|Thursday, January 13, 2000,
Utsav at Patna Sahib today
grains enough to feed Bihar, Haryana
security for Maghi mela
increases sugarcane price
before you make a call
leads dharna over conference site
Inders letter to Badal
quits Lok Bhalai Manch
in search of an identity
on Jan 14 sought
Dept in poor health
for outer colonies under new yojna
millers strike enters 6th day
kidnapped, freed after thrashing
Parkash Utsav at Patna Sahib
AMRITSAR, Jan 12 The controversial Nanakshahi calendar has taken yet another twist. The parbandhak committee of Takht Shri Harmandar , Patna Sahib (Bihar) has decided to celebrate the 333rd Parkash Utsav of Shri Guru Gobind Singh on January 13. According to information available here, the nagar kirtan was taken out in main bazaars and lanes of Patna today. Much to the embarrassment of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which had already celebrated the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh on January 5 on the basis of controversial Nanakshahi calendar. The managing committee of the Takht Shri Patna Sahib and Takht Shri Hazur Sahib (Nanded) Maharashtra have refused to implement the new calendar, authored by Canada-based Sikh Pal Singh Purewal.
This is for the first time in the history of Sikhism that both the takhts, which are directly, connected with the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh are organising parallel celebrations. Guru Gobind Singh was born at Patna and spent his last days at Nanded, hence the decision of the managing committee of both takhts would embarrass the SGPC which has implemented the Nanakshahi calendar despite the fact that Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht had stopped its implementation till a consensus was arrived at by the Sikh congregation.
On the other hand the president of Chief Khalsa Dewan, Mr Kirpal Singh, has said the decision to implement the new calendar by the SGPC was hasty which was likely to divide the Sikhs.
He said the parkash utsav of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated all over the country on January 13 and 14. He further said that he was going to Uttar Pradesh and the Gurdwara Nanakmatta where the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh was being celebrated on January 14. He urged the SGPC management to evolve a consensus before implementing the Nanakshahi calendar.
All India Radio and Doordarshan kendras of Patna, Lucknow, Jalandhar, Calcutta and Bhopal will broadcast, telecast the programmes being held at Patna Sahib tomorrow.
The BJP high command and its Punjab unit too seem to be divided over this controversial calendar. While the BJP-led Central Government had notified January 5 as a restricted holiday, the state unit has opposed the new calendar. Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a senior BJP leader and Cabinet minister has criticised the SGPC for implementing the Nanakshahi calendar. Mr Tandon apprehended that this calendar would divide the Hindus and Sikhs who also had been celebrating the festivals.
Though the office-bearers of various Sikh organisations, including the local Singh Sabha, have expressed divergent views on the issue, yet they have decided not to embarrass the SGPC by taking out a nagar kirtan tomorrow. A spokesman for the Singh Sabha said this decision was taken as one-time exception. He, however, said in future the Gurpurbs and other events would be celebrated on the basis of traditional Bikrami Samvat calendar.
On the other hand, a section of Sant Samaj led by Baba Mangal Singh Satlani has decided to go ahead with the celebrations on January 14. The Sant Samaj will also take out parbhat pheris from the Bhai Veer Singh hall. The Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee and various Singh Sabhas in Punjab would also follow suit.
Wasted grains enough to feed
CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 Despite government intervention in pricing and procurement of foodgrain, primarily wheat and paddy, the country continues to suffer heavily on account of losses and wastage incurred in the post-harvest period. These are more man-made than natural.
The losses begin with the arrival of foodgrain in the regulated or wholesale markets and continue till foodgrains reach their destination.
The World Bank has carried out a study Foodgrain marketing policies: reforming to meet food security needs, which focuses on how best to handle the foodgrain and save both money and grain.
The suggested reforms would mean changing the related policies, including the ones which govern subsidies. These reforms assume added importance because given the limitations in the system on increasing production and productivity, storage, transportation, cost factor etc., the country would require at least 200 million mt to 230 million mt foodgrain by 2020. Unless every grain is accounted for, the existing public distribution system (PDS) itself will be impaired, the study warns.
