P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Paddy purchase less due to state policies, says Sharad
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20
Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Sharad Yadav today said that the purchase of paddy by the FCI in Punjab was low because of the lesser number of purchase centers allocated to the central organisation by the Punjab Government and not due to any reluctance on the part of the FCI on this score.

Talking to newsmen here after conducting a round of the local grain market, the Union Minister said another reason for the slow procurement by the FCI was the large-scale purchase made by private millers during the present paddy season. He said it was the policy of the FCI to purchase stocks in states where the procurement process had not been institutionalised and farmers were not getting adequate renumeration for their produce. He said farmers in Punjab and Haryana were even getting more than the maximum support price (MSP) in the current season.

Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Avtar Henry, who had also accompanied the minister, had earlier accused the NDA government of discriminating against the state by not aceding to the state's request to start the procurement process in September. The minister had also accused the FCI of procuring only 12 per cent of its 32 per cent share in the state. Mr Henry, however, did not voice his concerns on the issue today even as the Union Minister admitted that the FCI procurement was slow but blamed the state government for this.

Meanwhile during the visit of the Union Minister to the local grain market, the commission agents brought it to his notice that they were boycotting FCI procurement for years due to "wrong" policies by the local FCI management. Local market association general secretary Harjit Singh Sheru said the Union Minister had assured that he would have the matter looked into.

The Punjab Rice Millers Association also held a meeting with the Union Minister and presented a list of demands to him. Association president Tarsem Saini said the Central Government should change its new policy under which the procurement price of levy rice for the present season was inclusive of the cost of the two new 50 kg bags which were to be used for the delivery of one quintal of rice. Mr Saini also demanded that the FCI should either take back the used 50 kg bags or the millers could be charged for the bags at the prevalent market rates.

Mr Saini also demanded that milling rates for both raw and parboiled rice should be enhanced. He said recommendations of the Bureau of Industrial Cost and Price should be followed in this context. He also said the FCI should follow the guidelines of the state government on the issue of arbitration cases prevailing against millers for the 1994-95 milling season.

Sangrur: Mr Sharad Yadav, Union Minister for Food, Public Distribution System, Consumer Affairs today said that the Union Government was giving Rs 27,000 crore subsidy on food annually in the country. He also claimed that such a big subsidy was not being given by any department of the Union Government on any item.

While talking to mediapersons, Mr Yadav said at the PWD rest house here today before visiting the grain markets at Bhawanigarh and here to take stock of the procurement of paddy by the government agencies and the traders. In the grain markets, he also met the farmers and arhtiyas and heard their views about the paddy procurement.

Mr Yadav said there had been 640 lakh metric tonnes (MTA) of wheat and rice in the stocks of the Union Government the previous year and at present it was only 280 lakh MTs. He also said in Punjab there was a stock of 100 lakh MTs of wheat and 23 lakh MTS of rice nowadays.

The Union Minister also claimed that the Union Government had allotted some amount as part of a sugarcane package for the states during the past months to pay arrears of sugarcane to the farmers. This package was of Rs 678 crore. However, Mr Yadav could not tell that how many crores had been given to Punjab as part of the package.

Corruption alleged in paddy procurement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today submitted a memorandum to the Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, Mr Sharad Yadav, here, alleging corruption in the procurement of paddy in Punjab.
The memorandum was submitted to the minister by Mr Surinder, press secretary of the SAD (A), and Mr Jeet Singh Allorakh, district president of the SAD (A).
In its memorandum, the SAD (A) has alleged that there is a big scandal in the purchase of gunny bags whereas the government was purchasing a gunny bag for over Rs 20, its cost price in the open market was about Rs 14.


Amarinder woos Rai Sikhs with SC card
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, October 20
In an apparent move to allure Rai Sikh voters of the border area with an eye on the forthcoming parliamentary elections, the Congress, today organised a function at Hazarasing Wala village in Mamdot. Where the Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh announced that the state government had recommended to the Union Government that Rai Sikhs be granted the Scheduled Caste status.

Capt. Amarinder Singh, addressing a huge congregation of Rai Sikhs said the Congress would fulfil its promise made during the elections to provide the SC status to the Rai Sikh community. He said a report had been prepared by scholars at Punjabi University, and on the basis of their research, the state government had written to the Union Government for a gazette notification in this regard. He said the Congress was determined to help the Rai Sikh community and would make allout efforts to pursue the case with the Union Government and grant them the SC status which would solve most of their problems.

The Chief Minister lauded the Rai Sikh community for their sacrifices and the bravery, who despite of volatile scenario between the two hostile neighbours did not leave their abodes in the border area, and rather provided unflinching support to the Army during the 1965, 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflicts.

He said Vigilance cases against Rai Sikhs for furnishing false certificates to seek government jobs would be re-looked into and later scrapped.

