P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pressure building on CM
Probe sought into secret meeting
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Pressure is building up in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in general and the Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in particular to impress upon the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into who is hobnobbing with the Opposition.

“An inquiry must be conducted into the authenticity of news reports about a senior member of the Council of Ministers holding a secret meeting with the Shiromani Akali Dal President and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in Chandigarh yesterday”, says Mr Avtar Singh Brar, Senior Vice-President of the PPCC.

He has been joined by the Minister of State, Mr Hans Raj Joshan, who, too, wants the Chief Minister to act and isolate those who had been trying to weaken both the party and the Congress Government in the State.

“If there is any truth about the secret meeting, strict disciplinary action should be taken against the person concerned , irrespective of the position he or she is holding both in the government and the party,” they demanded.

“We may have differences on a number of issues. But then the party provides a forum where we can discuss and iron out our differences. But holding secret meetings with the Opposition is a grave act of indiscipline and should not be tolerated,” remarked another Minister, who, however, does not want to be identified.

Even when the dissidence within the CLP was at its peak in December last year, no one ever talked about breaking away from the party or forming a separate group to grab power. All had left the final decision with the party President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi,” he added holding that such news reports, if true, could give the Opposition not only a handle but also jeopardise continuation of the elected government in office.

There has been a sharp reaction to the reports about the meeting held in a Sector 9 bungalow yesterday. Interestingly, neither of the participants of the meeting had issued any denial or clarification about the meeting.

Those owing allegiance to the Chief Minister maintain that such “desperate attempts to embarrass the government would not benefit any one. Rather, it could invite strong disciplinary action against those breaching the party discipline.”

After impressive wins in Garhshankar and Kapurthala, the Chief Minister, they maintain, has emerged stronger. Reluctance of the party President from meeting the Chief Minister could at best be a public posture keeping in view the coming assembly elections in Haryana.

Removal of the Governor of Punjab and denying meeting to the Chief Minister were to send a message to voters in Haryana that the Congress has not taken well to the annulment of water agreements by the Punjab Government. In fact, it was this annulment which had helped the Congress win both the byelections, they add maintaining that there was no move in the Congress high command for a change in the Punjab leadership.


Badal meets Governor, seeks sack of Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
The SAD President and leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today met the new Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) and reiterated his demand for the dismissal of Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and the registration of cases against Capt Amarinder Singh, his son Raninder Singh and other close associates involved in Punjab Intranet hawala transactions, DSP recruitment scandal and in the liquor vends auctions case.

In a detailed memorandum submitted to the Governor, Mr Badal alleged, “this is a case of corruption, foreign exchange violations and hawala transactions”. Mr Leonard Freeke, has reportedly sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court pointing out that he and his company were used by the Chief Minister and his family in enormous and blatant foreign currency transactions and requested that an official inquiry be instituted into the illegalities of the actions of Chief Minister and his son.

Referring to the memorandum submitted to the outgoing Governor of Punjab Justice O.P. Verma (retd), Mr Badal said he was constrained to say that no action was taken by the then Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh against the Chief Minister and his coterie despite their indictment by the Full Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the DSP selections case.

Mr Badal also apprised the Governor about the farcical auction of liquor vends. He informed the Governor, “genuine bidders were not allowed to enter the auction centres. A strategy was evolved to award all vends to a single group and create liquor mafias in the state. A large amount of money is believed to have changed hands in the case”.

He urged the Governor to take immediate steps to restore the rule of law in Punjab by dismissing the Chief Minister and his close associates in accordance with law.

He has further sought that since the crime has been committed in Chandigarh, the Governor, who is also the Administrator, should start further proceedings in the DSP recruitment case against those who had been indicted in the judgement by the Full Bench of the High Court. “No inquiry is needed since they have already been found guilty by the court,” said Mr Badal.


Badal trying to topple govt, says Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 28
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, had met Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD (B&R) Minister, Punjab, secretly at Chandigarh the previous day with a view to toppling the Amarinder government and form a Lachhman Singh Gill-like government in the state for getting all corruption cases registered against him, his wife Surinder Kaur and son Sukhbir Badal, withdrawn.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Mann asked the Chief Minister that the SAD(A) was not interested whether his government stayed in power or not, but the corruption cases against Mr Badal, his wife and son should carry on.

He also suggested to Capt Amarinder Singh that if at any stage he felt that his government was being toppled then he should immediately hand over the corruption cases, registered against the Badals, to the CBI for further investigations.

Mr Mann said Mr Badal had been trying to topple the Amarinder government for the past two years by creating a splinter group in the Congress. He said, first, Mr Badal tried this formula on Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, but failed. Now he was trying the same formula on Mr Partap Singh Bajwa to topple the Amarinder government and form a new government, led by a Congress dissident, by extending support of the SAD to him.


SGPC white paper on turban issue won’t do, says Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 28
Commenting on Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti’s declaration at Jalandhar yesterday that the SGPC would issue a ‘white paper’ on the turban ban on Sikhs in French schools, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (A) President and a former MP, today said this would not serve any purpose.

The Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal as well as the SGPC were not serious about the issue and were only offering lip service to it.

Hence, Mr Mann said the white paper would be a mere eyewash.

Even the Sikh Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had not taken up the matter directly with the French and was talking through his adviser, Mr Mann said.

It was twisted logic that while the SAD was supporting its ally the BJP, in its opposition to tainted ministers in the UPA Government the BJP had not supported the SAD’s boycott of ministers and MPs like Mr Jagdish Tytler in Parliament.

On Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s observation that Hindutva and Bhartiyata were synonymous, Mr Mann said Mr Badal owed an explanation to the Sikhs in the wake of this observation.

It was time that Mr Badal snapped ties with protagonists of Hindutva and enemies of minorities, especially Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, Mr Mann added.


Z-plus security for Elahi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The Government of India has agreed to provide Z-plus security to Mr Parvez Elahi, Chief Minister of West Punjab, during his five-day visit to the country, beginning December 20. The security will be similar to the one given to the President of India.

According to highly-placed sources, four Mercedes will be brought from New Delhi to receive Mr Elahi, who will land in a 24-seater special plane at Rajasansi airport on December 20. No flag will be fixed on any of the Mercedes for security reasons.

After receiving D. Litt (honoris causa) at Guru Nanak Dev University along with his Indian counterpart, Capt Amarinder Singh, he will lay the foundation stone of Sair Mian Mir Bhavan on the university campus.

Mr Elahi will also visit the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. Then Mr Elahi and Capt Amarinder Singh will proceed to Chandigarh. Mr Elahi will spend three days in Chandigarh. He will visit Patiala in connection with the World Punjabi Organisation. He will then visit New Delhi on December 5 and will leave for Lahore on December 6. A high-level team from Pakistan visited the university campus to review the security arrangements for Mr Elahi.


86 B.Tech seats vacant in Jalandhar NIT
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 27
Even as 86 seats remain unfilled for admission to the BTech course in the city’s deemed university, the authorities of the Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) have decided not to hold further admission to the course.

As a result, hundreds of students who had been waiting for the third counselling session in the institute have been forced to take admission to less preferred branches of the course in other institutes like Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, or Thapar Engineering College, Patiala. Or else they had to go in for top preference branches of the course in less reputed colleges of the state.

Students said they had repeatedly requested the authorities of the institute to hold a third counselling session for admission to the course, but they were told that nothing could be done in that regard.

