P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Verma paid the price for signing Punjab water Bill
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
Senior Congress leaders of the Union Territory, Chandigarh, are claiming that they are behind the ouster of Justice O.P. Verma (retd) as Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator and senior Congress leaders in Delhi have also admitted that the Union Government was annoyed with Justice Verma since July 12, the day he signed the Punjab Termination of Agreements Bill a few hours after it was passed by the State Assembly.

By passing the Bill, the Punjab Government had terminated all river water related agreements. Congress leaders in Delhi say the government was looking for an appropriate opportunity to remove Justice Verma since July 12. At the first available opportunity yesterday, it asked Justice Verma to submit his resignation and he took no time to do what he was asked to do.

Immediately after the Punjab Bill was passed, the entire political establishment was shaken. A sort of political storm had hit the Union Government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh. In fact, the Bill had become a source of big embarrassment for the Union Government. Almost entire national media had blamed Dr Manmohan Singh and the President of the Congress, Ms Sonia Gandhi, for the passage of the Bill. It was also called a big failure of the intelligence agencies as they had failed to inform the government about it.

Along with the Prime Minister and Ms Gandhi, Justice Verma was also criticised for giving assent to the Bill a few hours after it was passed.

Many had felt that keeping in view the sensitive nature of the Bill and the issue involved, the Governor should have referred the Bill to legal experts before signing it.

Sources said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was interested in retaining Justice Verma as Governor as he has been maintaining a good rapport with the Governor. “The Chief Minister had no functional problems with the Governor and he was having good ties with him”, said a senior officer of the state government.

What went against Justice Verma was the embarrassment caused to Ms Sonia Gandhi and Dr Manmohan Singh after the Bill was passed. “The Union Government did not over react in July because of various political factors. It preferred to send the Presidential reference regarding the Bill and other related issues to the Supreme Court instead of taking any hasty political step such as the removing the Governor”, said a senior Congress leader.

Justice Verma was appointed in May, 2003 by the then BJP-led NDA Government in the Centre. He is said to be close to the BSP leader, Ms Mayawati, and the BJP leader, Mr Sangh Priya Gautam from Uttar Pradesh. But on the other hand, the UT Congress leader claimed that they had been pressing the Union Government to remove Justice Verma as Governor. Congress leaders had also not liked the demolition drive started by Justice Verma in UT.


3-day Indo-Pak festival in
Shah Mohammad’s memory

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wadala (Amritsar), October 30
No trace has been left of legendary Punjabi poet Shah Mohammad, who had authored “Jangnama”, an eyewitness account of a battle between the British and the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, of world fame.

Unmindful of its heritage value, a gurdwara and a private house have come up at the site of the demolished house of the great poet.

Wadala Veeram was a Muslim-dominated village which witnessed communal frenzy a few days before the partition of the country which claimed many lives of both Sikhs and Muslims.

Earlier, historians took more than a century to confirm that the actual village of Shah Mohammad was Wadala (the last village of Amritsar) and not Batala (Gurdaspur). A team of researchers, led by the then Director of the Punjabi Languages Department, visited the village in 1973 and found an old marble slab fixed in the well of the house of Shah Mohammad with the help of revenue records. After holding two functions in 1973 and 1978, Shah Mohammad was again forgotten by the villagers, the Languages Department and the state government as well.

The four majestic mosques are a testimony to the fact that the village was Muslim-dominated before the Partition. Historians have pointed out that close relatives of Shah Mohammad were in the employment of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s army. With their help, he could piece together a complete picture of the battle between the Sikhs and the British.

Now Shah Mohammad Yadgari Charitable Trust has decided to retrace the history of the legendary poet with the help of Almi Punjabi Virasat Foundation, led by Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu. Both the organisations will hold a first-ever three-day Indo-Pak festival in the name of Shah Mohammad from November 11.

