L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


PU move to charge property tax draws flak
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The recent decision by Panjab University to charge Rs 12 as property tax from every student of its affiliated colleges has invited criticism not only from students and their parents, but several PU senators and syndicate members have also raised objections on the move, calling it "uncalled for".

The university had issued letters to all its affiliated colleges in Punjab saying each student should be charged Rs 12 per year as property tax. The letters said unpaid property taxes amounting to several crores of rupees were pending with the university. The colleges have been told students should now "share the burden."

A PU syndicate member said on the condition of anonymity: “Many members had raised their objections on this move during recent meetings of the university. Why should students bear the expenses on account of property taxes? The amount hardly matters but why should they be further burdened by the university? Tomorrow some college may ask for students pay another tax. We don’t approve this”.

Tarsem Bahia, a former PU senator and convener of the Education Forum, Punjab, called the decision unjustified. “Students are supposed to pay only for tuition fees, water charges, sports activities, vehicle stand, etc, but definitely not the university’s property tax. This is patently unfair. If crores of rupees of property tax is pending with the varsity it has to find another solution itself. Why should students be burdened?" he asked.

Meanwhile, a senior PU official in Chandigarh, who did not wish to be quoted, confirmed the letters were issued to colleges last week. He said that property taxes worth several crores of rupees were levied on the varsity.

"First of all, higher educational institutions shouldn’t be asked to pay property tax. Secondly, PU has only 12,000 students on the campus. If we ask them to the burden alone they will have to shell-out more money. However, if the burden is shared amongst the roughly two hundred thousand college students it shouldn’t pinch anyone. Paying just Re 1 per month is definitely not a burden on students or the parents", the official said.


HC asks PAU to pay pensioners their dues
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Coming to the rescue of PAU pensioners, the Punjab & Haryana High Court has directed Punjab Agricultural University to pay retirement benefits to them within one month. The court has further said in case the varsity fails to make arrangements for payment, it may issue another order to pay the benefits even before incumbent staff members receive their salaries.

Disposing of a petition filed by the Confederation of PAU Pensioners' Associations through an order dated February 8, 2010, justice Rajiv Bhalla said, “The needful should be done within a period of one month”.

Confirming the group received a copy of the HC order today, confederation president DS Sidhu said, “This has been a great relief provided by the high court. For the past several months hundreds of pensioners were struggling hard to get their retirement benefits”.

"Since all the efforts made by the confederation could not yield the desired results, we were left with no other option but to approach the court. We’re going to submit the copy of the order to the PAU vice chancellor today so that necessary action for implementing it is initiated. We hope the varsity will release payment of all retirement benefits including pending and revised pension along with arrears as well as enhanced medical allowance within one month", said Sat Pal Gupta, general secretary of the confederation.



Cop dies under mysterious circumstances
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
A personal security guard of SP (city II) Sanehdeep Sharma died under mysterious circumstances due to a bullet injury at the SP’s official residence, situated near Mall Road late last night.

The incident came to light here this morning when the colleagues of Head Constable Gyan Singh (38) saw the latter lying dead on bed.

According to the police, Gyan died after a bullet shot from his official carbine pierced through his temple.

JS Mangat, SHO Division No. 5, said it was an accidental fire. He said the incident might have taken place around 1 am when the cop might have accidentally laid his hand on the gun, which went off.

He said the gun is highly sensitive and if unlocked, a small jerk can result in bullet shots.

The victim’s colleagues, Jagtar Singh and Major Singh, said they were sleeping in another room located at the rear of the SP’s residence, while Gyan Singh was sleeping in the watchman’s room, located on the front side of the residence.

They claimed that they were fast asleep and did not hear any fire shot. It was only in the morning that they came to know about
the incident.

They further said that Gyan Singh was suffering from diabetes and was also undergoing depression.

The police has, however, not ignored that the incident could be a suicide or a murder.“We are probing the matter. Right now, we cannot comment whether it was a suicide. The case is still open and we are investigating all angles of the case,” said JS Mangat.

Gyan Singh, a resident of Halwara, was working with the SP for the past few years. Meanwhile, a pal of gloom descended on his house.



IT surveys: Rs 2.1 cr surrendered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Income Tax surveys were carried at two card and boxes firms in the city. Surveys were held under the supervision of Range III, Additional Commissioner, Rakesh Goyal. Surveys were carries out under the directions of Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, GS Randhawa and Commissioner RK Roy.

Surveys were held at Dimple Cards and its three premises at Meena Bazar, Guru Nanak Nagar and Jalandhar Bye-pass. During the surveys Rs 1.18 crore was surrendered. Another survey was held at Meera Graphics and its two premises at Meena Bazar and Bhai Manna Singh Nagar. During the survey Rs 83 lakh of undisclosed income was surrendered.

Meanwhile, the mobile wing of the Excise and Taxation Department today conducted raid at Shanker Garments at Falahi Bazar near Dal Bazaar. The firm deals in hosiery and readymade garments.

The raid was conducted under the supervision of Assistant Excise And Taxation Commissioner, Tejbir Singh Sidhu. The department got the information according to which the goods for the firm came from Kolkotta but no information was submitted at the information collection center at the barrier. Incrementing documents were seized during the raid and bank accounts were sealed.

