|Wednesday, August 16, 2000,
Bureaucratic control on coop
bodies to go
Rai Sikhs still stigmatised
Contribution of Punjab matchless:
Badal govt has failed: Chandumajra
180 teaching days in colleges soon
Cong to champion peoples
Amarinder promises fight for UT
DA deposited twice in GPF accounts
CM urged to intervene in medical
A stretch of inconvenience
Wives of detained cops send rakhis
Water, slush and empty stands
Orphanage presents orphaned look
2 liquor smugglers arrested
Schools celebrate Independence Day
Bureaucratic control on coop bodies
CHANDIGARH, Aug 15 The Punjab Government is determined to unshackle cooperative bodies from the suffocating bureaucratic control, says Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the longest serving non-Congress Chief Minister of the state, who completed 42 months in office on August 12. The longest tenure enjoyed by any non-Congress Chief Minister in the state previously was 28 months when Mr Badal himself headed a coalition government between 1977 and 1980.
The Tribune posed seven questions to Mr Badal and received the following answers from his office :
Question 1: Your government has completed 42 months in office. What in your opinion has been your singular major achievement during this term ?
Answer: Peace, amity and communal harmony, which are the springboards for the all-round development of our strife-torn state. The spirit of universal brotherhood, respect for all religions, redress of social injustice and inequalities. The historic tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa is the crowning achievement. Government at the doorstep of the masses Sangat Darshan is a new direction towards interactive and responsive governance.
Q 2: No non-Congress government has ever completed a full term in Punjab. What do you think are your chances of breaking this trend?
A: The Congress has earned the dubious distinction of being a singularly unitary, completely dictatorial, aggressively intolerant and undemocratic outfit of experts in unprincipled manipulations solely aimed at scuttling the genuine regional aspirations represented by regional parties with the help of the Congress government at the Centre. Now that the Congress is pathetically struggling for its own survival, it is in no position to repeat its inglorious history vis-a-vis the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government and the people of Punjab who have given it a thumping majority. The present government will complete its full term.
Q 3: Your government announced the Anandgarh project. Will this go the way of the Ranjitgarh and Goindwal Sahib projects or is your government serious about going ahead with the project? So far, no deadlines have been met. If you are going ahead, what is the schedule?
A: Anandgarh is a tercentenary pledge. We are certainly going ahead with it. There is no looking back. Those who are indulging in cheap political gimmicks by misleading and inciting people through a misinformation campaign will in no time lose face.
Q 4: What do you say about the changing stand of your party on Udham Singh Nagar? Do you want to avoid a conflict with your alliance partner, the BJP, at the Centre or is there anything else which made you only protest and retract from your earlier stand on the issue ?
A: Our stand on the Uttaranchal issue is crystal clear. We welcome the creation of the new state of Uttaranchal as per the wishes of the people. We have always pleaded that decisions should be taken as per the sentiments of the people concerned. However, by the same logic, we want that Udham Singh Nagar district should not form part of Uttaranchal because of the wishes of the people based on cogent geographical, economic, social, cultural, administrative and sentimental reasons. My party has strongly protested against its inclusion in the newly formed Uttaranchal state. We firmly stand by our thinking on such issues. We have been consistent in our demand that injustice should not be done to the people of Udham Singh Nagar district. One and all living there have complimented the Shiromani Akali Dal on its sincerity for their cause, while lambasting others for simply trying to derive shallow political mileage by occasionally issuing hollow statements to the media.
Q 5: How do you rate the performance of your government in running the administration and maintenance of law and order ?
A: Punjab today is the most peaceful state in the country with a natural bond of trust among all communities being strengthened day in and day out through the secular policies of my government. My government is totally committed to maintaining law and order and providing an atmosphere of affectionate trust, communal harmony, amity, universal brotherhood and respect for all religions.
Q 6: What steps have been taken by your government to decentralise the administration by devolving powers to democratic bodies at the grassroots level, like gram panchayats, municipal committees, zila parishads, etc.,? How are panchayati raj institutions functioning in the state?
