L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Residents decry recurring communal strife
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Tension over communal issues which erupted today following a clash between two communities in Noorwala village, near here, made city residents feel ill at ease, with many saying communal and religious tensions were becoming all too frequent in the industrial hub. The tension threatened to engulf the entire city when some members of minority community organisations tried to block traffic on Samrala Chowk.

Makhan Singh, an elderly resident of the village, expresses his anguish and pain over the matter
Makhan Singh, an elderly resident of the village, expresses his anguish and pain over the matter

Timely intervention by the police, however, prevented the situation from turning ugly and residents heaved a sigh of relief.

The situation arose when members of a community did not allow others to visit a religious place in the village on the occasion of ‘Sangrand’, a popular festival in Punjab, which soon led to a clash.

When reports of the confrontation reached city residents, they kept their fingers crossed and hoped the violence would be contained in the village and not spill over into the city.

Police personnel guard the lanes of the village after a communal clash. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan
Police personnel guard the lanes of the village after a communal clash. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana has seen violence triggered by similar incidents thrice during the past one year. First, it was followers of Ramanand indulging in arson and violence in the city, where a curfew was imposed for the first time in two decades. Later migrant workers and locals clashed with each other and damaged public and private property. Then it was the turn of radical Sikhs who had protested against the congregation of a cult leader.

‘‘All this is ridiculous. Our foreign friends look down upon us whenever they hear of such clashes here. They say they are shocked that people fight over these issues here and hold residents to ransom, ’’ said Rimmi Sayan, an NRI who is on a visit to the city.

A number of industrialists said repeated violent incidents like the one in Noorwala today often led to a collapse of law and order in the city and affected their businesses. ‘‘Our buyers from abroad are scared of visiting the city whenever they learn about violence breaking out here. We have to convince them several times that the tension created by these incidents does not last for a long time”, said Manjeet Singh, an industrialist.

Children, too, swayed
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Noorwala, March 14
The ugly clash between grown-ups over a religious place in this small village did not even spare innocent children, who were swept by a wave of strong hatred against the "other community" and would continue to nurture the grudge of being ''tormented'' forever.

Though the children of both communities were divided over the issue like their elders, they were united in their hatred for each other.

Besides the common hatred taking birth in little hearts, a general emotion of provocation erupted among all parents. The sentiment was perhaps at its zenith among mothers, who were heard inciting their young sons to join their "religious struggle" with their fathers.

"We will not tolerate physical, social and religious harassment at the hands of the more powerful and majority community. We will stand with our fathers and fight for justice till our last breath."

These were the words of eight-year-old Sukhpal Singh (name changed to protect identity) as one walked towards his home amid tight security.

The village witnessed major communal tension this morning when differences between two communities took an ugly turn after their members clashed over the possession of a religious place.

Some members of one of the warring communities were injured and many others, including women and children, sustained minor injuries in the clash.

Sukhpal is not the only one who is deeply anguished over the clash. There are scores of other kids like him in the village who share his sentiments. Barely old enough to understand the meaning of "religion", Sukhpal and his likes, are ready “to lay down their lives” for their "community".

Says 11-year-old Kirpal Singh (name changed), whose father sustained minor injuries in the clash, "This is sheer humiliation. We are being treated as second-class citizens since ages.

It is high time we take the reins in our hands and fight for justice for our fathers, grandfathers and forefather."

Other children of the village, from both the warring communities, too joined Kirpal and Sukhpal in voicing their anger against the "other community". Their hatred for members of the other community rendered the village air heavy with anger, pain and frustrations writ large on innocent faces.

Village once had no communal divide, say elders
Charu Chhibber/Tribune News Service

Noorwala, March 14
“Once upon a time the village belonged to all its residents and there were no perceptible differentiation based on caste” - so say the elders of Noorwala, near Ludhiana, which witnessed communal turmoil today when members of two communities clashed over the possession of a gurdwara.

Deeply hurt at the unfortunate turn of events, elderly residents of the village looked on in dismay at the broken ‘nishan sahib’ and scattered bricks lying on the gurdwara premises even as younger members of two communities fought with each other in the streets.

Not knowing how to stop their grown-up children from lashing out at members of the other community, the village elders found themselves to be completely helpless.

Giving vent to his feelings, Makhan Singh, a septuagenarian resident of the village, said: "There was a time when both Jat Sikhs and Ramdasias lived peacefully together in the village as brothers. There was complete harmony and an air of camaraderie in the area."

He observed the past few months have seen communal tension simmering among the two communities. "The bone of contention is the village gurdwara," he added.

"It’s so unfortunate people today are fighting over places of worship when all faiths teach the spiritual unity of mankind”, said a sad Raminder Singh, another senior resident of the village.

