L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Monday Special
Ending child labour remains as elusive as ever
Legislation alone not enough to curb menace
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Punjab prospers but the blight of child labour remains as the state has failed to address the issue of compulsory primary education. The presence of child workers is most pervasive in the city’s factories that form the state’s industrial backbone.

Unscrupulous labour practices lie at the heart of the 'Ludhiana miracle' and child workers, with little legal or social protection, bear the brunt of these practices. The state government, however, appears unconcerned with bringing about changes.

Poverty has often been cited as the reason for the child labour problem in the country. While it is true that the poorest, most disadvantaged sectors of Indian society supply the vast majority of child workers, child labour actually creates an perpetuates poverty as it displaces adults from their jobs and also condemns the child to a life of unskilled badly paid work.

Generally, industrial houses prefer to employ child workers because they can be recruited for less pay, more work can be extracted from them and there is no problem of unions with them. This attitude also makes it difficult for adults to find jobs in factories, forcing them to drive their little ones to work to keep the hearth fire burning.

Nine-year-old Ganesha spends his entire day at a brick kiln in the city and has no respite from the searing waves of heat generated by the furnaces. Like most children who work in the kilns he has never been to school. He says somewhat wistfully he would have liked to learn to read and write.

“Even I want to go to school like other children but my parents sent me here so that I can help them in running the household,” he sobs.

Every morning 10-year-old Deepak’s mother packs his lunch and the little boy heads towards his destination. No, he does not rush towards the nearest school but instead goes to the roadside ‘dhaba’ (makeshift eating joint) on the national highway.

“Although I work in a ‘dhaba’ my master doesn’t provide me food. From morning till late night I slog like a slave and at the end of the month he gives me only Rs 1,200. I never get my wages on time. My three months’ wages are still pending with the ‘dhaba’ owner,” rued Deepak.

Manohar Kumar, a 15-year-old child, who works at a steel factory, had moved to the city from Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh a year ago along with several others from his village. He spends 12 hours a day hammering thin steel tubes into fancy hubcaps for cars. He is allowed to take a half-hour lunch break provided he makes up for the “lost time”. The noise at the factory is deafening and shards of metal fly off the raw steel pipes in all directions.

Manohar's employment for Rs1,000 a month, well under the statutory minimum wage, explains why child labour is an attractive option for employers. Children come cheaper than adults, cannot join unions (for which they must be aged 16) and do not ask for benefits due to them under the laws. Children such as 12-year-old Vinod can be employed at a textile unit packing shirts into boxes for Rs 300 a month - a wage that would be unacceptable for adults.

Working 12 hours every day for Rs 1,000 a month, Manoj puts together some top fabric brands in the country. Even though he was having high fever he was seen working at the factory. “In the evening when I go back home I hardly have any energy left to visit the doctor. However, I’ve taken medicine that the superintendent has given me,” he said. Out of the money he gets at the month’s end he sends Rs 200 to his home in Bihar.

Labour commissioner Satnam Singh said from time to time inspections and ‘raids’ are conducted at industrial units to check employment of children. “Violators are punished according to the law,” he added. Gulshan Kumar, labour officer in Circle I, said the worst part is when even the parents of such children do not come forward to claim them once they are freed from of their employers’ clutches.

“Recently we freed a group of children working as child labour but nobody from their families came forward to take them home. May be their families aren’t present in the city. The plight of such kids becomes worse with each passing day,” he added.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner Rahul Tiwari, commenting on the issue, said the administration constantly remains in touch with the labour department. “Recently under the ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ (save childhood) movement, 14 children working as labourers were freed. Since no one came forward to claim them all of them are presently living at Bal Bhawan,” he said. These children are mainly from West Bengal, Orrisa, Jharkhand and Bihar and work here to earn their livelihood.

“Whenever we receive any complaint or the matter is brought to our notice, the administration instantly acts upon it and directs the case to the labour commissioner who takes up the matter. We review the reports of the raids conducted by the department,” Tiwari stated.

The presence of child workers in the city is so pervasive that the phenomenon ceases to register. Someone like five-year-old Ganga is at the bottom rung. Ganga, her brother Chander, their friend Bahadur, and his sister Gogi pick up trash left by bus and car passengers at the bus station. These children, born to migrant families who come to Punjab from other states in search of work, are not even aware of their geographical origins.

