|Sunday, March 19, 2000,
of nerves at Dirba
meeting today to resolve crisis
I will continue to serve SGPC
Mohalla opens today
of TADA detainees sought
Bhalai Party stir from March 23
to shift office opposed
|Left to burn effigies of Clinton
CHANDIGARH, March 18 The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today urged leaders of the CPM and CPI units of Punjab to burn effigies of the US President on March 21 at all district headquarters to protest against the arrogant and aggressive attitude of the USA against Indian interests.
hospital in pathetic state
blood between landlords & landless
Punjabis their due: Tarlochan Singh
kin presented badges
project to supply water to Sheikhupur
not equipped to tackle hijacking
to Bhai Mati Dass
inaugurates livestock show
Dept 'abetted' immigration scam
dowry evil, says M.S. Gill
by railway employees
memorial: dist admn seeks Rs 1 crore
of hi-tech dacoits busted
booked in suicide case
coaches boycott exams
faith has distinct identity
resent govt apathy
to raise 200 cr from market
unit may be shifted
War of nerves at Dirba
Dirba (Sangrur), March 18 The tension created in this township by supporters of Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Administrative Member Baldev Singh Mann over a function organised by the former on March 19 has subsided with the district administration intervening in the matter.
Tempers ran high among supporters of both groups as a result of the tussle for supremacy in the region between Mr Dhindsa and former Union Minister Surjit Singh Barnala.
In the latest round of the war of attrition between the two leaders, Mr Dhindsa seems to have gained the upper hand with the district administration brokering a deal, placity ragis conducting "akhand path" on behalf of the Mann group at the grain market here with those belonging to a nearby gurdwara to enable the start of a kabaddi tournament which began here.
The district administration brokered the truce by getting "ragis" from the nearby Gurdwara Barshiana Sahib to conduct the ceremony. There was apprehension that the Mann group would start a string of programmes at the site as it claimed it had taken the grounds on rent from March 15 to 20 .
The two groups have been indulging in a game of one upmanship. The Malwa Khetri Club headed by Mr Baldev Singh Mann had earlier held a Kabbadi tournament in the grounds here as well as organised a Gurdas Mann nite on March 13 . Then it was the turn of the rival group to start a string of programmes at the same site. An "akhand path" was started at the site on the intervening night of March 14 -15 to offer "thanks " for the success of the earlier programmes.
Cooperative Bank Chairman Gurbachan Singh Bachhi, when contacted, said the Mann group had announced a Gurdas Mann nite only after his group had put up posters for the same. Following this, the other group started an "akhand path" by installing the Granth Sahib at the grounds.
He said four SGPC members , including Mr Joga Singh Phagguwala, Mr Sita Singh, Mr Kaur Singh Maura and Mr Raghbir Singh Khepal, took note of the violation of the "maryada" while starting the "path" by the rival group and decided to hold another one at the site after March 19 to "correct the earlier wrong."
He said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had been apprised of the matter.
The DC, Mr Anirudh Tiwari, said the administration was constantly monitoring the position at Dirba.
The Dhindsa group,
besides organising a Gurdas Mann nite here on March 19,
will honouring the cast of "Shaheed Bhagat
Singh", including Raj Babbar and Preeti Sapru. Mr
Dhindsa will preside over the function. The Mann group
had organised a cultural function presided over by Union
Minister Meneka Gandhi in February. The Gurdas Mann nite
organised by the group on March 13 was attended by former
Union Minister Surjit Singh Barnala.
PAC meeting today to resolve
KANGAR (Bathinda), March 18 Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Minister of Urban Employment and Sports and general secretary of the SAD, said today that the partys Public Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting would be held at Chandigarh tomorrow to resolve the crises in the Sikh Panth over the issuance of hukamnamas by Akal Takht Jathedar and their defiance by certain individuals.
Addressing a press conference here, he said Akal Takht and SGPC were sacred and religious institutions and any dispute between the persons managing the affairs of these should be resolved in the interest of the Sikh Panth.
While expressing worry over the crises in the Sikh Panth, he said the party would sort out the issue shortly.
Mr Dhindsa said the Centre had increased the price of wheat by Rs 30 per quintal for the coming procurement season and the farmers in the state would earn Rs 350 crore more by this. He said the SAD was pressing the Central Government to further increase the wheat price.
Regarding the hike in the prices of fertilisers, Mr Dhindsa said his party had submitted a memorandum to the Union Finance Minister along with other allies of the BJP to withdraw the hike and the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had also met the Union Finance Minister in this regard.
The minister disclosed
that the implementation of the crop insurance scheme in
the state had been delayed as the proposal made in this
regard was not in the interest of farmers and added that
now the new proposals were being made which would be more
Bibi: I will continue to
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 18 Bibi Jagir Kaur will continue to serve the SGPC as she was the duly elected President of the body. She has no intention to challenge Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar Akal Takht. She said this speaking to this correspondent at the gurdwara here today.
She said the SGPC would make all arrangements during Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib.
