L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Entry tax on goods upsets industry
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The state government's recent decision of levying entry tax on several goods with effect from February 5 has further aggravated the woes of industry. With a view to "protecting" the interests of industry and "securing" revenue to the state exchequer, the Government of Punjab may have levied entry tax on more than a dozen items, but industry feels that the former is adamant on "destroying" the industry in Punjab.

First, the industry was not being supplied sufficient power supply and now when industry was dependent on big gensets, the government had levied 12.5 per cent entry tax on generators.

Talking to The Tribune, Vishal Jain, who has to start a new venture at Focal Point in March said it was unfortunate on part of the state government to put extra burden on industry. He said seeing the worst power situation in state, he had ordered a second-hand generator which had to be brought from a neighbouring state. Since it was a huge generator (above Rs 10 lakh), he will be paying an entry tax of 12.5 per cent on the genset, which makes about Rs 1 lakh. "First, we are being deprived of basic facilities and on top of that, we are being asked to pay huge taxes by the government," complained Jain.

President of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry PD Sharma said the entry tax on furnace oil was additional burden on industry. He said furnace/fuel oil was being used by major sectors, including steel and fabrics etc. Oil was being used by light engineering industry as well. He said prices had already increased due to the steep hike in the prices of crude oil. "This basic fuel oil adds to the cost of production. It is morally incorrect to but additional burden on industry", said Sharma.


NGO wins RTI battle against civic body
MC to launch 1st phase of website on April 1

Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
A protracted legal battle for right to information by an NGO, Resurgence India, lasting four years and involving 19 hearings at the Punjab State Information Commission is finally going to bear fruit for millions of residents in Ludhiana and other cities. Municipal commissioner AK Sinha has given a categorical undertaking to the commission that the civic body would launch the first phase of its website, on which disclosures under the RTI Act would be made, on April 1 this year.

In this phase complete proactive disclosures under section 4(1)(b) of the act would be made available on the website - mcludhiana.com - including the MC’s functions and duties, powers and duties of its officials and employees, the procedure followed by the civic body in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability, and norms laid down on discharge of functions.

The rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records held by the corporation would also be uploaded besides a directory of its officers and employees, subsidy programmes as well as recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by the civic body. Apart from this the MC will publish all facts while formulating important policies or announcing decisions that affect the public.

This information, running into about 400 pages, would be uploaded in the website’s first phase.

In the second phase efforts would be made to introduce an online complaint system. It would allow acceptance of RTI applications online, ensuring speedy work and justice.

Talking about the NGO’s long-drawn fight to persuade the municipal corporation to discharge its statutory duties under the RTI Act, Resurgence India general secretary Hitender Jain said, “The corporation was obligated to make disclosures under section 4(1)(b) of the RTI Act latest by October 12, 2005, but didn’t bother to do so. We filed the application seeking a copy of proactive disclosures on December 13, 2005. The MC failed to provide the information forcing us to approach the State Information Commission. The latter even had to personally summon then municipal commissioner Vikas Pratap, who appeared before it on November 27, 2006. The case was disposed of on September 12, 2007 after the civic body promised to abide by all rules. However, the corporation took the judgment lightly, forcing us to get the case reopened on January 23, 2008.”

Sinha has now given an assurance to state information commissioner Lt Gen (retd) PK Grover that the MC would fulfill its obligations regarding suo motu disclosures under the Right to Information Act. The commission also awarded a compensation of R. 3,000 to the NGO.

“As usual the city’s municipal authorities are in a state of deep slumber and there is acute apathy towards the RTI Act. However, we’re committed to bring the matter to a logical end. The battle will continue till the Ludhiana MC begins respecting peoples’ right to have information,” said Jain.



No regular supply of anti-rabies vaccine in govt hospitals
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The failure on part of the government to evolve a foolproof policy to check the growth of stray dogs makes thousands of people suffer from dog bites every year. What is worse is the fact that the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, has failed to make the provision of regular supply of the anti-rabies vaccine at the civil hospitals and health centres, forcing people to buy expensive "human immunoglobins" from outside.

In the year 2007-08, 1938 cases of dog bite were reported from Ludhiana district, followed by 1,768 cases in the year 2008-09. At the same time 950 dog bite cases have already been reported till December 2009, whereas, the supply of the anti-rabies vaccine is nowhere near this number.

The owner of a chemist shop near Civil Hospital in Ludhiana district stated that he was selling three-four immunoglobins every day to the people bitten by dogs. "There is shortage of vaccine supply in the hospital. As a result, people have to come and buy it from outside, but it is an additional burden on the pockets of the poor people," the chemist said.

Pointing towards the increased risk of rabies deaths, a senior health official said: "Looking at the serious repercussions of dog bite, the vaccine has to be administered but a single shot of alternative vaccine 'human immunoglobins' costs Rs 5,000, which is beyond the reach of economically weaker sections."

Civil Surgeon Ludhiana Dr Maninderjit Singh admitted to the shortage of anti-rabies vaccine, saying, "A city-based NGO is supplying "human immunoglobins" at the Civil Hospital Ludhiana for the patients coming with dog bites. Also, we had received some supply from the departments a few months ago which we had sent to the PHCs and health centres," Dr Singh said.