The current system of PDS is so designed that the target group poor are left out. The study reveals that by one estimate after accounting for poor targeting and leakages to the open market, less than one-quarter of the grain distributed through the PDS actually reaches the poor. A rough estimate of cost of government foodgrain policies is about $ 2 billion per year (1996-97). This cost includes food subsidy, implicit interest rate subsidy to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the value of physical losses in private marketing sector.
What is contributing to continuing losses and wastage are government policies and their implementation, which even stifle growth and modernisation of grain markets and processors. The post-harvest losses, the study reveals, are estimated to be 7 per cent to 10 per cent at the farm to market level and another 4 per cent to 5 per cent at the market and distribution level. For the system as a whole, the losses equal to 12 million mt to 16 million mt of grain all grains per year, including 3 million mt to 4 million mt wheat and 5-7 million mt of rice.
With average per capita consumption of about 15 kg of foodgrain a month, these losses are enough to feed about 70 million to 100 million people, about one-third of Indias poor, or the states of Bihar and Haryana, for almost one year.
Storage is yet another culprit for losses thefts and damage besides leakages. One sees pyramid shaped storage in the open covered and plinth storage as it is referred to technically. This is mostly in private sector paid put by various government agencies. This type of storage itself results in estimated 20 per cent losses.
On the other hand, despite tall claims, most of countrys 6,800 state-operated wholesale markets or mandis are severely congested at harvest time. Every market season one hears of damage to the harvested grains in mandis and on farms.
More than wheat, it is paddy which is still being handled in a primitive way. The milling itself is a problem. Both the millers and the states invariably get locked in controversies ranging from quality cuts to pricing. At least 30 per cent paddy continues to be milled with less efficient technology related to hullers and shellers, which give a recovery rate of 50 per cent to 68 per cent against optimum of 70 per cent to 72 per cent, says the report.
For every 100 kg of paddy, about 4 kg to 20 kg of rice becomes unavailable for direct consumption as it is mixed into by products.
Wheat milling to make flour is done by equally poor machinery by small units. India, it is estimated, has over 26,000 chakkis, which turn nearly 85 per cent of wheat into brown flour. Even in respect of 800-odd roller flour mills, wheat extraction rate is woefully low: 60 per cent to 65 per cent, far below international standards: 72 to 75 per cent.
An interesting observation in the World Bank document pertains to existence of multiple regulations by multiple agencies. For instance, there are as many as 18 such regulations in Andhra Pradesh, 17 in Uttar Pradesh and 12 in West Bengal consuming both valuable time and unofficial fee paid to the inspectors at large.
The report has had a dig at the FCI itself, which is the single largest foodgrain procurement agency operating countrywide through an army of 65,000 employees, over 170,000 direct contract labour and managing over 1,400 storage depot centres. Procurement, no doubt, has shot up: it tripled from 7 to 8 million mt in early seventies to 20 to 25 million mt in mid-nineties. With increase in volume not only cost has gone up even the FCIs inefficiency has increased.
It is in this backdrop that the World Bank has made some suggestions in respect of necessary reforms needed to better manage post-harvest handling of foodgrain and efficiently making the operation cost-effective. It advocates private enterprise rather than pure government intervention. Private sector involvement will stabilise price line, transportation, distribution and improve handling which will cut down on wastage and leakages.
Indias Ninth Five-Year Plan - 1997-2000 indicates a readiness to move toward greater market competition, to minimise controls and to use external trade more extensively in managing grain surpluses and shortages.
Reforms suggested are aimed at improving efficiency of foodgrain marketing system, thereby, improving the FCIs efficiency and effectiveness; upgrading market infrastructure and support services; and improving targeting and delivery of safety nets, particularly, the Public Distribution System.
