|Tuesday, May 2, 2000,
sworn in Punjab Governor
case: Ravi Inder meets Shastri
to meet PM on US Nagar issue
have separate identity
Sikhs no longer Hindus
victim of terrorism: envoy
politics led to Punjab terrorism
sets up 15 dist committees
over Beas soon, says Vinod Khanna
being smuggled to evade ST
Takht is supreme, says Vedanti
observe May Day
living from hand to mouth
laid for bundh
opposed to statute review
diagnosis helps combat cancer: docs
to gear up medicare: doc
for sullage water disposal
owners await compensation
shoots two, himself
headway in stabbing case
back likely in college and university fee
Shastri sworn in Punjab Governor
CHANDIGARH, May 1 Mr Vishnu Kant Shastri, Governor of Himachal, was today sworn in as Governor of Punjab during the leave period of Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob (retd). The oath of secrecy was administered to Mr Shastri by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice A.B. Saharya, at a simple ceremony held at Punjab Raj Bhavan.
Mr Shastri took the oath in Punjabi and signed separate charge reports, both as Governor of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh, in Punjabi.
The officiating Governor arrived at the banquet hall of Punjab Raj Bhavan in a procession. He was accompanied by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Among those present at the oath taking ceremony were the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his Cabinet colleague, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, senior officers of the Punjab Government, and the Chandigarh Administration and Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.Earlier, the Chief Secretary of Punjab, Mr R.S. Mann, read out the warrants of appointment of Mr Shastri as the Governor of Punjab during the leave of General Jacob.After the oath-taking ceremony, Mr Shastri took the salute from a contingent of the Punjab Armed Police and later inspected a guard of honour.
After the ceremony, Mr
Shastri visited the Golden temple Complex and Durgiana
Mandir in Amritsar to pay obeisance. On his return, he
also met a delegation led by former Speaker of Punjab
Vidhan Sabha, Ravi Inder Singh.Later in the evening, Mr
Shastri left for Shimla.
Harpreet case: Ravi Inder meets Shastri
CHANDIGARH, May 1 (PTI) A six-member delegation led by rebel Akali legislator and former Punjab speaker Ravi Inder Singh today met Himachal Pradesh Governor Vishnu Kant Shastri, who assumed his additional charge as Punjab Governor, and demanded the immediate dismissal of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his alleged involvement in the mysterious death of SGPC chief Bibi Jagir Kaurs daughter.
Besides Ravi Inder Singh, other members of the delegation were Prem Singh Chandumajra, Inderjit Singh Zira and Harmel Singh Tohra (All rebel Akali legislators), former Punjab Advocate-General Gurdarshan Singh Grewal and senior advocate Ranjit Singh Randhawa.
Briefing reports here, Mr Chandumajra said the main demand of the delegation was dismissal of the Badal government for openly violating Constitution while handling the affairs in alleged murder case of Harpreet Kaur, daughter of the SGPC chief.
They said Mr Badal had completely failed to ensure safety of people. He had no moral and legal right to continue as the Chief Minister of the state.
They claimed that the Governor listened to them sympathetically.
They also handed over an application written by Balwinder Kaur, mother of Kamaljit Singh, lover of Harpreet Kaur to the Governor saying she told Badal that Harpreet had marks of beating on her face which was ignored by the Chief Minister. She demanded that the police should register an FIR into the case.
CPM rejects police probe
CHANDIGARH, May 1 The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has rejected the police inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the Harpreet Kaur case.
Mr Balwant Singh, secretary of the Punjab unit of CPM said today that with the Chief Minister holding the portfolio of Home Affairs and being at the cremation hardly leaves any scope for the Punjab Police to hold an impartial inquiry in the case.
The life of innocent girl had been snuffed out by certain people for no fault of hers he said.
Under the circumstances
the CPM said if the police inquiry was not withdrawn by
the Chief Minister the party in consultation with other
political parties, will mobilise the people of Punjab on
Badal to meet PM on US Nagar
CHANDIGARH, May 1 The Punjab Government will impress upon the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to immediately convene a meeting of the three-member high power committee before bringing the Bill on Udham Singh Nagar before Parliament, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said here today.
Talking to newsmen after swearing in of Mr Shastri as officiating Governor of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said that he would meet the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, during his visit to the city on May 7 and urge him to call a meeting of the high power committee without any further delay.
"I will also impress upon the Prime Minister to call the meeting. Any Bill on Udham Singh Nagar should be brought to Parliament only after the three-member committee submits its report, Mr Badal said.
Referring to recent statements of Mr Ravi Inder Singh, Mr Parkash Singh Badal said that his claim of toppling the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party government was both "baseless and weightless".
"No BJP leader has ever met Ravi Inder Singh over the issue of toppling of my government. Why will BJP leadership meet him since he does not represent any party and moreover, he does not carry any weight as a leader in the state."
When asked why his relation with Mr Ravi Inder Singh had soured Mr Badal said the problems started only after Capt Amarinder Singh became the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
"Everywhere in the
country, the Sikhs were viewed as terrorists and
secessionists because of Congress policies. Our alliance
with Bharatiya Janata Party is not only to strengthen the
communal harmony but also to enhance and restore the
status of Sikhs," he said.