In another raid, the department detected bogus billing worth Rs 8 crore. The mobile wing conducted raid at Nikhil Enterprises at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar and found discrepancies in tax returns. The firm was holding business transactions with Jangar Impex, which had already been blacklisted by the department. The said firm was also claiming ITC. There was no stock, only billing was done. The department on the firm has slapped a penalty of Rs 60 lakhs.



Cops tell snatching victim to trace culprits
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
In an incident that amply exemplified the police’s apathetic attitude towards victims of crime, a man whose LPG cooking gas cylinder was snatched was told by the cops to locate the suspects on his own.

Sanjay, a sewing machine mechanic from Bihar, who is currently residing near Sherpur village, could not believe his ears when the cops on duty at the Dhollewal police station told him to search for the autorickshaw in which the snatchers made away with his cylinder.

The incident took place here this morning near the Dhollewal army cantonment when Sanjay was cycling on his way home after getting the LPG cylinder from a gas agency. He said when he neared Shepur chowk three snatchers arrived in an autorickshaw and waylaid him. While two of them overpowered him the other one put the gas cylinder in the auto rickshaw and all the three fled from the scene, he added.

Sanjay said he locked his bicycle and gave the snatchers a chase. “In the meantime a motorcyclist helped me by offering me a lift”, he added.

"When we reached the traffic lights near Dhollewal Chowk I alighted from the motorbike and tried to catch hold of the autorickshaw. However, the snatchers jumped the red light when they saw me approaching them," said Sanjay.

According to him, the autorickshaw did not bear a registration number plate. Seeing the snatchers escaping he went to the Dhollewal police station where the cops told him to first file a written complaint. Later they told him locate the autorickshaw on his own.

“I told a cop at the police station to send a wireless message and alert the police at the Vishwakarma Chowk and Jagraon bridge areas. However, instead of alerting his colleagues the cop told me to first write out a complaint and later suggest I look for the snatchers and then inform the cops," lamented Sanjay. "Is this called ‘fast policing’, where instead of taking action on a complaint the victim is told to himself search for the criminal?" he asked.



Living life king-size
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
She is a woman in the garb of a man. She dresses like her male counterparts and even wears a turban. Every morning, she comes to her office riding a bike and everybody at her workplace greets her as "sir". Wearing a grey kurta pyjama with a jacket and a blue turban, she looks every inch a man.

Gurpreet Mangat is living life king-size. The urge of her grandmother to have a grandson prompted her to look and behave like a son of the family. Working as junior assistant at the zila parishad office, Gurpreet is trying to defy all laws and stand up as a brother to her five sisters.

At an age when all girls learn how to polish their nails or apply lipstick with élan, she has learnt the art of a tying a turban. "Nobody taught me how to tie a turban. I use to stand before the mirror and practise for hours to wear a perfect turban," she added.

Belonging to Rampur village near Doraha, she also takes care of agricultural land and is engaged in dairy farming. Gurpreet has never entered the kitchen, but instead, works in the fields. "I myself ply a tractor and take care of the animals. After my day's work, when I return home, I am busy with other odd jobs like milking cows and taking care of them ," she adds.

It is "mamu" and "masi" that her niece and nephews call her. "I feel good when anyone addresses me as a man. The general public visiting our office always addresses me as a man. Nobody can ever make out from my attire that I am a woman”.

Gurpreet's parents have moved abroad, but she loves to be in her country. “My parents had adopted the son of my sister, presently he lives with me but very soon he will also migrate. Gurpreet has decided not to get married. "I do not want to get married. I do not care about the world. I have lived my life on my own terms and will keep living the way I want to," she tells.

Commenting on female foeticide, she said the outlook of society needs to be changed. "I am taking care of every responsibility of the family that a male child takes care of. Girls are no less than boys and are today marching ahead in every field," she signs off.



LIT moots housing schemes with private participation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 17
In the wake of acute shortage of affordable housing, and land being a scarce commodity in the city, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has mooted a plan to develop new housing schemes with private participation. Under the proposed plan, pieces of land measuring more than 10 acres within city limits owned by private individuals will be taken over for construction of affordable houses of different categories as per the provisions of the land pooling policy formulated by the Punjab government.

Talking to The Tribune here today, the LIT chairman Ashok Juneja said the trust had not carved out any new housing scheme - its basic objective, for quite some time now as suitable chunks of land for this purpose were either not available for acquisition, or the process of acquisition of land had run into trouble for various reasons. "The land pooling policy has come as a great relief and the trust will make full use of this way of obtaining land for housing purposes."

He said work was in full swing in at least three other housing schemes of LIT in Model Town extension, Sukhdev Enclave and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar where possession of some 1,000 HIG and MIG flats would be handed over to the allottees by March this year.

According to Juneja, the LIT has taken a serious view of change of land use of its residential properties in different schemes, violation of building plans or construction of buildings without approved building plans and non-payment of installments by the allottees as per schedule for payment. In such cases, the allottees have been asked to abide by the terms and conditions of allotment of their respective properties in their own interest so as to avoid cancellation of allotment and resumption of the properties.

Making it clear that no compromise will be made on the quality of the ongoing projects pertaining to construction of flats, roads or other development works, the LIT chairman asked the contractors to strictly follow the laid down specifications and ensure the desired quality of works.

"The bills of the contractors will be cleared only after thorough inspection of all development projects on completion and after making sure that the works have been carried out as per specifications laid down at the time of allotment of work and issuance of work orders," Juneja asserted.