They said many of them had taken admission in other colleges or lower branches in the NIT that they were not desirous to opt for. Many of them said that they would make another try in the next academic session, even though it would mean a loss of time and money for them.

As many as 44 seats were vacant in the institute till August 20. Nine of these were vacant in the Department of Chemical and Bio-Engineering, eight in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, six each in the Department of Civil Engineering and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, five in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, four in the Department of Textile Engineering, three each in the Department of Industrial Engineering and the Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and two in the Department of Leather Technology.

However, in September and October, when Punjab Engineering College and Thapar institutes re-opened admissions, more than 42 fresh students of the NIT left the institute, leaving behind a total of 86 seats unfilled in the institute.

As a result, nearly 12 more seats were rendered vacant in the Department of Leather Technology, eight in the Department of Textile Engineering, six in the Department of Chemical and Bio-engineering, five in the Department of Civil Engineering, three in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and two in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, the Department of Industrial Engineering, Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Those aspiring to get admission in the BTech course in the NIT said while Punjab Engineering College and Panjab University even held the fourth counselling session to fill in all seats, the authorities of the institute did not seem interested in getting seats unfilled in the institute.

Harsimarbir, a candidate, said the Thapar institute had even started a fresh batch for new candidates offering them four subjects, in contrast to six subjects offered for students who had taken admission at appropriate time.

He said he was trying for to get admission in industrial or textile engineering course in the college and was waiting for the third counselling session, but it did not come. He said at though he had taken admission in mechanical engineering in Panjab University, he was disappointed that he could not got admission to the NIT despite the fact that there were still some vacant seats there.

Mr K.K. Dhir, Registrar of the NIT, said he had given complete details regarding vacant seats to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, but he did not receive any response for holding further admissions. He said the vacant seats would mean a loss of around Rs 1 crore to them as fee of each student enrolled for the four-year course was Rs 45,000.


PWD officer blocks road for son’s marriage
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Superintending Engineer in the Public Works Department (Building and Roads) Kulbir Singh Shergill yesterday took over a stretch of 95 feet of road behind a local marriage palace to celebrate marriage of his son. The road is between his house and the back of the marriage palace.

However, hundreds of residents of Punjabi Bagh, Civil Lines, Vikas Colony and Ghumman Colony besides others had a harrowing time as they had to circumvent the blocked section of the road to reach their destinations. The road, which runs parallel to the Bhupindra road, has assumed importance in the past few months because the Bhupindra road is closed to traffic due to ongoing work on construction of an overbridge upon Railway Crossing No. 22.

The Municipal Corporation had broadened this road recently due to this reason and the entire traffic going towards the city and to Railway Crossing No. 21 now uses this road.

Son of the former Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Bhagat Singh, Kulbir Singh used the road as a reception area. A number of officers, including senior officers of the district administration, were welcomed in the makeshift reception complex on the road.

Residents of the colony and even Kulbir Singh’s neighbours were surprised at the manner by which the high-profile family caused inconvenience to them. A few neighbours even complained but hesitated in giving their names. They said the road had been blocked for more than four hours and that too during rush hours.

Others said it was surprising that the family of the former Vice-Chancellor had pitched tents on the road by driving in metal rods in the newly constructed road.

Municipal Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu said no permission was taken from the Municipal Corporation for using the road for any public function.

Mr Shergill said the boards with the words "diversion" had been placed on both sides of the road so that the people would not be inconvenienced. He also claimed that the road had been blocked for less then three hours.


Show must go on for Rajit, Shernaz
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
It was past mid-noon, but the sun was still not ablaze. For theatre personalities Rajit Kapoor and Shernaz Patel, the journey from Amritsar to Jalandhar had been a foggy one and they arrived three hours behind the schedule.

There was much to be done - final touches to both stage-setting and lighting arrangement had to be given. The presentation of the play “Class of 84”, under the auspices of the Durga Das Foundation in association with Spice Telecom, was slated for that very evening. We looked for visible signs of panic, but Rajit, though in hurry, was seemingly composed. Perhaps, juggling with time has been his forte. Managing garment exports business along with acting is no mean job; it does require considerable time-management skills.

“Fog or no fog, costumes or no costumes, the show must go on. Our group “Rage” is known for its professionalism. Rahul da Cunha, Shernaz Patel and I conceived of “Rage” in 1992 and since then we have been staging plays successfully in various cities,” he explained. Theatre has been Rajit’s passion, though he acted in a host of tele-serials, including “Yugantar” and “Vyoomkesh Bakshi.” “There’s something magical about live performances,” vouched this actor, who believes acting is a good mix of “spontaneity and groundwork”. “Television no longer holds sway over people. Tele-serials, particularly the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law variety, are not my cup of tea. If something goes on for a long time, it becomes tedious,” he remarked. Incidentally, he is open to “good offers” of movies. He’s playing the role of Abid Hassan in Shyam Benegal’s flick “Netaji Subhash Chander”.

Art may have a feel-good factor, but it is never didactic. Having made his ‘art sans message’ stance clear, Rajit was keen to stress on “art for art’s sake”. “You cannot ask an artist why he chose to paint in red or blue. It’s there, it has some meaning for the artist and that’s it,” he averred.

Shernaz, too, agreed with Rajit. “Art has an intrinsic appeal. It is not an instrument to promote an idea or a thought,” she told us, adding, “Theatre has a deep meaning to it. It’s an all-consuming activity. I still remember the very first professional play in which I had acted. It was based on the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, the true story of a teenaged girl, who through her sheer resilience and will-to-fight-against-odds, was able to share her experience of Nazi-persecution with the world.”


Pakistani singers cast a spell
Rajbir Kaur Sekhon

Bathinda, November 28
Noted Pakistani singers Ustad Hussain Baksh and his two sons Chand Baksh and Sooraj Baksh warmed up a chilling winter night by their soulful classical singing.

Ustad Hussain Baksh and his two sons, along with their musicians performed at the local sports stadium last night on the first day of the two-day Malwa Virasat Mela (heritage festival) being organised by the Bathinda Region Heritage Foundation (BRHF).

Before Ustad Hussain Baksh and his sons came on the stage, noted classical and Punjabi folk singers of Punjab Maggar Ali Khan and Barkat Sidhu presented their favourite items related with ‘Sufiana kalam’ of Bulle Shah and other “kissa kav” writers.

The sons of the legendary Ustad Hussain Baksh captivated the audience with their classical Punjabi singing. When both brothers sang Punjabi Sufiana kalam “Mast kalandar” and “Maye ne mera ranjha kyon nai aaya”, it reminded people of the common heritage.

After the inimitable performance by his sons, the legendary Ustad Hussain Baksh struck a rapport with the audience within no time and minutes after he started singing a composition of Baba Ghulam Farid, there was pin-drop silence in the stadium. The prolific singer presented Punjabi folklores in a classical way with an emotional touch of lifestyles, language, literature, art and culture of the two Punjabs.

The superb “jugalbandi” by tabla masters Tilak Ram and Ustad Hussain baksh, who played harmonium also, was applauded.

Before the singing session started, a number of women belonging to rural areas and dressed up in traditional attire performed giddha. Later, youths performed bhangra.

Those who took part in an art exhibition and paper-reading at a seminar on Punjabi culture and heritage were honoured with shawl and citation.


