L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


CM orders probe by VB chief into Sekhon’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Bending to pressure from councillors and civic officials, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked state vigilance bureau chief Sumedh Singh Saini as well as city police commissioner Ishwar Singh to conduct an inquiry into the arrest of municipal corporation zonal commissioner AS Sekhon for allegedly accepting a bribe.

Led by mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura the councillors, met Badal during his ‘sangat darshan’ programme in Raikot on Wednesday. The CM called up Saini and instructed him to conduct a departmental inquiry into the role of vigilance bureau officials in apprehending Sekhon. He also ordered a probe into the incident to be conducted by the city police chief.

Confirming the development, Giaspura said: “Both inquiries would bring the truth regarding the whole matter. He expected that justice would be delivered the officer who has been arrested recently”.

Earlier in the day while the councilors passed a resolution in meeting for condemning the incident the employees of the civic body held a noisy protest outside the MC’s A zone office. Many councilors, calling Sekhon an “honest” officer, accused their colleague SS Bains, who belongs to SAD(B), of “maneuvering” in the incident. They demanded action against the vigilance bureau officials who had arrested Sekhon and sought an “independent” inquiry into the matter.

However, at times heated arguments on certain issues broke out among councillors and between the latter and MC officials.


Councillors spit fire, no smoke on record
Resolution backing MC top official yet to be compiled
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Though municipal corporation (MC) councillors have passed a resolution, condemning the arrest of the Zonal Commissioner and recommending action against Vigilance Bureau (VB) officers for this action, the agenda branch is in a fix over its compilation due to technical reasons.

In a meeting at the Zone A office of the civic body, these councillors, cutting across party lines, gave fiery speeches and passed a resolution for the immediate revocation of the case against Zonal Commissioner Amarjeet Singh Sekhon.

These councillors also passed a resolution for stern action against the VB officers who had arrested him and decided that the agenda item passed be sent not only to the local bodies department, but also to the Chief Minister.

But apparently, the fiery speeches of the councillors would remain confined within the walls of the meeting hall of the civic body and would not be recorded in black and white. The reason was that the MC authorities did not give directions to the agenda branch regarding the compilation of data.

It was yet to be decided whether the meeting was a general house meeting or an all-party meeting.

Sources revealed that a 72-hour notice must be given to all members for convening a general house meeting, but no such notice had been given in this case and councillors had been called over telephone.

The sources also revealed that directions had not been issued to the branch whether the agenda item was to be sent to the state government or not. A section of councillors of the ruling combine felt that putting the agenda item on record would indict the government.

Since this would not be in the interests of the ruling alliance, the compilation had been delayed, said the sources. When contacted, Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said the agenda item would be compiled shortly and would be sent to the state for action, adding that it was necessary for the cause of MC staff.

Top brass ignored

The top brass of the Municipal Corporation (MC) was not invited to the meeting to discuss tye next course of action. It was embarrassing for senior officials who assembled at the Zone-A office to express their solidarity with the Zonal Commissioner. Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura began the meeting without calling senior officials, including MC Commissioner AK Sinha. However, Giaspura said they had called the officials, but since they were taking up the matter with administrative officials, they could not attend the meeting.

Infighting gains strength

The warring factions of the Akali Dal, led by Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura and his bete noire Simarjeet Singh Bains, used the incident to consolidate their respective positions. About 50 councillors cutting across party lines and employees of the civic body criticised Bains for his alleged role in the arrest of the Zonal Commissioner, much to Giaspura’s happiness. Some councillors even raised the point of bringing a resolution to oust Bains from the House. The Mayor asked all the councillors to accompany him to take up the issue with the Chief Minister. At the same time, Bains also consolidated his group of over a dozen councillors, all of whom stayed away from the meeting. 



Commercial Sites 
GLADA auction draws no bidder, called off 
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 20
The auction for the sale of 17 freehold commercial sites in Urban Estate Phase II on Dugri Road by the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) here today failed to attract any buyer. As a result, the auction had to be called off to be held at a later date.

Estate officer Jeet Ram said only about six persons had deposited the eligibility fee of Rs 1 lakh for participating in the auction. However, in the wake of the lukewarm response, the auction was deferred by the Additional Chief Administrator Jaswant Singh.

On offer were 17 shop-cum-offices (SCOs), each with an area of 317.16 sq yards with a reserve price of Rs 1,26,020 per sq yard, which translates to nearly Rs 4 crore for each SCO.

The failure of GLADA in selling even a single SCO, in what is considered an upcoming elite commercial area in a developed colony, has come as a surprise in the realty sector. More so, because sources in the sector admit that the reserve price was not unrealistic if the prevailing prices of similar properties were any indication.

