P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Fresh warrants against Daler Mehndi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 17
A local court today issued fresh warrants against Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi and five others after all of them failed to present themselves before the court in the human trafficking case registered by the police against them.

The court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa today issued fresh warrants against Daler Mehndi, his wife Daljit Kaur, his brother Shamsher’s wife Balwinder Kaur and three others — Tejinderpal Singh Laddi, Shian Singh and Surinder Singh. The court ordered the police to present all accused in the court before December 19.

Earlier a Patiala police team consisting of Inspectors Rampal Singh Gill and Anil Sharma and ASI Ajit Singh gave a statement in the court stating that they had raided the residences of all accused in Delhi and its nearby areas. The team members said they were not able to get any information about the accused despite the raids.

The court held that since the accused seemed to be in hiding a proclamation should be done to ensure their presence before December 19. It also directed that if need be posters could be pasted in this regard on the walls of the residences of Daler Mehndi and the other accused.

Meanwhile, the police is likely to intensify its efforts to ensure the presence of Daler Mehndi in the local court. The new district police chief A.S. Rai had recently issued statements urging Daler Mehndi to surrender before the court.

According to the police, in case Daler continued to remain in hiding and did not present himself in the local court before December 19 he would be declared a proclaimed offender.


CM insulted Punjabis, says Sukhbir Badal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 17
A former union minister and SAD general secretary, Mr Suhkbir Badal, while accusing the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, of ruling the state with anti-Punjabi mindset today alleged that he had insulted the state and Punjabis while campaigning for the Congress in the Assembly elections of Madhya Pradesh.

Mr Badal while talking to TNS today, said Capt Amarinder Singh had given a negative image of Punjab while campaigning for the Congress in Madhya Pradesh by giving wrong information to the people and media yesterday.

“Capt Amarinder Singh has wrongly said the drop-out rate in Punjab is higher than that in Madhya Pradesh. Schoolteachers in Punjab remain absent in large numbers than in Madhya Pradesh and the availability of electricity to the rural areas is very poor in Punjab as compared to Madhya Pradesh to appease the central Congress leadership. It has also dented the pride of Punjabis”, said Mr Badal.

He claimed that during the five-year-tenure of the SAD-BJP combine hundreds of schools were upgraded, thousands of teachers were posted, better roads were laid, people were provided basic amenities and electricity was made available for sufficient time even in the remotest village of Punjab. But Capt Amarinder Singh’s government had put a full stop on all development activities.


Remand of 5 in Badal case extended

Ropar, November 17
A local court today extended till December 1 the judicial remand of five accused held in a case of corruption and disproportionate assets against former Punjab Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal and an accused in a similar case against SAD MLA from Joga and former Punjab Milkfed Chairman Jagdeep Singh Nakai.

Special Judge S.K. Goel ordered to produce a Chandigarh resident Gurpinder Singh Grewal, Director of Sarai Group of Companies reportedly owned by Rajya Sabha MP Sukhbir Badal’s father-in-law Satyajit Singh Majithhia, Harbans Lal, a manager of a petrol station owned by the Badals in Killianwali village (Muktsar), who also allegedly worked as a conduit between “favour-seekers” and the Badals, a Chandigarh police Sub-Inspector and former Punjab Police SHO Nirabhjeet Singh, alias Nibhy Dhanoa, who is believed to be a close aide of Sukhbir, and three residents of Muktsar district — Pavittar Singh, Darshan Singh and Sukhmandar Singh — who had allegedly “bribed” Badals for getting government jobs, before the same court on the next date of hearing.

While Grewal was arrested in connection with Nakai’s case, the remaining five accused were arrested in the Badal’s case. — UNI


PUDA to allow compoundable violations
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 17
The recent announcement by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to allow compoundable violations in its building rules framed under the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act 1995 is bound to bring relief to thousands of residents across Punjab. Over the years residents have been making need-based changes in their houses which were not allowed within the building bylaws. But PUDA has now allowed these violations after due payments to the authority.

Building plans: Cases of construction raised without getting the buildings plans approved but conforming to building bylaws has been allowed by PUDA at various rates in residential houses, commercial buildings, institutional buildings and industrial buildings. Construction done after major changes in approved plan without getting the revised plan approved, will also be allowed. Any variation in internal planning with minor changes has also been allowed.

Excess covered area: Cases of excess covered area, including area under steps or ramps beyond permissible limits but within zoning limits, has been allowed in residential, institutional and industrial plots up to 5 per cent and in commercial plots and up to 10 per cent at the ground level and at higher floors. Excess covered area has been allowed beyond zoning line up to 5 per cent.

Sewer connection: Unauthorised sewer connections have been allowed in all residential, commercial, industrial, group housing, office and institutional building after payment of certain penalty amount. However, in case the unauthorised sewer connection is found to be faulty it will be changed at the cost of the owner.

