L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Traffic, absenteeism mark grand opening
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Akshay Kumar seated next to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at the inauguration.
Akshay Kumar seated next to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at the inauguration. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, February 28
Commuters faced a harrowing time due to the traffic congestion caused by a religious procession as well as the opening ceremony of the Punjab Games on Monday. Vehicles moved at a snail’s pace at key points including Jagraon Bridge, Ferozepur Road, Ghumar Mandi and inner city areas due to the movement of the procession.

To make matters worse the inaugural day of the Punjab games, which several “VVIPs” along with Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar were scheduled to attend, added to the residents’ traffic woes.

A major factor behind the chaos was that, because of the planned visits by the “VVIPs” barricading was done at Fountain Chowk and near Durga Mata temple due to which residents moving towards city station and inner areas of city faced a lot of problem. Long lines of traffic were witnessed at Jagraon Bridge and Bharat Nagar Chowk resulting into a lot of inconvenience to residents.

Even the traffic cops deputed at various locations in the city faced a tough time in tackling the traffic bottlenecks and ensuring the smooth movement of “VVIP” vehicles.

Jyotveer Kaur, a city resident, said: “Though religious processions are a routine part of city life their routes must be planned in such a manner that residents are not hassled while moving on the roads”.

“Diversion of traffic due to ‘VVIP’ movement in the city must be avoided as it impedes smooth flow of traffic. Even the routes chosen for VVIP movement must be those on which traffic is less”, added another harried resident, Sanjeev Thapar.

“During all such events special emphasis must be laid on regulating traffic flow in the city so that residents don’t face any problems”, said Ajay Kumar Arora, a commuter. Agreeing with him, Amarjeet Jeeta averred: “Already the heavy traffic has become a cause of major worry for city resident. All functions must be planned in the city in such a manner that it causes minimum inconvenience to residents”.


Officials busy with games
Work comes to a halt with 2,000 govt employees put on duty
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Work came to a halt as officials stayed away from their offices to oversee the prepreparations for the spectacular extravaganza planned for the inauguration of Shaheed-e-Azam Punjab Games at Guru Nanak Stadium here in the evening today. More than 2,000 officials, employees and policemen remained on their toes throughout the day, The offices of the Sub-Registrar (East), Central and Sahnewal were vertually empty eventhough people waited for them to return. Late on, they were told that the officials were busy with Punjab Games and would not attend their offices today.

A large number of police stations were without the Station House Officers (SHOs) as the entire police department was busy making security arrangements for VVIPs and celebrities, who descended on the stadium.

A police official said they were busy for the past several days. “I haven’t gone home to take rest since yesterday. I could only get time to go for a quick wash. That was all. I have ben on my toes since yesterday, ’’ he added.

Meanwhile, people complained that there wasn’t anybody to attend to them in the offices. Harnam Singh, a 70-year-old resident, said he had come to get his will registered at the Tansport Nagar office.I kept standing here till afternoon. But nobody turned up. Now, I am with no option but to return home,” he added.

Several employees in other public offices too were busy in the stadium. “We should have been been informed about it earlier. Otherwise, there is no problem for us. We understand the state is busy preparing for the games. They could have declared it a holiday, ’’ said Harnam.

Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Tewari said they had put atleast 2,000 employees and officials on various duties. ‘‘All of us have worked very hard and several of us have even worked during the last 24 hours to make the event a success,’’ said the DC.



3,800 students forced to attend Akshay performance
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
If you think Bollywood star Akshay Kumar was only a crowd puller at the opening ceremony of the Shaheed-e-Azam Punjab games, well then think again. Nearly 3,500 government schoolchildren and 300 college students were asked by the district administration to watch a performance by the actor.

The last-minute order issued by the administration took school principals as well as teachers by surprise, who were miffed over the added responsibility. The verbal orders were issued to show the stadium wore a jam packed look, as most city residents preferred to watch the spectacle on TV at home.

However, the order brought cheer on the faces of the schoolchildren. The students were ecstatic after the teachers broke the news that the students were being taken for the Akshay Kumar live concert.

It is learnt deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari held a meeting with the ‘zila parishad’ members and school and college officials four days ago asking them to bring more and more people to the stadium.

Confirming the development, deputy district education officer Paramjit Kaur said: “We have received the order to bring the schoolchildren to the games venue so that they could enjoy the spectacle. Special arrangements were made to ferry the kids to the stadium”.

Schoolteachers complained on condition on anonymity that they were asked to take the students in “plain clothes” to the stadium. They were ferried in a private vehicle and special arrangements for food were made by the school authorities.

While sharing their excitement, an ecstatic Tarun Kumar, Paramjit Singh and Gurpreet Singh said, “Though our teachers are upset and sulking at the order we are really happy. How many times does one get a chance to watch such a spectacle? We are poor and might not get a chance to seek Akshay Kumar ever.”



