L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Police crack down on sand mafia
Arrest one person, impound boat, three tractor-trailers used for quarrying sand on Sutlej bed
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

A well where the sand was dumped in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
A well where the sand was dumped in Ludhiana on Wednesday. Tribune Photos: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, June 18
The Meharban police have seized an indigenous boat with a borewell pump through which sand quarrying was done on Sutlej bed. The police said such boats were used in Gujarat. They have also arrested one person while the others managed to escape.

The accused, identified as Harmeet Singh, told the police that he had brought the boat from Surat in Gujarat.

“The borewell is designed to separate water from salt. The accused thought it could separate sand as well. He did some modification and the trick worked. The accused started dumping sand in a pit that was located near the river,” said Meharban SHO Daljit Singh Boparai.

The SHO stated that the accused were operating at night near the forest area. “We received a tip-off and raided the place. While Harmeet was arrested, his accomplices managed to escape. We have impounded the boat, three earthmovers and three tractor-trailers from the spot,” said the SHO.

Sources said 20 to 25 trolleys were uploaded with sand in one night. The quarried sand was further sold in the market for anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 18,000.

To dodge the police, the accused had dug up pits at various places, so that vehicles get stuck in it. They covered the pit with bushes and axed trees to obstruct the movement of the police. The accused had also made a secret escape route to flee the spot.

Politicians’ role

Sources said illegal sand mining was done under political patronage. “Even the mining department is reluctant to take action against persons involved in sand mining. Employees of the mining department have been manhandled by sand miners who said they bribed the employees and the police to evade arrest.

Sand quarried
The boat fitted with a borewell was taken into the water and then a pipe was dropped. Through a suction pump, the sludge was accumulated in a pit. Later, the water was drained out and sand dunes were made of the quarried sand. A 250-m pipe was used to suck out the sludge from the river.

Mining points
There are 25 points (on the Ludhiana side beginning from the Hambran, Nurpur Bet area, Ladhowal, Meharban forest area, Susrali village and Chaunta village in Machhiwara) where illegal sand mining is being carried out.


Dark days, even darker nights, no respite in sight
Unscheduled power cuts, load shedding aggravate woes of residents
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, June 18
Unscheduled power cuts, load shedding, tripping and frequent breakdowns in most areas of the city have added to the woes of residents who are already facing a tough time.

Spurt in the demand for electricity due to soaring mercury and sowing of paddy has exposed the tall claims of the state government to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all categories of consumers. The management of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is also under fire for its failure to upgrade and strengthen the distribution system well in time to withstand the additional load during peak summer and paddy sowing season.

Contrary to assertions made by the PSPCL authorities that no power cuts were being imposed and the demand for power was being met, the residents complained that power went off a number of times during the day and even at night. They said they were being made to sweat it out for half-an-hour to an hour or even more.

“We are spending sleepless nights due to frequent power cuts,” said Harjeet Singh, a resident of Pavittar Nagar in Haibowal. The fuming and fretting residents said if the power went off in the morning or afternoon, they had to go without water as well which added to their misery.

Residents in most of the city localities, including Haibowal, Pavittar Nagar, Bhaura Colony, Giaspura, Daresi, Bhadaur House, Civil Lines, Model House, Dugri, Kitchlu Nagar, Vishwakarma Colony and almost all the industrial pockets, said breakdowns and tripping had become a regular feature for the past more than one week. In many areas, the residents complained of low voltage which made it impossible to run air-conditioners and other electrical appliances.

Sources in the PSPCL said a gap existed between demand and availability of power during paddy sowing which necessitated load shedding even if no scheduled power cuts were imposed.

“Efforts are being made to procure more electricity from power surplus states but constraints in drawing additional power from the grid make things difficult, at times,” the sources added.

PSPCL officials maintained that no power cuts were in place. “Power failure is caused due to line faults which are a routine in the particular season when the demand shoots up and the distribution network is unable to withstand it,” they added.



City has only three licensed de-addiction centres
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Only three de-addiction centres in the city have licences. At many centres, it is learnt that addicts are tortured physically and mentally. “In Ludhiana, there are seven to eight registered centres. As many centres are operating illegally, their licences have not been renewed,” said Dr Sudha Vasudeva, district nodal officer for mental health.

Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said licence was a must for a drug de-addiction centre. “We conduct checks at the centres on a regular basis and if we get to know about any irregularity, a raid is conducted. Recently, one such drug de-addiction centre was closed down at Jagraon. We keep conducting raids,” said Dr Batta.