She paid obeisance at the gurdwara and reviewed arrangements for Hola Mohalla pilgrims at the gurdwara.
BARNALA: The Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, asserted that Sikh intellectuals must rethink over the ongoing crisis in the Panth.
This assertion was made by Mr Mann today while talking to newsmen at the local new Grain Market complex. He had gone there to bless 11 couples whose marriage was solemnised under the aegis of World Common Front here on Saturday.
Mr Mann made it clear that the Akali Dal (Amritsar) would set up a separate stage at Anandpur Sahib during the Hola Mohalla festival. He said the party would not join Sarbat Khalsa to find a solution to current Panthic crisis.
He flayed Bibi Jagir Kaur, for defying the edict issued from Akal Takht.
Mr Mann said he would not like any Akal Takht Jathedar to have links with the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS).
He alleged that the RSS was bent upon harming interests of minorities it was making Sikhs, Christians and Muslims fight among themselves.
PHAGWARA: Jathedar Kabul Singh has pleaded with Bibi Jagir Kaur and Akal Takht Jathedar to exercise restraint.
Talking to The Tribune
reporter here, Jathedar Kabul Singh also urged Sikh
leadership to recognise the supremacy of five high
priests. The heads of five takhts should themselves
hammer out a solution of the present imbroglio, pleaded
Jathedar Kabul Singh.
SGPC scheme for disabled
SAS NAGAR, March 18 The Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee will introduce special schemes for the rehabilitation of the disabled, Mr Ajit Salani, Chairman of the Physically Handicapped Association of Punjab, said here today.
He said an announcement to this effect had been made by the President of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur, at a state-level Punjab Angheen Jagriti Mela and Rehabilitation camp organised by the association in cooperation with the Punjab unit of the Red Cross at Bassi Pathana today.
The function was organised to observe the 41st World Disabled Day. While inviting voluntary organisations to be part of the programme, the SGPC allocated special funds for it.
Mr Salani said the state government had issued erroneous statements regarding welfare work done for the rehabilitation of the disabled. A statewide rehabilitation and awareness campaign for the handicap had been launched by the association.
Hola Mohalla opens today
ANANDPUR SAHIB: The three-day annual Hola Mohalla, an event of great importance in Sikh history, begins with religious fervour on March 19 at the birthplace of the Khalsa here.
The Hola Mohalla was first organised by Guru Gobind Singh in 1701 at the Kila Lohgarh Sahib here. Since then, it is celebrated with enthusiasm here every year. During the three-day festival, lakhs of devotees pay obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib.
Devotees in large numbers arrive in this city of bliss on the eve of the festival to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Patalpuri Sahib at Kiratpur Sahib.
The civil administration and the police have made arrangements this year also for the peaceful conduct of the festival and provide basic amenities to lakhs of pilgrims during the festival.
Mr Shivdular Singh Dhillon, SDM, Anandpur Sahib, who is the mela officer for Hola Mohalla, said besides a main control room in the local Tehsil complex (phone numbers 32036 and 32015), nine more control rooms had also been set up in the mela area. These control rooms would be connected to the main control room by wireless. A gazetted officer would be given charge of each control room, which would also have a medical assistance post. Besides, 17 duty magistrates would perform duties round the clock for the smooth conduct of the fair, he added.
Mr Dhillon told this reporter that in addition to the existing 19 permanent lavatory blocks, as many as 400 temporary toilets, 150 temporary urinals and 150 temporary bathrooms had been set up in the mela area. As many as 200 extra sanitation workers would be hired to ensure cleanliness. Four additional tractor-trailers would lift garbage. About 100 large bins had been placed at different places for collecting garbage, while one dumper had also been pressed into service to lift these bins. Two fogging machines to kill mosquitoes had also been pressed into service.
Piped drinking water supply would be ensured round the clock by installing 400 taps at different spots in the mela area. At least 10 water tankers had also been pressed into service to meet any water shortage during the mela. Fire engine have also been requisitioned from Nangal, Ropar Thermal Plant and SAS Nagar.
The administration has also fully activated more than 1000 street lights in the town. Besides, temporary lighting has also been provided at temporary parkings and toilets. The main gurdwaras would be illuminated for the festival.
Mr Dhillon said at least 10 ambulances and mobile teams would also be available to pilgrims for medical assistance. Teams of veterinary doctors had also been constituted for the mela area. He said divers had also been deputed at the local sarovar and at Kiratpur Sahib to prevent any mishap. Shuttle bus services would be provided to pilgrims between Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib. Parking sites had been set up at Jhinjri village towards Kiratpur Sahib, near the Charan Ganga, Adampur village and the on Nangal road. Adequate stocks of essential commodities and petroleum products had also been arranged.
The central police control room (Phone No 33991) has been set up in the local police post near Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. Mr Gurmeet Singh, SP (Operation), Ropar, has been functioning there as Camp Commandant to maintain law and order during the mela.
Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ropar, said as many as 11 SPs 37 DSPs, 93 Inspectors, 389 SIs and ASIs, 557 Head Constables, 113 traffic constables and 2570 constables had been deployed to maintain law and order and regulate traffic. Anandpur Sahib had been divided into 17 beats to avoid traffic congestion.