General budget 2011-12
Middle class, elderly hail; industry sore
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The budget for fiscal 2011-12 announced by the finance minister on Monday has evoked a mixed reaction from people from various sections of society. Industry is distressed over certain proposals, the salaried class appears to be happy with some of the steps while senior citizens are delighted at the move to reduce the age for qualifying for tax exemption as well as raise the limit.

City residents have welcomed the proposal to exempt salary earners from filing TDS (tax deducted at source) returns. "The salaried class, which doesn’t have any other source of income, will be exempted from paying TDS returns that will now be filed by their employers," said Jatinder Khurana, a tax professional. The budget has also proposed to raise the personal income tax exemption limit to Rs 180,000 from Rs 160,000 for individual taxpayers. "The proposal to raise the personal income tax exemption limit is a welcome step but, sadly, no tax rebate for women has been announced this year," said Harjinder Singh, a government employee.

However, the direct tax code has again been delayed. It will be finalized for enactment during the new fiscal and is proposed to be effective from April 1, 2012.

City residents have also welcomed the proposal to lower the age for qualifying for tax exemption for senior citizens to 60 years and raising the exemption cap to Rs 2.5 lakh. The exemption limit for citizens aged above 80 years will now be Rs 5 lakh.

With the budget raising export duty on iron ore to 20 percent and lowering import duty on scrap industry now expects steel prices to come down. "We’ve been facing a tough time due to the ever increasing prices of steel and now we can hope for prices to be stabilized," said Mohinder Aggarwal, a businessman.

One percent central excise duty has been imposed on 130 items, including bicycle parts and sewing machines, which will lead to a rise in prices. "Nothing has been proposed on upgrading technology in the MSME (micro, small & medium enterprises) sector and no concessions have been given. The interest subvention at par with agriculture has not been provided to micro and small enterprises," said Joginder Kumar, president of the Federation of Tiny & Small Industries of India.

Budget estimates

  • Gross tax receipts - Rs 932,440
  • Nontax revenue receipts -Rs 125,435 cr
  • Total expenditure proposed - Rs 1,257,729 cr
  • Fiscal deficit kept at 4.6% of GDP for FY12
  • 18.3% rise in total Plan allocation

Key announcements

  • Direct tax code to be effective from April 1, 2012
  • Scheme for refund of taxes paid on services used for export of goods
  • Provision of web based facility for taxpayers to track resolution of refunds & credit for prepaid taxes and augmentation of processing capacity
  • Existing housing loan limit raised to Rs 25 lakh
  • Broadband connectivity to all 250,000 village ‘panchayats’ in 3 years

Tax proposals

  • Exemption limit for general category of individual taxpayers raised from Rs 160,000 to Rs 180,000
  • Rate of minimum alternative tax (MAT) to be hiked from 18% to 18.5% of book profit
  • Central excise duty to be maintained at standard rate of 10%
  • Exemption limit raised and qualifying age lowered for senior citizens
  • Service tax on air travel, both domestic & international, hiked



Kitchen expenses; think twice
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
With the Union Budget failing to plug the inflationary trend, worries of common man have increased further. Most of them feel that they would have to face a lot of problem in managing the expenses of their kitchens, which has already increased by 30 per cent compared to the last year.

The common man was expecting that Union Finance Minster, Pranab Mukherjee, take steps for curbing inflation and keep a check on price rise. But contrary to their expectations, the Budget has once again focused on achieving growth rate rather then controlling the prices of essential commodities. This has led to widespread resentment among people. Most of them feel that it would become difficult to survive if such a scenario continues.

Homemakers, who have to manage the expenses of their household, feel that they might have to face a daunting task ahead.

Shalini Gambhir, a housewife, who has to keep in mind five members of her family while planning the budget for home, said they were able to run their kitchen in Rs 10,000 last year. Now, it was getting difficult to manage the kitchen even after spending Rs 14,000 per month. Rates of all commodities have increased manifolds and the government has miserably failed to check it, she added. It is difficult to manage the family in absence of any effective check.

“We had great expectations from Budget, but all our hopes have been dashed,” Gambhir added.

Gagan, vice-principal of a local school, said, “It is getting difficult for them to run their kitchen. I am spending Rs 20,000 on kitchen to manage a family of six. Last year, it used to be Rs 15,000. Inflation has led to unrest in society due to which crime rate is also increasing. Our income has not increased in the same manner as our expenditure due to which we are passing through a tough phase.



Senior citizens excited

The Budget proposal to raise the exemption limit of income tax for senior citizens to Rs 2.5 lakh and lowering of qualifying age from the present 65 to 60 years, has gone down well with the elderly tax payers and retired employees, most of whom are past their prime earning age. The tax saving by way of higher exemption limit at a lower age will come handy for them to meet the financial liabilities, which are an integral part of the ageing process. Especially taxpayers between the age group of 60 and 64 years stand to derive immediate benefits from the new proposal as from next year onwards their tax liability will go down significantly. Translated in terms of tax benefit, a person who attains the age of 60 years and has a taxable income of Rs 2.5 lakh in the next financial year will make a net saving of Rs 9,000. The targeted beneficiaries feel that the tax benefit by way of lower qualifying age and higher exemption limit, coupled with a few other incentives to promote saving and investment, will supplement their financial resources which keep depleting while the liabilities increase manifold as they grow old. This is what the intended beneficiaries said when Tribune reporter Kuldip Bhatia spoke to them:

The Finance Minister seems to have realised the plight of elderly tax payers, which made him extend double benefit to them. Lowering of qualifying age to 60 years and also raising exemption limit will make life a bit easy for the senior citizens.