Sources said the drug de-addiction centres were being run by the addicts. Sometimes, a group of people registers a society and converts it into a drug de-addiction centre.

Every hospital has its own de-addiction unit. Two more centres are being run from the Civil Hospital.

One centre is taken care of by the Punjab Government while the other is looked after by the Red Cross Society. The outpatient department of (OPD) of the centre has been made operational while the indoor admission facility is yet to be started.

“Once the infrastructure is upgraded, admissions will be started,” said Dr RK Karkara, Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital.

A city-based psychiatrist said the addicts should be treated in the registered centres. The centre should have trained staff and specialists such as counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists.



Fire at Vallabh Factory
Goods worth lakhs destroyed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A fire broke out at Vallabh Factory last night. It took firefighters four hours to douse the flames. A short-circuit is said to be the reason behind the fire.

Rajinder Sharma, Assistant Fire Officer, said the fire broke around 9.15 pm. Five fire tenders were pressed into service. Blankets and readymade garments worth lakhs of rupees were gutted.

Panic triggered workers who ran for their lives. No loss of life was reported. This has been another major incident of fire in the past two months. During peak summers, fire incidents increase manifold and the fire department faces a tough time controlling the fire as it is already short of staff. Such incidents have caused huge losses to residents, factory owners and shopkeepers in the past.

Reduced to ashes

As many as 288 fire incidents, minor and major, have taken place in Ludhiana in the past 60 days. With just 40 firemen, including 15 drivers, it becomes difficult for firemen to douse the flames. Among the staff, four firemen are “physically unfit”.

Fire incidents

Oswal Mills May 10
Tyre Factory May 10
Chaura Bazaar May 18
Focal Point May 27
Raikhy Cinema June 11



Dope that duped them of their precious lives
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A day after Police Commissioner RK Jaiswal directed officials to send drug addicts to de-addiction centres at the Civil Hospital, eight youths approached the police for help. Some of them, working as contractual employees with the Municipal Corporation and hooked on heroin, shared their experiences with The Tribune.

There was a mixed feeling of disgust and helplessness. What started as an activity to draw pleasure became a cruel necessity.

Snooting a line of heroin powder keeps them going. “I could not imagine leaving the bed and going to work unless I did not inhale a line of heroin,” said Jasjit Singh (name changed), the only brother of two sisters of marriageable age.

He said he had spent Rs 1 lakh on drugs. “We (colleagues all of same age group) used to consume liquor after work. One day, a colleague introduced us to heroin and exhorted me to inhale it. That was the day I hooked on the drugs. I would pay anything between Rs 500 and Rs 4,500 for a gram of heroin. I needed it every day. I could not imagine my life without it,” said Jasjit. Story of two brothers Sonu and Monu (name changed) was no different. Both of them are now addicted to heroin.

While Sonu confidently admitted to have wasted Rs 50,000 on buying drugs, his younger brother Monu hanged his head in shame.

Sheepishly Monu said, “Sonu was addicted to drugs while I was not. I used to tell him to leave it.”

Suddenly, Monu went quiet. Another drug addict who knew the brothers quipped, “One day Sonu persuaded Monu to snoot a line of heroin. After a few days, Monu too started doing drugs. Initially, both of them used to consume the drug separately, but for the past few months, they have been sharing the puffs.”

When asked about their parents’ reaction. Sonu said, “They detest the fact that we are consuming drugs. There were a lot of problems in the house. We realise their concern, but they should also understand our condition. We are unable to leave it.”

Unionist Yashpal Chaudhari, who encouraged the youths to approach the police for help, said their families were going through hell. No parents want to see their son dying in front of them. “You meet a parent, whose son is into drugs. They will tell you what they are going through at the fag end of their lives,” said Chaudhari.

Amrik Singh Powar, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (ADCP-I), and Harbans Singh, in-charge, anti-narcotics cell, said the addicts suffered serious withdrawal symptoms. They (addicts) either banged their heads against the wall or rolled on the floor. “It is a terrible sight. They urge us to arrange drugs. It is difficult for us to deal with such a situation,” said the officials.

ADCP-I Powar said the youths would be taken to the de-addiction centres being run by the Red Cross Society in the Civil Hospital.

Price rise worries addicts

“Earlier, buying drugs was easy. We used to get heroin at the drop of a hat. Every since the police have tightened the noose around suppliers, things have changed. The price of drugs has also gone up and the product available is impure,” said an addict.



