P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder for trade through Wagah border
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Open Wagah border for cotton trade — Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has reportedly suggested to the Centre. The development is significant as the state will earn valuable foreign exchange if the proposal is accepted.

So far state undertaking Markfed is exporting cotton bales to “far eastern countries” in joint venture with NAFED.

The sources in the Punjab Government say that the matter was also taken up by the Chief Minister with the Union Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies and they are soon expecting a favourable reply.

Going into the background of the matter, the sources reveal that a formal communique was initially shot to the Central Government by the Markfed authorities for opening the border for “trading the world’s leading fibre and an important cash crop of Punjab”.

The sources add that there is surplus of cotton in the state, while there is shortage of the same in Pakistan. The farmers will not only earn more by directly selling cotton across the to border, but the country will also save money. As of now majority of the products are being exported to Pakistan via the Mumbai-Karachi route, the sources say.

They assert that a report regarding trade with Pakistan was also submitted by the “Intelligence” wing of the Punjab Police. The officers had reportedly suggested that trading products with Pakistan, including cotton and sugar, will prove beneficial for both countries.

The officers had added that certain “foreign agencies” are, however, not in favour of India opening trade channels with her neighbour. As such the matter has to be handled sensitively. “Intelligence” wing officers refuse to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, Markfed’s Managing Director (MD) SS Channi says that as of now the organisation is selling cotton to processing mills in Orissa, Tamil Nadu, UP, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Giving details of the operations, the MD asserts that the organisation is also owning and managing four cotton ginning and processing factories located at Rampuraphul, Sardulgarh, Raman and Abohar.

Another officer adds that the organisation’s cottonseed processing plant at Gidderbaha is producing cottonseed oil for co-operative federation’s own vanaspati plant. The by-products include lint, de-oiled cake and hulls for paper manufacturers and its own cattle feed plant.


Let us liberate ourselves from the past: Ayub
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Will the coalition government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh be able to push the peace process forward between India and Pakistan ?That is the question which is bothering the political leadership the most in Pakistan. A clear indication in this regard was given here today by various Pakistani political leaders, who visited the Punjab Assembly to study the functioning of the democratic institutions.

As the Indo-Pak dialogue is set to enter in a crucial phase on September 5, when Foreign Ministers of both countries would meet in Delhi to discuss various issues, there is worry among Pakistani politicians with regard to its sustainability.

Pakistan politicians have no hesitation to admit that strong winds of public opinion have been blowing in their country in support of establishing lasting peace and friendship with India. ''But there are hot-heads who spare no opportunity to scuttle the peace process in both countries", says Mr Gohar Ayub Khan, a former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and ex-Speaker of the Pakistan's National Assembly.

Mr Khan, who claims to be an initiator of the peace process at the time when Mr I.K. Gujral was Prime Minister, says: " Such hot-heads, who love to play the spoilsport in both countries, should be sidelined and voices endorsing friendship should be encouraged.''

Composite dialogue regarding trade, visa problems, terrorism, narcotics and Kashmir should continue between both countries, stated Mr Khan, who has been impressed immensely by the functioning of Indian democratic institutions.

For how long would Kashmir continue to impede the peace process between the two countries? Answering this question, Mr Khan said that Kashmir was a part of the composite dialogue. The Indian Government should take some steps in Kashmir keeping in view the ceasefire on the LoC. Reduction in armed and paramilitary forces, relaxation in tough laws such as POTA and release of political detainees in Kashmir should be ordered. This would send positive signals in Pakistan regarding Kashmir and further pave the way for further normalistion of relations between the two countries, he added.

About politics in Pakistan, he said that the political scenario was changing steadily. New generation politicians had started ousting traditional politicians from the political arena. Youth holding degrees from best universities of the world had been joining politics in Pakistan. There were about 72 members of the National Assembly who are young and also well-read politicians, he added. Asked about the return of Mr Nawaz Sharief and Ms Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan, he said Mr Nawaz Sharief had left Pakistan for 10 years on the basis of an agreement reached between him and the Pakistan Government, and Mrs Bhutto was facing a number of cases abroad.

Prof Sajjad Naseer, a teacher in Lahore School of Economics, says that obviously there are difficulties in the improvement of relations but compulsions of the 21st century would compel both countries to " liberate themselves from the suspicions of the past and move ahead to provide best opportunities to their people to join the developed world". For how long could both countries be prisoners of the past ,he asked. Earlier there were external variables---such as the cold war between two blocks of countries--- clouding Indo-Pak relations, but now these variables had vanished. As India and Pakistan were not part of any block now, in such a situation, it was the best time to move ahead on the path of peace to make the future bright for the people of both nations, he added.

Mr Mujeeb-ur-Rahman Shammi, former President of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors, unveiling his peace formula said that " People of India should find the solution of Kashmir issue to the satisfaction of the people of Pakistan and people of that country should find its solution to the satisfaction of Indians". Such a mutual effort in both countries would resolve all issues, he added.


Two special jathas for Pak
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
Two special jathas of Sikh devotees would visit Pakistan to observe ‘Jyoti Jot Divas’ of Guru Nanak Dev and the birth anniversary of fourth Sikh Guru Ram Dass, which falls on September 22 and October 9, respectively, as per Nanakshahi Calendar.

Since partition , only four Sikh jathas Pakistan have been allowed to visit on the occasions of Baisakhi (April), birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (November), martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev and death anniversary of Maharaja Ranji Singh in June.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar , president Bhai Mardana Kirtan Darbar Yadgari Society, claimed that the Pakistan Government had accepted the demand of the Sikh Sangat to increase the frequency of jathas from Indian. Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi, talking to The Tribune over phone from London said his party would also send special jathas to Pakistan.

However, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, (SGPC) which is supreme body of the Sikhs has been ignored by the Pakistan Government far as granting of permission to two special jathas is concerned. Mr Dalmeg Singh, as Secretary, SGPC, said Committee had no knowledge about the permission given to any Sikh body in this connection.

