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Galib rally brings traffic to halt again
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Residents bore the brunt of the nomination papers filed by SAD candidate GS Galib as traffic jams remained the order of the day and the mini secretariat gates were closed in view of VIP security. Also, a large number of buses were used in the show of strength, forcing people to wait for autorickshaws to reach their destinations.

Traffic was blocked at Fountain Chowk, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Mall road, Pakhowal road and Ferozepore road as the convoy of Galib neared the Mini Secretariat in the afternoon.

In violation of the Election Commission’s orders, his convoy, comprising several heavy and light vehicles, started from his election office on Ferozepur road and did not leave space for the smooth flow of traffic. It blocked the road for more than an hour. This disrupted traffic in many areas.

As soon as the Chief Minister reached the mini secretariat, its gates were closed for the public. Those who had visited the office were stranded as they could not return due to the massive rally.

They said politicians were becoming a nuisance with every passing day. A process that could have been very simple, had been complicated like this. “The time has come when nobody bothers about the show of strength. People would vote for the candidate they like,” Satish Chander, a resident, said.

The worst affected were commuters from villagers who depended on mini buses. Several of these were used to ferry workers to the rally.

Transporters were, however, happy as they did good business. The mini buses were paid Rs 1,300 to operate within the city and Rs 2,500 for ferrying workers from villages.

The fallout of the rally was a huge pile of empty tetra packs of water on the main road to the mini secretariat. Ragpickers were soon there and picked up the litter from the road.

Earlier, the service lane in front of Galib’s election office was used as a rally ground. Chairs were put up in the parking area and vehicles that were part of the convoy, were also lined up in front of the office.

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Two die, 23 fall ill after eating gol gappas
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, April 22
Two persons died and 23 fell ill after eating adulterated gol gappas at New Gautam Colony near Basti Jodhewal here last night.

The deceased have been identified as Ramu and Vicky Kumar, both residents of the colony. While Ramu hailed from Uttar Pradesh, Vicky Kumar was from Uttarakhand.

Ramu died at a hospital while Vicky died at his house this morning.

At least five persons, including a woman and a child, with severe vomiting and diarrhoea were later referred to the CMCH.

Sagar, owner of the gol gappa stall, was arrested last night.

The incident took place last evening when residents of the colony reportedly had some gol gappas from Sagar Gol Gappa Wala last evening.

Soon after eating those, people complained of food poisoning and started vomiting. They were rushed to hospital while those in a serious condition were rushed to the CMCH.

According to doctors, the cause of food poisoning was contaminated water used in the gol gappas.

The police has taken both bodies into possession and sent them for a postmortem examination.

The district health officer, Dr SS Dhir, and the district family welfare officer, Dr Reena Sandhu, rushed to the affected area after being directed by the Deputy Commissioner at midnight to conduct an on-the-spot probe into the cases of food poisoning.

Dr Dhir said today that only those persons had suffered from food poisoning who had consumed “masala paani” along with the gol gappas which led them to suspect that the masala paani was either highly contaminated or contained some poisonous substance that accidentally got mixed during preparation.

The health officials could not take samples because the leftover material had been destroyed by the vendor by the time the officials reached his house.

The exact cause of the deaths would be determined when the reports of the chemical analysis of the viscera of the deceased and tests being conducted on other victims under treatment in hospitals were received, the health officials said.

Meanwhile, Dr Harwinder Singh, SMO of the Civil Hospital, said the postmortem of the victim was yet to be conducted as the hospital authorities were still awaiting the police papers required for the purpose.

The health authorities have launched a sensitisation and awareness drive in the area.

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Man held for shooting cousin
Accused’s father struggles for life
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 22
A man shot his cousin, identified as Kuldip Singh Lucky (36), and injured his father when they tried to save the accused’s wife at their house last evening.

According to information, the accused, Gurbachan Singh Gogi, a farmer and private financier of Jarag village in Payal district, was a habitual drinker and used to torture his wife. On Tuesday, his father could not tolerate the behaviour of his son and called his nephew Lucky for help.

