L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Coaching centres cash in on students’ insecurities
Declining standards of education in schools and colleges, peer pressure main reasons
Charu Chhibber & Anil Kumar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The tutorial classes and coaching “academies” that have sprung up all over the city and are thriving well have managed to retain school and college students in its tight grip. While parents continue to struggle under severe financial pressure to provide the “best coaching" to their children at the city’s prominent tuition centres, the latter continue to fleece them in the name of "quality education".

The trend has gained such alarming proportions that a major chunk of the annual budget of every family with one or more schoolgoing children is spent on paying tuition fees. And, not surprisingly, nine out of ten students studying in class 5 or above 5 are taking a least one private tuition.

While many blame the consistently declining standards of school education for the sharp rise of private coaching centres, there are yet others who feel the extreme academic pressure on students and unhealthy competition among peers is responsible for students' dependence on extra coaching that, they believe, can help them score over others.

Whatever may be the reason, private coaching centres are having a field day, cashing in on the students' insecurities by charging them arbitrarily. On an average, a class 10 student is asked to shell out anything from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000 per month for tuition in only one subject. This is in addition to the expenses incurred on formal school education.

Not only this, most coaching centres and “academies” in the city have made a rule of sorts to charge annual fees in two installments that, apart from being heavy on the parents' pockets, is a smart business trick to ensure smooth inflow of money. Once the fees are paid students are virtually trapped in the coaching centre’s net for the entire session, irrespective of the fact whether they are satisfied with the services provided or not.

"I pay Rs 2,500 per month for mathematics and chemistry tuitions while my friend pays Rs 4,500 for them," said Sanjay, a class 12 student. Blaming the school education system, he asserted teachers in school did not impart lessons effectively in class as a result of which he had to seek private tuition to complete his syllabus.

Expressing dissatisfaction with even his private tutor, he rued: “There are a good 50 odd students in the coaching class. Despite paying through our nose we don’t get individual attention even at tuition classes”.

Sanjay is not alone - there are legions of others who are "victims" of private tutors' whims and fancies. Most shocking is the fact that of late tuition centres in the city have “streamlined” their operations in a way that would otherwise shame any established commercial enterprise.

From frantically advertising to going door-to-door in search of prospective "clients", providing "home services", tying up with major schools in the city, roping in the biggest names in the field of education for their “faculties”, offering discount schemes to students, to using their "toppers" as mouthpieces to attract business - the coaching “academies” are doing it in the commercially viable way.

The worst part of it all is that gaining admission to schools might be easier than securing a seat in one of the city’s "well-known" coaching centres. Though the Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act, enacted in 2009, barred schools from screening and interviewing students and parents at the time of admission, the legislation failed to include private coaching centres under its purview.

In the absence of any law tutorial services are not only thriving but minting big money from hapless parents.

Not only this, even schoolteachers, who otherwise fail to satisfy the academic quest of their students in class, are making easy money by imparting private tuitions outside the school. This despite the clear instructions of the Central Board of Secondary Education and other educational boards prohibiting any private tuitions by teachers in schools, whether government run or privately owned.

Shockingly, schoolteachers giving private tuitions have been often found to have even threatening their students with low grades or marking low attendance in case they refuse to take tuitions from them outside the school.

Confirming this, Kiranjot, a class 10 student, says: "On the very first day of the new academic session our math teacher sternly asked all of us to join coaching classes in the evening if we wanted to get good marks. She has a big classroom on the second floor of her house and uses modern teaching aids like projector slides, for which she charges a bomb. But in school she doesn’t pay much attention to the doubts of those students who do not take coaching from her."

Caught in a vicious circle

Disillusioned with schoolteachers, students take to private tuitions. There are others who want to fulfill their unrealistic ambitions through the means of extra coaching. In between this mad rat race, those whose parents cannot afford the luxury of a good private coaching suffer extreme trauma in school and are made to feel inferior by their peers. Not only this, they are even psychologically conditioned by their teachers and friends that they cannot succeed in securing good marks in exams. On the other hand, those who manage to get admission to the city’s best known tuition centres suffer in many ways at coaching classes. Most of the popular coaching “academies” have separate classes for students classified as "intelligent", "mediocre" and "poor". Those in the first category tend to look down on the others as do the tutors. In the process, they end up killing the competitive spirit of the "mediocre" and "poor" students badly.

