P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Rodriguez removes Legal Adviser
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator of Chandigarh, General S.F. Rodriguez (retd), has decided to dispense with the services of his Legal Adviser, sources in Raj Bhavan said yesterday.

His predecessor, Justice Om Parkash Verma (retd), had appointed Dr H.C. Modi as his legal adviser in March this year. Appointment, sources in Raj Bhavan said, was initially for one year. In case of continuity, it was to be renewed on an yearly basis.

This post was created by him in his capacity as Governor of Punjab.

Dr Modi is a retired District and Sessions Judge. His appointment had raised a controversy as to why a Governor, who himself had been a retired Chief Justice, wanted a legal adviser.

The new Governor, sources said, does not feel the need of any legal adviser and has decided to discontinue the present contractual arrangement. Formal orders are expected to be issued early next week. None of predecessors of Justice Verma had any legal adviser.

Incidentally, the Punjab Government has a big team of law officers. Headed by an Advocate-General, the team has more than a 100 law officers. Interestingly, in spite of this huge team, Punjab has been regularly engaging top criminal and civil lawyers, both in Chandigarh and in New Delhi, to defend the state in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as the Supreme Court.

Besides, the Chandigarh Administration has its own standing counsels, both in the district courts and the High Court.


’84 riot victim awaits cheque for 18 yrs
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Ranshinh Khurd (Moga), November 22
An octogenarian, Gehal Singh, is running from pillar to post for the past 18 years to get a cheque for Rs 1 lakh reissued, which was dispatched to him on February 8, 1986, as compensation for injuries he suffered in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in New Delhi, but did not reach him till date.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Gehal Singh said he could not forget the day when he was in New Delhi to attend the hearing of his land dispute case. A violent mob on the rampage attacked him causing grievous injuries in his hands and legs.

Pointing towards his injury marks, Gehal Singh said some policemen saved him and sent him home after finding his address in papers relating to his land case. He said a cheque bearing number 373724 in favour of his account No. 27/341 in the State Bank of India, Moga, was sent to him on February 8, 1986, as compensation, but he had not received the same till date.

Narrating their tale of woes, his wife said their son, Nishan Singh, had been given a job at the Deputy Commissioner office in Moga, but he was sacked in January this year on the pretext that “your parents have started receiving old age pension now”.

She said both of them had been getting Rs 200 per month each as old age pension and that too they had not received since the month their son was thrown out of his job.

Gehal Singh said after losing his job, Nishan started working as a daily-wager and used to earn Rs 40 to 50 per day, but a couple of months ago he fell sick and had not recovered as yet. He said he had about 5 acres at Sabhra village in Patti, of which 3 acres had come under the river embankment and the rest had been “illegally occupied” by Gurmeet Singh. He said he had been fighting a legal battle for the past over two decades to get his land back.

Gehal Singh has no source of income today and his family has been surviving with the aid of his daughter, Gurmeet Kaur, who stays in Dhurkot. Nishan is also recuperating at her home. Gurmeet also assists her mother in household chores, as she has some problem in her eyes and has recently been operated upon.

Gehal Singh had to borrow money to get his wife’s eyes operated. His brother, Mehal Singh, who also stays with him, used to work in a gurdwara situated right in front of his home, but he also lost his job due to old age. “We have a roof on our heads only because of our daughter who has helped us in difficult times,” he said.

The couple recently stayed in New Delhi for about a month during which Gehal Singh met officials concerned and some leaders to pursue his case. He said that the authorities concerned had promised to post him the cheque and he could get it anytime now.

It has been 10 days since the couple returned from Delhi and their eyes are awaiting the postman who would probably deliver them the most-awaited cheque.


Speak in Punjabi, Bhattal asks CM
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 22
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today urged the state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, to speak Punjabi so that others could follow suit. She also lamented that Punjabi University had also failed to make Punjabi the number one language on its campus.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the Punjabi Saptah, she said it was unfortunate that Punjabi had been ignored in government offices. She said she had made this observation in meetings of the Punjab Cabinet also. “I told the Chief Minister that he will have to speak in Punjabi and only then others will use it in day-to-day functioning”.

Mrs Bhattal said the Chief Minister could speak English outside the state but he should limit himself to Punjabi. “ His great grandfather Maharaja Rajinder Singh’s contribution for making it the official language of the state will always be remembered”, she said, adding that ‘’pota nu ki ho gaya”.

The Punjabi University authorities are also likely to come in for a scanner with Ms Bhattal holding the charge of Higher Education Minister.

Later while talking to newsmen, she said she had received reports regarding the use of Punjabi in Punjabi University. “I will conduct an inspection in Punjabi University after hosting the World Punjabi Conference.”

Mrs Bhattal also said that her ministry would write letters to all department heads to make the use of Punjabi as compulsory. When asked whether punishments would also be enforced in this regard, she said the present government rules had provisions for punishing those who were not using Punjabi in official functioning.

