L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


1 dead, 10 hurt in furnace blast
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

A shoe lying in debris at the furnace unit in Ludhiana on Wednesday
A shoe lying in debris at the furnace unit in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, November 2
One person has died and at least 10 others have sustained injuries in a furnace blast that took place at Pal Steels, Phase VII, Focal Point, at 7 am today. The workers were mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. They had come to the city in search of greener pastures. At least 11 persons were on duty during the night shift (8 pm to 8 am) in the factory when this incident took place.

The deceased has been identified as Vijay Pratap (35), a resident of Uttar Pradesh. Nine other injured persons have been identified as Dinesh Kumar (30), Sonu (28), Dinesh Yadav (22), Saifudin (38), Lalta Prasad (23), Dharminder Kumar (24), Shadi Lal (65), Shri Kishan (17) and Ajay (24). They were admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). Another seriously injured worker Raj Kumar (32) has been admitted to the CMCH. He sustained 70 per cent burn injuries.


Compensation will be provided to the families of the deceased and the injured. We are trying to provide the best medical aid to them and the entire expenditure will be borne by us.

Kamal Kant, Director, Pal Steels and KK Garg, president, All-India Induction Furnace Association

Reason behind the blast

Such incidents are common in furnace units where scrap is melted. At times, due to some kind of oil, wetness or when a shocker comes into the scrap, a kind of gas is formed inside the furnace and it blasts due to excessive heat and pressure of gas. Such blasts do not occur due to anybody’s negligence, but by chance. Tonnes of scrap are melted on a daily basis, we cannot look minutely at the scrap.

KK Garg, President, All-India Induction Furnace Association


Most of them will go blind, fear doctors
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Most of the injured admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital and Christian Medical College and Hospital might not be able to see the world again. Doctors attending them are apprehensive since a lot of foreign bodies have entered the eyes of those injured in the blast? Thus, the chances of they getting their vision back are bleak. Moreover, condition of the

six out of 10 patients admitted to both hospitals is stated to be critical, as they have sustained 50 per cent burn injuries. According to CMCH officials, Raj Kumar has sustained 70 per cent burn injuries and has been admitted to the ICU burn unit. His condition is stated to be critical.

Dr Ramneesh Garg, Assistant Professor, DMCH, said the condition of five out of nine persons admitted to the hospital was serious, as they had sustained 50 per cent burn injuries. “Since foreign bodies have entered the eyes of those injured, we fear that they might not be able to get their vision back,” said Dr Garg.

Meanwhile, Lal Bahadur, whose brother-in-law Dinesh Yadav got injured in the blast, said today that the latter came to the city in search of greener pastures. “We hail from Ajampur in Uttar Pradesh. Dinesh got married about two years ago and my sister still lives in the village. The couple does not have any child. Dinesh wanted to earn good money before starting the family. His condition is critical. The family has not been informed about the incident. I am praying for his speedy recovery, that is all what I can do,” he added.

Dharmender Kumar, an injured admitted to the DMCH, said it appeared like a bomb blast. The intensity of the blast was so strong that the ceiling of the factory got damaged. “All of us were running here and there and screaming due to the wounds. Our duty was supposed to end in an hour. But, its destiny. Nobody could have stopped it from happening,” said Dharminder in a choked voice.


Case Registered

A case has been registered in this regard. Forensic experts from the city have already visited the premises. We have requested forensic experts from Chandigarh to visit the unit tomorrow. The premises has been sealed. The body of Vijay Pratap has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. We are trying to locate his family with the help of a few relatives.

Kanwarjeet Singh, SHO, Focal Point

Greener Pastures

Vijay Pratap (35), who died in the incident, belonged to Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh. He had come to the city two years ago for better job prospects. His family stays in the native village.



Safety of workers at stake
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The blasts that took place at furnace units, induction units or at dyeing units are not uncommon in this industrial city. Lot many innocent human lives have already been lost and several other workers have become disable due to such blasts in the past. Though employers always claim that the fault was never on their part and a majority of the incidents were accidental, such incidents occur repeatedly due to lapses - be it on the part of employer, unskilled labour or enforcement agency.

Today's blast on a factory premises at the Focal Point, Phase VII, in which one person died and 10 others injured has again brought to fore the safety of labourers working in such units. The incident has revealed how the lives of labourers are at risk in the absence of strict enforcement of the labour laws in the factory units.

Due to the apathetic approach of all concerned, scores of such incidents have taken place in the past when labourers lost their lives and sustained serious injuries while working on boilers/furnaces.

About 20 cases of boiler blasts were reported last year only. Explosions in boiler and induction units are common in the city. At times, in order to meet deadlines, unit owners hire services of “non-technical workers”, which often leads to such fatal accidents.

Some facts

Services of unskilled labourers are hired on such sensitive jobs

The enforcing agencies hardly keep a check on the quality of machines or implementation of labour laws in factories

Employers do not follow proper guidelines and safety norms

Authorities concerned (industries) do not carry periodic inspections at units, even if they do, it is just eyewash.