In a significant development, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has allowed the SAD, New Delhi, led by Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna to carry out ‘kar seva of Gurdwara Guru Ram Dass, Chuna Mandi, Lahore from September 22. Mr Sarna said the entire building of the gurdwara, which was in bad shape, would be demolished for raising a new one. The kar seva would be launched by ‘Panj Pyaras’ as per maryada.


Chautala to lead jatha to Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
A 46-member jatha , led by Mr Om Prakash Chautala , Chief Minister, Haryana, would visit Pakistan from September 10 to bring ‘holy water’ from Sadhora (Gujranwala) - the ancestral village of Bhai Kanhaiya, a devout Sikh of Guru Gobind Singh, who had served the injured during the Sikh- Mughal battle at Anandpur Sahib.

The ‘holy water’ would be taken to various places of Punjab and Haryana during tercentenary celebrations of ‘Bakshish Divas’ in a religious procession .

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman National Commission for Minorities and Rajya Sabha member from Haryana, who will accompany Mr Chautala, said a big statue of Bhai Kanhaiya would be installed at Sirsa after the Jatha returned from Pakistan .

Interestingly , neither the SGPC nor the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have chalked out any programme for tercentenary celebrations of Bhai Kanhaiya.

The jatha, comprising Cabinet ministers , editors of certain newspapers and senior politicians, would enter Pakistan on September 10 at the Wagah border . The Jatha members would hold a meeting with Mr Fakhar Zaman , president, World Punjabi Organisation, Chief Minister Punjab (Pakistan), before participating in a seminar on ‘literature and culture’ at Lahore.

According to Mr Tarlochan Singh , the jatha would reach tomb of Waris Shah on September 12 before returning to the Wagah border.


Warm welcome to jatha in Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
A tumultuous welcome was accorded to an Indian jatha of 32 persons, led by Folklore Research Academy and the Association of People of Asia for participation in ‘urs’ (annual fair) of sufi poet Baba Bulla Shah in Kasur district of Pakistan. This was stated by Mr Ramesh Yadav, president of the academy here today.


SGPC poll: Govt to move SC soon
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
The Punjab Government has decided to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the August 12 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections case.

A Division Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt had quashed the orders of the DCs through which they had rejected the nominations of three senior Akali leaders for the SGPC polls.

In a hard-hitting order, the High Court had also castigated the DCs for having passed the impugned orders without taking judicial propriety into consideration. According to sources, the Congress Government had asked the Punjab Advocate General to study the judgement and suggest if remedial measures were available.

The two DCs had turned down the election nominations of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Sucha Singh Langah, Sewa Singh Sekhwan and SGPC acting chief Alwinder Pal Pakhoke despite directions of Chief Commissioner, Sikh Gurdwara Elections to accept their candidatures.

Later, the Chief Commissioner, Sikh Gurdwara Elections, countermanded the elections of the three seats from where these leaders were to contest. In its order, the Bench held that the orders of the Chief Commissioner in the matter were in order and directed that elections to the three seats be finalised within three months.

The Bench held that the order dated June 23 passed by Amritsar DC suffered from lack of inherent jurisdiction and even transgressed judicial discipline and limitations.

Incidentally, the Amritsar DC, while rejecting the candidatures of the Akali leaders declared them undischarged insolvent as they had failed to pay the amounts due as fees and other charges for the admission of their children in SGPC-run medical college.

During hearing, the Bench was told that the order to reject the candidature of the Akali leaders was taken on the advice of the Punjab Advocate General.

In its order, the High Court said that the Amritsar DC should not have passed the June 23 order adversely commenting upon the order passed by the Chief Commissioner, Sikh Gurdwara Elections, and prohibit its implementation in accordance with law.

The Bench also said that it was not proper for the DC to express his views in the order in a manner that needed to be checked.

While passing order, the DC had noted that if the decision of the Gurdwara Elections Commissions is implemented, it will be a violation of the decision of the Supreme Court. “It may even constitute contempt of court,” the DC said.

“Yes, we have received a favourable advice from the Advocate General and the SLP will be filed in the Supreme Court soon,” said an officer.


Irate parents block road
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Agitated over the postponement of counselling by Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences for the BDS, BAMS and BHMS courses, irate parents and their wards blocked traffic on the Faridkot-Sadiq road for nearly two hours. They alleged that the university had deliberately postponed the date to September 8 so that more students could apply for the management seats thereby benefitting private medical colleges in the state.

Talking to TNS, Mr Sanjiv Sharma, a resident of Ghungas village, alleged that hundreds of students and their parents had arrived from various parts of the state for the counselling to be held at Guru Dashmesh Medical College, Faridkot. Counselling for students with 488 marks and above began in the morning and continued till noon.

After a short break, the parents were shocked to know that counselling was on for students from out of the state. This despite clear instructions of the varsity that the afternoon session was for Punjab students who had secured between 320 and 447 marks.

He alleged that despite repeated attempts to seek an explanation, no official was forthcoming and attempts to contact the university authorities proved futile. Unable to get their grievance registered, the parents and their wards came out on the road, stopped traffic and raised slogans against the authorities. Many students who had not received their call letters due to postal delay, too, were not accommodated by the authorities, he pointed out.

Another affected parent, Mr Dharam Pal Sharma, of Mandi Ahmedgarh, said even after an hour no official bothered to come and calm the frayed tempers or give an explanation. Police officials present on the occasion, too, expressed their inability to do anything in the matter but exhorted them to remain calm and that the matter was being discussed.

After two hours, an official came to the spot but could not give a satisfactory reply except that the counselling would now be held on September 8. He could not explain how could the students report for counselling, join their institutions and report for classes the very next day. The academic session begins on September 9, he pointed out.

They alleged that this was being done to demoralise the students so that more of them could opt for the paid management seats in the medical colleges in the state. They have demanded a high-level enquiry into the matter so that justice could be done for hundreds of students and their parents who faced harassment and had to return empty handed for no fault of theirs.


Joint inspection of Narwana branch proposed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Punjab Irrigation Department authorities have urged the Central Water Commission to ask the Haryana Irrigation Department authorities for a joint inspection of the Narwana branch of the Bhakra Mainline Canal in Punjab territory for strengthening the banks of the canal on the either side.

