P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Govt can’t crush our agitation, says BKU
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20
“No amount of threats from government can prevent us from going ahead with our plans of peaceful dharnas and demonstrations outside district headquarters on November 22,” declares Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, Convener of Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), holding that coercive methods cannot take away the democratic rights of oppressed farmers.

Talking to The Tribune here this evening, Mr Pannu said that the police all over the State had been conducting raids on the houses and known hideouts of all leaders and workers of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta).

“We have given a call for peaceful dharnas. A large number of farmers will join the protests with other members of their families, including their wives and children. But the government has been trying to crush our agitation on the pretext of maintaining law and order,” alleged Mr Pannu.

“The government, instead of honouring commitments it had made to farmers in April this year, had resorted to repressive measures . Some of the demands have been pending decision for a long time.

“A few other demands, conceded by Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh at his residence in Patiala on the eve of last Lok Sabha elections, are still to be implemented,” alleges Mr Pannu holding that no amount of preventive arrests could stop the BKU from holding dharnas at Bathinda, Mansa, Moga and Amritsar on Monday next.

“What is the government gaining by keeping farmers, taken in custody on the eve of the November 3 rail roko agitation, in jails. This exposes its double standards. On one hand, it has released 23 Pakistanis to enable them to join their families for Eid, while no step was taken to release arrested farmers and their wives on the eve of Divali last week,” rued Mr Pannu.

He said at present there were 29 women supporters of BKU in jails. Sixteen of them were languishing in Amritsar jail while eight others were in Ferozepore. Though the police has registered cases against only 84 farmers, as many as 700 farmers were still in jails. Even the President of the Union was in Sangrur jail since November 3.

Mr Pannu said the main demands of the BKU were unconditional release of all farmers from jails, immediate payment of arears of sugarcane supplied to various cooperative sugar mills, restoration of free water and power supply to farm sector, action against guilty officials responsible for violence against peaceful farmers on November 3 and status quo in case of Punjab State Electricity Board.

“We will oppose any move to privatise or unbundle the present electricity board,” he said.


Farmers gherao office of Cotton Corpn
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 20
Hundreds of activists of the BKU (Ekta) gheraoed the local office of the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) at the Mall road here for about five hours and raised slogans against the Centre and state governments for their alleged failure to ensure remunerative price of raw cotton.

Hundreds of activists hailing from various districts of Punjab, including Patiala, Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ferozepore, reached here and joined the activists of the BKU (Ekta), who had been sitting in dharna for the past five days in front of the CCI office in protest against its negligible purchase of raw cotton.

Meanwhile, to intensify the struggle, the activists have decided to organise ‘Chakka Jam’ at one place in all blocks of the state for two hours on November 30.

Addressing farmers, Mr Pishora Singh Sidhupur, president, BKU (E), said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had failed to arrest the falling price of cotton. He said if the government did not accept their demands, they would intensify the struggle. He said cotton growers could not earn enough even to repay their debts despite the fact that their farms had witnessed better yield this year.

Criticising the policies of the government, he said the farmers were facing losses as the prices of insecticides, pesticides, diesel, machinery etc had gone up drastically, while the prices of wheat, cotton, paddy, sugarcane had come down. He said the minimum support price (MSP) of raw cotton should be fixed at Rs 3,500 per quintal. He also sought immediate release of arrested women farmers and withdrawal of fake cases registered against them

Those who addressed farmers on the occasion included Mr Manjit Singh Dhaner, Gurmeet Singh Bhatiwal, Mr Hardev Singh, Mr Buta Singh, Mr Burj Singh, Mr Gora Singh Bhani Bagha, Mr Major Singh, Mr Jagjit Singh, Mr Gurmail Singh Kot Bhai, Mr Babu Singh Bahadur Khera and Mr Darbara Singh Kishangarh.


Police begins preventive arrest of BKU activists
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 20
In an attempt to foil “jail bharo” agitation to be launched by the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) activists on November 22, to lodge their protest against the government failure to arrest the falling prices of raw cotton and to free activists, languishing in jails without any case against them, the district police has begun preventive arrests.

Police sources said 20 activists of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) were taken into preventive custody today from various parts of this district.

The BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan) activists plan to organise “jail bharo” at Bathinda, Mansa, Amritsar and Moga on November 22.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, president, BKU (Ekta-Ugrahhan), district unit, when contacted, alleged that the police authorities were indulging in violation of human rights as it was not allowing farmers to lodge their protest in a peaceful manner.


Experts see threat to traditional farming
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 20
Apprehending threat to traditional farming practices, particularly pertaining to rice, in the International Year of Rice — 2004, organisations working for sustained agriculture have got together to prevent this “destruction”.

While 2004 is being celebrated as the International Year of Rice by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), agricultural universities and the science community, organisations here are apprehending a “repetition of what happened in 1966” which was also declared as an International Year of Rice (IYR). Experts say that it was in 1966 that the first “miracle” rice IR8 was launched, which triggered the destruction of traditional farming and rural lifestyles across Asia.

“Considering the fact that the FAO is also funding the spread of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we suspect that the IYR —2004 may be the inaugural ceremony for GM rice, the latest miracle technology, which might threaten traditional farming,” they say.

The mission statement for the IYR — 2004 says: “This International Year of Rice promotes improved production and access to this vital food crop which feeds more than half of the world’s population, which is providing income to millions of rice producers, processors and traders. Development of sustainable rice-based systems will reduce hunger and poverty and contribute to environmental conservation and a better life for present and future generations.”

