P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Visa centre at Amritsar soon
Tribune News Service

Kathunangal (Amritsar), March 31
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced that a visa centre would be opened at Amritsar soon for the benefit of devotees visiting Nankana Sahib and Lahore in Pakistan.

He was here to lay the foundation stone of Baba Budhaji Degree College for girls at Chawinda Devi in Majitha constituency. Mr Amarinder Singh said that he had taken up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he visited here. He had asked him (CM) to send a blueprint for taking up this matter with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of Pakistan.

Mr Amarinder Singh pointed out the main objective of the bus service was to provide hassle-free journey and that could be achieved with a visa centre here and there was no point of passengers from Amritsar and nearby places in Punjab going to Delhi for visa clearance.

He informed the Government of Pakistan had also allowed the devotees from India to visit Sacha Sauda gurdwara and Kartarpur Sahib which were connected with newly built roads. He added that the Centre was contemplating to allow the Government of Pakistan to start bus service to Ajmer Sharif to enable people from Pakistan to undertake pilgrimage on a reciprocal basis. The government had worked out the details of infrastructure for the immigration, customs and visa formalities at Wagah check post.

On the import of 1.5 metric tonnes of wheat, the Chief Minister said it was done to maintain stock level of wheat to ensure smooth public distribution system (PDS) as the Centre apprehended fall in production in wheat-growing states. Referring to the issue of hike in the minimum support price of wheat, he said he had taken up this matter with the Prime Minister and Union Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Pawar for increase and had demanded minimum MSP of Rs 700.

On the controversy raised by a few SGPC members for honouring the Prime Minister with a ‘siropa’ in the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, Mr Amarinder Singh said it was unfortunate and ridiculous that they were politicising this issue. He said if they could not give a ‘siropa’ to an upright and honest person like our Prime Minister, who was also from their own community then whom would they give it.

Earlier, addressing a rally, the Chief Minister said Kathunangal of native village of Baba Bhudha ji would be developed as a model village on the pattern of the villages of great martyrs, freedom fighters and warriors, who made supreme sacrifices for the motherland and which would be developed as ‘heritage sites’ on the national map.

He said he would moot a proposal soon to the Central Government to set up Special Economic Zone at Gurdaspur and Ferozepur on the pattern of Amritsar to boost trade and economic activities in the region. He handed over a cheque for Rs 1.25 crore to Mr Sawinder Singh, MLA, Kathunangal for development projects in the Majitha constituency under the Punjab Nirman Scheme.


Students, parents oppose handing of school to society
Tribune News Service

Nangal, March 31
Many persons including students, parents and supporters of political organisations, today held a rally in Naya Nagal against the decision of the NFL management to lease Capt Amol Kalia (CAK) Fertilizer Model Senior Secondary School, NFL, to an education society. They locked the gate of the school protesting that the school had lost affiliation with the CBSE after its handover to the Rose Marry Education Society by the NFL management and carreers of 1400 students were at stake. In the evening the employees gathered in the NFL complex and demanded withdrawal of agreement with the education society.

There was tension among employees of the NFL after CBSE Assistant Secretary from New Delhi, Joseph Emmanuel in a communication to the manager of the school on February 2 declined the school authorities request for CBSE affiliation to the CAK school as it had not submitted no-objection certificate essential for the affiliation. Employees of the NLF had been holding gate rally for past one-week in the evenings.

Though, Principal Secretary, Department of Education, Punjab Ms Tejinder Kaur, granted No-Objection Certificate (NOC) to the education society this week but employees continued stir alleging that the NOC was one of the objections raised by the CBSE for not granting the affiliation. There are other conditions which are yet not fulfilled by the Education Society running the school and careers of children would be at risk.

Parents of the students had moved the high court for quashing the agreement of the NFL for handing over the CAK School to the Rose Marry Education Society. On February 14, the high court had disposed of the writ asking the Principal Secretary, Department of Education, to re-examine the matter at the earliest and take a decision after hearing both parties.


Romana for action against Jathedar
Installation of ‘Miri-Piri’ emblem at Patna Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
There was flutter at the annual general house meeting of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee here yesterday when Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, an SGPC member and President, Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee urged the Sikh high priests, for action against Giani Iqbal Singh , Jathedar Patna Sahib for installing the Sikh emblem with two swords of Miri-Piri, at Takht Patna Sahib, which is an open challenge to the authority of Akal Takht.

