|Friday, February 11, 2000,
DIG directed to probe paddy
Scientists plead for farm
Akal Takht-SGPC row fallout
Poll din irks people
Leaders for cases against cops
Mann, Tohra oppose mediation by PM
Morcha threat to gherao Badal
BJP disciplinary panel recast
Water table fall sets alarm bells
22 Number Phatak loses sheen
19-year wait for ex-gratia grant
Tributes paid to Satguru Ram Singh
Workers for early decision on PNFC
Power supply to tubewell cut
Emotions drawn out on canvas
Akali leader wants murder probed
11 dowry deaths in 1999
Fake currency seized, 1 held
2 youths booked
Inter-state gang of thieves busted
Regional centre directors
role being probed
scheme not being implemented
DIG directed to probe paddy
CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 On a petition seeking a CBI inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of paddy belonging to Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation (Punsup) by rice miller of Guru Harsahai (Ferozepore) worth crores of rupees, Mr Justice T.H.B. Chalapathi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Punjab DIG (Crime) to inquire into the allegations and submit a report within four months to it.
The petition was filed by Mr Sham Lal Bitta, a resident of Guru Harsahai and an activist of Shiv Sena.
The petitioner reported to the Punsup in 1994 that rice millers had embezzled paddy worth crores which it had entrusted for milling. Different agencies after holding a preliminary inquiry found large scale shortage of paddy. Punsup had informed him that it had taken up the matter with the authorities concerned for registering an FIR. He had reported to Punsup that the paddy had been supplied in 1994-95 and the paddy stored by millers with Punsup for shortage of space, had been embezzled with the support of and connivance of the procurement agencies with Punsup employees.
The petitioner further added that as per his own inquiry the paddy procured by other agencies like FCI, Markfed and Warehousing Corporation had also been embezzled. The field staff, he alleged, had connived with the rice millers.
It was further stated that even the police in order to protect the rice millers had refused to register an FIR on the ground that there was a clause in the agreement for arbitration, which went to show that the police was hand in glove with the rice millers and had refused to perform its legal duty. The records showed that this was a scam of a big magnitude.
The petitioner expressed the fear that if the case, was left to the police it would only lead to wiping out the evidence.
He submitted that the court had asked the Deputy Commissioner to take steps in the matter but the Deputy Commissioner has toed the line adopted by the SSP.
SDM directed to file affidavit (TNS adds): Capt Bikramajit Singh, Vice-President of the Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress, preferred writ petition in the High Court questioning the "interference" of the SDM of Patti in the affairs of Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh and the festival at Pahuwind village in Amritsar district.
Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice N.K. Sud, before whom the petition came up for hearing, directed the SDM to file a personal affidavit against the allegations levelled against him in the petition.
Scientists plead for farm
CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 Notwithstanding the technical terminology and scientific language used at the conference on biotechnological strategies in agro-processing here, certain issues have emerged which merit the attention of Punjab.
From the interaction with a cross-section of the participants, both biotechnologists and industries representatives as well as from the deliberations on technical subjects, it has surfaced that a systems approach to agriculture and allied disciplines is imperative with requisite forward linkages and backward integration.
They have laid stress on evolving a viable policy on agriculture in the context of application of biotechnology to maximise production and productivity to feed the galloping population, which too has to be controlled.
The existing regulations and impediments in the way of introducing hybrids by seed companies (when government owned seed corporations have failed) have to be removed and incentives provided for investment in agriculture and food processing.
It is time for introducing the concept of contract or corporate agriculture, which alone will ensure value addition to food crops, fruit and vegetables, meat and milk products on the one hand, ensuring better return to the farmers, and on the other increasing the job potential in the farm sector, giving an impetus to rural development with equitable distribution of economic and social benefits.
In other words, scientists assembled for the three-day conference (today was the second day) have pleaded for what Dr M.S. Swaminathan had once called agriculture refineries. Rather than enabling farmers sell their raw produce, may it be grains or fruit or vegetables, it must be processed and then marketed. At the same time, the key to success of agriculture was in changing the rules of the game and lay stress on extension education and create awareness among the farmers what the new regime sought from them to make them complete at the global level.
What really concerned the participants was the absence of a long-term perspective and a policy. Even the Department of Biotechnology in the Ministry of Science and Technology was silent on this. The existence of mere guidelines, may these be in areas of research and development or bio-safety did not mean anything. An integrated approach had to be adopted even in respect of intellectual property rights, patent laws and the like.
For all this more than introduction of newer technology and knowledge intensive techniques what is required is a strong political will, minimum government interference and monetary back-up for undertaking research and development.
Several biotechnologists, who presented their research papers, wanted Punjab to take the lead. The state has to come out of its mind-set and stop basking in the glory of the past laurels. Punjab has to show the way that it was embarking onto new horizon having achieved enough gains and grains (wheat and paddy) from the interplay of high yielding seed-fertiliser-irrigation-plant protection techniques. It was time for knowledge-intensive techniques, which must be made clear to farmers the ultimate users, who are to produce the desired quality products which are processable.