Both men refused to be identified with any particular community and said, "We are humans - we don’t know what a Jat or a Ramdasia is”.

Similar views were expressed by another elderly resident, Rishpal Kaur, who has been residing in the village for the past four decades. "Only six months ago the gurdwara used to be a common meeting place for members of both communities. I don’t know what happened after a new gurdwara was built at some distance from here," she said with bewilderment and pain clear in her voice.

"In all these 40 years I’ve never witnessed such an incident, leave alone any minor communal dispute, taking place here. What happened today was unprecedented and should be nipped in the bud immediately, else the coming generations will kill each other," said a scared Rishpal.

Sunder Singh, another resident in his 60s, recalled the days when "it was difficult to identify a Jat's children from those of a Ramdasia. But the persistent tension during the past few months have created such a rift between the two communities that it’s now impossible to see kids of both communities together”.


Dumping of fly ash continues unabated
Focal Point turns into desert
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Focal Point here seems to be turning into a desert. Heaps of fly ash have stacked up along the roadsides here. Burning of rice husk produces fly ash, which the industry uses as fuel.
Fly ash being openly dumped at Focal Point in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan
Fly ash being openly dumped at Focal Point in Ludhiana. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

The government had urged brick kiln owners to use fly ash during the making of bricks, but brick kiln owners refused to do so, as they did not find it practically viable.

It’s dumped along the roadsides and low-lying areas and then covered with a thin layer of earth so that it could not be spotted.

Thin particles of fly ash are carried into the air and cause respiratory and eye problems. Labourers working in the nearby factories have complained of irritation in eyes.

“Industrial units dump the waste in the open and we have to bear the brunt. The worst affected are children and the elderly lot. They regularly complain of eye irritation and respiratory problems,” said Tarsem Das, a worker.

Satinder Ahuja, an industrialist from Focal Point, said although they have complained to the authorities concerned a number of times, nothing concrete has been done. People dump the

fly ash at night. Even the forest area in the city has not been spared.

“Vehicular movement has become impossible here. As I enter the area, my eyes start burning as if some strong chemical has entered my eyes,” said Parshotam, a resident.



Mild tremors in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Mild tremors, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, were felt by city residents this noon, forcing people to come out in the open. Students in the library of Punjab Agricultural University, after feeling the movement of chairs and tables, immediately rushed out of the building.

Said Raman, "Initially, I thought it was some sort of vibration caused by some electrical gadget, but I realised that it was an earthquake and came out of the building with other readers sitting in the library."

A large number of people on the city’s periphery also felt the tremors.

Some persons observing religious rituals on Sangrand in Durga Mata Mandir in Dugri, too, felt the tremors and gathered at one place.

Sudarshan Kumar, who is undergoing treatment in a local hospital, said, "I felt helpless as I have very sharp senses and I came to know about the quake instantly. I started reciting Hanuman Chalisa, which helped me to calm down." Some worried parents even called up their wards studying outside Ludhiana to enquire about their safety, as a mother of a girl doing her M.Sc from Kurukshetra University said that after listening to the television news about an earthquake in Haryana, she was worried till the time her daughter spoke to her on telephone.



She overcame odds to become beautician
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Fighting against all odds, Manmeet, who is deaf and dumb, did not let her handicap dissuade her from becoming a successful beautician and is now successfully supporting her family.

Sharing her story of personal success through her interpreter, Sonia Sharma, she said: " My father, a staunch Sikh, initially disapproved of my choice of profession as Sikh beliefs prohibit removal of hair. However, seeing my resolve and passion for the work he eventually gave in”.

Manmeet was in the city today along with 60 deaf and dumb girls and women from all over Punjab to attend a seminar on ‘empowerment of deaf women’, organized by The Deaf Way Foundation, New Delhi.

Now married to her best friend and settled in Patiala, Manmeet hails from Ludhiana and studied at the city’s Deaf and Dumb School, later going on to do a course at the Grace beauty clinic here in 1995.

“My first marriage was to a Bathinda boy which ended in disaster and I had to wind up my beauty clinic there. That left me in a dilemma as I had no idea where to begin my life anew”, she said.

“It was the support and love extended by Harpreet, my second husband, who was also a family friend, that worked wonders in my life. Himself deaf and dumb, he could understand my feelings better than anyone. Thereafter, I started my new personal and professional life in Patiala and here I am, a successful professional, a happy wife and a proud mother”, Manmeet added.

Speaking on behalf of disabled women struggling to find a respectable place in professional and social circles, she said the workshops being conducted by The Deaf Way Foundation helped in building up their confidence.

Meanwhile, Era Walton, the foundation’s coordinator, while appreciating the confidence of women like Manmeet, said it was women like her who set an example for many others.

