Wednesday, April 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Farmers unhappy with MSP
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 2
As the Union Government today announced the minimum support price for wheat, farmers will start harvesting operations from tomorrow. They had delayed the harvesting of the crop as they were awaiting the revision in the MSP that was fixed at Rs 610 per quintal last year.

However, they are not satisfied with the Rs 10 per quintal increase in the MSP announced by the Union Government. “It is nothing but a joke with the farming community”, said Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a farmer from Kauri village, near here.

Only 80 quintals of wheat have arrived in the past two days in the local market, said to be biggest grain market of Asia. “The arrival would pick up in the next week as the government has announced the MSP today”, said a commission agent.

He said private traders had offered Rs 585 per quintal for the wheat brought by farmers to the local market. But the latter refused to sell it. Officials of government agencies also came today but they went back after taking samples of the wheat.

It may be mentioned that the government had announced to start the procurement of wheat from April 1 at the old MSP. Doubts persist in the minds of farmers as well as commission agents with regard to the procurement of wheat. They are of the view that the government will not be able to procure the wheat as already millions of tonnes of wheat are lying with the government agencies concerned.

Another question weighing on the minds of farmers is regarding the “cut” made by certain government agencies while procuring wheat and paddy. Farmers say that officials of procurement agencies unofficially charge from Rs 2 to 4 per quintal from farmers while procuring wheat or paddy.

About 12.80 lakh quintals of wheat were procured last year in the local market. As the crop is better than that of the last year, the arrival of wheat might cross the last year’s figure here. Mr Jeet Komal, secretary of the market committee, said the grain market had been divided into 10 zones. These zones had been allotted to six government agencies for procurement. He said the local SDM held a meeting with officials of procurement agencies here yesterday.

Mr Sadhu Ram, president of the Commission Agents Association, said commission agents were keeping their figures crossed as far as the issue of procurement of wheat was concerned. He said the wheat arrival would reach its peak in the third week of April. The government has exempted flour mills for all sort of sales tax, market fee and commission to be paid to agents to encourage them to buy a substantial share of wheat from various grain markets.

The average yield of wheat is expected to be 22 quintals per acre this year. Farmers say that the labour charges are Rs 1,000 per acre for harvesting the crop. And a sum of Rs 1,000 is being charged by the thresher owners. However, owners of combine harvesters have fixed the rate at Rs 400 per acre.

LUDHIANA (TNS): The increase in the MSP of wheat by Rs 10 has invited criticism from farmers.

Dr Sardara Singh Johl, an economist of international repute and Agriculture Adviser to the Chief Minister, however, welcomed the announcement of the MSP at Rs 620 per quintal. He said as millions of tonnes of foodgrains were lying surplus in the country, an increase of Rs 10 was more than enough.

He, however, said that farmers were genuinely asking for more than Rs 700 for a quintal of wheat as the cost of production was much higher.

Dr Joginder Singh, Head of the Department of Economics and Sociology, PAU, said Rs 620 was too low an MSP for the farmers. He said the cost of production as compared to last year had increased at the rate of 6 to 7 per cent but the MSP had been increased by only 1.5 per cent.

Stating that the price of wheat in the international market was declining, Dr Joginder Singh said even then the government should go ahead with its procurement policy.

Mr Jagjit Singh Hara, a progressive farmer, termed the increase in MSP a cruel joke played with the farmers. He said as the PAU had calculated the cost of production of wheat at Rs 760 per quintal, an amount of Rs 620 was meagre.

He called for an agricultural policy of the government according to which the MSP of wheat should be declared before the cultivation of the crop itself. He said it should be as per the price index and inflation component.

Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, was also critical of the MSP announced by the government. He said the farmers were not expecting this meagre amount for their laboriously produced crop and were shocked at the meagre increase. He said as per the price index, the cost of a quintal of wheat was equivalent to Rs 988 and the cost of production as calculated by PAU scientists was Rs 760.


Revised MSP a ‘joke on farmers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Lal Singh, said today that the Union Government had played a joke on the farming community by announcing Rs 10 per quintal as increase in the minimum support price (MSP) of wheat.

He appealed to the Centre to reconsider the decision and do justice with the farmers. He said the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had sought an increase of Rs 150 per quintal.

The Bharti Kisan Union headed by Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann also rejected the revised MSP. He said the increase was just 1.5 per cent while the cost of agricultural inputs had gone up substantially.

In a statement issued here, the president of the Haryana Congress, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said the increase in the MSP was “absolutely inadequate”.

Appealing to his party men to remain vigilant in grain markets so that farmers were not cheated by unscrupulous elements, Mr Hooda said the increase in the MSP of crops like gram was also not adequate.

The president of the Haryana Krishak Samaj, Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, said the paltry increase of Rs 10 in the MSP of wheat was a cruel joke played by the Vajpayee government on poor farmers. He said the MSP should have been at least Rs 700 a quintal.

“Rejecting” the MSP on behalf of the samaj, Mr Surjewala said his organisation would launch an agitation against the Central Government. He accused the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, whose party, the INLD, was a member of the ruling National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, of not being able to protect the interests of the wheat growers, though he claimed he was a benefactor of farmers.

The secretary of the Haryana Congress, Mr Sat Pal Kaushik, said the increase in the MSP was not sufficient to cover even the higher cost of agricultural inputs effected by the Central Government by reducing the subsidy on several items, including fertilisers.


Panel on procurement to meet Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The high-level committee on the long-term procurement policy, headed by Mr Abhijit Sen, will visit Chandigarh on April 4 for discussions with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

The committee will seek the state’s views on food production, procurement, storage, food security, the public distribution system, diversification, the minimum support price mechanism, etc.

The Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies, Mr B. R. Bajaj, told TNS today that Punjab had been keenly awaiting the visit of the committee though it had already submitted an interim report without consulting the state government.

