|P U N J A B||
Thursday, December 2, 1999
|SC issues notice in Lok
NEW DELHI, Dec 1 The Supreme Court today issued notice on a petition filed by the Punjab Government challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement quashing appointment of justice Harbans Rai as Lok Pal of the state.
States get together to seek more
|Cops pressured to free 9
JALANDHAR, Dec 1 Had the police not set free nine persons picked up from a nearby gurdwara recently under political pressure it might have unravelled a multi-layered conspiracy to revive militancy in the state.
most foul in Ludhiana
pre-arrest bail for dental college MD
growers' bad luck persists
package for IT units
to create awareness about AIDS
visits Kesgarh Sahib
memories fade in native place
offer to Punjab on bee-keeping
to probe allegations of distress sale
team for probe into encroachments
kirtan CDs, cassettes released
report on disappearances given to UN group
workers plan protest
honours 40 artists
|Cattle deaths due to diphtheria
Scribes organise protest march
|BSF celebrates Raising
2 killed in accidents
SC issues notice in Lok Pal case
NEW DELHI, Dec 1 (PTI) The Supreme Court today issued notice on a petition filed by the Punjab Government challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement quashing appointment of justice Harbans Rai as Lok Pal of the state.
A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice B.N. Kirpal and Mr Justice R.P. Sethi issued notice to a former state Congress Minister, Mr Lal Singh on whose petition the high court on November 4 had quashed Justice Rais appointment.
However, when the Attorney General, Mr Soli J. Sorabjee with advocate Rajiv Dutta contended that the government should be able to take steps to fill the post, the Bench said, "It will be open to the state government to take such measures as they may be advised."
Mr Lal Singh had alleged before the high court that Justice Rai, who is a relative of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was appointed as Lok Pal without fulfilling the requirements of the Punjab Lok Pal Act, 1996.
The high court had held that "the appointment of Justice Rai as the Lok Pal was not made on the advice tendered by the Chief Minister after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Speaker of the Punjab Assembly as required under Section 4 of the 1996 Act and, therefore, the same is liable to be invalidated."
The order quashing the appointment was passed by a Division Bench of the high court comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, on a bunch of writ petitions filed by four ministers Mr Lal Singh, Master Jagir Singh, Mr Shamsher Singh Dulo and Mr Balmukand Sharma of the Beant Singh-led Congress government.
In its 58-page order, the Bench had held that the appointment of Justice Rai as Lok Pal was not in accordance with Section 4 of the Punjab Lok Pal Act.
States get together to seek
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 Several states are getting together to press the Union Government to bail them out of fiscal crisis.
There is hardly any state which is in sound financial health. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa are neck-deep in fiscal crisis. Many of these states are managing their fiscal affairs on a day-to-day basis. Rajasthan has already slashed its Annual Plan to the tune of 30 per cent and Punjab is working on this front.
The immediate reason for getting the states together is devolution of finances to the states. The 10th Finance Commission had recommended 29 per cent share to states from the revenue collected through central taxes like income taxes, excise duties etc. However, so far this recommendation has not been implemented.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, says that he wants the Central Government to give 50 per cent share from the tax revenue to the states. Twentynine per cent is very less, he said when asked to comment in this connection. The states Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said that even if the share was enhanced to 29 per cent, Punjab would get Rs 150 crore in addition to what it was getting at present.
"Yes, I would
contact all Chief Ministers to presses the Centre
Government to enhance the share of the states. It is the
right time to do so. The Punjab Government has already
presented its views before the 11th Finance Commission
which visited the state recently" the Chief Minister
Focus on Udham Singh's
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 For Raj Babbar, a Bollywood star-turned politician, release of feature film "Shaheed Udham Singh", first in Punjabi and then in Hindi later this month, will be a dream come true.
With this film, he not only hopes to take Punjabi cinema to the "international level" but also succeeds in bringing to focus the great sacrifices made by Punjabis in the freedom struggle.
"Frankly speaking, Punjabi films have lagged behind both in quality and in content. See what respect Malyali, Bengali or Tamil films command. Why not Punjabi films. With this objective in mind, I have been working in at least one Punjabi film a year ever since I entered Bollywood. I have worked in Chan Pardesi, Long da Lishkara, Asra Piar Da, Marri Da Diva and now Shaheed Udham Singh. At times I have not charged a penny from the producer of these Punjabi films.
"My latest film is a humble way of paying my tribute to great martyr Udham Singh. This film is with total conviction. Though we may not have spent as much money as was spent on Gandhi, but this film is certainly as intense as Gandhi was. Udham Singh had been a very colourful character. He was a tabla player, a great singer of Heer, very fond of motor vehicles, and above all a very well- informed man and very fond of travelling.