Mr Simmerjit Singh Majithia, patron of the proposed festival, said many artistes from Pakistan would also participate in the festival in a big way. While the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would be the chief guest on the concluding day of the festival, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary, Shiromani Akali Dal, would preside over a seminar, scheduled to be held on November 11.

Mr Jagir Singh, a retired Sub-Inspector, who witnessed the communal riots in the village, said all Muslim residents had migrated to Pakistan after the breaking out of communal riots.

The villagers, especially the family of the late Niranjan Singh Chabba, made efforts to preserve an ancient mosque in the village. Though two mosques are in a dilapidated condition, yet one of these, Baba Taran Shah, situated on the main road, is being maintained by a Sikh family.

Mr Sandhu, president of the Almi Punjabi Virasat Foundation, said the proposed Indo-Pak festival would give a fillip to the researchers to trace out more writings of Shah Mohammad by visiting Pakistan.


Education in border areas in a mess
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
The Punjab School Education Department, which has been making loud claims such as introduction of computer education, has failed to ensure even the basic smooth functioning of most of the government schools.

School education in border areas is in a complete mess. Because of the lack of will and initiative on the part of the authorities concerned, the tendency among teachers and students to abstain from classes continues to increase, especially in border and other remote areas.

As many as six employees, including four teachers, were found absent during a recent surprise check made at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhianpur (Gurdaspur), by Mr Baldev Raj, Deputy Director, Education Department. Informed sources said that during the inspection, Mr Baldev Raj found that teachers had devised various means to stay away from schools.

When some teachers proceeded on leave, the headmaster concerned never made alternative arrangements to hand over his or her class to other teachers. It is mandatory in such cases for a school headmaster to put another teacher on duty.

Mr Baldev Raj, sources said, found that students were moving around in the school without any check and no class was being held. Of the total 577 students, 485 students were present in the school. Similar conditions prevailed in other schools, sources added.

He also inspected the Block Primary Education Office at Dhianpur where a training programme for teachers in connection with Sarab Sikhsa Abhiyan was in progress. As many as 5 teachers were found absent from the training programme. As many as 26 teachers were called to attend a week-long programme. There was no syllabus available of the programme. No one was clear what sort of training is to be imparted.

Another inspection was made by Mr Baldev Raj at the Block Primary Education Office, Dera Baba Nanak, around 4 p.m. Of the 51 teachers called for weekly training there, no one was available at that time except two resource persons and three other teachers. However, the attendance was marked in the register. The daily training schedule is from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Teachers get Rs 60 as daily allowance in the form of stationary charges, TA etc for attending this programme. The Block Education Officer, who was present, gave the explanation that teachers left early because there was no proper arrangement of bus service.

When contacted Mr Baldev Raj refused to comment in this connection. He said that he would submit the inspection report to the authorities concerned. “I am not entitled to talk to mediapersons”, he added.


Poaching case: Ex-SDM's arms licence
raises many questions

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Points to ponder

Why did former SDM get the purchase limits for cartridges increased twice if he had no intention of buying a single cartridge for long.

What purpose did three weapons (possessed between 1993 and 2000) serve when there was no entry of cartridge purchase on the official's arms licence.

Why was the official allowed to purchase a new weapon for a year after the sale of the old one when normal purchase period allowed is at the most six months.

Chandigarh, October 30
The case involving poaching of the national bird by former Pathankot SDM Mr Puneet Goyal has taken another significant turn with the seizure of his arms licence.

Presently in custody of the Punjab Forest Department, the official's arms licence has certain entries that raise doubts about his intention behind possessing weapons for personal security. At one point, he had in custody a weapon for eight years without possessing even one cartridge to fire the same.

Not just that, his licence shows he was allowed to purchase a new weapon for one year after the sale of the old one, whereas the usual purchase period allowed is a maximum of six months.

Also, his licence was renewed without proper inspection of the weapon which Punjab Forest Department officials confiscated on February 29, the day he was arrested for alleged poaching of the national bird.

