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Bains supporters stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Supporters of SAD councillor, Simarjit Singh Bains,who was arrested in the Tehsildar assault case, braved a hot and sultry weather to lodge their protest against his arrest outside the district courts complex, where he was brought for hearing today afternoon.

His supporters, including a number of women, dressed in white and carrying placards made themselves comfortable on the hot floor. They remained silent throughout the protest. But their placards read ‘‘We are innocent, arrest us,’’ implying that Bains was innocent.

They came and sat in the courts complex at 1 pm while Bains was produced at 4 pm. None of them got up for three hours although the hot sun was making it impossible for anyone to stand even for a few seconds.

When Bains was brought to the courts, his supporters raised slogans in his favour and against the police. They said Bains was being falsely implicated. He was being framed as he was not even present on the spot where the tehsildar was assaulted.

When the supporters gathered in the complex it seemed they would lodge their protest and take the law and order situation in their hands. The police had also posted a number of cops in the complex to prevent any untoward incident.

After production, he was taken out amidst tight security. His supporters swarmed the exit from the court making it difficult for him to come out. He was almost picked up by the police to save him from the crowd.

Meanwhile, a water tanker belonging to Bains himself was parked in the premises for providing water to his supporters.

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Karwal’s arrest
Bolt from the blue for councillor
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
It was a bolt from the blue for SAD councillor and Youth Akali leader, Simarjit Singh Bains, when his close aide and councillor, Kamaljit Singh Karwal, was expelled from the primary membership of the SAD yesterday after he was named the prime accused in the Tehsildar assault case.

When Bains and his supporters had facilitated the arrest of Karwal, they had thought their move would make the party leadership happy and prevent this kind of action. They had never realised that such an action would follow.

Sources in the SAD told The Tribune that Bains, who is said to be close to SAD supremo, Sukhbir Singh Badal, had met the senior party leaders at Chandigarh yesterday. A former Akali MLA, who could not prevail upon the senior leadership to stand by Bains and his supporters, arranged the meeting.

They added that Bains was conveyed that he would have to surrender so as to evade from the police to take action against him. So, he surrendered yesterday evening. Soon after his close aide Karwal was sacked from the party.

Bains and Karwal have been together for the past several years. They had never thought they would have to pass through such a crisis in their life.

Sources close to him said he was made to believe that this crisis was short-lived but the party would stand by him. The sacking of Karwal has, however, dashed the hopes of Bains and his group of councillors, who swear by him.

The sources said though the police in several cases booked Bains and Karwal, they were never arrested. They were even declared proclaimed offenders once but they were soon bailed out. The party had always stood by them.

But their poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha poll also played a crucial role in the action. They could not garner many votes from their area that was considered a citadel of the Akalis. Congress nominee Manish Tewari recorded a commendable lead from their area beyond the expectations. Nobody had thought that they would lose from there.

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Attack on Tehsildar
Invoking RTI as a tool for settling scores
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludiana, June 24
After alleged “dadagiri” Akalis have now turned to “Gandhigiri” and using RTI as a tool to get the details of assets owned by the tehsildars.

Staging dharna against the administration and the police for arresting Simarjit Singh Bains in the attack on tehsildar case, residents of Shimlapuri said they would now get the information against the corrupt tehsildars through RTI.

“You can not harass people by forming a united front and shut offices. If they are clean then they should disclose their assets,” said one of the agitators while staging the dharna outside the court complex here today.

They further alleged that the administration should ask them to divulge the details of their assets. According to the Maj GS Benipal (retd.) complaint, Bains and his supporters thrashed him and even stole Rs 10,000 from his pocket.

“What was the need of carrying Rs 10,000”, said Gurvinder Singh, one of the Bains supporters and demanded that a register should be maintained in which record of cash being carried by the tehsildars to the office should be written.”

“A farad costs Rs 1.20 and intakal costs Rs 2.40 but one has to grease the palm of a patwari to get the work done and no receipt are given by the latter. We will ensure that details of the receipts are given against issuing farads and intkals by the patwaris through RTI,” said the agitating workers.

Paramjit Singh Soma, a councillor, said: “I have filed RTI to get the details of asset possessed by Major Benipal. How can a public servant with an average salary afford to buy so much land in various states.”?

On the other hand a Patwari, who was watching the entire incident said, “Actually, they have been (read Akalis) caught on the wrong foot and are now trying to save their skin. What was the need of stripping and thrashing a tehsildar, if they have to file an RTI later on.”

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RTI Pangs
Zonal commissioner, PIO summoned
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
The Right to Information Act has put the local municipal corporation in a quandary as it has failed to provide information within a stipulated period on several occasions.

