L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Bank strike cripples industry
7,500 cheques not cleared, economy suffers a loss of Rs 1,000 crore in district
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 10
The industrial capital of Punjab woke up to a two-day strike by bank employees which crippled most business and commercial activities here. The banking operations remained suspended on the first day of strike today. The strike resulted in a loss of Rs 1,000 crore to the industry and banks in the district. As many as 75,000 cheques could not be cleared.

More than 3,500 bank employees proceeded on the strike on a call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions.

Industrialists say transaction of more than Rs 1,800 crore will be affected in Ludhiana and the overall impact of the strike in the state will be more than Rs 8,000 crores.

Badish Jindal, president of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India said: “This has become a regular feature. We cannot run our business without banks. February is important for the trade and industry as the financial quarter ends in March. We have to meet our supply and export commitments. Industrialists will have to pay interest on payments for no fault of theirs.”

“We have urged the Chairman of the Reserve Bank of India not to charge interest on any kind of advances for these two days. The banks and government are responsible for the strike not the industry,” he added.

Earlier, the United Form of Bank Unions staged a protest at Bharat Nagar Chowk. Naresh Gaur of the United Forum of Banking Unions said: “We urged the IBA to reconsider its offer of pay revision at a meeting on February 6. But despite our efforts to persuade the IBA, it remained firm on providing 10 per cent hike, which was not acceptable to the UFBU.”

He said in the name of reforms, the government was taking steps to liberalise and de-regulate the banking sector. Recently, the RBI has announced that the government's equity capital in banks can be reduced to less than 51 per cent which means nothing but privatisation of public sector banks. The discussion paper of the RBI also proposes merger of banks. The merger has adverse implications on the bank employees, he added.

ATMs run out of cash

Several ATMs ran out of cash causing hardship to the common man on the first day of the two-day strike by bank employees. Long queues of customers were seen outside many ATMs. Rohit, a city resident, said: “The message of the bank strike should have been flashed on news channels. I was not aware of the strike. I needed money to purchase a second-hand motorcycle. I went to six ATMs but all had run out to cash.”

Prateesk Sharma, another resident, said: “Several ATMs have run dry as the banks have not been able to refill them with cash. The remaining ATMs will also run out of cash tomorrow. It is very difficult to do without money in case of emergency."


Forex trader shot at, robbed of Rs 15.9 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
A forex trader was robbed of Rs 15.9 lakh at gunpoint in Mullanpur today. Armed robbers also fired two shots. One of the shots hit the trader on his leg. The incident took place this evening when Deepak Kumar, owner of Calcutta Boot House, was returning home on his scooter.

He was carrying two bags, one having a laptop and documents and the other was full of cash.

When Deepak reached near his house, two motorcycle-borne youths intercepted him. Before Deepak could react, one of the assailants who was riding pillion fired two shots at Deepak. He snatched the bag containing cash and fled. Deepak's father Ashok Kumar tried to chase the robbers, but in vain.

Deepak was rushed to a hospital where his condition was stated to be out of danger. His father said the bag contained Rs 15.9 lakh.

Dilbag Singh, SHO Mullanpur police station, refused to give details about the snatched amount. He maintained that police were recording the statement of the victim.

Deepak claimed that he had withdrawn cash in exchange of foreign currency. He was carrying the cash back home in the evening when he was robbed.

The police suspect that the robbers could be insiders who knew that Deepak was carrying cash.



3 killed in separate incidents

Ludhiana, February 10
Three persons, including a woman and an eight-year-old child, were killed in separate incidents reported in different parts of the city. Samarpreet Singh (8), a resident of Railway Colony, who climbed on top of a train and had suffered electrical shock while catching a kite, succumbed to his injuries today.

In another incident, 25-year-old Shanta Devi, a resident of Ram Nagar, 33-Foota Road, was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

Prima facie it appears that the woman was strangled to death. Her husband, however, claimed that his wife committed suicide by hanging. The police have informed the woman's parents about her death. The post-mortem will be conducted tomorrow.

In a separate incident, 28-year-old Simraljit of Kanchan Colony near Pakhowal Road committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan at his shop today.