Capt. Amarinder said that he had taken up the issue of granting compensation to the farmers who had been affected due to the laying of mines during Operation Parakaram with the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, who had assured him that the same would be released soon. He said still more than 7000 acres of land was in the possession of the Security forces, the compensation for which would be released immediately. Addressing residents of the border area, the Chief Minister said he had demanded a special package for the people of the border area on the Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal pattern.

He said P-rights had been granted to more than 300 tillers belonging to the border area. He lambasted the ruling BJP led NDA alliance for apathetic attitude towards the farming community.

Captain Amarinder Singh said the state government had imported special pesticides, which had multiplied the cotton produce and saved it from the attack of American bollworm whereas during the previous Akali-BJP regime, the government used to buy cheap pesticides from a factory belonging to son-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

He announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh for the construction of a Rai Sikh Bhavan in the border area and promised that the government would also provide land for the construction of the bhavan.

Capt. Amarinder Singh affirmed that after the successful anti-corruption drive and efforts to put the fractured state economy back on rails, the Congress government in the state had envisaged a massive plan for rural development in the state under which villages would be provided with all basic amenities and adequate infrastructure. He also promised 24 hour uninterrupted power supply to the border segment.

Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, MLA and Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, while addressing the gathering said the state government had approved a special scheme worth Rs 150 crore to provide uninterrupted power supply in the border area. He also demanded that pending pensions of people belonging to the border areas should be released on a priority basis.

Mr H.S.Hanspal, President, PPCC, Mr Jagmeet Brar, MP, also addressed the gathering. Mr Mohinder Rinwa, Mr Hans Raj Jossan, Mr Ravindeer Singh Sandhu, all Parliamentary Secretaries, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Mr Prakash Bhatti, MLA’s, Mr Balmukand Sharma, Mr Gurnaib Brar, Mr Raminder Awla, Mr Ravi Sharma and a galaxy of senior Congress leaders participated in the function.


CM using Vigilance as tool, says Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 20
Former Union Minister and general secretary, SAD (Badal), Mr Sukhbir Badal, today said the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had unleashed a rein of terror on the Akalis by using Vigilance Bureau as a political tool against them.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had been harassing the Akalis and commoners on flimsy grounds by following into the footsteps of a section of those Congress leaders, who were known for their anti-Sikh mindset and who were responsible for branding the Sikhs as terrorists and extremists. He added that earlier various Congress leaders had unsuccessfully tried to remove the Akalis from the Punjab’s political and social scene to perpetuate anti-people rule of Congress in the state.

Mr Badal alleged that a number of Akali workers and party supporters were being picked up by the police and sleuths of Vigilance Bureau from the state every day and some of them, who had been refusing to toe the line of Punjabs’ Congress government, were being booked under false criminal cases. He added that if Capt Amarinder Singh was serious about finishing the corruption then why he was not making the working of Vigilance Bureau transparent and why he had been using it as a tool to torture his political opponents.

“The working of the Vigilance Bureau in the past about one and half years is under scrutiny of general public. The people have started asking Capt Amarinder Singh that who will raid the raider and who will probe the huge assets acquired by a large section of Vigilance Bureau officials by ‘extorting money’ from the innocents and commoners,” asked Mr Badal.

He added that use of Vigilance Bureau as a tool to harass everyone also established the fact that Capt Amarinder Singh was a frustrated chap, who could go to any extent to finish his political opponents as well as those, who dared to raise voice against his acts of omission and commission.

Mr Badal pointed out that now Capt Amarinder Singh had started using the Vigilance Bureau and other intelligence agencies against his own ministers and MLAs . There was a complete mistrust for the Chief Minister among Cabinet colleagues and party MLAs.

Narottam Dhillon granted bail

Ropar, October 20
Mr Narottam Singh Dhillon, a cousin of Sukhbir Badal, was today granted bail by the Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, in the case of corruption and disproportionate assets registered against him, along with the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, after the failure of the Vigilance to produce challan against him within ninety days.

The bail was granted against a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh and two sureties of Rs 2 lakh each. Mr Narottam submitted the sureties in the court of CJM Ropar today evening before being let off on bail. — OC


Girl abduction case: police fails to identify body
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 20
After its alleged failure to identify the body of alleged kidnapper, who had taken a seven-year-old girl Ashna hostage in her Adarsh Nagar house here on Wednesday and was later killed by the police after 11-hour-long negotiations, the district police had handed over his body to the Municipal Corporation for cremation.

Meanwhile, the missing of one of two mobile phones, passed on to the kidnapper by the police during the 11-hour-long hostage drama, has put a question mark on the entire operation, which had already been shrouded in mystery for a want of a number of answers.

As the police officials had failed to identify the body for five days, they today handed over the body to the civic body officials for its cremation. Interestingly, not a single person came forward to identify the dead person, the ongoing investigations have suffered another setback as one of two mobile phones, which were passed on to him by the police officials through a window during the hostage drama, had allegedly gone missing.