Punjab’s view is that the country’s high buffer stock of 62 million tonnes should not be of concern to the Centre. The annual requirement of the country for food security is around 20 million tonnes against the so-called surplus of around 40 million tonnes. It is a paradox that against this buffer stock, an estimated 200 million people remain underfed and 50 million are on the brink of starvation.

Therefore, Mr Bajaj said Punjab would press for an improvement in the public distribution system. The Centre had two categories — ABL (above povertyline) and BPL (below povertyline) — under the system. The issue price was different for each category. This was an imperfect categorisation and the system needed to be given a second look, including lowering of the issue price. Just one drought or failure of one crop could throw off-balance the so-called buffer stocks. At present the public distribution system entitlement could meet only around 25 per cent of the total foodgrain requirements of BPL families, which had to depend on the market for their requirements. But how many such families had the buying capacity? Why should the allocation not be hiked from 25 kg to say 80 kg since labour needed more calories?

The minimum support price, in practice, has come to stay as the minimum procurement price. This year, the wheat price has been hiked by only Rs 10 per quintal, pegging it at Rs 620 per quintal. Predictably, farmers have called it ‘’woefully inadequate’’ since it did not meet even the cost of production.

The Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Dr K. S. Aulakh, said the hike did not correspond to the cost of production. He emphasised ‘’that more important is quick and complete procurement’’.

The state Director, Agriculture, Dr S. S. Bains, would not comment on the price hike, but said, ‘’It is a bumper crop. Though the area under wheat was less by 80,000 hectares as compared to last year, production will not be affected. We expect around 155 lakh tonnes’’.

Punjab had sought Rs 760 per quintal against Rs 735 last year: Rs 25 per quintal more.

On diversification, Punjab is convinced that farmers will go in for crops like maize, oil seeds, pulses etc, replacing wheat-paddy options provided the government assured a minimum support price for these crops.

Meanwhile, Mr Bajaj said arrangements for the procurement of 120 lakh tonnes wheat had been made at 1616 mandis (kutcha-pucca and purchase centres).


Blame game on state’s finances
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The people of Punjab now have before them the White Paper on the state’s finances and a rejoinder to that by the former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. He has defended the SAD-BJP government on fiscal management vis-a-vis economic development in the past five years.

The interpretation of financial facts is influenced by what and how these are presented. The two documents show a common denominator: laying the blame squarely at each other’s door; and bureaucrats changing their tune with the change of political guard.

Most of what the White Paper states and what the rejoinder projects is known. The Congress has promised to present a blueprint for correcting the situation at the time of the Budget. Capt Kanwaljit Singh has pleaded that the Congress should follow the broad strategy on fiscal management submitted to the Cabinet empowered committee of the previous government.

Without getting into the political knitty-gritty, one observes that in a detailed note in February, 2000, the Finance Department had clearly mentioned that the financial situation was neither unique to Punjab nor the sole creation of the (SAD-BJP) government. The ‘’history’’ of fiscal stress was traced back to 1984-85, when a revenue-surplus Punjab became a revenue-deficit one. The same document refers to the ‘’whopping revenue deficit’’ of Rs 1357.06 crore left by the Congress at the end of 1996-97, as now the Akalis are blamed for a bigger deficit.

The same note also lists ‘’concessions’’ given in sales tax, etc, to a variety of beneficiaries in different years, beginning in 1984-85 till 1999-2000. The White Paper (Table 36) gives monthwise (July, 1997, to November, 2001) the sales tax concessions of only the SAD-BJP government. These amount to Rs 442.76 crore. But it cleverly skips similar concessions given between 1992-93 and 1996-97. The Congress election manifesto (2002) mentions yet more similar concessions worth Rs 1,200 crore.

The same document says, “The decision of the present government to give free power for agricultural pumpsets and canal water for irrigation has come to symbolise its profligacy. However, its impact on the state’s finances is not significant. The revenue sacrifice involved is about Rs 350 crore....”

Even the losses by PSUs are described as a’’historical phenomenon’’ rather than apportioning blame to the Akalis. In fact, it praises the SAD-BJP government for its commitment to ‘’nurse the state back to financial health and put Punjab back on the high-growth path’’. It lists a broad strategy for fiscal management, which is the same as now mentioned in the White Paper or in the March 6 Memorandum to the Cabinet. It acknowledged that a ‘’reverse trend’’ had started and if the suggested medium-term strategy were followed with ‘’bold and hard’’ decisions, the situation would improve by 2002.

Thus, if the Congress has taken up one aspect, the state of finances, Capt Kanwaljit Singh has taken an overview of the economy that looked up in the past five years. If the Congress found the state bankrupt due to the Akalis’ profligacy and policies, Capt Kanwaljit Singh found the Congress itself bankrupt in thought.


Former FM “telling white lies”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Reacting to the comments of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, General Secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, on the white paper on the State’s finances, laid on the table of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on March 25, the State Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, today said Capt Kanwaljit Singh had attempted to falsify the naked truth by telling “white lies”.

His comments showed not only his ignorance but they were irresponsible too. These were shocking, inasmuch as that these were made by the former Finance Minister. For all facts and figures presented in the white paper, the source has been clearly indicated and no value judgement has been made. The sole objective of the white paper was to apprise the people, through their elected representatives, of the grim financial position being faced by the state, without apportioning any blame, says the statement.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh has variously described the white paper as a document full of “half truths” and “as an act of political chicanery”, which is indicative of the frustration of the Akali-BJP combine, due to their defeat in the recently concluded elections, added Mr Lal Singh.

The statement repeats several figures related to revenue deficit, public debt, interest burden, PSU losses etc. and Mr Lal Singh says: “Any responsible government, mandated by the people, would have taken policy measures to stop the state from being on the brink of bankruptcy”.