Inebriated, instead of heeding to his father and cousin’s advice, Gogi opened fire on them with his licensed revolver and killed Lucky on the spot by shooting a bullet in his chest.

The accused’s father, Gurmel Singh, also received bullet injuries in his abdomen and is struggling for life at a hospital in Ludhiana. However, the accused’s wife had a narrow escape as she ran to a room to protect herself.

Investigations by the police revealed that Gurbachan Singh would allegedly harass his wife. Friends and relatives of the couple had intervened in the matter a number of times.

The police said his cousin was serving as a teacher at a government school in Chaunda Manvi and is survived by a wife and two children.

Meanwhile, the accused had managed to flee from the scene, but was arrested by the police while he was trying to leave the station this afternoon. The police said the weapon of crime was yet to be recovered.

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Dowry Death
Man gets 10-yr-jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Additional Sessions Judge AS Grewal has convicted Harchand Singh of Sangowal village in a dowry death case. He has been sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

Sukhbir Kaur, wife of Harchand Singh, had died after over three years of marriage.

The court held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused. The judge declined the plea of leniency raised by the convict.

However, the court acquitted the convict’s mother, Kulwant Kaur. It held that there was no evidence against her.

A case had been registered against the accused in 2006 following the complaint of Harbans Singh, father of the victim.

He had submitted that he had spent sufficient money at the time of the marriage of his daughter, but her in-laws were unhappy. His daughter had told him about the maltreatment being meted out to her. On September 2006, his daughter was strangled.

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Poll Duty Rehearsals
Most banks remain closed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Banking operations were badly hit in the state today with a majority of bank employees away on poll duty rehearsal.

While branches of numerous banks closed in the absence of staff, various others conducted restricted business.

Tomorrow again the bank staff has been asked to attend a session on the training of electronic voting machines (EVMs), due to which banking operations would suffer again, an SBI employee said.

The secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Naresh Gaur, said in several branches in Ludhiana and its periphery, especially those in the rural areas, 100 per cent staff had been deployed on poll duty.

Even the staff of currency chest branches, who were feeding the centres of all other branches had not been spared. In the absence of staff, the banks had to shut operations or carry out restricted business with just one or two staff members, inconveniencing the public.

He said bank employee unions and organisations intended to protest and give a representation to the government to exempt banking staff from poll duty as the banking sector was a public utility service and shutting operations caused huge losses to the state exchequer.

The branch of Allahabad Bank at Clock Tower was closed and customers were told to come tomorrow. The Kichlu Nagar branch of the State Bank of Patiala had also downed the shutters while the BRS Nagar branch of the bank did not even have a single staff member. The same was the case with Dena Bank and Punjab National Bank branches.

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Trade union launches agitation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Five activists of the district unit of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) today sat on a 24-hour fast at the Mini Secretariat here, demanding the implementation of the pay commission report.

Addressing a rally of government employees, the district president of the PSSF, Gurmail Singh Maldey, criticised the dilatory tactics being adopted by the government. He said the Punjab Chief Minister had assured trade union leaders in Bathinda on April 15 that the report would be received from the pay commission and implemented without delay.

“The dilly-dally attitude of the government has forced employees to take to agitation. An activist of the Punjab and UT joint action committee has started an indefinite fast at Chandigarh and leaders of various organisations of government employees are agitating at the district headquarters,” he said.

Various speakers at the rally said the the government plea of taking permission from the Election Commission for the implementation of the pay panel report was a part of the dilatory tactics of the government.

The others demands raised by trade union activists at the rally were setting up a wage formation committee by the PSEB for bipartite negotiations, a pay anomaly removal committee headed by a retired or serving judge and scrapping of the Electricity Act.

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3 hurt as cylinder explodes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Three persons were injured, two critically, after an illegal cylinder exploded at Muslim Colony near Sherpur Chowk here today.

According to the police, the victims were boiling potato when the 7-kg cylinder exploded and boiling water fell on them.

The injured have been identified as Laljit, Ramesh and Saroj, all from Uttar Pradesh, but staying at the colony.

The injured were rushed to the Civil Hospital. While Saroj sustained minor injuries, the condition of Laljit and Ramesh is stated to be serious.

