L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fancy light poles still rust
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
The contractor-official nexus in the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation seems to have become so strong that the latter have almost "closed their eyes" about the work being undertaken by the former. Another example of it is fancy lights.

Though the Municipal Corporation had asked contractors of fancy lights to paint these following the news of their rusting in columns of The Tribune on July 17, the contractors have once again taken the civic body for a ride.

A survey of various roads, where fancy lights have been installed, reveals "smartness" of the contractors, who have just painted triangular brackets (the upper portion) of the lights silver, while the rest of the portion of the pole stands rusted.

The difference between the painted portion and rusted pole is easily visible with the naked eyes. Almost every pole of these fancy lights has either rusted or faded, raising a finger on the quality of material used for the lights, where the Municipal Corporation didn't mind spending a huge amount in times of crunch.

The present situation of fancy lights has once again proved that the Municipal Corporation is not even caring of the "white elephant" for which it has drawn flak from every strata of society.

Notably, last month even Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura had issued a notice to these contractors, directing them to rectify things. He had also directed the contractors to lay the wires of these fancy lights at prescribed depth. However, paying too hoots to the Mayor's direction, one could see himself what work has been done by the contractors.

Congress councillor Sanjay Talwar said, "Our repeated demand to show us the contract file of the fancy lights has not been fulfilled till date, which hints something wrong.

We have been cursing this project from day one, but the ruling alliance didn't paid any heed to our objections."


Raikhys property dispute on the Net
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
The multi-crore property dispute of the Raikhys, one of the celebrated families of the city, has come out of the fourwalls of the house and is currently being fought on “Face Book”, a social networking site, these days.

Family members have alleged that Vikas Raikhy, the elder son of Romilay Raikhy, who died on June 30, has allegedly made derogatory comments about the family members and is using the community portal to stake his claim on the property estimated nearly Rs 100 crore.

Meanwhile, Juhi Raikhy Kilachand, an NRI entrepreneur and daughter of Romilay Raikhy, has lodged a criminal complaint under Section 67 of the IT Act, a copy of which is with The Tribune, against Vikas for releasing foul comments about the family members on the social networking website.

Kartik Kilachand, a US-based businessman and husband of Juhi, alleged that Vikas applied all tactics against them so that they leave the country.

Kartik further alleged that Vikas even had gone a step further and tried to implicate him in a false police case and even filed civil cases against Juhi in order to drive them out of the country.

Narrating the disturbing tale, Kartik said ever since the couple returned from the US on August 26, they had been shuttling between courts and police stations due to the complaints and civil cases filed by the elder brother Vikas Raikhy.

Kartik appreciated the role of younger brother Manik Raikhy, who came to the rescue of her sister from the dispute. He alleged that the whole problem occurred after the death of Romila Raikhy on June 30.

He further alleged that though Vikas, who had already received his share in the property, is now eying his mother's property, estimated nearly Rs 100 crore.

Kartik claimed that Romila left a registered will whereby all the assets owned by her were given to her daughter, Juhi.

On the other hand, Vikas slammed the claims of Kartik and said "To be honest, my mother has not made any will, if there is a will, they can produce it to the authorities concerned, who are probing the case."

Kartik alleged the trouble started soon after the couple arrived at their residence at Lajpat Nagar on the Pakhowal road.

"While we were just taking a rest after a long journey, Vikas forcibly entered the house and threatened us to leave the house immediately. He was claiming that after the mother's death, he had the right on her property and told us to leave the premises. But in the meantime, the police arrived at the house and informed us that Vikas has lodged a complaint against us".

The next day, he filed a court case claiming share in the property. In the meantime, a police officer from the NRI police station arrived at the residence and complained that Vikas had been illegally confined in the house by him and Juhi. After conducted a thorough check in the house, the police found the complaint as false, alleged Kartik.

Narrating his side of story, Vikas alleged his relations with his siblings were cordial and it was Kartik who was instigating his younger brother Manik and sister against him.

He denied writing any objectionable comments about any of the family members on Face Book. "They are not even on my friends’ list then how can I write something about them," said Vikas.

The NRI police is still probing the matter.



Langar hall or illegal dhaba!
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Illegal construction under the garb of religion is not new for the Municipal Corporation and despite the repeated warning by civic body officials, residents are not ready to budge.

A similar construction is going on in A-zone near Kapoor Hospital, where despite warnings, the construction of a dhaba is underway and the owner has now put up a banner of "Langar Hall" to keep the MC officials at bay.

According to information, for the past few days, the construction has been on and when building inspector Satinder had gone to ask the construction owner to stop work, he didn't. The situation became so tense last night that even Area Town Planner Kamaljeet Kaur's repeated reminders failed to fall on the deaf ears of the construction owner.

The incident happened around 8 pm last night, when the ATP had gone to the site. The construction owner called many people and all of them started arguing with the MC officer, stating that they would call Avtar Singh Makkar and area councillor Satish Nagar, if she tries to interrupt with their work.