This time its Zonal Commissioner Vinod Sharda and the Public Information Officer, Municipal Corporation, have been summoned by the bench of Information Commissioner Lt Gen PK Grover (retd).

Talking to The Tribune, advocate Saurabh Gupta said: “Taking a serious note of constant false statements being issued by the corporation before the Punjab State Information Commission and the fact that the information has been delayed by about nine months, the commission has asked Sharda and PIO KS Kahlon to be present in person before the commission on July 7.”

Giving the details, Saurabh said: “An information regarding advertisements in the city was sought from the corporation on May 13, 2008. These included details like how many approved advertisement location or sites are in the city according to the civic body and their locations. Apart from it the revenue collected per month from these sites and a list of various locations, including, roads where unapproved advertisements could not be put according to the High Court, state government and the corporation.” He added that the information about number of illegal advertisements and action taken against these advertisers were also asked on April 1, 2006, which the civic body had failed to provide till date.

When no reply was received, first appeal was filed to the municipal commissioner on June 17, 2008, and finally the PSIC was approached on March 19, 2009, as the civic body failed to reveal the asked information.

Gupta said: “Written submission was made by the applicant before the commission raising points on persistent negligence of the corporation towards the RTI Act.” He added that the corporation also took up the plea that they never received any RTI application from the applicants.

The RTI application was sent through a registered post and the corporation also admitted it in its second hearing that the application has been disposed off.

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Revenue Officials Strike
NRIs panic as sale deeds yet to be executed
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Due to the revenue officials’ ongoing strike, anxiety has gripped NRIs, whose sale deeds are being delayed and they have to return abroad.

A large number of NRIs, who have purchased land back home are not able to get their sale deeds executed due to the closure of revenue offices in protest against attack on the tehsildar.

With the agitating officials not withdrawing their protest even today, the NRIs said if the protest continued for some more time, their money would go waste as they have to reach their destinations.

‘‘I have to return on June 27. I had thought my sale deed would be registered by Monday. But it was not done. It has been three days that the offices are closed,’’ said Joginder Singh, an NRI.

He added that he was even contemplating postponing his departure from here. ‘‘There seems to be no other way out. If I return without executing the sale deed crores of rupees spent by me would go waste. I think the seller, too, would be very happy, ’’ he added.

Divisional Commissioner, Patiala Revenue Division, JS Bir said he, too, had received a number of problems cited by the NRIs. They problems are justified, he added.

Besides the NRIs, the students, too, continued suffer for the third consecutive day today. Many of them made rounds of the tehsil office but returned empty handed.

‘‘I have to fill a form of Guru Nanak Dev University. The last date is June 30. I don’t know what will happen. If the government cant pacify the agitating officials, then they should ask the universities to postpone the last date of the filling forms,’’ a student said.

The government could still ask the universities in the state to do so, but what about those outside the state, he questioned.

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PSEB accountant held for graft
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 24
A vigilance team led by led by DSP (Vigilance) Gurcharan Singh raided the office of the PSEB’s Jagraon XEN yesterday evening and arrested an upper division clerk-cum-accountant while accepting a graft. The clerk has been identified as Inderjit Kumar.

A man who tipped off the vigilance department about the graft also happens to be an employee of the PSEB local office and is posted at Sidhwan Khurd. Harvinder Singh of Kothe Premsar in Jagraon has been working as ALM for the past more than three years. He approached the accused clerk, who is an in charge of fixing the salary of the PSEB employees. The accused demanded Rs 5,000 from Harvinder Singh for fixing his salary. The deal was struck for Rs 2,000 but Harvinder Singh informed the vigilance department about it.

After this, the vigilance team laid the trap, raided the accused’s office and caught him while accepting Rs 2,000 for getting Harvinder’s job done.

Harvinder said he was compelled to act like this, as he was astonished when a colleague asked for a bribe from him. The XEN, Jagraon, PSEB, has already ordered for the fixing of his salary on June 5 and the arrears of his salary was to be handed over with the June’s salary. Meanwhile, a case has been registered in this regard.

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Unscheduled power cuts leave residents fuming
Sale of diesel increases manifold
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 24
People residing in various parts of the town are upset over the prevailing power and water crisis. While talking to The Tribune they rued that the number of hours of power being supplied to them had been reducing day-by-day. “Now we are getting the electricity for only 10 hours a day”, said Harmesh, who resides at the Lalheri road.

The situation worsens when unscheduled power cuts are imposed during the night hours, he added.

As per dealers of the petrol stations in the city the sale of diesel has increased many folds during the past few days. Its sale in six petrol stations of Mandi Gobindgarh has increased nearly by 500 litres.

