Saturday, July 28, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Now controversy on “miri, piri”
Debate unnecessary, say Sikh scholars
Varidner Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 27
The latest issue of “Gurmat Parkash”, published by the SGPC has kicked off a fresh controversy on the significant subject of “miri, piri” in the Sikh circle.

In the issue there are three articles in which the concept of “miri, piri” has been written as “piri, miri”. The change of nomenclature of the Sikh concept, which has been prevalent and accepted by the community for the past four centuries has raised hackles. The authors tried to convince the Sikh masses that it was “piri” (spirituality) which came first, followed by “miri” (temporal).

The Sikh scholars, however, said the debate, initiated by the SGPC’s journal was uncalled for. The Sikh Panth was already embroiled in various controversies like “Dasam Granth”, Nanakshahi calendar, which could not be resolved even after the intervention of the Sikh clergy.

The Sikh scholars, including Dr Kharak Singh, Mr Gurtej Singh, Professor of Sikhism, and Mr Gurcharnjit Singh Lamba have said both “miri, piri”, are inseparable and there will be no controversy on which came first.

Although many Sikh scholars agree with the conclusions of the authors of the “controversial” articles published in the journal that “piri” came before “miri”, but the combination of these two terms and their popular usage in the Sikh parlance does not demand any change or a new nomenclature.

Mr Gurcharnjit Singh Lamba alleged that the controversy seemed to have been raised with a view to the forthcoming assembly elections. However, the debate could bring more problems than solving them. He said the concept of “miri, piri” was started from the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, and the sixth Guru did not give the new concept as claimed in the journal. He said the magazine should not have touched the issue as it was uncalled for. Mr Gurtej Singh said though he held Mr Chamkaur Singh, editor of the journal, in high esteem, yet he had made an issue out of a non-issue. He said the concept of “miri, piri” has been accepted for centuries and hence there was no need to change the nomenclature.

The three authors, however, said “piri” should be written before “miri” because spirituality should be given more significance than temporal one. The authors concluded that the first five Gurus had adopted the concept of “spirituality” and the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind had to wear the sword of “miri” after the martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev. However, Dr Kharak Singh said nobody should try to separate the two as the Sikh religion could not be complete without uniting both terms.

The Sikh scholars, who have written their articles in the journal are Giani Dharm Singh, Mr Baljit Singh Khalsa and Col Devinder Singh (retd).

It is pertinent to mention here that “miri, piri” is a compound of two words, both of perso-arabic origin. The word “miri” has been derived from Persian word “miri”, which itself comes from the Arabic “amir” (literary, commander, governor, lord, prince, etc, and signifies temporal power and “piri” has been derived from Persian “pir” (literary meaning senior man, saint, holy man, spiritual guide, head of a religious order) and stands for spiritual authority. The adoption of the term “miri, piri” in Sikh tradition has been made to connote the temporal and spiritual components of life. The term represents for the Sikhs a basic principle which has influenced their political thought and has governed their social structure, political behaviour, organisation, leadership and politics.


No letter on kin of militants: Badal
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 27
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, today expressed ignorance about any secret letter sent by the Chief Secretary to the Deputy Commissioner seeking detailed information regarding kin of terrorists for providing relief.

Talking to newspersons after a sangat darshan, he said relief “is provided only on the directions of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”

Mr Badal said the SAD-BJP government was not under the influence of any militant outfit or terrorist. Terrorism had been rejected by the people of Punjab and the government would not allow anybody to disturb peace in the state, he added.

Mr Badal said he did not meet any terrorist during his recent visit to the USA. He said he had gone there for an eye operation.

Asked to detail issues the SAD-BJP alliance would focus on during the Assembly elections in the state, he said the alliance would highlight the “anti-development” role of the Congress in the state, besides the 1984 riots and the divide-and-rule policy of the Congress.

The alliance would also highlight the achievements of the government, he added.

Mr Badal said Mr G.S. Tohra’s charge that farmers were lathicharged in Bathinda at his insistence were baseless and intended to defame him.

He said an inquiry into the alleged issuance of fake arms licences from Ferozepore had been ordered.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal distributed cheques for Rs 1.22 crore to 77 panchayats in the Gurdaspur Assembly segment as development grants during the sangat darshan.


Kangar expelled from SAD
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 27
The sharp differences in the district unit of SAD came to the fore when the party’s district president and state Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Malooka, expelled Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, a senior party leader and close associate of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, for six years from the party after cancelling his primary membership allegedly for his anti-party activities.

Mr Kangar, who earned huge appreciation from Mr Parkash Singh Badal during the “sarbat da bhala-chardikaln march” taken out on the eve of the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa, was expelled from the party allegedly for his opposition to the party candidate for the panchayat election of Bhairupa village.