What experts and organisations concerned on the issue fear is that the mission statement admits that the present system of rice cultivation is unsustainable. “The rhetoric of the Green Revolution period about food security and high productivity has already lost its audience. In 2004, the FAO is emphasising on managing water resources, environmental protection and traditional rice-based systems, all of which were jeopardised by Green Revolution, apart from the usual slogans like ‘food security and enhancing productivity’. Before this, 1966 was also an IYR and that was the year which triggered the destruction of traditional farming and rural lifestyles,” said Mr Umendra Dutt of Kheti Virasat, an NGO engaged in promoting sustainable agriculture.

In India, organisations that have come forward to carry this campaign called ‘Save Our Rice’ include Kheti Virasat from Punjab, Thanal from Kerala, Pesticide Act Network-Asia Pacific, Green Peace and Toxic Links.

These organisations will bring together those who are concerned about rice, share experiences and deliberate on ways to sustain rice and the culture of rice cultivation. “Through such a network we plan to reach out to farmers of various regions and inform them about challenges that they have to face, fight this onslaught of technology and money power that has been instrumental in destroying this crop,” they say. A series of workshops and discussions in this regard will be conducted across the country.

According to these organisations, many technologies were dumped upon farmers as part of the Green Revolution. “While the revolution aimed at increasing productivity and through that improving lives of farmers and the rural sector, we now have a clear understanding of how in three decades the farmers’ woes have only increased, their lives, social security and health ruined and environment and food produced in the country miserably contaminated.”

Expressing concern over the impact of latest technologies on farmers, they said even this year big institutions were busy finalising new trade practices and promoting biotechnology agendas claiming these to be good for farmers, which was doubtful.


Miscreants storm school complex, loot fee money
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, November 20
More than six persons, including, a woman, allegedly stormed a school complex here last evening and tried to assault the Chairman of the school’s managing committee and his son with sharp-edged weapons.

According to a complaint lodged at the city police station by Mr Vijay Bholusaria, chairman Genius International School, located on the Zohri-Mandir road here, his neighbour, who made sweets, his wife, three sons and two others broke open the gate of the school.

They forced their entry into his office and “looted” the fees and a gold chain from his son Amit. All this happened in the presence of an eminent citizen.

When Amit tried to resist the attackers, he was beaten up. Mr Bholusaria escaped by hiding in a room. As a phone call was being made to the police, the miscreants broke the windows and the door of the nursery classroom before leaving.

They tore the fee register and the cashbook too.

A deputation of heads, office-bearers of the managing committee of private model schools and teachers met Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, at his Panjkosi village residence to apprise him of the “deteriorating law and order situation in the sub divisional town.

They said the attack on the school had caused a panic not only among the teachers, but residents of the town also.

Mr Bholusaria had lodged a complaint with the local Municipal Council against his neighbors alleging that they had encroached seven feet of the locality street erecting by a wall. A generator had been placed permanently on the encroached area.

Consequently, the Engineering Department of the council had demolished the wall on the lane that linked the locality with Indira Nagri. The encroachers had been asked by the council to remove “bhathis” from the street, but the wall had again been raised temporarily. The generator, too, was still there.

When the school management tried to open a window towards the lane, the miscreants feared this would restrain them from encroaching upon the street land once again. Hence, they attacked Mr Bholusaria.

Mr Jakhar reportedly spoke to police officials and asked them to deal with such elements firmly.

Unofficial sources said at least three persons had been rounded up in this connection. At least two members of the Municipal Council, one each from the ruling party and the Opposition, were trying to shield the persons named in the FIR, sources said.

In another incident, 12 persons on two-wheelers stormed street Number 8 of Arya Nagar here last night.

They reportedly attacked Kalu Ram with lathis and sharp-edged weapons.

This created a furore in the locality. People came out of their houses and tried to trap the miscreants. The police rushed in and had to use lathis to disperse the agitated mob.

One miscreant was nabbed.


Ensure work for Punjab labour, Mann asks CM
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 20
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today asked the Punjab Government to enact a law for ensuring 100 per cent employment to Punjabi labourers in the industry and agriculture sectors of the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Mann said the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should table a Bill in the Punjab Assembly, ensuring 100 per cent employment in the industry and agriculture sectors for Punjabi labourers. He said no migrant labourer should be employed in the industrial and agriculture sectors in the state till the adjustment of all Punjabi labourers in both these sectors.

Mr Mann suggested that identification and documentation of the migrant labour should be done because in the garb of labourers, many criminals had also descended on the land of Punjab. He said no migrant labourer should be given employment in the state without police verification. He said the state government should make these suggestions a part of the Bill, as sought by him, while working out the modalities of the Bill.

Mr Mann asked the President and the Prime Minister of Pakistan not to talk about the cause of Kashmiris alone and also raise issues of Sikhs with the Indian Government. He said the Pakistan Prime Minister, who is visiting India, should talk about Sikh genocide in the country as he felt there was no MP of Sikhs in Parliament who could raise the issues.

Mr Mann told mediapersons that the SAD(A) had constituted a committee to probe the circumstances in which the wife of Sherpur MLA Gobind Singh Kanjhla died a few months ago.


A millionaire with a mission
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 20
If you have surplus money, be a Nanak Kohli. He is a millionaire NRI Sikh, known in Washington as a Rolls-Royce Sikh, the tag attached to him by eminent writer, Khushwant Singh, when he bought the " best car of the world", spending $1.10 lakh.

Having annual trade turnover worth $150 million, Mr Kohli is not more interested in Rolls-Royces any more. His concern at present is the poorest of the poor girls in Punjab.

" My focus is to generate ambition and will among village girls to stand on their own feet and aspire to achieve leadership in society", says Mr Kohli.