— BR Kaushal, president, Government Pensioners’ Welfare Association

The government has taken right decision in granting benefits to senior citizens. As a lot of concessions are involved in it so it will benefit us.

— Anil Kumar, government employee

At last somebody in the government has come to the rescue of senior citizens. However, tax saving accruing from new benefits will practically be meaningful only if the government is able to curb inflation and bring down prices of essential items, which has not been done so far.

— Kuldip Singh, Advocate

This step of the government will provide much needed relief to us. With the rise in inflation it has been difficult for retired persons to meet their expenses.

— Sohan Singh, college employee



Common man’s Budget

City residents have welcomed the Union Budget calling it a common man’s Budget. The benefits for senior citizens and the exemptions in taxes have brought the Budget in common man’s interest. A Tribune’s correspondent, Anil Kumar, speaks to a cross section of Ludhiana residents to get their reactions on the Budget

The Budget has no negative surprise for industries. The excise duty has not risen and the senior citizens have received major relief as they got higher tax exemptions.

— Amit Gupta, financial consultant

The government has not increased the excise duty this year. But the Centre should have taken specific steps for checking the soaring inflation.

— Devinder Singh, investor

It is overall a public Budget. The entire nation would like the Budget as the service tax is unchanged.

— Rajiv Rawat, senior relationship manager with a corporate

In every Budget the tax exemption limit for women is enhanced, but this year it is an exception.

— Monika Khurana, district president, Children and Women Welfare Council

The government has done a good job by giving a rebate on the income tax. I welcome the Budget on this issue. But on the other hand the government had not taken any step to check the inflation and price rise.

— Vijay Marjara

The government should have given rebate on the LPG and other essential commodities. The facilities in the hospitals, especially in the civil hospitals, should be increased.

— PMS Bindra, former bank employee

I regret the move of the government for imposing tax on the Special Economic Zone as it would affect the growth of industry. Earlier no tax was there on the SEZ.

— Virinder Handa



Report Card
Financial constraints eating up PAU
Experts blame state government for degradation, conducting limited research
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been recognised worldwide for ushering in an era of Green Revolution in India. Besides, its contributions in bringing agricultural reforms, increasing livestock and poultry production in the past are immense, but it has “slid” in the recent times, feel those attached with the farm university for a long time. Reason may be any, but the leading agricultural university is now at the receiving end due to “financial constraints”.

Those attached with PAU at the grassroots level hold the state government largely responsible for its degradation. More than the authorities, the state government has been held responsible for bringing the standards of the university down. Had the inflow of funds liberal for PAU by the successive governments, the research work and ongoing projects could not have been suffered.

Besides, experts believe that PAU scientists put all efforts on inventing new varieties of wheat and rice, the main food grains of the nation, but the research on pulses and oilseeds was minimal by the agricultural university.

Former PAU Vice-Chancellor GS Kalkat observed that way back in 1960, new genetic material was imported, which put PAU on top in the era of Green Revolution. Scientists and researchers developed new varieties of wheat and rice. A majority of work was done on wheat and rice, while pulses and oilseeds were neglected. The scientists and researchers gave less priority to pulses and oilseeds.

“The priority of PAU should be on research and development, which is need of the hour. Global warming is a cause of concern for the agricultural community and the researchers and scientists need to focus on bringing the agricultural reforms for food security,” said Dr Kalkat.

Dr KS Aulakh, another former VC of PAU, said the state government was not giving the financial support to the educational institutions in Punjab. Generating Rs 100 to Rs 125 crore for the farm university of the international repute was not a big deal for the state government, but the latter did not bother to come to rescue PAU, as there was not a big vote bank here.

“How can PAU survive when there was no support by the government, which claims to promote agriculture in a big way? There has been no new equipment and authorities are struggling to manage everything on their own. In the times of severe financial crunch, work on major research/projects cannot be continued, as the researchers demand liberal inflow of funds. The number of students is also not more than 4,000 from whom large amount of tuition fee could be generated,” said Dr Aulakh.

Research on for Bt crops: VC

Q: What is PAU’s research thrust?

Dr MS KangA: PAU mainly focuses on three functions, teaching, research and extension. The four colleges and 35 departments in the university are working on developing new varieties for farmers in the region. Besides, PAU develops new technology, which goes with new varieties. It is a teamwork and all departments contribute in selecting the agricultural varieties, which are resistant and then quick trails are done.

Q: What are the state agricultural problems? What is PAU’s contribution to solve these problems?