Mr Bhullar said the mela area had been divided into nine sectors to tighten security. Traffic and mobile patrolling units would function under the command of an SP who would ensure that there were no traffic jams on Nangal, Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib roads.
The SSP said security personnel would also be deployed at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib to prevent stampedes. To check anti-social activities, three teams had been formed. Spotters had also been called from other districts to identify anti-social elements. Suspicious hideouts would also be checked.
The district magistrate has banned the use of gulal during the mela days. However, Nihangs have been exempted from this ban. The use of crackers has also been banned.
Mr Mohan Bindal, Deputy Secretary of the Punjab Red Cross Society, told TNS that the society would set up 10 first-aid posts. Eight ambulances would be kept on the stand by. About 125 volunteers from Punjab and Delhi would be inducted. Two mobile units would also function in the entire area.
Political conferences by the SAD, SHSAD, SAD(A) and Congress Party would be held on March 20.
Mr Karam Singh, manager
of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, said the SGPC had made
elaborate arrangements for providing langar to lakhs of
pilgrims. All gurdwaras had also been decorated and
illuminated. Members of social and voluntary
organisations would perform duties to regulate crowds in
the Takht Sahib area. More than 10 lakh pilgrims were
expected to participate in the Hola Mohalla. About 100
langars would be organised in the mela area.
List of TADA detainees sought
LUDHIANA, March 18 The Minorities Commission of India has asked all the state governments to submit a list of all TADA detainees belonging to minorities.
The Deputy Chairman of the commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, said this addressing a press conference here today. He said that the commission had been receiving many complaints that though the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act had lapsed. A large number of people were still in jail.
He informed that the commission had also taken up this issue with the Union Home Ministry for discussion.
In answer to a question about the rise in cases of attacks on persons belonging to minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh denied that there was any organised propaganda or a plan against the minorities.
Stray incidents of violence by criminals should not be considered as part of a planned propaganda against a particular community. The criminal generally does not see the religion of a person before striking him, he said.
Mr Tarlochan Singh said that since the aim of the commission was to establish confidence among minorities, the commission has been discussing various preventive measures with heads of religious groups and probing where there was a probe for religious tension and how to nip it in the bud.
He also said that the commission was receiving a large number of individual complaints where people belonging to the minorities were not being given jobs.
Interestingly, he also mentioned that besides the Muslims, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians, the Kashmiri Pandits too have been recognised as a minority by the commission and Mr Vijay Dhar, former Secretary of Industries, Government of India, has been appointed as a representative of the Pandits.
Answering queries about reviewing the list of certain non-resident Sikhs, blacklisted after Operation Bluestar in 1984, he said that this was still in the discussion stage.
Meanwhile, Mr Tarlochan
Singh regretted that in spite of the fact that a large
number of Sikhs had laid down their lives for the sake of
the country, not a single picture of any of the Sikh
martyr adorned the walls of the Central Hall of
Lok Bhalai Party stir from March
AMRITSAR, March 18 The Lok Bhalai Party would launch an agitation from March 23 to press for the implementation of the international airport project at Rajasansi. The president of the party and former Union Welfare Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, told mediapersons that thousands of his party activists would observe a day-long token fast at Rajasansi and take out a march barefooted from Khatkar Kalan memorial of Shaheed Bhagat Singh from March 23 to create awareness about the lies being spread by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal about the project.
Mr Ramoowalia lashed out at the Chief Minister and said he had been spreading misinformation about the Rs 105 crore airport project and a sum of Rs 50 crore, a major chunk of the amount sanctioned for the project, had been diverted for the renovation and expansion of Jammu airport. He regretted that the Centre was not serious about releasing the amount for Amritsar airport.
The Deve Gowada
government had cleared the expansion plan in 1997 and had
earmarked Rs 105 crore from the consolidated fund of
India for the project. Mr Ramoowalia said it was shameful
that the SAD, in spite of being a part of coalition
government, had been not able to exert pressure on the
Prime Minister to okay the project and release the money.
Move to shift office opposed
ABOHAR, March 18 The PPCC General Secretary, Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, today blamed SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal and other Akali leaders for eroding the administrative importance of Abohar subdivision. He said during the past three years, the offices of Executive Engineer, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, and Divisional Engineer, Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, had been shifted from here to Muktsar, the home district of the Chief Minister, without any valid reason.
Now there was a move to shift the, divisional office of the Irrigation Department from here to Muktsar Mr Jakhar, a former minister for Irrigation said Abohar was centrally, located for farmers of the Abohar, Balluana, Fazilka and Lambi Assembly constituencies to come here for work. The division had been created a decade back, he said.
Left to burn effigies of
CHANDIGARH, March 18 The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today urged leaders of the CPM and CPI units of Punjab to burn effigies of the US President on March 21 at all district headquarters to protest against the arrogant and aggressive attitude of the USA against Indian interests.