A property dealer attributed the poor response of buyers and investors to the reserve price which is comparable with the going market rate.

“A majority of the property deals of this magnitude, especially the commercial properties, are a mix of black and white money. In buying such properties in the open market, the purchaser has the option of making part payment in white money whereas the bulk is paid in black to evade tax and stamp duty at the time of getting the sale deed executed. But this is not the case in properties bought from government agencies where the entire amount has to be paid in white from disclosed income,” he said.



MLA accused of shielding quack
Anshu Seth/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The incident in which Jasmel Singh Gill, a quack in Lalton Kalan village, together with a group of drug addicts attacked a resident, Harkomal Singh, as well as his family members and friends for filing a written complaint against him (Gill) to health officials has taken a new turn with villagers alleging a state legislator was extending support to the quack.

Despite Harkomal’s repeated requests police officials have refused to register a case against the quack’s "supporters", all of them said to be drug addicts, who attacked his home on Monday evening.

On Wednesday Harkomal accused the village ‘sarpanch’, thought to be the “right hand man” of Dakha MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik of extending “patronage” to Gill, a self-styled medical practitioner who has been accused of selling habit-forming prescription drugs to the village youngsters.

"We have filed a complaint against Amrit, Harvinder Singh, Davinder Singh and their associates who attacked our family members and friends on Monday after entering my home. However, the cops concerned including a senior IPS officer, who have refused to register a case under relevant sections of the criminal code against the suspects, have instead filed a bailable case. This is more shocking in view of the fact that the suspects have now admitted their fault and are ready to give their statement to the police," Harkomal alleged.

Another youth in the village, Narwinder Singh, claimed Shivalik was backing Gill to “retain his vote bank”. “All the addicts in the village support the quack who provides them with the addictive drugs”, he said.

Interestingly, health & family welfare department officials have again "confirmed" their reluctance to take action against the quack as no action has been taken against Gill, who does not posses a valid degree to practice medicine or a diploma to dispense medicine.

"The plea taken by Sahnewal senior medical officer Dr Amarjit Kaur is that the officials didn’t find any habit forming medicines in Gill’s clinic during their raid, whereas the officials have ignored the fact that the clinic exists and Gill uses ‘Dr’ before his name," the complainants pointed out.

Commenting on the incident, city police commissioner Ishwar Singh said: "We won’t be influenced by anyone in the case and the action will be taken against the culprits under relevant sections at the earliest”. Meanwhile, Punjab health secretary Satish Chandra stated: "I’ll personally look into the matter and will take necessary action if required against the quack in question”.

Shivalik denies allegations

When contacted, Dakha MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik stated: “I don't know anybody with the name of Jasmel Singh Gill and neither have I influenced any police officials for the case. I've been out of town since yesterday." Later Shivalik himself called up this reporter to say: "I’ve inquired into the matter and got to know the issue is not related to drugs as the team led by the Sahnewal senior medical officer, which conducted a raid at Gill's clinic, didn’t find any habit forming medicines there. Personal rivalry appears to be behind the inciden", he said.



2 get RI for life in Bikramjit kidnap, murder case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
In a high-profile case pertaining to the kidnapping and murder of 22-year-old Bikramjit Singh, son of the owner of Frontier Cycles, a city court has sentenced two youths to rigorous life imprisonment.

The incident had sent shock waves in the business community of Punjab, when the family of the youth received a ransom call from Karachi in Pakistan.

The highly decomposed body of Bikramjit Singh was found near Barog on the Kalka-Shimla highway three days after he was kidnapped on June 29, 2006. Two bullets had hit his temporal bones. He had returned from England after completing his MBA.

Those convicted are Jagminder Singh of Canadian Enclave, Iyali Chowk, Ludhiana, and Arjinder Singh of Sunet village in Ludhiana. A fine of Rs 10,000 each has also been imposed on them.

Delivering a 110-page judgement, Additional Sessions Judge Sunil Kumar Arora held that the circumstances and the evidence adduced by the prosecution clearly proved the guilt of the accused. As many as 41 witnesses were examined by the prosecution in the case.

However, the court acquitted the co-accused, Ranjit Singh of Nathowal, Raikot, in the absence of evidence against him.

One of the main conspirators of the crime, Pardumman Singh of Mumbai, had already been declared a proclaimed offender. He is still to be arrested.

Bikramjit Singh was kidnapped on June 26 when he left his house in Model Town in a Honda Accord to meet a friend in Sarabha Nagar. The kidnappers took him in a Tata Indigo car towards Solan. The accused killed him when their demand for ransom was not met.

The Honda Accord was recovered by the police on June 28 from the parking of Manzi Sahib Gurdwara.