Cantilever projection: Although PUDA has disallowed any change in the depth of cantilevered projection, additional cantilevered projection beyond sanctionable limits but within prescribed depth has been allowed. Side projection in corner plots up to 1'-6'' above 6'-9'' height on public land has been allowed but depth larger than these at the roof level is non-compoundable. PUDA has also allowed a cantilevered projection not shown on the building plans but sanctionable.

Building heights: In cases of buildings covered under frame control, no height variation has been allowed. But in case of buildings not covered under frame control changes have been allowed till one feet.

Gates/boundary walls: For changes in width of gate no compounding fee is to be charged on gate width up to 12 feet. In addition a wicket gate of 3'-0'' has been allowed in the front boundary wall. Gate of larger width is not compounded. Violation of a side or rear gate, however, has not been allowed. Any variation in height of front boundary wall has been allowed up to 10 per cent. Change in positions of gate in marla houses has been allowed.

Light and ventilation: Reduction in general light and ventilation has been allowed up to 10 per cent. Variation in the shape and size of windows subject to the condition that no violations of air, light and ventilation norms has been done. Stores can be converted into kitchens provided they conform to norms of air, light and ventilation.

Basements: Basement constructed under the built-up area of commercial buildings where not provided or permitted in architectural control design has been allowed, along with the basement constructed without getting the building plan sanctioned but otherwise permissible.

Construction of toilets at commercial sites have been allowed. Cupboards and bay windows have been allowed outside zoning line up to a certain limit. Variation in height up to 3" and 5 per cent of permissible area in the height and size of habitable and other rooms without changing their location has been allowed. A temporary store in the courtyard up to a maximum of 40 per cent of the courtyard or 100 sq feet has been allowed along with a read boundary wall with the roof height not exceeding 7'-6". However, the roof shall not be of RCC or RBC.

Other than these changes in damp proof course (DPC), stair cases ventilating shaft etc have also been allowed. According to PUDA, in case of flatted developments having multiple units and ownerships a separate compounding of violations will be specified.


Nabha area high on AIDS hit list
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nabha, November 17
Many laboratories in the town have tested scores of residents of adjoining villages positive for the HIV virus recently.

While those who are aware of what the disease means try to hide the fact and start medication. However, those uneducated and unaware go back home, clutching the test report without knowing its implications.

AIDS suspects among the land-owning class are difficult to approach. The poor are easier to identify. One hears familiar excuses when such patients are approached like “he is suffering from weakness” or “he has a problem in the ear but is otherwise fine”.

Nearly all major laboratories are reporting fresh HIV positive cases every month. Laboratory technicians say the incidence of the disease is going up.

According to Dr Pashora Singh of Public Laboratory, he identified more than 50 AIDS cases last year. He said most cases in his laboratory had come from Kakrala village, in which around 15 persons were found to be infected with the virus. Other villages include Sheetanwala, Sadhoheri, Ramgarh, Paharpur, Dulladi, Kaidopur and Bauran Khurd.

Dr Inderjit of Chandigarh Laboratory said the incidence of HIV cases was on the rise. He said the number could be higher as many people were not getting themselves tested because they were not aware and were seeking help from self-styled babas.

When a TNS team visited a patient’s house in Kakrala village, he was lying in the bed. His wife had died of the disease four months ago. He, however, did not know which problem he was suffering from and said he had problem in brain. The laboratory slip, confirming his HIV positive status, revealed the disease to this reporter. Jagwinder Singh, who works in a chemist shop in the village, said there were 15 to 20 confirmed cases of AIDS in the village and many more were suspected to be infected with the dreaded virus. The village also has two “doctors”, who the people said use outdated steel syringes instead of disposable ones.

Locating HIV positive cases was easier in other villages. At Sadoheri, when asked about those who were keeping sick since long, the team was led to the house of Inayat Khan (name changed), whose relatives said he was suffering from the “navi bimari” but refused to show his papers. Similar was the case at Ramgarh and Dulladi villages.

A princely town earlier, Nabha is now mainly known for manufacturing farming equipment. It has earned a name for itself in making harvester combines. Some people here take harvesters out for months all together to places as far as Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Many youths have taken to the trucking industry. AIDS came to the area through this route. Noticed around two years ago, it has now become widespread.

However, the Health Department is not aware of the magnitude of the problem. Senior Medical Officer I.D. Goyal, when contacted, said no “extraordinary increase” had been reported in the incidence of the disease. He said the department was organising awareness camps, but no surveillance of the disease had been conducted in the area.

This apparently is what medical practitioners and NGOs working in the field want. Mr Dhir Singh, who runs NGO, Jan Seva, said they had distributed pamphlets to create awareness about the disease but more need to be done at the grass-roots level to create awareness.


Bobby Jindal down but not out, say kin
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
“Bobby Jindal may be down, but he is certainly not out. Barely 32, he is a man to watch in the US politics who will be going places. Soon you will see him playing an important role as a Republican leader”. There is what the entire population in Khanpur village, 8 km from Malerkotla, have to say about the defeat of Bobby Jindal in the Louisiana gubernatorial poll.