On the other hand, the district administration has turned a deaf ear to the pleas of NGOs to control the number of stray dogs as the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme for which the World Health Organisation (WHO) had convened several meetings in the recent past.



Increase in VAT
Traders will have to change billing software
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
With the increase in VAT from 4 to 5 per cent, traders billing on computers will have to change their software. This will dig a hole in their pockets. According to the new notifications of the state government, VAT has been increased from 4 to 5 per cent. The traders will now have to pay 5 per cent VAT on all goods.

Traders, who are maintaining their accounts on computers and billing on them have to pay a heavy price. The old version of the software loaded in their computer does not have the option of 5 per cent VAT.

Initially, it was only 1 per cent, 4 per cent and 12.5 per cent of VAT, which was being charged by the government. There was no item on which 5 per cent VAT was applicable, thus there was no option in the software as well.

Tarsem Raj, a trader, said now he was unable to do billing on the computer as the 5 per cent option was not available in the form. “I had got this software in 2005 when VAT was first introduced in the state but now 5 per cent VAT is applicable instead of 4 per cent, I will have to get it updated or buy a new software. The new software is available in the market for around Rs 5,500. Now, I will have to shell out extra money for buying that,” he said.

“Now we will have to purchase the new software and in addition to this the return form uploaded in the department’s website also needs to be changed now. Even the department will have to upgrade the return form," said Jatinder Khurana, an advocate.

Another trader, Pushpinder Singh, said, one the one side they would have to pay extra VAT and on the other side they would have to spend extra money on purchasing the new software for billing and filing the returns.



Artistes pledge their eyes
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
An amalgam of lyrics and music is the best language to endorse a cause as noble as the eye donation, feels Toronto-based Punjabi lyricist Makhan Brar and singer Gill Hardeep. The duo today pledged their eyes at a function organised at Punarjot Eye Bank Society, a city-based NGO, working for the cause of eye donation in Punjab.

"I will write songs to motivate people to donate eyes so that more people can get eyes from the people who die during accidents or due to illness. Eye donation is like adopting a religion, wherein, one person takes pledge to give vision to two persons after his death," said Makhan Brar.

Other celebritie,s including Miss Punjaban 2009 Mandeep Kaur Grewal, Sumarjeet Kaur winner of title "Dhi Punjab Di", president Taraksheel Society Canada Avtar Singh Gill and Ranjeet Jhuner a Punjabi writer, also pledged their eyes at the Punarjot Eye Bank Society, Ludhiana.

Having met the youngsters Liyas Ahmed (16), Hema (18) and Neha (20) who underwent free cornea transplant Miss Punjaban 2009 Mandeep volunteered to organise seminars followed by special eye check-up camps in her village Andlu (Raikot) to educate people.

"I was oblivious to the agony of the blind till I visited Dr Ramesh’s hospital but after witnessing the selflessness with which he is serving the poor and needy, I too feel that I am tied to the cause for the rest of my life," adds Mandeep.

Ramesh, director, Punarjot Eye Bank Society said that such moves by celebrities would give an impetus to the movement that he and his team had initiated to eradicate blindness from Punjab. "The word of mouth is the best way to create awareness amongst donors as well as recipients and it is through the message of the treated patients that we are getting more than 50 per cent cases from other states of India including, UP, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and even central India," shared Ramesh.



Burning of Waste in Garden
Morning walkers feel suffocated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Morning walkers had a suffocating session today when gardeners of Rakh Bagh set its waste on fire, leaving thick fumes of smoke. The morning walkers' paradise was ruined when the walkers said they felt choked and it became impossible for them to breathe.

‘‘We come to this area to breathe fresh air. And we fail to understand why the gardeners set the garbage afire when they know smoke is detrimental to health,’’ said Kamaljit Singh, who is a regular to the place every morning.

It is not the first time that leaves and other waste were put on fire, causing inconvenience to hundreds of morning walkers but the practice is repeated several times.

‘‘I wonder what do the authorities do. We have such well-educated officials. Why cannot they stop the gardeners? When will we learn?’’ asked Sham Singh Harike, an office-bearer of the Morning Walkers Association.



Trade union decries govt for price rise, privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Thousands of industrial and farm workers, farmers, railway and other employees, led by activists of Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO) today took out a protest march from the Railway Colony to the Mini Secretariat to lodge their protest against spurt in prices of essential commodities and failure of the Centre as well as state governments to act against the hoarders.

Addressing the rally at the Mini Secretariat, union leaders said the failure of the government to address the problem of rising prices had created widespread resentment among all sections of the society. "The working classes can not afford two square meals as all items of daily need have virtually gone out of their reach, they said.

Mangat Ram Pasla, president, the Centre of Trade Unions, Punjab, Paramjit Singh, district convener of the JPMO and Daljit Singh, divisional secretary, the Northern Railway Mazdoor Union, along with other speakers at the rally, flayed the government for pursuing policies of privatisation, thereby curtailing avenues of employment, besides posing a threat of retrenchment to the existing work force of different departments.