The Solan police cremated the body as no one had claimed it. The parents of the victim were not aware of the recovery of the body. The Solan police contacted the family only after reading about the missing youth in a newspaper on July 4, 2006.

His family identified him from his clothes and later a case under Sections 302 and 364, IPC, was registered at the Model Town police station following the statement of Rajinder Singh, father of the victim.

Justice done, says father

“Justice has been done,” said Rajinder Singh, owner of Frontier cycles, after the pronouncement of the judgement. “I am the most unfortunate father. I could not see my son and even failed to perform his last rites. The sentence will not bring back our son, but it will deter others from committing such crimes,” he said.



Principal booked on molestation charge
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The principal of a private school has been booked for allegedly molesting a student. The 22-year-old victim used to take tuition from the accused, Dinesh Sharda (30), principal of Uttam Convent Public School at Baba Deep Singh Nagar near Gill village here.

The incident came to light today when the police booked the accused following the complaint of the victim’s mother. She said her daughter used to take tuition from him as she was preparing for the BEd entrance test.

ASI Balbir Singh, in charge of the Mirado police station, said when the class got over Sharda asked her to stay back on the pretext that he wanted to teach her an important topic. He locked the main gate of the school and allegedly tried to outrage her modesty. The victim saw some children playing nearby and shouted for help. Some residents staying nearby rescued her.

Sharda is married and has two children. “Sharda has alleged that he was attacked by the victim’s family. He is undergoing treatment at the Christian Medical College and Hospital. We are yet to record his statement,” Balbir Singh stated.

He said appropriate action would be taken only after recording the statement of the accused. A case has been registered against Sharda.



Signing in place of their councillor-wives
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Several political leaders signed on behalf of their wives who are elected councillors. During the meeting of the councillors, which was attended by more than 50 members, honesty and misuse of power came up for discussion. Ironically, some people who participated in the meeting were not entitled to do so as they had not been elected.

But they were attending the meeting in the “capacity” of a councillor’s son or husband.

There are about 26 women councillors in the house. But only half a dozen, including Deputy Mayor Sunita Aggarwal, Amrit Varsha Rampal and Prem Sharma, attended the meeting. A majority of the remaining councillors were represented by their husbands. A few of these leaders illegally signed on behalf of their wives to mark there presence.

Sources said it was a usual practice in the civic body. Influential political leaders often signed on behalf of their wives in important meetings.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal expressed ignorance about the matter and said it seemed unlikely because the councillors were “highly responsible” residents of the city.



Playing turban politics
Anil Kumar

Ludhiana, April 20
Politicians do not miss any chance to politicise any issue. Councillors gave a communal touch to the issue of Sekhon’s arrest by accusing the VB of hurting the sentiments of the people by removing his turban. Around 50 councillors, meeting under the presidentship of Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, laid more stress on the alleged removal of the turban than on the reason for the arrest.

The councillors did not mince words about Sekhon’s honesty and politeness. Sham Sunder Malhotra of the Congress, Harbajan Singh Dang of the SAD and Gurdeep Singh Neetu of the BJP focused on making the issue a communal one. Neetu demanded the registration of a case against VB officers under Section 295(A) of the IPC.

Congress councillor Anil Malhotra said if the turban was not safe in the current regime, what was the use of raising a hue and cry over disrespect to the turban in Italy? Another Congress councillor, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, said the turban issue was of grave concern, but what would they do about the disrespect to the officer?

Eyeing mileage over the issue in the Assembly elections, councillors tried their best to distract attention from the main issue. Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal termed this sentiments of councillors, adding that there was no communal angle to it.



Vigilance action draws flak from lawyers
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
A section of lawyers have condemned the action of the Vigilance Bureau in arresting the Zonal Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, AS Sekhon, in a corruption case.

Several lawyers claimed that the Zonal Commissioner had been framed in the case. They have sought a high-level inquiry from the state government into the case.

Meanwhile, claiming himself to be innocent, Sekhon moved an bail application today. The bail application plea will come up for hearing tomorrow. Earlier, he was remanded in judicial custody till May 4.



Tewari bats for civil terminal at Halwara Airport
Seeks shifting of the Baddowal Ammunition Depot
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
Ludhiana MP and the national spokesperson of the Indian National Congress Manish Tewari has urged the Union Defence Minister AK Antony for his ministry’s clearance to the civil terminal at the Halwara Airport. He also sought the shifting of the Baddowal Ammunition Depot from the city, or else relaxation of the provisions of the Indian Defence Act 1902, as well as the firing range from a thickly populated area.

In a letter to the minister, Tewari sought the defence ministry’s clearance to construct a civil terminal of the Airport Authority of India, at the Halwara Airport, located very close to the mega city.

He reminded the minister of his earlier extensive briefings on the issue besides giving several representations to this effect. He said, the matter continued to languish and required urgent intervention.