Sikhs have separate identity
CHANDIGARH, May 1 The Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, a wing of the RSS, recognises the separate cultural and religious identity of Sikhs, national president of the sangat Mr Chirnjeev Singh said here today.
In other words, the sangh has accepted the distinct identity of Sikhs culturally as well as religiously. This is a significant development RSS K. Sudarshan was here for two days to address a three-day conclave of the sangat. The conclave concluded last evening.
The sangat, which draws up its social, cultural and religious programmes with the approval of the RSS, has perhaps come out with this statement for silencing the radical Sikh organisations that have positioned themselves against the sangat and the RSS. Sikh organisations say that the sangat and the RSS were out to harm the Sikh identity in various ways.
In fact, the sangat and the RSS has even gone beyond recognising the separate Sikh identity. We also recognise the national identity of Sikhs for their political, social and cultural contribution to the country. They (Sikhs) have played a role of protector of the country for centuries and remained crucial in preserving and protecting the existence of India, said Mr Chirnjeev Singh.Sikhism without Hinduism has no roots and Hinduism without Sikhism has no fruit, he said.I am prepared for a debate with the Sikh organisations opposing the sangat and the RSS. I had earlier met leaders of the World Sikh Council abroad to present the ideological position about Sikhism of the sangh and the RSS to them, Mr Chirnjeev Singh added.
Giving a call to Hindus for reviving the tradition of baptising the eldest son in the family as a Sikh, Mr Chirnjeev Singh said the sangat had been making efforts in this direction for the past several months. He named some RSS leaders, including Mr Anand Sarup Aggarwal from Andhra Pradesh, who have baptised themselves as Sikhs.
The sangat believed that Guru Granth Sahib was supreme. Refusing to be drawn into any controversy regarding Dasam Granth, Mr Chirnjeev Singh said the sangats parcharaks had not distorted the basic Sikh tenets. When asked that in gutkas published by the sangat some distortions have been made, Mr Chirnjeev Singh said that these were inadvertent and not deliberate. Instructions had been given to make the necessary corrections, he added.
He said the frequent changes of Jathedar of Akal Takht had not sent out a good message among Sikhs. Akal Takhts main role was to play as a judicial authority to act against those who distort Sikhism while Guru Granth Sahib determines the way of life for Sikhs, he said.
When asked about the Punjabi language controversy, Mr Chirnjeev Singh said the sangh had released its material in Punjabi. The RSS never supported Hindus opting Hindi as their mother tongue in Punjab in the 60s. The RSS wanted that they should adopt Punjabi which was their mother tongue.
The sangat as well as the RSS were in touch with various religious, social and political leaders in Punjab for continuing talks on various religious and cultural issues. Already meetings with Baba Thakur Singh and Bhai Mohkam Singh of the Damdami Taksal had been held and also with political leaders like Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Yes, there are differences on many issues but we have decided to continue talks with Sikh bodies, Mr Chirnjeev Singh said.
In fact, the sangat and the RSS had prepared a document with regard to demands of Sikhs and Punjab and a copy of the document had been given to Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani on instructions from the top brass of the RSS. The demands include the release of Sikh youths detained in jails without trial at different places, including Jodhpur. The Union Government, according to sources, wanted that the initiative should come from the political leadership of Sikhs for securing the release of Sikh youths as the Union Government was not ready to take attendant risks in this connection.
At the conclave, Mr Chirnjeev Singh was elected national president of the sangat for two years. Mr Balwant Singh (Hyderabad), Mr Balhar Singh (Champa in M.P.), Ms Surjit Kaur Jolly (Delhi) and Mr A.S. Aggarwal (Andhra Pradesh) have been elected national vice-presidents.
Four resolutions were
passed at the conclave. Through these resolutions the
sangat sought the handing over of the management of Sikh
gurdwaras in Pakistan to the SGPC by disbanding the
Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, telecast of
Gurbani from the Golden Temple all over the world. The
sangat also condemned the murder of Sikhs in Chitti
Singhpora village in Jammu and Kashmir.
Amarinder: Sikhs no longer Hindus
LUDHIANA, May 1 While maintaining that the Sikh religion had originated from the Hinduism around 500 years ago, Capt Amarinder Singh, chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), today categorically stated that the Sikhs had their own separate identity and were no longer a part of the Hindu religion.
He said this while replying to a question about the RSS claim that Sikhs were a part of the Hindu religion.
Addressing a press conference here, he criticised the RSS for trying to rake up such an issue and said the RSS was dabbling in the affairs of other religions. The RSS of interfering in the affairs of ideology other religion was dangerous, he said.
The PPCC chief claimed that there was no dissidence in the state unit of the party.
Answering a query regarding support to a Panthic government with change in leadership, he stated that the party would have nothing to do with any, Akali faction.
Regarding the tussle over the presidentship of the Ludhiana District Congress Committee, he said there was no second opinion and that Mr Surinder Dawar was the president.