ATP Kamaljeet Kaur said, "This hall of 15x45 feet is going to be used as dhaba. These banners have to nothing to do with the site as there is no gurdwara here and, moreover, I cannot allow violation of the laws." She added that the construction owner could have tried to construct lintel at night, but due to the presence of a building branch peon and a constable, he could not proceed with his work.

Interestingly, religion has become one of the major ways for encroachments in the city and MC officials are bit reluctant to demolish these. Besides, political patronage to these religious encroachments has further aggravated the problem of the civic body.



DC proposes, Commissioner disposes
Indicted tehsildar, clerk still on job despite recommendations to suspend them 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Despite the Deputy Commissioner writing to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue) to suspend a tehsildar and a clerk for deliberately confiscating revenue documents of some persons so as to pressure them to pay a bribe, no action has been taken into the case as yet.

The DC, Vikas Garg, had indicted tehsildar-cum-sub registrar (W), KS Randhawa and his office clerk Lalit Sharma for confiscating several sale deeds without any reason.

He had conducted a raid at his office recently and found that several sale deeds that were yet to be registered with the office were lying unreturned. He confiscated these documents.

After a probe, the DC had found that the tehsildar was keeping these documents in his office even as there could be no objections from his side.

In his report to the FCR, the DC said the sale deeds were impounded by Randhawa deliberately as he wanted people to contact him through agents. The report had categorically stated that this kind of attitude was helping corruption in government offices and should be stopped immediately.

The report was based on an inquiry of 16 sale deeds registered in 47-A register in sub-registrar's office. These included 2505, 5652, 5654,5661, 5663 to 5672 and 5674. These were impounded by Randhawa. He did not counter-signed these documents. The covering letters were signed but these were not sent to the collector as per the rules and were only kept at the sub-registrar's office. The DC said he had written to the FCR recommending action against the sub-registrar as well as the clerk. Sources said nothing had happened in the case as yet.



Revolving Ravana to be the centre of attraction 
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Revolving Ravana will be the centre of attraction this Dasehra. The three effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad will revolve on the Dugri Dasehra ground here tomorrow.

A team of seven artisans from Dhuri have especially come in to the city to prepare the revolving Ravana. The artisans, working on the effigies, say a huge round bearing is fixed at the bottom of the effigies so that they can revolve.

The effigies will be made to rotate manually before setting these ablaze. These will rotate at an angle of 360 degrees and the fire crackers paint the sky in myriad hues. It will be a scene worth watching, says an artisan.

Last-minute preparations are on to give the final touch to Ravana. "We are into this work for the past 25 years. Every year, we come to the city on Dashera to prepare the effigies. This year, we thought of doing some innovation to the age-old tradition and came up with the idea of a revolving Ravana. We are sure this idea will be accepted by the city people," added Mangu, the leader of the group.

Chipping in Sohan, a young kid from Dugri, said he was really excited to watch the Dasehra this year as they would have an altogether different concept. "Usually, I do not go to watch Dasehra but watching a revolving Ravana will be an altogether different experience," he said.

Another artiste from Mangu's group said they had put in their best efforts to create revolving Ravana and they hoped the city residents would like the concept and also appreciate the same.



Water, power tariff hike arbitrary: Tewari
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 27
The Congress MP from Ludhiana and national spokesperson of the party Manish Tewari today lambasted the SAD-BJP government in the state for its arbitrary hike in the increase in power and water tariff. He expressed shock that this government had no inhibition in putting burden on common people without providing them any facilities.

Addressing a public function at Shimlapuri in the Atamnagar assembly segment, Tewari said the government should hang its head in shame for failing to provide basic amenities to the people. But instead it has slapped enhanced tariffs on the people.

He pointed out that this government had failed in providing adequate electricity to the people. "Even now, when paddy season is over, the government is not able to provide power and the cuts are remain the same, or rather longer duration than during the peak summer. This government has lost the moral authority to govern and it must resign”, Tewari said, while adding that his party would strongly oppose the hike in the tariffs of power and water.

The Congress leader expressed surprise as to how was the BJP silent over such an important issue which concerned the masses, particularly those living in the urban areas. “They (the BJP) have submitted to Badal for the pecuniary benefits just because they are rewarded with good ministries without any powers”, Tewari said, while warning the government against the public anger and resentment.

He said the people had already delivered their first verdict in the parliamentary elections and the final verdict would be delivered during the assembly elections when this government would be made to pack off.

Among others present on the occasion included Nahar Singh Gill, Malkiat Singh Dakha, KK Bawa, Pawan Dewan and Palwinder Singh Taggar.



Labour pangs for industry 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Work in industry, especially the small scale one, has further slowed down during the festival days, as most of the labour has either left for their homes or are planning to leave anytime to celebrate Diwali with the families.