Local party denounces hike in bus fare
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The district unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today held a protest march from Bhai Bala Chowk to Mini Secretariat. The protesters condemned the hike in bus fare, announced by the Punjab Government.

Addressing the rally at Mini Secretariat, party leaders said the financial burden, by way of increase in bus fares, will add to the misery of the people who were already reeling under the price rise.

The speakers alleged that the decision has been taken to please the private transporters who had to pay crores of rupees to the government. “Instead of recovering the dues from them, the government is putting the burden on the people. It seems they are under pressure from the powerful lobby of transporters,” said a speaker.

District secretary Kartar Singh Bowani, assistant secretaries Dr Arun Mitra and DP Maur alleged that the government has allotted prime timings and lucrative routes to the private bus operators because most of the private transport businesses were under the ownership of the Badal family or their kith and kin.

The party pointed out that due to the wrong policies of the government, the state owned transport companies were running huge losses while on the other hand, private transporters were making money.

The protesters called for immediate roll back of the decision and also urged the authorities concerned for framing a transport policy which would provide relief to the people and cut down losses of the government fleet of buses. Among other speakers at the rally were Gurnam Sidhu, Gurnam Gill, Kewal Singh, Manjit Singh Boota and Feroze Master.



City Bus Service: Civic body starts afresh, recruits conductors
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
A private company, hired by the Municipal Corporation for providing conductors, has started with the fresh recruitments of conductors for city buses. The recruitment process has been initiated by the Patiala-based agency, SS Service Providers, from today onwards.

Meanwhile, due to the strike of conductors, the city bus service has incurred huge losses of about Rs 45 lakhs. The strike of conductors started on June 7.

In charge, City Bus Service, Baljit Singh, said things will be hopefully streamlined now as the company has started recruiting new persons for the job. “We can now resume the services slowly and steadily. The MC had to bear losses due to the adamant attitude of conductors,” said Baljit Singh.

Baljit Singh said fresh recruits will have to adhere to the norms set by the authorities. “The recruits should not have any problem with the new software,” said the in charge of the local bus service. With the help of new software, conductors will be thoroughly checked and held accountable for any discrepancies.

“We are here for the welfare of residents and the civic body will not bow to any kind of pressure. If an individual is right on their part, he will not have any objection to the checking,” said Baljit Singh.

Recruitments will be completed within 7 to10 days from now. Till then, authorities will keep on adding more buses on the city roads for the convenience of public.

It may be mentioned here that due to the strike of conductors, passengers had to go through difficult time. Many developments took place and the local unit of Shiv Sena also offered to provide their services on ‘no profit no loss’ basis.

Geeta, a salesgirl at a showroom in Ghumar Mandi, said the city buses are convenient for the underprivileged and needy.

Fact file
To express resentment over the new software, the conductors of City Bus Service went on strike on June 7
After 2-3 days, authorities started 4 to 5 buses with the help of the MC police
Due to the strike, the MC had to bear losses worth Rs 45 crores
Negotiations among the company, conductors and authorities took place, but in vain
Fresh recruitments to resume services were started on Wednesday



Drug abuse in Punjab: CICU holds police-public interaction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU) organised a police-public interaction to create awareness and overcome the problems of drug abuse by Punjabi youths, here today.

President, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, Avtar Singh said the drug abuse amongst Punjabi youths is a serious problem. “It is destroying the future of Punjabi youths, who are particularly known for physical prowess and stamina. Punjab today needs all of its youths to contribute significantly towards the economic development of the state. To keep the youths away from drugs, religious education can play a vital role, said Avtar.

The general secretary of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, Upkar Singh Ahuja, said the chamber has already taken various initiatives to curb the use of drugs by Punjabi youths by establishing the Skill Development Centre. The centre has been established for imparting training, encouraging sports activities and organising job fairs. This would ensure proper placement of Punjabi youths, said the general secretary. He further said parents and teachers should keep a hawk’s eye on the activities of their children so that they could be apprised of the significance of choosing the right path in their life. Parents are the prime educators of prevention, said Ahuja.

The ADCP-2, Ludhiana, Kehar Singh Khaira, appealed to the traders and industrialists in this regard and asked them to do their bit.

“There is a dire need for evolving joint working strategies to effectively check this menace. A crime cannot be prevented without the support of the community. A rehabilitative and crime prevention role of community is the need of the hour,” added Kehar Singh Khaira.