A: We have made big strides in the devolution of powers to municipal bodies and are in the process of evolving a very mature devolution approach for panchayati raj institutions shortly. The amendments to the existing cooperative laws with the main objective of unshackling the cooperative bodies from the suffocating bureaucratic control is in the final stage of deliberations and legal consultation. There has been some procedural delay in the process, but the qualitative changes that we ultimately bring about will more than compensate for that.
Q 7: How accessible are you? What about other members of your Council of Ministers? How often do you meet representatives of the general public and at what forum ?
A: Even the worst of my critics have a reluctant word of praise for me for being extremely accessible to the people. Anyone and everyone can personally air his grievances to me at my residence or during my frequent Sangat Darshan programmes. I feel very much at home with my people. I am one of them. I share their agony and pain. I share their aspirations. I share their pride in being Punjabis and I also share their urge to bring all-round prosperity to Punjab. The welfare of all Punjabis is the mission of my life. It is this noble mission that has inspired me to suffer imprisonment for more than 16 years in independent India, without having committed any crime. For civil liberties, for human rights, for social justice, for regional aspirations, for a truly federal India and for the freedom of the Press.
S. No Chief Minister From To
1 Gurnam Singh 8.3.1967 24.11.1967 8m 16 days
2. Lachman Singh Gill 25.11.1967 21.8.1968 8m 27 days
3. Gurnam Singh 17.2.1969 27.3.1970 1 yr 1 m 10 days
4. Parkash Singh Badal 27.3.1970 14.6.1971 1 yr 2 m 18 days
5. Parkash Singh Badal 20.6.1977 17.2.1980 2 yr 3 m 27 days
6. Surjit Singh Barnala 29.9.1985 10.5.1987 1 yr 3 m 12 days
Rai Sikhs still stigmatised
FEROZEPORE, Aug 15 While the nation celebrates 53 years of Independence, the backward Rai Sikh community continues to live with the label of criminal tribe given to them by the state during the days of slavery.
Although they were denotified from the list of criminal tribes way back in 1952, the community alleges it continues to be treated as suspects by the police. Crimes, especially illicit distillation of liquor, are frequently attributed to them by the police and the Excise Department.
Since a substantial number of Rai Sikh families reside close to the Indo-Pakistan border, many are also suspected of smuggling. Despite transformation in their social lives, sources in the police admit that the villages dominated by Rai Sikhs, especially those along the border, remain on their watchlist.
The root of the problem lies in a report of the Criminal Tribes Act Enquiry Committee that notified the community, earlier known as mahatmas of Ferozepore as a criminal tribe during the late forties.
The report, however, had specified that all mahatmas were not members of the criminal tribe and only a notorious section notified as criminal.
The report had termed them as turbulent and dangerous. The offences attributed to the community were cattle lifting, counterfeiting of coins, illicit distillation of liquor, theft and dacoity.
It was also accused of possessing a large number of illegal arms of prohibited bores.
The president of the All-India Rai Sikh, Mahatma and Sirkiband Welfare Association, Mr Balwant Singh Sirari, alleged that till date most crimes were attributed to the community. Accusing the police of bias, he lamented that the Rai Sikhs were targeted for excise offences. He said the Jats, too, were engaged in the illicit distillation of liquor.
He pointed out that since a large number of Rai Sikhs had become followers of the Radha Soami sect, they had given up distillation of liquor. Border fencing had made smuggling impossible and the community was increasingly relying on agriculture and labour for living.
Thanks to the
stigma attached to us, excise cases are often slapped on
the community, Col Surjan Singh, a member of the
association charged. He said since the community was not
educated, most members were not even aware of their
180 teaching days in
BATHINDA, Aug 15 State Higher Education Minister Mohan Lal today said arrangements were being made for a 180-day academic year in colleges as per the recommendations of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Talking to mediapersons after unfurling the national flag on the occasion of Independence Day here today, he said every lecturer would have to teach at least for six hours a day and 40 hours a week in colleges.
