|Monday, April 3, 2000,
Discussion on Anandgarh tomorrow
cr corpus for roads, bridges
Assembly seats: Rajputs
FCI officials suspended
Singh Mann SAD chief in Australia
neo-imperialist forces: Left
delegation not allowed to enter India
Patiala turban fading into
cr earmarked for farmers, Dalits
facilities at Raja Sansi assured
for probe into killings
turns to clay
discrimination against librarians
lowering of guard by them
drive to eradicate TB
Balkar Singh cremated
resent govt apathy
point traders meet Kairon
Discussion on Anandgarh tomorrow
CHANDIGARH, April 2 The arguments for and against the establishment of a new modern city-Anandgarh strong and convincing.
The setting up of the city was announced by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at Anandpur Sahib on April 13, 1999, the day the official functions marking the tercentenary celebrations of the founding of the Khalsa concluded.
Ever since the echo of Anandgarh continues resonate to in the corridors of power in Chandigarh. The voice of the people living in 30-odd villages and who are the affected party will now be heard inside the Punjab Vidhan Sabha on April 4, the last day of the Budget session.
A discussion on setting up of the new city is scheduled for the afternoon sitting. Both the government and several members of the Opposition, notably, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, have moved a motion under Rule 77.
The very fact that the Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, finally agreed to the persistent demand of the Opposition for a discussion in the House on the issue is a sort of victory for the people involved. The official sources say the population to be affected in the villages, whose land is to be acquired, is around 60,000, the opposition puts this figure close to one lakh .
The government has failed to present its case in a cogent and convincing manner to the people or the political parties, which are agitated. Ostrich-like stance of the Government, howsoever correct and justified, has only added fuel to the passions. The government has finally agreed to hold a discussion in the House. The affected people have formed a nine-member joint action committee, for scrapping the project.
The main plank of the government, it is learnt, is that besides being a symbol of tercentenary celebrations, the proposed city has socio-economic aspects as well which are more important than political considerations.For April 4 discussion,the government case is being built around economic aspects. The project will accrue benefits to people who nestle in the backward Kandi region in the foothills of the Shivaliks.
The government is at pains to explain that abadis: will not be effected. People will not be uprooted. The resettlement and rehabilitation, wherever necessary, has an attractive package. The promise held out is simple enough : employment opportunities, in terms of training and monetary benefits. Even compensation for land to be acquired is to be made at market rate and in addition with 30 per cent solatium in advance before the possession is taken over by the Government. Even the notifications for acquisition under Section 4 leaves out the abadis, say official sources.
The city itself is to be planned on 15,000 acres and an equal acreage is for a nature reserve park to ensure preservation of ecology and take care of pollution. Justification for acquiring particular tracts is also given by quoting facts like lack of irrigation, which is possible either through deep tubewells or check dams.Even mechanisation is primitive. Given the topography and soil structure and texture the number of tractors per 1,000 hectares is just 29 compared to 56 elsewhere in the State.
Dairy will get further impetus since this is the mainstay of the people, besides the villages being inhabited by low-salaried government employees. Demolitions of villages is ruled out so is, perhaps, their relocation. Some politicians, bureaucrats and others have purchased large chunks of land in the area the overall percentage of such people and acreage may be a drop in the 30,000 acre township.
Does the town violate the Chandigarh periphery Act or Citys Master Plan ? These two have already been violated with impunity by the governments of Punjab and Haryana and even the Chandigarh Administration itself. How else does one justify coming up of Chandi Mandir , Panchkula, Manimajra and SAS Nagar (Mohali) ?
Whatever the government may say Anandgarh will be self-sustaining and not a drain on Chandigarh and there may be reversal of migration trend (people moving to Anandgarh from Chandigarh) the fact remains that in some measure the project will contribute to economic development of Punjab.
There were embarrassing moments for the Treasury benches in general and the Chief Minister in particular in the House when the Opposition members, like Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Mr Ravi Inder Singh, fished out June 29, 1995 written statement of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. In which he as the President of Shiromani Akali Dal, had openly opposed and criticised the concept of New Chandigarh, proposed by the late Mr Beant Singh.The SAD leaders, including Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, had even participated in Pind Bachao committees demonstration in Chandigarh assuring the people that that if Akalis came to power the project will be scrapped.
