P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



85th Amendment Act may run into rough weather
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Government's decision to implement the 85th Amendment Act may run into rough weather.

Taking cognizance of a complaint accusing the government of violating the code of conduct by ordering the Act’s implementation, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to look into the matter. The officer, in turn, has asked the Chief Secretary to submit his report.

In another election related development, the CEO’s office has asked the government to declare a holiday on the election day in Kapurthala and Garhshankar for enabling the electors to exercise their franchise. The elections are scheduled to be held on October 13. Copies of the letters have been forwarded to the Principal Secretary in the Labour and Employment Department, besides the state Chief Secretary.

The sources in the election department further revealed that the CEO, Mr G.S. Cheema, left for Garshankar assembly constituency this morning for carrying out “surprise checks”. He went around the villages and interacted with the candidates.

Though the CEO was not available for comments, the sources in his office said despite apprehensions expressed by some candidates, the situation was “peaceful and under control”. He is likely to visit Kapurthala on Friday.

The sources added that the election department has so far not been informed about the government’s decision to deploy paramilitary forces in Kapurthala assembly on the basis of a request made by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) members.

SAD secretary Daljit Singh Cheema today claimed that they would again approach the ECI for the deployment of para-military forces in Kapurthala. The election department authorities added that a reminder would be forwarded to Kapurthala’s Deputy Commissioner for sending his reply in the matter.

In their complaint to the ECI and the CEO, Mohali-based General Categories Welfare Federation members had earlier alleged that the Chief Minister’s orders for implementing the Act were in violation of the election code. They had enclosed along with the complaint a copy of news report appearing in these columns.

Giving details, they had asserted that the decision to implement the Act at the current stage “was a step towards influencing the scheduled caste voters”. The members had added that the matter was still pending before the Supreme Court.

Referring to a statement made by the Chief Minister during the budget session in the Vidhan Sabha, they said he too had claimed that the government would await the apex court verdict.

But now, in an attempt to woo the voters, the Chief Minister had changed his stand. As such, the decision to implement the Act should be deferred till Supreme Court’s decision in the matter.


Yogi Bhajan — a tireless crusader
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, known as Yogi Bhajan to hundreds of thousands of devotees worldwide, died at his home in Espanola, New Mexico, in the USA yesterday. He died of heart failure. He was 75.

A pioneer in many fields, he established permanent institutions organised spectacular events and produced a prolific body of teachings.

It was Yogi Bhajan who had set up Miri Piri School (American Sikhs) in Amritsar besides a naturopathy centre at Anandpur Sahib (Ropar) during the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa. He used to frequent India and Punjab almost every year.

The first to publicly teach Kundalini yoga, when he arrived in the West in 1968, he announced he had come to the West “to create teachers, not to gain students”.

A devout Sikh, his inspiration and example motivated thousands to embrace the Sikh way of life. Through his personal efforts, Sikh dharma was legally incorporated and officially recognised as a religion in the USA in 1971. In 1971, in acknowledgement of his extraordinary impact of spreading the universal message of Sikhism, the then president of the SGPC, Sant Charan Singh, called him the Siri Singh Sahib, Chief Religious and Administrative Authority for Western Hemisphere. He was given the responsibility to create a Sikh ministry in the West by Akal Takht. He was honored with the title Bhai Sahib by Akal Takht in 1974.

Born Harbhajan Singh Puri on August 26, 1929, in the part of India that became Pakistan in 1948, he was the son of a doctor. He spent his youth in Dalhousie and attended a Catholic convent school.

When he became a US citizen in 1976, Yogi Bhajan changed his name legally to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji. When he was just eight ,he began his yogic training with an enlightened teacher, Sant Hazara Singh, who proclaimed him to be a master of kundalini yoga.

During the turmoil of Partition, he led his village of 7000 people, near Lahore, 325 miles on foot to safety in New Delhi, where he arrived with only clothes on his back. Soon he was able to continue his education at Punjab University where he excelled in debate and was a star athlete, playing both hockey and soccer, and earning the name “China wall” from his opponents.

After graduating in economics, he began Indian Government service with the Revenue Department, and supervised the creation of the IRS building in New Delhi. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the customs. He married Inderjit Kaur in 1952. They had two sons, Ranbir Singh and Kulbir Singh, and a daughter, Kamaljit Kaur.

Throughout his academic career and government service he continued to teach yoga to people from all walks of life.

In September of 1968, he left India for Canada to teach yoga at Toronto University, carrying a letter of recommendation from Sir James George, Canadian High Commissioner in New Delhi, who had been his student. After two months in Canada, he flew to Los Angeles for a weekend visit.

From humble beginnings, teaching first at the East West Cultural Centre and then in a student’s furniture store in West Hollywood, “The Yogi” was like a magnet. Students flocked to his classes. Soon he was teaching at colleges and universities, including Claremont and UCLA, and accepting invitations to teach in other cities.

In July of 1969 the non-profit 3HO Foundation (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organisation) was incorporated in California. 3HOs service to humanity is through kundalini yoga, meditation and the science of humanology which improves physical wellbeing, as well as deepening spiritual awareness.

In 1994 3HO became a member of the United Nations as an NGO (non-governmental-organisation) in Consultative Status (Roster) with the Economic and Social Council, representing women’s issues, promoting human rights and providing education in alternative systems of medicine.

Over 200 books have been written based on his teachings, as well as a wealth of CD’s, videos, paintings, and sculpture. He himself wrote over 30 books including “The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan”, “Furmaan Khalsa”, “Master’s Touch”, and “Mind and its 81 Facets”.

In 1989 Yogi Bhajan met President Mikhail Gorbachev and established addiction treatment programs in Russia based on the 3HO Super Health model. Currently a pilot project of Super Health is being formed by the Punjab Government in India.


Amarinder grieved at Yogi’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today expressed profound grief over the death of “Singh Sahib” Harbhajan Singh Yogi, popularly known as Yogi Harbhajan a renowned spiritual leader.

In a condolence message, Capt Amarinder Singh said that Singh Sahib Yogi Harbhajan Singh rendered a yeoman’s service to the suffering humanity by propagating the gospels of Sikhism.

He has expressed sympathies with the members of the bereaved family .

Meanwhile, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), has expressed grief over the death of Yogi Bhajan Singh in the US today. He said that the Yogi’s contribution to the Sikh religion was an example in itself.


SGPC condoles Yogi’s death
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 7
American students of local Miri Piri Academy, who had embraced Sikhism under influence of Harbhajan Singh Yogi are feeling lonely today. The death of Yogi who had brought many Americans into the Sikh fold, has come as a rude shock to them.

A Kirtan and ‘ardas’ (prayer) was arranged in front of Akal Takht by the followers of Yogi Harbhajan Singh and students of the Miri Piri Academy.

Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi, Mr Harinder Pal Singh, SGPC member, condoled the death of Harbhajan Singh Yogi. Bibi Jagir Kaur, expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Bahai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi.

