|P U N J A B||
Monday, September 7, 1998
group backs People's Commission
mustard oil samples taken
telescope for Ludhiana
main cause of blindness
lose land to Ravi
'Give fillip' to potato exports
help sought for workers' release
killed, 11 hurt in bus-truck collision
Takht chief joins
AMRITSAR, Sept 6 Akal Takht chief Bhai Ranjit Singh sees no harm in mediation efforts by SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra to resolve differences among the warring jathedars.
In an exclusive interview with TNS here today, he said even an ordinary Gursikh had the right to question the jathedars on the reasons which led to the acrimony.
It may be mentioned here that Akal Federation had questioned the authority of Mr Tohra to mediate among the jathedars. Bhai Ranjit Singh, however, said that a solution to the present stalemate was "panch pardhani" to be constituted at the instance of the Akal Takht as suggested by Akal Federation.
He said it was during a chance meeting with Mr Tohra at Fatehgarh Sahib that the crisis in the clergy was discussed. He denied that Mr Tohra had called him for the meeting.
Bhai Ranjit Singh said he was ready for an amicable solution with his colleagues provided Prof Manjit Singh submitted accounts of the World Sikh Council and classified his stand on vital issues like the "hukmnama" on "langar".
"I don't have personal enmity with my colleagues", said Bhai Ranjit Singh. "It is a matter of principles and nothing else", he clarified. He said he had told Mr Tohra that no solution was possible till Prof Manjit Singh submitted the accounts of the World Sikh Council as the money was the "property of the Panth".
He alleged that at the instance of Prof Manjit Singh a case was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against him and Justice Kuldip Singh (retd) which had to be withdrawn. He said if Prof Manjit Singh had no faith in the Akal Takht, he ought to resign as Jathedar of Sri Kesgarh Sahib.
Bhai Ranjit Singh lambasted Mr Kirpal Singh, president, Chief Khalsa Diwan, and said he had "no moral right" to question his installation as Akal Takht chief. He said at the installation ceremony all Sikh organisations, including the Chief Khalsa Diwan, was present.
He alleged that Mr Kirpal Singh had turned against him as he had stopped the practice of sending inmates of the orphanage run by the Chief Khalsa Diwan for collecting donations.
Meanwhile, according to PTI, the Sikh clergy and political leadership are trying for a repprochement among the jathedars lest the tercentenary celebrations of the "Khalsa panth" be marred by dissent.
The SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal have reportedly held one-to-one meetings to resolve the crisis but a breakthrough is yet to be achieved.
The decision of Bhai Ranjit Singh to issue a "hukmnama" making it mandatory to partake "langar" while sitting crosslegged on the floor has led to fratricidal battles in gurdwaras in Canada where "langar" is served on the table.
The fact that Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Editor of the influential Punjabi vernacular 'Ajit' has locked horns with the Akal Takht chief has further complicated the matter.
Akali leaders had pinned hopes on the meeting between Ranjit Singh and the SGPC chief, but the Akal Takht chief has stuck to his position.
Few intellectuals, Sikh or non-Sikh, dare to give a verdict either way because of the immense powers wielded by the Akal Takht which can declare anybody a 'tankhaiya' for anti-panth actions.
mustard oil samples taken
NAWANSHAHR, Sept. 6 It is just a matter of luck that no case of dropsy has been reported in the district as despite the ban imposed by the government on the sale of mustard oil, the local administration has reportedly not taken any concrete steps to check the possibility of the outbreak of an epidemic.
Both the Civil Surgeon and the Civil Supplies Controller, when contacted, said they had directed officials to get the ban orders implemented and held meetings with representatives of the local Mandi Merchants Association, who had assured them that mustard oil would not be sold.
But, the outbreak of an epidemic cannot really be prevented without taking samples and keeping a record of the existing stocks. The Civil Surgeon claims that the merchants have hidden their stocks and that a team of the Health Department could only draw six samples till now.
Mr Surinder Arora, president of the merchants' association, said the association had decided not to sell the mustard oil, but had no idea what would happen to the existing stocks lying with wholesale and retailers.
With the festival season ahead, there is every possibility of hidden and unsampled stocks finding their way into the market.
