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International Women’s Day Today/SHOWING THE WAY
Village turns saviour in kudi maar dist
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Burj Hakeema (Ludhiana), March 7
Having successfully effected a rise in the skewed male to female sex ratio, this village has become a torchbearer for others to save the girl child and wash the blot of being a ‘‘kudi maar’’ (daughter killer) district off the face of this state.

Burj Hakeema, a small hamlet near Pakhowal village here, has ensured that no daughter was killed in the womb thereby bringing the number of girls to 61 compared to the number of boys at 51.

On the International Women’s Day tomorrow, the village panchayat led by its sarpanch, Capt Mewa Singh, will reiterate its vows to fight against the menace of foeticide.

“We can take pride in saying that we do not kill unborn daughters. They are safe if they are conceived,” says the sarpanch. The distinction of being a girl saviour village won it the title of “Uttam Village”awarded by the state government.

Things were always not like that for this village, where it had become a fad to get the gender of the unborn child tested. Awakening to the menace four years ago, the sarpanch’s 28-year-old son ,Tejinder Singh Baaj, took up cudgels to put an end to it. 

A government school science teacher in Chamkaur Sahib, Baaj got in touch with like-minded youths of the village and the surrounding areas and constituted a Naujwan Club. Since then, these youths have undertaken door-to-door campaigns and have enacted plays to sensitise village residents to allow their daughters to live. 

“Villagers can be sensitised with the help of theatre. I have learnt it with my experience. We have enacted several plays that conveyed a strong message not to kill daughters. And the ratio has come up in the village having a population of 1,145,” says Baaj. “I gave birth to my second daughter five months ago. The elder one is three and I will give them a good education. My daughters are the trophies for this village,” said Sukhjeet Kaur, a village resident. 

“We have started with our efforts in Tajpur and Pakhowal villages. I want to give to these villages whatever I gained from here,” said Baaj.

Leading by example

Burj Hakeema and three other villages have the distinction of a rmale-female ratio in favour of the girl child. While Heran village has 22 girls compared to 11 boys, Rajgarh has eight boys and 14 girls. Ramgarh Siwian has 83 girls and 67 boys. These four villages were awarded the title of “Uttam Villages” by the state government on Republic Day this year. 



Women councillors unable to make a difference
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Tall speeches regarding the empowerment of women are common. But when it comes to ground realities, public representatives in the local bodies have failed to deliver in this regard. Out of 26 women councillors that have got a chance to be peoples representatives, less than half-a-dozen have actively taken part in the Municipal Corporation (MC). The remaining are mute spectators in every meeting. Not only in general house meetings, but also in meetings of sub-committees and other important works of the civic body. Instead, most of these councillors are represented by their husbands or sons who have been politically active.

Not only do they engage in public dealings, but their husbands even answer queries of the media. They have not made their presence felt in the decision making process.

In a general house meeting held around two years ago, a woman Akali councillor’s son had created ruckus by raising the issue of her ward, which is legally not allowed. It indicates how “women empowerment has been eclipsed” since women themselves do not want to do anything about it.

The result is a mockery of a system which claims to have empowered women by giving them representation in the decision making process.

The reason for the failure of the empowerment process is that in reality only those women get ticket and are elected, whose sons or husbands or any other family member is active in the political arena.

As a result, when the seats in the local bodies are rotated, affluent political leaders lobby for ticket for their wives, mothers or daughters. These women prove to be a failure in politics and women empowerment gets a backseat.


1 killed, 6 injured as truck rams into tractor trailer
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Ludhiana, March 7
A labourer was killed and six others were seriously injured after a speeding truck collided with a tractor trailer of a road construction company near the Jalandhar bypass on the National Highway-I here last night.

The incident took place at 10 pm when nearly 14 workers of the construction company, involved with the widening of the road project from Panipat to Jalandhar, were returning home.

An eyewitness said a speeding truck rammed into the tractor trailer. The impact was so strong that the tractor was tossed into the air.

While a worker identified as Ram Savroop was killed on the spot, six others who sustained serious injuries were rushed to a hospital in Doraha. The condition of the injured is stated to be stable.

