P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Singla’s son gets PEDA top job
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 10
There was quiet jubilation among supporters of former Mandi Board Chairman Sant Ram Singla following the appointment of his son Mr Vijayinder Singla, as the Chairman of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) today.

Supporters and Congressmen thanked the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for the move which has rehabilitated Vijayinder in the government. Vijayinder when questioned about the appointment said he was yet to receive information about his appointment as he was in Haridwar to immerse his father's ashes in the Ganga.

Political observers said the unflinching loyalty of former Mandi Board Chairman to the Chief Minister and his family had also paved the way for Vijayinder's appointment. They said the late leader’s commitment to work for the party in various elections in which he was the election in charge as well as pro-development work ethics had expanded the voter base of the party throughout the state.

Vijayinder, who completed his schooling from Yadavindra Public School here, acquired a degree in computer science engineering from BMS College, Bangalore. After completing his studies, he has assisted his father in political activities and was instrumental in running the election campaigns of his father for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat in 1992 and 1996.

The new PEDA Chairman also served as general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress from 2002 - 2004 and is presently vice-president of the Punjab Youth Congress. He made a mark during his last stint by working in close coordination with the National Youth Congress President Randeep Singh Surjewala.


Sarkaria is Mandi Board Chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Consequent upon the death of Mr Sant Ram Singla, the Punjab Government has appointed Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Chairman, Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA), as the new Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board.


World Turban Day on Baisakhi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
An overwhelming response to turban clinics held in various parts of North America today has made organisers of the World Sikh Turban Day on April 13,Baisakhi Day, an enthusiastic lot.

Organised jointly by the Sikh Children Forum and the Akal Purakh Ki Fauj with volunteer support from Sikh populations in various parts of the world, the main event is preceded by special clinics where besides free distribution of turbans of various colours, special training sessions are held to teach newcomers how to tie a turban.

Says Mr Hardeep Singh Aulakh of the Sikh Children Forum,”The Sikhs have won several legal battles to earn the right to wear turban not only at their work place, but also in schools, colleges, universities and even national assemblies, including the House of Commons in Canada. The fight for the right to wear turban in French schools will continue till its logical conclusion.”

Sikhs wearing turban can join the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). There are two turban- wearing Sikhs who are Members of Parliament in Canada — Mr Gurbax Singh Malhi and Mr Navdeep Singh Bains— besides representatives of the community holding key positions in judicial services, police, academics, banks and other financial institutions.

“After September 11 terrorist attack on the USA, Sikhs became target of hate crime as people confused them with turban-wearing Arabs and Muslims. As a part of the campaign to educate the world community about their religion, various Sikh organisations initiated new programmes.

It was a part of this programme that the Sikh Children Forum and the Akal Purakh Ki Fauj started the World Sikh Turban Day on Baisakhi Day,” adds Mr Aulakh.

In some areas where there are no turban tutors, even self- teaching compact discs (CDs) are made available to enthusiastic youngsters who want to maintain their distinct identity as turban- wearing Sikhs all over the globe.

“Turban clinics help non-turban Sikhs tie a turban at a gurdwara or other centres. Our organisation is delighted to be part of such a systematic hands-on exercise. “ says Mr Bhupinder Singh Boparia, president of the Sikh Cultural Society of New York, USA.

At a number of places, turban clinics were sponsored by gurdwaras.

The World Sikh Turban Day will be marked by the holding of competitions in turban tying and ramp shows of Sikh youths in turbans in different parts of the world, Mr Aulakh added.


Samagam for Sant Maskeen in Chicago
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
A special samagam will be organised at Gurdwara Gurjot Parkash Sahib (Island Lake), Chicago, USA, from April 21 to 24 in the memory of Giani Sant Singh Maskeen, Baba Daljit Singh of Guru Nanak Sikh Mission, said today. Jathedars of Sri Akal Takht and Sri Kesgarh Sahib would also participate in the function.


Over 10,000 cases settled at Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
More than 10,000 cases were settled today with the mutual agreement and understanding of both the parties at the national-level Lok Adalat held here in the city and compensation to the tune of Rs 25 crore was awarded.

Mr Justice N. Santosh Hegde, a Supreme Court Judge and Executive Chairman of the National Legal Services Authority, presided over the Lok Adalat. He stressed upon the need for further strengthening of Lok Adalats as an alternative legal service system to the prevailing legal procedure of courts in all parts of the country to provide quick and cheaper justice to the people and to ease the burden of fast rising pendency of cases in different courts.