The SGPC office remained closed as a mark of respect to the Yogi.


Yogi’s death mourned
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 7
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today mourned the death of Harbhajan Singh Yogi in New Mexico in the United States of America.

The Vice-Chancellor said simplicity pervaded the life of Yogi. Describing the Yogi as a missionary, he said the latter had always preached the unadulterated wisdom and ideals of Sikh religion which inspired transformation of many modern minds across countries.

Mr Boparai said the Yogi had built bridges of understanding between the East and the West through the preachings of Sikh values. He remained worried over rapid collapse of spiritual values of Sikhs as his dream was to see the Sikhs to become a global citizens as international experience permanently altered one’s consciousness and made us more open minded and less judgemental.


Preneet in election mode, says CM’s seat safe
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 7
The Congress MP from Patiala, Ms Preneet Kaur, today said that her husband and Punjab CM, Capt Amarinder Singh, was safely ensconced in his seat and she was not canvassing here to save his seat, even as she joined the campaign in support of the Congress candidate for Kapurthala byelections.

Rebutting the perception that she was campaigning to save her husband’s seat, Ms Preneet Kaur said, “My husband is already sitting on a stable seat. I am first a Congress worker and an MP, then the wife of the CM. I felt the need to support my party people and I decided to come here.”

Ms Preneet Kaur held her first rally at Model Town, near City Hall, followed by nearly half-a-dozen rallies in the adjoining city areas later in the day.

Even though no senior Congress leader, minister or MP was present in the rally, the organisers and residents of the area gave her a roaring welcome as they came forward to garland her as well as the Congress nominee, Ms Sukhjinder Rana.

The speech of the MP was preceded by that of Ms Rana, who called upon the residents to come out in her support. She talked about the developmental activities undertaken by her brother-in-law and MP, Rana Gurjit Singh, and promised that she would be even more active.

Ms Rana said she was not alien to the city or the political arena as she had been around for the past four years, ever since she started holding campaigns in favour of her predecessors for the Vidhan Sabha as well as Lok Sabha elections.

Ms Rana eulogised the achievements of the CM, about whom she did not utter a word during her morning election tour with Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab.

She said various developmental projects pertaining to the maintenance of roads, power and electricity supplies were already being undertaken to restore the prosperity of the state which was missing during the Akali regime.


Bhattal lashes out at SGPC chief
Tribune News Service

Nawan Pind (Kapurthala), October 7
Lashing out at the SGPC president, Bibi Jagir Kaur, for supporting the SAD candidate, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, claimed that she was adopting a foul practice in the name of religion.

Ms Bhattal was addressing an election rally in support of the Congress candidate, Ms Sukhjinder Rana, at Nawan Pind village here today. She held eight election rallies at various villages of Bet areas, including Khukhrain and Alaudipur.

The Deputy CM said while her party was fighting the elections on the issue of secularism and fraternity, SAD was resorting to unfair practice of taking the support of people associated with Sikh bodies.

She added that SAD was even using gurdwara premises for political activities. “Everything, including mattresses, microphones, speakers, water drums, tea and even langars come from nearby gurdwaras during their rallies, she said.

Terming the Akalis as “evaders”, she tried to touch the nerves of the villagers by reminding them of the ’84 riots.

Interestingly, she did not made a single reference of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Ms Bhattal called about the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, as “a humble man with vision”. When asked as to why his pictures had not been used in Congress posters, she said there could be some technical problem and she was not aware of it.


During the rally Congress workers ensured that the gathering was looked after well. They made arrangements for drinking water, tea, coffee, sweets and light snacks to ensure a good gathering.

* * *

The party workers distributed attractive tricolour sun-shades and badges with the a party symbol and picture of Ms Sukhi Rana to children and teenagers who attended the rally.

* * *

Despite the fact that the Congress candidate has addressed scores of rallies in the past one fortnight, she continues to fumble. Giving long pauses after each sentence she probably tries to recollect the facts.


Cong challenges SAD for debate
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 7
The Punjab Congress today threw an open challenge to the SAD for a debate on any issue.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Parminder Singh Pinki, general secretary, PPCC, and Mr Anil Dutta, secretary, PPCC and Vice-Chairman of Punjab Infotech, said the Punjab Congress dared the SAD or its alliance partner BJP to enter into a debate over any issue.

Asked about the issues on which the Congress was contesting the Kapurthala and Garhshankar byelections, Mr Pinki said the major issue was smooth procurement of paddy during the Congress rule and the river waters issue. “The CM has sacrificed so many things to save the river waters of the state and we are going to explain this to people,” Mr Pinki said.

Mr Pinki and Mr Dutta said the Punjab Chief Minister would hold meetings of intellectuals like doctors, advocates, councillors and teachers in Kapurthala and Garhshankar apart from holding interactive sessions with people of the two constituencies.

Mr Pinki and Chaudhary Darshan Singh, former Punjab Mandi Board Chairman, alleged that Mr Badal was trying to terrorise urban voters by resorting to unnecessary complaints against the police and administration.

Mr Pinki and Congress leaders disagreed with senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal that the party head would be responsible for victory or defeat. “It will be a collective responsibility of the party,” said Mr Pinki adding that Preneet Kaur would visit Kapurthala tomorrow to mobilise voters. “Problems of NRIs is another important issue for us. The CM is taking a very serious view of crime against NRIs,” said Mr Pinki.


Tikka Shatrujit flays govt for neglecting Kapurthala
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 7
Lambasting the Punjab Government for the utter neglect of royal buildings at Kapurthala, Tikka Shatrujit Singh, the scion of royal family of Kapurthala, today alleged that the Jalandhar MP Rana Gurjit Singh and his family were not serious in preserving the royal heritage of Kapurthala.

Addressing a press conference here today, Tikka Shatrujit Singh, who was accompanied by Bawa Kiranjit Singh, alleged that being outsiders, the Ranas, both Rana Gurjit Singh and his sister-in-law and Congress candidate Sukhi Rana, do not have emotional attachment with Kapurthala and its people.

How is it possible for an outsider to have an attachment with an area where he does not live, and what is the claim of Rana Sukhi over Kapurthala and its people. Is Rana Sukhi contesting just because of the fact that she was the sister-in-law of a liquor baron? asked Tikka Shatrujit Singh adding that he was supporting the SAD candidate Raghbir Singh.

I have met senior citizens of Kapurthala and found them to be upset over the developments. Rana has forced himself on the people of Kapurthala, said Tikka Shatrujit Singh.

He further said that he would go to the people and tell them about the destruction of Kapurthala and its heritage.

“What to talk about restoration, the Punjab Government has never even commemorated the “Big Ghallughara”, which marked the sacrifice of 35,000 Sikhs”, said Tikka Shatrujit Singh.

He also demanded that the Royal Palace of Kapurthala, which housed the Kapurthala Saink School, should be returned to the royal family or a trust so that the precious monument could be preserved.