All the injured hail from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The police said the driver of the truck managed to flee. A case has been registered against the driver and the vehicle has been impounded.

There are allegations that the workers were not following road safety rules. They removed their fluorescent jackets due to which perhaps they could not be spotted by the truck driver, the investigating officer of the Salem Tabri police station said. The tractor trailer also did not have a tail light.

Vishwanath, HR manager of the company, slammed he allegations as baseless. “I have got pictures of the injured workers wearing jackets. We had also put up fluorescent cones at the site to alert traffic,” he said. 

Needless Delay

Road safety expert Kamaljit Soi alleged that the construction company wasted crucial time rushing the injured to the hospital. Instead of taking the injured to a local multi-speciality hospital, the injured were taken to Doraha, located nearly 25 km from the spot where the incident took place. The HR manager of the company, however, said the injured were taken to a multi-speciality hospital in Doraha as the hospital was located near the base camp of the company. 



PAU enchants N-E students
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 7
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been a name to reckon with. Recognising its status among Indian agricultural universities, 15 students from Manipur have been pursuing agricultural studies here since last three years.

They say that the PAU is a big name on every student’s lips in Manipur who want to make a career in agriculture.

According to an official, there is a craze among north-eastern students to study at the PAU.

The students presently studying at the PAU are following MSc and Phd courses in economics, extension education, entomology and micro-biology. Ponil, a student from a north-eastern state, has been doing Phd in veterinary sciences at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU).

Students said they now have two agricultural and science universities in Manipur (Central Agricultural University, Imphal and North-East Regional Institute of Science and Technology, Sikkim, deemed university).

Senior among the students from Manipur, Wumgshim Zimik, who is doing MTech in processing and food engineering at the College of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, while talking to The Tribune said the PAU had been a popular name. “The PAU is a big name among students who complete their higher secondary or bachelors. They try to get admission to the PAU through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). I got admission through ICAR in 2008,” said Zimik who likes the attitude of students and teachers at the university. “I have been to various states, but I liked Punjab the most. I liked Punjabi food during my visits to Gurdaspur and Faridkot,” he added.

Supriya, another student, said she got admission through ICAR for the Phd extension education at the College of Agriculture. “After completing my bachelors I appeared in an entrance of ICAR and got admission to the PAU to pursue my Phd. This is the best agricultural university in the country,” she said.

Latika, a student of MSc economics who recently completed her thesis, said she found the atmosphere of the university very amicable. She said: “Teachers and students are very nice and cooperative. The hostel atmosphere is conducive to studies. We have never faced problems in or outside the university.”

All of them said the university had good farm mechanisations required for agricultural study. “We always found opportunities to learn more of the course through the research work, agricultural seminars and symposiums,” said Zimik.



No salaries for PAU staff yet
Rs 31-cr grant still to be released
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Employees of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) here have failed to get their monthly salaries, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the state government which failed to disburse the grant of Rs 31 crore to the PAU on time. Though the authorities have been making rounds of Chandigarh to get the grant released at the earliest, nothing has been done so far.

Hundreds of non-teaching employees of the PAU protested against the government for about two hours here today. The agitated employees said they were well into the month but their salaries had not been deposited in their accounts.

The vice-president of the union, Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, said about 3,000 serving employees and as many retirees were facing a tough time in the absence of salaries.

“The government is spending crores of rupees on development and organising state-level games, but employees are not being given salaries on time. What kind of development is this?” he said.

Sukhjinder Kaur, another employee, said even if the government released the salary in a day or two, the employees would only get it after four-five days. “We have to pay bills and tuition fee of our kids. This is harassment of the employees who have contributed in the food kitty of the nation,” she said.

About 1,500 employees gathered outside Thapar Hall and raised slogans against the government.

“Almost every senior citizen is suffering from one health problem or the other. In the absence of money, we fail to get medicines on time. The government must come to our rescue and release pension on time,” said Swaranjit Singh, a retired employee. The employees said they would continue to hold the dharna till the salaries were released.