"We have noted down the problems faced by these girls and women who are doubly disadvantaged, and resource persons from the National Association of Deaf (an associate organization) have informed them about their civil rights. Also, women who are suppressed by their husbands or male relatives and friends in terms of domestic violence and child abuse are educated to fight for their rights on personal and legal grounds," Walton went on to add.



Rotting paddy delays work on polytechnic college
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khamano, March 14
The construction work of a polytechnic college in Khamano has been delayed for more than a month due to rotten paddy bags that are lying at the site for the past many years.

Addressing a rally during the foundation laying ceremony of the polytechnic college on January 27, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had categorically said: “People do not believe in ministers these days. They say the work is never completed on time.” He, however, assured the gathering that construction work of the college would begin the next day as all the modalities had been completed.

Residents of Khamano and Ranwan village - where the foundation stone for college is laid - said the government failed to remove the rotten paddy bags. “We have written to senior functionaries of the administration and the Punjab government to get the paddy removed as it creates nuisance for villagers and others residing nearby, but to no avail,” said Paramjit Singh of Khamano.

He said that people heaved a sigh of relief after the laying of the foundation stone of the college as they hoped that the rotten paddy would be lifted immediately.

A visit to the site revealed that a few bricks and sand was dumped at one side. However, no construction work had begun at the site.

The college building is supposed to come up with an expenditure of Rs 12.3 crore and will be built with the help of the Central government.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Yashvir Mahajan said the paddy would be removed within a week. “There are minor hitches and the construction work would begin in a few days,” he added.



Health dept chalks out plan to check dengue
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Taking precautionary measures to quell gastroenteritis and dengue in the city, the Department of Health and Family Welfare has chalked out an “action plan” which has been forwarded to the Ludhiana municipal corporation.

The plan was discussed in a recent District Sehat Committee’s meeting which was attended by health officials in the presence of Ludhiana civil surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh.

However, the Department of Health and Family Welfare has held the municipal corporation responsible for gastroenteritis and dengue outbreaks in the city.

Slum areas in the city, including Gyaspura, Fauji Colony, Shimlapuri, Ambedkar Nagar and colonies near Sherpur Chowk in the city are in a bad shape in terms of cleanliness. Residents are at the receiving end, as there is no proper area for garbage disposal. Stagnant rain water, along with sewerage water leakage, results in pools of water forming a breeding ground for bacteria.

The municipal corporation despite the repeated pleas of the area residents and health officials did nothing to clear the area.

Moreover, residents have been deprived of the potable water ever since the coming up of these colonies.

On the other hand, residents of Gyaspura, the gastro prone area, are dependent upon just one health centre, which has insufficient staff to cater to the populace living in the area.

Former Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana Anurag Verma after his visit to Gyaspura, had made a proposal to set up another government dispensary at Gyaspura three years ago. The proposal was tabled before the local bodies department for clearance, but nothing has been done so far.

An employee working at the health centre in Gyaspura said, “We have to deal with more than 15,000 persons, whereas the health centre is not equipped to cater to more than 5,500 persons. Many a times we have to bolt the doors of the centre, as we are not even able to provide immunisation to all women and children standing outside the centre,” added the staff member.



Mass marriage function organised
Our Correspondent

Raikot, March 14
In a service towards downtrodden and poor families, the Nishkam Sewa and Virdh Ashram of Raikot, with the help of Lions Club Raikot and NRI Avtar Singh Katri, today helped 14 couples to get married. The couples had arrived here to solemnise the marriage from far-off places of Barnala, Sangrur and Moga districts, besides Ludhiana district.

The mass marriage programme was organised by the organisation at the their place in Barnala Chowk as per the Sikh rites by Bibi Sharanjit Kaur, Gurpreet Kaur, Bhai Gurcharan Singh of Preet Ragi Jatha.

Bibi Harjeet Kaur, president of the old age home, Ravi Devgan, principal, of the school run by the organisation, president of the lions club Mukesh Gupta, Dr Durgesh Sharma, KK Sharma, Dr Naresh Goyal, Dr Vishal Jain, Dr Surinder Singh, Subhash Passi, advocate BR Sharma, Dr BL Bansal, Sandeep Sharma, Gurnek Singh Grewal, Jaswant Singh, Kamaljit Singh Behal, Baldev Khurana and many other persons visited the old age home to bless the newly married couples. A common kitchen was arranged for all visitors and families of the mass marriage programme.

The society is serving the needy persons of the city for the past 27 years. Utensils and goods of daily needs were given to the newly weds, including cloths, utensils, beddings, furniture and make-up kits, besides watches and gold ornaments. The newly weds expressed their gratitude to the visitors for blessing them.



Graduation ceremony
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 14
Graduation ceremony was held at Sacred Heart Convent School, Sahnewal, today. Dr Mathew Chuvattil was the chief guest on the occasion. Daniel Gill and James Judith were also present at the ceremony.