As per entries in the arms licence number 2579, a copy of which is in possession of The Tribune, the official bought his first .12 bore gun on March 2, 1993. He, however, purchased the first cartridge on December 27, 2001, i.e., eight years after purchasing the weapon.

Quite surprisingly, although the official did not feel the need to buy any cartridge until eight years, he twice got the maximum limit of purchase of cartridges increased - first from 25 (normal limit) to 100 on May 9, 1997, and then from 100 to 500 on June 20, 2000.

Even more surprising is the fact that the official bought and sold five .12 bore guns between March 2, 1993, and October 12, 2001, without having any bullet to fire during this period. There is no entry of purchase of ammunition on his licence till 2001.

To elaborate further, Mr Goyal bought his first pistol on June 30, 1998, and kept it for about a year without purchasing any bullet. After selling this pistol he purchased another one for which ammunition was bought after two years. He then bought a rifle in 1997 but purchased its ammunition in September, 2003 -- six years after the purchase of the weapon.

Thus, between 1993 and 2000, the official had three weapons for "personal security" and no cartridge to fire. If that was less, he was allowed to bend some rules.

In normal procedure, after the sale of every weapon the purchase period for buying the next one is three months which can be extended to another three on request. However, he was getting the purchase period of a year, even more.

The renewal of his licence is another story. Although he was caught for poaching on February 29 and his gun was confiscated, his licence was renewed on March 9 (just before expiry on March 26) by order of the Additional District Magistrate, Gurdaspur.

"Normally the licence should have been revoked or suspended. But in this case, the licence was renewed without inspection of the accused's weapon which was with the Forest Department. No report was sought from authorities investigating the matter. This despite the fact that DM Gurdaspur had visited Hoshiarpur where the official concerned was arrested for poaching of the peacock," said a Forest Department official.


2 security guards caught stealing in Quila Mubarak
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 30
Within one month of the robbery of two miniature paintings worth lakhs from the Ranwas section of the Quila Mubarak, two guards of the PESCO security agency who are responsible for guarding the quila complex, have been arrested on charges of trying to cart away iron scrap from behind the building.

The two guards, who were arrested on the intervening night of October 28 - 29, are part of the seven-men strong PESCO contingent which is responsible for guarding the historical fort palace of the Phulkian dynasty in the city. The two guards were arrested after a watchman of the Conservation wing of the quila raised an alarm when he saw the two persons carting away some metallic objects which were lying behind the building.

Sources said the watchman of the Conservation wing and some other employees had been keeping a watch in the area after the district police, which had promised to provide security in the outer area of the quila complex, lifted the same more than a week ago. The quila personnel informed the district administration of the incident. Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh spoke to A.S. Rai, SSP, following which both persons were taken into custody and a theft case registered against them in the Kotwali police station.

Personnel in the quila said they had been guarding the building after the district police withdrew the security personnel which had been deployed on its gate as well as in the Ranwas building.

Earlier, after the theft of the two miniature paintings Cultural Affairs Secretary D.S. Jaspal had claimed that the lack of security could have been responsible for the same. He had asked the district police to provide a blueprint for the security of the entire complex and had also requested to provide security in the outer complex as an immediate measure.

Now with the withdrawal of security provided by the district police and two PESCO security guards arrested on robbery charges, there are only four guards and a supervisor left in the quila complex to guard the entire building. As they are needed outside the museum in the Durbar Hall in shifts there is virtually no security guard available to patrol the sprawling quila complex.

The police is likely to question PESCO security men in detail now in connection with the theft of the two miniatures paintings from the Ranwas building. Police sources said the two arrested security guards.