The report concludes with these words A mere 10 per cent reduction in food subsidies could generate fiscal savings of as much as $ 170 million per year. Simply cutting the FCIs operational costs by 10 per cent could save as much as $ 139 million a year. Improved private efficiency that reduces physical foodgrain losses alone by a third could generate financial savings of as much as $ 60 million and make available additional half a million mt foodgrain per year.
contribution to the Central kitty both in respect of
wheat and paddy is the maximum, will Punjab take the lead
in improving its mandi board functioning or let it
loot the farmers without providing
corresponding facilities in the mandis by introducing new
technology which maintains quality?
Tight security for Maghi mela
MUKTSAR, Jan 12 A large number of people from all over Punjab and other parts of the country have started arriving here to pay their obeisance and to take a holy dip in various sarovars during Maghi mela.
The police has made elaborate and foolproof security arrangements in view of the arrest of Jarnail Singh, a human bomb, by the Bathinda police who was to target Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and other key political figures on such occasions.
Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, said nothing was being left to chance and all measures had been taken to prevent any untoward incident during the mela.
The Maghi mela is held here in memory of supreme sacrifice made by the 40 Muktas (liberated ones ) led by Bhai Mahan Singh at Khidrana de Dhaab (now Muktsar), when they engaged the Mughal army chasing Guru Gobind Singh. This was also the last fierce battle between the Mughal army and Guru Gobind Singh in which the former suffered a heavy loss and fled the battlefield.
Political parties also hold their respective conferences to sway public opinion in their favour. All main political parties of Punjab, including the Congress, the SAD, the BJP, the SAD (Amritsar), the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and others have started pitching their tents to hold their respective conferences.
Sources said Mr Kushabhau Thakre, President, BJP, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, Senior Vice-President, BJP, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, President, BJP, Punjab unit, will participate in the joint SAD-BJP conference here on January 14.
The party conference of the Congress will be addressed by Mr Amarinder Singh, Mr Jagmeet Brar and a number of other state leaders. Some central leaders are also expected to join the conference.
Mr B.S. Soodan, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted said the city had been divided into eight sectors and Mr Vivek Aggarwal, ADC, had been made mela in charge. Every sector would be manned by an Executive Magistrate apart from a gazetted police officer.
He said over 10 lakh persons were expected to attend the mela.
Anandgarh project okayed
CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 The Punjab Council of Ministers today approved in principle the prestigious Anandgarh project.
This was a Tercentenary pledge of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
The creation of Anandgarh, an ultra-modern futuristic city with global vision, will reaffirm to the world at large Punjabi spirit of enterprise and illustrate Punjabs entrepreneurial talent in the emerging hi-tech sectors and areas recognisable globally, says a government press note.
The new town will reduce pressure on the periphery of Chandigarh, cater to the requirements of the state government, help Punjab attract NRIs and develop the region.
The new city will come up near Chandigarh on an area of 10,000 acres to cater a population of 10 lakh in the first phase.
The project contains an attractive rehabilitation package for those whose land has been acquired for Anandgarh. While compensation will be paid at attractive rates to the land owners, the displaced families will also be given priority in the allotment of plots in the new city. Alternative settlements will be planned for economically weaker sections for their rehabilitation. Modern dairy farms will be set up to provide jobs to project affected families.
Amongst other measures ITI/polytechnic admissions will be arranged for the wards of displaced families and various self-employment schemes tied up for improving their skills. There will be a separate rehabilitation fund.
The Cabinet decided that since Anandgarh is a commemorative project it will be launched on Baisakhi, 2000.
The meeting also approved the implementation of its decision taken in the previous Cabinet meeting regarding its commitment to the National Consensus on Sales Tax equalisation with effect from January 15. The decision has been taken on the basis of a complete national consensus for rationalisation of the tax structure for improving financial health of the country and of the states.
The Council of Ministers has approved the imposition of lumpsum tax on halwai and bakery goods as per the consensus arrived at after detailed discussions with their association. It has also been decided to exempt inter-state sellers of tea from Punjab to Jammu Kashmir from presenting C-form between the period 1.4.90 to 31.3.1999.
