L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Motorcyclist killed, 3 school kids hurt in road accident
Our Correspondent

Samrala, April 25
One person was killed and three school students were seriously injured in a road accident involving a motorcycle and a school bus carrying children near Adhiana village on the Kohara-Machiwara road this morning.

The victim was identified as Manpreet Singh Money (26), a resident of Indra Colony, Machiwara, who was returning home on his motorcycle after performing his duty at Shiva Industry. When he reached near Adhiana village, he was hit by a school bus of Garden Valley International School Machiwara.

The driver of the bus lost control over the vehicle while trying to save a scooterist and the bus overturned on Manpreet after hitting a tree on the roadside. He died on the spot.

Three students, who received injuries on their head, were rushed to Civil Hospital, while some were discharged after first aid. The Machiwara police has registered a case in this regard against the bus driver Gurpteet Singh, a resident of village Manki. The body of Manpreet was handed over to his guardians after post-mortem examination.



Domestic quarrel proves fatal
Migrant woman dies after consuming poison
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
A domestic quarrel proved fatal for a 30-year-old migrant woman as she ended her life by consuming poison in a one-room quarter located in Sarabha Nagar here last night.

The victim, identified as Kamini 30, was rushed to a private hospital where she died here today.

According to the father of the victim, Santu, everything seemed normal when he left her daughter’s house late last night.

“I don’t know what happened after I left home and why my daughter consumed poison. She should not have done this and left her children in the lurch,” said Santu.

A native of Uttar Pradesh, Kamini was married to Chotu Ram, who is working as a servant at a grocery store in Sarabha Nagar.

The couple have two children, nine-year-old daughter Kanchan and two- year- old son Gautam.

“Everything was normal. Yes, there used to be domestic quarrels. But it happens in every house. Last night, the couple had a heated argument after women’s father left the house,” said a neighbour of the victim.

Chotu Ram said, “Kamini consumed lice killer and quietly went to sleep. Later at mid-night she started vomiting and divulged that she had consumed poison. I raised an alarm and gathered other migrants living in the quarters. We quickly rushed her to a private hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

Dharmpal SHO Sarabha Nagar said they had started the investigation and action would be taken following the postmortem report.


Jarkhar takes lead to regain lost hockey glory
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
While state government officials have only made empty promises, a group of sports enthusiasts from Jarkhar village, 20 km from here, who have set up the Jarkhar hockey academy are quietly making a difference on the hockey scene.

During the past few years several politicians announced grants ranging from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 40 lakh for building the hockey stadium. However, only Rs 1 lakh has been released till date and the rest of the grants never materialized. The academy’s organizers have met various ministers including deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal on several occasions but to no avail.

The government's indifference, however, has not been able to kill the enthusiasm of the organizers of the hockey academy. Just a few years ago local students used to play the game barefoot. They now hone their skills on the new stadium’s astroturf and are toiling hard to bring the village on the national hockey map. Thanks to the academy 105 youngsters including 25 girls, all aged below 19, are practicing the game with a dream to don the Indian jersey one day.

All this has been made possible with the efforts of a group of village youths to persuade the local Mata Sahib Kaur gurdwara committee and the Rural Sports Promotion Council to jointly set up the Rs 35 lakh stadium with a seating capacity of 40,000.

These youngsters did not look to the government to come to their help but pooled in their resources to realize their dream-of having a hockey academy in the village. Starting with 16 boys in April 2006 the academy has now crossed the 100 players mark.

This group of sports enthusiasts is single handedly managing the academy without any government support. The several promises made by politicians in the past were never kept. However, this did not deter them from cultivating the barren land into a sports paradise. Within four years, the academy has now players from all over Punjab. Of them 40 have already played at the national level, participated thrice in the Nehru Hockey Super League or represented Punjab's under-19 that struck gold last year.

“We’ve no hopes from the government and are doing our bit to restore the game’s lost glory. We’ve already begun creating ripples. Though a lot of hard work has gone into achieving them, we’re overwhelmed with the results, ’’ said Jagroop Singh Jarkhar, the academy’s chief organizer.

Having converted a playground into a complete grass ground with an astroturf covering 25 x 50 square metres, the academy’s organizers are now looking forward to having the entire ground covered with mat. Two years ago state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal visited the academy and promised Rs 40 lakh for the astroturf.

‘‘The funds, however, never arrived. Our hostel is incomplete though we’ve players from all over the state. The village gurduwara is helping us sort out the boarding and lodging problems of these players, but that isn’t bogging us down. We’re committed to realize our dream of reviving hockey”, averred Jarkhar.

The expenses incurred by the players are now borne by the Rural Sports Promotion Council and the Mata Sahib Kaur Sports Club. ‘‘We pool in whenever required”, he added.

