P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder fabricating evidence, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal today released to the Press what he claimed was the “fabricated” report of the DIG deputed to scout for the properties owned by the Badals abroad. This is believed to form part of the challan against the Badals the Vigilance Bureau is preparing to present in the court.

The former Chief Minister reiterated that even if an iota of evidence either in bank accounts or properties owned by him or his family was proved, he would admit all other charges against him.

If the allegations levelled against him and his family by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of having assets worth Rs 3,500 crore were not proved, the latter should quit politics on moral grounds.

The SAD leader ridiculed Capt Amarinder Singh accusing him of repeatedly “telling lies and fabricating evidence” to defame the Badals. He termed the DIG’s report as a “fabricated list of properties” allegedly owned by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The four-page report on foreign properties attributes its details to a ‘’reliable source’’. It refers to a social security number that Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal had as a student in the USA in 1985-86 and how the same continued to be ‘’retained’’ and ‘’misused’’ by his relatives, including an IFS officer, whom the Badals had got posted in Washington.

The properties allegedly owned by the Badals abroad included agricultural land, villas and apartments in California, Texas and New York, besides bank accounts and investment in shares and shopping malls in Australia and New Zealand. The report also mentions the Swiss banks account numbers of the Badals and how they had laundered black money through their hawala contacts and Wimpy’s International.

Mr Badal said the Chief Minister had tried to sensationalise the whole issue by basing it on falsehood so as to deflect the pressures exerted on the party high command by his own partymen seeking a change in the Punjab Congress leadership.

It was on the advice of the Chief Minister’s close aides that new allegations on foreign properties were sought to be hurled at the Badals.

Referring to his three properties, touted by the Vigilance Bureau as “disproportionate assets”, Mr Badal said these were a house in Sector 9, Chandigarh; Balasar farmhouse in Haryana and Orbit Resorts in Gurgaon. Having failed to get the desired results after the evaluation of these properties through government sources, private agencies were hired by the vigilance. Under the Chief Minister’s pressure and cajoling by the Vigilance, the following differences in assessment were manipulated. For the renovation of the Sector 9 house, the government agencies’ evaluation was Rs 1.35 crore as against the private one that assessed it at Rs 2.11 crore. In respect of the Balasar farmhouse, it was Rs 1.05 crore and Rs 3.71 crore, respectively. For Orbit Resorts, the evaluation by government and private agencies was Rs 95 crore and Rs 108 crore, respectively

Mr Badal listed the relatives of Vigilance and police officers — pursuing investigations against him and his family — whom the government had “rewarded” for fabricating evidence.


Five Congress ministers ridicule SAD stir threat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Five Punjab ministers today lashed out at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for its decision to launch an agitation if the SAD President and former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was arrested.

In a joint statement issued here today, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Lal Singh, Mr Sardool Singh, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa and Mr Rakesh Pandey said it was difficult to comprehend that such a threat to law and order had come in the wake of the Badals having amassed assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, as brought out by the Vigilance Bureau during its investigations.

They pointed out Chief Minister Amarinder Singh instead of taking recourse to the formation of an inquiry commission revived the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to look into the misuse of position and power by the Badal family to amass property during his regime (1997-2002).

Challenging the Badals, the Congress leaders said they should try to contest these cases in court rather than disturb peace and harmony in the state.

They maintained that the charge sheet would be a comprehensive fact-file of Badal’s loot, including money received through corrupt and illegal means, sale of jobs and promotions, allotment of contracts, money laundering through hawala channels, bogus investments, unsecured loans, etc.

Lauding the Chief Minister’s tirade against corruption, the ministers said no such protests were planned when 10 former Akali ministers were arrested on similar charges.


SAD discusses post-Badal arrest scenario
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today discussed the strategy to be followed here in case SAD president Parkash Singh Badal was arrested. The meeting was presided over by SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

All major leaders attended the meeting, which included Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Harmail Singh Tohra, Raja Narinder Singh, Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, Mr Surjit Singh Kohli, Mr Nirmal Singh and Mr Jagtar Singh Rajla. The SGPC members who attended the meeting were Mr Joginder Singh Panjrath, Mr Dhian Singh, Mr Surinder Singh Sabharwal, Mr Tejinder Kaur and Ms Kamlesh Kaur.

The leaders decided to hold a meeting of party workers tomorrow. It was also decided that a district-level conference would be held on December 24 to organise party workers.


Not much done for empowerment of panchayats
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
After dilly-dallying for long on the issue of empowering panchayats, block samitis and Zila Parishads, the Punjab Government has set the ball rolling in this direction. What is being offered to these institutions for their empowerment is however, tokenism compared to the states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Kerala.

Sources said today the Health Department had issued a notification empowering the panchayats to register of birth and death cases for the issuance of the relevant documents by the Panchayat Secretary. However, the funds supposed to be given to panchayats under the various centrally sponsored health schemes such as the reproductive health programme had not been put at the disposal of the Health Department.

The Punjab Education Minister has approved the draft notification to hand over the control of elementary government schools to Zila Parishads. As per the draft notification, the proposals for opening new schools would be approved by Zila Parishads and the recruitment of teachers would be made via district recruitment boards working in tandem with Zila Parishads. Recruitment would be made on a contract basis. The Public Health Department, the Social Security Department and the Home Department have been processing the necessary notifications for devolution of powers to panchayats and other such bodies at the district level.

Sources said senior IAS officers, at least of the rank of Special Secretary and above, would be posted as Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of the zila parishads headed by elected chairpersons. These officers would be senior to the Deputy Commissioners. The decision in this connection has been approved by the Council of Ministers and it is being processed at the decision to appoint senior officers, ratified by the Council of Ministers, has been taken to make the functioning of these bodies meaningful. “We will ensure that Deputy Commissioners do not interfere in the functioning of these bodies in any manner. No parallel centres in a district will be allowed,” said a senior officer.

In the first phase, CEOs would be appointed only in 11 big districts such as Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur. Each small district will be attached with an adjoining big district to be managed by a common CEO.