This mobile phone, according to the sources, had been extensively used by the alleged kidnapper for communicating with the police officials standing outside and other people as well. Hence it was crucial from the investigation point of view, particularly.

The investigation into the case, according to sources, could get seriously hampered even if it had been removed “intentionally” just after storming of police commandoes in the house after killing the kidnapper.

Apart from identity of the accused, other glaring points, which were yet to be clarified by the police were — why it took police 11 hours to decide to kill the kidnapper.

What were the circumstances which forced the police to kill him all of a sudden, what was the possible reason behind carrying of two country-made pistols by abductor. Whether he knew the family or not and how he got the shots fired by commandoes in his abdomen and not in head or shoulders, particularly, in view of claims of the police officials that he was shot through the ventilator.

If firing was through ventilator, the person firing shots would have no option but to recline his weapon at atleast 45 degrees and in that case, shots would have hit either shoulder or the head of the abductor.


Save singers from stigma, says Hans
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 20
Punjabi pop singer Hans Raj Hans today came down heavily upon people who are prepared to go to any extent to settle abroad.

He said apart from certain singers who were accused of sending people abroad, even those who paid lakhs of rupees to go abroad should be subjected to investigation.

Refferring to the attack on his brother at his native village, near here, Hans said the incident had put fear in the minds of his family members.

Addressing a press conference organised hereby a TV channel, ETC Punjab, in connection with the channels programme at Jalandhar tomorrow, Hans said it was a matter of shame that everybody was heading towards the West, forgetting his culture. He said he was pained to see that in some cases even brothers were marrying sisters on paper to somehow to settle abroad.

He said investigations should be done in a thorough and fair manner to save the singers as a class from social stigma.

Regarding Daler Mehndi’s alleged involvement in the emmigration scam, Hans said nothing could be said till the investigation was complete.

An official of ETC Punjab said a programme, “Hans Raj Live” would be organised by the channel along with Alpha TV Punjabi on Tuesday at the local Guru Gobind Singh Stadium.


Report on Pro-VC forwarded to Governor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20
The Punjab government today forwarded a report against the Punjabi University Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Dr R.N. Pal, sent to it by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, to the Chancellor and Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, for action.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, while disclosing this to newspersons here, made it clear that the government was not happy with the Pro-VC’s contention that the VC was not his boss.

He disclosed that the government had received a report regarding the Pro-VC from the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor. He said the report had been sent to the Chancellor for necessary action. Asked whether the government would take action against the Pro-VC, the Chief Minister said it was the prerogative of the Chancellor.

He, however, clarified that the government would not allow matters to deteriorate further and would abolish the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor in the universities of the state on the pattern of the Haryana Government, if needed.

Earlier, the Punjabi University VC had submitted a report to the government, listing alleged acts of omission and commission of the Pro-VC. The report recommended that Dr Pal should be sacked. The report also included “documents” certifying these acts, besides written evidence from members of the faculty wherever documentary evidence was not available.

During the recent agitation by students, Mr Boparai had accused the Pro-VC of being hand in glove with the student agitators. The Pro-VC had denied the allegations.

Recently, the Pro-VC had protested to the Governor, claiming that the university administration had stopped his salary without any reason. Though sources said this had been done since he had not taken permission from the VC before proceeding on leave, the administration released the salary after the protest, saying that there had been some confusion over the matter.

The Pro-VC has been without work since a number of months.


SP’s son may face varsity action
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 20
Guru Nanak Dev University is likely to take disciplinary action against the son of an SP for a “mischief” that allegedly forced a final-year student of law, Saurav Mahajan, to commit suicide.

Saurav was accused of stealing a mobile phone belonging to the SP’s son.

The National Students Union (NSU) today sought a judicial inquiry into the incident.

It is reliably learnt that much before the suicide, an inquiry conducted by the university authorities had reached the conclusion that Saurav was innocent. It was his (Saurav’s) one-time friend, Harminder Singh Monto — the main accused — who had sold the phone to one Harbir Singh Babbi, a student of Khalsa College, after stealing it. However, Monto tried to give an impression that Saurav had stolen it.

When parents of the deceased met the university authorities to prove the innocence of their son, the alleged culprits threatened Saurav that a case was likely to be registered against him for stealing the phone. Under the circumstances, Saurav allegedly committed suicide.


Swift help to heart patients in villages planned
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20
Rural folk with heart problems now have a glimmer of hope. The Punjab Health Systems Corporation has decided to install ECG machines in hospitals which will be linked with specialist centres so that expert medical relief can be provided to them.

The corporation has decided to start a pilot project in this regard. Under this ECG machines will be installed at Corporation hospitals in Kharar and Dera Bassi. The ECG report will be faxed to the PGI immediately after a patient reports to the hospital and his ECG is taken. Doctors in the PGI will then recommend the next course of action.

