|P U N J A B||
Wednesday, October 21, 1998
|Lally to be Cong candidate
CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said here today that the party had decided to field Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lally in the Adampur byelection in Punjab.
Udham Singh Nagar "before Nov 29"
|Farm marketing system
CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 Several factors play a role in making an objective assessment of the farmers' share in the price paid by the consumers. Therefore, for a fair return to the producer, an efficient marketing system is needed. In Punjab in particular, marketing margins are much higher. A primary reason for this is the presence of multiple layers of market intermediaries.
Poor productivity, rising
activists to boycott Lok Pal
flow into Bathinda unabated
education for ultras' wards
plea to Yashwant Sinha
govt doctors doing private practice: Dang
|Businessman shot at, robbed||Prof Mohan Singh mela begins|
CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said here today that the party had decided to field Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lally in the Adampur byelection in Punjab.
Fortythree-year-old Kanwaljit Singh is a Vice-President of a Zila Parishad of Jalandhar district, according to Capt Amarinder Singh. He had contested from Adampur constituency last time also but had lost to the Akali candidate, Mr Sarup Singh, who died recently, by a margin 16,304 votes. Then the BSP's Rajinder Kumar had finished third securing 17,768 votes.
Capt Amarinder Singh said that he would be camping in Adampur constituency till the end of the election and the party would start its election campaign on October 22 by holding its first election meeting at Bhogpur. All Congress PCC members would be inducted in the election campaign and each of them would be in charge of one village while party office-bearers would be in charge of a group of villages.
He said that he had requested the party high command to send the leaders belonging to Doaba region back to Adampur constituency from other states where they had been deputed as party observers for election purpose. He said that he would also campaign in Ganganagar belt and Delhi for Congress candidates but would mainly concentrate in Adampur constituency. The party high command has asked the PPCC to campaign in nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies dominated by Punjabis in Ganganagar and Hanumangarh area in Rajasthan.
When asked about a tie-up with other parties, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was in touch with BSP, CPI, and CPM leaders and was trying to persuade them to support the Congress candidate. He made it clear that his party would not forgo its claim on Adampur constituency. He said that Adampur would be contested more keenly than Gidderbaha byelection where the late Mr Beant Singh had campaigned for three weeks without any break.
Capt Amarinder Singh said he did not celebrate Divali yesterday as he was upset after seeing the plight of farmers during his visit to various grain markets a day before Divali.
Capt Amarinder Singh said
he had constituted a committee under the leadership of Mr
G.S. Galib to prepare a report with regard to damage to
crops and condition of farmers. He had been asked to give
his report within 10 days. Capt Amarinder Singh said Mrs
Sonia Gandhi was willing to visit Punjab and efforts were
being made to plan her tour to this State.
Udham Singh Nagar issue
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes who is also convener of the three-member committee on Udham Singh Nagar, said today that the committee would submit its report before November 29.
Talking to reporters here, Mr Fernandes said the report would be binding on all parties concerned.
Although Mr Fernandes said he had come here primarily for an interaction with army personnel posted in the forward areas, it was learnt that he would review the situation arising out of the raising of the Udham Singh Nagar issue by the SAD. He would hold talks in this regard with SAD and Samata Party leaders late in the evening.
Mr Fernandes said that he had always been a friend of the SAD.
Mr Fernandes said he had received several representations on the Udham Singh Nagar issue.
He said the committee would meet shortly after completing informal talks with representatives of all parties. He, however, refused to divulge the details of the discussions he had with leaders of various parties on the issue.
The Defence Minister said Pakistan was waging a "proxy war" against India. He would hold discussions with local people before taking a decision on how to counter the "proxy war".
Answering questions about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the Defence Minister said the valley was nearly free of militant activity. There was a marked upsurge in the tourist traffic.
He said the government's proactive approach had paid dividends.
House boats had been booked for the next three seasons and the hotel business was booming.
Commenting on the proposed reduction in the strength of the Army by nearly 50,000 personnel, the minister felt that it would make available more resources to modernise the Army as the latest state-of-the-art equipment was quite expensive. Modern wars were fought with electronic systems and needed trained soldiers and officers. The Army should be better equipped to respond quickly to any threat, he added.
In reply to another question, he said he was not in favour of using the Army to curb internal insurgency as it was trained to fight the external enemy. He, however, said any decision regarding this could be taken after discussions.