A press note issued by the party said the US government had relentlessly pressurised successive Indian governments to open up the economy to US multinationals and foreign capital.
The Vajpayee government willy-nilly accepted the internationalisation of the Kashmir issue by accepting a US role in resolving the Kargil conflict.
The party demanded that the USA lift all sanctions imposed on India and stop pressuring India to sign the CTBT and its interference in the Kashmir issue.
Among other demands
raised by the party are lifting of all curbs on the
legitimate flow of skilled Indian personnel and
professionals to that country and immediate cancellation
of counter guarantees to Enron and other MNCs in the
Mental hospital in pathetic state
CHANDIGARH March 18 A report on the Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital, Amritsar, is at present under study by the Punjab Government.
Submitted by a panel of experts, the report presents a pathetic picture of the hospital which caters to patients of three states, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Name any problem and the hospital has it in plenty. Only marginal and ad hoc improvements have been effected from time-to-time thanks to occasioned exposure in the media or a rap from either a court or the Human Rights Commission.
The report notes with concern that compassion is totally lacking and indiscipline rules the roost. Beating of patients is not uncommon. So much so that a mentally-ill woman was raped and the fact discovered only a few days before she delivered a child.
The decay set in over a decade ago. After eulogising Dr Vidya Sagar, who introduced the concept of family involvement, the report makes a telling comment: Administrative apathy, lack of financial resources, combined with poor management have reached a stage that the public is fast losing confidence in the hospital ability to provide basic services to the poor mentally ill, who have been left in its care.
Some patients have been in the hospital for the past 30 to 40 years . There has been no community effort for social rehabilitation of reasonably cured patients. This institution largely serves as a custodial home and dumping ground, says the report.
The sanctioned bed strength of the hospital at present is 811. The number of patients is 400 who make do with 200 dilapidated cots.
The report was presented in the Vidhan Sabha the other day in response to a question by Mr Hardev Arshi.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who visited the hospital in Amritsar on March 12 was appalled by its condition .
The hospital has a campus spread over 86 acres of which nearly 22 acres is lying unutilised. The Chief Minister has asked his Principal Secretary, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, to draw up plans to improve patient-care. The committee has recommended that the vacant 22 acres be handed over to Punjab Urban Planning and Development Agency to provide an income in the form of a consolidated fund for the hospital.
Though the experts committee, comprising of Dr B.K.Sharma, former Director of the PGI, Chandigarh, (Chairman), Dr N.N.Wig, Professor Emeritus, Psychiatry, Dr Sudesh Khanna, Dr S.S. Sidhu (both Directors of Medical Education and Research), Dr Gurdev Singh Preet, Director, Health Services, Punjab was constituted way back in 1998 the report was finally submitted in January, 2000.
The committee wants that the hospital be taken out of the purview of the Director, Health and Family Welfare and have an autonomous governing body. This suggestion conforms to one of the recommendations of the Supreme Court. An alternate solution that has been suggested includes outpatient services at sub-district level and small psychiatric in-patient units at each district hospital.
The committee also wants a one-time grant of Rs 20 crore for the hospital as first aid to meet urgent requirement of drugs and medicines, equipment, chemicals and dietetics services.
The hospital has no proper boundary wall, its campus has been encroached on and anti-socials roamed around female wards. There is staff shortage at all levels so much so that there is no regular medical superintendent or deputy superintendent.
The committee talks of short and long-term measures. For the latter it suggests a budgetary provision of Rs 1 lakh per bed per year. This is the norm being followed at Ranchi and Goa. Taking into account the sanctioned bed strength of 811, a provision of Rs 10 crore is recommended annually. If need be doctors and other staff can be recruited on contract basis from private sector.
Moreover, it stresses involving families and NGO to enable them look after patients and that a visitors committee be constituted for conducting inspection once every three months. There must also be halfway homes or rehabilitation centres in the community in bigger cities where some patients can stay semi-independently but under supervision.
The hospital itself must maintain a proper treatment record and have specialists in medicine, surgery, ophthalmology, gynaecology and obstetrics etc.
The 52-year-old hospital
today cries for attention.A mere report will not do .
Quick implementation and action on the ground alone can
give a sense of belonging and relief to those who
languish there in Gurus
Bad blood between landlords
ASAR MAJRA (Patiala) : Picture this. The landless of this village are working in the nearby town or other villages instead of their own. The landed are relying on migrant labour or workers from other villages.
A somewhat similar position is existing in nearby Inderpura village and some other villages in the area. There is tension between the land owners and the landless with cases pending in police stations and the total social fabric of the village in which the land owners and the landless were once inseparable has been disturbed.
The situation has deteriorated to such an extent that at present landless labourers of Asar Majra have filed a case in court alleging they were being kept as bonded labourers by zamindars. They allege that the initial amount they had taken as advance has spiralled to astronomical figures due to exorbitant rates of interest being charged, which they are unable to pay. Besides, they allege they had been penalised Rs 100 per day for days they did not work. They have stopped working under the zamindars and have pleaded to the court to give them a reprieve.
