L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Unseasonal rain threatens wheat crop
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Intermittent rain along with heavy winds lashing the region during the past 24 hours may have brought cheer to city residents but farmers in villages have voiced apprehension over their matured wheat crop getting damaged due to the unexpected weather.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, Punjab, Sharanjit Singh Mehlon, said farmers had already begun harvesting operations. “The farmers had manually harvested about 60 quintals of the wheat crop, which was lying in open fields has now become wet due to the rain. We’re waiting for bright sunny days so that the grain gets dried. The weather is so unpredictable- we had never thought it would rain in mid-April. We now feel helpless as we can’t fight nature", he added.

District ‘mandi’ officer Rajpal Singh Dhaliwal said he would visit ‘mandis’ (wholesale grain markets) in Khanna, Dehlon, Issuru, Kilaraipur, Gopalpur, Jodhan and Malout. "Farmers are a worried lot, but grain in ‘mandis’ has been covered with plastic sheets. Almost 16,000 tonnes of wheat that arrived in the ‘mandis’ on Sunday is all safe. But produce lying in open fields is in danger of getting wet due to the unexpected rain", he added.

Chief agriculture officer RS Pandher said till now though the situation was not alarming, still farmers were worried over unexpected rains and winds. "If the rain doesn’t stop the grain will be damaged. In case it rains continuously rains the moisture content will increase and the grain will become discoloured. The farmers are scared procuring agencies will not lift damaged produce. They are now hoping for bright sunny days ahead", he added.

Meanwhile, the intermittent rain brought smiles on the faces of city residents who enjoyed the cool weather. However waterlogging occurred in low lying areas including Ghumar Mandi, Janakpuri, Domoria Bridge, Sundernagar and Kundanpuri.

The Met has predicted the weather will remain almost the same with scattered clouds and intermittent rain in some parts during the next 24 hours.


1982 revisited
A woman carrying her child runs for cover after rain lashed Ludhiana on Sunday
A woman carrying her child runs for cover after rain lashed Ludhiana on Sunday. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Similar weather conditions prevailed in 1982 when there was continuous rain for about a month during the harvesting season. The weather conditions had worried farmers and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had visited several villages in Punjab and Haryana to take stock of the situation. The farmers had to bear heavy losses and procurement agencies had to relax specifications.

Dr MS Sidhu, head of the economics department, PAU


Govt largesse to pvt middle schools
Association made easier; RTE not binding on such schools
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 17
State education minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan yesterday termed private middle schools (from classes I to VIII) as “associate schools”. With the rule passed by the state government, students studying in private middle schools will now be considered as “regular” students and can get admission to any government or affiliated school.

The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will allot an association number to a school on receiving the stipulated fee of Rs 20,000 to confirm the association.

The board will also form the rules and regulation of payment to teachers and supporting staff. The appointments of the teachers in associated schools will be done as per the qualification rules of the government.

The board will inspect the schools for infrastructure. At least eight class rooms will be required.

Balwant Singh, chairman of the Punjab Unaffiliated Schools Welfare Front, said: “It is a major decision taken by the education minister to help private students and give a new lease of life to schools.”

“Students of class VIII will have to pay Rs 100 to get passing certificates. The government has also given relief to the associate schools from enforcing the Right to Education Act (RTE),” said Balwant.



RTE activists sore, cry foul
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 17
Right to education (RTE) activists have opposed the decision of the state government to consider private schools as “associate schools”.

Delhi-based Ashok Aggarwal, president of the All India Parents Association and a social activist, termed the initiative as “drama”. “It is nothing but irresponsible behaviour on the part of the Punjab Government, especially the education minister. They have been violating the spirit of free education,” he stated.

“It seems that the state government has given a free hand to private schools by placing them out of the purview of the RTE whereas schools affiliated to all boards come under the RTE Act. All private schools need to enforce it or shut down,” he said.

Terming the move as a bid to protect private schools and to “exploit” the RTE, Rakesh Jain, another RTE activist, said: “Instead of implementing the RTE in schools across the state, the government is protecting private schools. The RTE has been passed in Parliament. No state can change or make its own rules.”

Referring to the Act, Jain said: “According to the RTE, private schools need to get affiliation and produce required infrastructure within three years of the passing of the Act. Such schools must have playgrounds and provision for midday meal kitchens, etc. on the premises.”

Jain said the Act was meant to ensure free and compulsory education to children up to 14 years of age. “However, children will have to pay fee to ‘associate schools’, which is a contempt of the Act. The schools will charge Rs 100 for giving a marksheet to a student,” remarked Jain, saying that he would ask the government to clarify the Section under which it had implemented a separate rule for associate schools.

Contempt of Act

Children will have to pay fee to ‘associate schools’, which is a contempt of the Act. The schools will charge Rs 100 for giving marksheets to students. I want the government to clarify the Section under which it has implemented a separate rule for associate schools.

— Rakesh Jain, RTE activist



Non-performing industrial units drain on banks
Manav Mander/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The “sickness” of the industry in Punjab is on the rise and the accurate index is available from banks. In Canara Bank, the non-performance accounts (NPAs) level of the industry has been mounting. It was 3,308 in 2007-2008 and rose to 4,263 in 2009-2010. Similarly, in Allahabad Bank, the number of NPA rose from 1,626 in 2007-2008 to 1,875 in 2009-2010.