A: A lot has changed after the Green Revolution in India. The major chunk of farmers has switched over to sowing of wheat and rice- the two main food grains in the country. Today, the state is facing the major problem of water depletion. Besides, health of soil is affected due to intensive use of insecticides and pesticides. Diversification disappeared in Punjab. But with the efforts of PAU scientists, a legislation was passed, which stressed farmers to transplant paddy after June 10. Apart from that, research is on for Bt crops, which prevent excessive use of pesticides and sprays on crops.

Q: PAU has focused just on wheat/rice. Not much has been done on pulses and oilseeds. Comment.

A: No, this is not the truth. Wheat and rice are the food security so much research was done on the nation’s two major crops. But PAU is extensively working on diversification as well. The researchers and scientists have worked on more than 95 crops and farmers are getting gains out of the researches.

Q: There are allegations that you promote “blue-eyed” persons only, comment on out-of-turn promotions at PAU.

A: Well, for me who is compatible, deserving and can bring justice to the job given, he/she must come forward. I cannot change the thinking of all professors, deans and directors working at PAU. But certain policies have been framed and we work as per those policies to bring bright persons ahead.

Q: You feel working is suffering at PAU due to financial crunch? Which government will you blame for the mess?

A: We had a big hole in terms of pension. But we do get Rs 120 crore from the state and rural development fund of about Rs 60 crore. With this money, we are trying to strengthen PAU again. With the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission, the salaries of employees/teachers have also increased. But we have survived, not just that, Rs 50 crore are spent on research projects.

Q: Do you think you will be given another term as the VC of PAU, Why?

A: (Laughs) For getting this answer, you need to ask the Chief Minister.


Farmers satisfied with guidelines

About 6,000 farmers and 500 farm women are attached with Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in the form of the PAU Kisan Club. A majority of them feel that due to guidelines provided by experts and researchers, farmers of Punjab were in great demand at countries, including Brazil, Ukraine, Argentina, Sudan, Ethiopia, etc. Equipped with latest technology, the farmers of Punjab were contributing a major share in the food kitty of the nation, feel the farmers.

PAU Kisan Club president PS Pangli said for the first time since the inception of PAU, the farmers were called to hold interactive sessions with researchers and scientists in recent times. Still, the university had to focus on developing the latest technology in many areas.


Pensioners unhappy

Exhausted after running from pillar to post for getting pensions, about 3,500 pensioners of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) now feel that some consolidated funds must be kept by the state government for ensuring that they get their pensions regularly.

It’s the irony of fate that the pensioners, who have spent more than four decades of their life in serving the university, have now to struggle hard for getting their pensions, which otherwise is the basic right. But rather giving them pensions regularly, the state government was providing funds to PAU in installments because of which the pensions are getting delayed.

This erratic manner, in which pensions are paid to the pensioners, has irked the latter, who feel that distribution of pension should be a regular affair, so that they could manage the expenses at the fag end of their life. Despite the fact that the pensioners had given several representations to the authorities and state government, there is always a fear among the pensioners over the issue of pension.

A majority of pensioners want that at least the government should set up some consolidated funds so as to ensure that they get their pensions in a regular manner. They want that the government should concentrate more on its social responsibilities like giving pension to the retired employees. At the same time, the pensioners feel that the respective governments should not ignore contributions of the farm university, which helped in bringing the Green Revolution in the country.


Things to be done

  • Pneumatic seed-drills: Nowhere in India, technology was developed through which seeds could be put in soil at equal distance
  • Moisture testing meters: There is a need to come up with moisture content testing meters in grain/soil
  • Dissemination of post-harvest technology: Technology was developed but its dissemination was poor, university had to focus on disseminating technology to a large number of farmers
  • Make farmers aware about latest openings in agriculture diversification


‘Average Institute’

Punjab Agricultural University has been producing hundreds of agricultural students every year. Deans/directors/faculty members provide their best to students, who hold PAU in the mediocre grade. For them, PAU is neither a poor institute nor the best institute in the country for imparting agricultural-based knowledge.

The education standards are not so good and even not that bad. Much focus has to be given on research/development projects by authorities. I want to become a lecturer and I need to get thorough knowledge on the subject. For doing my PhD, I will look for some other institute.

— Anishka, a student of MSc microbiology

I want to be in the teaching profession. Teachers and faculty members are helpful here and we don’t face much problem.

— Raj Kumar, an MTech student, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology

JatminderBeing the only agricultural university in the state, the teaching aids/material should be upgraded by the authorities. In addition to the research work, the focus must be given on maintaining quality standards of education. Some of the faculty members are good.

— Jatminder, a student of MSc microbiology

We are satisfied with the teachers/faculty members, who provide us all information in the best possible way. We are enjoying our student life here.