A.S. Rai, SSP, when questioned on the issue of removal of security from the quila complex, said he had expressed the inability of the district police to deploy its men permanently in the quila complex. He said on the request of the Cultural Affairs Department he had sent a security plan to the department which could be implemented by it. The plan, he said includes establishment of closed circuit cameras in the outer complex and maintenance of registers at all entry points. He said even though permanent security had not been deployed in the quila, the area was being secured by increased patrolling in its periphery.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh when contacted said he did not know about the withdrawal of security from the quila and would get in touch with the SSP on the issue.


Family rejoices over son’s success in foreign land
Rajbir Kaur Sekhon

Deon, October 30
It was a day of celebrations in this otherwise sleepy village, about 18 km from here on the Bathinda-Muktsar road, as their “son”, Mr Jagroop Singh Brar, had been elected member of the legislative assembly from the British Columbia’s Sri-Panorama Ridge, Canada.

“Even when he was here we were sure that he would do us proud,” said a visibly elated Mr Thana Singh, elder brother of Mr Brar. The family got the good news last evening over an hour-long telephonic talk with the scion. “We lacked words to express our happiness,” said one of the family members.

After learning that Mr Brar had got elected by a huge margin, the family members distributed sweets and held a prayer meeting. Interestingly, they are a non-political and simple farming family.

Mr Jagroop Singh Brar, who won the Punjabi-dominated seat of Ridge in Canada on the ticket of the New Democratic Party, secured 6,662 votes while his nearest rival, Ms Mary Pollock, of the Liberal Party got 4,160. He has been elected for the first time.

Mr Brar, who had his primary education in Bathinda, got his master’s degree in philosophy from Punjabi University, Patiala, and migrated to Canada in 1991. There he lived with his brother, Mr Jaswant Singh Brar, and got a master’s degree in public administration. He founded an NGO, Seeds, in Canada and earned his fame.

Mr Balwant Singh, another brother of Mr Brar, said their mother and father had also been living in Canada. Speaking of the family members here, he said though they wanted to visit Canada, they were happy living here. “Aapna mulk hi theek hai ji, ethe bande noo banda pachhanda hai,” he said.

Villagers congratulated the family on the success of their “boy” and the entire village wore a festive look.


50 SAD (A) workers taken into custody
Tribune News Service

Badiala (Bathinda), October 30
About 50 workers of the SAD (A), including Mr Varinder Mann and Mr Gursewak Singh Jawaharke, presidents of the district party units of Bathinda and Mansa respectively and Mr Harcharan Singh, member, SGPC, were rounded up by the Tapa (Sangrur) police when they made an attempt to gherao the Youth Akali Dal president, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. Mr Dhillon was going to attend a function at the village this afternoon.

The SAD (A) activists were waiting for Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, to show her black flags for her alleged involvement in killing her daughter. The Bibi was supposed to attend a function at Badiala organised by the SAD in connection with the death anniversary of Sant Fathe Singh, an architect of the Punjabi Suba movement. The activists showed black flags to Mr Dhillon and Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, Akali MLA, when they passed from the Bathinda-Barnala road to attend the function.

A minor scuffle also broke out between the activists and policemen, led by senior police officials, when the police tried to stop them from gheraoing Mr Dhillon. When the situation came under control and the workers allowed them to proceed to the venue of the function, the policemen started rounding them up and subsequently bundled them into two trucks parked on the roadside.

When the workers were being bundled into trucks, they raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the SAD leadership. They demanded that the Bibi should be removed from the presidentship of the SGPC.

Sources said the workers were taken to Sehna and Tapa Mandi police stations of Sangrur district and after keeping them there for about four hours, they were set free. Whether any criminal case was registered against them or not could not be known yet.

Mr Varinder Mann and Mr Jawaharke, both talking to The Tribune on phone from the police station, alleged that today’s arrest of the SAD (A) workers had established the fact that both the Congress and the SAD were hand in glove. These parties were ignoring the problems of Punjab and were attempting to crush the movement being launched by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

They alleged that they were taken into custody while they were lodging a peaceful protest against the involvement of Bibi Jagir Kaur in the killing of her daughter. Bibi Jagir Kaur did not attend today’s function as she was afraid of the fact that her misdeeds would be exposed by the SAD (A) workers.