"Incidentally, 1999 is the year of the birth centenary of Udham Singh. He was born on December 26,1899. Though the Punjab Government is doing a great deal to perpetuate his memory and his sacrifices, it is our humble tribute to him. Ironically, though Punjabis made numerous sacrifices, none of them figure in the gallery of Parliament. As a member of the Rajya Sabha, I had raised this issue. Now when I am in the Lok Sabha, I am going to raise it there. Out of 59 martyrs who were hanged, 47 were Punjabis. But neither a picture nor a statue of any of these martyrs from Punjab has found a place in Parliament's gallery," adds Raj Babbar.
Besides Raj Babbar, others who have worked in this film are Gurdas Mann, Amrish Puri, Juhi Chawla, Shatrughan Sinha, Tom Alter and Barry John. It has been directed by Chitrath Singh, the man who produced Chan Pardesi.
In the film, says Raj Babbar, both the ideologies of non violence and also of hardliners have been depicted but nowhere they cross each other. Shaheed Udham Singh was more secular in his role as Ram Mohammad Singh Azad than even Mahatma Gandhi. He was a man with total conviction.
It was in April,1998, that his friend, Iqbal Dhillon, suggested the film on Shaheed Udham Singh, which Raj Babbar says, he grabbed immediately and put three researchers on the job.
The period 1919 to 1922 was the time when the revolutionaries or hardliners were getting stronger especially after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and roadside hangings in Peshawar.
"We have tried to stay close to history but without missing drama. After the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Udham had gone to Sri Harmandar Sahib, taken a pledge there, got himself in the Army and went to Uganda. There he also worked in Railways before returning to India with a red motor cycle and a red coat. He had spent some time in Mumbai where he had dysentery and some eye infection before he came back to Sunam.
"When he went to England, he had worked for British Intelligence. It is why all 13 files on him are still banned for 100 years against the normal practice of 40 years," adds Raj Babbar saying they could lay their hands only on five files.
"This time I have been elected from Agra where nearly 8 lakh of 13.5 lakh electorate are politically opposed to my party. But still I have won," says the cine star.
What next? He says he will wait.
Today, there was a special screening of "Shaheed Udham Singh" here where both the Chief Ministers, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Parkash Chautala, were in the audience. Also present was Mr Hari Jaisingh, Editor, The Tribune .
The film, he said, would
be exempt from entertainment tax both in Punjab and
Haryana. On December 17 it will be released in Punjab and
Chandigarh in Punjabi and subsequently in Hindi all over
Cops pressured to free 9
JALANDHAR, Dec 1 Had the police not set free nine persons picked up from a nearby gurdwara recently under political pressure it might have unravelled a multi-layered conspiracy to revive militancy in the state.
The local police, it was learnt had raided a gurdwara in Sarmastpur village on the Jalandhar-Pathankot highway in the first week of November and had allegedly picked up as many as nine persons from the place managed by Damdami Taksal. The raid was conducted following a tip-off based on intelligence reports that during a conversation on the telephone installed at the gurdwara some people had discussed "bombing the Shatabdi Express". The call was said to be intercepted by intelligence agencies which in turn had informed the district police.
The district police acted swiftly and a police party headed by Mr Dilbagh Singh, SP (Detective), laid siege to the gurdwara and rounded up nine persons in the first week of November.
What made a mess of the operation, which otherwise should have been done in a clandestine manner, was the way the gurdwara was surrounded and people were rounded up openly. This led to political intervention and subsequent "letting off" of those rounded up at the behest of certain political and religious leaders, including Taksal chief Baba Thakur Singh.
According to sources, immediately after the detention of nine persons from the gurdwara Baba Thakur Singh camped at the place and allegedly rang up the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to secure the release of those detained. He was said to be successful in his endeavour as all were released the same day. Their detention and immediate release, which had raised many eyebrows in police circles, was confirmed by a senior police officer who requested anonymity.
When contacted, Mr Gaurav Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police, refused to comment on the alleged involvement of Baba Thakur Singh in securing the release of those rounded up. However, he admitted that people were detained and said, "all were released after proper questioning and verifications of their antecedents". "Nothing was found wrong with them", he added, saying that flow of such intelligence reports was not uncommon and the police kept a constant tab on developments related to these.
He further said the basis of the operation was a tip-off that Manjit Singh, the caretaker of the gurdwara, was in league with Kuljit Singh, an alleged activist of the newly formed militant outfit, Kamagatamaru Dal of Khalistan, who had recently come to India from abroad. But during the course of interrogation it was found that Manjit Singh, though in touch with Kuljit Singh, was not actively involved with him and any other militant related activity.
During a visit to the gurdwara a number of sevadars confirmed that a raid was conducted but refused to say anything beyond that, saying "Babaji has asked us not to discuss anything with anybody". Only he can comment on the issue" said Surjit Singh Kanda, one of the sevadars.