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Swindler Girls
Taped conversation points needle at gang leader’s wife
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
City resident Rishi Sood’s recorded telephonic conversation with the wife of a gang leader, Raman Rana, has unmasked the presence an organised gang of swindler girls in the city.

The woman has apparently taken over the reins of the underground operations after her husband absconded from the police custody two years ago.

Her husband continues to live in hiding, while the wife acts as the frontal office for his illegal activities.

The gang is on a hunt for innocent youths who fall pray to the antics of swindler girls.

The telephonic conversation points a finger of suspicion at the alleged involvement of Preeti Rana, dreaded criminal’s wife, who is said to be the brainchild behind swindler girls, as claimed by Rishi Sood.

According to the telephonic conversation, a woman, who claims to be the wife of Raman Rana, who shot a gang leader, Anil Sharma, alias Lalla, five years ago and fled from police custody while being taken to court for hearing — asks for ransom from the father of Rishi Sood, against whom a case of rape was registered by a girl, Parul Gupta.

The gang uses various mobile numbers to evade detection.

The wife of Raman Rana had reportedly left the country recently and was currently in Australia. Sources said Raman Rana was also planning to leave the country.

The alleged involvement of a dreaded criminal behind the gang has raised concerns within the city.

Rishi Sood alleged that the gang of swindler girls was also backed by hoteliers, travel agents and self-styled social activists, who lured affluent youths by changing their identities and phone numbers frequently.

Rishi Sood had been living under fear psychosis after a girl, who used to extort money from youths, filed a complaint of rape against him.

Rishi, who spent 189 days in jail following a rape complaint, has been in a quandary as for the past three months as he has been receiving frantic calls from a girl, who claims herself to be the daughter of SSP, Chandigarh. She has been trying to engage Rishi in conversation, a tactic used by a girl to ensnare Suman Paul earlier.

He alleged it was being done with the support of a local goon. He said he was being threatened with dire consequences by Preeti Rana.

SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said he was investigating the matter.

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2,000 officials attend rehearsal
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 22
The first rehearsal of the staff put on poll duty in connection with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections was conducted under the supervision of respective Assistant Election Returning Officers at Payal, Raikot and Malerkotla subdivisions, near here, today.

Nearly 2,000 officials from various government and public sector undertakings attended the rehearsal.

Expressing satisfaction over the percentage of officials reporting for the mandatory duty, the competence authorities issued notices to those who were found absent on the first rehearsal.

They have asked to come and explain in writing as to why the rehearsal was not attended.

Payal SDM Neeru Katyal said at least 600 officials from various organisations attended comprehensive rehearsal for duties at 149 polling booths of the subdivision at Sangam Palace today.

Besides imparting knowledge about elements of democratic process of fair polling, prospective presiding officers and polling officers were explained procedure of installing and closing EVMs. A mock polling for a booth with 40 voters and 16 candidates was also held.

Appreciating enthusiasm among officials of various departments, including nationalised banks, educational institutes and other government officers, Katyal called upon office-bearers of social and political organisations to urge officials to live up to the expectations of the election commission.

“Instead of considering the poll duty as a burden you should accept it as an opportunity to learn more and contribute your share in constituting the Union Government,” said Katyal while addressing participants.

Mandeep Singh, executive magistrate, coordinated the event.

According to Raikot SDM Jaspal Singh Jassie, around 700 officials reported for the first rehearsal at Gurjit Palace today.

Though the participants showed satisfaction over the intensity of the training, the authorities announced an elaborate schedule for intensive training in groups at municipal council of the town.

Jassie claimed that all arrangements for polling at 135 booths of the subdivision had been completed.

Rehearsal for officials of the area falling under Amargarh constituency of Fatehgarh Lok Sabha constituency was held at Malerkotla town near here. Around 600 officials were reported to have attended the rehearsal.

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Women staff allege raw deal
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 22
If women staff engaged in the rehearsal of poll duties here are to be believed, their colleagues of the opposite sex have been spared in some departments in contravention of the election commission guidelines, which state that women can only be engaged for the purpose in the face of a severe shortage of male staff.