He said the DCC members should give him in writing if there were any complaints against former DCC chief Rakesh Pandey.
Fate of over 100 Pak
AMRITSAR, May 1 An eight-member delegation of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, which met the president of Pakistan and office-bearers of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PGPC) this week, was told that there were only 135 Sikh shrines in Pakistan whereas the actual number of gurdwaras there is known to be about 250.
The number of gurdwaras cited by the Pakistan authorities has led to speculation about the fate of small gurdwaras in Pakistan. Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, senior vice-president, and Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra said that the Pakistanis had told them that there are only 135 gurdwaras in Pakistan. We would tally the figure with that of the SGPC so that identification of rest of historical gurdwaras could be done. This case would be taken up with the Pakistan authorities in the near future.
Meanwhile, taking serious view of the meeting of the SHSAD with the Pakistan authorities, the SGPC has decided to take up the matter with the Government of Pakistan. Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, secretary of the SGPC, said that the leaders of the SHSAD and Delhi Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee had no locus standi to take up the case of sending jathas to Pakistan as it was suspended by the SGPC till the PGPC was disbanded.
Dr Bachan alleged that the members of the SHSAD violated the Sikh maryada by ignoring the SGPC. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra has been president of the SGPC for about 25 years and hence he must know the importance of the Shiromani committee, he said, adding that the SGPC would also take up this matter with the Government of India.
However, Mr Bhaur said that his party was for the supremacy of the SGPC so far as sending jathas to Pakistan was concerned. He said the Government of Pakistan had promised to take maximum number of SGPC nominees in the proposed committee being constituted in future. Prof Chandumajra said the biggest achievement of the delegation was that the Government of Pakistan had agreed in principle to replace Mr Javed Nasir, a former ISI chief who was made chairman of the PGPC, with a baptised Pakistani Sikh, Mr Sham Singh. A notification in this regard would be issued shortly, they claimed.
Mr Bhaur said that there was more than 37000 acres of land in the name of various gurdwaras in Pakistan. The income from this huge land was meagre as the Government of Pakistan had fixed the rate of Rs 50 per acre. There was an apprehension of this land being encroached upon. However, the government of Pakistan has promised us that there will be an open auction for the annual contract of this land and hence gurdwaras would be getting sufficient revenue from the land.
When asked the reason for ignoring the SGPC before meeting the Pakistani authorities, Mr Bhaur claimed that being a member of the Shiromani committee he had every right to take up the case for maintenance of gurdwaras. While Prof Chandumajra represented a political party, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, a former advocate general had gone there to give legal opinion on various matters.
We have done
nothing wrong by taking up the matter for better
maintenance of gurdwaras. Ultimately it would benefit the
SGPC. Since Bibi Jagir Kaur and Mr Parkash Singh Badal,
President of the SAD, had failed to take up the case with
the Government of Pakistan, it was our moral duty to do
so, he claimed.
Pakistan victim of terrorism:
AMRITSAR, May 1 Mr Ashraf Jehangir Quazi, High Commissioner of Pakistan, has denied that his country is encouraging terrorism in India and said instead that Pakistan is itself a victim of terrorism, rebutting the allegations of the USA that it is a terrorist state.
Mr Quazi was on a personal visit to Amritsar accompanied by an Embassy Minister (Political), Mr Jalil Abbas Jilani, here today.
Answering questions after visiting the Golden Temple, Mr Ashraf said that the religious matter of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabhandak Committees control over Pakistani gurdwaras is their internal matter related to their sovereignty. If a body outside Pakistan starts deciding how and who would run the religious affairs in Pakistan it amounts to legal conflicts related to our sovereignty he said. He further said the stand of the SGPC not to send jathas and other demands were an administrative matter. He said the Pakistan Government was responsible for maintaining the gurdwaras in their country.
He said the situation in Kashmir was indigenous and public statements, propaganda and rigid postures would not solve the problem of Kashmir. Reiterating that Pakistan favoured talks and peace despite the hostility between the two countries, he, however, did not make any statement regarding the return of democracy to Pakistan.
He said there was no harm in inviting a third party for mediation between the two neighbours. However, he blamed India for not responding to Pakistans overtures for talks.
The High Commissioner declared that Pakistan not only respected the Simla Agreement, but also other agreements like the Lahore and UN agreements.
On a proposal to open the Wagah road route for direct trade between the two countries, he said that in principle, he supported trade between the neighbours but a favourable environment was needed before the proposal could be implemented.
He denied that any of the 54 PoWs of the 1965 and 1971 wars and other Indian detainees were languishing in Pakistani jails. He claimed that searches had been conducted in jails all over Pakistan and there was no evidence to establish that the media reports in this regard were true.
He also denied that Pakistan was refusing to accept its prisoners who were in jails in other countries. In the absence of verification we cannot accept these prisoners as Pakistani nationals, he added.
A memorandum was submitted to him by the SGPC. He was also honoured with a siropa. A model of the Golden Temple and a set of books.
