumption. There is already severe shortage of water in the town, he says.

Budha Nullha remains the biggest eye sore and the politicians play to the tune of the industrialists who are responsible for its and general environment of the town. Chief Minister showed some seriousness about a year ago when the residents of the towns like Muktsar, Bathinda and the Mansa raised hue and cry as they get polluted water from the canals passing through these towns. He has also cold-shouldered their problem now. 

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Tewari flouts election panel’s orders
Jyotika Sood 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
While the Election Commission is cracking its whip on candidates throughout the country for not adhering to its directions, it seems Ludhiana election officers are not taking the directions seriously. A violation of EC’s directive was witnessed here today when Congress candidate Manish Tewari went to file his nomination papers.

He was accompanied with a battalion of Congress leaders and workers while he was filing his papers in the presence of the Deputy Commissioner-cum-returning officer, Vikas Garg, in violation of guidelines laid down by the Election Commission.

Tewari was escorted by Congress leaders Capt Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, PPCC acting president Lal Singh, Raikot MLA Jasbir Singh Khangura, former MLA Malkit Singh Dakha, his lawyer and several people, all of who entered the room.

The EC’s directions say that during the filing of nomination papers, only five persons, including the candidate, could be present in the room.

Even officers were helpless as he filed his nomination amid so many people. When Vikas Garg was asked about it, he admitted that there were more than five persons and added that later, several people were asked to leave the room.

With almost four days gone for filing nominations, it seems the election officers still have not managed to implement the EC orders in toto. While the nominations of some other candidates is yet to be filed, one can hope that now at least the local election officers would take the directions seriously.

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Truckers unhappy with SAD manifesto 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The SAD’s manifesto has failed to make Punjab transporters cheerful, inspite of the fact that it includes their main demand of Rs 10 per liter cut in the price of diesel.

The truckers believe that the party has, “in an attempt to win a lost battle in the general elections”, included their main demand in the manifesto.

“It is just trying to win votes by including the diesel price cut demand in the manifesto.

It is very clear that the SAD has lost the game,” said Charan Singh Lohara, president, All-India Motor Transport Congress, while talking to The Tribune here today.

He further said the SAD had miserably failed to make the people of Punjab happy. “The party which has failed in its own state cannot rule the country efficiently. Since the SAD government came into power in Punjab, it has been very unfair to the transporters. While on one hand, bus operators were given a massive concession, transporters on the other hand were given a step motherly treatment.”

Lohara added, “The SAD government raised the tax on truckers by a significant amount immediately after coming to power.

Whereas the tax levied on buses was reduced remarkably. We would like to question Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as to why we have been discriminated against.”

“All assurances by the Badals regarding the fulfillment of the truckers’ demands have so far, failed to bear fruit, let us see what they do in the future,” quipped Lohara.

He also added that the party while deciding the manifesto had left out the rest of the demands of the truckers.

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Councillors to campaign for Galib
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Punjab Minister for Jails, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Hira Singh Gabria met SAD councillors at the residence of municipal councillor Harbhajan Singh Dang today to urge them to canvas for Gurcharan Singh Galib, Akali candidate from the Ludhiana parliamentary seat.

Meeting convener Dang said, “We councillors have decided to start with door-to-door campaign. As part of our campaign, all of us would go to every house as a team and ask the residents to vote for the Akali candidate in the upcoming LS poll.” He added that development would be our poll plank for asking votes from the Ludhianavis.

Dang said, “The sangat darshans carried out by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal have helped the SAD-BJP to make a rapport with the residents as the CM had heard public grievances personally. These public meetings would help us to make people vote for the Akali-BJP government at the Centre.”

He added that the funds given by the Punjab government had helped them to usher a new era of development which could be witnessed all around the city.

Among others present were Akali councillors Pal Singh Grewal and Prem Mittal who had left the Congress this year only.

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Cotton production goes down
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, April 20
Cotton production in Punjab has fallen this year. It has been estimated at 17 lakh bales against 22 lakh bales of last year.

The overall cotton production in the country has also gone down and is now estimated at 290 lakh bales, against last year’s 315 lakh bales.