The incident came light this evening when Simranjit's uncle Kukku visited the shop and was shocked to find him hanging. Simranjit was the father of two children. — TNS



Project to develop city roads gets rolling
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Tenders to develop nine major roads in the city were opened today. The foundation stone for the Rs 75 crore project, which is a part of the Rs 700 crore projects for Ludhiana, was laid by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal more than a month ago.

The roads which will be given a new look include Rahon Road, Tajpur Road, Sherpur Road, Link Road, Gill Road, Dugri Road, Ishmeet Road, Pakhowal Road and Hambran Road. The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation authorities have divided these roads into five groups.

Out of the qualified bidders, the one who quotes the lowest bid will be given the contract. The project will have to be completed in 15 months.



Towers of contention
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has asked Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) not to erect electricity poles on the MC land without its permission. In a letter to the PSPCL Chief Engineer, MC Commissioner Rahul Tiwari stated that the PSPCL never takes the civic body’s permission to install electricity poles on its land.

Tiwari said several poles are obstructing traffic. The PSPCL seeks funds from the MC if is asks the power body to shift these poles.

The letter reads: “I wish to inform you that the MC has a right to ask for rent for transformers and electricity poles erected on its land. The PSPCL should depute a nodal officer, who along with MC officials, will do a survey of the electricity poles erected in the city. After the survey, the MC will decide the rent to be charged from the PSPCL. And in case the PSPCL is unable to pay the rent or wants any kind of exemption, the MC should be informed. Besides, the MC’s clearance should be taken before erecting new poles so the smooth flow of traffic is not affected.”

The MC Commissioner has also asked Chief Engineer, PSPCL, Sikandar Singh, to remove four transmission towers of high-tension line from Ferozpur Road along Sidhwan Canal. These towers were erected by the power body without taking permission from the MC. The MC had shot off three letters to the power body to remove the towers, but to no avail. The Vidhan Sabha Committee had also taken a serious note of the issue.

The MC Commissioner said if the towers were not removed, the PSPCL officials will be asked to reply in front of the Vidhan Sabha Committee in its next meeting, added Tiwari.



Police fail to act on mining official’s complaint
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Officials of the district Mining Department asked the police to impound five sand-laden tractor-trailers trolleys without papers. The Assistant Sub-Inspector, Haibowal police station, however, released the tractor-trailers saying the owners of the vehicles had valid papers.

Sukhwinder Singh, inspector, Mining Department, said the persons on the vehicles failed to show the documents.

"We waited for the owners to come with papers for three hours, but nobody came. Even those with tractor-trailers disappeared. After waiting for more than three hours, we asked the Haibowal police to impound the five trailers and register an FIR,” said Sukhwinder Singh.

Contradicting his claims, ASI Surinder Singh, who went to the spot, said: “The mining officials had asked us to check the documents and take action accordingly. They owners showed the documents and we released the vehicles.”



Express your love with roses, heart-shaped cakes and chocolates
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Red is the colour of the city these days. From greeting cards, chocolates, photo frames to studs and rings, all are coming in heart shape in crimson red. The Valentine’s Day celebrations begin a week before February 14. Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Bear Day, Kiss Day and Hug Day add to the celebrations.

Cashing in on the trend, gift shops in the city have stocked personalised gifts, stuffed toys, imitation jewellery, heart-shaped pillows and cards. From talking teddies to magical pearls, the choice is endless.

Flowers still make the best Valentine’s Day gift. Florists are expecting good sales and are working overtime to meet the demand. A florist at Pakhowal Raod said he had received orders in advance as roses will cost more on February 14.

Online sites are also flooded with offers for the V-Day. Shopping online is the best catch. One saves, time and energy and you can select goodies while sitting in the comfort of our house. “I have ordered gifts online for my husband and made sure that they are delivered on the V-Day,” said Sakshi, a teacher.

Bakeries in the city also have a lot to offer. Cake with your picture is a hit. Some want their handwritten message on the cake.

Hotels and Restaurants are also planning special packages for couples. With all the ostentatious display of love and affection, it is going to be tough to sneak away for a romantic candlelight dinner with a live band playing romantic numbers. So whatever it is you plan to do that day, do plan ahead unless you want to be standing all dressed up waiting for a table outside a restaurant or lounge.