The industrialists, too, do not seem to be keen on stopping them from going to their native lands as the worsening power-situation has already hit the production in their units. Industrial workers, on the other hand, maintained that Dasehra and Diwali were the festivals, which the former were keen to celebrate with family and friends back home.

Talking to The Tribune, Dinesh Kumar, working at a hosiery unit at Focal Point, said one of the group of about 20 workers had already left for the village in Uttar Pradesh to celebrate Dasehra. Another group will leave on October 6 to celebrate the festival on October 17. "These are the festivals, which we celebrate with religious fervour with our family members. Our children eagerly wait for us. The employers at the unit do not stop us from going to our homes during festivals. We have already booked tickets in the trains so that there was no harassment," said Dinesh.

The industrialists, especially those running small scale units in the city, said the power-cuts had already hit their units, there was no need to stop the workers. "It is not that there are orders in bulk, which are to be matured within stipulated time. The production in each industry, be it hosiery, steel, rolling mills, cycle parts etc, has been hit badly due to irregular power supply. So, we try to avoid over-heads. Even the workers lose interest if there is not sufficient work in the units. I feel the labour will come at the end of October after celebrating festivals," said Rakesh Thapar, who is running a small scale electroplating unit.

As per industrialists, about 40 per cent of the workers have already left for homes to celebrate festivals. Not just the workers, but the domestic helpers, too are leaving for good 20-25 days. Krishan Bahadur, a cook from Nepal, said Diwali was a grand affair in Nepal and most of their community in city preferred to celebrate it with families unless there was something unavoidable.

"Not just we are given leave, but the employers give us advance to celebrate the festival with gusto. I have taken Rs 5,000 as an advance to celebrate Diwali, which will get adjusted once I come back on October 25," said Krishan.



MC under pressure to extend limit
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, September 27
The Municipal Corporation authorities of Ludhiana are under pressure for the extension of the municipal limits. The demand for extension of the limits is solely based on political compulsions.

However, the authorities are not ready to accede to the request for the extension of municipal limits because of severe financial crunch being faced by the corporation. The development works of the corporation are at a standstill and the Ludhianvis are crying for basic civic amenities.

Enquiries made by The Tribune have shown that the city is spread over in 160 sq. kilometers and the population is estimated to be around four million. The last municipal limits were extended in 1995 and earlier in 1979, municipal limits were extended after the municipal committee was elevated to the level of the Municipal Corporation in 1975. As many as 25 villages were covered under the extended municipal limits in 1995.

The demand for the extension of municipal limits has been raised by Darshan Singh Shivalik, MLA (Akali Dal), whose reserved Dakha Vidhan Sabha segment has been made a general seat. Gill is the new Reserve Vidhan Sabha segment instead now and there are some villages which have been included in the Gill segment and Shivalik wants those to be included in the new Vidhan Sabha segment.

The Municipal Corporation authorities plead that they are not in a position to extend the municipal limits as desired by Darshan Singh Shivalik. They can extend the limits by one kilometre only.

For this even Minister for Local Bodies Manoranjan Kalia does not agree, says Hakam Singh Gyaspura, Mayor of the Municipal Corporation.

Gyaspura told The Tribune that the Minister for Local Bodies was strongly opposed to any extension in the municipal limits as at present his stress was on the development of the present areas under municipal limits. The Municipal Corporation was not able to take up any new development project because of the paucity of funds.

Gyaspura disclosed that he had met Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal on September 22 and sought funds for the development of towns. The Chief Minister expressed helplessness and asked him to wait for sometime.

The Chief Minister held at least one dozen sangat darshans in Ludhiana in December, 2008, and January and February, 2009, before the Lok Sabha elections and made announcements for the development projects worth Rs 250 crore but the city did not get the promised money. The Municipal Corporation got only Rs. 40 crore which was later described as loan from the state government.

The Mayor said out of Rs 40 crore, Rs 8 crore were spent on the construction of dharamshalas in the villages falling under the municipal limits and Rs 22 crore were spent on pavement of streets in the undeveloped colonies. The Chief Minister had announced that all undeveloped colonies would be developed and regulated.

Enquiries by The Tribune have further shown that Ludhiana has about 300 to 400 unauthorised residential colonies around the periphery, thanks to the political patronage to colonisers. These colonies lack all the basic civic amenities. The extension in the municipal limits will add further to the number of unauthorised residential colonies.

At present, Ludhiana is in a bad shape. There are no good roads, no proper sanitation and no adequate supply of potable water notwithstanding the claims of the corporation to cover 100 per cent area under potable water supply. The city remains afflicted with gastro and typhoid and dengue is knocking at the doors of the town. 



Blow to civic bodies
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 27
In a double blow to civic bodies of the state, the Local Bodies Department has directed these to arrange funds for meeting extra burden due to implementation of the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission.