But what has been causing concern among the Punjab ministers is that once the empowered Zila Parishads start functioning, there can not be a parallel body for the allocation of funds for various development plans as per the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution by which local self-government bodies were given powers. At present there is a district planning board in each district which is headed by either a Cabinet Minister or a senior minister of state. Such boards would have to be dismantled, something the Ministers are averse to.


Panchayat Secretaries get appointment letters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Panchayat Secretaries today distributed “ladoos” and raised slogans in support of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab Rural Development and Panchayats minister, who had played a crucial role in their reinstatement, after they received the appointment letters.

The appointment letters will be given to 467 Panchayat Secretaries because three of their colleagues had died after their sacking on October 12, 2001 by the Badal Government

The appointment letters were given to only 12 Panchayat Secretaries at a function organised at the official residence of Mrs Bhattal, while most others collected their letters from the office of the Director, Panchayats. The rest will get the letters tomorrow.

The appointment letters mention that it is a one-time measure and should not be made a precedent.


Mann meets Governor on SGPC election
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A memorandum was submitted to the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), by the President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, here today to apprise the Governor about the prevailing situation in Sikh politics and point out the delay in the SGPC general election.

Speaking to mediapersons later, Mr Mann said that the SGPC elections were already two years overdue and the reason being cited for the delay was that the nominal roll of voters had not been prepared. Stating that this was no excuse, he said that the SGPC’s Election Commissioner ought to be removed from his post for such laxity.

He said that the Union Home Ministry must use its powers to order SGPC elections, which were required to be held every five years under the Sikh Gurdwara Act.

Pointing out that a number of SGPC members were violating the Sikh code, he said that this was causing disquiet among the community and cautioned that it could lead to agitation. Stating unless the SGPC was overhauled, the situation would be akin to that in 1920 when the ‘mahanti’ system and its misdeeds prevailed.

Mr Mann said that the Akali Dal (Amritsar) had filed a number of cases before the Sikh Judicial Commission in regard to the depravity of some SGPC members and the misuse of SGPC funds.

He also flayed the SGPC decision to convert the assets of Paonta Sahib into a trust, where the children and grandchildren of present trustees had been given rights to be nominated to the trust on the demise of the trustees. He also alleged that lands attached to gurdwaras had been auctioned at throwaway prices.

He also pointed out several financial and administrative irregularities by the SGPC concerning various educational institutions, which have been raised before the Sikh Judicial Commission.


‘Desi kabootri’ racket suspects arrested
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, November 18
The Jagraon police today arrested Raikot-based cloth merchant Kimti Lal Jain and his wife Renu Jain were in the multi-crore “desi-kabootri” racket in which 11 youths were duped of Rs 15-20 lakh each.

The police added that an FIR had been registered against a Ludhiana-based doctor, Inderjit Singh Ahuja, who was allegedly providing medical certificates to the victims without any authorisation from the Canadian Embassy. The doctor allegedly took money from the Jains and Mohinder Kumar another suspect in the case who is a travel agent.

Addressing a press conference at Jagraon, SSP Mukhwinder Singh Chhina said the couple surrendered late last night.

The nabbed Jain couple is reportedly a close relative of a senior Punjab Police officer. The police denied that there was any pressure by the police officer in the case. Sources, however, said the senior officer had facilitated the surrender of the suspects and was helping in effecting a compromise between them and the victims.

Mr Chhina stated that the role of two Canadian citizens Nachattar Kaur and Paramjit Kaur, who had allegedly sold their visas to the co-accused, Gaggi and Rampal, was being investigated and the help of the Canadian Embassy was being sought in this regard. The visas were allegedly used by a Jalandhar-based photographer, Shiv Gemini, to make duplicate copies of the visas.

Meanwhile, a drama was witnessed at the press conference when the Jain couple blamed Mohinder Kumar, who was also present there for everything.

They said they were just facilitators and were not aware of the fact that the brides were not Canadian citizens. They said it was Mohinder Kumar who showed them the papers and hatched the conspiracy.

The travel agent retorted by saying that the couple was lying and had lured him into the racket.

The couple told mediapersons that they took money to clear a Rs 30-lakh debt, which they had taken for buying a cloth shop.


HIV patients turn to ‘babas’ for treatment
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nabha, November 18
For many of the AIDS victims of this subdivision, which has reported a high incidence of HIV positive cases recently, “babas”, ‘sants’ and ‘sant’ have become the only ray of hope with conventional medicines failing to cure them.

The poor, who are afflicted with the disease, do not understand that conventional medicines can do little to thwart the progress of the other disease, which makes them susceptible to a host of other diseases, particularly tuberculosis.

Many patients go to a ‘sadh’ in Chonta village situated on the Ludhiana - Samrala road. This person, who prepares his own medicine, gives three large tablets to AIDS patients for a sum of Rs 1,000.

A ‘baba’ at Palasaur village near Bhadson village gives a powder like ‘medicine’ to fight the disease. One such patient expired some time back because of a cold condition which worsened after the medicine given to him by the ‘baba’. Sources said the patient, who was already taking medicine to cure his tuberculosis, could have survived for a little longer.

Other AIDS patients have also reported that their condition had worsened following visits to self styled ‘babas’. They said a mendicant in Dhura village took a patient in a thatched house where he was subjected to smoke emanating from a fire after a ‘special concoction’ had been thrown into it. This “cure” also sometimes worsened the condition of the patients.

Some patients also go in for the traditional ‘jhar’ treatment under which a ‘baba’ tries to exorcise the spirits which ‘have captured his mind’ so that he may be cured. Though some of the patients get a slight psychological uplift after such a cure, such patients later suffer from acute depression and also stop taking their medicines.

Social workers said patients were putting their trust in ‘sadhs’ and ‘babas’ because no support system was available to which they could turn to for guidance. Dhir Singh, who runs an NGO Jan Seva, said the State AIDS Control Society was unknown to the people of the area who only knew of the Civil Hospital. He said besides more awareness about the disease, some practical help could be provided to HIV positive patients by opening a cell for them in the Civil Hospital or reaching out to them in their homes after documenting all cases.