Villagers contribute

Village residents have always worked towards inculcating a love for sports. The 25-year-old rural “Olympics” tournament held in Jarkhar is now considered one of the state’s major rural sports events after that in Kila Raipur. These rural games were launched 25 years ago by the late village 'sarpanch', Major Singh Jarkhar, in association with the chief caretaker of the Manji Sahib gurduwara, Surjit Kaur. It started off as a humble event, but gained popularity with the passage of time. The village celebrated the rural games’ silver jubilee last December when the winning hockey team was given a Rs 1 lakh cash prize, the biggest ever in the history of the games.

Unfulfilled promises

Two years ago, former state finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal announced a grant of Rs 40 lakh for an astroturf to the Jarkhar Hockey Academy when the latter had invited him to unveil statues of hockey players Surjit Singh and Pirthpal Singh. However, before he could fulfill his pledge, Manpreet had to step down. Later, former minister and MLA, Bikram Singh Majithia, announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh. Local MLA, Darshan Singh Shivalik , promised Rs 10 lakh; Jails minister, Hira Singh Gabria, promised Rs 5 lakh; and local MLA, Harish Rai Dhanda, announced a grant of Rs 2.8 lakh. The latter somehow managed to get Rs 1 lakh released but the rest of the pledges are yet to be fulfilled.



Mystery of headless body solved
Illicit relations behind gruesome killing: Police
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
It were illicit relations which led to the killing of the middle-aged man whose headless body was found from a vacant plot on April 18 at Sandhu Nagar near International Public School, Jassian road.

With the arrest of one person, the police has claimed to have cracked the gruesome murder mystery and recovered the head of the victim that was dumped in a sand mound located in the middle of Sutlej River near Nagar town, 35 km from the spot of the crime.

The victim, identified as Sandeep Sharma, who was working in a sweetmeat shop, was a declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in a murderous assault case.

It took eight days for the police to get to the bottom of the murder mystery. Following the incident, cops began collecting information about missing persons from surrounding areas and showed the picture of the right arm of the victim on which SK was tattooed.

Finally, yesterday police got a crucial lead when it learnt that a middle-aged man, identified as Sanjiv Kumar, was missing for a few days. The cops quickly picked up Rakesh Kumar and during questioning, the accused confessed to committing the offence.

Narrating the tale of the gruesome murder mystery, Deputy Commissioner of police Yurinder Singh said it was Rakesh Kumar of Kehar Singh Nagar who along with his cousin Sanjiv Kumar, alias Gulli, had committed the crime and dumped the head of the victim.

Police said Rakesh extended a helping hand to Sanjiv, who was on the run after being declared a PO in a murderous assault case. Rakesh was a good friend of Sanjiv and told the latter to stay in his house. But good faith on a criminal backfired, as Sanjiv established physical relations with Rakesh's wife.

Rakesh had no clue that both his wife and friend had ditched him till one day he caught them in a compromising position.

"From then onwards Rakesh was planning to eliminate Sanjiv. Even Gulli, who also saw Sanjiv making advances towards Rakesh's wife, joined hand with his brother," said Gurdev Singh, SHO Salem Tabri.

As per the plan, the duo took Sanjiv to a tavern. After consuming liquor, Rakesh blamed Sanjiv for back-stabbing him and indulged in a heated argument.

Later, when the trio reached the house, they picked up a fight, where Gulli and Rakesh strangled Sanjiv with a rope.

After waiting a few hours, the duo took the body of the victim on a scooter. While Rakesh drove the scooter, Gulli rode pillion and held the body from behind.

On reaching a vacant plot near Jassian road, Rakesh pulled out an axe and cut off the head with one stroke. Rakesh and Gulli then stripped Sanjiv in order to hide the identity of the victim.

Rakesh took the head back to the house and showed it to his wife. Next day, the duo safely packed the head in a travelling bag. "They kept some clothes over the head and a few trousers beneath so that no one could suspect them," said SHO Gurdev Singh.

The duo then travelled to Nagar town and dumped the head in a sand mound located in the middle of Sutlej River. The head was dumped across the shrine. The team of police officials, including assistant commissioner of police Paramjit Singh Pannu, visited the marked location and recovered the head this afternoon.

"On the first day, we were suspecting it to be a case of illicit relations. It came out precisely to be that as the left arm bore "pyar ek dhoka hai". While the accomplice Gulli is on the run, police is investigating the involvement of Rakesh's wife in the murder case," said DCP Yurinder Singh.



45-year-old charred to death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
A 45-year-old migrant labourer was charred to death under mysterious circumstances inhis room located in the Kundan Puri area here today.

According to residents, the badly burnt body of Javed Ali (45) was found lying on his bed here this morning.

The residents said that the incident came to light in the wee hours when they saw smoke billowing out of the room. They quickly opened the door and doused the fire only to find the charred body of Javed Ali.