He said Jathedar of Akal Takht should ban the entry of Jathedar of Patna Sahib at future meetings of Akal Takht till he corrected his ‘religious mistakes’ and tendered unconditional apology . It was the duty of Akal Takht to summon Jathedar Iqbal Singh allegedly for violating the maryada .

The emblem of ‘Miri-Piri’ was installed by Guru Hargobind Sahib himself adjacent to Harmandar Sahib. It could not be installed anywhere other than Harmandar Sahib complex, he said .

Akal Takht,, constructed by the sixth guru is also called as Akal Bunga, the house of the Lord. One sword symbolises temporal power and the other, spiritual power i.e., Miri and Piri.

Mr Romana also criticised Jathedar Iqbal Singh for using holy hymns for ‘mantras’, which had no place in Sikhism. He said Jathedar Akal Takht and other Sikh high priests could not escape the responsibility for allowing a Jathedar in the meeting who had been ‘violating’ Sikh maryada.

He alleged that Jathedar Patna Sahib had installed the ‘Miri-Piri’ emblem in his absence when he was away to Canada. He had already conveyed to the management of Patna Sahib that he won’t be visiting the Takht till the emblem, equating Takht, Patna Sahib with Akal Takht were removed .

He alleged several complaints against Jathedar Patna Sahib including that of bigamy, were pending with Akal Takht which were not being disposed off.

Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former SGPC chief also criticised certain Jathedars and the SGPC chief who were sitting in the general house for attending the Sikh sammelan at Fatehgarh Sahib called by a section of Sant Samaj and Damdami Taksal where Nanakshahi calendar was rejected. She said the Calendar was approved by the SGPC and Akal Takht and hence it was most disgusting that our president and Sikh high priests attended the function where age-old maryada was challenged.

However, the SGPC chief and Sikh high priests did not react to the statements of Mr Romana and Bibi Jagir Kaur.


Baba Chicago given ‘tankhah’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
The Sikh high priests have awarded a mild “tankhah” to Baba Daljit Singh Chicago, chief of Gurjot Parkash Gurdwara (Chicago), who was facing charges of moral turpitude, in a hush hush manner.

A meeting of the high priests was convened without informing the media after the annual budget session yesterday evening where Baba Chicago appeared to accept the “tankhah”. Unlike the past, no press note was issued to the media. It is a routine practice of the “tankhah” being pronounced amid media glare.

The Jathedar, Damdama Sahib, Giani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, said Baba Chicago had been asked to dust the shoes of the Sikh sangat, offer “kadah parsad” and recite Gurbani at any of the five Takhts.

Other Jathedars refused to entertain any query of mediapersons. Jathedar Vedanti and the Jathedars of Kesgarh Sahib and Patna Sahib had visited the USA many times on an invitation of Baba Chicago, which had evoked strong criticism from the Sikh sangat of the USA.

Earlier, a delegation from the USA, led by Mr Kulwant Singh Hundal, had submitted a complaint of moral turpitude in January.


Major reshuffle in SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 31
A day after the strong criticism of his style of functioning, Mr Avtar Singh, SGPC chief, today transferred as many as 134 officials, including 25 managers of various gurdwaras, apart from promoting nine employees.

While ordering reshuffle, certain 'tainted' officials of the Shiromani Committee, who were placed under suspension on various charges, were given coveted posts.

It may be mentioned here that the three former SGPC chiefs had strongly criticised the functioning of Mr Avtar Singh.

There is a grouse among the members that Mr Avtar Singh has encouraged groupism.


Punjabi University Survey
Tribune most popular among students
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 31
The Tribune has found maximum popularity among students, who claimed to have developed a taste for the paper for its credibility, unbiased and direct reporting. Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, emerged as the most popular Editor, while Mr Kushwant Singh came out to be the most read columnist.

The interpretation was made during a random survey conducted by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Patiala, recently.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr Harjinder Pal Singh Walia, Head of the department, said 43 per cent of the students preferred The Tribune. Following The Tribune’s popularity are: The Hindustan Times, Indian Express and The Times of India.