Mr Dhillon and Mr Ghunas said the SAD (A) workers had been indulging into such acts as they wanted to get cheap publicity. They felt that they had been marginalised in the political scene of Punjab as Mr Simranjit Singh Mann could neither win the last parliamentary elections nor his party could win a significant number of seats in the SGPC elections. They added that the SAD (A) workers were taking the law into their hands on the instigation of Capt Amarinder Singh.


Kainth group to launch movement for Dalits
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 30
Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, former MP and former President of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha, at a press conference in the local PWD Rest house today stated that his group would launch a statewide Dalit swaiman andolan from November 17 to December 10 by holding demonstrations and protest rallies at the district headquarters. The agitation would aim at a seven-point social metamorphosis programme for the Dalits and the poor.

The final shape of the programme was chalked out at a state-level meeting of about 200 activists of the Kainth group held. The meeting was held in the local Guru Nanak Library with state and district leaders and activists attending it, said Mr Kainth, a breakaway BSP group leader.


PSEB engineers to oppose privatisation
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
The Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association will oppose the privatisation move of the state government.

The president of the association, Mr M.S. Bajwa, addressing a press conference here said today, the PSEB was the amongst the best managed board in the country, which had kept transmission and distribution losses at 25 per cent, much below the national level and maintained that the government’s initiative was to help the private parties to usurp one of the profitable boards.

He pointed out that the engineers will launch a public awareness campaign to educate the masses against the government designs to offer the board to the private sector, notwithstanding its excellent performances, both at the generation and transmission levels.

Lashing out at the government, for its interference into the working of the autonomous board which has been rendering its essential utility public service.

He added that the government had not been able to provide any financial allocation for modernising the old distribution system which had been the main cause of losses.

Mr Bajwa pointed out that inspite of their best efforts to upgrade the distribution system the government had been finding ways to privatise the board.

Describing the present generation of the board as amongst the best and claimed that its thermal power unit in Lehra Mohabbat won the national gold shield for its 100per cent efficiency on account of power load factor.

He also lashed out at the state government for sitting over the proposal of the board for getting finance from the National Power Finance Corporation, for over three years, wherein it had planned to further enhance the generation capacity to meet the growing power needs of the state.

Mr Bajwa said the government had planned to bifurcate the existing board into six separate companies which he felt would create a fiasco. Explaining his point he said the entire generation, transmission and distribution should be looked after by an integrated command.

He said by privatising the Orissa board the government had already suffered enormous losses, as the government had to cough up Rs 1,500 crore, to cover up the financial burden of the private companies.

The association urged the government to conduct an in depth study into the entire concept of privatisation and its implications on the public before initiating any such move which would disturb the economics of the state.


Pensioners resent non-release of dearness relief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 30
Resentment prevails among Punjab Government pensioners over the non-release of 3 per cent dearness relief (DR) from July 1 to them by the state government so far.

Mr Vinay Kumar, the patron of Government Pensioners Welfare Association, Sangrur, said here today the Punjab Government was committed to following the release of dearness allowance (DA) and DR on the pattern of the Central Government.

In the light of this, it had sanctioned 3 per cent DA from July 1 for its employees on October 19, but it had not sanctioned 3 per cent DR for its pensioners so far, though the Central Government had issued orders for the release of 3 per cent DR for pensioners and family pensioners from July 1 on September 24.

Mr Vinay Kumar further said this discrimination with the pensioners by the Punjab Government had led to resentment among 2.5 lakh pensioners against the state government. He said the pensioners had “failed” to understand why the Punjab Government had adopted an indifferent and unsympathetic attitude towards the pensioners, prior to Divali. He said the state government should immediately release 3 per cent DR for the pensioners so that they would not be compelled to observe a “black Divali”.