No checks on ‘teaching shops’

In the absence of any check or law, various coaching centres not only fleece the students' parents but also their own faculty members, whom they hire in a business contract that lays claim on over half their earnings through tuitions. "I give six home tuitions, the fees for which amount to Rs 40,000 per month. However, according to the contract with the tuition centre I work for, I’m paid only Rs 15,000 a month while the rest of the money goes into the owner's pocket," said a home tutor.

‘Ends justifying means’

While many educationists term the trend of absolute dependence of students on private coaching as unhealthy and detrimental to their academic progress; the private tutors, on the other hand, justify their business as "service to the society". "Schools don’t teach properly and with most of the parents working these days, they cannot spare time to help their kids in studies. In such circumstances if we at coaching centres provide assistance to their wards in studies and take money in return, what is wrong in that?" asks a private tutor. Adds another tutor: "We give an assurance each one of our students will score above 90 per cent marks and take immense pains to ensure this. We’ve state-of-the-art infrastructure and the best in teaching aids. What more can parents ask for? And if they grudge the extra money they have to shell out, then they should know the best of everything comes for a price and in this case it’s a question of their children’s future.”


Level Crossing Row
Residents lift blockade after 8 hrs, rail traffic restored
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 12
The disruption of rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur section, caused by the blockade of rail traffic by residents of some one dozen localities since noon here yesterday, continued for more than eight hours.

It was around 9.30 pm that the residents, upset over the closure of the level crossing near the Lodhi Club road for the past over three months, agreed to disperse and the rail traffic was restored on the section late in the night.

The talks between the protesting residents on one side and the railway and district officials on the other, continued for well over five hours after Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Pradeep Aggarwal arrived at the spot.

Residents of the affected colonies along the Ferozepur road were adamant that till a time-bound assurance was given to them for providing an alternative level crossing by senior railway officials and the district authorities, they will not budge.

As the blockade continued almost all through the day, some half a dozen trains between Ludhiana and Ferozepur had to be be cancelled and 5 LF Passenger DMU train, which was stranded near the level crossing under siege since 1.30 pm, had to be recalled to the Ludhiana railway station.

With the protesting residents standing their ground, the Chief Engineer, Northern Railway, intervened in the matter at around 9 pm with an assurance that the proposal for making an abandoned level crossing near J Block in BRS Nagar locality, had been cleared by the divisional railway authorities. The work to make the level crossing functional will commence on April 18 and it will be opened to the public by April 28, he told the protesting residents.

Railway officials here blame the district administration for their failure to coordinate with the railway authorities. "Before the commencement of work on the proposed railway under bridge (RUB) on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur section near the Lodhi Club in December 2010, which necessitated the closure of this particular level crossing, matter should have been taken up with the railways for providing an alternative level crossing to avoid much inconvenience to the people," a senior railway official said.

According to Station Superintendent RK Sharma, the rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur section was restored late last night and trains were running as per the schedule.



Confusion on entry tax baffles traders, dept
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Traders here are a baffled lot over the entry tax as the excise and taxation department has failed to issue any instructions regarding the submission of undertaking.

Ludhiana-based Bhushan Power and Steels has filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the entry tax and the high court has given stay in the case and said that those will be exempted from paying the entry tax who give an undertaking that they will pay the entry tax with interest in case the petition is dismissed.

Confusion prevails among the department as well as traders. Since no circular has been issued from the department, traders are not clear where to submit the undertaking. The department is confused on the point if any trader can submit the undertaking or only the petitioner can submit the same.

To check tax evasion, the department has imposed 4 per cent entry tax on 26 items, including yarn, marbles, tiles etc. The entry tax on sugar was lifted this midnight, while the department was collecting entry tax from traders on other items.