A woman employee of one of the departments who attended a rehearsal, on the condition of anonymity, claimed that in their department a majority of staff that had been engaged for rehearsal of poll duties was women. Some of the affected employees had even met the authorities concerned in this regard. Amandeep Kaur (name changed) said: “We met the ADC in this regard who ensured us that our names would be struck off and that we would be given exemption on the very first day of rehearsal. However, as opposed to this, the official in-charge refused to listen to our pleas and in turn told us to meet the Deputy Commissioner and that he could be of no help to them in the matter.”

Some women from a local school who had come to attend the rehearsal at Khalsa College, Ludhiana, too, complained that duties had been assigned in a casual manner and that inconvenience caused to women staff during the rehearsal days as well as on the day of the election had been overlooked.

Some women who live in remote villages and have been called to Ludhiana to attend rehearsals complained that the DC office should have calculated the distance and time it takes to reach Ludhiana from their village.

“Moreover, if similar yardstick is followed during the fixation of stations for election duty, it would be impossible for us to reach the booth at 8 am and stay there overnight,” said another woman staffer.

They said if the decision could not be reverted at this stage, the office should deploy at least two women at one booth so that the inconvenience caused to them was minimal.

The Deputy Commissioner said if the names of the male staff had been deliberately concealed and those of the women staff had been sent, it was for the head of the department to look into the matter.

On if women would be exempt from poll duties, he said: “Since we are facing shortage of staff, we have no other option but to engage women for the same.”

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800 vehicles in Galib’s motorcade!
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, April 22
Throwing election commission’s guidelines on the use of vehicles for campaigning out of window, 800 vehicles escorted SAD-BJP alliance candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat Gurcharan Singh Galib to Ludhiana for filing of nomination papers today.

Galib’s motorcade travelled through the rural areas of Raikot, Jagraon and Mullanpur Dakha for Ludhiana.

Barring a few vehicles, most carried “Private Vehicle” stickers on them besides the stickers of Galib.

More vehicles reportedly joined the motorcade in Ludhiana city carrying the same stickers.

From Jagraon, Bhag Singh Malla led the motorcade of around 200 vehicles, while Talwandi family from Raikot joined in with 250 vehicles.

Also, Manpreet Singh Ayali from Mullanpur Dakha added 350 vehicles to the motorcade. Local leaders of the area also joined the motorcade.

This is in stark contrast to the fortnight-long canvassing period, when most contestants used just a handful of cars for the purpose.

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SAD councillor joins Congress
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Gurdeep Kaur, two-time SAD councillor from ward No. 61 (Dugri), today quit her party and joined the Congress.

She said she was disillusioned with the Akali leadership, where only the Badal family, or their close relatives, had a say.

“Even senior ministers, party leaders, councillors or dedicated party workers are ignored. This is no way to function for a political party,” she remarked.

Gurdeep Kaur went on to say: “I had a heavy heart the day the SAD stood against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of trust vote in July, 2008. I do not wish to see Dr Singh, or for that matter, his party being voted out of power in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Hence, I am putting my support behind Congress and hope others will also do the same. Policies of the Congress and Dr Manmohan Singh have more substance and I feel that I can do better and achieve the objectives of my ward by working with them.”

A resident of the area, she has a deep involvement with the area and her desire to bring about its improvement.

The key projects that she has worked on are sewerage system, lights, roads, water, shagun schemes and pensions, etc.

Her future objectives include an old age home, a home for widows, upgrading the government school and to provide better employment opportunities for youth.

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Election office opened
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 22
Shiromani Akali Dal candidate for the Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat Gurcharan Singh Galib opened his office here today.

Though he and his son were not present at the opening ceremony — as Galib was away to Ludhiana file his nomination papers — the office was inaugurated by Sant Jagjit Singh Lopon, while Bhag Singh Malla along with the local leadership organised the ceremony.

Addressing the gathering, Malla asked voters to give a befitting reply to Congress candidate Manish Tewari. He said the Congress had exploited the country for the past 60 years.

A large number of leaders attended the ceremony. The programme was attended by over 1,500 party workers who later joined Galib at the time of filing of nomination papers.