Talking to TNS, Kesar Singh, a labourer, said he had taken Rs 12,000 as advance from a former village sarpanch, Gurdial Singh, and worked with him for two years. However, after the end of two years the zamindar had debited Rs 35,000 to him which he had refused to pay and had gone to court. Other labourers Karam Singh, Deep Singh and Kamma claim they had taken sums ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 from Lakhwinder Singh of Inderpura village and worked under him for varying periods, but still had more than double the money outstanding in their names, according to the landlords accounts.
All these labourers, including Kulwant Singh, who used to work for a landlord at Ablowal village, are working on daily wages in adjacent villages or in Patiala town. This has given rise to bad blood in the village as landlords do not allow them traditional rights of grazing their cattle or cutting grass and weeds from the edges of fields as well as intersections. Families of the labourers in Asar Majra claimed that their women were even facing problems in defecating as landlords would not let them into their fields.
The landlords have their own tale of woe. Former Asar Majra sarpanch Gurdial Singh said besides giving his former employee Kesar Rs 16,000 as advance he had given him money to build his house as well as dig a water pipe up to his house, besides money for other emergencies. Gurdial Singh said some organisations which purportedly worked for the landless had egged them on to file a case against him and other landlords of this and other villages claiming they were being treated as bonded labourers. He said this was farthest from the truth as giving advance was the practice in the entire area. He said no landlord charged interest on the initial advance but if they took subsequent money and it the landlord took it on interest from the arthiya he passed on the interest to the labourer.
While Gurdial Singh has one case pending against him, Lakhwinder of Inderpura has three cases against him filed by the three labourers he kept for varying periods after giving them advances.
Talking to TNS, Lakhwinder said he had paid advances varying Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000 but the labourers had asked for money which he gave understanding their need. He said the three labourers owed him more than Rs 1 lakh. He justified charging interest on the money saying he had only passed on the 3 per cent interest he was paying to his arthiya which had been agreed to by the labourers while taking the money.
Lakhwinder and his two brothers, who jointly own 20 acres of land, are at present working on their fields themselves. They have also not taken the routine 10 to 12 acres of additional land on lease for want of labour. No more shall I keep anyone of advance, says Lakhwinder adding he would rather work himself and rely on migrant labour or keep someone on daily wages according to his need.
Villagers say besides
some vested interests which were instigating the
labourers, the manner in which the shamlat
land was unjustifiably distributed and even ploughed was
the main reason for the disquiet. They said due to
virtually no common land remaining in many villages, the
landless could not graze their cattle nor bathe them in
the absence of ponds or have any space for defecating or
other joint activity. They said with the landless having
no facility to engage in other activities, they fell into
debt easily and got stuck in it.
Give Punjabis their due:
AMRITSAR, March 18 The vice-chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, today sought due recognition for Sikhs, who had played an important role during the freedom struggle and had made several sacrifices while fighting to defend their motherland. Talking to The Tribune here, he said it was regrettable that for the past 50 years the national leaders had not given due recognition to prominent Sikh freedom fighters, including Master Tara Singh, Shaheed-e-Azan Bhagat Singh, Udham Singh and others.
Mr Tarlochan Singh said the issue of installing a statue of Master Tara Singh in Delhi had been hanging fire for past several years in spite of land bench earmarked for it. He said the Centre must change its mindset and let the Sikhs feel proud of this rich heritage.
He said the Sikhs regretted the fact that various state governments, including those in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, did not allow Punjabis to buy property in those states. He said Punjabi language was also being ignored in the neighbouring states of Punjab like Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.
He urged the states, where Punjabis had been living for several decades, to give proper respect to their language and culture.
vice-chairman, however, said there was no truth in
reports that dominant communal forces were out to curb
the freedom of the minority communities and added that
such an impression created by some media reports was
absolutely baseless and biased. He said Indian society is
Martyrs kin presented
PATIALA, March 18 A solemn ceremony was held here today to honour soldiers who sacrificed their lives during 1947 the wars of 62, 65 and 71 and other counter-insurgency operations in the country.
The next of kin of the deceased soldiers were presented the badges of sacrifice, which are oblong gold-plated medallions with a flaming torch and the words. For your tomorrow, he gave his today inscribed on them. Certificates of honour were also presented by the Commander of the local brigade, Brigadier JM Singh.
The family members were also taken to the unit canteen, medical inspection room and other places in the regiment. A grievance cell was established by the regiment headed by an officer, to make note of their problems and grievances for further interaction with the civil administration and the Zila Sainik Board.
PCMSA asks doctors to be
PATIALA, March 18 On the suggestion of the Punjab Health Minister, Dr Baldev Chawla, made by him at a meeting with the PCMSA, the association today issued an appeal to in-service-doctors to be more vigilant and dedicated to their duties and to serve the ailing humanity with utmost humility and dignity.
Dr D.C. Sharma, General Secretary of the association, in a press note issued here today, said the PCMSA had made it clear to the Health Minister that a small number of doctors remained absent from duty in connivance with the higher-ups in the department and the association had never defended them. He said the Government should take action against those higher-ups if it desired to curb the tendency of absenteeism in the department.