But this seems to be a distant dream as of now with no effort being taken even to educate people settled around the Indane Gas Factory near the town. People feel the factory is a major ‘importer’ of AIDS because it is visited by hundreds of trucks come to take cooking gas from it. A number of recent cases of HIV positive cases have been reported from villages near the factory. However, no effort has been taken to make the truck drivers or people who throng the “dhabas’’ alongside it to make them aware about the dangers of AIDS and how it can be prevented.


Folk singer who mesmerised

BORN at Bindrakh village in Ropar on April 15, 1962, Surjit Bindrakhia was a folk singer with a mesmerising voice. He not only blended folk with pop admirably well to emerge among top performers in contemporary Punjabi music industry but also made a mark in the international market.

The only brother of four sisters, he initially trained to be a wrestler like his father Sucha Singh. His initiation into the cultural world was as a bhangra player who used to sing for his troupe.

“Baniye ne Jat dha liya” was his first song which later became the title song of a Punjabi film “Anakh Jattan di” The song also figured in his first album “Munda kee mangda” released in 1991-92. In all he had 32 albums to his credit.

Some of his popular albums were “addi ute ghum”, “bus kar bus kar”, “dupatta tera sat rang da”, “mukhra dekh ke mar riha”, “Lak tannu tannu” and “Jat di pasand”.

Surjit Bindrakhia sang in 12 Punjabi films, including “Kachehari”, “Varri”, “Rabh Dian Rakhan”, “Badla Jatti Da” and “Jat Jeonna Morr”.

Admitted to Silver Oaks Hospital three weeks ago, he was discharged after 10 days, he had a massive heart attack and died in sleep on Monday. He was cremated at his native village the same day. Singing with a typical rural accent, he was known for his long chants.

Among those who joined Bindrakhia’s last rites were eminent artistes like Gurdas Mann, Babbu Mann, Jasbir Jassi and Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi while Harcharanjit “Channi” of England (of Bhabiye nee Bhabhiye fame) sent his condolences to Mrs Gurbachan Kaur (mother), Preet Bains (widow), Gitaj (son) and Minaj (daughter).

— Shamsher Singh Sandhu


CPI to launch stir
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 18
Punjab CPI secretary Joginder Dyal today said at a press conference here that the party would launch a protest programme in all blocks of the state from November 20 to 26 and gherao DCs’ offices at all district headquarters on November 27 against state government’s policies. Dr Dyal asked Capt Amarinder Singh to step down on moral grounds as he said the latter had himself stated in Bhopal that Punjab was more backward than Madhya Pradesh.

While the ruling party had not implemented even a single poll promise the main opposition, i.e. SAD, had also not given any alternative pro-people programmes, he added. Dr Dyal addressed a block-level meeting of party workers. Mr Niranjan Singh Ucha, district secretary, Mr Jaipal, block secretary and Mr Pritam Singh Azad, district council member of the CPI, also addressed the meeting.


Kataria to campaign in Rajasthan

Fazilka, November 18
Mr Virender Kataria, a former President of the PPCC, has been appointed in charge of the Bikaner division in Rajasthan for the Assembly elections.

Mr Kataria said here yesterday that he would look after the campaign of 22 Assembly seats in Bikaner, Churu, Hanumangarh and Sriganganagar districts. — OC


Pak envoy assures Ramoowalia on Punjabi youths
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 18
The families of the state, whose kin have been detained in Pakistan’s jail for several years, may feel relieved as Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, Aziz Ahmed Khan, has decided to take up the release of Punjabi youths with his government shortly.

Mr Khan has sought a list of youths of Punjab, in Pakistan’s jail from the Indian government and President of the Lok Bhalai Party, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.

Mr Ramoowalia said that Mr Khan had assured him that he (Mr Khan) would write a “personal” letter to the Pakistan government for the release of Punjabi youths detained in Pakistan. Mr Khan also sought a list of such youths from him (Ramoowalia) when he met him recently.

He (Ramoowalia) added that he had been gathering information from various aggrieved families in Punjab till now he had come to know that only 33 Punjabi youths were in Pakistani jails for the past 14 years.

He said that he would submit a list of these 33 Punjabi youths to Mr Khan at Delhi on November 21. A copy of the list would also be sent to Foreign Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha so that the Indian government could also help in the matter. Apart from it, a list of six youths of Haryana, also in Pakistan jail, would also be submitted on the same day.

Mr Ramoowalia said that Punjabi and Haryanavi youths were arrested and detained in jails in Pakistan after they were caught trying to go abroad for better jobs lured by travel agents.

“Echoing my view, Mr Khan also pointed out that a large section of Pakistani youths have been facing similar plight in various jails of Gulf and African countries and efforts were needed greedy travel agent working in this region,” pointed out Ramoowalia.

He said that the Lok Bhalai Party would hold a dharna and a rally at Jalandhar in December 2003 to press for the grant of visas to persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) living in various European countries, who sought political asylum there and now were being denied the same by the Indian embassies and High Commissions there.

He said that he had taken up this matter with Mr Shashank, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs and in charge, Europe and Canada and had apprised him that 20000 Punjabi living abroad were making effort to get visa from Indian embassies and high commissions to visit homeland for the past many decades but without any result.

He demanded that the SAD (Badal) which was partner in the NDA government should ensure visa to such Punjabis or recall Mr Sukhdev Sigh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemical and Fertilizer, from the NDA government in protest against anti-Punjabi attitude. 


Road in Pak named after Lala Lajpat Rai

Moga (Punjab), November 18
Floral tributes were paid to Punjab Kesari Lala Lajpat Rai on the occasion of 75th martyrdom day at various places in Pakistan yesterday, a South Asia Fraternity member said today.

The Lahore Chapter of South Asia Fraternity released Urdu translation of the great freedom fighter’s biography at a function there, Satya Paul, Secretary-General of the fraternity announced here today.