Furnace body admits mistake

KK Garg, president All-India Induction Furnace Association, has admitted that certain mistakes must have been committed by someone due to which the fatal incident took place today. “Though in furnace units we cannot rely on unskilled labourers, there is a lapse on the part of in charge on the night duty, who did not keep a check on the scrap. Had there been a proper scanning of scrap or the workers were guided properly by the in charge, this incident could have been averted. We are going to take care of it in a strict manner now, as no employer wants such fatal accidents to happen on their factory premises,” said Garg.



New meat byelaws framed
Shop owners to get staff medically examined
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s health department has framed new meat byelaws for the shops selling meat and chicken products in the city. This step has been taken to provide good quality meat products to the city residents.

“The byelaws have been amended and would be implemented if the city residents don’t object to these. People can raise objections and submit the same with the health officer of the respective zones till one month from today,” said Dr Charanjit Uppal, health officer, Municipal Corporation.

The meat byelaws were framed many years ago and for the past some time, the municipal officials were demanding that its amendment. So on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the civic body has prepared a draft of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (Regulation of Sale of Meat) Byelaws 2011 for replacing the existing 1969 byelaws.

As per this byelaws, all shops selling meat and chicken products in the city, would have to get their employees medically examined, failing which action would be taken against the shop owner.

But the question is that how would the department keep a check on these instructions as there are several unregistered meat shops in the city. “We are constantly keeping a check on such shops and have been taking action against them. If any resident is aware of any such shop operating in his respective area, he can bring it to the notice of the municipal officials and I assure that strict action would be taken against the owner,” claimed Dr Uppal.

In case of breach of the byelaws, any licensee or any other person who commits a breach of the provisions of these byelaws shall, on conviction by a judicial magistrate, be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 2,000 and for Rs 200 for each subsequent day during which the breach continues.

Conditions for fitness of premises

The flooring should be of stone, cement or other improvised materials.

Walls and ceiling stands should be properly plastered and lime washed/painted or vitrified tiles fitted.

There should be adequate lighting and ventilation.

No live bird or animals should be allowed to be slaughtered in any premises other than for which license has been granted.

There should be geysers in the meat shop for supply of hot water at a temperature not less than 82 degree Celsius to clean the premises and equipment used in the meat shop.

All workers in the meat shop should be dressed in uniform, aprons and caps.

No meat shop should be opened in residential area unless a no objection certificate is obtained.

The waste material generated at the meat shops shall be treated as per guidelines of the Punjab Pollution Control Board and the licencee shall obtain prior permission.

There should be a sink for washing meat and other items.

There should be a drain with the floor sloped at an angle which allows all liquids to flow into the sewers.

There should be no direct communication of premises with room used as a living or sleeping area.

Should be situated in a building approved by the MC.

Should be fitted with a table, the top of which should be covered with a zinc sheet or a slab of marble, slate or stone for cutting meat.

A wash basin made of porcelain/stainless steel along with soap and nail brush for thorough cleaning of hands.



Vehicle hits electric poles, supply disrupted
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 2
Power supply in several residential localities and commercial areas around Kochar Market was disrupted when a heavy vehicle (carrying a container) hit electric poles supporting a transformer late last night. As the poles gave way, the transformer fitted atop them fell down, and 11 KV as also PVC cables attached to it got damaged. All areas fed by the damaged transformer were plunged into darkness.

Even though work had been taken in hand to mend the snapped cables and replace the damaged transformer, most of the affected localities were still without power.

According to Sanjiv Prabhakar, senior executive engineer, Model Town division, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, a truck hit the electric poles and damaged the transformer at around 12.30 am and the power supply to some 200 domestic and commercial consumers was disrupted.

“The technical field staff is on the job to mend the 11 KV cables and the PVC cables. The feeder has been made operational and power supply restored to some of the affected areas by shifting the load. As the transformer needs replacement, it will take another 24 hours for the power supply to affected areas become normal,” said Prabhakar.

A few residents and shopkeepers of Kochar Market and adjoining residential localities were upset over the time taken by the PSPCL authorities in restoring the power supply to affected areas. “Power supply was disrupted at around midnight last night. It has been more than 18 hours that we are making without power. Even though the weather is not very hot, but power failure affects domestic water supply as well while the shopkeepers suffer loss due to the power failure,” said Surinder Gupta, an area resident.



Transporter commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Rajinder Singh (61), a resident of Asha Puri, allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his licensed revolver here early this morning. The police has registered a case under Section 174 of the IPC.

Rajinder Singh, a transporter, was not keeping well for the past a few months. He had also suffered from a paralytic stroke. Depressed, Rajinder shot himself dead with his licensed revolver at around 5.30 am today. Prior to taking this extreme step, Rajinder had reportedly asked his wife to prepare a cup of tea for him. When wife brought it, she was shocked to see the victim lying dead. His wife and three children survive Rajinder Singh.



1,200 lts of synthetic milk seized, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Raikot, November 2
The police claimed to have busted a gang involved in supplying synthetic milk to manufacturers of milk products and consumers.