Celebrity writer ignored to accommodate Pak writer?
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The state government is in a spot as certain members of the Advisory Board of the Punjab Language Department have alleged that name of Dr Kulbir Singh Kang, author of 77 books, was dropped to accommodate Pakistan-based writer Najam Hossain Syed .

Mr Kirpal Singh Kasel, a prolific Punjabi critic and member of the board, said the name of Dr Kang was dropped at the last moment.

Mr Syed has already refused to accept the Shiromani Award carrying Rs 1.25 lakh.

Dr Kang claimed his name was recommended by members of the committee, including Mr Santokh Singh Dhir and Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, for the Shiromani Award .

Dr Bikram Singh Ghumman, a former Dean of GND University and president of the Punjabi Writers Cooperative Society, Mr Waryam Assar and Mr Harbans Singh Naagi, both senior functionaries of the Sahit Vichar Kender, Ms Anwant Kaur, president of the Nari Chetna Manch, and Dr Sohinderbir, a professor of the School of Punjabi Studies, GND University, said Dr Kang was the most deserving person for the Award.

They said criteria for giving the awards should be changed so that genuine writers like Dr Kang, who had dedicated their lives for the promotion of Punjabi, could not be ignored.

Dr Kang had underwent a bypass surgery recently and was not keeping good health these days.

The state government, the Punjabi Sahit Academy, the Punjabi Samikhia Board and many other national and international organisations had honoured Dr Kang for his valuable contribution in the field of Punjabi.


Patiala set to become ‘Maharaja’ city
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
Patiala is set to become a “Maharaja” city with unprecedented development being undertaken all over even as the state government is set to spend more than Rs 4 crore to “prepare” the city for hosting the World Punjabi Conference and the Indo - Pak Sports Meet.

“The development work is taking place at such a pace that even those who pass by a particular day can see something new coming up every day,” says Dr Vishal Chopra, a chest specialist. Others like Dr Chopra aver that the city has never seen such quick development.

Residents of Model Town like Vikram Goel, who say they are happy at the progress being made by the development of the flyover at Railway Crossing 22, say they have literally seen a stretch of road on the Upper Mall being four-laned in a matter of days. “Where there is a political will there is a way,” seems to the adage, Vikram goes on to say adding the coffers of the state seemed to have been opened generously for the city.

Infrastructure creation is going on at a fast pace even though there are a few days left for the World Punjabi Conference starting on December 1 and the Indo-Pak games starting on December 5. At most places different stages of a particular development work are being done simultaneously with work force toiling under mercury lights on almost all roads at night also.

Municipal Corporation Commissioner Manvesh Singh Sidhu, when contacted, disclosed that Rs 83 lakh was being spent on the Old Polo Ground and Major Tejinderpal Singh Gymnasium. He said while the Polo Ground had seen installation of new lights, a fresh coat of paint and creation of offices and a media centre, the gymnasium had seen massive renovation. He said most of the wood panelling inside the gymnasium had been replaced by the latest steel furnishings and that permanent seats had also been installed.

The road from the gymnasium to the residence of the GOC is also being broadened at a cost of Rs 12 lakh. A similar amount of money is being spent on widening the road as well as establishing footpaths on the other side of the Old Polo Ground. The width of the stadium road has also been increased, besides creation of a footpath on one side.

Barandari Gardens are witnessing a massive influx of funds. Even as Rs 1 crore is being spent by the State Bank of Patiala on constructing a boundary wall around the gardens, the government itself is spending Rs 55 lakh on widening all roads inside the gardens, besides establishment of footpaths.

Punjabi University and even the local Yadavindra Public School have benefitted by the government’s largesse. In the university the velodrome is being renovated for the games, while lights costing nearly Rs 1 crore has been installed at the YPS grounds.


Jalalpur to showcase rural progress
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalalpur (Patiala), November 28
The state has chosen to showcase this village, situated on the outskirts of the city, to the visiting Pakistan delegates as a measure of the development envisaged in its rural areas. The village, which has 24-hour power supply, street lights and sewerage, is on its part delighted to be given the sole honour of receiving the Pakistani guests during their stay in the city for the World Punjabi Conference from December 1 to 3.

After deliberations for a few days between the university administration, which is organising the conference, and the district administration as to what kind of village was the apt to be chosen to be shown to the delegates, it has finally been decided to showcase this village. “We wanted to show what the future of villages in Punjab will be to our guests from across the border”, says Dr Suchha Singh Gill, coordinator of the conference. The visit will take place on December 2.

A visit to the village today revealed that its residents still do not know about the decision. “However, we are glad we have been chosen for such an honour”, says sarpanch Pawan Kumar. He said he would be calling a meeting of the panchayat soon to ensure a hearty welcome to the visiting delegates.

Other villagers, said they were overjoyed at the progress made by the village. The visit would serve as a recognition of all-round efforts made by its residents to get the “model village” tag, they added.

“We were undoubtedly helped by the state government which spent Rs 30 to Rs 40 lakh in the village under a special scheme to provide same amenities as in cities to the village folk”, said Mr Amarjit Singh. This, however, was possible because of the unity amongst the members of the village panchayat. “We got roads and drains constructed in our village in 1952 after the village panchayat got revenue by selling off trees on the panchayat land”, he added saying the same spirit had been carried forward later.

“We have no rivalries in the village. It has also helped”, said Mr Santokh Singh, who has a workshop making iron grills.

A Community hall had been constructed in the village school. Besides, a stadium had been built to provide sporting facilities to the youth, he added. He said an efficient drainage system already existed with waste water being transferred to a pond that had been created on the panchayat land. Similarly, the village had given one acre of panchayat land for the drainage of sewer water. Development work was continuing even now. The road that circumvents the village is being broadened. Other highlights of the village include a ‘dharamshala’ and an all-weather cremation ground,” he added.

Dr Suchha Singh Gill said the university wanted the visiting Pakistani delegates to feel how the villages in Punjab were being transformed. He said the plan was to accord a traditional reception to the delegates at the village following which they would be taken on a conducted tour showcasing various facilities. A visit into the homes of the people of the village was also on the schedule, he added.


Bumpy roads slow down development
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
Arteries of economic development—roads, that link villages and villages with cities, highways, state and national, that mirror a state’s progress and the defence roads that ensure safe borders—are in a shambles in Punjab.

The high density and high speed traffic that congests these roads is occasionally slowed down due to the absence of railway overbridges. It is also compounded by the chaos that rules the roads. As a major roadblock to fast-track economic development, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has presented a roadmap to the Planning Commission, seeking financial intervention to de-congest the state roads and clear the backlog of Rs 510 crore due to the state for its contribution of Rs 105 crore, per annum, towards cess on high speed diesel.

If Punjab has demanded Rs 1,500 crore for maintenance of 42,000 km network of rural link roads connecting villages and villages with markets under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna, it has also sought Rs 600 crore for four-laning of certain stretches of the national highway. There are 13 national highways running into 1717 km. Out of these, 290 km are with the national highway authority for upgradation and operation. Out of this length at least 635 km stretches required immediate attention and another 125 km four-laning costing Rs 600 crore.

Punjab maintains 1430 km of national highways and against an annual upkeep requirement of Rs 40 crore it gets just Rs 18 crore from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The state has nine economic roads for inter-state connectivity, which is marked by bad condition of roads. Though funds are given by New Delhi, the sanctioned sum is meagre.