Stressing on more participation of public at organisational level, he called upon the State Legal Services Authority to identity at least one person in each village, who is apolitical and not a litigant, and train him to organise small meetings of the people regularly to educate them about their legal rights.

Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, Judge, Supreme Court of India, while addressing the function described the alternative legal system of Lok Adalats as most successful medium to provide early and easy justice to the litigants. He said most of the people were unaware of the availability of free legal services and Lok Adalats.

"The disputes settled at the Lok Adalats are permanent as there is no appeal against the order of such adalats," Mr Justice Bhan added. He said till March 31, 2005, more than 4.5 lakh cases were taken up at different Lok Adalats, of which 2.52 lakh had been settled and compensation amounting to Rs 5.89 crore awarded.

At today's Lok Adalat, 14,222 cases were presented, of which 10,045 cases were settled, said Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge.


Lok Adalats more effective than courts
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
Lok Adalats in Punjab are undergoing a sea change. Propelled by a desire to reduce litigation and ensure speedier and cheaper justice to the litigants, Lok Adalats in Punjab have even been taking up consumer disputes and farmers-commission agents disputes, something that Lok Adalats in other parts of the country are still to begin with.

Consider this: Of the 46,512 criminal compoundable cases that came before the Special Lok Adalats till March 31, a whopping 31,493 cases were settled amicably. Similarly, of the 13,853 labour-related cases that were taken up at a Special Lok Adalat, 12,873 ended in settlements. And, the compensation paid by these Lok Adalats: Rs 590 crore.

If the rush of litigants to Special Lok Adalats, organised at regular intervals in various parts of Punjab, is any indicator, then the Lok Adalats are on way to become an integral part of the dispute redressal process.

Lok Adalats are competent to take up all types of cases, except non-compoundable criminal offences.

Matrimonial disputes, motor accident cases, rent Act disputes, etc, some of them dragging on for years, are known to have been settled in hours at such adalats.

“The main benefit of getting your disputes settled at Lok Adalats is that there is no appeal against the order of such adalats. This is because the settlement is arrived at only after the parties to the disputes arrive at mutually agreeable settlement,” notes Mr Justice H.S. Bedi,

The Executive Chairman, Punjab Legal Services Authority (PLSA), and the Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice Bedi, himself is credited with being responsible for introducing many innovative steps to popularise the concept of Lok Adalats.

Figures show that in Punjab, over 60 per cent of litigants approaching the Lok Adalats get their disputes settled in a matter of hours.

Says Mr Harbans Singh, whose loan default case with a nationalised bank was settled at a Special Lok Adalat held here today, “My case was going on for the past over five years and I have already spent almost double the amount payable to the bank in legal fees. Then, somebody told me to approach the Lok Adalat. It was settled virtually in no time. I am so relieved.”

In what could be another first, a Lok Adalat at Kharar, held specially for settling traffic challans, over 2,000 challans were settled in less than eight hours.

Notes Mr Justice Bedi: “The common man has started understanding the importance of such dispute redressal forums. If we consider the large number requests we receive for holding Lok Adalats, then they have really caught the fancy of the public.” He may have a point. After all, over 12,000 cases were brought to the Special Lok Adalat here today for settlement.


Kapurthala SSP to investigate NRI’s charges
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 10
A senior IPS officer of Jalandhar district seems to be in the dock as the Jalandhar DIG has handed over the investigation into sensational allegations by an NRI, that had led to suspension of SHO Manjit Singh of Noormahl, who had forced him to cough up a bribe of Rs 5 lakh in the name of a senior officer, to Kapurthala SSP Arunpal Singh.

The Noormahl SHO had been suspended on the basis of an inquiry conducted by Jalandhar DIG Paramjit Singh Sarao into the complaint of Joga Singh, a Greece-based NRI hailing from Mandi village, near Phillaur, that he was subjected to illegal confinement by the SHO for a number of days and was released only when he had paid a bribe of Rs 5 lakh to the SHO after mortgaging his land.

The SHO, according to Joga Singh, had told him that Rs 2 lakh out of the bribe money would be given to a senior officer and had threatened him that if he failed to pay the money, he would be implicated in a false case, linking his name to the Malta tragedy or showing him to having links with the ISI.

On the basis of an inquiry conducted by the DIG, the SHO, two Home Guard jawans and SHO’s informer were booked on Thursday, but all of them had been ‘given sufficient’ time to slip from the grip of the police.

Since the allegations levelled by the complainant were serious, Mr Sarao, who had conducted the inquiry into the matter, had handed over further investigation into the case to Kapurthala SSP Arunpal Singh.

