Monday, September 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Morcha, BSP to contest poll jointly: Bedi
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 2
The Panthic Morcha and the BSP have agreed in principle to have electoral adjustment during the ensuing Punjab Assembly poll.

Stating this, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, Convener of the Panthic Morcha, told that modalities for the seat sharing would be decided after the election was announced. He said Mr Kanshi Ram, President of the BSP, had also stated that the morcha and the BSP would contest the election jointly.

Asked if there was a possibility of a patch-up between the morcha and the SAD (B) Baba Bedi said Mr Badal was the only stumbling block to achieving panthic unity as he was responsible for the present plight of the Sikhs. He alleged that to please his bosses in the BJP, he had given a setback to the Sikh traditions.

Baba Bedi accused Mr Badal of disobeying a hukamnama of the Akal Takht in which he and Mr Tohra were asked to maintain peace till Baisakhi in 1999 and celebrate the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa. He alleged that Mr Badal interfered in the religious affairs of the Sikhs and misused his official powers as Chief Minister.

Baba Bedi alleged that Mr Badal did not take any steps for the release of the detained Sikh youths, nor did he fulfil promises made in the election manifesto. “Mr Badal played in the hands of the BJP which has a plan to amalgamate the Sikhs in the Hindu fold so that they lose their distinct entity,” he said.

Baba Bedi alleged that corruption had increased during the present regime and no section of the society was satisfied with the performance of the state government. He said the condition of the farmers, who were the backbone of the SAD (B), was miserable. Even the Centre was now considering to withdraw the refinery at Bathinda, he said.

On the issue of granting amnesty to the police officers for excesses Baba Bedi said the law must take its course and they should be treated like other criminals.

Referring to the controversy over the right of vote to the Sehajdharis, Baba Bedi said the government should amend the Gurdwara Act as sought by the SGPC. He said that the government should implement the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Act passed by Parliament. He said that the nomination of Sehajdharis could be considered without the right to vote.

Baba Bedi said the morcha would soon organise its district units on the pattern of the 11-member steering-committee set up at the state level. Further zoning would be done with three districts in each zone.

Commenting on the demand for his withdrawal from the convenership of the morcha by a section of the Gurmit Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, Baba Bedi said Sant Gurmail Singh of Nanaksar, who had raised this controversy, was a stooge of the government.


Samata to enter poll fray in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 2
Talking to mediapersons at Canal Rest House Mr V.V. Krishna Rao, President of the Samata Party, said here today that the party would contest the forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab. The party would negotiate with the SAD and BJP leaders of Punjab for adjustments of seats. He said after discussions with the leaders of the party, number of seats to be contested would be finalised. He said the party would also contest elections in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with the NDA constituents or like-minded democratic and secular parties.

Mr Krishna Rao supported the demand of the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh regarding the fixing of procurement price of paddy from Rs 520 to Rs 550. He said paddy growers were facing difficulties due to the failure of traditional markets. The government should ensure the marketing of the paddy by opening more procurement centres. He said officers of procurement agencies should not harass the farmers.

Referring to the Tehelka episode, he said it had badly hurt the image of the Samata Party, Ms Jaya Jaitley, former President of the party, was never shown accepting any illegal gratification. The conspiracy was hatched only to break the NDA and topple its government. Mr Tarun Tejpal had spoiled the ethics of journalism by utilising the services of prostitutes. Replying to a question he said the party would not file any defamation case against Tarun Tejpal in this connection.

Mr Rao said the party had opened its units in 29 states of the country. It would shortly open its units in Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Tripura. 


CPI to fight on 3 seats
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
The CPI today announced its decision to contest elections from Assembly seats of Verka, Khadoor Sahib and Valtoha.

The announcement was made by chief spokesman for the party, Mr Harbhajan Singh, national council member of the CPI. The convention was presided over by freedom fighter Sham Sher Singh Verka.