For instance, rice cultivation. Punjab is experiencing the fallout (adverse) of wheat-paddy rotation in terms of agro-ecological imbalance, higher power consumption, depleting water table, etc. Those who talk of diversification must give an alternative. That is provided to a large extent by corn, which is of hybrid type and, especially genetically evolved for kharif rain-fed areas. Its yield is high and so is the resistance to disease and insect pests.
Similarly, it is time that the grains produced by Punjab to fill hungry stomachs elsewhere in the country must have improved nutrition value. There has to be a proper policy based on future requirements as to which crops are to be grown, expected production and incentives to be given. At the same time it has to ensure scientists worked on varieties suited for draught and flood situations depending on agro-climatic zones. Commercialisation of agriculture, shifting at least 30 per cent of the population dependent on farming alone will sustain this sector, which makes major contribution to the economy. The 30 per cent is one which has to be engaged in agriculture refineries, taking processing of different foods as a major vocation, stressed Dr Arvind Kapoor, managing director of Nunhems Proagro Seeds Pvt Ltd.
Punjab produce has to be qualitywise on the top, both for table purpose as well as for exports and processing. The state has to work on wheat, paddy, sugarcane, cotton and fruit and vegetables keeping in view the global market. The tragedy of farmers, all over, is the government policies and exploitation by middlemen which allows them to neither survive nor die. Caught as India and other Asian countries are in the clash of titans the USA and the European Community the country itself will have to step up per hectare production and per unit of input benefit.
Today there were four technical sessions: Crop production and protection; Fruits and vegetables; Agro-industrial products; and Dairy and meat.
It transpired that there
was not much interaction among the scientists themselves
with not many knowing or being aware as to who was
working on what and where. The conference has provided a
platform to them.
Akal Takht-SGPC row fallout
FEROZEPORE, Feb 10 Several important religion-related works slated to be completed as part of the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations have been grounded by the tussle involving the Akal Takht Jathedar and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, President (SGPC). While a schedule for the proposed Samapti Samaroh to mark the end of the festivities is yet to be prepared, the fate of other projects like translation of the parts of Dasam Granth, establishment of the World Sikh University, drug de-addiction and environment campaign are hanging in the balance.
Disclosing this to The Tribune, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Prof Manjit Singh said, schedule for the proposed function to mark the end of the festivities could not be decided in view of the religio-political crisis. As the SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaur has gone into seclusion after being ex-communicated by the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, details of the programme could not be prepared.
Likewise, fate of an important project to translate parts of Dasam Granth of Guru Gobind Singh in various languages is not yet known. Although the Union Human Resource Minister earlier had announced a decision to translate the parts of the granth at Anandpur Sahib during the festivities, the issue is sensitive on account of divided perceptions of scholars, with some seeking to know which part of the book shall be translated.
Obviously, both the SGPC and the clergy has to step in as a section of scholars feels that only the parts on which there is a unanimity be translated to avoid any controversy. Already, the Nanakshahi calendar issue has led to a showdown between the SGPC chief and the Akal Takht.
Expressing displeasure with the crisis, Prof Manjit Singh however hoped that this would be resolved shortly to bring all important works back on the rail in the larger panthic interest. He further lamented that the proposal to establish a World Sikh University at Chamkaur Sahib had also been grounded for this reason.
Even as some village panchayats in Chamkaur have already resolved to donate land for the purpose, the university still remains a distant dream.
Likewise the proposed drug de-addiction campaign through the SGPC could not take off. As drug addiction poses major challenge to the Sikh faith much like apostasy, Prof Manjit Singh said, the crisis should end to save the community from more ills.
His earlier proposal to
open plant nurseries at various historical gurdwaras,
including the Golden Temple to serve saplings as
prasad also remains a far cry. This was aimed
at bringing Punjab under green cover, with the help of
religious places and was a part of the series of
programmes to mark the tercentenary festivities.
Campaign to back Giani Puran
AMRITSAR, Feb 10 The supporters of Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht. have launched an organised campaign to justify the hukamnama (edict) whereby Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth, even as some Sikh forums have demanded the removal of the Jathedar for allegedly violating the Sikh maryada.
Bhai Santokh Singh, a close confidant of the Akal Takht Jathedar and former member of the seven-member panel on the controversial Nanakshahi calendar, has claimed that the hukamnama was issued in accordance with Sikh tenets. Quoting from the Sikh history, Bhai Santokh Singh claimed that the Jathedar was competent to issue the hukamnama from anywhere even without participation of the Sikh high priests. In case of an emergency, the Jathedar could issue the hukamnama after consulting any five baptised Sikhs.