Banks had been damaged to a great extent during the recent floods and needed to be strengthened to enable the canal to sustain the intake of water to its optimum capacity.

Sources said today that the Central Water Commission had been informed by Punjab officials that the canal was ready to carry 2500 cusecs of water at present but there was no response from the Haryana side to increase the water in it.

Punjab officials say that they have been contacting their counterparts in Haryana to increase the water in the canal for the past three days. Haryana had submitted the indent only to release 500 cusecs of water in the canal which was released at midnight on August 28. However, Haryana had not submitted the revised indent to increase water in the canal since then.

A senior officer of the Irrigation Department said today that “ we have even sent canal wires to Haryana Irrigation Department during the past two days to increase the water to 2500 cusecs in the canal but there was no response in writing. This morning we got the message on the telephone that the water should not be enhanced for next two days”. We have intimated the Central Water Commission accordingly.

“It appears that canal in Haryana territory has not been repaired fully yet and because of this reason there is no demand to increase the water in the canal by Haryana officials concerned”, said the Punjab official. Haryana was now getting 500 cusecs of water through Narwana branch and it is getting the remaining share of about 5700 cusecs through the Bhakra Mainline canal via Khanuri.

In fact when the Narwana branch was under repair, Haryana had been getting its full share of water of over 6000 cusecs through the Bhakra Mainline canal via Khanuri, though the impression was created that Haryana was not getting its share as Narwana branch was breached.

Coming back to joint inspection, the Punjab official said that floods had damaged the banks to the extent that the canal would not able to take more than 2800 cusecs of water in the existing 


Panic spreads as 10 kids remain untraced
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 3
Failure of the Jalandhar police to trace 10 of 14 children who were either abducted or had gone missing under mysterious circumstances during past four months, coupled with the recovery of a chopped arm of a child near Variana on the Kapurthala road and a partly decomposed body of a 10-year-old girl in Chaheru village, has not only spread panic among parents in the region but has also forced them to keep their wards under strict vigil. All the children are below nine.

The district police has formed a special squad to probe the disappearances.

The naked body of a girl was recovered from a sugarcane farm of Mr Nirmal Singh at Chaheru village on the outskirts of the city on Thursday. Later a chopped of arm of a six-year-old child was recovered near a petrol station at Variana.

The maximum number of kidnappings and incidents of children going missing under mysterious circumstances have been recorded during the past one month in Jalandhar, where, people are yet to recover from the barbaric kidnapping and murder of Heena Abhishek in June 2000 and the tragic killing of eight-year-old Simi, a resident of Gill village, who had allegedly been killed on April 20 by her tenants.

The Jalandhar SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, has directed police officials to spread out in different parts of the city and to locate a middle-aged cycle borne suspect, who is probably mentally challenged. No ransom has been demanded in any case.

Police officials suspect that extortion of money and lust for property might be a strong factor behind such incidents.

The ten children who are yet to be traced include Manju (8), daughter of Umesh, a resident of Ram Lila grounds, Lashki (8), daughter of Mr Deep Chanan Singh, a resident of Basti Sheikh, Tajvin (10), a daughter of Mr Maqsud Alam whose residence falls under Division No. 6, Bittu (7), son of Mr Ram Thar, a resident of Nari Niketan area, Vikas, alias Mani (13) son of Mr Vinod Kumar, a resident of Bhargo Nagar area, Shankar, (10), son of GTB Nagar resident Akhilesh, and Lashmi (9) and her brother Bisjeet (8), two children of Meera, a resident of Ram Nagar.


News Analysis
After the ‘handshake’, Cong, SAD should be positive
by P.P.S. Gill

Chandigarh, September 3
Of the three centenaries of major events in the Sikh history in 2004, only one is left to be celebrated — the tercentenary of the martyrdom of Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, sons of Guru Gobind Singh on December 27.

The echo still persists of the quadricentennial of the compilation and installation of Adi Granth at the Golden Temple in Amritsar that concluded on September 1. The importance of these celebrations is due to the fact that spiritual fervor stands translated into socio-economic development projects that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had announced at the congregation he had addressed on that day.

These announcements are neither a flash in the pan nor populist. Each one of them was carefully gone over by Dr Manmohan Singh with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in one-to-one meetings in the days preceding his visit to Amritsar. His word of caution was “no frivolous expenditure”.

Besides what has been reported, it was also decided to institute a Rs 5 lakh “Sri Guru Granth Sahib award for inter-faith understanding and harmony” to be given annually. A Guru Granth Sahib Foundation is also being set up for promoting education and sports. This is likely to come up at Anandpur Sahib, with the state contributing Rs 10 crore as seed money. A trust would be formed to run the foundation.

The Prime Minister’s blue-print is that all projects must be completed in a time-bound frame — be it Rs 296 integrated slum development project for Amritsar abadis, or Rs 140 crore for the Galiara (corridor) around the Golden Temple and preservation of heritage in the walled city, or Rs 80 crore for the institute of bio-technology, or special economic zone, or Rs 55 crore for the Khalsa heritage complex at Anandpur Sahib.

As a follow-up to these projects, a core committee is now to being set up to give concrete shape to them. The aim of announcements was to give impetus to the economic development of Amritsar through Rs 1,100 crore special economic zone on 5,000 acres on Amritsar-Batala road. The focus would be on health delivery system, including pharmaceutical, medical equipment, kits and instruments units, specialised hospitals and diagnostic facilities and to promote “health tourism”.

Here is a flashback on what was promised, proposed and resolved on the past occasions but nothing was implemented.

A perusal of these has revealed that there are no signs of an all-India Sikh gurdwara Act, as announced in 1977. Against promised Rs 100 crore for the Khalsa heritage complex, the then NDA government had released just Rs 48 crore. Nowhere in any state Guru Gobind Singh Bhavan has been constructed, as was announced by Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Anandpur Sahib in 1999. There are no signs of even Anandgarh, as Mr Badal had announced.

Where is the promised World Sikh university, as mentioned in the “declaration” of the World Sikh sammelan in Amritsar in 1995? Or the proposed World Sikh council? What steps have been taken in the past nine years to resolve the crisis of Sikh identity? Why has the Khalsa centennial fund not been set up for the welfare of the Sikhs? Has Sikhism been established as a major world religion?