Deprived of cash flow and huge losses due to alleged underpayment of funds, the cash-strapped Municipal Councils and nagar panchayats of this part of Malwa will have to sell off their properties in order to meet swollen pay bills and provide basic amenities to the residents of areas falling under the jurisdiction of respective civic bodies.

Apprehending a hike in rents and rates for services being provided by the civic bodies, residents have urged the higher authorities, including the Chief Minister and the Local Bodies Minister, to provide extra funds to the civic bodies for meeting extra financial burden due to the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that the Local Bodies Department, announcing the implementation of recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, today directed the authorities at the civic bodies of the state to manage funds for meeting out enhanced pay bills.

The residents have urged councillors of their wards to impress upon senior leaders of their parties to undertake organised measure to ensure that the hike in pays and allowances of civic bodied employees is met out by the state government.

“A large number of residents of our wards wanted us to take up the issue with our colleagues and pass a resolution demanding grants for meeting out extra financial burden following the implementation of recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission,” said local councillors, adding they would discuss it at the next meeting of councillors.

Sources further revealed that civic bodies of the area had been facing financial crunch after the octroi was withdrawn a few years ago. Though the state government had been collecting the Punjab Municipal Fund as part of VAT, share being paid to civic bodies was calculated on basis of figure taken on September 1, 2004.

The civic bodies were also facing financial constraints as notification to hike rates of water bills had been quashed and share from excise duty had not been paid for about three years. 



Power cuts leave CAs fuming
Ask for extension of due date of filing returns
Manav Ghuman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
The unprecedented power cuts in the city have also left the chartered accountants (CAs) in the city fuming. Work has come to a standstill due to the long 10 hours of power cuts in the city.

Taxpayers who come under the preview of tax audit are compulsory to get their accounts audited by September 30 for the last financial year.

The CAs prepared the audit reports but they could hardly work due to the power cuts. They have even written to the Centre Board of Direct Taxes for the extension of the due date of filing of the audited income tax return.

The last date for the filing of the income tax return is September 30. While the last date for companies and partnership firms who have to e-file their return is also September 30.

“We have written to the CBDT to extend the last date for the auditing of the report. It is not possible to audit, as whole day there is no electricity. The date should be extended unless the tax payers have to bear the brunt,” said Jatinder Khurana, president of Taxation Young Lawyers’ Association.

Those who fail to get the audits done will have to bear heavy consequences. Sources in the department revealed that under the Income Tax Act Section 271 B, the minimum penalty would be half per cent of the total tax return or Rs 1 lakh.

Jaswinder Singh, a taxpayer in the city, added that it had been two days since he was making the rounds of his CA. “Nothing could be materialised due to the power cuts. Computers do not work and my CA is unable to carry out the work. The department should extend the last date for the auditing of the accounts.”



Seizure of sub-standard oil
Health Minister opens laboratory to check samples
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Punjab health minister Laxmikanta Chawla made special provisions to open the laboratory at Public Analyst, Punjab, in Chandigarh today (on Sunday) to receive five samples of substandard palm oil, mustard oil and soybean oil, which were taken in a raid conducted yesterday at an “unlicensed” godown at Sham Nagar here by the district health department.

A total of 60,000 L of substandard palm oil, 7,900 L of mustard oil and 450 L of soybean oil were seized from the godown owned by Surinder Goyal, who was booked under Section 7 of the EC Act and under Sections 420, 272 and 273 of the IPC.

The above trader, who calls himself “wholesaler” of the oil, confessed for having supplied palm oil, mustard oil and soybean oil to the local departmental stores for the past four decades.

However, the health officials could not find any records of sale and purchase as the District Health Officer (DHO) Dr US Sooch said, “The bill books were as old as 1996, and they too did not have the name of the party, to which the product was sold. Also, there was no mention of the amount on the bill books.

We are investigating into the matter so as to ensure that the trader does not have more accomplices in this illegal trading of edible oil, which appears to be spurious.”

Apart from three tanks filled with crude oil, the officials also confiscated a large number of labels of various companies, which were being used on cans to brand the oil. The labels of Mahakali brand from Mewat (Haryana), Mahesh brand packed by Star Oil and Food Marketing Company, Ludhiana, and Super Gold marketed by MR Agro Oils, which were found in abundance.

But none of the labels carried any date of manufacturing, expiry or the list of ingredients and preservatives used in the oils.

The health officials, during the raid, came across a large number of empty cans and bottles carrying labels of "Fortune Oil", which the officials said, were being refilled with the "unbranded and spurious" mustard oil and supplied at the local departmental stores.

At the same time, the health authorities expressed disappointment over the nonchalance of the police department as the SHO concerned reached the spot two hours after the raids. "We need immediate support from the police, which is the law-enforcement agency, but delay on their part gives the offenders a chance to use their connections to create hindrance in action," said a senior official from the health department.