Interestingly, the phone
installed at the gurdwara is in the name of Dharam Singh,
another Taksal activist, who had initially taken charge
of the gurdwara in 1994 after its president Kartar Singh
was gunned down by terrorists. Dharam Singh, who is in
the USA for the past nine years had left for that country
after handing over the charge to present caretaker Manjit
Murder most foul in Ludhiana
LUDHIANA, Dec 1 It is the tale of a murder most foul and how members of a family turn their brutal worst to savefamily honour.
The gory tale of murder to came light today with the exhumation of the body of a 24-year-old boy, Inderpal, alias Raju, in Bhattian village of Ludhiana district.
A labour hand, Ram Parshad (55), along with his wife Krishna and son, Vinod Kumar(27) allegedly killed their tenant, Raju, for having an illicit relationship with his 14-year-old daughter, Savita Devi, a student of class IX in the local high school. The three culprits then tried to burn the body with molten wax and later buried it in their courtyard.
This was revealed during the course of investigation by the police at Salem Tabri police station which was looking for Raju who had been reported missing since November 20.
According to the SSP, Ludhiana, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Raju took a room on rent from Ram Parshad around a year ago at Rs 250 per month. Originally, he hailed from Kakoi village of Alipur in UP. He plied an autorickshaw to eke out his living and was earlier staying with his brother, Sat Pal, in Mohalla Sarup Nagar. Soon, he developed a relationship with his landlords minor daughter.
At one stage, Savitas brother tried to convince their father into marrying Savita to Raju. But the father did not relent.
On November 20, Raju was made to drink liquor by Ram Parshad and Vinod. As soon as he was drunk, he was clubbed to death with iron rods and pushed into a pit in their courtyard. They then poured molten wax on the body and set it on fire. But the body was not fully destroyed. They then covered the pit with earth and plastered it with cement to destroy all evidence.
The family was almost smug, secure in the belief that they had covered their tracks. When the police questioned them about Rajus disappearance, they tried to mislead by saying that Raju had sold his three-wheeler and gone to Bengal to learn magic.
interrogation by Sub-Inspector Paramjit Singh, SHO, Salem
Tabri police station, unravelled the whole story. Ram
Parshad, however said the body had been put in a trunk
and left in a train at the local railway station.
Finally, it was his wife, Krishna, who spilled the beans.
She told the police that the body had been buried in a
pit dug in their courtyard from where it was exhumed this
Ram Mandir, Art. 370
JALANDHAR: Dr Bhai Mahavir, Governor of Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh, who was here in connection with a number of social functions, talked to TNS in a well-guarded but firm tone. He spoke out his mind on a number of issues such as role of a Governor, coalition governments, abolition of poverty, the Kashmir problem and Indias stand on the Indo-Pak talks.
Asked how he found his present job as a constitutional head of a state after having remained out of the public eye for a long time, Dr Mahavir answered: No doubt, I had been idle for a long time in active politics, I however, have been active in dealing with burning issues like corruption, economic conditions etc. I had a share in maintaining discipline and cleanliness in politics while working as chairman of the BJPs disciplinary committee. I handled a number of problems.
As the constitutional head of the state, I have an effective role in solving the problems of the common people with whom I maintain direct contact. I do guide and make suggestions to the state government on a number of issues.
Q: Do you think the era of coalition politics has come to stay in India considering the experience of the past 10 years ?
A: Regional parties have now a greater role to play at the Centre. This can result in proper functioning of the federal system. This has led to a coalition government at the Centre which is in cooperation and not confrontation towards the regional parties. This is a health sign of the present polity.
Q: Between poverty alleviation and nuclearisation which is more important for the nation to emerge stronger?
A: Both form an important part of duty of the Central Government. Only a strong nation can possess healthy economic conditions. Security of the nation is a must and poverty has to be removed on a priority basis.
Q: Do you think the Vajpayee Government should talk to Pakistan under the military regime ?
A: The Vajpayee Government can talk to Pakistan, even under the military regime there, provided they stop abetting and encouraging cross-border terrorism. ISI activities must be stopped and all training camps for subversive activities wound up in Pakistan.
Q: Do you think the time is ripe for making efforts to find a political solution to the Kashmir problem internally through a dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference and other relevant organisations based in the valley?
A: The Kashmir problem has become chronic. The ISI has injected the poison of hatred in some leaders on this side of the Line of Control. The proxy war is being fought by Pakistan through hired foreigners and some misguided Kashmiri youth.
Q: Do you think it will be desirable and practical to permanently bury the issues of Ram Mandir, uniform civil code and Article 370 of the Constitution ?
A: In a coalition government, a minimum programme has to be chalked out and followed. All contentious issues like Ram Mandir, uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370 have been kept pending and not abandoned. The present government is following and implementing the agreed agenda.
TNS also got a peep into the life of Dr Bhai Mahavir, who belongs to a family of freedom fighters and martyrs. He is a grandson of Bhai Matidass and son of Bhai Parmanand, who was sentenced to death and later sent to the Andamans by the British during the freedom struggle.