Though, Bobby was born and bought up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the only memories the residents of Khanpur and other close relatives have of him is from the time when an eight-year-old Bobby visited his native place way back in 1983. “He was a very bright lad and showed extraordinary insight into ordinary things”, says his cousin Mr Subhash Jindal.

“We are disappointed that Bobby could not make it as the first Indian Governor in the USA, but we are proud of his achievement. It is almost unimaginable that a person with humble roots has secured 48 per cent votes in one of the most important election in the USA”, says another cousin of Bobby, who runs a chemist shop in Malerkotla.

Since morning, when television channels broke the news of Bobby’s defeat, villagers have been queuing up outside the various houses of the Jindal family in Khanpur, Malerkotla, Ludhiana and Chandigarh. “While people come with condolence messages, we are having a hard time telling then that they should not be dejected. We tell them to get together for celebrating the great achievement of our brother”.

Bobby’s father, Mr Amar Jindal, graduated with an engineering degree from the local Guru Nanak Dev University, while his mother Raj who was a lecturer, decided to immigrate to the USA in the early 1970s’. Both Bobby and his younger brother, Naresh, were born in the USA, recalls Mr Sham Lal, elder brother of Mr Amar Jindal.

Mr Sham Lal has been talking to his younger brother, Amar, almost daily ever since Bobby decided to run for the governor’s post. The family says since Bobby cannot converse in Hindi or Punjabi, elders here mostly talk to his father and his brothers. Though, the family does not really know what went wrong after Bobby was put in a lead position by poll surveys, but they think that negative publicity against Bobby by the Democrats cost him dearly.

“Bobby has always been proud of his humble background and he has been highlighting this in his public speeches. It was family values due to which Bobby and Supriya had an arranged marriage”, says his cousin Subhash. The family feels that since he did not stoop low like his political rivals and avoided replying to frivolous charges of his opponents so the scale turned in favour of Democrat candidate, Kathleen Blanco.

Mr Satya Pal Jindal, a maternal uncle of Bobby, proudly recalls the days when his cousin sister Raj got married to Amar Jindal. “The couple had something special about them. There was a will to succeed. Consequently, it is not only Amar and Raj who achieved heights in their professional careers, they imbibed values in their children and the result is before everyone”. He is confident that Bobby Jindal’s political career has just begun. “At 32 Bobby is already the Health Policy Adviser to the Bush Administration, besides being an Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the US Department of Health and Human Resources,” he says.

The Jindals here are not upset over his conversion to Christianity. “Jaisa desh, vaisa besh” is how Subhash reacts to Bobby’s taking to Christianity adding that this son of Punjab had done the entire nation proud and, therefore, the government must invite him to his native land and honour him for his achievements.


Govt to celebrate festivals to attract
foreigners, NRIs
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 17
The state government has chalked out an ambitious programme to celebrate major religious festivals, including Divali, Dasehra, Maghi, Baisakhi, Jor Mela and the Mela of Ram Tirath, at an international level to ensure the participation of NRIs and foreigners. This is likely to be finalised before the Golden Temple is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005.

Apart from this, the state government will celebrate almost all major heritage festivals like Chhapar Mela, Jarg da Mela and Jagraon di Roushni in order to preserve the heritage of Punjab.

Disclosing this to TNS here today, Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister of Tourism and Culture, said after identifying the religious and heritage festivals, the state government would issue a notification. Mr Sekhri said a team of experts would be constituted to identify the festivals.

Mr Sekhri said a website would be created so that NRIs and other foreigners could get ready information about the rich heritage of Punjab. He said no government had ever thought of tapping this potential so far. These melas would be celebrated on the pattern of the Pushkar festival, which attracts a large number of participants every year. He said it was a matter of pride that many foreigners visit Punjab everyday. Celebrating such melas could earn sufficient foreign exchange too. A blue print for this programme would be prepared at the earliest, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Sekhri reviewed the proposed programme for the Amritsar heritage, being held here from December 3 to 7 and took a serious note of excluding items pertaining to Punjab’s folk culture.

He directed the Deputy Commissioner to include popular Punjabi folk dances and songs in the five-day-long festival. He also proposed a seminar on the heritage of Amritsar, including an exhibition of heritage sites.


Govt, Punjabi varsity fail to keep word on
fee hike, say students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 17
The Punjabi University Students Confederation, which was earlier responsible for an agitation on the university campus to demand a rollback in the fee hike, today claimed that the state government as well as the university administration was not fulfilling the terms of the agreement with the students, following which (the agreement) they had called off their agitation.

Confederation spokesman Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal today said the university was still to get the grant promised by the government to offset the loss suffered by it by rolling back the fee hike. He said the university on its part, had not issued a notification rolling back the fee hike.

The student leader said in such a situation, the students of the university would suffer because the university had issued a notification asking the students to deposit the fee for the next semester. He said the university, instead of doing this, should have adjusted the fee due for deposit now against the excess money given earlier as part of the fee of the first semester. Mr Dhaliwal said the confederation had informed the Deputy Commissioner about this issue and would meet him again tomorrow to highlight the matter.