The kingpin of the gang is yet to be arrested. But, two of its members were arrested during a raid conducted by the police and officials of the health department.

About 1,200 liters of spurious synthetic milk, 14 bags of dry milk powder and six bottles of unknown chemical (allegedly used in preparing synthetic milk) were seized from their possession.

Those arrested have been identified as Jagroop Singh Sharma of Jalaldiwal village, Sanjiv Kumar and Gurjit Singh, both of Boparai Khurad village in the Ludhiana district.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ludhiana (Rural) Amar Singh Chahal said the Jalaldiwal police had acted on a tip off that some persons were supplying synthetic milk in the area by preparing the same in a rented accommodation at Boparai village.

Nidhan Singh, SHO, Jalaldiwal, was directed to coordinate with the officials of the health department and proceed against the suspects who were playing with lives of people by supplying them slow poison in form of milk prepared from chemicals.

A joint team led by Nidhan Singh, Dr Kulwinder Singh, SMO, Harpreet Kaur and Manoj Khosla (both food safety officers) nabbed Sanjiv Kumar and Gurjit Singh while they were going to supply their product in the market yesterday.

Health Hazard

It is suspected that the accused had been preparing synthetic milk by using wastewater of split milk, milk powder and a few chemicals known to be injurious to health. Though a major produce was supplied to an Industrial group engaged in manufacturing of the milk product, including milk powder for children, sweetmeat makers and tea stalls were also among consumers.



City schools shift timings ahead of winter
Tribune News Service

Students cycle their way to a school in Ludhiana
Students cycle their way to a school in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 2
As the mornings becoming chillier, the city adjusts its timings in sync with the changing weather. City schools have already changed their timings accordingly.

Students of Sacred Heart Convent School come to the school at quarter past seven; BCM Arya Model School takes an hour’s shift in its timings, while students of government schools have already been coming an hour late at 9 for a month.

“I have taken my bicycle out. In the winter season, I prefer to go around on my bicycle, enjoying the warmth the sun provides in the winter,” says Ankush, a student of BVM School.

“I love winter. The season is a great time to wear awesome clothes,” says Jyoti Sharma, studying in BBA third semester.

“I love winters for the variety of food it offers. In summers, I don’t have the appetite for enjoying food,” says Rakesh Bhalla, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar.

However, for some, the short duration of the day is not what they like. “I have to go to tuitions in the morning and evening. As the day starts late and it gets dark early in the evening, it does constrict my timings because of the short day,” says Neha Garg, a student of Class XII.



Drug business boom near educational institutes
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 2
Opening up of hospitals or clinics near chemist shops was once considered crucial for running a successful venture. These are no longer confined to hospitals and clinics only and those located near various educational institutes of the town, are emerging as a good business hubs for entrepreneurs willing to open new drug stores.

Nearness to hospitals or clinics, which was essential for opening new chemist shops and attracting customers in the past, is no more a first choice for entrepreneurs willing to open new chemist shops as those near various educational institutes are doing brisk business due to increasing number of students getting addict to the habit-forming drugs.

Earlier when the existence of medical institutes at a given place meant a good business for the owners of medical stores located near these, the search for a good commercial place surrounded by the hospitals and clinics was quite a difficult task for the new entrepreneurs opening chemist shops.

Moreover, the businessmen willing to open new medical stores don’t hesitate in spending extra bucks while purchasing or hiring the shops near hospitals and clinics. Most of them are aware these would definitely earn them good revenue.

But the trend seems to have changed during the past few years. There is no compulsion to new entrepreneurs to purchase shops near any hospital or the clinic.

Nowadays chemists prefer to run medical stores near educational institutes. Reason: Investment is low as compared to those near the hospitals. Thus, a large number of chemist shops are coming up in every nook and cranny of the town.

A few chemist shops are earning more profits than those near the hospitals as youths, including students, purchase more then those admitted to various hospitals. Besides, the sale of banned drugs, always offer huge margin to the chemists as compared to the medicines prescribed by the physicians. Whereas the patients and attendants usually bargain with the chemists while purchasing medicines, youths rarely bother about the price being charged from them for the drug of their choice.

This makes the sale of banned drugs a lucrative business for the chemists. Drugs like Corex, Phenesedyl, Rexcof, Recodex and Restyl, Alprex, Carrysoma, Parvon Spas, Spasmo and Proxyvon are quite popular among youths. These drugs also provide huge margin to the sellers.

These drugs are readily available at various medical stores located near Government Senior Secondary School on the Tehsil Road and LRDAV College. Though no prominent hospital is located near these educational institutes, drug stores are still doing a brisk business.

Unfortunately, neither any social organisation nor management of any educational institute has raised its voice against this unethical practice. The administration, too, seemed to have turned a blind eye to this trend. DSP, Jagraon, Harpal Singh, said: “We are keeping a strict vigil on such medical stores to check the sale of banned drugs. We have arrested a few chemists in the past. We will further tighten the noose around such stores and take strict action if anyone is found selling banned drugs to the youngsters.”