The Defence Minister said the criticism of Pakistan regarding the military exercise being conducted by India was uncalled for as it was a routine exercise. Under the agreement, if any such exercise was to be undertaken within a radius of 70 km of the border, both countries would have to inform each other. However, the exercise conducted in Rajasthan was outside the radius of 115 km.
Asked about the probability of more nuclear tests, Mr Fernandes said "No such experiments in future".
Earlier, the Defence
Minister paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and Durgiana
Mandir. He also paid tributes to the martyrs at
Jallianwala Bagh. Mr Fernandes also had a meeting with
Army personnel at Gurdaspur. Tomorrow he would visit the
border areas of Amritsar and Ferozepore to know the
problems of defence personnel and residents of the border
Paddy loss due to rain more than
Rs 500 cr
ROPAR, Oct 20 The Punjab Government has assessed loss to paddy crop standing in fields and lying in the grain markets to be more than Rs 500 crore due to rain for 48 hours on October 16 and 17 in the state.
Talking to reporters here yesterday, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies Minister, Punjab, said that in these two days alone, more than 10 lakh tonnes of paddy lying in the markets was damaged and standing crop also suffered major loss.
To a question, Mr Mittal was of the view that payment of bonus on paddy to the farmers would be a difficult task during this season. However, he added that farmers, whose paddy had been damaged, would be compensated in the shape of bank loans or other facilities.
Mr Mittal also said that 'girdawri' of the damaged paddy crop was also not possible at this stage and it would also not serve any purpose as a major portion of the crop had already arrived in the markets.
The minister stated that 57 lakh tonnes of paddy, nearly half of the target of 1.20 crore tonnes, fixed for this season, had been procured, so far, by the government agencies and rice millers. He said as per the target, 70 lakh tonnes of paddy was to be procured before Divali. He admitted that target could not be achieved due to heavy and unprecedented rains in the region.
Mr Mittal said that he expected that state could only procure about one crore tonnes of paddy against the target of 1.20 crore tonnes in the season. He held two spells of rains, during September and October, responsible for damage to paddy.
Mr Mittal said that due to rains, paddy had not only been damaged, but discoloured also. Due to this, the state government had sought relaxation from the Centre for the purchase of paddy. The state had demanded the relaxation up to 10 per cent on damaged paddy and 4.5 per cent on damaged rice, while 13 per cent relaxation had been demanded for discoloured paddy.
Mr Mittal said that there was no problem of storage of paddy, as the government had taken steps for moving FCI food grains from the stores. He also said that he had not received any complaint regarding under-weighing from any corner. He added that no official of the Food and Supply Department or any other department relating to the procurement of paddy, under his charge had, so far, been suspended though he had transferred some officials on minor irregularities.
Mr Mittal also disclosed that he would recommend to the Punjab Chief Minister that the Punjab Mandi Board be entrusted with assessing the same. Under the proposal, sheds be provided on subsidised rates for the maintenance of crops to those farmers who owned more than seven acres of land.
Mr Mittal added that these sheds should be constructed by the farmers on their own and the government should only provide subsidy for these multi-purpose sheds.
MOGA: Lifting of
paddy from grain markets all over Punjab is posing a big
traffic hazard. Hundreds of trucks loaded with paddy are
parked on both sides of main roads and almost all roads
leading to cities. A number of accidents had already
occurred on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road in the past few
days due to blockade of traffic. These trucks mainly are
parked in front of the rice mills leaving little room for
direct road traffic. Government officials see this
traffic hazard but they have never bothered to take steps
to check it. A number of other places on these highways
are also flooded with paddy as there was no place
available in grain markets in the state. Transporters and
even travelling people have sought clearance of these
highways to avoid accidents.
Farm marketing system
CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 In an agrarian economy, the income of farmers is determined by the price received by them for their produce in the market.
Several factors play a role in making an objective assessment of the farmers' share in the price paid by the consumers. Therefore, for a fair return to the producer, which is also a consumer, an efficient marketing system is needed. In the country in general and Punjab in particular, marketing margins are much higher. A primary reason for this is the presence of multiple layers of market intermediaries.
Given the prevailing marketing system which governs the sale and purchase of agricultural produce, it is the government which fixes a minimum support price for selected commodities. There are organisations in the form of mandi boards which ensure that the farmers get their due.
The Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board (mandi board for short) regulates the functioning of 144-odd market committees, nearly 400 sub-market yards and hundreds of purchase centres which the Department of Food and Supplies sets up each season, during wheat and paddy procurement. The only income the mandi board gets is from the fee it levies at the rate of 2 per cent. An equal percentage is charged as r.d.f. (rural development fund), often used by the political executive.
Punjab produces 220 lakh tonnes of cereals, annually. About 60-75 lakh tonnes wheat and 100 lakh tonnes of paddy arrives in various mandis. Of these, 90 per cent of the wheat and 75 per cent of the paddy is purchased at the minimum support price fixed by the Centre by government agencies, both central and state. It is not uncommon that these agencies bungle in connivance with private traders and the intermediaries.
It is in this backdrop one has to see the role of the mandi board which is expected to act as a facilitator to buyers and sellers realise the fees levied and work overtime to ensure an efficient marketing mechanism as per the rules.
The Punjab Mandi Board Secretary, Mr P.S. Aujla, says besides sale and purchase the mandi board is entrusted with the task of maintenance of mandis, rural link roads leading up to these mandis and ensuring modern marketing facilities. Consequently, it has to ensure that there is utilisation of the money available with the board and the market committees.
Mr Aujla says recently the board drew up a Rs 100-crore project. Commercial banks have advanced a loan of Rs 75 crore to meet the cost. The work is expected to be completed in 50-odd mandis by October 1999.
The market fee has increased due to strict vigilance. Against Rs 153.75 crore (1996-97) and Rs 174.60 crore (1997-98) it is expected to touch Rs 200 crore at the end of the current financial year.
There is need to take cognisance of the way intermediaries function. Under the bylaws and rules, the commission agents have to provide certain amenities which range from providing tarpaulins, gunny bags, dustbins, power cleaners and fire extinguishers. Till recently no commission agent was fixing his firm's stamp on the gunny bags. Now it is being enforced. Early in August notices suspending licences were issued to 200 arhtiyas. At least 100 were temporarily cancelled.
Mr Aujla says the government is out to implement an experts report on "possibility to reduce the number of intermediaries in agricultural marketing system in Punjab".
The board, says Mr Aujla, is working out on a plan so as to encourage cleaning of foodgrain on the farmers' fields. This is to ensure that farmers get a better price and extraneous matter and impurities do not get mixed. But then, reports say cleanliness is a disadvantage to the farmers since impurities also get bagged and there is no price cut.
The mandis have rest houses for farmers. These are seldom used despite the fact that farmers spend days awaiting their turn. A majority of these are at present in the illegal occupation of security forces, mainly, the police.
Mr Aujla discloses that
besides foodgrain, horticulture produce is also finding
its way to the markets. To improve post-harvest
technology, a centre for research is being established at
PAU, Ludhiana, for which board will contribute,
Poor productivity, rising costs
CHANDIGARH, OCT 20 Deepening agrarian crisis is casting its ugly shadows over Punjab. Experts say that the benefits of the green revolution are petering out. What is currently being witnessed the rotting paddy in the mandis, the angry farmers and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal rushing to Delhi and pleading for some immediate relief is a sad comment. Cotton and paddy, the golden crops, both are the nightmare of farmers and other crops like wheat, oilseeds and sugarcane, just help the farmers to have two square meals, farmers who were prosperous a few years back now tell only woeful tales.
What is the harsh reality? During 1990-91, there were about 11 lakh farms of which 45 per cent were less than two hectares, the size required to survive. The land is under tremendous pressure and is getting fragmented with each passing day. By the turn of the century, another two lakh farming families will become small farmers trying to compete with the bigger ones. In spite of the fact that the per acre yield is good, the cost of machines and overheads offset their calculations.
Returns over cash costs for a two -hectare farm with rice wheat rotation and no natural calamity hitting, come to Rs 42,180, experts at the Punjab Agricultural University at Ludhiana have calculated. The average per capita income in Punjab is Rs 16,044 and it works out to Rs 96,264 for a family as six members and is double than the income of a two-hectare farm, the experts calculated. Even if the increase is pushed to another 10 per cent to 15 per cent as far as productivity is concerned, this is not enough to take the farmer out of the poverty net which would become more dismal. Farmers have already achieved 75 per cent of the productivity.
There is another sad aspect. While all low yield crops like maize and gram have been replaced by wheat and rice, yet their productivity now offers little hope. Yield has increased from 10.35 quintals per hectare to 33.97 quintals per hectare between 1960-1997. Similarly wheat yield has increased from 12.37 quintal per hectare to 42.35 quintals . There has been similar progress in the production of milk, honey and eggs.