Advocate found murdered in his house
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 7
Panic spread in the city following recovery of a decomposed body of 65-years-old advocate from his New Jawahar Nagar residence here today. The police suspects that the murder is a handiwork of two Nepali servants, who were missing since Monday.

The brutal murder came to light after three days. The deceased, identified as Rajinder Pal Sood, was missing since Monday. According to the police, the tenants of the victims – Yadwinder Singh and Gurwinder Gill – who were putting up at the first floor of the house, sensed foul smell emanating from the ground floor, where the deceased was living alone as his wife had died two years ago, while his three daughters were settled in America.

The tenants informed one of the friends of victim, who, in turn approached the police.

The police reached the spot and broke open the door and found badly decomposed body of advocate. The police said the killers had used some blunt weapon. The almirah in the same room was also found broke.

The deceased had employed two servants, identified as Mohan and Mukesh, both from Nepal, last month. The sources revealed that the victim had decided to fire Mukesh after the latter was found stealing some belongings from his room. But, Mukesh somehow managed to persuade his employer, and assured him that they would leave by October 10.

Senior police officials, including SSP, Mr G. P. S. Bhullar, rushed to the spot to conduct an on the spot investigation. Mr Bhullar said, sketches of both accused were being prepared.

The body of the deceased has been sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination. A case has been registered under Section 302 of the IPC. Meanwhile, the police has detained six Nepali domestic servants from the adjoining houses.

Meanwhile, the district police has appealed to the residents of the city to check the antecedents of their domestic servants. “It is mandatory, as per the orders of the District Magistrate, to supply information about the domestic servants and tenants to the police station concerned. The residents should voluntary come forward by providing requisite information about the tenants and domestic servants to the police, Mr G. P. S. Bhullar, said. 


Bathinda police to arrest Dimpy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Prabhjinder Singh, alias Dimpy, a gangster, who was arrested by the Delhi police along with his accomplices, will be arrested by the Bathinda police for his alleged involvement in a murder of a liquor contractor, Darshan Lal, which took place in the Rampura Phul town on February 19, 2004.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said though no police team had been sent to Delhi to arrest Dimpy so far, he (Dimpy) would be arrested in a proper manner after completing all legal formalities shortly as he had already been nominated in the murder case of Darshan Lal. He added that one of the eyewitnesses of that murder, who was driver of Darshan Lal, also died under mysterious circumstances after some time.

Dimpy, belonging to a well to do “Jat” family of Chand Bhan village of Faridkot district, initiated himself into the world of crime around 1985 when his name was associated with the killing of the then student leader of Punjab University, Chandigarh, Makhan Singh. His name also figured in violence that took place in a private college at Chandigarh at that time.

Having big land holding society Dimpy, was associated with different criminal gangs, in other states. After joining big gangs based in UP, he initiated himself into the “profession” of contract killing, kidnapping for ransom and looting. He also acted as a henchman of a number of politicians in UP, Punjab and Haryana in lieu of “protection”.

Facing a number of CBI cases pertaining to kidnapping of business tycoons at Bangalore and Varanasi and other criminal cases in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pardesh, Dimpy, used to roam freely in Haryana for the past few years despite the fact that he had escaped from the custody of the Haryana police while he was being taken for medical treatment after hearing in a court case.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that when Dimpy was getting treatment in Sirsa-based hospital and in a hospital in Gidderbaha, a large number of politicians visited him.


4 held for poaching endangered lizard
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

What is monitor lizard

This lizard falls under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and killing or trapping it is a non-bailable offence. It lives in barrows and is hunted for meat. Special sickles are used to digging it from its barrows. It is said to have a very strong grip and is often used by thieves to scale walls. They simply tie ropes on its back and then make it climb the wall. The reptile's grip is supposed to be so hard that it can even bear the weight of a human. Called "Goh" in Punjabi, the monitor lizard is widely hunted by Sansi and Shikligar tribes which specialise in killing it. They dig it out of its not-so-deep barrow. People of these tribes still use old ways of hunting.

Chandigarh, October 7
Following stepped up patrolling in the Batala area, honorary wildlife warden, Gurdaspur, nabbed a group of poachers for hunting down the monitor lizard, a highly endangered species.

About 4 ft in size, the lizard was recovered in a pitiable state as its tail was ruthlessly wrapped around its neck which, in turn, was injured on account of a deep incision effected by poachers.

Even fingers of the reptile's front feet were coiled around to freeze movement and all possibilities of escape.

Arrested by Mr Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, honorary wildlife warden, Gurdaspur, along the track of the canal near Bhamri village in the Batala area, the four poachers admitted to being habitual eaters of the monitor lizard's meat.

On further investigation the offenders confessed that they had been killing this lizards to eat for a long time and on an average they killed 10 to 12 such animals every month.

While three among the four arrested belong to the "Shikligar tribe" notorious for hunting such animals, one was identified as a youth from a nearby village. The offenders include Tilak Raj, Naru, Parkash and Bhola, all residents of Udhanwaal village near Batala.

They were booked for violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and were sent to judicial remand for indulging in poaching of an endangered animal. The Wildlife and Forest Department officials have also been informed about the arrests and proper action is being initiated against the offenders.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Bajwa informed The Tribune that the poachers were arrested with 10 dogs, digging sickles and a mobile phone which they were using to receive information about the movement of rare animals in the forest rich area.

"They were carrying a bag which, when searched, was found to be containing the monitor lizard. It was breathing but was seriously injured.

It was so brutally trapped that I had to seek help from my security men to disentangle its body parts. All its fingers were broken.

The way it was tied shows the poachers were very experienced at handling such creatures. The monitor lizard can sometimes bite back, besides causing injury with its nails. That's why they had taken all precautions to restrict its movement."

The area from where the hunters were arrested has a dense growth of trees and bushes. It is rich in wildlife, especially partridges, rabbits, jungle cat and peacocks.


Bindrakhiya passes into oblivion?
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Bindrakh (Ropar), October 7
It’s going to be one year since renowned Punjabi folk singer Surjit Bindrakhiya passed away, but the promises of a college and a trust to be set up in his memory are yet to see the light of the day.

His death anniversary falls on October 9.

Bindrakhiya, who gave a new dimension to folk songs with his unique style, seems to have been forgotten. Neither the government nor the famous singers and politicians, who had promised to start various development projects at his village, Bindrakh, about 16 km from Ropar, have turned up here so far.

He brought out 32 audio cassettes during his career and was considered to be the best among the traditional singers. His popular songs are “Gabru gulab barga”, “Dupatta tera sat rang da, ‘Tu ni boldi’, ‘Jatt di pasand’, Tera mukhra wekh ke mar gaya nee”.

