L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Snapping of power to dyeing units
Politicians join stir
Industrialists burn effigy of PPCB chairman
Tribune News Service

Members of dyeing industry burn the effigy of chairman of PPCB Yogesh Goel in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Members of dyeing industry burn the effigy of chairman of PPCB Yogesh Goel in Ludhiana on Wednesday.

Ludhiana, August 19
On the third consecutive day of their protest, the dyeing industry, along with their hundreds of workers, burnt the effigy of Yogesh Goel, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, at Samrala Chowk here today.

Political leaders, belonging to various parties, also extended their support to industrialists in their agitation and demanded the removal of the chairman by tomorrow.

Tarun Jain, president, Textile Industry, said disconnecting power to industrial units was an injustice. Jain, who is also the husband of BJP councillor from Civil Lines, Ruchi Jain, said the chairman should be removed from the post immediately as he was biased towards the local industry.

"The step taken by the PSEB has ruined the dyeing industry. In addition to the dyeing units, all related units will also be the worst affected", he said.

Jagmohan Sharma, chairman, Punjab Pradesh Vyopar Mandal, and president, District Congress Committee, who also supported the industrialists, said to resolve any issue, the struggle by all parties should be united. "Though BJP councillors took part in today's protest, they should have condemned their party for appointing Goel as the chairman, PPCB. Rather than providing it a political touch, the BJP should support the cause of the industry", said Sharma.

Tajpur Road Dyeing Association president Ashok Makkar said te chairman should be removed by tonight otherwise, from tomorrow, the hosiery associations would also join the protest. "Due to the ego of the chairman, thousands of workers of the units, which have been shut, have become idle. The chairman had snatched their daily bread", alleged Makkar.

Meanwhile, the workers, along with their employers, took out a funeral procession of the chairman from Vardhman Road to Samrala Chowk and raised slogans against the government for adopting a "biased" attitude against industry



5 more units go powerless
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
Continuing the process of disconnecting power supply to dyeing factories for failure to adhere to the norms for effluent discharge, the PSEB authorities today snapped power supply to five more units on the instructions of the Punjab Pollution Control Board. With this, the total number of dyeing units, which have faced disconnection of power, has gone up to 15 in the city during past three days.

According to HS Randhawa, deputy chief engineer, city east circle, the electric supply to two dyeing factories under CMC division was cut off today after receipt of orders from the PPCB to this effect. Eight dyeing units in the Focal Point division of the PSEB had faced similar action yesterday.

The dyeing factories which have been penalised by disconnecting electricity include Gulab Dyeing, Madan Dyeing, PI Cotex, Ekta Dyeing, Venus Cotsyn, SR Coatings, Ganpati Industries, Rainbow Scientific Dyers, Sachi Processors, Salopal Dyeing, Shri Balaji Dyeing, Suvdi Coats and Deluxe Fabrics.



Generic drugs not on docs’ prescription
Purpose to set up ‘Jan Aushadhi’ at Civil Hospital stands defeated
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The purpose to serve the economically weaker sections by providing them medicines on discount at ‘Jan Aushadhi’ - the generic drug store at the Ludhiana Civil Hospital - stands defeated as a large number of doctors allegedly don’t prescribe medicines available at the store.

The generic drugs procured by the government are cheap as compared to drugs manufactured under the trade names.

Ever since its inception in June this year, ‘Jan Aushadhi’, set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, in the civil hospital here, has been mired in controversy.

Initially, some indoor patients had levelled allegations against Krishan Chand, manager of the drug store, for selling medicines on higher prices and not providing them with the bills.

On the other hand, Krishan Chand had denied having sold any medicine on higher rates and that the bills were given to the indoor patients only after they return the surplus medicine. “It is for the patient's benefit as once the bill is given, we can't take back the medicines, fluids and other items bought from the drug store.”

Reacting strongly on the ongoing “malpractices” in the civil hospital, Krishan Chand alleged: "I have many prescriptions by hospital doctors which do not carry the name of the generic drug available at the pharmacy. So much so, doctors even refuse to mention the salt, thereby forcing the patient to procure the ethical medicine from outside on much higher rates.” SMO, civil hospital, Dr Harvinder said the matter as had already been brought to the notice of the Civil Surgeon, who had constituted an inquiry committee. “The committee will soon submit its report following which the action will be taken against the guilty,” he said. 



Mid-day Meal
Kids not served food for two weeks
Tribune News Service

Machhiwara, August 19
The mid-day meal scheme is virtually in the doldrums with no ration and funds available for cooking food for the primary as well as high schools.