The PCMSA asserted that the service conditions in rural areas were not proper and whatever little compensation was being given to doctors for serving in rural areas, in the form of rural health allowance, had been abolished.
Doctors were the only category amongst Class I officers who actually worked in remote rural areas, where basic amenities of life were not available, it claimed.
The PCMSA General
Secretary said the association was considering filing a
suit in court regarding implementation date for revised
rates of non-practising allowance and implementation of
time scale pattern at 4, 9 and 14 years of service.
MC project to supply water
KAPURTHALA, March 18 Over 20,000 residents of Sheikhupur and its adjoining areas, who had been to consuming water not fit for drinking due to the absence of municipal water supply, have heaved a sigh of relief following the decision of municipal council to install tubewell for the supply of drinking water within the next six months.
This was announced here on Thursday by the Kapurthala Municipal Council president, Mr Ashok Aggarwal. He said the council had received a special grant of Rs 75 lakh from the state government for the project. He said the work on the project was progressing fast and expressed hope that the people of the Sheikhupur area would get the supply of drinking water within next four months.
Sheikhupur village came under the jurisdiction of the local municipal council in 1985 but had been deprived of the basic civic amenities since than.
achievements of the municipal council during the past
one-and-a-half-year, Mr Aggarwal said all main roads in
the city had been repaired and metalled and a sum of Rs
70 lakh had been spent for this purpose. He claimed that
the municipal council had spent over Rs 2.82 crore on the
development of the city during this period.
Rajasansi not equipped
to tackle hijacking
AMRITSAR, March 18 The DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, commenting on the book released on the hijacking of Indian Airlines airbus in December last written by Saurab Shukla, a journalist, said here yesterday that there was no lapse on the part of the security personnel at the Rajasansi airport.
The DGP said all local officials handling the crisis were asked to follow instructions of the crisis management committee at Delhi. They could do little on their own to stop the plane taking off during that fateful evening.
He said the airport here was not fully equipped in handling an emergency like hijacking. He said the mock exercise to demonstrate the skills of various wings of the airport here a mock crash-land was not held for several years while airports throughout the world organised such exercises in a regular basis to test skills of its staff.
Memorial to Bhai Mati Dass
CHANDIGARH, March 18 Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, released a grant of Rs 5 lakh for construction of Bhai Mati Dass Memorial here in the memory of Bhai Mati Dass, a great martyr who laid down his life for the cause of humanity and opposed tyrannical forces.
An official spokesman
further said the Punjab Government had also released a
grant of Rs 5 lakh for the construction of another
memorial in the memory of Giani Zail Singh, former
President of India, at his native village, Sandhwan in
Badal inaugurates livestock
AMRITSAR, March 18 The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today strongly pleaded for the diversification of agriculture from the traditional crops to value-added projects like dairy, poultry and fisheries. Earlier, Mr Badal inaugurated the week-long 50th northern region livestock and poultry show here and said Punjabi farmers must be trained in horticulture and floriculture techniques to supplement their income.
The Chief Minister announced that the government was planning to give more concessions to the dairy industry and may also provide more subsidy for such projects.
Culture Dept 'abetted'
CHANDIGARH, March 18 The Nachdaa Punjab Youth Welfare Club today flayed the role of the Punjab Cultural Affairs Department in sending officials and employees cultural groups abroad.
In a statement Mr Bhupinder Singh Virk, Mr Avtar Singh, Mr Gurcharanjit Singh Raju, Prof Kamaljit Singh and Ms Renu Agia Kaur said 20 artistes sent to Canada in August, 1999 in connection with the August 15 celebrations were reportedly caught in an alleged immigration scam.
They added that out of 20 artistes only five returned to Punjab, while the remaining opted to stay in Canada after expiry of their visas. They further alleged that nearly Rs 1 crore had exchanged hands to smuggle out more than a dozen fake artistes to Canada. This may be the first case in which a Punjab Government department is said to be involved in getting visas for artistes who did not return.
Signatories to the
statement said that they had submitted memoranda to the
Punjab Chief Minister and other officials of the state
demanding an independent enquiry into the scam. However,
nothing has been done so far.
Fight dowry evil, says M.S.
LUDHIANA, March 18 The Chief Election Commissioner, Dr M.S.Gill, exhorted youth to make concerted efforts to do away the evil of dowry.
Dr Gill was delivering the presidential address during the annual convocation of S.D. Government College for Boys here today.
Dr Gill regretted that in spite of a large number of girls receiving higher education, women still continued to be oppressed and regarded as a commodity to be sold in the marriage industry.
Dharna by railway employees
CHANDIGARH, March 18 The unit of the Indian Railway Technical Supervisors Association (IRTSA) based at Rail Coach Factory; Kapurthala, observed a fast and organised a dharna at Kapurthala today.