“The demand has increased due to the paddy season and power cuts in urban and rural areas”, said a petrol station employee. He said the farmers were suffering the most, as they had to shell out extra money to cultivate their fields.

Kartar, a resident of the Malerkotla Road, rued that the government had neither provided electricity to their farms nor in their homes.

Owner of re-rolling mills and the furnace industries also cursed the mismanagement on the part of the government for the chaos due to the lack of electricity. The factory owners said now they were getting electricity only for three 
days a week and that to intermittently.

“We are ready to shut down our factories for as many days as the government wants but we must get uninterrupted power after that”, said Anil Suraj of Mandi Gobindgarh.

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Industry hit hard
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, June 24
As the ongoing summer peaks, Doraha has started witnessing unscheduled power cuts at odd hours. This has not only hit the industry hard, the residents are too feeling the heat.

The residents say that apart from the scheduled seven-hour cut, unscheduled power cuts of another six-seven hours a day has upset their normal.

“The existing government has failed to bridge the gap between demand and supply. Every time the government boasts of the regularisation of power supply, it ends up as an utter failure and all its promises fall flat,” rue residents.

A deputation of All India Traders’ Association, led by its president Sarabjit Singh Mangat, went to the PSEB office to vent their ire against the power board officials, who they allege are least bothered about the inconvenience being faced by the common man in general and business and industry in particular due to the unscheduled power cuts.

PSEB Chief Engineer, who was on his visit to the Doraha station, expressed his helplessness saying that in the wake of telling weather conditions, they were finding it difficult to meet the demand. “Still, the supply will be regularised as far as possible and it will be supervised that people are not made to suffer, especially due to unscheduled power cuts,” he said.

Meanwhile, irked over the worsening power situation, the residents have decided to launch a protest if unscheduled power cuts continue.

“We will be forced to protest against the PSEB if it failed to regularise power supply,” said members of the All Traders’ Association.

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Diesel shortage hits paddy sowing
Farmers resort to panic buying

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 24
If the acute power crisis prevailing in the state had adversely affected industrialists, business community, farmers and households, the diesel shortage in some pockets has further hit the people where it hurts the most.

As several filling stations in the city and elsewhere in the district have put up boards of "no stock of diesel", many others, where diesel is available, witness long queues of vehicles, pick up vans, tractor trollies and even people on two wheelers waiting with empty cans for their turn to get supply of diesel in the scorching heat.

Majority of the petrol stations owned or operated by Bharat Petroleum Corporations Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporations Limited (HPC) have run dry of diesel due to the sudden spurt in demand and relocation of their source of supply from Jalandhar to Sangrur for the time being. The availability of diesel at the outlets of Indian Oil Corporations Limited and IBP is rather comfortable in comparison.

According to Ashok Sachdeva, secretary, Ludhiana Petroleum Dealers’ Association, the demand for diesel in the city has gone up by as much as 30 to 40 per cent during the past few days due to long durations power cuts all over whereas at the filling stations on the periphery or rural areas of the district, it is higher by anything from 50 to 60 per cent due to the ongoing paddy sowing operations.

"The industry, business houses as well a large number of households are forced to run generators during power cuts ranging from six to eight hours which has led to rise in demand of diesel from these sectors. A bit of panic buying among large consumers of diesel, including those from the agriculture sector, has further compounded the problem and there is a virtual scramble as and when diesel supplies are received at any filling station," he remarked.

Owner of an HPC filling station in the city- Roby- was of the view that temporary increase in the demand for diesel due to prolonged power cuts along with relocation of source of supply from Jalandhar to Sangrur had caused the scarcity, especially at HPC and BPC outlets and the IOC pumps remained unaffected since they continue to get their supplies from Jalandhar.

Enquiries made by The Tribune from the trade circles revealed diesel shortage was markedly visible at the filling stations in the city where the owners could not foresee the quantum of increase in demand of diesel and plan their supplies schedule accordingly. In comparison, even though some rural areas did face the diesel shortage problem, overall the supply was being maintained because the requirement of diesel from the farm sector for paddy sowing was measured and schedule of supplies were made accordingly.

Officials of IOC, however, claimed that diesel was available in sufficient quantity at their filling stations and supplies were being maintained strictly as per the requisition made by them.

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Dip in production, export
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Nothing is going right for the industry. First it was recession and now power cuts leading to a dip in production.

Acute shortage of labour working on contractual basis is further aggravating the things because of uncertain and fractured working hours due to the irregular and inadequate power supply. Exports are also dwindling, as contractual commitments cannot be fulfilled due to power shortage.