Earlier the Secretary, Higher Education, Mr A.R. Talwar, and the Director, Languages department Mr Gagandeep Singh Brar, also spoke. Writer Kuldeep Singh Dhir, speaking on the occasion, said steps should be taken to synchronise all Punjab keyboards and ensure a standard font for the language so that it could be used easily on the Internet. Former Director R.S. Gill and Additional Director M R Banga also spoke.

Mrs Bhattal gave six awards with a prize money of Rs 5,000. These included the Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir award for poems which was given to B S Bir for ‘’Roshni da Pyramid’’, the Guru Harkrishan Bal Sahit award which was given to Sukhdev Singh Shant for “Pinki di Pencil”, Teja Singh award for editing to Prabhudaman Singh Bedi for “Sobha Singh Smriti Granth”, Dr Attar Singh award to Dr Rajneesh Bahadur Singh for “Ajoki Punjabi Kahani”, Bhai Veer Singh to Surjit Singh Bhatia for “Peeli Et” and the Nanak Singh award for novel-writing to Jasvir Singh Rana for “Shikhar Dopahar”.


Pak poets touched by “Veer-Zaara”
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 22
Yash Chopra’s cinematic narration of a love-struck couple’s journey across barbed wires in “Veer-Zaara” has positively impacted the visiting Pakistani poets. Watching the film was a top priority for Afzaal Shahid and Aizaz Ahmad Azer who are here to participate in the poetic symposium being organised during the heritage festival.

Other visiting poets are Sarvat Mohiuddin and Mushtaq Kanwar.

Both Shahid and Azer hailed the film as “vital” to peace. In an interview to The Tribune today, they said, “For us ‘Veer-Zaara’ is not just a cinematic masterpiece, but a project that confirms a positive change in mindsets. We are tired of viewing anti-Pakistan flicks”. “The movie dares to take a stand in support of love and peace, something we have always been pleading for through our writings in the media, our comments on the TV and our projects in literature,” they said.

Afzaal Shahid is best known for the Urdu translation of former ISI Brigadier A.I. Tirmzi’s revealing accounts in “Profiles of Intelligence”. The work features references to some of the most significant events that changed Pakistan’s history.

As a writer and a columnist for some daily papers, Shahid could barely resist the temptation of translating the work that also features a complete chapter detailing the involvement of the US in the execution of Z.A. Bhutto.

Says Shahid: “The book offers proof to this effect. It is the most revealing book ever written about the pursuits of the ISI.”

Apart from some strictly political writings, Shahid has to his credit poetry anthologies. An author of four books, of which his travelogue of Iran tiled “In the land of Khomeini” is well-known, Shahid is now writing another collection of poetry called “Reza-e-Dil” (A Piece of Heart). Among the many themes that inspire his sensibilities, the long lost love between India and Pakistan, is one.

Also Secretary-General of World Punjabi Congress’s Pakistan Punjab Chapter, Shahid says: “Not just political but cultural trends across the borders are looking up. Films are now harping more on Indo-Pak peace; journalists are more openly coming and going; politicians are trying to shed dead wood. India’s step towards reduction in troops along the border is the latest craze among all sections of intelligentsia. We feel inspired like never before.”

Azer, who has served as Director-General in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Pakistan, says: “We are binding like never before on the cultural front. Recently we had proposed that Shahmukhi script of Punjabi should be taught in India. Likewise Gurmukhi should be taught in Pakistan.

“I must admit India has taken the lead as one of the universities in Punjab has introduced a paper in Shahmukhi at the MA (Punjabi) level. Unless the student clears this paper he/she cannot get an MA degree. We must follow suit.”

Author of six poetry collections, Azer is writing another book on the life and times of celebrated Pakistani writer Ashfaq Ahmad. He has also researched works of famed Pakistani songwriter Tanvir Naqvi.

Besides Azer regularly writes on peace, his logic being: “We have excelled in losses. There is no scope left to lose anything anymore”.


Pak bureaucracy anti-Punjabi, says writer
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 22
Pakistan’s bureaucracy is ‘anti-Punjabi’ which is creating hurdles to the promotion of Punjabi in the country. This is why thousands of posts of Punjabi teacher in Pakistan are not being filled.

This was stated by Mr Fakhar Zaman, a renowned Punjabi writer and former Union Minister of Pakistan, while delivering the first Gopal Singh Memorial. Lecture at Guru Nanak Dev University, here today.

Seth Tarlok Singh Chawla, a former Personal Secretary to Netaji Subhas Chander Bose in Thailand, presided over the function.

To promote the composite Punjabi culture of both countries, Mr Zaman emphasised the need for plying buses between Srinagar and Muzaffrabad and Lahore and Amritsar. He said the current visa system should be abolised and multiple visa system between India and Pakistan on the pattern of the European Union should be introduced.

He also advocated starting bilateral trade on a large scale between the two countries. Both countries should reduce their defence budget so that unemployment, poverty and illiteracy could be eradicated and better health and education services could be provided to the people.

Earlier Dr S.P.Singh, Vice-Chancellor, welcomed Mr Zaman and Mr Chawla.