Another decision was
that new veterinary doctors, selected by the PPSC, should
be employed forthwith for their immediate postings in the
rural focal points, where the requisite infrastructure
has already been provided. Further for the watch and ward
of the focal points infrastructure, Class IV employees
rendered surplus in certain departments and projects
should be redeployed through state level redeployment
cell, headed by the Chief Secretary.
Punjab increases sugarcane
CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 Despite opposition by the private and cooperative sugar millers, the Punjab Government today went ahead to decide to jack up the price of the sugarcane available to the mills for crushing.
Official sources said that at todays meeting of the Cane board, the state government decided to fix the sugarcane price at Rs 100 a quintal the COJ-64 early maturing variety of the cane. This is Rs 5 a quintal increase over the price last year which was Rs 95 a quintal. For the mid-season maturing varieties, the price will be Rs 98 a quintal and for the late-maturing varieties Rs 96 a quintal.
Obviously, the impending Nawanshahr Assembly by-election made the Punjab Government enhance the price of sugarcane at todays meeting, which was attended by officials of the cooperative sugar mills, agriculture department and the Chief Minister and the Agriculture Minister concerned.
Nawanshahr is a major sugarcane growing area and non-increase in the price of the cane could have affected adversely the political fortune of the ruling party. Moreover, the Haryana Government, to please the farming community, had enhanced the cane price from Rs 95 to Rs 110 a quintal, obviously with an eye on the Assembly poll. In fact the price of cane was expected to be enhanced in November but the Punjab Government kept the issue pending due to "sick" condition of the sugar industry in the state.
Of the total 21 sugar mills 14 in cooperative sector and seven in the private sector 20 are in operation and Rakhra Cooperative Sugar Mills in Patiala district has completed the crushing job. From 1.45 lakh hectares under the cane crop 57 lakh tonnes of cane will be available for crushing. Already 20 lakh tonnes have been crushed.
Official sources said here today that the accumulated loss of the sugar industry has crossed Rs 300 crore. With an increase of Re 1 a quintal in the price beyond Rs 95, the industry had assessed a loss of Rs 3.5 crore in the cooperative sector. Though sugar recovery has increased by 0.35 per cent this year as compared to the last year, yet cooperative mills have assessed an overall loss of Rs 17 crore.
Private millers who crush about 40 per cent of the available cane, have suffered a loss of Rs 35 crore in the past four years and with the increase in the price, the loss will go up by Rs 10 crore. Private millers and the cooperative sugar mills federation had informed in November the Chief Minister as regards the "poor" condition of the sugar industry in the state. Even private millers had urged the Chief Minister to declare the industry sick.
Sources said the cane
department had recommended Rs 103 a quintal as the price
for the current cane crop. But the government did not
accept the proposal and fixed the price less than what
Pay before you make a call
JALANDHAR, Jan 12 Can a service provider, particularly when it is a government department or agency, charge a consumer before rendering services to the latter? Surely not, legal experts will opine. But it is happening at a PCO run by the Department of Telecommunication in the GPO building here.
A shock awaits anybody who visits the DoT-run PCO for making an ISD or a long-distance call as he or she is likely to asked to deposit a security amount by the attendant before making such calls. So much so, the attendant will not allow the caller to see or touch the phone till he or she has paid the security amount in advance.
Interestingly, though one of the PCO attendants asserted that the advance money was being charged according to the DoT rules and guidelines, the DoT authorities denied that any such instruction or rule existed or had been enforced by the district telecom authorities. Sources in the department, however, revealed that the PCO staff had made the rules of their own.
The situation is such that first of all they wont attend you, particularly during night, and if the official is kind enough to listen to you, he will hurl a number of irrelevant questions and instructions, including the one to deposit the security amount beforehand, which happens nowhere in the world, complained Mr J.S. Malhotra, a Model House locality resident. He said even private PCO operators did not charge anything in advance.