The police is still finding out the cause of the fire. Division No 4 SHO Davinder Singh said the police would conduct the postmortem of the deceased to find out whether Javed was sedated or killed before being charred.

According to a resident, the victim was temporarily putting up in the room after his brother-in-law went to his native in Bihar and requested him to take care of the room in his absence.While the victim’s bother raised doubt over the incident and claimed that it was murder and not accident.

“The room was not bolted from either side. I’m surprised my brother was brunt alive in his sleep and did not make any effort to save himself by rushing out of the room. I is certainly more than that meets the eye,” said the brother of the victim.

On the other hand, the absence of a youth, who was living in the neighbouring room, has also strengthen the claim of victim’s brother. 



Zonal Commissioner
Gupta replaces suspended Sekhon
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The Municipal Corporation Commissioner today appointed Additional Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta as the Zonal Commissioner replacing Amarjeet Singh Sekhon, who was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau a few days ago in a graft case and was subsequently suspended.

Interestingly, the orders came when civic body employees were facilitating Sekhon for honesty at the Zone-A office after his release from jail on Thursday.

The officials and councillors present at the facilitating function included Mayor Hakam Singh Giaspura, councillors Harbhajan Singh Dang, Gurdeep Sigh Neetu, Parminder Mehta, Joint Commissioner BK Gupta, Senior Town Planner Balkar Sigh Brar and trade union leaders Vijay Danav, Lachman Dravid, Ashwani Sahota and Hasraj Gagat.

Though the Mayor assured that Sekhon would be reinstated after the government gives him a clean chit, sources revealed that he was unlikely to be reinstated in the same zone, as MC officials don’t want any confrontation with councillors on the matter. Sources say though it suits the interests of the Mayor group if Sekhon is reinstated in the Zone-C, officials are not willing for it as they feel that it will bring officials in direct confrontation with MC councillors.

When contacted, Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said: “At the moment, we are waiting for a clean chit from the government and posing Sekhon in a particular zone is a secondary issue.” 



Rise in Price of Scrap
Furnace units curtail their working hours
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The rising prices of scrap are weighing heavy on the induction furnaces. Due to unaffordable prices of scrap, furnace units have reduced their working hours. Induction furnaces, which use to work for 24 hours have now reduced their working hours to 12 hours. In addition to this these units are also observing two days compulsory weekly off.

The prices of scrap in the international market are skyrocketing and have become out of our reach. "It has become difficult to sustain our business and are left with no other option but to curtail our working hours. Even the sale of the finished goods has gone down," said Mahinder Gupta, president of Induction furnace Association, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Due to the situation, each unit is incurring losses worth Rs 10 lakh per month. "If the circumstances remain the same we will be left with no other option but to switch to other profession," added Anil Suraj, president of Focal Point Industry Association.

Adding further he said the price they were getting for the conversion from scrap were also less due to which they were bearing loss of Rs 1,000 per tonne.

"Low demand in the market and rising prices of the raw material has forced us to cut short our working hours," he added.

Alleging against the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, Gupta said they were worst hit by the attitude of the PSPCL officials, which were not cooperative. "We want to buy power through open access but they force us to buy from them. Power is also getting costlier day by day," he added.



Farmers, truck drivers at mercy of FCI officials 
Officials accused of adopting pick-and-choose policy, trucks with wheat bags wait for unloading
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The “pick-and-choose policy” adopted by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) while lifting wheat at several mandis in the district has not just annoyed farmers but truck drivers too, who allege harassment at the hands of FCI inspectors, godown keepers and godown in charges.

A survey by The Tribune at local mandis reveal that hundreds of trucks loaded with wheat bags are waiting in queues at Gill Road Dana Mandi for unloading, but FCI officials prefer to look the other way.

Disgusted over the "step-motherly" treatment being meted out to truck drivers, the latter alleged that the FCI had adopted an arbitrary attitude as they reject or accept crop at their own will.

About 50 truck drivers carrying wheat bags in their vehicles from Jodhan, Lohgarh, Sarabha Mandi, Ayali Khurd, Pakhowal and Daad villages said that they had been waiting to unload wheat bags at the Gill Road mandi for the past four-five days, but FCI officials were not bothering to keep the bags in their godowns.

"They are simply exploiting the farmers and the truck drivers. About 150 to 200 trucks are standing here waiting to unload the produce but the FCI inspectors come very late every day to start the process. At 5 pm sharp, they windup their work and we are left waiting. They are having limited number of labourers, who show tantrums while getting the produce down from the trucks", said Gurwinder Singh, a driver, who has been at the mandi for the past three days.