Plan to divert flood waters to Pak
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, September 2
The Punjab Government appears to have worked out a scheme to divert flood water to Pakistan. After alleged backtracking by Pakistan from agreements signed with India regarding the disposal of water in the Sutlej river, the Punjab Government has virtually been compelled to spend an additional sum of Rs 39 crore to divert the flow of flood water to Pakistan.

According to highly placed official sources of the Irrigation and Drainage Department, following the construction of the Distch drain about 85,000 acres of fertile agricultural land in Ferozepore and Muktsar districts shall be prevented from the menace of reoccurring seepage and floods. Most of the land falls in Fazilka subdivision as it is the junction of drains of Muktsar district, Abohar and Jalalabad subdivisions.

Besides, the drains of Salemshah, Sureshwala, Kerian, Tahliwala villages near Fazilka, the seepage water of large Abul Khurana, Aspal and Khui Khera drains constructed at the cost of Rs 260 crore in Muktsar district empty into the Sabuana drainage, which flows into the Sutlej river and ultimately to Pakistan.

The control barrage of the Sabuana drain now falls in Pakistan, although after the partition of the country it was under the control of India. This change is the result of territorial exchange done to secure the Hussainiwala memorial of martyrs Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The area of Fazilka subdivision was transferred to Pakistan in lieu of memorial.

Sources say at the time of the territorial exchange it was agreed between India and Pakistan that Pakistan shall not close the drain barrage which flows into the Sutlej river. However, Pakistan has been playing mischief by pushing in the Sutlej waters by opening the control barrage measuring 13x10 feet whenever its level rises in Pakistan. As a result of this border villages of Asafwala, Kadar Baksh, Mumbeka, Kabulshah, Gharumi, Beriwala, Nooran, Pakka Chisti, Jhangar, Kerian and Awa of Fazilka subdivisions are inundated with waters from the Sutlej from Pakistan. The standing crops are washed away, houses are damaged and livestock are drowned.

To add to villagers’ misery whenever there is more rain in Fazilka subdivision Pakistan shuts down the control barrage and prevent the flow of water into the Sutlej river. Hence the villages in Fazilka area are hit with flood water from Pakistan as well.

Not only this, the exit of about 500-km-long main seepage drains and link drains constructed at cost of several crores of rupees is incomplete in Muktsar district due to alleged adamant and mischievous attitude of Pakistan. The Punjab Government has worked out a comprehensive scheme under which the water of all drains shall fall into a new drain which will empty out into the Sutlej river in the Indian territory.

The drain commencing from Kerian village near Fazilka shall terminate at Mohar Jamsher village across the barbed wire fencing. According to Mr R.K. Aggarwal, Sectional Engineer, Drainage Department, Gidderbaha Circle, about 400 acres of land has been acquired in 12 villages to construct this drain. The farmers are being paid compensation at rate of Rs 2.20 lakh per acre. The farmers whose land has been acquired when the crop was standing have been paid around Rs 3.10 lakhs per acre.

Hundreds of tractor-trailers have been deployed for digging this drain on a war-footing. The construction work of this drain area along the Indo-Pakistan border is being monitored by the security agencies as this drain is significant for the defence of country.

The Punjab Government has secured loan from Nabard for its construction . He said 85,830 acres of flood prone agricultural land in 11 villages of Fazilka subdivision shall be saved from seepage and floods. The construction of drain shall be completed by next year, March 31, he added. 


Crop diversification plan drawn up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
How can Punjab overcome the crisis created by the paddy-wheat cropping pattern? This question has been troubling official and unofficial agriculture planners for years.

Punjab has been wrestling with the problem of drastically reducing the area under the paddy crop, which has created a crisis not only on the marketing front but also played havoc with the overall health of the soil. In fact, the condition of the top soil in the state has deteriorated to the extent that it has become a cause of worry for soil scientists.

