|Wednesday, February 2, 2000,
Badal may meet Jathedar
RSS draws flak for
'distorting Gurus verses
2 dead as BKU men, cops clash
Warrant officer named to free bonded
CPI flays lathi charge on farmers
Punjabs ST policy under
SDM humiliates patwari publicly
Jhummir comes of age
Restoration fee of cancelled plots
Plea to parents on TV viewing
Caliche woos select audience
Punjab gesture to handicapped
Punjab postings, transfers
Offices flouting court order
Summons through affixation for
Three crushed to death
Case against three registered
Fake currency racket busted
Ex-Dean-VC row casts shadow on
Transfer DEO, says Chawla
Handful of wheat as wages
Advance sowing of cotton crop:
Badal may meet Jathedar
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 Efforts by the Akali Dal President and Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to resolve the current crisis thrown up by the excommunication of the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has had only limited success. Quite a few leaders had tried to intervene on the behalf of the Chief Minister and approached Giani Puran Singh, Jethedar of Akal Takht, but the high priest has stood his ground, informed sources here said. "She should know that she has been excommunicated from the Sikh faith. I have considered all aspects", he said firmly.
It was suggested to him that Bibi Jagir Kaur and SGPC executive should present themselves before him at Akal Takht on February 2. But he should assure both that he would award some minor punishment and let them go. He was also assured by no less than a person than Mr Badal that he would not be replaced at any cost. But the Jathedar was not convinced. Mr Badal has so far deliberately avoided meeting the Jathedar. But as he has already reached Amritsar, Mr Badal may meet him.
According to the sources, the ball is in the court of Bibi Jagir Kaur and she has to take the initiative. Anyone who is excommunicated has to approach the Takht with a request that he or she be heard and pardoned. As no Sikh could communicate at the social level with the excommunicated, the Jathedar on his own would not summon, and there is also no need as he has already pronounced the severest punishment. Bibi Jagir Kaur, who was shell shocked at the sudden development as no SGPC President in the past 75 years of its history has met such a fate, later asked the Sikh sangat to recite Gurbani for the wellbeing of the Sikh faith. As an excommunicated person, she has no such right, observers here opined. Now she has changed her stance and said she would present herself whenever and wherever she was called. But Giani Puran Singh is not going to oblige and hence her dilemma.
For Mr Badal heading this religio-political outfit here is the worst kind of crisis at the level of religion. Earlier, he had left such ticklish issues to the old guard and former SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. But now he has to deal with problems himself. As both, Bibi Jagir Kaur and Giani Puran Singh, are his own choice, they have filled his cup of woes. Mr Badal has been talking to a good number of his colleagues but no worthwhile suggestion except that he should personally intervene has come. In fact the entire blame would go to him. Procrastination has marked his attitude as he was repeatedly told that Bibi Jagir Kaur had been insulting the Jathedar and he could strike back. Mr Badal, perhaps, thought that before that the President of the SGPC would act and get rid of the Jathedar. But that did not happen. He did not know of what stuff these two persons are made of. Think of this crisis. It is entirely unnecessary. Both are wise people and should have behaved well. More blame goes to Bibi Jagir Kaur. Mr Badal is said to have been telling this to his close aides.
Mr Badal understands clearly that his arch rival, Mr Tohra, or others who are still in the ruling Akali Dal are enjoying the current impasse. In fact, it has provided a good opportunity to Mr Tohra and the ousted Akal Takht chief, Bhai Ranjit Singh to strike hard. They have once again picked up the theme that Mr Badal has been slighting Akal Takht.
If Mr Badal fails to sort out the present crisis then Bibi Jagir Kaur shall have to go. An excommunicated Sikh cannot hold any such office. Perhaps Giani Puran Singh would aim at that. But whichever way the crisis is resolved, it would leave a black mark on Mr Badal.
The issue of calendar, born out of the mindset that is eager to establish a distinct Sikh identity and later developments, has pushed religious fundamentalist forces to the fore.
Jagir Kaur meets CM, Sikh
JALANDHAR, Feb 1 Amidst the clouds of uncertainty and speculations hovering over the firmament of the Akali politics whether the "excommunicated" SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur will appear at Akal Takht or not, she held closed-door meetings tonight at Phagwara, near here, with the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and Sikh priests who had challenged the "Hukamnama" issued by the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh.
Though Bibi Jagir Kaur had categorically stated at Chandigarh yesterday that she would appear before Akal Takht as and when summoned by the Jathedar, a section of her close confidants, monitoring the moves and the mood of the Jathedar, were of the view that the appearance of the SGPC chief at Akal Takht may not go in her favour.
One reason behind their afterthought was that if Bibi Jagir Kaur appears at Akal Takht tomorrow, her move will automatically validate the "Hukamnama", already challenged by the Sikh priests, including Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Jathedar Kewal Singh, Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Bhajan Singh, Head Granthi, Akal Takht, Gurcharan Singh and Charan Singh, Granthis of the Golden Temple, and Giani Mohan Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, on various grounds including that it was issued by the Akal Takht Jathedar in absence of the Sikh high priests and from a place other than Akal Takht.
Though what transpired at the meeting could not be ascertained till 11 p.m.
Among others who attended the meeting were Punjab Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Power Minister Sikandar Singh Maluka and Delhi Akali leader Avtar Singh Hit.