Referring to detailed analysis made on the basis of a random sample of cross section of students from the university, Dr Walia claimed that the objective, unbiased and direct reporting, supplemented by credibility of the newspaper, was appreciated by most of the subjects.

“Those readers who had responded in the favour of The Tribune claimed that they had found the reading material of the paper more reliable than any other English newspaper,” maintained Dr Walia.

Out of selected readers, 68.6 per cent read English, 20.1 Punjabi and 11.3 Hindi newspapers. Punjabi Tribune, Ajit Daily and Punjab Kesri were also popular among students.

Average students devoted time from one to three hours daily for reading material outside their syllabus books. Political stories were read by great interest, followed by sports and entertainment. The literature was read by least number of students.


BKU gives unity call, threatens protest
Tribune News Service

Jethuke (Bathinda), March 31
Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) leaders today exhorted all farmer organisations of the state to rise above differences and unite on a single platform to save their land. The unity call came at the funeral of Sarmukh Singh, a farmer who died in Ludhiana jail on Wednesday.

The leaders also announced their plan to hold a Jameen Bachao Conference during the forthcoming Baisakhi mela at Talwandi Sabo, besides taking out torch rallies in villages across the state.

Hundreds of farmers had converged to attend Sarmukh Singh’s funeral. Terming him as the “first martyr” of the agitation, the state BKU(E) president, Mr Joginder Singh Ugraha, and the general secretary, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri, alleged that the Congress government had launched a campaign to take away farmers’ land. “We are fighting a battle to save the farmers’ land and we would not allow displacement of farmers for the benefit of big business houses,” they added.

The union leaders alleged that the government had forcibly taken 376 acres from about 125 families at Dhaula, Fatehgarh Chhana and Sanghera villages and handed it over to the Trident group.

They further charged that the government had also made up its mind to take away panchayat land of 59 villages. They demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for Sarmukh’s family and a government job for one member of his family. They also sought action against those responsible for his death, besides seeking waiver of a debt of about Rs 4 lakh for his family.

They said they would continue with their stir till the demands were met. They added that farmers had already kicked off fasts in various jails in this regard.

Sarmukh Singh was one of 192 farmers who were arrested from Barnala during Jameen Bachao Morcha and sent to the Ludhiana jail.


Badal opposes wheat import
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today opposed the decision of the Union Government to import 1.5 million tonnes of additional wheat.

A press release of the SAD President said: “This proposal of the government is ill-timed and ill-conceived”.

He said it was against the interests of farmers and demanded that the decision should be reversed immediately.

He said the order for importing the wheat had been passed at a time when the produce of farmers here was ready to reach the market.

Mr Badal said the decision would lead to the slashing of wheat prices and severely affect Indian farmers.


Pingalwara stops collection through boxes
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 31
The All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Amritsar, decided to discontinue the practice of collecting donations through its designated persons in boxes.

Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the society, said the decision was taken in the budget session of the society held here today.

The society approved Rs 11 crore budget for the year 2006-2007.

She said the decision was taken after Pingalwara had received complaints about the activities of persons of doubtful credentials and sprouting of NGOs of namesake Pingalwara. She said the decision was taken after a marathon meeting of the society.

She said the decision was hanging fire for a long time owing to the fear of rendering 30 persons jobless. She added that some of them had been discharging the duty for the past two to three decades by going to railway stations, bus stands and other public places in the state.

The society would provide Rs 20,000 each to the donation collector. She appealed to the public to deposit the donations at the office itself and receipt of the same would be issued immediately.

She said a community school would be opened at Panj Pir tomorrow to accommodate those students who could not be absorbed in the main school.

She said the society received 550 applications for admission to nursery class of the school. But the capacity of the class was merely 70. So it was very difficult to accommodate all children. It had been decided to send rest of the students to a community school.

The president of the society assured that the students who would perform better in studies would be absorbed in the school.

She said the society would construct two new buildings here to house Special School and Apna Ghar for old and single persons.


Liquor contractors violate rules
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, March 31
Today being the last day for liquor vends to sell liquor quota for the preceding financial year, liquor was being sold openly on roads. Workers of liquor contractors are selling liquor on tempos. Announcements are being made on loudspeakers to attract customers to buy liquor at lower rates.