Mr Babu Singh, secretary, SAD, Bathinda, in a press note issued here today, said Mr Malooka had received complaints against Mr Kangar that he (Mr Kangar) had been opposing the party candidate, Dr Harjinder Singh, for the panchayat elections. The circle unit of the party had also recommended his expulsion from the party for his anti-party activities as he had been supporting Mr Sewa Singh, a common candidate of the Congress, CPI and SHSAD.

However, a section of the party rank and file, who did not wish to be quoted, pointed out that the expulsion of Mr Kangar from the party could cause a vertical split in the party cadre in Rampura area as Mr Kangar commanded huge following in that area.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Mr Kangar, who won Zila Parishad elections by a record margin, had been gaining ground in the Rampura Assembly segment and he was being projected as a potential SAD candidate for the coming assembly elections. Mr Kangar had been making efforts for initiating village youths into sports activities.

Mr Babu Singh, Secretary, SAD, Bathinda, said Mr Malooka had appealed to the people not to support Mr Kangar as he (Mr Kangar) was an opportunist and was misusing the name of office-bearers of the party for misleading the people and promoting indiscipline in the party. However, Mr Kangar could not be contacted for his comments.


For them hawkers play vital role
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Baupur Jadid (Kapurthala), July 27
With no government-owned or private shop, residents of nearly 10 villages on this island in the middle of the Beas, are totally dependent on a few “pheriwallahs” (hawkers) who virtually form a lifeline for inhabitants of the island which they visit twice a week using two boats maintained by residents on the river banks for ferrying the mainland.

Even after more than 50 years of independence, the inhabitants of this island are forced to lead a life sans civic amenities.

The Tribune has been highlighting woes of the islanders. Many of the woes of hundreds of islanders are due to the failure of the state government of the district administration to build a bridge across the Beas and link the island with the mainland.

The absence of roads, power, medical facilities, streetlights and drinking water notwithstanding, the island does not have even a single shop selling goods of daily use and the inhabitants are forced either to depend on the erratic visits of the “pheriwallahs” or cross the river and fetch the essential commodities of life from Sultanpur Lodhi township 20 km away.

Even as these “pheriwallahs” have been a lifeline for the islanders still at times certain unscrupulous elements among them fleece the villagers and supply substandard goods to them. “We have no alternative but to depend upon ‘pheriwallahs’ for we don’t have other means to buy rations and other essential goods. We don’t have a single shop here what to talk about a market”, said Kashmir Singh, a resident of Bhaini Kadar Baksh village of the island. He said all their pleas to the government for a bridge or government shop on the island have been on deaf ears.

“We are just about 1,200 persons living on this small 600-acre island, but no government has ever thought of providing even the basic facilities to us. They come to power and go. They don’t come to us even for votes”, rued Baldev Singh of Baupur, who said “pheriwallahs” were the only outsiders who came to the island for selling goods.

That’s why we don’t even mind if they charge a bit more from us. At least, some people come to this island. These people also stop coming to us when the island gets marooned during monsoon. Sometimes, the water of the river rises to such a level that we also have to leave our houses and move to safer places like kutcha bundhs across the river”, he said.

The “pheriwallahs”, too have their own problems during their visit to this island. “Once we come here we get stuck for the whole day as boats normally operate twice a day even though boatmen treat us very well”, said Jogi, a “pheriwallah”, who had come to sell aluminium utensils on his cycle. Nanna, another “pheriwallah”, dubbed the island as an oasis for him and others like him. “Actually, on the mainland, even villagers have stopped buying goods from us. They prefer to go either to Sultanpur Lodhi or Kapurthala for buying even small items like lipsticks. In that case, we feel much better when we move about in villages of the island, where people treat us like their guests apart from buying things from us, even though sometimes we have to sell our goods on instalment basis and sometimes we don’t get our money back”, said Nanna.


SHSAD to highlight “corrupt” deeds
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 27
The President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today declared that his party would highlight the “corrupt” deeds of SAD-BJP ministers, including the chief minister, and the issue of “rampant” corruption in government departments during the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Mr Tohra, addressing a press conference here today, said they would bring the office of Chief Minister within the ambit of the Punjab Lokpal Act if voted to power to eradicate corruption. “We will set up a special inquiry commission to probe into allegations of corruption against SAD-BJP ministers if voted to power,” Mr Tohra declared. He claimed Panthic unity would be declared in the first week of next month.


CPM for joint front for Assembly poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The CPM is trying to bring about unity among the secular, democratic and leftist forces in Punjab to contest assembly elections as a joint front. This was told to the party activists by Prof Balwant Singh, secretary of the state unit of the CPM, at a meeting of the State Committee of the party held here today.