Meanwhile, Bibi Jagir Kaur has indicated that she might not appear before Akal Takht tomorrow. She said, "I am going to attend a meeting at Chandigarh tomorrow".
Mr Hit, who was also
present at the meeting, said, "Why she should appear
before Akal Takht when she was not asked to do so".
He, however, added that the entire executive of the SGPC
would appear at Akal Takht tomorrow.
Gurdwara panel hearing today
AMRITSAR, Feb 1 The Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission today adjourned till tomorrow resumption of hearing on the application moved by the SGPC Secretary, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, for vacation of the commission ad-interim injunction restraining him from functioning.
Counsel for the SGPC
President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, had submitted a written reply
on a petition by Dr Jaspal Singh, district president of
the Sarb Hind Youth Akali Dal (Urban), challenging the
RSS draws flak for
'distorting Gurus verses
ZIRA (Ferozepore), Feb 1 The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has come under sharp criticism from a section of Sikh religious bodies for reciting poetry to accord honour to Guru Gobind Singh at its shakhas (camps).
The poetry that has been composed from verses of the text written by Guru Gobind Singh is frequently recited by RSS shakha organisers in rural areas to attract Sikh followers. Although the Sangh activists try to accord due honour to Guru Gobind Singh and his four sons, who had died for the national cause, a section of the Sikh religious bodies have objected to the alleged distortion of the text written by the tenth Guru.
Expressing his displeasure at the contents of the poetry, Baba Hari Singh of Dera Baba Harnam Singh has asked the Sangh activists not to distort Gurus verses to their advantage. Taking a serious view of the alleged distortion during his visit at one such camp a few days ago, Baba Hari Singh said, There are better ways to glorify Guru Gobind Singh, if the RSS so desires, but not by distorting the sacred verses.
Confirming this to the TNS, Baba Harnam also objected to the bracketing of Guru Gobind Singh and Baba Banda Bahadar with other national heros by the RSS in their camp songs. Although we do not suspect their intentions, we urge them not to distort Gurbani, he added, making it clear that he does not want to rake up any controversy.
However, the secretary of the Ferozepore division of the RSS, Mr Deena Nath, and the district organiser, Mr Nagesh Rao, sought to clarify that they were not at loggerheads with any Sikh organisation, as they had been reciting the poetry since the Khalsa tercentenary festivities.
While admitting that the controversial poetry has been composed from the verses of Dasam Granth of Guru Gobind Singh, the two RSS activists said that they had only tried to glorify Guru Gobind Singh. We had no intention to lower the image of the Guru, who had sacrificed his sons for the national cause, Mr Nagesh Rao said.
By equating the Guru with other national figures, we only try to integrate the Punjabi spirit with the larger national mainstream, Mr Deena Nath explained. He pointed out that the poetry was also recited at Anandpur Sahib, where the RSS activists had assembled to celebrate the Khalso tercentenary festivities.
Earlier, Mr Jasmer Singh Bala an SAS Nagar-based All-India Shiromani Akali Dal leader had also accused the RSS of bracketing Guru Gobind Singh with other national heroes. He had charged the RSS of lowering Gurus image by equating him with the national figures.
The CPI state Secretary,
Mr Joginder Dayal, tried to interpret the development
differently. He said that by bracketing Guru Gobind Singh
with national heroes like Shivaji and Maharana Partap,
the RSS was trying to shed the disrepute it
had earned by targeting other minorities, like Christians
2 dead as
BKU men, cops clash
JETHUKE (Bathinda), Feb 1 Two Dalit youths of this village were killed and at least seven activists of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) hurt in a clash between agitating activities of the BKU and the police here late last night.
Despal (22) and Gurmit Singh (23) were killed and SP (Operations) M.S. Chinna, DSP Surjeet Singh Khosa, ASI Swaran Singh and 12 more policemen injured when the BKU activists and the police exchanged fire.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, who led the operation to dispersing the violent mob at the Jethuke railway station, told TNS that the BKU activists opened fire injuring ASI Swaran Singh and SPO Malkeet Singh.
Thirteen more policemen, including the SP and the DSP were injured when the activists pelting stones while negotiations were being held with them. The Executive Magistrate, Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, was also present.
The BKU activists had jammed traffic on the Bathinda-Ambala rail section near this village in protest against overcharging by operators of mini buses plying their vehicles on the Rampura-Jethuke and Rampura-Balianwali routes.
They were also agitated at the arrest of their leaders by the police last evening.
Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, President, BKU (Ekta) and Mr Natha Singh, Mr Boota Singh and Mr Shingara Singh were arrested by the railway police yesterday.
Official sources said the situation in the village for the past one week had been tense. It took an ugly turn yesterday when BKU activists left a meeting convened by the ADC, Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, to sort out the matter with mini bus operators. The BKU leaders decided to stage a dharna and jam traffic.
The BKU leaders reportedly made provocative speeches from a religious place. When the police was holding talks with them, they started pelting stones. The policemen, surprised over the attack, ran helter skelter.
Police sources said the police fired several rounds in the air to disperse the unruly mob. But the activists fired back with 12 bore double barrelled guns.
Mr Jain said the police used utmost restraint despite grave provocation. He said two youths were hit by bullets by chance.
