|P U N J A B||
Wednesday, December 29, 1999
creates problem for govt
Special fodder train flagged off
Millers decry slow movement of
Rs 4.6 lakh looted from PSEB men
4 killed, 13 hurt in mishap
Calendar creates problem for govt
LUDHIANA, Dec 28 While computers all over the country are wrestling with the Y2K bug, the Government of Punjab appears to have created a "Y2K problem" of its own regarding holidays on important festivals and other occasions in the state.
The Government of Punjab declared a holiday on November 24 to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Teg Bahadur. However, it had to declare another holiday on December 13 to mark the occasion because not many people observed it on November 24.
Similarly, the Government of Punjab has declared a holiday on January 5 to mark Guru Gobind Singhs birthday. However, according to tradition, the birth anniversary should be observed on January 14. And it is quite likely that the masses will go by the tradition rather than the official declaration, forcing the government to declare yet another holiday on January 14. As a matter of fact, gurdwaras in Ludhiana have declared that they will prefer to observe the birthday of the founder of the Khalsa on January 14 rather than on the date announced by the state government.
At the root of the Punjab Governments "self-created "Y2K problem" lies the Nanakshahi calendar, prepared by the SGPC and accepted by the Badal Government without fully realising its implications. The Nanakshahi calendar has been prepared on the basis of solar months, while the festivals are traditionally celebrated and observed on the basis of lunar months by Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.
There are many festivals like Divali, Dasehra, Holi and Baisakhi, which are jointly celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs. The adoption of the Nanakshahi calendar means that while Hindus celebrate the festival according to lunar months, the Sikhs will celebrate them according to solar months. In other words, this could snap a strong link between the two communities.
Sikh hardliners are not
displeased over the development. "For years, we have
been propounding that the Sikhs are a separate
nation", says one of them. "By adopting this
calendar, the SGPC and the calendar have only
strengthened this theory.... Incidentally, the move for
the Nanakshahi calendar was originally initiated by Mr
Gurcharan Singh Tohra when he was the president of the
Computer education from next
CHANDIGARH, Dec 28 Computer education will be introduced as a subject in all government colleges and senior secondary schools from the next academic session in Punjab.
A decision to this effect has been taken at a meeting presided over by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Informed Punjab government sources said private companies well versed in computer education, networking and training would be engaged for this purpose. Already initial formalities like short-listing of companies had been completed in case of colleges.
For schools, the draft of tenders has already been prepared for inviting private companies to offer bids. Informed government sources said a nominal fee would be charged by private companies for providing computer education.
Since providing hard and software in this connection was a huge task, the authorities concerned have preferred to hand over the job to private companies and want them to impart education by charging a fee fixed by the Punjab Government.
There are about 48 government colleges and about 1200 government senior secondary schools in the state. The subject would be introduced at 10 plus two level. The Punjab Technical Education Department is assisting the Education Department in implementing this scheme.
When a senior officer was asked whether Punjab was following in the footsteps of the Union Territory in this connection, he said it was not so. In fact, the Union Territory had followed the Punjab model. The draft of the computer school education was prepared by the Punjab Technical Education Department and the UT authorities got it from this department.
Meanwhile, informed sources said the Punjab Government has also decided to start a Bachelor of Information Technology course at ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes). Sources said infrastructure, including buildings, was available at about 50 places in the state.
A meeting with the representatives of the private companies was held today with the Technical Education Minister, Mrs Upinderjit Kaur. Top companies involved in the information technology sent their representatives to the meeting. All important details for introducing the course were discussed at the meeting.
Sources said though private companies would run these courses but the overall control would be with the Punjab Technical University. The PTU authorities could prescribe the course and determine the fees, etc in this connection.
Sources said Punjab would become the first state as far as providing computer education and other modern courses, including information technology was concerned in the country. For the past many months the authorities concerned were working on a plan to modernise education in the state to synchronise it with the changes taking place the world over.