Dr Bhai Mahavir secured his M.A degree in economics and had also passed Ph.D and LL.B. He later took up graduate and post-graduate classes. He lived at Islamganj mohalla of Jalandhar when the family shifted to India after partition. He has been associated with the BJP for a long time. He was put behind bars during the Emergency.
There is another aspect
of the multi-dimensional personality of Dr Bhai Mahavir:
he has contributed a lot to parliamentary institutions
while serving as Rajya Sabha member from 1978 to 1984. He
was appointed Governor of Madhya Pradesh on April 22,
No pre-arrest bail for
dental college MD
BATHINDA, Dec 1 Mr H.S. Bhalla, District and Sessions Judge has dismissed the petition for an anticipatory bail of Dr Naginder Singh Harika, Managing Director, Khalsa Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan (Mansa). Dr Harika was booked for committing fraud on students by the Sadar police station, Mansa, under Sections 420, 465 and 467 of the IPC.
Mr Bhalla in his orders passed yesterday, said there was a well settled law that anticipatory bail could not be granted as a matter of course.
Dr Harika had applied for an anticipatory bail after he was booked in a criminal case by the Mansa police on the complaint of Mr Suresh Kumar, a retired bureaucrat of Delhi.
Mr Suresh Kumar in the FIR had alleged that Dr Harika had committed fraud on the students by collecting crores of rupees from them in the shape of capitation fee on the pretext that the dental college being run by him was duly approved by the Dental Council of India and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare .
The Mansa police had registered a criminal case against Dr Harika but had not arrested him.
Mr Bhalla in his order said in the present case it was clear from the facts that the petitioner Dr Naginder Singh Harika was playing with the lives of students by taking huge amount of capitation fees without declaring the registration number issued by the Dental Council of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The FIR against Dr Harika was registered on the basis of letter issued by Additional Director-General of Police (Crime), Punjab. The complainant alleged that in 1997, the petitioner admitted 108 girls in the BDS course. Out of 108 students, eight girls left the college on learning that the college was not recognised .
Mr Bhalla said the
provision of Section 438 of the Cr. P.C was to be used
sparingly in the rarest of rare cases. The facts of the
present case did not fall within the meaning of
exceptional cases or rarest of rare cases and the
petition was dismissed.
Cotton growers' bad luck
KOTKAPURA, Dec 1 As it has happened over the past five years, cotton this year also has not proved to be "white gold" for farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan as its prices have witnessed a steady decline.
The prices of "desi" cotton at present vary between Rs 1400 and Rs 1500 as compared to between Rs 1900 and 1950 which the same variety fetched during last season. Similarly, the prevailing prices of "narma" are fluctuating between Rs 1625 and Rs 1900 as compared to Rs 2150 to Rs 2200 last year.
For the past five years, the farmers of the northern region comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan have been suffering heavy losses due to severe attack of bollworm and other diseases affecting their crops, leading to a drastic fall in production. This year though the production was satisfactory the low prices of cotton have affected the growers adversely.
Cotton trade sources said the prices of cotton had been falling in the market ever since the season began in September 1999. The opening prices of "desi" cotton were between Rs 1500 and 1650 and that of "narma" between Rs 1800 and Rs 1950.
The growers of "white gold" this season have been doubly unlucky. First, they spent a huge amount on spraying insecticides to save their crop from pest attack to get better yield. Secondly, they are now getting unremunerative prices for the crop.
Sources said so far in the northern region about 7.5 lakh bales have arrived in the markets. The daily arrival was about 15,000 bales. In Punjab the daily arrival was about 3,000 bales and so far more than 2.5 lakh bales had arrived in various markets of the state.
Farmers, commission agents and traders of this biggest market of cotton in the northern region attribute these low prices to the absence of buyers from Mumbai and southern states apart from negligible purchase from the government agencies. They also say the other reason for low prices of cotton is that export of cotton could not be started as the international prices were lower than the prevailing domestic prices of cotton.
Farmers say that to arrest the steep fall in cotton prices the central government should take immediate measures. They feel government agencies should be asked to make bulk purchase of cotton to stabilise its prices.
Mr Kattar Singh Jeeda, president of the North India Cotton Growers Association, pointed out that the crisis which had gripped the growers for the past many years was due to the fact that the central government had not formulated a clear-cut policy on this crop. He added that the central government should immediately step in to save the economic interests of farmers by announcing the minimum support price of the crop.
Sources said that taking into account the money spent by farmers on the cultivation of cotton and comparing it with the prices which they were getting now the farmers had suffered heavy losses.
Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, President of the Punjab Young Farmers Federation, said the fall in the prices of cotton had affected the small and marginal farmers as they could not hold their stocks due to tight financial position.
Sources said a few years ago Indian cotton was in great demand overseas and commanded a premium of 20 to 25 per cent at the then prevailing international prices. The situation had seen a reversal now. Even the domestic mills had imported about nine lakh bales in the past one year as the quality of Indian cotton had become poor over the years.