Convention on role of Jathedar
CHANDIGARH, Feb 10
The Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh, will
hold a one-day convention at Gurdwara Sahib, Kanthala
(Tribune chowk), on February 13 at 10 a.m. to discuss
matters pertaining to Akal Takht, the role of the
Jathedar, the SGPC, the Sarbat Khalsa and the
Poll din irks people
NAWANSHAHR, Feb 10 As February 17is approaching electioneering in Nawanshahr Assembly segment is hotting up. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and PPCC President Amarinder Singh along with all their colleagues have been canvassing vigorously in the Assembly segment for the past couple of weeks and virtually going from door to door.
Maharani Parneet Kaur MP (wife of Captain Amarinder Singh) and Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal (wife of Mr Parkash Singh Badal), lending support to their husbands and adding colour to the election campaign, have started canvassing in municipal wards, main bazaars and villages.
Campaigning by stalwarts in the town, has now started telling on the nerves of the residents here. The convoys of the CM, Ministers, MPs, MLAs and vehicles of a number of jathas of different parties, coming from all over the state for campaigning, have made traffic on roads chaotic. From bus-stand to the DCs office where election offices of all main candidates, Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha, (SAD-BJP-BSM), Mr Darshan Lal Jethumajara (BSP), Mr Nachattar Singh (SHSAD-SAD (Amritsar) and Mr Parkash Singh (Congress, CPM, CPI) are situated, traffic congestion has become common and long queue of vehicles and bustle of party activists can be seen from early morning till late night.
Moreover, ear-splitting noise by loud-speakers atop cars, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws engaged in campaigning in every nook and corner of the town has been causing sound pollution in the town. As the ministers and other leaders start their door-to-door campaigning in the wards and villages, traffic remains congested in bazaars and streets also.
Campaign by stalwarts for BSP candidate Darshan Lal Jethumajara, Mr Nachattar Singh (SHSAD) and Mr Ravinder Gautam (Anti-Reservation Front) a very low-key affair. All these candidates claim that the splendour of notes being exhibited by the SAD and the Congress in the election campaign will only remain up to February 24. On February 25, when result will be declared, only the splendour of "votes" will prevail.
Mr Badal and Mr Amarinder Singh do not want to leave anything to chance. Both are wooing voters especially different social, political, trade and employees organisations. The Congress has been luring the local Municipal Councillors by "offering" them the post of president of the local Municipal Council. This card of the Congress has paid dividends and it has trapped two councillors Dr Harmesh Kumar Puri and Mr Rajinder Chopra. On the other hand, the SAD has successfully lured a number of organisations, which included the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), the Sehkari Khand Mill Workers Federation, the Physically Handicapped Association, Punjab, the Ex-Servicemen Welfare Federation, the Halwai and Bakery Union, the Ramgarhia Sabha, the Vimukti Jati Sabha etc.
Leaders for cases against cops
JETHUKE (Bathinda), Feb 10 Hundreds of people, including activists of the BKU (Ekta), Technical Staff Union (TSU) and representatives of various political parties and human rights organisations, attended the shardhanjali samaroh here today of two Dalit youths, who were allegedly killed in police firing on January 31 in a clash between policemen and BKU (Ekta) activists.
People from all walks of life came here through different modes of transport to attend the shardhanjali samaroh of Gurmeet Singh and Despal.
The district police authorities had laid nakas on the main and link roads and used various tactics to prevent the people from attending the samaroh, but people kept pouring into the venue despite heavy rain and the police bandobast.
The speakers included Dr Joginder Dyal, Secretary CPI, Punjab, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, MLA, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA, Mr Ishtpal Singh Khialaiwala, General Secretary, SHSAD, Mr Darshan Mehraj, District-Secretary, CPM, Mr Chander Shekhar, General Secretary, CITU, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, CPM leader, Mr Pishora Singh, President, BKU (Ekta), Punjab, and Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, former minister. They condemned the police attempt to stop the people coming for the samaroh and said that a protest rally by all parties would be held on February 24 at Rampura town.
They alleged that policemen also misused the name of panchayats of various surrounding villages to sabotage the shardhanjali samaroh.
The charter of demand read out by these leaders included the registration of criminal cases against those police officials who were responsible for killing the two Dalit youths and officials of civil administration who did not sort out the issue of overcharging of fare by mini bus operators despite the fact that BKU (Ekta) activists had repeatedly approached them in this connection.
They also demanded that the killing of the two youths in which a senior police official was allegedly involved, should be probed by a sitting judge of the high court as the magisterial probe already ordered was eyewash.
They also demanded that all BKU activists arrested by the police should be released immediately and the cases registered against them be withdrawn. The issue of overcharging of bus fare should be settled immediately and arrangements made to immediately stop the police atrocities.
The activists of various human rights organisations, including the AFDR and PUCL, alleged that the village had been converted into a police cantonment and the police deliberately harassed those people at the nakas who had come to attend the samaroh.
Dr Dyal, Mr Arshi and Mr Chander Shekhar while addressing the gathering alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had endorsed the police killing of the two youths by not visiting the village so far.