In recognition of Lalaji’s relief work done during the Quetta earthquake in which several hundred people were killed, Quetta Municipal Corporation yesterday adopted a unanimous resolution and named one of the main road of the city after him, Mr Paul said. — PTI


Bhakra village sans water
Lalit Mohan

Bhakra (Nangal), November 18
Bhakra Dam, the first and the biggest hydel project in the country, ushered in the green and industrial revolutions in North India. However, the village after which the dam is named is still bereft of basic amenities.

Bhakra village, which gave land for Bhakra Dam, is 13 km from Nangal. Inhabited by about 500 persons, the village is in neglect despite the fact that people gave their houses and land for the modern temple (Bhakra Dam) of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Despite residing on the banks of the biggest man-made lake in the country, the Gobind Sagar, residents of Bhakra village have no supply of pure drinking water. The people have to depend of bauris for drinking water. However, even bauris dry up in summer and drinking water is supplied in the area through tankers.

Mr Vattan Singh, retired Deputy Director (Agriculture), and local resident, told this correspondent that residents of Bhakra village had to give their entire user right land free of cost for the construction of the dam. However, despite this they did not have the user right over the Gobind Sagar waters.

The entire fertile land of the village has been submerged. The people had to move uphill on to barren land. The Himachal government and the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) have done little during the past more than 50 years to provide these residents potable water.

The waters of the lake, on the contrary, have resulted in landslides in Bhakra village. Many newly constructed houses have developed cracks, but the government has done nothing to help the beleaguered villagers.

Bhakra village has named after bhakra weed, found in abundance in the area. At one time, the queens of the king of Kot Kehloor, now Bilaspur, used to reside here.

Mr Vijay Kumar, a former zila parishad member from the area, said during the construction of Bhakra Dam, oustees of about 350 villages located on the banks of the Gobind Sagar lake were given small pieces of land in Sirsa, Hisar and Fatehabad districts in Haryana. However, most of them decided against moving to these places, at that time barren areas. The Himachal Government has been promising plots to the Bhakra oustees since a long time, but the promises have not been fulfilled.


Government staff rally against privatisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 18
On the call of the Punjab Mulajam Sangarsh Committee, employees of several departments, boards and corporations from all parts of the state, held a rally in new Grain Market here today to protest against the ‘‘anti-employee decision of Punjab and Central Government’’ on privatisation, handing over six departments to panchayats and remaining 23 departments from April 2004.

Employees carrying flags and banners reached the grain market here in buses, trucks, tempos and raised slogans for more than three hours. The protesters included a large number of women also.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari, Ranbir Dhillon, Dattar Singh, Mahan Singh Rori, Hari Singh Tohra and Chranjit Singh Walia all conveners of the Punjab Mulajam Sangharsh Committee addressed the rally.

Employees leaders criticised the government’s decision of handing over six departments including Education, Health and Family Welfare, Rural Water Supply, Social Welfare, Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes Welfare and Rural Department immediately and remaining 23 departments from April 2004, privatisation of 121 ITIs and 6 government polytechnics, dozens of boards and corporations, electricity board and state transport to the panchayats.

They also resented withdrawal of various financial benefits to employees and non-implementation of various poll promises including the regularising the services of daily wagers and part time staff besides accepting the demands of Anganwadi workers.

Employee leaders also criticised the decision of government to reduce the amount of commutation of pension and increase of interest thereon, reducing the encashment of earned leave from 300 to 120 days, replacing the existing pattern of medical allowance and medical reimbursement by medical insurance scheme, abolishing 60,000 posts ban on recruitment and priority appointment to dependents of deceased employees.

Employees leaders said that government had failed to provide health, education facilities and water supply to the people and was now running away from its constitutional responsibilities in the name of handing over six departments. The speakers at the rally said that on one hand Punjab Government was withdrawing various facilities of employees, farmers and students and on the other it was increasing the salaries and allowances of ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats and was appointing new ministers, Chairmen of Boards and corporations and 110 law officers.

Mr Rajinder Pal Soni, Kirpal Singh Bhangoo, Ved Parkash, Sucha Singh Khattra, Surinder Kaur, Suresh Sharma, Supehdarshan Singh Natt, Jasdev Singh Lalton, Kulbir Singh Said Kheri, Inderjit Singh Bhagrana, Gurmail Singh (Patwar Union), Gurmail Singh Sidhu (Draftsman Association), H. S. Teja (Adyapak Dal), Pritpal Singh (NGO), Navjot Singh Dhoot, ITI Union, Pb, Surinderjeet Singh Walia, (PSEB Federation -Walia ), Gurmail Singh Bharowal of Cooperative Societies, Kulbhushan Kanwar, (PMSU), Gurbax Singh, (FCI Union), Kartar Singh Pal, Dalbara Singh (Punjab Drivers’ Union), Avinash Chopra (Tech Mech Union) addressed the rally.

Employees in thousands marched from Grain Market to Dogri Road, Preet Palace, Bus stand, Bharat Nagar chowk and finally Mini-Secretariat.

Conveners announced that if the government failed to withdraw anti-employee decisions and settled the 17 points demands charter, the Committee would meet at Patiala on November 24 and decide the next course of agitation.


Baba achieves what administration could not
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, November 18
Bazaar of this historical town, visited by eight out of 10 Sikh Gurus, has been widened by demolishing 50 shops. The shopkeepers have been given shops with modern amenities.

The ‘demolition work’ was completed in the name of 500th birth anniversary of second Sikh Guru, Guru Angad Dev, which falls in 2004. Guru Angad Dev had spent 13 years in this town. Efforts of Baba Sewa Singh who persuaded the shopkeepers for widening the bazaar, expecting rush of devotees next year, could be a lesson for the district administration and the Improvement Trust, Amritsar, which failed to widen the bazaar, leading to the Golden Temple from Ghee Mandi by demolishing the shops even as the two-decade-old scheme had been gathering dust. The devotees who come from all over the world to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple have to face inconvenience.