Enquires revealed that the area under cotton fell in the state from 6.41 lakh hectares to 5.37 hectares. Even the yield of cotton had fallen from 584 kg per acre to 554 kg per acre this year.

Experts attributed the fall in the production of cotton to the untimely rain.

The prices of cotton remained high during the year, as a result of which private cotton mills engaged in low purchase and the government agencies had to buy the same in order to check distressed sale of cotton.

The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) purchased 39 lakh bales.

The total purchase by different government agencies, including NAFED and Maharashtra Cotton Federation, was estimated at 127 lakh bales.

These agencies purchased at the rate of minimum support price.

In Punjab it was purchased at Rs 2,850 per quintal, Gujarat Rs 2,850 and Andhra Pradesh Rs 3,000 quintal, respectively.

Textile industry sources said the Central government had to subsidise government agencies to make bulk purchase due to the global meltdown and recession in domestic markets.

The export of cotton also received a setback due to the global meltdown, as only around 10 lakh bales were exported till March this year against 85 lakh bales exported last year.

Contrary to this, private mills imported cotton to the tune of six lakh bales, as international prices were low. It was only recently that prices in the international markets rose.

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Ban on wheat harvest at night
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
District Magistrate Vikas Garg today banned the use of combine for harvesting at night in the district. Garg said wheat harvested at night had higher moisture content due to dew.

As wheat with higher moisture content was not procured by government agencies in the market, it caused resentment among farmers, leading to law and order problem.

Using his powers under Section 144 of the CrPC, the District Magistrate said harvesting operations would not be allowed between 7 pm and 8 am.

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Govt staff dedicate May Day to Capt Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
The Punjab State Karamchari Dal has decided to observe International Labour Day on May 1 at the deputy commissioner’s office at Fatehgarh Sahib. The day will also be dedicated to Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who died in a road accident last month.

Announcing this at the state working committee meeting of the body here today, its president Hari Singh Tohra said during the May Day celebrations, the government employees from all over the state would focus on “unkept promises” of the state government and injustice being inflicted on four lakh employees and over three lakh pensioners.

The association, he added, will also reiterate other pending demands like implementation of the pay commission report, regularisation of daily wage, ad hoc and work charge employees, filling up a large number of vacant posts in different departments through regular recruitments.

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Cleanliness drive by NSS volunteers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Around 300 NSS volunteers from College of Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering and College of Home Science carried out a clean and green drive on the PAU campus today.

Programme officers Dr TK Gill, Dr HS Saralch, Dr JP Singh and Dr Sarita Saini organised and supervised various activities like painting zebra crossings on the main campus roads, cleaning buildings' roofs, cleaning book shelves in the MS Randhawa library and preparing basins of shrubs and trees.

The PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, said it was true manifestation of the motto “Not me but you” that inspired students to serve the society. He appreciated the efforts put in by the volunteers.

Dr KS Verma, programme coordinator of NSS at PAU, said the volunteers showed interest in cleaning the campus.

He further said the students who enrolled themselves in the NSS programme desired to do something for the welfare of the society.

Dr Verma added that in order to spread awareness among young boys and girls about the power of spiritualism, meditation and yoga, a seminar was held yesterday at the Pal Auditorium.

Speakers from the Women Welfare Department of Ananda Marga Mission enlightened the students on the occasion. The volunteers interacted with the speakers.

Acharya Jyoti Rekha spoke on “Happy Mind and Healthy Body” and Acharya Niti Sudha demonstrated asans related to body and mind.

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Office opened
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Kent RO Systems Limited, a mineral water purifier company, inaugurated its office in the city and launched Kent Grand Plus, a computer controlled water purifier with enhanced features.

Mahesh Gupta, chairman, Kent RO Systems Limited, said, “Kent Grand Plus provides double purification by RO followed by UV and a TDS controller to maintain minerals in water. With this a computer controller is attached that enhances the control and purification by mineral RO process to a great extent”.

Tariff slashed

Vodafone Essar, the cellular services provider, recently announced reduction in international roaming rates for its postpaid customers travelling to South Africa during the upcoming DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament. Being the official partner to DLF IPL 2009, the company is offering these special rates in partnership with South African mobile services provider Vodacom, a joint venture partner with the Vodafone Group.

