|Monday, February 14, 2000,
seeks Jathedar's sack
Elusive pension scheme of Punjab
Panel refutes DGPs claim on
Bad start for kinnow growers
Panchayats to manage water supply
Leaders had favoured decision,
Cong exploring secular
Replace police Act: study
Endless wait for 400 writers
SPCA to begin drive against rabies
Paks no to Mardanas
PM urged to bring back Gurus
Kar seva starts at Darbar Sahib
Trendz 2000 opens
Seva Bharati holds Basant Utsav
Clean chit to two youths
3 killed as bus rams into tree
Goodwill gesture of BSF in border
Appeal centres for
Pension applications found fake
Drug addicts take to stealing
Gang of highway robbers busted
Kidnapped boy found
Bhatti didn't instigate students:
Use of English in convocation
Convention seeks Jathedar's sack
CHANDIGARH, Feb 11 The one-day convention on Akal Takht, the role of its Jathedar, the SGPC and the Sikh 'maryada', organised by the Institute of Sikh Studies at Kanthala Gurdwara here today virtually indicated the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, demanding his removal from the position he occupies.
It was a clear revolt against him as speaker after speaker warned against the growing cult of issuing "kukamnamas" (religious edicts) by "individuals", thereby, creating an atmosphere of "terror" among the Sikhs. In fact no individual had any right to "excommunicate" any other person.
"When such a step is taken in slavish compliance with the interest of any political faction alien political party for serving the self, it must be considered condemnable and despicable. To accept the position as such is to be true Sikh of the guru", reads the resolution adopted at the convention.
The president of the institute, Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, and the secretary, Major-Gen Narinder Singh, went to the extent of demanding that the jathedars of the three Takhts, Giani Puran Singh (Akal Takht), Giani Kewal Singh (Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo) and Prof Manjit Singh (Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib) should quit right away on "moral and ethical grounds".
The manner in which the Akal Takht Jathedar, had issued a hukamnama "excommunicating" the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, while enroute to Maharashtra on January 25 last was severely criticised by all, who questioned the manner the manner in which it had been issued. In fact Mr Gurtej Singh, who presented the Keynote address, went to the extent of saying "in the coming century it is necessary to establish the equality of sexes Giani Puran Singh is frustrating these efforts by insulting a woman president of the SGPC."
The speakers and the resolutions adopted clearly underline that the Sikhs must "reject" the edict on Bibi Jagir Kaur and at the same time express steps be taken to set the house in order with the SGPC taking the lead by constituting a religious advisory body to define the role and functions of the jathedars, as Dr Kharak Singh put it succinctly.
Some speakers like Mr B.S. Danewalia turned the opportunity to castigate Mr Parkash Singh Badal holding him responsible for the rift he has created by his actions. He described Mr Badals manner of going about celebrating the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh as an "act of blasphemy."
The convention assumed significance for the fact that this is for the first time that a well recognised body has spoken so openly against Jathedar of Akal Takht making it clear at the same time that the Sikhs respect Akal Takht and its traditions. But not the way an individual acted arbitrarily. "The power vests with the sangat, Guru Panth and Guru Granth. There is no place of such priesthood in Sikhism", the speakers pointed out.
The Jathedar was also taken to task for his stand on the Nanakshahi calendar. It was said that he was overstepping his brief since calendar was a technical issue. It had been in the melting pot for six years with the SGPC recently capping it.
An other issue on which Giani Puran Singh received flak was his views that Sikhs were descendants of "Luv and Kush".
A resolution clearly stated "this gathering requests all respected individuals to seek glory in relieving the Sikhs of the terror of individual hukamnamas and consequently of the prospects of religious slavery hovering over the head of Guru Khalsa Panth".
The Sikhs were asked to reject totally the edict on excommunication of Bibi Jagir Kaur. The speakers felt the same could be withdrawn as had been happening till 1996.
The convention ridiculed the Jathedar the way he gathered five Sikhs to proclaim the edict. A participant from Amritsar showed a photocopy of the edict and found holes in that in respect to the date put on it.
The speakers sentiments found echo in a resolution which warned of growing interference in Sikh affairs by the BJP and questioned the continuation of Mr Badal as SAD chief since he heads a "Punjabi" party not a Sikh-Akali party. There was a demand from a speaker, Mr Joginder Singh, to define "Sarbat Khalsa, hukamnama and gurmatta".