Out of 88 primary schools in Machhiwara block, the scheme is going on only in eight to 10 schools. In other schools, the poor children are left with no option other than bringing the lunch from their homes. Since August 5, these children have not got even a morsel under the scheme.

The teachers said they had education department officials about the issue. Though teachers have got funds to cook the food, but they lack ration. “The last lot of ration got exhausted about 15 days ago. Since then we have not been able to serve food to the kids,” said a teacher.

Whereas, high schools teachers got ration in March. To store this ration, they got huge containers made. Now, the government has failed to release funds for cooking the food. Teachers are taking the cooking material on credit from nearby grocers and ensuring that every child is fed.

Block-level education officers agreed that for the past 15 days the mid-day meal scheme has stopped in primary schools due to the lack of ration. The department had directed primary schools to borrow ration from high schools.

But as the high schools have no adequate facility for storing the ration, most of it is rotting up. This has made it unfit for consumption by the children.

The officer revealed that letters was dispatched to the higher authorities in this regard but were awaiting response. 



Swine Flu
City safe, don’t panic: CMC
Tribune News Service

Cautioning common man against unfounded information, the hospital has called upon the city residents to “stay informed and don’t panic.” Covering nose, mouth with tissue while sneezing or coughing, keeping at least six-foot distance, washing hands frequently with soap, staying home when sick, using Paracetamol for fever or body ache and consulting doctor in case of a doubt are amongst the listed do’s issued by the hospital. 

Ludhiana, August 19
The city is safe, don’t worry, reads a pamphlet issued by the Department of Medicine, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) which is being circulated by the Ludhiana Citizens Council with an aim to creating awareness amongst people on swine flu.

Cautioning common man against the unfounded information, the hospital has called upon the city residents to “stay informed and don’t panic.”

Covering nose, mouth with tissue while sneezing or coughing, keeping at least six-foot distance, washing hands frequently with soap, staying home when sick, using Paracetamol for fever or body ache and consulting doctor in case of a doubt are amongst the listed do’s issued by the hospital.

Don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth and avoid visiting crowded places like theatres, shopping malls and other areas. Information pertaining to symptoms, tests, transmission and the incubation period of Swine Flu is also given in the leaflet. It specifically points towards the persons who are at risk for complications if they get infected with Swine Flu. Children less than five years, adults more than 65 years, persons suffering from lung, heart, kidney, liver disease and with diabetes mellitus and those on steroids, HIV positive, expectant women are under the risk of complications.




Report highlights achivements of PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
To steer agrarian economy forward in Punjab, “Evergreen Revolution in Agriculture”, a report of PAU, has been made to reflect the achievements of the university with respect to crop improvement and production, farm mechanisation, post-harvest management technologies and technology transfer of Punjab Agricultural University.

The report of PAU has been made to reflect the landmark achievements of the university with respect to crop improvement and production, farm mechanisation, post-harvest management technologies, technology transfesised “the production fatigue” witnessed in agriculture since the last decade of the 20th century needs to be critically evaluated and redressed. Being a research educational organisation, the role of PAU in addressing this important agricultural issue, essised “the production fatigue” witnessed in agriculture since the last decade of the 20th century needs to be critically evaluated and redressed. Being a research educational organisation, the role of PAU in addressing this important agricultural issue, especially in the emerging knowledge economy, will be crucial. The future course of agricultural development will be much different from that of initial phase.

The status report points out that PAU has played a major role in improving the economy of the statsised “the production fatigue” witnessed in agriculture since the last decade of the 20th century needs to be critically evaluated and redressed. Being a research educational organisation, the role of PAU in addressing this important agricultural issue, esknowledge generating and disseminating establishments and PAU is much more than that. Agricultural universities have a much wider, critical and broader mandate than traditional educational establishments. Institutes, particularly like PAU, have legendary se and grant-in-aid provided to PAU compensates the state by way of many indirect benefits and for every rupee spent on research in Punjab yielded a return of Rs 27.83 during early 1970s and Rs 23.25 during 1980s onwards.

The report says, "Universities are supported projects and the continued efforts in developing new technologies and addressing to the needs of the farmers.

The report further stresses, “Universities need not only autonomy, but financial impunity as well to be able to induce future course of development. The cumulative resource crunch at PAU needs to be viewed seriously in view of the role being played by PAU in state's economy and nation's food security.”



City Concerns
Take steps to popularise solar energy

Every summer, the power supply situtaion is deteriorating in Punjab. There seems to be no respite from power cuts in the near future. This is what a cross-section of the city residents have to say on the issue

Electricity cuts are necessitated because of wrong policies of the government. Even after six decades of the Independence, the electricity department could not evolve ways and means to improve the functioning and regulating its affairs. The payment of bills could be made through pass books to the meter-readers or on-line. Over 50 per cent of power is being stolen in connivance with the employees of the board.