He said it was unfortunate that Mr Kanshi Ram, President of the Bahujan Samaj Party, had declared to put candidates in all Assembly constituencies in the state. Such a step on part of the BSP would divide the votes of secular and democratic parties. To defeat the SAD-BJP combine in Punjab, unity among the secular, democratic and leftist forces was a need of the hour, he added.

Prof Balwant Singh said the party would hold political conventions and rallies at all district headquarters next month. Lambasting the SAD-BJP Government, he added that the state had suffered setback on all fronts in the last four years. The corruption had gone up manifold during the SAD-BJP rule and no attention had been paid to deal with the problems like unemployment, rising prices, criminalisation of politics, etc. The policies followed by the SAD-BJP government were anti-people and the industrial progress of the state had come to halt.

The state government had sold government’s property to its supporters at a throwaway price.

Among those who addressed the participants in the meeting were Mr Rachhpal Singh, Mr Charan Singh Virdi, Mr Chand Singh Chopra, Mr Raghunath Singh, Mr Vijya Mishra, Mr Tara Sharma and Mr Mahinder Singh Taggar.


Punjab Youth Cong meeting held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A meeting of the general body of the Punjab unit of the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) was held here today. Mr Krishan Vir Mena, observer, was present at the meeting.

Mr Devinder Singh Babbu, president of the unit, said recruitment of new members of the youth Congress in the state would be open from August 1 to 31. Thanking Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the AICC, he said the recruitment had been ordered after a gap of 23 years.

Ms Gandhi had assured the youth leaders that at least 15 per cent tickets would be given to them in the ensuing Assembly elections in the state, he added. All speakers at the meeting criticised the SAD-BJP Government in the state for lawlessness, corruption and ineffective governance.


Seven more bodies fished out of Sutlej
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 27
Seven more bodies of the Kiratpur Sahib truck mishap victims were fished out today from the Sutlej near Kiratpur Sahib and Ropar, taking the total number of the bodies recovered to 41.

The victims whose bodies were recovered today have been identified as Satguru Singh (14), Charanjit Singh (27), Ram Singh (38), Vir Pal Singh (12), Jaspal Kaur (20), and Rukmani Devi (12), all from Dirks. One person has not been identified as yet. With this the number of unidentified bodies recovered so far has reached two.

The Deputy Commissioner Mr G.S. Grewal, said a message had been faxed to the Sangrur district authorities to verify the exact number of missing persons. The confirmed list of the victims was expected soon. However, as per the lists provided by sources the administration was now trying to fish out 16 to 17 more bodies, he added.

Mr Grewal also appreciated the efforts of the various officials and employees of various departments, including Mr Daljit Singh, SDM, and Mr Khushi Ram, ADC. The SDM saved an irrigation employee involved in the search operations from drowning, by throwing his turban towards him near the Ropar headworks yesterday.


4 more pilgrims cremated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
With the cremation of bodies of four more pilgrims today, as many as 34 bodies have been cremated at Dirba and other nearby villages so far. These pilgrims were drowned in Anandpur Sahib canal at Kiratpur Sahib on Monday when the truck in which they were travelling fell into a canal In the mishap, nearly 50 pilgrims were drowned. Out of the total 34 pilgrims cremated, as many as 23 were from Dirba village, four from Kakuwal village, four from Bhai ke Pishore village and one each from Kala Jhar, Sheron and Janal villages.

Those cremated today have been identified as Charanjit Singh, alias Pappi, Satgur Singh and Ram Singh, all from Dirba, and Rukmani Devi from Bhai ke Pishore.


Baba ‘flouts’ Sikh maryada
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
Violation of Sikh traditions and “maryada” by a self-styled “Chakarvarti Baba”, who held path of “Dasam Granth” and organised a hawan simultaneously besides sacrificing goats to celebrate his birthday during his samagam has created ripples among people of the area near Malsian town of this district.

Anguished over the actions of the “Chakarvarti Baba” and his jatha, villagers and a number of Sikh organisations have sought the intervention of the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, in the matter.

It is learnt that Baba Mohinder Singh of Ganeshpur village near Ambala, who calls himself “Chakarvarti Baba” organised a week-long “religious” function at the residence of his follower, Joginder Singh of Kakran village on the occasion of his birthday. At the function, the baba held “parkash” of two holy books, including the “Dasam Granth”, path of “Japji Sahib”, “Anand Sahib” and “Sukhmani Sahib” and simultaneously organised a hawan at the same place. The baba also broke a coconut shell and cut sugarcane into pieces before holding ardaas and sacrificing a goat, the “mahaprasad” (meat of the goat) of which along with “degh” was distributed among the sangat.