Unhealthy trend

Nearness to hospitals or clinics, which was essential for opening new chemist shops and attracting customers in the past, is no longer a first choice for entrepreneurs willing to open new chemist shops as those near educational institutes are doing brisk business due to increasing number of students getting addict to the habit-forming drugs. Moreover, the businessmen willing to open new medical stores don’t hesitate in spending extra bucks while purchasing or hiring the shops near hospitals and clinics. Most of them are aware these would definitely earn them good revenue.



Ludhiana scan

‘Bharat ko Jano’

Culture connect
A play ‘Main Punjab Bolda Haan’, written by Nirmal Jaura and directed by Sompal Heera, was staged at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana. More than 30 artistes enacted in the play, which traces the history of Punjab since the arrival of Aryans
A play ‘Main Punjab Bolda Haan’, written by Nirmal Jaura and directed by Sompal Heera, was staged at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan in Ludhiana. More than 30 artistes enacted in the play, which traces the history of Punjab since the arrival of Aryans. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Seven school at the junior level and nine schools at the senior level participated in the “Bharat ko Jano” contest at Government Senior Secondary School, Mandi Gobindgarh, which is being organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad. In both categories, students of Om Parkash Bansal Modern School bagged first position. — OC

New body announced

Keeping in view the forthcoming assembly elections in the state, the Youth Akali Dal and youth wing of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) announced the new body of the Youth Akali Dal (Ludhiana Rural-1) at a meeting held in Jagraon on Tuesday. Fourteen workers were appointed as senior vice-presidents, while 36 have been appointed as vice-presidents. As many as 40 were declared as district general secretaries, while 30 have been appointed as secretaries. Besides this, Zila Parishad, Ludhiana, chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali, Jagjit Singh Talwandi, Jaswant Singh Purain, Gurcharan Singh Grewal (all SGPC members) and Indermohan Singh Kadian have been made advisors. — OC

Book out

A book titled ‘Jagrawan Thandian Chavan’ was released on Monday at Basic Training School here. A function was held in memory of famous writer and poet Prof Mohan Lal Sharma. Ajit Pyasa has penned down the book. — OC



Gurpreet, Kiranjot, Manpreet bag top spots in poster contest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
To mark the World Stroke Day, a poster competition was organised for nursing students at the OPD complex of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH).

The theme of the competition was “Act fast: Rush to emergency in case of symptoms of stroke”.

Principal, Prof Daljit Singh; dean academics, Prof Rajoo Singh Chhina, and Dr Rajinder Bansal judged the competition.

Gupreet Kaur, Manpreet Kaur and Kiranjot Kaur bagged top positions in the contest.

A message from actress Rani Mukherjee, who is the first national stroke ambassador of the Indian Stroke Association, was telecast to audience comprising of OPD patients.

The hospital has a stroke helpline number i.e. 99153-55100 for emergency consultation in case anyone experiences stroke symptoms. This free service is available to residents of Ludhiana and its vicinity.



PAU becomes farmer friendly
Sells seeds on a tractor-trolley at varsity gates to facilitate them
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, November 2
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has recently started selling seeds on a tractor-trolley at the PAU gates to facilitate farmers. Meanwhile, the department of seeds is working on a plan to construct sale counters on the road near the varsity gates.

A few days ago, the university authorities had publicised an advertisement about the availability of PAU-621 and other wheat seeds. Meanwhile, the university has started selling seeds on the edge of road outside the university gate No 2. With the initiative, the seeds are now available on weekends also.

Director seeds SR Sharma said, “Farmers always prefer the university seeds but sometimes they find some difficulties in collecting the seed from the university stores. So, we decided to sell rabbi session seeds to facilitate them.” He said, “A project of constructing shops on the Ferozpur road is in pipeline. It will be helpful to provide the seeds and its literature to the farmers easily. We have sent a design of market to the concerned department."

Hardeep Singh a farmer from Mullanpur said, “I was passing through the road and saw trolley of PAU. I was not aware the availability of PAU- 621 seeds. Now I am planning to buy seed.”

“Security on the university gates often demands to show the papers of vehicle which causes little inconvenience for the farmers. It is a good initiative by the university,” he added.



‘Need to promote Punjabi’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Dr Amarjit Singh Khera and present Vice-Chancellor, Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, while addressing deans, directors and officials of the university here today emphasised on the need for promoting Punjabi language.

Adding that the official work of the university should be done in Punjabi, they said a Punjabi dictionary of agricultural terms would be prepared by PAU, which would include all old and new words of science and farming.

Presenting a copy of the English-Punjabi dictionary brought out by the language department, Punjab, to varsity officials, Dr Khera said besides agriculture, PAU had carved a niche for itself in fine arts, literature, sports and other extra-curricular activities. He said the university could take pride in producing great scientists, literary figures, sportspersons and academicians. Lauding the contribution of PAU to the nations’ food bowl, Dr Khera underlined the need to cope up with the new challenges through scientific knowledge.

