L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Janakpuri shopkeepers demand action against DHO
Accuse him of misbehaving ‘under the influence of intoxicants’
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
District health officer (DHO) Dr Jagpal Singh was allegedly subjected to "uncalled for humiliation" when shopkeepers in the city’s Janakpuri locality staged a ‘dharna’ (protest sit-in) against the official, accusing him of “misbehaving” with the wife of one them as well as using foul language.

The shopkeepers, led by their association president Pradeep Kumar, downed their shutters in protest against local health officials and raised slogans against the civil surgeon as well as Jagpal. They urged police officials to "reinvestigate" the matter and cancel the first information report filed by the cops against one of the shopkeepers, Pawan Kumar, owner of Pawan Karyana Store.

While giving purported details of Jagpal’s assets, the association members accused him of being corrupt. “If he doesn’t retract his complaint against Kumar, we’ll ‘gherao’ (surround and confine) the Ludhiana civil surgeon”, they threatened.

On the other hand, Jagpal accused the police department of siding with the storeowner. "Initially the police didn’t take any action and it was only after the pressure exerted by the Universal Human Rights Organization (UHRO) that it filed a case. But I was surprised to know the case was registered under sections 186, 332 & 353 (preventing public servant from doing his duty) of the IPC, whereas the storeowner had called in goons and even caught me by the collar in a bid to strangle me”, he went on to add.

The incident took place when Jagpal along with members of his team stopped at the store in Janakpuri to collect samples of food items under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act on March 11. However, instead of cooperating with him, the storeowner called in goons who used abusive language and resorted to aggressive behaviour.

A senior health official said on condition of anonymity the market association was supported by some politicians as well as the cops. “They’re now giving a different twist to the incident by dragging in the shopkeeper's wife. It’d not be good for the health department if the police acts against the district health officer," he added.

Ironically, even though the health & family welfare department has not come out in support of Jagpal a large number of local NGOs have pitched in to “fight for the cause of honesty at work”. On March 14 one of them, UHRO, even offered assistance to the beleaguered official in filing a complaint with the police. Another NGO, the Council of RTI Activists, has forwarded a complaint to Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari, city police commissioner Ishwar Singh, civil surgeon and the Punjab health minister and secretary, demanding action against the “culprits”. The PCMS Association and the Rural Medical Services Association have also called upon the state government to take “immediate action” on the matter.

Top cop calls for magisterial probe

Police Commissioner Ishwar Singh said both police officials and area residents had alleged that district health officer Jagpal Singh had been “under the influence of some intoxicant” during checks carried out on shops in the city’s Janakpuri locality. "After Jagpal filed his complaint we registered an FIR for obstruction of duty. At the same time I have written to Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident," the Police Commissioner said.

Tewari, however, said he had not yet ordered an inquiry. "It will be difficult to ascertain whether the district health officer was under the influence of intoxicants a week after the incident. But the matter will still be investigated," he promised.


Tractors a passé, farmers flaunt SUVs, swanky cars
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Gone are the days when farmers used to throng Kisan Mela on tractors with smoke bellowing furiously from their vehicle.

These days they ride into the melas in swanky cars and sports utility vehicles (SUVs). This is the new face of shining farming economy.

More than 1,000 hi-end vehicles of various automobile manufacturing companies were on a display at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Kisan Mela here today. Majority of farmers owed their economic success story to the booming real estate market and returns from the produce are traditionally good.

However, there is no change in their dressing style. Clad in a kurta pajama, these farmers were seen commuting on high-end luxury vehicles.

Authorities in PAU expressed surprise over the changing trend, which exemplifies the financial condition of farmers in the state.

Cashing on the opportunity, even the car makers did not miss the opportunity to showcase their latest model of cars during the Kisan Mela.

“The time has changed now. Earlier, the whole village used to commute on tractors. Nearly 20 of us use to sit on tractors marching towards PAU for the Kisan Mela. But now everyone has a personal vehicle,” said Rashpal Singh of Shergarh village in Patiala.

Traffic incharge Babu Singh, who has been a witness to this change said: “It’s a very pleasant sight here. Farmers of the state can afford rich lifestyle. SUVs and cars are the symbols of rich living.”

Gurjit Singh, who has a land holding of 42 acre in Banwala village near Kapurthala and owns five cars, including three SUVs said: “My father, along with other village residents used to commute on tractors and after spending a day at PAU Kisan Mela they used to return home the next day.”

He adds that besides cars, he owns three tractors and a combine machine.