The statement of Mr Narinder Modi of the BJP on SYL and comparing it to the Cauvery waters sharing was condemned.
A resolution demanded the release of detained Sikhs held without trial.
Those who spoke included, Mr Gurtej Singh, Mr B.S. Danewalia, Dr Kharak Singh, Dr Sukhjeet Gill, Mr Narain Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh, Dr Sukhjeet Kaur, Mr Dalbir Singh and others.
Dr G.S. Dhillon summed up the convention by saying that the intended purpose was to focus on the atmosphere of terror created by Giani Puran Singh and also to give a clear direction to the Panth at this juncture in the context of what Akal Takht Jathedar has done.
Though Bibi Jagir Kaur
is reported to be in "ekantvas" to allow the
Nawanshahr byelection to pass off, the indications are
that in coming weeks voice to remove the jathedars will
become louder and clearer as the convention felt the
Sikhs had become a laughing stock.
Elusive pension scheme of Punjab
CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 If payment of salaries to the employees "regularly" can be listed as one of the major "achievements" by the present SAD-BJP government in Punjab, which completed three years on Saturday, how would one describe the phenomenon when the same government fails to implement its own decisions, despite there being an Act to that effect and Cabinet approval?
This is in reference to the non-implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity scheme for the teaching and non-teaching employees in 139-odd government aided colleges in Punjab.
This issue first got a positive response from the government on April 3, 1992, when the Congress Finance Minister announced the acceptance of the long-pending demand of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers' Union (PCCTU). The pension scheme was to take effect from April 1, 1992.
Since that day over 900 employees have retired and nearly 100-odd have died. Yet the so-called pension-cum-gratuity scheme, in lieu of the contributory provident fund scheme, remains shelved even as the SAD-BJP government has crossed its half of its five-year term.
Who should the blame be apportioned to for this lapse? The chronology of the demand and how promises were made and never fulfilled makes interesting, though, sad reading.
The scheme was first accepted in January, 1991. The payment of pension was to be through private management committees, a decision opposed strongly by the PCCTU on the plea that managements which delayed and dithered on making payment of salaries regularly or even the full amount could not be expected to give pension. The voice of this union, representing 162 colleges (139 aided and 23 unaided) kept echoing in the corridors of power. It still does.
After the Congress had accepted the demand in April 1992, there was a long pause. The Cabinet approved it on January 3, 1996. Later, a 32-page scheme was circulated to all colleges in December, 1996, with the concurrence of the state department of finance. Even options were taken from teachers with managements of 139 colleges passing the requisite resolutions. In the meantime the government changed; exit Congress, enter SAD-BJP in February, 1997.
In a sensible decision, the PCCTU decided to put all demands and issues on the backburner to give the new government time. But as the delay lengthened an agitation was launched in November, 1997, for the scheme's implementation. Top leadership of the union landed behind bars for seven days.
The present government introduced a Bill in the Assembly on March 30, 1999. The same was passed, approving the pension-cum-gratuity scheme. The intended purpose was to better the service conditions of the teachers. Yet the same has not been implemented.
The proposed scheme was gazetted on April 26, 1999. The CPF contribution was not being accepted, despite clear orders by the Governor.
The Union representatives have had several rounds of talks and meetings with the Chief Minister and others concerned but to no avail. There were two meetings on June 3 and November 11, 1999 with the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Mr G.P.S. Sahi; one with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on August 1,'99; two meetings with the Chief Secretary, Mr R.S. Mann, on August 5 and 25; the Principal Finance Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, on November 27 and with DPI, Courses on November 25. No result.
There have been a series of protests, dharnas and rallies as well, often jointly by the principals, managements and teaching and non-teaching staff.
A past president of the
union, and at present Panjab University Syndic, Professor
Charanjit Chawla, regretted that the political and
bureaucratic nexus was playing with the sentiments of the
teachers and others. Their inept handling and indifferent
attitude would force the union to launch agitations, he
Panel refutes DGPs claim
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) here today challenged the version of the Punjab D.G.P, Mr Sarbjit Singh, relating to the January 26 arrest of two top extremists belonging to Babbar Khalsa International from Batala police district.
The three-member fact-finding committee of Mr Surinder Singh Ghariala, Chairman, Mr Balwinder Singh Jhabal, General Secretary, and Mr Satnam Singh Amishah is inquiring into the arrest of kabul Singh, claimed by the police to be a top militant Babbar Khalsa International.