The MP also sought shifting of the Baddowal Ammunition Depot on the periphery of the city, or relaxation of the provisions of the Indian Defence Act 1902 as had been done in various other cases over the years.

In his letter, Tewari wrote, “If you may recall that I have personally handed over various representations from the residents of villages around the Baddowal Ammunition Depot, which is almost conjunct to the municipal limits of Ludhiana city, to alleviate their grievances. Unfortunately, no action has been initiated in this regard even though I had recently flagged it for your attention yet again in the Consultative Committee meeting of Ministry of Defence held in February, 2011, in the Parliament House Annexe.”

Tewari also brought to the notice of the minister the problems faced by the residents around the SK Firing Range that was located in the rural part of the Ludhiana Parliamentary Constituency.

He said the firing range was surrounded by villages and farm land which had very dense population. The Indian Air Force routinely carried out its bombing runs (training exercises) whereby live or dud ammunition was dropped on targets which were located within the range.

The impact of these bombs was of such an extent that homes in the vicinity shook, window panes were broken and most of the houses had developed cracks in their foundations.

According to the Congress MP, at times bombs and rockets fired from these aircrafts landed in nearby villages or fields triggering mass panic among the villagers.



Badal distributes cheques worth Rs 7.5 crore
Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, April 20
Continuing a spree of functions to distribute grants for development of localities situated in rural parts of Ludhiana district, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today distributed cheques worth over Rs 7.5 crore among office-bearers of civic bodies of 77 villages falling under the Raikot Assembly segment, during sangat darshan programmes organised at Bassian, near here.

Construction and repair of crematoria and ‘dharamshalas’ belonging to different categories of society, besides streets and drains, were the main avenues undertaken for development with rural development funds collected through market committees of the state.

A few complaints received from individuals during the programme were referred to the officials for redress of grievances. Office-bearers of beneficiary organisations, led by their chiefs and SAD leaders, were thrilled on receiving cheques worth lakhs from Badal, who reached Paramount Resort at Bassian.

The civic body officials were called village-wise and Badal interacted with the office-bearers. Regional and local leaders of the youth wing of the SAD were enthusiastic in showing their presence.

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari and Raikot SDM Mukand Singh Sandhu were asked to redress the grievances pointed out by some panchayats. While some complainants were asked to meet the officials concerned on the spot others were advised to visit their offices according to their convenience.

Though details of cheques distributed among various organisations were yet to be ascertained, each village was reported to have received grants between Rs lakh 5 and 10 lakh. Santa Singh Umaidpuir, Charanjit Singh Atwal, Ranjit Singh Talwandi, Jagjit Singh Talwandi and Amandeep Singh were present.



‘Credit rating hassles plague enterprises’
Mahesh Sharma

Ludhiana/Payal, April 20
Identifying the lack of centralised facilities for credit rating as a major impediment in an expeditious process of credit advance to small, micro and medium enterprises, besides the agricultural sector, State Bank of India Chief General Manager Susheel Kumar Sehgal said some government agency should be established for the purpose.

Minimising inventory, development of market knowledge and skill development were measures suggested to improve profitability of entrepreneurs. Sehgal was talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after inaugurating a branch of the bank at Sehora village.

Addressing a function organised by the Ludhiana Management Association, he analysed challenges before and vulnerability of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. He said their position was not as good in India as in the US.

He said most such enterprises in developed countries had emerged as multi-national companies because of their customer-centric approach, adding that the trend in India was exactly the opposite.

Sehgal said enterprises in India were more sensitive to environmental factors and these did not have a strong mechanism and system. Delay in responding to situations, delivery of products in markets, payments to suppliers and manufacturing processes led to mistrust among customers and consumers, he elaborated.

Maintaining that managerial and professional skills were yet to reach the desired level, Sehgal called upon entrepreneurs to coordinate with organisers of technical colleges and research institutes for providing practical expertise to pass-outs and improving productivity and quality.



CICU sends SOS to govt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has sought the help of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to save the industry. “The Punjab industry has been crawling, but no positive response has been announced either by the Centre or the Punjab government,” said Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president of the CICU.

CICU demanded a rollback of excise duty on branded garments and hosiery, bicycles and sewing machines in the Budget. Counterfeit goods exported by China had been threatening the industry, which was losing about 20 per cent of its revenue to these goods, stated Avtar Singh.

CICU suggested that the customs duty on imported goods be at least 20 per cent more than that on raw materials of these goods and anti-dumping duty on bicycle and bicycle parts, auto components and software items be imposed.

“The customs authorities should be empowered and authorised to seize and confiscate goods found to be or suspected to be infringing upon intellectual property rights of Indian companies. The additional security of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited should be withdrawn,” he said.



