L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


VVIPs visit keep officials on toes
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Officials from almost all the government departments were on their toes following VVIPs visit in the city today.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal — the names were enough to put the government machinery on toes for more than 48 hours. The offices wore a deserted look and the common man had to suffer in the absence of staff.

Talking to The Tribune, an official of the district administration said that November had been a hectic month due to the visit of many VVIPs/VIPs in the city. “But it was a tense day today as the President had to visit the city. Starting from security arrangements to all other arrangements till he was in the city, officials were on their toes. We could not afford to have committed even a small mistake. Higher officials from the district administration, health department, excise and taxation, police and the municipal corporation were seen making arrangements for the VVIPs visit,” said the official.

An official said he had to accompany officials to receive the Governor till he was settled at the Circuit House. "While the Governor is relaxing here, the officials are moving to receive the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the PAU. Since, they are all VVIPs, we cannot afford to relax till they are in the city and all of them had their own arrival and departure timings,” said another official.

A senior official from the Excise and Taxation department said that he had to look into the arrangements where CM Parkash Singh Badal had to inaugurate a fast food joint launched by Verka prior to the main event at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

"For the past 24 hours, we have not been able to heave a sigh of relief. Last evening, we had to attend the final meeting convened by the Deputy Commissioner to discuss the arrangements. Since it is a government holiday tomorrow, it would be great respite for us,” said a stressed official.

While officials remained busy with the VVIPs, government offices wore a deserted look. “We have been told that most of the staff has been put on the VVIP duty. I had to meet an official regarding my case. Since he was not in the office, my file will be cleared day after tomorrow,” said Santokh Singh, a city resident. 


Traffic moves at steady pace on Ferozepur road
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
It was a pleasant experience for commuters as encroachments on the Ferozepur road were removed ahead of the President's visit.
Vehicles and makeshift stalls were removed by the authorities well before the arrival of the President.

A road free of encroachments near Mini-Secretariat in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
A road free of encroachments near Mini-Secretariat in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma 

“It was a joy to commute on the Ferozepur road today. There were no snarl-ups and the vehicular traffic moved with ease,” said Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Haibowal.

Drivers of private and government buses, who flout norms and park their vehicles in the middle the road, were seen following the traffic rules today. Besides, only a few auto-rickshaws were seen on the Ferozepur road. The service lane near Mini-Secretariat that remains crowded throughout the day also wore a deserted look.

Hundreds of policemen stood guard along the road from where the President was expected to pass. Residents were asked not to park their vehicles along the highway.

However, there were reports of snarl-ups at Bharat Nagar Chowk and Verka Milk Chowk when the President’s cavalcade was heading towards Sat Paul Mittal School. 


No policeman in old city 

While foolproof security measures were taken in the areas where the President was visiting, no policeman was seen on roads in the old city area. There were reports of encroachment bid in the old city area as the police was busy in the VVIP duty. The police officials attended the complainants after the President left the city. 



School buses caught in traffic jam
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Police personnel regulate vehicular movement during the President's visit in Ludhiana on Tuesday.
Police personnel regulate vehicular movement during the President's visit in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma 

Ludhiana, November 27
Schoolchildren had to bear the brunt of VVIPs visit to the city as many school buses were caught in a traffic jam after the cavalcade of President Pranab Mukherjee moved towards Sat Paul Mittal School at around 2.30 pm.

Keeping in view the security measures, traffic was stopped in service lanes resulting in long queues of vehicles. More than a dozen school buses ferrying students back home were stuck in snarl-ups. Drivers and conductors started receiving calls of anxious parents.

Some parents were seen saying that the administration should have declared a holiday schools today. 



MC in haste to auction remaining SCOs
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
With the kind of response the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has got from the auction of 21 SCOs near Keys Hotel, the officials seem to be in a hurry to auction the remaining nine SCOs.
The site where the SCOs will come up in Ludhiana.
The site where the SCOs will come up in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

The reserve price for selling 30 SCOs was fixed at Rs 1.5 lakh per sq yard, but the MC managed to sell these at Rs 1.62 lakh.

The MC is now planning to sell the remaining nine SCOs and it may increase the reserve price.

Sources said a group of MC officials wanted that the reserve price should be increased, but the MC Commissioner would take the final call.

After two consecutive "flop shows", the civic body officials managed to sell 21 sites out of the total 30 near Keys Hotel in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar yesterday. The MC has sold property worth Rs 35 crore.