"This is my vision and I have already walked miles to transform it into a reality", he asserts, obviously inspired by the self-confidence that has made him from " no body" to somebody in the US in a short span of 30 years.

One day I told Khushwant Singh that I have a problem. What? quizzed Khushwant . " I have some surplus money but am not sure where I should spend it. I have one idea that I should pick up the best of the best boys from Punjab and should sponsor their studies in the US".

However, Khushwant Singh bluntly rejected my idea and suggested that " I should march to Punjab where girl child is facing serious threat. Go and work for them".

That is how I reached Punjab, says Mr Kohli, who has set up 40 creches for poor girl children in Delhi investing Rs 50 lakh.

However, for Punjab, he has a bigger picture in mind. " This year, I have kept Rs 1 crore- Rs 50 lakh for Delhi and Rs 50 lakh for Punjab- but from next year I would earmark Rs 5 crore for my state", he says.

He has already set up 'balwaris' and computer centres in three villages- Gharuan, Landran, Mahadian( Fatehgarh Sahib) and this afternoon left for Boormajra village, near Ropar, to interact with people for setting up such a Centre.

This project, which he wanted to start in 100 villages in Punjab, has four aspects-first setting up 'balwaris' for poor girl children, second is to make arrangement for holding free coaching classes for poor girls(at secondary leve) and third is to set up computer centres, which will be later changed to business centres, to earn livelihood for them. In each of the 100 villages to cover under project, 20 needy girls will be identified and given financial help to study up to the level they desire.

"I have started approaching various companies for giving the task of data entry and other smaller jobs for the computer centres to be set up in adopted villages", he adds.

"I have the realisation that I would not be able to take along a single penny when I would be leaving to the next world", he adds. " My sons and daughter are well settled and my business is flourishing. But the present task has given me the biggest satisfaction", says Mr Kohli, who has set up a " Sunder Amar Sheel Charitable Trust" that is dedicated to his parents and wife- Pammi Kohli.

Born in Gujarkhan village near Rawalpindi, Mr Kohli had his education in Simla and Delhi and later served as lecturer in a College at Sathiala( Near Baba Bakala). He quit lecturership to manage the car agency of his uncle at Patna from where he shifted to Delhi to do export business. And that business has taken him to all parts of the world.

Though he is settled in the US but he has ultimately returned to his roots( Punjab). He has appointed Ms Satinder B. Singh as Director of the project in Punjab and has made Khushwant Singh head of the trust, the co-founder of which is, Mr S.S. Dhanoa, former Chief Secretary of Punjab.

Others helping him are Col Gobinder Singh( retd) and his wife Mrs Gurdeepak.


Harappan period artifacts lying unnoticed
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 20
Valuable artifacts belonging to the Harappan period are lying unnoticed in the Archaeological Museum in Ropar district due to lack of publicity. Stone implements, ornaments and arrow-heads excavated after Independence are displayed in the museum.

Ropar is situated about 40 km away from Chandigarh on the left bank of the Sutlej. It was the first Harappan site excavated in independent India. It was excavated in 1950 and then during 1952-55 by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The excavation shows a sequence of six main cultures of the Harappan period.

A visit to the museum reveals the lifestyle of the people belonging to different periods. The artifacts placed in the museum show that the Harappan period witnessed four structural phases of sun dried bricks, kankar stone, river pebbles and occasional use of burnt brick. Harappans were the first settlers at Ropar. The antiquities displayed there include bronze jars, broken celt, terracotta bangles, bone, shell and other items of Harappan pottery, including goblets, internally knobbed lids, elliptical vases and perforated jars.

Items like spearheads, arrow-heads, razors of bronze, terracotta bull figurines and triangular cakes can make you feel part of the old civilisation.

These people were mainly pastoral and agriculturists. Copper was the main metal used by the people of the second period. In addition to it, visitors can spot antiquities of this period, including beads of semi-precious stones, terracotta sling balls, toy carts etc.

The third period shows the emergence of big states in which trade and commerce brought prosperity to society. The museum contains silver punch-marked coins and copper cast coins. It shows that the people have found new medium of exchange.

Other facts reveal that the houses were built with kankar stones, burnt bricks and mud bricks. The important artifacts of this period include a ring polished stone, bones, combs, hair-pins, carved handles and ivory pendants.

The other significant items include terracotta mould and well-modelled yaksha and yakshi figures showing rich ornaments. The coins indicate contact with Indo-Bactrians and Indo-Parthians, coins belonging to the Saka-Kushan period, a gold coin of Chandragupta-I, a hoard of 660 copper coins from 200 BC to 600 AD and coins of Mubarak Shah (1316-1320 AD), Sultan of Delhi, and Ibrahim Lodi (1517-1526 AD).

But unfortunately the museum has failed to attract visitors inspite of the fact it has displayed the artifacts of great historical importance. According to the monument attendant, only in the month of June, foreign tourists visit the museum every year. Rest of the year only a few people visit the museum. The museum charge Rs 2 per visitor and charges no money from school children. “The museum is not publicised to attract tourists. Therefore, most of the people are not aware of its importance,” said a senior archaeologist.


Water harvesting systems in new houses planned
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 20
Water harvesting systems will be made compulsory in new houses being constructed in Punjab. The Department of Soil Conservation has decided to write to PUDA, municipal councils and corporations against approving maps of houses that do not have any provision for rain water harvesting.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Cooperatives, gave this information while talking to The Tribune here today.

He said the water level in Punjab was going down 30 to 100 cm every year. If the situation continued, there would be a severe shortage of drinking water in the state after 15 to 20 years.