PHAGWARA: The state executive members of the local Indian Medical Association, Dr Raman Aggarwal, has urged the state government to make arrangements for pure mustard oil instead of banning its sale.
MOGA: The District Magistrate, Mr Kulbir Singh Kang, has directed officials of the Food Department to take samples of mustard oil.
The department has so far sent six samples for testing.
He said almost all stocks of mustard oil here had disappeared and were not available in the market.
ISI planned mass killing with cyanide
CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 (PTI) The Punjab Police have unravelled Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sinister game of virtually resorting to "chemical warfare" by planning selective targeted mass killings with lethal cyanide and a strong anaesthesia, "flouthene", seized from arrested terrorists, the Punjab Police chief has said.
Director-General of Police P.C. Dogra told PTI that two kg of German cyanide and two bottles of flouthene were seized from Pakistan-based Babbar Khalsa International militants arrested in the past 10 months in the state.
Mr Dogra said he did not want to cause any scare among the people but the intentions of Pakistan's ISI operatives was to either poison waterworks or any other water body. They also had plans to target a military or paramilitary areas anywhere in the country.
"One really shudders while making out ISI designs which amounted to chemical warfare", Mr Dogra said adding that such a sinister ISI game must be taken seriously by responsible people from both sides.
Fluothene was drug that a single drop of it makes a dog to faint immediately, Mr Dogra said, adding that the terrorists carrying cyanide and fluothene did not exactly know its users in India.
"We are not able to get hold of those men who were to execute ISI designs finally", he said.
The terrorists were nabbed before its end-users could plan and execute it.
"During the heyday of terrorism in Punjab, one kg of cyanide seized from terrorists was quite understandable as cyanide capsules were popular with militants trying to escape from the clutches of security forces, but 2 kg of cyanide seized now really baffled us initially," the Punjab Police chief said.
One kg of cyanide was
recovered from Satnam Singh Jhajion, Baj Singh and Gurlal
Singh of the BKI on October 24 last year and one kg of
cyanide from Amarjit Singh Sohal and two other BKI
activists from Batala on July 10 this year. Two bottles
of fluothene were seized from Jaswant Singh Sidhupur,
Balwinder Singh and two more from BKI militants in June
this year, he said.
AMRITSAR, Sept 6 The human rights wing of the SAD today said that Mr Jaswant Singh Khalra, its general secretary who was kidnapped under mysterious circumstances from his house on September 6, 1995 was in fact killed by the police. This was why his death anniversary was being observed this year three years after his disappearance.
It announced this 'startling' conclusion in the presence of Mrs Parmjit Kaur Khalra (widow of Mr Khalra) Ms Navkiran Sandhu (daughter) and Mr Prem Singh Lalpura an expelled Akali MLA. Mr Prem Singh Lalpura said the "shaheedi divas", to be observed in Khalra on November 8, (the day Mr Khalra allegedly died) would be observed on a large scale and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Baba Thakur Singh of the Damdami Taksal and many other leaders would participate.
Mr Satnam Singh Amishah, chief spokesman of the HRW, said Mr K.P.S. Gill should be arrested as an eyewitness has deposed before the CBI that he (Mr Gill) was directly involved in the case.
HRW leaders said that the report of the Peoples Commission would be sent to the UN and International Human Rights Organisation for appropriate action.
The HRW leaders said that the Peoples Commission was set up as the Shiromani Akali Dal had failed to fulfil promise made in its poll manifesto on a commission to probe police high-handedness in the state. The HRW urged the Chief Minister to accord recognition to the Peoples Commission and take a firm stand in its support.
It said after the massacre in Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 similar commission was set up by Mr Nehru which helped in identifying the culprits.
The HRW also demanded
dismissal of the Advocate General for his reported
statements against the Peoples Commission. It said that
the Peoples Commission will also take up cases of
excesses committed against police officials.
Diabetes main cause of blindness
AMRITSAR, Sept 6 The second annual conference of the Punjab Ophthalmological Society and a mid-term satellite meeting of the All-India Ophthalmological Society held here today was of the view that diabetes was becoming the number one cause of blindness in affluent societies. The government called for opening more eye banks in various parts of the country.
The conference was inaugurated by Dr I.S. Jain, an eminent eye surgeon and former Director PGI. About 400 eye surgeons from various states including Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Rajasthan participated.