A senior MC official stated that since morning he had been receiving calls from those who wanted to invest in the SCOs. "Now, only nine SCOs are left and we are hopeful of auctioning these at a higher reserve price," said an MC official.

Even in the civic body's Zone D office, successful bidders were seen depositing their first 10 per cent of the total amount. Interestingly, some property dealers were also present there and were seen urging the successful bidders to sell off their SCOs at a higher price.

"As I was about to deposit my share of money, a property dealer approached me and said he was willing to pay Rs 1.65 lakh per sq yard. If the rates have increased so much in just a single day, these may escalate in coming days," said one of the successful bidders.

When contacted, MC Commissioner Rakesh Kumar Verma said to attract the bidders, it was unlikely that the reserve price would be increased.

"Most probably, we will keep the reserve price at Rs 1.5 lakh per sq yard only. I am also reviewing the other two properties, which were not auctioned. But certainly, we will take the decision soon. Besides, the date for the auction of other two properties will also be announced shortly," said the MC Commissioner.



Civet cat enters house, rescued
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Panic gripped Guru Gobind Nagar in the Mundian area after a civet cat that strayed from Mattewara forest in search of food entered a house today.
The incident took place this afternoon when Pawan Kumar, owner of the house, saw a cat-like animal rummaging in a storeroom located on the first floor of the house.

Pawan showed the presence mind and bolted the room from outside. He raised the alarm and informed his neighbours. Soon, the police reached the spot.

Gurpreet Singh, a forest official, who had recently escaped a leopard attack while he along with other officials was rescuing the wild cat from a borewell in Kadian village, said: "There were rumours that another leopard has entered the Mundian's Guru Gobind Nagar area. The report of another leopard sent us in a tizzy and without wasting time, we rushed towards the spot. We also took a tranquilising gun."

Residents of the area surrounded the place where the civet cat was kept. Some persons were carrying sharp-edged weapons and were seen eager to kill the animal.

"We cleared the area first and opened the door. To our surprise, it was a harmless civet. We have rescued it. It is safe and taken it to the Tiger Safari near Amaltas village," said Gurpreet Singh. 



Delay in work annoys Jagraon residents
Say civic body yet to lay interlocking tiles on remaining portion of College Road
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 27
The delay caused by the contractor concerned in fixing interlocking tiles on the remaining portion of College Road has annoyed the residents of various localities as well as shopkeepers.

The area residents complain that the contractor hired by the Jagraon municipal council for fixing interlocking tiles has been causing unnecessary delay in completing the project. The residents have criticised the local municipal council for its failure to get the construction work completed on time.

The municipal council had started the work of fixing interlocking tiles on the road ahead of the recently held Assembly elections, but the work was stopped midway.

At that time, the MC authorities had promised the residents that the work of fixing tiles on the remaining portion of the road would be started soon.

But contrary to the promise made by the authorities at that time, the construction work was not undertaken even after eight months of the Assembly elections.

However, the residents heaved a sigh of relief when the work resumed last month. But the slow pace of work has irked the area residents. The work started a month ago and so far the contractor who was allotted the project has managed to lay tiles on only a small portion of the road. The residents complain that they have been facing a lot of inconvenience due to the delay in construction work. Besides, the ongoing construction work has been also leading to frequent traffic jams on the road.

"First the MC started the work late and now the work is being carried out at a snail's pace. We have been facing a lot of inconvenience due to the unnecessary delay.

The municipal council should expedite the work and ensure that the project is completed on time," said Ram Lubhaya, a resident of College Road.

Municipal council President Baldev Krishan

Dhir said the contractor had to stop the construction work due to the festive season. "The work of laying interlocking tiles will be completed soon," Dhir added. 



Shopkeepers Challaned
While Prez was at PAU, anti-encroachment drive was under way at Gate Number 3
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
When President of India Pranab Mukherjee was attending a conference inside the Punjab Agricultural University campus, at that time, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation’s Tehbazaari Wing was carrying out its anti-encroachment drive outside the university Gate Number 3.

Outside Gate Number 3, a large number of shops selling stationary and other such goods are located and many shopkeepers have encroached upon a portion of the road by keeping boards as well as generator sets. Not only this, but even the tea stalls and khokhas selling tobacco products are also located there, are a nuisance and they too encroach upon the road.

Naveen Malhotra, superintendent, Tehbazaari Wing of the MC, informed that 15 shopkeepers whose shops were located near the PAU Gate Number 3 was challaned.