Corporation Chairman C D Singh Kamboj said another benefit of the scheme was that patients would be transported to the PGI, if needed. They would be admitted to the CCU immediately.

He said time was an important factor to treat heart patients and the scheme aimed at ensuring those in villages could reach specialist centres within the minimum time possible. Now the corporation was focussing on areas close to Chandigarh.

He said in the next phase, the scheme would be extended to other areas of the state and specialist centres approached to take on the responsibility of catering to heart patients in villages.

The corporation had decided to improve health infrastructure in the rural areas. It had decided to target primary health care centres which were in poor shape.

The corporation had decided to create infrastructure in these centres, besides providing the latest equipment to them. Mr Kamboj said the World Bank was being approached to provide funds for this project.

The rural population and those living under the poverty line were also being targeted under a special health insurance scheme. Under this scheme, in the first phase the corporation was providing health insurance to government employees and pensioners. People living below the poverty line and possessing yellow cards would also be included in the ambit of the scheme.

Mr Kamboj said it had also been revealed that quality medicine was not available in rural areas and the medicine available was sold at exorbitant rates. He said the corporation had decided to open chemist shops in 10 of its 157 hospitals in the state.

He said chemist shops in these hospitals would only keep ISO-approved medicines. He said in case there was a response to this scheme, the corporation could open its chemist shops in all hospitals under it.

The Chairman said the corporation had already directed all its hospitals to keep an emergency kit ready in its premises at all times. He said this kit included all medicines needed in case of an emergency.


Sainik Welfare Office takes up sepoy Santokh Singh’s case
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Disabled due to battle injuries sustained during World War II and having gone without pension for 42 long years, there is finally a ray of hope for 82-year-old sepoy Santokh Singh. Reacting to reports published in The Tribune, the District Sainik Welfare Office, Ludhiana, as well as the Western Command have taken up the matter with the defence pension authorities.

A letter written to the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad, by the Western Command Ex-servicemen’s Helpline last week, as per the directions of the Army Commander, has highlighted the ex-soldier’s plight and has sought that his case be considered sympathetically and arrears of disability pension be paid to him considering the “genuineness” of the case.

Speaking to TNS, Santokh’s son, Naik Amarjit Singh, said officials of the District Sainik Welfare Office, Ludhiana visited their home earlier this month to seek details about the matter from his father. A letter recommending payment of arrears had also been written to the PCDA by the Sainik Welfare Office.

Sepoy Santokh Singh, a resident of Sehjo Majra village near Ludhiana, was discharged from the Army on medical grounds in 1951. The bullet which wounded him about 60 years ago continues to remain embedded in his upper back till date, as is evident from the X-ray reports forwarded to the PCDA. He served the Army from June, 1941 to February, 1951.

Frail and weak, his problems due to his injuries are increasing day by day, says his son. He had also developed heart problems. His family has been forced to sell land for his treatment.

The crux of the case revolves around the question whether the disability factor can be reduced if the bullet continues to remain embedded in the body and no subsequent medical examination is conducted. sepoy Santokh Singh received disability pension till 1959, when it was abruptly stopped without any reason being communicated to him.

He subsequently wrote numerous letters to the CDA as well as the Punjab Regimental Centre, Ramgarh, which went unanswered until 1995, when he was told that his pension was stopped because his disability was assessed as less than 20 per cent, which did not make him entitled for the pension.

Then in 2001, the Centre finally wrote back asking him to get a medical certificate from a competent authority. A medical examination conducted by a civilian doctor, as advised by the Centre, certified that he continued to suffer disability due to the bullet wound.

Questions have been raised in a letter written to the CDA pertaining to the case that how can the disability factor be reduced by the CDA without a re-survey medical board, more so in a case where the injury is of a permanent nature with no practical change of fluctuation of the disability factor.

It is also being questioned that when the provision of a re-survey medical board exists, why was the aggrieved soldier not informed about it till 2001.


Split led to fall, admits Tohra
Our Correspondent

Bhura Kohna (Tarn Taran), October 20
Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC President, today accepted that differences between him and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal president, had led to the fall of the Akali government.

The SGPC chief expressed his regret over the issue.

Mr Tohra was here to address a political conference organised by the SAD on the 71st birth anniversary of Bhai Kartar Singh Khalsa, thirteenth head of Damdami Taksal.

Former state Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh was also present on the occasion. He said the state’s economy had been shattered and interests of farmers, Dalits and other sections of society had been severely compromised by the Congress. The government had imposed taxes to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore, but failed to pay salaries to its employees for months, he added.

Earlier, Mr Tohra criticised the RSS and the VHP for clubbing Sikhs with Hindus and said the Sikhs had a distinct and separate identity. Condemning Pakistan for making a Muslim head of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, he asked if a Sikh would be allowed to head a Muslim religious organisation.