“We used to do live in Moga until two months ago,” Ganga says. These four friends sell the collected scrap. Plastic refuse, which goes for Rs 13 a kg, is the pick of the garbage, but it is difficult to collect. Glass bottles, the children say, are easier to find, but more dangerous. Chander’s leg bears a deep, infected gash from scrabbling around in broken glass. On a good day, the four children together make Rs 20.

Children working in hotels, factories and ‘dhabas’ are a common sight but one never thinks about those striving hard to revive the old art forms and prove to be indirect victims of child labour. Children working in a circus and members of tribes like the ‘baazigars’, though helping in sustaining dying art forms, lose the golden days of their childhood and are busy earning a living.

A small girl earns her bread and butter by showing the balancing act on the rope in the busy city market. “I learnt this act early on in my childhood as I grew up seeing my elder sister doing the same. I never went to school and earn a meager amount by displaying my skills to the public during road shows. Though people in villages give us a good response residents in the cities are hardly interested,” said the girl with a grim smile on her face.

What the law says

The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, which was enacted in 1986, prohibits employment of children in certain specified hazardous occupations and processes and regulates their working conditions in others. The list of hazardous occupations and processes is progressively being expanded on the recommendation of the child labour technical advisory committee set up under the Act. In consonance with this approach, a national policy on child labour was formulated in 1987. The policy seeks to adopt a gradual and sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes in the first instance.

Child labour activities

l Bonded child labour

l  Child labour in farm sector

l  Street kids working as beggars, selling flowers and other items

l  Children working in matchbox factories, glass factories, steel units

l  Children working as domestic servants, at hotels, restaurants and ‘dhabas’

Health hazards in factories

l  Tobacco industry: Various lung diseases, asthma

l  Spinning units: Respiratory diseases, TB

l  Brick kilns: Skin diseases

l  Glass factories: Risk of losing eyes, body parts

l  Plastic units: Risk of amputation

Child artistes in TV serials

Last December the labour ministry issued ‘show cause’ notices to some producers of television serials under the Child Labour Act and enquired about the working hours and conditions of child artistes. When the ministry did not get any reply the Maharashtra government then decided to prosecute those producers who had hired child actors to work in their soaps. The state labour department took these production houses to task for not complying with the provisions of the Act under which child artistes should be given an hour to rest after every three hours of shooting.


Destiny's child: 13-yr-old Akash sells pens to become doctor 
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Life for 13-year-old Akash Kumar has been more than turbulent. But the young boy's determination, grit and courage surely make him a role model for not only kids his age but also for grown-ups.

The boy lost his father at a tender age and soon his mother, too, deserted him. Left alone to die, the child was too young to even understand what destiny had in store for him.Fortunately, the boy's grandmother came to his rescue.

"I don't remember when my father died or when my mother left me. I don't even remember their faces. I don't know why my mother left me or where did she go," said a melancholic Akash.

However, the child remembers having spent his early years with his grandmother.

"The grandmother and I had just started struggling to make ends meet when misfortune again struck me and my grandmother also died in 2007,” he said.

All by himself once again, Akash managed to survive a life rife with trials and tribulations.

Then one day Akash's childless paternal aunt decided to take him home. Since then Akash has been living with his physically challenged aunt and her husband, who is a junk dealer.

However, after the couple expressed their inability to send Akash to school, the boy decided to take up a part-time job so as to afford his education. He now roams the streets selling pens, soaps and torches and manages to earn Rs 100 everyday.

"Out of the money earned, I pay a monthly school fee of Rs 70 and the rest goes towards aunt's household expenses," said Akash with a faint smile on his lips.

The boy added that in spite of all this, he was often thrashed by his aunt and uncle. This Class I student of Arya School wants to become a doctor and "work for poor people like me who cannot afford hospital expenses for themselves or their family members”.

Having confessed to being the victim of exploitation at the hands of his aunt and uncle on many occasions, a resolute Akash said, "I also want to adopt orphaned kids who are forced to live with their relatives, who in turn, exploit them." 