“Besides challans, we have also issued warnings to the shopkeepers. We have clicked the photographs of the shops and I have told them clearly that next time I see encroachments outside their shops, I will get an FIR registered against them because now, we have a proof that encroachments exist there,” said Malhotra, He also said that five rickshaws wrongly parked on the road were also confiscated.

After the drive, the Tehbazaari Wing also removed 16 hoardings and 40 banners and kiosks from the Dugri area.



Look for solution to problems of farm sector: Shivraj V Patil
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Extending warm welcome to President Dr Pranab Mukherjee, Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Shivraj V Patil, while addressing a gathering at the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, today stated that Mukherjee was in a position to suggest a holistic approach which should be included in the topic selected for discussion during the conference.

Patil said, “The Punjab Agriculture University is one of the oldest and the most reputed agriculture universities in India. It has contributed splendidly towards the First Green Revolution. It is responsible for making Punjab and this part of the country be able to produce food grains, self-reliant and in providing livelihood to the people of the country.”

The Governor said the topic selected for the international conference was of great importance.

It was meant to retain the patentability of the soil, and the environment to be able to produce all that was needed by human beings and others, for all times to come.

Patil emphasised on paying more attention to immediate, mid-term and distant challenges to solve the problem being faced by the agriculture sector. He said old knowledge and experience had to be used and retained.

He said the need of the hour was to transfer old knowledge and create new knowledge to impart it to the new generation. 



Old students do their bit for alma matar
Charanjit Singh Teja
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
The PAU alumni feel indebted to their alma mater. Many of them have tried to express their gratitude to the institution by contributing handsome donations to the university.

In the list of such dedicated students, Dr Gurdev Singh Khush has his name one the top. He completed his Bsc in Agriculture from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, in 1955. He is an expert in paddy. He has donated Rs 3.5 crore to the university for setting up of laboratories for research work at the PAU.

Maninderjeet Singh Sandha, who was once a student at the PAU and later worked as a professor at the vegetable department in his alma matter, donated his entire provident fund to the university one-and-a-half decade ago when he left the PAU.

Dr Sandha has sponsored a library in the department of vegetable crops. He obtained his M.Sc. degree from here. Not only the students of the university but also the professors and employees, including class four employees, have been donating funds, based on their paying capacity. 



Fish need special care during winter: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
"Fish need special care during winter," said Dr Meera D Ansal, scientist (fisheries), College of Fisheries, GADVASU. He added, "Farmers should keep the water depth up to six feet so that the fish get enough space for hibernating."

"In shallow water, the whole water column becomes cold, which affects the fish and can prove fatal. Regular addition of tubewell water at dusk helps in keeping the surface water warm," he said.

As day length and light intensity decrease during winter, the oxygen level declines due to poor photosynthetic activity in the pond. The situation worsens during cloudy days.

"The farmers are advised to aerate ponds either by adding fresh water or by using aerators, especially during early hours of the day. Regular monitoring of water pH is also needed in winter, which may fall to harmful levels due to poor photosynthetic activity and hence higher carbon dioxide levels in the pond. In case there are trees (especially deciduous trees) around the pond, trim those so that leaves do not fall in to it as these will add to the organic load and deteriorate the water quality on decomposition. Shaded ponds are more susceptible to oxygen depletion during winter," said Dr Ansal.

Feed intake of fish decreases with the decrease in temperature as its digestive system becomes sluggish. Hence, it is essential to reduce the feeding rate by 50-75 per cent depending on the temperature. "Farmers are advised to use low-protein diets. 



Natural resource mgmt must: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
Eminent farm scientists from the US, Germany and India gave detailed presentation on diverse themes of the “International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security - ICSA 2012,” organised at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

Chairing the technical session, “Natural Resource Conservation- A Key to Sustainable Agriculture” Dr RS Paroda, former director general, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), said that sustainable agriculture could not be ensured without the natural resource management. Stating that protected cultivation was the most efficient system for productivity, he emphasised on managing the natural resources and addressing the climate change issues. He also spoke on the importance of farm diversification, water, soil, energy, power, cropping systems and intensity.

Dr MS Bajwa, co-chairman of the session, said that Punjab was making substantial contribution of paddy to the central pool at the cost of depleting water resources and the Centre should compensate by giving royalty to the state. He also emphasised on adequate storage facilities for the management of farm produce.