The new shops are being built on the gurdwara land, 40 feet away from the original sites. The top floor and back of the shops, however, would be used for ‘serai’ with modern facilities, including sound system for relaying ‘Gurbani’.

Apart from this, the town of Khadoor Sahib is being provided with green cover with the planting of 500 ‘bohar’ and ‘pipal’ tree saplings. Baba Sewa Singh has ensured the planting of ‘neem’ and other herbal plants on both sides of the five roads leading to this ancient town.

The afforestation campaign launched here has attracted the attention of industrialist Sanjay Dalmia who sent a special team led by Ms Nafees Khan and Mr Tarlok Deep to Khadoor Sahib for an on-the-spot survey so that the name of Baba Sewa Singh could be considered for an award of Rs 1 lakh, given every year by the Organisation of Understanding and Fraternity. Both team members were impressed by the afforestation campaign launched in Khadoor Sahib. They said that it was amazing that the Baba had beautified the historical gurdwaras in the town, including main Darbar Sahib with ornamental plants, which is unparallel in the world. This is perhaps the first gurdwara in the world where dense green cover has been provided. The team members also saw five water tankers used for watering the plants every day.


Kar seva for school buildings mooted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 18
In an unusual proposal the Punjab Government has mooted a plan to get school buildings constructed through kar seva. A special meeting in this regard will be convened by the state government soon.

This was stated by Mr Darbari Lal, Minister for Education, Punjab, while talking to this correspondent today. The minister said a special meeting would be called soon in this regard. He added that as many government schools in the state were without buildings so it was decided to get school buildings constructed through kar seva.

Mr Lal further state that Gurdev Singh, a baba, had been given the assignment of constructing the building of government secondary school, Bakhna, the native village of Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, a freedom fighter.

The minister claimed that another baba Fateh Singh had constructed the building of government secondary school, Khosa Kotla (Moga) at a cost of Rs 1 crore.

He added that the government would also to fill vacant posts of teacher.


Kar seva at Ram Tirath sarovar
Our Correspondent

Ram Tirath (Amritsar), November 18
Kar seva of a sarovar (holy tank) at ancient Sri Ram Tirath Temple started amidst tight security here today.

An unsavoury situation arose when two fire engines, pressed into service to draw out water from the sarovar, directed the water towards fields of the ‘mahants’. Following strong protests by them direction of water was changed. The sarovar is spread over an area of 10 acres.

Meanwhile, general secretary, district Congress-cum-president, Sri Durgiana Temple Committee, Arjun, staged a walkout minutes after being seated on the dais. The Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, who was also seated along side the Congress general secretary, was later conspicuous by his absence during the ‘havan’ and other ceremonies of the kar seva.

Mr Arjun said he had walked out in protest as he felt that a dancing girl regaling crowds today near ‘Prachin Mandir’ of Mata Sita Devi was an insult to religious sentiments. The mayor also explained his absence by saying he had to accompany the Jalandhar Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, back so both could not attend the function.

Among those who participated in ceremonies of kar seva were Punjabi Sufi Singer, Hans Raj Hans, Mr Joginder Singh, Minister for Social Welfare, the SSP, Mr Kultar Singh the DC, Mr Raminder Singh, Mr Fakir Chand, president of the NRI Bhagwan Valmiki Sabha.

Meanwhile, heads of 15 mandirs of Sri Ram Tirath gave a call to all Hindu sabhas to join hands against the administration, ruling party members and others who were trying to usurp the control of sacred temple. Mr Rajesh Banot, head of Sri Ram Tirath Sudharak Brahmin Sabha, Mr Natha Singh of Mahavir Dal, Mahant Baldev Giri and others criticised a proposal to build a Bhagwan Valmiki temple in the middle of ancient sarovar. They said it was ‘tampering with a historical structure’ and was against historical and ancient structures & monuments Act.

As many as 130 police personnel, including women staff, were deputed on site.


Narrow escape for train passengers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 18
Panic gripped passengers of the Amritsar-Darbhanga Jan Nayak Express following sparking in junction box of one of bogies of the train as it neared the Jandiala railway station at around 8.17 a.m.

A big mishap was, however, averted as alert security staff, including a Home Guard jawan and a Head Constable, was successful in separating the sparking wires putting out the smoke arising out of wires.

Later a thorough search of the train was conducted by the Railways authorities at the railway station here before it was allowed to proceed towards its destination at around 11.25 a.m. The junction box was also repaired here.

Passengers of bogie (E-C-01484 AB) Head Constable Jasbir and Home Guard jawan Vijay said panic gripped them as fans got switched on all of a sudden and there was sparking in the junction box. After the smoke started billowing out of the junction box, some of passengers even tried to jump out of the running train, but were stopped by others. They also alleged that pulling of the chain did not yield any result and that the information about the incident did not reach either the driver or the guard for about 20 minutes till the train was stopped at the Tangra station. Jawan Vijay was injured while trying to put out the fire.

Meanwhile, Railway sources said ambulances were deployed at the Beas railway station, from where the train left at around 9.30 a.m.

Railway officials said though the exact reason behind the incident was yet to be identified, the sparking could be due to throwing of some cigarette in the junction box by some passenger.


Thousands throng Army recruitment rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 18
Over enthusiasm was witnessed among rural youths for recruitment in the Army during a recruitment rally organised by the Army authorities at ITI grounds, Bassi Pathana town of the district, for recruiting candidates from six districts of the state.

Thousands of youths from Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Sangrur, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur thronged the ground in spite of chilly weather conditions.

Talking to The Tribune at the rally, Brig Ajay Pahwa, Deputy Director-General, Recruitment, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, said the heavy rush at the rally was due to the eagerness of Punjabis to serve the nation by joining the armed forces rather than opting for other services.

He said as the Indian Army was being modernised and new equipment was being introduced, the demand for intelligent and physically strong recruits had increased. It was, however, unfortunate that youths of Punjab were lagging behind in educational standards as well as physical fitness as compared to the youths of Jammu and Kashmir.