In Punjab and Sind Bank, the NPA accounts of the MSME sector was 5,526 in 2007-2008, 6,050 in 2008-2009 and 6,264 in 2009-2010. The bank restructured 1,328 number of units in 2008-2009 and 198 units in 2009-2010.

Though the government has directed public sector banks to reclassify non-performance assets using technology. But the banks have not been able to do so yet and have asked for a six-month extension. The deadline now is September 30.

PD Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he had been in regular correspondence with the RBI and the finance ministry to stress that banks were charging exorbitant processing charges with the ever-increasing rate of interest. This was crippling the industry.

“It is time for the ministry and the RBI to give a serious thought to the cost of capital available to the industry which faces stiff competition,” he said.



Admn prevents Sunday ‘car bazar’ from functioning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
In the wake of the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s order prohibiting the holding of a "car bazar" at the city’s Feroze Gandhi market, the district administration under heavy security cover ensured the bazar did not function on Sunday. The bazaar had been a regular feature at the market for the past 27 years.

Ever since the directive was issued administration officials had been on their toes to get the court’s decision implemented.

Today, perhaps for the first time in the last two decades, the market presented an unusual sight with no second hand vehicles displayed for sale. A heavy contingent of police was deployed at the scene with senior administrative and municipal corporation officials also present to prevent the bazaar from functioning.

The police had cordoned off the whole area and barricades were installed on all major streets leading to the market with every vehicle passing checked thoroughly.

On the other hand, irked by the abrupt end to their means of livelihood, shopkeepers who used to install the car bazar staged a protest in the market by asserting the administration had forcefully shut down their business. Many of them criticized the civic body and the district administration for taking the step without allotting them alternative space for conducting their business.

Meanwhile, Punjab assembly deputy speaker Satpal Gosain, who arrived at the market to meet shopkeepers, assured them of all possible assistance. However, he asked them to seek legal opinion on the matter.



Youths attack trader, flee with Rs 15,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
In yet another incident, two motorcycle-borne youths attacked and snatched Rs 15,000 from a businessman in the Model Town Extension area late last night.

Gurdial Singh (45), a timber trader, was returning home on his scooter when he was intercepted by the accused. He said the youths, who seemed to be in mid-20s, hit him on the head with a log and took away the money. Gurdial immediately informed his family about the incident.

Pritam Singh, brother of the victim, alleged that he called the police helpline ‘100’, but got no response for half an hour. “We were assured that the PCR cops would arrive soon. But when no one came, I informed the SHO of Division No. 5, who reached the spot,” said Pritam.

A case has been registered.



Illegal no-parking boards choke traffic
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
The Municipal Corporation (MC) has turned a blind eye towards building bylaw violations, causing the city to turn into a concrete jungle. It has also adversely affected the traffic flow as most building owners have also encroached on roads by installing no parking boards.

A large number of buildings and malls have mushroomed up in the city in the last few years. At the same time, many buildings are flouting bylaws. The parking area in the site plans of malls are being used for commercial purposes.

According to a rough estimate, more than 90 per cent of malls and buildings are misusing the parking space approved by the MC in the site plan.

Such violations can easily be spotted in malls and buildings at Ghumar Mandi, Mall Road, college road, cemetery road, Rani Jhansi road and Pakhowal road, besides other prominent areas of the city.

To make matters worse, a large number of shopkeepers have encroached on roads by installing no parking boards in front of their shops. Some building owners and owners of residential premises have also installed such boards to avoid parking near their houses.

As a result, the smooth flow of traffic is hampered on these roads. Residents have lodged their protest with the MC authorities. But no action has been taken so far.



Bicycle cops to patrol old city streets
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
In what appears to be another move to help cops control their bulging waistlines, nearly 50 bicycles that were gifted to the local police at cycle expo held last month, will be put into use for patrolling congested areas in the city. The bicycles had been kept at the Police Lines ever since they were handed over about three weeks ago.

“Yes, we’ve decided to distribute the bicycles among cops for use in patrolling in various city areas, which we’ve identified”, said deputy police commissioner Yurinder Singh.

Sources said these bicycles would be given to policemen deputed in the old city. As this area remains choked by pedestrians and vehicles throughout the day bicycles would to be the best way for cops to make their way around.

However, the move has not gone down well with lower rung cops who think a bicycle is the poor man’s mode of transport. Many policemen feel patrolling on a cycle would be “below their dignity” and would set a “negative precedent”.

“Patrolling on a bicycle is risky proposition. If a cop parks his cycle in a congested street before entering a building to settle a dispute and in the meantime someone flees with the bike, think of how much embarrassment this would cause for the police department. Also, how would we manage to take suspects who are apprehended to a police station?” said a cop on condition of anonymity.

Another policeman called the idea of patrolling on bicycles “a leaf out of the popular TV serial Bikram Baital’”. “Just imagine a cop is cycling and a suspected criminal is sitting on the back. The very thought is gives me the jitters,” he added.

However, senior police officials are quite keen to launch the initiative, which they say will also cut down on wastage of fuel. “Cycling would serve dual purpose. By using cycles the cops would do their bit to cut down the pollution level. Further, it would keep them fit. The bicycles would be given to cops keeping in mind their rank,” said Yurinder.

The sources said the task of police teams patrolling on bicycles would be to maintain vigil in the area and report to the station house officer in case of any emergency.



’84 anti-Sikh Riots
Victims block traffic, burn effigies of Cong leaders
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Up in arms over repeated attempts by certain Congress leaders to rub salt into the wounds of victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, members of a large number of riot-affected families, led by activists of the Danga Peerit Welfare Society, blocked vehicular traffic at Dugri canal bridge here today.