A senior official of the police said no senior official of the civil administration was present to deal with the situation. He said the police was forced to act on its own for personal safety.
Mr Chinna, SP (O), told TNS that BKU activists stopped a train coming from Ambala at the village railway station and tried to set it fire. The police acted promptly and prevented such an occurring.
He said traffic on the Bathinda-Ambala rail section was restored after 1 pm. Earlier, the entire traffic was diverted through the Dhuri-Jakhal section.
Sources in the Civil Hospital, Rampura, said all injured policemen, who were admitted here last night, were out of danger.
The post-mortem of the two deceased were conducted at the hospital under heavy security. Mr Buta Singh, father of one of the youths killed in the clash, who was detained last night was brought from the police station to sign the necessary papers.
Mr Mithu Singh, father of the other deceased, said his son was not an activists of the BKU. He was killed while returning from his farm.
Pall of gloom has descended in the village. Residents of the village, frightened at the happenings of last night, are tight-lipped.
Mr Jaspal Singh, who reached the Civil Hospital, Rampura, today, said some sort of an inquiry would be held in to the matter. He said he was being briefed about the incidents by other officials on the spot.
On the charge that the district administration had been showing laxity in taking action against the BKU activists who had been creating law and order problem time and again for the last many months, he said this was not true and all issues had been resolved peacefully.
Mr Jain said he had made a written request to the district administration to hold a magisterial probe into the incident.
Mr Jaspal Singh said the police request would be examined.
Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, Mr Hardev Arshi MLA, and Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, General Secretary, PPCC, today condemned the killing of two youths in the police firing. They alleged that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had started using dangerous methods to gag the voice of those protesting the wrong policies of his government in a democratic manner.
named to free bonded labour
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today appointed warrant officers in two habeas corpus petitions for recovery and release of the detainees in two separate cases.
In one case, 26 migrant labourers belonging to Muzzafarpur district (UP) who were detained at a brick-kiln under Phagwara police station, were treated as bonded labour and were not being paid wages nor were allowed by brick-kiln owners to move about. They are also occasionally beaten up. The petition has been filed by a union leader Mr Ramji Lal, who claims to have met the victims relatives on January 25.
The Judge appointed the warrant officer to raid the premises and release of the detainees, if recovered. He was also directed to issue notice to respondents for February 7.
Another petition relates to villagers involving 25 persons of a village in Fazilka, was filed by one Mukhtiar Singh. The petitioner alleged that an influential landlord and SGPC member got water of a minor diverted to his fields depriving villagers of water.
Later on a police party allegedly, at the instance of the landlord, comprising about 200 policemen and headed by a DSP and two ASIs raided the village on January 25 and 26 and took into custody 25 persons, including five persons injured in lathi charge and their attendants, because they had opposed the action of diverting the water. Their whereabouts are not known, said the petitioner.
The warrant officer has been ordered to raid the police stations in question and free the detainees and serve notice on respondents for February 7.
Dairy owners pleas dismissed
The writ petition filed by Amritsar Dairy Farmers Association challenging the notices issued by the Amritsar Municipal Corporation for shifting milk dairies out of the municipal limits, was dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice M.S. Gill.
The Bench, however, directed the corporation and another respondent that within six months from the date of decision, respondents would take necessary steps for providing basic facilities like roads, laying of pipelines and electricity lines.
The main grievance of the petitioners was that the respondent corporation was compelling its members to shift from their present places of business without deciding on their objections and that the action would cause inconvenience to them and the public because they were being located on one side of the municipal limits and the respondents had not provided basic necessities to them.
The respondents, however, alleged concealment of facts by the petitioner and also contended that the writ petition was infructuous because after June 11, 1998, as no dairies were functioning within the walled city and that dairies located in the city were causing nuisance by dirtying the place with cow dung.
The Bench observed that
the dairy owners are in the business of earning money
without caring for the health of general public. The
walled city was a congested locality and milch cattle
were a serious health hazard. Keeping in view the fact
that the scheme has been substantially implemented, the
Bench did not consider if fit for passing an order which
would frustrate the said scheme.
CPI flays lathi charge on farmers
CHANDIGARH, Feb1 The Punjab unit of the CPI has criticised the police firing and lathi charge on peaceful farmers at Jethuke village in Bathinda district yesterday.
Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the Punjab State Council of the CPI, said here today that farmers were holding a dharna to protest against the overcharging of bus fares by owners of buses.
He said two persons were killed and 12 were injured in the firing. Mr Bhan Singh Bhuara, a CPI leader, who was elected from Bathinda for the Lok Sabha in the last election, has rushed to Jethuke village.
The authorities concerned resorted to repressive measures, he alleged and failed to provide justice to farmers. He also alleged that the police turned berserk and started attacking people in their houses. The two killed, young persons were not even farmers, he asserted.
Cong leaders charge
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 The general secretary of the legal cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Maninder Singh Patti, said today that several false cases had been registered against Congress activists in the Patti area on the directives of a ruling party leader of the area.
He said Mr Balraj Singh, a member of the Patti block samiti and supporter of the Congress had been registered in a false case. A case under Section 307 of the IPC had been registered against him.
Mr Tirlok Singh Chakwalia, chairman of Valtoha block samiti and Mr Dayal Singh of Dubli village, met the same fate.