Jor Mela ends on colourful
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Dec 28 The three-day annual Shaheedi Jor Mela, held to pay homage to Guru Gobind Singhs two younger sons who were bricked alive, concluded here today amid religious fervour.
A nagar kirtan procession was taken out from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib after ardas was performed by Bhai Jaswinder Singh, Head Granthi of the gurdwara, at 8.45 a.m. The procession left for Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup Sahib, where the two sahibzadas were cremated. More than five lakh devotees, gatka parties, and Nihangs in their traditional dresses accompanied the procession.
The nagar kirtan procession was led by the panj piaras Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Bhai Mohan Singh, Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib, and Bhai Jaswinder Singh accompanied the procession and performing "chaur sewa".
Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, was conspicuous by her absence. However, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra former President of the SGPC, and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, took part in the march.
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, was also present.
Gatka was performed by Nihangs, while schoolchildren played the band and members of the Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Societies recited Gurbani.
Addressing a press
conference after the conclusion of the Mela, Mr V.K.
Janjua, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Paramraj Singh
Dhaliwal, SSP expressed satisfaction over the
arrangements. The SSP said the police had made elaborate
security arrangements. He said 40 missing persons were
handed over to their relatives. No untoward incident was
BSF keeps watch on land
HUSSAINIWALA, Dec 28 Suspecting the intentions of those keen to purchase land in the border district, the Border Security Force (BSF) has intensified surveillance on the buyers with the help of village panchayats and revenue officials.
Sources in the BSF here revealed that the antecedents of the purchasers were frequently checked to ensure that nobody indulged in smuggling after acquiring land in the sensitive border villages. Although fencing had made a difference along the Indo-Pak border in the district, yet the BSF was keeping a watch on land transactions close to the border.
Once the BSF is aware of any land transaction being clinched, they get in touch with the police for the verification of the purchasers. In case of any adverse report, the force further approach the revenue authorities to prevent the deal from being finalised.
"This was necessitated to ensure that nobody indulged in smuggling in the garb of farming", the officiating DIG, Mr Balbir Singh told TNS. The BSF authorities, however, sought to clarify that any good intentioned man was free to buy property in the border villages and such exercise should not be construed as a bar on land transactions in the area.
This was also necessitated on account of the large number of land holdings beyond the fencing in the district.
At least five villages continue to remain on the BSF watch list. These are Dulchike, Khilche, Gajniwala and Pajjoke.
Although in a changed scenario, there is no fresh indication available to suggest the residents of these villages being involved in smuggling. yet these areas have a criminal history.
Their proximity to the gaps caused by the Sutlej and creeks is still a matter of worry for the BSF. Owing to their poor economical condition, a few residents of these village used to indulge in smuggling by working as a courier of gold and drugs.
Since they are familiar with the topography of the area, they are also aware of the potential gaps, a senior BSF officer said. It is a different matter that the fencing had made the infiltration difficult, but keeping the ground realities in mind nothing could be left to chance, he added.
There are examples when these couriers have actually infiltrated through the river gaps by using the cover of hyacinth. Since their economical situation continues to remain pathetic, the possibility of their falling into wrong hands cannot be ruled out. It is for this reason that special kisan guards of the BSF escort them, whenever they are permitted to venture beyond the fencing.
University teachers exonerated
PATIALA, Dec 28 The Punjabi University Syndicate has settled cases of alleged victimisation which had become a contentious issue on the campus. Most of the cases related to action taken by the previous Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Puar, against teachers.
An official press note said here yesterday that the Syndicate exonerated Dr Harpal Singh Pannu, Reader, Guru Gobind Singh Religious Studies Department; Dr Sharan Pal Singh, lecturer in the Department of Correspondence Courses, and Dr Paramjeet Singh Guraya, lecturer, Physics Department, of the charge of pasting objectionable posters on the campus during the tenure of Dr J.S. Puar.