Lectures, quiz contest mark World Heart Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 27
The Hero DMC Heart Institute (HDHI) commemorated the World Heart Day by organising a series of short lectures for children from all leading schools of the city.

The lectures were followed by a quiz competition for the children. The events were inaugurated by DMCH managing society secretary Prem Gupta, who was accompanied by chief cardiologist and coordinator HDHI, Dr GS Wander, and medical superintendent of DMCH, Dr Rajoo Singh Chinna.

At the outset, Dr Rajeev Gupta, consultant cardiac surgeon, explained to the children the basic anatomy and functioning of the heart. Dr Shiba, attending consultant, elaborated on the causes of heart disease and means of prevention. She briefly discussed the main causes of the disease, namely hypertension, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, unhealthy and cholesterol-rich diet and obesity.

She said a balanced diet coupled with an active lifestyle could keep the heart fit and healthy. She stressed on workplace health promotion through the reduction of individual risk-related behaviours such as tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Dr Sarju Ralhan, senior consultant cardiac surgeon, spoke on different types of treatments available for managing heart disease.

Karishma, a dietician at HDHI, said one gained 25 per cent of adult height, 50 per cent of adult weight and 40 per cent of adult bone mass during adolescence. As such the need to cultivate the right habits during ones formative years cannot be overemphasised. The energy intake should balance the energy expenditure.

“Physically active people have higher energy needs whereas those with low physical activity can become obese even with low energy intake. Also, those who eat healthy and exercise regularly can occasionally enjoy high fat and high calorie foods, which as a rule should be avoided. Snacks like fresh fruits, sprouted beans and nuts offer a good alternative to unhealthy junk food, which is high in calorie, fat and sodium and low in fiber,” she remarked.

Dr Rawat, yoga instructor, engaged the children in a brief yoga and meditation session, which was followed by a quiz competition.

In the quiz competition, team from BCM School emerged as the winners in the team event, while DPS was the first runner-up and KVM emerged as the second runner-up. In the individual event, Tanvi from DPS was the overall winner.

Dr GS Wander expressed gratitude to all students for their participation and also gave away the prizes to the winners.



Protest against bank enters Day 4
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, September 27
Some local residents, left parties and union leaders had extended support to Karamjit Singh, whose huge amount was misappropriated by the HDFC, Jagraon branch.

Around half a dozen of the bank employees, including its then manager, is still behind the bars since the scam was exposed in the last week of December last year. These culprits had misappropriated crores of hard-earned money of its customers and had lost it in the share and commodity market. Karamjit Singh of Mullanpur village had lost nine lakh as the manager had obtained a signed cheque (payable to self) from him and utilised it to withdraw the money from his account.

Karamjit Singh, all these days, had maintained that he had issued the cheque as the manager demanded to transfer his amount from the account of the Centurion Bank of Punjab to the HDFC after the former bank was merged into the latter. He had said this transaction was done in trust of the bank and its employees.

Karamjit Singh, along with about 200 supporters of various trade unions and political parties, initiated a protest against the bank after the time period of the bank manager RK Sood had elapsed, which he took last month when he had protested at the time of inauguration of the bank. Though the bank staff insisted that they should protest before the Jagraon branch if they seem fit as they had their account in the bank and Mullanpur branch had nothing to do in the case, but Karamjit Singh justified his protest in Mullanpur Dakha branch, as the bank which committed the fraud, was transferred to Mullanpur Dakha.

Interestingly, the present manager of the branch accept that Karamjit Singh has been cheated by the HDFC, Jagraon branch, to the tune of Rs nine lakh and the case has been forwarded to higher authorities, the zonal manager of the bank, Ludhiana, Vineet Arora, refused to accommodate Karamjit and his demand, and stated his protest to be an illegal act as he (Karamjit) had no evidence in support of his claim.

He had stated in his press statement that the amount being claimed by him was seen withdrawn by himself through a cheque payable to himself and had put his three signatures on it, one on its front and two on its back. The protest that started on September 24 entered in its fourth day.



Axis Bank instals ATM
Our Correspondent

Raikot, September 27
Axis Bank today inaugurated 3870th ATM at Sarabha village. Jagjit Singh, branch manager of the bank, Dakha, said the bank was looking forward to provide updated banking services to residents of the area.

Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, zila parishad, inaugurated the ATM.

Jagjit added that he had already sought a grant of Rs 13 crore from the Punjab government and he would appeal to the government for the grant of more funds in order to develop the rural areas  in Punjab. 



Kahlon auto-parts makers’ body chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Gurpreet Singh Kahlon was elected the president of the Auto-Parts Manufacturers' Association unanimously today at Punjab Trade Centre.