In a faxed press
statement, the association said the dharna was organised
on a call given by the central executive committee of the
IRTSA to protest against the indifferent attitude of the
railway authorities towards the pending demands of
technical supervisors and engineers in spite of repeated
Martyrs memorial: dist admn seeks
Rs 1 crore
FEROZEPORE, March 18 Much-awaited beautification and landscaping of the Martyrs memorial at Hussainiwala is on the anvil. The district administration has sought for a Rs 1 crore-investment, against the total Rs 3 crore project cost proposed by the state Architecture Department.
Sources revealed that the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, has recommended for only Rs 1 crore investment for beautification and landscaping of the site in view of paucity of funds and low feasibility of a huge project mooted by the state Architecture Department.
As part of the proposal, the administration has agreed upon construction of canopies on the samadhis of national heroes. Besides, landscaping and installation of lights at the site are on the cards.
Department had proposed construction of a lake too. The
proposal was however shot down by the administration.
Since the memorial invites a large number of visitors for
two days of year March 23 and Baisakhi.
Gang of hi-tech dacoits busted
SANGRUR, March 18 The Sangrur police has achieved a major success, smashing an inter-state gang of hi-tech dacoits involved in a series of violent crimes in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.
Stating this here today, Patiala Division Deputy Inspector-General of Police Sanjeev Gupta said nine members of the gang had been nabbed with this a major dacoity at Central Bank of India at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, had been foiled.
The DIG said looted articles, vehicles and cash had been recovered from the suspects. All members of the gang belonged to respectable families and were educated. They used hi-tech modes of communication, including mobile phones. They were methodical. They would often change SIM cards as well as vehicles and registration numbers to avoid detection.
The DIG said during preliminary investigation members of the gang had confessed to snatching of a government Gypsy and a Sumo at gunpoint in two different incidents at Solan in Himachal Pradesh. He said they looted Rs 17,000 from a petrol station on the Sangrur-Patiala highway in December, 1999 and Rs 2.50 lakh from a bank manager at Pinjore.
Mr Sanjeev Gupta said members of the gang drove away an LML scooter parked at Charan Bagh Market, Patiala, three mobile phones from a shop at Sangrur and a Maruti car in Dera Bassi.
The DIG said three
persons of the gang chased the scooter of Mr Krishan
Kumar of Rajpura and took away his bag containing Rs
1,10,000. They looted Rs 2 lakh in Mandi Gobindgarh,
Fatehgarh Sahib, and Rs 3,95 lakh near the Dhuri railway
Woman commits suicide
PATIALA, March 18 A 27-year-old married woman, Babli, allegedly committed suicide at Dadhera village near Bhadson, 28 km from here, last night.
A mother of two, she was
five-months pregnant. Dr O.P. Aggarwal, who conducted the
post-mortem, said the cause of death was asphyxia,
resulting from hanging. The sadar police said no foul
play behind her death had been found yet.
One booked in suicide case
ABOHAR, March 18 Mr Gurjiot Singh Lata, a former office-bearer of the All-India Anti-Corruption Board, has been booked by the local police under Section 306, IPC, for allegedly abetting a school girl to commit suicide.
Police sources said
today that Mr Lata visited the rented house of SAD leader
Asha Bajaj on March 16 when she had gone for shopping.
Her daughters Natisha, a plus-one student of the local
Government Senior Secondary School for Girls and Tanu
were present there, according to Tanus statement
she further said Lata was a frequent visitor and was
interested in marrying Natisha. But Mrs Asha Bajaj
objected to his marrying her daughter. The body was
handedover to the parents after conducting a post-mortem
SAI coaches boycott exams
PATIALA, March 18 In an unprecedented development which has put the NIS authorities in a fix, 10 out of the 11 coaches who had come here to attend a mandatory refresher course held here from February 22 to March 16, boycotted their examinations, besides alleging violation of norms by authorities while conducting the course.
Those who attended the course included 10 coaches of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), while one was of the Services. The course was in badminton and weightlifting.
While the Services coach, Pardeep Gurum, has received his certificate as he had taken the examination, the rest left yesterday. The authorities issued them relieving chits on which abstained from taking examination was written. They had come from areas as far as Tripura, Calcutta and Manipur.
The Director (Administration) of the NIS, Mr G.S. Anand confirmed the incident and said, This is an undisciplined act and suitable action will be taken against them.
The coaches said simultaneous refresher courses were also held at the SAIs eastern centre in Calcutta in archery and judo, but, no examinations had been held there. They said they were in the process of informing the Director General (DG) of SAI regarding the violation of norms and added that the fitness test held here before the medical check-up was also unwarranted. They said such a course was basically held for updating the knowledge of coaches on frequent changes in rules and regulations of games.
A weightlifting coach, Rattan Lal, alleged that at a previous refresher course in 1977 at the NIS here, there had been no medical check-ups, physical fitness tests or examination.
Mr G.S. Bawa, Joint Head (Training), at the NIS here, said the fitness test was only optional yet all the coaches had taken it. A badminton coach, Mansih Bhakta, said, We took the fitness test purely out of the fear of inviting the wrath of the authorities.