In most houses, there are no switches. Everything remains permanently “on”, including four to five heaters per house. It seems that switching-off lights and fans or coolers in government offices is considered scornful. Uninterrupted and free power is being supplied to the farm houses of VIPs in the garb of helping the peasantry. Those, who venture to report thefts, are made beasts of chase. Power-thefts, it seems, are not curbed purposefully.

Employees of the board allure customers to steal power for a pittance.

Kundi connections are no more a matter of shame. Nobody is made accountable for this open loot. The hopeless public, of late, has started resorting to direct action, which will spread like wild fire if the authorities still remain dormant. The government must take immediate measures to exploit and popularise solar and wind energy. Planting of trees must be made mandatory to ensure timely and sufficient rains for survival.

Devender Sharma,

Lopsided policies

As the summer season enters its worst phase, so does the power crises in Punjab. The story is repeated every single year. Nothing changes except PSEB's power-cut schedule. The state is on the verge of a power collapse and the main culprit is the Punjab government and its lopsided policies. The ruling SAD, being a predominantly rural party, is leaving no stone unturned to provide power to the farmers at the expense of urban industries.

As a result, the murky power scenario is pushing the state into gloom.

Here are some steps, which can improve the power situation in the state. Firstly, the state government should control the demand by showing zero tolerance towards power thefts. The use of agricultural waste, like rice husk as fuel in power generation is another step. The proposal by NRI brothers to set up a nuclear plant in Punjab is a welcome step. The government should ponder over it. Also, the crops like paddy need to be discouraged in the critical areas and alternative crops should be induced as paddy needs a lot of water, which increases the demand of power and also lowers the underground water-table level. Lastly, we should all resort to renewable sources of energy such as solar energy to get power. Installing solar photovoltaic system (SPVs) at rooftops is a step in this direction.

Birkamal Kaur

Worst crisis ever

Not only in the city, but consumers of power in whole Punjab are facing one of the worst power crisis this time as Punjab State Electricity Board has totally failed to bridge up the gap between the demand and supply of power in the state. Because of ever-increasing population and industry, increase in the demand of power that has surpassed all previous records and calculations of the board is quite natural. Further, it is impossible to reduce it as everything, from minor to major, is related to daily-life necessities, depends upon the electricity.

State government, in order to cover up financial losses, has to stop free distribution of power to farmers and others. Furthermore, the board also has to stop the theft of electricity at all segments of working by changing the previous meters to electric meters that prohibits consumers to steal electricity at level of priority. Concrete steps should also be initiated to prevent transmission losses by changing old transformers to new ones.

Beside this, situation can also be controlled by encouraging industries to set up captive power plants. Addition to this, government must go ahead for liquid fuel-based mid-sized power plants that can easily be set up with short gestation period from 12 to 18 months. In the same directions, electricity boards of Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have invited bids and also signed MoUs with many IPP companies since last one year, but hardly few projects have taken off due to unsolved issues by fuel linkages, PPA, PLF, and counter guarantees among others.

Shivanshu Garg,

Reduce consumption

With summers round the corner, people take their coolers out to beat the scorching heat but these appliances become useless without electricity. As the months are passing, the duration of electricity cuts is increasing from six to eight, and now to ten hours a day. This puts entire life to a standstill. Due to power cuts, water supply also gets affected. Children find it difficult to concentrate in their studies. Senior citizens fail to get a minute’s respite. Beside, the industry gets affected massively and in Ludhiana, being the economic capital of Punjab, economy also gets hit badly.

When people turn on their generators in their homes and offices, it further adds to the misery of the common man. I would suggest that the electricity board, taking care of the people’s need, should reduce the duration of power cuts and prior inform people regarding the timing of the power shutdown. Also, malls and clubs are heavy consumers of electricity, which is used to run the air conditioners.

All the day, round should work something out to reduce their consumption. People must be encouraged to adopt alternative methods such as using solar energy on individual level. Awareness should be spread regarding the use of CFLs, instead of filament bulbs. Five-star rated products should be taken in use.

Reetika Garg

Erratic supply

There is no doubt that the problem of irregular and erratic power supply is making a hell of the life of people of this district, which needs it more than any other district of Punjab as this “Manchester of India” has uncountable number of colossal, commercial and industrial establishments ranging from steel, textile, wool, parts of bicycles and autos, a wide-range export units and manufacturing equipment to meet the needs of the foreigners.