But then productivity of the land is declining. Rice productivity has reached a plateau. In the first decade of the green revolution, the productivity of rice was 4.89 per cent, it has now declined to 0.58 per cent. The same is the story of wheat. It declined from 2.79 per cent to 2.14 per cent. In the same period, sugarcane productivity declined from 3.4 per cent to 0.28 per cent. The same has been the case with the cotton crop.
Simultaneously, there has been a degradation of resources. "This should make us sit up and worry," says PAU's Vice Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat. The rice-wheat rotation is overexploiting the underground water resources and also the upper crust of the land. The water table in central Punjab is going down. Sixty per cent of the blocks are considered "dark" from the point of underground water and in the next 15 years, the farmers will have to spend Rs 2,000 crore to install two lakh deep tubewells. And ironically, the water table in the south western region is rising; parts of Malwa are getting waterlogged. The land is becoming increasingly deficient of zinc, iron, manganese and sulphur. All this has to be artificially provided, taking the cost of production still higher. Incidence of weeds is also rising.
There is no escape from decreasing the pressure on land and changing the cropping pattern. Experts suggest optimum use of fertilisers and agro chemicals, irrigation and other inputs. There is need to create better and more forward market linkages and take care of the small and marginal farmers. Farmers have to add value and then sell their product. There is already a booming cottage industry making illicit liquor. Why not licence it. The state can make money and the farmers can make profit. Also small cottage industries should be encouraged. There is also need of a risk foundation which could offer crop insurance, venture capital for diversification and assistance for social needs, besides the creation of provident fund for the purpose.
It will be a tragic
wastage if Punjab farmers, who contribute 47 per cent of
the state's gross domestic product or in other words
those who contribute 24 per cent of cotton, 22 per cent
of wheat and a 9 per cent of the total production of rice
in the country, are allowed to die a slow death.
Cong activists to boycott Lok
CHANDIGARH, Oct 20 Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has directed all Congress Party activists in the state to boycott the Punjab Lok Pal.
He has directed Mr Sant Ram Singla, General Secretary of the PPCC, to write to all Congress leaders not to appear before the Lok Pal as the party had decided to boycott it.
Capt Amarinder Singh told TNS that he had met the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber (retd), recently and had urged him to remove Justice Harbans Singh Rai from the office of Lok Pal. The same plea was made to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. But so far nothing had been done in this connection. Hence the decision to boycott the Lok Pal, he remarked.
Capt Amarinder Singh said that the institution of Lok Pal was acceptable to his party but it would like the Lok Pal to be appointed by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He said that any person appointed Lok Pal by the Chief Justice would be acceptable to his party.
Capt Amarinder Singh said his party had no faith in Justice Rai as he was a close family friend of Mr Badal and the party could not expect justice from him in these circumstances. The controversy with regard to the Lok Pal was going on for the past six months and Capt Amarinder Singh had taken a tough stand on the issue.
It is not known that how many Congress leaders are facing trial in the court of the Lok Pal.
Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh has directed the party activists to implement in letter and spirit the instructions and guidelines sent by the party high command on the basis of resolutions passed in the Pachmari conclave.
As per the guidelines all Congress Party activists have been told to plant and tend at least five saplings at common places, especially in schools and hospital complexes every year. Besides, they have been told to persuade at least 10 eligible couples for adopting family welfare programme on the basis of the two-child norm.
Congress Party activists of Punjab have also been asked to collect five lakh signatures to highlight the non-implementation of the Justice Sri Krishna report by the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Government. The party high command has told the Congress activists in the country to collection at least 10 million signatures in this connection.
Apart from this, Congress
activists have been told to monitor the implementation of
the anti-poverty programmes by the government agencies
and send reports in this connection to the party head
office here. They have been urged to organise dharnas at
sub-divisional and district headquarters to highlight
public problems and grievances.
Drugs flow into Bathinda
BATHINDA, Oct 20 The influx of drugs into the district from the neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan and the increase in the number of addicts had resulted in the emergence of Bathinda as a thriving market for drug smugglers and peddlers based in other states.
The situation has become so alarming that a drug trafficker is booked by the district police after every 48 hours and huge quantities of narcotics seized.