He said Urdu and Hindi were being used there and Punjabi had not achieved the desired status in Pakistan. More than 10,000 youths who had passed their MA (Punjabi) were still unemployed. He said the Pakistan Government was giving Rs 9 crore annually for the promotion of Sindhi language while meagre funds were earmarked for promotion of Punjabi.

He said in Pakistan, Punjabis comprised 70 per cent of the population but unfortunately Punjabi had still not achieved the national status there.


SGPC honours London top cop
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, November 22
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, London, Sir John Stevens, was honoured by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) here today. Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary SGPC, presented him with a siropa and a momento of the Golden Temple. The Commissioner was accompanied by his wife.

Called as an “honorary Sikh” by the Sikh community, Mr Stevens was instrumental in recruiting a number of Sikhs in the UK police.

He said it was his long desire to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple. He said he was inspired by Sikh ethics after reading several books.

He was accompanied by the IGP (Retd), Mr S.S. Bhullar, and Justice (Retd) Mohta Singh. During his stay to the city, he witnessed the beating retreat at the Wagah border and visited Jallianwala Bagh.

Mr Diljit Singh Bahra, a senior Sikh Inspector in the London Metropolitan Police, said the Commissioner had always helped Sikhs in England and understood their problems.


Police foils farmers plan to court arrest
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 22
Raids at Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugraha) leaders’ homes and heavy police presence foiled union activists plan to court arrest in front of the SDM office at Nihalsinghwala.

Sources said the police had sealed all ways leading to Nihalsinghwala where all SHOs of the district had been deployed. The SP (D), Mr Harjeet Singh Pannu, and DSP Raghubir Singh Sandhu, were leading the police force that also had police personnel from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Faridkot and Ferozepur.

The police raided the hideouts of the union leaders at Bhagike, Himmatpura and Takhtupura villages this morning and arrested 22 of them, which included the senior union leader, Master Malkeet Singh.

The district union chief, Mr Trilok Singh Himmatpura, said that the police could not suppress their stir and they would intensify agitation in the coming days.

Late in the evening, a number of farmers headed from Kusa village to Nihalsinghwala to court arrest, but the police stopped them in the outskirts of the village. They protested against the police action and staged a dharna. The protesters raised slogans against the Punjab Government.

Addressing the agitators, the union leaders said that the Amarinder Government had bowed before the farmers’ agitation.

The state general secretary of the union, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri, said that today’s agitation was successful and it was clear from the police action that the Punjab government had accepted its defeat. He said in a situation like this the state government should accept farmers’ demands and avoid confrontation with them. 


BKU(U) activists court arrest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Nearly 230 activists of the BKU (Ugrahan) courted arrest in Bathinda and Mansa districts today in connection with the “jail bharo” movement in protest against the fall in the cotton prices and alleged “negligible” purchase of the crop by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).

Hundreds of BKU (U) activists from nearby districts, including Muktsar, Faridkot and Ferozepore, gathered at Bhalaiana village today before moving to this city to court arrest.

They were prevented from going to Bathinda city and had to go to the Muktsar-Bathinda road due to heavy police arrangements. Nakas at the entry points prevented the BKU activists from entering the city. While the activists did not use the public transport system to reach the city, the police stopped their chartered vehicles.

Mr Surjeet Singh, vice-president, of the union, alleged that the government had stopped its agencies from purchasing the cotton crop. This had given the traders a chance to purchase their produce at throwaway prices, he said.

He demanded that the MSP of cotton must be fixed at Rs 4,200 per quintal. He also sought compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the farmers who were injured during the police lathi charge on November 2 at Ralle village of Mansa district. He said those farmers who had sold their cotton crop, should be suitably compensated.

Sources said nearly 100 activists were rounded up from Chak Fateh Singhwala village of Bathinda district while 60 activists were rounded up from Mansa Khurd.


Pbi varsity lecturer booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 22
A lecturer in the Department of Correspondence Studies Punjabi University, Patiala has been booked after his wife complained that he was trying to flee the country on a ‘new’ passport in which his marital status was mentioned as 'unmarried'. The lecturer is married and also has a child.

The Punjab Police has recovered the fraudulently-obtained passport after the Mansa police registered a case of cheating against the lecturer, Mr Lakhwinder Singh, Sidhu, for concealing the fact that he was married and already had a passport.

Gurtej Singh, ASI who is investigating the case said today that the police had recovered the passport from Sidhu during his two-day police remand.

He was today sent to a 14-day judicial remand by a Mansa court.

The matter came to light when Sidhu’s wife Sharanjit Kaur complained to the SSP, Mansa, on November 17 alleging that her husband Lakhwinder Singh Sidhu held two passports in his name. While passport (No. B-3850620) was made on October 5, 2001, he already had a passport (No. 5859564) that was issued to him in 1997 by the Regional Passport Office in Chandigarh showing his status as married. This passport had been impounded by the police in connection with a case of marital dispute.

The SSP, Mansa, directed DSP Jagir Singh to verify the records from the Regional Passport Office in Chandigarh. Mr Jagir Singh confirmed the fraudulent procurement of a passport.

A case under Sections 420, 465, 468 and 471 of the IPC was registered in police station city Mansa, on November 19.