— Agyapal Singh, an MTech student, College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology



  • Organised international workshop on “Water management strategies for food security and environment quality”
  • Distance learning facility developed at PAU in collaboration with Iowa State University
  • PAU started BSc honours/agriculture programmes
  • PAU started BSc (biotechnology), MSc (biotechnology)
  • PhD programmes started for biotechnology, agrometeorology, landscaping and floriculture
  • During last three years, PAU released 78 improved
    varieties of different crops
  • Developed and released 62 crop production and 68 crop protection
  • Dr Gurdev Singh Khush donated Rs 3.5 crore for research, which he received as prize money from several international awards


MoUs signed

  • Moscow State University of Agricultural Engineering
  • Kansas State University
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • University of Western Australia to promote education, research, exchange of information/technology
  • Orel State Agrarian University, Orel, Russia, for research in plant breeding
  • Colorado State University, USA, for exchange of scholars in mutually beneficial areas
  • University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison, to develop collaborative liaison of mutual benefits



  • PAU received first international Potash Institute (Switzerland) and Fertilizer Association of India award
  • VC Dr MS Kang was the only VC from India to meet USA President Barrack Obama
  • PAU adjudged the best agricultural university of 2011 and bagged “Krishi Shiksha Samman”



CBSE Class XII exams begin today
Soothsayers busy as a bee
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Come March and city’s soothsayers get as busy as a bee, suggesting remedies to anxious students and their parents for overnight success. With final exams round the corner, students and their parents are making a beeline for getting expert astrological advice which, they think, would ensure good results and unprecedented success for them.

A random survey by The Tribune revealed that with annual examinations nearing, almost every astrologer in the city is witnessing double the footfall and queries from students and their parents. Needless to say, the reputed ones, being the most sought after, are seeing a large number of visitors with similar questions and expectations each day.

The trend is so widespread that the smaller, roadside fortune tellers, too, are raking in the moolah, thanks to the insecurity of gullible and over-anxious students and their over-ambitious parents.

The astrologers say most of the parents and students are keen to know how the children would fair in examinations, whether or not they would manage to get good marks. They also seek remedial measures and solutions to ensure excellent results. Not surprisingly, majority of the visitors include Class X and XII students, say astrologers.

Interestingly, with exam stress increasing each day, the frequency of their visit to fortune tellers, too, have risen manifolds. All astrologers have corroborated this.

Renowned astrologer Preeti Kansal says: “Footfall as well as queries regarding academics from parents and students rises considerably during the exam time. All are equally scared, anxious and stressed and all of them want a formula for overnight success.”

While the impact of such sessions on the actual results of the students is a debatable issue; the reason behind all such visits is always the same-stress, parental pressure, overburden of studies and exam time anxiety. Unfortunately, television channels promoting astrological intervention in all matters of life in a major way, only add to the belief of people in the “science.”

Astrologer Radhe Krishna Shastri confirms the trend. “Even after having obtained the best possible academic guidance, education and coaching, nervous students and parents try to find solace in astro remedies to get some relief from the immense tension and examination stress. Hence, large number of visitors turns up at every astro centre in town.”

Shastri, however, added that the trend is a clear reflection on the unrealistic ambitions of parents and their mindless pursuit of their unrealisable goals, which they impose on their innocent children.

Astrologer and spiritual healer Vandana C. agrees with Shastri and terms the trend as dangerous. “Astro science can prove helpful in some ways but to depend entirely on it is not wise.”

She goes on to add: “Students, who are assured of success in the exams by fortune tellers, tend to go lax and neglect their studies and more often than not, end up with bad results. They then accuse the astrologer of being a fake.”

Stress managers

Most of the people visit fortune tellers to get an assurance which helps them in managing stress. While positive prediction gives a false sense of security to the individual; negative future forecast can be demorlising him. Both are harmful for the human psyche. They especially have a long-term bearing on children. Parents should understand this and encourage them to work hard instead of meeting soothsayers

— Senior psychologist Dr Rajiv Gupta

Matter of personal choice

The trend of depending on astrologers and fortune tellers among students has not escaped the notice of teachers, who concede that they can do little about it. Who can miss the myriad gemstones in the fingers of a 16-year-old or sacred red or black threads tied around their wrists? These stones are obviously suggested by astrologers as remedies to the possibility of bad luck and misfortune and also as a formulae for academic excellence. This is unfortunate. It is like doubting one’s ability and reflects a failure of the education system. But nothing can be done about it, as it is a matter of personal choice.

— A teacher



Exam jitters take on students
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ludhiana, February 28
With the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examination beginning tomorrow, Class XII students are busy with last-minute preparations. The first exam is of physics.

“I have completed my entire syllabus and am making last-minute revisions now. Though confident about my preparation, I am a bit nervous about the paper being lengthy. That is the only thing that worries me,” said Reshu Singhal, a student. Voicing her fears, another Class XII student Supriya Sharma said: “I am not nervous. I just have this one problem-for the past many days, I have been studying at night and end up getting up late in the morning. I may feel fatigued tomorrow while writing my paper.”

Supriya’s mother Priya has been talking to counsellors through the CBSE helpline number constantly.

“I was worried that she doesn’t study during the day. I don’t know how well prepared she is after studying at night. But she says that’s the only time she can concentrate. The counsellors said this was normal and she should just sleep at least eight hours and stop night studying before the boards since the exams are in the morning.”