The debate goes on

Do people in love need a special day to express their love, are we blindly aping the Western culture? Valentine’s Day is a topic that always excites debate. The discussion goes on and it is the companies that are making a moolah. Do we really celebrate the festival with spirit or it is just a market ploy and we are getting carried away with it. While people celebrate, it is the florists, bakeries and gift shops that are making a quick buck.



Better Ludhiana killer trucks-ii
‘Heavy vehicle drivers unaware of traffic rules’
The number of accidents on road has gone up due to reckless driving by the truck drivers and their ignorance of traffic rules
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Three persons, including a child, were killed while three others were injured when their motorcycles collided with a stationary water tanker on South City Road near Sukhmani Enclave on February 2.

Similarly on February 5, seven persons, including a woman, died in three separate incidents involving trucks and a trolley. The recent incidents have again brought to the fore, the reckless driving by truck and trolley drivers, which lead to fatal accidents. Residents expressed their anguish over how these stationary vehicles parked on the roadside posed danger to those commuting on the roads.

One has to be brave while driving on a motorcycle from Jalandhar Bypass to Sherpur Chowk. Not only the roads are full of potholes, even the overspeeding heavy vehicles pose danger to a motorcyclist. The accidents are a routine in these areas. Heavy vehicles should be challaned to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, it is the motorcyclists who become the preferred target of the traffic police.

— Aseem Khanna, Investment consultant

A few months ago, I had a terrible experience. I was driving at night in dense fog when I spotted a truck with its tail lights on, as it was parked on the road. When my vehicle came closer to it, I saw it was overloaded with rice husk. I took a sharp turn and had a narrow escape. Yesterday, when I was returning from Nangal, on reaching near Dehlon, I got stuck in a traffic snarl. The traffic jam was due to the trucks parked right in the middle of the road. A majority of the drivers of heavy vehicles lack traffic sense.

— Satvir Singh, Welfare Officer, Punjab Agricultural University

One primary reason behind an accident is urgency. This leads to a majority of accidents on the road. We cannot afford to be careless while commuting in chaotic cities like Ludhiana. There are no proper driving schools for truck and bus drivers. A majority of them do not have any knowledge about road signs, then how can one expect them to follow the rules.

— Charan Singh Lohara, president of Ludhiana Goods Transport Association

Trolleys and vehicles that develop a snag are usually parked in the middle of the road. It becomes the owner's responsibility to park them alongside the road, so that the other commuters are safe. The drivers of heavy vehicles should be taught traffic rules. Unfortunately, the Road Safety Council exists only on paper, whereas it should be made at the grassroots level.

— Dr Sandeep Chauhan, general physician

Heavy vehicle drivers drive rashly and do not care for human life and small vehicles. They do not maintain enough distance from small vehicles and often try to scare motorcyclists away on the road. Since the heavy vehicles have pressure breaks, the drivers drive rashly. In a majority of cases, the motorcyclists fall prey to these carelessly driven trucks.

— Gurmeet Singh Sondhi, Banker

Unattended parked trucks and trolleys on the road pose danger to the lives of commuters, especially in Haibowal and the areas around Dugrapuri. The sand-laden trolleys often encroach upon the road which leads to traffic jams. Further, there are no tail lights or reflectors installed on these vehicles, which sometimes lead to fatal accidents. The department concerned should take action and clear the roads of these stationary vehicles.

— Manoj Sharma, HDFC Bank

Official Speak

We are taking necessary measures to prevent accidents and to inculcate traffic awareness among residents. The computerisation of licencing process is a step towards positive direction. We also want an independent motorcycle vehicle inspector (MVI) to be posted here. Presently, the MVI is available only for three days. For a city like Ludhiana, with a huge volume of applicant vying for licences, we need to have an independent MVI who will make the issuing of licence a stringent process.

— Anil Garg, District Transport Officer



PSPCL: Extension to CMD evokes mixed response
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 10
The one year extension in the term of Chairman and Managing Director of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited KD Chaudhry has evoked a mixed response from the power engineers.

While a few senior engineers from the Central Zone, including Chief Engineer Rachpal Singh, have hailed the extension and have expressed their gratitude to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the PSEB Engineers Association has condemned the move and a section of power engineers wore black badges as a mark of protest.