The jumbo size population reels badly under the curse of ever-increasing pollution level and scorching heat. But sadly, the powers that be always look the other way, I was peeved at reading a front page news item “Only Badal village gets regular power supply in The Tribune of August 13. This reveals the partial behaviour of our rulers as the son-father duo relishing the top posts in Punjab belong to this village. During last regime of Capt Amarinder Singh, Patiala was getting regular power supply with rest of Punjab wailing and waiting only for the power to visit their houses, fields or industries.”

Also, the government maintained a regular 24-hour supply to Banur, Jalalabad and Kahnuwal before the by-polls for obvious “dubious” reasons, but once they elected their representatives, who are supposed to heed and solve their grievances, they too became powerless. What an irony! You give power to the leaders, only to be powerless. This is what happened exactly to the laity of these three legislative constituencies. One thing that strikes my mind is that such treatment reveals the psyche of our leaders, who show favouritism on such open issues, how can we expect them to be impartial and selfless while they deal with the larger issues, which do not come under public eye?

About how to counter the power problem, the reasons are not tough to seek. It is an open secret that most of the power is misused by the riches to run their ACs at the cost of the common man, who cannot even enjoy a simple fan air.

Even as the PSEB is crying foul over the scarcity of power, the bitter fact is that it is failing to check the power proliferation, which is at such large scale in Punjab that every Tom, Dick and Harry has been indulging in it to over-use the same.

When they get the free power through kundi connections, they feel free to keep any number of lights, fans and heaters switched on.

Let us plug this loophole and the problem of power can be thwarted to much extent.

After that, let us behold how much more power is necessary, if really, it will be, and then we can think of using other methods of power generation.

HS Dimple

Life becoming hell

With frequent power cuts, absence of traffic sense, deteriorated condition of roads, non-functioning of street lights, extreme level of pollution, traffic signals not on, no zebra crossings, life in the city has really becoming hell day by day. Power cuts cost India crores of rupees a year by way of losses through various segments of working. Power disruption has never been considered as matter of strategic importance by Indian corporate. Most of us do not bother to do much beyond cursing power utilities whenever a power disruption takes place. And while a power disruption at home may not cost much-the-same, if it takes place in a commercial outfit, can run into crores of rupees.

Lack of infrastructure has been cited as common problem for almost all industries, there have been no attempts to quantify the impact of power related problems. Recent study was undertaken by a research firm, feedback consulting, covering 325 firms across six centres-- Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta and Hyderabad-- have turned out to be a real eye-opener for Indian industry. For instance, as power outage is not as sensational as compared to other disasters, the common perception has been to treat power disruptions as minor irritants. And while the problem of power outage cannot be solved overnight, it is important for organisations to take the next best step-invest in solutions that can help in recovering from power disruptions.

Ravi Chander Garg



Bypoll: Campaigning for Ward No. 57 picks up
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The campaign for bypoll of the Ward No. 57 scheduled for August 23, is now in a full swing with the candidates holding door-to-door campaigns and nukar meetings to draw public attention.

On questioning two of the three candidates who are in the fray about what difference would they make in the ward if voted to power Dr Hari Singh Brar (Congress) said, "development is the only promise I can make. I am not a politician, so won't show moon and stars to the people.

My best efforts would be to ensure that common grievances of the city i.e. roads and choked sewerage are addressed”.

"Our earlier councilor, K.L. Chabbra, turned out to be a dummy leader. He didn't give much to the ward. I request people to vote for the candidate whom they think would bring a change," said Dr Brar, who retired from Punjab Agricultural University and is a social worker.

Similarly, SAD candidate Harpreet Singh Bedi, too, is busy these days trying to woo the voters. He said, "after the death of Mr Chabbra, the work in the ward had been completely stalled since the past six months. The tenure of three years which would be granted by the public to the municipal councillor would be enough to make the ward a developed one”.

"Since SAD is in power at both the state and municipal corporation level, funds would not be a problem. There are various public parks which need re-plantation, village Sunet, which needs road network and above all storm sewerage for which BRS Nagar residents had been waiting for long," he added.



Freehold Plots
Good response to GLADA offer
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
The offer of 158 freehold residential plots in Sector 39-A on the Chandigarh Road here, made by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA), has evoked a good response, with nearly 20,000 brochure-cum-application forms already sold by different branches of the State Bank of India in the region, and more than 2,000 applications received for the sites, which will be allotted by draw of lots.

The offer, which was to close on August 20, has, however, been extended till August 31 in the wake of reports that a large number of people, most of them city residents, could not submit their applications due to delay in securing the mandatory affidavit from the Executive Magistrate.