Leading psychiatrist Dr Rajeev Gupta said there were a number of cases wherein children got stressed and developed sleeping disorders, gastric symptoms, start smoking and even give in to memory enhancement pills. “Pressure to perform well results in anxiety and affects performance. I receive several queries about what will happen if things go wrong, or how sleep gets affected,” Dr Gupta said.

Career counsellor Shelly Nagra has also been dealing with many such cases.

“I deal with many Class XII board students. They are anxious, as they are uncertain about college admissions and whether their marks will be “good enough”. It’s a competitive world. But children must remember that there are many options after school,” Nagra remarked. Meanwhile, in a word of advice for anxious students, educationists said they ought to relax now.

“Last-minute preparation cannot help a student score 90 per cent. Revise your stuff and be confident,” said DAV Public School principal RS Patial.



From Schools


LUDHIANA: A declamation contest was held at Love Dale Montessori Home today. Tiny tots spoke on the topic “Why I love my school”. A few students were selected to deliver a speech on the annual day to be held on March 4.

Around 40 students participated in the contest. Preetima Bahl, director, said, “We regularly hold such contests to boost confidence of students and motivate them to overcome stage fear.” Medals were distributed among winners.


Students of GN International Senior Secondary Public School, Model Town, exhibited an act of benevolence by donating an amount of Rs 1,18,140 to HelpAge India. Most of the students donated their pocket money. They also inspired their juniors to contribute from their piggy banks.

Harsimran Kaur of Class VIII-C contributed Rs 5,001 and was awarded a trophy from HelpAge India which was handed over to her by principal Gumant Kaur Gill. Others who were awarded included Kaur of Class VII-D who donated a sum of Rs 1,936 and Sukhpreet Singh of Class IV-B who donated Rs 1,710.

“The aim of this exercise is to inculcate the spirit of altruism, compassion, kindness and benevolence among children,” said the principal. She congratulated the donors and proposed the vote of thanks.

Slogan writing

An inter-slogan writing competition was organised at Ryan International School, Dugri, on Saturday. “Let’s be eco-friendly” was the theme of the competition which laid emphasis on saving the environment.

Students from various schools of the city and cubs and bulbuls of Ryan International School, Jamalpur, Chandigarh road, also participated. They depicted their creativity and concern towards the environment conservation. The catchy and thought-provoking slogans were appreciated by the judges and winners were awarded.


A science exhibition was held today at Sri Om Parkash Gupta SDP Model Senior Secondary School, Qilla Mohalla, to mark the National Science Day. The exhibition was aptly named as “A small Step Towards Science”. Students displayed their models and projects. Major attractions of the exhibition were models of "unmanned railway crossing", "production of electricity from speed barrier on busy roads", "energy from walking", "techniques to avoid mishaps in hilly areas", "finger print matching" and so on. The model on "future science" by students of Class XI (non-medical) was appreciated by all.

Students from neighbouring schools, too, visited the exhibition to take a look at the models.

President of the schools Sabha Balraj Bhasin said more than 100 students participated in this exhibition which was inspected by director of SDP schools S Verma. School principal Sanjeev Bindra congratulated students and science teachers Ramesh and Sukhbir Singh. — TNS



Hefty cash prizes drawing hordes of aspiring players
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Ever since the state’s sports department announced huge cash awards, with a maximum of Rs 9 lakh for the winner, in eleven events of the Shaheed-e-Azam Punjab sports competition commencing here Monday, the department’s office in the city has been thronged by young people keen to take part in the event.

District sports officer Satpal Singh said about 20 to 30 youngsters were turning up at the office every day with a request to allow them to participate in the competition.

“We’ve had to turn them back as the selections for the games were held nearly two months ago and we can’t give a chance to everyone. This isn’t a lottery where anyone can try his luck. There’s a procedure laid down for everything,” he added.

Even some senior athletes with several national gold medals under their belt are regretting they missed the opportunity to take part in the games. Most of them were caught by surprise when the government announced the hefty awards for players.

Athlete Inderjeet Singh, one of the country’s fastest sprinters in the subjunior division, while lamenting his lack of fitness said: “I’ve been facing fitness issues for the past few months and that was the primary reason I skipped the games’ selection trial. Otherwise I’d have definitely participated in the competition and earned a medal for my district”.

Cops too give it a try

Candidates taking part in the recruitment trial for the post of constables were also seen trying their luck. Many of them lined up in front of the sports department’s district office in the city, demanding they should also be given chance to bag the huge cash awards of Rs 9, 7 and 5 lakh announced by the state government for the Shaheed-e-Azam Punjab sports competition.

Even some senior athletes with several national gold medals under their belt are regretting they missed the opportunity to take part in the games. Most of them were caught by surprise when the government announced the hefty awards for players



10 pc service tax on patients
DMCH, CMCH authorities term it unfair
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Ten per cent service tax on all more than 25- bedded centrally air-conditioned hospitals has evoked sharp criticism from private hospitals and authorities of DMCH, CMCH and SPS Apollo Hospitals (the tertiary care hospitals) in Ludhiana that fall in the above category.