Mohinder Singh Seelon Kalan, district president of the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, alleged that incidents like mass violence against migrant workers in the city were aimed at distracting the attention of the people from the core issues like spiralling prices, increasing unemployment and poverty.

Through a resolution, unanimously adopted at the rally, the trade unions demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to a migrant worker killed in police firing and a government job to an eligible member of the family of deceased.

CPM protests on Feb 15

Ludhiana: The state committees of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) will stage dharnas at district headquarters on February 15 against price rise, unemployment, repression against Dalits, tribals and weaker sections of the society and to oppose “anti-people” recommendations by the Sukhbir-Kalia Committee in Punjab.

Kuldip Singh, state secretary, Punjab state committee said a meeting in this regard was held here today and call for protests was given as per the decision of the central committee. He said the state committee had taken a serious note of “anti-people” recommendations of the Sukhbir-Kalia Committee, which amounted to abolition of power subsidy to the agriculture sector. The state committee has urged Akali-BJP government not to implement the recommendations of the committee.

In a resolution, the state committee has condemned the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board and supported the agitation of farmers and PSEB employee organisations. — TNS



40 pc cancers can be prevented by lifestyle modifications: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The College of Nursing, DMCH, today organised a seminar on the World Cancer Day observed on February 4 every year. Principal, College of Nursing, Dr Jasbir Kaur, Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu, associate professor of oncology and executive chairman of the Cancer Council of India and Dr BK Gill, professor and head of obstetrics/ gynaecology, were amongst the prominent speakers of the day.

Vice-principal of the College of Nursing, DMCH, Dr Suresh K Sharma introduced the speakers to the audience and unfolded the theme “cancer can be prevented too”. The speakers emphasised on no tobacco use, a healthy diet and regular exercise followed by limited alcohol intake and protection against cancer-causing infections.

In his message, Dr Devinder Singh Sandhu said the WHO celebrates the day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer, preventing cancer and raising quality of life for cancer patients. He explained the causes and risk factors for cancer adding that about 40 per cent of cancers could be prevented by lifestyle modifications.

Use of tobacco alone accounts for 5.4 million deaths per year throughout the globe. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment in a specialized setting is essential to achieve better results. According to Dr Sandhu, the common risk factors for cancer disease include high fat diet, sedentary life style, lack of exercise, obesity, less intake of fruits and vegetables, increasing use of pesticides, water pollution, smoking and alcohol intake. The protective food items like onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, soya, green leafy vegetables and fruits should be included in ones diet.

Dr BK Gill recommended that in addition to regular physical check-up, females should undergo regular mammography once in a year after crossing 40 years of age for prevention of breast cancer. Pap smear for diagnosing cervix cancer and yearly PSA for early detection of prostate cancer. Dr Jasbir Kaur highlighted the importance of World Cancer Day and stressed the need for effective patient-doctor communication, which was important for high-quality health care of cancer patients.

In India, there are approximately three million cancer patients, with 0.3 million cancer-related deaths reported every year. Cure rate varies according to the stage and type of cancer. A majority of cancer patients in India come to the cancer specialist at advanced stage with associated poor treatment outcome.



Faulty diet pattern leads to gastric disorders: Doc
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
NIMA, Ludhiana, organised a seminar on gastroenterology under the continuing medical education (CME). Dr Rajoo Singh Chhinna, head, department of gastroenteorlogy at DMCH, was the guest speaker, while Dr Gurnit S Chhina, renowned radiologist, was the guest of honour.

Dr Surendra Gupta, Dr Rajesh Thapar, Dr SK Kakar, Dr K.K.Sharma, Dr Raj Kumar Garg, Dr Bandhan Goyal, Dr Avtar Singh, Dr PP Singh, Dr Dharam Pal Goyal, Dr Sarjivan Sharma and Dr Harjit Singh participated in the interaction and discussion.

Delivering a lecture on approach in a patient of Gatro-Esopahageal Reflux Disorder (GERD) Dr Rajoo Singh Chhinna said the faulty diet pattern in the form of deep fried, spicy foods, fast foods and stressful lifestyle has added a new dimension to eruption of many gastric disorders. Timely meals have become a thing of past as everybody is in a hurry to cash, whatever time he has on his hands. Skipping lunch has become a fashion statement in the society and two-meal culture, has become a fad, which result in hyper acidity. "The later stage is that of GERD, where acid damages the valve lining between food pipe and stomach. Hence, some acid enters food pipe and cause lot of discomfort to patients," Dr Chinna added.

The symptoms of the GERD are acute burning sensation/pain in mid gastric region and sometimes pain in the chest. Pain in chest due to heart attack and the GERD are very identical in nature and difficult to diagnose in the absence of the ECG facility. Sharing his expertise on the line of treatment in the GERD, the doctor said that prokinetic drugs (drug which carry food in forward direction) are drugs of choice initially as acid blocking drugs like PPI’s (proton pump inhibiters) may be added at later stages.

He said due to self-medication of acid blocking drugs, many people develop serious life threatening complications. The expert recommended antacid solutions terming them as best and inexpensive solution to the problem of acidity as and when needed.