City Concerns

The tragic death of a seven-year-old boy by a raging bull in city recently has once again brought the issue of uncontrolled stray animals to the centrestage. Though several lives have been claimed by stray bulls in the past, the municipal corporation seems to be in deep slumber. While residents want the bulls be taken to shelters so that they do not become killers, the MC often claims that they invite the ire of animal rights activists when they catch them. The civic body does not have a scientific system to catch them and lacks space to even give them a shelter. What can be done to address the issue. The Ludhiana Tribune wants to know your opinion on how to manage strays in city. Readers can send in their views on the issue and the possible solutions.

Responses, in not more than 200 words, can be e-mailed to ludhiana concerns@tribune mail.com or sent to our city office at Bhadaur House, Ludhiana.



Despite tragedy, stray cattle continue to roam streets
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
A day after a seven-year-old boy was killed by a raging bull, stray cattle continued to wander around on city streets as residents went about their routine activities, unmindful of the tragedy that befell a family yesterday.

Mohammad Tasveer, a resident of New Pratap Nagar, Bahadur Ke Road, was playing on the street outside his home when he accidentally got entangled among four stray bulls fighting nearby and was gored to death. Despite such grave incident stray cattle roamed on busy streets in residential areas as usual with the authorities preferring - as usual - to look the other way.

In the Partap Nagar locality also, where the tragedy struck, bulls were seen wandering freely. Municipal corporation employees failed to swing into action nor did any NGO evince any interest in catching the stray animals and provide them shelter in ‘gaushalas’ (cattle shelters).

The victim's family members, bitter and shaken at the young boy’s death, said the authorities had thought that giving them Rs 50,000 as compensation was enough. ‘‘I have lost my son. I’m an unfortunate father but I don’t want any one else in the city to meet the same fate as my child. However, it appears the authorities aren’t bothered. They must have enjoyed their Sunday at home today. What does it matter to them if a life has been lost? There is no value for life here”, said Mohammad Shamshad, the deceased’s inconsolable father.

Even as the tragedy shook up many residents, a Tribune team was witness to a number of stray cattle wandering on the roads today and people were seen to be wary of their presence. ‘‘We had learnt to live with the stray animals as we had become used to their roaming on the streets. However, since yesterday we’ve realised they are beasts and can harm us”, said Vipin Majara, a resident, adding there was a large number of stray cattle in the city’s old area where they shared the congested streets with humans. ‘‘We wonder whether the authorities will ever wake up to the menace”, he remarked.



Village panchayat land got evicted 
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 25
The panchayat of Gaunspur village near Humbran yesterday got its shamlat land evicted peacefully from the possession by a former SSP. Mohkam Singh, a former SSP in the Punjab Police, and his family members had occupied 102 kanals (nearly 13 acres) of the village shamlat land since 1980.

When the panchayat tried to get it evicted, Mohkam Singh took the matter to a Ludhiana court. After that it reached high court.

The high court decided the case in favour of the village panchayat on March 13, 2007. On February 17, the high court instructed district administration to provide assistance to get the land evicted. The district administration further instructed the revenue department and the police to get the land evicted and hand over the possession to the village panchayat.

Later in the evening, Pardeep Singh, BDPO, auctioned the land for agriculture purpose. The land was auctioned at Rs 3 lakh for one crop (six months).

Sarpanch of the village Gurcharan Singh, Block Samiti member principal Surjit Singh, former sarpanch Harbans Singh, Kulwant Singh, various panches and scores of the villagers were present on the occasion.



MC to spend Rs 1.5 crore to make city green
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
To maintain a green belt in the city, the civic body plans to provide the work of tree plantation to some contractor for which it was ready to shell out about Rs 1.5 crore. Similar arrangement was done by civic body in 2004-05 when the Park Management Committees (PMCs) had abandoned the parks after the corporation refused to pay them the money. But that was utter failure and ultimately, these contracts had to be cancelled. It is perhaps the lack of interest in follow-up procedures that trees/plants get damaged after certain period and dream of maintaining green belt remains unfulfilled.

A meeting of the Park Management Committees was chaired by Mayor Hakam Singh Gyaspura on Friday in which entire issue was discussed in detail. Under a project worth Rs 1.5 crore, 10,000 saplings will be planted in several areas along with the tree guards. Each sapling will cost about Rs 1,000.