Slain realtor’s kin demand arrest of key suspect
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
The family members of Chandan Kumar Sharma, 21, a property dealer residing in the city’s Haibowal Khurd locality, who was allegedly murdered and poisoned by three people on March 12, held a protest outside the office of assistant police commissioner (west) Raj Kumar on Friday and sought the immediate arrest of the prime suspect, Shivraj Singh. They also demanded the girl who reportedly provoked Shivraj to commit the crime should also be booked for murder.

The protestors accused police officials of being “hand in glove” with the suspects and deliberately stalling on apprehending the latter.

However, Raj Kumar, dismissing the allegations as “baseless”. stated the police was conducting a thorough investigation into the matter and assured the victim’s relatives that the suspects would be nabbed soon.

According to the deceased’s family members, Chandan had a love affair with the girl who later became engaged to Shivraj. They said they were not in favour of Chandan’s efforts to revive the relationship with the girl as she was already engaged. "But Chandan didn’t heed us. Instead he left home and began living with his grandfather in the Rishi Nagar locality”, the family members added.

Chandan’s body was found on March 12 near Rishi Enclave on Hambran Road. According to the police, Shivraj and his men had attacked him with swords and the victim bled to death. However, the matter took a new turn when sulphas tablets were found from a pocket of the victim’s clothes.

Today a large number of protestors gathered outside the Sarabha Nagar police station and raised slogans against the cops. Chandan's uncle, Suresh Sharma, who happens to be vice president of the district Congress committee, said, “Though it’s been over six days since the murder was committed the police has failed to arrest the suspects”.



Authorities mum on checking water wastage
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Though various social organisations have initiated drives asking the city residents to avoid wastage of water this Holi due to the depleting water table, the authorities concerned are still keeping mum on the issue.

According to the data of Municipal Corporation (MC), around 786.50 million litre of water is wasted by the city residents everyday.

The data available from the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) branch of the 450 tubewells in the city, along with the 250 submersible pumps installed at various parts of the city, pump out about 925 million litre of water daily. Surprisingly, out of this 85 per cent of the total water that gets wasted by the city residents daily gets drained out.

According to the officers of O&M branch, the water wasted by residents in one day could feed them for about four days.

Unfortunately, neither the authorities in MC nor the district administration have ever bothered to educate the people about the proper use of water. Even action on part of MC against people who are wasting the water is missing.

Though administration is yet to wake up to the misuse of water, but considering the usage of water by city residents in Holi festival, some social organisations have started awareness campaign for residents to save water.

Members of the Park Managements Committee of E Block of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar led by Pran Nath Bhatia, Jaspal Singh and Arvind Sharma started awareness campaign to educate people about importance of water.

The members vowed that they would celebrate the festival with colours only. The members of the committee said it was unfortunate that city residents waste a lot of water in playing Holi.

Similarly, Rajesh Julka, convener of NGO Save Water, said despite of depleting water table in the city, there was no action against the defaulters. He said there was no need for awareness campaigns in the city if the MC takes action against the defaulters.

MC Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said they know the importance of water due to which they have been taking adequate action against the people who waste water.



PHRC seeks report of local bodies dept
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Taking cognizance of a news item recently published in The Tribune on the death of a child after he fell into an open sewer manhole in the city, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has sought a report on the incident from the state local bodies department.

On January 30 a seven-year-old boy, Sujan, was killed died when he slipped into the manhole located on National Highway 1. Subsequently, The Tribune highlighted the problem of other open manholes in the city which had become virtual deathtraps for residents, along with the failure of the municipal corporation to keep checks on the over 40,000 manholes in the city.

Rohit Sabharwal, president of an NGO, Council of RTI Activists, also filed a complaint with PSHRC, along with copies of the news items, in which he stated the MC’s negligence was tantamount to violation of human rights.

In his complaint Sabharwal alleged that despite there being several open manholes in the city the civic body was taking no action to get them covered. He urged PSHRC officials to take notice of the matter and take the steps required.

Subsequently, in its order passed on February 14 vide letter no 1683/10/PSHRC/Judi-2011/J-51, PSHRC asked the director of the Punjab local bodies department as well as the MC commissioner to take necessary action on the matter and submit their report to the commission latest by June 13.

Welcoming the development, Sabharwal expressed hope the accountability of civic officials would now be fixed. “It’s unfortunate that even after the death of a seven-year-old child the MC has failed to evolve any proper mechanism to monitor open manholes in the city. Even the magisterial probe conducted into the incident has failed to give any relief to the victim’s family. Instead it stated the deceased’s father was also to blame for the tragedy”.