Boxes of liquor bottles have been kept on roads outside the liquor vends with lower rates being displayed. Indian made foreign liquor brands are being sold at half the price they have been sold all through the year. The brands that were sold at Rs 500 a bottle are now being sold at Rs 250 per bottle. The price of the country liquor has also been slashed. People are making the most of the situation. They are hoarding liquor to make most of the sale extravaganza. Even women and beggars were seen collecting their stocks with what ever fund they had.

Sources revealed that the contractors were trying to offload their stocks due to new license policy. Now that vends have been given against license fee it has broken the monopoly of the contractor.

However, such largescale sale of liquor at low price might hit the sale in the first month at the newly licensed vends. As per the rules no person can keep or carry more than two liquor bottles at a time.

The contractors this year got large number of cases registered against people carrying more than two bottles at a time. Special nakas were raised across the state to check smuggling of liquor. Nakas were even raised outside the Army canteen to restrain soldiers and ex-servicemen from carrying extra liquor.

However, it is surprising that the Excise Department is now turning a blind to the sale of liquor in violation of the rules.

Sources also revealed that open advertisement of liquor was banned under the law. However, the contractors were openly using loudspeakers to advertise the rates of liquor.

No Excise Department official was available for comment.


Boozers have field day
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, March 31
In total disregard to excise norms of the state, liquor contractors have been soliciting boozers through the beat of drums and loudspeakers offering them liquor at rock bottom prices for the past few days.

Earlier, the liquor cartel had made liquor out of reach for the common man. With the current shift in the liquor policy to be enforced from tomorrow the old stocks have been liquidated at throwaway prices.

The BJP state vice-president, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, lashed out at the government for not stopping the sale of liquor at such a cheap rate encouraging the common man to spend his hard-earned money on liquor.

She said the whole city had turned into liquor shops and contractors were offering many incentives to the boozers. She said the government seemed to have turned a blind eye to this menace, which had caused miseries to many families and was affecting the youth.

The Tribune team found that every liquor shop had put a sale and were selling bottles, which were earlier sold at Rs 300, for as low as Rs 50 to clear old stocks. Queues of people were seen at every liquor shop these days.


Action sought against officials over missing file
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 31
A resident of Mullanpur Garibdass has demanded strict action against certain officials of the Revenue Department for failing to carry out corrections in the farad badr, documents for which were submitted about three years ago.

Mr Kalu Ram has complained to Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, in a letter written recently, that he had been subjected to mental harassment as a file which was submitted for a correction in the faradbadr had got misplaced due to the alleged irresponsible attitude of officials concerned.

He said he had spent thousands on getting the documents required prepared and had to visit various government officers time and again in this regard, but to no avail.

The complainant pointed out in the letter that employees of the office of the Naib Tehsildar at Majri later asked him to submit a fresh application along with documents as the earlier file could not be traced.

He said he complaned to the Ropar Deputy Commissioner regarding the case on April 11 last.

The Deputy Commissioner had then asked the Kharar SDM to inquire into the matter and send a report. He alleged that nothing much happened.

The complainant further stated that the matter was again raised at public suvidha campus held at Mullanpur Garibdass and Majri, but no official was ready to help him in the matter.

He said a request for carrying out the corrections in the farad badr was submitted at the office of the SDM on July 30, 2003. The file then kept moving from one office to another for doing the needful.

After waiting for a long time, he went to enquire about the matter and then came to know that the file could not be traced.

When contacted today, the SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, failed to give any information regarding the case of the missing file.


TB specialist Singla honoured
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 31
A recipient of several awards and honours, Dr Surinder Singla, a TB and chest diseases specialist at the Civil Hospital, Sangrur, bagged another honour recently when he was honoured by the Punjab State TB Control Society for his contribution in the implementation of the revised national TB control programme (RNTCP) at a state-level function.

In March 2005 he was honoured by the Punjab State TB Control Society in recognition of his services for advocating RNTCP among the masses.


Medicos want better conditions

Patiala, March 31
The Joint Medical Students Union (JMSU) has urged the state government to take effective steps to improve the deteriorating condition of its medical, dental, ayurvedic and other health institutions to impart best education to the students.

