|Friday, January 28, 2000,
Face challenge of terrorism: Jacob
Punjab sets deadline on
Ranjit Singh threatens to gherao
Dhaki Sahib dispute settled
Kisan organisations hold rally
of Sarbat Khalsa
SGPC chief causing
damage to Takht
Punjab failure saddens
SHSAD wooing BSP in 'third front'
Hospital plan a nonstarter
Civic chief suspends inspector
Mid-term transfer of nurses
International congress on Indian
Dog show on Feb 6
Nigerian President visits PAU
DGP opens police station building
2 held for carrying smuggled
Restructuring of PSEB
Growgreen Forests scam: 2 held
Markfed nodal agency for fruit
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 Early last year fearing the wrath of the then Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, the Chief Minister and Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in sustained moves first removed Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra from the presidentship of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and later Bhai Ranjit Singh. Mr Badal was then master of all the wings of the panthic politics and religious institutions. He had handpicked Bibi Jagir Kaur, a junior minister to head the SGPC and a reluctant Giani Puran Singh was persuaded to be the Jathedar of Akal Takht. The Chief Minister, President of the Akali Dal, was now in total command of the mini Sikh parliament. In panthic politics with its murky ups and downs, no leader since Baba Kharak Singh had such a unique status.
But within less than one year, the ball is back in his court. Last night Mr Badal spent four hours with his colleagues to find a way to save Bibi Jagir Kaur from the wrath of Giani Puran Singh and also resuscitate his lost position. Giani Puran Singh, irked by the way he was being treated by the SGPC president on the issue of Nanakshahi calendar and related issues, made swift moves. From Guna in Madhya Pradesh, he selected four Amritdhari Sikhs, held court and pronounced that Bibi Jagir Kaur stood excommunicated from the Sikh Panth. This short order was faxed to newspaper offices. There was disbelief. It was a bombshell which no one had predicted. Some thought it to be a ruse played by some madcap. But no, Giani Puran Singh did speak to some journalists and asserted that he had rightly excommunicated the first-ever woman president of the SGPC from the Panth. The issue, he asserted, was the Nanakshahi calendar. He also said that he could take such a decision and no one could challenge his authority. Clearly his cup of patience with Bibi Jagir Kaur was full. The order clearly stated that despite specific instructions from the five Sikh high priests, the SGPC president went ahead with the adoption and publication of the new Nanakshahi calendar. Guru Gobind Singhs birthday on January 5 was celebrated by the SGPC while all over world the Sikhs celebrated it on January 14. She was also interfering in the Constitution of the committee of experts and threatening the decision makers.
This calendar issue based on solar calculations instead of the old Bikrami calendar based on lunar calculations was first published by the SGPC. In fact, the Punjab Government under the instructions of the Chief Minister went ahead and published its calendar on the basis of the Nanakshahi calendar. The issue of Nanakshahi calendar has been hanging fire for five years. But Mr Tohra has been cleverly postponing it. This issue, like the langar issue has divided the Sikhs down the line.
Excommunication would mean that no Sikh can have any relationship with Bibi Jagir Kaur. By logic she has ceased to be President of the SGPC. But apparently the reaction from the Badal camp and the SGPC leadership has been helpful for Bibi Jagir Kaur. Mr Badal, who should have anticipated the move, was blissfully unaware till he was informed in Delhi on the evening of January 25 and then he rushed to Amritsar. He directed officers to trace out the SGPC members and the chiefs of other Takhts and rush them to Amritsar. The next day, his formal salute taking at the Republic Day function was relegated and this new thorny issue dominated the mind. Luckily, the officials succeeded in sending some 50 SGPC members to Amritsar and also five priests got together denounced the excommunication. Interestingly, they were all scared till Mr Badal asked them to stand up. These priests disagreed with the manner in which Giani Puran Singh had acted and not the excommunication per se. The first objection of Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib and four priests was that no meeting of the five members of the high Sikh clergy was held. It could not be called a decision of the Akal Takht. It is a clear violation of Sikh traditions and also those of Akal Takht. Next, they said that the basic procedure had not been followed. The person who is to be excommunicated is first given a notice and told that he or she has violated these principles and after seeking the explanation, the five priests decide the course of action. Excommunication is very harsh and the last resort before the high priests, they said.
But Giani Puran Singh does not buy this argument. He asserted that what he needed was four other Amritdhari Sikhs and this practice was followed in letter and spirit. It is not necessary for him to consult these priests only and also he could issue any edict or order from any gurdwara.
Bibi Jagir Kaur shocked beyond words first reacted by saying that she had the highest regard for the supreme temporal authority of the Sikhs and would abide by the order. Aware of the tremors that were rocking panthic circles and wished to play it cool.
While the SGPC controlled by the Badal faction would surely stand by Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Badal clearly understands the importance of the excommunication. However, Mr Tohra has not been silent. Asserting that Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur were bent upon denigrating Akal Takht, Mr Tohra said: "Giani Puran Singh was appointed by Mr Badal and now he was not willing to obey his orders. He thought that he has got a new tool in place of Bhai Ranjit Singh who had refused to play ball. But this has been proved wrong. An edict is issued by the Akal Takht Jathedar and this has to be obeyed. Those who are trying to find some excuses will prove wrong. What other priests are saying has no basis and all that they are saying is against the Sikh maryada." He lent full support to Giani Puran Singh whose appointment he has never accepted. Evidently, he knows that the present crisis would damage both Mr Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur. He also accused Bibi Jagir Kaur of streamrolling on the the calendar issue. She should have waited for the decision of Akal Takht and the committee.
Akali circles strongly believe that Mr Badal should have anticipated the present crisis. Bibi Jagir Kaur has been using foul language against the Jathedar and threatening his ouster. She had been rough and thought since Mr Badal could not have anyone else, she could streamroll any issue. Giani Puran Singh was feeling hurt and had the information that he would be removed by the SGPC executive at its meeting slated for January 27 at Chandigarh. She has been telling anyone who could lend her an ear that she would see these priests out.
Last night when Mr Badal collected his court for four long hours what emerged was that the leaders should be careful and some way should be found to defuse the crisis.
Taking the cue from the PAC , Mr Badal today urged Giani Puran Singh not to be harsh on Bibi Jagir Kaur. Mr Badal also promised that his position would not be undermined and the entire Executive Committee along with Bibi Jagir Kaur would present itself and seek his pardon. Giani Puran Singh, according to political circles here expressed his anguish at the way he was ignored and humiliated. He had put my head on the block when no senior priest was coming forward to replace Bhai Ranjit Singh. This is the gist of what the high priest told Mr Badal.