Mr Ashok Kapur,
Director, Export Panel, Northern India Cotton Association
(NICA), said central as well as state governments should
provide farmers with high-quality seeds for producing
cotton of the finest quality so that foreign exchange
could be earned through export and farmers could be given
Special package for IT units
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 The Punjab Council of Ministers today approved a special package of incentives for the Information Technology (IT) industry.
Information Technology is a major thrust area identified by the government because of two reasons: first, Information Technology can enable the government to re-engineer and improve its process and service to the citizens through effective, transparent, accountable and objective governance, and second, it can improve the economy by generating more exports and consequential augmentation of employment opportunities and revenue, including foreign exchange, says a government press statement.
The vision envisages cost -effective administration and generates employment for the youth.
An Information Technology Vision Group, with the Chief Minister as Chairperson, to frame a master plan to make this 'vision' a reality, had held a meeting on September 19, 1998, where it was decided that for the growth of the information technology industry it was necessary to create an information technology-friendly climate through suitable fiscal and other initiatives.
The Information Technology units are, at present, entitled to the following fiscal incentives: sales tax concession, octroi concession and special subsidy for employment.
An attractive package of fiscal incentives proposed is as follows:
Definition of information technology: "IT Software" means any representation of instructions, date, sound or image, including source and object code, recorded in a machine readable form, and capable of being manipulated or providing inter-activity to a user, by means of an automatic date processing machine falling under heading, "IT Products", but does not include "Non IT Product". "IT service is defined as any service which results from the use of any IT Software over a system of IT products for realising value addition. The IT industry shall cover development, production and services related to IT Products. The term IT Software shall be substituted in place of computer software in all notifications."
The special incentives proposed for the Information Technology units set up in state, irrespective of their location, include investment incentive, exemption deferment from sales tax, exemption for electricity duty, generator- set subsidy, subsidy on IT in Gurmukhi script, special subsidy for Human Resources Development in Information Technology, units going for expansion, exemption from stamp duty and registration fee, price and order preference and subsidy on pollution control equipment.
Need to create awareness
AMRITSAR, Dec 1 The Society of Microbiologists, Department of Microbiology of Guru Nanak Dev University organised the World AIDS Day here today.
The function was inaugurated by the Dean, academic affairs, Dr Satinder Singh at Guru Nanak Bhavan of the university and was presided over by Dr Raajinder Singh, Civil Surgeon, Amritsar. It, included lecturers and an exhibition on AIDS awareness.
Dr Raajinder Singh emphasised the need of spreading awareness regarding the causes and prevention of this dreadful disease especially in the remote areas and introduction of sex education at school level.
Dr Rakesh Bharti, Deputy Medical Commissioner, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, Amritsar, stressed that need to educate children and young people about HIV virus to win war against AIDS.
Dr Avinash Bhatia, a Professor of TB and chest diseases at medical college, Amritsar, spoke on the relationship between TB and AIDS.
Dr Satinder Singh, Dean, academic affairs also distributed prizes to the winners of various competitions organised by the society of microbiologists regarding AIDS awareness. On this occasion, a rally was also organised.
JALANDHAR: The Health and Family Welfare Department observed the World AIDS Day here on Wednesday.
The function was presided over by Mr Som Parkash, Deputy Commissioner. Speaking on the occasion, he said AIDS was Global problem and there was a need to create awareness among the masses. He said nearly 40 lakh persons were suffering from this disease and a large number of the patients were young persons.
The Deputy Commissioner also flagged off a rally of schoolchildren.
LUDHIANA: Seminars and paintings competitions organised at several places in the city marked the World AIDS Day here on Wednesday.
BATHINDA: The success of the AIDS awareness and prevention programme in Punjab, led by the AIDS prevention and control bodies, was a result of the multi-pronged approach, involving the government, social organisations and the public. This was stated by Dr Hazari Lal Bansal, Chairman, Punjab AIDS Control Organisation, at a rally held near court complex, here on Wednesday in connection with the World AIDS Day.
Dr Bawa Ram Gupta, Civil Surgeon said, in the absence of a cure or a vaccine for HIV/AIDS, the best strategy to deal with the scourage was prevention.
HOSHIARPUR: An AIDS awareness rally was organised by the District Health Department in which students of various schools and representatives of social organisations participated. Mr G. Ramesh Kumar, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur (General), flagged off the chetna rally. After covering the main bazaars of the city the rally concluded at the Civil Surgeon's office.
Earlier,while addressing the rally Dr Kiranjit Kumar, Civil Surgeon, said the Health Department would conduct survey in the district to detect AIDS cases. Each Primary Health Centre would cover 30,000 persons in rural and 50,000 in urban areas.
NAWANSHAHR: The District Health Department in collaboration with the Blood Donors' Council organised a declamation contest on AIDS to mark the World AIDS Day here on Wednesday at ITI grounds. The Civil Surgeon Dr Surinder Kaur Kochhar, presided and the Deputy Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, was the chief guest.