UPA govt hand in glove with traders: Das Gupta
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 17
Charging the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre with being hand in glove with the powerful lobby of traders, capitalists and monopolists, the group leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI) in the Lok Sabha and the general secretary of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Gurudas Das Gupta today said that the government had failed to curb price rise.

Outsourcing, privatisation and contract system were being promoted and unemployment had reached an alarming level and labour laws were being flouted with impunity, he added.

Addressing a state-level convention of the AITUC at Punjabi Bhawan here, he said wrong economic policies of the government had forced a majority of the population towards unemployment, poverty, hunger and even suicides. "While the prices of essential food items are skyrocketing, the public distribution system is in a state of utter collapse. Similarly, the national social security fund for the unorganised sector also remains elusive," the CPI leader remarked.

Announcing that the trade unions under the aegis of the AITUC would organise a nationwide satyagraha on March 5 against the economic policies of the government, he served a veiled ultimatum that in case the government remained unresponsive and immediate remedial measures were not taken, the trade unions all over the country could go on a general strike.

Several trade union activists representing Punjab State Electricity Board, transport, Food Corporation of India, anganwadi, ASHA, Punjab Agricultural University, government employees and farm workers made scathing attacks on the Centre and the state government for their failure to redress the problems of agriculture and industry as also neglect of overall development of the state.

The AITUC functionaries alleged that as a result of wrong policies of the state government, the state of Punjab had slipped to the position of Bihar, Orissa and other under-developed states from the top position as far as development was concerned. "The public distribution system has completely failed and very few, if any, are benefited by cheap flour and pulses scheme. The Narega scheme has proved a non-starter due to the apathy of the government and bureaucrats and employees are at the receiving end," the speakers at the convention said.

State leaders of the AITUC vowed that their cadres would participate in the nationwide protest. "The satyagraha and jail bharo movement will turn out to be a huge success as workers will bring all road movement to a halt and court arrest," they stated.

Through a resolution, unanimously adopted at the convention, the AITUC demanded a pension of Rs 1000 per month for farm workers as well as strict implementation of minimum wages. The additional tax burden put on the people in Punjab was also sought to be withdrawn.

Among the speakers at the convention were Bant Singh Brar, Nirmal Singh Dhaliwal, HS Gambhir, NK Gaur, Om Parkash Mehta, Gurdip Moti, Saroj Rani, Gulzar Singh Goria, Sutantar Kumar, Amar Singh Bhattian and Kewal Singh.



City’s cops to undergo etiquette training
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Hardened cops are now being groomed to become gentlemen. The city’s newly appointed police commissioner, Ishwar Singh, has worked out a ‘transformation regime’ for them by roping in a personality development expert to give them lessons.

Almost a decade after the ‘Shrimanji’’ scheme had clicked with Ludhianvis, the commissioner, with an eye on complaints of cops being unfriendly, wants the police rank and file to behave properly with the public.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Ishwar said discussions with an expert were on and soon he would start holding classes on etiquette. “Even before these classes have begun I held a meeting with the cops today and told them to use the phrase ‘may I help you’ before taking a call or attending to someone”, he added.

‘‘I’ve asked them to be polite especially with elderly women and children. They have also been told to address all men as ‘sir’ or ‘brother’. I hope they would start giving due respect to city residents, ’’ the commissioner said.

At the same time he also told the cops no one should be detained illegally. ‘‘I’m been holding several meetings with the cops for the last two days, during which readers, orderlies, traffic cops and other cops were asked to be polite and gentle,’’ he said.

Ishwar said with the implementation of the commissionerate system the police force’s responsibilities had increased manifold. ‘‘We are more accountable now. With the introduction of this system we should better deliver”, he said.



76-yr-old fights lone battle against land sharks
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
A 76-year-old French scholar is fighting a lone battle against land mafia, which is trying hard to usurp his 400 square yard of his ancestral house located in Model Town, worth over Rs 1 crore.

Surinder Jathaul, who retired as the chairman of the French Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, travels all the way from Chandigarh, leaving his ailing wife behind in order ward off land sharks who every now and again trespass into his house or look for an opportunity to usurp it whenever he is not in the city.

Recently, a few miscreants broke the lock of his house and put theirs, claiming themselves to be the landowners.

“Thanks to noble neighbours like Charanjit Singh, the land mafia could keep the possession of the land for long. Charanjit lodged a complaint with the police and informed me. Subsequently, I reached the house and put a new lock. I even lodged a complaint with the police but, as usual, no action has been taken against the miscreants so far,” lamented Surinder Jathaul.

He said it was not for the first time that attempt had been made to usurp the property. Earlier, a gang of Hoshiarpur-based father-son duo had also tried to trespass and take possession of the house illegally.

Surinder Jathaul came to know about their motive and lodged a complaint with the police. When it failed to respond, Jathaul along with two of his brothers, who are also in mid-70s, requested Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal to intervene.

A fact-finding committee was set up that scrutinised the Jathaul’s documents. It authenticated that the land belonged to Jathaul and his brothers. Action was taken against the Hoshiarpur-based father-son duo. Later, Jathaul learnt that the Hoshiarpur-based duo, who tried to take illegal possession of the ancestral house, were actually notorious land grabbers and have been in and out of the jail on numerous occasions.

Little did they know that it would be a prelude of troubled times for them. In April 2009, another land grabber from Mansa tried to usurp their land. They broke the locks of his house and even employed workers to clean it.