Punjab had submitted an estimate for Rs 40 crore in 2001-02 to the ministry concerned but no money has been sanctioned till date. “Major links with Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir Rajasthan and Haryana are crying for urgent repair and upgradation”, the Chief Minister told the Planning Commission last week.

Punjab’s own state road network of 7334 km of highways, major roads and district links are an apology for roads. Despite efforts, the state has not enough under the central road fund scheme. The state needs at least Rs 600 crore for annual maintenance. The sanctioned sum for Punjab is Rs 42 crore.

Both Punjab and the Western Command had carried a joint survey of the defence road network in the three border districts, Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore and submitted a report in 1999-2000, seeking Rs 980 crore.There has been no action on this. The state has asked the Planning Commission to take up this pending issue with the Ministry of Home Affairs. Punjab has 553 km long border with Pakistan.

Now that the present G-O-C-in-C, Western Command, Lt-Gen J.J. Singh is designated as the next Chief of the Army, Punjab could, perhaps, hope for better attention and higher allocation for its defence roads and bridges in the three border districts. In fact, the Akali-BJP government too had submitted a memorandum to the former Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani demanding higher allocation for border roads.


Privatisation must be people-friendly, say experts
Prem Kumar Sharma

Barnala, November 28
Upholding moral values is significant as well as essential whether in the public sector or the private sector.

These views were expressed by Prof G.K. Singh, PCS, officer on special duty to Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, at the University Grants Commission (UGC)-sponsored seminar entitled “ Dangers in privatisation of public sector” hosted by Sant Baba Attar Singh Khalsa College, Sandaur, 30 km, from here, at the college auditorium yesterday.

Prof P.S. Bhatti, Deputy Director(Colleges), Punjab, in his presidential remarks said that striking a balance between the public as well as the private sector with a spirit of dedication was the need of the hour.

Dr B.S. Ghuman, Professor, Department of Public Administration, Panjab University, Chandigarh, who was the main speaker, dwelt on the dangers implied for employment, environment, poverty, the fair sex, border areas, socially backward classes, social services and agriculture in the wake of privatisation.

Dr Ghuman was of the view that privatisation was an irreversible process. At the most, it could be kept in abeyance. He suggested that efforts be made to make privatisation people-friendly, particularly to disadvantaged groups and backward areas. Also public sector units doing a good job need not be dismantled.

Employment and investment guarantee clauses must be introduced in privatisation deal. The government must have to reverse the privatisation process. Social and economic hardship funds were also a must.

Dr PrithiPal Singh Sohi, Department of Political Science, Government College, Ludhiana, initiated the debate on the topic. He said the WTO, the IMF, and GATT dictated terms to developing nations like India. “ Are we really free,” he asked.

Other distinguished participants at the symposia were Prof Vivek Sharma of S.D. College, Chandigarh, Prof N.P. Manocha, Senator, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Dr S.K. Uppal, Principal, D.M. College, Moga, Principal Amarjit Singh Sidhu and Prof R.S. Brar, President, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU).

Prof P.K. Sharma, president, Sangrur PCCTU, Prof Y.R. Handa, Prof Mohammad Iqbal and Dr Kamaljit Singh Tibba also spoke.

Principal P.C. Sharma of the host college welcoming the guests said he was proud that this rural college had hosted the eighth seminar in a row and offered opportunities to academicians to exchange views on burning topics.


Pollution control panel suggests environmental courts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
Alarmed over the apathy towards the continuing environmental degradation, the pollution control committee here has suggested some practical and effective means to arrest the ruin unleashed by all segments of society, a greater part of it by the industry and installations causing untold damage to the precarious condition of environmental health.

In a missive to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, the committee general secretary, Mr P.S. Randhawa, sought attention to serious omissions in the draft of NEP-2004 (national environment policy).

The committee pointed out that no policy was charted out concerning radioactive hazards and threat posed by nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. It stated that the draft overlooked any initiation on and funding of “fundamental research studies” in all aspects of environmental resource, conservation and enhancement connected to this aspect.

The areas of research could include land degradation, water pollution, organic farming, ground water depletion and pollution control on a war footing, given the current status of resource depletion, it states.

In a comprehensive charter, the committee suggested setting up of environmental courts on the lines of the existing modes of redress such as labour, family and consumer courts and effective judicial remedies, enforcement, implementation of environment protection law. “It should have jurisdiction to deal with matters, civil or criminal and deterrent punishments under provisions of “regulatory reforms” in para 5.1 of draft,” the committee added.


BSF steps up patrolling to check infiltration
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, November 28
The Border Security Force (BSF) has intensified patrolling and launched Operation Sukha during day and Operation Nagpal during night to thwart attempts by anti-national elements and ISI agents to sneak into the Indian territory in foggy conditions.

This was stated by Mr Anupam K. Sarolia, officiating Inspector-General, BSF, Punjab Frontier, while talking to mediapersons at Bareke village, along the Indo-Pakistan border at a medical camp organised by the Punjab Frontier to mark the beginning of the BSF Raising Day celebrations.

Mr Sarolia said in the pockets and riverine gaps where cobra fencing had not been done due to topographical restraints, boat nakas had been laid and round-the-clock vigil was being kept by the BSF.

In addition, horse patrolling, foot-and-vehicle patrolling and khurra checking was also being done.

While ruling out a spurt in infiltration bids, he said sporadic incidents did take place by the BSF jawans were vigilant enough to defeat any sinister designs.

Mr Sarolia said Operation Roar which was recently launched by the BSF along the international border was an immense success. The force had embarked on a Rs 2500-crore modernisation plan to strengthen the border management under which modern equipments like thermal and IR imagers and other ground sensor equipments would be purchased to further reinforce the BSF and reduce the stress on the force.

Mr Sarolia said during 2003, the BSF had apprehended 66 Indian nationals, 47 Pakistani nationals, 91 Bangladeshi nationals and three others whereas during 2004, 56 Indian nationals, 48 Pakistani nationals, 65 Bangladeshi nationals and 2 others had been apprehended so far along the Indo-Pakistan border. Besides, 30 anti-social elements had been gunned down by the BSF during the past two years on this frontier near the border, he added.

Mr Sarolia said the BSF had good relations with local farmers and residents and a series of medical camps was another effort in the direction.

About the proposal mooted earlier by the state government to deploy lady jawans of the Home Guard along with BSF personnel to help them frisk women who went to the other side of the fencing for farming, he said the BSF was taking assistance of the local police and local women in this regard.

Earlier, BSF officials paid tributes to the officers and jawans of the 31st Battalion who sacrificed their lives while fighting the Pakistan army at the Raja Mohattam picket during the 1971 Indo-Pak conflict.


No clue to abandoned calves
Bipin Bhardwaj

Lalru, November 28
Even after two days the police has failed to make any headway into the abandonment of 44 newborn calves on the bed of a seasonal rivulet, Jharmal, along the Kalka-Ambala highway in Lehali village, about 2 km from here.

Though policemen in plain clothes have been deployed in the area and night patrolling on the highway and link roads intensified, no clue to the case has been found.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP, Dera Bassi, claimed that additional nakas had been set up in the subdivision. Police parties had been sent to various dairy farms in Dera Bassi, Rajpura, Ambala and Panchkula, he said.