Making it amply clear that there was a vertical split between PSPCL engineers over the matter, Rachpal Singh, Chief Engineer, along with SK Gupta, Jagjit Singh, both Deputy Chief Engineers and several executive engineers said that the Punjab government had recognised the services of an honest and competent power engineer by granting extension to the CMD.

The senior power engineers further said that under the stewardship of Choudhry, the power utility had made a significant contribution to development in the state of Punjab in the last four years.

“Punjab has become a power surplus state from a power deficit one, and power crisis gripping the state for the past several years, has become a thing of the past with the new thermal power plants at Talwandi Sabo and Rajpura becoming operational,” they added.

On the other hand, the PSEB Engineers Association observed a black day and engineers wore black badges against what they termed as violation of the sacrosanct tripartite agreement between the Punjab government, the body of power engineers and the trade unions which was signed at the time of unbundling of the erstwhile state electricity board.

GPMS Sidhu, regional secretary of the PSEBA, said the power engineers vowed to fight tooth and nail against the violation of the tripartite agreement.



Nightmarish ride on Sherpur Road
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, February 10
Commute on Sherpur Road is a nightmare. The stretch has been in a pitiable condition for the past many years. Residents have approached the authorities many a time, but nothing has been done.

Area residents said the road was repaired six years ago. Sudarshan Jain, a resident, said it had become difficult for them to ride a two-wheeler on the potholed road.

The residents said a number of accidents had occurred on the stretch, but the authorities had turned a blind eye to the problem.

"Two-wheelers skid off the road as it is in a bad shape. Steps need to be taken to tide over the problem," said another resident, Tulsi Dass. The Municipal Council had started the work of fixing interlocking tiles on the road more than a year ago, but it had left the work midway. The residents want the civic body to resume work and repair the stretch between the Oriental Bank of Commerce and Sherpur Chowk.

Repeated pleas have fallen on deaf ears, with the authorities delaying the work. The residents have been making rounds of the MC office, but to no avail. Jagraon Municipal Council executive officer Davinder Toor said the council would float tenders and the remaining portion of the road would be repaired soon.



Construction of small bridge
Illegal sewerage connections stalling work at Bhadaur House
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The under-construction small bridge at Bhadaur House, which has to connect commuters to Ghanta Ghar is causing inconvenience to the general public due to the slow pace of work.

Not just commuters have to take a long route to reach the Ghanta Ghar from Bhadaur House, but the nearby shopkeepers say that because of incomplete construction, they have to bear losses in business as buyers feel avoid crossing the incomplete bridge to visit their shops.

Area councillor Sushma Mehta however rued that due to illegal sewerage connections, the construction work was suffering. "We have to make the bridge broader so that four-wheelers can also cross the bridge. But due to illegal sewerage connections, the violators are throwing all their garbage in the “Barsati Nullah”, over which the bridge is being made. The contractor has expressed helplessness in completing the construction due to the continuous flow of sewage. We visited the area with the Executive Engineer and the SDO today and have asked the Operations and Maintenance (O and M) Department to stop the sewage flow so that the construction work is completed at the earliest ", said Mehta.



Dairy, agriculture expo ends on a positive note
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, February 10
A three-day long 8th International Dairy and Agriculture Expo organised by Progressive Dairy Farmers' Association (PDFA) concluded at Pashu Mandi, Jagraon, today. A competition between high-quality breed of cows and buffaloes was the main attraction at the dairy expo toda\y.

Several companies, pioneer in dairy sector, displayed latest techniques innovated by them for improving dairy farming.

A large number of dairy farmers from different parts of Punjab as well as adjoining states and several foreign experts took part in the expo. Progressive Dairy Farmers' Association also felicitated some progressive dairy farmers during the occasion.

The previous day, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had called upon the small and marginal farmers of the state to shift from the traditional agricultural methods towards progressive dairy farming to herald second white revolution in the state. Badal said it was high time to bring diversification in agricultural sector by switching over from wheat-paddy rotation to agri-allied sectors.

Badal also announced to provide 50 per cent subsidy, by the state government, to the women entrepreneurs willing to set up their dairies on the purchase of cows and buffalos, besides the construction of sheds.

The Chief Minister asked the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Department to chalk out a comprehensive plan to produce better quality of milk cattle. He also mentioned that the state government would soon notify its new animal breeding policy.