A GLADA official said there were three holidays from August 14 to 16, and thereafter on two days, there was a reported disruption of power supply at the Suvidha Centre, where affidavits were attested.

"In a bid to give opportunity to all those who wish to apply for the plots, we have extended the last date for the submission of applications till August 31."

Both GLADA officials and the authorised representative of the State Bank of India (SBI), the nodal agency for the sale of brochures and receipt of applications, refuted the reports about the scarcity of brochure-cum-applications forms for the plots. "The applications forms are available with all designated branches of the bank in adequate number and are being issued on demand," an official of the bank claimed.

Keeping in view the economic slowdown and recessionary trends in the real estate, GLADA officials are happy over the tremendous response to the offer for the allotment of residential plots in the city, but they also maintain that it is not totally unexpected. "Such an offer has come after a long gap, and then the reserve price of the property has been fixed at a reasonable level, which is much below the prevailing market price," commented a GLADA official.

Sources in the property market and real estate sectors revealed that the number of total applications for the allotment of plots was expected to cross the 10,000 mark (more than 60 times than the number of available plots), but there would be very few genuine buyers who intended to construct a house on these sites.

"A majority of the applicants are speculators and property dealers who are submitting multiple applications to secure allotment just to sell the plots at a high premium," said the sources.



Statue Desecration 
No govt, NGO panel willing to get it repaired
Mahesh Sharma

Recently, a few miscreants had vandalised the statue of Baba Gurmukh Singh Lalton at Govt School in Lalton Khurd. Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee and the Gurmukh Singh Action Committee constituted a separate panel by merging both yesterday. It decided to impress upon the administration to nab the suspects immediately. A meeting in this regard would be held on September 6

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 19
Even over a month after desecration of Gadri Baba Gurmukh Singh’s statue, at nearby Lalton Khurad village by a few miscreants, not a single government or non-government body has come forward to get it repaired.

What to talk of remembering the sacrifice of this freedom fighter on the occasion of Independence Day, nobody even bothered to offer floral tributes to him.

A joint action committee, constituted under the banner of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee, Jalandhar, has decided to impress upon the administration to nab the suspects who desecrated the statue and restore its respect. Steps in this regard will be finalised at a meeting scheduled for September 6.

Activists of the Gurmukh Singh Action Committee, led by Naunihal Singh and Amolak Singh, office-bearers of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee, termed the act as politically motivated and an attempt to disrupt the peace in the region.

Both these committees were trying to impress upon the administration to arrest those who had dismantled the statue and desecrated it on July 12.

Showing concern over the disunity among followers of Baba Gurmukh Singh, the Desh Bhagat panel constituted a separate committee by merging both yesterday. Ujjagar Singh Lalton, Parminder Singh Patwari, Ranjodh Singh, Jasdev Singh, Parminder Pindi, Dalbir Kaur, Mehar Singh, Giani Harbhajan Singh, Jaipal Singh, Jagjit Singh, Manmohan Jit Kaur, Lal Singh Jhande, and Rajinder Singh were inducted into the committee.

The statue of Baba Gurmukh Singh Lalton is installed at Government Elementary School at his native village Lalton Khurd. The Ludhiana police had initiated a probe into the matter after registering a case against the unknown miscreants.

Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg claimed that he had directed officials to coordinate with the Yadgari Committee office-bearers and do the needful for restoring the statue’s honour.

“I have been in touch with the district police chief, who deputed an SP to probe into the matter,” said Garg adding that all efforts would be made to restore the faith of martyr’s faith in the administration.



Depot holders launch stir
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 19
Depot holders of the town and surrounding villages have decided to go on an indefinite strike from today onwards after the state government decided to stop the kerosene supply to ration cardholders.

This decision was taken at a meeting presided over by Sukhwinder Singh.

The government has issued orders to stop the supply of kerosene from August onwards.

Only blue cardholders, who are in small numbers, would be able to avail this facility.

Ration cardholders who have not got gas connection, would suffer due this decision. The business of depot holders will also come down.

They decided to intensify their agitation and continue the strike till the government withdraws this decision.



Rope in pvt sector for agri-business: Kang 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
For viability of agriculture, a shift to crops with good industrial potential is required and agri-business and agri-processing with enhanced private sector participation is the need of the hour.

This was stated by Dr Manjit Singh Kang, vice-chancellor, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, here yesterday during a two-day research 
and extension specialists’ workshop for Rabi crops that was inaugurated by Dr Kang himself.

“We have to develop crop specific post-harvest treatments to eliminate storage contaminations/ diseases and the resultant losses,” he added.