The production cost has gone up because of the poor health of the soil. To remove the micro-nutrient deficiency in the soil, farmers have to use various fertilisers and other chemicals. Because of the vast area under paddy, the incidence of weeds in various crops has gone up.

Experts say that in the areas where paddy is grown, farmers face the problem of weeds, especially “gully-danda”, in the wheat crop which follows the paddy crop. In a bid to remove weeds from wheat, farmers resort to the large-scale use of strong weedicides. This has resulted in a high level of toxic elements in the top soil. In fact, the toxic elements have also been affecting certain foodgrains and vegetables beyond the permissible limits.

The sub-soil watertable has gone down drastically. A large part of the state has now become a “dark” area. Ground water experts declare those areas “dark” where the watertable goes down beyond a critical limit determined by the Ground Water Board of the Union Government.

Punjab has no option but to go in for diversification. If drastic steps are not taken at this stage to cure the ills affecting agriculture in the state, the Green Revolution, which brought prosperity in this part of the country, could prove harmful in the years to come, say agriculture experts.

Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and the state Agriculture Department have reached the conclusion that the area under paddy should be slashed by 10 lakh hectares in the minimum possible time, say two or three years.

The area under the paddy crop was 26.11 lakh hectares during 2000-2001. The proposal is to bring it down to 16 lakh hectares.

PAU in consultation with the Agiculture Department, has prepared a crop map for planned diversification from the paddy-wheat cropping pattern. This plan is to be implemented by the state government. Of course, farmers would need and assured market and be given the minimum support price.

Official sources said that under the diversification plan prepared by the authorities, the area under maize would be increased to 2 lakh hectares from the existing 1.64 lakh hectares in the coming years.

The area under cotton, which had been subjected to repeated attacks by the American bollworm, was to be increased to 7.50 lakh hectares from 4.74 lakh hectares last year. This can only be done in the south-west districts( Bathinda belt) in the state.

The area under oilseeds would be enhanced to 2 lakh hectares from the existing 0.90 lakh hectares. This would be possible in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Ludhiana districts.

The area under durum wheat was to be increased from 0.35 lakh hectares to 2 lakh hectares, basmati from 1 lakh to 2 lakh hectares, sugarcane from 1.20 lakh hectares to 2.30 lakh hectares, fodder from 7.80 lakh hectares to 8.30 lakh hectares, fruits from 0.32 lakh hectares to 0.90 lakh hectares, vegetables from 1.35 lakh hectares to 1.75 lakh hectares and mentha, floriculture, etc, from 0.20 lakh hectares to .50 lakh hectares.


8 kg opium seized from Army jawans

Moga, September 2
The police has arrested two Army jawans from the Cantonment area here and recovered 8 kg of contraband opium from their possession.

On a tip-off that some Army jawans were engaged in supply of the contraband in Cantonment areas for the past six months, a special patrolling team was deputed in the area, Mr Harchand Singh Sidhu, SSP (Ferozepur range), said.

The two jawans on bikes and in civilian dress were nabbed by the team yesterday and 4 kg of opium recovered from Naik Hari Ram and 3.75 kg from Parshotam Singh, a tailor.

During interrogation, both admitted that they used to bring opium from Rajasthan and dispose it off in cantonment areas. PTI


Councillors’ terms for patch-up
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
The state leadership of the BJP has laid down certain conditions for bringing a compromise with municipal councillors of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who were allegedly involved in the thrashing of BJP councillors in the council hall on August 28 during a general house meeting.

Party sources said the conditions for a patch-up were worked out at a party meeting presided over by Mr Brij Lal Rinwa.

It included a written apology from a municipal councillor and one other person, who were allegedly involved in the thrashing of BJP councillors and the post of vice-president for a BJP councillor.

Mr Rinwa conveyed these two conditions to the Punjab Science and Technology Minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, at a meeting at the local circuit house yesterday.

Two councillors of the BJP, including Mr Krishan Kumar Garg, group leader and Mr Basant Bhatia, were allegedly attacked by some SAD councillors on August 28 when they tried to raise the corruption issue prevailing in the municipal council affairs.