Though Mr Sarao asserted that ‘there was nothing against the IPS officer of the district so far and that anyone could come out with complaint against anyone,” reliable sources revealed that SHO Manjit Singh had admitted during his cross-examination by senior police officers that he had routed Rs 3.5 lakh of the bribe money to a senior police officer.

If the sources were believed, Rs 3.5 lakh was “arranged and handed over back to the SHO by the officer hurriedly as he came to know that the matter had taken a serious turn and the amount, in turn, was paid back. Though this part of the story could not be ascertained, a senior officer told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity that the top priority of senior officers was to recover the amount.

Mr Sarao maintained that there was sufficient proof against the SHO and his men as the money generated by mortgaging the land of the complainant was collected by people close to him.

He said the investigation had been handed over to the Kapurthala SSP so as to ensure that the probe was conducted in a free and fair manner.


‘Abducted’ girl found
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 10
The Jammu police yesterday recovered a married girl who had been forcibly separated from her husband by her parents.

Hardeep Kaur and Surinder of Ludhiana had been in love with each other for a long time and despite difference in caste wanted to get married while Surinder’s parents gave their approval for marriage, parents of Hardeep Kaur objected to it.

But the couple left their respective houses and started living in Jammu about six months ago. They got their marriage registered there and returned to Ludhiana.

Meanwhile, Hardeep’s parents “pretended” to accept the marriage but asked the couple to shift from Ludhiana. The couple again started living independently in Jammu.

After a few days Hardeep’s parents took her with them on the pretext of meeting some relatives. When she did not return, Surinder tried to know the whereabouts of his wife from her parents but they asked him to forget about her.

He then lodged a complaint against them at police station Jammu, where an FIR under Sections 366 and 109 of the IPC was registered later.

The Jammu police reportedly raided the houses of the relatives of Hardeep Kaur and ultimately recovered her from the residence of a close relative Achhra Singh of Dehlij Khurad in Sangrur district on Saturday.

Sources at the local police station revealed that the Jammu police had taken Hardeep Kaur and Achhra Singh in custody. After presenting in the relevant court there the girl would be reunited with her husband.


Historic gurdwara row
Baba Budha Dal ready for talks with SGPC
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, April 10
A day after the SGPC failed to take over the historic Patshahi Dasvi Gurdwara here, the chief of Baba Budha Dal, Baba Santa Singh, today said the SGPC should stop dreaming that it can take charge of the gurdwara with the administration’s help. He stated this while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

Baba Santa Singh said the issue could be resolved through talks and the Baba Budha Dal was ready for a discussion with the SGPC. He said three court cases relating to control of various gurdwaras were decided in their favour in the past. These included Lakhi Jungle, Bathinda, Jassi Baghwali, Bathinda, and Nangalkalan, Mansa. He accused a judge of siding with the SGPC in the case of Patshahi Dasvi Gurdwara. He said their lawyer failed to appear in the High Court, which again decided in the favour of the SGPC and later the Supreme Court delivered the same verdict. He said before talking of principles, the SGPC should remember that it came into being in 1925, while the Baba Budha Dal exists since the time of Guru Gobind Singh.

Earlier, the SGPC team returned empty handed yesterday owing to the strong presence of armed members of the dal. The SGPC had got the Supreme Court orders that directed the district administration to help it get the possession of the gurdwara. Sources said a SGPC team was in Kotkapura to take charge of the gurdwara, but the district police expressed its helplessness in providing force to the team due to their deployment at Talwandi Sabo for the forthcoming Baisakhi celebrations.

The situation remained tense in the past couple of days here, as hundreds of Baba Budha Dal members armed with swords and rifles had converged at the gurdwara, which also has about 100 acres of land. The dal has been managing the affairs of this historic gurdwara for the past over five decades and they are against giving its possession to the SGPC.

The SGPC had made a similar bid in September last when Baba Farid Mela was on in Faridkot. At that time the district administration could not provide it police force owing to their deployment in the annual fair.


Pranab’s visit crucial, says Jagmeet
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 10
Rebel Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar, who has taken a stand against the functioning of the Chief Minister, said today that Mr Pranab Mukherjee, in charge, Punjab affairs, would visit Chandigarh on April 14 to take stock of infighting within the party.

Mr Brar, while addressing mediapersons here, said Mr Mukherjee would meet MLAs, district congress chiefs and leaders to ascertain their views on the working of the government. He said his visit at this point of time was important as party workers were not happy with the government.