He said that atypical diet in children is bringing atypical diseases in day to practice. A syndrome called Magg. Noodle syndrome is being observed as bending of limbs in children. Indian diet particularly Punjabi fresh high fibre diet is the best deterrent against majority of abdominal disorders, observed the doctor.



Killing of Crow
Wildlife activist shoots off letter to PAU V-C
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Taking strong notice of the reports of a crow carcass found hung from a pole in the PAU research farms to scare away birds, Dr Sandeep Jain, member, Punjab State Board for Wildlife and office-bearer of CAPE-India, has shot off a letter to PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Majit Singh Kang, demanding immediate action against those responsible for the cruelty.

The university authorities had removed the dead crow yesterday after the matter was highlighted by Ludhiana Tribune. In his letter to the V-C, Dr Jain said, "I have come to know that in the PAU experimental farms, crow carcasses are hanged to ward off birds. This is not only unscientific and inhumane but also violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.”

He mentioned: "You may be aware that crows are scavengers and kill rodents, worms and pests, apart from eating dead animals, decayed food, animal tissues etc. Killing them is like killing one of the farmer's friends. This act has tarnished the image of the prestigious scientific institution."

Dr Jain has demanded from the PAU authorities to take stern action against the person/persons responsible for the heinous act. A copy of the letter has been marked to the chairman and the secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India as well as the Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab.

When contacted, Dr PS Minhas, director of research, PAU, said, "It was the work of a class IV employee and we had got the carcass removed the moment we came to know about it."



Dip in veggie prices brings relief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The recent decline in the prices of vegetables has brought relief to the homemakers after a long time. The prices of potato and onion have dipped and vegetable vendors maintain that the prices will remain stable for the next few days.

A vegetable vendor on Rani Jhansi road, Gurmeet Singh, said there was some relief for the common man after a long time. He said potato is being sold at Rs 6-8 per kilogram. Onions were being sold for Rs 20-22 per kg. The price of tomatoes remained stable at Rs 20 per kg. Peas, which were sold as high as Rs 70 per kg almost two months back, were now available for Rs 20 per kg. The price of cauliflower varied between Rs 10 and 15 per kg. The expensive vegetables remained bitter gourd and ladyfinger, which were being sold for Rs 40-60 per kg.

The prices of fruits also did not see much change in the recent days. Apples were being sold for Rs 60-70 per kg while banana for Rs 34-36 per dozen. Papaya remains reasonable for Rs 20 per kg while grapes are available for Rs 60-70 per kg.

Anju Singal, a homemaker said stable prices of veggies had brought relief to the buyers. She said: “Now, we can vegetables of our choice, which was beyond our reach a few months back. I feel prices of basic commodities should also be controlled.”



Reporters' Diary
Just can’t do without mobile even in toilet!

City residents have become so addicted to mobile phones that many can’t do without them when visiting toilets. Others finding it embarrassing to hear background noises in the washroom.

Recently when I called up someone to discuss a story idea, his son picked up the phone. He said, “Ma’m I’m inside the toilet and papa is sitting outside. Give me just five minutes, I’ll ease myself and ask dad to call you back.” I was taken aback and then burst into laughter. I thought - was there any need for the boy to say this to me? He could have given some other excuse, but preferred to be brutally frank. Well, sometime things just happen and you realise it afterwards!

‘Dhaba’ fare in a five-star setting

Want to relish and enjoy the lip smacking food dished out by a ‘dhaba’. Well, you need not go there as a five-star hotel in the city provides guests with the same ambience with all the yummy food one savors at a ‘dhaba’. The hotel, which has come up with a unique concept, has launched a ‘dhaba food festival’. Gourmets visiting the fest are greeted by some 70 different dishes that include both vegetarian and nonvegetarian cuisine. To lend an authentic touch to the event the waiters are clad in traditional costumes and the décor gives the diners an ideal feel of a traditional ‘dhaba.’ According to the guests’ choice the fare is served on tables or else one can have his fill buffet style and also be served squatting on ‘charpoys’ (rope cots), the hallmark of a roadside ‘dhaba’.

Easing traffic woes the right way

Though traffic snarls are getting worse with each passing day, those responsible for managing vehicular flow in the city appear to be totally confused. With all short and long term solutions having failed to yield the desired results, the traffic cops are now resorting to making some of the problematic stretches as ‘one way' streets to ease the congestion. Like all earlier (mostly half-hearted) attempts, this one is also likely to prove futile simply because there are no parking places close to the major shopping areas. Also, residents are still averse to parking their vehicles at a convenient place and walking to the markets. The administration should get its priories right by developing several parking lots that are conveniently located near the main shopping centres. Only then would some semblance of order be restored to the chaotic traffic situation.