The police has registered a complaint under Section 323 of the IPC.

Mr Rinwa, who came here specially to boost the morale of party rank and file after this incident in view of forthcoming Assembly elections also met the district police chief, Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhuller, President, Municipal Council, when contacted, said he would make sincere efforts for a patch-up. He added all the issues would be solved by sitting across the table.


PPCC to meet Governor
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 2
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee will soon meet the state Governor and ask him to stop Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal from distributing ‘false’ grants at sangat darshans and misusing public funds.

PPCC general secretary Surinder Kapoor said here this evening that he would discuss the matter with party president Amarinder Singh on Tuesday.

Commenting upon the Zaffarwal and Chauhan episodes, Mr Kapoor said the government should constitute a judicial commission to find the cause of terrorism in Punjab.

Replying to a question, he said 40 meetings of the Congress would be organised in Kapurthala district in two phases.

Earlier, he held a meeting of Congressmen of Phagwara who apprised him of the political situation of Phagwara.

Meanwhile, Congress councillor Kusum Sharma today resigned from the primary membership of the Congress along with her supporters.


No new industries in Punjab: Cong
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has taken note of the deterioration of the state under the virtually ‘feudal and fascist’ rule of the Chief Minister, Mr P.S. Badal.

In a press note, Mr Sant Ram Singla, former Member of Parliament and chairman of the Media Committee of the PPCC, claimed that the economy of the state lay shattered and the debt had risen to an unprecedented Rs 58,000 crores. He claimed that no new industrial units were being set up in the state and even the existing ones were on the verge of closure.

Mr Singla alleged that the setting up of sales tax barriers and heavy doses of taxation were adding to the woes of the business community.

Mr Singla said that the claim of BJP minister Chiranji Lal Garg that thousands of Aggarwals had joined the ranks of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance was baseless.

Mr Singla claimed that both Mr Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal were opportunists. He said that the CM had bartered the interests of the state to adjust his son.


Shad appointed youth wing general secretary
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, September 2
Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, Punjab, while addressing a gathering here today announced that Mr Mehmood Akhtar Shad had been appointed general secretary of the youth wing of the party.

He urged the workers to take part in the dharna to be held on September 12 in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, in protest against the statement of the Union Home Minister with regards to providing amnesty to officers of the Punjab police.

Mr Satinder Singh Saike senior vice-president of the youth wing, Mr Parvej Akhtar, district president of the wing and Mr Major Singh were also present on the occasion.


Fighting for rights of women labourers
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 2
The All-Nation Federation of Indian Women, the All-India Istri Sabha, the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha and the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Istri Union have decided to work collectively for the rights of women who are illiterate, neglected and oppressed and those working in unorganised sectors. Though the Constitution has given them all the rights, they are being ill-treated.

At a meeting held here today under the presidentship of Ms. Amarjit Kaur, general secretary of the All-Nation Federation of Indian Women, organisations have decided to launch a movement to sensitise society to the issue of miserable condition of women labourers. They would hold meetings all over the country with women working in farms, factories and construction sites as labourers.

Addressing the gathering, Ms Amarjit Kaur said that after independence, India had developed in every field but women were still waiting for their empowerment. Women have always had to fight to get their right in this male dominated society. The increased level of education had made women awakened and more empowered, but still there was a section of women which was totally neglected, she added.

She further said that main objective of this movement was to organise all the working women labourers in the country and to raise their voice at the national level. The organisations had found that this neglected section was willing to get equal rights for them but were waiting for the right leadership which could hold their hand and show them the right path. The meetings held all over the country revealed that these women were struggling hard to live a respectable life.

She lamented that these women work hard for livelihood but did not get the wages given to men for equal work. They were ill-treated and even harassed by employers.