The KMC team on reaching Chakala baksh, a village 50 km from Amritsar on the Indo-Pakistan border, found that the police claim that Kabul Singh was a top terrorist was wrong. Besides, it found out that Kabul Singh was actually arrested from his house in the village whereas the DGP had claimed that the two terrorists were intercepted while travelling in the Batala Sadar area.
In a statement to the KMC, the mother of Kabul Singh said that on January, 20, around 6 a.m. hordes of policemen jumped into their houses by scaling the walls and took away Kabul Singh in a police Gypsy. When family members tried to ask the police officers where they were carrying Kabul Singh, they were threatened with dire consequences.
Kabul Singhs mother came to know about the whereabouts of her son on January 25, when the DGP of Punjab claimed to have arrested two BKI militants who had just returned from Pakistan with 5 kg of RDX, 5 kg of PETN, 2 AK-47 rifles and a big cache of arms.
Mr Ghariala further said, "Mrs Balwinder Kaur, Sarpanch, and her husband, Jathedar Ajaib Singh, told the committee that no police officer ever came to them before raiding the home of Kabul Singh, which is gross violation of their constitutional rights. Mr Ghariala termed the claim of the DGP that Kabul Singh was arrested in Batala as "a bundle of lies" and warned the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, that a "such ham-handed steps may further alienate the Sikh population on the Indo-Pakistan border."
Mr Ghariala has sent
this report to the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justice
of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chief Minister of
Punjab, Amnesty International, London, and Punjab State
Human Rights Commission, Chandigarh, for further action.
Bad start for kinnow growers
FAZILKA: Producers of kinnow, considered to be the best citrus fruit, are disappointed this year. Traditional kinnow cultivators maintain that adverse climatic factor played havoc with the fruit trees as a result of which kinnows fell from trees before ripening.
Growers and contractors involved in the trade are concerned as they are incurring heavy financial losses and are not likely to grow more of this fruit.
According to an estimate, 80 p.c. of horticulturists have leased their kinnow orchards to contractors. As a result of the dropping of fruits, these contractors have been compelled to bear losses. In most cases there is a dispute over the lease amount. Some traditional kinnow cultivators have settled the contentious issue amicably by reducing the outstanding balance be given to contractors. In some cases disputes are still there.
The contractors had taken the orchards on lease from owners at the Rs 4 to 6 per kg. The kinnow season commences from January 15 and ends by March 15, but this year kinnow arrivals have started early and its price is good. The contractors appeared set to make big profits until the fog intervened.
Perhaps, there is something else in store for the contractors. Traditional kinnow cultivators maintain that prolonged foggy weather for a fortnight in January proved to be detrimental for their crop. The temperature fell to 6° Celsius in this area on January 13. Due to thick fog and lack of adequate sunlight, kinnow plants suffered from frost-bite. Unripe and under-developed kinnows started falling from plants in bulk.
The fallen fruits developed fungus within two to three days. Thus every kinnow contractor was keen to dispose of the fallen fruit on priority causing a glut of fungus-affected kinnows in the market. The rates of these kinnows came down crashing to around Rs 2 per kg and this trend still persists.
According to government sources besides Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, the acceptability of kinnows is growing in other states. This is primarily due to waxing of kinnows which enhances their shelf-life from two to three weeks. In normal conditions kinnows can be preserved for three to four days only. The installation of kinnow-waxing units at Mauzgarh (the native village of former Union Agriculture Minister Bal Ram Jakhar), Badal (native village of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal) and in Balluana (Abohar) has gone a long way in increasing the popularity of kinnows in distant parts of the country. Following reports of fruit-drop disease, a five member panel of scientists from Punjab Agriculture University, visited this area to study and find a solution to the problem. However the findings of the panel were not publicised.
Prem Babbar of Fazilka, who won the first prize in the state for producing quality kinnows several times, says that due to a sudden fall in temperature kinnow plants suffered from frost, the main cause of the dropping of fruits.
He reveals that so far 25 to 35 per cent of the kinnows have fallen and the problem is still continuing. In view of the adverse climatic factors, he suggested that the government should set up kinnow processing units so that kinnow juice and concentrate might be prepared. The fallen kinnows are without button head and leaves, hence they do not attract customers and can be processed only.
Panchayats to manage water supply
CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 The Public Health department, Punjab has made a drastic change in its policy as regards rural drinking water supply schemes. It has decided to involve the village panchayats in the management and maintenance of these schemes and they will be asked to contribute towards the expenditure.