“For sustainability of agriculture, alternative crops (eg cotton, maize, oilseeds, pulses etc) having forward linkages need emphasis. About 35 per cent of the cotton production is utilised in the state itself and the rest is marketed in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu etc. If the textile industry is set up in Punjab itself, the farmers will get better price for their cotton. Similarly, oilseeds and pulses can have forward linkages with the market. Ethanol can be produced from biomass as presently international price of crude oil was high,” Dr Kang added.

To reduce damage to food grains lying stored in open, improved storage capacity is needed in the state. Farmers may be encouraged for cooperative or group marketing of produce.

The availability of farm machinery on custom hiring is scanty. The state government should provide subsidy-cum-seed-money to cooperative societies, farm mechanisation clubs for developing machinery rental centers at the village level, he added.

Extension education system has to play a foremost role in creating awareness and developing interest among farmers about new technologies, demonstrating economic viability and local compatibility of these technologies and enhancing adoption, emphasised Dr Kang.

Punjab joint director of agriculture Dr Nirankar Singh, while sharing “targets, production and problems in various rabi crops” set an agenda for the PAU.

He highlighted that agro-forestry, eco-friendly technologies and need-based application of agro-chemicals should be given due focus in view of the environmental concerns.

He said information about drought and weather to farmers should be provided through Krishi Vigyan Kendras of the university. He also shared the new targets of different crops such as wheat, barley, Rabi pulses and oilseeds, and sunflower.

PAU director of research Dr P S Minhas, while presenting the research highlights of the PAU said the varieties of crops meeting the industrial requirement as well as tolerance to stresses were being developed. He also spoke about production technologies, protection technologies for different Rabi crops.

Earlier, dean, College of Agriculture, Dr Milkha Singh Aulakh, in his welcome address, said there was a need to be prepared for any eventuality of outbreak of biotic problems such as that of yellow rust in wheat.

Officiating director of extension education Dr DS Dhillon, proposing his vote of thanks, said for a sound agriculture, farmers should read farm literature brought out by the PAU. He invited those present to attend September Kisan Melas of the PAU for which dates had been announced.

An exhibition showcasing new technologies of the PAU for different Rabi crops, farm machinery, plant protection, etc. was organised. Recently brought out PAU publications were also exhibited. 



Police assurance to industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill gave assurances to the industry during an interaction with members of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry here last evening.

He told them that FIRs by the industry with regard to thefts and other crimes would be filed promptly. He also explained the process for registering the particulars of labour employed in the industry.

He also agreed with the chamber's suggestion to have specialised personnel to investigate theft cases. There were many complaints about thefts in the dry port. The SSP assured the industry that strict action would be taken in the matter. On the suggestion of industrialists', the SSP agreed to have area-wise meetings with the industry. He also said efforts would be made to streamline traffic-problem in the city.

DIG Sharad.S. Chauhan told the industry representatives that the police was preparing a comprehensive plan to tackle law and order and other issues concerning the city.



A day of protests and demonstrations
Customs staff back excise inspectors’ stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, august 19
The ongoing nationwide agitation by central excise inspectors entered fourth week today.They held a weekly dharna in front of the commissioner's office at Rishi Nagar. The agitation was further intensified as, apart from superintendents, it was also joined by the customs staff posted at CFS (container freight station), Dhandari Kalan.

Gurwinder Singh, branch secretary, stated that their struggle would continue till their genuine demands were conceded. He further threatened that the inspector cadre was distressed and they would proceed on an indefinite strike.

He stated that these weekly dharnas were being held at all other commissionerates in the country. Today's dharna was addressed among others by Subhash Batra, Sunil Bansal, vice-president of the Inspectors Association and Bhagwan Singh.

BSNL employees strike work
Tribune News Service

BSNL employees raise slogans during a strike.
BSNL employees raise slogans during a strike. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 19
The 2.5 lakh non-executive staff of the BSNL today went on a 48-hour strike for the settlement of their long-pending demands.

The call for the strike had been given by the United Forum of Trade Unions in the BSNL. Workers in the organisation are demanding immediate wage revision, five-year periodicity for wage revision and implementation of the promotion policy as agreed by the management of the BSNL.

Other demands include settlement of pay anomalies, fitment formula at 78.2 per cent, 5 per cent annual increment on basic pay, merger of 50 per cent IDA for pensioners, allowance and parks on a par with executives, said district secretary Balwinder Singh while addressing a press conference here today.

He said the wage revision for the non-executive staff in the BSNL is due from January 2007, but the management was not serious towards the demands of the workers.

An agreement for the promotion of the non-executive staff was reached upon between the union and the management nine months ago, but the BSNL management was deliberately delaying the same. The management was also adamant in implementing the five-year periodicity for wage negotiations, said the striking workers.