Dr RS Zeigler, director general, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines; chaired the technical session on “Breeding Crops for Food and Climate Resilience” whereas Dr DS Brar, adjunct professor at the PAU School of Agricultural Biotechnology (SAB) and former Head of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Biotechnology Division, IRRI, Philippines.

A well-known rice breeder, popularly known as “Paddy Daddy,” Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, adjunct professor, University of California, Davis, USA, and PAU alumnus; said “Between 1966 and 2011, the population of densely populated low-income countries grew by 110 per cent. But the rice production increased by 180 per cent from 257 million tonnes in 1966 to 718 million tonnes in 2011. In spite of these advances in rice production, 800 million people still go to bed hungry every day and most of them are poor rice consumers. As the population of rice consumers will continue to grow, it is vital to meet the increased demand from less land and with less water, less labour and fewer chemicals. Various strategies for increasing the rice yield potential include conventional hybridisation and selection procedures, ideotype breeding, hybrid breeding, wide hybridisation and genetic engineering, he suggested.

Speaking on the topic “Managing Soils for Feeding the Carbon Civilisation,” Dr Rattan Lal Sharma, professor of soil science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, USA; said that impact of the so called “Carbon Civilization” on the environment is likely to increase drastically with increase in population from 7 billion in 2011 to 9.2 billion in 2050 and 10 billion in 2100. He added that the finite resources were being jeopardised by severe soil degradation, urbanisation and industrial uses, brick making and use for growing bio-fuel plantations. If soils are not restored, crops will fail and hunger will perpetuate, he said, while stressing on prudence governance and sustainable development for dealing with land and soil degradation.

Dr DJ MacKill, adjunct professor, University of California, Davis, USA, observed that rice production was under pressure due to water shortages, climate change, reduced arable land area, increasing cost of inputs, and pollution.

Dr Hans-Peter Piepho from University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany, spoke on “Using series of experiments to identify adapted cultivars for sub-divided target regions.” He stated that breeding for local adaptation might be economically viable provided there was sufficient genotype-by-sub-region interaction.

Dr Kulwinder Gill from Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA, disclosed that about 25 per cent of wheat crop was lost to various types of pests even though ample resistance genes were available. He said, “To protect and maintain yield potential of popular variety, we optimised a marker-assisted background selection (MABS)-based gene introgression approach in wheat where 97 per cent or more of a recurrent parent genome could be recovered in just two backcross (BC) generations.

Dr JS Samra, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, New Delhi, revealed that nearly 8.2 per cent of India’s population of tribals and forest dwellers were the major concern of inclusive growth and conservation of natural resources. He noted that demographic growth, change in food habits, urbanisation, industrialisation, climate changes and environmental needs were putting tremendous challenges on the natural resources.

Dr BR Sharma, principal researcher (water resources), International Water Management Institute, New Delhi, said that regional land and water productivity of both rice and wheat was one of the highest in the country.



All praise for PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
As Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) celebrates its golden jubilee, here's an insight into what experts and dignitaries felt about the institution that had played a pivotal role in the Green Revolution and helped in making the nation self-sufficient in food grains.

This institution is synonymous with the Green Revolution which made the country not only self-reliant in food grains but also provided the surplus for exports. It has made a splendid contribution in the service to the nation. The PAU scientists have developed hundreds of new strains of high-yielding and robust varieties through research and innovation.

— Pranab Mukherjee, President

This is a place dear to the heart of CIMMYT. It has been important for Norman Borlaug, the Father of Green Revolution. It's the place for innovative farmers and agricultural researchers.

— Dr Thomas Lumpkin, Director General, CIMMYT, Mexico

In 1955, it was a small institution. Today, this institution has carved a niche for itself in the world map. It has a worldwide recognition.

— Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, prominent rice breeder

PAU is an institution that has maintained a sustainable agricultural development. The university has brought pride and prestige to Indian farmers.

— Dr S Ayyppan, Director General, ICAR

It is one of the best research and teaching institutions in the world. The partnership between PAU and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has played a pivotal role in developing rice varieties.

— Dr Rober S Zeigler, Director General, IRRI, Philippines



Prez visit reminded many of Kalam's visit
Anupam Bhagria
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the city reminded many of former President Dr APJ Kalam's visit on September 4, 2003.
Paramjeet Kaur, principal of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, said, "It was a big day for me as perhaps I was the only citizen from the city to listen to Dr Kalam's speech twice in a day, i.e. at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan and at a function of Ludhiana Management Association."