The department had drafted a proposal to make rain water harvesting systems compulsory in each new house built in the state. A Bill in the regard would be presented soon.

Experts are of the opinion that rain water harvesting should be taken to recharge the depleting groundwater in the state.

Mr Randhawa inaugurated a rain water harvesting system in the Dhar bloc of the district.

Responding to a query, he said the department was taking measures to ensure proper DAP fertiliser supply in the state.


Swimmers need good infrastructure, says assn chief
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 20
“Most of our sportspersons do not perform at international events as they lack proper training and infrastructure. My first preference is to create appropriate infrastructure for swimming in the state and generate funds for sportspersons to get them best training,” said, Dr R.S. Parmar, newly elected president of the Punjab Swimming Association.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune here today, Dr Parmar, said that in the South, sportspersons have natural gift to practise whole year due to favourable climatic conditions, and they have the best trainers. But in Punjab, swimmers have to stop training in winter and many districts do not have proper infrastructure.

“Swimmers have to spend a great deal of money to get proper training. Many swimmers in the state usually prefer Bangalore for training. They spend about Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 a month. It’s not possible for every swimmer to spend such a huge amount,” he added.

He said with a view to overcome financial constraints, the association had decided to go for sponsorship for deserving sportspersons and to request the government to allocate funds. “Besides, the association has decided to make a proposal to the government to cover some of the swimming pools in the state so that the players could practise even in winter.”

Dr Parmar, said in order to promote deserving sportspersons, it had been decided to fund them through government help or sponsorships through companies. The association had been making efforts to get funds for swimmer, Puneet Rana, of Mohali, who has won gold in national games in the senior category.

The association has requested the Sports Ministry and the state government to provide him funds for proper training so that he could compete in international events.


Fake passes scam to be taken up at MC meet
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 20
The culprits allegedly involved in the fake state transit passes scam two years ago are yet to be booked. The matter is again being put up for discussion at the Municipal Council meeting which is to be held later this month.

Mr Charanjit Singh, president of the council, said today that a report on the scam submitted by a three-member committee, comprising two municipal councillors and the superintendent of the civic body, would be put up before the House. Any action to be taken in this regard would be decided at the meeting. He, however, said the scam took place before he had taken over as president of the civic body.

The Director, Local Government, Punjab, had asked the executive officer of the council in July to take departmental action against those found guilty and submit the compliance report on the matter by July 31.

Mr Harbhagwan Singla, one of the councillors associated with the inquiry held at the council level, said the committee had upheld the recommendations made by two senior government officials in this regard earlier and demanded action against those involved in the scam.

Inquiries in this regard had earlier been done by the Kharar SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, and later by DSP, Punjab Vigilance Bureau, Mr Singla said he failed to understand as to why the third inquiry was needed and that, too, by a superintendent of the council who was an employee of the civic body. He said the two councillors were  made members of the committee at a later stage. He said the statements of council employees allegedly involved in the scam were recorded on November 9 and the report prepared by the committee in this regard was submitted to the council authorities on the same day. He said the employees allegedly involved in the scam gave different statements which proved “they were telling lies”.

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had indicted the name of six clerks of the council and some other persons for conspiring to issue fake transit passes from octroi collection posts. Earlier, the SDM, during the inquiry, found that fake transit passes were being issued from octroi posts in the town causing substantial loss of revenue.


Girija Devi perturbed by ‘sorry’ state of classical arts
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 20
Almost all of Dr Girija Devi's concerns stem from the sorry state of classical arts in India. Perturbed by the callous indifference that describes the establishment's attitude towards the Indian classical artistes, the vocalist even questions the sincerity behind the institution of awards like the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan.

"These awards are no better than motifs that can at best enhance the aesthetics of your drawing rooms. Beyond that, they hold no significance. Look at Ustad Bismillah Khan. What good is his Bharat Ratna if it cannot spare him the dignity he so desperately requires in old age," said the Benaras gharana exponent who runs her own trust to care for poor music students and aged artistes.

"It would have been better had the government, instead of decorating us with awards, given us priority in medical care, rail reservations and other spheres of public dealing,"

In Amritsar during the ongoing heritage festival, Dr Girija Devi spoke candidly about various aspects of Indian music. She began by deriding trends like "pop" and fusion music which she feels have put the "Indian tradition on sale."

"These trends are very abrasive. They are, however, too transient to damage our classical arts which have flourished despite sponsorships from Samsung or Philips. Music is surely not sports which needs money to survive, but it does require state recognition. It's like a splendid heritage building in need of restoration," said the vocalist who recently returned to the ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, as a guru.

At the ITC where she earlier served for 10 years, Dr Girija Devi has revived the guru shishya parampara. Although supportive of academic instruction in music, the exponent known for her "poorab gayaki" feels the only way to hone exceptional talent is the guru shishya tradition.

Quoting her example, she says, "The legacy of my gurus Pts Sarju Prasad Misra and Chand Misra has never failed me. Today my music is exclusive and nonreplicable. As a custodian of Benaras tradition I am proud that the West cannot buy my music or plunder it, although my own juniors have been stealing my melodies."

Dejected with the reproduction of her style, Dr Girija Devi now refrains from singing special music in public. Though she offers glimpses of Benaras gharana's "chaturmukhi gayan" featuring dhrupad, dhamar, khayal and thumri, she hardly sings rare styles that her gurus bequeathed to her as legacy. These styles will now enter the archives, which she is preparing for posterity.

