|Sunday, March 5, 2000,
farm outlay unutilised
67 lakh recovered from traffic violators
govt lock horns over land
planted under rear seat
Singh warns Sikh leadership
Budget hike: border farmers tense
oppose Power Bill
|A modernist Punjabi writer
LUDHIANA: For Prof. Niranjan Singh Tasneem, who learnt to write Punjabi at the age of 35, winning the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award for his Punjabi novel, Gawache Arth, is actually a feat of the human spirit striving to excel through hard work and grit.
plea to Punjab Govt
stay in J&K extended
visit milk plant
to deliver Mittal oration
opposes move on architects
suspects held in murder case
politics in Punjabi University
on Sikhism at Punjabi University
teachers resume duty
Budget farm outlay unutilised
CHANDIGARH, March 4 Lack of political will and bureaucratic delay has cast an ugly shadow over the sanctity of the Union Budget. Agriculture and Rural Development sectors have suffered heavily and the amount provided in the Union Budget last year has not been utilised. This was either to save because of the large budgetary deficit or sheer apathy, a senior Punjab Government officer here said. He counted his several meetings in Delhi and the negative approach of the political bosses.
In the Budget for the year that ends this month, the Union Government had earmarked Rs 3,735.63 crore for agriculture and allied services. But only 3,016.69 crore could be utilised. A shortfall of about Rs 709 crore. Crop husbandry and soil water conservation suffered the most. There was a provision of Rs 573.50 crore for agriculture research and education, but only Rs 504 crore was made available to this vital sector. Universities all across the country cried hoarse. In the cooperation sector, the government could provide Rs 225 crore against Rs 336 crore planned for 1999-2000.
Look, first the agriculture and allied sectors have been given a stepmotherly treatment and on top of it the amount provided in the budget has not been made available, the officer commented.
In case of rural development there was also a shortfall down from Rs 5,408 crore to Rs 5,175 crore.This is another neglected sector for which there is otherwise lot of lip sympathy in Delhis ruling circles. A major shortfall occurred in the case of special programmes for rural development of over Rs 276 crore.
Agriculture and rural development experts are concerned over this kind of lapse. What kind of sanctity is there for the Budget provisions about which all kinds of claims are being made.
What is the total share of the agriculture and allied sectors in the plan for 2000-01? Budgetary support is pegged at Rs 51, 275 crore. The Central plan outlay is Rs 1,17,333.78 crore. Out of this, the all-important core sectors will have a share of Rs 3,622 crore and rural development Rs 5,388 crore.
The plan document claims that the strategy for increasing production of agricultural commodities focuses greater attention on providing incentives to farmers through various development programmes. Allocation has also been made mainly for oilseeds and pulses programmes, crop oriented programmes, plant protection, education and training, rainfed farming, seeds & fertilisers, agricultural marketing, agriculture economics and statistics crop insurance and horticulture activities, including storage facilities.
A new scheme has also
been initiated Supplementation/Complementation of
States efforts through work plans (Macro
Management) by combining 28 ongoing schemes. It envisages
provision of freedom/flexibility to the state government
in implementation on various centrally sponsored schemes
on MoU basis. But the outlay for the programmes under
crop husbandry is just Rs 1710.93 crore. How much really
will be available is anyones guess.
Rs 67 lakh recovered from
DERA BASSI, March 4 The district transport authorities have collected over Rs 67 lakh in fines from traffic rule violators in eight months, in the wake of the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.
Besides, Rs 38,21,801 have been collected from 355 vehicles which were being plied without permit. This amount has been collected by the department under the amnesty scheme put in force by the Punjab Government from June 25 to September 24 and then from December 1 to January 31, said Mr Avtar Chand Sharma, District Transport Officer, while talking to mediapersons here today.
In addition, Rs 38,21,801 has been recovered from 104 vehicles which took the benefit of the scheme. Under this scheme 35 school buses, 17 mini buses, 24 autorickshaws, 12 taxis and 16 trucks were issued permits.
The department has also collected Rs 8,13,750 from illegally operated buses in the district since January, 2000. Under Section 192-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 15 cases of buses being plied illegally have been sent to court, said Mr J.S. Brar, Assistant Transport Officer.
During the drive, the authorities today challaned 14 vehicles, including eight Sumos, three Maruti vans and one Ambassador car. Two trucks were impounded at Dera Bassi.
These vehicles violated traffic rules such as using pressure horns, black films, red lights on top, operating without permit, driving without licence, and failure in paying road tax etc. They were challaned following the High Courts guidelines.
