L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rs 5 per litre hike comes as A pinch on the pocket
Dairy owners raise milk prices to Rs 35 per litre
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
In yet another blow to the common man, dairy owners in the city today increased the prices of milk by Rs 5. Milk, which was available for Rs 30 or 31 per litre with dairies till yesterday, would now be sold at Rs 35 per litre by dairy owners.

The increase in prices will not only put a dent in the pockets of the people, but also disturb their monthly budget.

On the other hand, dairy farmer organisations expressed their resentment against major procuring agencies like Milkfed, which were paying less to dairy farmers.

They allege that Milkfed had been purchasing milk from Rajasthan at prices much higher than being paid to dairy farmers in the state.

Talking to The Tribune, Punjab Dairy Farmers’ Association president Daljit Singh Sadarpura said even though there was a shortage of milk in the state, dairy farmers in the state were still running huge losses.

Big blow for homemakers

Hike in prices of milk has come as a big jolt for the common man already burdened with inflation. Reacting to the sudden hike in prices of milk, a few homemakers held respective governments responsible for it. They blamed the state government for not controlling the inflation in the country and for "loading" the common man with financial burden. Shivani Bhakoo talks to a few homemakers on the issue.

Procuring agencies like Milkfed were getting milk from farmers in Punjab for Rs 23 or 24 per litre, but were purchasing it from Rajasthan for Rs 29.50 per litre.

“There is discrimination against the farming community in Punjab. We are being paid less while our counterparts in other states are getting more for the same product,” Sadarpura said.

“In the past one year, there was no hike in milk prices though the prices of dry fodder, green fodder and other raw material had increased manifold. Dairy farmers have now decided to fight for their rights,” he said.

Rajpal Singh, a progressive dairy farmer, said milk prices were generally increased around Baisakhi, but this time, prices were hiked before the festival as dairy farmers was running into losses due to the high rates of raw material.

“The prices of diesel, green fodder, dry fodder, labour and electricity had seen an increase. The monitoring committee had not formulated any policy for the benefit of dairy farmers in the state. We were running into losses and prices had to be increased for survival,” he said.

Dairy owners in areas like Haibowal Kalan and Focal Point increased milk prices from today. Ravinder Kumar, a local resident, said it was a major blow to the common man as milk was consumed in every household.

Verka had hiked prices by between Re 1 and Rs 2 in the recent past, but dairy owners had increased prices by Rs 5 all of a sudden, which was causing a pinch, he added.

There must be some government agency to monitor the prices. Otherwise the common man will not be able to provide milk to children,” he said.

Tough bargain

Procuring agencies like Milkfed are getting milk from farmers in Punjab for Rs 23 or 24 per litre but were purchasing it from Rajasthan for Rs 29.50 per litre.


School fee hike leaves parents fuming
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 6
The decision by private schools to increase tuition fees by 10 to 15 per cent has left parents of students exasperated. They said they were already burdened by rising prices and the higher cost of providing their kids a school education would now make things even more difficult for them.

Unable to meet escalating expenses, parents of several students say they are considering pulling out their wards from these schools. Those whose children are studying at Don Bosco School alleged school officials had doubled the fees charged last year.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a parent of a student said: "The school has been charging a monthly fee of Rs 3,200, which is double than that charged in the previous year. And that doesn’t include the transport charges, which have also been raised from Rs 900 to Rs 1,100 even though there has not been any corresponding hike in fuel prices. Also, the school has charged Rs 12,000 as annual charges - up from Rs 10,000 last year”.

Another parent, whose child studies at Sat Pal Mittal School confirmed the school had raised tuition fees by 15 per cent.

Daljeet Singh, a city resident whose son is a student of Delhi Public School, said the school had raised tuition fees by only about Rs 200 a month to Rs 2,100 though there was a bigger increase in transport charges from from Rs 800 to Rs 1,100. A teacher of Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar, also said her school had hiked tuition fees.

Similarly, Sacred Heart Convent has increased fees by 10 per cent. A student's mother accused school officials of “exploiting” students by charging exorbitant fees.

The father of another Sacred Heart Convent student said: “My daughter’s fees for four months have been increased from Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,200. For a class 3 student it's a big amount”.

schools’ take

We have increased the fee for all classes by Rs 200. But there is no hike in transport fee. Despite this hike, we are running into losses since we increase the salary of teachers by Rs 3,000 every year.