If the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak was celebrated in 1969 and bicentenary of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was observed in 2001, in between came the 400th foundation day of Amritsar, ‘sifti da ghar’ —place of all virtues — in 1977, In all these events, the SGPC and the mainstream SAD had worked in tandem, while the governments of the time had performed their obligations either out of political exigencies or protocol, due to the presence of VIPs on all occasions.

Will the Congress and SAD play a positive role now on, given the “handshake” the President of India had forced upon Mr Badal and Capt. Amarinder Singh on August 31? That was A P J Abdul Kalam’s way of telling them to work together in the interest of the state.


Sector Reform Project: Bathinda,
Muktsar fare poorly

Centre recommends recovery of funds
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 3
Crores of rupees given to Bathinda and Muktsar districts by the Union Centre Government under its Sector Reform Project (SRP) for setting up new rural water works by taking 10 per cent of the total cost of project from the panchayat concerned as contribution, have been lying unutilised for the past two years.

Though crores of rupees had been lying with the Public Heath Department, Punjab about 42 new rural waterworks projects in Bathinda and Muktsar districts, for which civil work was started about two years ago, have not been completed so far. The reason being, the Centre had asked the Punjab Government not to release funds for this scheme now.

Worried over the situation, the Principal Secretary, Department of Public Health, Punjab, Mr Vijay Kain, today held a meeting here with the district heads of Muktsar, Moga, Bathinda and some other districts and urged them to make efforts to make the panchayats of the village, where the waterworks were being set up under the SRP, contribute their share at the earliest. Officials of the Public Health Department also participated in the meeting.

Official sources said out of Rs 14 crore, which was given to Moga, Muktsar and Bathinda districts under the SRP about more than two years ago by the Union Government, only Rs 7 crore had been utilised so far despite the fact that Union Government had closed the SRP on April 1, 2004.

The sources added that so far only one rural waterworks had been set up in Muktsar district out of 117 for which the grant was given and no rural waterworks had been completed in Bathinda district so far despite the fact that funds were given for 22 schemes. Only 13 rural water schemes out of 24 had been completed in Moga district and subsequently handed over to the respective panchayats for operation and maintenance of the same.

As per the norm of the SRP, the panchayat concerned of the village where the new waterworks was to be set up, was required to deposit 10 per cent of project cost to the village development committee, which was constituted for its execution. The Punjab Government was required to release funds from the grant given by the Union Government to it under the SRP, only after the panchayat concerned contributed its share.

Official sources said the authorities concerned started civil work on 32 schemes in Muktsar district and 10 schemes in Bathinda district without taking full contributory share of panchayats concerned and the same had been hanging fire now after the Union Government put a check on Punjab Government for releasing funds for the same schemes due to the fact that the panchayats concerned had failed to contribute their respective share.

Taking cognisance of the failure of the authorities concerned to implement the scheme as per the norms laid down for the same, the Central Government had asked the Punjab Government to recover the amount from those village development committees, which had taken money and could not execute the civil work of rural water works.

Sources said the district administration of Muktsar had recovered Rs 6 lakh from village development committees, which could not execute the civil work of the waterworks in those villages where the panchayats had not contributed their respective share. The recovery process was going on. The Bathinda district authorities had promised that it would make efforts to force the panchayats of those villages, where the waterworks were being set up under the SRP, to contribute their share immediately.

Mr R. P. Aggarwal, Chief Engineer, Public Health, Central Zone, said that the Central Government had converted the SRP into Swajal Dhara scheme from April 1, 2004. He said the Punjab Government had been making efforts to shift the funds lying with it under the SRP to Swajal Dhara so that the ongoing work on a number of waterworks could be completed with the help of the panchayats.


5 cops dismissed in Babla escape case
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
Five Patiala policemen, who had wined and dined with dreaded militant Gursewak Singh Babla and let down their guard resulting in the escape of the militant, were today dismissed from service.

Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai took this decision following a meeting with senior police officials here today. Those dismissed from service are — Assistant Sub-Inspector Ramesh Kumar, head constable Raj Kumar, head constable Baljinder Singh (who was the driver of the vehicle in which the militant was taken to Delhi) and constables Surinder Singh and Gurinderpal Singh.

The SSP said he had taken this decision under powers conferred upon him under Section 7 of the Police Act 1861 read with the Punjab Police Rules 16.1 and Article 311(2) (b) of the Constitution of India. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has also moved against the five cops by registering a case under Section 224 (negligence leading to escape of a criminal) against them at Sabji Mandi Police Station.

Mr Rai said in a simultaneous action, he had suspended ASI Karnail Singh and head constable Jaspal Singh of the Patiala Police Line. He said Karnail Singh, who was originally directed to take the militant to New Delhi, had reported sick following which Jaspal Singh had changed his duty and deputed ASI Ramesh Kumar on the job.

The district police is investigating whether Jaspal Singh was in league with the militant. It is being investigated whether Karnail Singh had reported sick under a wider conspiracy.

A police team of five Punjab Police personnel had taken militant Gursewak Singh Babla to New Delhi to attend a court hearing on August 22. The police officials had freely interacted with the militant after the court hearing on August 23 and had taken drinks with him twice. Later they had taken him out of Sabji Mandi Police Station during night on the pretext of taking him to a doctor. They had instead gone to a hotel in Paharganj from where the militant had escaped after his handcuffs had been removed.


Health official, cops ‘collect money illegally’
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 3
In a blatant case of corruption, a health official with the help of the police, allegedly collected money from Pathankot-based shopkeepers leading to resentment in the area. Sources revealed that a health official posted in the malaria unit at Pathankot got an order passed from the District Epidemiologist Officer, Gurdaspur, on August 30. As per the copy of the order available with The Tribune the district epidemiologist wrote to the SHO Sadar, Pathankot, to provide the health official police security to help him check shops selling, eatable to prevent the spread of cholera in the area. The health official with the help of two constables provided by the SHO checked hotels and collected money from the shopkeepers. However, dispute arose over the distribution of the ill-gotten money between the health official and constables. The latter reported the matter to their superiors who ordered an inquiry.