SAD, BJP have no faith in police
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
A spate of telegrams have been sent to the Election Commission by the state leadership of both the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the BJP expressing their “lack of faith in the Punjab police” besides demanding immediate deployment of either the Border Security Force (BSF) or the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Malout for the April 4 polling as the campaigning came to an end this evening.

The SAD and BJP leaders also sent separate telegrams to the Election Commission complaining against the “sops” announced by the Congress government for the policemen in the state in an attempt to influence the outcome of the Malout election.

Among those who sent the telegrams late this evening were the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (he also happens to be the Secretary-General of the SAD), Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, both SAD MLAs, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal and Prof Brij Lal Rinwa, both of BJP, and several local leaders of both the BJP and SAD.

The SAD and BJP leaders have maintained that “they do not expect a free and fair election in Malout as the state machinery in general, and the police in particular, was being grossly misused to influence voters”.

The complainants demanded that either the BSF or the CRPF should be deployed immediately in Malout so that people could vote without any “fear or pressure”.

The SAD and BJP leaders have in their strongly worded telegrams alleged that the Congress government has been violating the model Code of Conduct by announcing a series of sops, including free travel concession to policemen, to influence the voters. They have also referred to the recent advertisements of the Punjab State Electricity Board making “unwarranted comparison” between the Shiromani Akali Dal and Congress.

The Dal and BJP leaders have also alleged that all their complaints have remained ignored , including the posting of DIG Mohammad Mustafa in Ferozepore Range as Malout falls under his jurisdiction. The demand for deployment of PMF too has not been accepted by the commission so far.

Even the observers were appointed only after the Dal protested, they added, claiming that there has been a world of difference in the attitude of the Election Commission in the conduct of the general assembly elections in February and this postponed election.


CM holds out promises at poll rally
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Malout, April 2
Even as the entire Congress-CPI leadership descended on the town to address a huge election rally in the support of its candidate Nathu Ram on the last day of campaigning, the Punjab Chief Minister, while seeking votes on the anti-corruption drive of the state government and its commitment to revive the economy, urged the people to arm themselves to prevent booth capturing by Akali workers.

The Chief Minister, while promising the people that they would be protected against all sorts of atrocities “committed” on them by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his kin, said the time had come when they would be freed from the clutches of oppressors. All false cases registered against the Congress, CPI workers and others on political considerations by the previous government would be taken back. He urged the people not to allow any worker of SAD-BJP to distribute poppy husk, opium, liquor and money to woo the voters.

The Chief Minister said he had made the arrangements for refunding the excess amounts charged by the Punjab State Electricity Board from consumers, particularly farmers, under the directions of the then state government. The committees for the same had been constituted and process of refunding of excess amount would start shortly.

Apart from it various steps, including the introduction of cultivation of Bt cotton, were being taken to improve and reform agriculture in the state to check the trend of suicides among farmers and to improve their economic conditions. He added that not a single drop of water from Punjab would be allowed to flow to Haryana.

Mr Jagmeet Brar, whose emotional speech invited huge clapping from the gathering, alleged that Mr Badal and his men indulged in looting for five years.

Mr Surinder Singla, MLA, Bathinda, alleged that Mr Badal had bartered away the interests of Punjab, including the share of river water, in lieu of a prime plot worth Rs 250 crore for his son Mr Sukhbir Badal from former Chief Minister Devi Lal at the industrial town of Gurgaon only for Rs 25 crore.

Mr Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary, AICC, pointed out that the Punjab Government had done what the Badal government had not done in the past five years.

Dr Joginder Dyal, state secretary, CPI, alleged that Mr Badal had murdered democracy and snatched away the democratic rights of the people.

Those who attended the rally included Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Malkeet Singh Birmi, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Mr Dakha, Mr J.S. Kang, Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Sanjiv Garg, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, Mr Sewak Ram Bhola, Mr Harry Mann, Mr Kulbir Singh, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Jasjit Randhawa, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, Mr Tirlochan Singh Soond, Mr Ram Lubhaya and Mr Hari Parshad, secretary, AICC.


SAD cries foul, plans agitation
Tribune News Service

Malout, April 2
In a significant statement which could have far-reaching impact on political atmosphere of the state, former Chief Minister and President of the SAD, today announced that an agitation would be launched shortly against the Congress government.

Addressing a election rally at the end of the election campaign of Mrs Mukhtiar Kaur here today, Mr Parkash Singh Badal send to draw up the plan of agitation a meeting of the defeated candidates, elected MLAs, members of the SGPC, members of the Working Committee and other functionaries would be convened on April 10.

Though he did not elaborate the mode of agitation, he said the decision to launch an agitation against the Congress government in Punjab had been taken because of the fact that the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, had started indulging in settling personal scores and started committing atrocities on SAD and BJP workers on one hand and on the other all the welfare schemes introduced by the SAD-BJP combine government had been withdrawn.

He said atrocities being committed by Mr Amarinder Singh and his men had become intolerable and the SAD had left with no other option than to launch an agitation, though initially the party decided to give one full year to the government to function without any such thing so that it could fulfil its promises made to people on the election eve.

He said to score victory in the Malout Assembly segment Mr Amarinder Singh had deputed police officials and pressed the BDPOs into service to pressurise sarpanches and panches by threatening them that they would be booked in false cases. He said the Chief Minister had politicised the police and civil administration. Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu, MLA, Barnala, had been booked in a false criminal case already.