One of the arguments given then in opposing the project by Mr Badal was that it will tantamount to losing claim on Chandigarh and will involve uprooting of nearly one lakh people. He had even accused the Congress of trying to weaken Punjabs claim on Chandigarh forgetting that in early 1970s he had himself favoured a New ChandigarhNorth-East of Chandigarh.He described the loss to be suffered by the people in 1995 as irreparable.The Akalis had gone to the extent of extending legal and other support to oppose New Chandigarh.
On this particular issue, the Opposition will grill Mr Badal and the government on April 4. It remains to be seen what defence the government takes on this aspect of the controversy.
Mr Ravi Inder Singh represents the villages being included in the new city. He is very vociferous in his pleas.On the other hand, Mr Hardev Arshi argues that why government was shy of taking Opposition into confidence and sorting out the contentious issues. In fact wherever a new city comes hardships will surface. But looking at the crumbling of existing infrastructural and basic facilities in Chandigarh and elsewhere, need for expanding the urban area does arise. Hence the proposed city.
How the House ultimately
resolves the issue is anybodys guess.The final
outcome will depend much on the political will and the
manner the project is executed.The last word on Anandgarh
is not in sight, not yet.
1737 cr corpus for roads,
LUDHIANA, April 2 The state government has set up a Rs 1737 crore corpus fund for the strengthening of the infrastructure of roads and bridges.
This was announced by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal here today while addressing a function after inaugurating a flyover near the bus stand built at the cost of Rs 13 crore and Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan built at the cost of Rs 9 crore.
The Chief Minister said the fund would be used for the four laning of the Chandigarh-Moga highway, the Chandigarh-Ropar-Nawanshahr-Phagwara road, the Chandigarh-Patiala highway and constructing of overbridges over Nawanshahr-Rahon-Khanna and from Sidhwan Bet to Jalandhar. He said most of these projects would be completed before June 2000.
Mr Badal announced that bus stands at Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar would be remodelled according to international specifications and the process for the execution of these had already begun and would be completed within the next one-and-a-half year.
The Chief Minister said he would be meeting the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on April 14 to impress upon him the need to expedite the completion of various projects like the oil refinery at Bathinda, railway link between Chandigarh and Ludhiana and on international airport at Amritsar.
Exhorting the industrial community of Ludhiana to set up an institute of information and technology, the Chief Minister said the Punjab Government had already made a headway in this vital field to combat various challenges of the 21st century. He said an earth station and an institute of information and technology was being set up at Mohali and various other projects connected with this technology were in the pipeline.
The Chief Minister announced that two more flyover bridges, one at Dhuri Railway Line and the other at Industrial Focal Point would be constructed shortly to ease traffic congestion in Ludhiana. He said the work on the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib had been undertaken on a war footing.
Appreciating the district administration and philanthropists for completing the major project of Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan Mr Badal said the project would go a long way in promoting cultural and aesthetic life of the city. He emphasised that such bavans should be constructed at all district headquarters with the active participation of cultural organisations and the common people.
The Chief Minister honoured all those who contributed towards the completion of the project. Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, Technical Education Minister, Mr Arun Goel, Deputy Commissioner and Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Minister of State for Public Works Department.
Later, he addressed a function to mark the martyrdom of Sikhs during the battle of Baddowal in the 18th century. He asked people to inculcate the national spirit and values of secularism and patriotism among their children, so that they could always be prepared for preserving the hard won freedom.
The Chief Minister
announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of the
village and assured that other demands of the area would
be considered sympathetically. the Chief Minister
launched a scheme of equipping all high and middle
schools with basic necessary infrastructural facilities
like fans, furniture, and the provision of toilets.
De-reserve Assembly seats:
CHAUNTA (Gurdaspur) April 2 Even as the last-minute cancellation of her programme to participate in the Rajput Mahasabha, Punjabs function by the Union Minister of State Ms Vasundhara Raje Scindia and absence of the local MP Mr Vinod Khanna fuelled many a speculation. The Sabha today created a flutter by demanding dereservation of the Narot Mehra and the Dinanagar Assembly constituencies.