Generally, orders for constituting teams for checking shops are passed by the Civil Surgeon. He deputes senior medical officers who are trained in collecting samples. Only in case of acute necessity, police help is sought.

However, in the present case it was strange that the orders for police help were issued to a single person who was a junior non-technical person in the malaria unit at Pathankot. The District Epidemiologist Officer when contacted said he had ordered police help for the said health officer on the basis of the recent instructions issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh, for the prevention of cholera in the area. He also said that he signed the request of the health official for police help on behalf of the Civil Surgeon as he or the District Health Officer were not present at the station.

Sources said it was not for the first time that lower-level officials had ordered police help for a single person who had further abused it and collected money illegally from the shopkeepers.

The Civil Surgeon, Mr Niranjan Singh Suman, when contacted said a departmental inquiry would be initiated into the matter and strict action would be taken against those found guilty.


Good Samaritans join hands to save peacock
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

The injured peacock being treated by the veterinary in charge at the People for Animals, Ludhiana, shelter.
The injured peacock being treated by the veterinary in charge at the People for Animals, Ludhiana, shelter.

Chandigarh, September 3
Punjab presents an interesting contrast in terms of the treatment its people mete out to wild animals and birds protected under the wildlife laws.

Where on the one hand are cases like the alleged killing of the national bird by former Pathankot SDM and the bird’s alleged poisoning by farmers in Samrala and Doraha, on the other is this heartening instance where people acted responsibly to save a fatally injured peacock.

Recovered in a serious state from Khanna about a week ago, an adult peacock was treated at the Ludhiana shelter of People For Animals (PFA) before being handed over to the Punjab Wildlife Department officials. By now, it would have been released in its natural habitat.

The tip-off was received when the staff of A.S. College for Boys, Khanna, discovered a peacock writhing in pain on the college campus. This college is known for frequent visitation of peacocks which love safe environs and shady trees. Acting instantly, the staff informed Dr Narinder Singh, Head of the Zoology Department, about the injury of the bird. From the college the news spread to the office of Principal and Senior Veterinary Officer, Khanna, Dr Ranjit Singh who referred the peacock for treatment to the PFA shelter at Ludhiana.

Talking to The Tribune today, the Divisional Forest Officer, Mr Sunil Kumar, said the case was treated as “urgent” and the bird was transported to Ludhiana in the custody of Forest Range Officer, Doraha, Mr Surain Singh. At Jeev Kalyan Kendra and Bhagwan Mahavir Abhayshala, Ludhiana., the peacock was given its due attention before it recovered from the injury and was able to fly.

In charge of the shelter which is one of its kind in Punjab, Dr Sandeep Jain said, “We found no apparent fracture. However, the bird was limping and was unable to fly. There was possibility of a blunt injury on its right thigh. Probably it had been hit by someone.”

Treatment of the bird began on the expert advice of Dr M.P. Singh, a bird specialist, also a regular at Chatt Bir Zoo, Dr Vibhu Parkash of the Vulture Centre, Panchkula and Dr Kala Santha, a wildlife expert from Sri Lanka.

A history of animal welfare

PFA’s Ludhiana shelter has a reputation of saving many birds and animals. It houses 40 pigeons (injured or disabled), four geese, two Muscovy ducks (rescued from a circus), six guinea fowls, and two parrots (disabled) in its birds section. It has been treating peacocks, hornbill, barn owl, doves, pigeons, shikras, and even bats. Other inmates of the shelter are dogs, goats, donkeys, horses and cows (all sick and disabled). The birds are set free or handed over to wildlife officials after recovery.


Rising thefts: traders take to streets, cane-charged
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 3
Enraged over the rising incidence of thefts and “failure” of the police to check them, the traders in Baghapurana took to streets and blocked traffic at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk for about two hours, besides keeping their shops shut whole day.

The traders’ anger surged when instead of pacifying the crowd, the police charged the traders with stage-managing thefts to claim insurance money. The situation worsened when the police started cane-charging the traders. The police also attempted to snatch the camera of a press photographer, which was opposed by the scribes present on the spot. Traders, staging dharna, alleged that the police harasses them by posing “stupid” questions. They alleged that though the police was accounting the recent thefts to deployment of force for quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib, they didn’t even have any clues in thefts that took place earlier. The dharna was lifted when the SHO assured them of taking strict measures to check thefts in the town.

Immediately after this the traders formed an 11-member action committee. They said that if the SHO didn’t fulfil his promise they would launch the protest again.

The traders’ protest was triggered by an incident in which a large number of mobile phones and watches were stolen from a shop in Baghapurana on Tuesday night.

Surprisingly, the shop was located at about 150 metres from the police station. Some traffic policemen informed the shopowner about the theft at 5 am, while the police was claiming that they had set up a checkpoint near the shop at 3.30 am. When the traders expressed surprise over this point, the police said that the checkpoint was there till 3.30 am and the theft took place after 4 am. This incident also added to the traders’ resentment and subsequently they came out in open to protest against the increasing thefts.


Alleged thief beaten up, paraded by mob
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Baghapurana, September 3
Caught red-handed while stealing small items, a general store employee was taken out in a procession after hanging a placard saying ‘Mein chor haan’ (I am a thief) around his neck here yesterday. The employee, Dev Singh of Kot Kapura, also faced the wrath of the common people who, along with the shopkeeper, thrashed him.

While he was being beaten up mercilessly, the police did not come to his rescue.

Sources said 28-year-old Dev Singh was working at a shop located at the bus stand. The shopkeeper had suspicion that some goods were being stolen from the shop for the past few days. When the shopkeeper checked Dev after undressing him some stolen goods were recovered from his possession. Instead of informing the police, he called some local residents in front of whom Dev Singh confessed to his crime.

He wanted to say something on the incident, but without listening to him the people present there started beating him. He was made to stand in the sun for about two hours wearing only undergarments. After this a placard announcing ‘Mein chor haan’ was tied around his neck and he was taken around in the market by a large number of people. The police reached the spot when he was just about to faint owing to continuous thrashing by the crowd.