The truck drivers further pointed out that they had adopted a "pick and choose" policy while unloading the wheat. "The big landlords, who bribe the inspectors, are easily keeping the bags at FCI godowns while others are told that the produce is not up to the mark. They are simply rejecting the wheat while the inspectors of Pungrain had checked it in village-mandis and found it ok. The produce of influential or rich is safely kept in godowns without bothering to check it while ours is simply being rejected by same officials", alleged Ranjit Singh, another driver.

Listening to the grievances of truck-drivers, the Tribune team noticed that a mini truck entered the godown. Neither the gateman nor any FCI employees sitting at the gate stopped or checked it. The truck driver parked the vehicle near the area where labourers were waiting to unload it.

The Tribune team tried to ask the gateman or employees sitting at the gate as to how that particular truck was allowed to enter without any checking and why was it given a preferential treatment while other drivers were waiting for the five-days. The employees had no answer and they moved away to the office area.

An unchecked loaded truck enters an FCI godown.
An unchecked loaded truck enters an FCI godown.

Farmers wait for the lifting of their produce at the Jalandhar bypass grain market.
Farmers wait for the lifting of their produce at the Jalandhar bypass grain market.

Truck drivers argue on the 'selective' unloading process by FCI employees at Dana Mandi, Gill Road.
Truck drivers argue on the 'selective' unloading process by FCI employees at Dana Mandi, Gill Road.
The FCI depot manager at Dana Mandi, Gill Road, argues with truck drivers over the agency's specifications on lifting of the crop.
The FCI depot manager at Dana Mandi, Gill Road, argues with truck drivers over the agency's specifications on lifting of the crop. 

Migrant labourers clean wheat at a grain market in Ludhiana on Monday.
Migrant labourers clean wheat at a grain market in Ludhiana on Monday.

The agitating truck drivers at Dana Mandi, Gill Road.
The agitating truck drivers at Dana Mandi, Gill Road. 

‘Arrogant’ employees

The Tribune tried to contact the depot manager of the godown, who was reluctant to come out and face the irked drivers. When contacted, depot manager Charanjit Singh, said, " You cannot do any harm to us. All the trucks are carrying sub-standard produce, which we will not accept." When told that Pungrain inspectors had checked the quality of the produce and had sent it to the FCI godown, Charanjit Singh, in a rude manner said, "We are contacting these inspectors but they have switched off their mobile phones." A number of farmers and truck drivers alleged that FCI employees were accepting bribe to clear the produce at the gate. However, the latter did not even bother to counter these allegations. Instead, they asked drivers to do whatever they wanted to.

Arhtiyas ‘monopolistic’ attitude

There was no problem in lifting the crop at the Jalandhar bypass grain market. Farmers were satisfied with the state procurement agencies. However, several other buyers said arhtiyas were adopting monopolistic attitude. They were buying the produce from farmers for ` 1,170 a quintal but were getting ` 1,350-1,400 from the procurement agency. "What will we do with just ` 50 bonus? Arhtiyas are getting more than ` 200 per quintal on the same produce. They are not letting private buyers buy the produce directly from farmers. I have come from Charan Nagar to buy 12 quintals of wheat, but we are being asked to pay ` 1,350 by the agents. The government must intervene and stop this exploitation of farmers," rued Satnam Singh.

Migrant labourers getting peanuts

Migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh feel exploited at the hands of commission agents. Radhey Lal, a migrant labourer from Bihar, said, "We are being paid ` 1 per bag. On an average, about 4,000 bags are loaded in trucks and our group has 10 labourers. We are able to earn anything between ` 4,000 and ` 5,000 in a day and the entire money is distributed among 10 persons. After putting in so much of hard work till late in the evening, each one of us gets about ` 400, which is a meager amount."



Wheat crop on 200 bighas gutted
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 25
Wheat crop on 200 bighas, belonging to at least five farmers of Dakha Gahaur and Bhanohar Punjab villages in Ludhiana district near here, was reduced to ashes today.

Though the reason behind the incident was yet to be ascertained, it is suspected that an electric spark during the restoration of power supply after maintenance work ignited the fire. Farmers have demanded compensation for their loss.

Wheat crop, worth lakhs , in the fields of Harpal Singh of Gahaur (100 bighas), Gurdev Singh of Gahauar (50 bighas ), Harpal Singh of Detwal (10 bighas), Ranjit Singh of Gahaur (13 bighas), Kharak Singh of Gahaur (8 bighas) was charred due to the fire.

According to the villagers, the fire had started in the fields situated on the outskirts of Dakha village, which later spread towards Gahaur and Bhanohar Punjab villages.

Harpal Singh, one of the victims, said he had noticed sparks after some employees of the electicity department restored power supply after undertaking some maintenance work.

High temperature and high-velocity winds caused the fire to spread.