PAU kisan mela goes international
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Farmers jostle to catch empty jute bags.
Farmers jostle to catch empty jute bags. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, March 18
After bringing a green revolution in the country, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is becoming a hit among the neighbouring countries as well as in the USA. Encouraged by the response, the PAU is working on the modalities to give the PAU kisan mela a global look.

A delegation of 300 farmers, including farmwomen from Nepal, along with a group of scientists from Purdue University, USA, visited the kisan mela.

Besides, thousands of farmers from Punjab and adjoining states took part in the mela. One of the participants, Hans Raj from Ranbir Singh Pura area of Jammu and Kashmir said he was a regular visitor to the PAU kisan melas since 2003 and had learnt a great deal from it about mushroom growing.

He was accompanied by 30 progressive farmers from Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, there were farmers from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and New Delhi visiting the mela.

In his remarks, chief guest Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, said the participation of farmers from different parts of the country and abroad was an encouraging sign.

Welcoming scientists from Purdue University, Washington State University, Vienna, Austria and Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Dr Kang said the PAU kisan mela was acquiring an international character.

He said even participants were expected from South Africa and Pakistan this time. He distributed certificates and trophies to the winning entries of produce competition.

Dr Kang accredited farmers for hard work, innovative approach and aptitude for learning and said they played a significant role towards making the country food secure. The farmers from Nepal presented three saplings of Rudraksh to Dr Kang and garlanded him with ‘Rudraksh mala’.

Dr Kang said the tree saplings would be planted in Dr MS Swaminathan Heritage Tree Park near the Museum of Social History of Punjab.

The director of extension education, Dr MS Gill, thanked farmers, foreign visitors, scientists and employees for their participation in the mela and for their endeavour in making it successful. He said the next kisan mela, last in the series of six kisan melas, will be held on March 22 at Gurdaspur.

The director of seeds, Dr SS Bal, informed that there was a high demand for seeds of different crop varieties developed by the PAU.

Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director of communication, said a large number of farmers purchased PAU farm literature and enrolled themselves as members of the farm magazines. Many of the mela visitors visited to the Museum of Social History of Punjab.

The mela had renditions of folk songs by eminent singers, including Pammi Bai, Veer Sukhwant, Ram Singh Albela, Happy Jassowal, Jenta Gill, Gurjant Handa, Kartar Dhuga, informed Dr Nirmal Singh Jaura, Deputy Director (public relations).

He said with the support of North Zone Cultural Centre, the participants of the mela could listen to the traditional songs of Gurmeet Bawa and watch Malwai gidha.


l Turbans were tossed as farmers were seen jostling with each other to catch empty jute bags being distributed during the kisan mela. Employees of a vehicle company stood on the top of a combine machine and started throwing jute bags. The farmers, in order to catch maximum number of bags, started jostling with each other. Later, they were seen tying their unfurled turbans.

l While employees of private companies were busy selling their products, the callous attitude of the PAU employees, who had also displayed their produce at various stalls, left many visitors red faced. A majority of the products were not for sale and further employees were not showing enthusiasm to sell their produce."If they do not want to sell anything, why have they put up the stalls?" asked a miffed visitor.

l Students, who were appearing for board exams at the Government Model School located on the campus also thronged the kisan mela. For them, it was like visiting a theme park. They were seen posing on tractors and other vehicles used for farming.



GADVASU pashu palan mela ends
Tribune News Service

Experts test milk during the pashu palan mela at GADVASU in Ludhiana on Friday.
Experts test milk during the pashu palan mela at GADVASU in Ludhiana on Friday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, March 18
Pashu Palan Mela of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) concluded with a note to meet again with new researches and latest information.

The mela was inaugurated yesterday by Dr VK Taneja Vice-Chancellor, GADVASU, with the theme of “Pashu dhan hai vardaan, sohni kamai ate ghar di shaan”. Mela attracted a huge gathering with a thought to develop livestock professions on scientific terms.

To develop livestock professions, the university was extending its services, support, know-how and training to every economic category.

Besides delivering services to commercial farmers, it was also disseminating the techniques to medium and lower category of livestock community to provide equal opportunities to farmers. It helped them to earn benefits with their limited resources. These views were expressed by Dr Taneja. He said that some of our departments are providing services for rearing livestock where as others are in the field of value addition of livestock products. 