A cultural programme was also organised. The function began with lighting of the ceremonial lamp.

Students of UKG were honoured by the chief guest

Students sung a welcome song.

They presented skits, dances, skits and solo performances. School principal Sister Pavitra and vice-principal Sister Paulin welcomed guests. The annual report of the school was read out.

The chief guest appreciated the efforts of students, management and staff.

He gave away prizes to winners of various events.



200 students felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 14
Over 200 students of Government College, Karamsar, were felicitated for their distinguished performance in various fields at the annual prize distribution function organised on the college campus yesterday.

Amrit Varsha Sharma, principal of the college, presided over the function, while Dr Neeru Katyal Gupta, SDM, Payal, was the chief guest.

Harbans Singh Jhajh, senior professor at Punjabi University, Patiala, was the guest of honour.

While addressing students, Neeru Katyal exhorted them to acquire excellence in their respective fields of education. She asked them to equip themselves to meet future challenges.

Referring to the importance of education in the development of rural areas, Katyal said educated people played a vital role in improving social and economic level of all sections of an agrarian society. Education was of utmost importance as it helped curb social evils also. Appreciating the achievements of the college, the SDM said the institution was one of the pioneer institutions engaged in promotion of rural education.

Amrit Varsha Sharma, besides, proposing the vote of thanks, highlighted the achievements of students in various fields.

Parkash Singh, convener of the function, congratulated award winners. The college colour was presented to 10 sportspersons and seven students for achievement in academics. Five brilliant students who bagged top positions in university examinations were also felicitated.



Tewari blames SAD govt for fiscal mismanagement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
Congress MP from Ludhiana and national spokesperson of All-India Congress Committee Manish Tewari held the SAD-BJP government in Punjab responsible for fiscal mismanagement.

While addressing public meetings at Roop Nagar, Dev Nagar and Mansooran village in the district, he said due to the non-cooperation of the state government and its inability to contribute its share to various development schemes, several projects had failed to take off. “Also the distribution of the Centre’s funds for development by Punjab ministers, MLAs and zila parishads is unethical, as people are well aware of the fact that where these funds are being used,” he remarked.

Tewari said the Centre, through HUDCO, had announced a grant of Rs 150 crore under Jawahar Lal Urban Renewal Mission to villages adjoining Ludhiana for expansion of civic amenities.

The Congress MP announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh from his MPLAD fund to villages that he visited. He further extended a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the cremation ground of Majhabi Sikhs at Mansooran village.



Business Clips
Web portal to guide pilgrims
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Ganesha Speaks, an astrological web portal and official successor to the astrological legacy of the world famous astrologer Bejan Daruwalla, has shouldered the responsibility of guiding the safe passage of pilgrims at the Maha Kumbha Mela 2010.

Hemang Arun Pandeet, CEO and MD, Ganesha Speaks said, “We will be distributing booklets and posters of safety guidelines.”


RAK Ceramics has introduced a RAK styler series.

It offers customers a complete package of bathroom designs, along with a number of combinations for wall and floor tiles.

This series is targeted at well informed and fashion conscious customers who have an eye for new styles, new rustic surfaces, concepts that are contemporary, modern and fashion forwarded. It is a premium range of tiling concepts using a combination of vitrified highlighter tiles.

Live cricket

“6UP”, the runs per over sms game, gives a chance to cricket lovers to win cash prizes up to Rs 20,000, while watching live cricket during the IPL 2010. The fun continues with IPL’s second and third matches between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals followed by Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils. “6UP” is a unique mobile-based game. With “6UP” going live this IPL 2010, it will give fans a chance to interact with live cricket in a way that adds a challenge and thrill to watching the game.




Ludhiana, March 14
Participants queued up for the auditions of Colors channel’s serial “India Got Talent-Season 2” outside the auditorium of Ramgariha College for Women, Ludhiana. Around 59 participants from Amritsar, Bhatinda, Moga, Jalandhar, Lohian Khas, Pathankot and Ludhiana showcased their talent.

Auditions were evaluated by team experts, including S Ranjod Singh, Ashim Nagpal, S Gurpinder Singh (Ishmeet’s father) and Harkirat Kaur, lecturer, Ramgariha College. Singer Arvind, Hanit Singh, winner of TV serial War Parivar, and Sawinder Singh were also present. — TNS



Labour, farmer unions rally today
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 14
As many as 22 labour and framer unions will come on a single platform on Monday to protest against the “anti-employee” and anti-farmer” policies of the Union and the state governments.

The unions are up in arms against the government for prise rise, privatisation and the Sukhbir-Kalia recommendations. The rally will be held at the new grain market. According to intelligence reports, over 1 lakh people are expected to attend the rally.