Local realtor shortlisted for award
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 20
GK Group, one of the leading corporate house in the business of real estate development here, has been shortlisted for the CNBC Awaaz/CRISIL/CREDAL real estate award 2010.

The group is the only real estate developer from North India to make it to the final round, which will be held in Singapore later this month.

Giving this information here today, company managing director Gulshan Kumar said besides recognising the realtor, which had excelled in the business of property development, the elite awards would also honour the professionals who had envisioned and created marvels in the real estate industry.

“On the invitation of the awards committee, Kumar Sahil, director of GK Group, made a detailed presentation in Mumbai, which led to the nomination of the company to the final round of awards,” he said.

According to Gulshan Kumar, the group had been in the business of real estate development for the past 25 years. The group had completed more than 40 big projects of residential colonies and commercial complexes.

“Keeping in view the increase in the demand for residential plots, houses and commercial sites, we are going to start a number of new projects in major cities of Punjab, as well as in some other states. We have set a goal of achieving a 100 per cent increase in our turnover during the year,” he said.



‘Reduce VAT on furniture’

Ludhiana, April 20
Furniture manufacturers have demanded a decrease in the rate of VAT imposed on furniture. Presently the rate of VAT imposed on furniture is 13.75 per cent and the manufacturers want it to be decreased to 5 per cent.

“Furniture is a handicraft and it should not be heavily burdened with taxes. In Ludhiana alone there are nearly 300 shops selling furniture and not only shopkeepers, but even customers have to suffer due to the high rate of VAT,” said Paul Khurana, chairman of the Punjab Furniture Association. — TNS



Future of 70 PAU school students uncertain
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Staff shortage is plaguing Government Model Senior Secondary School, Punjab Agricultural University, since last year. There is no teaching staff in the commerce department of the school as a result of which the authorities have been forced to turn back students seeking provisional admission to commerce at the senior secondary level.

In the absence of any lecturer, the future of 70 students studying in Class XII of the commerce department is also uncertain.

Talking to The Tribune, Sanjeev Thapar, principal, Government Model Senior Secondary School, PAU, said there were two sanctioned posts of commerce lecturers in the school, both of which were lying vacant since last year.

“We had one lecturer last year, but he was posted out on a promotion. Since then, there is no staff to teach commerce,” Thapar said.

He added that the school had been sending vacancy lists to the state education department every month, but to no avail.

Thapar expressed his helplessness about the issue of turning back commerce aspirants seeking provisional admission to the school.

“When I do not have any teacher, how can I admit students?” he questioned, adding that the school had not offered commerce as an option in the ongoing provisional admissions.

He, however, assured that in case the vacancies are filled by the time the results of Class X were declared, the school would offer commerce as an option during regular admissions scheduled to take place in July and admit students.

“But till then, nothing can be said with surety,” he said.

When questioned about the fate of 70 students, studying in the commerce section of Class XII, Thapar remarked, “I will try my best to make sure the students do not suffer. If need be, I will request the department to make alternate arrangements so that the students’ studies do not suffer. But again, nothing is certain.” 



Candidates flout university instructions
Revealing identity, making appeals go on with impunity
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 20
Candidates taking the annual examinations being conducted by Panjab University are flouting instructions issued to them.

It has been specified in the “instructions for the candidates” column of the answer booklet provided to the candidates that they should not write their names or that of their college or even mention that they are private candidates.

Instruction number 7 says: “Do not make any identification mark or write your roll number at any place in the answer book except on the title page at the prescribed space, failing which it will lead to disqualification by treating it as unfair means case.”

Instruction number 8 says: “Your making appeals to the examiners in your answer book will entail the penalty of cancellation of the paper”.

However, candidates are revealing their names and the name of their institution and putting identification marks. They are also writing roll numbers at places other than the specified boxes.

“I wonder how students dare do this. They have no fear of the consequences. It is frustrating that the students’ attempt is sometimes zero and he or she pleads for pass marks,” the evaluator added.

“Since no action is generally taken against such students and the examiners too, terming it to be an immature act on the part of the candidates, ignore such papers, more and more students are being driven towards expecting such undue favours”said another teacher on evaluation duty,” said a college teacher.

“We generally come across such papers where the candidates having failed several times are taking the golden chance and concoct all sorts of emotionally enthused stories to impress the examiners,” added the teacher.

One goes like this: “Meinu university vallon golden chance milia hai .Agge main tin war paper de chuki han, par pass nahi hoi. Is vaar mein har halat witch pass hona hai nahi tan gar de mera viaah kar den ge, par mein hor parhna chahundi han. Kirpa karke mino par hon joge number jaroor de dena (I have been accorded a golden chance by the university. I have already appeared in the paper three times but get could not get through. I have to clear this exam at all costs or my parents will get me married where as I want to study further. Kindly give me pass marks at least.)”