No development work had
been taken up in the villages where sarpanches belonging
to the Congress were elected, he alleged. As police
excesses were increasing, Mr Maninder Singh said a forum
of advocates would be set up to provide free legal aid to
Minister vows to protect sanctuary
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, Forest and Wildlife Preservation Minister of Punjab, today stressed the need to pay proper attention to the upkeep of the plantations raised under the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF) project funded by Japan.
While presiding over the first meeting of the Forest Officers after taking over as a minister of the Forest department, Mr Jyani said the amount of Rs 408 crore being spend on the Punjab afforestation project and of this an amount of Rs 13 crore would be spent on various research projects like genetic improvement of forest species, production and marketing of forest species, bio-pesticides, pest management in nurseries, and conservation of rare and endangered species.
The research works were being carried out by the Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehradun, Y.S. Parmar University, Solan, and Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.
He expressed concern over the large number of dead and dry trees standing in strips in forests.
Mr Jyani reiterated the
state governments commitment for the protection,
conservation and development of biological heritage in
Harike wildlife sanctuary, which provides a natural
habitat to a large number of migratory to rare and
Punjabs ST policy under
AMRITSAR, Feb 1 The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal yesterday alleged that different states had adopted different rates in the name of enforcing uniformity in the sales tax, resulting in chaos and trade in a number of items coming to a virtual halt.
The mandal president, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, said in a statement that there was no logic for Punjab to keep 10 per cent surcharge on sales tax and octroi when the decision had already been taken to enforce uniformity on sales tax.
He said while Delhi had reduced the central sales tax on dry fruit and tea to 2 per cent without C form and on vanaspati and oil to 1 per cent, Punjabs policy in this regard was still not known.
He claimed that while Delhi was charging 4 per cent on tea, Punjab had levied 8 per cent. Pulses were free from taxes in the country, but Punjab had imposed 3 per cent on them. It was charging 2 per cent on gold, diamonds, pearls and artificial jewellery, whereas in the rest of the country it was only 1 per cent.
SDM humiliates patwari
JALANDHAR, Feb 1 Mr Krishan Kumar, the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate, has once again come into the eye of the storm for allegedly humiliating a patwari by making him do sit-ups and catch his ears in presence of public and the latters subordinates in the Sub-Tehsil Complex at Bhogpur near here.
Earlier in the first week of December last, Mr Dilbagh Singh, a key-witness in the multi-crore Kartarpur land scam, had alleged that he was intimidated and thrashed up by security guards of Mr Krishan Kumar and Mr Praveen Kumar, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, in the camp office of the Divisional Commissioner here when he had refused to sign some blank paper. Mr Dilbagh Singh had even urged the Senior Superintendent of Police to register a case against the two officers.
Interestingly, despite several pleas, the Bhogpur station house officer (SHO) even refused to lodge an FIR when Kulwinder Singh, a patwari, posted at Charke village within the jurisdiction of the SDM, approached him with a complaint against the latter.
Narrating his plight, a tearful Kulwinder Singh, said the incident which left him stunned and humiliated occurred on January 15, when he along with Mr Krishan Kumar reached his sub-tehsil complex office at Bhogpur after visiting Charke village and making make spot inspection with regard to a case there. The trouble started, according to Mr Kulwinder Singh, when he was seen by the SDM, who was in the toilet at that time, offering a Rs 100 note to Mr Shingara Singh and Roshan Lal, the gunman and driver of the SDM respectively, so that both could have lunch from a dhaba. SDM sahib handed back the note to Shingara Singh, after noting down its number and started recording the statements of both the driver and the gunman. Meanwhile, the officer, who had called two-three policemen from Bhogpur police station started hurling abuses on me in the presence of policemen, office peons and chowkidars, before ordering his gunman that I not be allow me to go anywhere, alleged Mr Kulwinder Singh.
He further said when he objected to his detention and the kind of treatment being meted out to him, the SDM brought him out of the room and made him catch his ears and do dand-baithaks in presence of public. My agony did not end-up here as besides forcing me sign some blank papers he took me along with him to a couple of villages where he went for inspection regarding supply of kerosene and made me undertake his dictation work as a punishment, alleged Mr Kulwinder Singh.
Jhummir comes of age
JALALABAD: The border belt of the town is inhabited mostly by Rai Sikhs. At their marriages or festive occasions, one can watch them dance to the rhythm of drumbeats in a unique fashion. A few years ago, people used to dismiss it as a distortion of bhangra. But now thanks to the efforts made to resurrect the dance form by a Rai Sikh, Pukher Singh, anyone having a little knowledge of Punjabs folk dances can name the steps as undivided Punjabs, jhummir, which originated in Baluchistan and was very popular in West Punjab (now in Pakistan). However, after partition the dance form started fading away.
The 86-year-old Pukher Singh travelled a lot to get recognition for jhummir which is in his blood. He remembers the time when he learnt the first steps from his uncle. He later became an accomplished dancer.
But after partition, the family shifted from Pakistan to Chirag Dhani village, 20 km from here. Initially there were no takers for the dance form. Jhummir was overshadowed by bhangra. But Pukher Singh did not give up.