Farmers take a fancy to rice transplanter 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
As the state is grappling with shortage of labour and farmers are offering incentives like mobile phones, country made liquor, two-time tandori chicken to labourers along with their wages during the paddy season, the rice transplanter has come as a handy alternative for the farmers of the state. It caught the fancy of farmer during the PAU Kisan Mela here today.

Priced at Rs 2.5 lakh, the rice transplanter was looked upon as an affordable alternative in comparison to the manifold increase in the wages of the farm labour.

Joginder Singh, a resident of Dauder village in Moga, said, “It is better option than running around the town in search of labourers. Further, the labour charges have become unaffordable and we have to pay them in cash. As a result, we are left with very little of our own.” The rice transplanter consumes over two liters of petrol to cover a distance of an acre. And it takes little over two hours for a machine to transplant rice on one acre.

“The machine will help in cutting down the labour crises. One operator and one helper is required to run it, said Himanshu Saini, one of the company officials, who had developed the machine.

Surat Singh Khalsa, a resident of Hassanpur village adds, “Nowadays we have to do a lot more than just providing work to the farm labour. During the paddy season there is a stiff competition between landholders to get more labourers at their farms. In such cases the labour also overcharge and demands for pleasantries like country made liquor and tandori chicken twice a day.”



Solar inverter a hit among farmers
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 18
The stall displaying solar inverter became a crowd puller on the concluding day of the kisan mela at the PAU here today. The fear of power cuts in summers had the farmers making a beeline at the particular stall to enquire about the functioning of the solar inverter. A few farmers even purchased it on the spot.

The company representative said they were not expecting such a good response adding, “We brought very less display material. But now we realise that we should have brought more devices as the farming community is taking keen interest in buying the solar products.”

The other products on the stall included solar energy run torch and heater. The big solar inverter up to 1.5 kW was the costliest product, but as the representative claimed that the rich farmers paid the cash on the spot to purchase the particular inverter.

“We will install the system at their homes or in the fields within this week,” said a company representative.

Buyers, while talking to The Tribune, said they had learnt about the importance and functions of solar systems through advertisements. 



Punjab farmers debt to touch Rs 40,000 cr: Economist
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 18
The total indebtedness of Punjab farmers as of this yearend could be close to Rs 40,000 crore on which the interest burden alone could be well imagined.

This was observed by renowned economists and socialists during a national seminar on “The other side of politics: Political 
economy of farmers suicides in Punjab” held at Khalsa College for Women, Civil Lines, Ludhiana, 

Dr Sukhpal Singh, a senior economist from the PAU, Ludhiana, who presented his views on “Farmer and agricultural labourer suicides in Punjab”, stated that the farmers’ debt had touched Rs 35,000 crore by the end of last year.

“The debt was Rs 30,394 crore in 2008 and number of farmers’ suicides was around 1,757,” said Sukhpal, adding that the rural sector in Punjab was lagging far behind in development.

Dr Karam Singh, member of Farmers Commission, Punjab, asserted that tractors were a must for today’s agriculture and these were viable for the economy 
as a whole.

Dr Gopal Krishan Iyer, consultant, Haryana Institute of Rural Development and former professor of the department of sociology, Panjab University (PU), Chandigarh, said: “About 19 per cent of the marginal and small farmers were under acute burden of indebtedness.”

The economists remembered Malcolm Darling, who in early 1925 had said: “A farmer is born in debt, lives in debt and dies in debt.”

Punjab, which once had been the most prosperous agricultural state, is also the one whose peasantry is indebted the most. Its farmers are heavily under debt, which carries a high rate of interest.


l At least 65.63 per cent farmers who committed suicide were between 20 and 40 years of age

l While 6.6 per cent of victims were below 20 years; 27.77 per cent were above 40 years of age

l 78.94 per cent suicide victims were marginal farmers

l 74.05 per cent died after consuming insecticides and 10.98 per cent hanged themselves

l 73 per cent suicides were due to debts and 27 per cent due to other factors

l At least 37.73 per cent victims were drug addicts

l 47.13 per cent were illiterate,and at least 45.87 per cent were metriculate

l Not a single bread earner was left in at least 50 per cent families 



Social activists accuses suvidha centre of being den of corruption
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 18
Alleging that the suvidha centre here had become a den of corruption and people were facing a lot of harassment ever since the work of registration of new vehicles was shifted from the District Transport Office to the so-called single window, social activists today organised a dharna under the banner of the State Transport Advisory Committee (STAC).