The customers can enjoy up to 85 per cent discount on calls, SMS and GPRS services during the tournament

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Mass Copying Case
Re-examination on April 22
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 20
The Punjab School Education Board will hold a re-examination for 79 class-XII students after their chemistry paper was cancelled on April 22. The examination was conducted on March 14 and thereafter on March 24 at SGG Senior Secondary School, Gondwal, near here.

The March-14 examination was cancelled following reports of mass copying at the centre, while on the other instance the examination was cancelled after the bundle containing the examination sheets was snatched and some papers were changed by miscreants.

The local police is inquiring into suspected role of trustees of the school in the matter.

DEO Amarjit Kaur said the examination would now be conducted at Nohria Mal Jain School, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Ludhiana, for security reasons.

She added that the decision to hold the examination at Ludhiana was taken by the education board.

She said schools indulging in malpractices should face action. The education board did not want to take any chance this time, she said.

On why the board did not take any action over tampering with the seals of the bundle, she said it might do so in the next phase.

On disciplinary action against the school, she said she had given her recommendation to the board and it would be the final authority on taking any decision.

Meanwhile, students and their parents are unhappy at the holding of a re-examination.

They alleged that school authorities wanted to help a few students and other students bore the brunt of it.

They said they had lost confidence in the school authorities and wanted the education board to take appropriate action against the authorities for jeopardising the future of 79 students. The school authorities refused to make any comment on the issue.

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PU: April 22 exams deferred
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Panjab University, Chandigarh, has postponed examinations of various classes scheduled for April 22, owing to rehearsals for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Students have been left disappointed as their examinations will now continue till May 30.

The examinations of BA and BSc I, II and III will now be held on May 30. The students of BCom will take their examination on April 30 now and the examination of BBA I and III will be held on April 25.

The examinations of MA, MCom, MSc I will be held on May 22 and students of second year of all these classes will take their exam on May 25.

"This has come as a shock and brought disappointment to us. Had this exam not been postponed, our examinations would have finished on time. We cannot even relax under such circumstances,” said Smriti Goel, a BA I student of a local college.

The Election Commission has fixed April 22 and May 7 as the rehearsal dates for the 15th Lok Sabha elections to be held on May 13 here.

As hundreds of teachers from government and private educational institutions have been put on election duties, examinations cannot be conducted.

Punjab Education Forum convener Prof Tarsem Bahia said like Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, the examinations could be held on Sundays. "May 30 is too far. Students will have to be under pressure throughout these two months. Not only this, the results will also be declared late as there will be no evaluation before May 30,” he added. 

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Course on beekeeping at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
A five-day advanced training course on “Techniques of Production of Queen Bees and Honey Bee Products" for progressive beekeepers started at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. The course is aimed at bringing diversification in beekeeping and promoting the profitability of beekeepers.

Department of entomology head Dr CK Gill highlighted the beekeeping programme operating in the university and scenario of honey production in the state.

She added that quality queen bees were required by beekeepers for multiplication of their stock of bee colonies, replacement of old and non-performing queen bees and sale of honeybee colonies. Technical information on these activities would be provided to the trainees.

Technical coordinator of the course Dr PK Chhuneja said participating beekeepers would be provided practical knowledge on selection of stock, techniques of queen bee and quality drone bee rearing, establishment of mating nuclei, gene cell grafting, selective mating, maintaining queen banks, bee packing, etc.

Information on production, storage and marketing of different bee products such as royal jelly, wax, propolis, bee venom and pollen, etc. would also be given.

Course coordinators Dr JS Bhalla and Rupinder Kaur said the university had been regularly organising training courses for the benefit of beekeepers.

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Switch to net-house farming, PAU to farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has recommended net-house technology for vegetables. Many farmers in the region have already taken to growing indeterminate tomato, capsicum and brinjal in net-houses.

Stating this here today, Dr DS Cheema, head department of vegetable crops, PAU, said net-house cultivation helped raise vegetables without the need of heavy application of pesticides.

The produce of high-quality, pesticide-free residue was harvested early and fetched better price in market.

He said some farmers had started growing cucurbits in net-house, which was not recommended by the PAU. He said cucurbits were cross-pollinated crops and their fruit-setting took place only by the activity of pollinators like insects/honey bees.