Illegal Buildings
Now, zone-wise status report
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
In order to check the mushrooming of illegal buildings in the city, Municipal Corporation (MC) authorities have decided to keep a tab on it by asking officials of the building branch to give a written undertaking regarding buildings constructed in their respective zones.

The instructions regarding the matter were passed by MC Additional Commissioner Kuldeep Singh at a meeting with officials of the branch here today. He told officials that zero tolerance would be adopted towards the construction of illegal buildings.

He said as per the order of the MC Commissioner, strict action would be taken against officials who were found lax in acting against illegal buildings. He told the officials to ensure that a written undertaking was submitted by them after every month regarding the buildings constructed in their respective areas so that a check could be maintained on illegal buildings.

The Additional Commissioner also warned that in case of a lapse, action would be taken. Later, he also held a review meeting with officials of the branch to check the status of the income recovered by the civic body from the branch. Expressing dissatisfaction over the pace of recovery, he asked officials to expedite the process so that the income could be enhanced. He also pointed at the slow pace of recovery in some zones.



Gang of copper thieves busted, 9 arrested
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
With the arrest of nine persons, the Focal Point police claimed to have busted a gang of copper thieves who stole 22 quintals of copper scrap worth Rs 20 lakh that was stolen from Krishan Factory, Phagwara, few days ago.

According to investigating officer, Varunjit Singh, the police received a tip-off that thieves were seen near Sherpur area following which the police laid a trap and nabbed suspects, who were ferrying the stolen copper scrap in a mini truck.

During the investigation, the accused cracked soon and confessed to have committed the crime.

The cops have recovered 20 quintals of copper scrap from the possession of the accused.

The police has booked 10 persons, identified as Deepak, Jacki, Pawan, Hassan Ahmed, Santosh, Mohammed Aziz, Asho Lal, Kuldeep and Kawaljeet.

Varunjit said while nine accused were arrested, one managed to give the police a slip.



Armed assailants rob man of car
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
In yet another incident, the armed assailants robbed a car from a city resident last evening. The incident took place at Dugri area at 8:30pm when the victim Sudhansh Grover was returning home on his white colour Maruti Swift (PB-10- CU- 6021).

He stated to the police that when he reached near Green Land School on Dugri road, the assailants who were travelling in a Maruti WagonR intercepted his vehicle.

Before he could react, the unidentified assailants pulled him out of the vehicle and started thrashing him.

In the meantime, one of the robbers got inside his vehicle and fled from the scene.He raised alarm and screamed for help, but to no avail. Sudhansh further informed the police about the incident. Soon after receiving the information the police reached the spot and started the investigation.



Roll back central excise duty: Soap makers 
Say waiver of customs duty not helpful 
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Though it was expected that the proposal to waive of 20 per cent customs duty on crude palm citrine would bring cheer to the soap manufacturers but it has failed to do so. Instead, the manufacturers want the Central excise duty to be rolled back. Although the excise duty has not been imposed freshly and the manufacturers have been paying it since 2006 but they feel heavily burdened under the taxes since they are paying VAT as well as excise duty.

"We have been regularly giving our representations to the government to roll back the Central excise duty levied on us but to no avail. It has been four years since we have been making the rounds of the government but nothing has been done in this regard. Now they have waived of customs duty on crude palm citrine but it has come as a cruel joke. Only 2-3 per cent soap companies that too the MNCs make the use of crude palm citrine while manufacturing soap. Small-scale units do not make use of this citrine so the waiver is of no use to us," said Surinder Arora, president of the All Punjab Soap Manufacturers Association.

Now the customers will ask for lesser prices of soap but the soap manufacturers will not be able to reduce the prices since this citrine is not being used as an ingredient by the local companies while manufacturing soap leaving out a few big companies.

"We are paying 13.75 per cent VAT and 11 per cent excise duty on laundry soaps and due to the heavy burden of the taxes our business is going into losses. While there is no VAT on soap manufacturing in some states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Bengal, in Gujarat it is just 4 per cent. No other state is paying VAT at the rate of 13.75 per cent," said Amrit Lal Gupta, vice-president of All Punjab Soap Manufacturers Association.