Sharanjit Kaur had mentioned in her complaint that she had got married to Sidhu in December 1996. The couple has a physically and mentally challenged son.

She alleged that Sidhu was an alcoholic and an addict. He and his parents were torturing her to bring more dowry and a case under Sections 498-A, 406 and 506 of the IPC was registered in Sadar Police Station, Patiala, on September 19, 2001.

The case is pending in a court. The Punjab Police had impounded his passport after the case was registered against him, said his wife.

Sharanjit Kaur alleged that in order to avoid prosecution Sidhu had planned to leave India. He applied for a Canadian visa and managed to get a second passport issued in his name.

She requested the SSP to investigate the case and take necessary action against Sidhu in her complaint.

Lakhwinder Singh Sidhu is a Ph.D in political science and is also a law graduate.


MC dumping waste near hospital
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot: The hospitals are supposed to be set in clean and hygienic surroundings. However, the Civil Hospital, Pathankot, is surrounded by unhygienic conditions as the entire solid waste of Pathankot is being dumped by the Municipal Council at the back of the hospital on a “kutcha” bundh developed on a natural drain. Hundreds of tonnes of solid waste to lying at the said spot. The area near the Civil Hospital stinks so badly that passersby have to cover their noses while crossing it.

The waste being dumped at the back of the Civil Hospital includes plastic, scrap, biowaste and even bio-medical waste. Besides emitting a bad stench, it generates diseases by spreading pests and flies in the hub of the town.

The waste was being dumped here in gross violation of the guidelines of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB). As per the PPCB guidelines solid waste should be dumped at a specially earmarked place away from residential areas.

The Pathankot Municipal Council had purchased land for dumping solid waste but it was never used for the purpose. Instead, the waste continues to be dumped at the back of the hospital.

The Executive Officer of the Pathankot Municipal Council admitted that a piece of land was purchased for dumping solid waste. However, residents of that area did not allow the council to dump the waste there.

A new place was now being located to create the facility for proper disposal and management of solid waste as per the guidelines set by the Supreme Court. When asked about the dumping of waste right at the back of the Civil Hospital, he said they had no other space to do so.

The hospital authorities claimed that they had been representing to the district administration and the Municipal Council to lift the waste but failed to evoke any action.

Besides creating unhygienic conditions near the Civil Hospital, the dumping of waste has also scuttled the proposal for laying a road to connect many villages and habitations in the surrounding areas. There was a proposal to lay a road on the kutcha bundh created along the natural drain, but the dumping of waste there scuttled it.


Govt yet to take over Circuit House building
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 22
The Circuit House here awaits takeover by the hospitality department of Punjab. It has 18 rooms, out of which 10 were furnished more than a year ago. However, nobody has been able to occupy the furnished rooms because the hospitality department has not yet taken over the building.

The local B&R authorities are being forced to hire a watchman to guard the building and pay him for the same. The authorities, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said fittings such as airconditioners were getting damaged due to lack of upkeep and use. But for minor works, the building was ready for use.

The building of the Circuit House here was to be initially inaugurated by the Chief Minister along with the Mukerian bridge. However, due to a tussle between the CM and the local MP, Mr Vinod Khanna, this could not be done.

The Circuit House here was a necessity. There was hardly any residential facility for visiting officials and dignitaries.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harjit Singh, when contacted, said a letter had been written to the hospitality department to take over the building. Formalities like arranging for staff for running the Circuit House were yet to be completed.

Besides the Circuit House, the mini secretariat is another project hanging fire. The district administration has transferred the entire land, on which the mini secretariat is to be raised, to PUDA. However, the PUDA authorities are yet to start work due to paucity of funds.

Most government offices at the district headquarters are scattered. Moreover, most offices are located in dilapidated buildings.

The people here are peeved over the fact that the mini secretariat and other PUDA projects are not coming up, despite the fact that the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, belongs to the district.


Camps to solve problems on the spot
Our correspondent

Jalandhar, November 22
To ensure speedy redressal of grievances of people on the doorstep, the state government has decided to launch series of “Lok Suvidha Camps” in Jalandhar as a pilot project from November 24.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will inaugurate the camp, first of its kind in the state, at Dadwindi village in sultanpur Lodhi Assembly segment, in which the problems related to 25 identified villages will be redressed on the spot.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Rana Gurjit Singh, local MP, said it was a common scene that people had to make several rounds to government offices to get their work done. The aim of such camps was to make the administration more accountable to the people, who were at present facing hardships in getting even their genuine grievance resolve.

“Senior civil and police officials, including the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP concerned, will remain present during the camp.


Nagar kirtan taken out
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 22
Even though the Avtar Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev falls on November 26, a nagar kirtan in this regard was taken out here this afternoon.

It started from Gurdwara Nimmanwala Chowk near Hoshiarpur road and passed through decorated bazaars.

Festivities marked the religious procession as non-Sikhs also participated in the nagar kirtan. Political leaders cutting across party lines, including Joginder Singh Mann, local Congress MLA-cum-Chairman, Punjab Agro Foods Corporation, took part in it.