Vindod K. Thapar, president of the Knitwear Club, said that inadequate power supply is the main stumbling block in maintaining the pace of production. “Irregular power supply is making the matters worse. The tall promises made by the government that power would be available to the industry even after the election, has been conveniently forgotten," he added.

Another member added that hopes aroused by the assurances given by the government have given way to disappointment, despondency and dissatisfaction. “The government should ensure continuous power supply to the industry for fixed hours and time for the cuts should be split out of the remaining time," he added.

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Relief to category-1 industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana June 24
After resentment shown by the United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers’ Association and other associations against the scheduled and unscheduled power cuts, the power board has accepted their demand and arranged power supply for the industries falling under category-1.

Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president of the association said they had demanded no power cut of more than two hours on the category-I industry, but the board officials stressed that due to acute shortage of power, cuts would be imposed for five hours just for 7 days and have accepted the schedule from 7 am to 12 pm.

The association has also demanded that the weekly off day for the category-II should not be more than one day and the board had assured that after June 30, this demand would be accepted.

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Resident seek repair of Payal bus stand
Our Correspondent

Payal, June 24
Despite repeated sanctioning of grants for construction of a modern bus stand at Payal, the authorities have even failed maintain the present one.

Though the civic body earns a regular income through entry fee and rent from vendors, it has also failed to provide basic amenities at the bus stand.

Residents of the area have urged the higher authorities to ensure basic amenities, like clean lavatory and drinking water at least. Disclosing that no grant was sanctioned during his tenure, Malkit Singh Goga, president of the council said necessary repairs would be undertaken soon.

“Though we have not received any grant from the government, we have resolved to undertake necessary repairs at the bus stand. An amount of Rs 50,000 has been earmarked for the purpose," said Goga, maintaining that he had directed the executive officer to depute adequate staff for cleaning the premises.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the condition of the bus stand had been deteriorating instead of improving as promised by the leaders of the area.

Though the council is earning about Rs 15,000 as entry fee and about Rs 5,000 as rent of shops constructed at the bus stand, very little is spent on upkeep of the premises. Stinking smell from lavatories and adjoining portion makes the shelter un-inhabitable for humans. Only dogs seem to take shelter here and that also rarely.

Sources revealed that massive grants were sanctioned for constriction and renovation of the bus stands more than once during past years. Late Sadhu Singh Ghudani, former MLA, had got sanctioned a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the purpose during the previous SAD government. Alleged disharmony between the then president of the council and supporters of the legislator resulted in non-utilisation of the grant.

Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, former Transport Minister succeeded in impressing upon then Chief Minister Amrinder Singh to sanction Rs 45 lakh for construction of the bus stand. Though, the tender for the master plan was passed then, the plan could not be executed allegedly due to early initiation of election process then.

Residents of the area have urged the higher authorities including the chief minister and transport minister to do the needful to make the bus stand usable one.

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Recession deals blow to NRI remittances
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
With the global financial crisis deepening and migrant workers losing jobs, remittances from non-resident Indians (NRI) has witnessed a sharp decline.

Away from their homeland, NRIs have always been investing back home. With the global economic meltdown, NRIs are losing fondness for India, though they always wanted to invest here. While some have also been investing in the developmental projects here, but all these have come to a halt with the slump in the US economy.

Families living in villages around Ludhiana have at least one member living abroad. Previously, members living abroad used to send money or invest in development projects of their respective areas.

Joginder Singh of Lalton village said there has been fall in the NRI visits and a sharp decline in remittances. “Nearly 80 per cent NRIs used to visit the country during vacations, but now it has been reduced to 35 per cent. Only a few families visited the country this year to attend family functions," he said.

One of the members at the money transfer branch said the business has seen a sharp decline this year. “The business has gone down to 30 per cent,” he said. Earlier, people used to send money to their family members living back home, but now fewer transactions are taking place due to economic slowdown, he added.

“The effect of US recession has also cast its spell on our economy. We are waiting for the good old days to return when our children living abroad use to send money and even contribute towards the development of the villages.

The hospital in our village is run by the funds contributed by the NRIs and we hope things will change soon and they will undertake more projects," added Sucha Singh, another villager.

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Vigil up around wrestler Bholla’s residence
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
The police has enhanced vigil around the residence and establishments owned by international wrestler and Arjun Award winner Jagdish Bholla, who was recently nabbed by the Mumbai Police with drugs.

The action followed the visit by a special team of the Narcotics Cell from Chandigarh to the area. Special teams, led by beat officers, have been deployed to keep a vigil on persons visiting the families known to Bholla.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the police had intensified vigil in localities situated along the Raikot road. Though the police did not initiate any action on receiving reports about arrest of Bholla by the Mumbai Police, it swung into action after an SIT from the Narcotics Cell from Chandigarh visited Bholla’s house in the Raikot road area a few days back.