Venu Parshad, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said so far they had not issued any circular in this regard. "Even we are not clear where to submit the undertaking, whether with the department or with the court. We will seek legal opinion regarding the same," he said.

HL Bansal, AETC, posted at a barrier, said they were collecting 4 per cent entry tax imposed on 26 items, while tax from sugar had been lifted. "No clear instructions have been issued regarding the submission of undertaking. So we are collecting the entry tax," he said.



DC inspects welfare schemes in villages
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 12
Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib Yashvir Mahajan visited a few villages to take stock of “Manrega Scheme” launched for poor people’s welfare. He also spoke to a few persons at Khant village where a pond is being dug at the cost of Rs 7 lakh.

He also visited Maheshpura village and inspected a pond that is being dug at the cost of Rs 5 lakh. The pond is spread over four acres. Later, he also visited Amrala, Ranwan, Dulwan and Mohan Majra villages and inspected the roads.

He directed BDPO’S of the district to provide job cards to needy persons of all villages and job for minimum of 100 days under this scheme. He also told officials to look into the possibilities of fish farming in village ponds for increasing the income of village panchayats.

He said the had sanctioned Rs 5.42 crore for the district under the “Manrega Scheme’. Out of it, Rs 4 crore had already been spent. 



Violation of building bylaws in BRS Nagar
Mayor seeks legal opinion
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
In order to resolve the issue of violation of building bylaws at Bhai Randhir Singh (BRS) Nagar, the Mayor has sought legal opinion before constituting a five-member committee on the matter.

After the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the sealing of the buildings in BRS Nagar, which had been constructed in the residential locality, the Municipal authorities had sealed buildings. Later, a trustee of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust had broken the seals. The Municipal officials had recommended action against those involved. However, keeping in view the elections in 2012, a general house meeting was called. The matter regarding the change in land use (CLU) of the area was recommended by a sitting MLA during the meeting. Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura had announced to constitute a five-member committee to sort out the issue.

Before constituting any sort of such committee, the top brass of the civic body has sought legal opinions to avoid any dispute in the future.

Sources revealed that any decision regarding the issue was likely to be taken only after legal experts gave their opinion. The Municipal officials are not in a mood to take any stern action, as they don’t want to annoy the people, the sources added.

Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura said the reason behind taking legal opinion was to avoid any sort of confusion regarding the matter. The building branch had been asked to send the file regarding the matter to legal experts. Any decision on this issue will be taken after going through their views, he added.



CICU to bridge gap between varsity, industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Keeping in view rise in demand of skilled professionals in the MSME Sector, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) and Punjab Technical University (PTU) have taken an initiative to bridge the gap between technical education and industrial requirement. An interactive meeting in this regard with leading industrialists and faculty members of the PTU was held at CICU complex.

Dr AP Singh, Dean, Students Affairs, PTU, was the guest of honor. Shashi Behl, assistant professor, and RC Chopra affiliated to the industry institute also spoke on the occasion.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, CICU, said the meeting was organised with an aim to evolve a mechanism that prepared students for what they might face in the industry. Captains of the industry suggested to make the professional education more practical keeping in view the global competition being faced by the MSME sector.

Singh appreciated the efforts being made by CICU as far as imparting industrial training to students in its members units and assured that the university would go all out to make technical education more industry oriented. He further assured to give better exposure to students in industrial applications, catering needs of different types of industries, solving industry-related problems and providing required coverage to most recent developments for growth in the MSME sector.

Upkar Singh, joint secretary, CICU, said the main aim of the meeting was to find ways to reconnect the tenuous ties between the university and industry and to intensify exchange between students and related MSME Industries, which in the longer run would benefit academia, industry and students.



Change in weather conditions
Maximum temperature to hover around 30°C
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Climatic conditions of the city have drastically changed this season. Records available with the Meteorological Department, Chandigarh, indicate that maximum temperature, which hovered around 39°C during mid April in 2010, has been recorded near 30 °C in 2011. This is below normal. Experts believe that the temperature will hover between 31°C and 32 °C in the coming week.