He also criticised the registration of cases against Akali workers and Mr Badal. He said this “vindictive attitude” of the government had alienated the ruling party and increased the popularity of the Akalis.

Three resolutions were passed on the occasion, threatening the ruling party against the arrest of Mr Badal, appealing to all Punjabis to support the SAD in the forthcoming elections, and calling all Sikhs to dissociates from the World Sikh Conference called on October 26.

Among those who attended the function were AISSF leader Harminder Singh Gill, Akali leaders Manjit Singh, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Major Singh Uboke, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and SGPC chief secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta.


Advani dividing society: Mann
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 20
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and SAD (Amritsar), president today said Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, was a perpetrator of heinous crimes. Mr Mann, while addressing mediapersons at PWD Rest House here today, accused Mr Advani of fomenting trouble in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir, and driving a wedge between Hindus and Muslims.

The SAD (A) leader said that before asking Pakistan to hand over India’s 20 most-wanted criminals, the two countries should sign an extradition treaty.


Two fresh dengue cases in Jalandhar
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 20
Despite the claim of the local municipal corporation that it is making all-out efforts to provide hygienic conditions in the city, two fresh cases of dengue have come to light.

According to reports, Jasdeep Singh (10), a resident of Partap Bagh, admitted to a private hospital here in a serious condition, had been confirmed as a case of dengue. He was released this evening after recovery.

In another case, Babu Lal of Sehdev Market was found suffering from dengue. He was admitted to a private hospital about 10 days ago and was later referred to the local Civil Hospital. He was discharged on Friday.

The acting Civil Surgeon, Dr J.K. Bajaj, said that there was a need to spray mandatory insecticides in slums and low-lying areas of the city to ]prevent the spread of this disease. He said that the unhygienic conditions in the city were one of the main causes of this disease.

When contacted, the Superintending Engineer, Mr V.K. Talwar, said the officials concerned had already been instructed to take necessary steps, including cleaning of the roads, regular clearing of garbage and spray of insecticides in the affected areas.


Parween Sultana’s rendition has ethereal effect
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 20
Begum Parween Sultana’s association with music began even before she gained understanding of the other basic concepts of life. Since music ran in her family, young Parween could not remain uninspired by the mellifluous notes that impacted her mind more than anything else ever could.

Years after she gave her first public concert as a 12- year-old and walked into the hearts of music maestros who predicted her fortune there and then, Begum Parween Sultana remains a die-hard upholder of her glorious tradition.

Glimpses of her mastery were there for all to see when she took over at Jagatjit Palace last night to bring the three-day Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav to a melodious halt. The beauty of her rendition lay in its lingering appeal, that lasted even after the concert had ended.

A maestro in her own right, Begum Parween Sultana, who first got training in music from her father Janab Ikramul Majid, made repeated mention of the celebrated Patiala tradition of Indian classical music, which had given the world some matchless and legendary compositions, unique in style, tone and literary content.

She said: “The land of Punjab brims with music and life. There is so much rhythm in everything that is associated with this place that you, as an artiste, are bound to be encouraged. Kapurthala itself stands tall with a legacy that is second to none in appeal and glory. Patiala leads the Indian classical music stream with its heritage of compositions made immortal by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Saheb.

“Today, as I return to Kapurthala after years, I feel the presence of music all around. I am not only blessed to be part of this festival being organised by the Kapurthala Heritage Society, but also overwhelmed that I am getting an opportunity to sit in concert in an ambience which spills music every moment.”

Accompanied by her daughter, Begum Sultana talked about the rich influences which the Patiala gharana has had on her style of presentation. When it comes to inheritance and practice of music, a mention of Ustad Dilshad Khan becomes evident in case of Begum Parween Sultana, who was to find her life partner in her guru. A doyen of the Kirana gharana, Ustad Dilshad Khan further honed the musical skills of Parween Sultana who continues to benefit from his melodious company.

From plain talk to recital — Begum Sultana’s style reflected her celebrated tutelage, which also earned her the distinction of becoming the youngest Padmashri in India. And as the renowned Indian classical vocalist commenced, her recital commanding sound etc like magic, she exemplified raga maru bihaag with utmost perfection.

Melodies emerged like crests and troughs, making waves of classical rhythms in the ocean of music. As she went from soft, slow, subtle rendition (vilambit khayal) to a paced presentation (drut khayal), a classic quotation on melody suddenly came alive in the mind.

Constant Lambert in his book, “Music Ho!, while underlining the magnificence of melody in music observes, “Melody is not only the most important element but an all-embracing one. Harmony without melody is an aural tickling and rhythm without melody is not even rhythm — it is only metre and can have, at the most, mumbo jumbo appeal, with no true musical significance.”

Begum Parween Sultana’s recital yesterday further proved the eminence of melody in the scheme of music. With a voice covering nearly four octaves, the Cleopatra of Music, as she is called, rendered the evening as well as the festival worthwhile.