In a press note, Mr Gagandeep Sharma, vice- president, JSMU, said the state government should also make arrangements for payment of Rs 5,000 as stipend against for as internship the existing payment of Rs 2,400. TNS


Medical staff hold protest

Dera Bassi, March 31
Protesting against the “anti-people” policies of the Punjab Government, medical and para-medical staff of Dera Bassi block today observed black day by wearing black badges.

The protesters, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other para-medical staff, assembled at the local Civil Hospital and opposed the handing over of health centres to the Panchayati Raj institutions. Addressing the rally, Dr Malhotra, president of the district unit, threatened to intensify the agitation if the government’s decision was not reversed. TNS


Docs oppose move on dispensaries
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 31
The PCMS Association at a meeting held here today resented and condemned the move of the state government to give rural dispensaries on contract.

Members of the association wore black badges in protest. Dr Jaswant Singh, district president of the association, said they along with other employees’ organisations would launch an agitation if the government did not withdraw its decision.

Dr Sanjeev Maheshwari general secretary, Mr Narinder Mehta, Mr Sanjiv Kumar from Ophthalmic Association, Mr Sandeep Singh from the Pharmacists Association, Mr Tara Singh from the Lab Technician Association, and Mr Harchand Singh from Class 4 Employees Union also attended the meeting.


Deadline set for Golden Temple road project

Chandigarh, March 31
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has set a deadline of one year for the completion of the elevated road project providing easy access to the Golden Temple.

The Rs 210 crore road will connect the Golden Temple to the National Highway.

The consultants have finalised the construction of the elevated road to provide smooth access to devotees coming from the Jalandhar-Amritsar road and Amritsar airport. The four-laned elevated road will be constructed from Maqboolpura Chowk to Bhandari Bridge with two entry points and one exit. — TNS


Insurance company told to pay Rs 1.23 lakh
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 31
The District Consumer Forum, headed by Mr B.C. Gupta, has accepted the complaint of Mr Davinder Singh of Dhugga village of this district against the local branch of United India Insurance Company Limited and has ordered it to pay Rs 1.23 lakh along with Rs 20,000 as damages within two months, failing which it would be liable to pay an interest at the rate of 9 per cent per annum.

Mr Davinder Singh had filed a complaint against the company, claiming Rs 2 lakh on the ground that his vehicle had been insured by the company and when it was damaged in an accident on April 20, 2004, the company repudiated the claim on the pretext that the driver Kulbir Singh was not in possession of a valid driving license.

The forum observed that the license was renewed by the DTO, Hoshiarpur, thrice since 1990 and as the driver was appointed by the owner after a test, the company had illegally repudiated the claim.

In another order, the forum directed the local Origin Express (India) Limited, a courier service, to pay Rs 12,000 along with costs of Rs 500 to Mr O. P. Pathania, a local resident.


16 Punjab IPS officers promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) of the Punjab Government, at a meeting here last evening, promoted 16 Indian Police Service officers of the Punjab cadre.

Mr S.M. Sharma of the 1980 batch has been promoted as Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP). He was earlier Inspector-General of Police. A vacancy of ADGP had been created after Mr P.M. Dass died a few months ago while he was on a mountaineering expedition in Sikkim.

Fourteen IPS officers of the 1991 batch were promoted to the rank of Deputy Inspector-General (DIG). All of them were already working against posts of DIG. The DPC also promoted Mr Sharad Satya Chauhan of the 1992 batch as DIG. His batchmates , Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu and Mr Gaurav Yadav, were given the selection grade. However, they will be promoted as DIG when a vacancy is created.

Nearly six months ago, when the 1987 batch of the IPS was promoted from DIG to IG, the government had not given the rank of IG to all of them in one go. The rank is still being given in a staggered manner when a vacancy arises.

The officers of the 1991 batch promoted as DIG are : Mr B.K. Uppal, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarao, Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, Mr T.S. Dhaliwal, Mr Bhushan Garg, Mr R.L. Bhagat, Mr Ishwar Chander, Mr Jagdish Kumar, Mr B.K. Bawa, Mr Parampal Singh, Mr R.P. Mittal, Mr N.S. Dhillon, Mr Sham Lal and Mr Kanwaljit Singh.

Sources in the police explained that the 1991 batch was unusually large in number. This had happened as several DSPs had been promoted to the IPS in 1995 as per the rules. As is the practice, they were allocated a batch with retrospective effect. Except Mr B.K. Uppal, the other 13 officers were included in the promotion exercise carried out in 1995.