Cooking savvy husbands

Till recently, making delicious dishes has been associated mostly with wives. They are the ones who cook mouth watering, sumptuous delicacies for the entire family while husbands - more often than not - like to find fault with the food. However, there are others who shower compliments on the dishes. When Sanjiv Kapur of the ‘Khana Khazana’ TV show fame was recently in the city he demonstrated some of the recipes to the residents. A young couple was seen taking notes diligently. While the wife wanted to learn how to make the dishes, her doting husband was busy writing down the ingredients in a notepad for his wife. One of those present on the occasion could not help herself from saying, "I envy this woman. Look at the husband - how he’s helping his wife to note down all the details. God has been so kind to some!" (See pic)

Caught on the wrong foot

Jumping off the walls of your house or sneaking out from a ‘secret’ door could turn out to be your worst experience, especially when your wife is watching her favourite serials on TV. After attending his senior's retirement party a government official reached home after midnight and realised he had forgotten to take along the duplicate keys of the house’s main gate and door. Fearing the wrath of his half asleep wife, he gathered his guts and jumped into the courtyard, then sneaking inside the house through a ‘secret’ entrance. The wife, who was wide awake and watching TV, upon hearing the sound armed herself with sticks to beat the supposed thief. Accompanied by her 10-year -old son, she blindly hit the poor husband without even realising he had switched on the lights and was calling her name. It was only after his screams and her son's intervention that truth dawned upon her. She immediately ran to withdraw her complaint that she had filed at the nearest police station.

Yes - a man behind a woman’s success

Setting an example for the urban educated male, a city businessman, who is in his early 40s, has proved that if “behind every successful man there is a woman', there can be a man too behind every successful woman. Working diligently, even on Sundays (perhaps his only day off during the week), to ensure success for his wife's endeavours, this businessman takes extreme pride in going places, quite literally, to help her achieve her goals. "She works so hard all the week. Sunday is the only day I get to do my bit to help her out. And I love doing little things to support her," smiled the man when a friend asked him if he was the man behind his wife’s success.

Contributed by Jyotika Sood, Manav Mander, Kuldip Bhatia, Shivani Bhakoo, Anshu Seth and Charu Chhiber



Teachers’ body seeks new pay scales
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Teachers of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) are up in arms against the university authorities for the non-implementation of the revised pay scales.

The problem was highlighted at a meeting of the Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (PFUCTO) held at Punjab University, Chandigarh, recently by GADVASU Teachers’ Association (GADVASUTA) president Dr HS Sandhu and secretary Dr SS Randhawa. The meeting was attended by leaders of PUTA, GNDUTA, PAUTA, GADVASUTA, GCTA, PCCTU and Punjabi University.

The representatives of the GADVASU Teachers’ Association had highlighted the problems being faced by the teachers in the university and informed the PFUCTO that despite the issuance of the new pay scale notification by the Government of Punjab, the GADVASU authorities were not paying the salaries of teachers as per the new grades. They also rued that the non-teaching employees and some officials of GADVASU were drawing new salaries since August 2009, but the teachers were denied their right on the pretext of non-receipt of government grants.

“This is unjustified because in the same university two different parameters cannot be followed for employees. The teachers of all other universities of Punjab have also been getting the revised pay since August, 2009,” complained Sandhu.

Giving assurance to GADVASU teachers, Dr Manjeet Singh and Dr Jagwant Singh, president and general secretary, of PFUCTO, said they would support and help them in getting their dues at the earliest.

On the occasion, Singh announced that teachers in the university and colleges would bear black badges on February 4, and hold campus rallies from 11 am to 1 pm on February 16 to demand the immediate implementation of MHRD notification in toto and to highlight the problems being faced by the higher education sector in Punjab.



Computer teachers hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The Computer Teachers' Union (contractual), Ludhiana, held a protest rally here today to press for their long-pending demands. Computer teachers from all over the district participated in the rally. The district-level rally was addressed by Punjab president of the union Gurvinder Singh, who acquainted the gathering with the demands and problems being faced by the computer teachers.

The computer teachers demanded that they should be regularised and enrolled on the rolls of the state education department as per their qualifications. They should not be terminated and be given at least two chances to rectify their mistakes. They said that for contract renewal, instead of the school head's recommendations, the previous records be taken into consideration. Medical leave be made available to the computer teachers, annual increment be introduced and they should be paid for overtime, said the protesters.

They rued that at the time of elections, the Akali-BJP alliance had included their demands in their respective manifestos. The party leaders had also held a meeting with the computer teachers last year at Chandigarh and assured them that their demands would be fulfilled at the earliest.

The teachers have threatened to intensify their agitation in case their demands are not met with.



From Schools & Colleges
Students rally against drug addiction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
To spread awareness among the youth about drug de-addiction, a rally was organised by the women forum of the Government College for Women here today. College principal RK Aulakh flagged off the rally, which started from the college and concluding at the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner's office. Over 500 students participated in the rally. Students carried banners and posters against drug menace.

Essay-writing contest

A calligraphy and essay writing competition was held at Guru Gobind Singh Public School.

Students wrote on the topics patriotism versus politics, Republic Day, my favourite leader and how do you celebrate the Republic Day. Principal Manjit Kaur congratulated the winners.