However, timely and coordinated action by residents of Dakha, Gahaur, Bhanohar Punjab and surrounding villages saved the crops standing in hundreds of acres in the vicinity of the affected fields. Around 10 tractors were pressed into service to stop the spreading of the fire by ploughing the crops around the fields under fire.



After 8 yrs, MC seals room used by Bains group
Manvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

The controversial room which was sealed in the Zone D of MC office in Ludhiana on Monday.
The controversial room which was sealed in the Zone D of MC office in Ludhiana on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 25
With the help of a heavy police contingent civic officials managed to get the room in the municipal corporation’s C zone office being used by councillors of the Bains group locked on Monday without any resistance.

In a calculated move the police cordoned off the office, considered a stronghold of Akali councillor Simerjeet Singh Bains and his supporters. The cops, backed by antiriot and fire fighting vehicles, kept a strict vigil at the scene since early in the morning to prevent Bains’ supporters from entering the office. The group has been holding ‘sangat darshans’ there every Monday morning for the past eight years.

Coming under pressure from the city mayor as well the employees union civic officials locked the room. The police fixed a huge plank of wood at the entry door of the room to ensure no one was able to enter it. Anticipating a violent reaction by members of the Bains group the cops kept a watch at the C zone office, checking every visitor with the result the office, usually humming with people, wore a deserted look with the staff keeping away.

Meanwhile, senior MC officials were monitoring the situation. When contacted additional commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta, who was appointed zonal commissioner of the C zone, asserted: “Any room in the building can be locked whenever required.



Akali councillor fires salvo at MC Commissioner
‘Giving benefit to corrupt in civic body’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Firing a salvo against Municipal Corporation (MC) Commissioner, firebrand Akali Councillor Simarjeet Singh Bains accused him of misleading them to give benefit to corrupt elements in the civic body.

Peeved over the locking of their room in the C zone of the civic body, Simarjeet Singh Bains, along with his supporters including Jagbir Singh Sokhi, Kanwaljeet Singh Karwal, Parminder Sigh Soma, Swarandeep Singh Chahal and others, alleged that MC Commissioner AK Sinha had called him up on Sunday evening and asked him to refrain from going to the C zone where he holds sangat darshan every Monday.

He said Sinha had assured them that the MC authorities would be maintaining status quo on the matter till the issue settles down.

However, he said that despite his assurances, none of his supporters would go to the C zone as Sinha deliberately got the room locked with the help of the police.

Alleging that the top administrative head of the civic body had misled them, Bains said all had been done to shield corrupt elements in civic body.

"This cannot be expected from a person sitting such a responsible chair,” he added. Similarly, he alleged that a strong nexus of corrupt bureaucrats, employees and politicians was at the helm of affairs in the civic body and all these are manoeuvring a plot to defame him. On a query as to why this nexus was against them, Bains said the simple reason was because they were forcing the MC employees to do the work of common man without giving any bribe. "

The MC is the most corrupt department in the state due to which people are facing a lot of problems,” he added.

When asked about his future course of action, Bains said he would be soon meeting the SAD president and Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal to apprise him of the whole issue.

Similarly, he said that from coming Monday, he would be holding Sangat Darshan at the C zone while sitting on mat at ground of the office. "I can operate from any place and do not require any office for getting the works of public done," he added. 



PAU bags Gates Foundation project 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has sanctioned Rs 46 lakh to Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to undertake research on poverty in Punjab.

With an objective to track changes in rural poverty in households and village economies of Punjab, the project will initially run for three years (2011-14) and is likely to be extended for another five years.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang said the project was need of the hour as Punjab was reeling under economic squeeze, indebtedness and farmer suicides. Besides, the poverty ratio in small and marginal farmers and agriculture labourer households has risen in recent years, he said. The main purpose of the project was to develop a database at the farmer household level on the consumption and the production parameters and track changes in poverty and other economic variables over the time, he added.

Aiming at strengthening capacity building in the university for further policy analysis in the agriculture sector, the project will be implemented in all the three zones representing the sub-mountainous areas, the Central Punjab and the Southern Punjab.

Dr RS Sidhu, principal investigator, project-cum-dean college of basic sciences and humanities, PAU, said the project was being implemented in India and Bangladesh by the National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi, and ICRISAT, Hyderabad. 



PAU Notes
Earth Day

Ludhiana: The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) celebrated Earth Day on its campus with the motto “Think Green, Be Green, Go Green.” To mark this day, a glittering function was organised by the Electron Microscopy & Nanoscience Laboratory, PAU, and Ludhiana Chapter of the Indian Society of Soil Science.