The DSP said the police of neighbouring states had been alerted.

Mr Gian Chand Sharma of the Shiv Mandir Committee here claimed that some committee members had come to know that the calves were abandoned by the authorities of government dairy situated in an Ambala Cantonment locality. At present the dairy had 5000 or 6000 cows, he claimed.

The Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mr Narinder Sangha, said the incident was really a cause of concern.

All abandoned male calves are of the Jersey breed. Some of them died of cold while others fell ‘prey’ to stray dogs. Farmers of the nearby areas adopted seven calves while 23 were sent to a cowshed in Mukandpur village, near Dera Bassi, by the committee.


Jain monk against lifting ban on cow slaughter
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 28
Coming down heavily on the demand of the Dal Khalsa to lift the ban on cow slaughter in Punjab and setting up cow slaughter houses in the state, a jain monk Ajay Muni today said that the demand had hurt the religious sentiments of all communities, especially Jains.

Warning of dangerous imbalance in the inter-dependent eco system, with the increasing slaughtering of animals and reducing of animal population, Ajay Muni reacted sharply to the demand, which he termed as “inhuman, illogical and unjust”.

At a press conference in Chandigarh yesterday, the Dal Khalsa had demanded the lifting of ban on cow slaughter in Punjab “strictly for financial reasons” and had favoured setting up cow slaughter houses in the state.

“It is distressing that human race, which had crossed six billion mark, continues to mercilessly kill animals and birds to provide food,” said Ajay Muni, who had observed fast for 251 days at Chandigarh in April this year. He opined that inter-dependence, as per the Jain view, should be constructive and not destructive. 


Cunha’s play engaging
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 28
Human emotions transcend regional barriers and the play “Class of ‘84”, organised at Red Cross Bhavan here yesterday under the auspices of the Durga Das Foundation, demonstrated it with panache. Written and directed by Rahul da Cunha, the play operates at many levels. It exposes the hollowness and the superficiality of the professional life, in which secrets sneak out unbidden. It also alludes to masks that people wear to put on a sophisticated stance.

Reunion of seven friends after 17 years to mourn their other friend’s death brings with it some revealing moments, including not-so-palatable secrets. There is a character who has fuzzy ideas and Feng-Shui-fixation and is the naïve one in the group. But she, too, has a secret tucked under her belt. Workaholic Sanjay, who has consigned his socialistic ideas to a bygone youthful past, his not-happy wife Raveena, pompous actor Bobby, pseudo-intellectual filmmaker Raghu, seemingly rich but actually disinherited hippie Cyrus and fashion-smitten page-three columnist Sarah - all have much to them than meets the eye.

How they try to come to terms with the death of their friend, Jojo, makes an interesting viewing. The audience’s understanding of Jojo goes through the whole gamut of emotions when the deceased’s friends project their feelings on Jojo.

The sardonic humour and the slick pace gives the play a rivet. Rajit Kapoor as a not-so- successful actor, Shernaz Patel as confused, woman and Rituraj as work-obsessed banker, along with Zafar Karachiwala, Radhika da Cunha, Sohrab Ardeshir, Dipika Roy and Vikrant Chaturvedi played their roles engagingly.

Perhaps, the best part of the play, as many among the audience felt, was that it raised issues like martial infidelity, homosexuality and artificial insemination without being judgmental. It brought the audience out of their complacency without moralising the issues, and therein lay its gripping hold over the viewers.


Punjabi week celebrations end
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 28
The Punjabi week celebrations, organised by the Punjab Languages Department, concluded at the Bhasha Bhavan here today evening.

The Rajpura MLA, Mr Raj Khurana, a Bhattal aide was the chief guest. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Khurana said Punjab had been the land of gurus and seers, so the common Punjabis should seek solace in their teachings. He added that Punjabi world over were known for their enterprise and their leadership qualities.

Mr Khurana praised the efforts of the languages department in the cause of promoting Punjabi and Punjabiat through out the world. He said Punjab had a rich culture and history and urged people to maintain its richness.

Mr Khurana urged Punjab singers to shed vulgarity in their songs and opt for something meaningful which could be heard by everybody. He also urged them to take to devotional songs.

Mr Gagandeep Singh Brar, Director, Languages, and officials of the Languages Department were also present on the occasion.


Pakistan thwarts UK national’s mission
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 28
The dream of Mr Steve Kenneth Claude, a UK national, to cover 10,000 km on horseback was shattered as the big iron gates of the Wagah Joint Check-Post were closed when he reached there, little before the daily Beating the Retreat ceremony today.

He was on a mission to raise funds for promoting education for the underprivileged in developing countries like China, Nepal India, Mayanmar and Pakistan.

After spending three months in Delhi, Steve trot off on October 22. He was to cover 10,000 km in about a year.


CPM against amendment to Patent Act
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 28
Prof Balwant Singh, state secretary of the CPM, while addressing a district-level delegate conference organised by the party at Jadla village about 10 km from here, yesterday, expressed concern over the Centre Government’s move to amend the Patent Act, 1970, saying that it would have serious repercussions on the country’s economy.

The Patent Act, 1970, suited the Indian economy and if this was amended as desired by the IMF, the multinational companies would enjoy monopoly on seeds, pesticides and crops. The prices of the seeds and pesticides would go beyong the reach of the farmers and ultimately the country’s self dependence in foodgrains would be at stake, he said.

Mr Lehmber Singh Tagger, Mr Ram Singh Nurpuri, Mr Rakesh Nayyar and Mr Balbir Jadla, also addressed the gathering.


PSEB calls for rallies in front of DCs’ offices
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 28
In a call to intensify the stir against the government, the PSEB employees federation would organise rallies in front of the offices of the Deputy Commissioners. In a press release here today, circle president of the federation, Mr Avtar Singh Bamrah, stated that a protest rally would be held on November 30 and would be joined by farmer and other employees’ federations.

He further stated that the PSEB employees were aggrieved and agitated over the policies for privatisation of the board and invitation to corporate culture for the power sector in the state.

They said the board’s policies including outsourcing power supply, bill reading, bills distribution, hydel projects and tower laying by private concerns, contract labour instead of regularised posts would hit them adversely.


Cycle rally for ex-servicemen

Ferozepore, November 28
The Golden Arrow Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) has embarked on an innovative scheme to ameliorate the problems of ex-servicemen and their families.

In this regard, a cycle rally was organised today at Jyoti Stadium, which was flagged off by Mrs Omana Sivashankar, president, Golden Arrow AWWA.

Talking to mediapersons, Mrs Sivashankar said 10 teams of cyclists had been constituted, comprising 12 members each, which today left for various places to meet sarpanches, nambardars, war widows, ex-servicemen and their families to have first-hand information about the difficulties being faced by them.

She said the teams would also spread awareness about various ex-servicemen welfare schemes like the ECHS card, the CIMS concept and other welfare measures currently being taken by the Army.

Maj-Gen B. Sivashankar, Brig R.S. Sidhu and other senior Army officials were also present on the occasion. — TNS


6 honoured by Trust
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 28
The Suhagwati Kharaiti Ram Aggarwal Charitable Trust, Phagwara, today honoured six eminent persons for their distinguished services in the field of education,health,law and business.