Fortunately, Jathaul, who happened to be in the city, came to know about the matter and rushed to the spot. The workers were arrested. The land grabber later concocted a story that he had mistakenly entered the Jathaul’s house, thinking it was his ancestral house. Jathaul claims that the Mansa-based man had also prepared fake documents of his property and was trying to usurp it.

He said a chemist located close to his house in Model Town was now eying his property.

“He even sent two persons to my residence in Mani Majra, who were offered token money for the land. I made an excuse that I have to complete a few documents. But they told me that they would take care of all formalities. They even threatened me to take the money or else they would grab the land,” Jathaul added.



Freedom Fighter’s Pension
Disappointed, 61-yr-old seeks President’s intervention
Rights panel refuses to intervene
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 17
Disappointed after the Punjab State Human Rights Commission’s refusal to interfere in matter of considering unmarried men as dependent of their parents, a senior citizen of Lohatbaddi village in the Raikot subdivision has sought the President of India’s intervention for enabling him to avail the enlisted facilities.

The commission has dismissed his complaint on grounds that granting equality to men and women for getting the freedom fighter’s pension was a policy matter and it could not act on it.

Claiming to be the only surviving unmarried jobless dependent of his late freedom fighter father, Devki Nandan (61), a senior citizen of Lohatbaddi village in the Raikot subdivision has sought constitutional amendment in the law for enabling him to avail-enlisted facilities.

The administration had, however, maintained that only unmarried unemployed daughters and spouses of the freedom fighters were entitled for such a pension.

Devki Nandan had urged higher authorities, including the PSHRC chairman, Chief Minister and the minister for social welfare to direct the officials concerned to treat him as dependent of his deceased father Devi Dyal.

“At 61 I am unemployed and unmarried and have no other source of income. I was dependent on mother Lajwanti, who was drawing pension from the freedom fighter’s quota. Now, when she has expired and I am the only unmarried unemployed ward of my father the pension should be transferred in my name,” pleaded Devki Nandan.

Leveling the instructions to be biased on the basis of gender, Devki Nandan argued, “When an unmarried daughter of freedom fighter is eligible for facilities why should, a son in similar situation be debarred from this right.”

Stating that only widows of freedom fighters and their unmarried daughters were entitled for welfare pension, the Ludhiana deputy commissioner had closed his file.

The PSHRC has also dismissed his complaint on technical grounds. “Complainant is aggrieved by the government policy vide which an unmarried girl is regarded as dependent but an unmarried male is not considered. Because of this he is unable to get his mother’s pension. He prays that the male and the female may be treated equal for getting such a pension. It’s a policy matter and the commission can not take action in this regard,” read a communication. The perusal of records showed that the Centre and the Ministry of Home Affairs have initiated process for simplification of the pension scheme for freedom fighters and their families. Though unmarried daughters were given priority over the father and mother of the deceased freedom fighter, sons (married or unmarried) were not mentioned in list of dependents. Spouses figured ahead among dependents.



Professionalism, focus key to success: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
Professional approach, right skills and education, motivation and proper training are the keys to success for the next-generation entrepreneurs. A panel discussion on the topic "Success and generation next: Opportunities and challenges" was held here last evening by the Ludhiana Management Association.

Dr Sandeep Kapoor, associate professor, Department of Business Management, PAU, was the moderator of the discussion. The discussion panel comprised Harpreet Kaur Kang, deputy dean, Punjab College of Technical Education, Mini Rayat, MD, Akal Springs, Yuvraj Aggarwal, director, Bharat Box Factory, Vishal Jain, executive director, Neva Garments Limited, Adish Oswal, group director, Corporate Affairs and Business Development, Oswal Group.

Dr KNS Kang, general secretary, LMA, while welcoming the participants said “We need to develop entrepreneurs, who can make their presence felt as leaders not only at the national level but also develop into global leaders. In this context, our educational institutions and systems need to be transformed and more practical orientation must be given to the youth so that they can face challenges of this highly competitive world”.

During the discussion, Oswal said success was a journey of failures. "We learn and get experience through failures and in turn reach great heights not only in our personal but also in professional life". He said the biggest challenge in front of young entrepreneurs was how they managed and sustained growth in the long run.

Harpreet Kaur Kang said that leaders of tomorrow require strong value addition in their attitude and skills to be successful. She said the young budding entrepreneurs needed to set high standards for themselves to succeed in the competitive environment.

Sandeep Ryat said that success meant different at different stages of life. According to her, success meant survival, resilience and not giving up at any time of life. She emphasised that strong vision and goals must be set by the next generation and they must constantly work in that direction.

VK Goyal, president, Ludhiana Management Association, while giving his presidential remarks said," We don’t have doubts on the capabilities of our youth to lead the businesses since our elders have acquired the freedom and learnt through experience, so wisdom of elders should be passed on to the youth". He said that leaders needed to develop capabilities and essence to see what ordinary person could not see and they must be able to understand the feelings of people to create trust and confidence.



Research workshop for kharif crops begins at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The two-day State-Level Research and Extension Specialists Workshop for Kharif Crops organised by Punjab Agricultural University was inaugurated, yesterday. Expressing great concern for improving the economy of farmers, chief guest Harish Rai Dhanda, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, said the PAU played a great role in solving the problems of food shortage through formulating need-based programmes of technology generation and transfer to farmers.