Adding further Satish Lamba, general secretary, said nearly 80 per cent of the manufacturers have shut down owing to heavy burden of taxation and if the condition remains the same small units will vanish from the business. 



PSIDC vice-chief’s resignation
No heartburn with SAD-BJP coalition: Aggarwal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
Putting to rest speculations of rift between the Aggarwal community and the ruling coalition in the state, Aggar Shakti state president Amrit Lal Aggarwal made it clear that his resignation from the post of vice-chairman of the Punjab Industrial Development Corporation did not have any political reasons.

“I still stand with the SAD-BJP coalition government like a loyal soldier with unflinching faith in the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal, and I will keep moblising members of the Aggarwal community to ensure the success of the ruling alliance in the next Assembly elections,” he announced while addressing mediapersons here last evening after a meeting of the Aggar Shakti, Punjab.

He said his decision to quit as the vice-chairman of the PSIDC, a loss-making government body, had come in the wake of severe financial crunch in the corporation. “I did not want to impose any further financial burden on the PSIDC and hence decided to quit.”

Aggarwal, however, hastened to add that he, like all other members of the Aggarwal community, had complete faith in Badal’s leadership. “The state has made all-round development under the tenure of the SAD-BJP government, and there is a flurry of development works all around.”

Criticising the Congress-led UPA government at the centre for shortchanging the trade and industry in Punjab, he said the imposition of excise duty on hosiery goods, garments, bicycle and sewing machine spares had come as a blow to small and tiny sector in the city.

Not only this, by bringing healthcare in the ambit of service tax, the government had inflicted a death blow to the people.

Aggarwal announced that he would soon undertake a tour of the state to meet members and activists of the Aggarwal community and enlist their support for the ruling alliance to ensure that the SAD-BJP government got mandate in the next Assembly elections.

‘Corpn in financial mess’

The decision to quit as the vice-chairman of the PSIDC, a loss-making government body, has come in the wake of severe financial crunch in the corporation. I did not want to impose any further financial burden on the PSIDC and thus I quit.



Experts dwell on threats posed by plastic
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 7
Dr Jagbir Singh, department of zoology, Punjabi University, Patiala, during the UGC-sponsored two-day national seminar on “Environmental Pollution” at GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sadhar, said: “Indiscreet use of plastic has done an irreparable damage, not only to the ecology, but to the entire human race. If the environmental degradation goes on at such a rapid pace we will be ruined in the coming few years.

Without adopting stringent measures, this grave problem will continue to pose a big challenge.”

He emphasised that the environmental concern is everyone’s concern. “We need to become more sensitive and more concerned about the deteriorating environment and work in our own small ways towards the restoration of its withering glory,” he added.

Dr Jagbir said: “Plastic is one of the major toxic pollutants of our time. Being a non-biodegradable substance, composed of toxic chemicals, plastic pollutes earth, air and water.

Plastic clogs the intestines of animals and sea creatures and leads to their slow starvation and ultimate death.”

Prof RK Kohli, chairman, department of botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, said: “Man is paying the price for being selfish. He is entirely responsible for playing havoc with nature.”

Dr Harpreet Khurana, seminar co-ordinator said it had been the endeavour of the college to arrange the best of the brains that could sensitise the participants and make them aware of the crucial problem of environmental degradation, apart from suggesting ways to control the problem.



‘Modelling a secure profession’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Modelling world is where she always wanted to be. “It was with my sheer determination and self confidence that I realised my dream and today walk down the ramp with pride. Modelling is a secure profession, one just needs to be fit and in shape, said Yoshiki, a model.

Belonging to Ludhiana, she is an alumnus of Kundan Vidya Mandir and presently pursuing her electrical engineering at the Regional Institute of Management.

“Ujjwal Rawat is my idol and I want to become like her,” she beams.

Till now, Yoshiki has participated in various fashion weeks and walked the ramp for various designers.



PAU Notes 

Ludhiana: The issue of water crisis in agriculture has different ramifications having social and economic facets. This was stated by Dr Nathan Larson, economist, University of Virginia, USA, who is currently on a visit to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

He elaborated that the ongoing project with the PAU's department of economics and sociology, on the role of social networks in the adoption of water-saving technologies, had a plan to enhance the adoption of water-saving technologies by the farmers.