PSEB staff stage dharna for pay revision
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 19
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board led by activists of the Technical Services Union today staged a dharna at the local central zone headquarters and took out a march in protest against proposed unbundling of the board in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the mini secretariat They also urged the government to revise their pay scales.

Gurdial Singh Bhangal, president of the union, said the PSEB employees had toiled hard for strengthening the power generation sector. However, the government, under pressure from World Bank and the IMF, was bent upon handing it over to domestic companies and multinational corporations.

“Its privatisation will threaten the job security of the employees, wage structure and trade unions’ rights. The move will lead to exploitation of the staff while also putting more burden on the shoulders of the common man like the power tariff since the main motive of the private companies is to generate profit.”

Bhangal and other speakers claimed that the privatisation of electricity boards in other states had shown poor results. “The power rates have gone up without any improvement in the supply system and transmission losses have gone up. Not only this, the government have also been burdened with more subsidies to private companies for earning 16 per cent profit.”



Cops participate in Shram Dan Maha-Utsav
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 19
In view of the Swine Flu spread in the country, hundreds of cops from police stations falling under the jurisdiction of Sangrur district vowed to eradicate all breeding places of pathogens and vectors from vicinity of their work places and residential colonies.

The oath was taken on occasion of Shram Dan Maha-Utasav organised at various police establishments in the district on Sunday. Sangrur SSP Naunihal Singh led cops in cleaning drive.

Many cops from various places like Kup, Sandaur, Himttana, Amargarh, Jaurepul and Dhuri, beside the local town, vowed to keep area around their respective work places and residences clean in future.

Beside undertaking scavenging in routine, all cops will participate in Shram Dan Camps scheduled to take place on designated weekly parade days.

According to Naunihal Singh, the project was launched in view of the Swine Flu in the country and would be extended to outer colonies once all premises, associated with establishments of the department, are cleaned properly.

All cops, including Circle Officers and SHOs, were directed to participate in the event at Civil Lines at Sangrur. Teams, led by beat officers, were asked to ensure cleanliness of particular premises, including the administrative complex, the police school and residential colonies.

The cops cut wildly growing grass, twigs of bushes, beside filling earth in ditches and removing garbage dumped near police buildings.



PAU Notes
250 attend parthenium-awareness programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Scientists of Punjab Agricultural University organised a “parthenium awareness day” at Tara Singh Memorial Khalsa Public School, Dhaliwal Bet village, Kapurthala, recently. About 250 schoolchildren and farmers attended the function.

Dr MS Bhullar, agronomist, apprised the farmers about the adverse effects of parthenium on crops and human and animal health. Dr Surjit Singh, senior extension specialist, discussed various methods for the control of this weed. Dr US Walia, head, advised the farmers to form awareness committees at village, block and district levels and started vigorous campaign to get rid of parthenium, which causes many skin diseases and allergies in both humans and animals. The participants were given practical demonstration for uprooting parthenium from the fields.

A question-answer session on cultivation of various crops was also held.

Visit: US Athwal, executive member of Punjabi Heritage Organisation, Mulgrave, Australia, visited Punjab Agricultural University here yesterday.

Athwal said the organisation had been carrying out various activities to keep Punjabis on foreign shores connected to their culture and heritage. He said recently a bhangra competition had been organised by Rishi Dutta, Deepak Singh and Navpreet Singh. A DVD of the programme was presented to Additional Director (Communication) Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman.

Athwal said a number of PAU alumni, settled in Australia, took active part in programmes aimed at promoting Punjabi culture. Dr Dhiman said the best way of NRI’s support to their birth places in Punjab would be to establish rural libraries in their villages..

Present on the occasion were Dr Nirmal Jaura, Prof Gurbhajan Gill, Prof JS Dhanansu and Jasmer Singh Dhat.



Farmers demand loan at 4 pc
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The Bharti Kisan Union (Punjab), at a meeting held here today, urged the government to ensure that farmers did not get their loans at a rate of more than 4 per cent annually.

Addressing a gathering, Puran Singh Shahkot and Sharanjit Singh Mehlon, both general secretaries, said: "The government should keep the agriculture sector away from the WTO till the time the farming sector was given concessions on a par with the agriculture sector in the developed nations."

The gathering was informed that a national-level parliament of farmers from different parts of the country would be organised at New Delhi on September 3, a press note said.



Wife, kin booked for man’s suicide

Khamano, August 19
The police has registered a case of abetment of suicide against three persons, wife of deceased Balwinder Singh, his brother-in-law and father-in-law. In April, Balwinder Singh committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. The police after inquiry found that Balwinder Singh was forced to commit suicide.