Perhaps , Giani Puran
Singh may demand Bibi Jagir Kaurs head. Last night
at the PAC meeting, she had no one to support her. It
seems that Mr Badal may finally agree to that. The crisis
may blow over, but would leave a permanent scar. Mr Badal
is being beaten by his own supporters. Also, the Akal
Takht Jathedar would be assuming unlimited powers after
having humiliated the SGPC President and the entire
Maryada matters, not kursi
DESPITE the "ex-communication", Bibi Jagir Kaur appeared confident and assertive when she said: "It is a misnomer to call a communication issued by Giani Puran Singh on his personal letter-pad as a hukamnama: There is a set procedure and a tradition the way a hukamnama is to be issued".
For her it is inconsequential whether one or the other individual remains in power, either in the SGPC or Akal Takht, what matters to her is that "traditions" and "maryada" must be upheld and respected. There could be no compromise on this.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said when she first heard the news she was "greatly upset". Soon she regained her composure and inside her grew a strength to fight a new challenge. A thought crossed her mind: Ms Indira Gandhi had demolished the building of Akal Takht. The Sikhs applied a healing touch and rebuilt it. It is now time again for the Sikhs to uphold, respect and keep alive till eternity, the "maryada" of Akal Takht achieved after great "sacrifices".
Talking of the anguish caused by the "hukamnama" and the manner in which it was issued she admitted the need for urgently taking up the issue at the appropriate level to set the rules and frame proper guidelines for the institution of Jathedars. The proposed SGPC executive meeting on January 29 at Amritsar, is likely to discuss the same.
At present, Bibi Jagir Kaur is more worried about the "whereabouts" of Giani Puran Singh with whom none from the SGPC has had any contact since he left Amritsar. Moreover, there is no "official" copy of the hukamnana either with the SGPC or her. It is important to trace Giani Puran Singh, she added.
She certainly makes no bones about the treatment meted out to her. She dismisses the edict refusing to recognise its merit or validity. She even played a video-cassette showing that all decisions on January 16 regarding the calendar issue were taken unanimously with Giani Puran Singh very much present when Prof Manjit Singh read out the decisions.
Bibi Jagir Kaur, still clings to the belief that the so-called `hukamnama was a "ploy" used to create "divisions, rift and confusion" among the Sikhs; a handiwork of some "mischievous persons" out to destroy the "sidant" and "maryada". For her the Nanakshahi calendar is no issue.
She has met the Chief Minister, who is also the SAD President, and discussed a strategy.
Several SGPC members and
others flocked to her Sector 39 residence since early
morning on Thursday. For all she has just one message :
"Do not sympathise with me. An individual is not
important. Understand the importance of the action which
is violative of all Akal Takht traditions. The issue at
stake is sidant. Upholding it and
maryada is important and not
kuris. Giani Puran Singh perhaps feared he
may lose his position. Thus this act is unbecoming of a
Face challenge of terrorism: Jacob
JALANDHAR, Jan 27 The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd), unfurled the National Flag on the occasion of the state-level Republic Day function at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium here yesterday.
Extending greetings to the people of the state on the occasion, General Jacob said the state was facing a number of problems in the fields of education, environment and security, but he expressed full faith that the enterprising Punjabis would overcome these hurdles.
The Governor said the youth of the state had been facing the problem of growing unemployment and to curb it the education system needed to be revamped and made job-oriented. "With the swelling population, the civic services and environment, especially in the urban areas, are under great stress. The degradation of our environment has to be arrested; otherwise, it would have a long-term impact on the quality of life of future generations," he added. General Jacob exhorted the people to launch a Green Punjab revolution by planting and nurturing one tree each. He said children should be educated regarding the importance of preserving the environment.
Talking about the challenges to the country from within and outside, the Governor said the recent intrusion in the Kargil sector and the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane was a cruel reminder of the fact that terrorists from across the border had not lost their potential to inflict damage on the country. He stressed upon the need to reorient the efforts to meet the challenges posed by terrorism, which was spreading its tentacles in the region.
He said despite challenges from within and outside, the Indian Constitution has stood the test of time and its main strength was the right to vote freely and elect a government of peoples choice.
General Jacob said the current year had a special significance for all Punjabis as they would be concluding the celebrations of the tercentenary of the birth of the Khalsa Panth.
Talking about problems faced by the agriculture sector, he said the state needed to sustain its position in agriculture through adopting new strategies and by introducing diversification in the cropping pattern.
Later, General Jacob took the salute from contingents of the Punjab Police, Punjab Armed Police, Border Security Force, senior and junior wings of the NCC, Scouts, Girl Guides and bands of the PAP and the Police Academy, Phillaur. Tableaux depicting developments in various fields were presented by the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries departments besides Department of Industries, the local municipal corporation and the District Sainik Board.
Amritsar: Unprecedented security arrangements marked the golden jubilee celebrations of Republic Day in the city and other border areas on Wednesday as the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, presided over the function held at Guru Nanak Stadium here.
Addressing the gathering at the stadium after unfurling the National Flag, the Chief Minister congratulated all countrymen, especially Punjabis on the historic occasion and paid tributes to those who sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle.
He said Punjab was proud that it had produced great martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai and Kartar Singh Sarabha.
Referring to the conflicts with Pakistan, Mr Badal said it was a matter of pride that Punjab bravely faced three wars with Pakistan. Recently, Army jawans from Punjab had defended the nations borders during the Kargil conflict and had made maximum sacrifices.
The Chief Minister said the state government had waged a battle against corruption and asked the people to single out those officials who indulged in this evil. He sought the cooperation of the bureaucracy in making the corruption alleviation programme of the government to clean the administration a success.
After unfurling the National Flag, the Chief Minister took the salute from an impressive march-past comprising the Punjab Police, Home Guards, NCC senior and junior division, Scouts and Girl Guides.
The tableaux of different departments highlighting their growth and achievements were also presented.
The Chief Minister also presented 12 sewing machines and 11 tricycles to widows and disabled persons, respectively. He also gave cheques for Rs 1 lakh each to six families of Kargil martyrs.
Barnala: Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, Minister of State for Irrigation, hoisted the National Flag here on Wednesday at the new grain market complex.
Mr Longowal inspected a guard of honour and took the salute from contingents of the Punjab Police, Home Guards, NCC cadets of SD College and Arya Mahila College, led by the DSP, Mr Tarsem Singh.
Batala: Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Public Relations Minister, unfurled the National Flag at Baring Union Christian College here on Wednesday. The minister took the salute from contingents of the Punjab Police Home Guards, NCC cadets and Boy Scouts.
As many as 24 sewing machines and 11 tricycles were presented to needy persons. A colourful cultural show was presented by children of various colleges and schools.
Sports persons feted
As many as 125 persons, including sportspersons, were honoured for their outstanding achievements in different fields.
Hoshiarpur: Mr Balramji Das Tandon, Local Bodies Minister, unfurled the National Flag at the local police ground here and took the salute from contingents to of the Punjab Police, the BSF, Home Guards, NCC cadets and Girl Guides.