He formed a team consisting of his seven brothers. Gradually, the team started getting recognition and was invited to perform at state-level festivals and functions. The team also performed jhummir at the Asiad in 1982 at Delhi. In 1993, the Punjab Government felicitated Pukher Singh on his efforts in preserving the vanishing dance form.
Later, the local DAV College engaged him for forming a jhummir team. The team selected and coached by him has since won a Punjab University-level cultural competition. Now, jhummir figures as a different item in Punjab Universitys cultural competitions.
Despite his old age, Pukher Singh carries the same zeal and love for the dance form. He has so far imparted the art to more than 200 youngsters. He is also coaching three other college teams.
Dr B.C. Josan,
Principal, and Prof Shirdev Singh, in charge of the
jhummir team of DAV College, Jalalabad, say
that taking into account the efforts made by Pukher Singh
in reviving the dance, form, it should be renamed
Restoration fee of cancelled plots
LUDHIANA, Feb 1 The restoration fee of the cancelled plots in the industrial focal points has been reduced from Rs 100 to Rs 40 per sq yard in the main cities of Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.
A reduction in the restoration fee has also been ordered from Rs 50 to Rs 20 per sq yd in other cities.
This was announced by Mrs Surjit Kaur Sandhu, Managing Director of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation, while speaking at a seminar organised here on Sunday night by the Ludhiana Industries Welfare Association. She also said submersible pumps already installed in the industrial units would be regularised and no penal action would be taken. In case of delayed payment of instalments, the MD assured that the original terms and conditions would be made for the delayed payments. She also promised to look into the demand for a review of the clause for utilising 25 per cent area of the plots for non-industrial activities.
Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, was the guest of honour at the seminar which was attended by the captains of the industry in Ludhiana. Mr B.K. Bassi, Chief Engineer, PSIEC, and Mr Ram Lubhaya, president of the Industrial Welfare Association, were among those who attended.
Damage to film set assailed
LUDHIANA, Feb 1 Participants on the second day of a national convention of women, being organised by the Punjab Istri Sabha and the National Federation of Indian Women here, have condemned the damage to the sets of Deepa Mehtas film, Water.
The convention: Poverty Eradication and Violence Against Women, has termed it as an ugly and most unfortunate incident.
The president of the NFIW, Mrs Dina Pathak said the film was based on the life-style of a widow. No one needs to be offended over the picturisation of reality. She said attacks by fundamentalists had taken dangerous proportions.
Speaking on the occasion, the general secretary of the NFIW, Mrs Amarjit Kaur, alleged that the present union government was doing lip service about promoting swadeshi when in fact it had opened all doors for the multinationals in the fields of agriculture, industry and finance.
Villagers propose alternative site
KHARAR Feb 1 Mr Jagjiwan Lal, Sarpanch of the nearby Tira village and President of the Kandi Area Gram Panchayat Sabha, which has been formed by the villagers of the area where a new city called Anandgarh is planned to be set up by the Punjab Government, in a memorandum given to the Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, has demanded that the new city be set up in the area north of the Mullanpur-Siswan road and not in the area proposed now.
According to a copy of the memorandum received here today, he said the population of 27 villages of the area was about 30,000, spread over about 17,000 acres. On the other hand, the population of villages situated north of the Mullanpur-Siswan road was about 8,000 in 9 villages spread over 17,000 acres.
He said the land in the proposed area was very fertile and produced good crop. On the other hand, the land north of the road was not fertile.
He said the farmers in the area proposed now were very poor and if uprooted, they would not be able to re-establish themselves elsewhere.
Badges of sacrifice for
LUDHIANA, Feb 1 As a gesture of expressing the nations indebtedness to the families of soldiers killed while fighting the enemy, Brig A.K. Verma, Commandant, 715 AD, presented badges of sacrifice and certificates of honour to 71 next of kin of the martyrs on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff.
Speaking on the occasion, Brigadier Verma said the sacrifices made by our soldiers spoke volumes of their patriotism. He assured the relatives that the support of the Army and the nation was with them. Efforts were being made to look after all their needs, he said.
Plea to parents on TV viewing
MOGA, Feb 1
Physicians, particularly eye specialists here yesterday
urged the parents of school-going children to refrain
their kids from viewing TV programmes daily, which, they
said, had started affecting children's eyes. Speaking to
reporters here an eye specialist, Dr Sushil Gupta, said a
large number of cases of eye diseases among students had
been pouring in almost daily.
Caliche woos select audience
AMRITSAR, Feb 1 Caliche G+Trio, an all girls pop group, on its 14-city promotional tour wooed music lovers here yesterday with songs from their debut album.
Invitations were sent out to 500 select invitees. The experience of Anida (singer) last year made the organisers take a cautious route.
Three friends, Candy: Liselle and Cheryl formed the group seven years back. They have sung jingles. and choruses for movies like Virasaat and Border, Janam Samjha Karo. Cindy adds its more difficult to fuse three voices than sing solo. Yet our Additappa album has developed our confidence as a group.
The all left their previous jobs. All three are Catholics and had sung in choirs of churches in Goa. They made it with Acapella spell, a western form of music without instruments. Singers sing at different pitches.
Cheryl says they all grew up together. It was the American group called En Vogue that inspired them to form a group.
Punjab gesture to handicapped
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 The Punjab Government has issued instructions to help the handicapped. They can get their names registered at any of the employment exchange in the state.