Bholla, who had been associated with an “akhara” situated at a nearby village before he was selected for the Arjuna Award, is known to have close links with high officials in the government and the police. He had been booked in a number of cases at Bathinda, Samrala and Khanna. He was also declared proclaimed offender in some of the cases.

Some cases are still pending against him. Probably this is the first time that he has been booked by the police of some other state.

Sources say, some police officials, who despite pressures from political and bureaucratic corners, had dared to carry out the orders of their immediate bosses, had to face his ire.

The Khanna police had arrested Bholla for allegedly making certain changes in a house belonging to Mohinder Singh, an NRI, in 2005.

Mohinder Singh had alleged that Bholla had opened an “akhara” in his house that had been entrusted to him for some time.

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Indian designers among top in world: Menon
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Indian fashion industry, with its everlasting characteristic of ethnicity, is a perfect platform for the contemporary Indian designers, who are already being rated among the top runners in the global fashion arena, observed Ramesh Menon, the leading fashion consultant of the country.

Menon was in the city to attend the annual function of International Institute of Fashion Designing (INIFD).

Taking pride in being referred as the mentor of top models walking down the ramp in beauty pageants and fashion weeks, Menon says it’s a great feeling to work with models like Sushmita Sen, Jassi Randhawa, Joey Mathews and Naimika Chaterjee, who are thorough professionals even after playing long innings.

Associated with the fashion industry for the last 17 years, Menon began his career as a freelance writer with The Tribune at the age of 16. “Having contributed in the Sunday Magazine for a long time, I went on to pursue my career in the world of fashion,” he said.

He is known for putting up designer ensemble for the much-awaited fashion weeks in Mumbai and Delhi, including the famous Lakme India Fashion Week.

When asked to share his views on the Bollywood's portrayal of fashion industry in the recent blockbuster "Fashion", the fashion consultant and impresario said, "Such movies can create stereotypes as not all fashion designers are gays. Moviemakers should keep in mind the creativity and toil involved in fashion shows as it is an endless endeavour for models who put in 18-19 hours of hard work every day before the fashion weeks,” he said.

Speaking in his capacity of a fashion consultant, Menon feels that young Indian students are playing a catalyst's role, as having gained sound technical knowledge in fashion institutes, they are well conversant with global glamour and style quotient, which when amalgamated with local fabric, textile and ethnicity, produce best results.

Fashion industry is growing manifold in India as professionals in the field of fashion consultancy, ramp modelling, fashion choreography, fashion designing and other professions related to fashion industry have made successful statements worldwide, which is a reason enough for the "conservative lobby" to give way to the youth, concluded Menon.

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Employee unions seek action against fake degree holders
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 24
Local employees’ unions have launched a move to impress upon the government to initiate action against those employees, who have acquired jobs and subsequent promotion on the basis of fake degrees and certificates.

The organisations have demanded that the posts occupied illegally by these persons should be declared vacant and filled by genuine candidates.

The authorities have been urged to register criminal cases against beneficiaries of fake certificates and those who have felicitated the candidates and employees to procure them.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that office-bearers of some employees’ unions, including SC-BC Teachers’ Union and the Punjab Teachers’ Union had initiated a move to get illegally filled posts vacated for genuine claimants.

Sikandar Singh Jartoli, president of the state body of the Punjab Teachers’ Union, regretted that a large number of genuine claimants had been deprived of their right to get permanent jobs as these had been snatched by ineligible candidates on the basis of fake certificates.

Fake degrees, birth certificates, caste certificates and experience certificates were the common documents, which were sold like commodities in the market.

According to Ram Singh Dehliz and Nirmal Singh, office-bearers of the SC-BC Teachers’ Union, a substantial number of candidates from general category had got jobs reserved for members of scheduled castes and backward classes by submitting fake caste certificates. At least 119 cases of fake certificates were reported from the Subordinate Services Board only.

Accusing authorities of shielding fraudulent people, leaders’ alleged majority of cases were hushed up due to political or bureaucratic pressures.

Claiming that their organisation has started preparing lists of employees getting jobs or promotions on the basis of fake documents, the leaders said all cases would be taken to a logical end.

Earlier, a few owners and organisers of the private schools, affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board, have tried to get the “missing reports” registered about records pertaining to employment of their teachers.

They wanted to get the cases registered to evade action for allegedly facilitating a few candidates for getting jobs by submitting fake experience certificates.

However, only those documents were being reported missing, which were demanded by the officials verifying records pertaining to the teachers appointed by the government recently.