Police sources said that about 30 cases relating to the smuggling of poppy husk and opium were registered in different police stations in the past two months and about 20 quintal of poppy husk and 4 kg of opium recovered.
Mr Harnek Singh, district police chief, said that a special drive had been launched to check the smuggling and consumption of poppy husk, opium and other drugs.
Investigations reveal that most of the flow was from Madhya Pardesh and the consignments were being smuggled in by truck drivers.
District Red Cross Deaddiction Centre sources said 70 per cent of the rural and urban population of the district was addicted.
The sources said the number of addicts coming to the deaddiction centre and various private hospital was on the rise.
Free education for ultras'
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 Amid "disturbing" reports that the families of slain terrorists have come on a single platform, the Punjab police has decided to launch an operation to win over their hearts in the border belt comprising Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore where about 50 per cent of the militants died in encounters.
Under this operation, the Punjab police will give free education to the wards of those militants who had joined the national mainstream by surrendering themselves to the police.
Mr P.C. Dogra, DGP, has said that it is the moral responsibility of the police to look after the families of former militants who had left the path of violence. Mr Dogra, however, said the assembly of the families of slain militants was a disturbing factor which could not be ignored.
It may be mentioned here that The Dal Khalsa International, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Akal Federation and the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) organised a "people's convention" three days ago in which about 300 families of slain militants highlighted their problems, including alleged police excesses.
Mr Dogra said he would
direct the police not to harass the families of militants
as they were in no way party to their (militants')
lawless activities. He said their (militants) children
should be allowed to become good citizens.
Pensioners' plea to Yashwant Sinha
LUDHIANA, Oct 20 The All-India Government Pensioners Association has sent a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, demanding the early release of the DA instalment due from July 1998. Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary of the association, has urged the Union Finance Minister to honour the Union Cabinet decision without further delay.
JALANDHAR: According to the PTI the All-India Central Government Association on Tuesday flayed Minister of State for Pensions R. Janarthan for "reneging on his promise to call a meeting of the standing committee of voluntary associations (SCOVA) of government pensioners and urged Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to intervene.
"The minister belong to the AIADMK was more busy looking after his party's interests and politicking than paying attention to his portfolio and resolve the long standing demands of over, 32 lakh Central government pensioners", Mr V.S. Jolly, general secretary of the association said.
He said Mr Janarthan promised to former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP Shanta Kumar in the first week of August that a meeting of SCOVA, would be held shortly.
However, till date, the
minister has not even broached the subject, Mr Jolly said
adding that the association had requested Mr Vajpayee to
grant time to a pensioners delegation to listen to their
Sack govt doctors doing private
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 Mr Satya Paul Dang, a senior Communist leader said that the doctor whom the District Consumer Disputes Redressal court Amritsar, had recommended to be "thrown out of government service" should be suspended forthwith and steps initiated to sack him.
He said this doctor continued to carry on private practice and also issued false medico-legal medical certificates the ESI doctor who was found doing private practice in his family hospital during official duty hours was given prize posting in Amritsar Civil Hospital as "punishment", be proceeded against according to the rules and given deterrent punishment.
Officers responsible for rewarding him for the damaging report against him should be suitably punished.
Mr Dang added that certain
doctors suspended for issuing false medical certificates
who, he admitted that they were issuing false medical
certificates by taking bribes should be dismissed as soon
as possible. Their allegation that they were paying 50
per cent of the bribe taken by them in medico legal cases
to the district Health authorities must be inquired into,
in my opinion it should also be inquired into if the
share reached Chandigarh also, he said.
Businessman shot at, robbed
LUDHIANA, Oct 20 Armed criminals robbed Mukesh Mittal proprietor of a local firm of Rs 50,000 here today.
Mukesh Mittal, proprietor Om Parkash Vijay Kumar, had come to the Chaura Bazaar area to collect money.
According to eyewitnesses, he was chased by three unidentified youths. When he tried to save himself by hiding in nearby shop the three men followed him inside and tried to snatch his bag with Rs 50,000 inside. When he resisted, they opened fire at him injuring him and two children in the vicinity. They were identified as Money (11) and Sonu (13). The culprits escaped with the money on a scooter parked nearby. Gulshan Kumar, a shopkeeper of the area and an eyewitness said the police arrived at the scene 20 minutes after the incident.
Prof Mohan Singh mela begins
LUDHIANA, Oct 20 Prof Mohan Singh's poetry imparts the message of love, unity and universal brotherhood, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Punjab's Medical Education and Environment Minister, said while delivering the inaugural address at the 20th Prof Mohan Singh memorial mela at Daad village today.