“The state government has been providing artificial semen for cattle to the farmers at 50 per cent subsidy. During the last four years, the government has provided 5.61 lakh doses of Holstein Friesian (HF) semen, imported from countries such as America, Canada and France, to the commercial dairy farms. We have spent Rs 13 crore to set up Veterinary Poly Clinics in the state to ensure quality service,” said the Chief Minister.

“The Milkfed has already initiated the process to upgrade its milk plants on the modern lines to cope up with the enhanced milk handling capacity, which would ultimately result in heavy profits from processing of milk and milk products. The state government is also trying to tie-up with some foreign companies pioneer to develop dairy sector in a holistic manner,” said Badal.

While appreciating the efforts of PDFA for being associated with about 6,100 commercial dairy farmers, Badal advised them to help and support the small dairy farmers in their respective villages for promoting dairy farming in a big way.

The Chief Minister also honoured five progressive dairy farmers during the occasion. Ranjit Singh was honoured for adopting modern dairy techniques, while Harjit Singh was felicitated for keeping good breed cattle. Balwinder Singh Buttar was honoured with Bhagat Dhanna Yaadgari award, Karamjit Kaur Bains with Woman Dairy award and Karnail Singh Badauli with Randhir Singh Rhode Memorial award.



Helpline numbers launched to combat social evils
Our Correspondent

Sudhar/Raikot, February 10
The Ludhiana (Rural) police have launched helpline numbers for registering complaints against women abuse, corruption and drug peddling in the area. The identity of the complainants will remain undisclosed and a prompt action will be taken against the accused, said the police.

Various social, educational and political organisations have been roped in to help combat the antisocial activities.

Complying with the orders received from the Superintendent of Police, Ludhiana (Rural), Ashish Chaudhary, officials led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Raikot, Satnam Singh Bains, and Station House Officer, Sudhar, organised meetings with office-bearers and activists of various organisations of the area, falling under their jurisdiction, and launched a coordinated movement to get rid of the evil elements.

The activists were asked to act as a bridge between the victims and the police so as to ensure strict action against the defaulters.

“Timely information provided by local residents can help us prevent crime from happening at the first place,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Satnam Singh Bains and Station House Officer Rajesh Sharma.

Former parliamentary secretary Bikram Jit Singh Khalsa, former president of the Municipal Council Sudarshan Joshi, Krishana Nand Sharma and Ramesh Kaura (office-bearers of various organisations) and heads of educational institutes were among those who vowed to help police in their coordinated movement.

Banners and boards displaying helpline numbers have also been installed at prominent places in the region.

While complaints regarding drug peddling and corruption can be made on helpline number 9988879100, eve teasing and crime against women can be reported on 9988822622, said a police official.

Helpine numbers

  • Complaints related to drug peddling, corruption: 9988879100
  • Crime against women, eve teasing: 9988822622



Teachers protest state govt ‘apathy’
Various unions burn govt’s effigy and demand immediate release of arrested activists
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 10
Scores of protesters, led by representatives of various teachers' unions, held a massive protest rally against the state government in Jagraon today. The protesters blocked traffic on Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway for around 15 minutes and burnt the effigy of the state government.

The protesters denounced the state government and raised slogans against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka.

They urged the state government to release the teachers arrested by the police during a protest in Ludhiana last week.

“Instead of hearing the grievances of the protesting teachers, the state government ordered the police to arrest the protesters,” said Democratic Teachers' Front activist Dharam Singh, while condemning the government action.

“To hold peaceful demonstrations in support of our long-pending demands is our democratic and constitutional right. But the government has been trying to suppress the voice of the people with force,” said Gagandeep Singh, Inqulabi Naujawan Vidiyarthi Manch.

Activists of Democratic Teachers' Front, Inqulabi Kendra, Punjab, Inqulabi Naujawan Vidiyarthi Manch, Bharti Kissan Union and other organisations also took part in the protest.

The protesters threatened to intensify their struggle further if the arrested activists were not released by the police soon.



Aided schoolteachers demand merger
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana February 10
As many as 4,200 teachers working in government aided private schools have demanded merger with government institutions. The teachers took up their problems with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

There are 484 schools in the state. About 95 per cent of these depend on funds from the state government while 5 per cent are run by school managements.