Disappointed over the “non-cooperation” of the local police, more enthusiast owners are trying their sources to get the FRIs registered at some police stations situated in the district.

At least 10 candidates from this part of Sangrur district were suspected to have gained employment on the basis of forged experience certificates. The authorities had declared that they, along with their facilitators, would be dismissed and booked under Section 420 of the IPC in case they failed to give satisfactory answer to the show cause notices. The department has begun the process for issuing the show cause notices to them, but no cases were registered against them.

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Report on teachers’ absenteeism submitted
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan took a serious note of the teachers’ and students’ absenteeism.

A study on teachers’ and students’ absenteeism was completed by October, 2008. The report has been submitted to the Ministry of Human Resources Development.

The findings of the study have revealed that there was from 15 to 20 per cent students’ absenteeism at primary level, nine per cent absenteeism at upper primary level, 24 per cent teachers were absent from schools for non-teaching duties at primary level, whereas 13 per cent teachers were absent at upper primary level for similar reasons.

For enhancing the performance of the teachers, the annual confidential report (ACR) of the teachers are based on their results for the last five years and their roles in other extra-curricular activities of schools and also on their relationships with the community.

Regarding teacher’s accountability, systems and mechanism, the state would provide information on whether bye-laws of the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) have been amended to include specific clauses to monitor assessment of parental satisfaction with children's report card, classwork and homework. To ensure this, parent-teacher meetings are held at the end of quarterly tests to share report cards.

Teachers’ attendance would be recorded with inputs from the community and the block or district education officials. Checking on random basis of the teachers by DEOs and other officials of the department and specific monitoring proforma is there to record teachers’ attendance. A teacher found absent is assumed as teacher without pay for that day. Moreover, a school software system is under progress, whereby efforts will be made to capture attendance online.

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150 students attend camp at Shimla
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, June 24
As many as 27 students of Gobindgarh Public College attended a 10-day youth leadership training camp held at Taradevi, Shimla.

The camp was organised by department of youth welfare, Panjab University, Chandigarh. More than 150 students of various colleges affiliated to the university attended the camp.

Prof Amit Narula and Prof Davinder Kaur worked a camp commanders and Prof Varinder Arora and Prof Himani Thakur worked as training officers in the camp.

Students of the college participated in various cultural, academic and intellectual activities.

During the camp days, students were given training of rock climbing. Various lectures and activities were organised to inculcate the sense of self discipline, physical fitness, positive thinking, punctuality, co-operation, peaceful co-existence, community living and sportsmanship etc. Students also trekked to Mahu Nath Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple, Taradevi and Shiv Temple. On the last day, students also visited Naldera Golf Club, Mashobra, Kufri, and Shimla.

Principal Dr Suresh Tandon lauded the efforts of staff members and campers on the achievement and added that these camps were necessary to develop leadership, decision making and positive thinking capabilities of the students.

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300 imparted training on IT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
A summer training-cum-workshop for 300 students of Bhutta College of Engineering and Technology is being conducted by HCL Infosystems on the college campus.

The college has an alliance with HCL Infosystems, Noida, a leading industry in the area of information technology. The students will be imparted training in programming languages like C++ and OOPS etc. Dr VK Sharma, principal of the college, gave a warm and cordial welcome to the HCL team members, led by Kishore Prasad, technical consultant, and gave a background of the partnership with HCL Infosystems, which is in its second year.

The students are provided computers individually during the trainings conducted by HCL Infosystems so as to enhance the quality of training.

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Summer camp concludes at Sutlej Club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
A 15-day summer camp was concluded at Sutlej Club last evening. While kids learnt various activities, like art, craft and dance, their mothers got a chance to learn new exotic dishes.

The kids participated and performed in various events and workshops conducted by specially expertised instructors from all over the city. A special cultural show was organised on the concluding day, in which solo dance, rock band, mimicry, modelling, salsa and magic show was presented.

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Cleft lip, a genetic disease: Doc

Doraha, June 24
The Rotary Club, in association with Sidhu hospital, organised a cleft lip and palate awareness and operation camp today.

Dr Gurdip Singh Sidhu, a surgeon, who also happens to be the president of the local unit of the Rotary Club, said: “The cleft lip and palate is a genetic disease, due to which the children are born with congenital facial defects.” He said these patients were at risk of getting prone to the diseases of breathing, voice, dental and mental disorders and many of these children were not able to survive beyond a couple of months. These children and their parents were usually deeply depressed due to the glaring deformity, but they avoided seeking any help or treatment as reconstructive surgery of face was usually very costly.