Kapurthala:Mr Raghbir Singh, Transport Minister, on Wednesday unfurled the National Flag at Guru Nanak Stadium on the occasion of Republic Day. He took the salute from contingents of the Punjab Police, Home Guards, NCC and Boy Scouts.
The minister gave away prizes to sportspersons, students, social workers and officers. He also distributed sewing machines and tricycles among needy persons.
Pathankot: Mr Tikshan Sood, Minister for Excise and Taxation, unfurled the National Flag at the Republic Day function at SD Senior Secondary School here and took the salute from contingents of the police, Home Guards and NCC.
Ropar: Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm at the local Nehru Stadium on Wednesday. Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies Minister, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute.
Mr Mittal, on behalf of the District Red Cross Society, also distributed 15 tricycles among handicapped persons and five sewing machines among widows. He honoured 14 sportspersons and four teachers. Children from various schools presented a colourful cultural programme.
He distributed 11 sewing machines and seven tricycles among the needy.
Addressing a gathering after unfurling the flag he said Punjabis always came forward to protect the country.
Bathinda: Raja Narinder Singh, PWD Minister, Punjab, said here on Wednesday that in the last two years, 8,000 km of link roads had been repaired and 2,000 km of new link roads constructed in the state.
After unfurling the National Flag he said about 10 crore was being spent to improve the drinking water supply in nearly 200 villages of Bathinda and Moga districts under a programme launched by the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission.
Phagwara: Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, Science and Technology Minister, Punjab, unfurled the National Flag here on Wednesday.
Sangrur: Republic Day was celebrated here on Wednesday at the War Heroes Stadium. Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Punjab Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute.
Samana: Mr Ajaib Singh Makhmailpur, PWD Minister, unfurled the National Flag at the local Public Senior Secondary School Ground.
He took the salute from the Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC cadets. A grant of Rs 10 lakh was given to Nagar Council for development.
The block Congress also arranged the function at Gandhi Ground. Mr Mohanlal Jain of the Congress hoisted the National Flag and took the salute from the Punjab Police and school children presented cultural programme on occasion.
Samrala: The Cabinet Minister of Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, unfurled the National Flag on the premises of the local Nankana Sahib School on Wednesday.
The school children presented a cultural show on the occasion.
Punjab sets deadline on
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today came to the rescue of hundreds, if not thousands, of Punjab Government employees whose payment of medical reimbursement bills had been withheld by various departments in the state government for a long time.
Taking up a stream of petitions preferred by employees this afternoon, the Chief Justice, Mr Arun B. Saharya, and Mr Justice V. K. Bali, directed the state government to file a statement of facts about the pending medical reimbursement bills before them on or before March 9, the next date of hearing.
The Bench clarified to the Additional Advocate-General that the statement must contain details about the medical bills even of those employees who had not filed petitions in the High Court.
The Judges obliged the Additional Advocate-General by accepting his request to supply him a copy of this order dasti so that he could prevail upon the Chief Secretary for complying with the directions of the court. "You have no option but to comply with these orders," said the Chief Justice.
And when the Additional Advocate-General told the Bench that the government had released the payment of a medical bill in which directions were issued by the court, the Chief Justice said: "We shall continue to pass these orders till we achieve this object."
In certain cases, the necessary sanction for releasing the payment of medical reimbursement bills had been accorded. But the payment was not remitted.
The delay in the release of medical reimbursement bills has been pending before the High Court for a long time. Hardly any day passes when petitions praying for directing the state government to make payment of medical bills are not filed.
The Chief Justice had converted into a public interest litigation a petition preferred by Mr Ram Krishan Kaushal in December last saying that his wife, Mrs Urmila Kaushal, a senior assistant in the office of Deputy Commissioner of Patiala, had developed a heart problem. First, she remained under treatment at Rajindra Hospital. Since her trouble could not be cured there, she was referred to Tagore Heart Care and Research Centre, Jalandhar, by Dr Manmohan Singh, Head of the Cardiology Department of Rajindra Hospital, on September 19, 1998.
In his petition Mr Kaushal stated that she was operated upon at the Tagore Heartcare and Research Centre. She did not gain consciousness after the operation and expired on September 3, 1999.
He stated that he had raised a loan of Rs 1.50 lakh from relatives and incurred an expense of Rs 1.46 lakh on the treatment of his wife. He had submitted a medical bill on October 6, 1998. It was countersigned for reimbursement of Rs 1,16,400 by an authorised doctor. It was also approved by the Medical Board constituted by the Civil Surgeon at Patiala at its meeting on October 14, 1998. But this payment had not been released by the government.
"This is yet another case where the petitioner is making a grievance against the Punjab Government for not remitting reimbursement of medical expenses, despite the sanction in February, 1999 and again in August, 1999," observed the Chief Justice.
"A large number of petitions have been coming to court with a similar grievance. We would, therefore, treat this (petition) as a public interest litigation case, the Chief Justice ruled.
The Bench had issued notice to the respondent to show cause why the petition be not admitted and in particular explain why funds were not being attached for reimbursement of medical expenses despite sanction thereof.
Ranjit Singh threatens to
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 Former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh has threatened to gherao the official residence of Mr Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh, with the support of sangat (Sikh masses) to revive the maryada of Akal Takht.
Talking to the Press at his residence here yesterday, Bhai Ranjit Singh alleged that Mr Badal should be held responsible for the violation of the age-old religious traditions with the denigration of maryada of the Akal Takht.
Bhai Ranjit Singh who still considers himself as real Jathedar of Akal Takht, to a question, indicated that he might start functioning as Jathedar at an "appropriate time". Bhai Ranjit Singh was sacked by the pro-Badal SGPC last year.
On the issuance of hukamnama ex-communicating the SGPC chief from the Sikh Panth, the former Jathedar asked if the SGPC could violate the tradition by appointing Jathedar (Giani Puran Singh) at a Circuit House and term it as a right step then why the hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh from a PCO be called a violation of maryada. As per the wrong traditions set up by the Badal camp, a hukamnama could also be issued from a PCO. He, however, said Giani Puran Singh had violated the traditions of Akal Takht set by Guru Hargobind Sahib for which Mr Badal should be held responsible.
In a joint press statement, Mr Jasbir Singh Ghuman and Mr Sarbjit Singh Gumtala, General Secretary, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and General Secretary Sarb Hind Youth Akali Dal, respectively, alleged that the SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur, must honour the hukamnama of Giani Puran Singh as he (Giani Puran Singh) was appointed by the Badal camp only last year. Both Bibi Jagir Kaur and Giani Puran Singh had caused a colossal damage to the Sikh traditions, they alleged.
Mr Harminder Singh Gill,
President, All India Sikh Students Federation, however,
has termed the hukamnama issued by Bhai Puran
Singh as a "daring step". He said Bibi Jagir
Kaur must tender her resignation and surrender herself
before the Akal Takht.
Akal Takht-SGPC row
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 The Punjab Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has expressed hope that the Akal Takht and SGPC row will be resolved amicably.
Talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Badal described the row as "unfortunate" and added that they considered Akal Takht as the supreme Sikh authority and could not go against it.
He, however, desisted from going into the Nanakshahi calendar issue saying that these were not his personal views. The party would discuss it at the political affairs committee meeting to be held at Chandigarh in which the executive members of the SGPC would also be present.
To a question he said he was not aware whether there was any move in the party to replace the present Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh over the conflict with the SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur arising out of the Nanakshahi calendar issue and subsequent "hukamnama" issued by Giani Puran Singh from Guna through a fax message sent from there to newspaper offices.
Mr Badal also refused to be drawn into the debate whether any "hukamnama" issued from outside could be considered as genuine. "I dont want to go into this controversy", he added.
He said the forthcoming Nawanshahr Vidhan Sabha constituency byelection would be fought on many issues but the main issue would be the 45-year rule of the Congress in which it had failed to provide any solution to the problems of the population in India.
He stated that he held discussions both with the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr O.P. Chautala, and the BJP leadership in Delhi for seats for his party in Haryana. "But our first aim is to defeat the Congress."
He justified his relations joining Akali politics. "What is wrong if a doctors son becomes a doctor and a lawyers son a lawyer. There is nothing wrong if his relations becomes politicians", he added.
He refuted that his relations were indulging in corruption and said if there was any complaint it could be brought to the Lok Pal.
High priests reject hukamnama
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 Rejecting the hukamnama (edict) excommunicating the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, from the Sikh Panth, the five high priests, who met at the SGPC complex here yesterday, said that the action was untenable and against the Sikh traditions.
Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur has convened an emergency meeting of the SGPC executive committee at Guru Nanak Niwas here on January 29 to discuss the hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh. The one-point agenda, issued by the officiating secretary, SGPC, reads "the meeting has been called to review the news reportedly faxed by Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht, to various newspapers."
Earlier, in a day of hectic activity, the five Sikh high priests, including Giani Mohan Singh, head granthi Golden Temple, Giani Bhagwan Singh, head granthi Akal Takht, Giani Kewal Singh Jathedar Damdama Sahib, Giani Charn Singh and Giani Gurbachan Singh both granthis of the Golden Temple, issued a joint statement which reads "Giani Puran Singh has violated the Sikh traditions by not taking other approved Sikh high priests into confidence and not announcing his decision from Akal Takht".
The Sikh clergy noted with concern that Giani Puran Singh who took four local Sikhs for announcing his decision from some place could not be considered as hukamnama of Akal Takht.
They stated that as per the Sikh traditions any person who is found to be guilty of religious misconduct is asked to give explanation after consultation with high priests at Akal Takht. If Akal Takht does not get explanation within the stipulated time, action could be taken from Akal Takht.
While the one-page joint statement issued by the five Sikh high priests has virtually exonerated Bibi Jagir Kaur from the charges mentioned by Giani Puran Singh in his hukamnama, it has paved a way for initiating action against the Akal Takht Jathedar in the forthcoming executive committee meeting of the SGPC proposed to be held here on January 29. In case no solution is found to the prevailing Panthic crisis, the executive committee could take drastic action against Giani Puran Singh. It maybe mentioned here that the pro-Badal executive had placed Bhai Ranjit Singh, the then Jathedar Akal Takht, under suspension for violating the Sikh traditions last year.
Bibi Jagir Kaur also held an informal meeting of the SGPC members, executive members and members of the dharm parchar committee at Teja Singh Samundri Hall yesterday. The meeting was attended by about 60 members and lasted for more than two hours. Though many members had suggested that Bibi Jagir Kaur should not violate the hukamnama of Akal Takht, yet the majority of them supported her for defying the same as it (edict) was not issued from Akal Takht.
Later, while talking to press persons at Guru Nanak Niwas, Bibi Jagir Kaur said the issuance of hukamnama by Giani Puran Singh during his journey was "unfortunate" as he had not followed the Sikh traditions.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said that she had not received the hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh yet and hence there was no reason for accepting its directives. She reiterated that the 11-member sub-committee constituted at Akal Takht secretariat on January 16 on the Nanakshahi calendar would submit its report by March 15. She said Giani Puran Singh had no right to debar the 11-member committee from functioning as he himself was party to the decision. She further said Dr Kharak Singh would continue to be convenor of the 11-member committee. It may be mentioned here that Giani Puran Singh had debarred 11-member committee from functioning before going to Hazoor Sahib. He (Giani Puran Singh) had also removed Dr Kharak Singh as convenor of the sub-committee.
Replying to another question, Bibi Jagir Kaur said she was dedicated to Akal Takht and there was no question of defying its directive. However, she said that Giani Puran Singh had violated the traditions of Sikhism. She said I would honour any Hukamnama issued by the Sikh clergy from Akal Takht.
This is for the first time that five Sikh high priests have unanimously passed a resolution against Akal Takht Jathedar for violating the Sikh traditions.
Gurdwara Panel summons Bibi Jagir
Kaur, 4 others
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission today issued summons to the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, the secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, and three other officials of the SGPC to appear before it on March 6. The commission admitted a petition against them for misusing SGPC funds.
The petition was filed on Tuesday by Mr Satpal Singh Wadali, Senior Vice-President of the Sarb Hind Youth Akali Dal, under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act for acts of "malfeasance, misfeasance, breach of trust, neglect of duty and abuse of power" by Bibi Jagir Kaur, Dr Bachan and the three others. Mr Wadali has charged Bibi Jagir Kaur with unauthorised withdrawal of Rs 10 lakh from the funds of the SGPC and the Golden Temple for attending the World Religious Conference held at South Africa and taking her two daughters and a brother-in-law along with her.
The petitioner had prayed for passing of a decree by the commission directing Bibi Jagir Kaur and others to deposit a sum of Rs 10 lakh with the SGPC forthwith along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum from the date of withdrawal till the date of deposit.
He had also prayed that Bibi Jagir Kaur and others be removed from their posts and declared to be unqualified and unfit to be members of the SGPC, its executive and SGPC services.
Mr Wadali had submitted
in his petition that Bibi Jagir Kaur gave oral directions
to the Assistant Secretary, Mr Harjit Singh, who has been
mentioned as respondent number four, that a sum of Rs 5
lakh be sent through a demand draft or a bank draft from
the religious fund account of the SGPC with a Punjab and
Sind Bank branch for incurring the expenditure for the
purchase of air tickets and other miscellaneous expenses
of the delegates for attending the World Religious
Conference. He alleged that she further directed that the
money be delivered to her personally at the Punjab House,
New Delhi, through Mr Gurbachan Singh, Information
Officer at the Golden Temple. In pursuance of the
directions of the President, an office note was put up on
December 3 before the Secretary, Dr Bachan, and necessary
order was given, which was not permissible under the SGPC
law, he alleged.