Surinder Paul, Director, Meteorological Department, Chandigarh, told The Tribune that due to good rainfall in February/March 2011, there had not been much increase in the maximum temperature. “The available records show that there has been a variation in climatic conditions with a difference in temperature between 5 and 9 °C,” said Paul.

Dr KKGill, expert in Agro-meteorological department, Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), said the temperature was near normal this season as compared to previous years. She said the maximum temperature would hover around 32 °C in the coming week with dust storms and high velocity winds at certain places.

“The weather is near normal or slightly below, which is comfortable. The sky will remain partially cloudy with scattered rainfall at certain places. Due to sudden rise in temperature last year, less yield was recorded (wheat) but this season, temperature is favourable for the wheat crop and farmers are happy as they are expecting good returns. The standing crop is taking its time to mature fully. There has been no effect of weather on late-sowing and no major impact of disease on the crop. The present weather conditions are good for fruits and vegetables, too”, said Gill. 



Religious bodies take lead in conserving power
Limit use of gadgets, lights on gurdwara premises
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 12
Realising the need for energy conservation to cope with the scarcity of electricity during summer, office-bearers of religious organisations in the area have launched a movement to rationalise the use of electrical gadgets at religious places and illumination during religious functions.

Besides helping the administration in fighting power crisis, the initiative will reduce maintenance costs of these organisations.

While air-conditioners and electric heaters, installed in the rooms of caretakers and members of management committees, will not be used at all, lamps and florescent tubes will be lighted for limited hours only.

Admitting that a major share of the annual budget of a majority of religious places went towards illuminating the premises during religious functions or otherwise, Mohan Singh, president, Baba Namdev Gurdwara in the Dehliz Road area, said office-bearers of various religious organisations of the town and surrounding areas had decided to cut down on the consumption of electricity.

“We have advised staff and caretakers at religious places managed by us to minimise the consumption of electricity to conserve power and ease our budget. While no one will be allowed to use air-conditioners or heaters on the premises of religious places, lights, predominantly CFLs, will be turned on for limited hours only,” he said, adding that he had been visiting religious places to switch off extra lamps during evening and morning hours.

Regretting that the staff and people staying in rooms associated with religious places rarely bothered to switch off extra electrical gadgets and lights, Jagjit Singh Jajjie, an office-bearer of Shri Kalgidhar Federation, maintained that sensitisation of persons concerned would help the government fight against the perpetual problem of power crisis.

Councillor Bimal Sharma, chairman, Shree Ram Mandir Committee, suggested that illumination of religious buildings should be done only during festivals and ceremonies.

The staff looking after the affairs of temples and dharamshalas had been advised to cut down on power consumption by at least 20 per cent, said Sharma.

Wastage of electricity had been rampant at a majority of religious places of the region.

As the management committee usually pays power bills for resident members of religious places, they (members) rarely bother to switch off extra lights or gadgets in use. Installation of air-conditioners, geysers, heaters and blowers at some religious places has compounded the problem.

The consumption of power at some religious places even exceeds the sanctioned load. The tendency results in frequent breakdowns during peak consumption periods.


No to AC, heaters

We have advised staff and caretakers at religious places managed by us to minimise the consumption of electricity to conserve power and ease our budget. While no one will be allowed to use air-conditioners or heaters on these premises, lights, predominantly CFLs, will be turned on for limited hours only,” said Singh, adding that he had been visiting religious places to switch off extra lamps during evening and morning hours

— Mohan Singh, president, Baba Namdev Gurdwara, Dehliz Road



IPL creating ‘rift’ between couples
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
Cricket World Cup followed by Indian Premier League has become a cause of tussle between married couples, with majority of women complaining about their husbands being glued to television sets and not offering any kind of assistance to their wives.

So much so that some women have even started disconnecting the DTH TV connection which were opted for during the cricket World Cup.

The fad for cricket is becoming too much to handle for the mothers as they are furious at their children’s addiction to it.

As the children keep watching the IPL matches till late in the night they struggle to get ready for school the next day.