In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the protesters levelled charges of corruption and other irregularities against those deployed for the work of preparing new vehicle registration certificates (RCs).

Avtar Singh Tari, president, and Surinder Singh Sodhi, chairman of the STAC, who led the protest, called for a vigilance probe into the acts of omission and commission against the employees of a private company, who had been assigned to the work of preparation of new RCs.

“Certain middlemen and agents are acting as the go-between for the staff at the suvidha centre, and people were being fleeced and harassed in the name of a facility, which had rather become a problem,” said social activists.

The protesters demanded that in view of the heavy rush at the suvidha centre due to ever increasing vehicle population in the mega city, either a separate single window facility for new RCs be created at the DTO office, or else the members of public be given the option to get the registration of vehicles done at the DTO office.



Brothers fight it out over ancestral property
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 18
The Dehlon police is feeling sandwiched between two brothers fighting a legal battle for the possession of a piece of land they inherited from their father.

Accusing the cops of siding with an opposite party, both have levelled allegations and counter-allegations against each other.

Claiming allegiance to the SAD, Iqbal Singh of Narangwal village, a government schoolteacher, has demanded cancellation of an FIR registered against him under Sections 448, 447, 511, 506 and 379 of the IPC. The case was registered after an inquiry conducted by the SHO under supervision of the assistant commissioner of police and approved by the Commissioner of Police in Ludhiana.

Bhupinder Singh and Iqbal Singh had been filing complaints against each other at the Dehlon police station for the past two years. Both accused successive incumbents at various posts in the police of helping his opponent.

Alleging inaction on his complaints, Bhupinder Singh had approached the Commissioner of Police in Ludhiana for seeking action against his brother recently. The complainant had accused the cops of being hand in glove with the suspect who allegedly tried his piece of land by ploughing his crops.

“His attempt to grab my land in connivance with the police should be foiled and I should be given justice by taking action against him promptly,” read the complaint that was sent by the commissioner to the SHO Dehlon for investigation. Having approved inquiry report submitted by the investigation officer and concurred by Narinder Singh Ruby, Assistant Commissioner of Police, the commissioner directed SHO Harvinder Singh to register a case against Iqbal Singh under various sections of the IPC.

Pleading innocence Iqbal Singh, claiming to be an activist of the SAD, on the other hand accused the police of implicating him in a false case. Accusing cops of facilitating his brother Iqbal Singh had demanded action against the SHO after getting matter probed by an IPS officer.

“Instead of initiating action on my complaint, the SHO hurled abuses on me and threatened to implicate me in a false case,” alleged Iqbal Singh.

Iqbal Singh’s father-in-law, Col Rajinder Singh Sohi, an RTI activist, had also moved the Punjab State Human Rights Commission in this regard. 



MCPI for third alternative in Punjab
May side with Manpreet
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Realising the dire need of a third alternative-other than the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress-in Punjab, the Marxist Communist Party of India - United (MCPI-U) is weighing its options, including the one to join hands with Manpreet Badal, the estranged former Punjab Finance Minister and nephew of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Addressing a news conference here yesterday, the national general secretary of the party, Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, said after resigning from the Punjab cabinet, Manpreet Badal had launched a “Jago Punjab” movement in the state. He had addressed several rallies in many districts of the state.

In spite of the highly objectionable tactics adopted by both Sukhbir Badal and Bikramjit Singh Majithia, utilising state administration as well, to sabotage his campaign, Manpreet has received encouraging response from youth and intelligentsia.

He said the fact that there was a heavy turnout of people at Jago Punjab rallies demonstrated that people were dissatisfied and adopting a hostile attitude towards the policies pursued by the SAD and the BJP coalition as well as the Congress - who one after the other come to power in the state.

Lyallpuri emphasised that his party strongly felt the urgent need to carve out a third alternative in the state. “To achieve this objective, we have decided to adopt a positive attitude towards the movement unleashed by Manpreet Badal with a view to broaden it and assist in evolving a concrete, effective programme for this purpose.”

The leader stated that, “For their narrow vote-bank gains, both Congress as well as the SAD-BJP have divided the people of Punjab on communal basis and marginalised the Dalit population of over 25 per cent, which is excluded and deprived in the state. The most obligatory urgent task is to overcome the communal division in the 
state and integrate the Dalit population.”



Review Meeting
Bank employees pulled up for coming unprepared
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 18
Pulling up the official representatives of the nationalised and private banks for coming unprepared for the review meeting, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Pardeep Kumar Aggarwal asked them to come with complete facts and files.