— DB Sharma, director, Sat Paul Mittal School

The school has added new courses as well as a theatre workshop for all classes as sought by parents. We have only included the fee for these particular courses and there has been a minor hike of only Rs 200 in the transport charges.

— Lilly John, principal, Don Bosco School 



Cong to rotate leadership of councillors
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
The Congress party appears to be playing musical chairs by opting for rotation of the post of leader of the group of party’s councillors in the municipal corporation in a shrewd move aimed at appeasing all factions.

Knowing well it would be difficult to keep its strife ridden flock together the Congress leadership had in a well calculated strategy fixed the term of the leader of the councillors group to one year. Last year senior councillor Hem Raj Aggarwal was appointed as the leader for the period from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011.

Similarly in orders issued by the party it was said that after March 31 another Congress councillor, Sham Sunder Malhotra, would be the leader of party's councillor group. After Aggarwal completed his term the veteran leader himself relinquished the post, paving the way for Malhotra to take over.

Though the party’s managers had adopted this formula to avoid any sort of controversy over the post the councillors feel their functioning has been adversely affected due to the resultant instability. A Congress councilor said on condition of anonymity: “The decision to rotate the post has not given the desired results as the party has totally failed to raise issues of public importance. Instead of rotation the party should appoint a permanent leader who could lead the councillors in an effective manner”.

Echoing the same view, another party councillor said: “It’s really sad the party’s performance has suffered that due to rotation of the post of leader of the councillors group. Earlier the group remained headless for about a year after former leader Prem Mittal deserted the party to join the Akali Dal. And now this rotation process is adversely affecting the party’s prospects in the upcoming state assembly elections. The party must think about appointing regular office bearers to such posts rather then playing a game of musical chairs”.

Aggarwal said; “I had performed my duties well and, in accordance with the party leadership’s directions, I relinquished the post of leader of the councillors group”. Malhotra, the newly elected leader of the group, averred: “The party’s performance hasn’t been affected by the move to rotate the post.” 



Who will be next PAU VC?
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Even as the lobbying for the next Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) has intensified, seven to nine names are doing the rounds.

The three-member search committee constituted by the government to name the VC is on the job and the faculty is eager to know who will take the reins of the PAU after VC MS Kang‘s term ends this month.

A senior scientist said on the condition of anonymity that since the state government was “not too keen” to fund the university for research, development, salaries and pension purposes, someone with “good links” with the Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) would be preferred by the government.

“ICAR has been funding the agriculture and animal sciences universities in the country. If more funds can be generated from the ICAR, the government will get a major relief,” he said.

While several faculty members believe that Dr Kang will get an extension, but the VC said: “I have absolutely no idea about it. Such decisions are taken at higher levels.”

Several PAU employees’ union members said if Dr Kang had to get an extension, there was no need for a committee to fill the post. An office-bearer of the union said: “Dr VK Taneja, VC of GADVASU, was given another term a few months ago. That time, the government had not set up a committee to look for a new VC. It seems there is pressure on the Chief Minister to change the VC. Since the institution is an autonomous body, politics should not be involved in it. Merit should be paramount.” 

Names doing the rounds

* Dr SS Chahal, Chancellor of Udaipur University and alumnus of PAU

* Dr Pal Singh Sidhu, World Bank adviser and former scientist of PAU

* Dr SS Samra, agriculture scientist at ICAR

* Dr PS Minhas, former Director Research of PAU; at present with ICAR

* Dr MS Aulakh, Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU

* Dr RK Mahay, PAU Registrar



Drug resistance hampers fight against disease
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
‘Antibiotic resistance: No action today, no cure tomorrow’ - the slogan coined by the World Health Organization for World Health Day, observed on April 7, stands defeated in the wake of unchecked quackery and ineffective drug control laws. Over the years the problem of self-medication has become critical with the manifold increase in irrational use of antibiotics, resulting in drug resistance.

As a result infections caused by resistant microbes fail to respond to standard medical treatment, leading to prolonged illness followed by death in cases where patients are unable to get specialized therapy.