He added that the research and extension efforts should be in the direction of making agriculture profitable. He emphasised the need for creating markets for the agricultural produce, as the farmers would grow the crop that he would be able to market properly. Dhanda said that in Africa, the farm produce was lifted by 15-20 jumbo jets daily from the markets and there was a systematic collection system. He said the extension system needed to be made vibrant in which the PAU and the state Department of Agriculture could play their roles.

For boosting production level of different kharif crops, Punjab Agriculture Joint Director Dr Nirankar Singh said the production targets for the forthcoming kharif crops had been set at a higher level than kharif-2009. The area under paddy during kharif-2010 is targeted at 2,700-lakh hectare and for cotton 5.30-lakh hectare and sugarcane 90,000 hectare. Similarly, the target area is 1.7-lakh hectare for maize, 6,000 hectare for bajra and moongbean, 5,000 hectare for mash, 10,000 hectare for arhar, 5,000 hectare for groundnut and 10,000 hectare for til.

Singh highlighted several issues in the face of agriculture that included global warming, environment, organic farming, alternatives to rice-wheat through diversification, etc. and that the technology to address the issues be developed and transferred to the farmers. He said that Krishi Vigyan Kendras could play a great role in popularising the subsidiary occupations such as bee-keeping, mushroom growing, fish farming, dairy, nursery production, etc. for which the technology had been developed by experts.

Giving details of the research achievements, PAU Director of Research, Dr PS Minhas said the four new varieties recommended include SML-832 of moongbean, SL-744 of soybean, MRC-7017 (bollguard-II) and MRC-7031 (bollguard-II) (both from private sector), which were high yielding and better in quality. Minhas also gave details of the various production (8) and protection (6) technologies and farm machinery for various crops evolved by the university. He said the scientists had endeavoured technologies, which were practicable, cost-effective and eco-friendly.

While proposing a vote of thanks, director of Extension Education, Dr MS Gill focused on the fears of natural resource depletion and global warming and climate change on agriculture. "Our soils are not that fertile, environment and water are polluted", said Gill adding that the PAU had already initiated studies on microclimate through manipulation of cultural practices.

He informed that with the support from National Horticulture Mission, studies on integrated nutrient management had been planned.



Grant of funds by state govt relieves PAU authorities
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, February 17
After the announcement by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal to grant Rs 20 crore immediately and Rs 75 crore out of the Rural Development Fund to the university to mitigate its financial difficulties, authorities of Punjab Agricultural University, teachers and non-teaching staff are feeling relieved.

Punjab Agricultural University has been facing severe financial crisis for the past four years and the state government has been adopting a luke-warm attitude towards the same. The retirees of the university had to knock at the door of the Punjab and Haryana High Court two years ago to get pension.

In the latest petition last month, the retirees moved the high court for contempt proceedings against the Vice-Chancellor and the Punjab Government for their failure to release them pension for November and December 2009 and January 2010. The high court directed the PAU to make the payment within one month to the retirees of their pension.

Finally the Chief Minister relented and convened a meeting of the PAU authorities at Chandigarh on February 11 and discussed the financial problems of the university in thread bear. It was at this meeting that the Chief Minister announced to give Rs 20 crore as immediate relief and 0.25 paise per Rs 100 out of the Rural Development Fund of the state government as a relief to the university for making payment to the pensioners and undertaking research activities.

At the January 11 meeting, the Chief Minister expressed his desire to meet scientists of the university and asked the Vice-Chancellor to fix the meeting for February 13. The Chief Minister met the scientists of the PAU and learnt about the research activities of the same and was reported to have remarked ‘there was a communication gap’ and assured that the state government would meet all financial needs of the university. This announcement by the Chief Minister had brought relief to the university faculty and staff.

Two world renowned agricultural scientists namely Dr MS Swaminathan and Dr Gurdev Singh Khush during their visit to the PAU on February 10 and 11 also called upon the state government to come to the rescue of the university and not starve it of the funds keeping in view the substantial contribution made by the PAU in meeting the deficit of the country. The Tribune has also been campaigning for the release of adequate funds for the PAU for the past four years.

Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, has expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister for his generous gesture of helping the university in meeting its financial commitments. The decision of the Chief Minister to help the PAU financially has definitely given a morale boost to the faculty and other staff, he said.

Dr Darshan Singh, who retired as a Dean, Postgraduate Studies, has also thanked the Chief Minister for extending financial help to the PAU and mitigating the problems of the pensioners.

Dr GS Sarao, president, PAUTA, and HS Mundi, president, non-teaching staff of the university, have also expressed their gratitude to the Chief Minister and expressed hope that the state government would continue to help the agricultural research institute.

The grant of Rs 75 crore per year out of the rural development fund would help the PAU to undertake research activities, which have been hampered due to shortage of funds.



Malaysian dance theatre to perform in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam (LSS) is now bringing a Malaysian group, Sutra Dance Theatre to the city on February 27. This group is based in Kuala Lumpur and has also performed in Nishigandhi Festival in Kerala and Konark festival Bhuvneshwar.

SK Rai, general secretary of LSS, while addressing a press conference said today that artistic director, Ramli Ibrahim and his Sutra dancers have become a household name in raising the status of dance in Malaysia.

The traditional art form of India will be performed by a foreign group," said Amrit Nagpal, vice-president of LSS .

Further he said Sutra has been recognised internationally. They have performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, and the United Nations in Paris and Vienna Art Festival.