The DTO has appealed all unions and the taxi operators to come forward and pay road tax and other levies so that they do not suffer heavy penalties. This will also make things convenient for their passengers, he said.
The officers are fining from Rs 4000 to Rs 10,000 per vehicle and the travellers often do not have such heavy amounts with them. Moreover, they are not letting the vehicles go even after the penalties have been paid, said Mr Ajay Kumar, who was on his way from Delhi to Chintpurni in Himachal Pradesh.
We have been
stuck here for the last one hour without any reason. They
can impound the vehicles but should provide us with
alternative means to reach our destinations in time
, said a woman passenger. Children and women
had a tough time throughout the day.
NFL, govt lock horns over
NANGAL, March 4 The Punjab Government has acquired 306 acres declared surplus by National Fertilisers (NFL), Naya Nangal, in 1986 and placed at the disposal of the state for returning it to the original owners.
However, the NFL authorities have decided to revoke its decision on the land transfer.
The NFL authorities here say the Punjab Government has forcibly taken possession of the land in spite of the fact that the Joint Secretary, NFL, wrote to the Chief Secretary on April 12, 1999, against the transfer.
The row over the 306 acres of surplus land of the NFL is a decade old. The NFL unit in Naya Nangal was established here in 1955. The state government on behalf of NFL had acquired 3600 acres from 17 villages. However, the entire land was not used at that time. The 306 acres of land belonging to Basdehra, Rampur Sani, Mehatpur, Kalsera and Bhabore Sahib villages remained with the original owners.
The NFL authorities say the Punjab Government was not able to return the land to the original owners for years. Now the situation has changed and NFL needs the land for new projects.
The NFL authorities say they need the land to mortgage it to the ICICI Bank to secure a loan for a Rs 137-crore plant renovation project.
Local politician, including Mr Parminder Sharma, President, BJP (Rural), and Mr Chander Kumar Bajaj, also of the BJP, have threatened to start an agitation if NFL tries to stall the transfer of the land to the original owners.
Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Civil Supplies Minister, who has been espousing the cause of villagers, has stated that NFL has no locus standi to demand the land back.
Explosive planted under rear seat
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 4 (PTI) The police today said the explosive device that ripped apart a Jammu-Delhi bus yesterday killing nine passengers was planted under the rear seat and not in the luggage box even as the conductor was brought here for interrogation.
The explosive device was planted in a blue plastic bag under the rear seat, the police said, adding that the initial impression that the bomb might have been planted in the luggage box in the rear had now changed with more information about the blast.
The police has brought Ashok Kumar, the conductor of the ill-fated bus who had fled the site along with the driver after the blast, for interrogation here.
Meanwhile, injured passengers have contested a Punjab Police claim of having conducted a thorough checking of the bus at the states border with Jammu and Kashmir at Modhopur.
No checking of individual passengers was conducted by the Punjab Police at the border at Modhopur, one passenger told PTI here.
Two bodies of blast victims still lying unclaimed will be shifted to Patiala tomorrow for embalming to protect them from decaying.
Security lapse responsible for
PATIALA, March 4 Patiala Lok Sabha member, Ms Parneet Kaur, today said yesterdays bomb blast in a bus at Fatehgarh Sahib had occurred due to negligence of duty by security personnel of Punjab.
In a statement here, Ms Parneet Kaur said if security personnel had done their duty, the bomb device could have been detected when the ill-fated bus entered Punjab from Jammu. She said it had become clear that the bus had not been thoroughly checked on the way, adding that an inquiry should be conducted to ascertain the security lapse and affix responsibility.
Puran Singh warns Sikh
AMRITSAR, March 4 Akal Takhat Jathedar Giani Puran Singh has indicated he will initiate action against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, his ministerial colleagues, MLAs and SGPC members who had shared dais with Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, during the SAD session yesterday.
In a press note issued on the letterhead of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh today warned that by allowing Bibi Jagir Kaur to participate in functions at Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur and Amritsar, the maryada (tradition of Akal Takht had been harmed. Hence, a warning is issued to leaders of the Sikh Panth that they should not allow Bibi Jagir Kaur at any Panthic gathering or religious function, he stated.
Some notorious persons are making every effort to endanger the existence of the Sikh community, he alleged.
Though Giani Puran Singh did not mention names, it is clear Mr Badal, his ministers, MLAs and SGPC members who shared stage with Bibi Jagir Kaur are the targets.
Giani Puran Singh stands
isolated in the wake of the virtual rejection of the
hukamnama by the SAD, SGPC members and the
Sikh leadership with the participation of Bibi Jagir Kaur
at the delegates session yesterday.