The ADC was presiding over the meeting to review the performance of the banks for the quarter ending December, 2010.

The bank officials were unable to answer to the queries of the ADC. Majority of the representatives who had come for the meeting were acting as a “Proxy” to the actual officials who were supposed to attend the review meeting.

The sufficient information defeated the purpose of yesterday’s meeting.

When the ADC asked a few banks to present their progress during the particular period, they couldn’t say a thing. After some time they gave an excuse that they were just sent to attend the meeting, as the senior officials of the banks were busy with some other work.

Further, the ADC said Rs 7,240 crore was the estimated credit given by the banks in various “credit schemes” for the district in 2010-11.

He further said the banks had provided Rs 6,256 crore credit to the primary sector instead of stipulated credit of Rs 5,632 crore.

Aggarwal also said various banks had granted Rs 2,663 crore instead of Rs 2,404 crore credit to agriculture and supportive jobs and Rs 2,511 crore instead of Rs 2,036 crore to small scale industries.

Also, an amount of Rs 1,080 crore had been granted to additional primary sectors.

He further said banks had increased deposit amount to Rs 7.37 per cent during the nine months (March 31 to December 31, 2010). “The deposit amount in March 31 was Rs 23,747 crore, which increased to Rs 25,497 crore by December 31,” said Aggarwal.

Gurshish Singh, project manager, district industrial centre, said 30 cases had been chosen for credit to be given under the Prime Minister Employment Scheme.



183 clear Army recruitment drive
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
It was a proud moment for 183 candidates, as their emotional parents were watching them becoming a part of the prestigious Indian Army here yesterday.

The candidates, who cleared physical fitness, measurement test, medical test and the common entrance examination during the Army recruitment rally held during December and January, respectively, were dispatched to various regimental training centres from the Army recruiting office.

These candidates have been sent to various regimental centres, where after nine months of rigorous basic Army training, they will be sent as sepoy to various units. Col Sharad Dhindaw, director recruiting, addressed the candidates and their relatives and wished them good luck for their bright future in the Army.



‘Kandi region needs to be developed’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
During his visit to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) yesterday, Dr Manohar Singh Gill, Union Minister of Statistics and Programme Implementation, interacted with Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU.

Dr Gill said the Kandi region, accounting for nearly 10 per cent area of Punjab, needed research and development planning. He added that it was a positive development that PAU had been catering to the technical needs of Kandi region through its research and transfer of technology programmes.

He shared how he was involved in the development of Kandi region and the survey conducted by the then Punjab Governor SS Ray.

Dr Gill appreciated the idea of opening of an agricultural college at Gurdaspur and said the bordering districts must be given due focus.

Depleting water resource is a matter of serious concern that needs to be addressed at all levels, said Dr Gill. He suggested that the government should create a directorate for water with a mandate to monitor the status of water table in different blocks of the state through a computer database.

He emphasised that PAU scientists will have to work harder for the sake of the welfare of farmers and farming of the state in the times to come.

Dr Gill shared how the apni mandi scheme was implemented to ensure that the farmers could sell their produce without middlemen.

“The system worked well but needs to be reviewed,” he said, adding that climate change was a serious subject for which thorough focus is required.



From Colleges
Farewell party

LUDHIANA: After their three-year stay in the college, the final year students of computer science and applications of Ramgharia Girls College, Miller Ganj, Ludhiana, were given a farewell party on Thursday and wished the best for life ahead. Students of the second year presented a cultural programme, including dances and songs. Ranjodh Singh, president, Ramgarhia Educational Council, presided over the function as the chief guest. The students of the third year participated in a modelling show, dressed in attractive robes, and were given various titles. The final year students also complimented their teachers. Group and solo dance performances were given by students. Gurdev Kaur was adjudged Miss Farewell whereas Tanya Anand was crowned first runner-up and Jaspreet Kaur second runner-up.

Bidding adieu

MA first year English department students of Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women, Gujarkhan Campus, Model Town, Ludhiana, bade warm adieu to students of MA final year on Thursday. On the occasion, MA-II students shared their memorable happy moments of the college life. Puneet was crowned Miss Adieu, Harminder was declared Miss Juliet’s Replica, Gurvinder - Miss Hepburn’s Attire, Navneet - Miss Rapunzel’s Locks and Amita - Miss Colgate Smile. The principal of the college, Dr Karmjit Kaur Virdi, crowned the winners and wished them good luck.