Ms Kushal Bhaura, general secretary of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Istri Union, Ms Mahinder Kaur Sambhar, general secretary of the Punjab Istri Sabha, and Ms G.M. Gouri, general secretary of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, also addressed the meeting.

They decided that emphasis would be laid on equal wages for equal work, providing sufficient maternity allowance, ending discrimination against them and providing health facilities, making special policies for the welfare of the children of this section, framing and implementing laws for the security of these women on working places, making welfare committees in the country at taluka and district levels to cater the needs of these people.

Ms Iqbal Bhasin, member of the Punjab Istri Sabha, said on September 27 and 28, a rally and a meeting would be held by these organisations in the city.


Rly station lacks basic amenities
Rajnish Sharma

The condition of the railway station here is pathetic.

The amenities at the station are inadequate. There is only one platform and passengers are often compelled to wait near the railway lines to board trains.

The condition of the waiting rooms is also not up to the mark. The furniture in these is in bad shape. The rooms are usually not opened for use. There is only one shed on the whole platform. The seating arrangements for passengers, too, are inadequate.

Safai karamcharis rarely clean the station area. The men's toilet has been locked for months. The women's toilet is difficult to use as water collects all over the floor.

The only water cooler at the station is out of order and passengers have to depend on the Shankar Seva Mandal for drinking water. Its sevaks supply cold water to passengers in small polythene packs.

The road from the PWD rest house to the station is in a low- lying area and full of potholes. Moreover, a choked drain and heaps of garbage welcome passengers as they approach the station. The drain is a kutcha one and sullage flows on to the road. The haphazard parking of vehicles creates chaos at the time of the arrival of passenger trains.

Sant Nagar has come up beyond the railway lines. Residents of this colony frequently cross the tracks to go to the station or other areas. Schoolchildren in particular are exposed to risk. The schedules of three passenger trains coincide with the opening time of schools and those of two others with the closing time.

Commuters say that platform no 2 should be constructed between track numbers 4 and 5 as a lot of space is available there. There is also a demand for the construction of a foot bridge connecting Sant Nagar to the present platform and the outer part of the station.

Passengers say there are only one or two small dustbins on the platform. At least 12 big dustbins are required. Besides, the toilets should be cleaned immediately.

Another problem facing the residents is the inconvenient schedules of trains. In the morning three trains go towards Patiala. There is no train between 9 a.m. and 1.45 pm going in that direction. Residents say the time of train 2-UB should be changed to 11 a.m. and one more train introduced on the Ambala-Amritsar section via the Patiala route at night. Similarly, there are three trains in the evening towards Bathinda — no. 1-UD at 5.57, no. 4711 at 6.44 and no. 4731 at 7.30. After that there is no train on this route till 1.18 at night.

Mr S.S. Dhir, Station Superintendent, when contacted for comment, said it was the responsibility of the Senior Section Engineer, Patiala, to deal with various problems at the station.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, Senior Section Engineer, however, said that it was the responsibility of the station staff to keep it clean and functional. He said the demand for a foot bridge could be forwarded by the MLA or MP of the area while that relating to a change in the schedule of any train could be sent to the Railway Traffic Manager, New Delhi. He said there was a provision for extending the station. The relevant paper work for this purpose was almost over, but the decision to construct a new platform could not be taken by him under the rules.


2 killed, 15 hurt in wall collapse
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
Two persons were killed on the spot and 15 injured, four of them seriously, when a under construction wall of a sheller collapsed at Longowal village, about 20 km from here, today. Most of the victims were busy plastering the wall when it suddenly fell on them.

Those who died have been identified as Sukha Singh of Kunra village and Gurpinder Singh of Lokherra village. Out of 15 injured persons, five have been referred to the local Civil Hospital by the Longowal Primary Health Centre. Of these five, four seriously injured, Gurmail Singh (Ubhawal), Babbi (Kunra), Baldev Singh Shahpur and Nachhatar Singh (Kunra), were referred to the DMC at Ludhiana by the authorities of the local Civil Hospital while Niranjan Singh from Longowal is undergoing treatment at the local Civil Hospital.