Injudicious use of antibiotics by quacks, who are present in every nook and corner of Ludhiana district, has become a matter of concern for the medical fraternity. "People from rural as well as urban areas fall prey to quacks who dispense antibiotics even when these aren’t required and don’t bother about the repercussions, thus endangering the lives of people," said Dr Kulwant Singh, president of the Ludhiana chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

“It’s easier to restrict qualified doctors from injudicious prescription of medicines but quacks, who are already operating in violation of the law, are very difficult to check”, said another senior doctor. "They are running their shops not on the basis of consultation but by dispensing medicines that mainly comprise antibiotics," he added.

Easy dispensing of antibiotics in the absence of strict implementation of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 is a major causative factor behind antimicrobial resistance.

"Call the doctor and he’ll give an injection to set the patient right," is the catchphrase of villagers who depend upon registered medical practitioners for their treatment. Many of the latter administer intravenous injections at the drop of the hat, which has become a major cause of drug resistance. People also indulge in self-medication, especially where antibiotics for pediatric use are concerned - a practice highly unsafe for children.

Referring to the 25,000 deaths that occurred in the European Union due to serious resistant bacterial infection, WHO said society could return to the “pre antibiotic era” when a simple lung infection could kill a child or when the doctors could not fight meningitis.

Drug sensitivity tests

“Cases of drug resistance have multiplied manifold during the past one decade as is evident from the drug sensitivity tests conducted on patients. Drug resistance is more common in hospital setups as the bacteria becomes resistant. Tuberculosis, cancer and malaria are some of the diseases where drug resistance is more pronounced as compared to other ailments."

— Dr BS Shah, medical superintendent and professor of pathology, Dayanand Medical College & Hospital



Youth held for making extortion calls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Thirty-year-old Gursharan Singh, a resident of Shimlapuri whose father worked as the driver of a doctor couple in Model Town, has been arrested for making extortion calls to the couple.

Gursharan gave sleepless night to Dr Rajinderpal Singh Batra and his wife Dr Harmeet Kaur after he made anonymous calls and threatened to kill their son who is studying in a medical college in Delhi. He had come to spend his vacation with his parents.

The accused asked the couple to arrange for Rs 50 lakh in five days or else he would kill their son. Without wasting time, the couple reported the matter to the police.

DCP Yurinder Singh formed a joint investigation team which got the SIM details to track the caller. But it yielded nothing as the SIM card was procured by depositing fake identity proof. The DCP said: “The team got the call details of the number from which the threat calls were made. The police suspected the involvement of Gursharan Singh who was the son of Jagdish Singh, the driver of the couple. The accused was working in a cellular company and was detained for questioning.”

He cracked soon and confessed to have committed the offence. He said he visited the house of the doctors and was envious of their lifestyle. He planned to make quick money by way of extortion calls.



Anna Hazare’s crusade against corruption
Hindu-Sikh Jagriti Sena observes fast
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Activists of various social, religious and other bodies are coming out in support of social activist Anna Hazare, who is sitting on a chain fast in New Delhi and demanding enactment of stringent anti-corruption Bill.

Praveen Dang, president, Hindu-Sikh Jagriti Sena, along with other functionaries of the body today sat on a token chain at the Jagraon Bridge to express solidarity with the movement launched by Hazare for a corruption-free India.

Dang laid stress on making drive against corruption a mass movement. “Let every Indian citizen come forward and lend his or her support to Hazare’s movement lest the selfish and self-centered parties push the nation towards disaster.”

He said the movement launched by Hazare and many more like him to force the government take legislative steps for putting institutions of Lokpal and Loayuktas in the Centre and states, respectively, could be compared with “Satyagraha” launched by Mahatma Gandhi against the British empire. “While Gandhi had launched a non-violent battle against the British to seek freedom, Hazare and others are agitating to rid the country of corrupt and self-seeking politicians and bureaucrats,” he added. Dang and other functionaries of the body said leaders of all political parties should understand that people would no longer tolerate corruption and scams. “Those who are in politics to make their personal fortunes should better quit and make room for honest and dedicated persons, or else be prepared to face the consequences.” 



Transporters too back Hazare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Extending support to eminent social worker and Gandhian Anna Hazare for his crusade against corruption, transporters from the region would be observing hunger strike along with him in New Delhi on April 9.