Reasoning her decision, Dr Girija Devi says, "The Benaras gharana owes its reputation to musicians who never compromised on the purity of the tradition. Our musicians were so particular about purity that they never even ate outside their homes. They preserved their music with care and never migrated from Benaras. That's why our gharana is rich with classical as well as folk styles which are to be found nowhere else."

Busy reviving the musical legacy of lesser-known Muslim saints who sang praises of Lord Krishna, Dr Girija Devi is now planning to take a break from the concert circuit. "I miss full-time company of music. People can wait, practice can't," says the Padma Bhushan, who dream of setting up an ashram, is awaiting realisation courtesy government which has not yet allotted to her the piece of land it promised long back.


Doctors on more than one faculty face action
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 20
The Medical Council of India (MCI) has taken a serious view of the teaching doctors getting themselves enrolled on the faculty of more than one medical college at the same time and has taken action against as many as 65 such medical teachers in the country. Action against more than 30 such teachers is contemplated.

According to a letter of the MCI, these teachers who were found to be indulging in the malpractice have been suspended from teaching in any medical college till July 2007 and they shall not be counted as a teacher at the inspections to be carried out by the MCI for the academic years 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

The MCI secretary, Lt-Col (Dr) ARN Setalvad (Retd) in a letter to registrars of all universities, principals and deans of the medical colleges has stated that over a period of two years, it was observed that a large number of doctors were claiming employment as medical teachers in more than one medical college at the same time.

The general body of the MCI discussed this issue last month and decided to curb such tendencies with strong hands. The Ethics Committee after granting an opportunity of being heard to all of these doctors, has recommended imposition of punishment by removing their names from the Indian Medical Register maintained by the council.

The secretary of the MCI has observed: “Undoubtedly, such kind of misconduct is much more serious than the alleged negligence in cases of treatment by doctors.”

He has further observed that the worst part is that ultimately innocent students who get admission in such medical colleges end up as ‘half baked’ doctors who are bereft of proper exposure and training. The general body is of the view that such a tendency has to be completely eliminated.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Medical Council has also been activated and the council has started taking action against those doctors and nursing homes which are violating the norms and are indulging in advertising in newspapers.


Refraining from remixes, Aryans out to charm
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 20
They sing for the sheer joy of it. And their style is the “garage style” — an uninhibited expression of music, sans any affectedness or elaborate stage props. The pop music group, Aryans, that was in the city today to perform at Jalandhar Cantonment started off as a “dream strung in melody and friendship”. A chance meeting of D.J. Narayan from Lucknow and Sadu from Kerala had both these singers “dreaming together”, and in 1994, the five-member “Aryans” group of “Hai Dil” fame was formed.

“We are completely ourselves when we perform. In the times when music bands frequently disband, our group’s strong point is ‘dosti’ and this keeps us going,” Narayan says, a tinge of pride discernible in his voice.

Aryans, with their original lyrics, catchy music and pleasantly familiar stage settings, have found a ready audience even as far North East and border areas. Narrating an interesting incident, Narayan tells us about a dhaba boy near the Bhuj border, who came to take his autograph. “I asked him how he recognised me. He sprinted off to show me our cassette. I had not expected that our music would find its way to these rather remote areas.”

In stark contrast to the popular trend, this group does not favour remixes. Only those who cannot create music go in for remixes, is their refrain. Props of scantily clad women and hip-swinging dances are again a “no” for the Aryans. “These are nothing more than crutches. Only bad music needs them. Did Kishore Kumar use them to sell his songs? Why screech out that your music needs viewers? Music is meant to be listened and not watched,” says Narayan, flashing a toothy smile. “Melody and good lyrics invariably emerge the winners,” Sadu adds.

Music, for this group, doesn’t synchronise with linear thinking. It is not about cobbling together odd pieces of lyrics and tunes. It is out and out a creative effort. Choosing a theme, penning lyrics, setting them to tune and finally singing them out to the accompaniment of musical instruments — there are many a step before stray thoughts and odd jingles become melody. Theirs is perhaps the only Indian pop music group that has lyricists, music composers, singers and instrumentalists in the group itself. And they rightfully think it is no mean achievement. “We know good music is indispensable and it sells like hotcakes!”


‘Music is divinity’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 20
Music is divinity for noted Pakistani Sufi singer Surriya Khanum, who is in the city.

“It’s not a mirror to the truth; it’s truth itself. It is passion for the ultimate reality. What can give more happiness than an ode to Him? I can’t think of music as anything else,” she says.

Cacophony, in the name of music, is not her cup of tea. She finds it rather strange when singers belt out fast numbers to shore up their popularity. Baba Bulleh Shah, Waris Shah, the great masters, cannot be rendered disrespectfully.

“You have to give these great men their due.” She agrees that in the past few decades competition in the field of music has intensified. But pandering to the public taste is not the right thing for a singer, who believes music is “ibadat”.

She often finds it rather amusing when asked whether she would like to have dancers during her performance. Her music can hold on its own, she feels.

But Surriya is not averse to experimenting with the new. She is associated with an organisation that uses music therapy to treat mentally disturbed patients. “Sufiana kalam works wonders for these patients. It seems to jog them out of their problems. I have seen disturbed women’s eyes lighting up after listening to Sufi music, although they may not comprehend it fully,” she says.

The raison d’etre of her life is helping these disturbed patients find some meaning in their lives. “My Sufiana kalam would find its fulfillment if I am able to do something for these people. Trust me, music has a purpose to it. Those who say that music is simply entertainment should think again,” she says with conviction.


Punjabi artistes enthral
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 20
Sarbjit Cheema, a noted Punjabi singer, and Balwinder Singh Bicky, alias Chacha Raunki Ram, a noted comedian, regaled the audience at a musical programme, Rangla Punjab, at the Ranbir Club here last night. Mr C.S. Srivastava, Commissioner, Patiala Division, was the chief guest.