A government spokesman
said the appointing authorities had been requested to
accept the applicants for placement with proper follow-up
action. Their names would not be deleted from the records
of the employment exchanges till they were placed in
Punjab postings, transfers
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 The Punjab Government today ordered the following postings and transfers in the Police department.
Mr Davinder Singh has been posted as S.P. Headquarters at Moga, Mr Balbir Singh Khaira has been transferred as S.P. (Operations) at Majitha. Mr Gurmail Singh has been transferred to Chandigarh as S.P. Investigation, Punjab. Mr Harbhajan Singh has been posted as Faridkot as S.P. and Mr B.K. Garg has as Commandant of 3rd India Reserve Battalion in Ludhiana.
Mr I.P.S. Sahota has been shifted to the post of AIG, Welfare, at Chandigarh. Mr A.S. Rai has been posted as Commandant 82 Battalion, PAP here. Mr R.P.S. Bajwa goes to Jalandhar as Commandant of 4th India Reserve Battalion and Mr Iqbal Singh has been posted as SP (CID) in Ludhiana. Mr Gurnam Singh Mehra has been posted as in charge Traffic Training School, Jahan Khelan.
Offices flouting court order
PATIALA, Feb 1 Will the ongoing restoration work of the over 300-year-old Quila Mubarak here be of any help as two government departments continue to function from its premises and that too in utter violation of a six-year-old high court order calling for shifting of all such offices?
It was in 1994 that the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared the historic fort a protected monument and ordered the removal of 25 government departments functioning from the fort in a time frame of two years.
While 23 departments, including a police station, Archives, record rooms of the Deputy Commissioners offices, Weight and Measures Department, Education Department and others moved out in the stipulated period, two departments a state chemical examiners and analytical laboratory and strong room of the district treasury office still continue to function from the fort premises, causing constant damage to its structure.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been carrying out the repair work of the severely damaged Ranvaas portion of the fort. Fallen roofs and walls are being reconstructed. The weak parts of the structure are being strengthened. The Ranvaas is one of the prominent attractions in the fort. Apart from being famous for being the abode of the queens of the erstwhile rulers, the place is well known for painted and mirrored chambers similar to those seen in the Sheesh Mahal behind Moti Bagh Palace.
Unfortunately, these chambers have bore the brunt of the damage caused allegedly by chemical examiners laboratory where viscera comes for examination. Sources in the fort said chemicals used for viscera examination seep into the fort walls, causing dampness and weakening its structure. The walls had been ruined to such an extent that many have developed cracks and few had even crumbled. The ASI is repairing these portions but restoring glory of the rare painted and mirrored chambers seems to be an impossible task. It is more difficult because the laboratory continues to function from the fort and chemicals and water keep seeping in.
The strong room of the treasury does not directly weaken the fort. Stamp papers for use in tehsil and courts are available here and every day before 2 p.m. a long queue can be seen at the entrance of the fort. Not only does it obstruct the path but puts off many a tourist.
Mr Lakhwinder Singh Sodhi, Conservator, said they had sent several notices to the two departments requesting these to move out, but to no avail. He said a few years ago, the chemicals laboratory moved to ayurvedic hospital and college in the city but then returned again.
Officials in the laboratory, which comes under the Department of Health, said on condition of anonymity that they had tried to shift laboratory a couple of times but due to non-availability of an alternative accommodation, it continues to function from here. Sources said earlier orders to shift the laboratory in the Ayurvedic Hospital or Mata Kaushalya Hospital were made but due to strong resistance by these two departments, the laboratory could not occupy the allotted space.
Jasbir Singh Bir said as the matter pertains to court
orders a few years ago, he was not in a position to
comment why the orders were not implemented in toto. On
verifying from the treasury office and the laboratory, Mr
Bir said the two departments could not get alternative
accommodation and new buildings require more funds due to
which these still occupy parts of the fort.
Summons through affixation for
KHARAR Feb 1 Ms Semma Dhillon, Civil Judge, Kharar, in a contempt of court petition filed by Col Jasmer Singh Bala (retd) on December 14, 1999, against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, ordered yesterday that service of the summons be made by means of munadi or affixation.
These orders were passed on an application moved by Colonel Bala that the above mentioned petition was pending before this court and the defendant had avoided the service of summons intentionally. He pleaded that the defendant summoned through means of substituted service.
Colonel Bala demanded that the copy of the proceedings book regarding the meeting of the general house in 1996 when Mr Badal was elected President of the party and again when he was re-elected President of the SAD in 1997, 1998 and 1999 should be supplied. He demanded that copies of the letters issued by the Election Commission of India to the Secretary of the SAD from August to December, 1999, should be supplied.
He also demanded that a copy of the proceeding book showing the meeting regarding suspension and expulsion of the plaintiff from the party and a copy of the register or proceeding book disclosing the depatch of intimation letters and receipts sent to members for suspending and expelling him from the party should be supplied. He pleaded that the copy of the agenda, if any, circulated for convening the meeting on December 15, 1999, should also be supplied. The court has fixed February 29 as the date for reply of this application.
Three crushed to death
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Feb 1 Three persons were killed in an accident near Sadhugarh, 10 km from here, today. The deceased was identified as Jatinder Singh, Ajaib Singh and Gurdas Singh of Tepla village in Ambala district.