Park Management Committee president SS Chana alleged that even being the president, he was not called for the meeting, reasons best known to MC functionaries. He said, “It seems that the corporation has become very rich and it can waste crores on useless projects. When the parks are being managed well by the PMCs then where is the need to give contract of maintaining green belt to contractors?” Chana further added that contractors paid least attention for follow-up of plants as after getting their bills cleared, they became least bothered.

“Plants need at least three years to grow. But here after six months, the drives get washed. Instead of wasting huge money, green belt should be manitained with the help of NGOs, PMCs, gardeners of MC, officials of the horticulture department and district forest office,” said Chana.

Prior to this, hundreds of decorative Foxtail plants were planted on the Ferozpur road and Jalandhar bypass. Each plant had cost Rs 1,500 and they did not even provide shades. Majority of these plants have died in absence of follow-ups by authorities concerned.

Senior Deputy Mayor Parveen Bansal, however, said everyone could not be made happy each time. This contract would be signed in a different manner in which responsibility would be of contractor. “The tree-guard and sapling will be provided by the contractor and he will be asked to manage the identified sites for two years. Help of NGOs, school and college students and the park management committees will also be taken. We have to make the city green at any cost,” he added.



IMA condemns corruption in MCI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The Indian Medical Association (IMA), Ludhiana, has condemned corruption in the Medical Council of India (MCI) in giving permission to the medical colleges in the country. The arrest of Dr Ketan Desai, chief of the MCI, has unearthed the corruption going on in the council. The IMA demanded a CBI probe into the functioning of the council for the full tenure of Dr Desai as the chief of the MCI.

Dr Narotam Dewan, president of the IMA, Ludhiana, has termed this incidence as unfortunate. He said the arrest of Dr Desai had put a black spot on the functioning of these powerful institutions. This had exposed the corruption of crores of rupees.

“Due to the large scale corruption, the admission to the MBBS has resulted in a very expensive, wasteful and troublesome procedure. A large number of institutions are holding separate entrance tests at various places. First of all one has to purchase about 10 prospectuses, each costing thousands of rupees. Then one has to go to different cities to appear in entrance tests. This also leads to loss of many working days and expenditure incurred in travelling and staying at different cities,” said Dr Dewan.

This could be avoided if there was a central test on the lines of the Indian Administrative Services and a national merit list was made from which the students selected there medical colleges sequentially.

Besides, the appearance in these tests was just a mockery as the seats were already fixed for those who had paid capitation fee. Ludhiana IMA condemned the procedures in the admission and running of medical colleges and asked the Prime Minister to intervene and set the house in order.

CME on migraine

Migraine, the most common causes of recurrent headaches, has been ranked by the WHO as among the world’s most disabling medical illness.

This was stated by the speakers at a continuing medical education (CME) seminar on migraines by the department of pharmacology and physiology today at Dumra Auditorium.

Dr Nilima Shanker, professor of physiology, from UCMS, New Delhi, spoke on “Pathophysiology of Migraine”, followed by comprehensive lecture on classification and clinical presentation of migraine by Dr Gagandeep Singh, professor of neurology, DMCH.

Dr Sandeep Kaushal elaborated on the lifestyle modifications and drugs used in migraine. It was stressed that migraine still remains an under diagnosed and under treated disease and it has become very relevant for the health professionals to be aware of pathophysiology, clinical presentation and management of migraine.

The post-lunch session included a lecture on “Migraine Prophylaxis and Management” by Dr Vivek Lal, additional professor of neurology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. The CME was concluded with the panel discussion followed by impressive valedictory function.

The office bearers of APPI, Ludhiana branch, were elected for the year 2010-2012 with Dr Lily Walia as the president, Dr Dinesh as the vice-president and Dr Sandeep Kaushal as secretary of the association.

The CME was inaugurated by the chief guest, Dr SB Khurana (former principal of the DMCH), along with vice-president of the DMCH Managing Society Amrit Nagpal, who was the guest of honour.

Principal of the DMCH Dr Daljit Singh introduced the chief guest to the audience. 



High drama over alleged rape
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
High drama prevailed at the Basti Jodhewal police station here today after the police recovered a 13-year-old girl from the area on Friday night on the missing complaint lodged by her maternal aunt and consequent rape allegation.