Dr Dhillon said the university publications in Punjabi were in great demand among the farming community. He added that PAU would continue to make all efforts to promote Punjabi and culture in future also.

Gurbhajan Singh Gill, senior editor (Punjabi) and president, Punjabi Sahit Akademi, Ludhiana, emphasized on preserving the rich heritage of Punjab for future generations.



Experts dwell on emerging mgmt concepts for poultry production
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, November 2
A three-day national symposium on “Emerging management concepts for sustainable livestock and poultry production” and annual convention of the Indian Society of Animal Production Management (ISAPM) was organised by the department of livestock production and management, College of VeterinarySscience, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), was inaugurated here today.

The Vice-Chancellor was the chief guest. In his inaugural address, Dr Taneja said the importance of the symposium gt doubled, as it was being organised during the World Veterinary-2011 celebrations, as veterinary profession has completed its 250 years. He also emphasised that livestock is an integral part for most of the rural masses and its development will further strengthen the socio-economic status of the livestock keepers, which is also the need of hour.

Dr Kusumakar Sharma, ADG (HRD), ICAR, New Delhi, was the guest of honour. Dr DN Jana and Dr R Samanta, president and general secretary, respectively, of the central executive committee of ISAPM, were also present on the occasion

Further, he briefed about the forthcoming scientific sessions to be held in the coming days. Dr Chandrahas, joint organising secretary, informed the symposium was organised under the public-private partnership for the benefit of farmers, planners, academicians and students. The chief guest also released a souvenir of lectures and a compendium of lead papers and abstracts.



Programme on sub-tropical fruit crops
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, November 2
A 21-day summer school programme on “Tree Architecture Engineering and Management of Sub-tropical Fruit Crops” culminated here yesterday. The course was organised by the department of horticulture, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), under the aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi. About 29 participants from 16 state agricultural universities participated in the summer school.

PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon said although India was the second largest producer of fruits in the world after China, yet the per capita consumption of fruits was at the bottom among the developed and developing countries. Stating that nutritional security of the country was a matter of concern, Dr Dhillon underlined the need to increase the production of fruits in the country.

The tree architecture could play an important role in this direction, he added.

Chief guest Dr Gursharan Singh, Dean, postgraduate studies, PAU, appreciated the efforts of the department in organising the summer school. He distributed certificates among participants and also released the proceedings of the course edited by Dr WS Dhillon, Dr PPS Gill and Dr NP Singh.

Earlier, Dr PS Aulakh, head, department of horticulture, while welcoming dignitaries said lectures on different aspects of the course by scientists of the PAU, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, and YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, were delivered during the course. Trainees were taken to Amritsar, Abohar, Gangian (Hoshiarpur) and Pinjore for educational tours. He added that for practical exposure, they visited PAU research stations, government orchard and some private orchards.



Delegation from ministry of sciences visits PAU

Ludhiana, November 2
A two-member delegation from the Ministry of Sciences and Technology (MST), Government of India, New Delhi, visited Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), yesterday. The delegation comprised Dr Sujata Chaklanobis, scientist and member secretary, MST, and Dr Ramanuj Banerjee, scientist, department of scientific industrial research, MST.

Apprising the delegation of the PAU research, teaching and extension activities, Dr HS Dhaliwal, additional director of extension education, PAU, said with the efforts of PAU scientists, Punjab was contributing 30 per cent honey and 50 per cent mushroom to the nation’s kitty.

He said, “At present, Punjab has about 25,000 beekeepers, who annually produce more than 10,000 metric tonnes of honey.”

Dr Chaklanobis lauded the role of PAU in beekeeping development and mushroom production.

Dr Banerjee said their visit to the PAU would be fruitful in giving impetus to the scientific research.

The delegation visited beekeeping unit, mushroom cultivation labs and farms of respective department of the university. Dr Shammi Kapoor, PAU scientist, familiarised the delegation members with the university recommended mushroom varieties. — TNS



MC to intensify fogging operations in city
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
For tackling dengue menace, which has already spread its tentacles in the city and has claimed several lives, the Municipal Corporation has finally come out of its slumber and has decided to intensify fogging in all parts of the city.

A meeting in this regard was held today, in which various teams were formed, which would conduct fogging in all parts of the city in the morning as well as in the evening.

The MC is having a total of 13 fogging machines in addition to 75 hand-held fogging machines, which are with councillors.

MC Zonal Commissioner Amarjit Singh Sekhon informed that the civic body is already doing fogging in the city. “But as the number of patients is going up, we have decided to intensify our fogging operations, so that the number of patients suffering from dengue could be brought down,” said Sekhon.

Out of 13 big fogging machines, 12 have been put into use. “Three machines each have been allotted to four zones of the city, while one machine has been kept on a standby. In addition to it, 75 hand-held machines have also been put to best use. If any person wants the MC to conduct fogging in his respective area, he can either contact the area councillor or MC officials,” claimed Sekhon.