Besides, the student leader said, the university authorities had put an end to the system of issuing bus passes and had also not given any gap between papers which were to be held as part of the first semester examinations. Mr Dhaliwal said in case the university authorities did not address the issue, the students would launch an agitation.

He said this had been decided at a meeting of the various constituents of the confederation held on the university campus. Those who attended the meeting were Gurnam Virk of the PRSU, Sukhjit Singh Chahal of the PUSH, Navdeep Daher of the PSF, Rajeev Kumar of PSU and Ravinder Singh Ahmedgarh of the SFI.


Vedanti launches construction work at Punjabi varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 17
Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti today performed the ceremony to launch construction work on the Gurmat Sangeet Bhavan on the Punjabi University campus here.

Speaking on the occasion, the Jathedar said the scholastic vision of the Sikh intelligentsia associated with the Gurmat Sangeet Chair could go a long way in reviving and promoting the authenticity of Gurmat sangeet. He applauded the decision of Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai to establish a Chair which was dedicated to research in and teaching of Gurmat sangeet traditions started and preached by the Gurus. He also praised the efforts of Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa for funding the Chair.

Mr Boparai, in his welcome address, said the presentation of Gurbani in its authentic perspective and promotion of Sikh values through various means was the urgent need of the hour.

He said such a step would act as a great source of inspiration for coming generations in creating right awareness about our culture and religion.

Giving details about the Chair, its Chairman, Dr Gurnam Singh, said the four-storey building, which would cost Rs 2.25 crore, would comprise the Sant Suchha Singh Archives of Music, an audio-visual laboratory, an instruments gallery, an auditorium and an administrative block. Dr Gurnam Singh said funds were being supplied by the Guru Gian Parkash Foundation, Delhi, which had agreed to provide Rs 6 lakh annually for the first 15 years to run its affairs. The main objective of the Chair was to provide high-level, original and authentic training to ‘kirtankaars’ in the field of Gurmat sangeet and carry out and preserve recordings of folk, classical and Sufi music, besides other forms of Gurmat sangeet.

The head of the said the Chair was also celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Prakash Divas of Guru Granth Sahib on November 18. He said noted musicians and ‘kirtankaars’ would perform ‘kirtan’ including Singh Bandhus, Uttam Singh, Bhai Avtar Singh, Dr Jasbir Kaur, Baba Daljit Singh and Bhai Balbir Singh. He said Mr Darshan Kumar of T-Series and Sikh painter Mehar Singh would also be honoured for their contribution to Sikhism.


CM’s anti-graft drive exposed: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The state BJP said today that with the revocation of the suspension orders of Mr Karnesh Sharma, a Deputy Director in the Food and Supplies Department, the entire campaign of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh against corruption stood exposed.

In a statement issued here today, President of the state unit Avinash Khanna said that barely four days after an official inquiry indicted Mr Sharma, the Chief Minister not only ensured his re-instatement but also awarded him with a plum post of Deputy Director, Food and Supplies, in Patiala district.

The Food and Civil Supplies Special Secretary, Mr Samir Kumar, had in his interim and final reports detailed the corrupt deeds of Mr Karnesh Sharma.

Mr Sharma, who was posted as Deputy Director, Food and Supplies Department, Jalandhar, was suspended two months ago following numerous complaints of corruption from the rice millers and other agencies.


Youth Akali Dal threatens stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 17
At a meeting of the youth Akali Dal held here today, Mr Rajan Garg, all-India general secretary, said they would launch a chakka jam agitation in case former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was arrested under a false corruption case.

Mr Garg called upon the party rank and file to attend the rally to be organised in the city on Wednesday. He said the national president of the party, Mr Sharanjit Dhillon, would also attend the rally.

Later, youth workers thanked Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Cabinet minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Sharanjit Dhillon, president, youth Akali Dal for appointing Mr Ajay Mittal as the president of the district urban unit (Bathinda) of the youth Akali Dal. 


SAD (women) threatens stir

Amritsar, November 17
Bibi Vajinder Kaur Verka, general secretary of the SAD (women wing), threatened to resort to large-scale protest if the Congress government arrested Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD.

Bibi Verka, in a press note issued on Saturday, threatened that she along with thousands of women activists of the SAD would stage dharna and block traffic.
 — OC


Maharaja Ranjit Singh heritage centre on anvil
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 17
To expand the scope of research on the eventful era of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Delhi-based Maharaja Ranjit Singh Trust is in the process of setting up the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Heritage International Centre at its newly acquired piece of land on New Delhi’s posh Deen Dyal Upadhya Marg.

The trust has been instrumental in the installation of a 24-feet-high statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the Parliament Hall and organising a light and sound programme on Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the Lok Sabha auditorium on June 21, which was also attended by number of chief ministers and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Last month the Centre allotted a 1050 square yard plot to the trust for setting up the heritage centre on Deen Dyal Upadhya Marg.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr K.S. Bains, the Chairman of the trust, and a former IAS officer, said the proposed over Rs 6 crore heritage centre would be equipped with ultramodern equipment and facilities for research on the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whose contribution to modern India was immense as he was the first ruler to stop invasion by foreigners from the North-western pockets.