Tax refunds: I-T dept amends Form 4
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The Income Tax Department has issued Form 4 for the filing of income tax returns, for the financial year 2013-14. Some important amendments have been made in the forms. After the amendments, tax refunds will be faster as credit will be done through Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) only.

“Previously taxpayers faced difficulties in claiming refunds as the department use to issue cheques for refunds above Rs 50,000. Most of these cheques were undelivered or returned back resulting in delay and claiming for re-issuance of refund. The new ITR form has dropped the option of claiming refund via cheques and now refund can be claimed only through ECS.

“It has come as a big relief to individuals who do not have permanent address and to NRI’s working abroad paying excess TDS and claiming refund,” said Rajeev K Sharma, a chartered accountant.

Arun Singla, a tax payer, terming it as a big relief said he faced lot of problem last year after he changed his house. “I had to make many rounds at my last address to collect the cheque. Now, I am relieved after this amendment as refund will be directly transferred into my account,” he added.

In addition to this, tax payers will now be required to provide debtors PAN for any claimed bad-debts (an amount which the businessman failed to recover from the customer).

Individuals claiming bad debts deductions in their returns are now required to furnish PAN of the debtor, if available, who is responsible for bad debts of Rs 1 lakh or more.



AAP leader content with party’s performance in LS poll
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia, who was in Ludhiana today, sounded upbeat about the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls. He said the party has performed better than expected. “It was the first Lok Sabha election of the party. The party’s performance has been quite good so far,” said Sisodia.

Despite the Modi wave in the country, the party got 33 per cent vote share in the Lok Sabha election. The party’s votes share in the Vidhan Sabha poll was 29 per cent. Going by this, the party’s vote share has increased by 4 per cent in the Lok Sabha election, said Sisodia. He said it’s not very often that a political party achieves such kind of success in such a short span of time.

As part of the “Mission Vistaar”, he said the party will focus on addressing the issues of the public concern at the grassroots level. Answering a media query, Sisodia said AAP is against all those supporting drug mafia and corruption.

Commenting on posters put up in Delhi that said that Sisodia, the Patparganj (Delhi) legislator, “has gone missing in the wake of water and power crises”, Sisodia alleged it’s the handiwork of the BJP and the Congress.“I’m busy doing my duty. For two days I was in Ludhiana,” he added.

In the evening, Sisodia conducted a volunteers’ meeting in the city. Prior to the meeting, he told the participants that he had been advised to skip the volunteers’ meet, as there were reports that the opposition parties may try to disrupt the meeting. “There have been reports that the disgruntled elements may try to disrupt the meet. But we will not be intimidated,” he said. He said AAP has been in the forefront in demanding a martyr’s status for Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha.



No let up in heat: Met Department
Tribune News Service

A shopkeepeer serves sweet water on the Mall Road
A shopkeepeer serves sweet water on the Mall Road. Tribune Photos: Himanshu mahajan

Ludhiana, June 18
With sun shining so bright and sunny, the city is awaiting rain anxiously. The Agrometeorological Department of the Punjab Agricultural University has predicted light showers at isolated places during night.

Dr LK Dhaliwal, director, School of Climate Change and Agricultural Meteorology, Punjab Agricultural University, said the monsoon were expected around June 29 and could be 3-4 days in advance or delayed.

Police on duty especially the traffic cops are having a tough time as they have to sweat out in the sun.

“I hope the rain arrives soon in the city as it has become very difficult to stand in the sun,” said one of the traffic cops.

Huge rush can be witnessed outside the juice and ice-cream shops throughout the day. Although, it is unhygienic to drink juice from the roadside rehris and eat cut fruit but the scorching heat is making them forget all.

“I hope the city receives rain soon as it is becoming too hot. Happy days will start only after the rain is here,” adds a city resident.



Visitors sweat it out at Civil Surgeon’s office
Tribune News Service

Traffic cops sit under the shade of a tree to protect themselves from scorching heat in Ludhiana.
Traffic cops sit under the shade of a tree to protect themselves from scorching heat in Ludhiana. Tribune Photos: Himanshu mahajan

Ludhiana, June 18
Those coming to the Civil Surgeon’s office for getting birth and death certificates are facing a tough time in the absence of water and seating arrangement. In the hot and humid weather, people are forced to wait in the sweltering heat. They don’t even get drinking water.

Himmat Singh, a visitor to the Civil Surgeon’s office, said the situation was grim. “I had to wait in the scorching heat. There was no water or a place to sit. The only tap on the premises has run dry,” he said.