CM inaugurates hospital wing
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today inaugurated the modern wing of Mata Kaushalya Hospital in the city which has been built at a cost of Rs 2.34 crore by the Punjab Health Systems Corporation under a World Bank project.

The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by Health and Family Welfare Minister Ramesh Chander Dogra and Health Systems Corporation Chairman C.D. Singh Kamboj, said the hospital would not be developed as a centre of excellence for obstetrics and gynaecology. He said modern facilities like diagnostic and operative laproscopy and hysterscopy and other facilties would be made available at the hospital.

Capt Amarinder Singh said a computerised clinical laboratory facility with semi auto analyser, automatic cell counter and body gas analyser had also been set up. Besides this an air conditioned labour room with foetal monitor, foetal doppler and baby resuscitation had been provided at the hospital, he added. The Chief Minister said equipment and furniture worth Rs 75 lakh had been installed in the hospital. He said a blood bank and a mammography unit would also be set up in the hospital.

The Mata Kaushalya hospital is a 115-year-old institution which was established by Maharaja Rajinder Singh in 1888. It was the first ever institute in the Malwa belt which catered to the maternal and child needs of the region. 


Punjab staff to gherao Assembly
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 20
Various organisations and federations of Punjab employees have decided to gherao the Punjab Assembly during its coming budget session in protest against the alleged anti-employee policies of the state government.

Activists of the Punjab State Services Federation (PSSF), the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (Ranbir Dhillon group), the PSSF (Sukhdev Barri group), the Punjab Employees Democratic Front (Datar Singh), the PSSF (Ohan Singh Rori group) and the Punjab State Karmchari Dal (Hari Singh Tohra) have given their consent to launch a statewide agitation in support of the employees’ demands.

All these federations have come on a single platform and formed the Punjab Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, with Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, a former Member of Parliament, as its convener.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Walia said Punjab employees would show black flags to Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress, during her proposed visit to Punjab, where she was expected to implement the decision of the state government to hand over six government departments to panchayats.

He said Punjab employees would also stage dharnas in front of the Lok Sabha during the forthcoming budget session against the “anti-employee” policies of the Central Government.


Last chance for SPOs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
A ray of hope has emerged for 2,500—odd special police officers (SPOs) as the Punjab Government today decided to review afresh the cases of all such SPOs, who could not be absorbed as constables.

Mr Sanjiv Gupta, IG (Headquarters), said a three -member committee had been formed to give the last chance to such SPOs.

The decision comes in the wake of a Punjab and Haryana High Court decision, 29 civil writ petitions filed by a section of these SPOs, directing that one last opportunity should be given to accommodate them of the 4,500 SPOs who were found fit for recruitment in the police by the Recruitment Board set up in 2001, 1,100 already stand absorbed. Even as per the policy, 90 per cent of the recruitments at this level had to be from among the SPO’s.

Most remaining SPOs were not found suitable during the recruitment tests held thrice in 1997, 2000 and 2001-2002. A majority of these SPOs have been serving the police for the past at least 10-15 years.

Mr Gupta said, their service record would be given due weightage. Suitable relaxations would, however, be allowed this time in age and physical fitness. 


PCS (main) examination results declared
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 20
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) today declared the result of the PCS (main) examination, which was reconducted by the commision for the 1998-99 batch after allegations of irregularities committed by dismissed Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu.

PPSC sources said that 271 candidates had been shortlisted for interview, which would be held after two weeks. The commission would select 91 candidates following the interview for PCS (Executive) and allied posts.

In a departure from norms, the interview process had been changed. While there would be three members in each panel, besides an outside expert, the interview marks would be awarded separately by each panellist. The sources said average of the marks would be calculated to determine the score in the interview. Earlier, the panellists used to arrive at a consensus on the marks to be awarded.

Around 5,000 candidates had appeared for the preliminary examination conducted for the PCS (Executive) and allied posts. As many as 1,000 candidates were shortlisted for the main examination, of which around 7,000 candidates appeared.


LPG-run car catches fire, blown up
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, October 20
A Ford Icon car being run on an LPG cylinder suddenly caught fire near the truck union office on Fazilka-Abohar road this afternoon resulting in a blast. The car was blown into pieces.

According to eye witnesses, the car was being driven by a businessman. As the driver got smell of some gas leakage he got out of the car to inspect the bonnet, which was on fire. The driver then ran to safety, abandoning the car on road. Immediately a small blast occurred which was followed by a big blast blowing the car into pieces. The LPG cylinder fitted in the near part of the boot of the car become had flat.

As some shopkeepers noticed the burning car they pulled down their shutters some of them managed to run to safety. A call was made to the fire brigade. The fire persisted for about an hour as the fire tender from Abohar reached after some time. The entire vehicular traffic on the busy Fazilka-Abohar road was diverted for about two hours. No loss of life was reported. The blast has highlighted the risk involved in running the motor vehicles on LPG cylinders.