Mr Nishi Kant Thakur, Chief Administrator-cum-Editor, Dainik Jagran,who was the chief guest, Mr K.N. Aggarwal, chief patron, Mr R.N. Aggarwal, patron, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, Chairman, and Advocate S.N. Aggarwal and Dr Raman Aggarwal, managing trustees, presented the awards, which included mementoes, citations and shawls at an impressive function held at the local Kamla Nehru College for Women. The College president, Mr I.K. Sardana, inaugurated an exhibition organised by Dr N.S. Bawa of Bassi Pathana on this occasion against female foeticide.

Those who were honoured are Dr L.S. Chawla (Ludhiana), founder VC, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, who was awarded the “Chikitsa Ratan”, advocate Amar Pal Singh Randhawa of Amritsar, who was awarded the “Nayaya Shiromani”, Ms Nirmal Kohli of Phagwara, who was given the “Vidya Alankar”, Mr Jagdish R.Singal of (East Man Group of Industries Ludhiana), who was given the “Udyog Gaurav”, the late Des Raj Kappor of Kapurthala, who was given the “Nayaya Ratan”(posthumously), and Mr Padamjit Singh, a former Chief Engineer, PSEB, Patiala, who was awarded the “Techno Shri”(in absentia).

While advocate Mohit Kapoor, grandson of the late Des Raj Kapoor, received the award for his grandfather, advocate Manjit Singh received the award on behalf of advocate Amar Pal Singh Randhawa while Mr K.S. Bahra got the award on behalf of Mr Padamjit Singh.


106 units of blood donated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 28
A voluntary blood donation camp was organised in Government Ranbir College here yesterday.

Prof Uday Partap Singh, convener of the press committee of the college, said as many as 106 units of blood were donated at the camp. He said more than 100 students, representing the NSS, the NCC, sports and cultural wings, etc of the college and a few teachers donated blood.


Court summons Nanaksar Thath
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 28
A local court has directed the Nanaksar Thath head to appear in court on November 30 and present credentials to prove that he has not usurped the position by illegal means.

Sant Ajit Singh is presently heading the thath operations and his authority has been challenged in a court by two city residents.

Mr Balban Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh in a suit filed in the court of the Civil Judge (Junior Division), Mr Ajaib Singh, on Thursday alleged that Sant Ajit Singh had claimed his position by presenting a false will of late Sant Jaswant Singh.

Mr Balban Singh and Mr Balwinder Singh have alleged that they are the followers of thath for many years and had accepted Sant Ajit Singh as heir to Sant Jaswant Singh after his demise on July 29, 1995. They further alleged that a few days back Mr Amar Singh, who had signed as a witness to the will of Sant Jaswant Singh, told them that the will of Sant Jaswant Singh was forged and had been prepared after the death of Sant Jaswant Singh.

They also alleged that as per tradition after the death of the thath head, the followers appointed the heir, but Sant Ajit Singh did not follow the procedure and appointed himself as the head.


Kandi farmers may be charged for tubewell power
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 28
Punjab is considering to charge one-third of power bill from Kandi farmers for their tubewells. This was disclosed by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, while inaugurating a building of Government Senior Secondary School at Bagpur Sataur, 8 km from here, yesterday.

He said a special committee had been constituted for this purpose.

It would submit its report at the earliest and a decision would be made in this regard.

He said Rs 12 crore had been spent on the construction of new buildings of schools and for providing modern equipment to them under the Sarv Sikhiya Abhiyan during the past two years in the district.

Mr Dogra flagged off a chetna rally of schoolchildren organised in connection with AIDS awareness.

He announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the school.

Mr Avtar Singh, District Education Officer, and Mr Kuldeep Nanda, president, District Congress Committee, Hoshiarpur, also spoke on the occasion.


Strong steps to recover loan money from farmers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
While on the one hand, farmers facing financial crisis are agitating to seek better prices of cotton and other crops, on the other the Punjab Government authorities yesterday started taking strong measures to recover loan money from farmers.

Informed sources said the Punjab Agriculture Development Bank had started taking officials to task for not showing good performance in the recovery of loans from farmers. A meeting of senior officers of the bank was held here yesterday. At the meeting, managers of various branches of the bank in the field and other officers concerned also participated. Sources said that at the meeting field officials were told to play tough and take all necessary measures to recover loan money from farmers.

In fact, immediately after the meeting, one manager posted in the field was suspended for not showing good performance in the recovery of loans. The official has been asked to report at Fazilka during the suspension period, it is learnt. Officials posted in the field say that the bank officers posted at the headquarters of the bank here have no proper information regarding the condition of the farming community in the field.

They say that it is true that farmers have reaped a good crop of paddy and also cotton this year, but all this has not improved the condition of the farming community, which is neck deep in debt.They say that the severe action taken against the field staff would not help in the recovery of loans. The State Government should be more sympathetic to the farming community and not be harsh as far as the recovery of loans is concerned.

Mr Hardev Singh Sandhu, a senior leader of the Kirti Kisan Union, said that debt in the countryside had become a big problem for the farming community. It required to be waived to bring out farmers from the vicious cycle of debt, he adds.


Forest officials booked
Death due to negligence
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Abohar, November 28
A criminal case was registered against a telephone cable-laying contractor, a manager of private telecom company based in Delhi and its employee based at Bathinda and certain employees of the state Forest Department for their alleged involvement in causing death to Jarnail Singh, a resident of Suraj Nagri locality of this town, on July 28 this year.

Police sources said the case was registered against Mr Ashok Kumar, a Bathinda- based telephone cable laying contractor, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Ashok Garg, managers of a private telecom company based at Delhi and Bathinda on a complaint lodged by Mr Indraj Singh, son of the deceased.

The names of the officials of the Forest Department against whom the case was registered could not be known. The case was registered on November 22.

Though Jarnail Singh died on July 27,this year the criminal case could not be registered as the police initially took the death due to unnatural circumstances.

Sources added that in his complaint, Mr Indraj Singh mentioned that his father had died after a branch of tree hit him in the head on July 28 near Balluana village. The trees’ roots had become weak after the contractors had digged up four-feet-deep trench to lay the cable and left it uncovered.

He alleged that the cable contractor had not taken any permission from the Forest Department to dig up the trenches in the area. He alleged that the contractor also had also not deposited the fee, which was mandatory before starting the digging work.

According to sources, many contractors had been laying the cables without depositing the required fee. This had been allegedly going on with the connivance of certain officials of the Forest Department.

The police registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279, 120-B of the IPC in Sadar police station of the town.


92-yr-old alleges police inaction in theft case
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 28
Fighting a lone battle for justice, 92-year-old Ved Paul Sood today alleged that the police was not nabbing the person accused of stealing his bag containing Indra Vikas Patras (IVPs), FDRs and other such documents worth Rs 7 to 8 lakh despite the orders of the Sessions Judge and the Moga SSP.

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Sood alleged that Rajkumar had stolen a bag containing National Saving Certificates, bank FDRs, cheques and share certificates a couple of years ago. He had lodged a complaint with the police in this regard on November 7, 2002.

He said Rajkumar handed over the bag to his younger brother Rakesh, who was a former employee of Postal Department. Rajkumar took out some IVPs from the bag, presented them at the post office counter and withdrew Rs 48,000 on December 12, 2002, alleged Mr Sood.