B.S.Sangh, general manager, Institute for Auto Parts Technology, was the presiding officer, who declared the results. For the seat of vice-president of the association, Raghbit Singh won elections by defeating his rival Hakam Singh by a margin of more than 270 votes. For the post of general secretary, Ranjodh Singh got 308 votes and was declared the winner. OP Kapoor got 306 votes while the opponent Devinder Singh could get just 22 votes for the post of joint secretary. For the seat of cashier, Mohan Singh got 299 votes while his opponent Jagmohan Singh got just 30 votes. All winners of the association were congratulated by all members and they were given siropas. Vishav Bandhu, GM, DIC, informed members about various schemes of the state and Central Government for the industry.



City scientist gets Commonwealth fellowship
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Dr Anil Kumar Arora, associate professor in the department of veterinary microbiology of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), Ludhiana, has been awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, London, UK.

Dr Arora will go to Roslin Institute, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK, where his priority area of research will be to delineate the molecular mechanisms involved in the host-pathogen interaction of enteric pathogens in the intestine.

The study will be primarily focused on the food-borne pathogens of livestock origin that are of potential zoonotic significance. Dr Arora is also principal investigator of the Ludhiana centre of the ICAR sponsored All-India Network program on Haemorrhagic Septicaemia.



Hearing aids distributed
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, September 27
The Guru Nanak Charitable Trust organised a free disability camp at Gurmat Bhawan here today.

The camp was sponsored by Gurbakhsh Singh Sivia, Amrik Singh and Ajit Singh, all from the United Kingdom. The camp was presided over by Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman of the Zila Prishad.

In the camp, 49 persons with hearing disability were distributed hearing aids. Besides this, 35 persons were identified for giving tricycles, two for wheel chairs, 18 for callipers and 48 for artificial limbs.

Dr Amarpreet Singh Deol said this was the second camp organised to give benefits to the handicap persons.

He said since the artificial limbs and other helps were to be made according to each person, the same will be distributed to them on October 11.

Telu Ram Bansal, president, Nagar Panchayat, Mullanpur Dakha, Maghar Singh Braich, chairman, Market Committee Mullanpur Dakha, Dr Gurdial Singh, Master Tehal Singh Cheema, Amritpal Kaur Deol, Navkiranpreet Kaur Grewal, Rupinder Singh Sekhon, Karamjit Singh Kailpur, Parminder Singh Bittu and others were present on the occasion. The staff of the Gurmat Bhawan and its volunteers lent a helping hand in the camp.



Take to mushroom farming, farmers exhorted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Mushroom growing is one of the most important subsidiary occupations from which lucrative profits can be harvested.

With the state producing nearly half of the country's total mushroom growth of one lakh tonne, its cultivation can offer livelihood security to hundreds of households across Punjab.

According to the director of extension education of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana, Dr Mukhtar Singh Gill, more farmers should take to mushroom growing and other allied agricultural occupations to supplement their income.

Giving example of the success of mushroom growing as an important agricultural activity during the recently concluded five-day mushroom training course at PAU, Dr Gill referred to Deriwala village in Amritsar district where more than 100 farmer families have involved themselves in this profession. He said Deriwala model could be adopted for large-scale mushroom growing.

Dr PK Khanna, coordinator research (basic sciences), said there were more than 400 seasonal mushroom growers in the state. However, he added, "Over the past few years, the number of the mushroom farmers in the state has decreased. But, at the same time, the state has witnessed a major increase in the produce consumption."

"For giving a general impetus to this venture, the organisation of interested mushroom growers through formulating mushroom growers' association will be beneficial," said.

Dr Khanna adding that the trained farmers should endeavour starting this profitable venture through involving their family members.

Dr Gill highlighted the significance of organic techniques for mushroom growing. He said farmers should be made aware of the importance of mushrooms in diet, spawn production, growing and harvesting, management of pests and diseases of mushroom, types of mushrooms, processing and marketing of mushrooms, etc so as to encourage them to take up mushroom farming.

It is felt that the produce has big financial gains and the farming technology carries a lot of importance, particularly in the context of smaller farming areas. The product is also becoming a common household food item.

For the promotion of the venture, PAU has made seed crop available to the farmers on the PAU campus, as well as at the special centres at Jalandhar, Patiala, Sangrur and Hoshiarpur. The university is working on details of a tie-up with the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali, and the Directorate of Mushroom Research, Solan.

The training programme was organised by the directorate of extension education and department of microbiology, PAU, jointly wherein 57 farmers participated. The participants were provided knowledge about mushroom growing by PAU experts.

Special lectures on economics of mushroom growing, identification of harmful mushrooms and the medicinal properties of some mushrooms were organized for the benefit of the participants.



‘PAU lacks activities’
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which has been the usher of the Green Revolution in India, is a front-runner in producing and developing new crop varieties and is also producing India's finest scientists and has been instrumental in getting Punjab the status of the country's food bowl, has unfortunately, no cultural legacy to offer to its students.

Sans a history of much cultural, artistic or other extra-curricular activities happening on the campus, the university is still crying for a common platform, where individuals, especially the youth, can come together, share and explore their talents, interests, experiences and also motivate others to participate in the activities.