SHSAD wooing BSP in 'third
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 Even as numerous small outfits have joined hands with the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) to form a "third front" for contesting the coming Assembly elections in Haryana, the Akali faction is continuing with its efforts to rope in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) in the proposed formation.
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SHSAD, who has been asked by party chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra to take charge of the polls in Haryana, met BSP supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, in Delhi on Wednesday and held discussions with him regarding an electoral alliance in Haryana.
Talking to TNS today, Mr Chandumajra said the response of Mr Kanshi Ram was "encouraging". However, instead of making any commitment right away, Mr Kanshi Ram reportedly asked Mr Aman Singh Nagra, chief of the BSP's Haryana unit, to hold negotiations with the SHSAD on the issue of alliance. "We are hopeful that something is going to work out", the SHSAD leader said.
He claimed that in the HVP front also there was a "break through", as Mr Jatinder Singh Kaka, a HVP functionary, attended a meeting convened by the SHSAD at Panipat on Wednesday.
According to Mr Chandumajra, representatives from 10 parties, including the SHSAD, the SAD (Mann), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), two Samajwadi Party factions and the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), attended the Panipat meeting to discuss issues such as seat sharing among the constituents and a poll plank for the front.
According to the SHSAD leader, the "third front" would be putting up its candidates in all 90 constituencies of Haryana. He said preliminary discussion regarding sharing of seats for the partners was held at the Panipat meeting and it was decided to give a final shape to the front's panel of candidates by February 1.
Mr Chandumajra added that by February 1, they would also know about the decisions taken by the BSP and the HVP regarding joining the front. There would be a meeting of various partners of the front at Chandigarh on February 1 following which the final list of candidates would be drawn up, he said. The "third front" will publish its election manifesto on February 5, it is learnt.
The general secretary said the SHSAD and the SAD (Mann) would put up candidates in the Sikh-dominated constituencies of the state, which are also considered strongholds of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD). It was decided at the Panipat meeting that the two Akali factions should show friendly spirit in the selection of candidates for these constituencies. Mr Chandumajra said issues such as the recent calendar controversy and the consequent "excommunication" of the SGPC chief by the Akal Takht jathedar would figure prominently in the campaigning of the candidates of the two Akali factions.
Mr Chandumajra said the
"third front" manifesto would highlight issues
such as the perpetuation of dynastic and family rule by
politicians and their feudal mindsets, the nexus between
Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Prakash Chautala,
respectively, Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, to
keep the inter-state issues unresolved to derive
political mileage out of the conflict, the problem of
farmers in Haryana, etc. The "third front"
feels that all pending issues between Punjab and Haryana
could be resolved within the Constitutional framework, Mr
Chandumajra said. He, however, added that the agenda of
the "third front" could be modified in case of
inclusion of the BSP or the HVP or both into it.
Dhaki Sahib dispute settled
LUDHIANA, Jan 27 The crisis arising out of the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singhs decision to excommunicate the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President, Bibi, Jagir Kaur, is an attempt to ridicule Akal Takht.
Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, President, Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj said his talking to media persons here yesterday. He said this was yet another instance of the fight for supremacy. For the first time the tables had been turned on the Akalis with Giani Puran Singh asserting Akal Takhts supremacy by taking such a decision. He lauded Giani Puran Singh for asserting his authority, but hastened to add that they still did not accept him as the real Akal Takht Jathedar.
The Baba said though every one admitted to Akal Takht being the highest seat of the Sikhs, but the Akal Takht Jathedar has been treated as a mere employee over the years, who could be removed at will. Akal Takht has been misused over the years by the powers that be and it has not been allowed to function as an autonomous body.
Baba Sarabjot Singh said it was high time a "sarbat khalsa" reviewed the avenues of performance of Akal Takht Jathedar and the code of conduct for his appointment and removal. He said this had to be clearly defined if the supremacy of Akal Takht had to be retained.
Answering queries about the findings of the nine-member committee formed by the Chief Minister to look into the Dhaki Sahib dispute, Baba Bedi informed that this committee had given its recommendations to the Chief Minister. The police had been informed that the two sides had reached an agreement.
Baba Bedi, who was convenor of the nine-member committee, informed that the two sides Baba Darshan Singhs followers and the panchayat of Maksoodaran village had already given their written assent for the solution to the Dhaki Sahib land dispute, as recommended by this committee on January 24.
The Baba informed that in principle it had been decided that the two sides withdraw the criminal cases registered against one another and subsequently the 10 followers of Baba Darshan Singh and around 80 villagers be released from police custody. The both sides are to get together on January 31 and do the "jal parwah" of those religious scriptures burnt during an attack on the dera on December 2, at Goindwal Sahib.
The two sides have accepted that all the documents in their possession should be given to Revenue Department officials for verification and decision.
It has also been decided
that after having sorted out the issue, both the sides
will jointly observe a "pashchatap diwas" by
organising an akhand path and seeking forgiveness. It may
be recalled that Sant Baba Darshan Singh of Dhaki Sahib
was arrested on May 8 on the charge of land grab and
under the Wildlife Act. The police resorted to lathi
charge on the Babas followers on May 10, when they
staged a dharna on the G.T. road at Doraha to protest
against his arrest. At least 50 men and women, including
police personnel were injured. After almost eight months.
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had
constituted a nine-member committee on January 15 to
resolve the issue.
Kisan organisations hold rally
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 Five kisan organisations, including the Punjab Kisan Sabha, CPM-led Punjab Kirti Kisan Union, Bharatiya Kisan Union and the Punjab Kisan Sabha, today held a rally at Harsha Chhina village to flag off a kisan jatha. The CPI General Secretary, Dr Joginder Dayal, told newsmen that the jatha would tour all districts of the state to create awareness about the acute economic crisis being faced by the peasantry.
A drive to prevent formers from committing suicide was being launched by these five organisations, Dr Dayal said, adding that they had demanded from the government to waive the loans given to the small and middle-level farmers, who were sometimes forced to commit suicide due to their inability to pay back these loans.
Addressing the rally, Dr Dayal said a sharp increase in the cost of agriculture inputs and a continuous decline in the yield of major crops had led to the present economic crisis. He felt a major cause behind farmers indebtedness was that they were not getting adequate remunerative prices for their produce. The procurement agencies were not entering the markets in time and the farmers were, therefore, left at the mercy of the traders.
Talking about the indebtedness of farmers in rural areas, Dr Dayal pointed out that it stood at Rs 5,600 crore. The small farmers, he said, were the worst-hit and had loans of Rs 10,105 per acre to pay.
The SAD-BJP combine government in Punjab which claimed itself to be a defender of the kisans had done nothing worthwhile to mitigate the sufferings of the peasant community, he said, adding that the much-publicised Rs 300-cr relief amount which was to be given to the victims of natural calamity was still to be paid.
Dr Dayal warned that in case the government failed to take appropriate steps to improve the agrarian economy, which formed a major segment of our GDP, it would soon be shattered, leading to further discontentment among the farmers.