"It is not only Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is fatigued with too much of cricket. We are also disillusioned with the game. The day and night games have adversely affected our schedule. We sleep late and wake up late in the morning. My son and my husband have a craze for the sport, but I am totally exhausted by it. I am waiting for the day when this cricket mania will end and life will turn normal," said Rakhi.

The professional couples are the worst hit by the shorter version of the game. Wives complain that their husbands after returning home from office switch on the TV and ignore their wives completely.

A doctor couple is currently at loggerheads primarily because of this reason. While requesting anonymity the woman who is a senior doctor at a local hospital said that her husband was upset with her because she arrived late at a multiplex to watch the CWC final between India and Sri Lanka.

Daily soaps adding to more trouble

The clash of IPL match schedule with daily soaps is adding to more trouble, with woman refusing to skip their favourite "Saas Bahu" serials and the couples are left fighting over the TV remote. The tussle over IPL and daily soaps has reached such a limit that in many homes the husband has to go empty stomach to bed as wives refuse to cook food for them for not letting them watch their daily soaps. 



Aided schools need aid
Power, water bills yet to be paid, teachers not getting full salary 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 12
Students of a majority of aided schools of the region might be deprived of basic amenities in the coming months due to non-payment of power and water bills, which would result in suspension of connections to the respective premises.

The prescribed teacher-pupil ratio would also be difficult to maintain, as the committee paid staff would have to be retrenched.

The situation arose after the education department directed heads of these schools not to accept or demand any donation from parents of wards studying in their respective institutes. Students of classes up to VIII have already been exempted from paying fee.

Political interference and factionalism among management committees has further compounded problems of these schools.

Investigations revealed that a majority of the private-aided schools of the region had been facing financial constraints since long. What to talk of providing extra facilities to students, the management committees were not in a position to pay salaries to the staff that was appointed on ad hoc basis. There were some institutes where teachers were being paid only 95 per cent of their salaries as the management committees had failed to contribute their share.

Regretting that the tendency had resulted in degradation of the quality of education, parents of some children demanded that the government should either share the burden or allow the schools to charge nominal fee to bridge the gap between the grant and the expenditure.

"We fail to understand why the government is not serious about the future of our children who will be deprived of all facilities soon. We do not mind providing free education to wards of the poor and the downtrodden but what is wrong if we seek good facilities for our children by paying charges voluntarily," said Nirmal Singh, father of a student of a local aided school.

Blaming politicians of exploiting the situation, principal of a private-aided senior secondary school said teachers of the school had been contributing to pay electricity bill in the past. "But they have refused for undertake the responsibility of the bills for summer when fans consume more electricity," said the principal.

Investigations further revealed that none of the 450 private-aided schools had sanctioned strength of teachers drawing salary from the government. With at least 3,500 posts of teachers lying vacant in the state, the management committees of these schools have to manage extra funds to appoint teachers on ad hoc basis. There have been no new recruitments in the schools since 2003 after the government decided to freeze vacancies.

The gap between the grant received from the government and the pay bill is normally narrowed by donations and funds paid by students and their parents.

Aided school employees have also been complaining of step-motherly treatment by the successive governments. These school employees got the right to pension from February 2, 1987, after a long struggle, but the state government scrapped the benefit from June 1, 2003. Though the government has once again announced to pay the pension, teachers apprehend betrayal like earlier governments.

Residents have urged the government to come to the rescue of these institutes and save future of students.



Sahit Akademi confers award on Gagan Deep
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 12
Budding poet Gagan Deep Sharma, head, Department of Management Studies, BBSB Engineering and Technology, has recently been awarded Prof Kulwant Jagraon Memorial Award for his poetry book entitled “Kavita di Ibaarat” by the Punjabi Sahit Akademi.

The function was presided over by noted economist Dr SS Johl and noted poet Dr Surjit Patar. Prof Gurbhajan Gill, president, Punjabi Sahit Akademi, said Kulwant Jagraon was an author who lived poetry throughout his life. Dr Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, Punjabi Sahit Akademi, also praised Kulwant and the budding poet Gagan.

Dr Surjit Patar said: “The award is well deserved by Gagan Deep, as with his exclusive way of writing, he has been able to make a special place for himself in a short span of time. Presenting his book ‘Kavita di Ibaarat’, Gagan Deep Sharma said his poetry were rich in ideas and rhythm.