“The heritage centre on a 15000 square feet will also have a residential facility for research scholars. A replica of throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh would also be displayed in the museum, which would form a part of the institute. The project which is likely to take off in January next year, is likely to be completed in three years”, said Mr Bains.

Referring to funds for the project Mr Bains said apart from donations, the trust, which also had Mr Tarlochan Singh, the Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, as its member, would also try to involve international organisations like the Ford Foundation and Unesco, which fund such heritage projects.

The heritage centre, which was at a five minutes’ distance from the New Delhi railway station, will have a well-equipped library. “For devising the nature of courses, we will collaborate with Indian universities and other international institutes as the subject we are dealing with is so vast”, said Mr Bains.


Release youths from Pak jails, say families
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 17
Jeet Ram, an old farmer is helpless and tired. His son Surajbhan could be enduring the extreme cold weather in a Baluchistan jail in Pakistan. He had sent his son to make a fortune in foreign lands and recently came to know that prisoners lodged in this jail “fight like dogs” to keep themselves warm.

Hansraj Singh is the father of another youth, Charanjeet Singh, from Lamrapind. According to his information, Charnji, as he fondly called his son is penniless and remains sick most of the time in the same jail.

As many as 33 families, who are carrying the unforgiving burden of their decision to send their sons abroad for better opportunities, regret their monetary greed which landed their sons in jails.

The families met and discussed the plight of their sons today. Many of them had been caught in Greece. They said that Greeks pushed them into Turkey, where they were tortured for illegal immigration by the Turkish police. The Turkish police allegedly took away their money and tore their passports. Later, they were pushed into Iran and their clothes, especially shoes and jackets, taken away by the Iranian security, allege some relatives. Subsequently, through the Taptan border in Iran, these youths landed in various jails in Pakistan.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as many as 33 suffering families of these youths have urged him to take up the case of their wards with the Pakistan Government. Many of these, have been in the jails, despite the expiry of their terms. Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society, led by Mr Harpal Bhullar, in a memorandum to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Safar-ullah Khan Jamali, has outlined the tale of woes of their sons.

As many as 29 youths are lodged in jails of Baluchistan. Four of these belong to Haryana and the rest are from Punjab. Three youths lodged in a jail in Kota, while one is languishing in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. In addition to them, three Sikh youths, who had taken refuge in Dera Sahib gurdwara in Lahore as Islamic converts, had bagged. Members of recent Sikh jathas to help them and get them back to their country.

The families have urged the government to help expedite the release of their sons, who had landed in Pakistan jails due to unscrupulous travel agents.


Six mini mobile hospitals launched
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 17
In an attempt to provide better health facilities to the people of the state, the Punjab Health Corporation today launched mini mobile hospitals which will operate in the rural areas adjoining six cities of the state. Ms Preneet Kaur, MP, inaugurated the mobile health service at a function held at Shatrana here today.

Punjab Minister for Health Ashwini Sekhri, who was present at the launch of a mobile diagnostic hospital at Shatrana, while talking to reporters stated that one mobile hospital each has been introduced to cater to the rural belt around Patiala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Amritsar during the first phase of the project.

He stated that each of the mobile hospitals which will provide on-the-spot medical assistance to those in the rural sector, would have on board an eye specialist, an ENT specialist besides a general physician, a laboratory technician and a pharmacist. The hospitals had been equipped with various diagnostic machines and gadgets required for a testing laboratory. Facilities for carrying out tests related to ECG, blood group, TLC, DLC, BT, CT and diabetes were also there. He also informed that 22 more mobile hospitals would be launched at various places in the state soon.

Ms Preneet Kaur while addressing the gathering said the launch of the medical service was yet another milestone in the area of development projects undertaken by the government in the state. She said the scheme had been launched keeping in view the poor medical facilities in the backward areas of the state. She said the mini hospital introduced at Shatrana would cater to the villages in the area, including Shadipur, Kartarpur Momian, Gurditpura and Sadaranpur.

The chairman of the Punjab Health System Corporation, Lieut-Col C.D. Singh Kamboj (retd), said the corporation had marked a budget of Rs 452 crore for the health services to be provided to the masses. He added that the laboratory charges would be kept to the minimum so that common men could have easy access to the facilities on offer. A schedule announcing the date and the time of the arrival of the van in different areas would soon be circulated in neighbouring villages.

Also present at the launch were Secretary, Health Services, D.S. Guru, chairman, Punjab Warehousing Board, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, and Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Tejveer Singh.


Medical Registration Act to be amended
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 17
To increase efficiency of the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) to ensure quality medical care to the people the Punjab Medical Registration Act 1916 would be amended soon. This was disclosed by Dr Manmohan Singh, President, PMC, at a function organised by the Indian Medical Association Punjab (IMA), to honour all newly elected members and president of the council here yesterday. He said that council would also re-frame code of medical ethics, to restore the image of medical profession.