Charan Singh Lohara, former president of the All India Motor Transport Congress, today said that the hunger strike being observed by the social activist was the voice of the entire nation as everyone was a victim of corruption. They would hold demonstrations at district headquarters across the state and would give memorandums to the respective Deputy Commissioners for onward transmission to the Prime Minister.



Collector Rates
Congress ridicules BJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
The Congress today mocked at local BJP leaders, who were moving against their own government in an attempt to garner public sympathy on the issue of Collector rates of properties in the city for the purpose of registration of sale deeds.

Taking a dig at the local BJP leaders, including Punjab Deputy Speaker Sat Pal Gosain, former president of the District Congress Committee Krishan Kumar Bawa said even though the party was a constituent of the state government it was bent upon opposing a government’s decision that, too, in public.

“The move is just like shedding crocodile tears and the people will no longer be influenced by such gimmicks aimed at drawing political mileage and winning public sympathy,” Bawa said.



Stray animals a headache for Jagraon residents
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 6
Stray animals roaming in various parts of the city roads have made commuting difficult for locals besides causing numerous accidents. All this is happening in spite of the presence of two big gaushalas. Residents rue that despite their repeated request neither the municipal council nor representatives of these two gaushalas look serious to resolve the issue.

The situation is worst on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway and the Raikot road where a large number of stray animals keep moving or sitting on the middle of the road throughout the day. Being a national highway, there is always a huge rush on this section. The situation worsens during night because drivers often fail to spot animals standing right in the middle of the road. This, sometimes have resulted in mishaps.

A few days ago, the traffic police in association with an NGO had tied reflectors on the necks of these animals so that the drivers could spot them even in the dark. Though the idea proved successful and number of accidents also decreased, but things were back to square one as reflectors were either removed by miscreants or broke down on their own.

Though a large number of accidents have taken place and numerous precious lives have been lost till date, but the administration has failed to learn any lesson or wake up from slumber.

The situation is no different on other roads like the Raikot Road, Old Vegetable market, Tehsil Road, Lajpat Rai Road, College Road and some other parts of the city.

Kunal Goel, a resident of Shastri Nagar, whose leg got fractured after he met with an accident, said, “I was returning from Ludhiana in my car. As soon as I reached near a drain outside Jagraon, a bull suddenly appeared before me. I lost control over my car while trying to save it from hitting the bull and rammed it into a tree. I sustained serious injuries on my head and got my leg fractured. Even my car got badly damaged.”

Purshotam Lal, a local businessman, said, “Most of the accidents take place due to stray animals particularly in night as it is difficult for drivers to spot animals in dark.”

Darshan Verma, a senior citizen, while blaming civic authorities for the menace, said, “The failure of the municipal corporation to remove these animals from the roads has increased problems for commuters. I urge managements of both gaushalas to accommodate as many animals as possible.”

“It’s also important to keep a check on dairy owners, who let their cows roam freely on roads. The government should allocate a piece of land for constructing gaushala as the existing ones can’t accommodate so many animals,” Verma added.

“Stray animals are headache from smooth flow of traffic. These animals sometimes come right in the middle of the road, resulting in traffic jams and even accidents,” said Amarjit Singh, a student of Government Science College.

President of the Municipal Council, Baldev Krishan Dhir, said, “The council is doing its best to sort out this problem. We are talking with representatives of gaushalas to make arrangements for such stray animals,” he added. 



Shopkeepers dig road; MC turns blind eye
Tribune News Service

A labourer digs a spot in front of the college road market in Ludhiana.
A labourer digs a spot in front of the college road market in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, April 6
As authorities of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation continue to turn a blind eye to building bylaws violations, a few shopkeepers dug a road managed by the civic body without taking its permission. Shopkeepers have dug up a portion of the College road, which is a few yards away from residences of the Municipal Corporation’s top brass, including Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura. 

This clearly depicts the apathetic attitude of residents and civic body towards public assets. The shopkeepers had dug up the road for getting some connection in one of the posh localities of the city. Surprisingly the road was dug up during the daytime and not a single official of the civic body dared to stop it for the reasons best known to them. The civic staff assigned the task of monitoring the roads was also not aware of the matter.

Brij Pal Singh, executive engineer, Building and Roads (B&R) branch, said shopkeepers had not obtained any permission for digging up the road. He, however, said he would look into the matter and suitable action would be taken against the violators.