This is the reason why unlike most of the universities, the campuses of which are bustling with activity throughout the day, the PAU campus lacks the element of youth and activity, making the students feel the pinching absence of sources of entertainment for them.

Ruing the fact, a group of research scholars remarked that the university did not provide them any options for entertainment after the classes. "There is no theatre group, no dramatics or music groups; nor have the university authorities tried to promote such activities."

They added that students of Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Punjabi University, Patiala, were constantly involved in some kind of extra-curricular activities, like theatre, music, street plays, star nites, department fests etc, but they did not have any such option.

Sukhwinder Kaur, a PAU student, said the culture on the university campus was very different from other universities. "Most of the students are from rural background, who do not have exposure to extra-curricular activities. But the unfortunate part is that they, and even other students, do not take any initiative towards development of any forum or common platform, where the youth can interact or find alternatives for entertainment."

Worst-affected are perhaps the hostellers. Ruchi, who is pursuing a diploma course at PAU, said after classes, they had no option but either to go for an evening walk or to sit in the hostel.

Most of the students, The Tribune team interacted with, said there was a need to form a common platform, where students could interact. "The problem with the most of the youth is the lack of will to take initiative. What we need the most, perhaps, is a leader, who can put forth our demands and requirements in front of the authorities concerned in a convincing manner."

They added that the teachers should also encourage the students to bring out their talents and work towards a healthy student-teacher relationship, wherein both can grow. "We have many teachers, who as students have been a part of cultural activities, like poetry, dramatics, art and painting. But no one has ever encouraged or worked towards providing us with the facilities to help us grow as artistes," said Gurpreet Singh, a PAU student.

"The only saving grace is perhaps the youth festival," remarked Sanjeev, another student.



Beautification drive at PAU
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is in a beautification mode. Recently, a drive to make the university campus better and to replete the university with facilities for those visiting the university was launched by Vice-Chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

The drive is especially aimed at providing the facilities for the convenience of morning and evening walkers as well as other visitors, said PAU estate officer-cum-chief engineer, Dr Gurkirpal Singh.

He informed that there was a plan to provide better facilities on the campus, which would include roadside benches, drinking water and better landscape along the major roads among others.

To mark the official beginning of the drive, a bench was formally installed along the road in front of the PAU library by the Vice-Chancellor, who launched the drive during a function attended by university officials as well as the officials of the estate organisation.

Dr PPS Lubana, director students’ welfare, said for the cause of social commitment, the private sector was also ready to join hands with the PAU.

Dr Gurkirpal Singh said the installation of the benches would be especially useful for the old who regularly visited PAU for morning and evening walk. He said the facilities of public conveniences, drinking water, benches, etc. would also be provided at various places on the campus.

The provision of the facilities will surely bring a smile on the faces of the hundred of walkers as well as the visitors of the PAU.



RIMT students excel in PTU exams
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 27
Students of MBA and MCA streams (semester II) of RIMT-Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, have secured top positions in the examination conducted by Punjab Technical University.

Neha Gupta stole the march with 87.87 per cent marks, Bharti Ahuja has secured 83.62 per cent, while Madhura Sharma has got 83.37 per cent marks. As many as 44 students stood first with distinction.

In MCA discipline, Daman Preet Kaur has secured 84.86 per cent, while Payal Gulati and Savneet Kaur have got 82.28 per cent and 81per cent marks, respectively. Around 32 students have bagged the first division.

MBA students of RIMT-Maharaja Aggrasen Engineering College have also performed well.

Vaishali Gupta, Tavleen Bajaj and Tanu Sharma have secured 85.75, 84.37 and 83.12 per cent marks, respectively. 



Proposal to hike varsity grant
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab, NS Kang has recommended to the finance department to enhance the annual grant-in-aid of Punjab Agricultural University by Rs 35 crore from the year 2009-10 to meet the increase in the salary component of the teachers and the non-teaching staff due to the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission report of the Punjab government.

AC Rana, comptroller of PAU, told The Tribune today that he had met the Financial Commissioner NS Kang in Chandigarh and urged him to raise the grant of the university in view of the implementation of the Fifth Pay Commission report.

The Punjab government gives Rs 100 crore per annum to PAU as grant-in-aid, which is consumed as salary only.

Rana said the Punjab government had issued a notification, as a result of which the teaching and non-teaching staff would be paid salary according to new scale as recommended by the Pay Commission with effect from August 1, 2009.

While the Sixth Pay Commission of the Central government has recommended new pay scales for the teachers, which will be implemented from January, 2006.

To meet the expenditure under the notification of the Punjab government, the university will need an additional sum of Rs 35 crore for the year 2009-10. This includes Rs 10 crore as ten per cent normal increase of expenditure on salary component of teachers and non-teaching staff, Rs 6 crore, the share of the state government for the staff employed in the All-India Coordinated projects and Rs 7 crore to meet the non-plan expenditure on research, teaching and extension education during the current year.