Hurt with indifferent attitude of the government and Punjabi singers, Bindrakhiya’s 76-year-old widowed mother, Ms Gurbachan Kaur, says, “Besides a trust and a college, politician and prominent singer, who had come to attend Bindrakhiya’s bhog had promised to built an animal hospital, upgrade village school and start various other project for the uplift of the village”.

“They had also decided to organise a cultural function every year in the village in his memory. It has been almost a year, but no one has turned up here. I did not receive even a call from anyone. The efforts of the villagers to meet the administration-officials and politician also proved futile”, she added.

“Bindrakhiya started performing when he was in class V. His father was not happy with his passion for singing. However, later, he realised his potential and started motivating him”, Ms Gurbachan Kaur added.

“His last song was “Main tirke ghare da pani kal tak nahin rehna”. Probably, he was aware of his early death” she said.

“Besides singing, he was also a known wrestler. He had won many wrestling championships”, she added.


Industrial area roads in bad shape
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 7
Public in general and industrialists in particular of this locality have been put to a great hardship due to bad condition of roads which lead to various villages and industrial areas.

The condition of the roads such as Dera Bassi-Barwala, Bhankharpur-Mubarikpur, Mubarikpur-Neembuan, Mubarikpur-Dera Bassi, Mubarikpur-Ramgarh, Dera Bassi-Mukandpur and Dera Bassi-Isapur-Bhankharpur is so bad that motorists prefer to avoid them.

Bad roads which pass through various industrial units have been causing losses to industrialists as goods carriers often develop snag while plying on these roads. The monsoon has further aggravated their problems.

Mr H.S. Kohli, a former president of the Dera Bassi Small-Scale Industries Association, complained that the association members had brought this to the notice of leaders and officials of the department concerned but to no avail.

The authorities had initiated the repair work and filled some potholes on the Dera Bassi-Barwala road but that too was abandoned after a couple of days, he claimed.

Industrialists of the Dera Bassi Industrial Focal Point, Mubarikpur, have also been facing similar problems.

Owners of various industrial units complained that they have been requesting the authorities concerned to solve their problems but to no avail.

Mr R.C. Kalia, general secretary, Dera Bassi Industrial Focal Point Association, claimed that the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation (PSIEC) had ignored the area after the association opposed the imposition of maintenance charges on industrial units.

Industrialists have also been facing acute shortage of water for the past two years. It had submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister but nothing happened, he lamented.

Residents of the area claim that the heavy vehicular traffic leading to various industrial units have damaged the roads.


Protest against reservation in promotion for Dalits
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 7
Flaying the Punjab Government’s decision to implement the 85th Constitutional amendment seeking to introduce reservation in promotions for Dalit employees, the General Categories (GC) Welfare Federation, Punjab, at a rally today demanded scrapping of the amendment so as to curb the likely stagnation among GC employees.

It also demanded the fixation of income tax ceiling for those already getting reservation in promotions and free education to the poor, including dalits.

The rally was held to mobilise GC activists for state-level demonstrations, against Congress candidates at Garhshanker on October 9 and at Kapurthala on October 11, to protest against the decision which they alleged would further benefit the creamy layer among Dalits, said Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary of the federation.

The govt should have announced welfare schemes for uplifting the poor and common Dalits, instead of swelling the already full kitty of the creamy layer among dalits, asserted Mr Nirmal Singh.

He claimed massive response to the proposed anti-Congress agitation on October 9 and 11, as GC workers were going from door to door for mobilising the masses to ensure the defeat of anti-GC Congress candidates in the October 13 bypolls.

Mr Harjinder Gogna, press secretary, Narinder Sharma, district president, Mr Sushil Dosanjh, Mr Sarwan Singh, Smt Poonam Tandon also addressed the rally. 


Woman succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, October 7
Mrs Tripta Devi, a resident of Shakti Nagar colony in Dera Bassi, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, this afternoon.

Mrs Tripta Devi (50) was knocked down by some unidentified vehicles while she was returning from a temple after offering prayers early this morning. Some passers by noticed her lying along the road a informed the police. The police took her to the local civil hospital.

Since her condition was critical the doctors referred her to the PGI in Chandigarh where Tripta Devi breathed her last. The body was cremated by the family at her native place this evening.

Assaulted: Mr Nishan Singh, a security guard with an industrial unit located in Samgoli village was allegedly assaulted by some unidentified persons near here, late last night.

The problem started when a tractor-trailer stopped in front of the main gate of the industrial unit and Nishan Singh, resident of Behra village, asked occupants - Soni and Jaswinder - to mover away. Saying that the fuel in their vehicle had finished and it can not be drove away, the asked Nishan Singh to get some fuel.

On their request, Nishan Singh stopped a truck and got fuel. The truck driver demanded Rs 60 for the fuel and Soni and Jaswinder expressed their inability to make payment. Following this the truckers exchanged heated arguments which resulted into a clash in Nishan Singh lost his four teeth.

A tea vendor, Ramphool, who came for Nishan Singh’s help also sustained injuries. The trucker later dispersed after the employees of the industrial units assembled at the spot. The injured were later taken to the civil hospital.

The police has not registered any case in this regard as yet.


Function in honour of elderly persons
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, October 7
It was an altogether different experience for inmates of the local old age home when a special function was organised here yesterday to honour them.

Hundreds of elderly persons and others led by Deputy Commissioner B.R. Banga descended on the old age home and presented gifts to its 40 inmates.

The inmates were given ‘shawls’. They were also given cash by Mr Banga as pocket money.

Tears rolled down their cheeks in joy. A special medical camp was organised where the inmates and other elderly persons were examined and given medicines free of cost. Mr Banga promised a grant of Rs 50,000 for the old age home.

Addressing the function, Mr Banga said: “Our elderly people are a valuable treasure and with their guidance we can achieve the pinnacle of success”. He appealed to the youth to respect their parents.

Mr Manohar Lal Khera, president, District Old Age Home, said the home, which came into existence in 1996, was under a debt of Rs 4 lakh at that time. It had now become the second best home for the elderly in the state.

Mr Khera thanked Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, former minister, for arranging an annual grant of Rs 2.25 lakh for the home.

A cultural function was presented by schoolchildren.


Dharna over cops’ failure to trace youth’s body
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 7
Hundreds of men and women under the banner of Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) yesterday organised a dharna against the city police for its failure to trace the body of Babbaljit Singh (17), a youth of Pandori Ran Singh village.

The LBP also demanded transfer of the SHO for “favouring” those behind his death.

The LBP served an ultimatum on the police administration to find the body within 10 days or else the party would intensify its agitation.

Traffic remained affected for more than three hours due to the dharna. Mr Amrik Singh Varpal, general secretary, LBP, addressing the dharna, said Babbaljit Singh was killed by a vehicle belonging to Baba Sukhdev Singh, head of kar sewa Sant Sar Hansali Wale, on September 1 at Doburji village.

The police registered a case under Sections 304, 201, and 365, IPC, against Baba Sukhdev Singh and his other three followers. The Baba and one of his relatives, Veer Singh, were arrested. The remaining two accused are at large.