Defence Budget hike: border
HUSSAINIWALA (Ferozepore), March 4 With Pakistan criticising hike in Indias Defence Budget, farmers living close to the international border fear an escalation in tension between the two countries.
A survey of some villages close to the border revealed that farmers had strong reservations against Indias 28.2 per cent rise in the Defence Budget. With memories of devastation of 1965 and 1971 wars still fresh in minds, these farmers apprehend that Pakistan will react to the situation arising out of the hike in the Defence Budget of India.
Although most farmers
were ignorant about the hike in the Budget, but on being
briefed by the Tribune they reacted strongly to The
decision and felt it could spark off tension along the
sensitive Indo-Pakistan border. The fact that the
Pakistans Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr Tariq
Altaf, has cautioned against increased military tension
between New Delhi and Islamabad has made them more
Engineers oppose Power Bill
LUDHIANA, March 4 The PSEB Engineers Association has said the Electricity Bill 2000, to be tabled in Parliament soon will be a direct attack on the federal structure of India and be a retrograde step in respect of the Centre-state relations.
In a press statement, the association has alleged that though electricity is covered in the concurrent list in the Constitution of India, the Government of India, through the introduction of this Bill, intends to deprive the states from exercising autonomy regarding infrastructure of power industry that built over the past 50 years.
The association said the Bill suggested the setting up of a union regulatory commission for electricity to regulate operation, transmission and determine power tariff and the setting up of the state regulatory commission for electricity would regulate operation of the electricity system in the state, intra state transmission of electricity etc.
Mr M.S. Bajwa, president of the association, said that the Bill had not spelled out the relation of the state electricity boards with these proposed commissions and alleged that it was an attempt by the Government of India to capture the power sector through the back door and dictate terms to the state governments to safeguard the interests of the World Bank.
He said that the Bill had not even sought to provide how to make the organisation in public sectors economically viable and how to deal with power theft stringently. The association is of the opinion that there was no need to privatise generation and transmission sectors under the control of the state electricity board as it could compare with the best standards in the world.
The association has also
welcomed the statement of the state Power Minister, Mr
Sikandar Singh Maluka, that Punjab will not go in for
privatisation immediately as a step taken in haste in
this regard will prove counter-productive.
A modernist Punjabi writer
LUDHIANA: For Prof. Niranjan Singh Tasneem, who learnt to write Punjabi at the age of 35, winning the prestigious Sahitya Academy Award for his Punjabi novel, Gawache Arth, is actually a feat of the human spirit striving to excel through hard work and grit.
Born in 1929 at Amritsar, Tasneem did his post-graduation in English and later taught under-graduate and post-graduate classes in the subject, for more than three decades in the various government colleges in the state. During the time that I was a student, students were either taught in Urdu or English. As a result, I was well-versed in both languages, but only knew how to speak Punjabi. In fact, the first two of my novels, Sogwar and Mona Lisa, were written in Urdu, but later in 1965 I shifted to writing in Punjabi with a vengeance, he informs.
The writer recalls how he learnt the Punjabi language from his wife, Jatinder Kaur. Right from teaching me the alphabet to correcting my scripts till date, my wife has played a pivotal role in my success, he says.
The award was conferred on him for the year 1999, by the President of the Sahitya Academy, Mr Ramakanta Rath, at Kamani Auditorium, Delhi, on February 22, along with 22 other literateurs. Says Tasneem, Though the award has come not-a-day-too-soon, yet it is, at last, a recognition for the new modes of expression in Punjabi fiction.
Gawache Arth is an autobiographical novel centred around the happenings of 1947 and 1984 and comparing them from critical and aesthetic angles. In fact, it is a sequel to his earlier published book, Jadon Sawer Hoyi, which dealt with the happenings of Partition. In Gawache Arth, the protagonist of the earlier novel, has grown up and compares the event of communal divide during these two years.
Tasneem has had a fresh approach to fiction writing and a strong aversion to the traditional modes of expression, where a strong storyline is given much more importance and writers project their story in the light of the existing socio-political conflicts. However, the characters in Tasneems works have always suffered from existence dichotomy, thus carrying the readers with them. He has a thematic approach and the irony conveyed in his writings has touched the inner-most recesses of the reader.
During my earlier novels, the strong influence of Western writers like Virginia Woolf and James Joyce is very much there. In the first six of my novels, I tried to create a stream of consciousness of characters. I was more concerned with the interior monologue and wanted to give a peep in to the mind of my characters. But in the course of time, I realised that this did not go very well with the readers, he says. It was then, that Tasneems writings also combined a stronger narrative to his modernist style.