Looking at the state of affairs at the office, Himmat Singh approached one of the employees asking him the reason behind the pathetic condition of the place. He was told that the staff had brought the matter to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, but to no avail. There were no funds to provide facilities to visitors, the employee added.

Another visitor said there should be a shed outside the window where certificates were given so that people were not forced to stand out in the sun.

He demanded that a separate queues for senior citizens should be made so that they were not made to bear the brunt of heat.

Civil Surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said drinking water should be provided to the visitors.

“Since there is heavy rush, it won’t be possible for us to demarcate different lanes. The proposal for setting up a shed in the area has already been sent to the Deputy Commissioner,” he said.



gadvasu protest
No respite despite continuous strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
After the meeting Cabinet Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, the striking students of Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU) have decided to continue with the ongoing strike as nothing fruitful came out of the meeting.

The students on strike said they would be continuing their hunger strike as well. Two students are on hunger strike during day while another two at night. Ravinder Kaur, one of the students of the Fisheries Department, said they were perturbed over the way the state government was taking the issue of providing employment to them. “They are not even bothered about our plight, what can we expect from them. But we will continue to struggle, come what may. We are spending lakhs of rupees on our studies but there is bleak future ahead,” the striking students said.



paid parking
Shopkeepers write to MC Commissioner

Ludhiana, June 18
Shopkeepers of Sarabha Nagar Market have submitted a representation to the MC Commissioner that the paid parking, that had been implemented in Sarabha Nagar Block I, was not justified as it was a small market with around 175 houses.

The shopkeepers said there were no traffic jams here and the market predominantly had doctors, daily need shops, including grocery, milk products, chemist shops, tea vendors, etc. It was not viable to charge parking fees from students, visitors who came to get the items of their daily need. It should be scrapped for the welfare of shopkeepers and residents. — TNS



No hard work for homework
Students prefer copying from Internet or buying readymade projects
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Nowadays, students are asked to create several projects to help them create new and to provide them practical exposure. Schoolchildren have been given such projects as ‘holiday homework’ during the summer break. But many students just make a short work of the projects simply by copying the project work from online websites and change it a little to project it as their own project.

Not only from the online projects, but some of the project models are also available at the stationery shops. For instance, students get the projects, particularly the science models ready-made from the market. More so, the projects are made to look neat and also as if created by students. These are sold according to the school syllabi, and students simply buy them from the market and project in the school as if they created the projects on their own.

Educationists say although many teachers know about such things, but there is no stopping. These are being done because of insincerity of the students towards studies and also because of the lax of the teachers.

Rohit, a former schoolteacher, says that the teachers must enquire about the projects thoroughly and if in doubt get them to make these again, to see how much they know. They must enquire the knowledge they have about the project.

The Education Department along with the team from different schools must raid such stationery shops and take action if they keep any such project models.

Another teacher said the teachers must warn the students against copying and inspire them to do projects on their own and tell them the benefits of learning by creating and cultivating their creativity.

“They should warn them in advance that they know about the ready availability of such projects online and in the market, but the students would only be marked on their creativity and originality of their ideas,” he said.



Safai sewaks not keen on working for 7 days
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The safai sewaks, who have been asked to report on duty on Saturdays from now on wards, have categorically told the authorities that either all regular safai karamcharis be asked to give duty on Saturday or they be provided extra wages (for Saturdays). If both the conditions were not acceptable to authorities then an agitation will be started by safai-sewaks against their biased attitude. At the same time, the authorities maintain that while regularising them, it was made clear that they had to follow safai karamchari bylaws and they agreed to it. But now they were going against the bylaws, which was not agreeable to authorities.

The national president of Bhartiya Valmiki Sewa Dal, Surinder Kalyan, said recently 1,400 safai sewaks in Ludhiana, who were regularised after the Mohalla Sanitation Committes were scrapped, were asked by the authorities to give duties on Saturdays.

“This is unjustified for the simple reason that either all safai sewaks, who are around 6,000 in number, be asked to perform duties on Saturdays or extra wages be given to these 1,400 sewaks. This kind of arrangement is being made in Ludhiana whereas in all other districts, Saturdays and Sundays are offs for safai sewaks,” said Kalyan, who also submitted a memorandum to Zonal Commissioner AS Sekhon today.