The aided schools follow all norms set by the government. The schools cannot collect fee from students of classes I to VIII under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. Most of the school managements are facing financial problems.

The government has failed to recruit permanent staff in the schools.

"The school managements are in favour of the merger," said Davinder Singh, president, Punjab State Aided School Teachers Union.

Davinder said, "We do not get salaries on time. We do not get facilities on a par with our government counterparts."

"We met the Chief Minister. He gave us a patient hearing and constituted a committee to take the call. Tota Singh, former education minister, and senior officials are on the panel," he added.


Teachers lamented that they were not getting salaries on time. It had become difficult for them to make ends meet. They said the government was not providing them facilities on a par with their government counterparts.



Walkers express disgust at facilities on PAU campus
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Despite paying service tax to the authorities of Punjab Agricultural University, morning and evening walkers are deprived of basic facilities. Of the 800 walkers, 270 are senior citizens. The university charges them Rs 1,000 annually. The others pay Rs 2,000 per annum.

The fee under the general category is Rs 2,250 and the senior citizens are made to pay Rs 1,125.

Deepak Thapar (67), who visits the PAU in the morning, said there were only five benches on the stretch used by walkers. "The benches have been installed by a private company and not by the authorities. There is no parking facility. We park our vehicles alongside Ferozepur Road," he said.

Another senior citizen from the Sarabha Nagar area said there was no public toilet. "The university does not even have a rain shelter. Do they expect senior citizens to sprint towards the buildings in case it rains? Or do they want the morning and evening walkers to use fields in the absence of toilets?" he asked.

PAU Estate Officer Jaskaran Singh Mahal said the tax was levied to keep anti-social elements off the campus. "As many as 800 persons visit the PAU everyday. Parking space is inadequate on the campus. We cannot let them park their vehicles on the premises. We are in the process of installing more benches and toilets will be set up at students' home. A rain shelter will also be constructed alongside the road," he said.



Farm university’s hostels lack geysers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Punjab Agricultural University, which boasts of providing a world-class infrastructure, has not installed geysers in its seven hostels. Waking up from slumber, the authorities have now decided to install geysers in a phased manner.

The PAU authorities had to face an embarrassing situation when during an inspection of the preparations for the National Youth Festival last month, Deputy Commissioner Rajat Aggarwal was surprised to learn that the hostels lacked geysers.

As thousands of participants from across the country were to stay in the hostels during the festival, the district administration had to make alternative arrangements.

Karanvir Singh Sandhu, president, Punjab Agricultural University Students Association (PAUSA), said they had been demanding that geysers should be installed in the hostels, but the authorities chose to look the other way. Dr Ravinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Director, Students' Welfare (DSW), PAU, claimed: "We are conducting a survey and geysers will be installed before the the next winter season. These will be first installed in working women's hostel. The work will be carried out in phases."



Farmers raise their demands
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) will submit a memorandum to Punjab Governor Shiv Raj Patil on March 6. Addressing a press conference, BKU president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said they would mobilise farmers to build pressure on the government for the implementation of the recommendations for remunerative prices of farm produce, remission of all old agricultural debts and grant of reservation to the Jat community under the OBC quota.

Lakhowal said he would attend the meeting of the national coordination committee of farmers' bodies at Mysore tomorrow.

"All pending demands of farmers will be discussed at the meeting and a strategy will be chalked out to get the demands fulfilled," he said.

He said at the state committee's meeting held today, they decided to adopt a resolution for making the Agricultural Costs and Prices Commission an independent body.

The said all overloaded transformers should be unloaded for supplying uninterrupted power supply to the farmers.

The demanded that a comprehensive package of compensation should be given to families of farmers who committed suicides. "Social security should be provided to farmers above 60 years," the added.



Children getting hooked on social networking sites
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Children as young as three or four have accounts on social networking websites. City-based psychologist Dr Ravinder Kala said parents these days were more involved in their children's life and wanted to introduce them to technologies such as Internet and social media at an early age. "But this is causing more harm than good to the children," she said.

Parents, who are in their thirties, are overenthusiastic to introduce technology to their wards and make them Internet-savvy at an early age.

Children prefer Internet to outdoor games. Research shows that people who work on computers suffer from sleep disorders.