He appreciated PAU scientists for developing technologies aimed at enhancing water-use efficiency, promoting diversification in agriculture, recommending machinery and techniques.

PAU VC Dr MS Kang briefed the visitor about the technologies that PAU had developed for saving water and other natural resources.

He said that the recent revolution in the cotton industry had been due to the release and adoption of Bt varieties.

He observed that farmers had got inclined towards cotton in recent years due to its high productivity, reduction in the use of pesticides and less environmental degradation. Kang said that Bt cotton was the only Bt version of any crop recommended in the country.

He said that the envisaged project on assessing social networks that could promote adoption of water-saving technologies was greatly relevant to the contemporary agriculture that was experiencing water depletion with great concern.


A six-member delegation from Moscow State University of Environmental Engineering (MSUEE), Moscow comprising Dr Lev Ratkovich, chair, Department of Integrated Water management, Natallia Feshchanka, associate director, International Programme Office and four students namely, Faina Biriukova, Tatiana Deeva, Irina Kolbasova and Alinna Nor, are on a visit to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

The group met Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor and held interaction on wide ranging academic concerns.

Kang while welcoming the delegation said that Indo-Russian friendship was old. He said that PAU had been receiving students and faculty from MSUEE and the Moscow State University of Agro Engineering under the signed memorandum of understanding. The groups from PAU had also visited the Russian universities on a number of occasions.

The exchange of students and faculty provided them an opportunity to know their institute, culture and agriculture, he said. — TNS



From Colleges
Alumni meet

Ludhiana: The GGN Institute of Management and Technology hosted its third alumni meet here recently with an objective of meeting old students, sharing experiences and rejuvenating relations. Satish Kaul, noted Punjabi actor was the chief guest.

About 200 alumni from across the country made it to the event. A cultural show was put-up to entertain the alumni.


A seminar on "Women and Health" was organised by the Master Tara Singh Memorial College for Women on occasion of International Women's Day. The seminar was sponsored by the Department of Life Long Learning and Extension, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Mridula Jain from Shingora Shawls and Dr SK Maan, retired dean from PAU were the guests of honour. The resource persons gave their insight on the current topic and threw light on awareness of women health. — TNS



Punjab Games
Hurdles race winner keen on Olympics
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 7
Satinder Singh, hurdles athlete and who aims to take part in the 2012 London Olympics, after winning top positions in various national athletics championships, has been preparing to get selected in the Indian squad to take part in the next Olympics and the Asian Athletics Championship to be held at Japan in July.

Satinder jolted athletes from various districts by clinching gold medals in the 400m and 110m hurdles races during the Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh Punjab Games that concluded yesterday.

The star athlete had finished fifth in the 400m hurdles during the All-Asia Star Athletics Championship. He had competed in this championship in Bhopal (2009) also.

He came in limelight during the recently concluded Jharkhand National Games where he had bagged a bronze medal in his pet event. He has been counted among the probable athletes to qualify for the London Olympics.

“Kerala athlete Joseph J Abraham, who clinched silver in the 400m hurdles, is the best hurdles athletes in the country at the moment. Our event was the toughest in the athletics events during the National Games. Just a few second’s difference determined our fate,” said the star athlete, who has been serving the Indian Railways since 2007.

“I was selected in the Indian Railways after my outstanding performance during the Open National Athletics Championship held at Delhi in 2007, where I secured second position,” Satinder informed before taking a leave to attend the concluding ceremony of the games.

Sanjeev Sharma, his coach, has been hoping a lot from Satinder. “I am trying to prepare him for the best this time. He has got great recognition during the National Games due to his performance. He would definitely be a strong contender for the London Olympics.”

Talking about his training, Sanjeev said, “The workout and rest go hand-in-hand. He needs more practice, along with stress-free rest even during his practice sessions. Secondly, he has to stay away from accidental injury during the practice and any kind of muscle or hamstring injury. He is taking care of that.”



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