Minister shifts 2 toilet sites to ‘appease’ voters
Construction work hangs fire
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, April 6
In a glaring example of how political interference can adversely affect the working of the municipal corporation, the project on construction of public toilets has been hanging fire as a Cabinet Minister has ordered the change of two sites.

According to sources, the tourism department of the Union government had given a proposal for the construction of five public toilets in the city. For this, sites were identified in Daresi Road; Transport Nagar; Focal Point Road, near Zone office of civic body at Sherpur; Focal Road, Industrial Area; and City Kotwali.

While the work on the project was to start in January, the MC has been unable to finalise the sites for the project even after the passage of over three months. Reason: Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria had during a meeting with MC officials asked them to shift the sites from Focal Point Road and Focal Road, Industrial Area, to Sidhwan Canal (Near Leisure Valley) and Urban Estate, Dugri.

After getting the orders from their political boss, the MC officials have now asked the company construct the toilets at the new sites.

The MC officials have also directed the operation and maintenance (O&M) branch of the civic body to identify the location of the new sites.

The sources said the work on the construction of toilets was to kick off in January and was to be completed in 12 months. These toilets were to benefit local residents by way of improved sanitary conditions.

The sources added that the change of sites was the result of exclusion of areas of Focal Point from the constituency of the minister, who currently represents Ludhiana (Rural) constituency, in the new delimitation process.

In order to consolidate his vote bank in the Atam Nagar constituency, the minister had ordered the change of sites to facilitate his voters, added the sources.

MC Additional Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, in charge of the building and roads (B&R) branch, though confirmed that the sites had been changed, he refuted the allegations of political interference by the minister.

“The decision has been taken to facilitate general public,” he added. 

Sulabh International initiative

An NGO, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, had proposed an integrated project for constructing five comprehensive wayside sanitary facilities in the city to the department of tourism of the Union government. The total budgetary cost of the project was ` 72.25 lakh. Under the project, 80 per cent of the grant for the construction of toilets was to come from the Union government, while the remaining was to be contributed by the state government



F&CC meeting deferred at last minute
Manvinder Singh
Tribune New Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Owing to acute financial constraints, the municipal corporation authorities have deferred the meeting of the finance and contracts committee (F&CC) schedule for tomorrow despite the fact that over 300 agenda items were to be taken up.

Under pressure from political leaders, who want the civic body to start development works in their respective areas, the MC authorities had during a meeting of the F&CC last month declared that the agenda related to estimates of development works would be discussed at the committee’s next meeting on April 7.

Subsequently, the agenda branch of the civic body was asked to prepare the agenda for the meeting after which the branch had prepared an agenda of 317 items of the building and roads (B&R) branch worth over Rs 60 crore for discussion during the meeting.

However, sources in the civic body said the MC authorities had debarred the staff from circulating the agenda to the F&CC members at the last moment, as the civic body was facing acute shortage of funds and was not in a position to execute development works in a proper manner.

The sources said owing to the dearth of funds, the MC was yet to give payments to contractors who had already completed the works allocated to them in the city.

The sources added that the MC had only cleared the payment for work done by contractors till February.

In such a situation, the MC officials did not want to increase the burden on its pocket by initiating more development works. As a result, the meeting had been deferred.

Though the MC officials were tightlipped about the next date of the meeting, the sources said it would be held only after MC Commissioner AK Sinha returned from leave.

Though Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal confirmed that the meeting had been deferred, he cited Commissioner’s absence from the city as the main reason for the deferment.

“We do not want to take such crucial decisions in the absence of the Commissioner and the agenda will be cleared once he is back,” he added.

Facing fund crunch?

The MC authorities debarred its staff from circulating the agenda to F&CC members at the last moment, as the civic body was facing acute shortage of funds and was not in a position to execute development works in a proper manner



Youth exchange programme
NCC cadet visits Kazakhstan
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Harjot Singh Kalsi, an NCC cadet from 4 Punjab Air Squadron, was the only cadet from Punjab to represent India in Kazakhstan during a youth exchange programme sponsored by the ministry of defence, Government of India, in the second week of March.

Sharing his memories in Kazakhstan during his 14-day stay, Harjot Singh said it was a life-time experience.

