SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B A T H I N D A    E D I T I O N

More women cadets for NCC
Malout, September 3
The armed forces may witness increased contributions from women officers. With a strong belief that women have more perceptive and intuitive organizational skills, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju has said the NCC has plans to increase the strength of women cadets to 50 in the coming years.

Youth Cong leaders list demands for border area
Fazilka, Setember 3
Fazilka Block Youth Congress vice-president Ranjam Kamra and other activists presented four memorandums relating to this border belt to Union Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju during his visit to Malout yesterday.
Youth Congress leaders presenting a memorandum to MM Pallam Raju on Sunday. Youth Congress leaders presenting a memorandum to MM Pallam Raju on Sunday. A Tribune photo


EARLIER STORIES


Abohar MC chief threatens to quit
Abohar, September 3
Having been under fire from councillors belonging to his own party (BJP) besides the opposition (Congress) and scores of NGOs over his "failure" to put the sewerage system in order, president of the Municipal Council Shivraj Goyal has served the state government an ultimatum to provide the required staff by Saturday, failing which he would quit.

Social activist jumps into canal to end life
Abohar, September 3
In a shocking incident, eminent social activist Sham Lal Chhabra ended his life by jumping into the Malukpura canal on the city bypass today. In a handwritten suicide note recovered from the spot, he blamed the in-laws of his daughter for abetting his suicide.

Pomegranate farmers affected by bacterial blight
A pomegranate fruit affected by the bacterial blight.Abohar, September 3
As experts from Maharashtra expressed their inability to tackle the problem caused by massive attacks of leaf spots and bacterial blight on pomegranate fruit, most of the farmers have started uprooting the plants in the neighbouring twin districts of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh.

A pomegranate fruit affected by the bacterial blight.

Youth killed in road mishap after his engagement ceremony
Fazilka, September 3
A youth, Sandeep Singh, whose engagement ceremony took place only yesterday with a girl of Mamdot in Ferozepur district, was killed in a road accident late on Sunday evening.

Man booked for raping Dalit girl
Faridkot, September 3
Police has registered a case of rape against a youth in a village near Bajakhana. The youth had allegedly raped a 13-year-old minor Dalit girl and is absconding. Though the case was registered two days back, the culprit is yet to be arrested by the police.









 

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More women cadets for NCC
Union Minister of State for Defence says their number may increase to 33 per cent
Balwant Garg
Tribune News Service

Malout, September 3
The armed forces may witness increased contributions from women officers. With a strong belief that women have more perceptive and intuitive organizational skills, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju has said the NCC has plans to increase the strength of women cadets to 50 in the coming years.

He expressed these views while addressing a gathering of defence officers, NCC cadets and the general public at Malout yesterday while inaugurating the nation's first NCC training academy for girls.

"From the current 24 per cent female cadet force in the NCC, we have a target of increasing it to 33 per cent in the next two years. Our aim is to have 50 per cent female cadets in the NCC in the next decade, so that they stand tall next to their male colleagues," said the minister, himself a NCC cadet in his youth.

The NCC is emerging as a major source of recruitment for officers in the armed forces and around 25 per cent of the cadets under training in Officers' Training Academy (OTA), Indian Military Academy (IMA) and National Defence Academy (NDA) are from the NCC. Even the number of women NCC cadets among these under training officers is more than 30, he said.

The Defence Ministry has even planned to reserve seats for the NCC senior girl cadets in short service commission in the Army as all senior NCC cadets need two-year training period in comparison to three years for the other candidates, he said. The women's role has now expanded rapidly in the Defence services, said the minister while speaking about seven women officers of the Indian Army who made it to the top of the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, in May this year.

At present, there are about 1,000 women officers in the Indian Army. Most of these lady officers are in non-combat arms like the Judge Advocate General branch, Army Service Corps and Army Education Corps in addition to the traditional services that they were serving in.