Presiding over the conference Dr Daljit Singh, an eminent eye surgeon and president of the All-India Ophthalmological Society emphasised on the importance of taking the best technology to the poor to reduce the growing numbers of treatable blind patients.
He commented that there was a huge gap between the number of eye surgeons and of patients requiring treatment. The need of the hour was that well equipped hospitals be set up in remote areas so that eye surgeons had an incentive to settle and work there, he added.
Dr I.S. Jain reiterated on the need for proper training courses for eye surgeons to remain abreast of the latest developments around the world.
Dr S.S. Sangha, president, Punjab Ophthalmological Society, stressed the need for proper eye bank facilities in the state. He also talked about the need for education on the importance of eye donation.
The organising secretary
of the conference, Dr Ravijit Singh, talked about the
need for public education against the ill-effects of
diabetes on the eyes. He said patients went blind because
they did not know about the harmful effects of diabetes
even though treatment was available in their own city. If
diagnosed and treated in time with laser, the vision of
hundreds could be saved. Every diabetic must visit an eye
specialist once every six months to have the retina of
his eye checked so that treatment can be started at the
Radio telescope for Ludhiana
LUDHIANA: If everything goes well, Ludhiana should acquire by the end of next month what will be Punjab's first radio telescope to study the solar system.
The radio telescope is being supplied free of cost to Dr Kuldeep Singh, a local physicist, by Taunton Radio Astronomy Observatory (TRAO), UK, as a part of its efforts to promote radio astronomy among school students throughout the world. It already has telescopes operating in Germany and Australia and a further 41 in the UK.
Dr Kuldeep Singh, who is also a member of the executive committee of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, is in regular touch through e-mail with TRAO in the UK which is guiding him in the installation and operation of the telescope.
"The sun and the Milky Way emit electro magnetic radiation over a wide spectrum and not just in an invisible region", explains Dr Kuldeep Singh. "The optical telescope cannot be focussed on the sun directly. Radio telescope can be used to study certain phenomenon".
Radio telescope works like a television. An aerial or a dish is needed to pick up the radio waves from distant astronomical sources like dead star remains and active radio galaxies. Some waves have been travelling since millions of years. When the wave encounters with our dish, a tiny electrical signal is produced. The signal is amplified and is given to a radio receiver to listen to the hiss. The signal is then given to computer for analyses.
"Often we do not move the antenna. We keep its direction fixed. The rotation of the earth helps us in exploring the space. The radio signal produces a tiny voltage that can be displayed on computer. When we point the aerial at the sun, the hiss increases to a roaring sound. Sometimes massive outpouring of matter and energy occurs from its surface which is called Solar Flare. If Solar Flare occurs when the sun is above the horizon, a huge increase in radio signal is detected. Solar flares are so noisy that it is not even necessary to have the aerial pointing at the sun", explains Dr Kuldeep Singh.
The advancement of technology plays a significant role in radio astronomy. Computer handles the data received through the aerial. The result can be seen by many on Internet.
Dr Kuldeep Singh has also written to Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Punjab's Minister for Science and Technology, informing him about the proposed installation of a radio telescope in Ludhiana and inviting government participation in the project. "His response has been encouraging", he says.
Dr Kuldeep Singh is quite excited about the project which, he feels, will help in upgrading school education in the state. He has also established a contact with teachers in Punjabi University at Patiala which has a department of astronomy. They too are looking forward to the acquisition of radio telescope.
Born and brought up in Dakha, a village in Ludhiana district, Dr Kuldeep Singh obtained his M.Sc., M.Phil and M.Ed. degrees from Punjabi University, Patiala. He earned his doctorate from New Mexico University, USA. After serving for a while at Punjab Agricultural University here, Dr Kuldeep Singh became a UNESCO and Commonwealth consultant. During his six-year-long stint with UNESCO, he served in different parts of the world. Apart from designing many new teaching aids, he was involved in developing science kits for the schools of the Philippines and Bhutan.