The birthday of the baba, according to villagers, is celeberated by his 12 close followers in their homes on the 20th of every month in the same fashion, according to the orders of the baba. Bhang (marijuana) is also used by sangat on this occasion.

Angry villagers led by Jathedar Sulakhan Singh, circle president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), and Mr Sarkar Singh, president of the Sukhmani Sahib Seva Society, Shahkot, the baba had been claiming to be an incarnation of Guru Teg Bahadur.

Interestingly, the baba has got prepared a lifesize photograph of himself in which he is seen astride a horse. During such functions, he puts his picture along with those of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh and a “Nishan Sahib” on one side.

Joginder Singh, his follower, said no violation of the “maryada” had taken place.


Jail warden suspended for negligence
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 27
Even as the condition of an inmate of the local Central Jail, who had consumed sleeping pills to satisfy his urge for drugs during the hearing of a case in the premises of district courts yesterday, was stated to be out of danger, the local Central Jail authorities have suspended its warden, Mr Masat Ram, for negligence in checking the inflow of drugs into the jail complex.

Mr Sikander Singh, Deputy Superintendent of the jail, while confirming the suspension of Mr Masat Ram, said Suresh Kumar, who was arrested for smuggling drugs, in its deposition before the jail authorities, admitted that he had been provided with sleeping pills by a friend in the premises of district courts yesterday.

Suresh further said he had taken six tablets at the district courts and four tablets were taken by him inside the jail complex which lead to deterioration of his condition.

Subsequently, a detailed inquiry was conducted into the role of jail staff following which Mr Masat Ram was suspended this evening.

The Jail Superintendent had also written to Mr Gauarv Yadav, SSP, to take action against the erring district police cops.

Earlier, Suresh Kumar was discharged from the local Civil Hospital and his condition was stated to be stable.


Raw drugs lying unused in ayurvedic dispensary
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 27
Raw drugs have been lying unused in the Government Ayurvedic Pharmacy and Store here, the only institution which prepares and supplies drugs to ayurvedic dispensaries and hospitals in the state, since the past six to seven years. While some of the drugs have outlived their utility, those which can be used are also being allowed to go waste due to non-functioning of the pharmacy.

Besides this, around 20 ‘yogs’ (medicines) have also been lying incomplete for the past six years due to lack of purchase of raw drugs needed for completion of their preparation. The pharmacy had already written off drugs worth Rs 50,000 following the constitution of a committee to inspect them in 1995. The drugs were found infested with worms and fungus.

Sources said there were apprehensions that the remaining drugs, worth a few lakh, which were still lying stored in the pharmacy, would meet a similar fate as they were not kept under any special upkeep. They said most of the drugs stored in the pharmacy could be termed to have expired, according to the principles of ayurveda.

Besides this, machines in the pharmacy have also been in a run down condition. Some of the machines like the vibrating machine, Asav filter and press filter have reportedly been lying unused since their purchase in 1995. Sources said out of 72 machines, around 20 machines needed repair and 17 had been condemned.

Besides this, the number of medicines being prepared had also gone down ever since the pharmacy was established in the fifties. The number of medicines prepared at the pharmacy have come down from 100 in 1984-85 to around 80 in 1988-89 to around 30 in 1993-94 and only 17 in 1996-97.

The sources said even the budget of pharmacy had been constantly decreasing. They said there had also been instances of the budget lapsing because the purchase of the raw drugs and other material needed could not be completed during the short time given to the pharmacy after the case was cleared by the government. They said this was due to the policy of the government of clearing the case for the purchase of material just before the closure of the financial year.

The building of pharmacy is also in a dilapidated condition. It has been partially functioning from a building which had been declared unsafe by the PWD authorities. Sources said there was a proposal to construct a new building but it could not be implemented. The institution is also short of work force with many posts of pharmacy prepares lying vacant. Sources said money had been released recently for the purchase of drugs but this could not be confirmed with the Medical Superintendent, Dr Subhash Modgil, saying he had been asked not to speak to the Press by the department authorities.

Residents, however, said there was an urgent need to revive the institution, established under the first five-year plan in 1952, if the ayurveda movement was to be kept alive in the state. It was tragic that the pharmacy has not been producing drugs at its optimum level at a time when alternative medicine forms had taken the world by storm, Amarjit Singh, one of the residents.


2 killed, 2 hurt as tanker hits jeep
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
Two persons were killed and as many injured in an accident today on the Bathinda-Dabwali road, near Sangat Mandi, about 29 km from here.

The ill-fated jeep was on its way from Bathinda to Hakoo Wala village when an oil tanker coming from the opposite direction collided head-on with the jeep and badly smashed it. The occupants of the jeep, Tej Kaur (60) and Balbir Singh 40, died on the spot while two other occupants, Sukhdev Singh and his daughter Jasbir Kaur (13), were seriously injured.