They held an angry protest and burnt effigies of former PPCC president HS Hanspal, Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler for reported move by Hanspal to buy out one of the key witnesses of the criminal case against Sajjan Kumar.

The protesters said an attempt by Hanspal to offer Rs 3 crore to Nirpreet Kaur, a key witness in the case against Sajjan Kumar, for retracting her statement, had exposed the real face of the Congress.

“The conspiracy has been hatched at the insistence of Sonia Gandhi in a desperate bid to save Sajjan Kumar from the clutches of law, and many other Congress leaders are also a party to it.”

Surjit Singh, Amarjit Rajpal, Gurdeep Kaur and other activists made a fervent appeal to the President of India to remove Hanspal from the membership of National Minorities Commission for his criminal act of obstructing the law from taking its course. At the same time, the riot victims urged the head priest of Akal Takht to summon Hanspal and banish him.

Charging the Congress with its persistent attempts to denigrate the Sikhs and pursuing anti-Sikh policies, the protesters gave a call to the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular to boycott all Congress leaders.

Others present were Manjit Singh Chawla, Inderpal Singh Vicky, Satnam Singh Satt, Surinder Singh, Devinder Singh Bittu, Joginder Singh, Satbirpal Singh, Amarjit Singh, Manmohan Singh Pappu, Gurdeep Singh Kahlon, Makhan Singh, Harbans Kaur, Rajinder Bhatia, Mohinder Singh Kalra, Manmohan Singh, Baljit Kaur Walia, Bikkar Singh, Malkit Singh, Raghbir Singh and Daljit Singh.



Deferment on passage of funds
MC working out way to get development works going
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
After deferring a decision on the estimates for development works put on agenda for the finance and contracts committee (F&CC), officials of the cash-strapped municipal corporation are now scratching their heads to evolve a formula to pass these estimates owing to political pressure.

Due to acute shortage of funds, the MC authorities had around a fortnight ago deferred the agenda of the F&CC in which 317 items having a budget of around Rs 60 crore for development works were to be discussed.

However, the officials are caught in a tricky situation as eyeing the forthcoming Assembly elections, leaders of both the ruling alliance and the Opposition are putting pressure on the MC to pass the agenda so that works in the 75 wards of the city could be expedited.

However, the accounts branch of the civic body has already shown the red signal to the officials on the issue.

The accounts branch has told the officials that they do not have the requisite funds to carry out works worth Rs 60 crore.

As a result, the civic body is now trying to evolve some other way to get these works carried out.

Sources said a meeting of officials had taken place on Friday in which a review of estimates included in the agenda of the committee was conducted.

They discussed the items on which work could be withheld or postponed, the sources said.

They added that the officers were going to scrutinise the agenda in the coming days, after which it would be finalised and subsequently sent for approval of the committee.

However, the MC authorities are tightlipped on the issue. Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal admitted that there had been a delay in passing the agenda but is was not because of the shortage of funds.

Bansal said they would pass the agenda in the coming days after convening a meeting in this regard.

Red signal from accounts branch

The accounts branch has told the officials that they do not have the requisite funds to carry out works worth Rs 60 crore. As a result, the civic body is now trying to evolve some other way to get these works carried out.



Wheat Procurement
Orders to step up arrangements in grain markets
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Anticipating a glut of wheat in grain markets of the region during coming days, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Kumar Rahul has directed the rank and file in the state and central procurement agencies to make extra arrangements for procurement and lifting of the commodity.

Adequate supply of bardana (bags), arrangement of sufficient number of truck, lighting in yards, cleanliness and supply of potable water were identified as the priority areas in the management of mandis.

The SDMs have been asked to visit procurement centres in their subdivisions and check the arrangements.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after visiting grain markets and purchase centres of the region, Rahul said he had directed in-charges of various procurement agencies to ensure that farmers bringing their produce to mandis were not harassed.

Maintaining that only 74,000 metric tonne, out of the total excepted arrival of 12 lakh MT, wheat had arrived in grain markets falling under his jurisdiction, Rahul said extra arrangements had been made to accommodate anticipated glut arrival during the coming days.

“I have already directed all SDMs to visit mandis regularly and ensure that every heap of wheat is procured and lifted within 48 hours of its arrival. While officials have been asked to ensure availability of bags, storage space and prompt payment of commodity purchased, commission agents have been alerted to arrange sufficient number of PVC sheets to protect the produce from inclement weather,” said Rahul.

A majority of farmers of the area had not started harvesting their crop yet. Only a small number of farmers had brought fresh wheat to mandis of the region so far.

Acknowledging the trend, Sangrur ADC Pritam Singh Johal said a majority of farmers would bring their produce during next week. Referring to information received from DMO Harvinder Singh, Johal said extra arrangements had been made for the easy stay of farmers visiting the markets during the procurement season.

DFSC Ajay Vir Singh, AFSO Lal Singh, market committee secretary Jasbir Kaur and vice-chairman Kuldeep Singh Karwal accompanied the DC during his visit to the grain markets.



Tubewell operators
Info on boards nowhere in sight
Manvinder Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, April 17
Municipal corporation authorities take elected councillors for granted, as even after the General House had passed a matter regarding the fixing of index boards outside tubewells to inform residents about operators, the matter is still hanging fire.

During summer season, when the demand for water in the city increases manifolds, residents complain that due to unavailability of tubewell operators they have to face a lot of trouble.