Even in the absence of the two star participants, the sabha managed to stage a good show of strength in this one of the most backward areas of Punjab, known as Rajput stronghold. Most of the organisers apprehended that Ms Scindia cancelled her visit at the behest of Mr Vinod Khanna, whom the sabha had refused to speak from the stage on the plea that the function was purely a Rajput affair and no non-Rajput was being allowed to speak from the stage.
The MP was allowed to sit on the stage but he preferred not to attend the function, the sources said, adding that an annoyed Mr Khanna was able to dissuade Ms Scindia not to participate in the function. She was scheduled to address a press conference at the PWD Rest House at Pathankot at 10.30 a.m. According to sources, Ms Scindia had confirmed her visit to the organisers at 6.30 p.m., but later informed them she would not be able to participate in the function as she was busy in some Cabinet meeting, sources said.
Speaker after speaker lamented that the Rajputs, who were a martial race and always fought for the independence and unity of the country had been denied its due by successive governments after independence.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajbir Singh, president of the All-India Kisan Morcha, who was the chief guest, said Rajputs who were lagging behind in all walks of life owing to indifference of different governments, should prepare themselves to fight for their rights.
He said that like Rajputs, farmers had also been ignored by all political parties and an example of this was the non-formulation of an agriculture policy even after 50 years of independence. They formed the industrial policy way back in 1953, then what held them back from making a similar national policy in respect of agriculture questioned Mr Rajbir Singh. Talking about the discrimination against farmers, Mr Rajbir Singh said when a cold drink or car manufacturer could decide the price of his product then why the same right was being denied to farmers. Actually, they think that farm produce do not cost much despite repeated hike in prices of farm inputs, he said giving a call to farmers to fight for their rights unitedly.
The sabha in a resolution, demanded that two Rajput dominated Assembly seats of Dinanagar and Narot Mehra in Gurdaspur Parliamentary constituency, which have been reserved for the past 50 years should be made open for the open category, as it felt that Rajputs constituted more than 50 per cent of electorate in these segments. After a number of speakers raised this demand in their speeches, the Dinanagar BJP MLA Ms Rooprani left the venue while Mr Ram Lal Narot Mehra MLA did not attend the function.
The resolution also demanded that dishonouring and defaming of Rajputs by depicting them as dacoits in Hindi films should be stopped. Besides poor Rajputs should be brought into the ambit of reservation, the resolution demanded.
Mr Kala Singh, president of the Punjab unit of the sabha urged the central government to declare the birth and death anniversary of Maharana Pratap as national holiday. He said no holiday has been declared in memory of any Rajput leader, which has resulted in widespread resentment among the community. Similarly, the youth wing secretary Kunwar Ravinder Singh Vicky expressed anguish that no memorial had been set up by the state government in memory of Capt Gurbachan Singh Salaria, lone Paramvir Chakra winner of the district. The Rajput Youth wing Punjab had to do the job at its own expense.
Major Ranjit Singh Jogi (retd), a former M.P. and a close aide of Mahatma Gandhi stressed the need to hold camps for imparting training for Rajput youth in the fields of self protection and of arms which have not been banned under the law of the land.
Capt Vikram Singh, (retd.) chief of the sabha urged Rajputs to unite themselves and wage a war against illiterates particularly among Rajput women.
9 FCI officials suspended
FARIDKOT, April 2 As many as nine official of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) posted at Gidderbaha in Muktsar district have been placed under suspension allegedly for accepting substandard rice from the millers.
Official sources said a flying squad of the FCI which came from Chandigarh about three weeks ago at Gidderbaha found many discrepancies in the rice accepted by the FCI officials from the millers in the month of March.
The sources said the flying squad found that the percentage of broken rice in the accepted rice was more then the prescribed limit. Some of the stock accepted by the FCI officials did not meet other specifications laid by the higher FCI authorities.
The sources added that Mr D.P. Reddy, Senior Regional Manager (SRM), FCI, Punjab, had issued instructions to the field staff to strictly follow the quality measures while procuring paddy from the farmers. He had also instructed the field staff that only quality rice should be accepted from the millers.
The nine FCI officials who were placed under suspension included four technical assistants two Assistant Manager (Depot and Quality Control) and three members of the godown staff.