Narrating the various demands, Dr Dayal said the agriculture sector needed restructuring like diversification of crops, exploration of new markets and storage and procurement of produce by government agencies.
As a short term strategy, he demanded that relief should be provided to the families of suicide victims.
He also demanded setting up of a Kisan relief fund by the Union Government for providing funds to the affected farmers.
of Sarbat Khalsa
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 Representatives of various Sikh organisations and institutions met here today to discuss the issue of the excommunication of Bibi Jagir Kaur president of the SGPC.
In a statement after the meeting, they said after consulting the Sikh history and tradition, it was apparent that only the institution of Sarbat Khalsa was competent to take such a drastic action of excommunicating a Sikh.
In Sikhism there is no provision of excommunication except of a person unrepentant habitual tankhaiya. Action can be taken by Sarbat Khalsa against such a person. The institution of Jathedar has the role of processing, presenting and implementing the decision of the Sarbat Khalsa.
Condemning the unauthorised action of Giani Puran Singh in excommunicating Bibi Jagir Kaur, they said: "We attribute this to undue political interference in the Sikh institutions. Both are violative of Sikh tradition and doctrine".
The statement is signed
by Mr Gurtej Singh, Dr Gurdarshan Singh, Dr Sangat Singh,
Dr Joginder Singh, Mr Ajit Singh Bains, Mr Hardit Singh
Kapur, Dr Sukhjit Kaur Gill, Mrs Jagjit Kaur and Dr
SGPC chief causing
damage to Takht
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 The Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra said today that Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the SGPC, was causing damage to the institution of Akal Takht by making wrong statements.
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the party, in a statement said Bibi Jagir Kaur should resign immediately from the SGPC and present herself before Akal Takht to seek re-entry into the Panth. He alleged that both Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Bibi Jagir Kaur do not accept the panthic principles and 'maryada'.
Justifying the decision
of Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, against
Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Chandumajra said efforts were made by
Bibi Jagir Kaur to humiliate the jathedar. He added that
the SHSAD had declared a number of times that Mr Badal
and his supporters considered themselves
"above" the institution of Akal Takht.
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has expressed its concern at not sending the Punjab's tableau for participation in the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.
Mr Arvind Khanna treasurer of the PPCC, said Punjab failed to highlight the state's culture while other states were well represented in the R-Day celebrations.
He said people always
wanted to see what Punjab had brought to depict at the
Republic Day celebrations in Delhi but this time all were
disappointed. It would have been better if Punjab had
sent a tableau, depicting something related to the
tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa.
Priests to ignore Feb 2 meeting
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 Even as Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht, has convened a meeting of Sikh clergy on February 5 to discuss "religious matters", the four Sikh high priests, including Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Giani Mohan Singh, and Giani Kewal Singh wont attend another proposed meeting on February 2 at the Takht wherein the entire SGPC executive has been summoned.
Giani Mohan Singh, head granthi, Golden Temple and Giani Bhagwan Singh, head granthi Akal Takht, while talking to TNS said that they wont attend the "alleged meeting" proposed to be held on February 2. They said they had not received any official intimation regarding this meeting. However, they said they would definitely attend the meeting at Akal Takht on February 5 as invitation had been officially extended to them on the letter-head of Akal Takht.
It is pertinent to
mention here that while issuing hukamnama
(edict) from a PCO at Guna (Madhya Pradesh), Giani Puran
Singh had excommunicated Bibi Jagir Kaur for
repeatedly defying" the directives of Akal
Takht. However, the resolution passed at a meeting of
five Sikh high priests at the SGPC complex yesterday has
virtually exonerated Bibi Jagir Kaur and the
Hospital plan a nonstarter
PATIALA, Jan 27 The much- touted Punjab Government policy to improve the facilities in its medical colleges and hospitals returning the funds collected through enhanced fee to the colleges has failed to serve its purpose due to the inherent delay in the scheme.
All three medical colleges and hospitals in the state have been sanctioned money collected quarterly for the August, September and October last year now. However, it will be still some time before the institutions can utilise this money as they will have to identify their priorities,make quotations and submit them to the government, following which their cases will be decided by a high-level government committee. The entire procedure is likely to take at least six weeks.
This will mean that the institutions concerned will get money for fee earned by them in August-September last year after nearly five months. For all this time, the institutions do not have any surplus funds to maintain existing facilities in a proper manner. Enquiries from the authorities in some institutions has revealed that the money coming in from the government will barely cover the expense of maintaining present services and that the institutions will not be able to better their services or create new infrastructure. This, doctors say, means that the scheme will fall far short of making the hospitals self-sufficient.
While the medical college authorities were earlier reluctant to talk on the subject, an interaction with the faculty revealed that they want the funds collected through enhancement in fee to remain in the hospital. In this way, the hospital can spend the money at its disposal as and where it wants, say Dr A.S Sekhon, Professor and Head of Social and Preventive Medicine. Dr Sekhon feels that it will be ludicrous for the college to first deposit the money in the government treasury and then apply to take it out for its use. This will cause delay in providing essential services to the people.
Dr Kamaljit Kaur, Professor of Medicine, said the position in Rajindra Hospital was deplorable. She said emergency services were not available in a proper manner to the people and various equipment was lying idle for want of repairs. The position of drugs was also bad.
She said in her department itself, the EEG machine needed repair, but it could not be done till now as Rs 17,000 was needed for the purpose. Besides this, the hospital did not have a proper stock of medicines. Calling the college and hospital a life and death institute, Dr Kamaljit said the power for utilisation of the money should be with the Principal on whom checks could be imposed if needed.
The Medical College Principal, Dr Ravinder Singh, said the institution had received money for one quarter and would now receive money for the second quarter after the inception of the scheme. He said the money which would be received now would be used to maintain essential services and the institute would still fall short of providing all services to the public. He said there was a need to replace the tube of the CT scan unit in the hospital for which Rs 30 lakh were needed but the hospital did not have the money. While reviving the CT scan was a costly proposition, the hospital was finding it difficult to get replacement for essential equipment needed for surgery.
The Patiala Medical
College and Hospital has been sanctioned Rs 40 lakh for
the collections in the August-September quarter,
Government Dental College, Patiala, Rs 3.5 lakh;
Government Medical College, Amritsar, Rs 20 lakh; Guru
Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar, Rs 14 lakh; Guru Gobind
Singh Medical College, Faridkot, Rs 5.37 lakh; and Guru
Gobind Singh Hospital, Faridkot, Rs 5.97 lakh.
Civic chief suspends inspector
LUDHIANA, Jan 27 The Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, Mr S.S. Sandhu, has suspended Mr Raj Kumar, deployed inspector, Zone-D, Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, for not showing interest in tax collection, in spite of repeated reminders.