According to police
sources, the three were repairing their truck (HNC-1251)
parked on the G.T. Road when another truck coming from
Ambala crushed all of them. The Sirhind police has
registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A.
Case against three registered
NANGAL, Feb 1 A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered at the local police station against three officers of the Grow Green company Mr Shashikant, agent, Mr Vishal Bakshi, manager, and the divisional manager.
The SHO said the case against them had been registered on the complaint of Davinder Kumar of Kalitran village. Davinder Kumar had alleged in his complaint that a post-dated cheque given to him by the company agent had bounced.
According to sources,
these officials have collected about Rs 70 lakh from the
local residents under various schemes of the company.
However, after the arrest of a senior official of the
company, these three have fled from the town. Some of the
victims said they had deposited money with the company on
the assurance of the manager, Mr Bakshi, who was a local
Fake currency racket busted
KAPURTHALA, Feb 1 (PTI) The Punjab police today claimed to have busted a fake currency racket and found notes of Rs 100, 50 and 500 denominations totalling Rs 4.01 lakh.
The SSP, Mr Iqbal Singh, said two persons had been arrested. They were Sukhwinder Ram, a resident of Rampur Sonra in Phagwara, and Balbir Singh, owner of a computer centre near Partap Bagh, Jalandhar.
Ex-Dean-VC row casts shadow on
PATIALA, Feb 1 Students of Punjabi University today gathered in front of the Vice-Chancellors office to stop a former Dean , Colleges, Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, from attending a lecture in the senate hall even as Dr Dhillon , who is in the thick of a controversy regarding affiliation given to a dental college, alleged the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia had directed the lecture organisers to withdraw the invitation extended to him.
The students were dispersed by the Vice-Chancellor even as Dr Dhillon did not turn up for the lecture claiming he did not want to precipitate matters after the organisers from the Department of Guru Granth Sahib Studies urged him not to attend the lecture even though he had been extended an invitation earlier.
Dr Dhillon claimed the manner in which the organisers of the function had been told to ensure he did not attend the function was against the very ethos of the lecture which was based on Guru Nanak who was the embodiment of tolerance. Dr Dhillon also alleged that extra policemen had been deployed at the VCs office to stop his entry.
However, the VC when contacted by TNS said he had been informed that Dr Dhillon wanted to instigate trouble at the lecture. He said he had, however, frustrated the designs of Dr Dhillon who wanted confrontation on the issue by asking students who had gathered at the main gate to disperse. He said the students had come spontaneously to the main gate to thwart Dr Dhillons entry as they were sore with his unsavoury utterances on the Diwali mela conducted by him.
The VC said he had also asked the organiser, Dr Balkar Singh, whether Dr Dhillon had been invited and had been told that the university did not invite him but could have come to the lecture as he was a friend of a guest speaker, Dr Nirbahi Singh, a fellow at the Advance Studies Institute, Shimla. He said, moreover, there was no question of stopping anyones entry. He said Dr Dhillon visited the university everyday and did not take any permission to do so.
The VC said the former
Dean was trying to obfuscate the real issue which was of
wrongful affiliation given to Khalsa Dental College,
Nangal Kalan. He said the former Dean had also tried to
rope in some well known personalities such as former
Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar as well as the
present Chief Minister in the case as he apprehended
police action against him. He said the falseness of Dr
Dhillons version was clear from his own statement
in which he had said the university yielded to pressure
from the government with regard to extending affiliation
whereas the facts were that Dr Dhillon had in his own
handwriting made recommendations for not only continuing
the affiliation for BDS one but also extending the same
for BDS two and three classes. He said the claim of Dr
Dhillon that the number of seats of the dental college
were increased at the instance of Chief Minister Parkash
Singh Badal was incorrect and baseless as there was no
record of any such recommendation as claimed by Dr
Transfer DEO, says Chawla
AMRITSAR, Feb 1 The BJP MLA, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, today sought immediate transfer of the District Education Officer (Secondary), Mrs Surinder Kaur Kahlon, wife of the Rural and Panchayat Minister, Mr Nirmal Singh Kahlon.
She said Mrs Kahlon had been flaunting rules and was instrumental in bringing down academic standards of government schools in the district.
Cases of copying and corruption had gone up and her dictatorial attitude had ruined the careers of many promising teachers.
Mrs Chawla, talking to mediapersons here today, said she had urged the Chief Minister to initiate an independent probe against her and to transfer her to the state headquarters.
Handful of wheat as wages
PHILLAUR (Jalandhar), Feb 1 Trapped in the unending circle of debt, Chhoto (60) and a number of poor women hailing from a village in Malwa region have been left with no choice but to work for landlords to pay the interest on meagre loans taken by them.
Like countless others, these women hailing from Killi Nihal Singh village in Bathinda district are trying to explore the possibility of getting justice, if not for them, then at least for their coming generations. Despite working like bonded labourers, they are not getting any wages in return. Perhaps they would never be able to pay even the burgeoning compound interest on loans ranging between Rs 2,000 and Rs 16,000 taken by them years ago. All that these women get in the name of wages is a handful of wheat, often not enough for even one member of their big families.
According to them, the landlords do not really want the loans back.