However, to solve the matter, MC councillors had proposed a matter that a general index board, containing details of a particular tubewell operator, capacity of tubewell and its maintenance done from time to time be installed outside the tubewell so that in case of any problem residents could contact tubewell operator.

Similarly, after the matter was raised at a meeting of the General House, a few months ago it was also approved by the councillors. But the implementation of the decision does not seem to be in sight, as even after several months, the matter is hanging fire.

A few days ago at a meeting with the MC Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, Congress councillors Parminder Mehta, Amrit Varsha Rampal and Hari Singh Brar had discussed the matter with him after which Giaspura had assured them that he would look into the matter. Meanwhile, Parminder Mehta said the matter is of grave importance for the general public, as during summers with the increase in demand for water residents face a lot of problem as the tubewell operator don’t perform their duty well.

He said with the implementation of the decision, residents will be benefited a lot. Gurdeep Singh Neetu, leader of BJP’s councillor group, also said the matter must be implemented, as it would prove to be a boon for residents.

MC senior deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said the matter was under their consideration adding that it was in the interest of the general public and can’t be ignored.



inclement weather
Farmers pray for divine intervention
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Upset over the damage caused to the wheat crop by the recurrence of rain accompanied by high-velocity winds that lashed many parts of the region, farmers are praying for clement weather in the days to come.

Farmers along with commission agents and other traders offered prayers at some gurdwaras of the area. This followed the last night’s showers accompanied by winds which not only flattened but also soaked the wheat crop in the rainwater.

Apprehending failure of the crop that was expected to be a “bonanza” yield this year, farmers, predominantly Sikhs, prayed to appease weather gods.

Apprehending that the recurrence of the rain would cause extensive damage to mature crops of wheat and mustard, Bhupinder Singh, a farmer of Jandali Kalan village, regretted that successive governments had been disappointing affected farmers during the past years.

“Instead of begging before politicians and bureaucrats we prefer seeking justice from our Gurus,” sighed Kamikar Singh of Baurhai village who, among other farmers, was still awaiting compensation for damage caused to the last crops.

The inclement weather also dashed the hopes of farmers, who after fighting with menace of sap-sucking aphid and yellow rust, were waiting for ripening of the wheat crops.

Presence of immature ears among mature crop, besides decreasing yield, would also affect marketability of their produce, apprehended farmers.

Farmers have been demanding special girdawaris for initiating process for the payment of compensation in the past.

Farmers alleged that the compensation paid by the government was rarely commensurate with the loss suffered by the farmers.



Reform in education system must, say experts
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Expressing concern over declining moral values and ethics and lure of money creeping into the education system, laureates and thinkers of the region have called upon the educators and authorities to launch a coordinated movement to save the future of students by imparting them quality education and practical knowledge.

Aptitude and inherent traits of the children should be tested before deciding course of their higher studies, pleaded some experts.

The appeal was made during a one-day seminar on “Future of education” organised by the Grewal Educational Society and the Alumni Association of Erstwhile Khalsa High School at Nankana Sahib Senior Secondary School at Kilaraipur, near here, yesterday.

Trust chairman Kuldeep Singh Grewal presided over the function while former MLA Jagdev Singh Jassowal was the chief guest.

Speakers, including Jassowal, SS Dosanjh, former head of the department at PAU, Sukhwinder Singh Grewal, secretary, Sarup Singh Alag, RS Seerah, Harbir Kaur Waraich and Mastan Singh, pointed out that little or no emphasis was being laid on inculcating elements of moral values and ethics among students.

Teachers who used to be most influential professionals in India are losing reverence in society, regretted a majority of the speakers.

“It is high time that we understood that monetary aspect of teaching profession was not more important than moral duty of an educator or an organisation running an educational institute,” said Dosanjh, maintaining that ethics and morality could not be compromised.

Blaming policy-makers for the present situation, Jassowal regretted that books and other reading material had stopped passing on the elements of rich cultural heritage and students were forced to look out for their role model outside the school or college.

“We have failed to understand the definition of culture. Stories, essays and poems portraying devotion and deference of characters like Shravan Puttra and Laxman are conspicuous by their absence in books prescribed in a majority of schools and students are apt to follow those who dominate screens of our televisions,” said Jassowal, lamenting that successive governments had failed to comprehend the declining trend in the education system.

PS Bajaj, Dalwinder Singh, RS Grewal, Kanwar Ranvir Singh and Mastan Singh were among others who highlighted various aspects of education in fields of technical and scientific education, religious studies, social sciences and sports and culture.

An elaborate cultural programme was presented by students during various sessions of the seminar.



76 students honoured

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 17
While addressing management students of RIMT here on Friday, VM Trehan, from Mekaster Group of Companies, said: “We all work for success in life, but normally it is seen that when we are successful, we tend to move away from humility. As a result we are in fact heading towards failure.”

In his message to the students, Trehan exhorted the students to have a definite goal in life and to respond positively to different challenges.

He further said that strong interpersonal skills coupled with undaunted spirit were pre-requisites for success in life.

Trehan presided over an award distribution function to honour the students for their outstanding academic performance in Punjab Technical University examination.

Chairman of RIMT Group of Institutes Dr Hukan Chand Bansal urged the students to keep work hard till the time they achieve their goal.