Dr Sidhu said the hospital had planned and targeted to perform 500 cleft lip and palate restructuring surgeries this year. — OC

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City reels under hot, dry spell
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Prolonged hot and dry spell has thrown life out of gear for city residents with the increasing duration of power cuts being imposed in the city further compounding the problems.

Day temperatures continued to be above normal at 42.3 degrees Celsius (maximum) and 25.2 degrees (minimum) even today with no respite from the heat wave in sight for the next one week.

Lack of rainfall and delayed monsoon are the main reasons behind soaring mercury. The region has not received rain other than a light spell on June 17. The agro metrological department of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has not recorded any rainfall this year, whereas the average rainfall in the last 30 years from June 7 to 14 has been 9.2 mm.

The normal rainfall in June is 66.4 mm, but this year, no rainfall has been recorded in the first fortnight of June. Last year, Ludhiana had recorded a rainfall of 277.3 mm in June.

Even the maximum day temperature in the first week of June was about 0.9 degree above normal at 41.6 degrees Celsius, against the normal of 40.7 degrees.

Weather experts say that maximum temperature would continue to remain above 40 degrees this month with possibility of heat wave conditions over the region remaining strong.

Sunanda Kashyap, a housewife, said: “Scorching sun is forcing us to remain indoor. To add to our woes, long power cuts that were earlier imposed during the day have been extended to night as well. Things are worse for the homeless who live on the streets.

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PSEB engineers flay attack on colleague
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 24
The PSEB Engineers’ Association has condemned the attack on Amrik Singh, additional superintending engineer, West circle, Amritsar, by some anti-social elements, while urging the authorities to take action against the accused.

At a meeting of the Ludhiana regional committee of the association, the members said the senior PSEB official was made the target by those who were affected from the drive to curb power theft.

Earlier also, officials of the PSEB working in the operations and enforcement wing were made the targets for their efforts to check power theft.

Regional secretary of the association Sukhbir Singh said power board officials working in the state were under a constant threat.

The association said the “laxity” shown by the district administration and the police against the accused in the case of manhandling of tehsildar G.S. Benipal last week had encouraged the anti-social elements and attacks on government officials were becoming a routine affair.

Expressing solidarity with the agitating Revenue Officers Association, the PSEB engineers assured all support to their fight against injustice and hooliganism.

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Topping missing from pizza!
Cost cutting by food joints, customers miffed

Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Next time if you find mayonnaise missing from your burger or pizza without toppings and cold drinks not filled up to a certain point don’t hesitate to complain as the recession coupled with the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities have forced the multinational food chains to indulge in unethical practise of cost cutting by reducing the quantity of food being served to the consumers.

Many noted food joints are practicing the theory to squeeze more profits. As city residents hesitate to ask the employees, the companies are taking full advantage of the consumers’ hitch.

“I am a regular visitor of a burger joint and used to relish the experience of having a sumptuous burger filled with mayonnaise, but recently the burger which was served to me did not have the optimum amount of stuffing in it.

For some time I used to take the burger, assuming it as a mistake being made by the employee but soon I realised that it was a cost cutting method.

I was not getting the value for money, “Gurmeet Singh Sodhi said and further added that it was only after he objected to take the burger in full public view and raised voice against the joint that the manager came rushing to save his employee from embarrassment and made the burger himself, and this time it was just right.

Rishabh Khullar, who was a regular visitor of a pizza joint, faced similar problem, when he saw the toppings missing from his pizza.

“I was feeling disgusted and straightaway went to the counter and asked the guy, have I paid less for pizza? The employee at the cash counter looked blankly at me and realised that his trick has not worked and claimed that it was the standard pizza being offered by the company. It was only after I had a long conversation with the manager of the joint that they agreed to add some more toppings, but that was my last visit to the pizza joint,” said Rishabh.

The employees hired by these companies revealed that they have been asked to do cost cutting to make more profits.

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Veggie, fruit price go up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Prolonged hot and dry spell has led to rise in the prices of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Potato, the essential ingredient of most Indian dishes, is available for Rs 12-13 per kg, while tomato has registered a sharp rise from Rs 12 per kg last week to Rs 25 per kg today.

Onion, however, has remained stable at Rs 10, even as cauliflower got dearer by a few rupees at Rs 16-17 per kg.

Ladyfinger also registered a slight rise and was today available for Rs 20 per kg in the retail. Capsicum and tinda, which cost Rs 18 per kg last month, were today quoted at Rs 25-30 per kg. Price of peas is also soaring with short supply and huge demand.

Available for Rs 45 per kg last week, peas today are available for Rs 70-75 per kg in the retail market.

However, salad lovers have a reason to cheer, as cucumber remained stable at Rs 20 per kg.