Wildlife wing recast
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In a major restructuring of the wildlife wing of the Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation, Punjab, the state has been divided into two wildlife circles each headed by a Conservator of Forests.

The changes have been done following the winding up of the Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP-Hills II) of the World Bank.

While the 'Parks and Protected Areas Circle' will include all zoological parks, deer parks and sanctuaries in the Punjab plains and will be headed by a Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) by redesigning the post of the Director, MC Zoological Park, Chhatbir, the 'Shiwalik Hills and Wildlife Circle' Chandigarh' will be constituted by redesigning the post of Subject Matter Specialist to the Conservator of Forests (Wildlife).

The "Parks and Protected Areas Circle" will comprise three divisions.While one division will be headed by the Field Director, MC Zoological Park Chhatbir, who will look after Chhatbir Zoo, Ludhiana Zoo and Neelon Deer Park,the second division will be headed by the DFO, Patiala, with reallocated work to look after protected areas and sanctuaries of Patiala, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib and Mansa districts besides looking after Deer Park Bir Moti Bagh, Patiala.

The third division will be headed by the DFO, Ferozepore, the same post that currently exists as DFO, Harike.

The officer posted here will function from Ferozepore and will look after the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary, the Abohar Wildlife Sanctuary and other protected areas which will be constituted in Ferozepore, Amritsar, Faridkot, Moga and Bathinda.

The "Shiwalik Hills Wildlife Circle" also has three divisions. The first headed by the DFO, Ropar, after redesignating the present post of DFO (IWDP-Hills) at Mohali. The second division will be headed by the DFO, Hoshiarpur, after redesigning the post of DFO (IWDP Hills -II)). This wildlife division will cover Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahar districts and will monitor the wildlife ranges at Garhshankar, Hoshiarpur and Dasuya.

The third wildlife division of the Circle will be at Pathankot with ranges at Dhar, Pathankot and Gurdaspur. The DFO (IWDP Hills II) will be redesignated as DFO (Wildlife).

Six IFS officers have been posted at these divisions. Five of these are Balbir Chand Bala who has been posted as Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Chandigarh, Mr Jitender Sharma who will be the Conservator of Forests, Shiwalik Circle with headquarters at Chandigarh, Mr Parveen Kumar who will be the DFO (Wildlife), Mr Sunil Kumar who has been posted as DFO( Wildlife), Hoshiarpur, and Mr Krishan Lal who will be the DFO (Wildlife), Pathankot.


District Credit Plan launched
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
Mr Tejveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner, has launched the District Credit Plan, which envisages a target of Rs 2775 crore under various sectors, comprising Rs 2039 crore for agriculture and allied sector, Rs 221 crore for non-farm sector and Rs 515 crore for other priority sectors, prepared by the lead bank office of State Bank of Patiala for 2006-07.

For other priority sectors, Mr Tejveer Singh stated that special emphasis had been laid on the agriculture sector keeping in view the government guidelines in doubling of credit flow to agriculture sector in three years. The plan target for this year showed an increase of Rs 643 crore over last year’s target.

The DC appreciated the impressive performance of banks in achieving the benchmark laid down by Reserve Bank of India under priority sector and also applauded Nabard ,and other agencies for preparing the landmark credit plan for this district. He expressed optimism that the plan would lead to overall development of the economy for this district.

He also appreciated the efforts being put in by the banks, Nabard and other development agencies for undertaking various development and promotional schemes for maintaining overall growth for the rural sector. He exhorted the banks and agenices to make concerted efforts for formation and linkage of self-help groups and stressed upon taking necessary initiatives for the development of handloom and handicrafts, especially Patiala phulkari and Patiala jutti. The skill upgradation and value addition in these sectors would raise the income level of the rural artisans.


Batala MC budget gets nod
Our Correspondent

Batala, March 31
The Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Batala, stated today that the annual budget outlay for 2006-07 of the council was passed unanimously in the town hall.

The outlay for the financial year has been marked as Rs 11.39 crore. The meeting was presided over by Mr Subhash Sekhri and attended by Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, and a majority of municipal councillors and chairman, Zila Parishad, Balwinder Singh Laddi.