Aiming at creating awareness among the generation Y, a competition was held wherein the students delivered lectures on diverse aspects of nanotechnology, genesis of life on the earth, countering climate change and history of earth from the view point of soil science. They also explored the possibility of new habitats from the data on mineralogy of soils of the Mars and the Moon. In his presidential remarks, Dr US Sadana, senior soil scientist of PAU, impressed upon the students of soil science to equip themselves with modern technologies especially in the fast expanding fields of nanotechnology, in order to overcome ongoing global crisis of hunger and food scarcity, environmental degradation and soil sickness by 2030. He distributed the prizes to the winners, including Zahoor Ahmed who stood first, followed by Arnab Bhowmik and Harsneet getting second and third position respectively. Dr SS Kukal of the World Society of Soil Conservation donated books to the winners.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Yadwinder Singh, head, Department of Soil Science, welcomed the participants and explained the importance of celebrating Earth Day. He pointed out that the earth’s sustainability depended on nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon cycles in the soil system.

Alumnus honoured

In recognition of teaching, research and service, Ohio State University, USA has bestowed the highest faculty honour on Dr Rattan Lal, an alumnus of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and a soil scientist at College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), Ohio university, by designating him as a "Distinguished University Professor." The recognition was given by 
Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee and Provost Joseph Alutto.

"Dr. Rattan Lal has raised the stature of this institution with work that is world-renowned and of enduring significance. Emanating from a laboratory in Columbus, his insights have reduced hunger on the other side of the globe. He is the epitome of a distinguished university professor. Like the soil he studies, he is essential," Gee said.

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang congratulated Lal and said “It is a well deserved honour. We are delighted and proud of you and your achievements.” Having been bestowed with this honour, he has brought laurels to PAU in the international arena, he added.Referring to his long association with PAU since 1959, Lal remarked, "You have to believe that what you are doing is beneficial.”

MoU with Escorts

The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Escorts Ltd., Faridabad, for institution/industry interface activities aiming at academic excellence in the agriculture sector. The MoU was signed by Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, and Rohtash Mal, executive director and CEO, Escorts Agri. Machinery.

Speaking on the occasion, Kang appreciated the long association between PAU and Escorts for enhancing the professional capabilities and providing job opportunities to university students. He added that the MoU would set up collaborative training facilities and mechanisms laying emphasis on skill development through hands-on training and experiential learning and would also benefit the university, students, researchers and academicians. Besides strengthening the bond between both institutions for the collaboration on research and extension programmes for joint development and promotion of new farm equipments/technologies, the alliance would also work towards developing equipment solutions that are purposeful. — TNS



From Schools
Orientation programme

Ludhiana: B.C.M School, Chandigarh Road, organised an orientation programme for class VI. During the orientation programme students were given important guidelines to adjust themselves to the new atmosphere and help them to reach higher goals and widen one’s scope in life. The students were told that “Change is never comfortable but change is always for the betterment.” The students were also informed about the Continuous Comprehension Evaluation (CCE), which was introduced in the new pattern of syllabus by the CBSE Board. This CCE is based on their daily activities and performance in the class. Principal D P Guleria addressed the students by saying that students should be self disciplined, truthful and firm in their determination to cultivate good habits in order to achieve permanent happiness peace, success and fulfilment in life.

New CBSE syllabus

Kundan Vidya Mandir organised an orientation programme for the parents of class IX. Kundan Vidya Mandir aims at the all-round development of a student in which parents play a pivotal role. Realising this, the orientation programme was organised in the school auditorium. Navita Puri, principal, presided over the programme. The programme started with a welcome address by Navita Puri. In her address, Puri acquainted parents with the need, significance and role of such orientation programmes. There were presentations by the subject teacher. Reena Kapoor gave presentation for English, Brij Bala for Hindi, Gurveen Kaur for science, Sharanjit Singh for social science and Vinay Syal for mathematics and CCE. Parents were acquainted with the CCE pattern by the CBSE to evaluate a student at scholastic and co scholastic activities.

Smart class at Saraswati Modern

Keeping in pace with the changing times and keeping in view the powerful role that technology has come to play in the lives of everybody, Saraswati Modern School has introduced smart classes in the school. It was a matter of pride and elation to introduce the children to the smart classes, a sophisticated technology programme which made teaching and learning effective and fun. All the teachers were encouraged to take advantages of this newly set up system to make teaching lively and an enjoyable experience. In smart class, they will keep abreast with the latest trends in the field of education. This system will bring abstract and difficult curriculum concepts to life and enable multi-sensory learning. This system will surely improve academic performance of the students, said the principal of the school.