Troupe from Glasgow enthralls
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 20
A group of 16 youngsters of Punjabi origin and their counterparts from Glasgow presented a colourful Punjabi heritage programme at Sri Guru Angad Dev College, Khadoor Sahib, 18 km from here yesterday.

The troupe belonging to Anderston Mel-Milap Centre, Glasgow, UK, and its sister-concern, Punjabi No. 1, presented shabad, gidda, bhangra and folk songs.

The group consists of three youngsters of Pakistani origin, nine of Punjabi origin and four from Scotland. The gidda and bhangra teams of the host college also performed on the occasion.

The team members were honoured by Baba Sewa Singh of Khadoor Sahib on behalf of the Kaar Sewa sect. Dr Balwinder Singh, principal of the college, welcomed the troupe.

Retired IGP, S.S. Bhullar ws among the invitees.


Over 100 jhuggis razed
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 20
Officials of Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) led by Ms Ishwar Roop Kaur, Estate Officer, PUDA, Bathinda and Mr Baldev Singh, Subdivisional Officer, PUDA, today removed more than 100 jhuggis situated near New Sabzi Mandi at Mansa for setting up a new colony there.

They issued direction to those who had constructed pucca structures on the land to vacate the premises within 24 hours otherwise they threatened to demolish the same. The occupants’ jhuggis and other residents having pucca structure alleged that they have bought the land from one Dalip Singh on instalment basis. They also threatened to obtain the stay orders from the court tomorrow.

The Municipal Council, Mansa, had also provided pucca streets and street lights in the said area while the Punjab State Electricity Board had installed electric meters there. Pathetic scenes were witnessed when the operation clean took place and the occupants of the jhuggis were wailing.

When contacted Ms Ishwar Roop Kaur, said PUDA had acquired the land under the OUVGL scheme to set up a colony there.


Bedi joins Ludhiana hospital today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Cardiac surgeon, Dr Harinder Singh Bedi, is joining Sigma Heart Institute of Ludhiana as executive director and chairman, cardiac sciences, tomorrow.

Dr Bedi has contributed extensively to the growth, development and training in the field of cardiac surgery. His efforts and procedural skills have set India on the international map in the field of cardiovascular therapeutics. Dr Bedi is back to Punjab along with his cardiac team and has worked in leading hospitals like St. Vincents and Royal Alexandra Hospital, Sydney, Australia and Escorts, Delhi. He has worked with leading surgeons of the world like Dr Mark Shanahan, Dr Allan Farnsworth, Prof Tim Cartmill of Australia and Dr Sari Aranki of the USA. He has had training in Robotic Surgery from Prof R. Wolf of Ohio, USA.

Dr Bedi holds the world record of performing the first multivessel beating heart surgery and his name features in the Limca Book of World Records and has performed over 6,000 open-heart surgeries, of which 4,000 are from Punjab only. Dr Bedi performed the first (EVH) with endoscopic vein harvesting in Asia where with a tiny hole the veins are taken out of the leg instead of long cut in the leg.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Bedi said he would also be holding cardiac clinics in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Mohali.



SGPC’s affidavit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
In an affidavit submitted in a petition seeking the return of “all manuscripts, religious books, and other articles” allegedly removed during Operation Bluestar from the Sikh Reference Library at the Golden Temple, Amritsar, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday claimed that it was pursuing the matter.

Appearing before the court, SGPC counsel stated that a number of letters had been written to the President of India, besides the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 20.

Claiming to be a “religion person”, the petitioner, Satnam Singh of Tarn Taran, had earlier claimed that the articles, about 16,000 in number, were removed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before being taken to Delhi during Operation Bluestar.

He had added that the articles, as per Defence Minister George Fernandes, were in the CBI’s custody. Quoting newspaper reports, the petitioner had asserted that two CBI officers, who were part of a team involved in the alleged removal of the articles, had subsequently confirmed the action.

Arguing on the petitioner’s behalf, counsel had submitted that the articles should be returned to the place they belonged. He had added that several Punjab leaders, including Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, had also demanded the return of the articles.


Cops posing as scribes beat up Excise men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Five persons, including four cops, posing as scribes, beat up three Excise and Taxation officials near Nabha. While one of the Excise constables was injured and taken to a local hospital, two of the cops have been taken in custody.

What is interesting is that while the incident occurred at 11.30 pm, two of the cops involved reported to a local hospital next morning at about 9.30 am, claiming that they had sustained injuries after being beaten up.

According to details available, a three-member team from the mobile wing of the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department here was conducting inspection at the Nabha byepass on the October 18 night for a few hours when an Indica car, bearing a PB-03 series number, stopped near them. Five persons, reportedly in an inebriated condition, alighted and began abusing the Excise officials. The Excise team comprised ETO Ranjit Singh and two head constables, one of whom was in uniform.