For launching the new policy, Bathinda and Moga districts have been selected. A majority of the water supply schemes in these districts require augmentation due to an increase in the population.
For Bathinda district, the government has sanctioned Rs 6.88 crore and for Moga district Rs 3.44 crore.
Giving details of the criteria Mr J.R. Kundal, secretary of the department, told TNS the villages which would contribute 10 per cent share of the expenditure to be incurred on the extension of the scheme which will be expanded to provide 55 litres of water per person a day. As the per existing rules, the department is supposed to provide 40 litres per person a day.
However, due to population boom water supplied from the schemes is less than 20 litres per person per day. The village which would contribute 20 per cent share to the expenditure would get 70 litres of water a day per person. For availing 100 litres of water per head a day the villages concerned would have to give 30 per cent share.
In the first phase 13 schemes in Bathinda district and 20 schemes in Moga district catering to 58 villages in both districts will be expanded. After the expansion work, the village panchayat will be handed over the scheme for operational purpose. The department will provide technical guidance.
Besides, the department has decided to install hand pumps in more than 100 villages in the Pathankot belt of Gurdaspur district to provide safe drinking water. This area has remained neglected for the past 50 years as far as providing safe drinking water is concerned. In fact in Narot Jaimal Singh and Baimal areas nearly 90 per cent villages are without proper drinking water.
There is a lot of pressure on the department from representatives of people belonging to that area on water schemes. As adequate funds are not available, the department has devised a way out to install had pumps. Informed sources said Rs 5 crore had been provided by the state government from the Rural Development Fund for the purpose.
Leaders had favoured decision,
PHILLAUR, Feb 13 Reacting to allegations levelled by eight leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Morcha, who resigned yesterday from their primary membership of the party in protest against the BSM(S) President, Mr Satnam Singh Kainths decision to give unconditional support to the SAD-BJP candidate from the Nawanshahr Assembly constituency, Mr Kainth clarified here on Sunday that all decision, including this decision had been taken after taking into confidence all morcha leaders. He said many of these leaders were themselves present during his meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, last week. Mr Kainth said these leaders welcomed and garlanded Mr Badal.
Earlier, eight BSM leaders, including Parveen Banga and Sukhwinder Singh, Satpaul Virk and Ramsarup Saroye, Arjun Dev Saini, Rachna Devi and Ramjidass Virdi have alleged that Mr Kainth had renounced pro-poor policies. They blamed Mr Kainth for giving support to the Akali candidate in order to serve his personal interests.
Meanwhile the SAD-BJP-BSM alliance got a shot in the arm when the Dalit Sena, Punjab and the Janata Dal (United), Punjab, today decided to extend their support to the Akali candidate, Mr Jatinder Singh Kariha.
Talking to The Tribune
here the Dalit Sena, Punjab, chief, Mr Amar Singh Mehmi,
told that this high-level decision has been taken after
consultation between the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari
Vajpayee, the Dalit Sena All India President, Mr Ram
Bilas Paswan, and the Janata Dal (United), President, Mr
Sharad Yadav, owing to request made by the Akali Dal
President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Cong exploring secular front
MUKTSAR, Feb 13 Encouraged by the victory of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar from Faridkot with the backing of left parties, a section of the Congress is toying with the idea of floating a political front along with the United Communist Party of India (UCPI) to strengthen secular forces.
Disclosing this to TNS, Punjab UCPI president, Mr Sukhinder Singh Dhaliwal, and Faridkot district Congress President, Mr Surinder Gupta, said that a move to this effect was initiated at a recent meeting with Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar.
A final decision will be taken only after consultation with other left parties. The leaders expressed concern over the growth of religious fundamentalism in the state, and the RSS and its activities.
Accusing the Akali Dal, of encouraging saffronisation of social and cultural life in Punjab, the two leaders said, RSS camps were multiplying. Mr Gupta was particularly critical of rural sports being organised by RSS activists, besides special camps in government schools.
Mr Dhaliwal claimed that the state government recognised only NGOs associated with the RSS. Mr Dhaliwal urged the CPI and CPM to shed their reservations and forge a common front in Punjab.
Replace police Act: study
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 (UNI) The police should go in for all-round modernisation since an obsolete police force will not be in a position to meet the challenges of the 21st century, according to a pioneering study.