“It was due to the efforts of my parents and mentors, including Wg Cdr Pradeep Bishnoi, sergeant MA Ashraf, corporal Nitin Joy and CEO HS Gulhati, that I achieved so much during the exchange programme. Eleven cadets from all over India were selected for the training progarmme and I was the only one selected from Punjab,” said Kalsi.

A student of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, Kalsi said cadets were given weapons training, which included handling of AK-47. Besides, cadets enjoyed trekking, skiing, arm wrestling, cultural activities, etc.

During their stay, the cadets visited places like Borovoye, Shuchinsk and institutions like S Eifullin Kazak Agro Tech University and Urasian National University. The cadets also visited Nusratana Mosque.

Kalsi had attended the Republic Day Parade in 2010 and was adjudged the “best cadet”.

He also got an opportunity to take part in a national level competition where he secured seventh position (best cadets). He also completed his A, B and C certification securing A grade.

“I am currently preparing for my AIEEE examination but have to do a lot for the nation,” said Kalsi.



‘Desi kamaan’ is here
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 6
The performance of Sukhdev Singh amazed spectators as he came on stage with a ‘desi’ and innovative ‘kamaan’ that shoots 12 arrows without loading it again. A disciple of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Gatka Akhara, Sukhdev was taking part in the first district-level ‘gatka’ competition at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College. Seven teams from various ‘akharas’ took part.

He targeted a cardboard placed at a distance of around 20 metres and hisd plastic arrows knocked the board as effectively as a bullet.

Sukhdev said, “This is one of the ancient arms that Sikhs used in war. It has a magazine fitted over the wooden body.”

Telling how to operate it, he said, “The operator needs to stretch his legs to hold it in both hands like a camera. He loads arrows and presses the trigger.”



Cong leader bats for reverted staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
Rallying behind the subdivisional officers (SDOs) of the municipal corporation who have recently been reverted to junior engineers, a Punjab Congress secretary, who is also a councillor, has accused the state government of double standards.

In a press note issued here today, Parminder Mehta said these seven SDOs of the 22 who were reverted a few days back had actually been promoted during the tenure of the previous SAD-BJP government.

Mehta asserted that the minister for local bodies was from the BJP at that time and by reverting them, local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia had exposed the double standards of the party.

Mehta said instead of reverting these officials, the BJP should have fought a legal battle for the SDOs. Accusing the SAD-BJP regime of misleading the people, he said instead of the welfare of the people, the government was busy in infighting.



At 104, Phallewal man felicitated in Canada
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 6
Abstinence from drug addiction and regular exercise, supplemented with nutritious diet is universal 'mantra' (formula) of long healthy life, says Teja Singh (104), a native of Phellewal village in Sangrur district who was felicitated in Vancouver (Canada) recently.

Singh was felicitated by some organizations led by Gurdeep Singh Grewal, an office bearer of a Canada based publishing house.

Recognising his contributions in safeguarding interests of elderly Punjabis settled in Canada during past 27 years, the organizers appreciated that Singh had been instrumental in rehabilitation of those who were deserted by their wards either in India or abroad.

Singh was reported to have coordinated with office bearers of various religious and social organizations and the authorities of the British Columbia government to solve many cases, in which the victims had been duped at the hands of their relatives or friends.



BSNL staff stage protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 6
Under the banner of the Joint Action Committee of the BSNL Employees Associations and Unions, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited staff yesterday held a demonstration at the office of General Manager Telecom here against “retrograde and anti-employee” steps being taken by the Government of India at the recommendation of the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises.

Addressing the protesters, BSNL Employees Union district secretary Balwinder Singh opposed the introduction of voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for retrenchment of the staff, reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58 years and proposed merger of the BSNL with Indian Telephone Industries, another PSU.



20 students selected in placement drive
Our Correspondent

Khanna, April 6
A placement-cum-summer internship drive was held at Gulzar Group of Institutes for students of MBA, BBA. Over 100 students participated in the process carried out by a team comprising Agamjeet Singh and Jagdish from the Metro Group.

Gurcharan Singh, institute chairman, welcomed the company officials.

The selections were made on the basis of group discussion, presentation, written test and interview.

Twenty-four BBA students got summer internship in the company, while 20 MBA students were hired by the company.

Sanjeev Kumar Modi, principal, Gulzar School of Management, said around 10 companies had already visited the GGI campus for placement and internship programme for MBA and BBA students.