SSP honoured
Tribune News Service

Khanna, February 17
A large number of residents of the town’s Rajasthani colony today honoured Khanna SSP Sukhminder Singh Mann and other police officials for their efforts in finding a man reported missing in their locality.

Nanak Singh went missing for nearly five days after being knocked down by a speeding truck near the Khanna bus stand and was found lying in a pool of blood near Samrala a few days back. He was brought to the local Civil Hospital for treatment and was taken to his family after two days.

Instead of taking the injured man to a hospital the driver of the truck dumped him near the Neelon bridge. A police team began searching for him five days after he was hit.

However, the SSP said the case was solved only with the help of the area’s residents.



Canteen is lifeline of college days
A place to unwind, relax and hang out
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
It is their favourite hangout, the place to flaunt their newly acquired possessions, the place to catch a glimpse of who's who of the college. Welcome to the college canteen.

The canteen can be rightly called the lifeline of any college. Long live canteen, where one can meet, eat and celebrate the golden days of life.

The most creative minds are at work here, be it the drummer, who practices with spoons and plates or an amateur poe,t who scribbles on the canteen tissues. This is the busiest corner on the campus.

"Canteen is our only shelter when we bunk," is what some students have to say about their college canteen. Canteen is the place where we discuss everything under the sun, be it films, fashion, gadgets, studies (though very rare), gossip. The pav bhaji and samosas available in our canteen are tasty and we relish it everyday," said Puneeta, a student of KCW.

Students unanimously agree that canteen is the place to unwind, relax and hang out. It is a place where you can be yourself and forget the classroom stress. Even the bookworms cannot resist the charm of the canteen.

"A hot cuppa in the canteen is a break from the dull and boring lecturers and college canteen is always the final destination for a tired and bored student. It is the best place to unwind yourself," said Anju Sahi, a graduate student. It is the place where every student flaunts her new dresses, bags, accessories and gadgets like I pod and cell phones.

The variety of food available in the college canteen has also undergone a sea change. Initially it was only samosa and toasts that were available in the canteen but with the passage of time many more items like noodles, pav bhaji, dosa, burger, momos, sandwich, channa bhatura, and ice-cream have been included in the menu.

When you relive your favourite college memories, invariably they will be set in the canteen. A place to waste time, flirt, plan a world-changing scheme or even to just catch a few winks. Most of the college pass outs feel that moments spent in a college canteen will be cherished forever.

Vandana Sharma (42), nostalgically said, "Whenever we friends get together we talk about the time spent in the canteen. During our time, only few snacks were available. The canteens now have improved drastically, specially the quality and variety of food," she added.

Canteen is the right place to take a break and come back to classes with a healthy mind.



Revised Pay Scales
Homeopathic teachers continue strike
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 17
The indefinite strike by teaching staff of Lord Mahavira Homeopathic College and Hospital here for revision of pay scales continued for the third day as the striking teachers gheraoed the principal and held a gate rally to press their demands.

Addressing the rally, speakers, including Dr VK Thukral, Dr Parmod Kumar, president and secretary respectively of the association of teaching staff, and Dr Sushil Chalotra, vice principal of the college, said they were not demanding pay scales as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission but basic scales of the Fourth Pay Commission.



Octogenarian donates body to medical college
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 17
Inspired by the act of West Bengal leader comrade Jyoti Basu, Basakha Singh, an octogenarian, today pledged to donate his body posthumously to the DMC and H, Ludhiana. Basakha Singh was accompanied by his wife Randhir Kaur, daughter Davinder Kaur and sin-in-law Advocate Rajinder Pal Singh. While talking to The Tribune he said that he was born in April, 1923 in Jhorran village near Raikot and served the Indian Army. After retirement, he occupied various posts in the CPM and remained the sarpanch of the village for 15 years. After studying ayurvedic medicine he even served the area with his expertise in medicine free of cost.

He said he has taken this decision though it was tough and goes against the popular religious beliefs for the sake of mankind. He said even the body of the man is very important for research scholars in medical science for the betterment of mankind. All relatives of Basakha Singh welcomed his decision and said they were also preparing their mind to follow him.

Advocate Chahal said it took 10 days for them to know the procedure. He said the procedure should be simplified and the authority to accept donation should be at thesub-division level.

Raghubir Singh Toor former president of Jagraon BAR, who had pledged to donate his body five years back, said it was the need of thetime that more NGOs should come forward and educate the masses.



Four raagis killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 17
Four raagis, all in their early thirties, were killed in an accident that took place near here late last night. The car they were travelling collided head on with a truck parked near a dhaba.

The deceased, all residents of Zira in Ferozepur, have been identified as Manpreet Singh (32), Charanjit Singh (27), Rajinder Singh (25) and Gurlal Singh (25). While Gurlal, who was driving Tata Indica car, was unmarried others have recently got married.

All victims died on the spot and their bodies were retrieved after struggling for hours with the help of truck drivers, dhaba owners and passers by. The eyewitnesses said the truck had developed snag and could not be towed away at night.

The raagis were returning to Zira after performing at a religious ceremony at Jagadhari in Haryana.

The eyewitnesses said the occupants of the car might have been drunk as the car was being driven at a very high speed when it rammed into the truck parked on the road without any reflectors or taillights on.

Varyam Singh, relative of one of the deceased, Manpreet, reached the local civil hospital from Ludhiana and informed relatives of the other victims. He said Rajinder had got married five months ago.