At present he is a member
of several international organisations, including the
European Physical Society, Switzerland; Planetary
Society, USA; International Organization of Science and
Technology Education, Germany, International Network in
Environmental Education, Greece and Indian Association of
Physics Teachers. One of his projects was commended
through the CASTME award in Commonwealth in 1996.
lose land to Ravi
GURDASPUR, Sept 6 Resident of Mammi Chakranga village in Bharjal Bulge on the Indo-Pak border in this district are a worried lot due to continuous erosion of their land by the Ravi. As many as 200 acres have been eroded during the current season.
Land erosion in the area is taking place for the past two years. More than 1000 acres were washed away by the strong currents of a rivulet. So much so all houses of Mammi Chakranga village except one have been washed away. The villagers have moved to safer places.
Mrs Sunita Mahajan panch Morara told this correspondent that representations to the MP and MLA from the area and senior officials of the Drainage Department have been in vain.
Drainage officials maintain that a team headed by the Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, visited the area four months ago and approved construction of studs and spurs involving an expenditure of Rs 2 crore. They say the amount has been sanctioned and will be released soon. The construction work will start in the first week of October.
Meanwhile, the 600-foot breach in J&K bandh which took place in 1996 has been plugged. It has saved 15 villages, including Baswoop and Shehar Chhanni from the onslaught of floods. According to official sources earlier the bundh was under the jurisdiction of Jammu and Kashmir Government. It was handed over to Punjab this year after a meeting between the Chief Engineers, Drainage, of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
Jaswant Singh Sarpanch of
Gajju Jagir village says flood protection measures in the
area are satisfactory and lasting as people of the area
were involved in the construction of flood protection
measures on the Ravi. As a result the resident of a dozen
villages, including Gajju Jagir, Gajju Khalsa, Sharnpur,
Tarpur, Marara, Jhahkara, Bahmani and Bahrampur are free
from the fear of floods.
to potato exports
CHANDIGARH, Sept 6 Farmers who attended the potato field day at Gharuan village, near Kharar, today demanded that exports should be encouraged and potato growers provided better post-harvest technology, particularly, on the preservation and packaging of the produce so that its shelf-life is extended.
Organised at Dasmesh Cold Storage, experts from Punjab Agricultural University, the Potato Research Centre at Jalandhar, and several private firms were present to speak about pre-and post-harvest technologies, seed availability, plant protection, soil testing, refrigeration facilities, etc.
On display among other varieties was the wonder "true seed" from Assam Agricultural University. It transpired at the seminar-cum-field visit that average production in Punjab was 20.3 tonnes per hectare as against 17 tonnes in the country and 44 tonnes achieved by farmers in Holland.
The crop received a setback its production declined by 35 per cent in 1997-98 due to untimely rain at the time of sowing and again at the time of harvesting of the crop besides attack of "early" potato blight.
The farmers were keen to know why India could not have potato export agreement with neighbouring countries. For example, potato from Holland was being imported by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Punjab has one of the best breeder seed. Nearly 15-lakh to 20 lakh bags were exported every year from the state to other parts of the country. In fact, the Punjab potato belt Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur needed to be focused. Approximately 30,000 hectares was sown in the three districts.
Punjab, the third largest potato cultivator after West Bengal and Gujarat. They key varieties sown here include "Jyoti", which occupies 65 per cent of the total area, "Chandermukhi" and "Badshah".
Since the cost of cultivation for the country as a whole, was cheaper than, say, in Europe, there was potential to promote the crop. Scarcity of breeder seed was getting acute and as a consequence foreign companies were slowly finding a foothold. Something has to be done about this. Punjab farmers felt that "zero energy" cold stores should be set up and disease-resistant varieties evolved.
Among those who interacted
with the farmers from all over the state were Mr J.S.
Kumar, Chief Agricultural Officer, Ropar; Mr G.S. Kang,
Director of Potato Research Centre, Jalandhar; Mr R.K.
Sood, Director of Biotech, OSB Agencies, New Delhi; Mr
Parvinder Singh Chalaki, a kisan leader, and Mr I.S.
Mann, Joint Director of Horticulture, Punjab.
UN help sought for workers'
FARIDKOT, Sept 6 The Lok Morcha has appealed to the United Nations and International Labour Organisation to intervene for the release of 10 Indian workers allegedly arrested by the Libyan government eight months ago, at the behest of a Delhi-based company working in Libya.