With the change in technology and combat techniques, the NCC has now chalked out a new syllabus. Besides improving the NCC cadets' skills for the armed forces, the new syllabus would teach them skills for success in all spheres of life, said PS Bhalla, Director General, NCC. Many top executives in big companies were also NCC cadets, he said.

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Youth Cong leaders list demands for border area
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, Setember 3
Fazilka Block Youth Congress vice-president Ranjam Kamra and other activists presented four memorandums relating to this border belt to Union Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju during his visit to Malout yesterday. The meeting was arranged by the CLP leader Sunil Jakhar at the helipad.

The Youth Congress unit has demanded that compensation to the tune of Rs 5,000 per acre annually should be paid to those farmers by the Central Government whose land falls across the barbed wire fencing as they are not allow to sow tall crops due to security reasons. Earlier, the Centre used to pay Rs 2,500 per acre as compensation but it was discontinued in 2004.

The Youth Congress leaders also acquainted the minister about the Asafwala War Memorial built in memory of the 1971 Indo-Pak war martyrs, 7 kms from Fazilka. They pleaded that it is one of the best privately managed war memorial in the country where nearly 225 jawans and JCOs had sacrificed their lives defending the country. They demanded national monument status for the war memorial.

The Youth Congress leaders highlighted the significance of the Sadiqi JCP in Fazilka sector where retreat ceremony is carried out jointly by the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers.

Thousands of visitors visit the JCP on Independence Day and hundreds visit daily to witness the retreat ceremony and have a glimpse of their segregated relatives. Hence, they requested the minister to develop it as a tourist spot.

The BSF had acquired the land for raising the JCP at different places about three decades back. But some of the farmers have not been paid compensation in lieu of their land. The Youth Congress leaders demanded compensation for them immediately. "The minister has invited us to Delhi to discuss the issues in detail so that it can be resolved in the presence of senior officials of the Defence Ministry," claimed Kamra.

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Abohar MC chief threatens to quit
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 3
Having been under fire from councillors belonging to his own party (BJP) besides the opposition (Congress) and scores of NGOs over his "failure" to put the sewerage system in order, president of the Municipal Council Shivraj Goyal has served the state government an ultimatum to provide the required staff by Saturday, failing which he would quit.

Speaking to a section of the media at his residence after a long gap, Goyal regretted that he had requested the SAD-BJP government as well as the high command of his party to shift the sub-divisional office of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB) to Abohar and fill up vacancies in the local council but in vain.

Interestingly, the PWSSB had to shift its office from Abohar last year as protesters led by the BJP workers allegedly thrashed the sub-divisional engineer Hakam Singh and the Municipal Council did not pass the annual maintenance budget submitted by the Board.

Shivraj Goyal said eight days back, he was assured by the state government and the party high command that the required technical staff would be provided soon to tackle the deteriorating sewerage and water supply system but nothing has been done so far. If the staff is not provided by Saturday, he would submit his resignation as the president of the Municipal Council to state BJP president Ashwani Sharma on Monday.

Goyal refuted the allegations of corruption levelled by his own party men against the council and offered to face an inquiry.

Meanwhile, the much awaited meeting of the council is expected to take place on September 5 as the seven councillors of the SAD-BJP and 12 of the Congress had given notice under Section 22 and 25 of the Punjab Municipal Act. The Executive Officer had twice reminded the president that no meeting had been convened after April 26.

It may be mentioned that the sub-divisional town has been in a very bad civic shape with sewerage lines overflowing and inundating various areas. It was causing problems for the residents and commuters and lead to protests deom all sections of society which saw Goyals own partymen joining hands with the opposition.

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Social activist jumps into canal to end life
Our Correspondent

Sham Lal Chhabra Abohar, September 3
In a shocking incident, eminent social activist Sham Lal Chhabra ended his life by jumping into the Malukpura canal on the city bypass today. In a handwritten suicide note recovered from the spot, he blamed the in-laws of his daughter for abetting his suicide.