When this correspondent, posing as a caller, wanting to make a call to Paris, visited the PCO, an official manning it, who identified himself as Tara Chand asked: For how long will you talk? when told, that how could one know in advance, he retorted, I am asking as you have to pay advance accordingly. If you are going to talk for too long pay at least Rs 500 in advance.
When specifically questioned whether there were any instructions by the authorities in this regard, he said: Whatever I am saying is according to the DoT rules, if you need any clarification I can show you the rules or you can talk to the General Manager. He was so sure about the rules that he said: they had even put up an instruction board in the office asking the callers to pay security in advance. It had temporarily been removed as the building was under repair. He, however, refused to mention on the computerised bill that a security amount of Rs 500 was charged against a bill of Rs 220.
On the other hand, legal experts contacted by TNS said charging advance from callers was an illegal practice, The subscriber is the one who has already availed of the services and not before that. Moreover, can the DoT charge money against telephone bills in advance? Questioned Mr Surinder Kapoor, a city-based lawyer, he said there was no provision of charging security or bills in advance in the Indian Telegraph Act.
When contacted, Mr K.K.
Sarangal, Deputy General Manager, Jalandhar Telecom
District, said no instructions had been issued to the PCO
staff regarding charging of security in advance from the
callers. There is no provision of advance in the
department rules, he said assuring that he would
look into the matter.
Brar leads dharna over conference
MUKTSAR, Jan 12 Mr Jagmeet Brar, MP and senior vice-president, PPCC, along with his party workers today staged a dharna in protest against the refusal of district administration to them to hold their conference on the occasion of Maghi Mela on the site selected by the party high command.
Mr Brar and Mr Avtar Singh Sidhu, President, DCC (I), Muktsar, who staged the dharna today morning at the site requested for, alleged that the district administration had refused to allow them to hold their party conference at this particular site under the diktats of ruling politicians.
They alleged that the site had been converted into a police cantonment. No Congress worker was being allowed to enter there. Even persons carrying food for them and their party workers was not allowed to enter into the site by the police force.
Congress workers raised slogans against the district administration and blocked traffic number of times. They alleged the police misbehaved with them.
They alleged that SAD-BJP had chosen the site located adjacent to their site for holding a joint political conference. They added that they were being refused to hold their conference as the ruling Akalis feared that their gathering might be thinner as compared to the Congress gathering.
They pointed out that they would continue their dharna till January 14 and if the party conference was held it would be held at original site for which party had paid Rs 1 lakh to the owner of the site located on the Malout road.
Mr Brar alleged that this was first conference in the town from where he had defeated the son of Chief Minister and former Union minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, by a handsome margin in the last Lok Sabha elections. This was the main reason that ruling Akalis were trying to sabotage the Congress conference.
He added that he along with hundreds of workers were willing to court arrest. He said they would not leave the place and would hold the party conference at the same site. He said that party high command had been apprised of the situation.
Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner, in charge of the mela, told TNS that Congress workers, including Mr Brar and Mr Sidhu were trying to disturb the law and order situation despite the fact that Section 144 of the Cr. PC was in vogue in the town on January 8.
He pointed out that Congress workers had agreed to hold their conference at an alternative site. They had started pitching their tents after having held the path of Sri Guru Granth Sahib yesterday. But they staged the dharna today morning.
He pointed out that the district administration had not given permission to the Congress party to hold its conference at the sought site. A congregation at the site could be a security threat to the gathering of the SAD-BJP conference on January 14.
Mahesh Inders letter to
LUDHIANA, Jan 12 The former Punjab Minister, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal has alleged the hatching of a conspiracy by certain government functionaries to harass him and his younger brother, Dr Gurinder Singh Grewal.
In a letter addressed today to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh, who is a close confidant of the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, drew the attention of Mr Badal to the fact that there was a long standing dispute between his family and that of Mr Gurbir Singh, son of the late Punjab Chief Minister Gurnam Singh, over the presidentship of Guru Nanak Educational Trust, Model Town, Ludhiana.