Led by the holy Guru Granth Sahib and Panj Piaras, the nagar kirtan was accompanied by bands, gatqa parties, kirtan jathas. Crackers were also burst and free kitchens were organised.


Jail reforms needed, says ADGP
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, November 22
Punjab Chief Minister Adviser for jails reforms and former Additional Director-General of Police A.P. Bhatnagar has admitted that infrastructure in jails is poor and there is a need for jail reforms.

During his one-day inspection of different jails, including those in Phagwara, Kapurthala, Jalandhar and other sub-jails of the area, he said much more was needed to be done to improve the condition of jails.

Admitting over crowding in jails, he said more than 14,000 prisoners were lodged in jails of the state, while these had a capacity for only 10,500 prisoners. Mr Bhatnagar said he was preparing his report which would be submitted to the Chief Minister in the next six months.

He said only 30 per cent prisoners were lodged in jails after conviction, while 70 per cent were undertrials.

He said he would recommend five new jails at Nabha and Kapurthala with a capacity of 5,000 prisoners each, and at Amritsar and Talwandi Bhai with capacity of 25,000 prisoners each, and a 1500-capacity jail at Bathinda.

The government had agreed in principal to this proposal. Admitting shortage of funds, he said he favoured land selling of jails situated at prime location in important towns of the state.

New jails would be built in outer areas of towns, which would cost less.

Asked about jail break incidents, he said one such incident had occurred in Patiala and two at Ferozepore during the past one year.

Replying to a question on Tattoing incidents in some jails, described these. as acts of indiscipline.

He expressed concern at old and damaged jail buildings. He also stressed on the need for proper training of jail staff. 


Health officials raid clinic
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 22
Dr Y.C. Markan, Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur, said here yesterday that on a tip-off a team of doctors of the Health Department raided Ashok Hospital at Garhshankar. 

Dr Markan said many discrepancies were found in the record related to the ultra sound machine. He said the ultra sound machine had been sealed and a case under Section 3 of PNDT Act was being filed.


Bank staff warn Centre against retrenchment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22
The All India Bank Employees Congress has warned the UPA Government at the Centre against any retrenchment of employees in the wake of government’s proposal for merger of banks.

Addressing a press conference here today, president of Central Bank of India Employees Union, S.N. Singh alleged that there was a hidden agenda of sacking bank employees under the cover of the process of merger of banks.

Demanding a legislation to be passed in Parliament for any kind of initiative to merge the nationalised banks, Mr S.N. Singh demanded certain amendments in Section 9(2) of the Nationalised Banks Act and urged the authorities concerned to look into it and the issue should be openly debated in Parliament House.

He criticised Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for stating that the respective boards of the nationalised banks could decide on their own for merging with other banks and financial institutions. Statements of various other leaders were also adding to the confusion.

“The government or boards of the banks have no right to decide on the merger issue on their own without talking to the bank employees unions,’’ he said. The government could think of corporating the banking sector in an organised manner but not at the cost of employees with the aim of downsizing them. All nine unions of bank employees have been opposing the move of merger of banks. The future course of agitation will be decided on the basis of the action taken by the government.

It has been estimated, he said, that the number of around 65,000 branches of nationalised banks across the country would reduce to 30,000 after the merger of these banks.

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the union, Mr B.S. Gill, announced the office-bearers of the union. Those elected include Mr D.S. Rawal of Ludhiana; Mr Vipin Handa of Chandigarh, Mr M.D. Dhada of Amritsar, Mr A.K. Thakur of Jammu and Kashmir, Pankaj jain of Ambala cantt, Mr S.P. Kataria of Rohtak and Agriculture secretary of Ludhiana, Mr S.S. Bhatia.


Mixed response to bandh call
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, November 22
It was mixed response to the bandh call given by the BJP and various Hindu organisations, including Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, in protest against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati in an alleged murder case. Many markets of Hall Gate, Putlighar, Lawrence Road, Mall Road, Islamabad area remained closed.

PHAGWARA: The nationwide bandh call given by the VHP in protest against the arrest of the Kanchi Shankaracharya failed to evoke response here.

It was normal and routine functioning of all establishments.

It was learnt that the bandh call was not observed here because of the taking out of the nagar kirtan in connection with the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

GURDASPUR: The bandh call of the BJP and other organisations against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati evoked mixed response in the district.

Early in the morning the activists of the BJP and Shiv Sena managed to get the shops, business establishment and many schools closed at Pathankot and Gurdaspur in wake of the bandh. However, most of the shops started usual business by noon.

The bandh had no effect on the working of government offices. BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena activists held dharnas separately.

Early in the morning Shiv Sena activists tried to disrupt rail traffic at Pathankot. However, the Railway police soon dispersed them.

HOSHIARPUR: On the call given by the VHP, shopkeepers observed complete bandh in protest against the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya. Bandh was peaceful. However, some minor stray incidents have been reported. All educational institutions in the city remained closed today.

Hundreds of activists led by Mr Om Parkash Shastri, president of the VHP, and many religious organisations demonstrated at many places in the city. They were demanding immediate and unconditional release of Swami Jayendra Saraswati.