Dr Manmohan Singh appreciated the IMA Punjab for getting the PMC revived through the Punjab and Haryana High Court after 21 years. He said many members of the IMA were members of the council.

He advised the members of the IMA Punjab to organise meetings of public and its members in all the districts so that they could discuss their problems.

To check quackery, he said that amendments were needed in the existing law.

Dr Kuldip Singh, President, IMA, Punjab said that first challenge before the council was to retrieve the falling standard of medical education and professional ethics. To curb quackery was another formidable task.

Later the IMA presented a memorandum to Dr Manmohan Singh, in which it demanded amendment to the Punjab Medical Registration Act 1916, fresh rolls of the council after updating the state medical register, deletion of Section 5A of the Punjab Medical Registration Act 1916, one member of Medical Council of India (MCI) from amongst the doctors registered with the PMC, code of medical ethics etc.

Dr Manmohan Singh said that he would issue instructions to his office to implement all above demands of the IMA.

Later Dr Rajinder Sharma, President, IMA, Hoshiarpur, honoured the president and members of the PMC.


Youth federation demands jobs for all
Tribune news Service

Bathinda, November 17
Members of the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), Punjab unit, and senior activists of the CPI, today demanded that the state and the Central government, should make laws to ensure employment to those youths who have attained the age of 18 and have got the right to vote.

In a resolution passed in its state-level conference here today, the federation demanded that the government should pay minimum wages of Rs 2.250 to illiterate and Rs 2,800 per month to literate unemployed youths till they got employment. The federation said the government should make employment the legal right of every youth.

While demanding free education for all up to plus two level, the federation urged the government to take necessary steps to check the menace of female foeticide and make laws for providing employment to girls.

The federation organised its state-level rally in the local sports stadium to launch a campaign regarding employment awakening programme. Mr Prithipal Singh madimegha secretary, AIYF, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, president, all India Khet Majdoor Sabha, Mr Sajjan Singh, chairman, Punjab and Ut Employees Federation, Mr Radhye Sham, President, PSEB Employees Federation, and Mr Jagdish Ghai, a senior CPI leader, participated in the conference.

While addressing the gathering speakers urged the authorities concerned to make arrangements for interest-free education loans for students, a teacher for every 22 students, setting up Shaheed Bhagat Singh Bhavan at the block level, concession in the bus fare of private buses and library and sports stadium in every village.

In the other resolution, the federation demanded that students be allowed to sit in all examinations as private candidates, more employment opportunities and arrangements for setting up fish ponds in all water bodies in the state.

The AIYF also decided to set up 2000 units of the federation in different villages and town in the state.


Lala Lajpat Rai remembered
Tribune Reporters

Moga, November 17
The seventyfifth martyrdom day of Punjab Kesari Lala Rajpat Rai was observed at his native village, Dhudike, near here, today. People from Dhudike and neighbouring villages turned in good numbers to pay homage to the martyr. Four Punjab Ministers, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Technical Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl, Education Minister, Dr Kewal Krishan Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and Mr Ashwani Sekhri, attended the “shraahanjali samaroh”. The ministers first visited the samadhi of Lala Lajpat Rai where a memorial building houses a museum.

In the first session, 17 contestants from 10 educational institutions competed in a declamation contest. Prizes of this function were distributed by Mr Behl. The function was presided over by Mr Kaypee.

SHIMLA: Rich tributes were paid to Lala Lajpat Rai on his martyrdom day today.

The Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, laid a wreath at the statue of the martyr.

ABOHAR: The “balidan divas” of Sher-e-Punjab Lala Lajpat Rai was observed at the Lala Lajpat Rai park, which was recently renovated by the Improvement Trust following a complaint lodged by he Democratic Citizens Forum.

Those who offered garlands at the martyr’s statue included Mr Vimal Thathai, a councillor Veer Bala Nagpal, a councillor, Mr Satyanarain Singla, president, Aggarwal Sabha, Mr Seeta Ram Sharma, state secretary, Rashtriya Suraksha Samiti, Mr Gucharan Singh Gill, and Mr Ajay Gilhotra, president and chairman of the Punjabi Sabhyachar Manch, respectively, Dr Harbans Singh Chahal, Mr Vijay Golcha, Mr Palwinder Singh, member, Academic Council of the PSEB, and Mr Subhash K. Bedi, president of the Democratic Citizens Forum.


Chiranji Lal Garg elected chief of Aggarwal Sabha
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 17
More than 700 delegates attended the state-level sammelan of the Punjab Aggarwal Sabha, which was held at Mandi Goniana, here yesterday.

Former Punjab Cabinet minister Chiranji Lal Garg who was earlier the patron of the sabha, was unanimously elected the president of the sabha. Addressing the delegates, Mr Rameshwar Dass, former president, who resigned on health grounds and Mr Prem Chand, general secretary, appreciated the services rendered by Mr Garg to the public and the sabha.