Mr Ashraf also laid wreaths at the Jallianwalla Bagh Memorial.
On his visit to the Golden Temple, the High Commissioner exhibited extraordinary curiosity about the damage caused to the shrine during Operation Bluestar.
Divisive politics led to Punjab
CHANDIGARH, May 1 One of the causes of terrorism in Punjab was divisive politics. It may be easy for political parties to apportion blame as to who introduced this cult but people still find it difficult to overcome that traumatic experience. Something similar is simmering again.
Internal squabbles in the SAD and its coalition partner, BJP, on the one hand and internecine war in the Congress on the other do not portend well for the state.
A quick flashback of the three years the present government has been in office shows that first it was the February, 1997, election euphoria that lasted over one year. Then came the elections (mid-term parliamentary any poll and byelections to the Vidhan Sabha), which kept the ruling parties busy. When it was time for analysis for the defeat in Adampur, in 1998 troubles set in. Soon religio-political affairs intervened followed by the parting of ways by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra. By the time housekeeping improved came the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations in 1999. By then the religio-political divide was complete. Its cascading effect saw the SAD-BJP combine suffer a humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha poll.
The affairs of Akal Takht further kept the states poltico-administration machinery awfully busy. There is no stopping now. The dissidents have stepped up their chorus. It could be heard outside and inside the Vidhan Sabha as was evident in the March Budget session.
In September, 1998, one heard the rumblings of discontent within the BJP. The Chief Minister had an interface with the BJP in Jalandhar to iron out the differences. He assured that BJP workers would get proper say and hearing within the government. The formula of joint consultative mechanism soon lost its relevance once Mr Madan Lal Khurana was out of the scene. As a result crisis persists. Despite the best of portfolios the BJP continues to sulk.
The problems multiplied within the SAD and the BJP. Consequently, disgruntled elements of the two coalition partners reportedly exchanged notes. Though there has never been joint stock-taking by the SAD-BJP alliance, the BJP sent a message across in October, 1999, that it was for ties with the SAD on principles as two political entities and not with any individual SAD leader, meaning that anyone other than Mr Badal was acceptable. The echo of that message is still audible.
BJP spokesperson Venkaiah Naidu said in New Delhi on April 17 that the SAD-BJP ties would remain intact. It indicated all was not well between the two parties.The following day the BJP Minister for Food and Supplies, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, in a statement said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was the best bet for Punjab because he symbolised peace and Punjabiat.
In fact, the BJPs in-house problems are as good or bad as those of the SAD. The formers predicament and internal strife is also discernible among the ministers, who have not been given good portfolios. Mr Badal is believed to have told them he had done what the state BJP President and a senior BJP minister had asked him to do.
One of the reasons why the BJP is in crisis is what is described as president-oriented functioning and factionalism akin to that of the SAD and the Congress. The BJPs organisational elections outcome will be interesting to watch.
As in all political parties, room at the top in the SAD is also small. Despite total command over the SGPC, the partys Political Affairs Committee and the legislative wing, the impression is that the man at the top still feels insecure. The April 28 petition to the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, seeking the disqualification of dozen-odd MLAs as members of the House by some of the ministers is interpreted to mean that the other voice must be silenced. They are all pro-Tohra.
Now Mr Ravi Inder Singh has stated that he had had discussions with BJP-RSS leaders. The Tohra-loyalists are waiting for the magic number before they strike effectively.
ideological differences the SAD-BJP alliance is yoked for
mutual benefit. BJP ministers admit that SAD-BJP rule has
created an urban-rural divide the parting of ways by Mr
Badal and Mr Tohra has had a negative cascading effect on
religio-political affairs and even the common
minimum programme of the coalition partners has
been put on the backburner.
PPCC sets up 15 dist
CHANDIGARH, May 1 Capt Amarinder Singh, President, PPCC has set up 15 district committees to finalise the names of candidates for the coming municipal elections. Disclosing this here today, Mr Sant Ram Singla, Vice President, PPCC, said that these committees headed by senior office-bearers had been asked to send their recommendations to the party President by May 7.
Bridge over Beas soon, says Vinod
GURDASPUR, May 1 Vinod Khanna, actor-turned-MP, talking to newsmen here, said the demand of the people of Mukerian in Hoshiarpur district and Bet area of Beas to construct a bridge over the Beas near Naushehra Ferry would be met soon. It would involve an expenditure of Rs 60 crore which would be released in a phased manner.
However, the construction of the bridge would be initiated this year after doing through procedural formalities, he added. Technical clearance in this regard had already been given by the Central Government, he said.
Khanna said the Punjab Government had sanctioned Rs 1.5 crore to construct two pantoon bridges over the Ravi in this district to provide direct access to the residents of more than 36 villages falling across the Ravi with the rest of the district.
Khanna said the Indian
Oil Corporation (IOC) had already taken a decision to set
up a huge dump with pipeline connection at Kotli in
Pathankot sub-division. A team of officials of the IOC
inspected the site on April 29 and in all probability
would approve it. The pipeline would be extended to
Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
Wheat being smuggled to evade
BATHINDA, May 1 A racket involving the evasion of sales tax (ST), Rural Development Fund (RDF) and market fee to the tune of lakhs by smuggling wheat to non-wheat producing states from Punjab has come to light here.