Mr Sandhu has also issued a show-cause notice to M/s Sidhwan Kalan Harijan Cooperative L/C Society for using substandard material in the PCC flooring.
In a surprise check
today, the Commissioner checked different works and taken
the samples of the PCC. The laboratory examination of
these samples showed that the ratio of cement-concrete
was below the laid down specifications and thus
substandard work had been executed at the site.
Mid-term transfer of nurses
FAZILKA, Jan 27 The mid-term transfers of 15 nurses of the State Health Department, from Ferozepore, Bathinda and Sangrur districts to Muktsar district has caused resentment amongst employees of the department.
The leaders of various employee associations of Punjab, in a joint press statement issued here yesterday, criticised the Punjab Government for the mid-term transfers of nurses from these districts to Muktsar without any valid reasons. No replacements of the transferred nurses have been provided and their posts have fallen vacant. Of the 15 transfers, six have been made from Ferozepore district.
The employee representatives have alleged Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has got these transfers affected to his home district with a view to improving health services there at the cost of other districts.
The employees alleged that the transfers have been made in violation of the Punjab Government policy of not disturbing couple cases. About half of these nurses fall in that category, they said.
Kargil heroes kin
PATIALA, Jan 27 A large number of functions were organised in the city to mark to 51st Republic Day.
While the district administration organised a function at Yadavindra Stadium and honoured families of the Kargil martyrs, social workers celebrated the occasion amidst the downtrodden of society. The Central Jail authorities invited Punjabi singers to entertain the inmates of the prison.
Six families of the Kargil martyrs were honoured by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, at the function organised by district administration. The Finance Minister earlier hoisted the National Flag. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, gave away sewing machines to war widows, tricycles to 16 handicapped persons, hearing aids to five others and clippers to 15 needy persons.
Upcoming Punjabi singer Bobby Sidhu entertained the inmates of Central Jail here on the occasion of Republic Day. Inmates participated in the celebrations when a bhangra team of the prisoners presented the folk dance. Mr G.S. Sidhu, Superintendent of Jail, said the Jail Welfare Officer, Mr Vikram Jeet Panthey, had organised a dance workshop for the function. Two convicted bhangra players coached the inmates. Mr Sidhu announced that such functions helped reduce depression among prisoners. He promised more functions in the near future for the recreation of the inmates.
The 51st Republic Day was celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the DCW, Patiala, a production unit of the Indian Railways. Mr G.C. Sandle, Chief Administrative Officer, hoisted the flag and took the salute from contingents of the REP and Bharat Scouts and Guides, followed by a colourful dance, group songs by students of the KV-2 and the DCW Public School.
Mr A.K. Batra, Managing Director, State Bank of Patiala hoisted Tricolour at the banks head office on The Mall. A cultural programme was held to mark the occasion. The banks tableau was included in the Republic Day parade at YPS Stadium.
The Lions Club, Patiala Fort, celebrated Republic Day at Shakuntla Girls Senior Secondary School with the inmates of the Birji Bal Niketan (orphen centre). Mr Mohan Lal Gupta, Social worker, hoisted the National Flag. Students and orphan children presented a colourful cultural programme.
Republic Day was also celebrated at Padam Shri Dr Khushdeva Singh Lepers Colony.
Mr Amar Singh Kamboj, President, Leprosy Patients Welfare Society, unfurled the National Flag. Ladoos were distributed among the leprosy patients.
Mrs Sunita Sabharwal and Mr Pran Sabharwal, Director, NTAS, and artistes entertained the lepers.
The District Congress
Committees, Urban and Rural, organised a function at
Quila Chowk. Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, President, DCC
(Urban), hoIsted the flag. The Uttarakhand Sangharsh
Samiti organised a function at 66 kv grid here.
Civil dispensaries in ill
PATIALA, Jan 27 Scene one: A civil dispensary at Arya Samaj here. A number of patients who have come for treatment have formed a long queue on the road as the dispensary housed in a single room has no space for them.
Scene two: Another civil dispensary near Sanauri Adda owns comparatively much more space but most of the rooms of the dilapidated building are declared unsafe. As the doctor examines the patient, the latter keeps an eye on the ceiling, lest some plaster falls on him, or at the precariously hanging electric wires, lest he may touch some live one by accident.
These are no imaginary pictures but real images of the two dispensaries serving the residents of the old walled city for the past more than 40 years. The two dispensaries might have cured a large number of persons, but, the administration and the Health Department have still not begun treatment of the ailing health institutions.
The Civil Dispensary, Arya Samaj, serves residents of Arya Samaj, Dharampura Bazaar, Lahori Gate and other localities. The turnout of patients, especially those coming for skin-disorder treatments, is massive.
Without any boundary wall the door of the one-room dispensary opens on the street, due to which, patients have to form a queue on the road. Not only do they invite flak from the passers-by whose movement is restricted, but also the nearby shopkeepers fume at them as the queue obstructs their business.
The patients brave blazing sun or chilling winds or rain while waiting for their turn. Due to such inconvenient environment, ailments of many of them get aggravated.
If someone thinks that once he enters the dispensary, his sufferings will be over, he is mistaken. For, the only room of the dispensary is crammed with table, chairs, portable curtain check-up bed. There is no space for separate sections for men and women. When any female is being examined, all, including the staff which is not required, also have to move outside.
Sources said several times, proposals for shifting the dispensary from this small enclosure had been formulated, but, due to the non-availability of funds for constructing new building, these had been gathering dust. The district health authorities have also not succeeded in finding-alternative accommodation for the dispensary.
The condition of the second one at Sanauri Adda is more pitiable. Functioning in an unsafe building for about 10 years, the dispensary is crying for a new building or at least some repairs, but, nothing has come about. An official of the dispensary said, The staff is functioning amidst danger. Several times, patients and employees have been injured when one or another part of the ceiling has caved in. The official said many times, representatives of the public and the employees had urged the government to shift the dispensary to a safer place, but, nothing had been done.
The sources said there is no space for storing medicines. Due to dampness, all cupboards are unfit to keep the medicines. The Zonal Anti-Malaria Laboratory is also functioning in a dingy room of the unsafe building.
Mr Rameshwar Chander, Civil Surgeon, acknowledged the problems faced by the public and the employees due to the bad conditions of the dispensaries. He, however, expressed his helplessness in solving the issue, saying that the Public Works Department had refused to carry out repairs on the unsafe building. He said due to the paucity of funds, new land or building could not be purchased.
The Civil Surgeon also said due to the non-cooperation of the public, any spacious building on rent was not available. He said no one was willing to give his space to a government department. He said earlier, there was a proposal to construct a dispensary at Tara Singh Park to house the civil dispensary now functioning at Arya Samaj, but then, environmentalists and certain residents who used the park as a playground scuttled the move.
International congress on Indian
PATIALA, Jan 27 The Department of Anthropological Linguistics and Punjabi Language, Punjabi University, here will conduct an international congress on Indian Folklore and Culture Studies from January 28 to 31, as part of the multifaculty millennium series of seminars in celebration of the Khalsa century.