He said his differences with the Chief Minister surfaced when he sought a Congress Legislature Party meeting to discuss some issues, including the recently held liquor auctions.

He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh’s government was trying to cook up cases against him.


Pulse polio drive launched
Tribune Reporters

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 10
Dr Datar Singh Virk, Director, Health Services, today launched the pulse polio campaign in the state by administering polio drops to a children at the Civil Hospital here while Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, inaugurated the campaign in the district by administering polio drops to children at the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Dr Daisy Walia, chairperson, Hospital Welfare Section, inaugurated the campaign at Sirhind. The district police, social organisations, including the Lions Club, Sirhind, also joined hands with the civil administration to root out polio. The traffic police was deputed in large number to stop vehicles on the GT Road Sirhind and volunteers gave polio drops to children.

While talking to The Tribune, Dr Datar Singh Virk, Director, said in the state 36.4 lakh children would be administered polio drops and all arrangements had been made.

Dr Harkirtan Pal Singh Sandhu, Civil Surgeon, said to make the campaign a success the Health Department had organised 535 special polio sewa camps to administer polio drops to 73,667 children between the age group of 0 to 5 years. Besides, five mobile teams administered polio drops in remote rural and slum areas.

She said 107 villages were identified, where special teams were sent to ensure that no child remains without the vaccine.

Dera Bassi: The Punjab Health Department officials administered polio drops to 25,598 children in Dera Bassi subdivision today. Mr D.S. Guru, Secretary of the Health Department, Punjab, launched the drive by administering polio drops to a child.

During the polio eradication drive, 22,880 children where covered in rural areas, including slums, while 2,718 children were given drops in the urban area.

The Health Department had constituted 133 teams comprising employees of the Health Department, paramedical staff, aanganwari workers and other social organisations.

The department had also pressed four mobile and two transit teams into the service. Students of National Dental College, Dera Bassi, also joined hands with the Health Department to make the drive a success, claimed Dr Ram Kumar, SMO, Dera Bassi.


Rai decries ASI statement on Darbar Sahib
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 10
Even as the executive meeting of the SGPC is likely to be convened here next week to discuss the report of the five-member Review Sub-Committee on dossier on Harmander Sahib, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, General Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has said the forthcoming meeting has the authority to reject or accept the recommendations made in the report.

Talking to The Tribune, here today, Mr Bhaur said the sub-committee was answerable to the SGPC executive and could not be considered above the SGPC.

Meanwhile, Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, Director, Sikh Human Rights Group, expressed surprise over the statement of the Director, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), sent to Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, an executive member of the SGPC, claiming that the Indian Government would not interfere in the management and protection of Sri Darbar Sahib once world heritage status was achieved.

Questioning the authority of Mr C. Babu Rajeev, Director ASI, Dr Rai said he was not competent to give such an undertaking. Dr Rai said neither the Director, ASI, nor the President of India could make laws in India as this privilege was only with Parliament.

Dr Rai asked the Director, ASI, not to make irresponsible statements on this extremely serious and sensitive issue, which were bound to further complicate the matter. He said that the UNESCO World Heritage Listing Convention was very clear. Primary responsibility for management and protection was vested in the state. The power of ASI Director’s office did not extend to subverting the Constitution and restricting India’s present or future democratic government and Parliament from exercising and complying with its responsibility. Even the Indian Prime Minister did not have the privilege to discharge the government of its primary role. Moreover, Article 253 negated any domestic commitment or arrangements that might be made at this stage.

Mr Rai further said the only possible way that Mr Rajeev’s statement could have substance was if he could convince the current government and Parliament to amend Article 1 and 4 of the Constitution and to agree to an extra-territorial status for Sri Darbar Sahib and making Sri Darbar Sahib self juristic.

Dr Rai said it was unlikely that Mr Rajeev would be able to achieve this and hoped that Mr Rajeev would retract or modify his statement to preserve the dignity that was expected of a senior government functionary. It fostered mistrust of government when constitutionally misleading statements were made.


Kar seva at Nankana Sahib from Baisakhi
Pawan Kumar

Wagah, April 10
An 11-member jatha of experts and masons today crossed over to Pakistan for the kar seva of the historic gate of Janamasthan Nankana Sahib and various other historic Sikh shrines there. The kar seva would start from Baisakhi.

The jatha was led by Baba Jagtar Singh and Baba Amrik Singh. Baba Amrik Singh, talking to this correspondent, said the historic gate of the Janamasthan Nankana Sahib was in a dilapidated condition and needed immediate repair.