A case has been registered and bodies handed over to the relatives after post-mortem examination.



Unauthorised diversions on NH-1 pose threat
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, February 17
With the purpose of constructing flyovers at almost every possible cut on the national highway, especially on NH-I , the National Highway Authority of India has practically closed all link roads and imposed diversions, unmindful of the fact that the link road users will be left in the lurch.

As the commuters are literally left way starved, they are once again up in arms against the authorities, who in the process of widening the road to six lanes, have narrowed down the passage for the link road users to the extent that it can pose threat to many lives.

Resultantly, the people of the surrounding villages or the ones using these link roads, have created their own short cuts and are not using the authorised cuts that are located at not less than a distance of 2 to 4 km, which can further prove fatal not only for the ones using them but for the oncoming vehicles as well.

“Much to the ignorance of the oncoming vehicle, many vehicles, including heavy trucks, vans carrying schoolchildren, autos and buses carrying passengers etc, take a sudden U-turn from the unauthorised cuts, which is very risky” rued one such link-road user.

“Rather than closing all ways to the link roads, these diversions should have been imposed one by one or for that matter an authorised cut should have been created by the NHAI authorities itself, at all these diversions and proper signals and reflectors affixed providing an indication for the U-turn”, suggested a commuter.

The unathutorised cuts have gone unchecked by the traffic police too. It seems that the administration too is waiting for some fatal tragedy to happen, before it finally swings into action.

The diversions at Malhipur Chowk,Barmalipur Chowk or for that matter Kaddon chowk, other wise too, are proving a serious threat to the lives of the commuters .It may be remembered that the diversion at Kaddon Chowk alone resulted in 12 accidents in a single day.



Chemists’ body submits memo to DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
The Ludhiana District Chemists’ Association on a call given by the Punjab Chemists’ Association yesterday submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner against the raids carried out by the police department on the chemists’ shops under the NDPS Act.

The copies of the memorandum were also handed over to the police commissioner, civil surgeon, DIG Ludhiana range and the drug inspector.

At least 500 chemists gathered at the Deputy Commissioner’s office to hand over the memorandum and urged him intervene and prevents further raids on their shops in rural as well urban areas.

Association president Tikka Dalip Singh said many a chemists were operating licensed drug stores and the cops had no reason to conduct raids or harass the drug store owners.



Story-telling contest at KVM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
An "Inter house English Story-Telling Competition" was organised by the Junior Humanities Forum for the students of Classes III-V at Kundan Vidya Mandir here today.

The main objective of the function was to enhance reading habits among students, to inculcate moral values and to give them a platform where they could use language in an expressive way. The participants narrated interesting and value-based stories as "Love the family", "The magical stick","Buddha and Angulim" etc that amused the audience a lot.

The function was presided over by Annu Sehra, In charge Primary Section. During the function there were dance presentations by classes IV B, V B and V. D students while class IV F presented a song. Ojasvi (V F) of Nehru House bagged the second position, Impu Sehgal (V A) of Tagore House and Gayatri Gupla (V B) of Subhash House got third prize and Niharika Bahndari (V D) of Raman House got the appreciation prize.



15 students selected in placement drive
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 17
HDFC Standard Life has selected 15 students of GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar, for working as sales development managers at its office today.

The company took test of 80 students of commerce, science and humanities departments. Out of them 40 students were selected for the interview. Fifteen students were selected for the post after an interview.



Tribune Impact
Letters pour in on condition of roads
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
With the local municipal corporation getting proactive in terms of action on various issues, residents of the city are coming up with more and more reactions to help the civic body to make Ludhiana a better place.

Following publication of report “MC to get tough on official-contractor nexus” in Ludhiana Tribune today, where the senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal appealed to residents to help the civic body by highlighting bad roads, over a dozen emails were received by the politician at sitycare@gmail.com.

Residents from various areas like Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Dhandari Kalan, Focal Point, Asha Puri, have not only highlighted the pathetic condition of roads in their localities, they have even come up with suggestions.

Best among the scores of emails was by Neeraj K. Bhatt from BRS Nagar. Congratulating the MC for its initiative, Neeraj shared his concerns and suggestions. “The re-carpeting of main road of HJ Block, BRS Nagar, is going to take place in a few days, but before undertaking the work, rainwater drainage system needs to be installed. The matter was raised by the MC officials, but the decision for the location of drainage tanks and pipes are being taken by a few influential residents who have some links with the contractor undertaking the work. As a result, the major area has remained untouched.”

“In fact, no layout plan is being followed for the installation of drainage tanks and pipes. Thus, the government money is being utilised for benefit of a few houses only. Some people did raise the issue, but they decided to get the work done on their own by making contributions,” wrote Neeraj.

Urging senior deputy mayor Praveen Bansal to visit the site, Bhatt stated, “The government is spending a lot of money for the development of roads and it is likely to go waste if people and thekedars are taking decisions on the actual execution of work. The thekedaar concerned in BRS Nagar has been given so much power that he can decide on all things even layout designs.”

Dr Joginder Singh from Shant Park has written, “The road in front of Gurdwara Mai Bishen Kaur, Shant Park, Near Asha Puri needs urgent repair as its 'bajri' is getting out. Its filling was not done by the contractor at the time of carpeting. You are requested to kindly inspect it at the earliest for action.”