The mela began after the minister garlanded the statue of Prof Mohan Singh at Ferozepore Road and then proceeded towards Daad village.
Vishvakarma Day celebrated
MOGA, Oct 20 A function was organised by the Ramgarhia Welfare Society here today in connection with Vishvakarma Day.
The Education Minister of Punjab, Mr Tota Singh, presided over it.
Addressing the gathering, he said that Punjab Government had undertaken various industrial projects. The Chief Minister had taken up the issue concerning the loss suffered by farmers due to the recent heavy rain with the Prime Minister and the Centre was likely to provide liberal grant to the state government, the minister said.
PHAGWARA: Vishvakarma Day was celebrated with traditional fervour at Vishvakarma Temple on the Banga road said on Tuesday.
PATHANKOT: Vishvakarma Day was celebrated here at Vishvakarma Temple.
Row over N-blasts
GURDASPUR, Oct 20 The Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, today said that the controversy over the May nuclear blasts at Pokhran was unfortunate.
Addressing a sainik sammelan here, he said the hue and cry raised about the economic sanctions imposed by the USA was beyond comprehension. The nuclear blasts were conducted for the security of the country which could not be compromised.
Mr Fernandes said the opposition of the USA to "our country was not new".
The Defence Minister said India had attained the status of a nuclear power after the blasts. He said he was concerned about the welfare of army personnel working under difficult conditions. In this connection, he referred to his three visits to the Siachen.
BJP ex-servicemen's cell to
HOSHIARPUR, Oct 20 The Executive Committee of the ex-servicemen cell of the Punjab State BJP has decided to launch a membership campaign, Capt Vikram Singh, chairman of the cell said in a press release. He said that thousands of ex-servicemen joined the BJP during the last general elections. He said that Brig MS Dhillon (retd), vice-president of the state cell had been given the charge of Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Amritsar, Brig Jagdev Singh (retd) also vice-president would be in charge of Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur, Moga and Bathinda districts and Col Rajinder Dadwal (retd), general secretary of the cell would oversee the work in Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Nawanshahr districts.
He said that Major-General
Atma Singh AVSM VrC (retd) and Major-General Sher Jang
Rathore VSM (retd) both vice-presidents of the state
would tour all districts in the state to enrol membership
for the party.
Awards for Punjabi writers
PATIALA, Oct 20 The state Language Department has announced awards for Punjabi writers for 1997.
Mr Madan Lal Hasija, Director, in a statement said here today that the Giani Gurmukh Singh award in poetry has been awarded to Dr Shinder's book "Jadon Tusi Parte'. The Teja Singh award in editing goes to Mrs Parminder Kaur and Achru Singh's work 'Kathan Kosh' and "Jammu Kashmir de Dikh Twarikh". A book by S. Jasbir Singh Sarna has bagged the Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha award. The M.S. Randhawa award in literature has been won by Mr Sukhdev Singh's book "Village Society and Development" and the award in the field of children literature goes to Sukhdev Singh Shant's book "Gao Bachaeo Gao".
Tohra likely to be re-elected
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 Mr G.S. Tohra is likely to be elected President of the SGPC for the 25th time on October 23. Mr Tohra was elected president of the SGPC on January 6, 1973, and has been continuing in the post with a small gap.
Although Mr Tohra's
election as the SGPC chief is only formality, his
opponents will use the platform of the SGPC general house
to highlight his alleged dictatorial policies. Sources
say though Mr Parkash Singh Badal had a majority in the
general house at the time of the SGPC elections last
year, Mr Tohra managed to win over most of them in his
3 of a family buried alive
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 Three persons of a farmers' family were buried alive whereas one escaped unhurt in a roof collapse in Tungbala village on the outskirts of the city on Monday as the family was celebrating Divali.
The police said bodies of Jasbir Singh (45), his wife Paramjit Kaur (40), and 18-year-old son Kala, were extracted from debris with the help of fire brigade personnel.
3000 pilgrims to visit Pak
AMRITSAR, Oct 20 A jatha of about 3,000 pilgrims will visit Sikh shrines in Pakistan, including Nankana Sahib.
Three special trains will carry the pilgrims to Pakistan on October 30. The jatha, led by SGPC general secretary Balbir Singh Pannu, will return on November 8.
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