L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rail traffic goes haywire
Farmers’ agitation hits passengers hard
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 5
The erratic run of the trains for the past several days due to a heavy blanket of fog engulfing the region was further compounded today due to the “rail roko” agitation by farmers in the state.

Farmers squatted on railway tracks at several places and held up trains, causing huge inconvenience to the travelling public.

According to the railways officials, almost all trains running on trunk routes (New Delhi-Amritsar and New Delhi-Jammu) were detained by protesting farmers at different places during the day, and were delayed by anything from four to six hours.

Both 12029 Swarn Shatabdi and 12014 Shatabdi Express trains proceeding from New Delhi to Amritsar and Amritsar to New Delhi, respectively, were held up at Sirhind, and the trains reached their respective destinations four to five hours behind schedule. The 12920 Jammu Tawi-Indore Malwa Express and 12474 Jammu Tawi-Mumbai Swaraj Express were stuck at the Dasuya railway station till the agitation was called off at 4 pm.

Other trains on their way to Amritsar, Jammu, New Delhi and beyond, including 12497 New Delhi-Amritsar Shane-Punjab, 12460 New Delhi-Amritsar Intercity Express and 12926 Amritsar-Bandra Pashchim Express, were also delayed between four to six hours.

Passengers travelling by the trains which were held up by the farmers had a harrowing time, as many of them would miss their important meetings, social commitments or even connecting flights.

A family of five travelling to Delhi by the 11058 Amritsar-Mumbai Dadar Express was to attend a marriage at Delhi, which they were sure to miss as the train was stranded at the Ludhiana railway station for more than three hours. A visibly upset Kulwant Bansal, head of the family, said the journey was planned well in advance and reasonable margin for late running of train was also there. "But now that we are stranded for many hours due to some agitation which we have nothing to do with, we shall not be able to make it in time."

Another family travelling by the same train to Delhi was to catch a connecting train to Shirdi from New Delhi, but the delay of several hours as the train got held up here was keeping them on tenterhooks as they apprehended missing their connecting train in which advance reservation had been made by them.

Quite a few passengers, who bore the brunt of the rail roko by farmers, were literally at the verge of exploding. "Why can't these agitators leave the rail passengers alone and fight it out with the government in some other manner, which at least does not put the general public to inconvenience? Why can't the railways, police and the administration rein in the handful of agitators who hold thousands of unconnected rail travellers to ransom?" many of them wondered.

Khanna: With farmers blocking the Khanna railway track, passengers had to go through a harrowing time.

Ashok Kumar, a trader, said he had to go to Ludhiana for purchasing goods, but due to the blockade, he could not go.

Another commuter, Sukhdev Singh of Hambowal village, said he was to go to Delhi, but he had to put off his plan.

Several passengers had to board buses to reach their respective destinations. “I cannot wait here anymore. It seems that these protesters are not going to budge. So it is better to board a bus,” said a passenger.

Some of them, who had no other choice than to go by trains, heaved a sigh of relief when the farmers called off their stir at 3.30 pm.

“It is not a good thing to put passengers to inconvenience. Even if the cause is genuine, people should not be made to suffer,” lamented another passenger. “The protest can be held in such a manner that it does not affect the general public. After all, we have not done anything wrong. Why should we suffer?” asked a harried passenger.

“How can an organisation hold people to ransom?” he added.

Security was stepped up at the railway station following the farmers’ protest. Later, food was served to protesters and passengers. 


Schools will also be held accountable
Violations by bus operators
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Till now the school authorities used to distance themselves from owning the responsibility when a school bus or an auto-rickshaw used to meet with an accident, but from now onwards, the school authorities would be held equally accountable in case a school bus meets with an accident.

Sending a clear signal to the school authorities after the death of 14 students at Ambala, the assistant commissioner of police (ACP-Traffic) Sandeep Sharma said the school authorities would be held equally accountable if the vehicle meant for ferrying students met with an accident and children receive injuries.

The ACP traffic came down heavily on the school authorities today and told them to abide by the rules laid down by the Supreme Court.

He said instead of bailing out private bus operators, the school authorities would also be held accountable if children receive injuries in an accident.

“Why are the school authorities not keeping a check on the bus and auto-rickshaw operators who are indulging in overloading of vehicles? The blame game would not be tolerated. The school authorities cannot wash off their hand by stating that the buses belong to private operators. If the rules are being violated, the school authorities would be equally blamed for it,” said Sandeep Sharma. 



Government schools to start at 9.30 am 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
As a major relief to the students of government and primary schools in the district, the Punjab Government has changed the timings of all government senior secondary and primary schools. The timings have been changed keeping in view the dense fog and cold weather.

A spokesman of thePunjab Education Department said that the morning time of the schools now would be 9.30 am instead of 9 am. He said the timing had been changed after the due approval of the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab.

Students, principals and teachers of the government and primary schools have welcomed this decision. "We appreciate this decision by the government. Students were facing difficulty due to harsh weather. The instructions have come as a matter of relief for them," said Sanjeev Thapar, principal, Government Model School, Punjab Agricultural University.

Savita, studying in class VIII, said , "I had to leave early in the morning to reach the school in time, but the fog lately has been too much. Thankfully, the timings have been changed," she said.

Narinder Kaur, whose son studies in class V, said it was a good thing. "I have been worried about the health of my son as he has to go to the school so early in the cold. But finally the timings have been changed," she said. 



Robbers kill watchman, flee with cash
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
A 22-year-old watchman was killed by robbers at a textile unit in Cheema Chowk area. Before fleeing from the spot, robbers dumped the body of the victim in a store and fled with cash Rs 40,000.

Initially, the factory owner suspected that the watchman had decamped with cash, but the whole matter came to light when a worker found the body of the victim lying in the store this evening.

According to the police, the incident perhaps took place at mid-night when the watchman, identified as Raju, a resident of Daba road, was manning the factory unit.

Kulwinder Singh said workers were busy in the night shift when robbers struck the unit. The investigating officer said the robbers overpowered the security guard and gagged the latter to death.

After killing Raju, robbers took Rs 40,000 lying in the cupboard and ransacked the whole office. In the morning when the shift changed, the workers informed the owner of the factory unit about the incident.

Suspecting it to be the handiwork of the watchman, the owner lodged a complaint with the police stating that Raju had fled with cash.

It was later during the day when a worker spotted the body of watchman lying in the storeroom that the whole story came to light.

In the meantime, the Division No 6 police has registered a murder and robbery case against unidentified assailants and started investigation. 

Security goes for a toss

There seems to be no stopping of robbery incidents. The city police was groping in the dark in the murder case of Sohan Singh Lamberdar that took place in the Noorpur Bet area nearly 10 days ago, but the fresh robbery-murder incident has again put a question mark on the security scenario in the city.




Yarn worth Rs 7 lakh gutted at mill
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Yarn worth Rs 7 lakh was gutted in a fire that broke out at Supreme Woollen Mill located in the Kanganwal area here today. A short circuit was believed to be the reason behind the incident.

The fire that broke out around 2.40 pm engulfed the entire dying unit of the mill within a span of few minutes.

The workers in the mill saw managed to escape from the spot.

According to assistant fire officer Krishan Lal Kakkar, two fire tenders were pressed into service. Luckily, no one received injury.

“The mill is fully equipped to tackle any fire incident. The used their fire extinguishers and water cannon to douse the fire. Though we have managed to control the fire, we have yet to douse the flames,” said Kakkar.

There was resentment among the factory workers as the fire tender reached the spot after an hour.

A fire fighter, requesting anonymity, said the department was ill-equipped to douse the fire. “Fortunately, the mill has a sophisticated fire-fighting system, otherwise we were unable to control a fire of such magnitude,” said the fire fighter.

Vivek Gupta, owner of the mill, said a major tragedy was averted as the fire could not spread in other parts of the factory.

He said yarn worth Rs 5 crore was kept in the unit, but fortunately due to timely action the fire was brought under control. 



Assembly poll: War of words picks up
Use of FM radio, social networking sites in vogue
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
From good, bad to ugly, the campaign war between the SAD-BJP and the Congress is set to cross all levels of decency, with the arch-rivals missing no chance to criticise each other.

Jeeta and Jaggi, two cartoon characters created by the Congress to campaign against the SAD-BJP combine, have hit social networking websites and community FM radio stations.

Not to be left behind, the SAD-BJP is also giving the Congress a tough fight and is busy criticising development works in the state in the past five years.

The ugly war of words being exchanged between the SAD-BJP and the Congress on social networking website Facebook and the fierce advertisement campaign on various FM radio stations have heated up the political scene in the state.

Congress insiders said by throwing advertisement on the FM radio, the party meant to spread the message of the SAD-BJP misrule among the people who travel by car or prefer to listen radio instead of television.

Ishwarjot Cheema, former spokesman of the party, said, “While the SAD-BJP has virtually gagged the television channels showing the misrule of the SAD-BJP government, we are left with no option but to draw the attention of people by using radio.”

He further added, “By highlighting the plight of the state on the social networking website Facebook we are trying to draw the attention of youths towards the condition of the state.”Former SAD MLA Harish Rai Dhanda flayed the Congress for “degenerating” politics. “The Congress party is devoid of issue and that is the reason why they are indulging in cheep politics. If they have problems that the government is controlling cable network in the state, they can lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Broadcasting. First it was ‘Khunda’ and now ‘Jaggi and Jeeta’.



No papers filed on Day 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
No nomination papers were filed on the first day of the filing of papers for the forthcoming Assembly elections, scheduled for January 30 in Punjab, today. Not a single candidate from the 14 constituencies in the district came forward to file his papers today.

The election commission, along with the police, had made elaborated arrangements for the procedure.

Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari said no nomination papers were filed either by candidates of political parties or those contesting independently today. The last date for filing of nomination papers is January 12 from 11 am to 3 pm.



Civil Dispensary ill
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 5
The Civil Dispensary here is not in the pink of health. One can see garbage strewn around these places. “Is the dispensary fit to provide medical care to its patients?” asked a resident of the town.

“Foul smell emanating from the stagnant water makes the lives of patients and their attendants miserable,” said another villager.

Ashwani Sharma, SMO, Payal, said, “Presently, the situation is serious. We, too, are well aware of the situation, but we are helpless as no funds have been released so far for the upgradation of the dispensary.

Hence, we are forced to run the dispensary from the premises of a sub-centre, which is under construction. As far as the surroundings are concerned, a committee has been formed to look into the matter.”

Residents said the government could easily open a primary health centre on the national highway. They said they had been urging the authorities to open a trauma centre for long, but nothing had been done in this direction so far.

Several accident victims have lost their lives for want of treatment. 



Labourer found dead under mysterious circumstances 
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 5
A middle aged migrant labourer was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the cremation ground here last evening. The deceased was identified as Mohammad Abdul, who was employed with a rice mill near Raikot.

The body was found buried at the rear of the cremation ground.

A case was registered against Bikram Bahadur for allegedly killing Mohammad Abdul. The accused was arrested.

The postmortem report has confirmed bullet injury as the cause of the death. The doctors, who conducted the postmortem, said the bullet was fired from a 12 bore rifle belonging to security guard of the mill.

Though the police has arrested Bikram Bahadur for allegedly murdering Mohammad Abdul, family members of the deceased claimed that Bikram Bahadur was innocent and the police had arrested him to save the skin of actual killers, who were influential persons belonging to the ruling party.

The family, along with activists of various farmer unions, staged a dharna at Hari Singh Nalwa Chowk of Raikot. They raised slogans against the police and demanded registration of a case against the rice mill owner and his accomplices.

Mohammad Abdul went missing on December 31. “My father had an argument with the mill owner a couple of days ago and he went missing the very next day. I had even visited the rice mill on January 2 in search of my father and when I asked the mill owner about my father, he told me that my father had been suspended,” said Ali Abdul, son of the deceased.

Alleging that Mohammad Abdul was killed by the rice mill owner and two councillors, the family members lamented that the police was trying to shield the actual killers.

However, the protesting family ended the dharna following an assurance by Raikot DSP Amrik Singh. When contacted, DSP Amrik Singh stated that the police would re-investigate the matter.



Dancing her way to success
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Cherry From Republic Day to annual day functions, the school authorities of Nishkam Vidya Mandir, Dugri branch, always felt relaxed. The reason: they had a talented student, Cherry, who was there for getting all dance and other items prepared in an excellent way. Perhaps none from this slum area school ever thought that one day she would bring laurels to the school by visiting the foreign land after getting selected by a Delhi-based dance troupe, JDR Group.

Her proud mother, Sunita Gill, said, "She will come back after one and a half months and we are eagerly waiting for her arrival. She was a kid when she started dancing. Actually I myself used to take dance classes at home. She usually watched me teaching dancing skills to students in my classes. A few years ago, I suffered from Hepatitis-C. And she started taking classes of my students who also liked her way of training. Thus, my daughter honed her dancing skills while teaching them and studying at school."

Her father, Munna Lal Gill, is a contractor and she has an elder brother. Recalling her old student, Anupama Sharma, managing director of the school, said,"She was good in studies, but she has an inborn talent for dance. Her talent was polished by her devotion and hard work. Last year before passing out class X from our school, she participated in a dance competition held by a private company and got selected. She went to Mumbai with them for a month and from there she got the break to visit London with another company as a choreographer. She is very fond of the school staff and we are also very proud of her talent and hard work."

Her sister-in-law, Anuradha, said,"While we always preferred to watch TV serials, Cherry liked only dance programmes. In a way, it would not be wrong to say that she learnt a lot while watching different dance competitions on television."



NGO doing yeoman service
Has cremated more than 1,700 unidentified bodies
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The Manav Kalyan Sangathan, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which has cremated more than 1,700 unidentified bodies at its own expense, feels that the mortuary created by it on the premises of the Government Railway Police (GRP) police station should be equipped with freezers.

Two years ago, the NGO, which is facing acute fund crunch, had constructed a mortuary on its own with the permission of the GRP on its premises at the Ludhiana railway station. It has a capacity to accommodate five to seven bodies at a time.

NGO president Gurmeet Singh said, ”Sunder Dass Dhamija, founder-chairman of the Govind Godham, donated two ACs for the mortuary, which proved helpful to us for keeping the bodies here in winters. But in summers, the temperature of the mortuary rises due to hot weather and remains in minus. So, we face many problems, as bodies start stinking with maggots infesting them. We want that there should be at least two freezers here so that at least two bodies could be kept there.”

As per rules, the NGO has to keep the unidentified bodies for 72 hours in the custody before cremation. In a month, the NGO cremates 35 to 40 such bodies.

Said NGO cashier Yugesh Chawla :”Around Rs 30,000 to 40,000 is spent on cremating these in a month. We spend Rs 1,125 for the cremation of a body, excluding various other expenses like buying of “samagri” and other things.”

Its general secretary Sanjay Gautam said,”Sometimes we get mutilated or half-eaten bodies, which are worm-infested. It becomes difficult for us to carry these to the crematorium, but we do it for the cause of humanity.”

The NGO gets unidentified bodies from Dhandari Railway Station, Sahnewal Railway Station, GRP Ludhiana, beggers, Kotwali City Division No. 1, etc.

Their cremation is done at the crematorium of Division Number 3.

To immerse the mortal remains, 21 executive members of the NGO visit Haridwar and Beas twice a year. 

Appeal to govt, public

The NGO president has appealed to the state government as well as the public to arrange more freezers at the mortuary of the Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, and GRP police station, which has only one freezer. Those willing to donate can contact at 98880-52572.



Freezers repaired at Civil Hospital mortuary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The freezers which went out of order at the local Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital a few days ago have been repaired.

Stating this, Dr Vikas Jindal, general secretary of the Samvedna Trust, an NGO, said,"These freezers were repaired the very next day. A sum of Rs 7 lakh was spent for installing these last year."

The NGO had also started five mobile mortuaries in the city in September 2009. Dr Jindal said,"On getting a call, we send the mortuary van to the caller's place and after leaving the freezer there, the van comes back. Now people do not have to face the botheration of keeping ice pieces around the body with the availability of the freezer, which runs with electricity."

The NGO has also cremated more than 2,500 unidentified bodies by now. 



food  inflation
Falling prices lift spirits
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The downward trend in the food inflation index, which has led to a decrease in the prices of essential commodities, has come as a major relief for the common man.

Food inflation fell to its lowest level since February, 2008, when it stood at 2.26 per cent. It fell to a four-year low of 1.81 per cent for the week that ended on December 10.

As a result, prices of essential items like vegetables, onion, potato, cooking oil have declined bringing a major relief to the people.

Experts feel the sharp fall in the food inflation numbers, which were in the double digit till the first week of November, comes as a big relief to both the government and people, who have been battling high prices for over two years.

SS Johal, an economist from the city, said the prices of winter produce would also go down. “The prices of vegetables and fruits will show a downward trend in the coming days, while in the case of pulses and oil, we are already deficient,, so nothing can be said about them.”

Whether the price index continues to remain down will depend on the way the season proceeds. “Agriculture depends upon nature and it is only with time that we will know about the production scene. Prices of essential commodities in the future depend upon the production of crops,” he added.

“With food inflation going down, the prices of essential commodities will surely go down but since the old stock is lying with us, we are selling them at the same price. As soon as the fresh stock arrives, the commodities will be sold at new prices,” he added.

“The fall in prices will be welcomed by one and all,” said Suresh, a department store owner at Sarabha Nagar.

“The news came as a whirl of fresh air and everybody is expecting the prices of essential commodities to go down. From the last week, the prices of vegetables have come down and we hope the trend remains the same for the remaining year,” said Harminder Singh, a government employee.

The dip

Onion became cheaper by 49.38 per cent during the last week of December in comparison to the previous year, while potato prices went down by 34.39 per cent. The prices of wheat also fell by 4.21 per cent. Overall, vegetables became cheaper by 26.37 per cent. Inflation in the non-food segment, which includes fibres and oilseeds, was recorded at 1.37 per cent during the last week, as against 2.12 per cent in the week that ended on December 3 



Hookah bars drawing youngsters in droves
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Wearing branded clothes, they sit in a group, smoking the smouldering coal atop the hookah and passing on the smoking pipe to one another after a puff. Youngsters in the city are getting hooked on the hookah culture at hookah bars in a big way. Under the guise of checking out flavours, most are getting addicted to smoking and drugs.

Asked about the point of smoking a hookah, a youngster says it is a good pastime and a reason to get-together with folks.

On the menu in these bars is a long list of flavours, including fruits like guava, mango, lemon, with some quirky names like Brain Freezer, Tequila Shooter, Sex-on-the-beach. All these are available for Rs 250 to Rs 400.

Another youngster says they smoke just for enjoyment. “It is fun for some time. It is like drinking and smoking,” he says, though hesitantly. “It can cause cancer if smoked over a long period of time. I am aware of this, but it is fun,” he says.

Justifying the use of plain hookah, one of the group members says they often do tobacco and drugs along with it. They go plain first and as its effect
kicks in, they pour the “stuff” on it.

An attendant says though these flavours are safe per se, smoking a hookah can really send the head spinning. Although the minimum age is 18, these bars are frequented by underage boys and girls also, he admits.

Despite raids on such joints in the past, hookah bars are flourishing under the guise of providing “flavoured” hookahs.

“There needs to be a regular check and ban on such bars that can lead youngsters astray,” says the mother of a 14-year-old boy.

on the menu

On the menu at hookah bars are fruits flavours like guava, mango, lemon, with some having quirky names like Brain Freezer, Tequila Shooter, Sex-on-the-beach. All these are available between ~ 250 and ~ 400



Venues for filing papers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
Returning officer of Ludhiana North constituency Ashwani Kumar has said that the nomination papers from the constituency for the upcoming Assembly elections will be filed at the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Ludhiana-3, at room No. 250 till January 12 from 11 am to 3 pm.

Similarly, nomination papers from the Ludhiana West constituency can be filed at room Nos. 128-29 at the office of Deputy Director, Urban Local Bodies, Ludhiana, during the same period, according to Babita Kler, returning officer of the constituency.

Also, nomination papers from the Atam Nagar constituency can be filed at the office of Additional Commissioner-2, municipal corporation, Zone-B, Ludhiana, near Shingar Cinema, according to Parmajit Singh Ghumman, returning officer of the constituency.

The scrutiny of documents will be done on January 13 at 11 am and nomination papers can be withdrawn by January 16. They said the election symbols will be allotted on January 16.



Jagraon’s Old Grain Market a picture of neglect
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, January 5
The Old Grain Market here has been a picture of neglect due to the apathetic approach of the local municipal council towards providing basic amenities there. Even as business worth several crores of rupees takes place at the market every day, it has been lying in a state of neglect for several years.

Water accumulated in front of shops due to the absence of a drainage system at a newly constructed market
Water accumulated in front of shops due to the absence of a drainage system at a newly constructed market
A beam juts out of a portion of the entrance gate of the Old Grain Market, Jagraon.
A beam juts out of a portion of the entrance gate of the Old Grain Market, Jagraon. Tribune photograph

The market houses offices of a majority of commission agents, a large number of wholesale shops, godowns of different distributors and dealers of various companies, but it has been without basic facilities for years.

The market is the second largest grain market in Asia after Khanna. Apart from housing commercial establishments, the market has a huge residential area as well.

Moreover, shops and houses of several key personalities, including representatives of local municipal council, are also located there. However, the market is in a state of neglect.

Huge heaps of garbage can be seen lying all around the market. Besides, a large number of stray animals keep wandering in the area. These animals not only make the area look shabby but also cause damage to the goods of shopkeepers. The area is one of the dirtiest localities of the township.

According to shopkeepers, the biggest problem is the lack of proper drainage system for rainwater. As a result, water gets accumulated in the market even after a brief shower, putting shopkeepers, residents and visitors to inconvenience.

Businessmen in the area say they have been suffering huge losses on account of improper drainage of rainwater, as goods worth lakhs of rupees get destroyed during the rainy season every year.

“In spite of repeated appeals for improving the drainage system, nothing has been done in this regard. The local municipal council authorities seem to be least bothered about our problems,” said Inderjit Jhanji, a commission agent at the market.

Another shopkeeper, Raj Kumar, said: “We have taken up these issues with the MC authorities umpteen times. We have also met with various leaders of the ruling party several times but to no avail.”

MC president Baldev Krishan Dhir said the municipal council had recently laid interlocking tiles in the market, which had solved the problem to some extent.

“We will lay tiles in the remaining area of the market after the Assembly elections. Once the tiles are laid in the entire market, the problem of drainage would be solved,” he added.

Second biggest in Asia

The market is the second largest grain market in Asia after Khanna. Apart from housing commercial establishments, the market has a huge residential area as well



Residents spoilt for choice this Lohri
‘Gachak’ in different flavours set to tickle palate
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
As city residents gets ready to warm up their Lohri this season, markets are all decked up with exotic goodies to woo customers. While the traditional “gachak” is an all-time favourite, its the dash of flavour here and a pinch of aroma there that has brought about a choice revolution.

New flavours keep getting added every season. Rose, chocolate and orange flavoured “gachak” are the new flavours 
this season.

Available at some leading sweetmeat shops in the city, these differently flavoured “gachaks” have caught the fancy of Ludhianvis.

“‘Gachak’ with rose petals was something that attracted me at the first sight. In addition, almonds coated with rose flavoured sugar were a perfect gift option for the upcoming festival,” says Nisha, a city resident.

When it comes to kids, it is the chocolate “gachak” that tops the list.

In addition to different flavours, goodies from different cities have also thronged the markets. The Rajasthani “moogphala”, nearly double the size of the common groundnut, Meerut’s “rewri” in cardamom flavour, Rohtak’s famous “gachak” in pista and cardamom flavour and “patti” are some options that will simply melt in the mouth.

Patiala’s “khasta gur gachak”, “gur kadaka”, “chinni kadaka” and “marror gachak” in the shape of a knot are all available at high-end shops in the city.

Dry fruit “chikki” of Lonavla, Agra’s dry fruit stuffed “gachak” in small slices with chocolate, mango, cardamom and coconut flavours are available for people looking at celebrating Lohri with a difference.

While “gachaks” with new flavours are there but heaps of regular groundnut and packets of “gachak” and “rewri” also adorn the shelves of big shops and lie piled up in roadside tents.

“‘Gachak’ with cardamom flavour and adorned with rose petals is the hot favourite among city residents this season. Priced between Rs 200 and 250 per kg, different flavoured ‘gachaks’ and rolls are selling like hot cakes,” says a salesman at Khushi Ram and Sons.



PAU Notes
Tips given on crop care
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 5
The monthly meeting of the members of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Kisan Club was held today under the patronage of the Directorate of Extension Education.

Dedicated to the golden jubilee year of the university, the meet saw the participation of farmers and farm women from various parts of Punjab.

Focussing on various aspects of agriculture, the experts dwelled on the use and significance of green leafy vegetables in daily diet, scope of agri-tourism in Punjab and management of dairy animals during winter.

Besides, the members were educated about winter care and management of honey bee colonies and value addition technologies recommended by the PAU with thrust on income enhancement.

The resource persons, included Dr HS Dhaliwal, Additional Director of Extension Education, Dr Jaspal Singh (entomology), Dr Kiran Grover (foods and nutrition), Dr Poonam A Sachdev (food science and technology) and Dr RK Sharma (Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University).

Welcoming the participants, the president of the club, PPS Pangli, said in view of the golden jubilee year of the university, a camp had been organised for the club members as the university played a prominent role in helping Punjab emerge as a leader in agriculture.

He said the annual function of the club would take place on February 2 at the Pal Auditorium of the university, wherein progressive farmers would be honoured.



college notes
Staff development programme ends

Ludhiana: The two-week staff development programme organised by the All-India Council for Technical Education concluded today at GNDEC.

The programme generated enthusiastic response from the faculty members. The delegates hailing from almost all regions of the country appreciated the efforts made by GNDEC. The valedictory function was presided over by Dr MS Saini, director of the college.

The challenges posed by rapid urban and industrial development and geo-environmental factors were deliberated upon during the course in an endeavour to upgrade the knowledge in the field of ground improvement and waste containment. Prof KS Gill proposed the vote of thanks.

‘Parkash Utsav’

“Parkash Utsav” celebrations ended today at Malwa Central College of Education for Women, Ludhiana. The celebrations started on January 3 with the recitation of shabad “Deh Shiva Var Mohe Ehai” by the college shabad team. Following which an “Akhand Path” was held. The staff and students of the college participated enthusiastically in the decoration of gurdwara. They also prepared langar. Shabad gayan teams of Malwa Senior Secondary School for Boys, Khalsa Senior Secondary School for Girls, Khalsa College for Women and Malwa Central College of Education for Women participated in the programme. An “Ardas” was held today. Ravinder Kaur and other members of Khalsa Dewan, principals of sister institutions also participated in the day-long celebration. Dr Ravinder Kaur, principal, Malwa Central College of Education for Women, thanked guests



Ludhiana Scan
Election duties

The district unit of Government Primary/Elementary Teachers Association, Punjab, today discussed the issue of election duties assigned to government school teachers. District president Dhanna Singh Jawaddi said the body had lodged its protest against assigning of election duties to couples and even in some cases physically challenged. He said inexperienced teachers were appointed as presiding officers.

I-T gazetted officers

The Income Tax Gazetted Officers Association has decided to suspend the ongoing agitation while claiming that the Central Board of Direct Taxes had conceded the demands which included finalising 403 pending promotions from Income Tax Officers to Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. The issue of cadre restructuring was also at a very advance stage as the Finance Minister had assured his personal intervention, said Rajiv Puri, general secretary of the association. — TNS



Kila Raipur sports fest from Feb 9
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 5
The 76th edition of the Kila Raipur Sports Festival, popularly known as Mini Olympics, will commence on February 9 and around 6,000 sportspersons and artistes are expected to participate in the event.

The announcement was made at the Grewal Sports Stadium, near here, after a meeting presided over by Jasjit Singh Sunny.

Paramjit Singh Grewal, secretary of the organisation, said the four-day extravaganza would begin on February 9. “Around 6,000 sportspersons will participate in the event and over one lakh spectators are expected to witness the event,” said Grewal, adding that prominent sponsors had come forward to support the event.



City karatekas corner glory
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 5
Karatekas from the city who represented the state in the All-Karate Championship, organised by the All-India Ashihara Karate Federation, at Durgapur in West Bengal returned here yesterday with a bagful of medals and also the overall championship.

In a press release issued by the North India Ashiahara Karate Federation here today, 80 upcoming karatekas drawn from local schools — Green Land Convent School, GMT Public School, Guru Nanak Model School, Little Angel School — proved the mettle and enabled the state squad to emerge as overall champions.

Rajveer Kaur, Omika, Suraj Singh, Upinder bagged gold medals, while Nitin Sharma, Himanshu Khanna and Krishana secured silver medals and Kanchan Bala, Lalita, Sachin Joshi and Aman Kumar won bronze medals.

The karatekas were given a rousing reception upon the their arrival at the local railway station here yesterday.

Officer-bearers of the karate federation along with parents of the players and sports-lovers were present there to receive the players at railway station.



Softball trials on Sunday
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 5
Trials to select Punjab softball teams (men and women) will be held at Khalsa College, Amritsar on January 8 from 11 am.

According to PN Passi, honorary secretary, Punjab Softball Association, the selected players will represent the state in the forthcoming 33rd Senior National Softball Championship slated to be held at Anantpur in Andhra Pradesh between January 18 and 23.

Prior to their departure for Anantpur, the selected players will attend a coaching camp from January 11 and leave for Andhra Pradesh on January 15 from Ludhiana.



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