Piara Singh Mann SAD chief in
CHANDIGARH, April 2 Mr Piara Singh Mann was appointed President of the Shiromani Akali Dals Unit in Australia by the party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today.
Talking to newsmen he said hukamnamas (edicts) should not be issued from Akal Takht frequently. There were more than 20 gurdwaras in Australia. Main concentration of Sikh population in that country was in Sydney and Melbourne. Beside farming and business, Sikhs were engaged as workers in factories. There was no racial discrimination and Australian politicians responded quickly to the Sikh communitys problems. Sikhs have not entered in political arena in Australia yet.
Though there was a majority of moderate Sikhs, but extremist Sikhs have also their presence in that country. The community has started celebrating festivals like Baisakhi and organising sport like kabaddi.
Quizzed about the brief of Mr Badal for him, he said that he would organise the Sikh community for playing active role in the development of Punjab especially for setting up technical training institutes in rural areas.
Mr Mann said in order to nurture cultural roots schools had been set up to teach Punjabi to the young.
There was no controversy regarding community kitchen service in gurdwaras in Australia. Sikhs sit on floor when langar was served. As in certain gurdwaras new generation Sikhs had started the service of community kitchen on tables, it was stopped following the intervention of elders. Young Sikhs often ask questions regarding Sikh traditions.
In recent years thousands of youth have gone from Punjab to Australia for studies.
Fight neo-imperialist forces: Left
JALANDHAR, April 2 (UNI) Senior leftist leaders today called for mass mobilisation of leftist, democratic and secular forces against the neo-colonial and neo-imperialist forces led by the USA.
The call was given here by CPI stalwart A.B. Bardhan and CPM General Secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet on the 88th foundation day of the Ghaddar Party.
The leaders felt that the USA sought to perpetuate its hegemony in an unipolar world through three formidable instruments - the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation.
Mr Surjeet said the nations political independence was sought to be undermined through the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO forces dominated by the USA.
He warned that the removal of quantitative restrictions on the import of 1,429 items would kill agriculture and industry and make the nation dependent on the USA. even for wheat.
The Marxist leader felt that the unprecedented welcome accorded to USA President Bill Clinton was a reminder of the one the viceroy received during the British period. He said the USA would not abandon its strategic ally, Pakistan, because of its ties with the oil-rich Islamic world.
Condemning the Congress for initiating the process of economic liberalisation, Mr Surjeet lambasted the BJP for opening the floodgates to multinational companies.
Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) general secretary Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri said when one East India Company could usher in slavery of 150 years, the fate of India could be imagined when many MNCs world swamp it.
He said since big industrialists and feudal lords had become agents of neo-colonialists, it was only the combined Left forces who could fight against the neo-imperialists. Mr Lyallpuri expressed hope that our enemies will force us to unite to put up a common fight against them (enemies).
CPI-(ML) (Liberation group) General Secretary Deepakar Bhattacharya blasted the microscopic minority of India for preferring web site than house-site. these protagonists of web site were more dangerous secessionists than the separatist Khalistanis as they wanted to create an America in India, he said.
Actor-politician Raj Babbar of the SP said it was a shame that Indian Parliament did not pay homage to martyr Bhagat Singh and instead MPs went overboard in paying obeisance to Mr Bill Clinton when he came to address the parliamentarians on the eve of martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh.
Claiming that the Ghaddar Party had spawned several freedom movements in the country, the Samajwadi Party leader under-lined the need to revive spirit of the revolutionary movement for a new direction to the Indian.
Singhs associate Bhagat Singh Bilga (94), who
presided over the function, Darshan Singh Khaktar of CPI
(ML ) (Jan Shakti Group), Amolak Singh of Punjab Lok
Morcha and comrade Parkash Rao also spoke on the
Pak delegation not allowed to enter India
AMRITSAR, April 2 (UNI) A 250-strong delegation of Pakistanis were today denied permission by the Indian Government to cross over into India through the Wagah Road Joint Check Post (JCP).
The delegation, comprising mainly of artists in various fields and scholars, was scheduled to cross the JCP today but Immigration and Customs officials at the post informed their Pakistani counterparts on the other side of the post of the denial of permission.