Notably, Chhabra (62) had served as the chairman of the Abohar Cooperative Marketing Society after his superannuation as its general manager. He had been serving as secretary in the managing committees of Swami Lal Thakkar Charitable Trust and temple besides the RSD Girls Middle School here. He had been instrumental in organising several religious and social congregations.

As per the statement given to the police by his wife, they had married their only daughter to a businessman at Mohali on July 28, 2009. She claimed that Rs 25 lakh was spent on the marriage but the in-laws keep harassing Nagma.

They had deserted her for the last one year and she was now working at Chandigarh. Sham Lal Chhabra had escorted her to the bus stand as she was to board a bus at 3.40 am today.

Instead of returning home, he then went to the canal and ended his life leaving his two-wheeler, a suicide note and footwear on the canal bank. In the suicide note, Chhabra said he blamed the husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law of his only daughter Nagma for harassing her.

I am unable to bear the pain any more. They are responsible for my death, he wrote, said the police.

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Pomegranate farmers affected by bacterial blight
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, September 3
As experts from Maharashtra expressed their inability to tackle the problem caused by massive attacks of leaf spots and bacterial blight on pomegranate fruit, most of the farmers have started uprooting the plants in the neighbouring twin districts of Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh.

Learning a lesson from the plight of the neighbours, the farmers in Abohar sub-division have widened the distance between the plants. It may be mentioned that pomegranates grown by Gurvinder Singh of village Kallarkhera in Abohar sub-division had won the best fruit award at the national level a few years back.

In North India, pomegranate is typically available from August to December. The affected farmers said there has been a constant struggle with the cultivation of pomegranate in India. In 2000, a bacterial epidemic spread which had made growing pomegranates a recurring battle for the farmers.

Till this day, about 80 per cent of the pomegranate cultivation in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat get affected.

Pomegranates can be grown at comparatively less cost than the routine citrus crops. Most of the farmers said they were lured by the incentives offered under the National Horticulture Mission that allowed a subsidy of Rs 30,000 per acre for pomegranate orchards.

But growers in the Nohar segment said they had to uproot the plants recently as spraying expensive insecticides had no positive effect.

A progressive farmer, Anil Godara of Mirzewala near Sriganganagar, said fruiting had started after two years of plantation but the climate in the arid irrigated region has not proved friendly to the fruit. About two dozen orchards in the border district have been uprooted so far, said Rakesh Godara.

GR Matoria, assistant director, horticulture, said pomegranates were grown in 700 hectare area of Sriganganagar district but the flooding of orchards with canal water proved damaging besides the bacterial blight.

Regional Director, Agricultural Research Centre, Dr BS Yadav said farmers had taken the risk of growing pomegranates, aonla and dates without consulting the centre.

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Youth killed in road mishap after his engagement ceremony
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 3
A youth, Sandeep Singh, whose engagement ceremony took place only yesterday with a girl of Mamdot in Ferozepur district, was killed in a road accident late on Sunday evening.

Sandeep, a resident of village Bhamba Wattu, was going to celebrate his engagement ceremony at village Ladhuka near Fazilka on a motorcycle at 9.30 pm along with his friend. His father Makhan Singh said their bike rammed into stationary vehicle parked on the road between Ladhuka and Bhamba Wattu.

Sandeep Singh died on spot while his friend, also named Sandeep Singh, sustained serious injuries.

He was shifted to the local Civil Hospital from where doctors referred him to the medical college at Faridkot. 

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Man booked for raping Dalit girl

Faridkot, September 3
Police has registered a case of rape against a youth in a village near Bajakhana. The youth had allegedly raped a 13-year-old minor Dalit girl and is absconding. Though the case was registered two days back, the culprit is yet to be arrested by the police.

The crime was allegedly committed late on Saturday evening when the mother of the girl was away to meet a relative and the girl was alone at home.

The girl's brother and father were attending a religious function in the village.

It is alleged that after scaling the boundary wall, the accused entered the house and raped the minor girl. The police is searching for the accused, said Gurcharan Singh, Station House Officer (SHO), Bajakhana police station. TNS

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