RESULTS: Essay writing contest: English: Harpreet Singh (Class VII); Punjabi: Rupan Singh (Class VI). Calligraphy competition: English: Dilpreet Singh (Class V); Punjabi: Prabhyleen Kaur and Jashandeep (Class IV); Hindi: Harleen Kaur (Class IV).

Placement drive

The training and placement cell, the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), Student's Chapter and the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) organised campus placement drive by HDFC Bank for the MBA 2008-2010 batch. Vishal Sablok (sales manager) and a team from HDFC Bank interacted with the students. The company officials visited the campus to recruit candidates for the post of team leaders and senior sales officers. Selection procedure included pre-placement talk, wherein students were enlightened about the company, its work culture and job opportunities. It was followed by an interview, in which students from marketing and finance appeared.

The company short-listed 20 students, who will go through another round of interview before the final placements. Dr (Col) HS Singha thanked the company representatives for conducting the drive.


ITC Shereton Hotels have decided to tie-up with PCTE Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology to provide consultancy and guidance in upgrading the curriculum. The students will also get training and placement opportunities with the hotel group. Dr KNS Kang, director, PCTE Group of Institutes, thanked the ITC for the tie-up.

Cultural extravaganza

DCM Presidency School organised a “wellness programme-cum-cultural extravaganza” where tiny tots of the school presented a scintillating musical song and dance performance, which set every foot tapping and hands clapping.

Parminder Gill, CMO, Edusports, along with his team from Bangalore, gave a detailed presentation on the holistic sports education programme being adopted in the school.

Earlier, the programme started with a devotional dance presentation to seek the blessing of the Almighty. Tiny tots of the junior school showcased the rich cultural heritage of India in the form of various folk dances, which left the audience spellbound.

In the jam-packed auditorium of the school, the little ones presented a beautiful skit wherein they highlighted the role of parents in this modern era of technology-driven world. The children also presented a Barbie dance.

Also, a satirical play “Selfish Giant” was enacted by the students of Prep-II class. The show came to an end with a Kashmiri dance.

Principal Amita Mittal thanked the parents and guests for their support and cooperation.

Sports meet

The eighth annual sports meet of Magic Year, a unit of Child Development Centre, was held here yesterday on the centre premises.

Addressing the parents and students, Avtar Singh Pandher, former superintendent engineer, talked about the importance of sports and games. The chief guest congratulated the parents for taking keen interest in academics, social, cultural and sports activities of their kids. Principal of thh centre Rabia Dabra welcomed the chief guest. The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr Paramjit Kaur.



Folk Festival
International artistes captivate audience
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
The multicultural extravaganza by artistes, featuring folk traditions of four nations i.e. Poland, Argentina, Thailand and India, was the cynosure of all eyes during “the Punjab International folk festival 2010”, organised by the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council (PCPC) at Ramgarhia Girls College here today.

Directed by PCPC director Davinder Singh Chhina, this International event was well orchestrated with the folk songs, folk dances and folk rhythms by more than 100 folk artistes and performers from these countries. Seventeen members from Promyki folk ensemble from Wieliszew city of Poland, Two international performers from Argentina, Six university students and folk artistes of Ayutthaya Province of Thailand and dozens of folk artists from Punjab, gave mesmerising performances, in the international festival.

Sikh martial Arts, the Gatka, was performed with elegance and was well synchronised by the beats of dhols (drums).

Ranjodh Singh, president of the Ramgarhia Education Council, said that the event effaced boundaries. He also stressed that such cultural events help in building strong ties between nations.

Speaking on this occasion, Minister Hira Singh Gabria appreciated the initiative of PCPC for inviting international folk artistes and delegates to Punjab time and again. He appealed to students to contribute for the promotion of Punjab heritage globally, as well as to study other world folklores.

Yesmin Llebeli and her husband John Eduardo performed traditional ‘Samba’ dance from Argentina. She also gave a scintillating performance of Arabic-dances. Ayuthhaya folklore group from Thailand, excelled with the Thai-folkloric traditions.

Polish folk dances by Promyki folk group was another highlight of the event.

Polska folk costumes and polish songs were also liked by the audience. The bhangra and the shabad by Ramgarhia college students also left a good impact.



9 selected in placement drive

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 1
Nine MBA students were selected by ICFAI Flexi Education Services as the placement cell of the management campus of RIMT held campus placements here today. ICFAI Flexi Education Services selected students for various departments.

The company is involved in creating and disseminating knowledge and skills in core and frontier areas through innovative educational programmes, research, consulting and developing a new cadre of professionals. Deputy territory manager Komal Budhiraja, assistant territory manager Prasanna Ojha visited the campus to conduct the interviews.

The visiting team conducted several rounds of group discussions and interview and finally selected 9 students. The salary package being offered to the students is starting from 1.2 lakh to 2.5 lakh with performance -linked incentives.

Budhiraja also addressed the gathering of students and held discussions on the present business environment prevailing in the industry. — OC



Conference on skin diseases

Jagraon, February 1
Hair transplant is a permanent solution to baldness, said Dr Aman Dua from AK Clinics, a leading hair transplant surgeon and founder member of the Association of Hair Restoration Surgeons of India (AHRS), at a recently organised conference on skin diseases by NIMA branch, Jagraon.