Former Union Minister, Sukbhir Singh Badal alleged that the Congress leadership had “managed” the Election Commission to its benefit as it was clear from the fact that the observers reached here only 48 hours before the day of polling and allowed the Congress to use official machinery and police officials in the campaign of Mr Nathu Ram. He said that about 2,000 policemen in plain clothes had reached this segment to create terror on April 4 to secure votes for the Congress-CPI candidate. The government employees who were refusing to toe the line of Congress functionaries in the campaign were being placed under suspension.

Union Minister, Satya Narian alleged that Mr Amarinder Singh seemed to have been “intoxicated” by power, so he had unleashed a rein of terror on the Akali workers in the state.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former minister, while seeking votes from people by reminding them of the “huge development” carried out by Mr Badal and his team in the past five years, cautioned them that if they returned Mr Nathu Ram to the Vidhan Sabha, they would not be able to find any development work in their area for the coming five years.

Those who attended the rally included Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr Zora Singh Mann, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, president, of the SGPC, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Mr Abhay Chautala and Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, state BJP president.


CM flouting code in Malout’
Tribune News Service

Malout, April 2
The Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, yesterday again complained to the Chief Election Commissioner against what he described as the commission’s appalling apathy to instances of blatant violation of the Code of Conduct by the ruling Congress party, especially the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, during the poll campaign for this constituency.

“Most of our complaints, which have been confirmed by independent media reports with photographic and documentary evidence, appear to have fallen on deaf ears. This is truly amazing considering how the commission had acted with a vengeance during the February polls in the state,” Mr Badal said in a statement released here yesterday by party’s media in charge, Dr Sukhbir Singh Nagra.

Pointing out the glaring misuse of public funds for promoting the Congress campaign, he referred to the advertisements issued by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), lauding the achievements of the Congress government while rubbishing the performance of SAD-BJP government. Al the three parties have been mentioned by name in the said advertisement.


Malout bypoll: liquor sale banned
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, April 2
Mr Babu Lal, District Magistrate in an order issued today has banned the opening of liquor shops and other places where liquor was served on April 4 and April 6.

The order stated that all liquor shops, beer bars and restaurants where liquor was served would remain closed till 5 p.m. on Apirl 4. On April 6 such places would remain closed throughout the day in the district. The order has been passed keeping in view the byelection in Malout.


Notice to state govt on Dr Rani’s bail plea
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 2
District and Sessions judge S.N. Aggarwal has issued a notice to the state government on the bail application filed by the Head of the Punjabi University Fine Arts Department, Dr Saroj Rani, who is presently in judicial custody following her arrest in the case in which she is a co-accused along with the university Vice-Chancellor.

Dr Rani had filed a bail application claiming that she was falsely implicated in the case in which she and another university employee, Jaspal Singh, who is a technical assistant in the same department, were arrested last month. The case pertains to an attempt-to-rape charge made by a Fine Arts Department student, Saru Rana, against the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, in which both of the other accused had been arrested.

Meanwhile, fine arts students today sat on dharna in front of their department from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The students raised placards demanding that Dr Rani should be released immediately from judicial custody. They said they would continue with the dharna indefinitely until “justice” was done with Dr Rani.

The joint action committee (JAC) comprising teachers, students and non-teaching employees took a serious note of the happenings at the highest level of decision-making in the university. The JAC convener, Dr U.C. Singh, and co-convener, Mr Sukhwant Singh Sidhu, claimed that the Vice-Chancellor, who knew he may be ousted anytime, was busy in making ad hoc appointments for teaching and non-teaching jobs. They said in view of this, the university Chancellor and state Governor, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), should withdraw all his powers at the earliest and then terminate his services either on the basis of his absence from duty or as per provisions of the university Act.

The JAC leaders also alleged that some officials close to the Vice-Chancellor were engaged in manipulation to ensure that he stayed put in the university till the expiry of his term. They said these officials were engaged in misinforming and even misguiding the Chief Minister who was committed to throwing out the Vice-Chancellor from the university.

They also urged that since the term of the Vice-Chancellor was ending on May 14, the state government should appoint a search committee comprising eminent and independent academicians for recommending persons of high integrity, morality and commitment who were fit for this challenging job.


‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ gets Hollywood touch
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Having earned a name in producing National Award winning Punjabi films like “Putt Jattan De” and “Shaheed Udham Singh”, Iqbal Dhillon is now coming out with “Shaheed-e-Azam” in Hindi with a Punjabi touch. Based on the reallife story of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, the film is the combined effort of Hollywood, Lollywood and Bollywood.

After a 100-day schedule with a multi-camera set-up, the shooting of the film was completed last week at Ferozepore. Producer Iqbal told TNS: “The film is likely to add a new chapter in the history of the film industry. It took nearly four and a half years to go into a deep study of the history of the national hero and bring out the facts of his real life story. With a solid script, the actors have given a convincing classical touch to their performance”.

The producer claims that 80 main artistes and 10,000 junior artistes participated in the marathon schedule of shooting for more than 100 days.

The playback singers of the film are Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Nasibo Lal, Jaspinder Narula, Roop Kumar Rathore and Sardul Sikandar. Produced by Iqbal Dhillon under the banner of Surjit Movies with direction by South Indian director Sukumar Nair, cinematography by Bhushan Lakandri, action by Shyam Kaushal, art direction by Rashid Khan, music by Maqbool Khan, Sardul Sikandar and Sabar Ali (from Pakistan), lyrics by Shaheed Bhagat Singh, S.M. Sadiq, Khwaja Parvej and Baba Bulleh Shah, the film is co-produced by Gurmail Singh Dhami and Harjinder Singh Dhami. Inputs of script research have been given by Prof Jagmohan Singh, the nephew of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

The cast of the film includes Sonu Sood, Dev Gill, Bonnie Vij, Shama Sikandar, Rajinder Gupta, Sadhna Singh, Sunil Sinha, Gaurav Trehan, Raj Zutsi, Gurkirtan, B.N. Sharma, Darshan Aulakh, Gursharan Singh, Vinod Sharma, Amar Noorie, Gurpreet Ghuggi, Prabhsharan Kaur, Master Jaspreet and Hollywood artistes — Ronsladzyck, Stephan Sands, Aden and James McHandry.