Official sources said that the racket came to light when senior Excise and Taxation Department officials collected the record of wheat bags sent to other states from the local railway goods godown a few days ago.
Mr Upjeet Singh Brar, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commission (AETC), said that initially the department teams had detected that more than 1500 bags of wheat had been sent to other states by traders by booking the consignment in the fictitious names of farmers, who are exempted from sales tax.
He added that records collected from the local railway authorities were being processed and it was being verified whether the traders who had sent wheat bags to others states had made entries in their account books or not.
He pointed out that four teams of departmental officials, each led by one Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO), had been constituted to check evasion of sales tax through smuggling of wheat.
At present, the wheat being smuggled out of Punjab was fetching a good profit and certain traders were making a fast buck by evading sales tax, RDF and market fee through smuggling. A section of traders were sending the wheat to other states by booking it in the name of those business firms whose sales tax licences had already been cancelled for various reasons.
Over the years, railway stations in Punjab had become centres for smuggling wheat to other states due to considerable price difference. Apart from it, on an average, a trader saved more than Rs 50 per quintal of wheat by evading sales tax, market fee and RDF.
The main centres from where thousands of wheat bags were smuggled to other states in 1998 were Goniana, Raman, Bathinda, Gidderbaha, Guru Harsahai and Malout.
On the other hand, the big farmers, in connivance with traders of this region, have started hoarding wheat in anticipation of the fact that its price would go up after the current procurement season. In certain markets, the arrival of wheat this year was less as compared to the corresponding period last year.
The low arrival of wheat
in the markets was attributed to the wide gap in the
minimum support price (MSP) of wheat announced by the
Central Government and issuance price of wheat announced
by the Central Government in the recent past.
Akal Takht is supreme, says
LUDHIANA, May 1 The Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, while claiming the supremacy of Akal Takht has said that the mahanta, pravanta, sidhant and consensus of the Panj Piaras have to be followed by all Sikhs.
The Akal Takht Jathedar was addressing a gathering at the Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Kidwai Nagar, near here at a function organised in his honour. In an oblique reference to the ousted Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, he said that any person or object remains significant only as long as it is attached to the centre, which in the Sikh religion was Guru Granth Sahib.
He said that during the past various religious personalities had moved away from directives of Akal Takht for their selfish and narrow personal gains. Edicts issued from places other than Akal Takht were mere declarations and nothing more.
Akal Takht Jathedar said that the hukamnama issued in the right spirit and from the right place could never be questioned. He was referring to the protests over the hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh from Guna, wherein he had excommunicated the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur.
Jathedar Vedanti also said that it saddened him that various hukamnamas in the past had caused a lot of grief in the Sikh Panth and the Panth had to suffer because of this, which was now for all to see.
The Jathedar also advised the gathering that there was now need for the reorientation of the Panth and bring it closer to the tenets and traditions of Sikhism. He informed that a seminar of various Sikh religious organisations would be held at Amritsar on May 14 and discussions on the various subjects related to the reorientation of the Panth would be held.
Thousands observe May Day
AMRITSAR, May 1 Rally in the Putlighar Chowk was jointly organised by the AITUC and the CITV and attended by thousands of workers on the occasion of May Day.
The rally was addressed by the Vice-Presidents of AITUC, Mr Parduman Singh and Mr A.B. Bardhan Senior Vice-President of the State Committee of the CITV, Mr Vijay Mishra, and the President of the local unit of the CITU, Mr Kishan Singh.
Flag hoisting rallies were held in Chheharta, Ghanupur, Putlighar, Haripura, Batala and Majitha roads, Milk Plant, Sultanwind road and Municipal Corporation, Goindwal areas.
They also criticised the anti-workers policies of the Punjab Government which has refused to revise the minimum wages of industrial and agricultural workers in spite of the hike in the prices of essential commodities and their demand to raise the minimum wage of the unskilled workers.
NAWANSHAHR: Hundreds of employees under the aegis of the district unit of the Trade Union Council took out a procession from the Railway station to Bus Stand and organised a rally there to mark the occasion of May Day here on Monday.
The rally was addressed by Mr Raghunath Singh, Secretary, CITV Punjab, Mr Purshotam Rana, Mr Swatanter Kumar, Mr Jaspal Gidda (Trade Union Council) Mr Sagar Singh of AITUC, Mr Diwan Singh of GTU, Mr Mahan Singh Rouri of ARA Medical Coordination Committee.
FATEHGARH SAHIB: Mr Ravi Inder Singh and his men are working in the state according to the Congress game plan. This was stated by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Union Minister, while talking to mediapersons at Mandi Gobindgarh town on Monday. He had come to preside over the state-level May Day celebration as Bhai Lalo Divas organised by the Punjab State Services Federation.
Earlier, Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, President, Punjab State Services Federation presented a charter of demands and sought the removal of anomalies of the pay commission report.
Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, PWD Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Sahpur, MLA Mr R.S. Cheema, former Minister Mr D.S. Pandhi, former Minister also addressed the gathering.
JALANDHAR: The Punjab Government Transport Workers Union has organised a rally cum-seminar to celebrate May Day here on Monday.
Addressing the workers, Mr Pradeep Kumar, President, CITU, and Mr Harbhajan Singh, State Press Secretary of AITUC, condemned the policy of the state government to privatise the Punjab Roadways and alleged that the government was responsible for the loss suffered by the Roadways. They said that the union would observe a day strike on May 11 to protest against the wrong policies of the government.
TARN TARAN: The Workers of the FCI, Punjab Roadways, PSEB and other workers organisations on Monday celebrated May Day here and paid tributes to the Chicago martyrs.
BALACHAUR: Thousands of workers of Asron Industrial area celebrated May Day with great enthusiasm. On this occasion Mr Raghunath Singh, State Secretary of Punjab CITU, criticised economic and industrial policies of the BJP Government.
Scribe pays press
JALANDHAR, May 1 Loyalists of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today feasted mediapersons to put forth their views in a different way when at the end of the press briefing they sneaked out of a local hotel without footing the bill.
The bill amounting to Rs 3935 was reportedly paid by a reporter of a vernacular daily, who, according to many, had arranged the press conference.
Everything went smooth till 12.30 p.m. when the press conference to be addressed among others by Mr Swaran Singh Josh, political secretary of the SGPC chief, was scheduled to begin. But to the dismay of waiting journalists, nobody turned up at the scene till 1 p.m. At this, one of the reporters had to use his mobile to invite Mr Josh.
After about an hour Mr Josh and nearly two dozens of his supporters came and addressed the mediapersons and hosted lunch. At the end of the press conference Mr Josh and his supporters started sneaking out of the hotel one by one after shaking hands with mediapersons. On coming out, mediapersons saw a confused waiter virtually sprinting after a Contessa car, which was part of the cavalcade of the Bibis supporters.
As the waiter returned
after talking to one of the inmates of the car, when it
stopped at the nearby traffic-lights, he told
mediapersons that he had been told to collect the bill
from the reporter of a vernacular daily. The scribe
apparently obliged as the owner of the hotel later
confirmed that he had been paid the bill by the scribe.
Toymakers living from hand to
DHANAULA (Sangrur): The world-famous wooden toy-making vocation of the resident of this town has come full circle.
In the late seventies, it started as a leisure activity of carpenters who, in order to make optimum use of pieces of wood left over, began giving them shapes of different vehicles. When customers showed interest in buying these, business grew rapidly and became the prime profession with furniture making relegated to second place.
All went well all these years but now due to a rapid fall in the business, owing to certain factors the art has lost importance and has been pushed back to another leisure-time job.
Visit Dhanaula town, 30 km from Sangrur towards Barnala, to have a glimpse of the toys displayed outside carpenters shops on the main highway. One can see gypsies with sirens, buses, trucks, trailers, tractors, scooters, aeroplanes, helicopters and other vehicles.
The vehicles design has changed with the times. If in the seventies it was rehras and bullock carts, now one finds the latest cars and even rockets.
Talking to The Tribune, the toymakers revealed that the road sustains their business. Travellers get attracted towards the colourful toys and the toy vehicles catch their fancy. During the Kargil and post-Kargil periods, it was army vehicles, specially aircraft, which sold like hot cakes.
Mr Gulzar Singh, one such carpenter, who was busy in designing a table but every now and then looked outside towards the displayed toys to see if any traveller had stopped to buy his toys.
Elaborating, he revealed that the immense popularity of the toys of all shapes and sizes proved to be its undoing in the long run. A number of people other than carpenters began taking part in this business. Then others from outside the town also set up their shops here causing a division of business, which ultimately resulted in a fall in prices.
Bharpur Singh, another toymaker, sitting in his shop along with his two sons corroborated. There is no profit left in this vocation. The cost of inputs in making of a toy is almost double the price at which we sell it to remain in competition. While wood pieces have no cost, parts like seats, tyres or other accessories along with expenditure on paint cost Rs 40 to make even a small toy car but it is sold for Rs 20.
Another factor, he pointed out, was the strong structure of the toys and their long shelf-life ensures that the buyers do not require to come again. This factor ironically helped in the sale and popularity of these toys but at the same time also affected business.
While the slum over the years is threatening the very survival of the rich craft, its future seems more dark as the children of these carpenters are not pursuing the vocation. I have not encouraged my sons to follow the toy-making profession even though they like making one or two in their free time, said Mr Bharpur Singh. He argued that there is no future in toy-making and if his sons follow it they will have to struggle hard to make both ends meet.
Gurtej Singh, another carpenter, laments the loss of interest among the new generation in the toy-making profession. They have no interest in preserving this heritage as it does not bring enough money. He only hoped that coming generations would continue the art at least during their free time.