The police has registered a case against him under Section 381 of the IPC, but no action has been taken against those who took law into their hands and treated him in an inhuman manner.

The SHO, Mr Satpal Singh, said Dev Singh was booked on the complaint of the shopkeeper, Mr Mithu Ram, and that they would register the case against the people who mistreated him on receiving a complaint regarding the same. The Baghapurana DSP, Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, said he had just returned from Amritsar and he would be able to comment only after probing the matter.


Protest rally against minor’s rape
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 3
A protest rally led by the state chairperson of the Nari Mukti Manch, Ms Surinder Kaur Dhudike, was taken out in Jhandeana Sarki village yesterday to protest against the rape of a minor in the village last week. Organisations representing different sections of society like the Technical Services Union, the Bharatiya Kisan Union Ekta, and the Lok Sangram Manch participated in the rally.

The protesters alleged that while the incidents like rape were on the rise, the administration and politicians were turning a blind eye towards them. They said that their rally was to sensitise the youth to head in the right direction and to make people aware to raise their voice against such heinous crimes. Two panels were formed for the purpose.

An all-woman panel would be headed by Ms Surinder Kaur Dhudike, while village sarpanch Sukhchain Singh would be the chief of an all-man panel. The Nari Mukti Manch also expressed its intent to fight the minor’s case.

It may be mentioned here that a seven-year-old girl was raped in a secluded building of the village last week. The villagers had nabbed the accused and handed him over to the police.


PSEB officials ‘steal’ power
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 3
Certain offices of the PSEB are drawing power from hotline of the local Civil Hospital throwing all norms to the winds.

In view of power cuts in both rural and urban areas, hospitals are being provided electricity through the hotline round the clock. According to electricity board norms, no other government office or unit could be given power supply from the hotline.

Ignoring all norms, some board officials in Faridkot are getting 24-hour power supply from the hotline. The offices violating these norms include those of the SDO (City) and the SDO (Suburban). The office of the SDO (City) is close to the Civil Hospital, while that of the SDO (Suburban) is quite at a distance from it. Power connection to the latter from the hotline of the Civil Hospital passes over many shops and houses on its way. This also gives way to the possibility of these shopkeepers taking advantage of the hotline.

The PSEB Executive Engineer (Technical), Mr Lakhwinder Singh, said the electricity board itself was supplying power to the Civil Hospital then why the board couldn’t take connection from its hotline. On the other hand, the Superintendent Engineer, Mr H.S. Thukral, said the hospitals concerned deposited a specified amount for taking hotlines and no other office could be given power supply from the same. When asked about the board offices drawing from the Civil Hospital’s hotline, he didn’t comment on the issue. 


Durgiana panel flays BJP leaders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
Criticising Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister, and Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Rajasthan Governor, for not paying obeisance at the Durgiana Temple here Mr Surinder Arjun, president, Shri Durgiana Committee, said that being a Sikh, Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, visited the Durgiana Temple to pay obeisance and also participated in the kar seva. However, the other so-called Hindu leaders were so busy that they had no time to visit the temple, the great religious place of Hindus.


A milestone in service of humanity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Umeed Foundation today completed seven years in the ‘’service of humanity’’ in Sangrur and Mansa districts, where it has successfully spread its net in the field of education and health delivery systems.

The foundation chairperson, Mr Arvind Khanna, MLA, today said that services of Umeed were now available in villages of Moga and Ludhiana, as well.

Providing ‘’healthy living’’ has been Umeed’s motto. It has with its volunteers gone to remote villages, taking their mobile vans along to give medicare at the door-step of the needy. The net-work of its social welfare schemes, counselling and stitching centres are popular with the village people, who have been encouraged to form ‘’self-help groups’’.


Doctors’ forum decries NPA abolition
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 3
The Punjab State Senior PCMS Doctors Forum today decried the decision of the Himachal Pradesh Government to abolish the NPA of HP civil medical service doctors.

The forum appealed the state government to withhold the notification and allow the NPA to HP doctors, else they would be forced to hold protests against the government.

The forum also resented the delay in implementation of absorption of 50 per cent DA with the basic pay. It urged the Punjab Government to issue a notification in this regard at the earliest so that doctors did not suffer from financial loss.

The forum further appealed the Punjab Government to organise a Department Promotion Committee (DPC) meeting immediately. They added that the delay was affecting the promotional careers of many senior doctors. “It was leading to stagnation in the cadre and demoralisation among senior doctors”, it said.


More water supply schemes for Kharar: MLA

Kharar, September 3
Various water supply schemes will be started in the township after the completion of the ongoing projects.

This was stated by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, local MLA, at a press conference here today. He said in the Kharar constituency there were 137 villages out of which 132 fell in Ropar district and the remaining five in Fatehgarh Sahib district. All 137 villages were facing scarcity of water.

He said till March 31 a population of nearly 18,8941, living in 130 villages, had benefited from 50 schemes launched in the area at a cost of Rs 174.42 lakh. In Chilla village, the work for supplying water was in progress and a sum of Rs 32.51 lakh were being spent on it. OC


Two sadhus die in town
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 3
Two sadhus, one infested with worms and the other suffering from tuberculosis died here today. Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Sewa, an NGO, in a press note issued here today said that one Sadhu identified as Gopi Patnayak, was infested with worms.


Higher cotton yield likely this year
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 3
After having set two records last year, the cotton crop has set another record this year as it started arriving in the markets in the last week of August.

Last year, the cotton crop, production of which has been declining since 1989-90, set a record when its prices crossed Rs 2700 per quintal in the market, which was the highest so far. The second record was set when Punjab exported cotton last year after a decade or so.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that last year, the cotton crop hit the markets on September 8. But during the current year, the cotton crop hit the markets of Punjab, Haryana and Sriganganagar circle on August 24. Not only did the cotton crop hit the market early but its arrival has been picking up day by day.

At present, about 600 bales have been arriving in the markets of north zone comprising Punjab, Haryana and the Sriganganagar circle. By the end of the second week of this month, the arrival is expected to touch about 1500 bales and by the end of this month, the cotton crop — known as while gold — would cover all the markets with a white sheet, according to Mr Ashok Kapur, President, Northern India Cotton Association (NICA).