Reports relating to bandh were also received from Mukerian and Hazipur.

JALANDHAR: The call given by the VHP to observe all-India bandh in protest against the arrest of the seer today failed to evoke any response here as commercial establishments and shops remained opened the whole day.

Banks, commercial establishments and bazaars functioned normally even as there were no reports of any untoward incident in the district

Some members of the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha observed fast at Nehru Gardens to register their protest. Even as some of BJP activists tried to block traffic at Nehru Gardens Chowk, the police swung into action and restored the traffic immediately. 


Dalits hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 22
The district unit of the Dalit Zabar Virodhi Front, Punjab organised a protest dharna here in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner today to register protest against the alleged caste-based discrimination by certain religious deras and “dilly-dallying” by the state government to implement the Mandal Commission report.

Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, former MP and convener of the front, Mr Kiranjit Singh Gehri, co-convener of the front and state president of the Dalit Sena, addressing the dharna, said that caste-based discrimination by religious deras was not only against the law, but also against the principles of the Sikh religion.

But, ironically, neither the state nor the SGPC had taken action against the ‘errant’ dera heads, despite a peaceful agitation by the Dalit Sena and memoranda submitted to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and SGPC officials during the past many months.

Mr Satnam Kainth and Mr.Kiranjit Singh Gehri said the stir would be intensified if the state did not take immediate remedial steps.


Female foeticide alarming: Aparna Basu
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
Ms Aparna Basu, president, All-India Women Conference (AIWC), said here yesterday that need of the hour was to fight the evil of female foeticide and dowry, which had been acquiring alarming dimensions for the past many years.

Addressing a north zone meeting of the AIWC organised at the local SSD Girls College, Ms Basu pointed out that women had failed to reap the benefits of welfare schemes being launched by the Centre as the procedure for availing of the same was complicated.

She said female foeticide and dowry were the bane of the middle classes. She said women should come forward and fight against the injustice being done to her by the male-dominated society.

More than 100 women from all parts of India, including Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh attended the conference. Girls of various schools of the town presented a cultural function.


Drinking water for all villages by 2006: Henry
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 22
Punjab Food and Civil Supplies and Public Health Minister, Avtar Henry, today said that under a World Bank project worth Rs 1,800 crore, drinking water would be provided to each and every village of the state in the next two years.

Interacting with mediapersons here today, he said 16 water treatment plants had already been cleared of which six had been installed in Moga alone and 100 more plants were in the offing. He said the Public Health Department would soon receive a grant of Rs 19 crore for laying pipelines in villages. “Priority would be given to villages already having tubewells,” he added. He said the state government had already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the above-mentioned drinking water scheme.

Talking about DAP manure, he said there was enough DAP in the state and those selling it in the black market would be dealt with strictly. He said the officials concerned had already been given directions in this connection and no one would be allowed to hoard DAP manure. The minister expressed satisfaction with the paddy procurement process. He said 150 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was procured in the state and payment of about Rs 10,000 crore was made to the state’s farmers without any delay. He said the paddy procurement was 16 lakh metric tonnes more as compared to last year despite drought-like conditions prevailing in Malwa region.

When asked about the declining profit of small farmers and their endeavour in ensuring bumper crop in difficult conditions, he said the farmers were happy and the credit of bumper crop must go to the state government that bought electricity at the rate of Rs 6 per unit in the hour of crisis to ensure smooth power supply to the farmers. He said no farmer had committed suicide since the Congress came to power in the state.


Rs 6 crore road project sanctioned
Tribune News Service

Rangilpur (Ropar), November 22
The Punjab Government today gave the green light to Rs 6.67 crore project for the completion and maintenance of the Rangilpur-Mianpur-Purkhali-Barda road on the Ropar-Chandigarh highway. The completion of the project will help the residents of 50 villages.

This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, while inaugurating the Gurcharan Singh memorial gate here. Gurcharan Singh was the founder Chairman of the Kandi Friends Educational Trust.

The project has been jointly financed under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna and the Nabard-X scheme.

Giving details, she said the 10km stretch from Rangilpur would be improved under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna and the rest of the road would be built by the amount sanctioned by the Nabard.

“The stretch from Rangilpur to Bhaddal has been named after Gurcharan Singh, who was committed to the development of rural areas. He had a vision for quality education and took up the challenge to establish the Institute of Engineering and Technology at Bhaddal,” she added.


CT scan helps treat pancreas diseases, says PGI doctor
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 22
Ultrasound and CT scan guidance can help in percutaneous drainage of pus in non-responding or complicated cases of pancreas malfunction, said Dr J .D. Wig, Head of the Department of Surgery, PGI, Chandigarh, while delivering the Dr K.C. Saronwala Memorial Oration here last evening.

Dr Wig said pancreas was a deep-rooted abdominal organ of the body, which when diseased caused multi-organ functional defects. He said the diagnosis in such cases was usually done with the help of bio-chemistry and ultrasound. He said at presently CT scan was being done in complicated cases and this usually gave helpful information about the extent of the disease.