Mr Des Raj, president of the Aggarwal Sabha, Jaito, Faridkot, said a long-standing demand of celebrating the jayanti of Maharaja Aggarsen at state-level was fulfilled with the efforts of Mr Garg. He said Mr Garg brought recognition for the community and 15 chowks were inaugurated in the name of Maharaja Aggarsen.


Young couples told to plan families

Jalandhar, November 17
Young couples were educated about family planning at a family planning camp organised by the National Integrated Medical Association in a Basti Bawa Khel hospital yesterday.

The camp was inaugurated by Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, local MLA. Contraceptive pills and condomns were also distributed among the couples.

Dr Reena Malhotra, said “No target can be achieved without public participation and awareness at the grass-root level is the need of the hour,” she added. — TNS


Eye camp concludes

Bathinda, November 17
The 13th free eye check-up-cum-operation camp, organised by the Goodwill Society, concluded here on Saturday. It was organised with the help of CMC eye mobile team.

Mr K.K. Garg, general secretary of the society, said the camp started on November 9. He said the local CPI MP, Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, inaugurated it and on the concluding day the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggrawal, visited.

He said that 1,482 patients were examined and 102 patients were operated upon. As many as 51 patients were given free eye lenses. — TNS


Tributes paid to Sarabha

Barnala, November 17
Glowing tributes were paid to Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha on his martyrdom day at Sanghera village by members of the Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha Sports Club.

Dr Jasvir Singh Dangon, municipal councillor and secretary of the sports club said the members observed a two-minutes’ silence in the memory of the great martyr remembering his laudable contributions and the supreme sacrifice. According to Mr Jaskaur Singh, president of the sports club, the members decided to name the area behind Government High School as Sarabha Nagar. — OC


MLA gets bail in corruption case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today granted bail to Punjab MLA Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala in an alleged corruption case. According to the prosecution, the MLA had accumulated assets disproportionate to his known sources of income by misusing his official position.

Claiming to have been implicated, the petitioner had earlier accused the ‘present government’ of having adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents, particularly the leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal). Dr Ajnala, in another petition, had added that the authorities feared exposure by them.

Giving details, he had asserted that the ‘‘government had adopted a policy of arresting them on trumped up charges on the pretext of weeding out corruption and was going out of the way to discredit and demoralise them.’’

Referring to two writ petitions filed by Dr Ajnala regarding the registration of cases against former Congress ministers and revamping of the Vigilance Bureau, counsel had added that the petitioner had been raising his voice against the ‘malfunctioning’ and ‘partisan attitude’ despite the prevailing atmosphere of intimidation and fear.

Notice of motion

Taking up a petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s nephew Manpreet Badal for the grant of anticipatory bail in an alleged corruption and cheating case, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the High Court on Monday issued notice of motion for November 20.

Mr Badal was seeking bail in connection with a case registered at a police station in Zira in Ferozepore district under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, besides under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

The case was registered on the basis of complaint filed by a member of a religious dera.


Bank ordered to pay Rs 4.75 lakh compensation
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 17
The Faridkot district Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum has directed the Punjab and Sind Bank Kotkapura branch to pay Rs 4.75 lakh compensation to Shakti Sales Corporation, an electrical concern of Kotkapura following the alleged negligence of the bank in getting their business premises insured in 2000. The forum also ordered to pay an interest of 9 per cent on the compensation till the clearance of the amount besides Rs 5000 as litigation charges.

The three-member panel including, Mr B.C. Gupta president and Ms S.K. Rajput, Mr G.S. Azad both members of the forum said that Shakti Sales Corporation got a limit of Rs 5 lakh from the said bank for their business in 1994 under the condition of the bank that it (bank) will get the business premises insured every year to avoid any loss due to any mishappening to the business premises.

However, in 2000 the bank failed to perform duty in this connection and later in the same year on October 27 the business premises were gutted causing loss to the firm.

Next day on October 28 the firm got registered an FIR with the police station Kotkapura and later demanded an insurance cover from the bank to get the compensation from the insurance company. However, the bank failed to give any insurance documents to the party.


Mandi board to set up new cotton markets

Moga, November 17
The Punjab Mandi Board will set up new cotton markets in the state with the assistance from the Union Government.

Modern facilities will be made available in these markets so that cotton could be better marketed and farmers could get better price, this was announced by Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Surinder Singla while talking to mediapersons at Dharamkot on Saturday evening.

Mr Singla said the board proposed to set up at least seven new modern cotton markets and each would cost Rs 1.67 crore, out of which Rs 90 lakh for each cotton market would be provided by the Centre.

The first such market having the facilities of a petrol outlet, a PCO and cold storage facilities for green vegetables and a computer centre would be set up at Mansa followed by at other places like Malout, Muktsar and Abohar, he added. — PTI


FCI officials inspect rice godowns
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 17
A high-powered team of FCI officials, led by Mr Gurmail Singh, DM(QC), and Mr Gurbachan Dass, DM(D), inspected the rice stored at FCI and Warehousing Corporation godowns at Bassi Pathana delivered by rice millers to the FCI. The FCI team took the samples of the rice from all stags and did their analysis to check the quality. The DM(D) checked the quality of the gunny bags in which rice was filled and inspected other requirements. The staff also inspected the records and the work being done by the officials of the FCI posted there.