Richa Gupta, MBA (III), and Nimeeta of MCA (IV) were awarded Mekaster scholarship of Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000, respectively. Garima Bansal BCA (VI), a university gold medallist, Heena Bansal, Pushpinder Kaur, Ganadeep Kaur MCA (V), Namita Gupta from MCA (III), Bhawna Bansal MCA (I), Anoop MCA (VI), Navjot Kaur BCA (IV) and Manpreet Kaur BCA (IV) were all honoured. A total of 76 students were given certificates, medals and mementos at the function.



Tributes paid to Dr Ambedkar
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, April 17
The employees of the state government paid tributes to Dr BR Ambedkar on his 120th birth anniversary at a function held at the local Punjabi Bhawan here.

During the function held under the aegis of the Dr Ambedkar Mission Employees Federation Punjab, leaders of the organisation Chanan Singh Jassal, Resham Lal Sidhu, Paramjeet Chumber and Hussan Lal honoured the students who had appeared in merit list of classes VIII to XII.

KC Sulakh, a writer who was facilitated at the function, emphasised the need for imparting education for the uplift of society.

Rajinder Kashyap said the life and philosophy of Dr Ambedkar had brought light to millions of downtrodden people in the country, adding that they must follow in his footsteps in order to pay real tribute to him.

Mullanpur Dakha: Paying tributes to Dr BR Ambedkar, observed by the Dr BR Ambedkar Mission Welfare Society here today, zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali announced Rs 20 lakh for the construction of the proposed Ambedkar Bhawan.

Ayali was talking to Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a gathering at the rest house here today. Earlier, he distributed scholarships for education of poor and deserving students of the area falling under the Dakha Assembly segment.

Emphasising the need for special facilities for members of the lower strata of the society, Ayali regretted that under present circumstances, communal and divisive forces were threatening the ideals propounded and advocated by Dr Ambedkar.

He said the greatest tribute to Dr Ambedkar would be to defeat the intentions of communal forces that were bent upon dividing members of different communities.

Society patron Vasakha Singh, president Gurdev Singh, chairman Harbans Singh Bhanohar and chairman Gurmukh Singh Latala were among those who paid tributes.

A souvenir “Yug Purash” was also released on the occasion.



Infighting within SAD unit to the fore
Faction walks out of CM’s sangat darshan
Our Correspondent

Khanna April 17
Infighting within the local unit of the SAD came to the fore today when a group led by senior leader Davinder Singh Khattra left the Sangat Darshan programme of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal after some members of the group were denied entry to the venue.

The group rejoined later following the intervention of the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner on the directions of the Chief Minister.

Heated arguments were exchanged between two factions of the party outside the venue.

Anil Dutt Phali, a faction leader, told mediapersons that the group led by MLA Bikramjit Singh Khalsa were trying to sideline them.

Their group was prevented from entering the programme venue by the other group today, he alleged.

He claimed that some police officials prevented some of their leaders from entering the hall at the behest of the MLA.

As only some leaders were allowed in, they all decided to leave the venue as a mark of protest.

The Chief Minister later sent the Deputy Commissioner to intervene and the latter persuaded the group to rejoin the proceedings.

The leaders, including Davinder Singh Khattra, Nagar Council president Iqbal Singh, youth leader Yadwinder Singh Jadu and some from the BJP, were given chairs on the stage.

He alleged that although they had been working for the betterment of the party in the area, they had been sidelined by the MLA. They had brought the matter to the notice of the Chief Minister on his arrival here.

However, Khalsa refuted the allegations and said he had never asked any police official to stop anyone from entering the venue as the programme was meant for all.

He said it was the duty of the police to allow or stop someone from entering the venue for security reasons.

He added that grants worth Rs 4 crore were distributed to all 65 panchayats of the area for carrying out development works.

Meanwhile, in reply to a query on the Khalsa College issue, the Chief Minister clarified that the status of the college would remain the same and it would continue to work under Guru Nanak Dev University. The proposed university could come up on a vacant piece of land of the college, he added.



121 persons donate blood
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Followers of Sri Ram Sharnam organised a blood donation camp in association with Salaam Zindagi Foundation, an NGO, to celebrate the birthday of Satyanand Ji. At least 121 volunteers came forward to donate blood.

Teams from of transfusion departments at CMC Hospital, Civil Hospital and Deep Hospital, led by Dr Rupinder Kaur, Dr Jasbir Singh and Dr Savita Bajaj, respectively, coordinated the camp.

Chief guest Parveen Bansal, Senior Deputy Mayor, also donated blood.

He lauded the followers of the association for taking part in the noble. He urged NGOs and other voluntary bodies to mark such events by holding voluntary blood donation camps and save lives of the needy.

Camp coordinator Davinder Sood appreciated the work being done by Salaam Zindagi Foundation for the cause of thalassaemic patients.

He announced that at least one voluntary blood donation camp would be organised every year by their association to meet the increasing demand for safe blood for critically ill persons and those whose lives were entirely dependent on regular blood transfusion.

Baldeep Singh Nagi, secretary of Salaam Zindagi Foundation, informed the aim of the NGO was to promote voluntary blood donation among the masses by roping in various organisations.

He also pleaded with philanthropists of the city to come forward and support the cause of the thalassaemic children.