Dr Wig said this was a quantum jump from the earlier system of treating pancreatitis with medical therapies. He said early stages of the disease were treated by broad spectrum antibiotics to avoid secondary infection. Now in very complicated cases, the diseased part of the pancreas was removed surgically and this treatment was available in the PGI, he added.

The Principal of Government Medical College, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, appreciated and remembered the surgical skills of late Dr K.C. Saronwala and his noble and helpful nature. She welcomed Dr Wig to his parent institution where he was a student of MBBS. Dr Naveen Saronwala spoke on the efforts being made by the Dr K.C. Saronwala Foundation in various fields.

Dr Kiranjit Kaur also awarded the Dr K.C. Saronwala Memorial Gold Medal to Dr Puneet Puri and the silver medal to Dr Angel Rajan Singh for standing first and second, respectively, in the MBBS surgery course in the local Government Medical College. 


Raids on chemist shops
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 22
As many as three teams led by five Drug Inspectors raided chemist shops and hospitals being run by quacks at seven places of the district. Sources said the three teams raided shops for spurious drugs, sale of expired medicines and specially sale of narcotic drugs without prescriptions.

The teams raided hospitals being run by quacks. Assisted by Senior Medical Officers, the teams raided chemist shops and illegal hospitals at Maur Mandi, Raman Mandi, Talwandi Sabo, Rampura, Nathana, Bhagta and Bathinda.

In the city, one chemist was found indulging in malpractices, while at Maur Mandi two chemists were found doing so.

The teams also found a quack treating patients at Rampura. Dr Y.P. Singla, Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, when contacted, said these raids would deter the chemists from selling narcotic drugs without the prescription of a qualified doctor. 


Nominations to 36 market committees completed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 22
The first phase of nominations to 36 market committees in the state has been completed by the Punjab Mandi Board. It has sent the related file to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for approval.

The second phase of nominations to all remaining market committees would be started in consultation with MLAs and completed shortly, said Mr Sant Ram Singla, Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune exclusively. He was here today to lay the foundation stones of link roads and of the construction of concrete flooring of the New Grain Market at Bassi Pathanan town at a cost of Rs 58 lakh.

Later addressing a press conference, Mr Singla said since he took over the charge of the board, the income from market fees had recorded an increase of Rs 30 crore from Rs 300 crore to Rs 330 crore. He alleged that earlier a large amount of fee was evaded by traders in connivance with board employees. He said that he had taken action against the erring officials.

He said now the board had spent Rs 678 crore on the repair and construction of 17,235 km of link roads in the state. The construction work on link roads in the entire state was going on a war footing, he added. Besides, the Punjab State Electricity Board had also assigned the job to board to start work for providing 24-hour power supply to 1000 villages. Mr Singla said that the board had started the work in these villages, which would be completed at a cost of Rs 50 crore.

He said all market committees were being modernised at a cost of Rs 82.18 crore. The computerisation work in all committees had been started and these would be linked with the head office, so that the speed of the work was accelerated.

In his address, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, highlighted various development works being carried out by the Congress government. He demanded Rs 1 crore for the road repairs in the district.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, also highlighted the achievements of the state government and dedicated all development works to the Sahibzadas.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, highlighted the development works being initiated in the district.

Mr Nakesh Jindal, Joint Secretary of the Punjab Rice Millers Association, in his address highlighted the problems being faced by rice millers.


3 jail staff suspended
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 22
The Central jail authorities here today suspended three members of the jail staff for allowing inmate, who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital after complaints of illness on Saturday, to move in the bazaars on the city.

Mr Jagjit Singh, Superintendent of the Jail, confirmed having suspended three constables for dereliction of duty. The suspended constables are Jagdeep Singh, Naresh and Kishan. They allegedly moved in the main bazaars of city and had lunch at a dhaba after the medical examination of the said inmate.


Councillor, son held for beating up SHO
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 22
Mr Surinder Choudhry, councillor and his son Pawan Kumar, alias Pamma, were arrested from their shop situated at the Putlighar-Islamabad road here today by a large police contingent. According to sources, they were also beaten up by the police.

It may be mentioned here that a police party led by Mr Piara Lal, SHO, Islamabad police station, was beaten up by the councillor, his Son and several shopkeepers allegedly for manhandling and abusing shopkeepers of the area on November 20.

The SHO refuted the allegation and said he had asked Pawan and other shopkeepers to remove encroachments, which hampered the flow of traffic.

After the incident, a case was registered under Sections 382, 332, 323, 367, 186, 506, 145 and 149, IPC, against the councillor, his son Pawan, Bobby, Sonu, Sanjeev, Satpal, Rajkumar, Balwinder Singh, Kulwant Kaur, Ashu Pardhan, all residents of the area and 15 more.

Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP, City, conducted an inquiry in this regard. Talking to this correspondent, he said the SHO was performing his duty in asking them to remove the bags which were hindering traffic. However, the accused started beating-up the SHO.

In the meanwhile, agitated over their arrest, the shopkeepers tried to block traffic at Putlighar Chowk due to which traffic remained suspended for about 30 minutes and shops remained closed in protest.