Although it may be premature to say whether Iqbal’s efforts will fetch good results, a mixture of talents from Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood is likely to offer something new to the audience.

When asked about the new faces being introduced in the film, Iqbal refused to comment anything saying since many of his counterparts were engaged in making films on the life history of Bhagat Singh, he preferred to keep their faces hidden till “Shaheed-e-Azam” was released. However, TNS managed to get some information about Sonu Sood. The hero of the film Sonu hails from Moga and did his schooling from Sacred Heart School, Moga. Later, after 10 plus two he shifted to Nagpur and then to Bangalore for higher studies. He took part in a number of fashion shows in Bangalore and Mumbai and finally made his debut in “Shaheed-e-Azam”. Possessing a pleasing look, a magnetic personality and a good acting potential, he is likely to create some interest among the audience.

Director Sukumar Nair has also tried his best to give a real touch to the story by studying the subject for more than 18 months under the guidance of Prof Jagmohan Singh and Baba Ram Singh (95), a nephew of Bhagat Singh. He was earlier Chief Assistant Director to Ismayeel Sarof and Manoj Kumar.


Petition for relief to 1984 riot-affected allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a petition filed by Mr S.S. Ahluwalia, MP (Rajya Sabha), seeking directions for disbursing compensation to the families of those killed in the 1984 riots as per the criteria fixed for the Delhi riot victims by the Delhi High Court.

In his petition taken up by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the High Court, Mr Ahluwalia had stated that compensation of Rs 3.50 lakh was ordered to paid to the family of each victim.

The petitioner had also sought directions to the respondents for compensating the families of the victims for the loss of movable and immovable properties after constituting a commission in each state and union territory to identify them.

Going into the background, he had stated that according to the report of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission of Inquiry, over 3874 Sikhs had lost their lives in Delhi, while 127 were killed in Kanpur. Another 69 had died in Bokaro.

Probe disappearance, Crime Branch told

Nearly 11 years after an Amritsar district resident disappeared after he was allegedly picked up by the police, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the High Court today ordered the crime branch of the Punjab Police to look into the matter.

Delivering the verdict, Mr Justice Goel also directed the branch to complete the investigation within six months of receiving a copy of the order. In her petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, Dalbir Kaur of Baba Bakala had contended that her husband, Savinder Singh, employed with Punjab State Electricity Board, was dragged and taken away in a police vehicle on April 3, 1991, after being shot at. The police party was headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police, she had claimed. Her counsel had added that the victim had been murdered by the police.

After hearing arguments, the Judge observed: “Eleven years have passed since the alleged murder of Savinder Singh, husband of the petitioner.... The allegations of murder are required to be looked into. Though the state has taken a stand that the allegations regarding the involvement of police have not been proved, it has not submitted any explanation about the cause of Savinder Singh’s disappearance. Let the crime branch look into the matter....”

Samra’s plea dismissed

The High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Punjab Minister Amarjit Singh Samra for quashing orders issued on March 11, 1998, vide which land was transferred by the state of Punjab in favour of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority.

In his petition taken up by a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, the petitioner had also sought directions for the return of unutilised land to him. Going into the background, the petitioner had added the land was acquired by the state of Punjab for public purposes. It was later transferred to PUDA for the construction of corporate offices and booths among other things.

Case against Bhattal withdrawn

A petition filed by the state of Punjab for returning the challan in a case against Punjab’s former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was today dismissed as withdrawn by Mr Justice R.C. Kathuria of the High Court.

In its petition, the state had stated that an application for the return of challan was submitted on the ground that it had inadvertently been filed in a court at Bathinda, though it should have been filed at Special Court in Chandigarh. A case under Section 409, IPC, and Prevention of Corruption Act was registered on the allegation that Ms Bhattal had misappropriated Rs 20 lakh after withdrawing it from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

Order to recover minor girl

Issuing notice of motion to Punjab’s Advocate General, Mr Justice M.L. Singhal of the High Court on Tuesday directed Sangrur’s Senior Superintendent of Police to depute an officer, not below SP’s rank, at Sangrur for recovering a minor girl allegedly kidnapped last year. The girl, Salochana had not been recovered since December 29 last year when a FIR had been registered against one Keeman alias Boota of Dhuri.

Notice on plea for return of funds

Legal Correspondent adds: The validity of various circulars, issued by the government in Punjab, asking the gram panchayats to deposit the funds lying in their accounts, was challenged in a writ petition filed by Mr Kuldeep Singh, Sarpanch of Chak-Alla-Baksh village in Hoshiarpur district, and four others sarpanches of surrounding villages, in the High Court today.

A Division Bench consisting of Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab for April 5.

The petitioners submitted that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the then Chief Minister, gave grants under “sangat darshan” programme to village panchayats for carrying on development works. Some of the projects for which the grants were given have been completed while others were in progress. They alleged that now the new government had issued circulars to Deputy Commissioners, BDPOs and bank officers to freeze the accounts of the gram panchayats and that the sarpanches were pressured to deposit the unspent amount back with the treasury. They contended that this action of the government was illegal.


PPSC chief to be produced in court today
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 2
A day after the vigilance raid on the PPSC office in Patiala, a revision petition was filed in the court of Roopnagar Sessions Judge seeking declaration as null, void, illegal, contrary to law and setting aside the Kharar court remand orders remanding PPSC chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu in police custody thrice. After the expiry of police remand, Mr Sidhu will be produced once again in the Kharar court on Wednesday.