Allegations, changing statements and varying claims of the teenaged girl and her aunt had the cops baffled throughout the day. Later in the day, however, even the police officials were found falling back on their earlier claims.

Interestingly, the police did not get the medical examination of the girl conducted even amidst rape allegations.

The girl, aged about 13, had been making contradicting allegations along with her maternal aunt Prabhvati, a resident of Kali Sadak, Basti Jodhewal, since Friday night when she was recovered by the police.

The girl had then claimed that she had gone with Kapil, her landlord's son as she loved him and they wanted to get married. However, she said her aunt did not want that to happen, informed police officials.

The police claimed to have picked up the girl from Kapil's friend's house in the area at around 11.30 pm on Friday after her aunt informed them about the girl's disappearance. Kapil, the police officials alleged, had fled fearing action against him.

The cops further said the girl was brought to the Basti Jodhewal police station where she informed them that she knew Kapil for the past 15-20 days and had accompanied him to his home on her own. They added that when questioned, the girl had denied any exploitation, physical or mental, by Kapil.

Meanwhile, the police began a search for Kapil and investigations in the case were on. However, this morning, the girl, her aunt Prabhvati and some area residents came back to the police station alleging that the girl had been raped by Kapil on Friday night.

Interestingly, when a Ludhiana Tribune visited the police station this morning, the girl and her aunt were giving contradicting and confusing statements. Moreover, the girl's body did not bear any injury marks.

Later in the day, however, the girl fell back on her words and alleged that she was not raped. She also revealed that she was forced by her aunt to level the allegation against Kapil.

This, said, the police Prabhvati did to blackmail Kapil's family and extract money from them. The police officials then took the girl to the place from where she was recovered. Interestingly, this time, it was the cops' turn to change statements. The cops now said they recovered the girl from a hutment at Miller Ganj instead of Kapil's friend's home.

In yet another soap-opera like twist to the tale, the girl now claimed she loved one Anu, Prabhvati's neighbour, and had gone with Anu's maternal uncle in an autorickshaw while Anu followed them. When the girl did not return home, Prabhvati sent Kapil to search for her so that the police would suspect his hand in the incident.

Meanwhile, the police officials kept on grappling with the claims and counter-claims. They could not arrive at any conclusion . No case was registered. 



Knitwear Club poll ‘mired in controversy’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Two observers of the elections to the Knitwear Club have “spilled the beans” about the election results of the club.

Vinod K Thapar was declared winner after the elections, but controversy surrounded the results, as some valid votes were declared invalid.

Two observers -- Mohider Pal Jain and Avtar Singh -- have now openly confessed that presiding officer Narinder Bhamra used his arbitrary powers in declaring Thapar winner and did not pay heed to their suggestions.

Both observers alleged that the presiding officer issued one duplicate ballot paper in spite of their objection. He accompanied the voters for casting their votes amid strong protest. He cancelled some valid votes and got their signatures along with the contestant candidates for the seat of the president.

The industrial representatives like Inderjit Singh Pardhan, KK Seth, Rajneesh Ahuja, MM Vyas, TR Mishra, SC Ralhan and Tarsem Kumar Jain have strongly condemned the action of the presiding officer. They have suggested that either the ballot papers should be rechecked and recounted or the election be held again in the interest of the industry.

Meanwhile, Charanjiv Singh, secretary of the club, said all members were aware that proper procedure was adopted by the presiding officer and the polling agents. “We have taken the derogatory remarks against our members very seriously and will not tolerate this insult and take necessary steps if such propaganda is not put to an end,” he said.



100 donate blood
Our Correspondent

Amloh, April 25
The first death anniversary of a social worker and Punjab Youth Congress general secretary Harinder Singh Khatra (39) was observed by organising a blood donation camp at Kaller Majri village today.

As many as 100 volunteers donated blood at the camp. Former MLA and chairman of Dashmesh Club, Nabha, announced to observe the death anniversary of Khatra by organising a national-level kabaddi tournament under the presidentship of Mahant Harvinder Singh Kharora every year in December.

Amloh MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot highlighted the achievements of Khatra. Jiwan Singh Umranangal Trust’s chairman Paramraj Singh Umranangal (IPS) announced Rs 1 lakh for the kabaddi tournament.