You are well aware, said Mr Grewal that as a minister in your Cabinet, I had brought (to light) certain illegal actions of an officer who is now working as Director, Prosecution and Litigation. Now I have reliably learnt that a complaint from Mr Gurbir Singh has been procured which has been sent by the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister for legal opinion to the Director, Prosecution and Litigation.
He pointed out that the subject matter of the complaint was already pending in a civil court at Jalandhar. Mr Gurbir Singh had also filed a criminal complaint in a judicial court at Ludhiana about a year ago. Since he had failed to get any relief from the court so far, he had adopted this channel to harass them, the former minister alleged.
Malerkotla quits Lok Bhalai Manch
LUDHIANA, Jan 12 Pandit Manjit Singh Malerkotla, secretary, Lok Bhalai Manch, has resigned from the primary membership of the party.
Talking to mediapersons here today, Pandit Malerkotla said that he had resigned because of rampant sycophancy in the party rank and file.
Pandit Malerkotla, who
was also in charge of the head office of the party,
lamented that the common worker of the party was getting
disillusioned. He however, denied that he had any
personal differences with the party chief Mr Balwant
Zulfi in search of an identity
HIS voice chokes with emotion as he tries to express his emotions of a home-coming. His tightly clenched fists express his anxiety. He is re-visiting India for the first time, since partition threw him off to unknown lands where there were no takers for his music.
Mian Zulfi is the son of illustrious pakhawaj player of Punjab Sitara-e-Hind, the title he was conferred with before partition, Mian Naseer or Bhai Naseer as he was popularly known. Mian Zulfi has come to India to pay his obeisance at Bhaini Saheb, a haven for struggling artistes in Ludhiana district. His father Bhai Naseer had the honour of teaching tabla and pakhawaj to the present guru of the Namdharis, Satguru Jagjit Singhji.
Bhai Naseer belonged to that era when kirtan was performed by the Rababs at Harmandar Sahib. Rababs were predominantly Muslims and maintained the purity of music as prescribed in the Adi Granth Sahib. There was Bhai Taba, a Rababi who used to teach old bandishes at Bhaini Sahib. Bhai Mardana and Bhai Naseer were known for their wizardry on the tabla and Punjabi pakhawaj which is played by applying dough on the bayan of the tabla.
Mian Zulfi laments the loss of that golden period of music when the powerful bols of pakhawaj with their striking resonance used to accompany the singers. Today, people do not know that Punjab has its own tradition of playing pakhawaj. The scene in Pakistan is even more grim. Nobody knows the instrument that is pakhawaj. He recalls with great pain that it was only when Pt Gopi Krishan, a renowned kathak dancer of yesteryears, came to perform in Pakistan and insisted upon seeing Bhai Naseer that the people in Pakistan came to know of his existence. Though later he was conferred with Fakhr-e-Punjab title but nobody gave recognition to pakhawaj.
Zulfi says, for 30 years he tried to make people listen to his rare bols of pakhawaj. He even served the musicians by doing domestic chores but they all preferred his dholak which he finds quite pedestrian as compared to the distinct class of the pakhawaj. Though Zulfi has played dholak and tabla with the likes of Musarrat Nair and Noor Jahan, his fingers itch to play the pakhawaj. He says, Dholak baja baja kar mere haath ulte ho gaye, inhe sidha karna chaahta hoon.
Expressing his reverence for the great tradition of classical music that is being kept alive at Bhaini Sahib, he says, given an opportunity (that he is sure he can get only at Bhaini Sahib), he would like to pass on the rare taals and bols inherited from his father to the next generation. It was only through the unfailing efforts of Satguru Jagjit Singhji that his whereabouts were traced down in Pakistan, after a prolonged effort of more than 30 years. He has been called here, not with a purpose but simply because his fathers disciple wanted to see him, the son of their beloved ustaad. This selfless love and devotion for a teacher brings tears to his eyes, chokes his voice as he tries to express his gratitude. He has experienced rejection of his art, he knows how to appreciate recognition.