Amolak Singh of Lok Morcha, Punjab, said the ruling parties were trying to implement their capitalist polices. Same power is needed to nullify their polices and only the farmers and labour associations have that capability. A meeting was held here today and 22 unions promised unconditional support to the rally. Kamaljit Khanna of the Inqualibi Kender, Punjab, said the rally would be a milestone for the initiatives of Punjabi labour unions to carry on their fight to achieve the socialistic goals of their unions. He said even the profit making units of the government were being sold to private sector.

Besides the Inqualibi Kender and the Lok Morcha other unions to participate in the rally include the Democratic Teachers’ Front, the Naujawan Bharat Sabha, the Bharatiya Kissan Union (Ekta), the Kirti Kissan Union, the Pendu Majdoor Union (Mashal), the Food and Allied Workers Union, the FCI Workers Unions, the PSEB Employees Union, the Bags Stitching Union, the Masons Union, the Markfed Workers Union, the Technical Services Union, and the LIC Employees Union.



Old beauties hit city roads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
Glorious relics of an age gone by hit the streets of Ludhiana during the third annual road show organised by the Punjab Heritage Motoring Club. The event showcased cars and two-wheelers, including the oldest car of the club, the 1929 Baby Austin, owned by Inderpal Singh Gill, along with his collection of other cars, including the oldest two-wheeler BSA 1952 owned by Sahil Sukheja from Faridkot.

The show aimed at preserving the heritage, building up taste among people to have the old vehicles and encourage those who are really interested to buy the old beauties.

The show was dedicated to the conservation of resources with the theme “Conserve Resources, save environment, save fuel”.

To drive home this message, the vehicles remained stationary this year to conserve fuel.

The cars took a round of the Sarabha Nagar market.

It was an exciting moment, when the old beauties took a round of Sarabha Nagar. The rally started from the PAU gate No 2.

The rally reminded the days of British Raj, the opulent majesty of the maharajas of a more glamorous age. For a moment, Ludhiana went back to its glorious days, a flashback, which everyone is nostalgic about.

The chief guest, Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman, zila parishad, inaugurated the show.

Parminder Jit Singh Gill and Inderpal Singh gill displayed Baby Austin 1929,vw beetle,vw camper van, Mercedes Benz. Mohinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh showcased Standard Herald, Jawa motorcycle, Karanvir Singh displayed his Mercedes Benz, Gurpreet Singh Sehmbey and Rajinder Singh displayed their vw beetles.



BKU seeks higher MSP for rabi crops
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 14
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) today asked the Union government to raise the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat and other rabi crops as per the recommendations of the Dr Swaminathan committee.

Accordingly, the MSP of wheat should be fixed at Rs 2,250 per quintal, the union said, adding that the government should also pressed the panic button on the exploitation of potato growers after a bumper crop in the state.

After an emergent meeting of the union here today, BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said there was a virtual glut of potatoes in Punjab with a very few or no buyers. “The farmers are being forced to sell their crop at throwaway prices and the middlemen are taking advantage of the situation,” he said.

The BKU chief made a strong case for a long-term comprehensive policy for potatoes and to safeguard the interests of the farmers. He urged the state government to make arrangements for export of the potato so that the producers could get remunerative prices.

Seeking the intervention of the government to ensure uninterrupted power supply for 10 hours daily to the farm sector, the BKU wanted the proposed production bonus to be paid to farmers in advance against user charges for electricity to run tubewells and canal water, which would be billed.

Lakhowal urged the Centre to allocate a separate budget for agriculture like the Railways, which alone would dispense justice to nearly 80 per cent of the population of the country, which was directly or indirectly dependent on farming.

The meeting further demanded speedy action to redress the problems of farmers for which an 11-member high powered committee, headed by the Prime Minister, has been set up, one-time remission of all old debts against farmers, maximum rate of interest for farm loans to be fixed at 4 per cent and immediate release of electricity connections for tubewells for all applications pending since 1990.



Camp for making PAN card

Ludhiana, March 14
A camp for making Permanent Account Number (PAN) card was today organised by the Children and Women Welfare Council at Mini Rose Garden. The camp was inaugurated by Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal.

Nearly 415 people filled forms for making PAN card. Jatinder Khurana, a lawyer, said apart from filing the income tax return, PAN card is also necessary for opening a bank account, buying a mobile phone or a car.



Experimentation drive by agri dept
Team visits farms to assess results
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 14
The Punjab agriculture department, through its district chiefs, has started an experimentation campaign. Under the campaign, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, chairman, Punjab Farmers’ Commission, along with Balwinder Singh Sidhu, director (agriculture), Punjab, Inderjit Singh, director (dairy development), Punjab, and Dr Yadwinder Singh Cheena, chief agriculture officer, Ludhiana, visited various farms and sites within the district.