As for fruits, mango is available for Rs 60 per kg while the dasehri variety costs Rs 35-45 per kg. Summer special litchi is getting out of reach of the masses with prices touching Rs 70 per kg. Watermelon as well muskmelon have registered price hike over the last fortnight. From being Rs 15 and Rs 10 per kg respectively, last week, the favourite summer fruits were today quoted at Rs 20 and Rs 15 per kg, respectively.

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Ganda Nullah Cleaning
Meeting deferred to June 29
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
The municipal corporation officials today heaved a sigh of relief as the Ganda Nullah meeting convened by Chief Parliamentary Secretary Harish Rai Dhanda and Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker scheduled for tomorrow has been deferred.

Talking to The Tribune, MLA Dhanda said: "As Gosain is already pre-occupied tomorrow the meeting has been deferred to June 29 and the inspection of Ganda Nullah which was to be done tomorrow would now be conducted on June 28." He added that the meeting on Monday would surely be held and they would take erring officers to task.

The meeting scheduled for Thursday was haunting municipal officials already as the MLA had sought various details related to Ganda Nullah. With SE Dharam Singh confessing on June 17 that the original file had been missing before he took over, the MLAs' had asked the officer to bring the photostat copy of the file with which the corporation had been working for the past three years.

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‘Fill vacant posts in MC’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Members of the Municipal Karamchari Dal today held a meeting under the leadership of Chaudhary Yashpal to discuss various problems being faced by them.

Outfit’s general secretary Vir Dev Raj said: “There is a long list of issues which were discussed today, including new recruitment, employment to kin of a MC employee after his death, regularisation of Mohalla Sanitation Committees, etc.”

Besides, elections for the organisation’s posts were also held for two years. Speaking on the occasion, Yashpal said: “A demand charter will be submitted to the Municipal Commissioner.”

Chairman Ashwani Sahota also urged the civic body to fill all vacant posts in the MC for its smooth functioning.

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Biz World
Diamond crown for Lord Balaji
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Kirtilals, a diamond and gold jeweller, has crafted a diamond crown for Lord Balaji. The 3,105.04-carat crown has 30 kg of gold and 35,554 round diamonds studded on it.

HTC Magic launched

Bharti Airtel and HTC Corporation announced the launch of first android-powered mobile phone -HTC Magic. It is a step in the direction where innovation, development and deployment of mobile applications are encouraged in an open ecosystem.

Sundrop Goldlite out

Agro Tech Foods Ltd today announced the launch of a new variant of Sundrop - Sundrop Goldlite.

The oil is a scientific blend of corn oil and sunflower oil, a healthier option when compared to other edible oils in this category. The extremely low levels of saturated fat content help maintain cholesterol levels.

New juice variant

Tropicana, the juice brand from PepsiCo, today launched its mixed fruit variant in its wholesome 100 per cent fruit juice series.

Packed with the goodness of seven fruits, Tropicana mixed juice is a perfect blend of taste and nutrition. The collective benefits of apples, oranges, grapes, peach, apricot, passion fruit and a dash of lemon go into creating Tropicana's mixed fruit juice.

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One killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 24
A resident of Kotla Bhari village was killed in an accident on Tuesday evening when the scooter he was riding was hit by an unidentified truck near Bhadla Neecha village.

The deceased has been identified as Gurmukh Singh. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead. The police has registered a case.

4 held for gambling

The Khanna police arrested four gamblers and recovered Rs 3,620 from their possession.

The accused have been identified as Mahinder Singh, a resident of Amritsar, Ravi Kumar of Machhiwara, Surinder Kumar of Amritsar and Vinod Kumar of Ropar. They were arrested from near the Machhiwara bus stand.

Theft at godown

Thieves decamped with electronic goods worth lakhs from a godown at Otalan village near Samrala on Monday.

The complainant, Rajiv Kumar, said 10 air-conditioners, three washing machines and a fridge was stolen from his godown. The Police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.

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Reality firm employee beaten up, owner arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 24
Two days after a few hooligans entered the house of an employees of a reality firm and inflicted injuries on him and his brother with sharp-edged weapons, the Jodhewal Basti police has finally booked 10 persons.

Complainant Gurwinder Singh alleged that Manish Nanda, Sandeep Sandhu, Raju, Sukhchain, Malkit and five others, who came in two SUVs, entered his house on June 21 and allegedly attacked him. He sustained serious injuries. His brother Balwinder, who tried to intervene, was also thrashed by the assailants.

Gurwinder Singh and his bother are still recuperating at CMC Hospital. The complainant alleged that he had a dispute with the owner of the reality firm, who along with his accomplices came and thrashed him and his brother.

Meanwhile, the owner has been arrested, while the other accused are absconding.

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