The police had to resort to a lathi-charge at the agitated shopkeepers, including women. However, no one was injured.


Man crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 22
A Mohali resident Gurvinder Singh was crushed to death by a Tata Sumo on the Kalka-Ambala highway near Dappar village, late last night. According to the police, Gurvinder Singh, an employee of the Public Health Department, Punjab, was going on a scooter to his in-laws house in Ballopur village when a Tata Sumo (HR-36G-T-6469) hit the scooter from behind leaving him dead on the spot.

The body was handed over to the family members after post-mortem examination at the Rajpura Civil Hospital, this afternoon. The driver of Tata Sumo managed to flee.

Liquor seized: The police has arrested two persons and seized 65 bottles of liquor in two separate incidents in last 24 hours. A Maruti car that was used in the crime has also been impounded.

Two car-borne youths managed to give a slip to a police party at a naka on the Dera Bassi-Barwala highway this evening. Sources said that the unidentified youths fled from the scene leaving behind the car after a police party signaled them to stop at the naka.

The police after searching the car (DL-4CC-2735) found four cases (48 bottles) of liquor in it.

In another incident, the police today arrested two persons - Sewa Singh and Lal Bahadur, residents of Bhagat Singh Colony of Zirakpur - for carrying 17 bottles of liquor. They were nabbed by the police at a naka on the Panchkula-Zirakpur road late last night.

The police has registered cases under provisions of the Excise Act against them.


Thieves break into Markfed shop
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 22
Thieves decamped with tins of refined oil, bags of rice and other items from a Markfed store located on the Kharar-Ropar road here. The theft was brought to the notice of the Markfed authorities by the owner of an adjoining shop yesterday. A case in this regard was registered by the police today.

According to the police, Mr Bidhi Chand, a salesman at the store, had locked the shop in the evening on November 20. The theft came to the notice of the owner of an adjoining shop yesterday when he saw that the door of the store was lying open and the locks had been broken. He informed the officials concerned who visited the scene later.

The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC in this regard. 


No student on rolls of DIET
Four families make it their home
Rajbir Kaur Sekhon

Deon (Bathinda), November 22
The District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), which was built to cater to the needs of the district for training students in elementary teachers training (ETT), has become a residential place for four families of the village. There is no student on the rolls of the institute.

Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that not a single student is on the rolls as against the strength of 200 boys and girls from all parts of the district during last year.

One among the 17 DIETs of the state is now being used by the government for in-service teacher training camps, while villagers use it as a dumping site for garbage and as a cattle grazing ground.

Weeds have grown all over the campus, that invites the cattle herds. The institute has only one boundary wall.

NSS volunteers once planted about 1,000 saplings of poplar to give a green look to the institute, but these were all eaten up by the cattle.

The institute has residential facilities for the principal and staff and a hostel for students. But interestingly all these buildings have been vacant eversince their construction. The principal’s bungalow, staff quarters and students, hostel are being used by villagers. These serve as storage for cow dung cakes, dried cotton and wheat husk.

There is no provision for drinking water inside the institute. The underground water has been declared unfit for human consumption. Each student used to pay Rs 2 for potable drinking water, which a woman would fetch for them. Now those who come to attend training camps pay for drinking water.

Not only this, employees of DIET have not been paid salaries for the past three months. Built on land donated by villagers, DIET has computers installed, but there is none to operate these.

Despite four court cases, the families residing in the campus of DIET are reluctant to leave their accommodation.


School boundary wall issue gets murkier
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 22
The incident pertaining to the demolition of a boundary wall of the local SSD Mangat Ram School on Saturday evening has snowballed into a major controversy, with the Shree SSD Sabha, which manages the school, asking the police to register a criminal case against Mr Baldev Singh, who, along with others, demolished the wall, claiming that he was the real owner of that piece of land, which was in the illegal possession of the school.

The sabha yesterday threatened if the police failed to make the culprits restore the wall at its original place, it would be left with no other option than to launch an agitation. The sabha said it would close all its educational institutions in protest against the “goondaism” in the city.

Mr Baldev Singh said the piece of land in question, measuring 9 bighas, was transferred in his name by his father and he had won two court cases regarding it. He said he had done nothing wrong as he wanted to take possession of a piece of land belonging to him.

Mr Des Raj, Station House Officer, Bathinda police station (city), said both parties were made to reach a compromise. He added that under the compromise Mr Baldev Singh would construct a wall at the same place first and then move an application to the revenue authorities to carry out the measurement of the land so that the truth could be found out.


Spirited show by tiny tots
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 22
Tiny tots of Stepping Stones School put up a spirited show at the annual function here today.
The highlight of the show was a fancy dress competition. Apart from the usual costumes, many contestants came up with novel ideas which included being dressed as a gold fish, a Mexican native, a Stone Age man and also as 
Archie, Betty and Veronica.

The chief guest, Ms Rajshree Mangla, lauded the performance of the children. She said the school had created a niche for itself within a short span of five years due to the personalised system of teaching.

The guests of honour included YPS junior school Principal Brinda Ghosh, Lovleen Thind and Minna Grewal.

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