VB justifies case against Brar’s kin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 30
At a meeting with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Vigilance Bureau today again justified the registration of the case regarding old-age pension against a brother and father of Mr Jaskaran Singh Brar, Mr Brar had filed a PIL that led to the quashing of the appointments of certain DSPs recruited in sports quota.

Besides, the chief of the Vigilance Bureau, Mr A.P. Pandey, the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, and the Principal Secretary, Home, Mr Sanjit Sinha, were also present in the meeting, it is learnt. The registration of the case against Mr Brar’s kin had become a big issue and the Chief Minister had ordered the transfer of Mr Inderjit Singh Randhawa, SP (Vigilance Bureau) from Ferozepore in this connection.

Sources said that Mr Pandey told the Chief Minister that the case had nothing to do with the PIL and it was registered on the basis of the complaint received against the kin of, Mr Brar before the filing of the PIL. Mr Pandey told Capt Amarinder Singh that Mr Randhawa was not at fault and his transfer should have not been ordered, sources added.

The Chief Minister had called the meeting to seek full facts regarding the case from the Bureau. Earlier, he had asked the Chief Secretary to ask Mr Pandey to submit a report regarding the case. There are reports that the Union Home Ministry has sought a report regarding the case from the state government.

No official version regarding today’s meeting was available. Efforts were made to contact the Chief Secretary in the evening but he was not available.


1971 war hero dies in Canada mishap
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
A 1971 war hero, Col Ajit Singh (59), Vir Chakra, died in a road accident in Canada last Saturday.

Col Ajit Singh was the first officer to lead a party to the Pakistani territory in November 1971. He captured the most important Pakistani post, which led to the Indian victory in Rajasthan sector. He was awarded Vir Chakra for this brave act.

He commanded 21 Gernadiers at high altitude in Nelya sector and was G1 at the College of Combat. He was commander of the most critical Ranjitpura sector in Rajasthan and had made advanced tactic planning of the Kargil war.

Before his retirement six months ago, he was posted as G2 (Intelligence) with the Vajra Corps. He had gone to Canada to meet his son, where he met with an accident.

He is survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife had passed away two years ago. The funeral of Col Ajit Singh is scheduled to be held at Deep Nagar here on November 1.


500 examined at eye camp
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 30
Eyes of early 500 persons were examined at a camp organised jointly by the Lion Club and the Lions Club (Top) at the Civil Hospital here today.

The camp, which will go on till November 5, was inaugurated by a social worker, Mr Gurdial Singh Santernajra. He donated Rs 5,000 to both clubs.

Mr Balwinder Singh, president of the Lions Club (Top), said out of the 500 persons examined, 100 had been advised eye operations.


Families of thresher victims get relief

Barnala, October 30
As many as 14 families of thresher victims got monetary relief here on Thursday.

A function was organised by the market committee and distributed cheques worth Rs 3.6 lakh to the grieved family members.

The Congress leader Surinder Pal Singh distributed the cheques.

Mr Joga Singh, SDM, was also present. — OC


57 donate blood

Kharar, October 30
Fiftyseven persons donated blood at a camp organised by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Blood Donors Society, Kharar, at Government Primary School in Pir Sohana village today.

The camp was inaugurated by Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, senior vice president of the Ropar unit of SAD. OC


Sangrur tops in paddy procurement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 30
For more than five years now, the district has been leading in the paddy procurement As per the information gathered by TNS, this year too, it is leading in the state.

With the procurement of 24,06,699 metric tonnes (MTs) of paddy till last evening , the district was leading in the state, followed by Ludhiana with 17,41,608 metric tonnes and Patiala on number three position with 13,95,904 metric tonnes of paddy

Sources in the Food and Supplies Department told TNS today that Punjab had procured 1.41 crore metric tonnes of paddy (including 9.47 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procured by traders before September 27, the day when government procurement agencies entered the market) till last evening as compared to 1.23 crore metric tonnes last year. Otherwise, during the entire paddy procurement season, Punjab had procured 1.35 crore metric tonnes of paddy last year.