Brigadier Pahwa said the Army was facing problems with recruits, particularly in the Ramdasia Sikhs and Majhbi Sikhs categories, as the youths from these categories were not performing as per the norms of the Army.

He said the minimum marks required for recruitment were 45 per cent but a majority of the students had lesser marks. As a result, a large number of vacancies were lying vacant in these categories even though more than 1,000 candidates turned up for 500 posts in these categories. He said for 300 other seats, more than 3,000 candidates turned up.

He said though the seats were lying vacant, yet the Army would not compromise on educational standards and physical fitness. He said the problem was more serious in Punjab.

However, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army was getting an overwhelming response in all categories taking into account physical and educational standards.

He advised the youths to give up drugs and work hard physically and mentally for recruitment in the Army. He also advised them not to be misled by the touts and mediators for recruitment in the Army as they generally try to fleece innocent youths.

He said the recruitment procedure was transparent and tough and no compromise was made in the quality of selection.

Colonel Yadav, Director, Recruitment, BRO, Jammu, and Col Dinesh Sharma, Director, Recruitment, BRO, Patiala, were also present.


Pact with Reliance to recruit ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 18
A Sainik Information Gallery, first of its kind in the state, was inaugurated by Brig Joginder Singh Jaswal, Director, Sainik Welfare department, here today. Addressing the function Brigadier Jaswal said an agreement had been signed with the Reliance group for the recruitment of ex-servicemen in the private sector so that they could earn their livelihood after retirement.

He said the state government, under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh, was committed to the welfare of ex-servicemen. The government had released Rs 50 lakh for the construction of seven galleries in Maharaja Ranjit Singh War Museum in Ludhiana. He said approximately 60,000 Army men retired every year and of these 10 per cent belonged to Punjab. The agreement with the Reliance group would benefit ex-servicemen in a big way, he added.

Brigadier Jaswal said all district Sainik Welfare Offices of the state would computerised in a phased manner and six districts of the state were being adopted in the first phase. He said after computerisation all districts would be linked to the state headquarters, which would help the ex-servicemen get information and get their problems solved at the district headquarters instead of visiting the state headquarters for them.

Addressing the gathering, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said we were proud of our Army men and martyrs. He said the district administration in collaboration with the Sainik Welfare department was making all out efforts to erect memorials to martyrs.

He said besides free technical courses, the wards of the ex-servicemen were being provided fee concession and scholarships at the rate of Rs 700 per month. He said a course on tailoring for 20 girl students of ex-servicemen had been started at the ITI, Bassi Pathana.

On the occasion of the Deputy Commissioner distributed cheques for the marriages of the daughters of five-servicemen as well as sewing machines to widows of the martyrs.


9-yr-old Isha is an all-rounder
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 18
With over hundred stage performances and nearly 60 national and state-level awards to her name, nine-year-old, Isha Dang, has come a long way ever since she gave her first solo dance performance at the tender age of three. Dubbed the ‘wonder girl’ by her fans, little Isha has captivated many hearts by her scintillating dance shows.

And it is not just the dance that the young girl excels in , she is among the brightest students in her class scoring not less than 95 per cent marks on an average besides winning many GK and painting competitions. Truly an all-rounder , little Isha now a student of Class IV in the local Our Lady of Fatima Convent School never looked back after she was spotted by a teacher at the age of three.

At the Isha Dang Charity Show organised on Sunday in the city, the girl managed to raise a whopping amount of Rs 1.50 lakh for the Red Cross Hospital Welfare Society. She regaled the audience with six items, including a Kathak performance besides Punjabi and Rajasthani folk dances. Last year in a similar solo show Isha had collected Rs 36,000 which she subsequently donated to the Red Cross Society for helping deaf and dumb children.

Isha has many credits to her name. She has been awarded first prize at National-level dance competitions held at various places, including Ludhiana, Gurgaon, Solan and Orissa, where she bagged the award not only for Punjabi folk dance but also for her classical (Kathak) dance performance. The Institute of Performing Arts, Chandigarh, bestowed the Best Dancer award upon Isha lately while the Punjab Heritage Foundation awarded her a gold medal in February, 2002.

Last month she featured in Sony Television’s “Boogie Woogie” dance show wherein her solo dance performance based upon the Punjabi song “Allah Kare Din Na Chare” received great applause from the audience. Interestingly Isha was the only child artiste selected to represent Punjab from nearly 3,000 children who had auditioned for the show at Chandigarh in May this year.

While talking to this correspondent little Isha stated confidently that she wanted to become a classical dancer ever since she presented her first show. When asked how she managed to juggle between her studies and other interests besides daily dancing lessons, she stated that she puts in double effort at her studies after the conclusion of each show and added that her performances had never come in the way of her studies.

Both her parents, Harinder Dang and Meenakshi, are grateful to the Head, Dance Department Punjabi University, Ms Daisy Ahluwalia, who for the past one-and-a-half year is training this budding young talent in Kathak. Isha’s father, Mr Harinder Dang, an accountant in a local school, says that next on the agenda is training in the Kuchipudi and Bharatnatyam dance forms. Her mother, Meenakshi , a science teacher, while proudly listing her daughter’s achievements says that Isha has decided to become a classical dancer and they would try to hone her skill to perfection.

And what does the little girl do in her spare time ? ‘Cartoons , cartoons and more cartoons’, chirps little Isha. That seems to be one affliction that even child prodigies are susceptible to. Well Isha , we wish you the very best.


Government misusing funds, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 18
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, Sangrur, has accused the Punjab Government of ‘diverting’ and ‘misutilising’ Central funds for rural development and poverty alleviation. He said he had been receiving complaints from MPs of the state in this regard.

Mr Mann, who is also a member of the Punjab Rural Development Vigilance and Monitoring Committee formed by the Union Rural Development Ministry, said with the diversion of the funds development activities in the villages stalled, widows were not getting grants and funds for the construction of houses for the poor were not available. 


Protest against hike in water charges
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 18
On a call given by the SAD and the BJP, a large number of activists today staged a dharna in front of the Municipal Council’s office here in protest against the hike in the rates of sewerage and water charges.