Meanwhile, Mr R.S. Randhawa, President of the SAI Coaches Welfare Association, took strong exception to the coaches, being subjected to the fitness test and the exam. He said, During an earlier refresher course, an examination was scheduled to be held, but, no coach appeared for it and all were issued certificates.
In a related incident, a
50-year-old weightlifting coach, P.C. Patnaik, who had
come from Orissa to attend the course, complained of
chest pain and dizziness a couple of days after he took
the fitness test. He was examined by a medical officer of
the NIS and kept in the NIS Health Centre for a few day,
before being discharged. While leaving, he said,
Although the fitness tests were optional, the
authorities should have kept into consideration my
Sikh faith has distinct
PATIALA, March 18 On the second day of the three-day Punjab History Conference being organised by the Department of Punjab Historical Studies at the university campus here, 25 scholars presented their papers today on Challenges and opportunities of the 21st century in writing the history of Punjab.
Prof J.S. Grewal presented a paper on Sikh response to Sikh rule. He said Bhai Gurdas has provided justification for Sikh rule, but not as an end in itself. Sikh rule is sanctioned by the freedom of belief and dispensation of justice, he explained, adding that Sikh faith and the Khalsa Panth had an identity distinct from the Muslims and Hindus.
Prof Indu Banga of Panjab University, Chandigarh, read a paper on Urban social structure in Punjab under the colonial rule. She said maximum structural and attitudinal changes were evident in the case of the urban middle classes. New urban amenities and opportunities weakened traditional relations of dependence between the classes as well as with the service performing castes.
Dr S.K. Pachauri, IAS, observed that the secular traditions of Punjabi society should not be allowed to suffer. Ms Shasha, a research scholar at Panjab University, Chandigarh, read her paper on The people and the plague in colonial Punjab, 1897-1918 brought forth that in situation.
Ms Seema Uppal of the same university read her paper on Gender perspectives in the writings of Lala Lajpat Rai. She said Lala Lajpat Rai wanted women to be enlightened but dependent, to be given dignity, not freedom.
Ms Kuldip Kaur Grewal presented a paper on Administration of Nabha under Maharaja Hira Singh. Mr Shyamala Bhatia from Delhi read a paper on Christian missionary activity reaction and response in 19th century Punjab. She said the rise of the Arya Samaj, Ahmadiyas and the Singh Sabha was in response to the inroads made by Christianity.
Others who presented
their papers were Dr Rajpal Singh of MLN College,
Yamunanagar and Dr S.D. Gulati of Delhi University. Dr
Param Bakhshish Singh, Director of the conference, said
the valedictory function would be held tomorrow at the
Teachers resent govt apathy
ABOHAR, March 18 Teachers of private and government-aided primary schools have expressed resentment over the stepmotherly treatment given to Ferozepore district by the state government.
In a memorandum sent to
the Punjab Chief Minister today the teachers stated that
the grant-in-aid, in lieu of the 95 per cent
contribution, had been released to all other districts
but claims submitted by private schools of Ferozepore
district had not been cleared at the DPI (P) office,
Chandigarh, since the past two months.
Punjab to raise 200 cr from market
CHANDIGARH, March 18 The Punjab Government has decided to raise Rs 200 crore in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India through a public loan to be floated on March 22.
Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the Finance Department, said the loan instrument bearing an interest of 11 per cent would be called Punjab Loan, 2010. Applications and subscription for the loan would be received on March 22. Interest would be payable half yearly, on September 22 and March 22, each year and be subject to tax under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The spokesman further
said the proceeds of the loan would be utilised to
finance a part of the capital expenditure on the state
Five-Year Plan and other development schemes under
execution. The loan would be repaid at par on March 21,
Polluting unit may be shifted
JALANDHAR, March 18 Acting on a complaint of residents of the Bagh Baharian locality against an industrial unit causing noise pollution in the area, the regional office of the Punjab Pollution Control Board has asked the local Municipal Corporation to see the possibility of removal of the unit from the area.
In a letter to the MC, the baord authorities have observed that the factory engaged in manufacturing shutters, doors and window frames was causing noise problem due to use of electrically operated binder, cutter and other gadgets.
A number of residents, including Mr Baldev Singh Nagi, convener of the factory hataao muhim, had complained to the Deputy Commissioner, who had directed the board to conduct an inquiry, as a result of which a representative of the board visited the area and observed that in addition to the noise pollution created by heavy machinery, loading and unloading of material was creating nuisance for the residents, who have complained that the noise pollution had been harming the studies of students.
Seminar on power sector reforms
JALANDHAR, March 18 (PTI) More than 500 foreign delegates from France, Egypt, Russia and other countries will participate in a seminar on power sector reforms and its impacts being organised by the Electricity Employees Federation of India in Chandigarh next month.
The seminar will be held as part of the three-day fourth national conference of the DFFI beginning on April 7, Mr H.S. Minhas, secretary of the EFFI, said here today.
The EFFI, an umbrella organisation of various employees fora of state electricity boards, will also hold a public rally and a delegates session on the outlines of the conference.
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