Warm send-off

The computer science department of Government College for Women (GCW), Ludhiana, organised a fun-filled farewell party for its final year students here on Thursday. Principal Gurminder Kaur presided over the function. Professor Baldev Singh welcomed the chief guest by presenting a bouquet. Jaspreet Kaur, senior vice-president of the PTA was the guest of honour. Shikha Sachdeva was crowned Miss Farewell and Manleen Kaur and Diksha Thukral were adjudged first and second runners up, respectively. Neha Chopra was chosen Miss Attire, Ruchika Jain was awarded the title of Miss Confident, Yukti Chuttani was declared Miss Beautiful Smile, Harpreet Rooprai was adjudged Miss Crowning Glory and Sandhi Vohra was chosen Miss Catwalk. — OC



From Schools
Holi celebrated

LUDHIANA: Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar, celebrated Holi today with pomp and show. The tiny-tots came in colourful dresses. The students also performed colourful programme of dance, skits and advertisements. Rajinder Sharma, president, Association of the PSEB affiliated Schools, Punjab, said Holi- the festival of colours is undoubtedly the most fun-filled Hindu festival. “It’s an occasion that brings in unadulterated joy. Holi can be regarded as a celebration of the “Colours of unity and brotherhood.” It has traditionally been celebrated in high spirit without any distinction of cast, creed and colour. Principal Asha Sharma said Holi commemorates the victory of good over evil. She also explained the duties of students and told them how they would achieve their aims by following the noble path. Shashi Sharma, in charge cultural activities, said it's one occasion when throwing gulal or coloured water on each other breaks all barriers of discrimination so that everyone looks the same and universal brotherhood is reaffirmed. Cakes and sweets were distributed among children.

Mothers’ Pride Junior School: Colours are the most essential element of a happy and glorious life. Holi, the festival of colours, is undoubtedly the most fun-filled Indian festival. Tiny-tots, dressed up in colourful traditional clothes, painted themselves in vibrant colours and enjoyed the mood of the festival. Children tapped their feet on the beats of “dhol” and sang Holi songs. The major attraction was playing Holi with flowers. Children performed group dances.

English week

English week was celebrated at Sat Paul Mittal School from March 14 to 18. In order to enhance students’ interest in the language, various activities were organised during the week. The students through their emphatic speeches traced the history of English literature from 14th Century onwards to the present era. A creative writing workshop was also organised for students to enhance their writing skills. The students prepared charts and projects highlighting the achievements of various literary legends of English literature. — OC



Cong flays assault on elementary teachers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Brutal cane charge and unprovoked use of force against agitating Youth Congress workers in Chandigarh and assault by SAD workers on ETT teachers in Bathinda on March 17 has been criticised by a few functionaries of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

In a joint statement issued here today, former Punjab minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, former president of the District Congress Committee Krishan Kumar Bawa and secretary PPCC Gurkirat Singh Kotli said; “The SAD-BJP government has unleashed a reign a terror against those voicing dissent. Raising voice against injustice and holding peaceful agitation is a fundamental right of every Indian citizen, but the present regime is resorting to repressive tactics, especially targeting the Opposition.” They condemned the SAD workers, who had beaten up ETT teachers, including women. “Using force against women is a slur on society and workers of the ruling party had committed a reprehensible act,” they added.

The Congress leaders demanded strict action against guilty police officials who had used brutal force against Youth Congress workers in Chandigarh and those behind assault on teachers in Bathinda. 



Non-issuance of Job cards
Union demands probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Alleging that officials of the Panchayat and Rural Department were not preparing job cards of applicants under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employee Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the NREGA Workers’ Union has demanded a probe in this regard.

President of the union Jai Singh said officials of the department were illegally collecting money from workers in the name of getting their job cards made under the scheme.

He alleged that anything between Rs 50 and Rs 500 was being taken from unemployed workers. As per the Act workers would have got payment of their work on 15th day, but it has been noticed that the workers who had worked in 2009-2010 have still not got their dues.

The workers were being made to work in inhuman conditions, as panchayats doesn’t provide drinking water at the place of work. A large numbers of labourers have met with accidents, but no compensation has been given to them. Compared to daily wage of Rs 179 in Haryana, Rs 174 in Chandigarh, Rs 150 in Himachal and Kerala, the labourer is getting only Rs 124 under the Act, which is a sheer injustice with them. 