Holiday on Jan 14 sought
PATIALA, Jan 12 The World Sikh Intellectual Council today urged the Punjab Government, the Chandigarh Administration, Haryana and neighbouring state governments to declare a holiday on January 14 as the birthday of Sri Guru Gobind Singh falls on that day as per maryada of Sikh Panth.
A meeting of the council presided over by Prof B.S. Balluana appealed to all Sikhs living in Punjab and abroad to celebrate the gurpurb on January 14, 2000, according to the Bikrami calendar.
Mr Balluana said that at the meeting it had been suggested that in future all the gurpurbs and main Sikh festivals should be celebrated as per previous maryada, until the new calendar of the Sikhs was prepared by the seven-member penal constituted by the Jathedar of Akal Takht. Mr Balluana said the new Nanakshahi calendar had many technical flaws as it neither followed the fundamental principle of calendar making nor a proper base year. He pointed out that the calendar followed the Bikrami Samvat from 1469 to 1999 and suddenly in 1999, it shifts to the Gregorian calendar, which was not correct.
Ayurveda Dept in poor health
HOSHIARPUR, Jan 12 On account of shortage of medical staff and nonavailability of medicines in all ayurvedic dispensaries, health services through ayurvedic and unani system of medicine have come to a standstill in Punjab.
According to an official source in the Ayurvedic and Unani Department, Punjab, eight different medicines worth Rs 394 each had only been supplied to all dispensaries in August 1999 by the Punjab Government Central Pharmacy, Patiala, which is the single source from which the department gets the medicines. After that no medicine or funds have been provided.
The Punjab Ayurvedic Medical Services Association, Hoshiarpur unit in a press release yesterday stated that it was a matter of shame that the ayurvedic medical system, which had been appreciated throughout the world, had been suffering due to the indifferent attitude of bureaucrats and the Punjab Government.
A spokesman for the association said in Hoshiarpur district, 12 posts of ayurvedic medical officer, 12 posts of dispenser, 20 posts of trained dai were lying vacant for the past one year. Besides, four ayurvedic medical officers of the district had been adjusted in Ropar district. The posts of district ayurvedic and unani officer was also lying vacant. There was no assistant and steno in the district office. The office is housed in a dilapidated building. There is no telephone, vehicle of adequate furniture in the office.
The sources said a junior class III employee of the department was working as Registrar of the Ayurvedic and Unani Board, Punjab.
They said though some nominal amount was granted by the District Development and Planning Boards to the District Ayurvedic and Unani Offices for the purchase of medicines last year but it lapsed due to the non-payment by the treasury officers.
The employees have not received their salary since December.
Facilities for outer colonies under
PATIALA, Jan 12 Outer colonies of the city, which were nobodys babies till now as they have come up in an unplanned manner, may be given some facilities with the municipal corporation deciding to take up community development projects in them under the aegis of the Swarn Jyanti Rozgar Yojna.
The corporation had decided to spend around Rs 50 lakh under the yojna on community projects. The staff has been activated and a survey made about development projects, which can be carried out in various colonies.
Talking to TNS, Corporation Commissioner K.S. Kung said stress would be laid on developing community centres, providing brick-paving, giving sewerage facilities to backward areas and making a scheme to dispose of sullage water into the Chhoti Nadi.
Mr Kung said around Rs 20 lakh had been earmarked for brick-paving in outer colonies. He said Rs 10 lakh had been earmarked for providing sewerage to colonies close to developed areas. Speaking about the problem of disposal of sullage water, which was creating a major problem in the outer colonies, he said the corporation had initiated a scheme under which sullage water would be taken through various colonies, including Virk Colony, Bajwa Colony, Ram Nagar and Krishen Nagar to the Chhoti Nadi. He said the corporation was facing problems in implementing this scheme as it needed land from the people to dig the proposed drain.