It was stated that Rs 1.79 crore received as loan from HUDCO has been handed over to the council and another amount of Rs 12.50 crore was in the pipeline. It will be spent for the development of the city to maintain water supply and sewerage.


Heroin worth Rs 10 crore seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 31
Close on the heels of seizure of 19 kg of heroin in a joint operation of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Border Security Force (BSF), the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has confiscated 10 kg of heroin worth Rs 10 crore in the international market.

The DRI nabbed Sukhwinder Singh Sukha of Naushehra Dhala, a noted smuggler whose family members also have a history of smuggling narcotics. The heroin was to be delivered to a person in Kabir Park just opposite Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).

Mr Dheeraj Rastogi, Joint Director, DRI, while confirming the seizure said the accused was today produced in the court and sent to three-day remand. However, he did not divulge the details of the operation. It was the second major haul within four days.

According to sources, preliminary interrogation revealed that the accused had taken the consignment from a notorious smuggler, Sukhwant Singh Sangha of Daoke village. It seems that he had received the consignment from at a pre-determined spot near Daoke village on the Indo-Pakistan border.

Sukhwinder Singh was driving a new Hundai Accent car with a registration number of Amritsar when he was intercepted near Putlighar Chowk by an advance team of the DRI.

He was to deliver the contraband to a blue-turbaned man in Kabir Park, the sources added. The team had also laid a naka near the bypass on the Atari-Amritsar road after getting strong intelligence tip-off from their headquarters in Delhi.

The DRI seized 10 packets of 1 kg each having its origin in Afghanistan and Pakistan and were concealed in a bag. The contraband had the marking of Uncle-Brother having its origin in Afghanistan.


Mystery shrouds woman’s murder
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, March 31
The body of a woman was recovered under mysterious circumstances on Abohar Road here on Wednesday.

Police sources said the body bore injury marks of sharp-edged weapons, besides a bullet injury.

Investigations revealed that it was the body of 35-year-old Naseeb Kaur, who belonged to Danewala village, and was married at Chak Sher Singh Wala village. The sources said she had deserted her husband some time back and was staying with an individual hailing from Jheendwala village.

The police has registered a case against her unidentified killers under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC. 


Man orders contract killing of brother
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 31
A US-based NRI, Jaswant Singh of Puadhrra village in Phillaur subdivision, gave his friends, Jiwan Singh and Bhagwan Singh, contract for killing his younger brother, Kuldip Singh, a UK citizen visiting his village, Puadhrra. Davinder Singh of Oban village, police station Tanda, was given the contract for Rs 5 lakh. Kuldip Singh was shot at and seriously wounded by Sonu and his three accomplices near Mionwal village when he was coming back from Ludhiana. He was admitted to the Phillaur Civil Hospital in a serious condition.

The Phillaur DSP, Mr Gursharan Deep Singh Grewal, told The Tribune here today that the Bilga police had registered a case under Sections 307/34/120-B, IPC, and the Arms Act and arrested Jiwan Singh and Bhagwan Singh. Jaswant has fled to the USA. The DSP stated that there was a land dispute between the two.


Co-owner booked for cheating, forgery
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 31
The Ropar police today booked the owner of Delhi- based Bandhu Trading Company for allegedly withdrawing Rs 9 lakh from the local branch of HDFC Bank here through forged cheques.

The owner of the private company, Chander Pal, had submitted forged cheques of Rs 10 lakh in the bank and had withdrawn Rs 5 lakh on March 10 and Rs 4 lakh on March 11, said the police.

The SHO (City), Manveer Singh, said a case of cheating and forgery was registered against Chander Pal on the complaint of the bank branch manager.


Governor for restructuring education system
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 31
Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues today made a plea for fast-track initiatives to restructure the education system by introducing models to develop youth’s potential and enable them to project the country’s strength. He said access to education could fasten the process of nation building.

Speaking at the annual function of Delhi Public School here, General Rodrigues said Punjab had made rapid strides in boosting the quality of education in the past and a education and medical commissions were being set up to address various issues concerning general and medical education. “We have to utilise resources to make our service-delivery systems more responsive to the needs of our people,” he added.

Expressing concern over the growing trend of drug addiction and female foeticide in society, General Rodrigues said he had asked the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) to conduct separate studies on these subjects.

Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla said education was the key to an individual’s development, economic progress and advancement of society. Mr Ramesh Talwar, Pro-Vice-Chairman of Delhi Public School, Bathinda, in his welcome address highlighted the achievements and activities of the institution.


VC committed to promoting Urdu
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 31
The valedictory function of the two-day seminar on “Punjab as a school of thought of Persian and Urdu literature” concluded at the Senate Hall of Punjabi University here today.

Prof S.S Johal, Adviser to the Punjab Government and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, was the chief guest while the Vice-Chancellor Mr S.S Boparai presided over the function.

Dr Johal expressed deep concern over “our collective failure to keep this subtle language in high esteem.”

Tracing the reasons behind this, he attributed it to official apathy and general insensitivity of the intelligentsia in ignoring the language. Citing the example of unthoughtful language policy, he mentioned Haryana where Tamil was opted as a second language instead of Urdu which was the language of the region since times immemorial.

Dr Johal lauded the efforts of the university to help preserve its cultural property in the form of the Urdu language.

Reiterating his commitment to the development of Urdu, Mr Boparai informed that the Nawab Sher Khan Institute of Urdu and Punjabi was being maintained at Malerkotla despite the fact that there were only eight students while the number of teachers and employees was 12. He added that other steps had been taken by the university to strengthen the language. These included the introduction of a compulsory paper of Urdu in BA (Punjabi Hons). He added that in the past one year, the university published two Urdu books and Prof Mohan Singh Diwan’s Urdu prose and poetry were in the process of being published.

Prominent among others who spoke on the occasion were Dr Tariq Kifayatullah, Head of the Department of Persian, Urdu and Arabic Studies, and Dr Nashir Naqvi.


ETT teachers’ list to be displayed on April 5
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 31
The last date for submitting applications for the post of ETT teachers in the district ended on Tuesday. The list of selected candidates would be displayed on the notice board of Zila Parishad on April 5.

Mr D.P.S. Walia, ADC(D), in charge of the recruitment process, appealed to the parents and candidates not to be misguided by any element or pay any bribe to anyone for ensuring them the post. If anyone approaches them, they should inform his office on phone No. 233300. He said the process for the selection was transparent and there was no possibility of any favouritism. He said that Director, Rural Development, had developed the software for the whole state and the data is fed into computer, which prepares the merit list.


Teachers of medical colleges hold rally
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 31
A protest rally was held on the dental college premises by the teachers’ association of dental and medical colleges here yesterday.

The teachers were up in arms against the recent policy of the government to privatise the rural health services.

The association members stated that the state bureaucracy was misleading the government to capture administrative control of the technical services in the state including medical services.

They stated the state could not rationalise such a step without being accused of running away from its responsibilities as a welfare state. 


Varsity course for commercial pilots
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 31
Guru Nanak Dev University today introduced prestigious courses for commercial pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers in collaboration with Civil Aviation, Punjab, through the Amritsar Aviation Club.

Stating this, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said the university would also introduce other aviation related courses like airways services and for airhostess in the near future in view of high-level of placement opportunities.

The syndicate at its recent meeting had already accorded concurrence while the Chief Minister had already approved the proposal in principle.

The VC stated that in view of tremendous expansion in the area of operation a number of foreign and domestic airways were seeking human resource in this direction. Moreover upgradation of various airports, including the Amritsar airport and the proposed international airport at Halwara (Ludhiana) has added to the demand for commercial pilots, maintenance engineers, airhostesses and other aviation personnel.

The training of commercial pilots in India and abroad is expensive but the university would impart training at reasonable rates, stated the VC. He said the Amritsar Aviation Club would give practical training of 200 hours while theory classes would be held on the campus.


Students leave for USA
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 31
Nine students of the Punjabi University left for Pennsylvania (USA) yesterday under a student exchange programme signed by Kutztown University and Punjabi University recently.

The students, who would attend a three-week international experience programme, were Ashok Kumar, Kanwal Shalender Singh, Tajinder Bakshi, Parampreet, Karan Dutta, Shavinder Kaur Arora, Gurjinder Singh Sidhu, Iqbal Singh and Kamaljit Kaur.

A total of 25 students from Canada-based Kwantein University were expected to visit the Punjabi University campus in either September or October following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Canadian university and Kwantein University authorities.

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