The syndicate also reinstated Dr Paramjit Singh, senior lecturer, Computer Science and Engineering Department, after an amicable settlement of the dispute between Dr Paramjit Singh and Dr Chandan Sing, Head of the Department.
The Syndicate also approved the recommendations of the Syndicate subcommittee to remove a row between merit promotees and direct recruits.
The Syndicate also
approved the selection of Ms Shivani Sharma as lecturer
of philosophy, Dr Sukhgeet Kaur lecturer of economics and
Mr Lakhwinder Singh and Paramjeet Kaur as lecturers in
the Political Science (Correspondence courses)
Hijacking: CBI ex-chief backs govt
LUDHIANA, Dec 28 Mr Joginder Singh, a former CBI Director, today commended the manner in which the Vajpayee government was handling the ongoing crisis due to the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar.
Talking to mediapersons, he said the hijacking of the plane was being tackled by the government in the "best possible manner", "one should expect results within a couple of days", he said.
He described as "not feasible" the suggestions made by a former Punjab Police chief, Mr K.P.S Gill, that the hijacked plane should not be allowed to leave Amritsar by blocking the runway or by disabling the plane through some other method. "There was no time, anyway, that would have been risky too", he said.
Mr Joginder Singh also called for the institution of a system of "public audit" of developmental work being carried out by the government in the country. Each department should bring out a booklet on various development works detailing the procedure of their execution. This would go a long way in checking the corruption. He noted that the Badal government in Punjab had made a good beginning in this regard by putting up notice boards on major works being executed in the state, detailing their progress and identifying executing agencies.
He also wanted the government to simplify rules so as to attract more foreign investment.
Mr Charanjit Singh
Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in his speech said
the Punjab Government had begun development work on a
software township at Mohali with the latest
Special fodder train flagged off
KURALI, Dec 28 Mr Buta Singh, MP and former Union Minister, today flagged off a special fodder train for famine-affected animals of Jalore and Sirohi districts in Rajasthan from the town (a part of his old Lok Sabha constituency which he represented thrice in the past).
There is an acute shortage of fodder for the animals due to famine in the Jalore Lok Sabha constituency consisting of eight Assembly segments.
The special goods train comprising 40 wagons is carrying about 6000 quintals of fodder, especially sugarcane, which was collected by Mr Buta Singh and his supporters from Simbal, Manakpur Sharif and Akalgarh villages after accepting donations from all parts of the state.
The special goods train for carrying fodder has been made available by Ms Mamata Banerjee, Union Railway Minister, saving the organisers from paying Rs 5 lakh as freight charges. The fodder has been booked in the name of Collector, Jalore, who will receive it there for further distribution in the districts of Jalore and Sirohi.
On the occasion, among others who were present included Mr Joginder Singh Mann, former Punjab Minister, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, Organising Secretary of PPCC, Mr Jaswinder Singh Goldi, President of Kurali Municipal Council, Mr Dhani Ram, former president of Kurali Municipal Council and Mr Netar Muni, President of Majri block Congress committee.
Talking to mediapersons, Mr Buta Singh said he had plans to send two such trains from Kanshipur and Udham Singh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh to the famine-affected areas in Jalore constituency. He said the residents of these areas had offered him fodder in large quantity for the purpose.
Mr Buta Singh also accused the central government of not releasing any grant for the famine-affected areas in Rajasthan, despite a written request to it by the state government. The Centre had not even sent any team to these areas to take stock of the situation though it had already declared Rajasthan a drought-hit.
He said the Centre had enough foodgrains in its stocks to send to Rajasthan, but it had not issued even B-grade foodgrains to the state to tackle the famine. He also stated that the BJP-led government had been providing assistance only to its friendly states like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat without even sending a central team.
Mr Buta Singh demanded the completion of the Narbada canal in these areas to make water available there. He also urged the Union Government to prepare a central project to make arrangements for irrigation at local level in these areas.