The officials had received instructions from the Union Home Ministry, not to allow the delegation to cross over.
As per the rules prevalent at the check post, Indian and Pakistani nationals have to seek special permission for crossing the JCP on foot. They can only travel on board the Lahore-New Delhi bus and vice versa.
Computers for jail inmates
PATIALA, APRIL 2 The 1000 plus inmates of the Central Jail here are all set to have a refreshing change from the mundane remorseful existence and have a taste of the computer world.
Jail officials in collaboration with some social workers and educated inmates have installed two computer terminals in the welfare office of the Reform house in the jail.
The computers have been installed to make the inmates computer-literate so that they can find new jobs outside. The jail has become the first, at least in North India, to start such a course. The necessity of computer education is being felt worldwide, so how can we escape it, said Deputy Superintendent Jail Capt S.P.Singh, calling it a revolutionary step in reforming the inmates.
He said the jail will now teach basic computer working to the inmates willing to give it a try. The education will help them in finding a job outside after they are freed, he hoped.
The only sad point of the project is that no government help has come forward for the project. Sources revealed that a few jail officials along with social workers and some prisoners had pooled money to buy the equipment. A project had been sent to the government long back but no response had been received.
Due to the small amount of money collected, the officials could buy only two terminals. Capt S.P. Singh said the inmates would be taught in the morning and evening shifts. For the time being, the facility is open for males only. He said jail rules do not allow inter-mingling of male and female inmates. He said they are trying to generate resources for installing a terminal in the women wing of the jail also. He felt educating womenfolk would not be easy as literacy level is very low in them.
The terminals that began functioning today were inaugurated by Mr Gursharan Singh Sidhu, Superintendent of the jail.
Patiala turban fading into
PATIALA, April 2 Like most things linked with Patialas past the Patiala turban also seems to be fading into history with only former royalty and those closely linked with the Phulkian dynasty (royal house) clinging on to it.
It is not as if a better derivation of the turban has been evolved or the fact that it is no longer in fashion, In fact, the Patiala turban was evolved over a long period of time and is best suited for those with broad faces and sharp features, characteristics which exemplify Sikhs of the region.
It is just that turban tying is not treated so seriously now and it is difficult to stick scrupulously to the norms. Also, as the state itself is geographically quite small, cross migrations have affected the style, with the true Patiala Shahi turban dwellers being very small in number.
Even though the Patiala turban has developed into an art form, it generates a carefree spirit, mainly because the lars on both sides are not worn in a neat distinguished manner. It presents a round look with its rear being flat. The thumb is used to depress the cloth at the forehead to create the effect of a fifty. Other requisites of the turban include use of Finleys F-74 mal mal cloth, at least seven-and-a-half metres of cloth which is cut in half and joined with a seam, light starch and a twist in the last lar. Additional Deputy Commissioner RS Randhawa says the last lar was twisted so that it could support the kalgi or broach . The tradition has however continued says Mr Randhawa, adding even now the ear lobe is visible in a Patiala turban. This was so because earrings were normal wear during that period, he adds.
While the colours of the Patiala turban were always light, light pink and light lemon were regarded as the state colours. The colours have to be light, says Raja Malvinder Singh, scion of the Patiala royal house. He says light colours were worn since the Patiala turban took its final shape during the reign of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh. He said different colours were used for different festivals like tarbuzi colour was worn for Dasehra. He said the darkest colour worn was dhani (dark green) for Moharram. Raja Malvinder says though a turban which could be loosely described as a Patiala one first came into being during Maharaja Rajinder Singhs time, it became more compact and standardised during Bhupinder Singhs reign.
The Patiala scion says while first various qualities of mal mal cloth from Dhaka were used, Finleys standardised it by starting the F-74 label. He said the width of this cloth was 20 inches less than the earlier supply due to which the turban became slightly smaller. He says presently only families associated with the Patiala state were wearing the turban. I used to wear a Patiala Shahi turban when in college but my style changed when I joined the Army, says Mr Randhawa. The same is said to be true of royal family scion Capt Amarinder Singh.
Presently very few
neelgars (dyers) in the city are able to get the Patiala
colours right. The traditional neelgars were always
Muslim and few of their descendants still ply the trade
in Patiala. Raja Malvinder says he gets his turbans dyed
from Bakshi and Hassu.