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SSF to oppose SAD
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 22
The National President of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation (SSF), Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, yesterday condemned the Akalis for calling the Sehajdhari Sikhs as Patits (Non-Sikhs).

He said in 2004 also, the Gurdwara Election Commission had debarred the Sehajdhari Sikhs from casting vote in the SGPC elections. Around 12.5 lakh voters were deleted from the list.

The voters are now contesting a legal battle in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to get back their voting rights.

The new slogan of the federation is “Je Shiromani Committee vich vote nai, te Akalia nu koi support ni” (if no voting right in SGPC then no vote for the Akalis). This means the voters will not vote in favour of the SAD this time.

The federation is committed to its previous stand that it will contest the general elections only after it regains the voting rights in the SGPC.

The National Council of the Federation has decided to support Sukhdev Singh Libra from Fatehgarh Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.

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Khanna Grain Market
Rainwater wreaks havoc on piled-up crop
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 22
Farmers here have been at the receiving end as rainwater has been damaging crop piled up in the low-lying areas of the local grain market. The inundation of low-lying pockets during rains has led to damage to crop laid out on the floor for cleaning.

“Last month, 116 quintal wheat was damaged in the rain as water entered a low-lying area of the grain market adjoining flyover,” said a commission agent pleading anonymity.

The farmers who lost their crop in the rain were Prem Singh, Surjeet Singh and Chand Singh from Rohno village here.

Farmers unloading their crop in the market rued that they had requested their commission agent to get the floor repaired so that rainwater could not get accumulated there, but the authorities of the market had done nothing in this regard.

Also, the farmers rued that sewage had also damaged their crop around 15 days ago.

As cemented platform is situated in a low-lying area, water entered the pocket.

Commission agents said though the market committee charged a fee from them as well as farmers, it had not provide them with adequate facilities.

“Every monsoon we have to move our gunny bags. The area gets inundated within no time and it is impossible to check water entering the premises. The sewerage should cleaned regularly,” said farmers.

Market committee secretary Sukhminder Singh Mangat said the allegations were baseless. “One of the commission agents has formed a faction and is pursuing his own interest by making false claims. None of the farmers’ crops has been damaged. If needed, we will give adequate space to commission agent for unloading produce,” he said.

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Jewellers pin hopes on Akshaya Trithiya
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Jewellers are pinning hopes on Akshaya Trithiya, which falls on April 27, for bringing them good fortune by ensuring handsome sales. At a time of recession, such festivals are expected to bring a relief to traders. However, rising prices of gold may prove damper for those in business.

Gold purchased on Akshaya Trithiya is considered to bring luck, success and prosperity.

To lure customers, jewellers have announced special discounts and offers for this festival.

Nishant Bansal of PP Jewellers says: “We are offering a 10 per cent discount till April 27 on crafting charges for both new and old designs.

We are also seeing jewellery enthusiast keenly buy gold jewellery in keeping with the Akshaya Trithiya spirit. We are expecting good business during this festival,” he added.

Rajini, a housewife, says they buy a small piece of gold jewellery on Akshaya Trithiya and Dhanteras every year.

“It is considered auspicious to buy jewellery during this festival and I plan to buy a small pendant,” she added.

Another store, Kirtilals, has announced an offer from April 22 to 27. Buyers can get a gift of silver Lakshmi idol, a gold coin or a diamond pendant on various purchases.

In line with the festival spirit, another jeweller is showcasing jewellery that includes jadu and kundan sets, kundan polki, glass polki, diamond polki and plain gold antique sets.

The jewellers are also offering kundan bangles, sets, earrings, and new intricate designs in bangles.

Besides, nearly 200 new designs in gold jewellery are on offer, which include small pendant sets, bangles et al.

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Specialised nano lab a boon for farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Nanotechnology can bring revolutionary changes in the field of agriculture as scientists can now develop technologies relevant to agriculture and food systems by employing high-resolution imaging facilities available at the Electron Microscopy and Nanoscience Laboratory (EMN).

The EMN laboratory has been established with a special grant from the ICAR at the College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University.