The carpenters say the
state government is also responsible for the present
state of affairs. There is no subsidy, nor any facility
much as loan. They feel the government has also not done
enough to develop the tourism potential of their
Stone laid for bundh
KAPURTHALA, May 1 The long-standing demand of 10 villages of the Mand area of Sultanpur Lodhi sub-division in this district seems to have been fulfilled with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister laying the foundation stone of advanced Dhussi bundh on Saturday April 28.
This 12 km-long Dhussi bundh will be built from village Sujo Kalia to Passan Kadim village at a cost of Rs 7.45 crore has been named after the late Mr Atma Singh an Akali leader who represented the Sultanpur Lodhi constituency in the Vidhan Sabha.Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Housing and Urban Development Minister and Mr V.K. Singh deputy commissioner, told that this was the first instance in Punjab when farmers had given land costing Rs 2 crores free of cost for construction of bundh.They said that with the construction of the bundh 10,000 acres fertile land of these villages will be saved from the fury of floods and water logging. They claimed that the bundh would be completed before the start of the monsoon this year.
A function was organised
in honour of Mr Badal at Talwandi Chouwdhrian village
which was addressed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Raghbir
Singh, Mr Sikandar Singh Maloka, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Mr
Swaran Singh Phillaur, all Akali ministers, Mr Balwinder
Singh Bhunder member of the Rajya Sabha and general
secretary SAD (Badal) and Mr Nand Lal MLA from Balachaur.
Babbar opposed to statute
LUDHIANA, May 1 There was no need to review the Constitution when there was a provision to make amendments to it, said Raj Babbar, member, Parliament (Rajya Sabha) here yesterday.
While talking to the mediapersons he said it was nothing but an attempt of the central government to divert the peoples attention from the graver issues facing the country.
He regretted that the country had a number of departments concerning the youth affairs but no clear-cut youth policy aiming at proper education, employment and harnessing of the youth force, existed.
Babbar was in the city to receive the Gurudev Rabindernath Tagore award from a human rights body for his role in the film Shaheed Udhan Singh.
Early diagnosis helps combat
HOSHIARPUR, May 1 Cancer can be defeated if it is diagnosed at an early stage and is properly treated. These views were expressed by Dr A.K. Diwan, a well known surgical oncologist of the region, and Dr S.M. Bose, Professor of Surgery, PGI, Chandigarh, while delivering their keynote address at a symposium on Can cancer be defeated, organised by Savera, a society for social awareness, here last evening.
A number of prominent, citizens, including doctors teachers, advocates and politicians were present at the symposium.
Dr Bose said that cancer was often dreaded due to ignorance and fear in the minds of the public due to lack of proper knowledge on the subject. A change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore spot that does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge from any source, thickening or swelling in the breast or anywhere else in the body, indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, obvious change in a wart or mole, nagging cough or hoarseness of voice are the warning signs of cancer. He pointed out that though the exact cause of cancer was not known, smoking was considered to be one of the main causes of lung cancer. Betel and nut chewing and tobacco could produce cancer of the oral cavity.
Dr Diwan said that cancer strikes silently. He advised everyone should get himself medically insured. Any person giving Rs 5000 as donation to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute could get treatment of cancer free of cost throughout his life. This institution was the first of its kind in northern India to start bone marrow transplantation for the patients of blood cancer, he claimed. He pointed out that it was estimated that more than 3,500,000 persons would die due to cancer by the end of 2000.
Need to gear up medicare: doc
AMRITSAR, May 1 With the alarming increase in the murder of heart patients, medical services need to gear up to meet the challenge in this millennium, remarked Dr T.S. Klair, senior-most consultant with the Escorts Heart Care Centre, New Delhi.Delivering the keynote address at the seminar on Management of cardio-vascular disease, organised by the Physicians forum and the Indian Medical Association here last night, he said that in the world, there were more than 22.5 million patients suffering from cardiac problems. An annual increase of one million in their number had put great pressure on the medical facilities available, especially in our country.
Dr Klair felt that with the advanced techniques the medical fraternity had evolved new methodology to prevent heart disease.
He urged the people to give up sedentary habits and also improve their diet. He suggested some exercises and walk to remain fit.Another senior faculty member of Escorts, Dr Anil Saxena, said that with the use of radio frequency technique, the heart beat could become regular and could save many lives. Dr Vinita, also from Escorts, felt that there had to be total effort to improve awareness about cardiac problems.
Scheme for sullage water
HOSHIARPUR, May 1 The Punjab government has prepared a scheme for the quick and permanent disposal of sullage water at the tail-end of Mehgowal village near Nasrala for which Rs 2 crore has been earmarked.
This was disclosed by Mrs Mohinder Kaur, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, while addressing a public meeting at rural hospital Phuglana, yesterday.
She said sullage water from this city was regularly flowing towards Mehgowal thus causing serious pollution problem for more than 12 villages falling on the route. Sullage water had also adversely affected the drinking water in the area, she added.
She said to shift the
seriously injured patients from the rural areas to the
referral hospitals ambulances to nine primary health
centres and four civil hospitals in Hoshiarpur district
had been provided.