Till date, the author has published 10 novels, three works of literary criticism in Punjabi, two novels in Urdu and four books of literary criticism in English. Besides, two of his novels were translated into English and three into Hindi. He has won several awards, including Dhaliwal Award by Punjab Sahit Academy, Ludhiana, Sarvottam Punjabi Galpkar by Sahit Sansthan, Ludhiana and Shiromani Sahitkar State Award by the Government of Punjab.
Talking about the present scenario in the Punjabi literature, Tasneem minces no words when he says it has reached a stage of stagnation. Punjabi fiction writers are mostly concerned with the storyline and their digression. Their characters, most often, intervene with the readers and try to influence their line of thinking. It is high time that they begin to grow out of this stereotype, he says.
Bittas plea to Punjab
AMRITSAR, March 4 Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, President Anti-Terrorist Front has urged the Punjab Government to ban the holding of functions in connection with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.
Talking to this correspondent here today, Mr Bitta said some forces were planning to revive terrorism by organising functions to glorify Sant Bhindranwale. Taking strong exception to the celebration of the birth anniversary of Sant Bhindranwale at Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Bitta said Sant Bhindranwale was responsible for the 35000 innocent killings in Punjab in the past.
Mr Bitta urged the
Centre to give entire management of the Jallianwala Bagh
to the Punjab Governor, Mr JFR Jacob. He said Mr Jacob
was hero of the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and he knew the
value of sacrifices. He said Mr Jacob had done a
commendable job by showing immense interest in the
history of Punjab and its freedom fighters. He was the
first person who reached the blast site at Fatehgarh
Sahib yesterday. Mr Bitta alleged that the Rs 3 crore
which he had got sanctioned from the then Prime Minister,
Mr Narasimha Rao about six years ago for the facelift of
the Jallianwala Bagh memorial was still lying unutilised.
He urged Mr Jacob to use his good offices to get the
Jagat's stay in J&K extended
CHANDIGARH, March 4 Punjab cadre Indian Police Service officer, Mr Gurbachan Jagat will stay as police chief of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir for another year.
Mr Jagat, who was
awarded Padam Shri for his meritorious work in Punjab,
was sent to Jammu and Kashmir for two years in January,
1997. Later his period of stay was extended. Now the
Jammu and Kashmir Government in consultation with the
Union Home Ministry has extended this period till
Students visit milk plant
PATIALA, March 4 Under a student induction programme started by Milkfed, around 100 students of St. Peter Academy visited the Milkfed milk plant here.
The students were shown
such processes as milk procurement, reception, processing
and Pasteurisation, testing, storage, hygienic pouch
packing, cold storage and its marketing. They enjoyed
Kajju pinni and flavoured milk served as refreshments
were also given attractive caps, key rings and pens.
Vittal to deliver Mittal
LUDHIANA, March 4 The Nehru Sidhaant Kendra and Dayanand Medical College and Hospital will organise the third Sat Paul Mittal Oration on March 6, in Dumra Auditorium of the DMC and H to commemorate the memory of one of its founder members, parliamentarian and winner of United Nations Peace Medal (1987), Mr Sat Paul Mittal.
The oration will be
delivered by Mr N. Vittal, Central Vigilance
Commissioner, and the topic will be, How India can
make it in the 21st century. He will be awarded a
cash award of Rs 50,000 and a scroll of honour for
presenting the oration.
MC opposes move on architects
AMRITSAR, March 4 The Municipal Corporation here has serious reservations on the proposal mooted by the state government, giving more teeth to the architects registered with the Council of Architects (an all-India body).
The proposed powers to architects include authority to approve house building plans in the first instance. The architects will also check encroachments to ensure that the plan conforms to the bylaws and schedule of clauses of the scheme concerned.
The architect will also be responsible for depositing the building application tax, development charges, malba fee and a set of plans to be approved before according sanction.
In a letter expressing his reservations regarding on the said proposal, Mr S.S. Rajput Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, has said granting such permission to registered architects would create a communication gap between the Municipal Town Planning Department and the authorised architect.
The gap would be due to the need for regular updating of changes in the building bylaws, amendments, about court cases, regarding ownership rights, family divisions etc.
He said many problems
like unauthorised construction encroachments might feel
encouraged. Also lack of legal provisions to take action
against defaulting architects who failed to deposit
charges related to building plans would cause problems,
2 suspects held in murder case
LUDHIANA, March 4 Two suspects in the murder of a Nepali Jai Dutt, whose body was found at Preetamnagar here on February 28, have been arrested.