Similarly, Gurdeep Singh, has written, “As per Ludhiana Tribune, the public can give suggestions to you for areas where roads are required to be re-carpeted, so the Industrial Area 'C' near Singla Cycle Road , Dhandri Kalan, desperately needs re-metalling of road. I will be highly thankful to you.”

Overwhelmed with the response, Bansal said, “The scores of emails received by me hint that residents of Ludhiana are waking up. They have understood their responsibilities and now want to lend a helping hand.” The way media helps to highlight discrepancies in the MC, even Ludhianvis can play a similar role.



Woman held for husband’s murder
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 17
The Dakha police claims to have solved the youth murder case with the arrest of a woman. The body of the youth was recovered from a dry canal on the outskirts of Khanjarwal village near here on February 3.

Incidentally, the arrested woman happens to the wife of the deceased. The youth was stabbed more than 12 times. The assailants had tried to conceal his identity by damaging the youth’s face and even removing tattoos from his arm.

After the reports of an unidentified youth’s murder were published in various dailies, the deceased was identified as Kuldeep Singh of Beer Rauke village near Nihal Singh Wala. He had shifted to Jodhewal Basti in Ludhiana recently. A truck driver by profession he used to work at ITI Ajitwal but had joined a school in Ludhiana about two months ago. Married for over eight years, he has two children, Gurjot Singh (7) and Amanjot Kaur (5).

“The police zeroed in on his wife Gurinderpal Kaur, alias Sweety, who was stated to having extramarital affairs with other men,” SHO Jangjit Singh added. She was arrested from the Jagraon bus stand. On being interrogated, she broke down and confessed having conspired to kill her husband. She confessed that she was having an affair with Resham Singh, alias Gogi, a driver residing at Jhande village, and was now living at Talwandi Kalan Khurd with his maternal parents. She said once her husband caught her with him but she settled the dispute by tying a ‘rakhi’ on Gogi’s wrist. Unsuspecting anything Kuldeep Singh never objected Gogi’s entry into his house. On the intervening night of February 2 and 3, she offered dinner to Kuldeep Singh, Gogi and his unidentified friend. Later, she sent Kuldeep Singh with accused Gogi, who had planned to eliminate Kuldeep. En-route to Talwandi Khurd both accused stabbed Kuldeep Singh to death and threw his body into the drain.



18 booked for armed assault
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, February 17
The Humbran police has booked 18 persons on the charges of armed clash on the statement of Surjit Kaur of Maniawal village.

Surjit Kaur in her statement to the police has alleged that Balbir Singh is the brother of her husband Joginder Singh and both of them though neighbours, were not on talking terms with each other.

In their caste, the marriage between first cousin is possible and the sister of Balbir Singh has come to marry her son with the daughter of Balbir Singh on February 11. She also invited the daughter of Joginder Singh in the marriage that was strongly objected by Balbir Singh and his family.

The daughter of Joginder Singh and her family in the middle of the marriage ceremony began insulting them. This was objected by Joginder Singh, who had openly abused Balbir Singh. The matter was blown out of proportion when last evening, accused Balbir Singh along with his sons, relatives and friends and three unidentified persons attacked their house and injured Surjit Kaur, Shinder Pal Singh, Dalip Kaur and other relatives at their house.

The attackers were equipped with Sharp-edged and blunt weapons and poured chilly powder in their eyes during the attack. A case has been registered. No arrest has been made so far.



3 held with 41 bottles of liquor
Tribune News Service

Khanna, February 17
Three persons have been arrested with 41 bottles of liquor today and have been booked under various sections of the Excise Act.

According to police officials, accused Baljindra Singh from Nurpur village was arrested with 24 bottles of rum at around 7.30 pm near Bondal village.

Similarly, at around 6 pm, accused Jagdev Singh, resident of Shatabgarh was arrested with 10 bottles of illicit liquor, while third accused Jagsir Singh from Koop Kalan village was arrested near Soria village with seven bottles of English liquor.



Death due to negligence, doctor acquitted
Our Correspondent

Raikot, February 17
A local doctor, who was sentenced to 18 months rigorous imprisonment along with a fine by the lower court, has been acquitted from a case of death due to negligence.

Narinder Kaur, a patient from Jhorran village, had died due to excessive bleeding and other complication on July 14, 1997. In a complaint lodged with the police her husband Jagroop Singh had stated that his wife who was pregnant aborted. Ramesh Jain of Jain Hospital treated her. Due to the doctor’s negligence she could not recover and died at DMC&H, Ludhiana.

The trial court found the doctor guilty and awarded 18 months rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5000. The doctor in turn appealed to the Ludhiana sessions court against the judgment. The sessions court found him not guilty as during the hearing the court noticed that the abortion was carried out by a quack. Dr Inderjit Kaur Dhaliwal then treated her. When she failed to bring down Narinder Kaur’s fever, she was brought to his clinic for ultrasound scan and for lowering the fever. Seeing the complication of the case Dr Ramesh Jain referred her to Oswal Mohan Dai hospital in Ludhiana from where the family bought her home without getting her treated and discharged from the hospital. Her condition deteriorated at home. She was taken to DMCH, Ludhiana, where she died.

Though five doctors treated her, Narinder Kaur’s family had lodged complaint against one doctor. Giving benefit of doubt to Dr Ramesh Jain, the additional sessions judge acquitted Dr Jain of the charges.



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