“The foundation is already sponsoring 65 thalassaemic kids for blood, blood transfusion charges, medicines, tests and education. Still there are many more children in the city suffering from this condition and need help,” he added.



from schools

Kindergarten graduation

Ludhiana: The Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony was held at Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, amidst much fanfare. President of the managing committee Jasbir Singh was the chief guest on the occasion. Mona Singh, principal GNPS, presided over the function. As many as 350 students of the KG Wing graduated to Class I, thereby entering the phase of formal education. The function began with a shabad recital. A colourful cultural extravaganza was put up by the students. The highlights of the show were Barbie dance, folk songs and a scintillating fashion show by the KG wing students. Kindergarten Diplomas were conferred by Jasbir Singh and Mona Singh. Jasbir Singh congratulated the students and wished them luck in the years ahead. The vote of thanks was proposed by Nursery Wing in charge JK Jagdev. The graduation ceremony ended with the young graduates tossing their caps in the air and dancing to the tune of 'celebration, jubiliation'.

Paper-reading contest

A paper reading contest was organised at the primary wing of Guru Nanak Public School, Model Town Extension, Ludhiana. As many as 64 students of classes IV and V participated with great zeal and enthusiasm. The students read papers on different topics and themes. The competition was presided over by the headmistress, Dr Harjit Kaur Dua. She laid stress on the importance of learning English in today’s competitive world. She applauded the efforts of the students and encouraged them to inculcate the reading habit. The winners were awarded prizes.

Result: Class V: 1 Gurleen Kaur, 2 Rajbir Singh, 3 Kirandeep Kaur,

Consolation prize: Jasnoor Kaur

Classwise Result: 1 V-D, 2 V-E, 3 V-C

Class IV: 1 Gurnoor Kaur, 2 Jasleen Kaur, 3 Arpan Srawn,

Consolation prize: Divleen Kaur

Classwise result: 1 IV-F, 2 IV-E, 3 IV-D

School inaugurated

Shri Atma Nand Jain School Committee established in 1934 inaugurated another school "Vallabh Public School" (VPS) in the memory of Punjab Kesari Yugvir Acharaya Shree Vallabh Suri Ji Maharaj inaugurated the school affiliated to CBSE.

A cultural programme was put up by students of SAN Jain Model Senior Secondary School. — TNS

Turban-tying contest

DORAHA: A turban tying competition was organised at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha, here on Saturday. School principal Manjushaw Vinayak welcomed all guests, staff and students.

A PowerPoint presentation was shown by students to mark the significance of Baisakhi.

Articles on Dastar were read by Jagraj Kaur of Class IX and Gaganpreet Kaur of Class IX. Shabads were sung by students from Classes III to X.

Results: Group A (Classes I to V) - Jaskaran Singh-1, Harinder Singh- 2 and Amandeep Singh- 3

Group B (Classes VI to VIII) - Tamanvir Singh-1, Harsimranjit Singh-2 and Taranjot Singh- 3

Group C (Classes IX and X) - Ghomanjit Singh-1, Harcharan Singh-2 and Prabhjot Singh-3. - OC

English project

Quality improvement in English language and Development- a project under Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan is organised at various government schools in the city to improve the standard of English among students.

Under the instructions of DGSE, monthly calendar of activities in English language has been given to schools through English master trainers.

Various activities include handwriting competitions, declamation contests, poem-recitation, paper-reading contests, quiz contests, role-play, story-telling etc from Class VI to X.

These activities will be conducted at block-level, district-level and state-level. This is a new beginning for government school students, as these activities will explore their talent and increase their confidence in spoken English.

Under this project, a block-level competition was organised under the guidance of English master and trainer Ramneek Bala at the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetry road, and English handwriting competition for Class VIII and advertisement writing competition for Class X.

Palak and Swati Sharma bagged first and second positions, respectively, while Sachin and Bharti of Class X bagged first and second positions, respectively.

Principal Karamjeet Kaur gave away prizes to the winners and encouraged the students to participate in these activities to improve their skills in English. — OC



World Haemophilia Day
PCMSA demands special haemophilic patients’ cell
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 17
The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has demanded a special haemophilic patients’ cell, with a record of patients of the region, to provide easier access to healthcare for this high-risk group.

On the World Haemophilia Day, April 17, the PCMSA said it would join hands for a world-level awareness campaign for treatment of haemophilia, with the theme of this year being “Be Inspired, Get Involved in Treatment for All”.

The body of medical professionals vowed to inspire people to learn about bleeding disorders and get involved in improving accessibility and quality of healthcare for patients of this disorder.

Dr Hardeep Singh, state president of the PCMSA, said, “In India, there are 1,00,000 people diagnosed with haemophilia, of which 50,000 are suffering from a severe type. People with bleeding disorder do not have enough of a particular clotting factor, a protein in blood that controls bleeding. People with haemophilia can experience uncontrolled internal bleeding, that can result from a seemingly minor injury. Bleeding in joints and muscles causes severe pain and disability while bleeding in major organs, such as brain, can cause death.”

He added that with proper care and treatment, people with haemophilia could lead longer, more fulfilling lives than ever before.

“Today, someone born with haemophilia can lead a relatively normal life if the victim has access to proper treatment. But significant disparities still exist; 75 per cent of patients worldwide still do not have access to appropriate care. Access to treatment is perhaps the biggest challenge facing a majority of people with haemophilia throughout the world. Only 25 per cent of those living with haemophilia are receiving adequate care. But in times to come, treatment for all people with bleeding disorder will be available,” 
he said.

Emphasising the need to recognise the inherent requirement to ensure proper treatment, Dr Hardeep Singh said the PCMSA would join hands with the global community with the objective of bringing about improvement and access to healthcare for all living with these life-threatening conditions.