ICAR team visits vet varsity to review project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The World Bank sanctioned a major project to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, for the conduct of research and dissemination of recommended technologies to alleviate poverty of the rural masses.

Besides, the Planning Commission of India identified 150 disadvantaged districts in different states of India. In Punjab, only Hoshiarpur district was included in the list of disadvantaged districts. A sub-project titled “Sustainable livestock-based farming system for livelihood security in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab” was awarded to Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in 2008.

A high-powered team of scientists from the project implementation unit (PIU), New Delhi, comprising Dr Bangali Baboo, national director, National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) and Dr AP Srivastava, national coordinator, NAIP Component III, visited Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) to review the progress of NAIP sub-projects.

The team accompanied by Dr AL Saini, principal investigator of the project, visited the operational area of the project including, Bhunga, Dasuya, Hajipur and Talwara blocks of Hoshiarpur district recently and monitored the project activities at the farmers’ fields in villages Bhatoli and Khangwari.

The team also visited the site of NAIP welfare camp at Fatehpur village in Talwara block. Activities like treatment of sick animals, distribution of various inputs, demonstration of silage making in polybags, enrichment of low-quality roughages, activities related to empowerment of women viz. sewing, knitting, embroidery, tie and dye, pickle and murabba making etc were reviewed.

During an interactive session with GADVASU fraternity today, Dr AP Srivastava suggested that implementation of various interventions should result in the development of success stories and as a result, a comprehensive model of livestock husbandry should come up in the area.

Dr V K Taneja, Vice-Chancellor of GADVASU emphasized the need for the quantification of the impact of this project on animal and crop production and enhancement in the income of beneficiary farmers.

Dr Bangali, national director of the NAIP, stressed the need for establishing a chilling centre in the area of the project. This facility will provide a long-term impact on the income generation of beneficiaries of the area even after the completion of this project. 



From Schools
Schools soak in festive fervour

Baisakhi, the festival of harvest, and Ram Navmi, the birth of Lord Rama, were celebrated with fervour by the students of Radcliffe School, Ludhiana. A colourful function was organised on the occasion. The school wore a festive look. Tiny tots were dressed in traditional Punjabi attire. Children of primary classes presented a Bhajan "Hey Ram, hey Ram" to mark the birth of Lord Rama.

A special documentary related to the Baisakhi celebrations was shown to children. Later, tiny tots danced to the tunes of Punjabi folk songs. Principal Iqbal Pahwa congratulated children on the occasion and asked them to follow the path of truth and love.

Baisakhi was celebrated with fervour on the premises of St GDS Convent School. Speeches were delivered to make the students aware about the festival and a colourful function was organised. An in-house picnic party was also organised by the school in which students enjoyed magic show, jumping rides and swimming. A fair was also organised on the school premises.

Students of Chanda Mama School enjoyed “ladoos” and “jalebis” on Ramnavmi and Baisakhi. To give them a feel of the rural life, a mango tree was decorated with birds made of cloth.


Maple Bear Canadian Playway and Nursery School, Udham Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, celebrated Navratras with enthusiasm and religious fervour. Teachers made ‘rangolis’ and decorated the school with a massage welcome to the Gods. Children came dressed in nine incarnations of Goddess Durga Pre-Nursery kids danced to the tune of “Uday Re Ambay Ho” with dandiya. Principal Veena Aggarwal distributed gifts among kids.

Ram Navmi

Teachers of BCM enacted a play to depict the life of Lord Rama and students of pre-primary section were told about the importance and celebration of Ram Navmi. Teachers sang religious songs like, “Janam liyo mere Raghurai, Avadhpuri mein bahar aye, Kaliyon ne ghunghat khole, Banware Phoolon par dholen". Tiny tots also recited poems related to moral values reflecting the various phases of Shri Rama’s life. 



NAIP to strengthen agri economy, says director 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
National director of the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) Dr Bangali Baboo visited the Central Institute of Post-Harvest Engineering and Technology (CIPHET) to get the first hand information regarding the progress of NAIP projects going on in the institute.