While elaborating on the results, she said the results of latest technique of hair transplant were natural and did not leave any scar mark. Nobody can identify from where the grafts have been taken and where they have been implanted. — OC



675 patients examined

Ludhiana, February 1
A team of doctors, in association with NGO Rising Youth Association, held a medical camp and examined 675 patients here recently. After examination, the team of doctors also distributed free medicines and conducted diagnostic tests like ECG, Spirometry and blood sugar free of cost.

RYA president Gurinder Chahal said: "Counselling sessions on importance of medical care, balanced diet, nutrition, mother and child care along with de-addiction were also part of the camp.” The camp was inaugurated by Wing Commander H S Gill. RYA general secretary Preet Kamal, secretary Sandeep Thapar and PCTE principal Prof Darshan Singh were also present. — TNS



Factionalism in Brahmin Sabha to fore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Factionalism marred the Shri Brahmin Sabha when a group, led by RL Joshi, yesterday conducted elections of the body even as Devi Dyal Prashar was unanimously elected president in the city recently.

Stating that Prashar got himself elected in an unconstitutional way, Joshi said he got his handpicked people raise hands in his favour. This had left even the national president of the sabha dissatisfied, who left the venue in a jiffy.

On the other hand, Bihari Lal Saddi, general secretary of the sabha, said they had no problems if Joshi conducted elections, but he had no right to do so under the banner of the Sri Brahmin Sabha.

Meanwhile, Shekhar Shukla was elected president, Rajpal Sharma secretary and RL Joshi cashier.



De-addiction centre inspected

Ludhiana, February 1
A charitable drug de-addiction centre run by Dr Kotnis Acupuncture Hospital, Salem Tabri, Ludhiana, was inspected by DD Tarnech, director, Social Security, Woman and Child Development, Punjab. Charanjit Singh Mann, deputy director and Inderpreet Kaur, district social security officer, Ludhiana, also accompanied the team.

During his visit to the hospital, the director interacted with the patients undergoing treatment with acupuncture and also with the patients getting treatment for detoxification.

DD Tarnech listened to the problems of drug addicts and advised them to live a drug free life. He said that only counselling could change their behaviour adding that free meals are provided to the drug addicts having a card of BPL. This facility is available to the drug addicts during the period of treatment.

Tarnech appreciated the efforts of the organisation in eradicating the social evil of addiction from the society and said that he was impressed with the working of the organisation. — TNS



25 booked for trespass
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

A woman shows the damaged portion from where 25 unidentified persons tried to trespass into the disputed land in Ludhiana
A woman shows the damaged portion from where 25 unidentified persons tried to trespass into the disputed land in Ludhiana on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, February 1
As many as 25 persons allegedly occupied a piece of land by force. They demolished the wall of a property worth crores, which belonged to a mother-daughter duo in the White House Commercial Complex near the bus stand. They forcibly trespassed in to their house and threatened them with dire consequences last night.

Led by Harcharan Singh, a resident of Mansa, these persons armed with a bulldozer razed the outer wall opening towards bus stand. They even broke the windowpanes of the house.

The drama went on throughout the night. The mother daughter duo, including Rajinder Kaur and Manmeet Kaur, kept on calling the police, but all in vain. The police swung into action only in the morning and registered a case against 25 persons for house trespassing, mischief and causing damage, theft and criminal intimidation.

While Manmeet Kaur alleged that the party had grabbed their property, Harcharan Singh said he was the rightful owner of 2,050-square yards out of 6,000-square yards being claimed by the family.

Harcharan, who has been registered for trespassing with his workers, said today that he had purchased this piece of land from a person but the family was not vacating it. So he tried to take the possession of the house himself.

Manmeet said they went through an ordeal throughout the night. “I and my 70-year-old mother were threatened of dire consequences, our windowpanes were broken and our servants were threatened. All this went on throughout the night but nobody came to our rescue,” she alleged.

The prime property located near the bus stand is worth crores of rupees. Manmeet said her deceased father had signed a partnership deed with 10 partners for opening a commercial complex on 2,050-square yards of land in 1974. He passed away in 1992 and the complex could not see the light of the day. After his death a civil suit was filed in a local court where different partners had staked their claim on the land.

The period has seen several cases and counter cases against both the parties. Interestingly, Manmeet had gone to former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in 2004 seeking justice in a case registered against her for an attempt to murder. The Chief Minister had stated that it was a prima facie case of a land mafia bent upon grabbing the premier property. He had marked an inquiry to a senior police official.

“Since we are in possession of this property for long and waiting for the court to decide, nobody has the right to trespass in our house. The police registered an FIR and is not doing anything else, ’’ said Manmeet.

On the other hand, Harcharan argued he could not be termed as a trespasser. ‘‘I am the owner and the property was in my possession, ’’ he said adding he did not care about the FIR that was registered against him.

SHO division number 5, GS Mangat said the case revolved around a partnership deed and an agreement. “We have registered a case on the complaint of Manmeet. We will hold an inquiry after talking to both parties,” he said.