Mr Srivastava honoured Sarbjit Cheema and Chacha Raunki Ram on the occasion. An excellent display of fireworks also marked the occasion.


Theatre activist honoured
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 20
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) Patiala honoured Mr Babu Singh Brar, president, Lok Bhalai Sanstha, Patiala, for his contribution towards the promotion of theatre and social service at a function organised by the Lok Bhalai Sanstha at Government Elementary School in Bajwa Colony.

The chief guest Mr Pran Sabharwal, Director, NTAS, presented Bhagat Munshi Ram Shatabdi Award of Honour 2004 and a memento to him.

Mr Boparai lauded efforts of Mr Brar and members of the Lok Bhalai Sanstha and the NTAS for promoting education, arts and brotherhood through community service projects.


Migratory birds’ population decreases
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 20
For want of a proper policy to protect international wetland in the district, there is decline in the population of migratory birds, which arrive here from the Central Asia and other parts of the country.

The number of migratory birds this year is significantly less than the previous years. The arrival of the migratory birds continued since October 13, but out of about 3000 expected birds of about 30 different species, only a few birds have arrived here so far, according to an Ornithologist, Mr Jasbir Singh, who has been keeping track of these birds for the past 25 years.

Ironically, neither the district administration nor the Tourism Department appears to be concerned about these birds.

In spite of the peak time for the migratory birds here, fishing continues in the Sutlej, hence forcing the migratory birds to look for another abode. Besides, due to Industrial pollution and soil erosion, the fish population has been declining in the Sutlej, hence posing threat to the survival of the migratory birds.

The birds that can be seen here include ruddy shel duck, wigeon, shovella, pintail, pochard, and shovelesspot bill duck. The birds came here from Siberia, Jammu and Kashmir, the Indo-Tibet border, Uttaranchal.

The Tribune team visited the Sutlej along the government tourist complex and witnessed fishing by private contractors at a natural place for stay of these migratory birds. Most of the migratory birds were rendered helpless to shift to the other parts of the Sutlej Bridge, which is not considered safe for them.

The migzratory birds here easily become victim of human greed. Hundreds of vehicle plying on the Sutlej Bridge do not create a congenial atmosphere for the birds to stay.

In addition to it, water pollution is continuing due to release of the polluted water by the NFL plant at Nangal and Thermal Plant at Ropar into the Sutlej. As a result, fish population is declining, posing a serious threat to the existence of these birds, who thrive on fish and flora. Though authorities of both the plants deny the charge.

Jasbir Singh said there were about 250 species of birds generally found here. This includes 30 species of migratory birds from Siberia, Jammu and Kashmir, the Indo-Tibet border and Uttaranchal. He said the migratory birds continued to arrive here till mid-November. After the snowfall in the Jammu and Kashmir, many birds from Nagina and Wullar Lake are also expected to reach here.


PSEB employees plan protests
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20
The Punjab State Electricity Board’s Employees Joint Forum yesterday announced its decision to hold demonstrations outside the offices of Deputy Commissioners in the state on November 29 and march to Delhi on December 10 to protest against the Punjab Government’s proposal to dismantle the board.

Union leaders of almost all the unions in the board claimed that the PSEB management had betrayed both the workers and consumers by deciding to unanimously recommend dismantling of the board to the Punjab Cabinet. They said this decision had come as a surprise for the employees as the management had committed that it would ask the government to give it six more months to decide on the issue of dismantling of the board.

The union leaders said they would coordinate with various farmer organisations to decide on the manner in which the latest move of the management was to be resisted. The leaders said at least 20,000 board employees would march to Delhi on December 10 to protest against this move and to call for withdrawal of the Electricity Act, 2003.


Photo-exhibition inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20
Lensman Rajesh Sachar is as much as a painter as a photographer. His photo-exhibition “True Life” showcased at the Art Gallery in the Museum of Fine Arts in Punjabi University vibrates with life in all its myraid hues — in study of peacocks, giddha girls, milk vendors and even photographs of dusk.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai, who termed the photographs as creative and which touched a chord in everyone’s heart.

Rajesh says he has seen a lot of pain in his life and would like to brighten up the lives of others. “I am interested in capturing moments of bliss, innocence and also those which compel you to think”.

Noted scholar Kirpal Kazak, University Journalism Department Head, Dr Harjinder Walia, and Fine Arts Museum Director Gurcharan Singh appreciated Rajesh’s photographs.


‘Oversight’ resulted in award to dead dhadi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20
The Punjab Language Department today said sheer “oversight” had resulted in grant of a Shiromani Award to a dhadi who had died in 1996.

The department had written to Education Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal on the issue.

It was up to her to reverse the decision on grant of the award to former dhadi singer Saudagar Singh.

State Language Department Additional Director M.R. Banga, when contacted by TNS, said the department did not have any precedent of giving a Shiromani Award posthumously. He said a mistake had occurred in the selection of Saudagar Singh, mainly due to the fact that the dhadi had migrated to the United Kingdom some years back and they had no news of his death.

He said the government had been officially informed about the matter.

Meanwhile, sources said the award ceremony may be delayed and now held during the World Punjabi Conference scheduled to be held at Punjabi University from December 1 to 3.

The sources said Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had expressed this wish during his visit to the Punjabi University yesterday. They said the only hitch was the time which would be consumed for grant of awards — at least two-and-a-half hours.

The sources said the proposal to postpone the ceremony was being considered because three recipients of the awards were from Pakistan and the government felt it would be befitting to give the awards during the World Punjabi Conference.