Mr Varpal Singh said the police had failed to find the body of the youth even after more than a month of the incident.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SSP, said the police was doing its best to find the body.


Deletions in list of pensioners questioned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
Sita Ram (40) who lost both hands in a train accident at the age of 18, has not received pension for the past three years as his name has been deleted from the list of pensioners.

As many as 35,000 persons from the state have been debarred from receiving pension as they have been described “intelligible”. Mr Sita Ram is one of them. According to Ms Laxami Kanta Chawla, senior BJP leader, there are a number of persons whose names have been erroneously omitted from the list.

Ms Chawla, in a letter to Mr Swaran Singh, Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, has demanded a fresh inquiry into the deleted persons list. She has also sought action against officials who had erased the names of eligible persons from the pensioners list.


Lopoke police station gheraoed for five hours
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
A large number of people, including Akali sarpanches and panches, led by Mr Vir Singh Lopoke, a senior Akali leader, today gheraoed Lopoke police station for five hours. They were protesting against the alleged atrocities being committed by the police on them.

They also blocked the traffic on the Amritsar-Lopoke road in front of the police station due to which traffic remained suspended for hours. They alleged that Mr Jhilmil Singh, in charge, Kakkar police chowki, under Lopoke police station, registered false cases of stealing.

Mr Lopoke threatened that if the false case registered against the sarpanch and panches of Sarngna village would not be withdrawn, the residents and SAD leaders would gherao Lopoke police station for indefinite period on October 18.


Grain market tank’s water samples fail
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, October 7
Water from the two lakh litre water tank in the grain market here is not fit for human consumption according to the report received by the office of the Civil Surgeon from the state Bacteriologist, Chandigarh. All three samples sent for testing failed purity test.

District Health Officer Dr V.S. Mohi had taken water samples from the water tank in the grain market here after an outbreak of gastroenteritis related cases among labourers in the market on September 30. More than 180 cases were reported on that day itself following which more cases of diarrhoea were reported the next day. One person — Bharat Yadav died due to this.

According to the report received by Civil Surgeon Dr Hardev Singh the water of the tank is not fit for human consumption. The water samples were found to have dirt particles besides an excess of calcium content. The Civil Surgeon has shot off letters to the Mandi Board, Director, Family Welfare and the Deputy Commissioner asking them to take action in the matter. He said after a perusal of the report of the water samples, it was clear that diarrhoea was caused in the area due to contaminated water being supplied from the overhead tank.

According to sources, the tank in the grain market was made ten years back. It has a two lakh liters overhead capacity and a three lakh liters underground reservoir. The sources said water is first pumped into the underground reservoir from a tubewell, treated and then pumped into the overhead tank. It supplies water to all the shops in the grain market with many of the commission agents installing taps in their premises.

Market Committee Secretary Narinderpal Singh Walia said though the tank was under the Mandi Board, its upkeep was with the Public Health Department. Public Health Executive Engineer Subhash Mahajan said if contaminated water alone was responsible for the diarrhoea cases, many more people in the area would have fallen prey to it.

Mr Mahajan said most of the labourers who had fallen ill on September 30 as well as the following day belonged to three shops in the grain market. He said he had inspected the shops and it seemed as if unhygienic conditions were prevalent there. This he said could be the reason why the labourers had fallen ill. The Executive Engineer also claimed that he had got two samples of water from the overhead tank tested at the Industrial Testing Laboratory at Ghalori Gate in Patiala and that both had been passed by the laboratory. However this is not an authorised laboratory for testing water samples.


Character-building essential for youth: Swami Chaitanya
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
An engineer-turned-holyman who uses logic and English language to reach out to youngsters. Thats Swami Omkar Chaitanya. The swami, who has worked extensively in Himachal Pradesh is in Patiala to carry his message to youngsters in the city and also work among the less-privileged in villages.

“I am trying to strike a chord with youngsters during my lectures in schools and colleges of the city”, said Swami Omkar Chaitanya while talking to TNS. He said as he had already worked in the field of education during his stay in Himachal Pradesh, he would like to work on similar lines in Patiala and other parts of Punjab. “My focus in Himachal Pradesh was working in the confines of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan during which I held workshops for teachers to help them in this task”.

In Patiala he is a guest of Swami Atma Ram, who is the head of the Mangni Ram dera in the city”. “I talk of motivation, awareness, child psychology, yoga and moral education”, he said. Swami Chaitanya said his aim was to motivate the youth to choose character over career. “Character building is very important in today’s context. If youngsters have a good character, they can take its help to create a career for themselves”.

The swami says that during his lectures in schools, he asks youngsters to accept modernity but with morality. He said it was unfortunate that schools do not teach youngsters the meaning of life and how it should be led. Besides, he asks youngsters to ask themselves how they will be happy. “There is a difference between achieving happiness and achieving satisfaction and this should be understood”.

The Swami said that he wanted to take up meaningful projects in rural areas, which would help the entire community. He also composes “chaupais” from Guru Granth Sahib and other holy books to get his message across in the rural community.


Armymen donate blood
Tribune News Service

Jawans queue up to donate blood during a blood donation camp in the western sector.
Jawans queue up to donate blood during a blood donation camp in the western sector.

Faridkot, October 7
A blood donation camp was organised by 33 Artillery Brigade on the occasion of the 39th Raising Day of 40 Medium Regiment somewhere in the western sector.

Brig Anil Nanda, Commander, 33 Artillery Brigade, inaugurated the camp by donating blood followed by the unit’s Commanding Officer Col Shrirish J. Dhobale and his wife, Sub-Major T. Munikrishnaiah and a large number of officers, jawans and their families from 33 Artillery Brigade and 16 Artillery Brigade.

A total of 220 units of blood were collected by afternoon.

Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier Nanda appreciated the enthusiasm of the Army personnel to donate blood. 


Nine hurt in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 7
Nine persons were injured, four of them seriously, in various accidents since last night.

In an accident near Desumajra village, near here, today a person was injured by a bus when he was trying to cross the road.

He was taken to the local Civil Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

In another case an unidentified person was injured at Daonmajra village.

He was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, by the Civil Hospital.

Two persons were seriously injured in an accident near Anaj Mandi when their scooters collided. The Civil Hospital referred both of them to the PGI.

In another case five inmates of Jyoti Sarup Ashram were injured in a collision between a jeep and a car here last night. The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital.


Dalits to protest against PUDA action
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 7
Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri, president, Dalit Sena, said yesterday that members of the Dalit Sena would stage a rally in front of the residence of AICC chief Sonia Gandhi to lodge their protest against the “continuous harassment” of Scheduled Castes by PUDA at the instance of local MLA and Finance Minister Surinder Singla.

In a press note issued here, Mr Gehri said the Dalit Sena would also lodge a protest in the Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly segments as PUDA had uprooted Dalits from a piece of land on which the ownership of PUDA was under dispute.