Mr Sidhu’s counsel informed that the petition was filed under Section 397 of the CrPC and would be taken up tomorrow.

The two points on which the petition laid stress were — police claimed remand time and again for recovery of file pertaining to the complainant from PPSC office in Patiala, where Sidhu was to be taken along.

Claiming no curtailment in period of remand, the petition sought the declaration of the previous remand orders as null, void, illegal and contrary to law. The petition also raised a point that whether the presence of petitioner for such investigation, while in custody of police was required.


2 Excise inspectors suspended
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 2
In a drive against corruption at the Information Collection Centres or barriers on the borders of the state, the Excise and Taxation Department has suspended two Excise inspectors posted at the Madhopur barrier in Pathankot. In simultaneous raids in this district two employees of the department posted at the Mullanpur barrier were also suspended for the dereliction of duty.

Reliable sources said that a team under the supervision of the Additional Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Mr Krishan Kumar, made surprise checks at both of the above said barriers at 12 noon on March 27.

The raiding team kept a vigil on the officials of the department and the Marketing Committee, Pathankot, posted at the Madhopur barrier. The officials posted there were found allegedly accepting bribe from the truck operators. While marketing committee officials were allegedly collecting Rs 50 from every truck carrying vegetables, police constable posted at the barrier was collecting Rs 70 from all passing trucks.

When the team descended on the office of the Market Committee, the officials posted there helped one of their associates to escape with the collection. The team found Rs 3000 from the accused Market Committee officials and Rs 1000 from the constable, which they couldn’t account for.

Following this, Satish Kumar and Mahesh Chander, employees of the said Marketing Committee were suspended and constable Sukhwinder Singh on deputation with the Excise and Taxation Department was also suspended and cases registered against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The raiding team also checked offices of the Excise officials on the barrier. The committee officials, peeved at their arrest, told the raiding team that the Excise officials posted at the barrier kept the money collected through bribe under the bricks in their cabin or in the rented room of the Excise inspector in the nearby PTDC hotel.

Though nothing was found in the cabin of the Excise officials, inspector Jaswinder Pal Singh posted there at first refused to give the key of his room in PTDC hotel. However, when threatened with action he handed over the key and Rs 14950 was recovered from his room, which he claimed to be his sister’s money.

However, any Excise official posted on the barrier has to first declare money in his possession in the register placed there, before assuming duty. In the present case, the accused inspector had not made any such declaration, the sources told.

He has been placed under suspension. The other inspector posted at the barrier, Mr Brij Mohan, has also been suspended and his explanation called, on the plea that he also might be party to the accused in corruption.

In the raid at the Mullanpur barrier in Ropar, police constable and Excise employee posted there were round drunk while on duty hence they were suspended. Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner D.S. Kalha confirmed that the accused officials had been suspended. He added that there were 33 information collection centers of the department on the borders of the state.


Number of heart patients ‘rising’ in North India
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 2
Dr Gurpreet Singh Wander, Chief Cardiologist, Hero-DMC Heart Institute, Ludhiana, and Dr Raman Chawla, senior cardiologist, Sigma Heart Care Centre, Ludhiana, said yesterday that the number of heart patients was rising alarmingly in North India, particularly Punjab. The change in living style and eating habits, and lack of exercise had led to increase in heart ailments, observed the cardiologists who were here to attend a medical camp organised by the Rotary Club, Phagwara, and Rotary Club Aston (UK).

Attributing heart attacks to high blood pressure, increase in blood cholesterol, Dr Wander maintained that the intake of red meat, yolk, fast food, excessively fried eatables, ghee, butter, milk and its products like sweets may lead to heart attacks.

Three thousand patients were examined at the camp and two hundred operations conducted, according to Sanjiv Chaddha, project chairman.


Govt yet to approve jathas for Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
The Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) seems to have embarked upon a plan to undermine the supremacy of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) which has refused to accept its (PGPC) very existence.

Even as the SGPC had requested the Government of Pakistan to grant visa to Sikh devotees to visit Pakistan’s Sikh shrines on April 11 yet it is learnt that the PGPC would receive the devotees at Wagah only on April 8.

With the result that the SGPC would be compelled to send the jathas along with “un-recognised” Sikh bodies which mushroomed when the SGPC stopped sending jathas to Pakistan after the formation of PGPC on April 13, 1999.

Recently the PGPC has reportedly recognised the Bhai Balaji Yadgari Committee for sending jathas to Pakistan.

Earlier, the SPGC had the sole right to send pilgrims to Pakistan.

However, the SGPC and the PGPC continue to be at logger heads and refused to accept each others’ authority.

Meanwhile, the Government of India has not yet accorded approval to send jatha to Pakistan. Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, a former President, Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, who sends jatha to Pakistan, said officials of the Union Home Ministry, the External Affairs Ministry and the Railways had not given any satisfactory reply with regard to sending the jathas.

He said if the government failed to give permission it would hurt the sentiments of over two crore Sikhs in the world.

Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, too is ignorant about this.

He said the SGPC had already made request to the Central Government but no reply had been received so far.


Nursing home raided
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 2
In the foeticide case registered under the Pre-natal Diagnostic Technique Act, 1994 at the Nahianawala police station in Bathinda district, a police party accompanied by Dr P.D. Sharma, local (Civil) Surgeon, Dr K.K. Singla, District Family Planning Officer (DFPO), Dr Avtar Singh, District Health Officer, Dr D.L. Gupta, DFPO, Bathinda, and Mr Kashmir Singh Gill, DSP, Bathinda, conducted a raid on the local Chahal Nursing Home and took into possession ultrasound machine along with records.

This was disclosed by Dr P.D. Sharma here today.