The Postmaster informed the police as information of theft had already been given to the post office concerned. According to Mr Sood, the police rounded up Rajkumar and he confessed to stealing his bag, besides encashing IVPs of another Rs 60,000. Rajkumar handed over Rs 1,08,000 in all to him and Rakesh returned his stolen bag. Mr Sood said both the brothers and their sister promised to return any other amount encashed by Rajkumar, following which the police let them off. When Mr Sood checked the documents in the bag, he came to know that Rajkumar and Rakesh had retained IVPs worth Rs 3,42,000. They had also encashed some bearer cheques. A case had been registered against Rakesh Kumar at the City police station on December 23, 2003. The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Sukhdev Singh, had dismissed Rakesh Kumar’s pre-arrest bail application on March 27 this year. Mr Sood alleged that the Moga SSP had also directed the SHO concerned to arrest Rakesh Kumar, but no action had been taken against him so far. Mr Sood demanded immediate arrest of Rakesh Kumar and the recovery of his remaining certificates.

The SSP, Mr M.S. Chhina, said he would look into the matter and ensure justice to him.


Woman found murdered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 28
Ms Pritam Kaur, a resident of Beertalab village of this district, was allegedly found murdered under mysterious circumstances today.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the body was mutilated and the head was broken into pieces. Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa, who shifted Pritam Kaur, who was severely injured, to the local Civil Hospital, said that the doctor who attended on her declared her brought dead. The body of the deceased has been taken for a post-mortem examination.


Plot sold twice
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 28
A case was registered against Pawan Kumar, a local resident, for his alleged involvement in committing a fraud on Mr Rajesh Kumar, another resident, in connection with the sale of a residential plot.

Police sources said here today that Pawan Kumar sold his residential plot to a person about four months ago. However, he again entered into an agreement to sell the same plot to Mr Rajesh Kumar and took Rs 2 lakh as advance money. When Mr Rajesh Kumar enquired about the status of that plot from the Revenue Department, he came to know that it had been already sold.

Mr Rajesh Kumar lodged a complaint with police in this connection and a case was registered against Pawan Kumar.


Burglary in Kharar shop
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 28
Burglars decamped with cash and goods from a kiryana shop near the bus stand and intruded into two offices here on Friday.

The crime came to the notice of a son of Mr Ashok Kumar, the shopkeeper, when he went to open the shop today. He saw that the burglars had entered the shop after making a hole in the roof. Apart from about Rs 5,000, they took away tins of desi ghee and chavanprash.

The criminals also broke locks and rummaged through two offices located nearby. One office was that of an architect and the other of a courier service.


Pbi varsity autonomous, VC reminds Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
More than one week after Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal announced that she would inspect Punjabi University to verify whether it was working to propagate the cause of Punjabi or not, Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai “snubbed her politely” today through a press note by reminding her that the university was an autonomous body.

The Vice-Chancellor also made his point clear that the university had taken pioneering steps during his tenure because of the principle of university autonomy, which was nurtured for the first time by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mrs Bhattal had announced during a visit to the city a week ago to inaugurate the Punjabi Week celebrations that she was getting reports that Punjabi University was lacking in the cause of Punjabi propagation. She had announced that she would “inspect” the university after the hosting of the World Punjabi Conference to satisfy herself on this score.

Mr Boparai, in the press note, first of all does not accept that his university was alone targeted by Mrs Bhattal for inspection. He also does not say anything on the issue of propagation of Punjabi for which Mrs Bhattal had announced that she would inspect the institution. The press note says that there were reports in the media that Mrs Bhattal would inspect universities and that this might give the impression that the universities were not functioning well.

The press note by Mr Boparai states that Punjabi University, Panjab University and Guru Nanak Dev University were among the best universities in the country and that all of them had obtained five-star status from NAAC, an autonomous body constituted to access and upgrade all educational institutions in the country.

Mr Boparai also claimed that Punjabi University was proud of its “scorching pace of development”. He said the university had shown its concern for the under privileged by starting the Yadavindra College of Engineering at Guru Ki Kashi for rural youth, a step which had been acclaimed at the national level.

He claimed that the university was the second such institution in the country to involve its students in formulation of curricula and policies. These steps, Mr Boparai said, had improved the image of the university in India and abroad and had also attracted private donations for needy students and developmental works.


Pbi varsity to release CDs on Punjabi folklore
Our correspondent

Patiala, November 28
Punjabi University’s Gurmat Sangeet Chair will release five compact discs focussing on Punjabi folklore, folk music, shabad singing and heritage conservation during World Punjabi Conference scheduled to be held on the campus from December 1to 3.

Disclosing this here today, Gurmat Sangeet Chair Head Gurnam Singh said the Chair had prepared the compact discs in collaboration with fellow departments. He said part of the matter in the compact discs was from Sant Sucha Singh Archives of Music.

Dr Gurnam Singh said the CD concentrating on Punjabi folklore highlighted traditional styles of music including kavishri, dhadis, tumbi singers, folk instruments and Malvai giddha. An effort had been made to present this folk music in its original spirit. He said in the second CD the tradition of Puadhi Akhara had been explored.

Dr Gurnam Singh said the CDs were prepared on the basis of research done by Dr Parambakhshish Singh, Dr Devinder Kumar and Dr Gurnam Singh. These had been directed by Dr Gurcharan Singh, Dr Sunita Dhir and Dr Yogesh Ghambir.


Singla’s prescription for educational institutions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 28
After donating one month’s salary to Punjabi University, Patiala, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today wrote to his Cabinet colleagues to extend a similar gesture to educational institutions of their choice in the state.

Talking to The Tribune in this regard, Mr Surinder Singla said there was urgent need to build up the educational institutions, especially the universities. These institutions needed huge funds to take up big projects of research and to attain academic excellence.

He said that politicians, especially those in power, should lead from the front and set an example by donating money for universities and other important educational institutions. Such a gesture on the part of politicians would go a long way in motivating other people to do their best for the educational institutions. He said that it was a matter of great satisfaction that NRIs had started playing an effective role in financing the universities.

“No nation can empower itself without empowering its universities. Empowered Universities produce geniuses, who shape up the destiny of nations”, he added. Giving instance in this connection, Mr Singla said that the universities had played a major role in making America a super power. Even Indians, who have got a chance to study in the best universities of the world, have played a major role to set the country on the path of becoming a major power in the next few decades.

“Unfortunately our universities have failed to empower people. And the main reason for the failure is that we have failed to build up our universities as institutions of excellence. In the West and the USA, universities have become major players in shaping up policies regarding energy, health, economy etc. There politicians run to the Universities to look for solutions to the problems faced by their nations”, he added.

Punjab needs some academic institutions of excellence to play a bigger role in the knowledge industry that has become a trademark of the Indian economy, he added.The ball should be set rolling by politicians to do so, he added. Not only Ministers, even MLAs and others, who can afford to donate one month’s salary or more should come forward, he added. They can pick up their alma mater, he added.


A trip down memory lane
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 28
For the batch of 1979 of Government Medical College here, it was a trip down memory lane. From visiting the old laboratories, hostels and foremost reconnecting with fellow students some of whom they met after decades.

Dr Arun Verma, who had come all the way from Chicago in the United States, said he had become emotional after setting foot in the college.

“I got a chance to meet friends and teachers after such a long time”. He says he felt very happy to know where all his class mates had branched out all over the world and that so many of them had become successful.