VK Kaul, professor, department of plant pathology, said it was the first laboratory in Punjab that had several latest high-resolution imaging equipment useful for research in agriculture, biological and bio-medical, chemical and material sciences and also for industrial research. The total cost incurred on the laboratory was Rs 3.5 crore.

The equipment would help researchers understand cellular and molecular properties, mechanisms and interactions in relation to abiotic and biotic stress in crops and it would improve agricultural production, he added.

Major equipment installed at the laboratory include transmission electron microscope (TEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscope (EDS), scanning probe microscope (SPM), optical upright research microscope, stereo zoom microscope and ultracut microtome, etc.

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Glut-like situation still at grain market
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 22
Glut-like situation still prevails in the grain market here with lakhs of gunny bags filled with wheat lying unpicked. As many as 3.5 lakh bags are still lying in the Asia’s biggest grain market.

Farmers rued that they had been waiting for the past few days for their crop to be lifted by the procurement agencies.

Nahar Singh of a nearby village said his entire wheat crop had been put in bags but nobody had come forward to pick it up. The farmers rued that the contract of paddy and wheat lifting beside other contracts had been given to only one person, who had been dilly-dallying over the issue of lifting the crop.

Meanwhile, market committee secretary Sukhminder Singh Mangat said the contractor was efficient and the process of lifting of wheat was under way. The entire lot would be lifted in a day or two.

He said glut-like situation prevailed in the market, as farmers had brought their crop in large quantities. However, the situation was now improving.

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Earth Day
Wordsworth House best in eco-project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
As a part of the Earth Day celebrations, the GD Goenka Public School organised an eco-project competition here today. Four houses viz Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley and Wordsworth participated in the contest. They prepared posters, collages, paintings and incorporated captions, slogans and interesting facts about earth and environment. The Wordsworth House bagged the first position while the Shakespeare and Keats were declared second and third, respectively.

The day was celebrated with enthusiasm at the Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School and Ryan International School.

The teachers highlighted the importance of this day in today’s era. Principal of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondry School Sunil Arora encouraged the students to save water.

Calligraphy contest

An inter-house English calligraphy competition was organised at the Tagore International Senior Secondary School, Sahnewal. Managing directors of the school BK Aneja and Swati Aneja along with principal Santosh Bakshi appreciated cursive writing of the students. Trophies and certificates of appreciation were given to the winners.

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Go Green, say students
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 22
In a bid to preserve environment, the Peace Public School celebrated the week as ‘Environment Week’.

In the morning assembly, students today presented ideas to save the environment.

The students and teachers greeted each other with ‘Go Green’ slogan and wore a green badge depicting the same message.

The students resolved not to use plastic bags and aluminium foils in order to decrease soil pollution.

They presented skits, speeches, poems and talk shows depicting various causes and means to save the environment.

They celebrated the World Earth Day by participating in competitions like collage making and picture reading.

The week of myriad activities was celebrated to develop a sense of responsibility among the students towards the environment.

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PAU joins in
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Earth Day was celebrated on the PAU campus today. The programme was organised by the department of agricultural meteorology in collaboration with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

Speaking on the occasion, chief guest Dr Manjit Singh Kang, PAU Vice-Chancellor, said it should be a combined responsibility to keep earth intact and in a good form. He said every day is an Earth Day and we must take steps to safeguard our planet.

Dr Kang said PAU created environment awareness among the farming community through the Kisan Mela themes such as “save water, save Punjab”, “save environment, save Punjab” and now “Save environment, save humanity”.

He attributed the increasing human density per unit area to the multitude of environmental and other problems.

Dr Kang had an interactive session with participating students and asked questions about the Indian population and growth rate.

Dr R.K. Mahey, registrar, said organising functions to instill awareness about protecting our planet is an excellent step. The prize money of Rs 1500, Rs 750 and Rs 500 was given to the winners.

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PAU officials accused of impropriety
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The Non-Teaching Employees’ Union of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is up in arms against the alleged misbehaviour of officials against the employees.

Such incidents spoil the work culture and reputation of the university, the employees said.

They were perturbed over three such incidents that took place in the last two-three days.