The police has registered a case under Section 306, IPC, against wife Karamjeet Kaur, brother-in-law Sukhdeep Singh and father-in-law Kuldeep Singh, all residents of Gandhuan Kalan village. — OC



Three held with illicit liquor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
The police arrested three persons from various areas and recovered illicit liquor and poppy husk from them.

According to information, the police arrested Devinder from Basti Jodhewal here last night and recovered seven bottles of wine from him. Another person, identified as Harnek Singh, was also arrested yesterday with eight bottles of wine from Daulo Kalan village.

Similarly, Dinesh Kumar, a resident of Kabir Nagar, was arrested with 8.5 kg poppy husk yesterday, while he was carrying the consignment from Tibba road.



New sports policy soon: MLA
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 19
Bikram Singh Majithia, MLA and former minister, today said that to promote sports in Punjab, a new sports policy would be prepared and implemented shortly. A high-level committee had already been constituted on the issue.

Majitha was addressing a sports tournament organised by the Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sports Club at Kot Gangu Rai, 30 km here, today. Earlier, he laid the foundation stone of a water supply project to be built at Rs 41.13 lakh.

Majithia said the main focus would be on kabaddi and hockey and rural sports in the new sports policy. He said Rs 18 crore would be spent on sports during the current financial year. Each club of the village would be given Rs 1 lakh for the promotion of rural sports every year.

Majithia further said the Punjab Government had launched the World Bank-sponsored Rs 1280.30 crore water supply and sewerage project to provide safe drinking water and sewerage facilities to the villages of the state. In this project, the World Bank would contribute 750.90 crore, whereas the Punjab government would contribute 240.45 crore.

The contribution of the Centre in the project would be 207.20 crore, whereas only Rs 76.80 crore would be contributed by the community. He said the project would be completed by March 26, 2012, and would supply water to 7.4 million people.

Majithia said the water supply department would focus on accountability and transparency in the execution of this project so that people living in remote villages should enjoy the fruit of this project. He said the scheme would be implemented on a priority basis in those villages which were facing acute shortage of water.

Majithia announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the sports club of the village.

Among who were addressed the gathering were Sharanjit Singh Dhillon ex-MP, Darshan Singh Shivalk and Jagjivan Singh Khirnia ( both MLAs), Santa Singh Umedpuri, District President, SAD rural, Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, ex-MLA, and Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, Zila Parishad, besides others.



Amritpal, Gurpreet bag three medals
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 19
Amritpal Singh and Gurpreet Singh gave stupendous performance to bag three medals each and stamped their class in the World Police Games held at British Columbia in Canada recently. More than 12,000 competitors drawn from around 100 countries took part in the meet and Indian contingent, comprising about 50 athletes, gave account of themselves by bagging over 45 medals, including 32 gold medals.

Amritpal Singh, an ASI with the Punjab Police, competed in the track and fielded events and made his presence felt. In his maiden participation in the World Police Games, he came out as winner in the long jump and 4x400m relay, beside finishing third in the triple jump event.

Another ASI, Gurpreet Singh, who took part for second time, too gave a fine performance. He won gold medal in the 4x400m relay race, in addition to silver medals in the 110m and 400m hurdles. In the last edition of these games at Adeilade (Australia), Gurpreet had won gold medal in the 110m hurdles and a silver in the 400m hurdles race.

Expressing satisfaction over their achievements, Sanjeev Sharma, athletics coach from Punjab sports department, said they had been at their career's peak and had expected to perform further better in the forthcoming tournaments.



PAU, Ludhiana zone paddlers excel
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, August 19
PAU Zone and Ludhiana II Zone paddlers proved their mettle in the boy's section on the second day of the Inter-Zone District Table Tennis Tournament being organised by the District Education Department at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar branch, here today.

The PAU zone emerged champions in the under-14 as well as under-19 categories while the Ludhiana II zone romped home as champions in the under-17 category.

In the under-14 category, PAU zone boys managed to sneak past Ludhiana II zone lads 3-2 to clinch the title and in the match to decide the third position, the Sahnewal zone defeated the Kila Raipur zone 3-0.

Ludhiana II zone paddlers outnumbered PAU zone players 3-1 to win top honours in the under-17 category while the Khanna zone had to content with third position as they overpowered the Jagraon zone without being challenged 3-0.

In the under-19 category, PAU zone lads proved too good for Sahnewal zone boys whom they blanked 3-0 to annex the title. In the hardline cup match, the Ludhiana II zone beat the Khanna zone 3-1 to secure third place.



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