Land owners await
CHANDIGARH, May 1 Farmers of Bhatian village in Ludhiana district are awaiting compensation for 89 acres and 19 marlas of land acquired by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.
The land was acquired for setting up a sewage treatment plant.
As per the award announced on January 19, the total compensation payable to the land owners is Rs 15,88,74,408.
The possession of the land was taken by a representative of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board on November 13, 1998.
Constable shoots two, himself
TARN TARAN, May 1 Tarsem Singh, a constable of 13th PAP Battalion posted at Chandigarh, today killed two persons, including a girl, and injured another at Harike and later shot himself with his service assault rifle.
According to official information, the deceased have been identified as Jasbir Singh, son of Mukhtar Singh, and Simarjit Kaur, daughter of Pritam Singh, all residents of Harike. The injured is identified as Rachhpal Singh.
The sources said Tarsem Singh brought the rifle from Chandigarh today and went to the house of Jasbir Singh and killed him. After killing him he injured Rachhpal Singh who was standing nearby. He then went to the house of Simarjit Kaur.
No headway in stabbing case
PATIALA, May 1 Relatives of two youths, who were stabbed by six persons on April 13 last, are desperately seeking justice as the district police has not succeeded in making any headway in the case.
While the youth recuperate in a hospital in the city, their relatives are approaching every authority to get the attackers behind bars.
Mr Karnail Singh, a brother of the injured, said though almost three weeks had passed since the incident, the police had not arrested anyone. He said while the police officials told them no clue had been found so far about the attackers, they advised them to reach a compromise.
The DSP (rural) Mr Jagjit Singh Gill, said there was no pressure on the relatives and the police was in the process of tracking down the attackers. He said the delay was being caused because neither the brothers of the injured nor any other person had been able to furnish descriptions of the attackers or the number of their vehicle.
While the DSP has assured that the attackers will be arrested soon, the affected family has got tired of the assurances. We have met many senior officials in the district, but, things are moving at a snails pace, said Karnail Singh.Recalling the incident, Karnail Singh said they lived in Kishangarh village of the district. His brothers, Gurmail Singh, a farmer, and Sarbjit Singh, a taxi driver, were returning to the village in their Maruti car on April 13 when near the Thapar Engineering College, they were overtaken by another Maruti car which forced them to stop.
Karnail Singh said six
youths came out of that car and attacked the brothers to
rob them. He said after stabbing the two several times,
they decamped with Rs 50,000. He said some passer-by saw
the bleeding youths and informed the police.The DSP Mr
Gill, however, contested the claim of robbery. He said
the brothers had been involved in an accident with the
youths who had later attacked them. An altercation over
the accident had triggered the attack. He said no money
had been stolen.
Roll back likely in college and
PATIALA, May 1 Recently hiked college and university fees may be rolled back with the issue being put before the Punjab Cabinet for detailed discussions in view of the adverse reaction to the move.Sources said there were chances of a rollback or rationalisation in the increases made in tuition and admission fee in both colleges and universities during the course of a Cabinet meeting which was being convened for the purpose.
Earlier, on April seven a high-level meeting of the Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of the three universities of the state, besides the DPI, Colleges and Secretary, Higher Education held under the chairmanship of Higher Education Minister Master Mohan Lal had decided to hike the tuition and admission fee in colleges and universities .
However, the adverse reaction the move has generated has forced the Higher Education Department to take the matter to the Cabinet for discussion and approval. Higher Education Minister Master Mohan Lal when questioned on the issue here yesterday said there were chances of a fee roll back. He however, refused to disclose as to whether any alternative fee structure was being proposed , saying the matter would be finalised by the Cabinet .
The Minister is also likely to put his Ministrys view point on the subject before the Cabinet. He said there had been no hike in the tuition and admission fee in colleges and universities of the state since 1986 even though the pay of college teachers had increased manifold since then. He said though there had been a quantum hike in the fees, the earlier fees were ridiculously low and had only been rationalised at present. He said the fee hike if implemented would generate Rs 50 crore revenue .
Master Mohan Lal said his Ministry was in the process of launching a drive to stop government college teachers from holding private tuition classes. He said it was being proposed that the menace be stopped by fixing exemplary punishment for those found indulging in it. He said a committee of Vice-Chancellors of Panjab, Punjabi, Guru Nanak Dev and Punjab Agricultural University had been formed which would also give concrete suggestions in this regard . He said the committee would be headed by Panjab University Vice Chancellor, Prof M M Puri .
The minister said
Committee would also give details of copying being done
in institutes of higher learning besides take steps to
create uniformity in the syllabus, examination system as
well as leave rules. He said the committee would also
suggest ways and means to restrict higher education to
competent students and suggest ways and means by which
students could take up fruitful tasks after graduation
itself. He said the department had already taken a
decision to make vocational courses compulsory at the
graduation level so that students could acquire needy
skills to set out on careers right after college instead
of taking admission in universities without any clear
career in sight. he said special vocational courses
suited to the candidates needs would be created for this
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