As many as 37 students from different educational institutions participated in the declamation contest, while the local W.L. Arya Girls Senior Secondary School won the running trophy, Bhavana (Red Rose School), Jyotinishachand (W.L. Arya Girls Sr. Sec. School) and Damandeep Kaur (Shivalik Public School) bagged the first three positions. The Deputy Commissioner gave away the prizes to the winners.
PATIALA: An AIDS
awareness function was organised at the government
college for the girls here on Wednesday. Speaking at the
function Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir said
special teams of youngsters accompanied by workers of
social organisations will go from door to door to educate
people about the disease. He said the Red Cross Society
would provide financial aid for this drive.
Governor visits Kesgarh Sahib
ANANDPUR SAHIB, Dec 1 Lt Gen (retd) Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob, Governor, Punjab, today visited Takht Kesgarh Sahib, here.
Giani Tarlochan Singh, Head Granthi of the takht, presented a siropa (robe of honour) and a memento, a framed-photograph of the takht, to the Governor.
Accompanied by Mr Khushi Ram, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, and Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon, SDM, Anandpur Sahib, the Punjab Governor listened to gurbani kirtan for about 10 minutes at the takht.
However, no minister of the Punjab Government or MLA of the district today accompanied the Governor.
The Governor also took a keen interest in the shastras (weapons) of Guru Gobind Singh, lying at the takht. Mr Gurbakhsh Singh, Information Officer of the takht, briefed the Governor about them.
Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon, SDM, gave a detailed information to the Governor about historical gurdwaras situated around the takht. He also briefed the Governor about the historical and religious aspects of the town.
Rafis memories fade in
KOTLA SULTAN SINGH (Amritsar), Dec 1 Memories of the great music legend Mohammad Rafi are fading away in his own village as nothing that belonged to him has been preserved. No remains of his ancestral house can be seen. Yet, he is alive in the hearts of those who shared great moments with him.
Kotla Sultan Singh is at a distance of about 25 km from the holy city and falls in Majitha district. Nothing on the way shows that Mohammad Rafi belonged here. Only on the outskirts of the village there is a signboard saying Mohammad Rafi Marg. It has also recently been put up after great efforts. As one walks down the village and inquires about his ancestral house, one comes across blank faces as it has not been preserved. New houses have been built where his house used to be.
Interestingly, he wrote his name on the trunk of a mango tree when he was a child. He told the villagers not to cut it because it should remind them of him when he left for Lahore in 1935 with his family. But this tree has also been cut.
His close friend, Kundan Singh, who studied with him till class IV in the local primary school, says. The memories are still fresh in my mind. How can I forget the days we spent together. I still remember he used to sing so well even when he was very young.
He further said Rafis house was adjoining theirs and both the families shared very good relations but since their financial condition was not too good his father started some business in Lahore and later in 1935-36 he took his entire family along.
He said Rafis father Ali Mohammad was also a nice person. They returned here only once after leaving this place when Mohammad Rafi got married. His marriage was solemnised in this village only. After that he never returned to this place.
Kundan Singh said he met Rafi again in 1954 when he came to Attari. He took a few of them in his car with him to his programme and throughout the night kept announcing that he belonged to Kotla Sultan Singh village. We feel sad that there is no yaadgar kept of him and we were not able to establish close contact with him. We always felt proud that a great singer belonged to our village. We want some monument to be erected and every year a function to be held on his birth anniversary, he said.
Bakhshish Singh, another close friend of Rafi, says he was a nice friend. He misses him because he was unable to meet him again after he left the village. When he became a great singer and a known personality we felt very proud, also felt bad that he never came to his village, he said.
Only recently, after
great efforts the school has been named after him. He
wants a hospital to be constructed in Rafis name in
the village which will benefit them all and keep his name
Cos offer to Punjab
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today called for formulating an integrated plan for the scientific development of bee-keeping to increase honey production that will supplement the income of farmers and provide employment opportunities to the youth in the state at their doorsteps.
Presiding over a meeting of senior officers of agencies engaged in bee-keeping and progressive bee-keeping farmers, the Chief Minister said there was a scope for its expansion. It could be an income-generating activity for small and marginal farmers, he added.
The Chief Minister, according to an official press note, emphasised that the unemployed youth, especially in rural areas, should be motivated in this activity and necessary facilities like training and infrastructure made available to them.
He also discussed the scope of setting up an api-culture centre for the promotion of bee-keeping in public or private sector and asked the Financial Commissioner, Development, Mr Y.S. Ratra, to examine the proposal. Dabur Company has offered to set up at its own cost a centre in which specialised beehives and latest technology will be introduced.
Mr Ratra said Punjab had the potential of producing around 7,000 tonnes of honey annually, keeping in view the area under the cultivation of sunflower, toria, mustard and kinnow.