Mythology dominates art exhibition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The weekend saw convergence of art and mythology in the form of beautiful paintings by artist Rekha Arora.

The paintings, on display at an exhibition-cum-sale yesterday, caught the fancy of many art lovers with the sheer richness of element as well as thought put into them.

Made in bright hues, the paintings, inspired largely by the Indian mythology, had a liberal use of precious Swarovski stones and gold, which mesmerised the onlookers.

Talking about her creations, Arora said, “I have a collective mix of South Indian Tanjore and Vrindavan Tanjore paintings along with Vastu paintings on display.”

The artist, who is also the director of Rekha School of Arts in the city, added, “The Vastu paintings are very much in demand for their bright and lively hues.” The creations range between Rs 3,000 to Rs 42,000.



Birthday of Ambedkar celebrated

Mullanpur Dakha, April 25
Dr BR Ambedkar Mission Welfare Society of the area celebrated the 119th birthday of Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman of zila parishad, Ludhiana, municipal committee president Telu Ram Bansal, chairman Maghar Singh Braich, district welfare officer Pritam Singh and other participated in the celebrations.

The society handed over scholarships to 41 students from economically backward families of the surrounding 25 villages. A book — Philosophy of Ambedkar in the current scenario (in Punjabi) — written by Gurmeet Kalarmajra and Gurnam Singh Akida was also released. — OC



Vocational courses a ‘bait’ for admissions
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, April 25
Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Kamalpura, near here has been found luring students by making false claims of providing them with vocational courses at subsidised rates even though the government had started this scheme to attract drop outs towards such courses.

Sources revealed that director general of the employment and training of Union government launched Modular Employment Skills (MES) programme under Skill Development Initiative Scheme (SDIS) through Ministry of Labour and Employment and Training, Government of India, through Punjab University has offered vocational courses under subsided rates for school/colleges drop outs. All the courses completed under the scheme were approved and certified by the National Council of Vocational Training.

The move targets two things, on one hand the government will be able to utilise the infrastructure setup by the rural college giving them additional sources of income and on the other hand developing the national skills among the school/colleges dropouts. The classes for these courses will be conducted after college hours.

At a meeting of around 60 college principals at Chandigarh, a proposal from all the colleges was sought and the colleges were instructed to adopt some of the most beneficial courses in the list of the Ministry of Labour, Government of India.

The aim of the scheme was to provide vocational training to school dropouts, existing workers, ITI graduates, etc.

Interestingly, Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Kamalpura, has made the courses under the scheme mandatory for all college students and they have been asked to adopt at least one course per year.

College principal Varinder Kaur said their college was first with 500 students, for adopting the scheme and said she had adopted 20 courses from the list of 50, including beautician and hair dressing, hand embroidery, tie and dye, block painting, computer fundamentals, toy making, Stitching, treatment through yoga, media photography, media videography, mass communications, Insurance, sales consultant, etc.

These courses will be conducted by the college staff during college timings though the ministry has made it clear that the courses could be conducted only after the college timings with the help of present staff (if capable) or through guest instructors and retired professionals.

However, the authority from Punjab University, Chandigarh, responsible for the implementation of the programme maintained that the scheme as projected by Kamalpura College was wrong.

He said might be the college principal had some misunderstanding and he would be looking into the matter. He said the scheme may prove a boon for the dropouts and it was our duty to get it implemented in the way it had been structured.



Students get books to hone skills
Tribune Reporters

Amloh, April 25
Punjab Sabhyachark Club, Amloh, yesterday distributed one thousand exercise books to students of Government Middle School, Sounti, from classes 1st to 8th.

Education minister’s OSD Roshan Lal said standard of education which had come down to the 14th position has achieved 6th position among the states in the country with the efforts and hard-work of teachers under the guidance of education minister Bibi Upinderjit Kaur. Efforts are being made to improve the rank.

Club general secretary Balbir Singh Ghuman, Club secretary Harpal Singh Naraingarh spoke on pollution, female foeticide and other social evils.

Malwa Sabhyachark, Manch Ramma, Mandi chief Karam Singh, Prof Mukhtiar Singh from government college, Nabha, Amloh Master Colony president Anokh Singh Arora, Balkar Singh, Maghar Singh, Jagdeep Singh Khanna, club members and others were present. 