The Zonal Commissioner said it was clearly mentioned in their (1400 safai sewaks) appointment letters that they will follow the safai karamchari bylaws according to which they were entitled for just 7 holidays (3 national and 4 others). “But they get approximately 30 holidays each year and now when they are asked to report on Saturdays, they are cribbing, which is certainly not justified. As far as old regular safai sewaks are concerned, their appointment letters do not have clear instructions on bylaws but on their letters, these are clearly mentioned, so we can ask them to report. Today, they are getting salaries aound Rs 13,000 per month and all other facilities, including Provident Fund, etc. We do not want to put them in any trouble nor do we have any grudge against them but we are going by the law, for the welfare of the city,” Sekhon said.

This is unjustified for the simple reason that either all safai sewaks, who are around 6,000 in number, be asked to perform duties on Saturdays or extra wages be given to these 1,400 sewaks.
— Surinder Kalyan, national president, bhartiya valmiki sewa dal



Farmers switch over to direct paddy sowing
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Identifying labour problem as a major impediment in the completion of paddy transplantation, a large number of farmers have switched over to direct sowing and mechanical transplantation with specially designed machines.

Besides cutting the labour cost, the practices will help the administration solve issues related with depletion of water table and environmental pollution.

Increased yield and lower input cost is expected to improve the economic position of cultivators adopting the new pattern.

Observations revealed that a large number of farmers of the area falling under Ludhiana and Sangrur districts had swapped traditional paddy transplantation manually with direct sowing and mechanical transplantation of the crop.

Poor availability of specialised migrant labour was cited to be the major reason behind the trend.

Jagrup Singh, a farmer of Dehlon village said he, along with other friends, had purchased a transplanting machine for cultivation of paddy this year. Besides being simple in handling, it has also helped in saving time.

“Unlike past years when we used to run after migrant labourers and labour contractors, we have chosen to accomplish the job mechanically,” said Jagrup.

Hardeep Deepa of Lohgrah said owner of a machine had agreed to undertake transplantation of paddy in his field at half the cost of traditional labourers.

“While migrant labourers charge between Rs 4,000 and 5,000 per acre, the machine transplantation will cost not more than Rs 2,200 per acre,” said Deepa.

Maintaining that his earlier decision to adopt traditional transplantation cost dear, Amarjit Singh of Maherna village said he had already suffered loss due to betrayal of migrant labourers after they received advance payment for the work.

“A group of labourers who undertook the transplantation work last year asked me to send Rs 5,000 as advance for fare and other expenses. But even after a week of receiving the money through bank transaction, they failed to turn up,” said Amarjit, adding that he would now hire a machine for the purpose.

Acknowledging the trend, Dr Narinder Singh Benipal, block agricultural officer at Pakhowal, said a large number of farmers had swapped the traditional system with mechanical and direct sowing.

Responding to a call made by district chief of the department, a large number of farmers had sought advice on the subject and adopted the new methods.Gurmel Singh of Bisraon village was persuaded to cultivate over 100 acres of land with the new technique.



Mall authorities’ callousness exposed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
It seems that the Pavilion Mall authorities have learnt no lesson from the past incident where a construction labourer had died after falling from scaffolding. Today, labourers were seen putting up film posters outside the mall without wearing safety equipment.

However, no untoward incident took place.

But the incident has yet again exposed the callousness of the mall authorities.

None of the mall authority officials were available for comments.



Budding Punjabi singers aim to perform abroad
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Though most of the Punjabi singers have been coming up with albums and singles for the passion of singing, earning a fan following and fame and promoting culture, many of the singers nowadays are simply bringing out their albums to fulfill their dreams of going abroad.

They try to create fan following online and promote their music in order to impress and convince foreign embassy officials so that they allow them an easy visa or music tour, said an industry insider.

Even tone and genres of subjects of songs were selected keeping in mind the likes of Punjabi NRIs, said a singer.

Many of them have already started going on successful music tours with the Punjabi diaspora spread across the world. Some budding singers feel that this is a great opportunity to travel and go abroad, besides making money.

Such singers start making efforts to plan foreign tours even before they perform in any music concerts in the country, said another person associated with the music industry.

“It is an easy way for singers. Though some really want to represent the Punjabi culture and spread the magic of the Punjabi music abroad through their numbers, a majority of them want to go to foreign countries,” he said.

“Such singers must know that they are the ambassadors of the Punjabi culture and they should perform in foreign countries only if their music is culturally rooted,” he added.



pau notes
Assistant entomologist awarded

Ludhiana: Dr Satnam Singh, assistant entomologist (cotton) at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), regional station, Faridkot, has been awarded the prestigious Raman Post-Doctoral Fellowship by University Grants Commission, New Delhi. He will be joining professor Suba Reddy Palli’s Lab in the Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky, for a period of one year. Dr Singh will be working on the identification of gene (s) associated with vital and unique physiological processes in the model insect system using a nanocarrier-based system for the delivery of dsRNA/siRNA in the insect directed towards down regulation of these genes. The award carries the fellowship amount of 36,000 USD, to and fro airfare and 1,200 USD for attending the conference/meeting or workshop in USA.