Seer’s arrest: BJP asks Kalam to intervene
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 20
The district unit of the BJP, in their memorandum to the President of India, have condemned the arrest of Swami Jayendra Saraswati, Shankaracharya of the Kanchi Mutt, in a murder case.

In their memorandum submitted through the Bathinda Deputy Commissioner here today, Mr Sunil Bitta, district general secretary of the BJP, said since the Shankaracharya had offered support in the investigations of the case, there was no need for his police remand. Not only was the case against the seer false and politically motivated, remanding him to police custody was a conspiracy hatched to collect false evidence against him.

Mr Bitta said the “ill-treatment” being meted out to the saint had hit the religious feelings of the Hindus. Holding the Tamil Nadu and Indian Government responsible for the arrest and humiliation of the religious figure, Mr Bitta urged the President to intervene.


Govt restructuring cooperatives: minister
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 20
On the concluding day of the week-long celebrations of 100th anniversary of cooperatives and 51st All-India Cooperative Week celebrations, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister for Cooperation, said the government had started restructuring the cooperatives.

This sector had already started delivering the things in a better and professional manner.

He said Punjab State Cooperative Bank Ltd through its 19 Central Cooperative Banks and 3,500 cooperative societies had given loans to the farming community to the tune of Rs 3,068 crore in the current financial year.

He said the state government had already directed Punjab State Cooperative Banks Ltd and the Punjab State Cooperative Agriculture Development Banks to enhance the target by 30 per cent in the current year.

In his address Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary highlighted the achievements of the cooperative department and added that more than 1,10,000 people were its members through 543 cooperative societies.


Birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev celebrated
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 20
Little Blossoms School celebrated the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev here today.

A kirtan darbar was organised by the school authorities in which even some school students participated. Harpreet Singh and Ravneet Kaur were among the students who took part in the kirtan.

Students who excelled in various activities were awarded on the occasion. The awards were given away by Mr Balwinder Singh, president of the Lions Club.


Rath yatra taken out
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 20
Hundreds of devotees took part in the Bhagwan Jagannath Rath Yatra organised by the district unit of ISKCON here today. The yatra started from the Ram palace on the Lawrence road and concluded at Gol Bagh here.

The devotees led by Swami JanYoginder chanted “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna” as they pulled the rath of the shobha yatra which passed through various bazars of the city.

People enroute distributed fruit langar to the devotees.


Order stayed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 20
A Bench of the High Court on Saturday stayed the order of the Punjab Police for withdrawal of security provided to former Akali Dal Minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon.

Saying that despite the fact that he faced threat to his life, the Punjab Police had on October 25 ordered withdrawal of the two personal security officers (PSOs) given to him. This action, he claimed, was mala fide as it is without any reason.

After hearing his counsel, the Bench of Mr Justice Pritam Pal stayed the operation of the impugned order through which the security was to be withdrawn and also issued notice to the respondents for January 17.


Teacher commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 20
A woman teacher committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at her Mohalla Chah-e-Aam residence here late on Thursday night.

According to the police, the deceased was identified as Shublata, who was putting up at the residence of her mother along with her three daughters and one son. Sources said Shublata consumed some poisonous substance and was rushed to a private hospital near Football chowk, where she died. A case has been registered.

In another incident, Rakesh of Mohalla Karaar Khan died under mysterious circumstances after consuming insecticide. Family sources said Rakesh consumed six tablets of an insecticide. He was admitted to Civil Hospital, where he died late in the afternoon. The police registered a case under Section 174 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the district police arrested four persons, including two women, for allegedly abducting a minor girl. According to the police, Raj of Kala Afghana village in Gurdaspur allegedly abducted five-year-old Teena, who was living with her grand mother at Baring village, near here, on Thursday. The parents of Teena had died some time back. Acting swiftly, a police party raided the suspected hideout in Kala Afghana and rescued the girl, Raj, along with Joj Masih, Net Masih and Bholi Masih were arrested.


Man, four of family booked for rape of minor girl
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20
The Civil Lines police today registered a case of rape against a man and four members of his family on a complaint of a 14-year old girl who is pregnant with a six month foetus.

The case has been registered after the girl presented herself before Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai who directed SP (city) R.L. Monga to inquire into the case.

According to the FIR, the man accused of the crime - Bheema was living in Amardarshan Colony. The complaint said the girl revealed the truth to her parents at a later stage. When the matter was put before Bheema’s family they started threatening the girl and her family. The other four persons against whom a case has also been registered are Shibhu, Kamo, Saroj Lata and Bala.


Man held with 250 gm of charas
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 20
The district police today arrested Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Dyalpura Bhaika village of this district.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, in a press note issued here today, said the police had laid a naka at Bhagta Bhaika village and stopped the accused for a search operation. The accused tried to resist police frisking and was found in possession of 250 gm opium. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused.

In another case, the police arrested Vijay Kumar and Amritpal Singh as they were copying CDs of the film, "Veer Zara", being shown in a cinema house of the city.

They had been distributing these pirated CDs from their shop in the Gole Diggi market of the city. Two other accused in the case managed to dodge the police.


Spurious mobil oil seized
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 20
The police has unearthed a store of spurious mobil oil at the nearby Sapror village. It was learnt today that during a raid, the police seized a drum of spurious mobil oil, fake seals and trademarks of known oil companies.

A case has been registered against Sunil Mohinder of Jaswant Nagar, Jalandar, and others.

Spurious mobil oil was made there and sold to dealers after misusing the names of famous oil companies.