In this case Ms Amritpal Kaur had allegedly undergone sex determination test at Chahal Nursing Home and thereafter underwent abortion at Sukhmani Hospital at Goniana in Bathinda district. The police registered criminal cases against both hospitals when a complaint was made to the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda.

Dr Gurbax Singh Chahal, proprietor of Chahal Nursing Home, whose arrest has been stayed by the judicial court, told this correspondent here today that he did not conduct the alleged sex determination test. 


Night patrolling scheme launched
Our Correspondent

Mansa, April 2
A night patrolling scheme was launched last evening here by Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner.

The city has been divided into 10 beats — nine beats having two wards each and one beat having 3 wards for the purpose. The beats will be patrolled by bicycle-riding constables moving in pairs equipped with lathis, torches, whistles and wireless sets.

They will patrol in areas assigned to them from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and apart from these bicycle riders, there will be two motor cyclists patrolling in the city, one on the north side of railway line and the other on the south side equipped with wireless sets.

Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP said the scheme would be reviewed after 15 days after freedback from the police personnel deployed.

Mr Srivastva invited suggestions and improvements in this scheme from the citizens. He said the scheme had been made possible due to bicycles donated by Mr Gora Lal Fattewala.


No salaries paid to MC employees
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 2
About 1000 employees of the local municipal council have been running from pillar to post to get salaries and other emoluments for the past more than two months.

They allege that the abolition of octroi in the state has started showing its adverse effect on the financial state of municipal councils. The local municipal council has also become its victim as it has not been able to pay salaries to its employees for the past more than two months.

Mr Vijay Kumar Sood, general secretary of the local Municipal Employees Federation, said the authorities had failed to deposit Rs 50 lakh towards the Employees Provident Fund.

He said more than 250 daily wagers had not been given salaries for the past more than six months. Despite the assurance given by the authorities, their services were not regularised, he added.

Mr Satish Mahajan, president of the local municipal council, said due to the shortage of funds the council had been unable to pay salaries to its staff for February and March.

Meanwhile, the dharna by the employees in front of the council office has entered its seventh day today.


PSMDTA seek CM’s intervention
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association (PSMDTA) has alleged that during the tenure of Mr Manoranjan Kalia, former minister in the Akali-BJP government, the land donated to Ram Lal Eye & ENT Hospital in Amritsar had been sold. The PSMDTA has also accused him of tampering with ACR’s of government doctors in spite of the fact that he had no reviewing or accepting authority in relation to the ACR’s of senior lecturers, assistant professors or professors of medical colleges.

In a press note issued here, the PSMDTA has said the government medical colleges and hospitals were on the verge of “collapse” in the state as no steps had been taken to update the facilities and equipment as per MCI requirements. President of the Patiala unit of PSMDTA, Manmohan Singh has alleged that several senior assistant professors in orthopaedics and surgery have been denied promotions although one post is still vacant in the orthopaedics.

The association has demanded that the Chief Minister of Punjab should intervene in this matter and rectify the ACR’s of the doctors who have been on the receiving end and reclaim the hospital land that had been sold by the previous government.


Janjua elected Bar chief
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 2
Mr Balbir Singh Janjua was elected president of the District Bar Association for which elections were held yesterday. Mr Janjua polled 116 votes while Mr Ajit Singh Bath polled 102 votes.

Mr Pushkar Nanda was elected vice-president. He polled 113 votes against 107 polled by Mr Inderjit Singh Bajwa. Mr Sukhwinder Singh Saini and Mr Gurmail Singh were elected secretary and joint secretary, respectively.


Woman hurt in clash
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 2
A woman sustained injuries in a clash over a land dispute in Bartana village here this afternoon.

According to sources, Ms Gurmeet Kaur, a resident of Bartana village, got injured during an altercation with some associates of a Chandigarh resident, Mr U.K. Sharma, over a dispute of the ownership of a piece of land. In her complaint, the victim alleged that she was attacked by Mr Sharma’s men. She was admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


Construction of dam begins
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, April 2
The long-awaited construction of the Shahpur dam project in the district has been initiated.

According to Mr R.C. Jain, Chief Engineer, machinery worth Rs 12 crore and 1,000 workforce has been transferred to the project from the Ranjit Sagar dam.

Mr Jain said the first instalment amounting to Rs 13.7 crore had been received. According to other sources, the construction of the project had started twice earlier, but had to be suspended due to the non-availability of funds.

The project when completed, will extend irrigation facility to 3.48 lakh hectares of cultivable land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab.

In addition, the project will enable the Ranjit Sagar dam to run to its full capacity and generate 600 MW. It may be mentioned here that Ranjit Sagar Dam has been generating less than 150 MW.

Mr Jain said the Punjab Government had agreed to the demand of the employees of the Ranjit Sagar Dam regarding taking up the project at the departmental level. The surplus machinery, cement and other construction material worth several crores lying on the Ranjit Sagar Dam had also been transferred in the name of the Shahpur Kandi dam project. The dam, according to current estimates will cost Rs 1,058 crore.


Punjab Government website misleading
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
If the updated website of the Punjab Government is to be believed, Mr Sarabjit Singh continues to be the DGP; Mr H.S. Mattewal, Advocate-General; and Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal both Adviser to the Chief Minister as well as the Joint Director, Information and Public Relations Department. Retired Additional Directors-General of Police, Mr J.P. Aswal (June 30, 2001); Mr Gurcharan Singh Bhullar (November 30, 2001), and Mr Gurdial Singh (February 28, 2002) continue to be in service.

The entire information appears in the latest Telephone Directory of Punjab which has been included in the Citizens Services Gateway on the NIC website, the national website of the country, the information it carries is mostly outdated. The same directory also forms a part of the web pages of the Punjab Government.