Council chief, BJP councillor assaulted
Our correspondent

Khanna, November 2
President of the Khanna Nagar Council Iqbal Singh and a BJP councillor Anil Dutt Phalli were allegedly assaulted by a group of persons led by a former BJP leader in connection with an ongoing development work in ward No. 19. Anil Dutt Phalli was rushed to the local Civil Hospital.

The BJP councillor said a few forced the labourers from doing work. He was informed about the incident by a labourer. When he reached the spot, a few persons led by former BJP leader Yograj Yogi started abusing him and forcibly got the stopped. He was attacked with iron rods in the head and back after he objected the move.

Meanwhile, Yogi also reached the hospital with a few persons and manhandled Iqbal Singh, who had come to enquire about Anil’s health. Nagar Council president Iqbal Singh confirmed that the attackers, too, manhandled him.

DSP Khanna Devinder Singh Dhuri said a case under Section 307 was registered against three persons, including Yograj Yogi, for assaulting Anil and the Nagar Council chief.



Giddha, singing mark end of youth fest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The PTU Inter-College Zonal Youth Festival at the Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT) has concluded amidst fanfare. Faculty and students of GNIMT have put in great efforts to make it a successful event. The last day of the youth festival had Prem Gupta, chairman of ST Group of Industries and general secretary of DMCH, Ludhiana, as the chief guest.

While addressing the students, Gupta emphasised on the importance of holistic development of personality. He also mentioned that the youth festivals inculcate team spirit and give the students glimpses of our culture and heritage.

The fest started with western solo vocal on Day II, in which Garima Bhardwaj of GNIMT, Ludhiana, stood first and Guneetpal Singh of BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, stood second.

The overall trophy was won by BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, and runners-up trophy was bagged by GNIMT, Model Town, Ludhiana.

The chief guest for the prize distribution was Harmohinder Singh, MLA Raikot.

Results: Western group song: BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ist; GNDEC-Ludhiana IInd.

Classical vocal solo: Chandan Preet Kaur of BBSBEC Ist, Pallavi Talwar of GNIMT-Ludhiana IInd.

Collage making: Manpreet Kaur of BBSBEC Ist; Sagar Chhabra of GNIMT-Ludhiana IInd.

Cartooning: Sushil Jangra of GGNIMT Ist, Tanya Singh of BBSBEC IInd.

Debate: Joban Preet Kaur and Roohpreet of PIFT-Patiala Ist, Deepika Bhardwaj & Sukhdeep Kaur of BBSBEC IInd.

Clay modelling: Kirpal Sidhu of BBSBEC Ist, Prabhdeep Singh of GGNIMT-Ludhiana IInd.

Poem recitation: Ranjot Kaur of BBSBEC Ist, Raman of DBEC IInd.

One-act play: GGNIMT Ludhiana Ist, GNIMT-Ludhiana IInd.

Mimicry: GGNIMT-Ludhiana Ist, GNIMT-Ludhiana IInd.

Poster making: GNDEC-Ludhiana Ist, BBSBEC IInd.

Quiz: GGNIMT-Ludhiana Ist, GNDEC IInd.

Giddha: GNDEC-Ludhiana Ist, BBSBEC IInd.



Association wants tax rates slashed by 20 per cent
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 2
Making a fervent plea to slash maximum rate of income tax to 20 per cent and abolish multiple tax system, the Punjab Taxation Bar Association has asserted that not only the economy but also trade and industry will flourish but the revenue of the Central and state governments will also shoot up.

Addressing an executive committee meeting of the association here last evening, its chairman Ashok Kumar Juneja said the government had not given effect to the promised restructuring of the multiple tax system after the valued added tax (VAT) regime was incorporated in 2005. At the same time, he added, the maximum rate of income tax should be brought down to 20 per cent, along with the reduction in indirect taxes, which will auger well for the trade and industry.

General secretary of the body BR Kaushal suggested that before finalisation of the proposed Goods and Service Tax Act and the Direct Tax Code, the government ought to discuss the related issues in detail with the tax bar associations, the trade and industry associations and other bodies like chambers and confederations of industries. Association’s vice-president Raj Pal Gupta and secretary general Lalit Takyar also spoke on the occasion. The stressed the need for bringing transparency in the implementation of taxation laws and making the entire taxation structure less cumbersome as well as people-friendly.



3,000 students to exhibit talent in youth fest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Ramgarhia Girls College, Miller Ganj, Ludhiana, is hosting the 53rd Panjab University Inter-Zonal Youth and Heritage Festival from November 5 to 8.

Dr Narinder Sandhu, principal and convener of the festival, told a total of 180 colleges from 12 zones, including Muktsar, Ludhiana-A, educational colleges zone-A, Hoshiarpur-A, Chandigarh-A, Hoshiarpur-B, Chandigarh-B, Moga-Ferozpur (girls), Ludhiana-B, educational colleges zone-B, educational colleges zone-C, Moga-Ferozpur (boys), are participating in the festival.

Minister of culture and tourism, Punjab, Hira Singh Gabria will inaugurate the festival and unveil a photograph of Gurdwara Panja Sahib, Pakistan, shot by the lens of Ranjodh Singh, president, Ramgarhia Educational Council.