Students burn VC’s effigies
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 20
On a call given by the Punjab Students Union (Shaheed Randhawa group), students of the local Government Rajindra College, local DAV College, Guru Kashi College, Talwandi Sabo and TPD College, Rampura Phul today observed a strike. They also burnt the effigies of Dr Swaran Singh Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala. They were protesting against the varsity move to increase the examination fee.

Raising slogans against the Punjab Government, they demanded that the hike should be withdrawn immediately. They sought the refund of additional fee, which was charged from them during the last year.

In a press note issued here, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, President, Area committee of the PSU, said the university authorities had been putting the students to inconvenience by increasing the examination fee during the on-going academic session. He said the practical examination fee had been increased by Rs 100. As a result, a science student would have to pay Rs 300 extra while a humanities student had to pay Rs 100 to Rs 200 extra amount.

He said the government had not yet adjusted or refunded the additional fee of Rs 2500 charged from each student last year. He warned that the non-withdrawal of the hike in the examination fee would lead to intensification of their struggle.


Students lock school gate
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 20
At least 50 students of Class IX and X locked the main gate of the Government High School, Roode ke Kalan, in protest against the transfer of three teachers from the school, here today.

They sat in dharna outside the school gate and prevented teachers and students from entering the school. The gate was locked at 9 am.

The students were demanding the re-transfer of the three teachers, Ms Iqbal Kaur, Ms Sandeep Kumari and Mr Janak Raj, to the school.

According to them the three teachers were experts in their subjects and were imparting good education to them. They apprehended that their studies would be affected in the absence of these teachers.

Following intervention by parents and school staff, they agreed to open the lock after an hour.

Mr Brij Bushan, school Headmaster said the teachers had been transferred as they had tampered with school records.

The village sarpanch, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, said these teachers had been transferred following recommendation from the District Education Officer. They were behaving like politicians and politics would not be tolerated at any cost, he added.

Ms Iqbal Kaur has been reportedly transferred to Jumal Malkian School, Barnala, Ms Sandeep Kumari to Government School, Patti Sekhwa, Barnala, and Mr Janak Raj to Government School, Patti Bajwa, Barnala.


Grant autonomous status to colleges, says Pathak
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 20
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Prof K.N. Pathak today called for the grant of autonomous status to colleges to free universities to enable them to pursue research work and act as monitoring and guiding bodies.

Speaking at the one-day NAAC sponsored seminar on “Quest for Excellence in Higher Education” at the Government Mohindra College here, Prof Pathak said such a change was neccessary in the wake of globalisation of education which was putting a great strain on the Indian education system.

Prof Pathak said besides this there was need to introduce a grading or credit system under which students could be evaluated, bringing in self assessment and student assessment of teachers and ending undesirable political interference in the functioning of higher education.

Prof Nisha Sarad, DPI (colleges) in her presidential address highlighted that the institutions of higher learning will face greater challenges from foreign universities in the near future. She said to compete at the international level there was a need to change mindsets and also bring in internal changes.

Government Mohindra College Principal, Dr R.K. Sharma, in his address emphasised that education was a process of human enlightenment and economic, cultural, moral and spiritual upliftment was necessary for achieving a higher quality of life. He said with the greatest premium being on acquisition of knowledge in the 21st century, the future belonged to nations who could realise the immense potential locked up in their people.

Principals from different colleges in the state and more than two hundred college and university teachers participated in the seminar. More than thirty scholars presented their papers at the two technical sessions.


Boparai opens seminar on radiation measurements
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 20
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai inaugurated a national symposium on ‘Radiation Measurements and Applications’ being organised by the Department of Physics in collaboration with the Patiala Chapter of the Indian Society for Radiation Physics.

While presiding over the inaugural session Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab University, Chandigarh, discussed the basic aspects of radiation’s interaction with matter and applications of radiations in different fields.

Prof R.C. Verma, Head, Department of Physics, welcomed the delegates. Dr Gurmel Singh, organising secretary of the symposium, proposed the vote of thanks.


300 students arrive to attend cultural fest
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 20
More than 300 students from 15 states have arrived here to attend the week-long inter-state cultural exchange programme being organised by District Cultural Society. The exchange programme is dedicated to the tricentenary of the martyrdom of younger sahibjadas.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner welcomed the students.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, chairman, District Cultural Society, said these students would be taken to Golden Temple, Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Chandigarh. He said after making them aware of Sikh history, a simple test would be conducted and the winners would be awarded. He said all participants would be given a bag containing Sikh literature, CDs on Sikh history, calendar and other items as gifts.


SGPC to set up world Sikh varsity
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 20
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will open public schools and set up a world Sikh university to commemorate the tercentenary of the martyrdom of the four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh and Mata Gujri, said SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, while laying down the foundation stone of the guest house of the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College.

Bibi Jagir Kaur also visited the girls’ hostel and interacted with girls. She appreciated the setting up of an Internet laboratory in the hostel.

The Principal of the college, Dr D.S. Hira said the girls’ hostel of the college was today named as Mata Gujri Girls’ Hostel by the President of the SGPC. He said the construction of the guest house would further improve the infrastructure of the college.


Computer centre for girls opened in village
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 20
The Sunder Amar Sheel Trust opened a computer centre for providing training to girls from rural areas at Landran village yesterday.

The centre, which was set up in the library in the area, was inaugurated by the founder of the Trust, Mr Nanak Kohli. He said he had named the Trust after the names of his father and mother who had helped a poor girl to become independent by providing her higher education.

The Trust had opened such centers in Gharuan and Mahdian villages where free computer education was being provided to girls belonging to poor families.

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