So much so that even those officers who have been transferred and posted in the districts after the new government took over continue to be shown with their old postings. For example, Mr Ashok Gupta, who relinquished charge as Special Secretary, Agriculture, and is currently Deputy Commissioner, Nawanshahr, is shown to be holding the previous post.

Though the Punjab unit of the National Informatics Centre (NIC) functions in coordination with the Department of Information and Public Relations, the official website continues to show Mr P.S. Aujla as Director, Information and Public Relations, a post he left several months ago. The website carries the names of all new legislators, Council of Ministers and most of the major administrative changes made in the civil services. Some of the changes are, however, not shown in the website. None of the notifications issued either by the Excise and Taxation Department or the Finance Department during the current financial year appear on the website.


PSEB to have performance-based transfer policy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 2
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is likely to have a new transfer and posting policy based on performance, a break from the past when political considerations were responsible for posting of officials of the board. Newly appointed Administrative Member H.I.S. Grewal stated this after taking over the charge today. Mr Grewal, a bureaucrat and currently holding the charge of Special Secretary, Planning, made the statement in the light of massive political interference regarding postings and transfers in the PSEB with political appointees being made Administrative Members. Mr Grewal said a transparent transfer and posting policy would be formulated and implemented strictly and that frequent short-term transfers without any purpose would be stopped. He said a definite system should be evolved to post officers according to their capability.

He said performance indicators would be brought into effect in the PSEB, which would be used to reward capable employees and punish errant ones. He said this was needed to get the work done in a time-bound and planned manner in the board. He said with a new board in place a qualitative change could be expected soon.

He said the board would first tackle the problem of transmission and distribution losses. He said according to the reports the losses totalled up to 25 per cent of the power generated, adding that a way would have to be found to reduce them. He said there was a feeling that heavy transmission and distribution losses were being attributed to the free power supply to tubewells which was not so, and added that the leakages in the system would be stemmed systematically.


Resignations of four Additional AGs accepted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Punjab Government has accepted the resignations of four Additional Advocates General — Mr Lakhinderbir Singh, Mr N.S. Pawar, Mr A.S. Jattana and Ms Jai Shri Anand.

According to a press note issued by Punjab’s Information and Public Relations Department, there were no Additional Advocates General in the Advocate General’s office. Quoting AG Harbhagwan Singh, it added that fresh appointments in the office were under consideration and were likely to be made shortly.


Markfed manager suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Mr Lakhwinder Singh Sekhon, Manager (Bardana), Punjab Markfed, has been placed under suspension following his arrest by the Vigilance Department on March 19. According to an official press release here today, Mr Sekhon was arrested in connection with the “bogus” purchase of 4,500 bags of paddy made during the procurement season when he was District Manager, Amritsar. Earlier, in his inquiry report, Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, Deputy Chief Manager, Markfed, had indicted Mr Sekhon.


PSEB SDO held for graft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
An SDO (Technical) of the Punjab State Electricity Board, posted here, was today caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from an industrialist for filing a positive test report over the existing load in his industry.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SP (Vigilance), said in a press note here today that a vigilance team led by a DSP, Mr Sarup Singh Chauhan, caught the SDO, Amarjit Singh Khangura, red-handed this evening. The graft amount was obtained from his pocket in the presence of two witnesses, Mr Chaman Lal, Senior Divisional Engineer, and Mr Vijay Kumar, Subdivisional Officer.

Mr Bajwa said the board officer was preparing a test report of the power load at Malik Turners and Engineering Auto Parts. The industrialist concerned had complained that the officer was demanding a bribe of Rs 3,000 from him. The deal was finalised for Rs 2,000 and the amount was to be paid this evening, when the vigilance sleuths swung into action.

The officer has been arrested and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


FEAR for 5-yr tenure of VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
The Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) in a meeting held today demanded that the government should increase the tenure of a Vice-Chancellor from three years to five years, sans any provision of extension. The president, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, said the University Grants Commission (UGC) had also recommended a five-year term of the Vice-Chancellor and had also been accepted by the Union Government.

The forum also demanded setting up of a “Parents-Teachers Association” under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor or his representative, which should hold a bimonthly meeting.

It appealed to the Chief Minister to incorporate the suggestions in the ordinance before the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor in Punjabi University. The term of the present Vice Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, ends on May15.


9 teams participate in geography contest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
An inter-college competition for skill in teaching of geography and model making was organised at the State College of Education here on Tuesday under the aegis of the Association of Punjab Geographers. Team from nine colleges of education from all over Punjab participated. The president of the association, Dr H.S. Mangat, highlighted the need and importance of teaching geography in schools and colleges.

In the ‘skill in teaching’ category, Pooja Jain of the State College of Education, Patiala, won the first prize; Yadvandra Singh of GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar, won the second prize; and Seema Rani of Government College Education, Faridkot, was adjudged third.

In the ‘teaching aid model’ category, Jaswant Singh of GHG Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar, and Jagjit Singh of Khalsa College, Gurusar Sudhar, won the first and second prizes, respectively. Nina Jain Pratap of the College of Education, Ludhiana, was adjudged third.


Seminar on decolonisation
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
A national seminar on “Decolonisation and socio-economic reconstruction in developing countries” was organised at Punjabi University here today. Inaugurating the seminar, Dr Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, former Vice-Chancellor of Shanti Niketan, said Punjab had played an important role in the decolonisation process in India and that decolonisation in economic domain in this country had started even before political dependence was terminated.

Presenting his keynote address, Prof K.K.N Kurup, Vice-Chancellor of Calicut University, stressed that the nature of the modern state, its programme of wealth production and redistribution and the policies of development were determined on the basis of certain ideologies. He insisted that the character of independent Indian state was determined by the power structure of the British themselves. Dr Kurup said a nation with borrowed capital could never grow into a welfare state. The seminar was presided over by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the host University, Dr R.N Paul.

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