A case under Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the IPC had been registered in this regard at Haibowal Kalan police station.
PHAGWARA, March 4 Homoeopath K.K. Gupta, who had been evading the police for past many months was arrested yesterday under Sections 304-A420, IPC, and 15 of the Indian medical Council Act for fraud, killing by negligence and violating the code of conduct. He was sent to judicial lock-up till March 16 it was learnt today.
Mr Avtar Singh of the Industrial Area here had lodged a complaint against the homoeopath on November 10 last year alleging that the doctor had received a large amount, from him for the treatment of cancer of his wife Balwant Kaur who died a few days after the treatment.
However even after the
registration of a case the homeopath kept moving about
with impunity. The aggrieved party moved the Punjab State
Human Rights Commission. The police yesterday nabbed the
Factional politics in Punjabi
PATIALA, March 4 Factional politics in Punjabi University has resulted in objections being raised on the continuous occupation of the residence-cum-office of the Registrar by Dr Ranbir Singh Sarao, who retired on February 24.
The Secretary of the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), Dr Hari Singh Boparai, has called the stay illegal and has urged the Vice-Chancellor to get the official accommodation vacated immediately.
In a representation to the Vice-Chancellor, he said the Registrars residence-cum-office was an earmarked house and could not be occupied by any other person.
Dr Boparai also alleged that the former Registrar was involved in a criminal case and was on bail. He alleged that during the tenure of the former Vice-Chancellor, Dr J.S. Puar, Dr Sarao had been misusing his authority and flouting rules and regulations of the university. He further alleged that Dr Sarao had also been playing factional politics with teachers.
By using his personal influence, Dr Sarao might tamper with files concerning corruption cases and that his presence on the campus was likely to increase his influence in this direction, he apprehended.
Dr Sarao said according to the university rules, official accommodation could be retained for two months after retirement. He said a former Registrar, Mr Tirath Singh, had also overstayed for 23 days, besides others.
He said he had brought the issue to the notice of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, and informed him that he would be overstaying till March 31.
The former Registrar said the issue was not of his overstaying but that of being offered some other employment by the university. He said the University Syndicate had lauded his services and had recommended that these be further utilised in an appropriate manner. He said a committee, comprising the Vice-Chancellor and the Education Secretary, Mr G.P.S. Sahi, had been constituted for the purpose.
It was due to this that a faction of the PUTA leadership was making his overstay in official accommodation an issue, said Dr Sarao. He said though he would not leave the accommodation under duress, he had no intention to overstay by even a day more than allowed under university rules.
Dr Sarao also said he
would have vacated his official accommodation the day he
retired had he not been given an impression that he might
be reappointed as Registrar or at some other post. When
asked whether the two-member committee constituted by the
Syndicate had offered him any post, he said it had not
happened till now. He said he had left the matter to the
discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.
Seminars on Sikhism at Punjabi
ANANDPUR SAHIB, March 4 To commemorate the Khalsa tercentenary, Punjabi University, Patiala, has drawn up a plan to organise international, national and university-level seminars and conference before the concluding ceremonies of the tercentenary.
Stating this here today, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said a two-day international seminar on the topic Sikhism and the 21st centurys society and civilisation would begin at Delhi on April 8. It would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will preside over it.
He said 500 delegates would participate in the seminar. As many as 11 books published by the university related to Sikhism and culture would also be released.
The Vice-Chancellor informed that another international seminar on Sikhism a religion for the third millennium, would be organised at the university campus from March 27 to March 29.
He said as a part of the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations, the university would organise the Punjab history congress on March 17, 18 and 19 next at campus. The topic of this congress would be Problems of historiography of Punjab.
The Vice-Chancellor said
the Department of the Geography of the university would
organise a seminar at Patiala on March 14 and March 15 to
highlight geographical factors in different religions,
especially the Sikhism.
Medical teachers resume duty
MOGA, March 4 (UNI) The medical teachers and dental teachers today attended to OPD duties but decided to continue the boycott of the teaching work till the state government released the arrears.
This was announced this morning by Dr H.P.S. Sandhu, President and Dr Jai Lal, Secretary, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College Hospital Medical and Dental Teacher Association respectively after a meeting of the association was held late last night.
The OPD was started following the assurance given by the State Minister for Medical Health Mr Manoranjan Kalia, to the deputation of the association which met him at Chandigarh.
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