According to information, one of the deans of the university here slapped a safai karamchari, as the latter refused to clean the sewerage system of one of the hostels on Monday. The dean though apologised later.

In another incident, an executive engineer allegedly abused three employees (JE, SDO and draughtsman). Terming the official as ‘arrogant’, the employees have written to the authorities that they would not work under him.

In yet another incident, around six students of the university created a ruckus at the university gate No. 2 on Saturday. They misbehaved with the security guards at the gate, as they were not allowed to enter the premises.

Vice-president of the union Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu said the representatives had met Vice-Chancellor Dr MS Kang to talk regarding the issue yesterday. “He has ordered to constitute a committee to look into the matter. Such incidents will not be repeated, as employees are an important part of the university,” Sandhu said.

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Social bodies to honour former SDM
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 22
Local social organisations will felicitate former SDM Dr Indu for launching a scheme to preserve environment.

Dr Indu had initiated a move to present saplings to newly wed couples three years ago.

This was decided on the concluding session of the Earth Day celebrations, jointly organised by the Eco Club, Rotary Club, CB Welfare Association and Green Brigade at the MGMN Senior Secondary School here today.

Speakers said a coordinated move to preserve the environment should be launched at the earliest.

Reiterating that plants were the only creatures, which could negate deleterious effects of pollution, the speakers called upon students to present saplings to their friends on special occasions.

Recognising the role of Dr Indu in launching this move, the organisers appreciated that Harsimrat Kaur Badal had adopted the theme for her ‘Nanhi Chhan’ project.

The organisers have also planted saplings of ornamental trees at public places, including roadsides and schools.

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Union members seek pending salaries
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 22
A meeting of the SC/BC Union, Fatehgarh Sahib, was held under the chairmanship of district organiser Bhagat Singh here today.

In the meeting, members demanded to release their pending salaries immediately. The members said they had no money to pay the admission fee of their children, as they had been working without salaries for about five months.

Union members further said the drawing books had not been sent by the welfare department that were meant for the SC/BC students. They demanded these books should be sent to the schools at the earliest.

The meeting was also addressed by press secretary Punjab Balbir Singh Gahat, treasurer Jagdev Singh, secretary Kamaljit Singh and other leaders of the union.

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Mammography machine at DMCH
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
A mammography machine with stereo-tactic biopsy system was installed at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here. This latest diagnostic equipment will help in prompt and accurate detection of breast cancer that in turn may extend a patient’s life by about 20 years.

Dr Kavita Saggar, professor and head of radiology at the hospital, said mammography played a decisive role in the early detection of breast cancers. It was now possible to slow down the changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician could feel them.

The latest survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research showed that every year one million women were being diagnosed as suffering with breast cancer. "Mammograms are used to diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as lump, pain or nipple discharge. Annual screening is recommended for women once they reach 40 years of age and in those with a family history of the disease,” Dr Saggar added.

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Alumni assn formed at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The department of journalism, languages and culture, Punjab Agricultural University, has launched an alumni association to facilitate interaction between the students and its alumni.

SK Mann, dean postgraduate studies and head of the department, said the aim of the association was to encourage quality education in the use of new as well as traditional media. Additionally, it would sensitise budding journalists and prepare them to take on challenges of the converging media, she added.

It may be noted that enrolment for the association’s membership has started. Dr Manjeet Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, is the patron while Dr SK Mann is the chairperson. Dr Sarabjeet Singh, associate professor of journalism, is the general secretary.

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No training for teachers on election days
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
There will be no teacher-training under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan on election days in Punjab. The decision has been taken to facilitate teachers to cast their votes and to perform election duties. The training under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan for primary teachers is being conducted from April 15 to May 28 and from April 15 to May 19 for primary teachers.

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Theft at Verka booth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
A gang of thieves stole Rs 12,000 from the locker of a Verka booth, situated at the Jalandhar bypass on Monday.

The police said the thieves had broken the lock and entered the booth at night when the employees had left. After stealing money from the locker and enjoying refreshing drinks, especially milk, they decamped with money.