Their intention is to make is pick up garbage and dung for eternity. The feudal lords have refused to set us free even if we propose to pay their loans back. Rather they have conveyed to us that we have no way out but to do their work, says Chhotto, who along with three other women of the same village had come here to consult the Peoples Vigilance Committee. An NGO working for the welfare of labour class, as to how she and others could come out of this situation.
Narrating her woes, Chhoto says as her husband is invalid they had taken a loan of Rs 2,500 from a farmer of the same village about two years ago. Since then she has been working as a maid in his house without any money. They have not been able to pay back the debt. Since I have no child and my husband is not working anymore, I have no hope that I will be able to pay the loan. Whenever, I go to the farmer, he tells me that the principal amount of the loan was in my name and I am working for him to pay the interest, she says.
She had allegedly been asked to put her thumb impression on some blank papers by the landlord at the time of the extension of loan. I am not even aware about the rate of interest and what is the amount left to be paid, she says, adding that she was being given only 2.5 kg of wheat every month by the landlord. Is it not exploitation, if not bonded labour? they ask.
The plight of Balbir Kaur (45) is not different. Her family had taken a loan of Rs 16000, from four landlords at different intervals during the past 15 years and she has been working for them for the past several years.
I am still working for a family from whom I had taken Rs 3,000 to get my husband treated in the city about 15 years ago. Our condition is so pitiable that we cannot attend ceremonies and functions of our relatives since we are not granted any offs. If we have to go out we have to make alternative arrangements and send our young daughters to work in our place, she says.
She says they will either move the Punjab and Haryana High Court or the state Human Rights Commission in this regard.
Sujan Kaur, one of aged women, says she has been working for a farmer for the past three years as she had taken a loan of Rs 2,000 from him They even threaten us against approaching the police or the court. But we have resolved to come out of the slavery we have been undergoing for years, she says.
sowing of cotton crop: experts
CHANDIGARH, Feb 1 While American bollworm continues to be a headache for scientists and cotton growers, experts want the sowing of the cotton crop advanced this year to enhance its yield and to save it from the attack of bollworm.
Experts, including Mr K.S. Aulakh, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Punjab Agriculture University, Dr Joginder Singh, Mr M.S. Bajwa and the Director, Agriculture, Punjab, Mr Deep Singh Sahota, decided at a meeting to recommend the sowing of cotton from April 15 to May 15.
The meeting was convened by the Punjab Agriculture Department to deal with the problem caused by the bollworm, other pests and virus to the cotton and other crops and make the cotton crop a major commercial crop in the state.
The yield of the cotton crop in Punjab had fallen to 1.5 quintal a hectare last year (1998-99) due to repeated attack of bollworm. In fact last year was the worst year as far as production of cotton in the state is concerned. Of the 5.62 lakh hectares, the cotton output was only 5.95 lakh bales, the lowest figure since 1961.
However, in the current cotton season (1999-2000), the output has showed an upward trend. Though the area under the crop has come down to 4.73 lakh hectares, the production this season in the state has touched a figure of 10 lakh bales, almost double the previous years figure.
The first target of the Agriculture Department, according to Mr Sahota, is to increase the area under the cotton crop in the next sowing season. The department wanted to cover at least 5.75 lakh hectare under the cotton crop. We have started making preparations accordingly and all officers concerned, including the state seed corporation and the Central Seed Corporation have been requested to get the quality seed ready to be provided to the farmers in the sowing season, Mr Sahota told TNS.
At least 8500 quintals of certified seed is available with the State seed corporation and the Central Seed Corporation and nearly 21,000 quintals is available with private agencies though it is not certified. But its quality is said to be good.
Defying cure and management, the bollworm has wrecked the agrarian economy of the Malwa cotton belt. Farmers, who used to go laughing to banks after selling the cotton crop, have virtually been reduced to paupers in past years. Though experts and scientists have tried their level best to control the bollworm but their efforts proved futile. Various pesticide firms made a quick buck by promising that their formulations will make the difference but there was no respite from the bollworm attack.
Mr Sahota says various rabi crops including sunflower, wheat, gram, etc act as the host for the bollworm. The PAU experts wanted that by taking integrated pest management (IPM) measures, bollworm should be controlled at the present stage otherwise it would be difficult to curb its attack.
All extension workers and officials of Agriculture Department have been told to inform farmers to take preventive measures at the present stage. Mr Sahota has advised the farmers to eliminate all sorts of weeds that played host for the bollworm.
Talking about the recommendation of advancing the cotton crop, Mr Sahota said the crop, if sown as recommended, would mature early and there would be no attack of the bollworm. Because of the cloudy weather in July-August and the high level of moisture, bollworm flourishes on the cotton crop and its attack becomes uncontrollable. There would be less damage if the cotton crop, started maturing in the first week of September and its picking was done in the very same month.
Experts, according to Mr Sahota, have opposed vehemently the spraying of certain formulations of pesticides. They feel that bollworm and other pests have developed immunity against some formulations and there is no use of spraying the same. In fact these formulations caused damage.
The department has fixed
a target of 15 lakh bales in the next season. The best
year of cotton production was 1991-92 when the output
touched a figure of 25 lakh bales and Punjab was on top
in cotton production, beating Andhra Pradesh and
Maharashtra, traditional cotton growing states.
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