Dr Harshinder Kaur, who coordinated the Alumni Meet of the Class of 1979, says there were a total of 150 students in their MBBS batch. “Out of these 22 are settled abroad”, she said, adding that five of the former students were super specialists and 58 of them specialists.

The alumni meet has seen informal as well as formal get togethers between all the former classmates. Dr J.S. Bahia, himself of the same batch, says there have been many surprises with even IAS officer and PUDA Secretary A.S. Chatwal turning up for the event. Mr Chatwal, who had also studied here, had come with his wife who is from the 1979 MBBS batch.

The formal function today saw the alumni honouring their teachers with souvenirs and gifts.

Among the teachers who were honoured were Dr Sohan Lal, Dr Ashi R Sareen, Dr Dhanwant Singh, Dr R L Mittal and Dr Prem Gupta. The students were all praise for their teachers repeatedly thanking them for their guidance which they said had resulted in them touching new peaks of excellence.

Later, Dr Harshinder Kaur disclosed that the old students had also donated money for furnishing of a guest room in the college.


Protest against teachers' suspension
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 28
Protesting against the suspension of Dr Navneet Jindal and Dr Sushma Jindal, the Trade Union Council organised a dharna in front of the Shri Satya Sai Murlidhar College management office on Chamber Road here yesterday.

Addressing the agitators, the general secretary of the council, Mr Varinder Kaura, alleged that the college was neither following the norms of the Central Council, Delhi, nor that of Baba Farid University, Faridkot.

He alleged that the college management itself had made some norms and the suspension of these employees was one of its results.

Mr Kaura further alleged that the college had appointed a person above the age of 65 on the post of principal, besides having 73-year-old superintendent. "Flouting the norms of Central Council, Delhi, and Baba Farid University, the college appointed a retired teacher this year only," he added. The council leaders warned that if the suspended teachers were not reinstated soon they would intensify their agitation, the responsibility of which would be of the college management and the local administration.


SGPC plans world Sikh varsity at Fatehgarh Sahib
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 28
The SGPC will set up world Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib, and a world-class memorial at Chamkaur Sahib to the Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh in connection with the celebrations of the 300th year of martyrdom of the sahibzadas, former Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal announced at Chamkaur Sahib today.

After holding a meeting with members of the SGPC and the SAD at Katalgarh Sahib Gurdwara, about 25 km from here, Mr Badal said the SGPC would also set up a model school at Chamkaur Sahib and organise international sports events of kabaddi and gymnastic in memory of the Sahibzadas on December 19 at Chamkaur Sahib. He said lakhs of devotees from India and abroad were expected here.

The SGPC had invited the Prime Minister, the President and the Vice-President of India to participate in the celebrations at Chamkaur Sahib and Fathegarh Sahib. In addition, invitations had also been sent to leaders of the all major political parties to participate in the samagam, Mr Badal said.


Jakhar inaugurates ITI
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 28
Mr Bal Ram Jakhar, Governor, Madhya Pradesh, inaugurated Industrial Training Institute here on the Alamgarh bypass last evening.

Speaking on the occasion, he termed it as a good beginning in the right direction.

The Governor said in India raw yields valued at Rs 60,000 crore went waste because we had not developed any system for processing raw material. In the circumstances, industrialisation was the only answer for a majority of problems.

“We will have to train the youth, after school education, in a variety of cottage and small industrial streams. Resources for opening small units at the village level need to be made easily available without red-tapism,” he said.

He hoped the ITI set up by Shri Sathya Sai Education Society here would introduce more courses in coming days. He advised the farmers to take up drip irrigation system for utilising the decreasing water resources in the best possible way.


Homoeopathy workshop concludes
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 28
A six-day homoeopathy workshop on “ Selection of medicine after studying mind symptoms of patient”, organised by the Association for Scientific Research in Homoeopathy and Indian Institute of Homoeopathic Physicians, Punjab, Malwa zone, concluded at Bhawanigarh, 22 km from here.

Delegates from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Punjab participated in the workshop.

Dr A.S. Mann from Sangrur, Dr Bhupinder Singh from Giddarwaha, Dr Neelam from Patiala, Dr Rakesh Verma from Jalandhar, Dr Rakesh Kapur from Ludhiana and Dr H.S. Matharu from Dhuri imparted knowledge to participants on the selection of medicine after studying mind symptoms.

About 20 cured cases of different diseases, like prostate enlargement, renal stones, piles, corns and warts were shown on a projector to the participants.

Speaking on the concluding function, Dr A.S. Azad, SMO, Community Health Centre, Bhawanigarh, asked the state government to open multi-pathy hospitals (allopathy, homoeopathy, ayurvedic, accupressure, naturopathy and yoga), in place of multi-speciality hospitals.

Dr Avtar Singh, president, Association for Scientific Research in Homoeopathy, Dr Ravinder Singh, Dr J.S. Somal, Dr Rupesh Shah from Gujarat, Dr Manoj Kumar from Uttaranchal, and Dr Soorianath from Tamil Nadu also spoke.


Sacred Heart School holds annual function
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 28
Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing the annual function of Sacred Heart Public School Sadhugarh today said Fatehgarh Sahib was the land of martyrs, where two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked alive, so following foot steps children belonging to the area must because good citizens.

He was impressed by the performance of school children. He called upon parents to teach moral values to their children, so that they could serve the society in better manner. Dr D.S.Hira, Principal Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College in his presidential address said that the future of any country depended upon the youths of that country. He said that it was unfortunate that the youth was being attracted toward so called westernisation and forgetting the traditions, culture and moral values. He said the teachers alone could not make students good citizens, the parents had to contribute equally. He appreciated the management of the school for providing excellent high standard education in remote rural area.

He also appreciated the cultural programme presented by school children.

Ms Ravinder Kaur Sahi, principal of the school read the annual report and highlighted the achievements of the school in various fields.

Mr Surjit Singh Sahi, Director of the school welcomed the chief guests, he also explained the further plans of the management.

On this occasion, the children presented an impressive cultural programme. The parents and the people from the area had turned out in large number to witness the function.


Dimpy, Ishdeep awarded
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 28
Blossom School student Dimpy Gupta on Friday won the Maharani Preneet Kaur Medal for best all-round performance at the annual function of the school, while Ishdeep Singh Punia won the G.S. Dhillon Running Trophy for the best sportsperson.

Other winners included Sahil Arora, who was awarded a silver medal, Ashish Papneja and Tejveer Singh, who were given the Rohit Memorial Trophy that also carries a cash prize of Rs 2,500. Special certificates were awarded to Dimpy Gupta, Davy Garg and Sahil Arora for getting 100 per cent marks from the CBSE Board.

The Punjab Public Service Commission Chairman, Lt-Gen T.S. Shergill, who was the chief guest on the occasion, called for developing excellence in all spheres of activity in the school. He said the all-round development of students was of utmost importance. His wife Harinder Shergill gave away the prizes.

Earlier, the school Principal, Ms Ravi Singh, said the CBSE had decided to grant affiliation to the School for Class XII courses in the field of medical, non-medical and humanities streams. She said the school would be enhancing its technical abilities with regard to the creation of another library, laboratories and also sports facilities.

Ms Ravi Singh also read out the annual report of the school focusing on its achievements in the current year which, she said, included a 100 per cent result in Class X, setting up of an eco club, a consumer club and organising an alumni meet.

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