The first Ph.D study in the country on "police management completed by Bathinda Senior Superintendent of Police Jatindra Jain which fetched him a Ph.D degree by Guru Nanak Dev University here, observed that to meet these challenges emphasis should be laid on police training, research, development, modernisation, computerisation and development of infrastructure.
"The coming days will witness sophisticated crimes like telecom frauds, bank scams, computer forgery besides routine crimes like murder and vehicle lifting with the help of mobile phones and modern gadgets. These call for a re-orientation of the police force, the research paper opined.
The police has to match the technology at the command of the criminals, or crime detection and arrest would not be possible, the paper suggested. The rate of computerisation at the district levels in Punjab has been very low and a inspection by Dr Jain during the course of his research revealed that in most cases computers were being used for preparing salary bills instead of storing crime-related information.
The paper was critical of "improper" utilisation of the police force particularly for threatened persons. The paper went in to suggest that there was a need to replace the outdated Police Act of 1861 and the Punjab Police Rule of 1934 in view of the changed socio-economic scenario and future challenges.
The paper suggested that as the police was already over-burdened with the complaint business, there was need to amend the criminal procedure code and install crime tribunals at all district headquarters where the complainants can go for justice in cases pertaining to land disputes, monetary disputes and matrimonial disputes.
Such tribunals may not award punishment but can affect compromise or award monetary compensation, the paper suggested, while pointing out these tribunals would take away a lot of discretionary and extra-judicial powers of the police which is otherwise responsible for corruption.
Referring to corruption alcoholism and behavioural problems in the police, the paper pointed out that if these three could be checked, then most public grievances and public criticism of police would vanish.
The paper also suggested that information which was not harmful in nature and not against security interests must be provided to the public and this would help decrease the scope of corruption at the lower levels.
Referring to the long duty hours of policemen, the paper suggested the concept of twentyfour-hour duty by a cop should be done away with as this not only effects his functioning and behaviour towards the public but his family too feels neglected.
The paper was critical of registration of false cases by policemen and illegal detention and suggested this should be curbed with a heavy hand.
The paper also called
for improving the training of policemen at all levels,
creating a better working environment at level of police
stations and providing proper accommodation to the police
force which was currently inadequate.
Endless wait for 400 writers
PATIALA, Feb 13 In 1989, Ravinder Singh Sodhi, a teacher with PPS, Nabha, was on cloud nine. The manuscript of his book, Budhi Maina Da Geet, the Punjabi version of the famous play, sandhya chaya, by acclaimed Marathi writer Jaywant Dalvi was approved by the Punjab Languages Department for publication.
Today, 11 years later the excitement and joy have made way for frustration and pain. He is still making rounds of the department to see his work in print. He has heard that his manuscript is neither with the Languages Department nor with the Controller, Printing and Stationery, or with his publisher based in Panchkula.
The harassed author can probably derive consolation from the fact that he is not the only one to undergo the agony. There are more than 400 such writers waiting for publication of their respective books. Some of them are amateur writers, some new ones and some even established ones. A few are waiting since 1985.
Sadly, some are no longer alive to pursue their case. They include the Late Kulwant Singh Virk, noted Punjabi writer, Saroj Sirhindi, a journalist and Dr Satnam Khumar, renowned Urdu poet.
It is not our fault, says Dr Madan Lal Hasija, Director, Languages Department, Punjab. He heads a department which was made to propagate the Punjabi language by encouraging writers. Admitting that the wait is a long one, he says that the department is responsible for only approving a manuscript for publication. It then edits it and sends it to the Controller, State Department of Printing and Stationery, Chandigarh, for publishing. The delay is on their front, Mr Hasija said, adding that the Languages Department has no control over the printing process. The Controller allots the books to publishers who then bring it to us for getting proofs checked. We only pay the bill when we get the printed copy, he explained.
The payment of bills, investigation reveals, is one of the reasons for delay. According to sources bills worth more than Rs 25 lakh are pending for payment to the publishing houses. Dr Hasija, however, said finances is not a worry and the bills are less than Rs 15 lakh.
Mr Surjit Singh Dhillon, Controller, Printing and Stationery, when asked to comment on the delay said it was not his departments fault. As soon as we get the manuscript, we allot it to printers, he said.
We publish books according to the priority list prepared by the Languages Department, he added, continuing that enough funds are not available for all books.
The publishers are spread all over the state and even in the neighbouring ones too. Information from the Languages Department and the Printing Department reveals that the manuscripts of some of writers are lost. They were given to the publishing companies who later sold their company and the new owner had no idea of the manuscripts submitted earlier.