He added that it was for the first time that cotton crop had started arriving in month of August because of early sowing.

Mr Kapur pointed out that as per estimates of the NICA, the prevailing situation indicated that there would be production of 36 lakh bales in the current year against the production of 26 lakh bales last year in north zone. He added that he hoped that NICA would have to revise its estimates as field reports indicated that the per acre yield was likely to be more this year.

In the absence of central and state government agencies, private traders and ginning, spinning and textile mills owners have jumped into the cotton market in a big way and have been purchasing the entire stock of crop being unloaded in the markets quickly.

As per the market reports, the opening rates of ‘narma’ variety have been ranging between Rs 2000 to Rs 2400 and of desi variety between Rs 1900 to Rs 2100. Last year the opening rates of ‘narma’ variety ranged between Rs 2350 and Rs 2375 and of desi variety between Rs 1925 and Rs 2025.

Mr Kapur pointed out that though the prices of different varieties of cotton ruled high during the entire season last year, the prices would remain stable this year due to increase in production.

He pointed out that so far NICA estimates revealed that Punjab was likely to produce about 16 lakhs bales, Haryana 15 lakh bales and Sriganganagar circle of Rajasthan 5.25 lakh bales in the current year. 


Five new post offices in dist planned
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 3
After a gap of almost a decade, the Department of Posts is all set to open five new post offices in various parts of the district by this month-end.

The new post offices are being set up keeping in view the expansion of residential and commercial areas in the district on all its sides. The new plan will bring much relief to over 50,000 residents who have to travel a distance of more than 5 km to reach the nearest post office.

Mr Charan Singh, Senior Superintendent of Post Offices, Jalandhar Division, said that it was being planned that residents of urban colonies did not have to travel more than 1 km to reach the post office. For rural areas, 3 km was the maximum distance as per the prescribed norms, he said. But he added that due to fast expansion of the district, many residents residing in newly established colonies were facing problems in using postal services.

As per the schedule, the first post office will be formally opened by Mr L.K. Puri, Chief Post Master- General, Punjab and UT Circle, on September 9 at Guru Amar Das Nagar, near Amritsar bypass.

On September 10, a post office will be opened at Nagra, near Gulab Dai Hospital.

Besides, a post office is being opened in TV Tower Colony. Coming to the aid of the residents of Ladhewali and Reru, two new post offices are being opened there as well.

Mr Charan Singh said that there were 97 post offices in Jalandhar Division till date. These included those in Jalandhar and Nawanshahr districts.


Man shot
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
Chhatinder Singh, a resident Tapiala village under Lopoke police station in Majitha police district, was shot by Jagir Singh of the same village. A case under Section 302, IPC, was registered in Lopoke police station here today.

According to information, Gona Singh, an uncle of the deceased, have a dispute with Jagir Singh. Last night he had a brawl with the accused. When the deceased tried to pacify them, Jagir Singh, who was accompanied by his son Sonu and two others, Satnam Singh and Sawinder Singh, shot with his double-barrel gun. Chhatinder Singh was admitted to the government run Guru Dev Hospital with two bullet shots where he died. No arrest has been made so far.


Convict caught smuggling narcotics
Tribune News Service

Mansa, September 3
Old habits die hard. This proverb was proved true in the case of Naib Singh, who has been undergoing 10-year imprisonment after being convicted in a narcotics smuggling case, was caught again by the police while he was smuggling poppy husk yesterday.

Police sources said that Naib Singh, who was on one-month parole, was caught by the police when he was selling the poppy husk in a street behind Government Nehru Memorial College. The police seized more than 4 quintals of poppy husk, packed in 12 bags, from the accused.

The sources added that Naib Singh, a resident of Badiala village of Bathinda district, was to complete his imprisonment after about a month.

A case in this connection had been registered in the city police station under the NDPS Act.


ASI booked for graft
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 3
A case of corruption has been registered against ASI Darshan Singh deployed in Dharamkot here today. The action against the ASI came after a medical shop owner had lodged a complaint against him. Sources said the complainant, Tejinder Singh, who is the owner of Deep Medical Store in Dharamkot, had accused the ASI of demanding Rs 50,000 for covering up the recovery of some intoxicating drugs from his shop.

Unconfirmed reports said the complainant had already paid Rs 20,000 to the ASI who was pressurising him to pay the rest of the amount.

Tejinder Singh then lodged a complaint with the SSP following which a case was registered against Darshan Singh under sections 13/2/88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


Syndicate names two libraries after scholars
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 3
The Punjabi University Syndicate has named the university’s Main Library as “Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha Library” and Punjabi Reference Library as “Dr Ganda Singh Punjabi Reference Library”.

The decision was taken at the Syndicate meeting held under the Chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai here today.

The university decided to name these libraries after the scholars in recognition of their work towards Punjabi language. Besides, two Syndicate members — Dr U.C. Singh and Principal Gurmeet Kaur Bhathal — were nominated to the finance committee.

The Syndicate also approved the proceedings of the Academic Council held on August 25. It also gave nod to another important project on Punjab from historical perspective in terms of geographical sub-region under the supervision of historian and former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Dr J.S. Grewal. The project would be completed in both English and Punjabi languages.

Also, it approved the amendment to the Regulation 4 and 5 of the Punjabi University Calendar Vol. 1 under which Dean, Academic Affairs, would preside over all meetings in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor instead of Pro Vice-Chancellor (PVC), as the post of the PVC had been abolished by the Punjab Government.

In another amendment approved by the Syndicate, category B officials would now be able to avail of privilege leave of 15 days instead of earlier 10 days in case they were permitted by the Vice-Chancellor to work during vacations. It also approved to shift the Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Application course from semester system to annual system from 2004-05.

All fresh selections of lecturer in various departments and selections made under the Career Advancement Scheme in the designations of senior-scale lecturer, reader and professor were approved by the Syndicate.

In the end, the Vice-Chancellor appreciated the services of the outgoing members — Preneet Kaur, Surinder Singla, Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Bir Devinder Singh and Randeep Singh — and thanked them for their cooperation.