Talking to The Tribune, officials said the quality of rice being delivered by the millers was found satisfactory and the samples taken from all stags were as per FCI specifications. They expressed satisfaction over the working of the staff posted at Bassi Pathana and said the work was going on smoothly and in full swing. The DM(D) said he had noticed that some of the millers had used poor-quality gunny bags for rice and they had been warned to use proper gunny bags in the future to avoid harassment.

Later, the rice millers, led by Mr Krishan Kumar, met the officials of the FCI and apprised them of their problems. They told the DM(D) that the gunny bags supplied by the procurement agencies this year were of poor quality and the agencies charged very high rates from the millers. They assured them that they would take care in the future and fresh gunny bags would be used for delivering rice. They also appreciated the working of Mr Tarsem Lal, AM(QC), Mr Jaggi AM(D), and Mr Subhash Arora, TA, posted here and said the millers were getting full cooperation from other members of staff. They assured the team that the millers at Bassi Pathana would deliver the rice as per specification of FCI and demanded that they should not be harassed unnecessarily.


Six killed in collision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 17
Six persons, including three of a Ludhiana-based family, died and two others were seriously injured in a collision between car and a tractor-trailer at a crossing near Kauri village, Khanna, today. The dead included two children.

Kamal Batra (45), his wife Kamlesh Batra and their 19-year-old son, Sunny, belonging to this city, were among the victims. Others belonged to different families in Sirhind. They were 4-year-old Tanish Dhingra, 12-year-old Mani and a middle-aged woman Baljit Kaur. Mani’s mother Jyoti was seriously injured besides another woman identified as Laddo of Sirhind. Both were admitted to DMC Hospital here.

The accident took place at 8 p.m. The victims were going towards Khanna. Kamal Batra was driving the car.

SSP, Khanna, Pramod Ban, who was travelling on the road, supervised the rescue operations.


Man held for killing wife
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 17
The police here arrested Gurdev Singh Randhawa, a resident of Green Avenue here yesterday allegedly for poisoning her wife Hargurjinder Pal Kaur to death.

Mr Shaminder Singh brother in law of the accused in his complaint alleged that the accused poisoned her sister to death on Saturday night. He alleged that on Saturday night he got a call from him and demanded Rs 5 lakh. He said Gurdev called him to his house but he did not go and asked him (Gurdev) to meet next day. However, he said when he went to his sister’s house next morning he was informed that she was in a hospital.

Mr Shaminder said when he reached hospital, doctors said she was brought dead. The police had registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.


Four Amritsar youths die in mishap

Gurdaspur, November 17
Four youths of Amritsar died and other four were injured seriously in a road accident near Sohal village on the Gurdaspur-Dhariwal road around midnight last night, the police said. The mishap took place when the Maruti van in which they were returning from Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu rammed into a truck parked on the roadside, the police added.

Those killed had been identified as Sandeep and Lakha Singh, both tailors and Gopi and Avtar Singh of Sattapur near Amritsar city.

Those admitted in local civil hospital are Chaina, Vijay, Laddi and the unidentified driver. — UNI


PRSU, ABVP hold rallies
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 17
Activists of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) today held parallel rallies in front of Government Shaheed Udham Singh College at Sunam demanding action against each other in connection with a recent incident in which some students were injured.

Meanwhile, the college authorities declared a holiday in the college today in view of a possible clash between members of the two bodies.

Activists of the ABVP demanded the cancellation of cases registered by the police against certain students in connection with an attack on some PRSU leaders. ABVP leaders also condemned the attack on its activists by some outsiders. They also submitted a memorandum to the Sunam DSP.

On the other hand, PRSU leaders demanded registration of case under Section 307 of the IPC against those who had seriously injured PRSU leaders. They also demanded suspension of the college Principal.


APJ college gets youth festival trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 17
The APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, bagged the overall trophy of the Guru Nanak Dev University youth festival, concluded on the varsity campus here today.

DAV College, Amritsar, was the runners-up while the BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, stood third.

Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Minister for Tourism, presided over the function and gave trophies and certificates to winners.

The APJ College of Fine Arts won trophies in 13 disciplines, including painting (still life), poster making, clay modelling, shabad and bhajan, geet and bhajan, group shabad and bhajan, group song (Indian), western (vocal), western (group song), quiz and folk song. It also lifted trophies in fine arts and music. The College was the overall runners-up in literary and folk sections.

DAV College, stood first in nine disciplines. These included collage, flower arrangement (fresh), clay modelling, quiz, folk songs orchestra, skit, fancy dress, bhangra and mime.

The BBK DAV College for women took first position in three disciplines including painting (landscape), histrionics, and one-act play.

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