RSS literature denigrating Sikhs
AMRITSAR, April 2 (UNI) The Dal Khalsa, a radical Sikh organisation has warned the Punjab Government to take immediate steps to check the circulation of the RSS literature pertaining to the Sikh Gurus as this amounted to a direct interference in the religious, social and cultural affairs of the Sikhs.
A resolution, passed at a Panthic conference organised by the Dal Khalsa here yesterday, alleged that the RSS literature on the Gurus was an attempt to denigrate the Sikhs and Sikhism in words and deed. Even with a Akali Dal-BJP Government in the state, the RSS was having a field day propagating its dangerous culture, the resolution said.
Using the occasion of the Khalsa tercentenary, the RSS and its wing the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat in the name of promoting the Sikh spirit was actually denigrating the fundamentals of the Sikh religion and culture, the resolution said.
The speakers at the Panthic conference affirmed to the theory that Sikhs are a nation and that Sikhs are not an off-shoot of the Hindu religion.
Besides Satnam Singh and Kanwar Pal Singh of the Dal Khalsa, others who spoke at the conference included Prof Jagmohan Singh of the Akali Dal (Mann) and Mokham Singh of the Damdami Taksal.
The resolution further said that the Sikh Gurus had time and again reiterated the uniqueness of Sikhs. Any attempt to weaken this status would be an onslaught on the Sikhs and adequate steps would be taken to check this, the resolution added.
The resolution called upon the SGPC to issue a directive to all Sikhs to boycott the RSS-sponsored Sikh literature and the state government should impose a ban on this literature.
The Dal Khalsa urged the SGPC to set up a censor board to monitor all print, audio and video religious material published and recorded world-wide on Sikh religion and history.
resolution the conference blamed the Akali Dal Badal and
particularly Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for
degrading the sovereign status of Akal Takht by replacing
and appointing Jathedars frequently.
PPCC condemns killing of
CHANDIGARH, April 2 At a general body meeting of the Punjab Pradesh Committee held here today, the killing of 35 Sikhs in Chitti Singhpora (J&K) on March 20 was condemned.
The meeting, says a party press note, passed a resolution criticising the setting up of the Constitution review panel.
The general House also passed a resolution condemning the withdrawal of subsidies on fertiliser and items given through the public distribution system.
The partys stand on Anandgarh also became clear. It criticised shifting of project from a site close of Anandpur Sahib to near Chandigarh for the proposed Anandgarh city, announced on April 13 last year by the chief minister.
235 cr earmarked for
FATEHGARH SAHIB, April 2 The Punjab Government will spend Rs 35 crore in the current financial year for the upliftment of Dalits in the state. Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, said while addressing a gathering at Badd Gujran village in the district.He said the state government had evolved a comprehensive plan to develop the economy of farmers and Rs 200 crore had been earmarked for it in this Budget.
He said a new Green
Revolution would be brought and more subsidies would be
given to farmers. He said he alongwith the Chief Minister
would meet Prime Minister in New Delhi on April 4 to
discuss the problems being faced by farmers.
More facilities at Raja Sansi
AMRITSAR, April 2 Mr Narinderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner today assured the NRI community that Raja Sansi airport would soon get a face-lift with the help of central aid of Rs 1.57 crore. This would include the widening of the runway and added facilities for the passengers.
The project was expected to be complete in 18 months. The widening of the runway would facilitate Boeings to take off from here. He was addressing a gathering of NRIs at Circuit House here.
He said five star hotel project was also on the anvil to cater to international traffic.
Hailing the starting of the new flights to Uzbekistan and Turkemistan he said the proposal for more international flights was under construction.
Ankhi for probe into killings
AMRITSAR, April 2 The Chief Khalsa Dewan performed ardas for 35 Sikhs killed by terrorists at Chatti Singhpora village in Anantnag at Gurdwara Sahib here today. Several people joined the Sangat.
Expressing anguish over the killings Mr Kirpal Singh, president of Chief Khalsa Dewan, urged the leaders of all political parties to protect the interests of Sikhs and provide adequate security to them.