Varsity suspends top student leaders
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
Almost all prominent student leaders of Punjabi University are in the thick of controversy with three of them being named in group clash by a rival group and another being found in a “drunken” state on the campus.

The university authorities today released a press note saying it was taking serious note of the “growing indiscipline and hooliganism among students on the campus”.

The press note said the incident that occurred last night had brought hooliganism into sharp focus with three students of the Physical Education Department — Surjit Singh, Supinder Singh and Amritsherpal Singh — being “severely injured in a murderous attack” following which they were admitted to the Government Rajindra Hospital where “they are under treatment”.

It further said the injured had in a written statement accused Gurnam Singh of MA I (social work), Sukhjit Singh of LLB (third year) and Kartar Singh of MA I (Urdu) of attacking them with “swords, rods and sticks”. Keeping in view the seriousness of the attack, all three had been suspended from the university and their entry into the campus had been banned, it added.

All three suspended students are top leaders who had been agitating against the authorities for the past one week. Gurnam Singh is the convener of the Punjabi University Students Confederation. Sukhjeet Singh is patron of the Punjabi University Students Harmony (PUSH), while Kartar Singh is the president of the PUSH.

Although the university claims that all three victims had been “severely injured”, this does not seem to be the case. Only one of the three is still admitted to the hospital and even he does not have any serious injury. Other two have been discharged after first aid.

The university authorities claimed that in another unsavoury incident in Homi Bhabha Hostel, three students were caught in a drunken state by the hostel warden. They were identified as Manpreet Singh of MCA third year, Jasbir Singh of MSc II (Physics) and Mr Bikramjit Singh of MA I (religious studies). They have reportedly confessed to their involvement in the activity. Bikramjit Singh Jattana is the president of the Association of Punjabi University Students (APUS).

The university authorities have decided to impose fine on these students besides withdrawing the hostel facility from Manpreet Singh and Jasbir Singh.

It has also been decided to expel Bikramjit Singh from the department and ban his entry into the campus due to his alleged repeated violation of the institute’s rules.


College students observe strike on bus ticket issue
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 3
The Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) unit of the local Government Ranbir College today observed a strike and held a rally in protest against the alleged callous attitude of the private bus operators towards the students, having bus passes, in their buses.

Addressing the rally, Mr Gursewak Singh, president of the college unit of the PRSU, alleged that issuance of tickets to
the students “forcibly”
by the private bus employees, get the students down from the buses and “beating up” of the students were still continuing in private buses.

He also alleged that the private bus operators had formed “gangs of goondas”, armed with weapons, to harass the students in their buses.

Veerpal Kaur, a PRSU leader, urged the administration to control the unnecessary harassment of the students by the private bus operators.

She demanded registration of cases against private bus operators who were allegedly responsible for on “attack” on agitating students at Mansa some days ago.

In a statement, Mr Gursewak Singh said the employees of the PRTC buses did not allow the students, having bus passes, to board their buses at Nidampur village on the Sangrur-Patiala road.

He said a deputation of the PRSU met the General Manager of the Sangrur depot of the PRTC in this connection, who assured them that no student would face any inconvenience in this regard in future.


Parents protest against stopping of counselling
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 3
Parents of the PMT candidates, who were in the city to appear for counselling today, protested against stopping of the counselling midway and raised slogans against the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences authorities.

The candidates have now been told to come for counselling on September 8.

Today, the candidates of the general category, who had scored above 320, were called for counselling for the BAMS and the BHMS courses. However, the university stopped the counselling without giving any reason.

The students had started gathering at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College from early morning, but the university stopped the counselling after giving admissions to the candidates who had scored above 488 despite the fact that 53 more seats were still vacant.

Angry over the university’s attitude, the parents demanded that the counselling be continued till all seats were filled. When the university officials did not pay heed to their demand, they staged a dharna and shouted slogans against the university authorities.

Later, some of the parents were called and told that the counselling would now be held on September 8, but the parents protested against it saying that the university officials wanted to allot the vacant seats to their “favourite” candidates.

They said the university should have no objection to conducting the counselling session, as all candidates were present there. They said the university had given an advertisement in various newspapers mentioning counselling dates and now when they had reached here from far-flung areas, there was no one to hold the counselling session.

They said they would have to again bear the expenses for appearing on the next date of counselling.

The Registrar of the university, Mr A.S. Sekhon, said they had called the candidates from outside Punjab and the candidates from Punjab had come on their own. He said their counselling had been scheduled for September 8.


Seminar on technical education at Longowal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 3
A national seminar on “Technical education and entrepreneurship in the era of WTO” was held at Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology at Longowal village today. The seminar was organised in connection with Teachers Day celebrations.

Inaugurating the seminar, Dr S.K. Pachauri, Secretary, Home, Government of India, and a former Director-General of National Productivity Council, stressed upon the need to focus on the changes that might take place when the WTO agreements would come into force in 2005. He said the coming era was that of competition and hard work, and quality needed to be improved drastically.

Dr Pachauri further said research and development would have to be given a thrust, and all this required strenuous efforts by teachers.

Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology, said the teaching community needed to be more innovative and competitive to lead the nation. He also highlighted the efforts, being made by the institute in updating and evolving a curriculum suitable to the technological and industrial needs of the day.

Some other distinguished experts also shared their views on the subject with more than 100 delegates, who attended the seminar. Two teachers, Prof K.S. Kaler and Mr Narinder Singh, were also honoured.


Hoteliers demand relaxation in taxes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 3
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) held their annual general meeting here today and lambasted the Central government for imposing hefty taxes.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Manbeer Choudhary, president of the association, said that the hotels and restaurants were helping the government in generating vast employment opportunities for the youth and earning foreign currency from the tourists. But he said the government was paying no heed to their long pending demands, including relaxation on licensing procedures, reduction of bar licence fee and rationalisation of service tax.

Mr Choudhary said Rs 500 crore allocated for tourism must be spent wisely in order to promote the growth of the trade. He said the “Incredible India” campaign carried out to improve India’s image had helped but a lot more was required to be done by means of aggressive marketing, improving transportation facilities and easing visa restrictions.

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