Books distributed among needy

Books were distributed among the needy by Children and Women Welfare Council.

A total of hundred students, mostly girls, were given their syllabus books.

President of the council Monika Khurana said these children wanted to study, but don’t have money to buy books and other stationery.

"From time to time our council provides them with basic facilities like books, uniforms and stationery so that they can continue with their studies," she said.

Girl students are the focus of the council, as rightly said if the mother of the family is educated, the whole family will be educated. "Girls are the future of the society and they need to be educated," she added.

Deputy speaker Satpal Gosain was the chief guest, while senior Deputy Mayor, Parveen Bansal was also present.

Both Gosain and Bansal applauded the efforts of the council and said more people should come forward for the noble cause.



From Schools & Colleges
Students celebrate Sachin’s birthday

Students of Darshan Academy celebrated master blaster cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday yesterday by conducting a 20-20 cricket match in which Darshan House was the winner. The winning team defeated Kirpal House by securing 178 runs for 7 wickets. A special morning assembly was conducted in which a quiz related to the achievements of Tendulkar were asked. Senior administrator SD Kalia announced a training camp for the students of the academy in May in which budding players would be identified and trained for the game.

World Earth Day

World Earth Day was celebrated yesterday on the premises of Don Bosco Global School under the guidance of principal Maria John, chief guest Kusum Bansal and members of the school management, students and teachers, all of whom planted saplings on the school campus.

Aptly dressed in green, the students undertook this project with great enthusiasm. A cultural programme was also presented on the theme ‘Save Mother Earth’. Addressing the gathering, the school principal highlighted the importance of the preservation of Mother Earth. The students, in turn, pledged to be the guardians of the planet and to make it green, healthy and pollution free once again.

Graduation ceremony

GRD Academy celebrated the kindergarten graduation ceremony here on Friday. Parveen Oberoi, wife of Kawaljeet Singh, vice-chairman of GRD Global Education Trust, graced the occasion along with Aneeta Kundra, principal, print coordinator for the kindergarten and primary wing.

They conferred graduation certificates on the proud graduates of the kindergarten. The celebrations were marked with colourful dance performances of young children that added more vibrancy to the occasion.

Investiture ceremony

The school ground of GN International Senior Secondary Public School, Model Town, witnessed a grand ceremony of investiture of school council for the session 2010-2011, here on Friday.

Students nominated to the posts of house captain (boys and girls), sports captain (boys and girls), president, vice-president, manager, secretary, head boy and head girl -- on the basis of academic achievements, co-curricular activities and over-all personality, were selected as a council on the basis of the interview taken by principal Gurmant Kaur Gill.

The newly elected school council took an oath and pledged to perform their duties with all sincerity and responsibility.

Top honours

Students of Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, have scored top positions in MSc (IT) first semester examinations held in December, the results of which were announced on Friday by Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Shilpa Jindal has clinched the first position in the university with 85.3 per cent and Shivani Sareen secured 84.67 per cent to get the second position in the university. Out of the 30 students who appeared, 17 students have secured more than 70 per cent in aggregate while as many as 28 have secured the first division.

Principal Dr Varinder Kaur Thind appreciated the hard work put in by the students.


Prof Atul Tandon will deliver a talk to PCTE students on “Cross-Cultural Marketing” tomorrow. Prof Tandon is director, Cadilla Pharmaceuticals and JL Morison (India) Limited. He is a senior enterprise fellow at Essex Business School of University of Essex. — TNS 



Four held with weapons
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 25
The CIA staff of the Ludhiana (rural) police nabbed four members of a gang of dacoits last evening and also recovered weapons.

Tehal Singh, in charge of the CIA-2, Jagraon, said he got information that the gang was planning a major crime in the area. The informer told the police that a gang of five members was hiding in an abandoned factory building on the Sowadi Khurd road, near Sherpur Kalan.

The police party raided the place and nabbed four of them. The fifth member of the gang, however, managed to give the police a slip. The arrested included Uttam Singh of Talwandi Bhagaria village, Dilbagh Singh of Moga, Jaspreet Singh of Datta village and Chavad Mahesh of Moga. Another accused, identified as Kali of Moga, managed to escape.