We may take the matter to the police, said the Controller, Printing and Stationery, when pointed about the loss of the manuscripts.
These explanations and arguments are not new to us and they are not the only ones, said one harassed writer, preferring anonymity. There is favouritism and political influence also, he added.
Dr Hasija suggested if
control of printing is handed over to the Languages
Department, it would solve the problem. He said if they
had their own printing press or computers for completing
all page-making formalities, then the Languages
Department could show better results and at reduced
SPCA to begin drive against
ROPAR, Feb13 The Ropar district unit of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) will launch a special campaign against rabies and worming by organising five camps for the vaccination of 12,000 stray and pet dogs.
This was decided at a meeting of the society held under the presidentship of Mr Chetan Aggarwal, president of the district unit, here yesterday.
The five camps will be organised at Anandpur Sahib, Nurpur Bedi, Kharar, Ropar and SAS Nagar with the help of the local units of the SPCA and other non-government organisations. Medicines for the purpose will be made available by the district unit.
In another important decision, the district unit of the SPCA also chalked out a plan to start birth control campaign for stray dogs. This plan will be implemented in a phased manner with the active cooperation of gram panchayats and municipal councils of the areas concerned.
Mr Aggarwal said the Animal Welfare Board of India had provided a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the district unit for such projects. The board would release more funds in the near future to the society to complete these projects, he added,
He further stated the society would also set up an exhibition-cum-study centre against cruelty to animals at Ropar for the general public.
Paks no to Mardanas
FEROZEPORE, Feb 13 The Lahore-based descendants of Bhai Mardana, have been denied permission to attend a three-day Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar slated to be held here from February 19 to 21.
It is learnt that the Pakistani military authorities have denied them permission to visit the city on account of the "changed political perception concerning Indo-Pakistani diplomatic ties." The four descendants Bhai Lal, Irshad Ahmed, Karam Hussain and Mohamad Hussain had earlier performed kirtan at Anandpur Sahib during the Khalsa tercentenary festivities in April last.
This has come as a setback to the city-based Vishwa Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society that had invited them on earlier occasions too. Talking to TNS, the president of the society, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, said despite visa clearance from the Union Government, the Pakistani authorities had restricted the visit of the "ragis" to India.
He said Bhai Lal had
expressed his inability to attend the function over the
telephone. Significantly, Bhai Lal and his companions had
performed kirtan at Jatti Umran, the native village of
deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in
Amritsar during their last visit.
PM urged to bring back
MOGA, Feb 13 Several organisations of the state, including religious ones, yesterday urged the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to use his good office to bring back the kalgi of Guru Gobind Singh from the United Kingdom for the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib.
Mr G.S. Cheema, Principal Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Punjab, has already decided to constitute a committee for acquiring precious objects for the complex. In a letter to the Prime Minister, these organisations said that as per their knowledge, the Gurus kalgi was at present lying in Albert Museum in London.
Kar seva starts at Darbar
TARN TARAN, Feb 13 The kar seva for desilting of the holy sarovar of Sri Darbar Sahib was started here today. The kar seva has been entrusted to Baba Jagtar Singh by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.
Panj Pyaras (five beloved ones) comprising Mr Balbir Singh Pannu, Senior Vice-President, SGPC, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Jhabal, member, SGPC, Baba Jagtar Singh and Giani Partap Singh, Head Granthi, Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, performed the inaugural ceremony. More than 30,000 devotees from other states and foreign countries took part in the kar seva. Baba Mohinder Singh and Baba Amrik Singh of Dera Baba Jiwan Singh told newsmen that the kar seva would be over soon.
Trendz 2000 opens
PATIALA, Feb 13 Trendz-2000, a new designer wear collection comprising ladies, gents and kids apparel, made by students of the National Institute of Fashion Design, opened at Leela Bhavan here yesterday. Mr S. Ahluwalia, Vice-President, Escorts Limited inaugurated the exhibition.
One could view a variety of fashion designs and also know about the latest craze from the exhibits. The students arranged the show under various themes. One was for interior decoration of a living room. The emphasis was on low seating arrangement, as the trend is now a days. Then there was an exhibition of traditional Indian dresses titled andaaz.
A separate section displaying seven major types of printing in demand had been put up by senior students. One could have designer wears made more attractive with block prints, leaf and batik prints. There was also tie-and-dye and floral technique.