Presently, only 60,000 bee colonies are estimated to be existing in the state. There is a proposal of setting up of 40,000 colonies every year for the next five years, which will increase the production of honey by about 1,200 tonnes annually.
The State Agriculture
Department provides 50 per cent subsidy at a unit cost of
Rs 18,000 per 10 colonies. Under another scheme, the
Punjab Agro Industries Corporation covers over 800
beneficiaries for setting up units and each unit costs Rs
Panel to probe allegations of
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 The Punjab Council of Ministers today appointed a Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, to look into the allegations of distress sale of paddy by farmers and recycling of the same by unscrupulous elements with the alleged connivance of procuring agencies at a much higher minimum support price.
The sub-committee according to a government press note, shall also look into the alleged malpractices committed in the allotment of shellers by Food and Supplies officers to various procurement agencies in the state and in the allocation and storage of procured paddy with various rice-millers.
Earlier, in a meeting of the Council of Ministers held on December 11, 1998, it was decided to constitute a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the then Financial Commissioner, Development, Mr R.N. Gupta, to conduct an open inquiry into various allegations levelled against officers of the Food and Supplies Department and other procurement agencies during kharif 1998-99.
The council asked the sub-committee to not only fix responsibility for the alleged lapses committed during the kharif 1998-1999 procurement, but also to suggest a foolproof policy and procedure of procurement in future.
JD team for probe into
LUDHIANA, Dec 1 A seven-member delegation of the Janata Dal, Punjab led by its convenor, Mr Harish Khanna, met Mr D.S. Kalha, Divisional Commissioner, Patiala division, at the Circuit House, here today and apprised him of the large-scale encroachments in the city by influential persons.
It may be recalled that the Punjab Chief Minister had appointed Mr D.S. Kalha as a one-man commission to look into the cases of encroachments in the city.
The delegation informed Mr Kalha in detail about these encroachments which were either the handiwork of politically-Affiliated persons or influential persons who took undue advantage of their links with political leaders and senior bureaucrats and encroached upon government lands, public parks, including industrial parks, parts of lanes and bye-lanes etc.
Commercial complexes were coming up in the city in large numbers and in most of the cases no parking space was left and on the space earmarked for parking in the approved plans. Small offices/shops were constructed ostensibly in connivance with senior corporation and administration officials. In some cases government land was encroached upon under the garb of religion and after passage of few years. Cabinet granted their allotment and thus the encroachment was regularised. Police check posts had also been established in some public parks.
It was also pointed out to the Divisional Commissioner that in the city a number of posh localities were illegally being converted into commercial areas.
Coming to the specific
instances of these encroachments, the delegation produced
glaring instances of these encroachments and urged upon
the Divisional Commissioner to probe into the matter and
have the encroachments lifted as early as possible.
Following instances of encroachments were brought to his
ABOHAR, Dec 1 Mr Gurdial Ram, sarpanch of Dhaani Latkan village has been placed under suspension for allegedly withdrawing Rs 50,000 on the basis of forged resolutions. Mr J.P.Singla, Deputy Director, Panchayats, has communicated to the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Ferozepore, that Mr Gurdial Ram should not be allowed to participate in any panchayat proceeding. The Block Development and Panchayat Officer here has been directed to take possession of the property and records vested with Mr Gurdial Ram and hand over these to any member of the panchayats authorised.
Mr Singla said in his
orders that on a perusal of the complaint filed by two
members of the panchayat, Mr Satnam Dass and Mr Bhagwan
Dass and going by the copy of the FIR registered at the
local police station, it was beyond doubt that the
sarpanch had not held any meeting of the panchayat on
July 27 and August 3, but withdrew an amount of Rs 50,000
from the panchayat fund on the basis of forged
resolutions of the above-mentioned dates. The local
police has already registered an FIR against the sarpanch
and Mr Rajinder Singh, secretary of the panchayat, in
this connection. Mr Gurdial Ram has been suspended under
Section 20(3) of the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act, 1994.
Shabad kirtan CDs, cassettes
AMRITSAR, Dec 1 The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today released a set of 10 audio cassettes and CDs of shabad kirtan composed and sung by Dr Gurnam Singh, Head of Department of Music, Punjabi University, Patiala.
Speaking on the occasion, Bibi Jagir Kaur lauded the efforts of Dr Gurnam Singh, who had for the first time in the Sikh history, recited the Guru Granth Sahib in the original Sikh musicological system in gurman sangeet tradition with string instruments only.
The SGPC chief said that the committee had set up a gurmat sangeet academy at Anandpur Sahib to impart training in traditional Sikh music for reciting shabad kirtan. The first batch of 24 students had been enrolled and its session would start during this month itself.
Panel report on disappearances
given to UN group
CHANDIGARH, Dec 1 Mr Gurtej Singh, convenor of the Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab, said here today that the interim report on enforced disappearances, arbitrary executions and secret disposal of bodies compiled by the committee had been presented to the UN working group in Geneva.