“There is a need for co-coordinated efforts of the entire global community, from patients to care-givers, and from healthcare professionals to governments,” he stressed, calling upon the Punjab government to organise a state-level special cell for these patients for early identification of persons with such disorders, keeping a complete record and providing special access to healthcare for them.



Travelling on highway is at commuters’ own risk

Many a time, an eight-seater tempo, loaded with 25 passengers, can be seen wobbling on the highway. There is no accountability of any department or authority to check this violation and nobody is ready to own responsibility to govern traffic on the highway.

Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal can been heard going gaga over the expansion of roads in political and public gatherings without realising that it is equally important to introduce suitable and safe modes of transport.

Maintaining fleets of private buses, which are driven at a speed to crush and crash, can be the idea of modern transportation of our worthy politicians, but in reality, these are nothing more than killer machines on roads.

Not to forget the goons, termed as conductors, who are skilled to abuse, threaten and punch protesters who question them on extra fare, switched-off airconditioners, overloading and overspeeding.

‘Turning’ point

City roads are always congested, with traffic jams all around. The condition of certain markets remains miserable in the absence of proper parking space and cops regulating traffic.

The Ghumar Mandi is one such market through which commuters find it difficult to pass. Be it morning, afternoon or evening, the roads are always flooded with wrongly and haphazardly parked vehicles.

The road is approximately 35 feet wide, but one finds it difficult to commute in cars and two-wheelers. On top of it, certain drivers start turning their swanky cars all of a sudden, without bothering about harassment to others.

The other day, a woman driver, while reversing her car, blocked the entire road. Instead of admitting her fault, she came out and started quarrelling with rickshaw-pullers and other drivers for not letting her car turn.

As she refused to move the car, people were stuck in a jam for more than 40 minutes. It was only after the arrival of a policeman that she moved the car. The poor traffic cop said, “Had she been a male driver, I would have taught her a lesson. Since she was a woman, one had to be respectful.”

Wedding blues

Weddings are strange occasions; full of fun, excitement, nervousness and anxiety. Facing such emotions, and that too, in abundance, a girl turned to her sister-in-law for advice a few days before her wedding.

Embracing the confused and nervous girl to boost her morale, the sister-in-law lovingly remarked, “Love starts with sinking into his arms and ends with your arms in the sink. So my girl, do o't forget to take a dishwasher along.” The remark left those around in guffaws and lifted the spirits of the bride instantly.


This correspondent recently met a milkman, who was disappointed as a school had denied his daughter admission. He said since his daughter had not scored well in the previous class, the school was not willing to give her admission.

Taking the entire blame on himself, the milkman said he had gone out of town to attend a ‘satsang’ while the final exams of his daughter were on. In his absence, the burden of daily chores was on his wife and his daughter had been left to her fate.

He said though his daughter worked hard, her parents failed to focus on her studies. He had now realised his mistake and said, “Education of children is more important than worshipping 21st-century gods.”

Aid from God

While allegations of nepotism and pick-and-choose for conducting development works are always levelled by councillors against Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, it was the turn of the witty leader to clarify it by seeking God’s help during a meeting with Congress councillors a few days back.

The Mayor asked officials of the civic body to swear by God if he had asked them to stop any file concerning Congress councillors. The officials immediately replied that he had never intervened in such matters. It was like divine help to the Mayor. All Congress councillors later went away praising him. Taking a jibe, an official said God had finally come to the help of the Mayor.

Testing cops

A lot can happen over a drink on a Saturday night. In an interesting incident, three young friends, out on the roads, enjoying the weekend on a rainy summer night, stopped a PCR vehicle of the Punjab Police on night patrol.

The police personnel in the PCR Gypsy looked inquisitively at the youngsters, who were high after a few shots of vodka, and asked them what the matter was and the reason behind stopping the vehicle like this.

One of the drunken youngsters remarked that the PCR vehicle read, “Punjab Police at your service”. The cops nodded in agreement, with a quizzical look in their eyes. “If you are at our service, go and fetch a burger for me,” replied the mischievous youngster, before fleeing, lest he be thrashed by the cops.

Contributed by Anshu Seth, Shivani Bhakoo, Charu Chhibber, Anil Kumar, Manvinder Singh and Manav Mander



CM okays monument to Bhai Randhir Singh
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Responding to the demand raised by residents of the area, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has announced the construction of a monument to Bhai Randhir Singh.

The Chief Minister has also announced the establishment of a chair at Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar and grants of Rs 10 lakh each for the development of the village and the Bhai Randhir Singh Memorial Trust, running an academy at the village.

Basant Singh (1878-1961), who later came to be known as Bhai Randhir Singh, wrote extensively on Gurbani and the ideal lifestyle for Sikhs, pioneered the Gurdwara Sudhar Movement and founded the Akhand Kirtani Jatha.

....Amid protests

Activists of the Danga Peerat Committee, who were not allowed to meet the Chief Minister during his visit to Narangwal village, raised slogans against the government. Surjit Singh, Amarjit Raj Pal and Gurpdeep Singh alleged that SAD leaders had been exploiting victims of the 1984 Sikh riots for political gains, but not accepting their demands. Leaders of some social and religious organisations protested against the alleged lack of concern of the authorities towards the poor condition of roads leading to the place where the function was organised.



MC claims on roads the pits
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Despite tall claims of the municipal corporation (MC) authorities regarding the proper monitoring of roads, today’s showers once again exposed the poor working of the civic body as the presence of a large number of open pits posed a grave danger to residents.