Prem Gupta, secretary, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) management, while expressing his resentment over the announcement of 10 per cent service tax on the centrally air conditioned hospitals said, “It is going to put more burden on patients. People all walks of life come to DMCH for treatment and we compensate them as per their requirement. But this additional fiscal burden will influence our policies to an extent.”

Dr Kapil Chibb, medical superintendent, SPS Apollo Hospitals, said their hospital was already paying service tax on non- product items, credit bills whereas the consumable items were covered under VAT. “If the implementation is as per above specifications then it will not effect the patients in our hospital, but if the service tax is implemented in the broad spectrum then it will have significant effect on them,” Dr Chibb added.

Dr Kanwal Massih, medical superintendent, Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), termed the 10 per cent service tax on centrally air-conditioned hospitals as “uncalled for”. The air-conditioning in hospitals is a need and comfort based but not for recreation purposes. Thus keeping in mind the circumstances that force people to come and stay in hospitals, the government should have exempted the hospitals from this tax.



City varsities feel neglected
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The state, which contributes maximum to the food kitty of the nation, has been totally “neglected” by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee while announcing the Budget for 2011-12 fiscal today. Though grants worth several crores have been announced for many institutions in the country, but Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), which bagged National Award for being the “best agricultural University” recently, has not been given even a penny by the Central government.

As per Budget announcement today, Kerala Veterinary Sciences University has been given a grant of Rs 100 crore, but the only Veterinary Sciences University in Punjab- Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVSU)-has been overlooked by the Union government.

GADVASU Vice-Chancellor, Dr VK Taneja, told The Tribune that, “The varsity has been demanding grants/funds for research, but it has never been met by the Centre. Livestock is represented by small group of farmers, but we have never received any support by the Union government. Policymakers keep stressing on diversification, but livestock is never considered at par with agriculture. Punjab has always been neglected by the Centre while making Budget announcements.”

While PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr MS Kang, said the university was passing through a rough phase due to financial constraints, the varsity expected something from the Centre. “Had there been some funds for the PAU, we could have done pretty well in research and development projects. Presently, we are teaching, researching and extending knowledge to farmers on our own. Punjab puts maximum in the food kitty of the nation and the PAU plays a major role in disseminating knowledge to the farming community, it should have been considered by the Union ministry,” he added.

Union Budget

Funded Institutes

  • Kerala Veterinary Sciences University — Rs 100 crore
  • IIT, Khadagpur — Rs 40 crore
  • Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute — Rs 40 crore
  • IIM, Kolkata — Rs 40 crore
  • Economic School of Delhi — Rs 10 crore
  • Maulana Azad College — Rs 200 crore as one time grant



An eager wait for leap year
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, February 28
Though his birthday does not fall on February 28, apparently left with no other option, 27-year-old Jagpreet Singh, who was born on February 29 in 1984, will have to celebrate the big day tonight. “I will celebrate my 27th birth anniversary at midnight,” said Jagpreet Singh, who had a smile on his face, may be for being a special human being on this earth.

Jagpreet waits eagerly for a leap year. Facts revealed that there were around four million people in the world who were born in a leap year.

Jagpreet finds himself half of his actual age.

“Honestly, I want to celebrate my birthday on February 29,” said Jagpreet, who had thrown a party at a local restaurant for his friends.

Born at 8.15 in the morning, Jagpreet while sharing his feelings with this correspondent, said, “I see people celebrating their birthdays on the actual day they are born.

But as far as celebrating my birth anniversary is concerned, I feel am forced upon always.”

He said he had to face a lot of problems while getting his date of birth registered in school.

“I am mocked at for being born in a leap year. Now, I want to get married.

I find myself special,” concludes Jagpreet.

How did leap year originate?

The Gregorian calendar is based on the Julian calendar, which was introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. The Julian calendar featured a 12-month, 365-day year, with an intercalary day inserted every fourth year at the end of February to make an average year of 365.25 days. But because the length of the solar year is actually 365.25 days, the Julian year too was lengthened by 0.0078 day i.e. 11 minutes and 14 seconds.



Biz Clips

Hybrid TMT bars

LUDHIANA: Kamdhenu Steel has come out with two hybrid varieties of TMT bars. Both the varieties are tested under extreme weather conditions with anti-water-borne damage quality. Since these TMT bars are used as support pillars for all construction, all engineers recommend a strong base to set the building upon. Any carelessness in this regard could lead to disastrous consequences, which is why both 500D and 415D are earthquake resistant as well.

World Cup in HD

Reliance Digital TV (RDTV), a direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, inked a deal with ESPN Star Sports (ESS). With this pact Reliance Digital TV acquired the rights to telecast ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in high definition.

Fruit drink launched

Del Monte has announced the first major launch in the fruit drinks category in the form of ‘Mango Splash’. It is now available across retail counters in major cities.