There is yet another instance to quote: “Main is vishe witch kamzor han. Is karke meri vari vari compartment aa jandi hai. Tuhadi har mano kamana poori hove je tusin menu pass kar dio. (I am weak in this subject. So I have to face compartment every time. If you give me pass marks, every wish of yours will be fulfilled).”

An innovative entreaty to an examiner performing evaluation duty at a local centre goes thus: “Naa main paper ton pehlan bimaar hoi ate naa hi mera koi hor rishtedar bimaar hoiya. Asal witch gal eh hai ki minu angrezi aundi hi nahi. Is karke main bar bar fail ho jandi han. Mein is vishe witch shuroo ton hi kamzor han. Mein apni madad nal pass nahi ho sakdi, je tusin meno pass kar devon tan rub tuhano har khushi devega, tuhadi umar lambi hove. (Neither I, nor any of my relatives, get sick before the exams. Actually, the issue is that the subject of English is all Greek to me. That is why I have to face failure time and again. I cannot pass all by myself, if you help me in getting through, God will grant you every happiness, He would give you a long life!)”

A teacher on evaluation duty revealed, “It has been observed that such cases, whether genuine or otherwise, sometimes succeed in their motive, for teachers too are at times touched by their pleas and entreaties.”



Diversify to earn more, says GADVASU VC
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, April 20
The only veterinary university in Punjab, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) has seen several ups and downs. It has been appreciated for encouraging traditional farmers to opt for other options while many farmers feel that veterinary scientists need to reach out to the masses at the grassroots for the diversification move.

Sharing his views with the Ludhiana Tribune, Vice-Chancellor Dr VK Taneja said being an agrarian society, Punjab needed diversification from agriculture to dairy farming to increase income. “We are trying hard to put in our best efforts to uplift dairy and allied sectors,” he said.

Expressing satisfaction over the pace of research and development activities, the Vice-Chancellor remarked that it was a matter of pride that the university had achieved milestones in a short span of time and was qualified for grants by the University Grants Commission due to its high-quality research, besides bagging the niche area excellence in fisheries from the ICAR at a cost of Rs 300 lakh.

To keep pace with changing technologies and means of research, the university had tied up with the University of Saskatchewean in Canada for faculty upgrade and student exchange, he said, adding that a collaborative international partnership research project of $1,50,000 had been taken up by university.

Farmers’ mixed views

Rajpal Singh, a dairy farmer residing near Mullanpur, said that even though scientists were coming up with new research, it was not reaching far-off villages. Farmers were unaware of many latest advances in farm technology and scientists needed to reach out to the masses at the grassroot level, he said. On the other hand, Ranjodh Singh Grewal, who was into pisciculture, said he was about to give up fish farming a few years ago but is now getting good business returns because of the latest knowledge provided by the university. 

Major achievements

Opened: College of Fisheries, College of Dairy Science and Technology, School of Animal Biotechnology and Veterinary Polytechnic at Kaljharani; provided affiliation to Khalsa College of Veterinary and Animal Science in Amritsar

Adopted: A village at Gureh, where services and technology were being made available to farmers to increase productivity and income from livestock

Developed: Technology for preparation of bypass fat from rice bran using fusion technique, which was being sold to farmers

Cross-bred: Cattle and buffaloes at the university registered an increase of 30 per cent in milk productivity.

Brickbats for varsity

The faculty, students and certain members of the board criticised the authorities for an arbitrary attitude on several issues. They felt that the authorities should stop giving extension to officials holding key posts and qualified candidates be given a chance. Senior faculty members believed that if advertisements were issued, qualified candidates would apply and the university would have a vast choice. In one incident, teachers had protested against the re-employment on contract of a professor with the department of animal breeding and genetics on the same post, with additional charge of librarian.

Plea for one-time grant

Pleading the university’s case for a one-time grant to the tune of Rs 200 crore, the Vice-Chancellor observed that the grant was essential for new colleges and hostels, especially for girls, and for strengthening the extension network of transfer of knowledge and technology to users. “Salary bills have gone up to Rs 45 crore per year against a non-plan allocation of Rs 27 crore for 2011-12. The university should be treated at a par with government departments as far as salaries are concerned,” he said.

What students say

While expressing satisfaction over the knowledge being imparted to them, many students also felt the need to redefine research priorities. “The main emphasis should be on human resource development, both in terms of faculty upgrade and improvement in skills and knowledge of students. Students should be prepared to meet private-sector needs. Veterinary public health issues should get focus,” said a student, requesting anonymity.