The Commissioner said besides this the corporation was also encouraging projects in which the community and the corporation could be equal partners. As the residents of outer colonies were neither paying house tax nor were giving any development charges to the corporation, they were not entitled to any facility. However, the corporation was maintaining existing facilities in the colonies and had also started a scheme under which the concerned colony could develop its own infrastructure in cooperation with the corporation.
The scheme has met with part success, and residents of Tegh Colony, Hem Bagh., Sidhu Nagri and those in Badungar area had opted for it. Under this scheme colony residents deposited the money for a particular scheme with the corporation, putting its own contribution to creating the facility. He said sewerage connections had been laid in Hem Bagh under the scheme. Cement flooring had been done in Hem Bagh and Tegh Colony. Water supply had been increased to Tegh Colony and streets developed in Sidhu Nagri.
The corporation had decided to construct roads in all outer colonies but said the people would have to construct their streets themselves. The corporation was, however, ready to extend help in this regard also if the people took up the initiative.
Though the very nature of the colonies their lack of planning and haphazard construction is the bane of their worries, it is here also that the people want the corporation to interfere and set things right. Streets have come up without proper levelling and even a small amount or rain results in water collecting everywhere. Residents want that the streets should be levelled properly by the corporation and ways made for disposal of water so that there was no conflict on the issue among colony residents.
Rice millers strike
enters 6th day
PHILLAUR, Jan 12 The Punjab Rice Millers Association has appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, to persuade the Union government to accept the long-pending demands of the rice millers.
Talking to newsmen here
today the association president, Mr Tersem Saini, said
the strike of all 2600 units in the State had entered
sixth day today. The associations legal call chairman, Mr
Joginder Paul Vijj claimed that the rice millers were
being forced to operate at less than 25 per cent of the
installed capacity. The milling operations were
economically unviable because the FCI was neither able to
create storage space for milling paddy nor take the stock
out of Punjab. They said the FCI was able to move out
only four lakh tonnes of rice every month. The millers
have capacity to produce 18 lakh tonnes of rice every
month. They said if the rate of movement of rice out of
the State was not increased, milling of more than one
crore tonne of paddy in the State would not be completed
till March 31.
Sat Paul Mittal remembered
LUDHIANA, Jan 12
The Nehru Sidhant Kender Trust observed the eighth death
anniversary of its founder president Sat Paul Mittal here
today. The trustees and large number of friends and
admirers paid floral tributes at the statue of Mr Mittal,
installed on the kender premises. Tributes were paid by
Mr Prem Nath Gupta, president of the trust, Mr Gurcharan
Singh Galib, MP, and Mr Rakesh Panday, MLA.
Punjab staff not paid Dec
CHANDIGARH, Jan 12 A large number of government employees have not got their salary for December till date.
Mr K K Jindal, a spokesman of the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, alleged here today that the government was resorting to various tactics, including a lot of paper work, to delay payment of the salary.
He said the allocation of salary funds in various departments was made on a quarterly basis with clear instructions to the drawing and disbursing officers that they should not utilise the funds beyond the allocation with made to them under the salary head.
Mr Jindal added that the government should revert to annual system of allocation of funds under the salary head as the quarterly system was creating a lot of problems and delaying the disbursement of salary to a large section of government employees.
Boy kidnapped, freed after
LUDHIANA, Jan 12 A 15-year-old boy, Arpit Singla, was yesterday kidnapped by four teenagers from outside his school and later released after being beaten black and blue, allegedly because of his involvement with a girl.
According to the information available, Arpit, a class XI student of the New High Senior Secondary School, was picked up by four youth from outside the school at around 3 p.m. and taken in a silver coloured Honda City car.
Some of the students, who witnessed the incident, reported the matter to the Principal, who in turn intimated the police and Arpits family. The search for the kidnappers began and around 5 pm Arpit called up his parents from a PCO in Model Town. He had been freed by the kidnappers who are alleged to be class XI students of another local school.
Confirming the incident,
Mr Kuldeep Singh, SSP, said that the police had already
identified suspects and they would be arrested soon. A
case under Sections 605, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC had
been registered in the Sarabha Nagar police station.
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