Agronomy head gets fellowship

Dr Gurmeet Singh Buttar, Head, Department of Agronomy, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, has been awarded the prestigious fellowship of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS) for the year 2014. Dr Buttar got this award for his outstanding contribution in the field of Natural Resource Management. He is the first agronomist from PAU to receive this prestigious award. The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences is a vibrant national-level body devoted to agricultural sciences and it accords recognition to scientists and encourages cutting-edge research in the field of agricultural sciences. — TNS



Top laurels for GGI students

Ludhiana: The Gulzar Group of Institutes has once again set a new benchmark by securing highest number of positions in the merit list of top 10 students declared recently by PTU, Jalandhar, for the session 2013-14. Thirty-seven students of GGI secured various positions in BTech courses in the university merit list for the session 2013-14. Shamsher Singh of BTech (automation and robotics) third semester, Sweta Jaiswal of BTech (automation and robotics) fifth semester, Gopal Kumar BTech (automobile) third semester, Junaid of BTech (automobile) fifth semester and Vishal Kumar Mittal of BTech (EEE) third semester secured the first positions.

New director appointed

Mandi Gobindgarh: Desh Bhagat University has appointed Dr Pardeep Singh Cheema, former professor of Jazan University, Saudi Arabia, and former professor/principal of SLIET as the director-principal, Faculty of Engineering and Technology. Dr Cheema has a long teaching and administrative experience and has been associated with Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, for over 17 years on different posts in the department of Computer Science and Engineering. — TNS



ludhiana scan

Jatinder Khurana, an advocate, has been unanimously appointed as the executive member of the Indian Taxation Advocates Association (ITAA). Khurana thanked the members for appointing him as the executive member and assured them that he would work honestly and faithfully to solve issues of the association. Khurana has been working as the general secretary of the Taxation Bar Association and is also the president of the Taxation Young Lawyers.

Brick-kiln owners’ meeting

A meeting of the Ludhiana district Brick-Kiln Owners’ Association was held here on Wednesday. During the meeting, association members decided that they would not supply bricks to village panchayats and government departments in Ludhiana district. Inderpal Singh, president of the association, said the reason behind not supplying the bricks was that the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana has not increased the brick prices from the past 2-3 years.

Drive against smoking

Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, Subhash Batta, said they were making every effort to make Ludhiana smoke-free. Dr Batta said banners with messages like ‘No Smoking’ have been installed at public places and he appealed to those selling tobacco products to put a warning board outside their shops. Those found violating the law would be fined, the Civil Surgeon said.

Govt’s move appreciated

Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu appreciated the efforts of the state government for convening the meeting of the Narcotics Bureau of Punjab. “Though the meeting has taken place after a long time, the step is appreciated and many changes need to be made in this bureau for its effective functioning,” he said.

Jagriti Morcha writes to PM

The Hindu Jagriti Morcha has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the weapons recovered by the police in the Sidhwan Bet area recently. In the letter, the members of the Hindu Jagriti Morcha have stated that the government should check such activities timely. Steps should be taken to check such anti-social elements, they said. — TNS



Seven nabbed for stealing scrap
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The city police have nabbed seven persons who were stealing scrap from containers in Sahnewal area here last night. The accused have been identified as Rajiv Kumar alias Bawa, Balwinder Singh (truck driver), Jagjit Singh, Paramjit Singh, Satnam Singh, Kuldip Singh and Sonu Thakur.

Besides this, the police have sealed a godown located near Bilga road in Sahnewal area where the stolen scrap was kept. One of the accomplices identified as Gobind Pandit managed to give police a slip.

The raid was conducted by the Anti-Narcotic Cell in-charge Harbans Singh. While addressing the press conference ADCP- crime MS Dhesi said the police received secret information that Rajiv along with his employee Gobind Pandit was stealing scrap from containers.

It was further learnt that Gobind was expert in breaking the seal on containers and used to replace it with duplicate seal.

The police officials said several truck drivers used to visit his godown from which the scrap material used to be stolen.

To maintain the weight of the container, the accused used to add sand into the container.