At the crossroads
Birth of an Urdu poet

Urdu poetry is popular as ever although the language has been ignored by people in this part of the country. This attitude has harmed the Punjabi language as it already comprises the terminology mostly derived from Urdu and languages like Persian, Arabic and Turkish. Still it is being realised that some effort should be made to get acquaintance, as in the days of yore, with this language for our benefit.

Ludhiana is known as a place where Urdu poetry has struck deep roots. Sahir Ludhianvi, Ibne-Insha, Hameed Akhtar, Ajaib Chitarkar, Krishan Adeeb, Sardar Panchhi and Aziz Parihar have kept aloft the banner of Urdu poetry.

Still the residents of this city enjoy listening to Urdu poetry in “mushairas” and poetical recitation competitions. This love for Urdu poetry has encouraged a young person of this city to compose poems and ghazals in this language.

Vishal Khullar, born in Chandigarh in 1980, is MSc in agricultural economics from the PAU and is currently working there as business manager at the Centre for Communication and International Languages.

Initially, he took interest in French language but later drifted to Urdu. During the last decade he has earned certificates and diplomas in Urdu language from the Punjab Urdu Board, the Jamia Milia Islamia and the National Council for the Development of Urdu Language.

His first collection of Urdu poetry “Dhund Mein Amaan” has been published recently by Insha Publications, a prestigious publishing house based in Kolkata.

He is quite at ease in composing ghazals and nazams, although the tone and tenor of both of these genres are the same in his case.

He delicately chooses words, similes and metaphors to convey his feelings which are mostly subtle. He is nowhere loud and at no place in a hurry. He wants to comprehend himself the nuances of his sensibilities and the range of his emotions before conveying these to his readers.

Vishal considers Prof Aziz Parihar his mentor, as his love for Urdu language and the knowledge of prosody owe much to this learned poet.

Professor Aziz has been teaching English to postgraduate students for many decades but his involvement in Urdu literature has persuaded him to do creative and research work in this language also. Not long ago, his own collection of Urdu poems “Thahar Jaye Koyee Naghma” was published which is the third one in the series of his poetic creations. His monograph of the transcreations of the ghazals of Mirza Ghalib in the English language is in the offing.

In a way, Vishal Khullar is adept at choosing appropriate expressions and seldom errs so far as the metre is concerned. Some of his poetic creations are mystic in essence. Love for a woman or for the Lord has the same dimension. It is the inner urge to view celestial beauty that matters. He says:

Goke bahar talash jaari hai

Apne under bhi uttar kar dekho

(Though the search is being carried out meticulously outside but the need is to look within to have a glimpse of the divine form.)

No doubt, ghazal is his forte but in his poems, too, he maintains the mystique of understatement being more communicative. Not rhyme but rhythm gives his poems a unique texture. In his poem “Aakhri Aurat”, he says:

Us ke narm labon ki jot

Mere under uttar gyee

Suraj bhi chhup jayega

Tare bhi bujh jayenge

Raushan hoga ek diya

Koi jugnu sa par kholega

Paar ufaq ud jayega.

(The warmth of her delicate lips has enveloped my being. The sun will set and the stars will also fade away. A lamp will be lit, a glow-worm will open its wings and fly away beyond the horizon.)

— NS Tasneem



Kansas varsity delegation visits PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 6
A three-member delegation from Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, Kansas, US, today visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to hold deliberations on the collaboration between the PAU and the KSU in various areas of agriculture like sustainable crop production systems, grain storage, food processing and food safety.

Based on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently inked between the two institutions, the accord aims at providing high quality and cost-effective education in the field of bakery science and management, developing knowledge-based synergistic relationship, high quality skilled manpower for the rapidly expanding bakery industry in Punjab and producing entrepreneurs for the development of the industry in India.

The delegation members included Dr R Michael Philson, associate provost, office of international programs; Dr Gary Pierzynski, interim dean and director, College of Agriculture and Kansas State Research and Extension; and Dr Sajid Alavi, associate professor, Department of Grain Science and Industry, College of Agriculture.

The visiting delegation, accompanied by KSU administrator in India Raj Kapoor meet with PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang.

Dr Kang said: “It is a historic move. The food security of the nation depends on Punjab, as it has been contributing 60 per cent of wheat and 40 per cent of rice to the central pool in different years. The international collaboration between the two universities will be highly beneficial in addressing the food security of India.”