“It will mark the beginning of a spirit of cultural exchange and healthy competition among students,” said the principal.

She informed that around 3,000 student shall exhibit their talent in 45 items during this four-day festival. On the inaugural day, shabad/bhajan, Indian orchestra, group song, classical music (vocal), geet/ghazal, folk song, percussion and non-percussion will be performed. Embroidery (phulkari or bagh), embroidery (dasuti or cross stich), pakhi designing, crochet work, knitting, mehandi and creative writing shall be conducted on the same day.

On the second day of the festival, events like bhangra, group dance (general), classical dance, ladies traditional songs, vaar/kali and kavishri shall be conducted. Debate, elocution and poem recitation shall be organised on the same day.

Drama and histrionics, quiz, collage making, clay modelling, poster making, cartooning, on-the-spot painting, still life drawing, on-the-spot photography and rangoli will be conducted on the third day. On the concluding day, items as folk orchetra, giddha, group folk dance, skit, mimicry, mime and folk instruments shall be performed.



Health department yet to get iodine testing kits
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
About three months ago the state Health Department ordered district health officers to check the quantity of iodine in salt being sold in their respective districts.

These instructions were part of a Central Government project to check iodine deficiency, especially among pregnant women and school-going children.

The instructions were issued in August, but the project is yet to kick-off in the state due to the unavailability of the required kits for collecting samples.

Dr Kulwinder Singh, district health officer, Ludhiana, who has also been appointed as the nodal officer for this project, said: “About 10 days ago I held a meeting of senior medical officers of Ludhiana and demonstrated them as how to collect samples of urine and salt. There are nine health blocks in the district and from each block we will collect five random samples of urine and 10 samples of salt being used by the people at their respective homes. The samples will be collected from schools and village houses. The main focus will be on pregnant women and school-going children as usually they become an easy prey to iodine deficiency.”

He further said 90 per cent of salt samples would be tested in district-level laboratories and 10 per cent would be checked at Punjab Food Testing Laboratory, Chandigarh. However, samples of urine would be tested at Chandigarh only.

When asked as why the project is yet to take off, the DHO said: “We are waiting for the standardised kits for collecting samples. The day we get the kits, we will immediately distribute the same to the staff concerned.”

Hypothyroidism on rise

It is a good project. In Punjab, there are several people who are suffering from hypothyroidism because of iodine deficiency. So, iodised salt is a must

Dr LS Chawla, gastroenterologist

Cause of diseases

Iodine deficiency causes disease like goiter, low-mental level and arthritis and it may also lead to cancer.



Chaura Bazar fire
Years on, promise to traders remains unfulfilled
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The fire that broke out in three wooden shops located in the Chaura Bazaar area on Monday and in which goods worth Rs 14 lakh were gutted has brought to the fore the plight of shopkeepers, who were promised shops in yet to be constructed complex behind their shops.

Som Nath Grover, chairman, Chaura Bazaar Shopkeepers’ Association, said about 45 wooden shops were constructed in the area 60 years ago. A few years ago, we were told to shut down our business and shift to some other place. We urged the government to provide us with an alternate site. The government decided to provide us shops in yet to be constructed complex in a piece of land behind our shops. But, the complex has not been constructed till date and we have been forced to run our business from wooden shops.

A shopkeeper of the area said they had been operating in this area for decades. “All of us know that wooden shops are more prone to fire than those made of concrete. But we are left with no other option. The government has promised us a piece of land and until we get it, we cannot shift from here,” claimed a shopkeeper.



msme sector
Slump in sale vehicles hits units hard
Manufacturers forced to realign strategy
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 2
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU) has expressed concern over slump in the sale of passenger vehicles and its adverse effect on the micro, small and medium (MSME) sector located here and elsewhere in the state.

According to CICU general secretary Avtar Singh, the slowdown in the automobile sector has forced the manufacturers to realign their sales strategy. A cut on the production is on the cards, or has already been given effect. Coupled with high fuel prices and increased interest rates, there has been significant fall in the sale of cars and commercial vehicles for the third month in succession.

“As money and the fuel has become expensive, the sales of cars, vans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs) decreased by 8.9 per cent in July and again by 5.7 per cent in August. Even during the festival season (September and October), the auto industry did not see any recovery in the sales of passenger vehicles. To make the matters worse, the two-wheeler segment comprising motorcycles, scooters and mopeds is also places in a similar situation with the result that the auto industry body has been forced to downgrade its forecast for car sales for this fiscal to just about two to four per cent against the 16 to 18 percent growth projected in April 2011,” he said.

Seeking immediate intervention of the Union government to save the MSME segment of the auto industry, the CICU has asked that the monetary policy of the RBI to rein in inflation by increasing key interest rates (13 times since March 2010) be reconsidered. “Harsh measures being taken by the RBI in this regard have threatened the very survival of MSME units, which are the backbone of the Indian economy,” Avtar Singh said while adding that the RBI ought to reduce rate of interest on loans to micro and small units. It should not exceed 10 per cent.