Three youths arrested with drugs in Khanna
Our Correspondent

Khanna June 18
The Khanna police claimed to have arrested three youths and recovered 30 gm of heroin from their possession during two separate incidents in the area.

In the first incident, a police party of the CIA, Khanna, led by SI Mohan Lal, was patrolling in the area. After getting a tip-off, the police party laid a naka near the Grain Market in Rahon. When the police signalled a car to stop, occupants of the vehicle tried to escape from the spot, but were overpowered.

The arrested youths were identified as Sandeep Singh a resident of Seh village, and Deepak Goel, a resident of Nai Abadi, Khanna.

During the search, 25 gm of heroin was recovered from their possession.

CIA in charge Baljinder Singh said a case under the NDPS Act was registered against them and they were sent to 14-day judicial custody.

In another incident, a police party of the CIA, Khanna, led by ASI Jarnail Singh, during a naka near Lalheri road here stopped a car. During the search, the police party arrested a youth and recovered 5 gm of heroin from him. He was identified as Major Singh, a resident of Saloudi village.

A case under the NDPS Act was registered against him and he was sent to 14-day judicial custody, said the CIA in charge.



Residents heave a sigh of relief after snatchers’ arrest
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, June 18
Residents of Jagraon have been feeling quite relieved after the local police netted two alleged members of a snatchers’ gang that had been involved in several snatching incidents in the area. The gang had carried out as many as 11 snatching incidents in Jagraon town alone during the past 12 days.

To tackle the rising incidents of snatching, the local police had formed an eagle squad to nab the culprits and prevent such incidents in the future. This squad was formed two days ago by Jagraon SSP Ravcharan Singh Brar and after its formation, the police gained immediate success when they arrested two alleged members of the snatchers’ gang from Jagraon yesterday.

A feeling of fear was prevailing among the local residents due to rising snatching incidents in the area. The gang used to target elderly women. Most of the women were scared of going outside and had even removed their gold ornaments with the fear of these being snatched by miscreants. But with the arrest of two snatchers, local residents, particularly women, are feeling quite relieved.

Though some of the women are still wary while going out of their houses fearing that some other snatchers might have been active in the area. However, the local police have assured the residents of providing them complete security.

“The members of the eagle squad would continue their drive against the anti-social elements. We have deployed police personnel on all major areas of the town. Besides, we have beefed up the security in areas which were prone to such kind of street crimes. We would provide complete security to the residents and they need not to fear,” said SSP Jagraon Ravcharan Singh Brar.



Dhruv Pandove Trophy: Jasinder hogs limelight
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 18
After gaining vital lead of 101 runs, Mohali restricted Ludhiana to a modest score of 175 runs in the second innings on the penultimate day of the Punjab State Inter-District Cricket Championship (u-19) for the Dhruv Pandove Trophy.

The match was played at the Punjab Agricultural University ground here today.

The visitors resumed their third day play at 305 for five and their innings culminated at 399 runs. Batsmen Ramandeep (50) and Pranjay (34) kept their composure well as they made 81 and 76 runs respectively to consolidate Mohali’s position.

Facing a deficit of 101 runs, Ludhiana batsmen again failed to put up a brave face in the second innings as they caved in 175 runs in 55.4 overs. Jasinder claimed seven wickets for 56 runs.

Mohali now need just 75 runs to register an outright victory tomorrow.

Brief scores

Ludhiana (first innings)-298 all out in 98.1 overs (Kashish 59 runs, Rajat Arora 37 runs, Nikhil Chowdhary 52 runs, Parul Mehndiratta 107 runs, Vishwanath Sahni 2 runs, Harmanvir three wickets for 93 runs, Jasinder two wickets for 92 runs, Akshay three wickets for 61 runs and Ramandeep one wicket for 6 runs)

Mohali (first innings)-399 all out in 123.5 overs (Shubham Gill 141 runs, Abhijit Garg 41 runs, Ramandeep 81 runs and Pranjay 76 runs*, Navandu Sharma three wickets for 78 runs, Hartejsawi three wickets for 69 runs, Kashish three wickets for 55 runs and Nikhil Chowdhary one wicket for 57 runs).

Ludhiana (second innings)-175 all out in 55.4 overs (Kashish 20 runs, Rajat Arora 25 runs, Parul Mehndiratta 47 runs, Harkunwar Makkar 19 runs and Manvir 28 runs*, Jasinder seven for 56 runs, Harman one wicket for 54 runs, Akshay one for 35 runs and Shubham Gill one for 2 runs).



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