He alleged that though the Dalits had complained against the PUDA officials, the authorities concerned had failed to take action against them.


New Chief Engineer for GNDTP
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 7
Mr Baldev Singh has taken over the charge of Chief Engineer of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) on retirement of Mr P.S. Luthra, who retired as General Manager GNDTP, after serving the board for over 35 years.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Baldev Singh, who was earlier posted as Chief Engineer, Thermal Designs, PSEB, Patiala, said that his first priority would be to expedite the ongoing process of renovation and modernisation of the GNDTP. 


SSF presents memo to Akal Takht
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
The Sikh Students Federation (Bhai Daljit Singh) today presented a memorandum to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, against the appointment of Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, expelled vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, as Education Advisor to SGPC.

The federation alleged that he was expelled by the state government on the charges of attempted rape, attempted murder of a teacher and corruption.


Operation Bluestar: trunk found
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 7
The mysterious sealed trunk, which was presumably taken by the Army during Operation Bluestar, has been found in the safe custody of the Deputy Commissioner office’s treasury.

What are the contents of the trunk is mystery. Neither the SGPC nor the Deputy Commissioner know what is inside the trunk .

Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary, SGPC, said he had received a communication from the Deputy Commissioner’s office today that a sealed trunk was lying in the safe custody of his office.

However, the Deputy Commissioner told the SGPC officials that the trunk should be opened in the presence of explosive experts of the Army. The SGPC officials would also be present at the time of opening of trunk.

The Deputy Commissioner office took immediate follow-up following the high powered meeting held at New Delhi, which was attended by the Chief Secretary, Punjab, DC and Commissioner, Amritsar Municipal Corporation and officials of the SGPC.


2.75 lakh kids to get polio drops on Oct 10
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 7
All arrangements have been made to administer anti-polio vaccine to more than 2.75 lakh children, in the age group 0-5, on October 10.

Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, said here today that anti-polio drops would be administered at 1060 booths. Forty-four mobile teams would also be at hand to administer the polio drops.

Dr Walia said On October 11 and 12, the health officials would also administer the drops to the children who missed out on October 10, by going 

Meanwhile, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, has appealed to the parents to get their children vaccinated against polio on October 10. 


Medical check-up of migrant labour compulsory
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 7
With a view to preventing spread of deadly diseases, the district administration has made it necessary to conduct medical examination of each migrant labour visiting the district to get employment in any industry or in the rural areas.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, took the decision at a meeting with officials of the Department of Public Health, the District Pulse Polio Coordination Committee and other organisations dealing with tuberculosis and epilepsy cases.


Human rights yatra held in city
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
A ‘yatra’ by the All-India Human Rights Association (AIHRA) from Rajghat to Pakistan went around the city yesterday. A function was also organised in the Baradari Gardens during which ‘yatra’ members spoke about the need to develop friendship and goodwill with Pakistan.

Former Supreme Court Judge A.S. Quereshi and M.U. Dua, a human rights activist who is also the president of the association, visited the city enroute to Pakistan. They were accompanied by a team of volunteers.

Patiala district AIHRA head Lt Col Bishan Dass said the yatra would visit various parts of Punjab from till October 9 following which it would enter Pakistan. He urged people to associate with the yatra to spread the message of peace in the state.


High Court
MLA impleaded as party
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today impleaded Fatehgarh Churian MLA S.S. Randhawa as party to an ongoing writ filed by two employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) against their transfers.

In their petition, which is being heard by the Division Bench of Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang, Mr Jasbir Singh, Lower Division Clerk, PSEB, Dera Baba Nanak, Gurdaspur, and Mr Ajmer Singh, Upper Division Clerk in the same area, have challenged their transfers to Bathinda.

Saying that since the families of the petitioners are politically opposed to the sitting MLA, he got them transferred to Bathinda.

In 2002 also, both the petitioners were shifted to Bathinda.

After hearing counsel for the petitioners, the Bench issued notice of motion for November 22 and also impleaded the MLA as party to the case.

Cabinet rank

Mr Rajan Bir Singh, son of slain Congress leader Balwant Singh, has challenged the authority of the Punjab Government in bestowing Cabinet rank on the Chairpersons of two boards/corporations and minister of state-rank on two others.

In his petition, Mr Rajan Bir has questioned the decision of the government in bestowing Cabinet status on Mr J.S. Mann, Chairperson of the Punjab Agro Foods Limited, and Mr Brahm Mohindra, Chairperson of Punjab Agro Industries Corporation, and Minister of State-status on Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairperson of Punjab Communications Limited and Mr Mohinder Rinwa, Chairperson of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

The petitioner has stated that by giving Cabinet and Minister of State status to the four, the Punjab Government has circumvented the provisions of the Constitution as also the 91st Amendment.

Today, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant adjourned the case for October 11.


Paddy purchase resumes
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
Paddy purchase has resumed after the spell of heavy rain which lashed the district recently, Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh said here today.

The Deputy Commissioner said a total of 1.84 lakh metric tonnes of paddy had been procured till Tuesday in the district by both Government agencies and private millers. He said the daily procurement had reached 30,000 metric tonnes on October 5 after a low figure of 7,000 metric tonnes, recorded on October 3 due to heavy rains.

Mr Tejveer Singh said with the clearing to the weather, paddy arrival was expected to increase in all mandis in the next two days. He said the lifting of procured grains from the procurement centres had also started and that 75 per cent of the total procured paddy had already been lifted.

District Food and Supplies Controller H.S. Mokha informed that he was touring all mandis to ensure farmers were not exploited in any way by either the staff of government agencies of commission agents on account of increased moisture levels due to the unseasonal rain.


2 Food and Supplies inspectors suspended
Chander Parkash

Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 7
Two inspectors of the Food and Supplies Department, Punjab, were placed under suspension while the licence of a commission agent was cancelled by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, after they were found guilty of committing irregularities in paddy procurement when a surprise checking of purchase centres was carried out today.

Apart from it, fines were imposed on four commission agents of different purchase centres in the district for their alleged involvement in violating the conditions laid down for procuring paddy. Mr Chaudhary also cancelled the licence of a weigh man.

Official sources said two inspectors Jaswant Singh and Janak Raj, who were posted at Heron Kalan and Moje Khurd purchase centres, respectively, were placed under suspension on charges of dereliction of duty. The licence of Mr Sadhu Ram, the weigh man, was also cancelled after it was found that he was making irregularities in the weighing of bags of paddy.

Sources added that Deepak Commission Agent, Moje Khurd, M/s Nohar Chand Harbans Lal and Vikas Trading Centre of Matti and M/s Gian Chand & Co of Bhikhi were fined for not using the ink mark on the paddy bags and filling substandard paddy in to the gunny bags. The licence of another commission agent of Bhikhi, M/s Vijay Kumar Bhim Sain, was also cancelled for alleged irregularities made in paddy procurement.