Dr Jasdev Rai of the Sikh Human Rights Group is attending the UN working group's meeting to represent the findings and concerns of the committee. The working group has assured that it will look into every case, irrespective of the time lapsed between the disappearance and now. It has asked the committee to make a formal request for investigation into the cases along with their appropriate background.
Brickkiln workers plan protest
JALANDHAR, Dec 1 The Lal Jhanda Punjab Bhatha Mazdoor Union (CITU) will stage a state-level dharna on December 9 before the office of the Labour Commissioner, Punjab, at Chandigarh. This was decided at a two-day state level conference which concluded here yesterday.
The conference presided over by its state president, Mr Sat Pal Bharti, demanded a judicial inquiry into an accident in Barwala near Sahnewal, causing the death of two brickkiln workers. It demanded Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the bereaved families.
In all 299 delegates, including women workers, participated. Thirtysix delegates took part in the discussion on the report presented by Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA and general secretary of the union.
The demands include enhancement of minimum wages, release of DA due since September 1, 1999, improvement of working conditions, provision of bathrooms for working women, rehabilitation of child labour and protection to inter-state labour.
NTAS honours 40 artists
Patiala, Dec 1The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) here has honoured 40 artists, including musicians, back-stage artists and experts in martial arts, for their good performances in "Odak Sach Rahi" a Punjabi musical produced by Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal, at a function held here at NTAS Mandir.
The chief guest, Prof A.K. Shahi, an educationist and expert in mathematics, was also honoured on the occasion. He gave away cash awards to all artists.
Mr Shahi urged the Punjab Art Council, Patiala Kala Parishad, NZCC, Punjab Departments of Cultural Affairs and Languages to help artists improve standards by arranging private sponsorships and making the library auditorium available on subsidised rates.
Bankmen block traffic
KAPURTHALA, Dec 1 Employees of all nationalised banks of Kapurthala town continued their strike for the second day on Wednesday. The employees are protesting against the arrest and registration of a bribe case against Mr S.D. Sharma, Chairman, Kapurthala-Ferozepur Kshatriya Gramin Bank, by vigilance officials.
The strike affected working of all banks.
Meanwhile the Director, Vigilance, has ordered an inquiry into the registration of the corruption case against Mr S.D. Sharma for allegedly accepting Rs 5,000 as bribe from Lakhbir Singh, a resident of Tongawala village and deputed DIG, Vigilance, to hold the inquiry according to Mr V.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner.
The employees staged a dharna on The Mall and blocked traffic to register their protest.
Meanwhile, Mr S.D. Sharma was produced before Mr B.J. Nangli, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, who remanded him in judicial custody till December 13.
Cattle deaths due to diphtheria
MOGA, Dec 1 A
large number of deaths of cattle due to the spread of
diphtheria in various villages in the district were
reported here today. According to reports, the deaths
were reported from Rode Sekha and several other villages.
A farmer of Rode Sekha village under Baghapurana police
station lost about 12 head of cattle. Farmers of the
affected villages told reporters here today that no
measures had so far been taken by the administration to
check the spread of the disease.
BSF celebrates Raising Day
AMRITSAR, Dec 1 The BSF celebrated its 35th Raising Day here today. The force was raised on December 1, 1965, after war with Pakistan. In a press release on Wednesday the BSF headquarter controlling the Amritsar border said the force here had been able to recover Rs 19 lakh of fake Indian currency from the border outpost at Burj and at Kahangarh, this year. Besides the counterfeit Indian note, the BSF patrol had seized 18 kg of explosives and some powerful improvised explosive devices.
Scribes organise protest march
JALANDHAR, Dec 1 A section of the local media organised a protest march and held a dharna in front of the office of the Senior Superintendent of Police here today to protest against the misbehaviour of a police official with the reporter of a Punjabi daily.
The protesters were demanding suspension of SHO Nirmal Singh who had already been transferred to the Police Lines. Those who took part in the march were carrying placards with slogans like Punjab police murdabad written on these. They also raised slogans against the indifferent attitude of the police authorities towards their demands. A number of journalists and leaders of employee unions addressed the gathering.
Meanwhile, the Deputy
Commissioner has ordered a probe into the incident and
has asked the SDM (II) to submit a report in this regard
within three weeks. In response to this, the stir has
been deferred by journalists.
killed in accidents
JALANDHAR, Dec 1 Two persons were killed in two separate road accidents, while a teenaged girl succumbed to burn injuries in the City Hospital here last night.
Surinder Kumar, (50), who was riding a scooter was killed when he was allegedly hit by an unidentified vehicle near the Police Lines today.
Another person also named Surinder Kumar (45), was killed by speeding vehicle on the GT Road near Bhagat Singh Colony last night. According to his family he was out for evening walk when a vehicle hit him and left him dead.
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