Mr Suresh Kakkar, Director Health, Government of India, who was coming from the opposite direction, took the injured to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to Ludhiana.

Eyewitnesses said the drivers of the vehicles tried to prevent the accident. But the driver of the oil tanker, made a mistake and it hit the jeep. A case under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the oil tanker who has been absconding.


Collapsing under weight of splendour
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Durbar Hall in the Quila Mubarak complex which was built by Phulkian rulers of Patiala and has now been turned into a museum, is literally being ‘weighed’ down by history.

Durbar Hall is a splendid edifice built in European style and has a large hall without any supporting pillar. The difficulty it faces today stems from a quirk of history. A massive weight was put on its roof when Maharaja Rajindra Singh bought the entire stock of chandeliers in a Calcutta shop after he was not shown due respect when he had visited the shop without any princely frills.

Though the chandeliers give Durbar Hall an other-worldly look, their weight has, over the years, weakened the structure. The Archives and Cultural Affairs Department removed a large number of the chandeliers to strengthen the roof and to repair the false ceiling. But when the chandeliers were put back on the ceiling, their effect began to be felt again. The plaster of Paris on the ceiling has again started peeling off.

While the splendour of chandeliers dazzles a visitor, the exterior and the roof are virtually disintegrating. The stairs that lead to the upper storey which houses the graves of two “pirs” are in a dilapidated condition. Not many would dare to climb them. Besides, the building has developed cracks and the fine engravings on its exterior are disappearing.

When a part of Durbar Hall near the Municipal Library collapsed, a resident of the city, Mr Amrik Singh Chhina, field a public interest petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking a direction from the court to the authorities concerned to do proper restoration work on the complex. The court asked the government to take up the restoration work within two years. In the two years, the government could only set up committees for this purpose and gave an undertaking to the court that continuous effort would made to conserve the Quila.

This ‘continuous effort’ seems to have disappeared, say the residents of Patiala. Leave aside Durbar Hall, even Quila Androon is in bad state, says Mr Narinderjit Singh, a social activist. The facade of Quila Androon needs to be strengthened urgently, failing which the entire gate may be threatened. The residents feel that the Archives and Cultural Affairs Department is only giving cosmetic touches to the facade and not tackling the serious problem of restoration. Similar is the situation with Durbar Hall, said Mr Narinderjit Singh.

According to Mr RS Randhawa, a PCS officer who is is a connoisseur of art and who for some time supervised the restoration work at the Quila, Durbar Hall was constructed after 1857 when the state of Patiala started being run on British lines. Thus this building was constructed in European style. It consists of a large hall, 120 feet long, 60 feet wide and 65 feet high. The Maharaja sat on a throne that faced the main entrance with the prominent Maharanis behind him and the lesser ladies on a balcony above. The acknowledged ‘sardars’ sat on mattresses at a lower level. 


Panel for registration of six ultrasound centres
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 27
The District Advisory Committee for the implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act at its first meeting here yesterday recommended the registration of six ultrasound centres. The committee decided to send the cases of two ultrasound centres, owned by the BAMS and the DHMS doctors, to the Director, Health, Punjab, to seek clarification whether these centres should be registered or not. As many as 28 ultrasound centres from the district had applied for the registration.

The meeting was attended among others by Dr N.S. Parwana, Dr P.S. Sibia and Dr P.S. Klair, all from the local Civil Hospital; Dr Surinder Singla (IMA), Dr Mukesh Dhawan (Lions Club), Ms Kusam Garg (Social worker), Dr C.P. Bandal, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, and Dr Suresh Goyal, District Family Welfare Officer.

The committee did not recommend the registration of remaining 20 ultrasound centers due to the non submission of experience certificates and other required documents for the registration.

The committee also suggested the Civil Surgeon to take action against those who had not applied for the registration of their ultrasound centres. The committee also recommended the Civil Surgeon to seek certificates from the SMOs, mentioning that no unregistered ultrasound centre, barring those whose names have been sent for the registration, has been working in their respective areas.

The committee also suggested to form flying squads to conduct surprise raids on ultrasound centres to keep a check on sex determination tests. The committee directed each centre to keep a record of each expectant woman, coming for any type of check-up, on a prescribed proforma supplied by the Health Department.

Meanwhile, Lions Club, Sangrur, has decided to organise a seminar on “female foeticide” to stop indiscrimination against baby girls.