Mr Darshan Mehraj, District Secretary, alleged that the youths were killed by the police on the diktat of a ruling politician to whom Mr Badal had given an important assignment in his government recently.
Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, MLA, alleged that the killing had exposed the anti-Dalit and anti-farmer policies of Mr Badal.
The policemen deployed at nakas on the periphery of the village allegedly did not allow the people coming to attend the bhog ceremony to take their vehicles to the venue.
Interestingly, no representative of the Punjab Government attended the bhog ceremony. A section of the villagers, who were still in the grip of fear, also did not attend the samaroh.
Mr Bhora announced a
grant of Rs 50,000 for the village for erecting a
memorial to those killed in the police firing. The Rajiv
Gandhi Lok Bhalai Manch also gave cheques for Rs 21,000
each to the next of kin of those killed.
Mann, Tohra oppose mediation by PM
JALANDHAR, Feb 10 The Shiromani Akali Dali (Amritsar) has refused to accept any mediation by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee in the Sutlej-Yamuna link canal issue.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the president of the party, said the Prime Minister had no right to intervene as river water was a state subject. He alleged that the Vajpayee government was trying to bring river waters on the union list.
Dubbing the SAD-BJP alliance as "unprincipled", Mr Mann said the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, should part company with his coalition partner, which was "anti-minorities". He said there was no reason for Mr Badal to worry in case he "throws out" his coalition partner as his party was commanding absolute majority. Mr Mann said the "anti-Sikh" attitude of the RSS and the BJP could be judged from the fact that both of the organisations had 'opposed' the naming of the university at Amritsar as Guru Nanak Dev University. Moreover, the agenda of theocratic state propounded by the RSS-BJP combine was against the interests of minorities, he said.
Similarly, Sarv Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra today said his party would never accept the mediation of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee on Punjab river water issue, a UNI report said.
Mr Vajpayees attitude towards Punjabs outstanding demands like river waters, Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas "is no different from the discriminatory attitude of the Congress", he claimed in a statement faxed to UNI from Nawanshahr where Mr Tohra has been campaigning for his party candidate.
Mr Tohra said Mr Vajpayee had recorded his "dissent note" in the committe which had recommended, the formation of Punjab on linguistic basis. "It was again Mr Vajpayee who had said that control of water headworks in Punjab and Chandigarh should remain with the Centre if Punjab had to demarcated on the basis of Punjabi language", he pointed out.
The Akali leader said that nothing less than referring the river waters case to the Supreme Court and its decision on the basis of national and international laws would be acceptable to his party.
The party spokesman said Mr Tohras statement was in response to BJP General Secretary (in charge of Punjab and Haryana Affairs) Narendra Modis reported statement that Mr Vajpayee would mediate to settle the issue of Sutlej-Yamuna link canal.
Mr Tohra alleged that "ungrateful" state leadership of the BJP had "always betrayed" the interests of Punjab and "now its ministers are sucking the blood of people through corruption as alleged by none other than BJPs own MLAs". He asked if the BJP had solved any of the problems of the Sikh Panth and Punjab in spite of unconditional support extended by the ruling Akali party.
Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Tohra alleged that Mr
Badal had sold the interests of Punjab to the BJP for his
own personal interests. He alleged that Mr Badal had
entered into an "underhand" deal with the BJP
and Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala on SYL
canal against the interests of Punjab on river waters
Morcha threat to gherao Badal
AMRITSAR, Feb 10 The All-India Anti, Corruption Morcha (AIACM) yesterday took strong notice of activities of certain elements in the SAD which were getting active support from the local police in harassing people.
In a statement here, the morcha alleged the attack on the manager of Aashirwad Palace by certain Akali workers took place in connivance with the police.
BJP disciplinary panel
PHILLAUR, Feb 10 The Punjab BJP President, Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, has reconstituted a five-member disciplinary committee of the partys state unit and the state general secretary Mr Narotam Dev Ratti, has replaced Mr Suresh, Sehgal, Mayor of the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, in it.
In an interview with The
Tribune here today, Mr Sodhi said that Mr Ratti had been
appointed convener of this disciplinary committee, which
included Mr Balbir Chand Kapila, Mr Shakti Sharma, Mr
Pannalal Nayyar, and Mr Satpaul Saini.
Water table fall sets alarm bells
CHANDIGARH, Feb 10 The fast-depleting ground water table in Amritsar, famed for its Golden Temple and sarovars (holy tanks), has made the authorities concerned sit up. Due to the continuous fall in the water level, wells, which serve as traditional sources of drinking water, have gone dry.
The water table has fallen more than 22 metres in certain parts of the old walled city of Amritsar. The most-affected areas are close to the Golden Temple. In this thickly populated area data collected by scientists of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) shows the availability of water 22 at metres.
Beyond the periphery of the Golden Temple the level of water up to bus stand zone is between 20 metres to 22 metres. The zone, which includes the Durgiana Temple, water availability level has been measured at 20 metres. In the civil courts and Kot Khalsa area, the water can be seen at 14 metres to 16 metres.