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City Concerns - II
Manifestos cloaked to impress

This is what a cross section of Ludhiana residents have to say on what they thought about politicians sticking to their poll promises after the elections. The letters also carry suggestions to make them more answerable.

Election manifestos are pure eye wash as they are only made attractive to impress our minds. It is not wrong to say that a sizeable number of voters are illiterate while another sizeable number knows only a little.

A sizeable number of educated voters do not cast their votes. I think it is time to take an account of the past promises and new goals of the candidates.

— Sher Singh, Ludhiana

Promises should be signed

Promises at election time have become an order of the day. All manifestos should be made under an affidavit and signed by the leaders concerned. After being elected, the administration should remind its members about the promises made.

Something has to be done or else these politicians are going to use us like they have always done.

— Major Kuljit Singh, Ludhiana

Increase accountability

Accountability is important in any set up, being accountable means having an obligation to answer. In democracy answerability leads to transparency. Increasing accountability is a key element in various reforms from national-level to local-level.

The illegal or inappropriate actions uncovered through answerability constitutes the other defining element of accountability.

— Shivanshu Garg, Ludhiana

(II)

Politicians must be accountable In a democratic country like India, politicians should be made accountable to the citizens who elect them. Accountability has been wiped out from modern politics and corruption, favouritism, exploitation, betrayal, disobedience etc. Breaking the promises has become a routine for for aspiring candidates. Though the list of promises is long, none of those has been kept hitherto. Answerability has two facets: reporting on plans and actions, and justifying those plans and actions. For horizontal accountability, routine answerability takes place via interactions among the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. Legislatures, through committees, should hold hearings where agencies are required to report about the uses of their resources. For example, in Parliamentary democracies, Public Accounts Committees, often chaired by members of the Opposition party, exercise ex-post review of agency spending to assure conformity with intended uses of funds. Whereas for external accountability between the government and citizens, answerability refers to transparency i.e. transparency must be there.

The information is about available services, eligibility, service delivery procedures and standards along with new policies, changes in existing policies, procedures and plans for the future public comment and discussion.

— Bhawna Garg, Ludhiana

Media influences voters

I have been watching the election debate on television regularly. I think most of the educated people who watch television regularly decide as to whom to vote much prior to the elections. They base their decisions on various grounds like background of the candidate, qualification and intellect. Whereas the lower class, which do not have access to television and newspapers, their decision depends upon the number of liquor bottles and atta bags they get from contesting candidates. This class has no interest in the nuclear deal or 26/11 nor they are moved by capabilities of Dr Manmohan Singh and L K Advani.

— G S Gill, Ludhiana

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Bodybuilding
Punjab squad for national meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 22
The Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association (PABA) has announced a seven-member Punjab team for the upcoming Senior National Bodybuilding Championship to be held from April 23 to 25 in Mumbai.

According to the list released by the association, the bodybuilders who would represent the state are:

55kg category: Honey Kumar of Gurdaspur and Amit Mehta of Ludhiana; 60kg: Mandeep Singh and Anil Kumar of Ludhiana; 65kg: Charan Kamal of Ludhiana and Lakhwinder Singh of Amritsar; 70kg: Ramesh Kumar of Amritsar, Pankaj of Gurdaspur and Hem Raj of Fatehgarh Sahib; 75kg: Amit Arora and Rajesh Arora of Sangrur; 80kg: Raghu Raj of Ludhiana and Sukhmeet Singh of Patiala; 85kg: Sudesh Pawar of Jalandhar and Vinit Marwaha of Hoshiarpur; 90kg: Sandeep Kumar of Ludhiana; +90kg: Anil Raj of PAP, Jalandhar.

Navneet Singh will accompany the squad as a manager while Ranjit Pal Pabla will be the coach. The members were given a warm send-off by the association here yesterday.

Association chairman Arpinder Gill along with other members, including office- bearers of the district unit, Samer Kaushal, Parveen Kumar, Madan Mahajan, Pardeep Kumar, Kunal Bajaj, Sukhdev Sodhi, Kiranpreet Pozy and Jaswinder Gill were also present.

Gold’s Gym, Ludhiana, sponsored the fitness kit for the players.

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