He said during the kar seva the 'steel kalashas' would be fitted atop the main gates of the historic gurdwaras of Bal Leela, Janamasthan and other gurdwaras through the traditional 'kar seva' by the babas. He said the 15 'gold kalashas' had been placed on the main building of the Janamasthan.

Baba Amrik Singh said the Government of Pakistan had stationed permanent security guards for the protection of the 'gold kalashas'. He said the kar seva of Janamasthan Guru Ram Dass at Lahore was nearing completion and the entire building had been preserved.

Baba Amrik Singh said the Government of Pakistan was keen to preserve Sikh heritage sites. He said besides the Government of Pakistan, they were getting full support from the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and Delhi Shiromani Gurdwara Management Committee president Paramjit Singh Sarna.


40 more deletions in jatha list
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 10
As many as 40 more names were deleted on eve of departure of the Sikh jatha for celebrating Baisakhi in Pakistan, in the list of visas issued to pilgrims.

Yesterday 108 names were deleted from the list of 1980 pilgrims forwarded by the SGPC. Hence at present only 1,832 persons were eligible to join the Sikh jatha.

SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur said that the jatha to leave tomorrow would be led by Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, member of the interim committee, SGPC.


Bid to encroach upon PSEB land
Ashok Grover

Jalalabad, April 10
Timely intervention by the media and the nearby shopkeepers yesterday foiled an attempt allegedly at the behest of certain ruling party activists to encroach upon a piece of land belonging to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Some persons accompanied by masons, attempted to encroach upon a part of the land of the subdivisional office of the PSEB at Bagha Bazar last evening. At that time, there was no one in the office.

The ‘phariwalas’ who were running their stalls from that place objected and informed about the encroachment attempt to some employees of the board. Soon people, including shopkeepers and those from the media, gathered there. The people also informed the police and the higher authorities of the PSEB, following which the construction was stopped.

Mr Navjot Singh, one of the alleged encroachers, told the police that the land actually belonged to the state Wakf Board and it had been rented out to him. But according to PSEB employees and nearby shopkeepers, the land had been in the possession of the electricity board for the past 50 years.

Later PSEB employees dispatched the construction material brought there by the alleged encroachers to a local gurdwara.

Mr Sucha Singh Ghanga, press secretary of the local unit of the Bhartiya Kissan Union, alleged that the encroachment attempt was made in connivance with PSEB officials and some influential ruling party activists.

Mr Mitthan Lal Chhabra, SDO, could not contacted. Mr H.S. Brar, Superintending Engineer, PSEB, when contacted, said the land belonged to the PSEB.


Pension to be disbursed in May
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 10
The Punjab Government has initiated steps to ensure the smooth disbursement of pension among 11.75 lakh beneficiaries belonging to old age, widow, handicapped and destitute from May 1. It has also decided to give Rs 25 crore to the Department of Social Security and Welfare of Women and Child Development for its disbursement.

The government has also decided to generate Rs 450 crore every year and deposit it directly to the Department of Social Security and the Department of Welfare of Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that problems in the collection of money from different sources appeared when the Punjab State Electricity Board authorities refused to contribute its share.

The PSEB refused to contribute on the pretext that it was to take a huge dues from the government and hence it was planning to adjust the money collected by it on account of enhanced electricity duty in lieu of the liabilities.

Sources said the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, convened a meeting of the departments concerned a few days ago and directed them to ensure the pension disbursement at the earliest. They added that to check any sort of bunglings in the disbursement, the authorities had decided to disburse the pension in cash through panchayats in the rural areas and through banks in the urban areas.

Not only this, the list of the beneficiaries would be updated every six months.


Hindu jatha returns to Pak
Our Correspondent

Wagah, April 10
A large number of Sindhi Hindus were adopting Sikhism due to their devotion and faith in the Sikh tenets and not due to any kind of fear, said Mr Anil Singh, one of the leaders of the Sindhi Hindu Jatha, which returned to Pakistan after participating in the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib.

Talking to “The Tribune” before their return to native country he said though they were adopting the Sikh fold by getting themselves baptised, they were not forced to do so.

He denied that many Hindus residing in the Sindh province of Pakistan had adopted Sikhism due to their continuous persecution at the hands of radical Muslim organisations. The Sikhs are safer in Pakistan as compared to Hindus, he added.

Many Pakistani Hindus, who came to India, had never returned to their country, due to their continuous persecution. The jatha was delighted to see the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib. Mr Anil Singh said most of the jatha members had never been to India and were very pleased be a part of festivals like Holi. He said the Holi celebrations were different from that celebrated in Pakistan.