Sources said the details of paddy procurement by other districts of the state till last evening were as followed: Ferozepore 12.38 lakh metric tonnes, Moga 10.49 lakh metric tonnes, Amritsar 6.66 lakh metric tonnes, Jalandhar 6.66 lakh metric tonnes, Bathinda 6.47 lakh metric tonnes, Kapurthala 5.28 lakh metric tonnes,

Muktsar 4.98 lakh metric tonnes, Gurdaspur 4.65 lakh metric tonnes, Fatehgarh Sahib 4.63 lakh metric tonnes, Mansa 4.38 lakh metric tonnes, Faridkot 3.94 lakh metric tonnes, Nawanshahr 2.23 lakh metric tonnes, Ropar 2.08 lakh metric tonnes and Hoshiarpur 2.07 lakh metric tonnes.

The district procured 24.06 lakh metric tonnes of paddy till last evening as compared to 20.64 lakh metrictonnes during the corresponding period last year.

The district has fixed a target of 24.50 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procurement this year, but it seems that it will surpass its target, fixed for the current paddy procurement season.

The district had procured 24.23 lakh metric tonnes of paddy last year and topped in the paddy procurement in the state. 


Crackdown on farmers condemned
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 30
Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the Kisan Sangarash Committee (KSC), has condemned the crackdown on farmers in view of the ‘rail roko ‘ agitation call for November 3, given by the Joint Kisan Morcha comprising the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) and the KSC.

Mr Pannu told this correspondent here today that the police in Amritsar district had arrested more than 100 farmers from different places and had sent them to jail.

He said the agitation on November 3, would be for three hours.

He said the kisan organisations were demanding genuine rate on cotton, compensation on draught and flood hit crops, arrears for the sugar cane crop etc.

Mr Pannu said the police parties were raiding the houses of farmers and so they had decided to resist.

Mr Pannu further added that the police had raided more than 25 villages and had arrested more than 100 kisans during the past two days and had sent them to jail.

Mr Pannu condemned the state government for its failure to concede to the genuine demands of farmers.


8 policemen suspended for negligence
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 30
Eight policemen, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), have been suspended for negligence in duty by the Majitha police district.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SSP, Majitha said during surprise raids, conducted today by Mr S.K. Agnihotri, SP (D), along with other police officials, ASI Narinder Singh, on deputation with Punjab Home Guards for patrolling in the villages, was found sleeping in the Khalchian police station.

Similarly Head Constable Balwinder Singh and constables Satnam Singh, Kulwant Singh, Jagjit Singh and Kulwinder Singh, deputed with mobile patrolling teams under Mehta police station, were found sleeping or absent from duty during the raids.

In another raid, Mr Manmohan Singh, DSP, Ajnala, visited the Ramdas police station and a naka near Talwandi Nahar village and suspended Head Constable Somnath and constable Sukhwinder Singh. Somnath had gone to attend a ‘Jagrata’ at a nearby village while Sukhwinder Singh was found sleeping in the tent.

The SSP said all these cops had been sent to the police lines after suspension.


Ruhani wins first prize in inter-school music contest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
With view to dissuade youngsters from listening to vulgar music videos available in the market and to encourage traditional folklore and patriotic music, an inter-school music competition was organised on the third day of “Gadhri Babean da Mela” at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here today.

Hundreds of students took part in the contest that continued till evening. Mr Gurmit Singh, convener of the contest, said the response was far better today vis-a-visa all previous years in terms of participation, variety of themes picked by students and even the presentation.

In sub-junior solo-singing contest, Ruhani from Victor Model School, Jalandhar cantonment, stood first. Harleen from Little Model Junior School, Jalandhar, was declared second and Nishant from Samrala stood third. Consolation prizes went to Prince of Beas, Sanjana Kaushik of Parbati Jain Coeducational School, Jalandhar, and Aditi of Super Tech Public School, Rasoolpur, and Chintu of Bhagat Singh Government Elementary School, Ropar.