Dr Kala said, "We need to save our children from the virtual world. They can learn to use social media at a later stage, but it is important for them to develop social and interpersonal skills," she said.

Amandeep, a mother of two, said although she had created sons' accounts on social networking sites, the children were getting too interested in the 'likes' they received on Facebook.

Rohit, a schoolteacher, said social networking sites could hamper the interactive skills of children.

Parents should rather focus on a balanced lifestyle for children, personal bonding, right nutrition and exercise," said Dr Kala.



Police community centre to open soon

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
The Administration has claimed to have set up a Suvidha Centre at the local police station. With the coming up of the community police centre, residents will no longer have to shuttle between towns to get the important documents.

Documents related to arms licence renewal, registration of NRIs visiting the area, extension of stay of NRIs, character verification for new employees, tenants and servants, and no objection certificates for organising fairs and playing loudspeakers will be issued to applicants at the centre which will be inaugurated soon.

The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Sangrur, Mandip Singh Sandhu, has already directed officials at the sub-division to ensure that paraphernalia at the centre is installed without any further delay.

Claiming that construction of the building has almost been completed, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Amargarh, Gurmeet Singh, said required equipments and gadgets would be installed in the coming days.

“We have been asked to ensure that arrangements are completed at the earliest. Date of inauguration will be informed soon,” said DSP Gurmeet Singh.

Superintendent of Police Jaswinder Singh has been monitoring the progress of the construction work at the centre. — OC



Charanjeet Kaur from Ludhiana shines in teaching skill and teaching-aid competition

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
Amandeep Kaur of the Guru Nanak College of Education, Gopalpur, Karamjeet Kaur of the GHG College of Education, Sudhar, Harpreet Kaur of the Malwa College of Education for Women and Charanjeet Kaur of the Guru Gobind Singh College of Education, Ludhiana, emerged winners in teaching skill and on-the-spot teaching-aid competition at the Bhutta College of Education, Bhutta village, near here today.

Pavitar Rani of the Doraha College of Education, Manpreet Kaur of the Malwa College of Education for Women, and Jaspreet Kaur and Ritu Rani of the GMT College of Education were declared runners-up.

The concluding session of the event was presided over by Dr Sonu Grewal. The dean faculty of education, Panjab University, Chandigarh, gave away prizes to the winners.

Kiran Walia, convener of the programme, said over 50 teams from 13 colleges of the Zone-B participated in the competition. — OC



Welfare manch creates social awareness

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
The Sayeen Ditta Welfare Manch Jurahan organised a cultural programme at Amarpura Mohalla, here today. Poets and writers from various regions of the state presented their write ups based on various social evils such as female foeticide, gender disparity, illiteracy and dowry system.

Bhag Singh Dardi, patron of the manch, presided over the function and national award recipient Amrik Talwandi was the chief guest.

Sikh preacher Bhaie Balvir Singh Wadala, Amrik Talwandi and Dr Simmi Aggarwal, an ophthalmologist from Ludhiana, were among those felicitated on the occasion. — OC



Deputy Chief Minister to lay foundation stones today

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 10
The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, Sukhvir Singh Badal, will be laying the foundation stones of various projects during his visit to the town on Tuesday.

According to the official sources, Badal will be laying foundation stones for renovation and strengthening of tributaries near Kanganwal, Power Colony in Malerkotla, Rohira distributaries and Mahorana brook. He will also be inaugurating KV Sub-Station (ring main system) at Bhalwan village. The spree will continue at Sohian Road, Sangrur, for Restructure Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme project, 66 KV Grid at Sunam and Shaheed Bachan Singh Memorial Sports Stadium, Dirba. — OC



Extensions razed in Haibowal area

Ludhiana, February 10
Cracking the whip against violators of building bylaws, MC officials along with police personnel conducted a demolition drive in the Haibowal area today.

Inspector Arun Kumar said that the extensions of three shops and six houses were removed by the authorities as these constructions were violating the building bylaws. "We razed the illegal extensions. There were around 15-20 persons, including MC officials, two police inspectors and police personnel. There was no resistance by the violators during the demolition drive", said the Inspector. Ever since the HC has acted tough with the civic body on encroachments in the city, the MC has swung into action to remove them. — TNS




Ludhiana: Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT), Civil Lines, organised a seminar on 'Systems, Applications and Products (SAP) and its numerous benefits' for MCA, BCA, MBA, BCom and BBA students. Shalini, technical trainer, Ossagho, was the resource person. Shalini said SAP projects were divided into three areas, development, quality assurance and production. She said SAP enabled solutions allowed businesses to make rapid changes in their requirements with a common set of programmes. She enlisted the benefits of SAP.