He said the religious processions and langars installed at various places for devotees, who came to pay obeisance at Takht Keshgarh Sahib and participate in the Hola Mohalla, made the celebrations different. 


Pakistani pilgrims honoured
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 10
All 189 pilgrims from Pakistan, who came to pay obeisance at annual Urs at Fatehgarh Sahib, were honoured by the Bassi Cricket Association on ITI ground Bassi Pathana today.

The jatha will leave for Pakistan tomorrow. They were accorded warm welcome by Pardeep Malhotra, president and other members of the club and citizens of the town. All pilgrims also witnessed a cricket match between two local teams. Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary was the chief guest.

Addressing the gathering Dr Harbans Lal appreciated the efforts of the association for honouring the pilgrims.

Haji Mir Tareem, leader of the jatha, said they could not forget the love showered on them by the people of the district. He invited all to come to Pakistan.

Earlier, all 189 Pakistani pilgrims were invited by Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia at his residence on breakfast. Dr Harbans Lal, also joined them. In the evening all pilgrims were honoured by Siropas and given sweets boxes.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amrinder Singh, said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and Sonia Gandhi had started a new era of friendship by starting bus services to Pak.


Fading memories of 1857 battle
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 10
An important battle of the first war of Independence was also fought in Gurdaspur district in 1857. The grave of the British soldiers who died at the hands of Indian mutineers in Bagh Mahantan, left of Harchehari road near Government College, symbolises the gruesome struggle that took place at the spot during the war.

Prof Raj Kumar, president of the history society, Gurdaspur and regional historian while talking to The Tribune said the struggle that took place in the district in 1857 was known as the battle of Trimmu. Though the graves of British soldiers who perished in the battle have survived, the site symbolising the mass cremation of Indian soldiers has been forgotten.

The battle of Trimmu was fought here in July 1857 on the banks of the Ravi. The revolt of 1857 had its impact on Punjab where the East India Company had deployed 12 European regiments for an estimated population of 13 million heterogeneous people. The uprising as part of the first war of Independence was long in planning among the Indian soldiers posted at Sialkot. The Daroga of city jail Sialkot worked closely with the 9th cavalry before the actual revolt.

The native regiments at Sialkot mutinied on July 9, 1857 and the cantonment there was reduced to a complete wreck. The 46th and 35th native infantry regiments along with 9th Cavalry were stationed at Sialkot. However, only the 46th regiment and a wing of 9th Cavalry were at Sialkot when the revolt broke out.

Mr Naesymth, the then Deputy Commissioner of Gurdaspur, received information that rebels equipped with guns were on the way to Delhi via Gurdaspur. He took precautionary measures as moving the treasury of Gurdaspur to Amritsar and removing all possible aid that could help rebels cross the Ravi along with heavy weaponry.

Brigadier General Nicholson, who was at Amritsar with his moveable columns, was also informed about the mutiny. Six hundred British soldiers under Captain Bauchier were rushed to Gurdaspur on native gigs or ekkas. They reached Gurdaspur at 3 pm on July 11, 1857. The local population fled but a few influential families of Gurdaspur at that time aided the British.

The following day on July 12, 1857, the rebels crossed over to the left bank of the Ravi by the ford at Trimmu. The British forces marched towards Trimmu assisted by other troops that joined him at Batala. The fight took place on the borders of the villages of Thakarpur and Wazirpur close to the old Trimmu encamping ground.

The action began with a sudden assault by the mutineers of 9th Cavalry on British guns. Some of the gunners were killed. Men of the 46th Native Infantry advanced to take possession of the British guns. But they were forced to retreat by the British soldiers who held their positions.

The rebels erected a battery for their guns on an island where they collected their women and belongings.

The skirmishes and fighting continued till July 15 with the British infantry gaining ground every day. At down on July 16, rebels were attacked in their last stronghold. Hundreds of them died fighting. Prisoners, including women and children, were executed. Some of the rebels who managed to flee to Jammu or Himachal areas were later handed over to the British by local chieftains and handed over to the British who executed them. Bones of horses and men who died in the battle of Trimmu were found occasionally in the fields till 1955 especially in a deep nala known as Kala Pani. It is this nala that the rebels were driven into and shot dead.


No clue to missing five of family
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 10
No clue has been found about the whereabouts of the five members of the family of sarpanch of nearby Jatana Ucha village even after 48 hours they had gone missing under mysterious circumstances, Their motor cycle was recovered from the bank of Bhakara Canal near Salora village and Pathreri Jattan in Ropar District.