3 booked for cheating
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, February 1
The Sidhwan Bet police has booked three persons, including a women, for cheating a person to the tune of Rs 7 lakh. The person alleged that they were luring to send his son to Germany.

Jasparkash Singh of Moga in his complaint to the then SSP, Ludhiana Rural, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, on August 7 said that he had been cheated by Manjit Kaur, alias Surjit Kaur, of Galib Khurd, with the convenience of her relative Sampooran Singh and his son Jasmail Singh of Galib Ran Singh near here. They had taken Rs 7 lakh from him and had promised to send his son to Germany. He said his son Nirmal Singh had gone to Malaysia in 2006. There he met accused Manjit Kaur, who took him to be an embassy official. She had helped many Indians to reach their dream destination.

Lured by her lucrative style and confidence of talking, he began believing in her and a deal to send him to Germany was struck at Rs 7 Lakh. Since Nirmal Singh had no money there, she asked the money be paid to her relatives Sampooran Singh and his son in India. He said he paid Rs 2 lakh to them as was agreed and paid another Rs 5 lakh when she procured a VISA to Nirmal Singh. But when Nirmal Singh tried to immigrate to Germany, to his horror, he found that the VISA given by Manjit Kaur was fake.

He asked her either to send his son to Germany or return the amount received. She tried to evade his demands on one pretext or the other and finally refused to entertain his demands and return the money collected by her.

Since the monetary transactions took place within the police jurisdiction of the Sidhwan Bet police, he lodged the complaint with the Jagraon SSP.

DSP (H) Sucha Singh, who was entrusted to conduct the inquiry by the SSP found that the allegations levelled by Jasparkash Singh was correct.

DA, Legal, SSP Harinder Singh Chahal recommended a case be registered at the Sidhwan Bet police station. All three accused were booked under Sections 420, 120B of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



Three held for drinking at public place

Jagraon, February 1
The Jagraon police booked three persons on the charge of consuming liquor in public place. The accused identified as Sukhwinder Singh of Koom Kalan, Tersem Verma of Sahnewal and Karamjit Singh of Bhokari Kalan were consuming liquor and had kept the bottle on the bonnet of their Jeep (PB 15 B 1272) last evening in Agwar Gujran, which is a residential colony, on the national highway.

When the commuters opposed their behaviour, two of them, who had licensed weapons threatened them and asked them to leave. One of the commuters informed the police and a case was registered. — OC



Car of ex-judicial official stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
A Maruti 800 car with prized number - PB-10U-0001 - belonging to former Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Harpreet Sandhu was stolen from the Mall Road locality. In his complaint to the police, the former AAG said his wife, along with his mother-in-law, had gone to the Mall Road on Saturday evening for shopping.

When they returned, they could not spot the vehicle, following which they informed the police about the incident.

Interestingly, the car was parked near the officer’s residence on the Mall Road. When both returned after around 45 minutes, the car was found missing.

According to GS Mangat SHO, Division No. 5, the police has registered a case. Sandhu said the car was of 1995-make.



Motorcyclist killed
Our Correspondent

Khamano, February 1
A youth was killed in an accident on the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road near Manderan village last night. Dinesh Dogra (31), a resident of Laxmi Nagar, Delhi, was going on his motorcycle towards Ludhiana. When he reached near Manderan village, a speeding Indica car hit his bike, killing him on the spot.

The police took the body to the civil hospital and registered a case against car driver, identified as Varun Jain, a resident of Ludhiana.



GGS hockey tourney from tomorrow
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, February 1
Namdhari XI of Bhaini Sahib along with Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Delhi, Border Security Force, Jalandhar, and Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab Police, Jalandhar, and Indian Air Force XI, Delhi, will fight it out in the men's section of the 6th edition of the All-India Guru Gobind Singh Hockey Tournament scheduled to be held at the Prithipal Singh Memorial AstroTurf Stadium of Punjab Agricultural University here from February 3 to 8.

Addressing a press conference here today, Amrik Singh Minhas and Prithipal Singh Batala, chairman and president, respectively of the Ludhiana Sportsmen Welfare Association said the national-level tournament would be conducted under the aegis of the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council.

Besides, four teams in the women's section namely Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Central Railway, Mumbai, Shahbad XI, Haryana and Chandigarh XI, will be seen in action during this six-day tournament.

On the opening day of the tournament, two matches are slated in the men's section. In the opening match to be played at 11 am, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, will lock horns with Punjab Police XI, Jalandhar, and the second match, scheduled to start at 1 pm will be played between Namdhari XI and Border Security Force.

Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, chief parliamentary secretary, Punjab, and Ranjit Singh Talwandi, former MLA, will declare the tournament open on Februray 3, while Dr M S Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, and Baba Lakha Singh of Nanaksar will preside over the opening ceremony.

The winners in the men's section will receive a cash prize of Rs 60,000 while the runners up will pocket a cash prize of Rs 40,000. A cash prize of Rs 40,000 will be given to the champions in the women's section, while the team finishing at second place will be richer by Rs 30,000.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former MP and president of the Punjab Olympic Association, Jathedar, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, former president, SAD, will be the guests of honour on the concluding day.



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