He also criticised the Union Government for not handling the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane.
Millers decry slow movement of
PATIALA, Dec 28 The Punjab Rice Millers Association has claimed that several rice mills would face closure in the state if the government does not expedite the movement of procured rice.
In a press statement issued here yesterday, Mr Tarsem Saini, president of the association, said the quality of rice would deteriorate as the FCI had no vacant space to store rice.
Mr Saini said at present up to a maximum of 4 lakh tonnes of rice was being moved out of Punjab every month in spite of the tall claims made by the union and state governments that efforts would be made to make sufficient space available to accommodate rice stocks of the current crop. With the present pace of movement, the milling of paddy and delivery of rice would be possible in 14 months as 56 lakh tonnes of rice was yet to be delivered out of the balance stocks in the state.
The millers have
appealed to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister; Mr
Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies Minister, and
Minister of State Chiranji Lal Garg to prevail upon Mr
Shanta Kumar, Union Food Minister, to sort out the main
problems of millers of Punjab.
AMRITSAR, Dec 28 Punjab is offering as high as 16 per cent subsidies of gross domestic product, says Prof Gian Singh Sahota of Venderbelt University, USA, while delivering C.N. Vakil Memorial Lecture at national economic conference organised by Guru Nanak Dev University here today. He pointed out that the subsidies on power was borne by the PSEB and on transport by Pepsu Transport Corporation through their heavy losses.
Professor Sahota felt that these subsidies were responsible for making the stares coffers empty.
The Gian Chand Memorial Lecture was delivered by distinguished economist of Punjab Dr H.K. Manmohan Singh, a former Vice-Chancellor, of Punjabi University, on Rethinking Reforms: Back to the Middle Path.
Rs 4.6 lakh looted from
MOGA, Dec 28 Three scooter-borne armed men looted Rs 4.60 lakh from some employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board at gunpoint near Phulelwala canal situated on the Baghapurana-Nihalsinghwala road, according to reports reaching here yesterday.
The reports said the employees had withdrawn the money from the Baghapurana branch of the State Bank of India and were going to Samadhbhai village to disburse it among the board employees posted at the village.
The report further said the scooter-borne youths signalled the vehicle to stop and asked the employees to handover the money to them, otherwise they would be shot dead. Fearing trouble the employees handed over the money. Although the matter was reported to the police but it reached the spot after all of them had left the place.
4 killed, 13 hurt in
TARN TARAN, Dec 28 In a fatal accident between a "gharuka" and a mini bus at Goindwal Sahib, 25 km from here, today four workers of a factory were killed on the spot and 13 injured.
According to information, the "gharuka" carrying 25 workers collided with the bus coming from the opposite side.
CM launches website on
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Dec 28 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, launched a website on the district and inaugurated a high-speed communication network here today on the occasion of Sahidi Jor Mela.
Mr V.K. Janjua, Deputy
Commissioner, said with the launching of the website
people, particularly Punjabi around the globe, would now
be able to get all historical, cultured and heritage
information on the site. Besides this, the site also
contains information on important shrines, population,
infrastructure, climate and cropping patterns. The
address of the site is
Cheques issued to milkmen bounce
MOGA, Dec 28 A number of cheques drawn on various branches of nationalised banks issued to milkmen of various towns in this district, particularly Moga, as payment of milk supply have bounced for want of money.
78 DIET students released
ROPAR, Dec 28 Seventyeight students of District Institutes of Education and Training (DIET) and members of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Union were released today from Central Jail, Patiala, after their release orders by a local court yesterday.
Employee of post office held
GURDASPUR, Dec 28 The police today arrested an employee of the post office at Pathankot on a charge of fraud.
According to Mr Varinder
Kumar, SSP, the accused when posted at Saili Kulian
branch cheated 22 persons and misappropriated Rs 61,000.
A case under Sections 408 and 467, IPC, has been
registered against him at Pathankot.
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