Another six persons, including Banta Singh, Ms Rozi, Shinder Kaur, Jagjit Singh and Gursewak Singh were being treated at the Longowal PHC. At least four others have also suffered minor injuries. The bodies of Sukha Singh and Gurpinder Singh were handed over to their relatives after the post mortem.


60 persons suffering from enteritis
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 2
More than 60 persons, including women and children were suffering from gastro-enteritis in Rattanpura mohalla of Phagwara town. Several persons have been admitted to different private hospitals of the town. Mr Amarjit Paul, SDM, told this correspondent here today that medical teams had been sent to affected areas and residents were advised to drink boiled water.

Meanwhile, the Executive Officer of the Nagar Council, Mr Pawan Gupta, said a sewerage pipe had unfortunately got connected with a water pipe due to the leakage. But it had been repaired, he added. He said water of all municipal tanks had been chlorinated today. The Nagar Council President of Phagwara, Mr K.L. Gaba, the Vice-President, Mr G.S. Walia, and Mr Ram Saroop Arora visited the affected areas today.


Power cut despite CM’s promise
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 2
Residents of the city were happy to know that their city had been made power cut free city as promised by the state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who had announced this at a “sangat darshan” programme held here on August 12.

Though Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, local MLA, claims that he was instrumental in getting the ‘power cut free’ status for the city.

Mr Garg had claimed that from September 1 there would be no power cut in the city but the residents were taken by surprise on the first day itself when there was a power cut for about two hours at Dhobi Bazar and the Bibi Wala road areas yesterday.

Mr Jatinder Sharma, a resident of the city, said it made no difference as now the power failures had taken the place of power cuts.

The grain market and the Goniana road areas faced power cuts today.

When contacted, PSEB officials said power failures were only due to same technical faults or necessary repairs. 


Tributes paid to Ravel Singh
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Tributes were paid to Ravel Singh, a former Punjab Minister and Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Sikh scholar, here today.

Ravel Singh (87) died here on August 20.

Among those who attended his bhog and antim ardas were Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, National Minorities Commission; Mr Raghbir Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab; Dr Kiranjot Kaur, Secretary, SGPC; Bhai Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib; Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal; Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, president of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal; Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan; Mr Jaswant Singh Mann (World Sikh Council); Mr Angrez Singh Badheri; and Ms Harjinder Kaur, Mayor of Chandigarh.


SC sarpanches ‘not respected’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 2
Mr Jodh Singh, sarpanch of Jassi Bagh Wali village, in a written statement issued here today said the Scheduled and Backward Castes panches and sarpanches were not given proper honour by the state government.

The sarpanch said the Dalit areas in the villages were not developed, drinking water facility was not provided on priority basis and no land was given by the government to dispose of waste water and garbage.

Mr Kartinder Pal Singh, President, Scheduled and Backward Castes Panch and Sarpanch Union said health facilities should be improved and the supply of medicines to the village dispensaries should be increased. The medical stores should be strictly checked so that they do not sell drugs without prescriptions. 


Kendra formed to help needy patients
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 2
Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu Civil Surgeon, Amritsar, inaugurated the Seva Bhrati Kendra established by the local branch of the RSS at the local Civil Hospital to help needy patients. The function was attended by a large number of RSS workers and other people, besides officials of the Health Department.

Dr Sandhu called upon social organisations to come forward to help patients suffering from tuberculosis so that this disease could be checked. The Civil Surgeon warned ultrasound clinic owner against undertaking tests to detect female foetus.


Rs 25 cr sewerage plan for Phagwara
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 2
A Rs 25 crore sewerage plan had been approved for the Phagwara, Punjab Tourism Minister Swarna Ram said this while inaugurating sewerage work at local Guru Harkrishan Nagar today.