Mr Vikram, Director
NIFD, said the annual show informs the people about the
latest fashion and also encourages the students who set
an opportunity to show their talent. He said the students
were not given any theme. They used their own imagination
to come up with new designs.
Seva Bharati holds Basant
PATIALA, Feb 13 To encourage underprivileged children to come out with their talent, the Seva Bharati Organisation (Patiala branch) organised a Basant Utsav at Navi Basti here today.
The children participating in various activities on this occasion belonged to Seva Bharati schools situated in Baajigar Basti, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Basti and Bishan Nagar Basti. There were various sport events held like races, marble-in-spoon races, banana-eating races as well as three-legged races, musical chairs etc. Children rendered patriotic songs, bhangra, etc. Also, prizes were distributed to those children who were position holders in the 8th grade examinations, conducted by the organisation some days ago. The General Secretary of the Organisation, Mr Ravinder Dhillon, said the areas where the government worked had little facilities of sanitation or education.
Mr Pramod, District
Convener, RSS, said in his speech that the organisation
has come up with one-teacher-one-school schemes, where a
teacher takes a single batch and teaches it till it
passes its 8th grade. Also, a free medical kit is given
to teachers, that comes handy in dealing with everyday
medical problems. Many volunteers are part of the Seva
Bharati organisation. Ms Prerna said the purpose of the
organisation was to inculcate the feeling of nationalism.
Clean chit to two youths
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 The police has given a "clean chit" to two youths who allegedly entered the house of the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, last week and misbehaved with him.
The two youths Charanjit Singh and Surinder Singh residents of Mona Kalan village in Hoshiarpur district were booked under Sections 452, 506 and 34 IPC, for trespassing and issuing threats.
3 killed as bus rams into tree
HOSHIARPUR, Feb 13 (UNI) Three persons, including a Delhi police constable, were killed and 29 wounded when a Jammu-bound tourist bus from Delhi hit a tree near Urpur village on the Hoshiarpur-Tanda road this morning, police said.
Tanda police station SHO said that Johan and Baba, two drivers of the bus owned by a private tourist bus company, died on the spot, while constable Harbans Singh was declared "brought dead" in Tanda Civil Hospital.
14 injured passengers were discharged after first aid. Of the remaining 15 injured, six were referred to Jammu hospital as they belonged to that city, two were sent to Hoshiarpur Civil Hospital in view of their critical condition and the rest were admitted to Tanda Civil Hospital.
Minister of State for
Medical Education Balbir Singh Choudhary, who visited the
victims in the Tanda hospital, said that treatment
expenses would be borne by the District Red Cross Society
while families of the deceased would be paid ex-gratia.
Goodwill gesture of BSF in border
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 Villages close to the international border in Punjab are having unique problems. Whenever the Indo-Pak ties are strained, symptoms of unknown fears are writ large on the faces of villagers. Imposition of night curfew in the 500-yard area of the international border is a matter of routine. Participation of border villagers in rural games is negligible. The BSF is the only central agency which guards the international border and interacts daily with the villagers.
In order to address their welfare needs, encourage the talented sportsmen and cultivate better understanding with the border population, the BSF has started a comprehensive border population welfare programme. Under this scheme, the BSF has organised various sports/games at the village level. The response given by the border villagers has been very encouraging. The battalion-level games in various disciplines like kabbadi, wrestling, volleyball, cross-country races, tug-of-war etc are also being organised.
The outstanding players
are given handsome prizes and selected sportsmen are
being prepared to compete at the sector level in
Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepore and Abohar. Even hygiene
and sanitation of the villages had been taken care of.
Appeal centres for depot
CHANDIGARH, Feb 13 The Punjab Government has set up "appeal centres" in Ferozepore, Patiala and Jalandhar districts to hear the grievances of depot holders whose depots have either been cancelled or suspended by the District Food and Supplies Controller due to irregularities and discrepancies.
A government spokesman said today that as per the instructions issued earlier the Director Food and Supplies, was authorised to hear the appeals and the depot holders rushed to Chandigarh.
Pension applications found fake
PATIALA, Feb 13 Nearly 32 per cent of old age pension applications submitted to the government under the policy started by SAD-BJP government have been found fake on verification.
Mr R.L. Kalsia,
Director, Social Security, Women and Child Welfare
Department, stated this to reporters after participating
in a day-long workshop on the Dowry Prohibition Act
organised by the State Women Commission here yesterday.