Addressing a gathering
on the occasion Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, honorary secretary
of the Dewan, requested the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash
Singh Badal, to press upon the Centre to order a probe
into the incident by an independent agency and demanded
severe punishment to the guilty.
Muscleman turns to clay
PATIALA, April 2 Man has long ago stopped using earthen pots and utensils in kitchen, but, his urge to play with clay persists.
While in the past, pottery was a vocation of making utility-based products, today, it is an art. Housewives making one or two pots and colouring these to use as decorative pieces in drawing rooms is a common thing. However, if a bodybuilder who is also a tabla player, besides being a travel agent, indulges in this art, it is rather unique.
Pardeep Mehta, whose exhibition of pottery and decoratives is on in the Banasar Art Gallery in Sheesh Mahal here, is a multifaceted personality. His early youth was spent in muscle building. He won Mr Panjab University title a few times as well. He also learnt the art of Tabla playing. His love for travelling was converted into a career by establishing a travel agency in the city. However, the real change came six months ago. His daughter studying in the sixth standard was finding it hard to make a pot as part of a school assignment. In came the father and the pot was made. When the creation brought praise from family members and others, he realised he had discovered a new talent.
Six months after this, Pardeep is here in Banasar Gallery with his innovative pottery work. The exhibition offers life-size large pots and small ones as well. Made by using terracotta soil-mixture, these have been decorated with sculpture work. The themes vary from European art to the tribal India.
Apart from the decoration using fabric colours, the pots have an added attraction. With coloured bulbs fitted inside, the pots can be illuminated in the night. Some of these have lamp shades fitted on the top to serve a better purpose. Pots with glass glued to these are a class apart.
The artist said he had
not taken training from anyone the designs evolved
through trial and error. He has long discussions with his
wife on creative ideas and together they keep evolving
discrimination against librarians
PATIALA, April 2 The Punjab College Librarians Association (PCLA) yesterday urged the state government to immediately put an end to discrimination against college librarians and concede their genuine demands without further delay.
Mr Satnam Singh Ahluwalia and Mr Barjinder Pal Dhiman, president and general secretary, respectively, of the association, in a statement here said resentment prevailed among the librarians against the discriminatory treatment meted out to them by the University Grants Commission, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Punjab Government.
The leaders said the ministry had denied the benefit of 14940 pay-fixation to selection-grade college librarians as admissible to selection-grade lecturers/readers after five years service on or after January 1, 1996. Similarly, the benefit of career advancement scheme (CAS) and incentive increments for M. Phil, PhD.D. had not been extended to them, irrespective of the fact that the UGC recognised college librarians as non-vocational academic staff and their recruitment had been made on the basis of the national entrance test.
They said another
glaring instance of injustice was the denial of class-I
gazetted status to them by the Punjab government despite
enjoying complete pay parity with college lecturers since
April, 1980. Apart from college lecturers, many other
categories of Punjab officers drawing equivalent pay
scales like PCMS medical officers, subdivisional
engineers, veterinary officers and even district public
relations officers, agriculture development officers and
excise and taxation officers, who were drawing lower pay
scales, were enjoying class I status since long. They
said even the specific recommendation of the Fourth
Punjab Pay Commission, for giving class I status to
college-cadre librarians had not been implemented so far
by the Punjab Government.
No lowering of guard by
PATIALA, April 2 When city residents go to sleep every night, it is time for a number of bahadurs from Nepal to come out on the streets and maintain vigil in the area owned by them.
The hardworking men have been working as chowkidars for generations. They continue patrolling a fixed number of houses night after night in pursuit of meagre earnings at the end of the month.
Hum mazboor hain, videsh mein aana nahi chahthe the, said Dal Bahadar Thapa, a veteran in this field in the city for the past 17 years. Talking to The Tribune, he said driven by poverty and hunger in his country he had followed the advice of an uncle to make a career in Punjab, known in their country as the land of plenty.
My uncle brought me here to work in a factory or as chowkidar in a locality he told. He had also brought along many youths struggling hard to make both ends meet in the mountainous country.
While work of a domestic help or a worker in factories is easily available in Punjab and Himachal, the Nepalis have an inborn liking for risky jobs, says Karan Singh Thapa, a 17-year-old youth.