The sewage of town will be diverted to the Palahi treatment plant by November, which is being set up at a cost of Rs 8 crore, a press note said. Also schemes costing Rs 400 crore had been chalked out for streamlining drainage system in urban areas of the state, Mr Swarna Ram said.


Ex-serviceman found dead
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 2
Kartar Singh, 86, retired Army personnel was found dead this morning in his home. Police sources said his milkman was the first to see the body. He lived alone in house and his three daughters had been married and he had no son. A maid servant used to cook his food. His turban was used to kill him No household items or cash was found missing. 


Limit use of pesticides,  say experts
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 2
The need of the hour is to create awareness among common people regarding the side-effects of pesticides and the harmful effect of these on human health. This was discussed during the concluding session of the workshop on ‘Impact of Pesticides on Human Health and Livestock’ held here today. The workshop was sponsored by the Council for Advancement of Peoples Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

The programme which was organised jointly by Kheti Virasat and Panchnad Foundation received an encouraging response and suggestions from the delegates.

About 40 participants from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana were made aware about the aims of the workshop.

Mr Umender Dutt, a journalist, threw light on various precautionary measures and the responsibility that should be taken by a common man to guard against the ill effects of pesticides.

Mr C. Menz, Member-Convener of CAPART said the council was sponsoring projects which emphasised on the rural areas and welfare of society.

Some recommendations were also made to the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Agriculture and Rural Developments in order to stop the use of banned pesticides, preparation of enough literature and documentary films to create awareness and release of funds for such projects.


Fake bail orders scandal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
The police has unearthed fake bail order scandal after investigating a case registered against Balwinder Singh Kotli Khurd of village in this district under the NDPS Act in 1993.

Dr Jatinder Kumar Jain, District police chief in a press note issue here yesterday, said that during investigation it came to light that Balwinder Singh, who was arrested with one kg of opium, secured bail on a fake bail order of the Supreme Court.

He added that Balwinder Singh got prepared fake bail order of the Supreme Court with the help of advocate Arun Madan. After procuring fake bail order of the Supreme Court, accused Balwinder Singh secured his release from jail.

Dr Jain said that when the fake order of the Supreme Court was used in the local court for securing the release of Balwinder Singh from jail, Hakam Singh of Dansinghwala village gave an affidavit that the Supreme Court bail order had been passed in his presence and it was authentic.

He said that after the scandal came to light a case under Sections 465, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered against Balwinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Hakam Singh, Jarnail Singh and Arun Madan, advocate yesterday on the directions of the District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.C. Rajput.

Dr Jain said that police parties had been sent to arrest the accused. A case under Sections 420 and 506 of the IPC was registered against Balwinder Singh when he was on bail.


Jobless teachers to observe Sept 5 as black day
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
The B.Ed Unemployed Teachers Union today announced that its members would observe September 5 (Teachers’ Day) as a black day in Punjab.

Mr Sanjeev Kumar, president and Ms Arvinder Kaur, vice-president of the union flayed the government policies in which despite 35,000 vacancies, aspirants were being denied jobs. She said narrow political gains and nepotism had led to delay in recruitment for teachers.

She announced that unemployed teachers would hold a rally to protest against policies of the government on the “Teachers’ Day”.

Meanwhile, members of the Government Teachers Union at a meeting presided over by Mr Vijay Mehra, vice-president, today passed a resolution opposing education policies.

The members said the government had made education cheap for some segments while for others it had hiked the rates. This had led to social contradictions. Also the percentage of GDP has been reduced from 6 to 3 per cent whereas it should have been increased to 10 per cent.


Varsity all set to receive NAAC
Anita Tayal

Patiala, September 2
Various teaching departments of Punjabi University, Patiala are making all out efforts to ensure that the varsity gets a good rating from National Assessment and Accredited Council (NAAC) which is scheduled to be here from September 3 to 5.