Hospitality Olympics

The PCTE Institute of Hotel Management organised Hospitality Olympics 2014. Students participated in bakery/chef, mocktail making, bed making and napkin fold competitions. In napkin fold, Gagandeep Singh, student, PCTE-IHM, won the first prize whereas Isha from the home science department, PAU, and Vishali from Innocent Heart Institute, Jalandhar, finished second and third, respectively. In the bed making competition, Vishali stood first, Ravi Saini secured the second position while Sadhika stood third. — TNS



Basant Panchami celebrated

Ludhiana: Bal Bharati Public School celebrated Basant Panchami. Students took part in inter-school folk dance and kite flying competitions. They also presented a dance. The school was decorated with balloons.


Everest Playway and Nursery School, Moti Nagar, organised a 'Family Reunion Function 2014. Prof Harlal Singh, former director, Punjab School Education Board, and Gurjot Singh, Deputy DEO, Ludhiana, were the chief guests. Rajinder Sharma, director, Everest Group of Institutions, welcomed guests. Students presented a dance.

Cultural programme

DCM Presidency School organised a cultural extravaganza 'Kiddies Pandora'. Students gave splendid performances. 'Timeless Treasures', a musical show, was the main attraction of the event. — TNS



Former sarpanch booked for fraud
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, February 10
The police have booked Haman Kumar Teeta, former sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet village on charges of fraud for allegedly taking a bank loan over a land already sold by his brother in connivance with the legal advisor of the bank.

Confirming the development, Sidhwan Bet police station SHO Satwinder Singh Virk said the police have registered a case against Teeta on the complaint of one Surinder Singh Teetu of Sidhwan Bet.

As per the information, Surinder Singh had submitted a written complaint with Ashish Chaudhry, SSP, Jagraon, recently alleging that Haman Kumar had taken a loan of more than Rs 23 lakh over a piece of land already sold by his brother Ajay Kumar from Punjab National Bank, Ludhiana, by producing false documents.

The complainant had alleged that Ajay Kumar had sold the land to one Vishal Kumar of Jagraon in 2001. "But later, Haman Kumar produced false documents before the bank and took loan on the same piece of land in connivance with the legal advisor of the bank", he alleged.

The SSP, Jagraon, forwarded the complaint to Navreet Singh Virk, DSP, Dakha for investigation. "During the investigation, the allegations levelled against Haman Kumar were found to be true. The police have registered a case against Haman Kumar", said Satwinder Singh.

However, the accused is at large. SHO Satinder Singh said the efforts were on to nab the former sarpanch and he would be arrested soon.



Two arrested with stolen motorcycles

Jagraon, February 10
The police arrested two persons with two motorcycles last evening. The accused have been identified as Ramandeep Singh, alias Dogar of Jagraon, and Bhupinder Singh, alias Bhinda of Moga.

Jagraon SHO Muhamad Jamil said the accused were arrested at the railway overbridge following a tip-off.

Ravi Kant Verma, a resident of Shastri Nagar, had reported to the police that his motorcycle was stolen from outside his house in Shastri Nagar a few days ago. A case has been registered. — OC



Basketball tourney
Govt college eves score emphatic victories
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 10
Government College for Girls, Ludhiana, scored emphatic victories in the inaugural edition of the IMG Reliance Punjab Colleges Basketball League being organised by the Punjab Basketball Association at the Punjab Agricultural University campus here today.

Government College, Ludhiana, played three matches on the opening day and won all of them with ease while in the men’s section, SCD Government College, Ludhiana, got the better of DAV College, Amritsar. Dr Ravinder Kaur Dhaliwal, Director, Students Welfare, PAU, Ludhiana, inaugurated the league in which 10 women’s teams are taking part. Matches will be played on Saturdays and Sundays. On the opening day, in the women’s section, Government College for Girls, Ludhiana, beat DAV College, Amritsar, 49-11.



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