Patiala has more than 60 colonies manned by chowkidars from Nepal. Add to the list several others who oversee the markets during day time and even at night. The job seems to have been unofficially reserved for them as neither any local nor members of any other community have entered in this Nepali bastion.
It is in our blood, we are brave that is why we are called bahadur said Bir Bahadur. Just two months ago, he was sitting idle in Nepal and today he earns about Rs 1000 per month. We had land in Nepal, a vast stretch of uneven mountainous earth offering no scope for agriculture. But coming to Punjab, I see people to be so rich that I have called my younger brothers also.
Dal Bahadur Thapa thanks his stars for bringing him here. Today my son and daughter are going to school. The education here is not only available but is cheap in government schools.
The chowkidars have unique experiences about the behaviour of people. One old man refused to pay me Rs 15 as he was not hearing the taps of my stick in the night. Another one directed me to knock at his gate every night, only then he would pay me. But when I knocked at his door his neighbour was furious as I had disturbed his sleep, said Dhan Bahadur.
Dhan Bahadur said people of Punjab are very generous. We rarely buy household things, clothes or shoes as many people give us these things.
The brave men from Nepal
say they can face any challenge in the night but
sometimes they find themselves helpless as thieves and
robbers have arms to overpower them. Showing their
injuries they lamented they do not even get free
Special drive to eradicate TB
PHAGWARA, April 2 The Health Department has launched a special drive to eradicate TB from Punjab, according to Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Health Minister.
He was addressing the audience at a function after launching an ambulance van provided by the Bharat Vikas Parishad and distributing free medicines to TB patients here today.
At present, there were three lakh TB patients in Punjab and every year 40,000 people were getting afflicted with the disease, said Mr Chawla.The minister promised to provide pure medicines and eatables to the public and warned of strict action against spurious drugs and adulterated edible items.
JALANDHAR: The Health and Family Welfare Minister Mr Baldev Raj Chawla, has stressed the need of reorientation of the working of the state health department by inculcating the habit of selfless motive in rendering the health and medical services to the people in Punjab, particularly the industrial labour, under the ESI scheme.He was here on Sunday in connection with a public function.
Naik Balkar Singh cremated
HOSHIARPUR, April 2 (UNI) Naik Balkar Singh of 9 Sikh Light Infantry, who died in a mine blast in Rajouri on March 30, was today cremated at his native Khairabad village near Dasuya town with full military honours.
His pyre was lit by his nine-year-old son Harminder Pal Singh amid sounding of the last post by army buglers.
The soldier, survived by wife and two sons, aged nine and seven years, was scheduled to come home tomorrow on two months leave, according to his father Garib Das.
Army, police and civil
officers paid floral tributes to the soldier. Dasuya SDM
Kulbir Singh said the Khairabad-Dasuya road would be
named in memory of the martyr and his family would get
all benefits as per government rules.
Employees resent govt apathy
LUDHIANA, April 2 A meeting of the working committee of the Punjab State Employees Union was held here today under the chairmanship of Mr Dal Singh Sandhu, president, to discuss the alleged negative attitude of the Punjab Government towards the employees.
TARN TARAN, March 2 A 16-year old girl, daughter of Mr Bagicha Singh of Kalsian Kalan village, who was abducted during a fair of Ghariala village on March 27, 2000, has been recovered from the nearby Bhullar village by the Valtoha police.
Police sources said here today that the girl was abducted by Sewa Singh, his wife Surjit Kaur, and Kulwinder Singh, brother of Sewa Singh. She was taken to Bhullar village where with the help of Sewa Singh and his wife, Kulwinder Singh raped her a number of times.
A case under Section 363, 366 and 376 of the IPC has been registered against all three persons.
Focal point traders meet Kairon
AMRITSAR, April 2 Mr Surinder Singh Kairon, a former MP, recently met members of the Focal Point Industrial Association. He heard their grievances and assured them of redressal in consultation with the government.
Mr Rajinder Singh Marwaha, Director of the Punjab Khadi Board, Mr Pratap Singh, Commissioner, Excise, were present at the meeting along with officials of the municipal corporation. Officials from the municipal corporation were immediately deputed to carry out tasks to the benefit of the Focal Point association members.
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