The authorities concerned have urged the Central ground water authority in Delhi to declare the walled city area in Amritsar as a Red area to control the further depletion of the water table.
The ground water authority has the powers to regulate the use of water in any particular place by issuing a notification. State governments have to implement such a notification. Through notification certain measures are taken which include registration of all ground water abstraction structures tubewell, hand pumps and wells and prior permission for installing a tubewell within the notified area.
Amritsar is an over-exploited city as far as utilisation of ground water is concerned. Having a population of over 10 lakh, the city is situated in the north-western part of Punjab.
The heavy ground water withdrawls have resulted in the water table falling in the past two decades (1979-1999) ranging from 8 metres to 12 metres. The present requirement of water for drinking and industrial purpose is around 133,200 cubic metres a day. The projected water demand for the year 2010 will be around 345,485 cubic metres a day at the rate of a 10 per cent increase in demand per year.
In the city the water supply is based on ground water which is met with over 175 tubewells (160 of the municipal corporation). As much as 55 per cent population is being covered by piped water supply. The remaining 45 per cent inhabitants meet their daily water requirement through their own shallow tubewells and hand pumps.
Informed sources told TNS that the water level in 1979 varied from 2 metres to 10 metres, the maximum being in the walled area (Old Amritsar) and the minimum on the outskirts. The net decline in the water table in the past 20 years has been to the tune of 6 metres to 12 metres. The city is paved with construction of roads, buildings etc. It affects the recharging of ground water with natural sources like rain.
In fact, there is big gap between the demand and supply of water in Amritsar. To cater to the needs of the entire population of the city, the water requirement is around 255,900 cubic metres. For meeting the gap of 122,700 metres the municipal corporation has planned for withdrawal of ground water. Such a planning will lead to further decline in the water table.
Amritsar, a city which experiences very hot and cold temperatures has had a below normal rainfall in the past many years, 1979, 81, 82, 87, 91, 94 and 1998. This trend has also affected the water table.
The CGWB has already taken up a scheme in Amritsar for recharging the water table in the walled city. As many as four wells have been installed to inject the water drained out from the holy tanks into the ground to raise the water table. This scheme is likely to be formally inaugurated in the second week of March.
The measures suggested
by the CGWB to recharge the ground water include the use
of 70,000 cubic sewage water after secondary treatment,
recycling of industrial effluents after proper treatment
to meet the water requirements of the industry, and
artificial recharging of ground water by harvesting all
available rain water on roof tops.
22 Number Phatak loses
PATIALA, Feb 10 Sheher Patiala vich 22 number phatak ute khadde ne vadayan gharan de kakae. So ran a popular Hardeep number some years ago. Today youngsters of Patiala would rather give a skip to the market along the phatak in favour of other greener pastures.
The legendary railway crossing in this city is no longer the favourite with today's youngster who would rather frequent donuts and other eateries which have sprung up close to the railway crossing or those in Leela Bhavan.
Increase in the traffic has led to over crowding in the market adjoining the railway crossing . Few youngsters can be seen hanging around the crossing. The construction of dividers on the road cutting across the market has sounded a virtual death-knell of strolling .
The construction of the divider has led to parking problem in the market. While one side of the road has some parking place for four-wheelers, there is no parking space outside a nearby book shop.
The market now has a lot of confectionery and sweets shops. There is also a lone pool joint. In fact, there are some shops in the railway crossing market which are downright repulsive to youngsters. There is a butchers shop who showcases his stock in filthy cages.
The position is likely to worsen if an under bridge comes up on the 22 number crossing as planned. A shop-keeper Anil Verma said people were already skipping the market due to parking problems and that the market would be seriously affected if an under bridge came up in the area. Keeping this in mind, Mr Verma has already taken up property ahead of the crossing.
Youngsters now find it
cool to hang around the eateries established
ahead of the 22 number crossing on the Bhupindra road.
These are also convenient for students of Thapar
Engineering College. Besides, they prefer to visit a
famous restaurant and fast food joint, besides the
complex with video games and a pool joint. Harinder , a
college student, puts things in perspective, saying I
still go to the 22 number market on my regular
geri tour but find it difficult to hang
around there. The geris of Harinder and
others like him would continue but the
kakas of Patiala may not be found
in 22 number market for long.
19-year wait for ex-gratia grant
TALWANDI MALHIAN, Feb 10 (UNI) Apathy on the part of the authorities has left the father of a 1971 Indo-Pakistan war martyr still waiting for a grant announced by the Defence Ministry.
It was 19 years ago that Mohinder Singh of this village in Moga district lost his son Raj Singh, a gunner in the Army during the war with Pakistan. An ex gratia grant of Rs 50,000 subsequently announced for the martyrs family never reached him.
The money has lost much of its value over time. But still it can help me a lot, Mohinder Singh, a widower, told UNI.