According to information Jarnail Singh, his wife and their three children had gone to his in-laws at Morinda on a motor cycle at about 11 AM yesterday, but they did not reach there but their motor cycle was spotted near Pathreri village by a person who informed the Ropar police about the motor cycle.

When the Ropar police recovered the motor cycle, they came to know about the owner of motor cycle and informed the father of Jarnail Singh, Kesar Singh who is sarpanch of the village Jatana Ucha and they started search for their family members with the help of villagers but their whereabouts are not known yet. Jarnail Singh was running a shop in the village and belongs to the Dalit family.

When Ropar police was contacted they confirmed the recovery of motor cycle but said that no clue was found as yet. When mediapersons visited the house of Jarnail Singh, several villagers were present there and were praying for safe return of the missing persons. 


Convention of technical employees ends
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 10
The fourth annual convention of the Technical and Mechanical Employees Union concluded here today. The union urged the state government to withdraw all anti-employees proposals, including privatisation of corporations and boards.

The delegates attending the convention demanded that services of all daily wage, contract and work-charge employees should be regularised without laying down any condition. Panchayats should not be authorised to supervise working of educational institutions and other departments, including water works. Cases related to employment to a family member of the employees, who died during service, should be taken up on priority basis. Promotion channel should be enforced for all categories of employees. Rates for uniforms be revised keeping in view rising prices of cloth and stitching charges. Employees of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board be given pension benefits, the delegates added.

Employees, who passed the departmental test should be promoted as junior engineers. Class III field employees should be given fixed local travelling allowance at par with junior engineers, the delegates added.

The union alleged that machinery worth million of rupees was lying unused. Mr Avinash Chopra, president, and Mr Piara Singh Mangar general secretary of the state unit of the union, criticised the Punjab Government for its anti-people policies.


Improve cotton quality: experts
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, April 10
Dr K. C. Jain, Additional Director-General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), has cautioned that while using the genetically modified seeds like Bt cotton in the areas bordering Pakistan, it needed to be ensured that the same were not sensitive to diseases like leaf curl virus (LCV), which prevailed largely on other side of the border.

Speaking at the All-India Integrated Cotton Improvement Meet at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, Dr Jain said the Bt cotton was only capable of thwarting attack from American bollworm.

The farmers would have to spray insecticides to save Bt cotton crop from other diseases and insects’ attack. The cotton growers and research scholars must concentrate on improving the quality, beside quantity, to compete the global cotton market, he said.

More than 250 cotton research scientists in addition to scores of progressive farmers from different cotton growing states participated in the meeting.

Prof Parmatama Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Agriculture University, Bikaner, said in his inaugural address that cotton growers would have to adopt drip or sprinkle system for irrigation as dependence on rain, frequent attack by pests and insects and uncertified seed flow in the market had sabotaged all efforts to increase production.

The picture, even then, was not disappointing as India had earned Rs 60,000 crore revenue by exporting cotton based textiles during 2003-2004, he added.

Senior cotton breeding scientists from Coimbatore, Dharwar, Guntour, Rahuri, Nanded, Ankola, Suraj, Junagarh, Banswara, Faridkot and Hissar presented an account of the research activities and achievements in their respective regions. Dr M. P. Sahu said excessive of insecticides on cotton was affecting the fertility of the agriculture land all over the country.

Research must find ways and means to check it. Dr T. P. Rajendran, Project Coordinator from Coimbatore, said medium hybrid quality cotton seed could save the crop from leaf curl.

Dr Fundan Singh, Director, Research Centre, Nagpur, laid emphasis on the exploring possibilities of improving quality of cotton staple during the next course of research. 


Kisan mela
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 10
To inform farmers of the district about new methods to increase production with latest technology, the district agriculture department organised kisan mela in the Ambedkar Bhavan here on Thursday. An exhibition of products of locals and also machinery to be used in farming like tractors, threshers was inaugurated by Parliamentary Secretary, K.P.S. Rana.


Bodies of 5 of a family untraced
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 10
A search for five members of a family who were feared to have drowned in the Bhakra canal near Brahampura village in Morinda yesterday continued today but the bodies were not recovered till 9 pm today.

The police said preliminary investigation revealed that the five persons had jumped into the canal but no villager was ready to come forward to make a statement in this regard.

More than 70 relatives of the missing family held a naka at various places along the canal while the police tried to find the bodies.