Dr Kaura and Dr PS Rangi, consultants of the farmers’ commission, Dr Sukhpal Singh, agriculture officer, Ludhiana, agriculture development officers Dr Amanjit Singh, Dr Nirmal Singh and Dr Parkash Singh accompanied the visiting team and examined the results of the experimentation.

Talking to farmers, Kalkat said there was no other way for farmers but to resort to experimentation, alternative farming and allied farming to enhance their levels of profit.

Sidhu said farmers who were part of the endeavour were provided with inputs free of cost, including machinery, insecticides, pesticides and fertilisers.

He said keeping all other things on a par with conventional cultivation, a farmer could save Rs 8,000 per acre on the cost itself while the productivity remained the same.

In the long run, the fields under the new technique would demand lesser insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers and would enhance their profits.

The team visited the farm of Nirmal Singh who had adopted the stubble melting technique on his two acres of agriculture land out of 12 acres. In this technique, the stubble of paddy was not burned and wheat was sowed using Happy seeder, the wheat sowing machine that saved water and diesel for irrigation purpose in wheat crop.

Nirmal Singh, who has been experimenting for some time, said the results were great without a decline in productivity.

Currently, 40 farmers in the state were carrying out experimentation on over 70 acres of farmland.

CAO Chhina said the department currently had just 14 Happy seeders and seeing the response of farmers, the department was going to acquire 80 more such machines. Two hundred such machines were expected to be given to farmers and societies on subsidy through the farmers’ commission.

Earlier, the team visited the Bija Dairy Development Training Centre for inspection.

Later, it visited a banana farm in Kular village. The farm had been developed by Mewa Singh, a progressive farmer who had undertaken alternative farming for greater returns.

The team finally visited the state-of-the-art diary farm of Daljit Singh, president of the Progressive Farmers’ Association, Punjab.

Various farmers, including Parminder Singh Lalton, Nirmal Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Ravinder Singh, Hardev Singh, Babu Singh, Balwant Singh, also accompanied the inspection team to observe the results of various experiments in the fields of dairy farming and farm cultivation.



Rs 10 lakh grant to village
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 14
Ludhiana Zila Parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali on Friday handed over a grant of Rs 10 lakh to Palwinder Singh, sarpanch of Salempur village to provide basic amenities in the area.

Out of the total grant, Rs 4 lakh would be spent on new constructions and repairs of streets, sewerage lines and Rs 6 lakh for renovation of main drain passing through the village.



Programme in memory of last Sikh ruler
Rakesh Gupta

Raikot, March 14
Maharaja Dalip Singh Memorial Foundation organised a first-ever memorial programme “Vishal Utsav” in memory of last Sikh ruler Dalip Singh at Bassian Canal House, popularly known as “Kothi”. Bassian house is a 200-year-old monument of Sikh heritage on the outskirts of Bassian.

Here Maharani Jind Kaur popularly known as Rani Jindan and Maharaja Dalip Singh were kept in captivity before being sent to exile.

Five Namdharis, who participated in the famous Kuka Movement against Britishers, were imprisoned here before being hanged to death in 1850.

Harmohinder Singh, MLA from Raikot, presided over the programme, while Jagdev Singh Talwandi was the chief guest.

Speakers urged the state government to build a memorial on the site to preserve and protect the rich culture and glorious history of Punjab. A number of speakers, including Minister Hira Singh Gabria, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Ranjit Singh Talwandi, Dr Shivraj Singh, Dr Sartaj Singh, a Sikh scholar from the UK addressed the gathering. The Bassian house was used as the recruitment centre for the police and the British army.

Britishers used to store arms, ammunitions and explosives in the house. It served as an advance supply depot of British military division based at Ferozepur.

Surrounded by fields of 18-acre land, the place was virtually invincible by intruders.

At the time of First Anglo Sikh War, when the Sikhs attacked Britishers at Aliwal village on January 28, 1846,

General Henery Smith was commanding the British Army and confronted the aggressive Sikhs led by Ranjodh Singh Majithia. The arms from this ammunition depot were used to repulse the attack. The war had left 589 Britishers and more than 3,000 Sikh warriors dead.

In 1981, Jagdev Singh Jassowal, during his tenure as a legislature from Raikot, tried to give the house a new look by installing new furniture and a portrait of Maharaja Dalip Singh after getting it painted by noted painter Kirpal Singh. 



CME on caesarean section
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
The department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, conducted a CME on caesarean section, its changing trends and medico-legal issues under the aegis of the National Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society of India (NOGSI) today.

The function was inaugurated by chief guest Dr Abraham G Thomas, director, CMCH, and was attended by eminent obstetricians from the city and neighbouring areas.