INTUC members hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 27
Members of the district council of INTUC, here today held a dharna outside the local secretariat to press for their demands. While addressing the dharna, Mr Bhupesh Sharma, secretary, PPCC, alleged that the liberalisation and privatisation policies of the government were increasing unemployment in the country. As per the revised estimates of the Labour Ministry, about 10 lakh persons had been rendered jobless in the country during the past decade, he alleged. Mr K.P.S. Rana, a local Congress leader, alleged that the government was diluting labour laws to help the capitalists. The amendments proposed in the Contract Labour Act and the MRTP Act would further expose the poorer sections to exploitation at the hands of capitalists, he said.

Mr Kashmiri Lal, president of the Nangal Bhakra Mazdoor Sangh, alleged that their union in the BBMB was not being recognised by the Union Labour Ministry under pressure from the state BJP. The said union was in majority in BBMB Nangal but was not being given the right to represent the workers, he alleged. Local leaders of INTUC, including Mr R.K. Singh Parmar, general secretary, Punjab, INTUC, Mr B.S. Diwan, president, NFL Workers Union INTUC and Mr Iqbal Singh, president, district INTUC Ropar, also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar.


Fast by 70 jailed BKU(E) activists
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
About 70 activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), who have been lodged in the local Central Jail for the past many days after they were arrested by the police in order to curtail their agitation, went on a fast today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri, state vice-president of the union, claimed in a written statement that the union activists lodged in the jail have been on a fast for the past 36 hours in order to express their resentment against the alleged police atrocities on the persons sitting on a dharna near Maiser Khana village on July 24.

He claimed that the authorities concerned were trying to isolate the district president of the union, Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, from other leaders and activists in order to weaken stir of the union.

He alleged that the authorities were trying to justify their unlawful activities and giving false statements to the media. He said the authorities would not succeed in their efforts to curb the agitation.

Mr Kokri said the future course of action would be decided soon and the stir would continue till they got justice.

The Deputy Superintendent (Jails), when contacted, said the BKU(E), activists were not on observing any fast. He said if any jail inmate was injured or ill he was given proper treatment.


Residents serve legal notice on MC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
Residents of various colonies in the city have served a legal notice on the Municipal Commissioner, Mr K.S.Kang, for not doing anything constructive about the rubbish being thrown on a piece of land owned by the corporation on the Patiala-Sanaur road.

Residents of Tej Bagh Colony, Mathura Colony, Rose Colony, Jagdish Colony and Markel Colony said nothing had been done for the cleanliness in these colonies. They complained that there was a big chunk of open land owned by the Municipal Corporation opposite to these colonies near ‘Badi Nadi’ and that the rubbish of entire city was being dumped on this land without any proper arrangement for its disposal thereafter.

They said everyday several trolley-loads of rubbish were dumped on this land which gave out foul smell and created unhygienic conditions.

Through the legal notice, the residents have demanded that Mr Kang should take necessary action to stop the dumping of rubbish on the open land and that the area should be cleaned within two months of receiving this notice.


Live show to mark DD Punjabi anniversary
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 27
The Prasar Bharati authorities will celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of DD Punjabi, Doordarshan’s first Punjabi satellite channel, by hosting a two-hour tradition and value-based live cultural show depicting all aspects of the rich cultural heritage of the state on August 4.

The show will be presented from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm on DD Punjabi and will include folk songs, giddha and bhangra.

Talking to TNS, Mr Ashok Jelkhani, Director, Jalandhar Doordarshan Kendra, said during the past one year DD Punjabi had presented value-based entertainment to viewers.


Lure of lottery growing in Mansa
Our Correspondent

Mansa, July 27
The district is fast turning into a gambling and betting hub. Men, women and even school-going kids buy lottery tickets in routine from several shops which have mushroomed in different parts of the towns.

“Labourers”, small businessman and at time professionals and a section of the middle class are also its prey. The most popular form is the single digit lottery where the result is declared by the end of the day. According to sources, certain unauthorised lotteries are also being sold. The areas where the lottery trade is flourishing include Gurdwara Chowk, Sabzi Mandi and Bus Stand.


NFL employees stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
Employees of the local unit of the National Fertilizers Limited (NFL) staged a dharna and raised slogans in protest against the move of the Union Government to disinvest stake in the NFL.

Mr N.S. Brar, district president, National Fertilizers Employees Union, said in a press note issued here today that the members of the union staged a dharna at the gate of the NFL to press for their demand that the government stake in the units of the NFL should not be disinvested.

The Union Government was selling even the profit making public sector undertakings PSUs under pressure of the IMF and the World Bank, he alleged.


Bank poll stayed
Our Correspondent

Ropar, July 27
The Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mr Malwai, has stayed the elections for the managing body of Ropar Central Cooperative bank till the next date of hearing fixed for August 14.