The organisation criticised the central government for its indifferent attitude on the issue. In a written statement to the press here yesterday, Mr N.K. Jeet and Dr Harbhag Singh, state president and secretary respectively of the morcha, charged that Strength and Support Builders Private Limited had recruited Indian workers for Libya.
Nearly 2,000 workers of the company went on strike on October 26, 1997, to protest against the failure of the company to provide immediate medical aid to a worker who while on duty was seriously injured when he fell from the ninth floor of a building under construction. The workers also resented the inadequate security arrangements provided to them.
Kidnapped girls recovered
JALANDHAR, Sept 6 (PTI) The police today recovered two minor girls aged 13 and six years, allegedly kidnapped five months earlier, raped and then sold off to a Meerut-based youth, and arrested the culprits.
Manjit Kaur alias Kaka (13), and Manjita (six), kidnapped in April this year from Mehatpur near here, had been recovered from two different places, the police said.
The younger girl was recovered from an ashram here after a tip-off and she later led the police to Joginder Singh, a distant relative of Kaka, who spilled the beans further, police said, adding a police raid was conducted on Joginder Singhs house in Hastinapur village of Meerut district and Kaka was recovered there.
Both Joginder and his wife Gurmit Devi, an accomplice in the crime, had been arrested under Sections 363, 366 and 120 of the IPC, the police said.
One killed, 11 hurt in bus-truck collision
AMRITSAR, Sept 6 (UNI) One person was killed and 11 others injured when a Punjab Roadways bus in which they were travelling collided head on with a truck near Tangra town on the Sher Shah Suri Marg under the Majitha police station this evening.
According to the police, the bus was on its way to Sathicha from here when it overturned after colliding with a truck coming from the opposite direction.
JALANDHAR, Sept 6 (PTI) Thousands of Nepali workers and their families today took out a procession here demanding the immediate release of compatriot Harkha Bahadur and Satpal Singh who were arrested over a month ago for allegedly murdering two minor boys after committing sodomy. They sought a CBI inquiry into the incident.
In a memorandum sent to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, the government of Nepal and local MP and former premier I.K. Gujral, the immigrant workers said Bahadur and Satpal were implicated falsely by the police which was under immense pressure to find the real culprits.
A number of road and rail blockades and dharnas had paralysed the city for over a week after the bodies of two boys. Ravi Deep (8) and Vinit Prabhakar (9), were found from the swimming pool of the local Doaba College on July 28.
congress from September 10
SANGRUR, Sept 6 The third all-India congress of the MCPI (Marxist Communist Party of India) will be held at Chandigarh from September 10 to 13, according to Mr Kiranjeet Singh Sekhon member, central committee of the party. Over 250 delegates from all states are expected to participate.
Mr Sudhir Bhatacharya, general secretary of the party will inaugurate the congress while Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri will address the delegates on the national and international situation.
demand pay parity
PATIALA, Sept 6 The Government Classical and Vernacular Teachers Union, Punjab, led by its president Harbhajan Singh Dhindsa observed Teachers' Day as "demands day" yesterday and held meetings in all districts.
Stating this here, Mr
Dhindsa said in these meetings the union demanded early
implementation of accepted and agreed upon demands
including restoration of pay-grade parity between
language and non-language classical and vernacular
teachers as before, creation of promotion channels and
appointment of MA classical and vernacular teachers as
lecturers in their respective subjects on the Haryana
grow your own vegetables
BATHINDA, Sept 6 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said people should have kitchen gardens and grow vegetables for their own use.
Addressing a function organised in connection with the inauguration of "apni mandi" he said fresh and pure vegetables could be grown in kitchen gardens and people could even earn money from it.
He appealed to traders that they should sell essential commodities to the people at reasonable rates. He said government agencies had also been activated to supply essential goods at reasonable rates.
quota being 'exceeded'
PHAGWARA, Sept. 6 Punjab State General Categories Welfare Federation asked Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh to grant promotion to reserved categories only as per the percentage of posts available for them. A delegation of the federation, which met the minister recently at Chandigarh, alleged that the number of employees of the reserved category in the Education Department exceeded the reservation percentage.
Mr Narinder Sharma, general secretary and member of the delegation today told The Tribune that the minister had given an assurance in this regard.
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