Plant trees to save earth

Shifaly Public School and Helianthus Day Boarding organised a rally on the occasion of Earth Week. Director, Parmod Jain inspired students and inaugurated the rally by giving the flag to the students. Along with the students, teachers also joined the rally. Students motivated the residents of Sunder Nagar and New Modhopuri to save the earth by their slogans “Save Water, Save Earth”, “Save Earth, Save Life”, “Shifalians ka Naara Hai, Variksh Bina Na Guzara Hai”, “Water is life”etc. The councillor of the ward, Anil Kumar Malhotra, also inspired the students for their innovative step and said that we should plant more trees to save our earth. On this occasion principal Usha Jain also motivated the students and said they should organise this type of programme from time to time to save the earth. — TNS



Harbans Singh Sidhu: A healer in the true sense of the word
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 25
Harbans Singh Sidhu, the founder of the town’s Sidhu Hospital who died at the age of 86, had the genuine healer’s zeal, ensuring proper medical care was dispensed to the rural masses. His ‘bhog’ ceremony will be held on Tuesday.

Sidhu began his career as a government medical officer and was a tireless worker. He was the vice president the Indian Medical Association, Punjab and past president of the Rotary Club, Doraha. He received the highest presidential award of Burma and served that country’s government as a civil surgeon till 1960. After seeing the lack of medical facilities in rural India at that time, he decided to return to his native country to serve the people of Punjab.

Sidhu Hospital, Doraha is the brainchild and fruit of Sidhu’s relentless efforts and vision. He identified the need for basic and advanced healthcare facilities for the region and conceived the idea of establishing a medical institute that offered all these facilities under one roof. His wife, Manjit Kaur, was a great support and motivating force behind him.

After returning from Burma Sidhu was appointed senior medical officer at the state-run primary health centre in Payal in Ludhiana district. “Death and disease never comes by appointment” was his motto. He ensured the doors of the health centre were always open and each patient was provided the utmost care and attention. If required to refer a serious patient to higher centre, he used to accompany the patient till proper treatment was administered to him.



Criminal wastage of water goes unchecked
Mahesh Sharma

A social activist closes the nozzle of a tap that had been flowing continuously in the Main Bazar area in Mandi Ahmedgarh.
MONITORING SPREE: A social activist closes the nozzle of a tap that had been flowing continuously in the Main Bazar area in Mandi Ahmedgarh. 

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 25
Callous attitude of residents towards conservation of drinking water has added to the problems of the authorities in the civic body here.

Besides keeping a tab on the houses running taps at least during restricted hours, the council has spend lakhs of rupees on draining out extra water collected in the disposal tank due to uncontrolled running of taps, both installed in domestic and commercial establishments.

Residents of colonies, situated on the outskirts of the town, seem to be least bothered about the wastage of water, as no meters have been installed to check the consumption of water.

Authorities in the municipal council said the councillors had been asked
to motivate residents of their wards to minimise wastage of water, at least during summers when the supply of water is affected due to depletion of the water table and interruption of power supply.

Investigations revealed that residents of certain colonies situated on the outskirts of the town and people visiting local markets were least bothered about wastage of water.

While some taps remained running during the supply hours due to non-functioning of tap nozzles, others wasted water due to callous attitude of the residents.

Washing cars, bathing cattle, sprinkling water on roads and streets and watering kitchen gardens were major sources of wastage of water.

Bimal Kumar Sharma and Ravinder Puri, councillors, admitted that had the wastage of water been capped, the water problem could have been solved.

“Contrary to the earlier trend when water meters were installed on all the connections, consumers don’t bother to close the nozzle after using water. There are some residents, who leave their taps open before sleeping and use the tap sound as an alarm,” said the councillors.

A social activist, who dared to stop some nomads from wasting water for bathing their domestic elephant, had to face hostility of a group of local leaders.

A majority of residents and councillors were not aware about Section 223 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act, 1976, according to which anyone wasting water can be booked under the act.

Some residents use “tullu” pumps to fill overhead water tanks, which often leaks and lots of water go down the drain. Several taps flow continuously during the supply hours at public places and there is no check on the same.



Sisters dream to make it big in Bollywood
Tribune News Service

Sisters Ekta and Ritika pose for shutterbugs with film actor Sonakshi Sinha on the sets of Joker.
BONDING WELL: Sisters Ekta and Ritika pose for shutterbugs with film actor Sonakshi Sinha on the sets of Joker. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, April 25
Making it big in Bollywood is the dream of these two sisters, Ekta and Ritika Kapoor. Having acted in various films, albums and tele serials their ultimate goal is to achieve success in the mainstream cinema.

Ekta studying in class VIII and Ritika in class VI at RS Model Senior Secondary School, they both debuted in a Punjabi film "Pardesi" in 2008. The sister duo have several films to their credit namely Mirza with Babbu Maan, Joker with Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi and Asrani. Ritika will also be seen in Desi Munde with Balkar Sidhu while Ekta has made her presence in Yaara Naal Baharan-II.

At a young age both are able to dabble well between work and studies. "When we are studying then nothing else is on our minds and we study with full concentration as most of the time otherwise we are busy with our shooting schedules. Our teachers and classmates really help us a lot in completing our tasks," said
the duo.