As there was no entry of insects in the net-house, fruit-setting did not occur in cucurbits due to lack of pollinators. He said farmers should grow only those cucurbits under net-house that produced parthenogenic fruits.

Some hybrids/lines of cucumber with parthenogenic fruits were being promoted by private companies for cultivation under net-house, said Dr Cheema.

He said parthenogenic varieties were those that developed fruits without fertilisation due to predominance of female flowers.

A collaborative project of AVRDC-SRTT-PAU is being undertaken at the university on net-house cultivation of vegetables where new vegetable crops are being identified so that net-house technology for year-round cultivation of vegetable crops is standardised, said Dr Cheema.

Another vegetable scientist Dr VK Vashisht said the PAU was evaluating parthenogenic germplasm of cucumber for their performance under net-house.

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Extempore competition organised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
BCM Senior Secondary School organised an extempore competition in English for students of classes IX and XI at the school auditorium here today. Around 30 students participated in it. Principal DP Guleria expressed his happiness over the performance of students. He urged students to excel in academics

Training centre opened

With a view to supporting the hearing-handicapped students, the Association of the Deaf, Punjab, started a training centre for the deaf and dumb at their office in Raikot. Students will get free computer knowledge at the centre, which will help them get jobs.

Padam Passi, general secretary of the association, said they would shift the centre to Ludhiana as soon as municipal corporation or private sector gave them a new place.

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The Rap Star is here
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
From the challenging streets of California, singer Bohemia has now unloaded his new album, “The Rap Star”, interlaced with pounding kicks, chunky base lines and contagious melodies.

The singer believes this new genre of music, known as desi hip-hop, is not for those who speak Punjabi but for those who love rap music.

His lyrics expose youngsters to the western streets from a young desi’s point of view.

While presently living in California, his roots are in Lahore, Pakistan. Though he has never been there, he plans to visit his native place some day.

“This is the first time I am visiting India and I found Mumbai and Delhi cool places,” he quips.

This time as a tribute to his all-time favourite Malkiat Singh, Bohemia has reproduced a version of the old super hit “Gur Nalo Ishq”, turning it into a desi hip-hop classic.

Bohemia’s first album “Vich Pardesan De” was among the top 10 most requested songs on BBC radio in the UK.

His next album “Paisa Nasha Pyar” was released in 2006. Then came “Chandni Chowk to China” in which he sung the title track.

Recalling his meeting with Akshay Kumar, he says he has been fortunate to work with him.

“I was surprised when I received a call from him inviting me to the red carpet of ‘Singh is Kinng’ in Toronto. He told me that he is a fan of my music and asked me to write a rap for this movie,” he smiles.

He adds he respects his listeners and when he is in the studio he tries to stay honest to his feelings. “With each album I feel I get better with expressing myself on the record. My new album is a truly artists’ album where I have written and produced all tracks the way I felt they should be,” he says.

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Tabla player makes it to Guinness book
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
In a bid to do something extraordinary in life, city resident Paramjot Singh made it to the Guinness Book of World Records by playing the longest-ever tabla marathon for 313 hours and 13 minutes. It was at 12 am that he completed his mission.

He has broken the record of Kujhalannan G Ramkrishnan from Tamil Nadu who played mirdang non-stop for 301 hours in 2008.

Tabla is his soul and he has been playing it since he was nine years old. “I prepared myself well. The most difficult part was to control my sleep but by God’s grace, I lived through that difficult part and have today created a new record,” he said.

He began playing the tabla on March 5 at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib and completed the session last midnight.

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District Magistrate bans liquor sale 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The District Magistrate today ordered the closure of liquor vends on and before the poll and counting days for ensuring law and order in the district.

District Magistrate Vikas Garg said today that all liquor vends would remain closed from May 11 to May 13 for the elections and May 15 to May 16 for the counting. The vends would close at 5 pm on May 11 and would remain closed till 5 pm on May 13.

Similarly, these would close at 5 pm on May 15 and would remain closed till 5 pm on May 16.

During these days, the liquor would neither be sold nor stored. The orders would be promulgated by the public relation office through different types of media.

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