Drug addicts take to stealing
BATHINDA, Feb 13 Beware of drug addicts while parking your vehicle in this city. A casual approach in this regard may cost you a tyre, music system and even petrol as the drug addicts, most of whom are youngsters have taken to stealing to buy drugs.
Sources say these drug addicts operated in those area where they were fewer chances to get caught. Most of them to well-off families.
The drug addicts target vehicles near marriage palaces as their parkings were unprotected.
Recently, an employee of Insurance Company got a shock when he found one tyre of his scooter missing which he had parked outside a marriage palace.
Few days ago, music systems of seven vehicles were stolen from a hotel parking in about an hour and petrol tanks of several others were found empty.
Rajesh Kumar, a cooler
manufacturer, said he found the music system of his car
missing when he had gone to attend a function at a
marriage hall. He said the police rarely registered such
cases as music systems and extra tyres were not covered
under theft risk by insurance companies.
Gang of highway robbers
BATHINDA, Feb 13 The district police has achieved a breakthrough by arresting four of a sever-member gang of highway robbers operating in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, SSP, while addressing a press conference here today said with their arrest about 12 cases of robbery and dacoity, including six of Bathinda and Mansa districts, had been solved.
He added that preliminary investigations had revealed that the gang was involved in a dacoity near Singhpura village in Haryana on December 25, 1999, looting of a petrol station in Mansa district on January 20, snatching of a bag by firing at Ruldu Ram, a resident of Kalianwali in Haryana on January 19, taking away a jeep and subsequently looting of a petrol station in Mansa district on January 26, injuring Tilak Raj in an attempt to rob him near Dhade village and robbing of a wine shop in the district recently.
Mr Jain pointed out that the remaining three members of the gang were absconding. The arrested persons had been identified as Sukhminder Singh, Kulbeer Singh, Resham Singh and the kingpin Thana Singh.
Four pistols and 23
cartridges were recovered from the accused which were
procured by them from Rajasthan. Earlier they used to
smuggle poppy husk and later shifted to extortion at gun
point. Most of the accused belonged to Haryana.
Kidnapped boy found
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 Karanvir (4), who was kidnapped from his school for ransom 12 days ago, was found by the police yesterday.
The SSP, Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, told newsmen today that the police had arrested two persons, Sonu and Jeewan, in this connection. He said the boy was recovered from the house of one of the kidnappers located in the focal point area. The kidnappers had contacted the family of Karanvir four days ago and demanded a ransom of Rs 10 lakh.
He said Karanvir, was kidnapped from the school on February 1, after the principal received a phone call from a persons who described himself as the father on the child stating he was sending someone to pick up the boy from the school as a death had occurred in the family.
The principal got suspicious when the grandfather of the child came to school to pick him up.
Bhatti didn't instigate
PATIALA, Feb 13 An on-the- spot study done by the Forum for Educational Action and Reform (FEAR) on the reasons behind the agitation by law students of Punjabi University's Regional Centre at Bathinda has contested the claim of the university authorities that Dr S.S. Bhatti, Director of the Centre, had instigated students for a strike.
Dr Amarjit Singh Dhillon, forum president, had visited the centre on February 11. A meeting of the forum held here today studied his report and resolved that the role of the faculty of the centre and the director should be appreciated under the "trying" situations, without proper infrastructure and requisite facilities.
The report said since 1987 the centre is functioning in a private building (a house owned by Mr Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, brother-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister). The university is paying a rent of Rs 1.15 lakh per year from the very face of it to the centre is an apology for any institute of higher learning.
The study report of the forum was based on an interview with students of the Law Department of the centre, and also with some faculty members and non-teaching employees. At present, there are 145 law students and one teacher, Dr Varinder Kaushik. There are no regular classes in the present session.
The students also said the university should secure a permanent recognition from the Bar Council of India instead of the present approval by paying Rs 50,000 every year.
The report said the library of the centre had neither adequate books nor did it open in the evenings. There was also a shortage of staff in the library. There is also no parking for cycles and scooters.
Use of English in
AMRITSAR, Feb 13 Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla (MLA) decried the use of English in the recent 53rd convocation of GND varsity function in a press note here today.
She said she was ashamed
to note that in the recently held convocation the use of
English in lectures and English-type dress with black
coats and hats reminded one of the days of slavery. She
lamented that ministers present at the function also made
use of English making a mockery of their own slogans of
using Hindi or Punjabi in official work.
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