Insurance product

ING Life India launched a traditional insurance product, ING Ace (Pension and Life), with features such as high guaranteed additions, limited premium pay and tax benefit under Section 80-C of the Income Tax Act.

The new plan comes in two variants -- ING Ace Pension and ING Ace Life. The pension variant offers customers a guaranteed addition of 8.75 per cent per annum throughout the 10-year term of the policy. ING Ace Life version offers 7.75 per cent or 7 per cent per annum guaranteed additions, depending on the premium paid.

‘Khushiyan di Gaddi’

Aviva Life Insurance kicked off a series of awareness road shows across 78 villages - ‘Khushiyan di Gaddi’ in Punjab with its bank assurance partner Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB). The company also launched a new group product -- Aviva Sampoorna Suraksha Bima Yojna, customised for the customers of Punjab and Sind Bank. — TNS



Irregularities in Seniority List
Sanitary workers’ panel seek probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Alleging a large number of irregularities in the preparation of the seniority list of sanitary workers for regularisation, the Sangarsh Committee of sanitary workers has demanded a vigilance probe into the matter.

In order to pressurise the MC authorities for accepting their long-pending demand regarding regularisation of temporary sanitary workers, the Sangarsh Committee organised a rally in the D zone office of the civic body. Addressing the rally, the leaders of the committee, Lovely Pal Dishwar, and Hans Raj Gagat accused that MC officials of exploiting the sanitary workers on temporary basis. In a major revelation, both leaders alleged that the MC officials under pressure of some people had adopted a pick and choose policy to regularise workers.

They said that those workers who had been working for a long period of time had been ignored, whereas name of some other workers had been put on top in the seniority list prepared by the MC staff. They alleged that MC officials had illegally got some benefits from MC employees to put their name high in the seniority list prepared by them. They alleged that more than 1,200 names of sanitary workers had been illegally put high in the seniority list. Demanding a vigilance probe in matter they said that injustice with workers would not be tolerated.

They said that the MC officials did not want that sanitary workers should get regular posts. Later on, the sanitary workers met MC Commissioner AK Sinha and handed over a memorandum of their demands to him.



Drunk Punbus driver deserts passenger
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Journey from Chandigarh to Ludhiana on Punbus turned into a nightmare for a city resident, who was left stranded at Khamano by a driver, who was allegedly drunk, late last night.

He was rescued by his relative, who took him to the city. Narrating the ordeal, Harjinder Singh said he boarded a Ludhiana bound bus (PB- 10- (T)- P- 9911) from Chandigarh at 8 pm.

“It took two hours to reach Khamano. On reaching a food joint near Khamano, I discovered from the bus conductor, Gagan, that the driver was drunk. I, along with another passenger, alighted from the vehicle to have a cup of tea,” said Harjinder and added that while he was sipping his tea the bus driver drove the bus.

While the other passengers caught the bus, the 48-year-old Harjinder was left stranded.

After waiting for another bus till midnight, he finally called up his relative at Mansa Devi complex, who further reached there at 3 am and took him home.



Aanganwari cheer salary hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Having got a good hike in their salaries in the Union Budget announced , the aanganwari workers from across the state today announced to concentrate on the betterment of the aanganwaris.

The aanganwari workers will now get monthly salary of Rs 3,863 and Rs 1,900 will be given to the helpers.

The district president of the Aanganwari Employees Union expressed happiness over the raise given to the aanganwari workers and helpers adding that this would motivate them to do good work.

Vrinda, who is working as an aanganwari worker near Jalandhar bypass, said this hike was much needed keeping in mind the inflation rate in the past one year.



Best web designing award

Ludhiana, February 28
Ludhiana-based Crescendo Infotech Services Pvt Ltd has won the award for the “Best Web Designing Company”. The award was given by Big Brands Research at New Delhi. Hament Latawa, managing director of the firm, said he was into designing websites since the last nine years.

He has designed websites for the CMC, the PAU, the IMA and the PCTE to name a few. “Over the years trends have changed a lot and now not only educational institutes, but industrial houses as well are getting their websites made,” he said. — TNS



PPCB clears pending applications
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
A special camp was organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board to clear the pending NOC and consent applications at the office of United Cycle Parts and Manufacturers. Employees from all four regional offices were present, along with the SE, XEN and SDO.

Chairman Rajat Aggarwal, along with Babu Ram, member secretary, Lalit Sharma, director, PPCB, also visited the camp. A sapling was planted by the chairman in the UCPMA Complex to promote the project of the association “Go Green Save Earth”.



340 get degrees

PHILLAUR: Around 340 students were conferred degrees during the annual convocation of DAV College here today. Punjab Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon was the chief guest who lit the ceremonial lamp and distributed degrees.

College Managing Committee chairman SK Malhotra, principal Karan Sharma, Phillaur SDM Pritam Singh, DSP Rajbalwinder Singh Marar, advocate Manjit Singh Gulati and Prem Duggal were also present. Kahlon announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh. Around 110 students were given prizes. — OC



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