What they miss the most on the sets? "It is mummy’s hand-made food and our little brother whom we miss the most while shooting," they said. Sharing their future plans Ritika and Ekta said they both want to be film stars. "If luck favours us like this we will definitely be able to fulfill our dream of becoming main lead actors one day," they beam with joy. 



Sekhon accused of seeking bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 25
Troubles never seem to end for municipal corporation zonal commissioner Amarjeet Singh Sekhon, who was earlier arrested by the vigilance bureau after allegations of corruption.

A local businessman has now accused him of demanding a bribe for demolishing an unauthorized structure in the city.

Addressing reporters here on Monday, a resident of Gill Road, Arshdeep Singh, said: “About two years back we had filed a complaint about the illegal construction of a commercial building in our locality to officials of the civic body’s building branch, who replied to us in writing they were helpless due to the immense political pressure put on them.

After they failed to take any action on the matter we met Sekhon, then commissioner of the C zone, about three months ago and sought action against the unauthorized building. under construction.

Sekhon initially showed reluctance in taking any steps but later demanded
a bribe of Rs 30,000 from me”.

When asked he had been silent on the matter for such a long time, Arshdeep replied: “We were disappointed due to inaction of the civic body.

However, now that MC employees and politicians are calling Sekhon honest they have to come out into the open”.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him Sekhon was not available for comment.



22-year-old youth shot at, fighting for life
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, April 25
A youth was allegedly shot at by more that then 10 youths at Dalla village near Jagraon last night. The youth has been identified as Gurdeep Singh alias Deepa (22) of Deharka village. The victim had been fighting for life at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), Ludhiana, till the filing of the report. Gurdeep’s condition was critical, a villager who visited the hospital this afternoon said.

The reason behind the attack is said to be a love affair. According to sources, the attackers, in fact, had come to kill Gurdeep’s brother Baljeet who was reportedly having an love affair with a girl from Deharka village. The attackers were the relatives of the girl who was allegedly in love with Baljeet Singh, sources said.

As per the information, the victim Gurdeep Singh who hailed from Deharka village had come to meet some of his relative at Dalla village last evening. Gurdeep was sitting with his cousin Manjot Singh when the incident took place last night at about 9 pm. The attackers believed it was Baljeet who had gone to Dalla and they made a plan and attacked him, it was learnt.

According to Manjot Singh, he was watching television with Gurdeep when more than 10 person, including Hardeep Singh alias Deepa, who was carrying a pistol, Sukhwinder Singh and Agyapal Singh of Deharka village along with some other unidentified persons, who were also carrying sharp-edged weapons, came to their house and began beating Gurdeep. They kept on beating him for a long time and also hit Manjot when he tried to save Gurdeep from them, alleged Manjot.

“After beating Gurdeep, one of the attackers shot at Gurdeep who was lying on the ground. After this they all sped away thinking Gurdeep had died. Before running away they even threatened me of facing dire consequences if I narrated the incident to anyone”, alleged Manjot.

When contacted, Jagraon Sadar SHO Rachpal Singh Dhindsa confirmed the incident. “A case has been registered at Sadar Police Station under sections 307, 452, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Arms Act against Hardeep Singh alias Deepa, Sukhwinder Singh, Agyapal and nine unidentified persons in the statement of Manjot Singh son of Awtar Singh of Dalla village”, said Dhindsa.

The police is investigating the incident and the real reason behind the attack, said the SHO. No arrest has been made so far. “The police is conducting raids to nab the accused and they will be arrested very soon”, added the SHO.



Hot Weather Cricket Tournament
Parul, Gurkaran excel with bat
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, April 25
A fine batting performance by Parul and Gurkaran, who chipped in with 57 and 63 runs, respectively, helped Mahajan Juniors XI to hoist a huge total of 306 against National XI on the first day of the Hot Weather Cricket Tournament (U-16) organised by the Ludhiana District Cricket Association on the Satish Chander Dhawan Government College ground, here today.

Mahajan Juniors-XI won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 306 runs in 90 overs. The main contributors were Gurkaran (63) and Parul (57). Other scorers were Pranav and Mayank Bhagria who made 38 and 36 runs, respectively.

For National XI, Jai Sharma five wickets for 49 runs while Saurabh accounted for four wickets for 54 runs.

Chasing the huge total, National-XI were in dire straits (164 for 5) at draw of stumps. Nitin Malhan and Saurabh were unbeaten on 48 and 41 runs, respectively. Jaskaran made 32 runs, Viren Singh scored 19 and Deepin Chitkara contributed 13 runs.

For Mahajan Junior XI, Manan Jain scalped two wickets for nine runs while Nikhil captured two wickets for 40 runs.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |