L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


bank strike
Industry set to lose Rs 400 cr
Over two days, businesses to incur transaction losses worth Rs 10,000 crore
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The two-day strike call by bank employees will cost the industry dear. In Punjab, the industry is likely to suffer transaction losses worth over Rs 10,000 crore and financial losses of more than Rs 400 crore in just two days. Besides, the trade and industry of the state will be forced to pay an interest amounting to over Rs 300 crore in two days.

Perturbed over the routine strike calls by bank federations, Badish K Jindal, president of the Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association (FOPSIA), in a letter to the Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said in a recession-ridden and developing country, strike by public sector banks for "proposed reforms that would ease mergers and allow more private capital, including foreign investment, which will enhance the working of banks" was uncalled for.

"Such strikes are going to ruin the economy. Many industrialists will be forced to suffer for not participating in important tenders and deals and exporters will have to suffer losses for non-payment of shipments and custom charges on time, which will result into heavy penalties by the departments concerned. The imports and incoming materials will also be delayed due to the absence of the RTGS facility," he said.

The industry has demanded that the government must waive two-day bank interests on all loans and the amount should be deducted from the bank employees on strike. As per an estimate, the interest amount of the industry for two days will be over Rs 200 crore.

SC Ralhan, president of the Ludhiana Hand Tool Association, said business directly depended on banking as a lot of cash could not be kept at homes or business premises all the time. "Bank strikes paralyse the working of our businesses and we incur huge losses," he said.


10 lakh bank staff go on strike
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
On the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), nearly 10 lakh bank employees and the All India Bank Officers' Association held a rally in front of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk. The employees who went on strike complained that various important issues, raised by the UFBU were still unresolved. The issues like compassionate appointment, revised housing loan scheme to bank employees, improvements in pension scheme, proper implementation of settlement, denial of pension option to persons opted under the VRS and those resigned from their jobs for want of VRS, defined and regulated working hours etc were pending for the past several years.

Naresh Gaur, secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Ludhiana unit, said that the RBI must settle the pending demands and arbitrary guidelines on Human Resource Issues must be stopped. "The government must stop the unilateral implementation of the Khandelwal Committee recommendations, outsourcing of bank jobs should be put to an end. The banking sector reforms aimed at de-regulation and liberalisation should be stopped", he said adding that government was making efforts to close down rural branches under the plea of non-viability but with an aim to handover rural banking to private outsourced agencies/business correspondents in the name of converting them as ultra small branches. Banks will lose control over rural banking so this must be stopped.

Strike paralyses work

  • Bank employees on two-day strike
  • No clearance/demand drafts or transaction to take place
  • Industry suffers losses worth crores of rupees
  • Strike paralyses normal working, public suffers

Managers made scapegoat

Managers of most of the nationalised banks were made the scapegoats as the managements, through a written letter, had asked them not to encourage the strike and not to be a party to the strike. A manager, on condition of anonymity said, "We have been warned by the managements not to participate in the strike. At the same time our employees expect us to take part in the strike as the demands are for all the bank employees/ officers. Earlier, managements were not that strict, but now, they have adopted a strict policy and we may face the music if we violate the instructions".



Businessmen, postal employees’ standoff intensifies in city
Both groups stop work, seek police action against one another
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service
Employees of postal department sitting on a dharna outside the head post office in Ludhiana on Wednesday
Employees of postal department sitting on a dharna outside the head post office in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Photo: Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, August 22
The standoff between the postal department employees and businessmen of Model Town intensified today as both the groups staged dharna and demanded police action against the opposite group.

The members of Model Town Shopkeepers Association closed down their business establishments and demanded strict action against postman Pavitar Singh.

In retaliation, the All India Postal Employees Union (AIPEU) closed down their post offices across the city for pressing the police to register a case against Amarjit Singh, president of the Model Town Market Shopkeepers Association.

Iqbal Khurmi, divisional secretary of AIPEU, said, "We are against the highhandedness and demand a registration of FIR against Amarjeet Singh. Till the time the police will not take action, the post offices across the city will remain closed."

"No mail has been delivered and no public transaction has been done at any postal offices across the city today," added Khurmi.

Lachman Singh, circle president, AIPEU, and other members, including Surinder Kumar, Harjinder Pal Sharma, JS Dua, Ramesh Kumar Parminder Singh and Harbans Singh slammed the allegation of businessmen as baseless.

They said the couriers were delivered after getting the signature of the persons on whose name the parcel was sent. The allegation of parcels and courier being thrown on the road was baseless. They also condemned the allegation that Pavitar Singh was drunk on duty.

It was on Monday that Pavitar Singh, postman and Amarjit Singh, president of Model Town Market Shopkeepers Association, levelled serious allegation against each other. Amarjit Singh claimed that Pavitar Singh was taken to Model Town police station in a drunken condition on Monday, but the police let-off the erring postman.

He said that Pavitar used to remain under the influence of liquor and threw parcels on the road due to which the businessmen were facing losses. The matter was brought to the notice of the postal department authorities several times in the past but no action was taken. It is learnt that Bhupinder Singh, ADCP- II, has intervened in the matter and is trying to affect a compromise between two groups.

Till the time of filling the report the talks were on. According to Iqbal Khurmi, Amarjit Singh tendered an unconditional apology and the members of the AIPEU were discussing the next course of action.



Sidhwan Canal
Rs 8 lakh being spent on repairs, but sewer still to be fixed
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Even as the main sewerage line on the Sidhwan Canal bridge on Ferozepur Road got damaged five days ago, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) has failed to repair it so far. As per an estimate, around Rs 8 lakh is being spent on repairs by the operations and maintenance (O&M) branch of the MC, but the sewer line has still not been fixed.

The sewer was damaged on Friday evening when the PWD and a private company constructing the Sidhwan Canal expressway project were drilling a portion of the land near the bridge.

The MC came to know about the damage the next morning and has been repairing the line since Saturday morning. Residents of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, Rajguru Nagar, Aggar Nagar, Barewal Road and other adjoining areas are suffering due to the choked sewers and as there is an almost 50 per cent decrease in water supply.

The repair work is also creating problems for commuters. The MC has installed two jet machines to drain out the sewage and rainwater from the pit.

“Unless the water from the pit is pumped out, we will not be able to repair the line. So, we have closed the sewer at a point near GADVASU. The water inside the pit has receded and we will be able to repair it soon,” claimed Manjit Singh, Additional Commissioner (Technical) of the O&M branch.

For draining out the muddy water and sewage from the pit created for repairing the line, the MC officials are directly dumping the dirty water into Sidhwan Canal.



Keep hospital clean or face music, contractor warned
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The Deputy Medical Commissioner today instructed the sanitation contractor to keep Lord Mahavir Civil Hospital clean or face the music.

He also told the Senior Medical Officer of the hospital to issue a seven-day notice to the contractor after not finding the hospital premises clean.

The Deputy Medical Commissioner, Ludhiana, Dr AK Handa, said: "I conducted random checks of the hospital premises thrice in the past two weeks and found that the indoor wards were filthy and garbage was being dumped near the staircase and under the beds. The washrooms were also in a very bad shape. The hospital premises should be cleaned properly, especially during the monsoon season, as there is greater fear of infection."

He said when he contacted the hospital matron (nursing in charge) regarding cleanliness, she said only four to five safai sewaks were reporting to duty even though there are 19 sanctioned posts.

Dr Handa said: "After every inspection, I imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 on the contractor and asked him to keep the premises clean, but he has failed to do so. So, I wrote a letter to the Senior Medical Officer today to issue a notice to the contractor. If the contractor fails to comply with these instructions, his contract will be automatically cancelled."



Doctors can land in soup for fake fitness certificates
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Issuing a fake fitness medical certificate to a person aspiring for a driver's licence could land a doctor in trouble. The DIG, MF Farooqui, said on the sidelines of a seminar conducted at the ISBT for sensitising bus drivers about traffic rules, that a case would be registered against doctors issuing fitness certificates without conducting a medical examination.

"It is like issuing a licence to kill. A medically unfit person, who gets a licence after obtaining a fitness certificate from a doctor, is not only putting his life in danger, but also endangering other lives. This will not be tolerated and stern action will be taken against such doctors. We will take up the matter with the Medical Council of India and seek its support in this connection," he said.

The DIG also got a psychoanalysis test conducted on 150 bus drivers. "The drivers are working under extreme stress and we want to know what kind of problems are they suffering from," he said.

The DIG also said strict action would be taken against drivers using pressure horns on the highway as the horns were contributing to accidents. "Besides causing noise pollution, the pressure horns are causing fatal accidents. In many cases it was found that victims lost control over their vehicles and met with an accident when bus drivers used pressure horns from the rear," Farooqui stated.

Kamalzit Soi, vice-president of the Punjab Road Safety Council, stressed on the need to install speed governors in private buses.



Ill-equipped temples of learning-I
Old computers hinder learning
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Education is suffering in government schools as students are using old, slow computers. A visit to government schools brings this reality to fore.

It was in 2005 when government installed these computers in computer laboratories in Government Senior Secondary Schools to give an opportunity to the underprivileged children to learn computers.

In the second and third phase, government installed computers in high and middle schools. It was then that the state government signed contracts with two different hardware companies for the maintenance of these computers. Now after six years, every computer teacher feels the need of new computers.

A computer teacher said, "These computers were assembled in 2005. They are running with 256 RAM, 40 GB hard disc and Celeron processor. The systems do not support most of the softwares as the RAMs are too slow.”

It was observed that around 30 per cent of the computers in the government schools have been lying dysfunctional. The students and teachers of these schools often complain of ‘slow’ computers.

Government High School, Haibowal Kalan, has been facing shortage of computers. There are 15 computers in the laboratory; however, the number of students is almost double in each class. The teachers usually divide the students into two groups, which lead to loss of time plus the study suffers too.

A computer teacher at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cymetry Road, said, "Slow functioning of computers has become a hurdle for us. It takes a lot of time uploading details about students, teachers and schools on our website."

Schools grappling with similar problems are: Government Senior Secondary School, Gobind Nagar, Government Model Senior Secondary School, PAU, Government Model School, Cymetry Road, Government High School, Haibowal Kalan, Haibowal Khurd, Kitchlu Nagar and Bharat Nagar.

The annual funds provided by the government to maintain computer tables, chairs and other accessories in the schools are also insufficient, said teachers. For senior secondary schools the government releases Rs 3,200; for high schools Rs 2,800 and for middle schools Rs 2,400.

Contract expires

Teacher of middle schools said the contract with the maintenance providing company has expired a month ago. Now no one comes to repair computers on the compliant of the teachers. Earlier, they used to come within 24 hours.

More teachers required

Information Communication Technology Society Chandigarh (ICT), which recruits teacher and run computer education project, has observed at least 700 more teachers are needed in schools. According to the ICT officials, recruitment process is going on.

Gurvinder Singh, president of Computer Teacher Union, said, "Computer education has been suffering due to the outdated infrastructure. The teachers told to the Director General of Education about the condition of the computers. He ensured to replace the old systems by 2013.”



800 teachers left stranded as govt discontinues scheme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The future of around 800 teachers, who were recruited under the same terms and conditions as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) teacehers, hangs in the balance as the state government has discontinued the Centre-sponsored scheme under whch they were recruited.

The teachers, who were later, shifted to other schemes, have not received salaries for the last four months. The Director General School Education said the education department had to discontinue the scheme as it had received no funds for it.

The teachers alleged that the government had not responded to them since the beginning of the present financial year.

While extending support to the aggrieved teachers, Varinder Singh, senior vice-president of the SSA/RMSA teachers' union, said: "The government has not been responding to these teachers since April this year. They are lesser in numbers, so all the 13,000 teachers working under the SSA and RMSA schemes would struggle for their rights."



ludhiana metro rail project
Delhi Metro team to conduct survey
Final Detailed Project Report will be prepared on the basis of the survey
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
A team from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will be visiting the city from Monday onwards for conducting a survey in the city regarding the Ludhiana Metro Rail Project. On the basis of the survey,the final Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared.

This decision was taken during today's meeting regarding Ludhiana Metro Rail Project held in Delhi. The meeting started at the DMRC Bhawan on Ashoka Road in Delhi at around 12:30 pm and continued for over three hours. The meeting of Ludhiana Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) with the DMRC was attended by senior officials from Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, state Local bodies department, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) Ltd and other government departments.

During this meeting, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by DMRC in the year 2008 and the recently conducted survey of LMRC were discussed.

While speaking to The Tribune, HS Khosa, Additional Commissioner (Technical), MC, and coordinator-cum-nodal officer of the project said, "We updated the DPR prepared by the DMRC in 2008 as per the present situation and during today's meeting we gave our suggestions regarding some changes to be made in the previous DPR. The DMRC officials agreed with our proposals and have decided to send their team to the city on Monday. This team will stay in the city for 7-10 days and during this time they will compare their 2008 DPR and the recent survey conducted by the MC. Based on this, a final DPR will be prepared. Besides a private company, named Feedback Ventures Pvt Ltd, has been asked to prepare a feasibility report," informed Khosa.

Once the final report is prepared and the feasibility report is submitted, the tender process will start. "This process is expected to start in next 3-4 months. The Ludhiana Metro Rail Project is made on BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) basis and that is why we expect that several companies would apply for it," said Khosa, who was also present during today's meeting.

For the Ludhiana Metro Rail Project, Corridor-I is 15.798 km long and will run from Ayali Chowk on Ferozepur Road to BBMB Power House on the Chandigarh Road. It will have a total of 14 stations (10 elevated and four underground). Corridor-II is 13.035 km and will start from Gill village and end at the Rahon Road octroi post. This corridor will have 13 stations (six elevated and seven underground).

To speed up the work concerning the Ludhiana Metro Rail Project, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation Commissioner has already constituted a three member "support cell" that would look into the various aspects of the project, including land acquisition, and would also interact with other government departments.



One month on, administration yet to take action on encroacher
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

The road on both sides of Ghumar Mandi has been encroached upon by the owner of a night club
The road on both sides of Ghumar Mandi has been encroached upon by the owner of a night club. Tribune photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, August 22
A leading pub and night club, which opened in Ghumar Mandi recently, has marked its own parking space by encroaching upon public road on both the sides for the convenience of its customers.

The shopkeepers and residents in the area have expressed anguish over the lenient view adopted by the law-enforcing agencies against the owners of the pub. Ghumar Mandi Shopkeepers' Association president Deep Singh said that people expected these encroachments to be removed at the earliest but nothing had been done so far.

The pub owners have encroached upon about 4-5 feet of public road in the congested Ghumar Mandi, providing little space for the commuters to pass-through. The guard kept by the owners makes sure that the customers coming in the pub were not harassed due to unavailability of parking space.

"Ideally, the owners should have provided the parking space either on the top floor or in the basement. Even if there is a provision, most of the cars are parked on the public road itself. If authorities can allow them to put their own parking chains on public road then we should also be given this privilege. But we cannot do this as we do not enjoy political patronage," rued a resident.

It may be mentioned here that Ludhiana Tribune had highlighted the problem a few days back and the Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, had assured the encroachment would be removed. It has been about a month now, but authorities have failed to take any action against the violator.



Dharna against violence in Northeast
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
A Non Government Origination, Jan Chetna, organised a peaceful dharna against the violence in Northern Eastern states at Bhiwala Chowk. Activists of Jan Chetna presented a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion Narinder Mital criticised the violence in Assam and alleged that Bangladeshis were behind the disturbance. He demanded that foreigners must be identified and their names removed from the voter list.



Trader was planning to install CCTV camera the day he was killed
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Forex trader Sukhjinder Singh, who was brutally killed by robbers at his office on Rahon Road on August 17, had sensed trouble and was in process of installing a close circuit television camera at his office. But destiny had some other plans as Sukhjinder was murdered on the same day when he was to install the CCTV.

"Sukhjinder had raised concern over the rising incidents of snatching at Rahon road. He told me that he was installing a CCTV camera at his office for surveillance. He died on the very day he was to get the CCTV installed," said Gurdeep Singh, victim's father.

The victim's cousin said , Sukhjinder Singh visited the office early in the morning as he was expecting the mechanics to come to the shop.

"Today we are running from pillar to post hoping to get the CCTV footage, if surveillance camera would have been installed, the tragedy could have been avoided or the killer would have been caught on camera," said the cousin.

A pal of gloom descended on the house of Sukhjinder Singh located at Bajrah village. Men of the village were pinning their hopes on the police to crack the case. Sukhjinder's two sons Ajay Pratap and Gur Pratap went to school for the first time after the incident. Gurdeep Singh said they were in a state of shock ever since the incident took place.

"They could have taken the money by threatening Sukhjinder, why did they kill my son. For a few lakh rupees they not only spoilt the future of my grandchildren but they also ruined the life of my daughter-in- law. God will never forgive them," said Gurdeep Singh, while wiping off his tears.

It has been five days since the incident took place, but the police has not been able to make any headway in to the incident.

Sources said that the killer could have been small-time drugs addicts and might have killed Sukhjinder when he refused to hand over the money to them. While one of the accused strangled Sukhjinder and the other attacked the victim's face.The family is still wondering as to how the accused escaped from the busy market without being spotted.

"The brutality with which they killed Sukhjinder, I am sure the clothes and hands of the accused persons must have been smeared with blood. Surprisingly no one noticed the killers, when they entered the shop and when they left after killing my brother," said the cousin.



Drive against illegal colonies continues
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Continuing its drive against illegal residential colonies mushrooming on the outskirts of the city, the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) today demolished two illegal colonies in different parts of the city. The residential colonies were located on Balloke on Ladhowal Road and near the cremation ground at Chuharpur village.

The boundary walls and sewerage lines in both the illegal colonies were razed using ditch machines. GLADA officials said the drive would continue in the coming days as well.



4 suspected cases of dengue reported
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The health department reported four new suspected cases of dengue here today. District epidemiologist Dr Puneet Juneja said, "All suspected patients are under treatment at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital.

One of these suspected patients belongs to Sham Nagar, Ludhiana, and 3 cases are from the districts of Jalandhar, Nawansher, and Ferozepur. By now, there are 13 confirmed cases of dengue in Ludhiana district alone and no death due to dengue has been reported so far in the state.



MC fails to practice what it preaches
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Charity begins at home. However, the proverb this doesn't seem to be true when we talk of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which is responsible for maintaining hygiene in the city, fails to maintain hygiene in toilets in its own office. The civic body's Zone-A office, which is located in Mata Rani Chowk area and is the main MC office, has perhaps one of the worst toilets of the city. Cracks have developed on several walls of this three-storied building and it seems that no one is concerned about the safety the residents or for the officials who work here. The toilet doors at Zone A office are broken, wash basins are without outlet pipes and fungus has infected water coolers kept there. The MC, which is otherwise very strict with residents living in unsafe buildings, seems to have forgotten to look at its own building.

Moreover, the civic body has been urging the residents for installing rainwater harvesting equipments at their locality. But when we talk of rainwater harvesting at MC offices, one is surprised to know that the systems are either not placed or not in a working condition. The civic body itself is flouting building bylaws. It seems that MC officials feel that only young and fit persons visit the MC offices daily. That is why, apart from Zone D office in Sarabha Nagar, lifts have not been installed in any of its offices. The elderly and physically challenged persons find it very difficult to enter the buildings.



Delegation of Knitwear Club to meet FM

Ludhiana, August 22
A delegation from the Knitwear Club under the leadership of Sunil jakhar, Leader of Opposition in the Panjab Legislative Assembly will soon meet P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister, to discuss about the withdrawal of excise duty which was imposed in the General Budget of 2011.

In a press note issued by the Knitwear Club it is said that as the industry was already suffering from financial crunch and had to face various problems and the imposition of the excise duty was an additional burden on the industry. It has raised a question on the very existence of the industry. Earlier,when P. Chidambaram was the Finance Minister he had stated in the Parliament, that the excise duty should not be imposed till GST was launched in the country. — TNS



Broken divider makes road accident prone
Mahesh Sharma

Dehlon, August 22
Residents of villages situated along the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road continue endangering lives and making the road accident prone by creating gaps in the road divider. This is done so that the area residents can avoid taking a longer route for crossing over to the other side. The divider has been broken at many places in the area.

Though damaging public property and causing inconvenience to the public has been considered offence under Sections 427 and 283 of the IPC, no case has been registered. Investigations revealed that the Public Works Department had failed to take steps for preventing vehicular accidents due to faulty road dividers and unauthorised gaps created by the public on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road that has recently been four-laned.

As no action was initiated against those who wilfully created gaps in the central divider for convenience of their clients, it has been obsrved that many more people, including owners of dhabas, petrol pumps and business organisations have been freely creating new death traps on the highway.

Tarsem Garg, patron of Social Welfare Organisation, Mandi Ahemdgarh, said "The tendency, if allowed to continue, could prove fatal for occupants of the buildings situated along the road, as drivers of speeding vehicles might crash into them after losing control over their vehicle due to the sudden appearance of a vehicle from the wrong side of the road."

Ravinder Puri, president, Municipal Council, Mandi Ahmedgarh, said,"Although it is mandatory for the maintenance staff to ensure that the central divider is not broken on high speed areas, a majority of them seemed to have ignored the guidelines."

Regrettably, those responsible for ensuring safety of commuters on the road do not hesitate in breaking dividers themselves when political functions are held in the area by the ruling party.

Flouting norms

Locals have been creating gaps on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road divider to avoid taking a longer route for crossing over to the other side

ACP Speaks

Acknowledging the problem, Assistant Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Sikand said his office had already written to the concerned authorities about the factors responsible for the increasing number of accidents on the road. But no response has yet been received. He said, "Though we have taken some measures to prevent accidents, no response was received from the authorities responsible for the maintenance of roads and bridges. We will also initiate action against persons who damaged dividers, if a formal complaint is lodged with us."



50 doctors take part in awareness programme

Ludhiana, August 22
The Ludhiana Obstetrics & Gynaecology Society, in association with IMA Ludhiana, conducted an awareness programme on contraception for general practitioners under the aegis of Public Awareness Committee, FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India). Around 50 doctors participted in the event

Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta was the chief guest. —TNS



pau notes
Workshop on rabi crops begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
"It is vital to strengthen the existing agricultural extension system and re-orient the technology transfer approach for the benefit of the farming community as well as sustainability of agriculture," said Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), while inaugurating a two-day "Research and Extension Specialists' Workshop for Rabi Crops" here today. Joint directors, chief agricultural officers and agricultural officers of the State Agriculture Department, directors of Regional Stations of PAU, associate/deputy directors (training) of Krishi Vigyan Kendras, district extension specialists from Punjab and UT Chandigarh, PAU deans, directors, additional directors, heads and faculty of various departments attended the programme.

Dr Dhillon stated that although remarkable progress has been made in agriculture in Punjab, yet the state is passing through a critical stage. Many other states of India have started producing food grains and their production is self-sufficient, he said, while emphasising that the need of the hour is that Punjab should come out of rice-wheat cropping pattern and adopt agri-diversification. Technologies like Happy Seeder, Leaf Colour Chart (LCC), Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) and tensiometer are available and that there should be meaningful coordination, interaction and discussion among the farmers, farm experts and officers of the state department of agriculture about their use. Expressing the need to change the outlook of the farmers, Dr Dhillon urged the stakeholders to make a balanced use of fertilisers and weedicides.

The Director of Agriculture, Punjab, Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, highlighted that the credit for the record wheat production in Punjab in 2011-12 (180 lakh tons) goes to the hard-working farmers, farm scientists and extension personnel. Referring to the rabi crop production, targets and problems in Punjab, he added that there is a need of shifting the focus to new crops. Thrust should be laid on seed production programme so that right quality seeds are distributed to the farmers at the right time, he said.

Summer school on textiles and clothing

A three week summer school on "Technical Textiles and Functional Clothing", being held with the support of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), kick started in the Department of Clothing and Textiles of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. Participants from Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal are attending the summer school which will conclude on September 11. Inaugurating the programme, Dr Gursharan Singh, dean, postgraduate studies, PAU, emphasised that capacity building of the faculty is vital for imparting quality education to the students. He said that textiles are a sunrise industry and hold a lot of untapped potential. The guest of honour, VK Kohli, Assistant Textile Commissioner, Regional Office, Ministry of Textiles, Amritsar, in his key note remarks, gave an overview of the scenario of technical textiles in India and delved upon the policies and schemes of the government for their convergence. He stressed that small and medium scale industry can play an important role in this upcoming field, which has a great scope for employment generation.

Adopt good agri-practices to get residue free produce

Farm scientists with expertise for managing crop diseases from various parts of the country held thorough deliberations on detection of plant pathogens, biotechnology and plant diseases and integrated plant disease management, during a brain storming session on "Recent Developments in the Management of Rice Diseases" organised recently at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Various recommendations, emerging out of the discussions, were finalised during the session. The need for developing experimental protocols for screening of rice germplasm against emerging diseases such as false smut and neck blast, was emphasised. The experts stressed that near isogenic lines, for blast and bacterial blight resistance, need to be tested at different locations in the country, to observe any variation in the disease reaction, so as to use resistance lines for varietal development. The establishment of a hi-tech state-of-the art "Pesticide Residue Laboratory" in Punjab for analysing samples of rice and other crops, for detection of pesticide residues and for facilitating their export to other nations, was suggested.



From schools

Eid celebrations

Vajra Army School organised a special morning assembly wherein the students were apprised that Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated by our Muslim brothers to show gratitude to God and it also marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The aim of the special assembly was to make the young minds aware of the need to respect each religion and encouraging brotherhood.

Fire management workshop

Ryan International School, Dugri, organised a fire management workshop here on Wednesday. The workshop was organised to equip the students with disaster management skills. The workshop was conducted by SP Srivastava. According to School chairman Dr Augustine F Pinto, such activities directly contribute to qualities like physical strength, vigour and endurance besides, inculcating fearlessness in the students. The students were exposed to various techniques and skills required to handle emergencies such as outbreak of fire.

Meditation camp

One-day Meditation and Body Energy Amplification Camp was held at Everest Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar. Hitesh and Shubhangi, representatives from Pyramid Spiritual Society were the chief guests on this occasion. They guided the students about various aspects of meditation. Hitesh said meditation is universal. It is a gift given to mankind to access the infinite spirit not limited by any identity.

General knowledge contest

An inter-house general knowledge contest was organised by the Sub-Junior Humanities Forum for the students of Classes III to V at Kundan Vidya Mandir, Civil Lines, to arouse their interest in current affairs. The participants were divided into six teams representing six houses. Each team comprised three participants, who enthusiastically answered the questions based on Indian history, geography, current affairs and mental math. Spelling round, visual round and speed round were enjoyed the most by the audiences. ––TNS



From colleges

Plantation drive

A tree plantation drive was organised at Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology, Katani Kalan, on Tuesday. Daljit Singh Brar, district forest officer, accompanied by Kuldeep Singh, range officer, Ludhiana, presided over the event. A team of college students from NSS along with NSS programme officer Satish Kumar were also present. Director Dr JS Sohal, principal Dr Pawan Kumar, faculty members of Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology along with students participated in the tree plantation drive. Various issues related to enhancing the green cover of the region were discussed. SS Grewal discussed about India's developmental cost onto environment and proposed solutions to undo the damage. As many as 200 saplings, which were easy to grow in the region, were specifically chosen for plantation. In the days to come, NSS students of the college would distribute saplings to be planted in the residential areas. On the occasion, the chief guest stressed upon the importance of planting trees for maintaining the ecological balance and the responsibility of citizens towards the same.

RGC students excel

The students of the Department of Fine Arts of Ramgarhia Girls College brought laurels to the institution by excelling in their MA II year examination conducted by Panjab University, Chandigarh. Sandeep Kaur stood fifth in Panjab University and first in the college after securing 703/800 (87.8%) marks. Harpreet Kaur stood seventh in the University and second in the college after securing 697/800 (87.1%) and Amandeep Kaur got fourteenth position in the University and third in the college after securing 678/800(84.7%). The president of the college, Ranjodh Singh, general secretary Jagtar Singh and Principal Dr Narinder Sandhu applauded the efforts of the faculty members and the students of the department.

Training fair on Aug 24

For the first time in the region, Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology will organise a training fair on August 24 for the seventh semester students. This mega event will provide options to the students to register themselves with companies where they can get their mandatory six-month industrial training, said an official press release.

Free registration on the spot will start at 10 am. Eligible and meritorious students from Btech electronics and communication, computer science, information technology, mechanical engineering and automobile engineering can register themselves for various companies or training institutes at LCET campus.

Motivational lecture

An NCC motivational lecture was delivered at Ramgarhia Girls College here on Wednesday. The students of BA first and BCom first year were apprised of the benefits of joining NCC by Lt Colonel Subhash Sehgal from 3Pb Girls Battalion. His inspirational words tended to give an impetus to the attitude of the students. Addressing the students, Colonel Sehgal explained the qualities which could be enhanced in a student's personality after being a part of National Cadet Corps. He also added that NCC was an organisation that enhanced the leadership qualities of students and made them mentally and physically tough. It also opens avenues in the armed forces and the police after completion of B and C certificate exams. On this occasion, Principal Dr Narinder Sandhu encouraged the students to join NCC to become responsible and dutiful citizens. NCC Incharge Jasmeet Kaur was also present to boost the morale of the students.

Grammar workshop

Grammar does not need to be crammed, rather better learning techniques can help the students to have clear ideas. Harpreet Singh conducted a workshop on “Learning Basic Grammar” at Doraha Institute of Management and Technology (DIMT). The students of MBA, BBA, BCA and BCom (Professional) attended the workshop. The workshop was meant for removing phobia of English language among the students especially those from rural areas. While explaining the tenses, voice and narration, the resource person told the students to keep in mind the ‘point of time’ and not just the time period. This will help them understand the tenses. A few exercises were also given to the students during the workshop. He urged the students to read newspaper daily as a good newspaper will carry easy, understandable English language. Watching news, listening to English programmes can help students improve their spoken and written English ability, he advised.

Talent hunt competition

A talent hunt programme was organised by department of fine arts at Government College for Women here on Wednesday. Gurminder Kaur, principal of the college, was the chief guest on this occasion. She was welcomed by Anita Sharma and Mandeep Kaur. About 50 students participated in the talent hunt programme and won many prizes in several categories, including cartooning, poster-making, collage-making, on the spot landscape, clay modelling, rangoli and photography.

Students bring laurels

The department of mathematics at SCD Government College has once again brought laurels for the institution by bagging top four positions in final examinations of MSc II year conducted by Panjab University. Pooja Rani stood first in the university by securing 81.79 per cent while Jaspreet Kaur and Teenu Gupta obtained the second and third positions, respectively. They obtained 79.4 and 78.9 per cent respectively. Seventy three per cent students of MSc II got first division. Principal of the college Neelam Bhardwaj congratulated the students for maintaining the tradition of the college. –– TNS



Ludhiana scan

Labour union function

The first zonal function of Azad Hind Nirman Mazdoor Union started at Lions Club here today. The function was presided over by Hari Singh Sahni. During the function, the speakers discussed problems being faced by the employees.

Training programme

Mohali-based National Institute of Security Guards (NISG) is training security guards at Sahayta Security Services Pvt Ltd and Hawks Company, located at Ramgarh village, on Chandigarh Road. —Tribune Reporters



Man held on duping charge
Accomplices absconding; had promised to send people abroad
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 22
The Jagraon police has arrested a person for allegedly duping many people on the pretext of sending them abroad. The arrested accused has been identified as Daljit Singh while two other members of the gang are still absconding.

As per information, Daljit Singh was arrested by a police team of the Proclaim Offender Wing of the Jagraon police following a tip off last evening.

Giving details, DSP DP Tarun Ratan informed that Daljit Singh along with Gurmeet Kaur and her niece Mandeep Kaur alias Mani, were wanted by the local police in a case of cheating since May 2010.

The police said, Amandeep Singh had lodged a complaint with the local police alleging that three persons had duped him of Rs 2, 35000 from him on pretext of sending him to Italy.

Following the complaint of Amandeep Singh, a case was registered at the Jagraon Sadar police station against these persons, all residents of Patiala, for duping Amandeep Singh of Lakha village near Jagraon. Apart from Amandeep Singh, the members of the gang had also duped some other persons in different areas of Punjab on the pretext of sending them abroad, stated Tarun Ratan.

However, all the accused were absconding. A local court had declared all the accused proclaimed offenders some time ago.

Tarun Ratan further informed that an informer had informed Jaspal Chopra, chief of PO Wing, Jagraon, that Daljit Singh had been living at Khanouri village following which a police team conducted a raid at Khanouri and arrested him from there.

ASI Jaspal Chopra said that the police produced Daljit Singh before a local court which sent him to police custody. The police has been conducting raids to nab the remaining two accused, he added.



18 robbers, snatchers nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The police has arrested 18 persons allegedly owing allegiance to eight gangs of robbers and snatchers.

They were nabbed following a special drive conducted by the police. The ADCP (Crime), Harjinder Singh, said the suspects were involved in snatchings at gunpoint and other anti-social activities. They were nabbed from Shimlapuri and Division No. 3 and Division No. 4 areas.

The police has recovered 18 mobile phones, a country-made weapon, two motorcycles and sharp weapons from their possession.

Police sources said a majority of the snatchers used to target morning walkers and rob them.



Habit-forming drugs, abortion kits seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
Six teams of the health department today raided nine chemist shops on Barewal Road and the Haibowal area. Drug Inspector Sukhbeer Chand said habit-forming drugs and abortion kits being sold without prescription, besides 600 tablets, were seized from various chemists.

The raids were conducted on the instructions of the Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Dr Subhash Batta. The sale of abortion pills without prescription has been banned by the government.

Another team of the health department today collected five samples of eatables from peripheral areas, including Samrala and Machhiwara. The District Health Officer, Dr Kulwinder Singh, said they collected samples of "paneer" and milk powder from a dairy near Machhiwara and another at Samrala.



Gang of robbers busted, five arrested
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 22
Five members of a notorious gang of robbers were nabbed by the police yesterday when they were allegedly plotting to strike in the Sandaur area.

Five pistols, 20 cartridges and three motorcycles were seized from their possession following a tip-off. One of the vehicles was stolen from Sangrur a few months ago.

Paramajit Singh Goryana, SP (D) Sangrur, said a police team led by SHO Sandaur Harinder Singh and Gurmel Singh in charge CIA Bahadur Singh Wala nabbed Pushpinder Singh Tayoo of Khanauri, Bachiter Singh Bughie of Kular village, Jarnail Singh of Sohian Kalan, Jaswant Singh Jassa of Kalyan village and Uma Shanker of Lucknow from a deserted place near Bapla Chowk at Dasaundha Singh Wala village when they were allegedly conspiring to commit some crime yesterday.

A 32 bore and .315 bore pistols were seized from the possession of the accused. Investigations revealed that the accused had been booked under several cases at various police stations of the state.

Tayoo was facing eight cases, including two of murder. He had allegedly killed Puneet Singh of Chhatwala Mohalla in Patiala in 2003 and Gurpal Singh Bhalwan at College of Physical Education in Patiala in 2008. He had been declared a proclaimed offender in two cases. The police is yet to ascertain the source from where he procures illegal weapons for the gang.

The investigating team is also initiating a process to verify the antecedents of Uma Shanker who originally belongs to Lucknow, but had been staying at Prem Nagar of Malerkotla. Jarnail Singh used to change the engine and chassis numbers of stolen vehicles and arrange forged registration certificates.



Man booked for raping daughter-in-law
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 22
The police today booked a man for allegedly raping his 20-year-old daughter-in-law at his house in Dhillon Colony on Daba Road.

The police registered a case after receiving a medical report. The incident took place a month ago when the victim, mother of a year-old child, levelled allegations against her father-in-law of raping her.

As there was marital dispute, the police suspected that the woman wanted to get a fake case registered in order to pressure her husband and in-laws. But now a case has been registered under Section 376 of the IPC against the man.

In another incident, the parents of a six-year-old girl, who was raped a few days ago, have complained that the police was not taking action against the culprits.

The victim, a resident of Basti Jodhewal, has identified the accused, but the police has not registered a case, her parents said.



Thieves strike at four shops
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 22
Unidentified thieves struck at four shops situated on the Raikot Road, Mullanpur, during the same night and decamped with cash and other valuable worth thousands. The incident took place on Monday night. The police has registered a case against unidentified thieves and started the investigation.

All shops where the theft took place are located very close to one another and the thieves entered all the shops from the roof top. It is suspected that the theft was executed by members of the same gang.

As per information, some unidentified thieves entered the Nanak Singh and Sons Garments Showroom. However, they failed to find anything special and managed to steal only Rs1,000 cash kept in the locker. Another theft took place at Khalsa Book Store from where the thieves decamped with Rs 6,000 cash.

From two other shops, including City Heart Garments and RK Tailor, the thieves decamped with Rs 2,000 cash and some clothes.

Meanwhile, one of the thieves was caught in a CCTV camera installed at the Nanak Singh and Sons Garments Showroom. The thief caught on the camera is wearing sunglasses and is around 23-24 years of age. The owner of the showroom has handed over the CCTV footage to the police. Shopkeepers of the area said, there has been a sharp rise in theft incidents in the area and many theft incidents have taken place recently. Dakha Prem Singh, SHO, said that the police had registered a case against the unidentified persons and the investigation was on.



Woman found dead
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, August 22
A 28-year-old woman died under mysterious circumstances at her house last night. The deceased woman has been identified as Paramjit Kaur, wife of Gurmit Singh, a resident of Ghuman Chowk Gurusar Sudhar.

The incident came to light when the body of the woman was found in her house this morning. Soon the family members of the deceased informed the police.

Sandeep Vadhera, SHO, Gurusar Sudhar, said that the victim's husband Gurmit Singh informed the police that his wife was under depression for a long time and was taking medicines. He also told the police that his wife had taken an overdose of the medicine before going to bed last night which might be the reason behind her death. A case has been registered.



Fake cosmetics worth Rs 12 lakh seized

Ludhiana, August 22
The city police today raided a shop of a grocery wholesale trader located in Talab Bazar and seized fake cosmetics worth Rs 12 lakh.

The raid was conducted here this evening following information that Kamal Kumar of SK Trader sold fake cosmetics of noted international cosmetic company.

The fake cosmetic material including lipsticks, eyeliners, mascaras, fairness and other creams were being sold across the state from the store. The police said, Kamal managed to flee from the scene, while the police has seized fake cosmetic material. — TNS



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