She further said that she still remembered the words of Kalam while interacting with students of different schools at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan. She said, "While addressing the students he said that there were three persons who made remarkable impression on one's mind, i.e. teacher, father and mother."

Neena Sagar a business entrepreneur said, "I was working in an office at Ghumar Mandi at that time. Just to have a glimpse of Kalam's cavalcade, I went to Bhai Bala Chowk and felt so proud to have seen him."

After listening to his lecture at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan one of the school students at that time said, "I read his autobiogroahy "Wings of Fire" and got to know how he became the missile man of India."Today, Mukherjee also visited Sat Paul Mittal School and interacted with a group of students in a lighter vein. Bhupinder Gogia, principal of the school said, "He asked students as to what they wanted to be in life and chatted with them."



Initiatives must to sustain farm sector: Farm expert
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 27
"Looking 10 years down the line, the situation of agricultural sustainability looks very scary and disturbing," says Dr Kulvinder S Gill, from Washington State University. He was at the PAU for International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security.

In the sixties, to get better production, a new variety of dwarf gene kind was used in the university, which stood stronger against storm and wind. But GA hormone was removed from the plants here in the process, which had stronger resistance to heat and drought. To make agriculture sustainable, hormone has to be brought back into the crop, he says.

As of now, the process of plant breeding takes about 10 to 15 years, which gives enough time to pathogens to evolve and the crops become prone to diseases again.



School notes
Gurpurb celebrated

Ludhiana: Gurpurb was celebrated at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Udham Singh Nagar. Principal Bandana Sethi emphasised on the importance of being altruistic and compassionate towards the fellow beings as well as society.

Spring Dale

Gurpurb was celebrated at Spring Dale Public School, Sherpur, on Tuesday. Ludhiana celebrated Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Nanak Dev with zeal and devotion. "Gurbani Kanth Muqabla" and "Shabad Gayan Muqabla" were organised.

St GDS Convent School

Students of St GDS Convent School recited poems and delivered speeches to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. Principal of the school Manisha Talwar motivated students to follow the Guru's teachings.

Bal Bharti school

Gurpurb was celebrated at Bal Bharti Public School. An "Ardas" was held. — TNS



Drug peddler arrested
Tribune reporters

Ludhiana, November 27
The police has arrested a drug peddler, identified as Danny, following the death of two persons due to drug overdose two days ago.
On November 25, the bodies of Gurmeet Singh, aka Sonu (32), and Manpreet Singh, aka Rinku (34), were found from a room in Kadwai Nagar.

During investigations, the police found that the deceased used to procure drugs from Danny, who resides at Sanjay Gandhi Colony on Tajpur Road.

The family members of the deceased complained that Danny, in order to make the contraband more effective, mixed some poisonous substance that led to the death of the duo.

The police booked Danny under Section 304 of the IPC for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, after receiving a complaint from Satnam Singh, Sonu’s father.

Danny was nabbed by a police party from Sufian Chowl last evening. The police also recovered 10gm of heroin from his possession.

2 held with 5.7-gm opium

The police has arrested two drug peddlers and recovered 5.7gm of opium from their possession.

The accused, identified as Balwinder and Balwant, were nabbed from RK Road following a tip-off last night.

They had bought the contraband from Chhattisgarh.

The accused were produced in the court today which sent them to a two-day police remand.

The police said the accused had been smuggling drugs for the past one year.

The CIA staff busted a gang of motorcycle thieves and recovered two motorcycles from them.

5 drug peddlers held

Jagraon: The police has arrested five drug peddlers and recovered seven quintal of poppy husk from their possession.

The accused were arrested during patrolling on the outskirts of Shafipura village near Sidhwan Bet. Two two accused managed to escape.

The accused have been identified as Sai Das of Ludhiana, Gurpreet Singh of Bulara village, Jaspal Singh and Pritam Singh of Abohar, Harpreet Singh of Lasara village.

The two who managed to flee have been identified as Kulwinder Singh, alias Kinda, of Sareeh village and Deepa of Gill village near Ludhiana.

The police said the accused were in a Tata Indica car and a canter and when it signalled the vehicles to stop, the accused alighted from the vehicles and tried to flee.

It said 21 bags of poppy husk were recovered from the vehicles.

A case has been registered at the Jagraon Sadar police station under various sections of the NDPS Act against the accused.

The accused were produced in the court which sent them to a two-day police remand.



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