Wrangling with PAU

Differences between the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) and GADVASU came to the fore recently over a piece of land. The veterinary university authorities felt since the premises were scattered, they should be given a chunk of land at one place. Though land to both universities had already been divided, GADVASU felt that the scattered land should be together. GADVASU was criticised by the PAU authorities, employees and alumni association.



Varsity to celebrate sixth foundation day today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
GADVASU will celebrate its sixth foundation day tomorrow.

Since its inception, GADVASU has contributed towards the uplift of livestock, be it dairy, poultry, piggery, caprine or fisheries.

An exhibition showcasing research, extension and teaching methodology developed by the university will be organised by all departments and colleges of the university at the silver jubilee block.

Finance secretary GS Sandhu will be the chief guest. Dr AK Srivastava, Director-cum-Vice-Chancellor, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, will be the guest of honour.

Dr VK Taneja, GADVASU Vice-Chancellor, will preside over the function. Free anti-rabies vaccination and deworming of pets will be conducted at the university hospital from April 21 to 27.

The then existing veterinary college of the PAU was upgraded to a university on April 21, 2005, with the aim of providing a boost to the livestock sector in the state.

Besides the veterinary college, the College of Dairy Science and Technology and the College of Fisheries Science were started.



PAU employees demand release of arrears
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Though the state government has announced and released 40 per cent arrears to all its employees, PAU employees seem to be a deprived lot.

A deputation of the PAU Employees Federation (Deol) met Amrik Singh Aaliwal, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal and a former member of parliament, under the chairmanship of Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu, senior vice-president of the PAU Employees Union.

The deputation brought into notice various burning demands of the PAU employees and problems being faced by the PAU.

Among the foremost of demands, the federation leaders asked Aaliwal to take up the matter with the Punjab government for the timely release of grants to the university.

The union leaders expressed apprehension that due to financial crunch, the university shall not be able to disburse first instalment of 43 months arrear to its employees.

Sandhu said, “Government employees working in several other departments will get the first instalment in May along with their monthly salary. It is very disappointing that we will be deprived of our rights.”

The deputation asked Aaliwal to present their demands to the state government for the immediate redressal. Lakhwinder Singh Sandhu said the meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere and Aaliwal gave a patient hearing to the demands and assured that he would take up the matter with the Punjab government immediately and make all efforts for the timely release of grants to the university in future.

One of retirees of PAU, RR Katyal, also said that at the fag end of their life, arrears must be released by the government. “Today, we are going through bad times, surrounded by health problems. We need money to pay medical expenses, bills. The state government must realise our plight and come to our rescue,”  said Katyal.



PAU predicts clear weather
Farmers urged to complete harvesting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
Temperature and rainfall are two main environmental parameters that influence the growth and yield of wheat crop. High temperature in early phase results in poor tillering and sparse vegetative growth whereas high temperature at the ripening stage leads to premature ripening. High day temperature in March is unfavourable, leading to shrivelled grain, less weight and size, said Dr KK Gill, assistant agrometeorologist at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Dr Gill said this year the weather conditions were favourable for the potential crop productivity due to the rain in February and near-normal temperatures both during the day and night in February and March.

The PAU expert said weather was much cooler during December and January. During February, the maximum temperature was normal and minimum temperature was only 2 degrees above normal. The rainfall received was 44.2 mm against the normal of 29.9 mm. In the beginning of March, both the maximum and minimum temperatures were below normal by 1 degree Celsius.

Dr Gill said in the first week of April, the temperatures came down and reached normal conditions and again with the occurrence of 3.0 mm rainfall in the second week of April, the temperatures remained normal. During the current week (April 16 to April 22), the maximum temperature was below normal, but the minimum temperature was little on the higher side.

“According to the forecast issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), partly cloudiness accompanied with scattered thunder showers at isolated places would occur, but the weather will remain dry for the next three-five days,” she stated. As clear weather was expected, farmers should complete harvesting/threshing during this period.



From Schools
Easter celebrated

LUDHIANA: Easter was celebrated on the premises of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, here on Wednesday. Easter, the festival to rejoice the return of Jesus and the triumph over death to brighten the darkness of the human mind, was depicted through various activities.

A speech on this event was also delivered, which enlightened the minds of little scholars of the primary wing. A presentation showing the resurrection and return of new hopes was shown on smart class boards.

Children participated very enthusiastically in the Easter egg decoration for classes II and III and Easter basket making competition for classes IV and V. They were very authentically decorated and prizes were given for the best entries.

On this occasion, principal of the school Sister Christo gave the message of love, cheer and goodwill with kindness and generosity.

Meanwhile, Earth Day was also celebrated in the school on Wednesday with zeal. A speech was delivered which helped the students to study how little changes in environment could have big repercussions. Later, students showcased their creative talents in poster making, banner making and slogan writing competitions.