The candidates got this information when they came to file their nomination papers here yesterday. The returning officer did not turn up as he had got a copy of the court orders. The stay on the elections was granted on a petition of a former Chairman of the bank, Mr Jagjit Singh Kang. In his petition, Mr Kang had alleged that the elections were being held without finalising the election zones and zonal lists.


Govt speeds up voters’ card process
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Punjab Government has speeded up the process of issuing photo Identity cards to enlisted voters in the areas which were not covered earlier.

There are instructions of the Chief Election Commission of India that no one be allowed to cast the vote in the ensuing Assembly elections in the state without an Identity card.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, has issued instructions to all field officers to make the photo Identity card a primary basis for identification of persons for various official purposes like the appointment, in government and semi-government agencies, issuance of ration cards, licences to drivers and certificates to SC and BC, etc.


Withdraw orders on 20 JEs’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Diploma Engineers Association, Punjab Irrigation Department, has urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to cancel the orders pertaining to current duty charge given to 20 junior engineers as subdivisional engineers.

The association, which organised a dharna in front of the head office of the department here today, said the current duty charge had been given to the junior engineers, ignoring about 800 assistant engineers, Class II, who were senior to those given the charge. The association said the orders had been issued against the instructions circulated by the Department of Personnel of the state government.

The association also held a rally. Among those who addressed the rally were Mr Vas Dev Sharma, Mr Nahar Singh, Mr Amar Singh Randhawa, Mr Satnam Singh Dhanoa , Mr Daljit Singh Kohli and Mr Pargat Singh Grewal, president of the association.



Punjab DGP leaves for UK
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh, has left for the UK on an invitation from the South Yorkshire police.

Invitation was extended to the DGP for discussions on plans for future cooperation and interaction between the police forces of Punjab and South Yorkshire.

Mr Sarabjit Singh will meet the Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire police and his officers besides calling on Chief Constable, West Midland Police. In West Midland, the DGP has also been invited to visit the Stoke Heath prison.

During his stay in London, he will also call on the Chief of Metropolitan police, London, besides meeting members of the Indian community.


Sugar quota for August increased
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 27
The Punjab Government has increased the ration quota of sugar for August. Stating this, the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, said here yesterday that this step had been taken in view of the forthcoming Raksha Bandhan, Independence Day and Janmashtami celebrations.

Mr Mittal said people would now get 1 kg of sugar for each family member instead of the previous quota of 500 grams. He urged the Union Food Minister Shanta Kumar to consult paddy-producing state before finalising the specifications relating to the procurement of paddy.

He urged the Union Government to announce the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy at the earliest and ensure adequate supply of gunny bags.

Mr Mittal said 1,650 purchase centres would be set up for the purchase of paddy in the state.


Use of LPG in vehicles to be checked
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said here today that the use of the LPG cylinders in vehicles would be checked and the transport authorities had been directed to follow the orders.

The tehsildar of the city had been instructed to raid all LPG depots of the city and seize all those cylinders which did not belonged to the company. To improve the public distribution system (PDS) as many as 64 more depots would be allotted, he added. Mr Parkash Singh Badal would organise a sangat darshan programme in the city on August 9 and the 35 wards of the city have been divided into 13 zones. The people should contact their respective municipal councillors so that the problem of the areas could be solved at the sangat darshan, he added.


Beautification drive begins
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
The local Municipal Council in association with various schools of the city has started the beautification drive under which saplings of trees would be planted at various places in the city.

Mr R. Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, said in a press note issued here today that the municipal authorities had been directed to complete the project as soon as possible.


4 held for smuggling poppy, liquor
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 27
The district police has arrested four persons for allegedly smuggling narcotics and recovered 45 kg of poppy husk and 9 litres of liquor.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, said in a press note issued here today that Mahinder Singh of the Mehraj police station area was arrested from Guru Kul road for allegedly smuggling poppy husk. The police recovered 25 kg of poppy husk from him. He runs a provisional store in his village. He was arrested earlier under Sections 304B and 34 IPC at the Phul police station.

He further said that the patrolling of police personnel near Lehri village made possible the arrest of a narcotics smuggler, Bhola Singh, of Akkawali village in the Boha police station on July 25. He was carrying poppy husk weighing about 20 kg on the bicycle. A case has been registered against him at the Talwandi Sabo police station.

Jagjit Singh of Salabatpura village was arrested for the alleged smuggling of liquor and 4 litres of the same has been recovered from him. A case under Sections 61, 1, and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against him at the Dayalpura police station.

Raju Singh of the Mirjeana village has been arrested for keeping 5 litres of illicit liquor and a case registered against him at the Talwandi Sabo police station.


Review Sodhia’s appointment, says union
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 27
The Punjab and Chandigarh Teachers Union and several educationists have questioned the appointment of Mrs Manjit Kaur Sodhia as Dean, College, without any interview.