Mr Chaudhary said four commission agents who were found guilty of violating the procurement norms when he carried out surprise checking about two days ago were fined Rs 3,000 each.

He said efforts were also being made to ensure the timely lifting of procured paddy and timely payment of the same to the farmers.

Mr Chaudhary said till yesterday about 62,370 tonnes of paddy had been procured in the district as compared to 29,702 tonnes of paddy in the corresponding period last year. He said all procurement agencies had been procuring paddy without any problem. So far the farmers had been paid Rs 9.87 crore in lieu of their produce.


Encroachments by traders removed
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 7
Officials of the local Municipal Council and the Public Works Department carried out a drive to remove illegal encroachments done by shopkeepers on the Landran road here today.

Shopkeepers had covered the area in front of shops by using metal sheets which were removed during the drive. Such encroachments had made the road narrow causing inconvenience to the public. This had also led to an increase in the number of accidents.

The police help had been sought by authorities concerned as resentment from the shopkeepers was expected. A Duty Magistrate also accompanied the team.

The drive had been carried out on the directions of the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Seema Jain.

The shopkeeper said that only the area which had been left open after the demarcation had been converted by them. This was done to avoid rehris which were parked in the evening in front of shops. They alleged that authorities concerned took no action to remove them.

Mr Sham Vedpuri, president of the local unit of the BJP, had alleged that authorities had adopted a pick and choose policy while removing encroachments.


DC suspends erring revenue officials
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Nirmal Singh and Ranjit Singh, Kanungo and Patwari, respectively, revenue circle, Goniana, were placed under suspension today by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, after they were found guilty of making wrong mutation entries in the revenue record.

Apart from suspending these two revenue officials, Mr Sinha had also written to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, for taking disciplinary action against the then Tehsildar of Bathinda when the bunglings were made in the revenue record.

A show cause notice had also been issued to a petition writer for cancellation of his license given his alleged involvement 
in this case.

A few months ago, Mr Sinha received a complaint against the revenue officials for their alleged involvement in making wrong mutation entries in the revenue record, thus, causing loss to the complainant. Mr Sinha ordered an inquiry into the same and the SDM, Mr S.K. Singla conducted the inquiry.

In the inquiry, all these revenue officials, including the Tehsildar, were found guilty of committing irregularities while making entries into the revenue record. Mr Sinha took action against these officials on the basis of report submitted by Mr Singla
to him. 


Licences of 5 arhtiyas suspended
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 7
Licences of five arhtiyas of the Sangatpura grain market have been suspended for 10 days for irregularities detected by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, during a surprise check yesterday. The firms whose licences have been suspended are Mandeep Kumar and Co, Jit Singh Gurnek Singh, Mohan Singh and Co, Tirath Ram and Co and Deol Trading Company.

Similarly, the SDM, Mr Gurnam Singh Gill, has suspended the licence of a firm, Shri Ram Enterprises, during a visit to the Sherpur Telba purchase centre. Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, today said that every effort was being made to make paddy procurement transparent and farmer-

The DC said that 3,48,042 metric tonnes of paddy was procured by October 6 in the district as compared to 2,76,263 metric tonnes procured during the corresponding period last year.


90-year-old man kills third wife

Moga, October 7
90-year-old ex-serviceman shot dead his wife at Manuke village, near here today. The deceased, Ajmer Kaur (62), was his third wife. The police has arrested the accused.

Sources said after retiring from the Army, the accused, Anokh Singh, worked as a watchman in the Irrigation Department. He used to get pension from the Army as well as from the Irrigation Department, but was not giving any money to his wife which led to tension among them.

Ajmer Kaur had filed a case against her husband on this issue. Irked over this move of his wife, he shot her dead. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC on the basis of statement of his son Baldev Singh. — TNS


Punjabi varsity reinstates teacher
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
The issue of the reinstatement of a teacher of the Department of Fine Arts of Punjabi University has taken Dr J.S. Puar, Editor of Desh Sewak newspaper and former Vice-Chancellor, in its fold. The teacher has been reinstated after giving an affidavit stating that he had been told by Dr Puar and the then Fine Arts Department head to withhold information that he had been dismissed from the Chandigarh-based Government Arts College on the charge of misbehaving with girl students.

Punjabi University had earlier suspended Fine Arts Department lecturer J.S. Garcha after a three-member Committee recommended action against him for concealing information about his service record from the Selection Committee when he was a candidate for the post of lecturer in the university.

Now, however, the case has taken a new turn with the university issuing a statement saying that Mr Garcha was being reinstated as he had represented to the Vice-Chancellor that he had not willfully withheld information about the termination of his service by the previous employer. The statement said Mr Garcha had submitted an affidavit stating the then Vice-Chancellor and the Head of Department had asked him to withhold this information and not mention it in the application form.

The university release said in such circumstances it was apparent that the university did everything with an open eye and the guilt of Mr Garcha was considerably reduced. It said the “disclosures’’ had given an altogether different direction to the case and that he was being reinstated pending an inquiry into the case. The university release remained silent on the earlier “misdemeanour” of Mr Garcha which is not even mentioned in the release.

Meanwhile, Dr Puar said the university seemed to be taking such a view in the case because he had written signed editorials criticising it for not giving an appointment to a girl who had topped its own courses. He said besides the case of the girl student, he had also criticised the university’s attitude towards Punjabi language in editorials in his capacity as the Editor of the Desh Sewak newspaper.

Dr Puar said recently also the Desh Sewak had highlighted the deteriorating academic atmosphere in the university which apparently was not to the liking of the university administration. Dr Puar said an attempt was being made to create a futile issue when he could have no possible interest in asking a candidate to withhold any information.

He said all candidates appearing for an interview had to fill a form giving service details. “If someone does not do this he alone is responsible for the consequences”, he said, adding that the university had appointed Mr Garcha in good faith without knowing his background.


School Board clears Secy’s extension
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 7
The Board of Governors of the Punjab School Education Board cleared the one-year extension in service given to Mr Mohinder Bir Singh, Secretary of the board, at a meeting held here today.

It is learnt that some members objected to the extension given to the secretary on the ground that his service period had expired but the proposal was finally cleared.

The proposal of giving temporary charge of the Controller of Examinations to an official, who was a legal adviser with the board for a period of nine years also raised objections. It was argued that the post was given only to an official having 20 years experience in the field of education.

The official had also been given a new grade in violation of the rules. However, the members passed both the proposals in this regard also.

The issue of the appointment of an adviser by the Chairman of the board was kept pending. It is learnt that the members argued that the appointment could be made by the Chairman only in cases of emergency.

Proposal related to the typing test of Class IV employees, who were to be promoted as clerks, was also discussed at the meeting. While some members said employees, who had been working with the board for the past 20 years, would find it difficult to learn typing at this age and as such relaxation should be given in this regard. But it was argued that in the age of modernisation how would employees do the work of clerks without learning typing. Typing was also required while working on computers.