According to a university release issued here today, this conference is being held in collaboration with the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Ministry of Education, Mysore. The conference will be inaugurated by Master Mohan Lal, Minister of Higher Education and Languages, and the keynote address will be delivered by Prof J.L. Handoo. Professor Lee Harring from New York will give a special lecture on Cultural Studies of North America. Dr. J.S. Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, will give the presidential address.
Prof S.S. Joshi, chairman of the conference, has confirmed the participation of about 150 prominent scholars from all over the country, especially, the southern and eastern states of India. A number of scholars from the United States, England, Portugal, Syria, Estonia, Nepal, Hyderabad and Bangladesh will also attend the proceedings.
According to Mr Surjit
Singh, convener, folklore, provides the underlying
identity to the cultural diversity of a country like
India. It is also important to link traditional practices
to modern forces of change taking place in society.
Though cultural revival is not possible, cultural
renaissance is the pressing need of the hour. A special
session on Punjabi folklore and culture will also be
Dog show on Feb 6
PATIALA, Jan 27 The Patiala Kennel Club will hold all-breed championship dog show on February 6 at Polo Grounds.
More than 300 dogs of about 35 breeds from all corners of the country are expected to participate.
A press note of the club said here today that in the show points will be computed towards selecting the Dog of the year, Reserve dog of the year, Best dog bred in India, Best puppy of the year, and Best Breeder of the year.
Mr Mario P. Magsaysay from the Philippines and others will judge the shows.
Nigerian President visits PAU
LUDHIANA, Jan 27 The President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, has supported India in its fight against terrorism and said that Nigeria was for establishing a new world order based on peace.
He was talking to mediapersons during his visit to Punjab Agricultural University here today, without naming any country, he condemned those spreading terrorism and fuelling communal discord through their insurgents and thus causing trouble on the Indian soil. He said that Nigeria would support India in this fight in international fora.
Talking about the purpose of his visit to PAU, Mr Obasanjo said that they were trying to explore the possibility of mutual cooperation in the field of agriculture as Nigeria was primarily an agricultural state. He also expressed his desire for cooperation in the field of animal science.
The Nigerian President
visited the crop museum at PAU and the dairy farm. He was
highly appreciative of the yield potential of the latest
wheat variety PBW-343, developed by the scientists.
Later, the Vice Chancellor, Dr G.S. Kalkat, presented him
with a phulkari and also offered him a
complete set of publications of the university.
Sant Samajs initiative
AMRITSAR, Jan 27 Baba Kashmira Singh, President, Gurmat Gurbani Dharm Parchark Sant Samaj, a staunch supporter of the Bikrami calendar, said he was in constant touch with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister and Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht. He said an "amicable solution" would be found to the stand off between the SGPC chief and Akal Takht Jathedar.
UCPI to support Cong nominee
FARIDKOT, Jan 27
The United Communist Party of India (UCPI), Punjab, has
decided to support the Congress candidate, Mr Parkash
Singh, in the Nawanshahr Assembly byelection in the
state. Directions have been issued to party activists in
Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar in this connection, Mr Sukhinder
Singh state president of the UCPI, said here today.
DGP opens police station
PHAGWARA, Jan 27 The police cannot work without public cooperation, Mr Sarabjit Singh, Director General of Police, Punjab, has said. The least the police could do was to deal with public in a civilised way.
He was addressing a public meeting at Rawalpindi police station on Tuesday evening. He directed station house officers to dispose of cases in time.
2 held for carrying
HOSHIARPUR, Jan 27 A police party along with excise staff caught Jang Bahadur Singh, alias Billu and his accomplice, Mohan Singh, alias Mohan both residents of Jasmer Khas of Jalandhar district and recovered 45 cases of Indian-made foreign liquor from their vehicle near Bhangi choe yesterday.
Mr R.P. Mittal, SSP,
stated in a press note here today that both used to bring
liquor from Jalandhar on cheaper rates and sold it in
Hoshiarpur district. The SSP said both accused offered Rs
26000 as bribery to an Inspector for their release. Two
cases have been registered.
Restructuring of PSEB essential
PATIALA, Jan 27 The Punjab Government is open to the idea of privatisation of the power sector in the state, the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, stated here on Tuesday.
Talking to mediapersons informally, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the restructuring of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was essential to make it financially viable. He said the financial position of the PSEB had worsened to such an extent that there was no other alternative before the government.
The Finance Minister said at present Rs 4,000 crore were needed to upgrade the operations of the board. He, however, declined to comment as to what model the government would follow while restructuring the board. "We will adopt a model which suits both the employees and the consumers," he added.
The minister, however,
said there were no plans to privatise the power sector.
He also said there was no proposal at present to do away
with the facility of free power being given to the
Growgreen Forests scam: 2 held
JALANDHAR, Jan 27 The economic offences wing (EOW) of the district police has arrested two persons allegedly involved in the Rs 30-crore Growgreen Forests Private Limited scam.
Mr Gaurav Yadav, the Senior Superintendent of Police, said the accused Ms Satwant Kaur, a resident of Sector 9, Panchkula, and Mr Vineet Sharma, a resident of Mani Majra, had been working as the Executive Director and personal Assistant of Mr Ranjit Verma, the Managing Director of the company, respectively.
The preliminary interrogation of the two accused has revealed that both of them were involved in financial transactions. In her capacity as the Executive Director, Ms Satwant Kaur, had signed a number of cheques and carried out transactions on behalf of the company.
Mr Yadav said a police
party has been sent to Orissa for collection of records
of the company there. He said the police was seeking the
details of properties of the company from the revenue
Markfed nodal agency for fruit
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 Punjab's Markfed has been made a nodal agency for the export of vegetables, fruit and durum wheat, Mr D.S. Bains, Managing Director of Markfed, disclosed here today.
Addressing a press conference, Mr Bains said a meeting of senior officers and the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. A decision was taken at the meeting to identify vegetables for export. The PAU would provide technical know how.
Markfed had targeted certain countries, including some states of erstwhile USSR for export of vegetables and fruit. Already the matter had been discussed with the officials concerned in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan etc. Markfed would have to set up a cold storage chain, Mr Bains added.
The PAU has undertaken the task of identifying certain villages in Amritsar for growing vegetables suitable for export. The collection of the produce will be done on a contract basis and one crop would be grown exclusively for export in one village.
To make the programme a success, Markfed would take a senior professor of the PAU on deputation so that proper liaison between the PAU and Markfed could be maintained.
Kaunta is Sugarfed Chairman
CHANDIGARH, Jan 27 The Board of Directors of the Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills met here today and elected unanimously Mr Pritam Singh Kaunta, a resident of Kaunta village in Gurdaspur, as chairman of Sugarfed.
Mr Parminder Singh Chalaki has been elected vice-chairman.
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