The speakers included Dr Usha Saraiya, former chairperson, Indian College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ICOG), and Dr Uday Thanawala, ICOG CME in charge, who sensitised the delegates on the caesarean section and covered common endocrinological cases encountered by gynaecologists.

They were helped in their endeavour by Dr Vaneet Kaur, leading gynaecologist and senior consultant, Apollo Hospital.



Halwara explosive device incident
Security arrangements under cloud
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 14
Revelations made by suspected terrorists who had implanted 10 kg of improvised explosive device in a car near Halwara Air Force Station, near here, before Republic Day, have put a question mark on the claimed vigilance of the police.

The car was stolen from Rampura Phool in Barnala police district and bought from Nabha in Patiala district. The explosive was brought from Mumbai was implanted in the car at Bhalwan village in Dhuri subdivision.

Though the vehicle carrying the explosive crossed many police check-posts, organised especially as preventive measure before Republic Day, and remained stranded near highly strategic air force station for two days, none of the officials bothered to check it.

This has further enhanced apprehensions among residents of this region. What has further worried them is the admission of the police that some of the militants are still at large.

Revelations made by Jasbir Singh Jassa of Manki village and Harjit Singh Dee Cee of Bijliwal in Gurdaspur before an SIT, supervised by Harinder Singh Chahal SSP Ludhiana (Rural), have authenticated that the Khalistan Liberation Force was all out to register its presence by reviving terrorism in the region.

Investigations revealed that Baba Bakhshish Singh, who is aspiring to be chief of the outfit and was suspected to be holding up in hideouts in Raekot and Barnala regions, had deputed Jasbir Singh Jassa to arrange an old car for the purpose.

Jassa, with the help of his brother Darshan Singh, bought the car from Kuldip Singh and Bachiter Singh of Nabha. The sellers had stolen this car from Rampura Phool. Darshan Singh was paid Rs 10,000 out of total amount of Rs 40,000 as his commission.

Bakhshish Singh later implanted the IED in the vehicle at Pargat Singh's house at Bhalwan village near Dhuri in Sangrur district. The explosive brought from Mumbai was procured from another terrorist Harjit Singh.

The terrorist admitted that they had planed to create panic before Republic Day by causing havoc near the strategic installation. None of the police parties had bothered to intercept them.

Though the police had seized huge quantities of explosives and arms from terrorists and their sympathisers during past years, its priorities appeared to have changed.

The sequence of events during the past few months have posed a question mark on routine patrolling undertaken by security officials of the air force station, the state police and the toll plaza.

With the largest number of suspected hideouts of “anti-social elements” involved in sedition cases, the police is yet review the list of these dens and others that are being created on behalf of hardcore terrorists hiding in foreign countries.

It is learnt that the then SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar had set up special teams to maintain vigil over suspected hideouts in view of the spurt in terrorist activities and threats made to prominent people a few months ago.

The conspiracy for the Shingaar Cinema blast in Ludhiana was also allegedly hatched in Ghuman village in the area. A perusal of records revealed that terrorists owing alliance to the Babbar Khalsa and various KLF factions had been active in the area during the separatist militancy.

Suspects in police custody
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, March 14
The local police has taken the two suspects in the Halwara car bomb incident into its custody on production warrants to investigate the case filed against them. Both were arrested on charges of planting explosives in car parked near the busy market in the high security area containing the Halwara air force station, under sections 3, 4 & 5 of the Indian Explosives Act, a day before Independence Day.

The suspects, Jasvir Singh alias Jassa of Manki village near Malerkotla and Harjant Singh alias DC of Bijliwal village in Gurdaspur district, were bought by the Jagraon police from the high security Nabha jail. A local court remanded them to police custody.

The suspects were being interrogated by a special investigative team comprising DSP (D) Satinder Pal Singh, Raikot DSP Prithipal Singh, Jagraon CIA in charge Tehal Singh and Sudhar SHO Jasbinder Singh.

During questioning the suspects told the cops one Bakshish Singh assigned the duty of procuring a car to Jasvir. The latter bought the vehicle with the help of his brother, Darshan Singh, for Rs 40,000 from Kuldeep Singh and Bachitter Singh, both of Maur Nabha village, paying him Rs 10,000 in cash. The suspects had stolen the car from Rampura Phool near Bathinda.

They said Harjant Singh was assigned the duty of procuring explosives via Mumbai. After taking the consignment of explosives from one Harjant Singh, Bakshish assembled the bomb along with Pargat Singh of Bhalwan village near Dhuri at the latter’s house and fixed them in the car.

Bakshish and Pargat later parked the car near the Halwara air force station. However, due to the moisture on the explosives as well as the detonator they failed to explode.