After the death of seven-year-old Sujan after falling in an open manhole, the MC authorities had claimed that they would ensure proper monitoring of roads, during which open pits and sewers would be checked, but all claims of the MC seemed to be confined to paper.

The pits on either side of a petrol station were glaring examples of the negligence on the part of the civic body. This was despite heavy flow of traffic on this stretch of the road.

When contacted, Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said he would ask the officials to get the pits checked and stern action would be taken against those found responsible for the mess.



Gang of snatchers busted, two held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
With the arrest of two drug addicts, the city police have claimed to have busted a gang of snatchers, which had spread panic in the Jamalpur and Focal Point areas with their repeated strikes.

One of the accomplices of the youths managed to give the police the slip. According to the SHO, after snatching chains of women, the accused used to sell those to jewellers at throwaway prices.

The accused were identified as Deepak Kumar, Gurmail Singh and Gurdeep Singh. While Deepak and Gurmail were nabbed from a security checkpoint near the Jamalpur road, Gurdeep managed to flee.

The police recovered four tola of gold ornaments, including a gold chain and rings, from the accused. The accused admitted that they used to snatch ornaments to buy drugs.

Their modus operandi was simple, the SHO said. They used to intercept women, travelling alone, in deserted streets in the Jamalpur and Focal Point areas. After snatching their ornaments, they used to flee.



Govt has betrayed us, claims technical union

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Accusing the state government and the management committee of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited of betraying them over decisions taken at the time of the bifurcation of the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), activists of the Technical Service Union threatened to revive their agitation in case thier grievances were not redressed.

An ultimatum in this regard was given at a protest rally organised at 66 KV Grid on the Pohir road near here on Friday. To lodge their protest, the activists wore black badges earlier during the day.

The activists said prior to the unbundling of the PSEB, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had assured the employees that all their pending demands would be accepted within a month after the division of the PSEB. The protesters regretted that none of the decisions was implemented by the state government. Resumption of the original organisation set-up of the board, regular recruitment of employees, absorption of dependents of deceased employees on compassionate grounds and withdrawal of fake cases against the board employees were cited as the major demands of the union. Representatives of various other employees unions also condemned the decision to outsource the work of shifting of electricity meters outside the premises of the consumers.

Rajvir Singh, Sukhcharanjit Singh , Balwinder Singh , Harjit Singh , Pritpal Singh and Mohinder Singh addressed the rally. — OC



Man with rare ailment operated upon
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
A local hospital has provided relief to a patient suffering from severe pain, caused by three kidney stones.

The patient had bilateral ureter duplication and was operated upon with URSL and ESWL techniques simultaneously.

Dr Anand Sehgal, chief urologist at the RG Stone Urology and Laparoscopy Hospital, said 25-year-old Ajay Kumar (name changed) had acute abdominal pain and IVP and ultrasound tests revealed that he had bilateral ureter duplication, a condition wherein each of the kidneys had two ureters.

He explained that bilateral ureter duplication was a congenital abnormality caused due to heredity, which was mostly found in women and about 1.5 per cent men. Patients with this problem were prone to formation of kidney stone and urinary tract infection, he elaborated.



Man held for theft at temple

Ludhiana, April 17
A man was caught red-handed while stealing a crown from a temple located in the division No. 3 area yesterday. The incident took place last evening when the accused, Munish Kumar, a resident of Khud Mohalla, stole the crown from a temple. Some devotees spotted Munish with the crown and raised the alarm. The accused was caught and thrashed before being handed over to the police.

According to division No. 3 SHO Raj Kumar, the crown was made of silver with rubies embedded on it.

The accused has been arrested and booked under Sections 380, 511 and 295 of the IPC. — TNS



Visually-impaired sportspersons demand coaches
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 17
Punjab's visually impaired sportspersons are demanding coaches in their respective districts.

According to them the state government needs to appoint just 20 coaches, one coach for each district.

In addition to that they demanded jobs of coaches for the visually impaired sportspersons.

Gurpreet Singh, chief organiser of the Seventh National Sports for the Blind, at Guru Nanak Stadium said the visually impaired sportspersons in the state lacked coaches. "The dedicated sportspersons have been practicing on their own. However, they desperately need coaches. If the state government provides even a one coach in various districts of the state, the visually impaired sportspersons can do well in championships and tournaments," opined Gurpreet Singh, who will meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and put forth the demands.

He advised the government to hire visually impaired sports achievers as coaches. "The visually impaired sportspersons who have done well in sports, need a job to continue in the profession and to support their families. The state government should appoint them as coaches in the respective districts, as this will serve both tasks," said Gurpreet Singh.

He said the visually impaired coach would understand the difficulties being faced by the players and could also play a vital role in teaching them more efficiently in comparison to other coaches.

Earlier, a demand to depute international athlete Balwinder Singh (serving in the Punjab Health Department) as sports instructor at the School for Blinds, Jamalpur (Ludhiana), on deputation basis was rejected by the Punjab Sports Department, Pargat Singh. "I did not understand the logic behind the rejection. Neither the state government nor the sports department needs to spare funds to pay him salary, as on the deputation basis the candidate receive salary from the parental department," he insists.

Gurpreet, while raising voice in support of visually impaired sportspersons, said: "The state government should make plans for the visually impaired sportspersons especially for women in order to motivate them to continue in their profession. At a particular age women need to change their aim in life. If the government provides jobs to women sportspersons they can continue even after marriage."

Gurpreet also asked political parties to add plans for visually impaired players in their election manifestos. He said all political parties target their vote banks, but no one remembers them.



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