While mentioning the project “Physical mapping and sample sequencing of wheat chromosome 2A — International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (India)” bagged by the PAU, he highlighted that Kansas University had a project to work on maximum number of wheat chromosomes.

Apprising the delegation with the academic, research and transfer of technology programs, Dr Kang remarked that there were numerous opportunities to expand the collaboration into other areas of agriculture.

Dr Philson suggested that the programme should facilitate students to spend longer time at the PAU. He invited PAU scientists to visit the KSU.

The strategic partnership between the two universities should translate words into action, he said.

Dr Pierzynski said there were many commonalities of research and educational needs that would be addressed in the collaboration.

Dr Alavi said training on food processing and value addition were relevant in today’s agriculture and that the collaboration would take care of it.

The visiting delegation said the Indo-US partnership needed to be strengthened to achieve the goal and address the critical issues of rising population, expected food supply, food security and agriculture in global environment.

Dr BS Ahloowalia, a scientist from international atomic energy agency (IAEA), Vienna, Austria, said updating the Indian scientists by equipping them with the new innovations and latest technology in the US for maintaining the quality of the cereals would help them immensely.



Degrees conferred on 281 students
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 6
GHG Khalsa College of Education, Gurusar Sadhar, held its annual convocation at Nihang Shamsher Singh Hall on the college campus yesterday.

At least 281 students of different classes were felicitated with degrees during the function, presided over by GHG Khalsa College management committee president Manjit Singh Gill.

Dr Harbhajan Singh Deol, former commissioner, linguistic minorities, Government of India, was the chief guest. College principal Dr HS Brar presented the annual report of the college, highlighting the achievements of students in academics as well as co-curricular activities during the past session.

The convocation began with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by the chief guest. It was followed by the singing of the college shabad by students.

The chief guest later conferred degrees on 33 students of MEd and 248 students of BEd.

Besides, he felicitated three students — Ritu, Jagmeet Kaur and Megha, who clinched seventh, eight and eleventh positions, respectively, in the Punjab University final MEd examination in 2009-10 session.

Addressing the gathering, the chief guest congratulated the degree-holders, principal and faculty for their success. He also appreciated the progress made by the institute and exhorted the students to enable themselves to compete in the competitive world.

A brief cultural programme was also presented by the college students.



From Schools
Students take ability test

Ludhiana: Dr Vidhu Mohan, a psychologist from Chandigarh, conducted an ability and interest test, “Drishti”, for students of class X at Dr RC Jain Innovative Public School, Pakhowal Road, Narangwal, today.

HEALTHY FUN: Students take part in a fitness programme at Sacred Heart Convent School in Ludhiana on Wednesday
HEALTHY FUN: Students take part in a fitness programme at Sacred Heart Convent School in Ludhiana on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

The test is an effective tool to measure the interest, ability and aptitude of a child, she said.

A counselling session with parents was also held. They realised that the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and handle pressure with ease came with the right kind of education, which Drishti has been engaged in imparting since 2006.

School principal V Puri commented the experts for working on the abilities of each child and preparing them for the future.

Orientation programme

An orientation programme on “When the child starts coming to school” for parents of students of KG section was organised at BCM School Dugri.

Resource person Preeti Behl made the parents aware of their role in the upbringing of their child.

She advised the parents to devote time to kids to inculcate moral values in them. It was followed by a presentation on “Perfect Parenting” by school counsellor Charanjit Kalra.

She imparted some tips on parenting by emphasising the fact that children were the most precious gift of god and parents must do their best for their child.

Principal Dr Vandna Shahi urged the parents to raise the self-esteem of their child and co-operate with the school.

Fitness camp

Amit Verma, director of a dance and fitness studio, taught students of Sacred Heart Convent School about the nuances of staying fit.

This was part of a weight-loss boot camp focussing on physical fitness and diet set in a friendly atmosphere.

“Freeing children of the emotional stigma of being overweight allowed campers to celebrate and embrace life from a different perspective,” he said.

The boot camp for children of all ages was a fun way for kids and teens alike to lose weight and develop lasting friendships.

The boot camp included certain specific workouts like ladder agility drills; kick-boxing, achieving target day and implementing home based workouts. 



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