Preparations in that regard have been carried out in full swing by university authorities and officials with major emphasis on improving the facade of the university. The prime need, however, was to stress the various important activities undertook by different departments in the past.

The NAAC team will devote some time in each of the departments. It will analyse the activities that have been undertaken since the inception of the university. It is for the first time that Punjabi University would be rated along with other well-known universities of the nation.

However, the university is making all possible efforts on its part to show its brighter side to the NAAC members. The university building has been repaired, wherever, the plaster was coming out of walls, wild growth of vegetation has been cut down, apart from the improvement of the pathways which have been spruced up. Apart from this, the class rooms, corridors, doors and windows have been cleansed of the cobwebs. Certain departments are even being provided with new furniture and computers to give them an elegant look. Some of the rooms have also been white washed while carpets and other upholstery is being provided in certain offices and conference halls.

That’s not all. Even the Head of Departments are making all possible moves to make their department look ‘the best’. Biodata of teachers is ready and a list of university students who have excelled in various fields has also been released by different departments. A list of seminars, discussions, debates and other activities undertook by various departments has also been made for the council.

In order to ensure that everything falls in line with best image, the university had asked its officials and teaching departments to work even on Saturday and Sunday. The university would remain closed on September 10 and 11 in lieu of these working days.

Another significant aspect is the effort made by university students. They, too, are actively participating in the cleaning process of their respective departments in order to get their university among the top other universities already accredited by the NAAC. Neat posters, detailed reports of seminars and list of other achievements would be displayed by the students when the NAAC team visits their respective departments. Practical work is also likely to be displayed by them in certain ‘practical’ departments, such as, computer science, journalism and science departments.

Now, what is important for every one concerned is whether after such effort does the council rate it highly to enable the varsity to get more funds from the UGC which in turn would enable it to upgrade its services in the coming years. 


College told to accommodate dental students
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 1
The new students of the local Government Dental College here, who have been left without any hostel seat due to the refusal by the Government Medical College to accommodate them, may get a reprieve now with the Directorate of Medical Education directing the medical college authorities to house them.

The students of the dental college have been housed in the Medical College eversince the college was a part of the medical college and even later when the institution was separated from it a few years back. However, this year, the Medical College authorities wrote to the Dental College saying that it could not accommodate its new students in its hostels.

According to information available, the Directorate of Medical Education has directed the medical college to continue with the old arrangement until an alternative was found. However, first year dental students have yet to take the hostel accommodation in the medical college.

Although directions have been issued to the medical college to accommodate around 70 students, including girls, in its hostel, it may find it difficult to do so, according to sources. They said there was already a shortage of accommodation in the medical college hostels and that it could not bear more in-mates. Sources said the only way the dental students could be accommodated was if the medical college conducted the repair of around 30 to 40 hostel rooms, which were in a dilapidated condition and were lying unoccupied.

While the first year students are yet to be accommodated in the medical college, other students of the dental college also suffer as the dental college does not have any hostel of its own. Students of the second and third year, while talking to TNS, said while half of the students were accommodated in the medical college, some had to put up in the Government Ayurvedic College.

The students said the ayurvedic college did not have adequate hostel facilities. They said the bathrooms of the ayurvedic college hostel were barely usable. The students, while demanding that they be housed in new facilities in the Dental College or the nearby medical college hostel, said the ayurvedic college was located at a considerable distance from the college causing problems for them.

Meanwhile, sources said the situation was unlikely to ease in the medical college hostel. They said the main reason why first year dental students could not be accommodated was the directions issued by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences making it mandatory for the final year students to complete their internship in the college itself.

They said earlier final year students used to pursue their internships in various districts and the rooms thus falling vacant were allotted to the first year dental students.

The medical college had written twice to the dental college to make alternative arrangements for its first year students. The dental college authorities said as they were unable to do so they had referred the matter to the Directorate of Medical Education.

The dental authorities also said it was not in a position to build any hostel accommodation for its students as it did not have any land of its own.

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