The persons, who posed as journalists, accused the Excise officials of harassing people and then got into a fist-fight with them. One of the Excise constables, Rattan Singh, was severely beaten up with sticks. Passers-by tried to stop the melee but failed. In the meantime Ranjit managed to reach Sadar police station and informed the duty cops about the incident, but a couple of policemen who accompanied him back to the spot were also unsuccessful in controlling their colleagues.

Ranjit them called up the local SSP and narrated the entire incident. He then ordered that the errant persons be taken in to custody. While two of them were caught, the others escaped. Four of them were later identified as policemen, while the fifth could not be identified.

The local police has registered a case against the five under Sections 353, 186, 323 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for obstructing a public servant on official duty and causing injuries.


SHO suspended; 1 held for fraud
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 20
Mr Paramjit Singh Butter, Station House Officer, Civil Lines, Batala, has been placed under suspension for keeping an innocent person in police custody for a day.

Mr Ram Singh, SSP, said today that he received a complaint that the officer had kept Mr Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Batala, in police custody illegally. Mr Narinder Bedi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, was deputed to hold an inquiry, who found the police officer guilty. Meanwhile, the Batala police has arrested Tarsem Singh and Khagan Singh, proclaimed offenders, in cases of murder.

In another case, the police has booked two persons on the charge of fraud and has arrested one of them. Mr R.P.S. Brar, SSP, in a press note today, identified the suspects as Gurnam Singh, a resident of Gharotian under the Dinanagar police station, and Harbhajan Singh, alias Bhajna, a resident of Jeon Chack under the Dorangala police station in the district. Gurnam Singh has been arrested.

Mr Brar said the suspects prepared a fake registration certificate of a truck by forging the signatures of a transport officer of the Guwahati region and evaded government taxes since 1987. On October 18, on a tip-off, the Pathankot police arrested one of the suspects at a naka at CIA Chowk, Pathankot.


Industrialist shoots self

Kapurthala, October 20
A local industrialist today allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with his revolver at his house.

However, the police has registered a case on the statement of the wife of deceased Ranjit Singh that revolver went off accidentally.

SSP R.N. Dhoke told mediapersons that it was a case of suicide as the deceased fired at his temple and the police would probe into the circumstances, which forced the deceased to commit suicide.

Business and family tension is said to be the cause behind the suicide. — PTI


Man robbed
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 20
Owner of a general store, was robbed of goods and cash worth Rs 4,000 by two unidentified persons in broad daylight here today.

The robbers reportedly visited the store for some items and took away some goods and cash of Rs 3,000 after eluding shopkeeper.

Mr Prem Chand, the victim, alleged that the unidentified persons visited his store and asked for some items. “They asked me for Rs 3,500 (in the shape of Rs 500 notes). As I went to the adjacent shop, the duo decamped with the cash and other items”, claimed Mr Prem Chand.



4 of family booked on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 20
The police today booked four persons, including a woman, for allegedly raping a teenaged girl on September 24. Police sources said the accused included Bittu, his father Mangal Singh, mother Beero and brother Satta, all residents of Dhothian village.

The police has registered a case. The victim told that she was lured on pretext of marriage to Bittu by the accused persons. She alleged the accused took her to their house where she was repeatedly raped by Bittu.


4 Bangladesh nationals held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 20
Four Bangladesh nationals, including a woman, were nabbed by the Border Security Force (BSF) for allegedly crossing over to India from Pakistan in the wee hours yesterday. 

However, the case came to light when they were handed over to the Ramdass police falling under Majitha police district late last evening.


Beating up of school students to be probed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 20
Prof Darbari Lal, Minister for State for Education today made a surprise visit to Government Senior Secondary School, Chheharta, where three students were allegedly beaten up severely by the Principal and a teacher of the school on October 18.

This was the second incident of severe corporal punishment in the school in the past three months. On August 5 nearly 60 students of class VIII were allegedly beaten up by the drawing teacher, Mr Kuldip Singh, who was later suspended by the District Education Officer (Secondary), Mr Dalip Singh Sandhu.

The Education Minister appointed Mr Sandhu and Mr Guljar Singh Sidhu, Deputy DEO (Secondary), enquiry officers in the case. They have been asked to submit their reports immediately.

Three students—Amit Kumar, Pardeep Kumar and Rahul Sharma of class XI—had alleged that Mr Sarabjit Singh, Principal of the school, along with Mr Vijay Kumar, a commerce teacher, had beaten them with sticks and also kicked them. The students developed contusions and had marks of beating on their hands and back. They had alleged that they were beaten up without any cause.

Prof Darbari Lal took serious note of the issue and made a round of the school. He was accompanied by the DEO, Deputy DEO and other staff of the Education Department. Parents of the children, who were also present, condemned the attitude of the Principal and teachers towards the students and sought suspension of those responsible for the beatings.

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