The police has recovered a country made .315 calibre pistol from Dilbag Singh, along with five live cartridges. While two of them were equipped with sharp edged weapons, the fourth one had a baseball bat. The police has also impounded an Indica car (PB 10 EB 8955).

Police has registered a case against the accused under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. The accused had confessed to many lootings and snatchings committed by them, including assaulting and looting Ritesh Kumar of Rs 18,000, a salesman of a petrol pump, on September 22 last year.

More revelations are expected by the police through further interrogation. The police is searching for the fifth member of the gang.



Illegal distillery busted
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 25
The Sidhwan Bet police busted an illegal distillery meant to extract country made liquor in the Bet area yesterday. The police raided the spot at the bank of Sutlej in Bhundri village.

However, no arrest could be made as the unidentified accused managed to flee on seeing the police.

Twenty one bottles of country made liquor, along with 50 kg raw material, were recovered from the spot. A case has been registered against the unidentified accused under the Excise Act.



3 booked for kidnapping
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 25
The police has booked three youths of Issewal village near here for abducting another youth of the village about 9 months ago.

Surjit Kaur has lodged a complaint to the Humbran Police Station regarding the abduction of his son Harpreet Singh (15). She said the three village youths, including Gurmeet Singh alias Dilkhu, Jaspreet Singh and Ram Singh has kidnapped his son around 9 in the evening on 27 July last year.

During that time, the village fell under the jurisdiction of the Humbran Police Station. The police did not pay any heed to the complaint of the lady, wife of a visually challenged. At last she complained the matter to SSP Ludhiana (rural) on August 14 last. The SSP then ordered the SHO Humbran to inquire the matter.

Three SHOs, including Dharampal, Gurcharan Singh and Harbhajan Singh inquired, but were clueless and before they could complete the inquiry, they got transferred.

Later, SSP Harinder Singh Chahal entrusted SP (H) Jagraon Gurpreet Singh Toor to conduct the inquiry. After consultation with DA Legal, SSP ordered Dakha police to register a case against the accused as after reconstitution of the jurisdictions of the police stations recently, the Issewal village came under the jurisdiction of the Dakha Police Station. The Dakha police yesterday registered a case against the three accused under Sections 365, 120 and 34 of the IPC.

No arrest has been made so far. However the sources revealed that till recently the police believed that the family of the kidnapped boy was concealing his age. They were of the opinion that the kidnapped boy was actually 20-year-old and had left home.



Ludhiana, Rajpura, Amritsar share honours
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 25
Tussles marked the final day of the second edition of the DD Khosla Memorial Punjab State Chess Championship for boys and girls (U-9, 13 and 17) organised by the Ludhiana District Chess Association, which concluded at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, here today.

Participants from Ludhiana and those from Amritsar and Rajpura shared honours, clinching two titles each to mark their supremacy.

Akshya Anand and Aproov Anand, both from Rajpura emerged winners in the boys U-17 and U-13 categories, respectively, while Mahip Singh and Rhytham Bhatia from Amritsar proved their mettle to wrap up the titles in the boys U-19 and girls U-17, respectively.

Ludhiana girls, too, proved their class as Shubhamdeep Kaur and Samridhi romped home triumphant in the U-13 and U-9 categories, respectively.

Results: Boys U-17: 1st Akshay Anand of Rajpura, 2nd Rajat Jatana of Kapurthala, 3rd Sehajdeep Singh of Amritsar; Boys U-13: 1st Aproov Anand of Rajpura, 2nd Imanjot Singh of Ludhiana and 3rd Jashanpreet Singh of Ludhiana; Boys U-9: 1st Mahip Singh of Ludhiana, 2nd Dushayant Sharma of Jalandhar and 3rd Pratyoosh Chitkara of Ludhiana; Girls u-17: 1st Rhytham Bhatia of Amritsar, 2nd Shruti Tiwari of Ludhiana and 3rd Sunakshi Batra of Ludhiana; Girls U-13: 1st Shubhamdeep Kaur of Ludhiana, 2nd Himandeep Kaur of Ludhiana and 3rd Omisha Sharma of Jalandhar; Girls U-9: 1st Samridhi of Ludhiana, 2nd Meenakshi of Ludhiana and 3rd Vavri of Jalandhar.



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