In a memorandum he submitted to the Moga Deputy Commissioner Kanwalbir Singh Sidhu yesterday, septuagenarian Mohinder Singh revealed that the non-payment of the solatium was not his sole worry.
The state government had doled him out 10 acres of land in the locality but he has so far not got possession of it. Revenue officials, whom he contacted, told him that the plot had been allotted but was yet to be handed over to him since its numbers had to get clearance.
Nine years after losing his son, Mohinder Singh met with another personal tragedy. His wife died in 1980.
Till 1990 I had been getting my family pension. That too has stopped since the last 10 years, he added.
In the post-Kargil period, when grants of similar nature began being received by families of the martyrs, Mohinder Singh had a renewed hope to take up his matter. But I have got fed up. I am tired writing reminders to the Defence Ministry and the government, he said.
Tributes paid to Satguru Ram
RAYIAN (Ludhiana), Feb 10 The research-based study project undertaken by Guru Nanak Dev University on the life and contribution of Sat Guru Ram Singh, founder of the Namdhari sect, would be given further impetus. The Baba Ram Singh Chair has already been set up for this purpose.
This was stated by the Information and Public Relations Minister, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, while presiding over a state-level function organised by the state government on the parkash utsav of Sat Guru Ram Singh here today.
He said Sat Guru Ram Singh launched a crusade against the British rule and the non-cooperation concept given by him had shaken the British raj. He continued the struggle for Indias independence peacefully and through non-violence.
Lauding the contribution of Sat Guru Ram Singh for eradication of social evils and bringing awakening among the people Mr Dalam said it had contributed in a big way for social transformation. The real tribute to Baba Ram Singh would be to follow his ideals and make this universe an abode of peace, progress and prosperity, he said.
Mr Dalam said that 80 per cent of the warriors who made supreme sacrifices for the noble cause belonged to Punjab. He said movements like Kuka movement had their origin in Punjab and Punjabis fought bravely against the British raj.
Mr Dalam said the Punjab Government had taken various steps for perpetuating the memory of Sat Guru Ram Singh and other Kuka warriors by setting up memorials. The state government had already approached the Central Government for installing a life size portrait of Sat Guru Ram Singh in the Central Hall of Parliament.
The Minister said the village middle school would be upgraded to the high school level and the birth place of Sat Guru Ram Singh Ji would be developed.
Mr Dalam presented a draft for Rs 5.59 lakh to the Namdhari trust on behalf of the Punjab Government for setting up Rs 10 lakh night soil based bio-gas plant by the Punjab Energy Development Agency under national bio-gas development programme of the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources.
The Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, also paid rich tributes to Sat Guru Ram Singh.
Sat Guru Jagjit Singh
Ji, head of the Namdhari sect, and various leaders of
different political parties and social groups
participated in the function and paid their rich tributes
to Sat Guru Ram Singh.
Workers for early decision on
NANGAL, Feb 10 They all come on to work at 8 am every day, but have no work to do. They spend their time playing cards or discussing their uncertain future and leave at 5 pm in the evening. This is the daily routine of about 500 employees of Punjab National Fertilizers and Chemical Ltd (PNFC) here.
The PNFC plant closed down production in February 99. The plant has closed down production due to withdrawal of subsidy on one of its product, ammonium chloride fertilizer, making it unviable in the market. In spite of the plant being closed the employees kept getting salaries till September, 99 by selling the product.
Power supply to tubewell cut
HOSHIARPUR, Feb 10 On account of non-payment of Rs 1.53 lakh as electricity charges by the Public Health Department, the PSEB has disconnected the power supply to the tubewell at Bassi Kalan, 12 km from here, Mr Jeet Ram, panch of Bassi Kalan said here today.
Emotions drawn out on canvas
PATIALA, Feb 10 Creative works at the Department of Fine Arts and Museum in Punjabi University beckon art lovers.
While creations of an upcoming young artist, Subhash Chander, an art teacher at the Government College for Girls, are on display, in the main gallery, 16 artists of universities in north India are busy creating something out of the ordinary at the seven-day painting workshop organised by the university in collaboration with the North Zone Cultural Centre.
Subhashs works have a range of emotions close to those mentioned in the Sanskrit works of Abhinav Gupta, besides the diverse dancing forms found in Natyashastra of Bharatmuni, both ancient Indian scriptures. These also carry impressions of Osho and hints of female experiences, besides the artists preference for rural scenes.
What binds his different moods is his native and simple treatment of complex human situations and experiences. Using just one stroke of colour or pencil, Subhash induces different moods and expressions in human forms. He brings them to life with ease and engulfs them in death by denying the forms shades other than black and white. This is evident from a pathetic yet calm death scene of a mother.
The mother is the central theme of clay models of the artist, also on display. Two of them showing scores of children in her lap listening to fairy tales and another showing mothers equal love for pets are the gripping ones.