BJP to launch stir against ‘corrupt’ UPA govt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
The BJP today criticised the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for siding with “corrupts”. As if to add to the misery of people in general and the trade and industry in particular, the Centre has failed to take effective steps against rising prices while the crisis-ridden industry has been further burdened with the Central excise.

Presiding over a meeting of party workers to review the organisational set up right down to the booth level, president of the district unit of the BJP Rajiv Katna said by bringing small and tiny units under the Central excise net, the UPA government had inflicted yet another blow on the industry which was already passing through bad phase due to recession.

Involvement of ruling UPA functionaries in scams like 2-G spectrum, Commonwealth Games and recently in the “cash-for-vote” has put entire nation to shame which had already earned notoriety as being one of the most corrupt countries in the world, he added.

In order to expose the dirty face of the UPA government and its anti-people policies, the party will soon launch a mass agitation. “Rank and file of the party will contact people in every nook and cranny of the city and in the district to focus on the policies of the Centre which have taken the country to the brink of disaster,” he added.



Discounts draw huge rush
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
Catching the fancy of the urban populace, the PAU kisan mela witnessed people from various cities of the state.

The stalls displaying lucrative products like cars, bikes, household/kitchen products, books, gardening kits, electronics and eatables (pickle and squash) were amongst the spots frequented by the urbanites. Sharing their craze for the cars, a group of residents from Ludhiana said they had come to check the discounts offered by car companies during the kisan mela.

“One of my farmer friends informed me that he was coming to the fair with a plan to order a car on comparatively less rate than the market. I found it genuine and we both have ordered for cars,” said Joginder Pal Singh, a resident of Model Town, Ludhiana.

People were also attracted towards a mobile company that was offering cheap mobile phone sets and free SIM cards.

Other city people who are keen gardeners purchased cutters and small ploughs etc. They also enquired about pesticides, manures and increasing productivity of flowers.

Anjana Gupta, a city resident, said she had a kitchen garden at home along with a grassy lawn. “I found advanced grass cutting machines and other related products here. My gardener used to charge a lot for cutting grass in my garden, but now I will be able to handle a lot on my own,” said Gupta.



PAU catching them young
Distributes MSc brochures among children 
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, March 18
Catching them young seems to be the mantra of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as brochures of MSc degrees in microbiology, biochemistry and chemistry were being circulated among children, who were accompanying their parents during the PAU Kisan Mela here today.

Besides displaying its journals, researches and agricultural products, the PAU has introduced another method of popularising their newly started undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Kisan Mela.

College of Basic Sciences and Humanities (COBSH) distributed pamphlets informing about the newly introduced 5-year integrated MSc honours degree in microbiology, biochemistry chemistry, botany and zoology during the mela.

The pamphlets published in Punjabi and English were having satisfactory information to apprise people about the courses and job opportunities. According to RS Sidhu, dean, COBSH, he targeted the rural people and similar pamphlets were distributed at Bathinda and Gurdaspur kisan melas.

“The rural people just know that PAU offers only agriculture-based study as the awareness level in the rural areas is comparatively less than the urban areas. We just tied to introduce the rural people about the other courses the university has brought out besides agriculture. We also apprised them about the job opportunities with these courses,” said Sidhu adding that “If only 20 students from rural areas get admission in these courses, I would think I have achieved my vision.”

Sidhu further said that very few people regularly read newspapers and they thought about giving information to rural people about the courses at the mela.

“We informed rural people that microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry, botany and zoology are very impressive fields to make career. A student may get a different way of life after completing these courses. Secondly, it offers them to secure their MSc (post-graduation) after completing class XII,” said Sidhu.



‘Tank technology’ used in harvesting machine
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 18
A straw walker designed with wheels of a “military tank technology” was an added attraction for farmers at the kisan mela.

The machine used to have ordinary wheels like that in a tractor, but the innovation has made it attractive and added to its value.

The company representative claimed that this track straw walker could work efficiently in muddy fields without digging into the earth like the ordinary track straw walker.

He said, “This track straw walker is very popular among the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.”

The above states produce paddy and during the reaping period the farmers fear using the wheel track straw walker as the machine digs down into the earth and damages the crop.

Realising the problems of the farmers, the company has introduced the tank wheels in the machine.

The machine provides full straw and gives high ground clearance with no grain breakage and no grain losses.

“It has a low-maintenance cost,” revealed a marketing executive of the manufacturing company.

A farmer from Muktsar said, “The wheels idea taken from the tanks might prove beneficial as the company claimed that it did not damage crop while reaping.”



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