This is the first appointment by the new Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, who took over four days ago. The post was earlier held by Dr S.P. Singh himself. Questioning the appointment, Mr K.P.S. Sodhi of the union said no advertisement was inserted in any newspaper before her appointment. The union would take up the matter at its forthcoming executive meeting to be held in Dakha (Ludhiana) on August 15.

Mrs Sodhia is a retired principal of a government college in Ludhiana with teaching and administrative experience of 36 years. However, she has never served in any of the colleges affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University. Educationists allege that the decision to appoint Mrs Sodhia has been a ‘hasty’ one and should be reviewed.



Teachers hail HC order on pension scheme
Our Correspondent

Garhshankar, July 27
Pro K.B.S. Sodhi, President, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), Prof P.S. Bansal, President, PCCTU unit of Hoshiarpur, Dr Harcharan Singh, General Secretary, and Prof V.K. Vij, former president, in a joint statement issued here today, hailed the judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, directing the Punjab Government to implement the pension and gratuity scheme within three months and report back to the court by November 10.

Mr Sodhi said implementation of the judgement would enable the private colleges to attract talent in this profession. But, he added that “our struggle will continue till pension payment orders are released by the Punjab Government.

The zonal-level rallies and demonstrations will be held in Jalandhar on July 30, at Mukatsar on August 1 and Patiala on August 3, he added.

Mr Sodhi appealed to Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, and Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal to implement the judgement given by the Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Mr Justice H.S. Nijjar, and Mr Justice S.S. Kehar, on petitions filed by Mr N.S. Tuli, Principal (retired), Sikh National College, Dakha, without any delay.


Counselling dates of colleges clash
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 27
Resentment prevails among students, who are seeking admission to various engineering college of Punjab, against the authorities of Punjab Engineering College, (PEC) Chandigarh, for refixing the date for first counselling on August 7. This date clashes with the date for second counselling by Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar.

Students told this correspondent here today that earlier the date for the first counselling of the PEC, was fixed for July 17. But due to a writ petition by some students, a stay on the above date was granted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, the court had now vacated the stay and had allowed the PEC to hold the first counselling at its convenience. The students said the PEC authorities had fixed August 7 as the date for this purpose, which clashed with the date for the second counselling of Regional Engineering College, Jalandhar.

The students who had applied for admission in both colleges, were now in a fix. The students urged the PEC authorities to change the date for the first counselling so that they were able to seek admission to both colleges.


Discrimination in interviews: PUTA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 27
The Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) today alleged that interviews for promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) were being held on factional grounds and teachers who had openly supported PUTA in its struggle for teachers’ cause were being victimised either by not promoting them or postponing their interviews.

In a letter circulated among the faculty members here, the president of the association, Dr Bhupindeer Singh Khaira, and secretary Balwinder Singh said if the earlier phase of CAS interviews were targetted at setting a record for rejections, this phase was going to set a similar record for postponements.

They alleged that the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, was playing every trick up his sleeve to malign, terrorise and victimise PUTA but due to the support of teachers the association was able to withstand all attacks.


Shun path of stir, says Tota Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Education Minister, Punjab, Mr Tota Singh, has appealed to the candidates trained to impart elementary education to shun the path of agitation and come forward for amicable solution of their problem. Agitating candidates have been holding dharnas here in front of the office of the DPI (Primary Education) for the past two months.

They have been pressing the state government to ensure their selection against the vacant posts of teachers in primary schools, the recruitment process for which is on.


Computer centre inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 27
Jacob Computer Centre, constructed at a cost of Rs 11 lakh, was inaugurated by the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd,) at Punjab Public School, Nabha, near here, today.

General Jacob talked to the toppers of past years. He appreciated the activities of the school for encouraging sportspersons and those who excelled in academics. He added that this was a step ahead towards improvement.

General Jacob invited the hockey, football and cricket teams of the school to compete with teams of other schools of Chandigarh. He lauded the efforts of school authorities in maintaining the rooms, canteen, hostel and playgrounds of the school.

The Governor while returning from the inaugural function paid a surprise visit to the Government Primary School, Ghamroda block, Nabha, and interacted with the students of the school.

The Headmistress of the school informed the Governor that over 60 students were studying in the school and added that a new building was coming up after which the school would be upgraded to middle level. The Governor noted that the school had no playground. The panchayat members informed that though a plot of one acre was available with the school but it could not be used as a playground.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner, assured the Governor that he would supply the necessary material for the construction of the boundary wall of the ground while the villagers would do the voluntary service in completing the task. Gen Jacob sanctioned an amount of Rs 10,000 for sports equipments and improvement of toilets in the school.

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