In order to bring home the significance of “Plant trees, plant life”, school director Father John, principal Sister Cristo, Sister Mary, staff and students of various classes planted saplings for a healthy environment.

GNPS ties up with CII

Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, achieved yet another milestone by starting three vocational courses in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

These courses would be of three year duration, at the end of which students would be awarded a certificate by the CII. The courses being introduced are woodcraft, garment designing and electronics. The CII has chosen GNPS for its pilot project in Ludhiana district.

These courses aim at building skills for meeting emerging economic compulsions. The instructors for these courses have been provided by the CII. School principal Mona Singh said next year three more courses in tie-up with the CII would be introduced. These courses have been introduced to enhance skill development in students at a young age.

Science camp

Drishti Dr RC Jain Innovative Public School organised a two-day science camp for students of class VI. Dr Vidya Sharma, a passionate science freelancer from Delhi, was the resource person. The camp was organised to let the children have a feel of experimenting freely and arrive at conclusions.

Students worked in groups and came out with exciting discoveries and understanding of many science concepts. Working in groups, documenting their findings, giving credit to each other for having contributed to the end result and later presenting their processes and findings on the LCD with photographs taken by them was an exciting and absorbing activity. It was a great learning experience for teachers as well.

A visit to the hydel power station was a part of this camp. The children had to pen down their observations and conclusions they drew out of those. Animated discussion amongst the peer groups was a treat to watch.

The thrill and adventurous spirit permeated on both days and the students enjoyed every bit of their stay from 7 am to 6 pm.

The camp concluded on a peppy note with students singing and dancing. Principal thanked Dr Vidya, teachers and the pupils for showing such enthusiasm for finding out how things worked and later comprehending why they worked as they did.

World Health Day
A child being examined at the ABC Montessori School in Ludhiana
A child being examined at the ABC Montessori School in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

ABC Montessori School celebrated World Health Day on Wednesday. Dentist Dr Rajan Bir Singh Thind and paediatrician Dr Hemant Pabby visited the school and addressed parents on issues related to kids.

Dr Pabby guided and motivated the parents to inculcate good habits in their kids and also told them about positive parenting.

Dr Pabby also addressed the parents on the issue related to child safety. He later answered their queries and cleared their doubts. Routine medical examination of the kids was also conducted and detailed reports handed over to the parents. The doctors also guided the parents regarding vaccination of children and told them about new vaccinations and how they help the child. — TNS



Staff crunch ails Jawahar Nagar boys’ school
Charu Chhibber/TNS

Ludhiana, April 20
Staff crunch is ailing Government Senior Secondary School for Boys, Jawahar Nagar Camp. Numerous important posts of teaching staff are lying vacant in the school for nearly a year.

For a strength of 1,000 students, the school just has one Punjabi lecturer while the other sanctioned post continues to be vacant since June 2010.In the absence of Punjabi lecturer, the other staff members had been compensating, holding Punjabi classes, so that the students’ studies would not suffer.

"This created unnecessary pressure on the working staff members, many of whom were at times, denied leave because in their absence, there would be no one to teach," said a teacher requesting anonymity.

The posts of discipline in charge (DP) and physical education teacher (PT) are also lying vacant since the last academic session.

The students, who had opted for physical education, had to face a lot of inconvenience during the last academic session, and had to go without any practical or theory lessons. They had to completely depend on their own notes and self-study for the theory part.

Confirmed a Class XII student: "In the absence of a PT teacher, we had to study on our own and prepare our own notes from different books. As for the practical part, we were all on our own. Our precious one year went down the drain without an instructor."

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Barjinder Kaur, principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar Camp, said, "We have one Punjabi lecturer but there was requirement for one more, which is why last year, I had put in a request for one more post."

She added: "Though the post was sanctioned last year itself, it continues to be vacant."

Barjinder Kaur confirmed that many times, teachers of other subjects had to teach Punjabi as it was not possible for one lecturer to cater to all the classes. The principal also said there was an urgent need for at least one DP and one PT as well in the school besides one Punjabi lecturer and one for English. "This is our minimum requirement as, for other subjects, there are four teachers each," she remarked.



Habit-forming drugs worth Rs 1.75 lakh seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 20
A team of health officials, led by drug inspector Balram Luthra, seized habit forming drugs worth Rs 1.75 lakh from a residence in Urban Vihar, Jawaddi. A police party accompanied the health officials.

Giving the list of drugs seized from the residence of Inderjit Singh, the drug inspector said the house was being used as a godown for illegal storage of habit-forming drugs. Inderjit Singh is absconding.

The medicines include 1,500 syrups, 17,732 capsules and 25,500 tablets. The raid was conducted following information given to the drug inspector.



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