Outside the hall, 16 students of universities of Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana are busy bringing out on canvas, their hidden emotions, expressed through buildings, environment, fields and scenes from the city. Dr Saroj Rani, Head of the Department, and Mr Jagdeep Gircha, a senior teacher, said the painting workshop aimed to tap the feelings of the modern youth, living in diverse environment.
The participants were taken around the city for a day to enable them to pick up themes on the local places. They were particularly shown the historic monuments of Quila Mubarak and Sheesh Mahal. The age-old structures did catch the fancy of the artists, but, they were more moved by the life at these places. Some found them to be heavenly places, while others depicted them as prison houses, especially for the fair sex.
Shabad recitation contest
PATIALA, Feb 10 Modern Senior Secondary School here won the overall championship trophy in the Shabad recitation and patriotic songs competition organised by Veer Haqiqat Rai Public School on its premises here today on the occasion of the Basant festival.
Mr Prakash Chand, Principal of the school, said in a press release that 27 students from 14 schools participated in the competition.
Hema of SDSE Shakuntala
School won the first prize in the Shabad recitation
event. Poonam of Modern Senior Secondary School came
second, while the third position went to Jyoti Sharma of
Arya Kanya Vidyalaya.
Akali leader wants murder probed
GARHSHANKAR, Feb 10 Raja, a son of the local Akali leader, Mr Surinder Pal Singh Hundal, was murdered and his body was found hanging in mysterious circumstances on February 7.
According to a report lodged by his father, his son had been living with Balbir Kaur in Denowal Khurd village for the past few months. The house in which they were living was purchased by his son in the name of Balbir Kaur. He alleged that a few days ago the house was sold by Balbir Kaur and since then there was tension between them over the payment.
The father alleged that he was murdered and the culprits tried to project it a case of suicide.
11 dowry deaths in 1999
AMRITSAR, Feb 10 Mrs Palka Mahajan (20) the only daughter of Mrs Poonam and Rajan Khanna got married to Kaushal Mahajan, son of Banarsi Dass Mahajan, on November 24 last year. One month later she was dead. The newly married couple had gone to Dalhousie and Pathankot for their honeymoon. And days later her husband brought Palka dead claiming that she had died in an accident. The body was hurriedly cremated without even a post-mortem examination by her in-laws as the parents were too shocked.
However, Mrs Poonam (mother) filed a dowry death case. The parents had given at least Rs 5 lakh in dowry. The differing statements of the father and the son and the absence of an FIR at the place of accident or even a hospital bill to prove medical assistance raised suspicions. One eye of the deceased was gouged out and both legs were in a broken condition. The mother alleged that Kaushal was a shady character and was harassing her for more dowry. The couple had a love marriage.
In another incident, in November last year Mrs Kailash Kumari (23), set herself afire and died of third degree burn injuries. Dowry was stated to be the cause behind her death.
Similarly Mrs Gurvinder Kaur breathed her last after consuming poison in September last year married for three years. She was also reportedly a victim of dowry death.
Eleven cases of dowry deaths were reported in 1999. Whereas 1998 registered 15 dowry deaths, eight died due to third degree burns, five of poisoning and two of injury.
The year 1997 reported six cases of death due to burning and two cases of poisoning.
According to Mr Naresh Kumar Arora, SP (City), complaints of harassment have considerably increased over the years. Whereas in 1997 18 such complaints were received. They increased to 28 in 1998 and rose to 53 cases in 1999.
However, conviction was done just in four cases, acquittal in six cases and pending in court being 22.
Out of a total of 34 cases in the last three years, no one was convicted last year in any dowry death case. On an average it takes about four years for a decision on the cases, says the SP.
Generally cases of harassment or death occur within eight years of marriage on an average, he says.
There were only 11 per cent convictions as compared to 17 per cent acquittals in these three years. What could be the reasons?
Sources seeking anonymity reveals that such acquittals which send a wrong signal to the public were due to bad investigations by the police. Instead of collecting evidence, policemen harass relatives of the accused. The evidence is lost, and a weak case is presented.
Police sources, however,
explain that often they are put on VIP duties. Several
times the officer who is to depose in a certain case in
the court consequently remains unavailable. This can
happen several times in a single case. Cases are
adjourned when the officer concerned fails to depose.
Fake currency seized, 1 held
PHAGWARA, Feb 10 The local police had arrested Bajwar Singh and seized from his possession counterfeit currency notes worth Rs 11,300.
Mr Iqbal Singh, SSP, Kapurthala, today said that Bajwar Singh was nabbed from Basgirpura in Jalandhar following a tip-off from Sukhwinder Ram of Rampur Sunra village.
Sukhwinder Ram was arrested a week ago with counterfeit currency notes worth Rs 41,300.
2 youths booked
AMRITSAR, Feb 10 The police today booked two youths, Chiranjit Singh and Surinder Singh, residents of Mona Kalan village, Hoshiarpur, under Sections 452, 506 and 34 of the IPC, for trespassing into the house of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh and threatening him yesterday.