Mr Raghbir Singh, a former Transport Minister, and Mr Hira Lal Dhir, president of the BJP district unit, sat on the two-hour-long dharna.

From the municipal office a procession was taken out in the town. The protesters also burnt an effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.


Rajasansi MLA accused of concealing facts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
If allegations in a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High are to be believed, MLA from Rajasansi constituency in Amritsar district Vir Singh Lopoke concealed facts from the court for relief.

In her petition seeking suo-motu cognizance of alleged criminal contempt committed by the MLA and six others, Lopoke’s daughter-in-law Navjot Kaur had earlier claimed that the respondents filed an application on May 29 for blanket bail alleging “harassment at the hands of the Congress regime”. The application was dismissed by the High Court the next day.

Three days later, the respondents filed another petition before the vacation Bench without disclosing the factors of earlier petition’s dismissal. The petition was adjourned to July “as the respondents were not successful in convincing the court,” the petitioner claimed. On July 4, the court granted stay of arrest if criminal case was registered at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Majitha district.

She claimed that the respondents, on the one hand, were seeking blanket bail on the pretext of political harassment. On the other they were filing a divorce petition against her, “making the ulterior motive very clear”.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner claimed that the respondents, “in a carefully planned manner”, first harassed, abused and tortured her, and then “turned her out of her matrimonial home, along with her daughter”. The petitioner added that the respondents, by intentionally concealing the facts, had committed contempt of court.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench of the High Court, headed by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, today fixed November 25 as the next date of hearing.

Termination case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was today granted three months time by a Division Bench of the High Court in the panchayat secretaries termination case.

The court also granted the state of Punjab time to file reply to an application filed by Chairman of the selection committee responsible for conducting the selections. They had challenged registration of a second first information report by the CBI.

Earlier during the proceedings, sealed packets containing status report were produced before the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi. After going through the report, the Judges ordered the keeping of the reports in safe custody.

The secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Case transferred

Acting on a petition filed by former Senior Superintendent of Punjab Police Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court today transferred fake currency case, along with corruption case, registered against him from Ludhiana to Ambala Sessions Division.

Both the cases were registered at Raikot police station in Ludhiana district. Seeking the transfer of cases to any other place outside the state, the petitioner had earlier expressed apprehension regarding his safety on the ground that criminals booked by him were also appearing against him.

Orders on November 20

Taking up a petition filed by former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission challenging the holding of two trials out of the same first information report, the High Court today fixed November 20 as the date for pronouncing orders.

Arguing before a three-Judge Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi, his counsel had earlier contended that the holding of two trials, when there was just one FIR, was impermissible, besides being in violation of Article 20 of the Constitution. He had also handed over a number of Supreme Court judgements to substantiate his contentions.


Eight get life term for murder

Hoshiarpur, November 18
A fast track court here has sentenced to life imprisonment eight persons in a murder case.

Out of 10 accused in the murder of Jagjit Singh, the Additional Judge of the court, Mr Surjit Singh, has sentenced eight of them under various Sections of the IPC.

The Dasuya police had registered a case of murder of Jagjit Singh, commission agent of the local grain market, on September 22, 2001. It was stated that on account of a land dispute, Rattan Singh of Kainthan village got him murdered by giving 'supari' to the killers.

While deciding the case, the Judge awarded life imprisonment to Rattan Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Shamsher Singh, all residents of Dasuya, Tara Chand and Gurdip Singh, both of Pathankot, Rajesh Kumar of Gurdaspur, Ashok Kumar of Lakhanpur (Jammu and Kashmir) and Daljit Singh.

Two accused, Sukhdev Singh of Jammu and Manjit Singh of Dasuya, have already been declared proclaimed offenders. — PTI


Thandals’ plea declined
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 18
The Special Judge, Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, today rejected the application of former Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Sohan Singh Thandal and his wife, Balbir Kaur, seeking permission to operate their freezed accounts in the branches of Punjab National Bank, Thandal, and the State Bank of India, Chandigarh. The Judge, however, allowed them to move a fresh application giving details of their deposits in the accounts.


Farmers stage dharna over cotton
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 18
Hundreds of activists of eight farmers’ organisations today staged a dharna in front of the local office of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) in protest against the “indifferent attitude” of state and Central agencies in the purchase of cotton and in ensuring them supply of certified seeds and pesticides.

In a memorandum submitted to the CCI, the activists alleged that Markfed and the CCI only had a token presence in various markets for the purchase of cotton. This, they said, was being done under pressure from private traders.

They alleged that officials of government agencies and private traders had connived and allowed the latter to loot cotton growers, who had no option but to sell their produce at throwaway prices despite the fact that cotton was in great demand in international markets.

They demanded that criminal cases should be registered against traders who had supplied spurious seeds and pesticides to cotton growers.

Later, the activists held a demonstration in the DC office complex in protest against the arrest of farmers by various agencies regarding payment of loans taken by them for agriculture purposes.


Medical staff pulled up for playing truant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Chairman of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Lieut Col C.D. Singh Kamboj, today lashed out at the doctors and other para-medical staff who absent themselves from duties or come late for work.

While issuing strict warning to the erring employees, Mr Kamboj said the teams, including senior officers, had been detailed to check the attendance of the staff and anybody found absent would not be spared and his/her case would be forwarded to the government for strict disciplinary action.

Mr Kamboj said similar checking had already been conducted in Manupur in Ludhiana district and Khemkaran in Amritsar district and at Baba Bakala. One staff nurse among the staff members found absent in Manupur has been suspended and two other employees, including a doctor, have been issued a show-cause notice. All other absentees from Khemkaran and Baba Bakala are also being issued show-cause notices.


Work allocated to Parliamentary Secretaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary, NRI, has been given charge of the Department of Home (attached with the Chief Minister), says an official press note issued here today.

According to a Punjab Government notification dated November 14, 2003, the other two Parliamentary Secretaries, Mr G.S. Atwal and Mr Hans Raj Josan, have been given charge of the Departments of Power and Industries (attached with the Chief Minister), respectively.