In solo folk singing contest, Dolly Mandar of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Public School, Kartarpur, Amandeep from Government Elementary School, Ropar, and Deepashu from Lala Jagat Narain DAV Model School, Jalandhar, stood first, second and third, respectively. Consolation prizes went to Suman Sharma of Super Tech Public School, Lopon, and Rajwinder Kaur of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial School, Gaganbhana village.

Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, veteran freedom fighter and president of the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Trust, said contests for painting, documentary films and skits would be organised tomorrow.


Apeejay College wins zonal youth fest
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
Apeejay College of Fine Arts was declared the overall winner of the three-day inter-college zonal youth festival for boys organised by Guru Nanak Dev University that concluded at its regional centre at Ladhewali here, on Thursday evening.

More than 25 colleges of Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala took part in the extravaganza in which competitions for as many as 35 musical, dramatics, literary and fine arts events were held.

The students of Apeejay College of Fine Arts managed a second consecutive win as they had also emerged the overall winner in the zonal youth festival for girls’ held last week. The team won 19 first prizes, six second prizes and seven third prizes.

The team from DAV College, Jalandhar, bagged the second position while the team from Doaba College, Jalandhar, was declared third.

The teams from Apeejay College won first prizes in landscape painting, sketching, collage making, clay modeling, flower arrangement (dry), group shabad singing, Indian group song, folk orchestra, Western group song, classical instrument (percussion and non-percussion), classical dance, vaar singing, geet/ghazal singing, one act play, skit, mime and fancy dress.

The teams from Lyallpur Khalsa College won first prizes in flower arrangement (fresh), bhangra and poetry recitation. The first prizes for rangoli went to MLU DAV College, Phagwara, for elocution to KRM DAV College, Nakodar, and for still life painting to St Soldier College, Phagwara.


PTU college declared best-business school
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 30
One of the colleges of Punjab Technical University has been declared the best business school not only in Punjab but also Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) in Ludhiana has been ranked best B-school in a survey 2004 conducted by Business India and given grade “A”. Monitoring and Research Systems Pvt Ltd (MARS), a research agency based in Mumbai, conducted the survey.

The survey was conducted on the basis of brand value and market position of the institute, its intellectual strength, learning ambience and growth. The survey included 182 B-schools of the country in which the Department of Business Management, Punjabi University, Patiala, has been rated in C+ category.

In India there are approximately 990 management institutes and Business India has bracketed the PCTE as one of the few institutes among those who have been rated with grade “A”. The PCTE had been declared 44th among top 50 B-schools of the country by Outlook survey-2004 declared last month. Also, the PCTE has been rated best B-school of these three states during the annual survey of the All-India Management Association (AIMA).

Reacting to the results of the survey printed in the latest issue of the magazine that arrived on the stand today, Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the college had been doing very well. Dr K.N.S. Kang, director of the colleges, said it was the collective effort of all PCTE members.


Elementary teachers threaten stir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 30
The Berozgar Elementary Teachers Union (BETU) yesterday urged the Punjab Government to implement the Kapurthala Agreement reached between Cabinet Minister Lal Singh and representatives of the union on October 9 at the earliest. They threatened that if it was not done, the union would be forced to launch an agitation again.

Mr Jagsir Singh Sahota, vice-president, BETU, Punjab, said though the government had promised to start the recruitment of 6,000 ETT teachers on permanent basis from October 18 under the agreement, the delay was causing resentment among the activists of the union.

The union was also agitated over the government's move to close down those schools where the student strength was not more than 50, as the same was being done to abolish the posts of teacher of primary schools. He said the union had called a high-level meeting in Jalandhar on November 2 to work out a strategy to deal with the situation.

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