The SHO (Sadar), Mr Jagdish Singh, said it had been confirmed that Gurmeet Singh along with his wife Surinder Kaur, and daughters, Simran (3), and Isha, and son Bipinpreet (3), had jumped into the canal near Pathreri Jata village.

Gurmeet who was working as a carpenter had left his native village Ucha Jatana village in Fategarh Sahib district at 11 am. His family was with him and they were going to his in-laws house at Brahampura in Morinda.

He said no suicide note had been found but the police had found the names of Gurmeet Singh, his father and a mobile number on a motorcycle.


Gang of burglars active in Barnala

Barnala, April 10
A gang of burglars is very active these days in and around Barnala. As many as half a dozen shutters of shops near the police lines and court complex on the main roads were found broken yesterday.

Mr Kamaljit , owner of Satkar Arts near the local police lines today disclosed that in the morning he got information that the shutter of his shop had been broken. Upon reaching his shop he found that burglars had stolen cash totalling Rs,2000.

The police lines have experienced burglaries for the third time.

In the courts complex, burglars broke open locks and shutters with the help of iron rods. They did not touch anything except cash boxes.

About a fortnight back, a house near the residence of the DSP ( Detective ) was burgled and gold ornaments, cash besides wrist watches were stolen in broad day light.


250 students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 10
The local R.K. Arya College organised its annual convocation today. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, was the chief guest. He conferred degrees on at least 250 students who had passed postgraduate course in Punjabi and graduate courses in arts, commerce, science and computer science streams.

In his convocation address, Dr S.P. Singh asked the students not to concentrate on developing professional skills only with a view to enabling them to face the challenges in the present era of globalisation. The youth should not forget the rich cultural heritage of the country and moral values, he said. They should learn to establish proper coordination between developing professional skills and the moral and cultural values and become a role model, said the Vice-Chancellor, adding that otherwise, the real aim and purpose of education would virtually be belied.

Lauding the commendable contribution of the various private educational institutions run by the Arya Samaj, Singh Sabha Lehar, Sanatan Dharam Sabha and DAV, the Vice-Chancellor said though the present educational set-up in the country had been initiated by British rulers, private institutions had contributed a lot in providing educational facilities to the masses with missionary spirit.

Commenting on the policy of privatising education in the present era of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation, Dr S.P. Singh cautioned that while pursuing privatisation in the field of education in the country, differentiation between the missionary spirit of the private institutions and the tendency of commercialisation of education by the private institutions should be made.

Mr Davinder Sharma, Registrar, Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Punjab, and Mr Prem Bhardwaj, Mr Desh Bandhu Bhalla and Dr Kailash Nath Bhardwaj, president, secretary and Principal respectively, of the college, also spoke.


Hamara School
Bringing forth the hero in every child

Narain Public School stands like a five-star hotel in the outskirts of Patiala, on the Patiala-Sanour road. The school is affiliated to the CBSE. It has two swimming pools, a fibreglass basketball court, cricket nets, table tennis, judo and a lawn tennis courts. It has been upgraded to the plus-two level by the CBSE from this session.

But when did buildings or infrastructure produce scholar! It’s the polishing, the seasoning that gets us gold. Mind you, organisations, institutions and the best of the corporate sectors are being run by individuals. Not those who necessarily secured 80 or 90 per cent marks in various examinations, but those who possessed enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is born out of encouragement. And Narain Public School is the repository of that encouragement.

With motivation and inspiration, the hero in every child is brought forth and suddenly the slack personality of the child gains momentum here.

Students of this school reached up to the national level in basketball and judo this year. Various activities in the school function on the basis of house system. Freedom, Unity, Peace and Progress houses thrive on killer instinct.

Every child reads English newspaper for half-an-hour every morning under the supervision of his respective teacher. Like other schools are proud of their computer labs, qualified staff and airy rooms, this school is proud of its discipline. Keeping in mind that nursery kids happen to stay with the school for 12 years, the admission fee for nursery has been waived off altogether. The rooms for nursery and LKG are air-conditioned.

From academics to sports, the school is in pursuit to achieve milestones in every sphere.


Pardeep AroraIn this world of mind-boggling speed, if elders close their eyes to children, they are bound to go astray.

Bearing it in mind, every child in our school is given a compulsory training to respect teachers, parents and elders.

I strongly believe that it is not the position that makes a man, but it is the man who makes all the difference to a position.

Thus, at NPS we dream big to produce big human beings — not physically but mentally.

From haircut to every decency, the children are groomed in total.

There is a bridge of understanding between the parents and the school, as and when any child bothers his or her parents, we put in our best to counsel the child and proud we are of having never failed.

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