Jagraon SSP Harinder Singh stated Harjant had procured the 15 kilograms of gelatin from Harminder Singh alias Mintu at a Mumbai ‘dhaba’ (makeshift eatery) three months ago. According to him the latter was a dreaded ‘Khalistan Zindabad Force’ terrorist now settled somewhere in south India.

“He accepted the job after he was promised he would be paid Rs. 1.25 lakh for it. The meeting place was decided over the phone by someone in Germany. Bakshish is also active in the same outfit. The explosives were carried by Harjant in the truck he that he drove. He was given Harminder’s phone number and was instructed by Bakshish to call him up after procuring a new SIM card that was to be destroyed after one call. After taking delivery of the explosives, he buried them near a pond in his village from where - luckily as it turned out - the explosives gathered moisture due to improper storage”, Harinder said.

He added investigations are still on and there was a possibility of more “serious” revelations by the suspects.



Two hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Khamano, March 14
Two persons were injured in a group clash at Barwali Khurd village last night. According to information, two groups, one led by former sarpanch Avtar Singh and the other by Tarlochan Singh and Netar Singh, had a minor scuffle on a bridge near the bus stop. Later, the Avtar Singh group allegedly attacked the house of Tarlochan Singh, who received a gunshot on his leg, allegedly from his own .12-bore rifle.

Amrinder Singh also received a head injury with a sharp-edged weapon. The injured were rushed to the Khamano civil hospital from where Avtar Singh was referred to the PGI and Amrinder Singh to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. A case has been registered. 



Body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 14
The body of an unidentified man was found from a garbage dump in Shimla Puri area here today. The body was stuffed in a gunny bag. The police suspected that the deceased was forced to drink strong acid.

The body has been sent for post-mortem. A case has been registered.



Govt college, Khanna eves excel
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, March 14
Participants from the Government College for Women, Ludhiana, and Khanna hogged limelight by clinching three gold medals each in the women's section of the 33rd Ludhiana District Weightlifting Championship organised by the District Ludhiana Weightlifting Association today.

In the men's section, lifters from the Ludhiana Club clinched most of the titles.

Manpreet Kaur, Khushveer Kaur and Narinder Kaur from Khanna, while Baljinder Kaur, Mamta and Navjot Kaur of the Government College for Women, Ludhiana bagged gold medals in their respective categories.

Earlier, Raghbir Singh Beera, councillor, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, inaugurated the championship in which 60 lifters in the men's and women's sections competed.

Dr Iqbal Singh, president of the association, along with other office-bearers of the association was present on this occasion. DSP, Paramjeet Singh distributed the prizes. The judges who supervised the championship included national judge Bhagwan Dass Khajuria, Amarjit Singh, Nazar Singh, BS Saini, Ram Singh, SS Dara, Rajinder Singh and Shubhkaran Singh.


Women’s (48 kg): 1st Meena of Guru Nanak College, Ludhiana, 2nd Parveen Kaur of Khanna and 3rd Rachna Bala of Master Tara Singh Memorial College, Ludhiana.

53 kg: 1st Manpreet Kaur of Khanna, 2nd Sandeep Kaur of Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

58 kg: 1st Baljinder Kaur of Government College for Women, Ludhiana, 2nd Davinder Kaur of Khanna.

63 kg: 1st Khushveer Kaur of Khanna, 2nd Rajni of Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

69 kg: 1st Mamta of Government College for Women, Ludhiana, 2nd Priya of Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women, Ludhiana.

75 kg: 1st Navjot Kaur of Government College for Women, Ludhiana, 2nd Anu Bala of Master Tara Singh Memorial College, Ludhiana.

Plus 75 kg: 1st Narinder Kaur of Khanna, 2nd Seema Rani of Master Tara Singh Memorial College, Ludhiana.

Men’s (56 kg): 1st Kuldeep Singh of Khanna, 2nd Sidhartha of Guru Nanak Stadium Club, 3rd Jatinder Kumar of Ludhiana Club.

62 kg: 1st Gurpreet Singh of Ludhiana Club, 2nd Vikas Thakur of Ludhiana Club, 3rd Pallav Khajuria of Ludhiana Club.

69 kg: 1st Kamaljit Singh of Ludhiana Club, 2nd Parminder Singh of Khanna, 3rd Ajmer Singh of Khanna.

77 kg: 1st Pardeep Sharma of Ludhiana Club, 2nd Kulbir Singh of Ludhiana Club, 3rd Jarnail Singh of Ludhiana Club.

85 kg: 1st Balwinder Singh of Guru Nanak Stadium Club, 2nd Harvinder Singh of Ludhiana Club, 3rd Lovepreet Singh of Khanna.

94 kg: 1st Khemjit Singh of Ludhiana Club, 2nd Kulbir Singh of Ludhiana Club, 3rd Vipan of Ludhiana.



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