The youths were beaten up by security guards of the jathedar when they questioned the issuing of hukamnama (edict) wherein Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC chief, was excommunicated from the Panth. They were arrested by the B division police.
Inter-state gang of thieves
PATIALA, Feb 10 The district police on Thursday, claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of thieves indulging in stealing vehicles from several parts of Punjab and Haryana. Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, SSP, in a press note said that the gang had planned to commit a dacoity in the city when a police party swooped on them, working on a tip-off.
While three persons
Kuljeet Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Suresh Kumar were
caught, the other three Pargat Singh, Sanju and
Makkar managed to escape in the cover of darkness.
The police has recovered a stolen vehicle from them.
Regional centre directors
role being probed
PATIALA, Feb 10 The ongoing agitation of law students at Punjabi Universitys Regional Centre at Bathinda has taken a new turn with the university authorities ordering a probe into the role of the Director, Dr S.S. Bhatti, in the whole matter.
A university press note issued here today said Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, has deputed the Dean, Research Dr B.S. Bhatia, to inquire into the role played by the Director in the ongoing agitation.
The press note said the university had taken a serious note of reports appearing in newspapers about the strike of the students for the past 10 days. It categorically accused Dr Bhatti of instigating, initiating and perpetuating the boycott of classes.
However, the university press note said though the boycott of the classes was going on for the past 10 days but Dr Bhatti had informed the university only a couple of days ago. The note said Dr Bhatti had proposed the names of certain persons for appointment on adhoc basis but was told that due to legal complications the demand could not be accepted.
The note said the Vice-Chancellor had accepted the proposal of raising the remuneration of teachers from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 to restore normalcy in the centre but then Dr Bhatti complicated the matter by again insisting on adhoc appointments of teachers to meet the requirements.
The note said the university had already deputed two teachers from the campus to teach in the centre and save the interests of the students.
Meanwhile, the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) has criticised the handling of the strike of students at Bathinda by the university authorities.
Dr Amarjit Singh
Dhillon, President of the forum, said on the one hand Dr
Ahluwalia had claimed to create an open university in the
area and on the other hand he had not done anything with
regard to the centre.
College awaits land for nursery
PATIALA, Feb 10 In an irony of sorts, the Government Ayurvedic College and Hospital, the only one in the state, is making hectic efforts to get some forest or other land for developing a medicinal plant nursery. On the other hand, one such nursery is getting damaged for want of care and funds in the Bir Moti Bagh here.
The arboretum in Bir Moti Bagh occupies nearly 70 acres of forest land. It has rich varieties of plants having immense medicinal value. But due to improper supply of funds as well as maintenance, the three-year-old nursery is dying.
The Ayurvedic College and Hospital, on the contrary, is carrying a Rs 3.75 lakh Central grant for developing a similar arboretum, but due to the non-availability of land in the state, the project has failed to take off. The Centre was responsible for funds while it was the state government which had to provide land.
The college authorities had read a news report about the ill-maintained arboretum and have offered to manage and take care of it. Sources in the college said the functioning of the hospital here is suffering because of lack of funds and availability of herbs and plants to prepare medicines in the hospitals pharmacy. The pharmacy in fact is the lone government supplier of medicines in the state.
Sources revealed while foreign countries like China, Japan and America are making money from export of Ayurvedic medicines, India, which gave birth to this form of treatment, has yet to acknowledge its importance. Sources said while several schemes were mooted to encourage ayurveda, none provided the desired results for one reasons or the other.
Dr P.C. Kansal, Principal, Ayurvedic College, said the hospital working had been hit as there was scarcity of herbs and plants in the state to prepare medicines for the patients. He said four years ago the Centre had granted Rs 3.75 lakh to the college for developing an arboretum nearby. The project was okayed as it would help the ayurvedic students for research as well as provide raw material for medicine preparation.
Dr Kansal said the grant
had remain unused due to non-availability of land. He
said last year the state government had directed the
Forest Department to provide land but the department
expressed its inability to do so, citing a Supreme Court
order prohibiting cultivation in a protected forest area.
Pension scheme not being
JALANDHAR, Feb 10 The delay in the implementation of the pension and gratuity scheme in private colleges has led to resentment among retirees.
Despite repeated promises and the gazette notification of the Act on April 26 last year, the Punjab Government has failed to implement the scheme, they say.
Dr V.K. Tiwari, General Secretary to the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), has demanded immediate disbursement of pension and gratuity.
He regretted that the state government had done grave injustice to people by postponing the orders on one pretext or the other.
The Bill which was passed by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on March 30, got the Governors approval on April 19 and the gazette notification was issued on April 26 last year. Earlier, the Punjab Governor has issued an order on April 2, 1998, that the CPF be deposited in the corpus fund by the colleges according to the scheme sent to the colleges on December 18, 1996. The cut-off date was to be April, 1992.
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