Stressing the need to develop competitive technologies, Dr Bangali Baboo said scientists should closely work on economics and viability aspect with the development of technology. He hoped that these projects would help in strengthening agricultural economy of the country.

Dr RT Patil, CIPHET director, said the NAIP had helped them provide funding for research and also an opportunity to work with other premier research institutes of the country. He hoped that expertise developed with the help of the NAIP would have long lasting results.

A total of eight projects were reviewed on the occasion. National Coordinator, NAIP, Dr AP Shirvastva suggested various measures for making the outcome of the projects more productive. Both the national director and the national coordinator appreciated the progress of the projects going on at the CIPHET and showed keen interest in the laboratories developed with the support of NAIP funds. A film on potato enriched cattle feed was also shown on the occasion.



Small-scale producers bat for Mai Bhago Scheme
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
The Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme with an outlay of Rs 75 crore to provide free bicycles to girl students studying in classes XI and XII in all government schools proposed by the Punjab government is a welcome step but the small-scale cycle manufacturers want that the scheme should be simplified and reserved only for them.

Earlier too, cycles were provided to the girl students under the Sarv Shikhiya Abhiyaan but now the horizons of the scheme has been widened. Earlier, only big companies were grabbing the tenders. Seeing this trend, small manufacturers want that “the Mai Bhago Vidya Scheme” should be reserved for the small manufacturers alone.

Large-scale cycle manufacturers have many export orders in their kitty and it is the small manufactures, which are in dire need of orders. “Though we are providing bicycles to the girl students belonging to the neighbouring states and want this particular scheme should be for the small players,” said Harmohinder Singh Pahwa, Managing director of Nova Cycles.

Another small-scale cycle manufacturer adding further said that as earlier the big brands would capture the tenders while small producers would be left with nothing. “We want the scheme should be modified and kept reserved for the small-scale cycle manufacturers. It will give a boost to our sales while there is no dearth of orders for the big manufacturers,” he said.

Small manufacturers have given representation to the government regarding the same. “Ludhiana is a hub of cycle industry and many small- scale manufacturers have been providing bicycles to other states. Even in our state small producers should be given the chance,” said Pahwa.



Confusion prevails over VAT refund
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 12
A meeting of the Taxation Advisors’ Association was held here yesterday. Members in the meeting discussed about the problems being faced by traders.

Speaking on the occasion, Satish Aggarwal of the association said though the department had issued notification to release 75 per cent VAT refund by submitting indemnity bond, it had not been made clear which performa to be filled for getting the refund.

Press secretary of the association Jatinder Khurana said since the court had given a stay order in entry tax case, instructions had been issued to give an undertaking. "Since there is no provision of undertaking in the entry tax, the department has failed to give a clear picture of what type of undertaking the traders have to submit and where," said Khurana.



Games for visually impaired start tomorrow
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 12
All arrangements have been completed for the third edition of the National Sports for Visually Impaired slated to be held at the Guru Nanak Sports Complex from April 14 to 16.

This event is being organised by the Punjab Sports Association for the Blind with the help of Bharat Netarheen Sewak Samaj, Vocational and Rehabilitation Training Centre (VRTC), Ludhiana, and Baba Vishawkarma Sewa Dal, Punjab, besides prominent sports promoters of the area.

Addressing a press conference here today, Gurpreet Singh Machhiwara, chief organiser of the event, said: "Around 400 sportspersons from across the country will take part in the three-day meet during which competition in track and field events like 100m, 200, 400m, 800m races shot put, discus throw, javelin throw, long jump in the boys as well as girls under-12 and under-16 years will be conducted."

A number of committees have been formed for the smooth conduct of the event. Lodging and boarding arrangements have been made at the VRTC hostel, Hambran Road. Some rural sports clubs of the region have extended assistance in holding this event, added Gurpreet Singh.

Swami Shankranand will inaugurate the meet on Friday at 8 am while Punjab Cabinet Minister Hira Singh Gabria will preside over the opening ceremony.



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