FCI officials inspect godowns
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 18
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.


Inebriated youths try to abduct girls
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
Inebriated youngsters tried to abduct dance girls of a local musical group after they were not allowed to dance with them on stage during celebrations held to mark a marriage ceremony at Kohinoor Palace in the city last evening.

The youngsters had earlier tried to dance with the girls on the stage but the musical group organisers did not allow this. Sources said the boys later tried to forcibly take a few of the dancers with them but were prevented from doing so by the police. The police officials, who reached the spot when the abduction bid was on, arrested one of the youths while the others escaped.

The sources said the trouble arose when a group of boys asked for a particular song to be played. When the song started, they insisted that they should be allowed to dance with the girls dancing on the stage. Musical group in charge Heera Singh said he and others did not allow this as the boys were in an inebriated condition and he feared that the situation could take a turn for the worse.

Mr Heera Singh said though the boys did not dance on the stage they apparently did not like the snub. He alleged the boys asked on phone a few more of their friends to come to the marriage palace and when the dance girls were about to board the vehicles, they attacked them with swords and sticks. Mr Heera Singh and four more persons were injured in the ensuing fight and all four had to be admitted to the local Government Rajindra hospital.

The sources said the boys may have succeeded in their attempt but for the timely arrival of the Urban Estate police. They said the Urban Estate chowki in charge, Mr Harmanpreet Singh was able to foil the attempt of the boys and even arrested one of them, who has been identified as Yadwinder Singh, a resident of Tripri in the city. The sources said another assailant had been identified as the son of a PCS officer, at Present posted in Sangrur district.

Meanwhile, three cars were damaged in the abduction bid and the subsequent attack on the musical group organisers. One of the cars belonged to the President of Nabha Block Congress.


Bride commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 18
Rajwinder Kaur, a resident of Lopoke, burned herself here on Sunday.

Mr Surinder Singh, brother of the deceased, in a complaint lodged with the Lopoke police, alleged that her husband, Sukhwant Singh, Gurnam Singh (father-in-law) and Gurbachan Kaur (mother-in-law) used to beat her up for dowry.

Fed up with this, she burnt herself using kerosene. She was taken to Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here, where she died. The police has registered a case under Section 304-B of the IPC.


Lab technician arrested

Amritsar, November 18
The Health Department has caught a laboratory technician illegally running a dental clinic. Stating this in a press note here yesterday, Dr Yashpal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said a team of doctors raided the dental clinic of Manak Singh, a dental surgeon who is dead. He said the team found Mr Ravi Kumar, a laboratory technician, running the clinic illegally. A case has been registered. — OC


9 arrested under Excise Act

Jalandhar, November 18
The police today claimed having arrested nine persons under the Excise Act with the recovery of 8,250 ml of Indian made Foreign Liquor and Rs 9,050 in separate cases.

The arrested persons were identified as Ashok Kumar, Deepak, Vipan Kumar, Jatinder, Bishnu, Vijay, Vikas, Rakesh, and Narinder Kumar, police sources said.

The cases under the Excise Act were registered against the accused, sources added. — PTI


Mohindra students shine at youth festival
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
Government Mohindra College teams today bagged the lion’s share of honours in the Punjabi University Youth Festival organised on the college premises, coming first in group shabad, group song, folk song, vaar gayan and classical music (percussion). The college team was followed by the Government Girls College teams who came up tops in geet ghazal and classical music (non-percussion).

The GCG teams also came second in group shabad, group song, folk song, vaar gayan and classical music (percussion) and classical music (non-percussion) competitions.

The Punjabi University campus team came second in the group song and geet ghazal competition while the Khalsa College team was commended for its performance in group shabad, group song, classical music (non-percussion) and geet ghazal competitions.

Punjab Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa, who was the chief guest, said such competitions instilled a feeling of confidence in the students.

He handed over a grant for Rs 50,000 to college Principal Dr R.K. Sharma. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh presided over yesterday’s programme at the college. He said efforts would be made to light up the Mohindra College building, which had been renovated recently.

He announced a grant for Rs 1 lakh to facilitate this, adding that more would be done to preserve the heritage and character of the building.

The Principal, speaking at the festival today, disclosed that the college, the oldest in the region, had recently been graded as a A+ institution by the NAAC, a national-level body responsible for grading educational institutions.

Talking about the recent activities of the college, he said new lecture halls had been constructed and the college was going in for a modern world-class library by involving non-resident students of the college and others in the project.


Singh Bandhus regale audience
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 18
The Gurmat Sangeet Utsav organised by Punjabi University today saw eminent artistes, including the Singh Bandhus and Uttam Singh, regale the audience by reciting choicest shabads at a function organised on the campus.

The function, which was sponsored by T Series to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib, besides coinciding with the foundation of the Gurmat Sangeet Chair in the campus, saw a large number of people coming to the varsity.

A spirit of brotherhood was created at the campus with students first serving bread toasts and ‘jalebis’ with tea and later serving langar to all, who had come to the utsav. The occasion was also marked by a blood donation camp, which was inaugurated by Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa and an exhibition by noted artistes Mehar Singh, Devinder Singh and Gobinder Sohal which was inaugurated by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, who was the chief guest on the occasion, announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Gurmat Bhavan from her discretionary fund. Speaking on the occasion, she said the Punjabi University had celebrated the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib in the right spirit. She also honoured Darshan Kumar from T Series as well as Daljit Singh Chicagowala and Inderjit Kaur, wife of Harbhajan Singh Yogi on the occasion.

Varsity Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, while delivering a lecture, said Guru Granth Sahib encouraged one to serve humanity. He said Punjabi University would try to propagate the unique sangeet tradition of Guru Granth Sahib and that the Gurmat Sangeet Chair had been established in the university for this purpose. He lauded the role of Chair head Dr Gurnam Singh in getting sponsorship for the Chair from the Guru Gian Parkash Foundation.

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