The Punjab government had delayed the issuance of notification granting new scales to the teachers of PAU and GADVASU, as a result of which the PAUTA launched agitation and withdrew the same only when the state government issued the notification.



Senior citizen dies in scuffle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 27
A minor scuffle led to the death of a senior citizen in Haibowal Khurd street No. 3 here today.

The incident took place this afternoon when the deceased, identified as Hari Singh, allegedly hadp a scuffle with Ram Singh over the parking of a truck in front of his house.

As per information, Ram Kumar, in a fit of rage, pushed Hari Singh, which caused his cardiac arrest and he fell on the floor. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. No case was registered till the filing this report. The Haibowal police was investigating the matter.



Man killed in accident

Jagraon, September 27
A man got killed when an unidentified vehicle rammed into his scooter last evening.

The accident occurred on Raikot Road, when he was going to his village. The deceased has been identified as Tejinder Singh (50) of Dholan village. He was running an insecticides and paesticide shop on Link Road here. In a badly injured state, he was being bought to the Jagraon hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries on the way. The driver of the vehicle, however, managed to flee from the scene of the accident. The Jagraon police has registered a case against the unknown driver and the vehicle. — OC



Trials held for Ludhiana teams
T-10 Gully Cricket
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 27
Trials were conducted at Bachan Singh Cricket Academy ground in Balloke village on the Humbran road here today in which an overwhelming number of aspirants numbering around 2,150 shrugged their shoulders to find place in the Ludhiana T-10 Gully teams.

Four teams will be formed to take part in the second edition of the T-10 Gully Cricket Tournament to commence on September 29 at Satish Chander Dhawan Government College, Ludhiana.

Besides Ludhiana, the teams are being selected from Amritsar, Nasik, Latur, Surat, Daman, Allahabad, Kanpur, Gwalior, Lucknow, Jalandhar, Panchukla, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Ballia and Patna.

Giving details of the T-10 Gully Cricket Tournament, Varinder Kumar Patwari, in charge of Ludhiana team, informed that players between the age group of 15-24 years are eligible to take part in the tournament. “This shorter and entertaining format of 10 overs each side will be played amongst 896 players from 64 teams in 16 cities with the grand finale planned as a day/night bonanza at Kanpur. The total prize money of Rs 25 lakh will be distributed among various teams in the tournament,” he said.

The selection panel of Varinder Kumar, Rajinder Billa and Pardeep Rana supervised the aspirants during the two-day trials. The names of Ludhiana teams will be announced on Monday, added Varinder Kumar.



SAI north zone finish runners-up 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 27
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) North Zone, Chandigarh, secured second position in the All-India Inter-Regional Basketball Tournament held at the SAI Training Centre, Rajnandgaon in Chhatisgarh, from September 17 to 20. Eight teams competed in 
the tournament.

According to Harbans Singh, SAI coordinator, Punjab, and in charge of STC, Ludhiana, seven trainees from the centre represented the north zone in the tournament and helped their team to finish as the runners-up.

Players from SAI centre, Ludhiana, include Richard Joy, Arzoo, Prabhjot Singh, Dev Mehra, Nirmal Singh, Rohit Kumar and Gagandeep Singh.

Other members of the squad included Ranbir Singh, Subham Sharma, Vasudev Sharma, Shevang Sharma and Sachin Digra, all from Jammu extension centre under STC, Udhampur.

SAI north zone, Chandigarh, beat SAI south zone, and outplayed SAI sub-centre, Lucknow, to advance into the last four stages. In the semifinal, SAI north zone, Chandigarh, outperformed Panipat north zone to set up the title clash with the Bhopal central zone and in the final, SAI north zone went down fighting 46-53 to content with the second position.

SAI training centre, Ludhiana, received a communique from LS Ranawat, executive director (academics), NIS, Patiala, and SAI north zone, Chandigarh, appreciating the boys' performance. He congratulated the trainees and coach Devinder Pal Singh Dhindsa for the achievement.



GNE eves shine in cross-country meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, September 27
Guru Nanak Engineering College (GNE college), Ludhiana, emerged champions in the girls’ section of the Punjab Technical University Inter-College Cross-Country Championship organised by DAVIET, Jalandhar, yesterday.

The GNE girls’ contingent consisting Harjot Kaur Gill, Sukhpreet Kaur, Shikha Sugandhi, Daljit Kaur and Rajwinder Kaur finished ahead of others to romp home as the champions. In the individual category, Harjot Kaur Gill and Sukhpreet Kaur bagged silver and bronze medal, respectively.

In the boys’ section, Guru Nanak Engineering College finished at the second place, while Amit Kumar Chaudhary proved his mettle in the individual category to bag the top honours.

GNE principal and director MS Saini applauded the students for bringing laurels to their alma mater.



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