The CICU functionary said the other measures that the Centre could initiate to provide some relief to the auto segment were reduction in the excise duty on passenger vehicles and two wheelers by 2 per cent with immediate effect and renewed focus for strengthening the infrastructure for production of more vehicles that could run on CNG and LPG.

The state government could also chip in, said Avtar Singh, towards accelerating the passenger vehicles sales in Punjab by cutting down VAT on passenger cars and two wheelers from prevailing 13.75 per cent to 5.5 per cent, putting its act together to provide uninterrupted power supply to the industrial sector and laying greater stress on making available reasonably good road network in the state which is directly related to growth in passenger vehicles segment.



Video conferencing facility launched
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
Now officials of the Local Bodies Department would not have to make frequent rounds of Chandigarh for attending meetings as video conferencing facility has started in the department from today onwards.

This facility was formally launched today and representatives of all the four municipal corporations of the state interacted with Local Bodies Secretary Satish Chandra through video conferencing.

Earlier, Local Bodies Minister Tikshan Sud was supposed to formally inaugurate the facility, but due to a Cabinet meeting he failed to come online and Satish Chandra launched the facility in his place.

MC Additional Commissioner Malwinder Singh Jaggi, who was also present during the video conferencing, along with Deputy Director Local Bodies Babita, said the facility would be used for intra-department meetings.

“It is a good initiative of the state government as a lot of time would be saved. From now onwards, we can easily have an intra-department meeting whenever required and that also sitting in our own offices,” said Jaggi. The state government has given contract to a private company to launch the facility.

A senior MC official said with the launch of this facility, “We would be able to save a lot of time. Sometimes we used to go all the way to Chandigarh for a meeting, which continued merely for half an hour.”

“Now we could attend meetings while sitting in our office, besides the move would save expenses incurred on petrol and diesel,” the official claimed.



Ludhiana resident gets state award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
The language department, Punjab, has awarded Yashpal Bangia, a retired employee of the postal department, with the state award for the second edition of his book “Dhalti Umar, Badhte Kadam”.

He was awarded with the cash prize of Rs 5,000, along with a citation and shawl by Punjab education minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan and director language department, Balbeer Kaur.

Bangia said, “I am thankful to the language department for recognising my services to the world of literature. Now, I have pinned up my hopes on Saraswati Award by Birla Foundations.”

After retiring as public relation officer from the postal department, Bangia has written three books dedicated to senior citizens. He has taken a vow to come up with a new book every year dedicated to the senior citizens.



Elderly woman dies under mysterious circumstances
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 2
A 75-year-old woman died under mysterious circumstances at her house in Dashmesh Nagar here late night. The victim has been identified as Surjit Kaur. She was staying alone in the house since long.

The incident came to light today morning when a milkman, who had come to the victim’s house for supplying the milk, knocked at the door for almost 10 minutes. He got suspicious and called neighbours, who in turn informed the police.

A police team reached the spot and broke open the door. The cops saw the body of an elderly woman lying on a bed. The police suspects that the victim might have been strangulated to death, as there were visible marks on her neck.

Initially the police suspected that thieves might have killed the woman. “As some gold ornaments worn by the victim and other valuables were missing from the house. This clearly indicates that the woman might have been murdered before committing robbery in the house,” said investigating officer Chaman Parkash.

Surjit Kaur had no child and was living alone in her house after her husband’s death a few years ago. According to sources, a relative of Surjit Kaur had arranged a maid for taking care of her. The maid used to come in the morning and leave in the evening after completing all the tasks.

Meanwhile, the police has taken the body to the local Civil Hospital for the post-mortem examination.

SHO City Gurpreet Singh said initially it appears that the woman might have killed by the thieves with the motive of looting the house. “We have found some clues from the spot. This will to in catching the accused,” added SHO.



4 shooters make it to nationals

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 2
In the All-India GV Mavlankar shooting competition held at Ahmedabad, four students of Om Parkash Bansal Modern School, Mandi Gobindgarh, qualified for the nationals to be held in Pune from November 14 to November 21. Divyanshi Walia, Gurnoor Singh, Ashish and Ashotosh were excited to win the coveted place and sounded hopeful of bagging the overall trophy. Founder and chairman Dr Hukam Chand Bansal congratulated the three on their achievement. — OC



Special Olympics from November 11
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 2
A state-level meeting of the Special Olympics, Bharat, Punjab chapter, was held under the chairmanship of Surinder Singh Ryait, who is the chairperson of State Special Olympics Association and general secretary of Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar.

The meeting, which was held today at GNPS, was attended by area director Ravi Bhushan, vice-chairperson Ashok Arora and other members of the association. Surinder said the state-level Special Olympics, being organised for differently abled children, would be hosted by GNPS, Sarabha Nagar, from November 11 to 13.

The Special Olympics would start on November 11 with a torch rally, which will be flagged off by Hira Singh Gabria.

GNPS principal Mona Singh and convener of District Special Olympics Association said nearly 350 special athletes will participate.



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