Students discuss drugs with celebrities
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 7
To spread awareness among the students regarding social issues like drug abuse, female foeticide and AIDS, the Ferozepore Police organised an interactive session of the students with Punjabi singer Harbhajan Mann and comedian Bhagwant Mann, who not only mesmerised the students with their performances but also threw light on these social evils.

Harbhajan Mann, while addressing the students drawn from various schools and colleges in open air theater of the local DC Model School, reiterated his commitment towards the eradication of the menace of drugs and narcotics. Mr Mann set everyone’s feet tapping with his famous Punjabi number “Galla goriya de vich toye.”

Mr H.S. Chahal, SSP, Ferozepore, while addressing the students said the Ferozepore Police had evolved a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the menace under which a series of massive awareness campaigns had been launched.

While delivering his address, Mr H.S. Randhawa, DIG, Ferozepore Range, said the menace of drugs had assumed alarming proportions in Punjab, so it was imperative for the department to work out ways and means to stop its spread.

Mr Bhagwant Mann highlighted the issue of drugs in his own hilarious style. While narrating the hazards of drugs, he said youths falling prey to these drugs should desist from the same as they had a great responsibility to shoulder in eliminating these evils from society.


ETT teachers’ rally on Oct 9
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 7
A meeting of members of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, Nav-Niyukt Elementary Teachers Union, DIET Students Welfare Association and other organisations here today decided to participate in the “sikhiya bachao vishal rally” to be held on October 9 at Kapurthala to protest against the recruitment of teachers on contractual basis in government schools in the state.

The meeting also condemned the police lathi-charge on unemployed ETT teachers on October 5 at Garhshankar and warned the state government not to adopt repressive measure in this regard. The meeting also condemned the government’s policy to privatise educational institutions.

The meeting was addressed among others by Mr Jagtar Singh Ilwal, district president, DSWA, Mr Sukhbir Singh, district unit press secretary of Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union, Mr Tarsem Lal, a leader of Democratic Teachers Front, and Mr Avtar Singh, a leader of Elementary Teachers Union.


PHDCCI plans Amritsar’s economic growth
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Agro diversification, employment generation, exports, tourism and service sector are the key indicators for enhancing economic growth of the Amritsar region, said Mr R.S. Sachdeva, co-chairman, Punjab Chapter, PHDCCI while strategising about the chambers’ operations in this region during a meeting of the executive members of chapter held here today.

With the opening of the district office in Amritsar, the chamber also facilitates issuance of Certificate of Origin ( CoO ) for exports and visa recommendation to the entrepreneurs for the purpose of technological upgradation and business expansion to the existing and new entrepreneurs at the doorstep.

With a view to evolving a planned strategy for development of the textile industry in the border areas of Amritsar, Ferozepore and Gurdaspur, it was suggested that a textiles policy should be formulated to recuperate the image of Amritsar which was known for the textile sector. A scheme for Amritsar should be worked out along with setting up a quality marking centre. A modern textile park should also be set up in Amritsar in joint collaboration with the private sector.

An action plan should be formulated to promote agro-based industries in the region that would create employment opportunities and generate income should be expedited. Farmers should be encouraged to diversify, from the traditional crops to high-value floriculture and horticulture, medicinal plants and dairy farming. The agri-extension centres of the government should provide technical know-how and major marketing companies should be encouraged to purchase farmers’ produce, suggests PHDCCI.

Keeping in view the rapid development of service and knowledge-based industry in the region, the members suggested that sustainable livelihood and gainful employment has to be the first priority of the government, which should be ably supported by industry and service sector alike.

Light engineering is one another potential industry of this region after textile and food processing. PHDCCI has suggested that to bring it out of poor shape, it is imperative that associations should come forward to provide suitable forward and backward linkages for this sector so as to facilitate economic growth. Efforts should be made to collaborate for improving technological capabilities and tie up with foreign companies for increasing exports from this sector.


Govt loses focus on Focal Point
Industrial units down shutters for lack of subsidy, poor infrastructure
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

A view of waterlogged roads at Focal Point in Moga.
A view of waterlogged roads at Focal
Point in Moga.

Moga, October 7
Denial of subsidy and poor infrastructure has led to the closure of a number of units at the Focal Point here. Shut units with termite infested doors and windows having congress grass on their premises tell the story of the government’s indifferent attitude towards the Focal Point.

Talking to The Tribune here today, the president of the Moga Agro Industry Association, Mr J.P.S. Khanna, said that a number of units had closed, while some other sick units were on the verge of closure. He said these units had not received a single penny as subsidy after 1996 despite the fact that it had been sanctioned following their application.

He said those who had set up units were hoping to pay off their loan with the subsidy, but when they didn’t get it, it became difficult for them to run their units, as they were already paying heavy interest on loans.

Mr Khanna said power problem had also contributed to their woes. He said the availability of power was too less and its cost too high in the state. He said the government had implemented two-day compulsory power cut on the industries in wake of the recent power crisis, besides power cuts during the remaining five days of the week. He said they had to minimum charges even if no power was consumed.

He said that the industries in Punjab were not being provided with any amenities and if at all something was announced it wasn’t implemented. “This is the reason why industries are shifting to states like Himachal Pradesh and Haryana,” he added. Mr Khanna said that Moga was once known as the city of thrashers across the country, but now there were only a few thrasher units that too take up only repair work.

Mr Khanna said the Focal Point didn’t even have streetlights, which make it difficult to venture out at night. He said the motor developed a snag and the authorities concerned replaced it with an old motor that was brought from Jalandhar.

During this period the units were forced to arrange water through the Municipal Council’s water tankers. As per norms the unit owners could not even install their water tap or handpump, he said. The only road in somewhat good shape in the whole Focal Point area is the one leading to the office of District Industries Centre. Other roads have deep pits and they are often waterlogged. Lack of sewage disposal also leads to waterlogging on various points.

Lamenting the government apathy, Mr Khanna said previously the Railways used to charge same freight on iron irrespective of the distance, but now they were taking mileage factor into account, which makes iron costliest in Punjab. He lamented that the government was not helping small industrial units in exporting their goods to other countries.

Sources said the Punjab State Industry and Export Corporation (PSIEC) was looking after the focal points in the state till a few years ago.

Mr Khanna said that the PSIEC was willing to hand over a Focal Point to the Moga Municipal Council for its development and maintenance, but the MC demanded charges for its maintenance as the area was not under its limits.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said previously the PSIEC used to look after the Focal Point, but about six years ago they had decided to hand over Focal Points across the state to the municipalities concerned. But, the issue of carrying out repair work hampered the process in Moga, he said.

The DC said he had visited the Focal Point and called up a meeting of industrialists to discuss the issue, besides talking with the officials concerned of the PSIEC. He said the administration was making all efforts to work out some arrangement, as the situation at the Focal Point was very bad and it needed to be addressed urgently whatever be the constraints.

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