The minister said the Punjab Government had initiated a number of measures to make the education system more relevant in the colleges. A meeting would be held next week at Punjabi University, Patiala, to discuss the evil of private tuition in Punjab.
To check the evil, students of each class would be divided into three categories weak, middle and intelligent. The principals of respective colleges would arrange for extra classes for the education of weak students by charging a minimum fee.
He said about 15 courses out of the 35 recommended by the UGC had been introduced in the state colleges. The main stress was on information technology. Arrangements were being made to fill 800 vacancies of lecturer and other staff members in colleges.
The minister said the Punjab Government had decided to give the facility of pension and gratuity to the college staff. The pension scheme could not be implemented as the lecturers were demanding that it be implemented from 1992, while the government wanted to implement it from this year.
He pointed out that the proposal made by a sub-committee regarding the hike in the tuition fee had been rejected by the Punjab Government.
He directed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, to give him a report regarding the present position of the local regional centre of Panjab University within 15 days. He said the Punjab Government was not in favour of disbanding the Punjab Textbook Board.
Mr Manoranjan Kalia,
Minister for Medical Education and Mr Surjan Singh,
Minister for Rural Development, unfurled the Tricolour at
Mansa and Muktsar, respectively, and took the salute from
contingents of the Punjab police and NCC cadets.
Contribution of Punjab matchless:
AMRITSAR, Aug 15 The 54th Independence Day was celebrated here with great patriotic fervour.
The state-level function was held at Guru Nanak Stadium. The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, unfurled the national flag and took the salute at an impressive marchpast consisting of the contingents of the Punjab police, PAP, NCC and scouts. The parade was led by Mr Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal.
Addressing the gathering the Chief Minister asked the people to remain united to thwart the deadly designs of our neighbouring country.
Extending warm greetings to all Punjabis for a most peaceful and prosperous future, Mr Badal recalled the matchless and unparallel contribution of Punjab in brining about the Independence of the country. He recalled that nearly 80 per cent of the warriors who made great sacrifices belonged to Punjab. Not only this, Punjab being the border state suffered the brunt of Partition in which lakhs of families faced the wrath of marauders while others lost their dear ones. Bowing his head in reverence to freedom fighters whose supreme sacrifices freed the country from the British. Mr Badal called for introspection and setting up new goals for faster development of the state.
Mr Badal said the government has excelled in every field. Giving an all-round scenario of development the Chief Minister said the manifold increase in Central investment and industrial expansion was witnessed with the setting up of big projects like the Bathinda Oil Refinery at the cost of Rs 16,000 crore, Guru Ram Dass International Airport at Amritsar, railway links of Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Beas-Goindwal, Tarn Taran, National Institute of Renewable Energy at Kapurthala. Work on the Rs 2,000 crore Goindwal Sahib Thermal Plant with a capacity of 600 mw was being started very shortly. A Rs 200 crore master plan was being implemented for diversification of agriculture. The Revolving Cash Credit scheme was started with an unprecedented rise in the credit limit on cooperative loans etc. The present government has also approved a Rs 2700 crore project for four laning of all the major state highways and constructing new bridges. All the cities will have modern bus stands. A programme had been launched to construct district administrative complexes at all the district headquarters. The present government has also given a bonanza of Rs 1500 crore as enhanced pay-scales to its employees. A Rs 312 crore special component plan was being implemented to provide old age pension.
The Chief Minister honoured nine persons with state awards for their contribution in different fields.
Mr Badal presented a gold polished silver medal, parmanpatra, a shawl and Rs 11,000 in cash to Dr Harsharan Singh Oberai, an orthopaedic surgeon from Jalandhar, Mrs Baljit Bawa, chairperson, Bawa Group of Companies, Jalandhar; Mr Manmohan Singh Sandhu, a progressive farmer from Mansa district; Dr Mukhtar Singh Gill, Senior Agronomist PAU, Ludhiana; Mr Tej Singh, veteran freedom fighter from Moga district; Dr Jamshid Ali Khan, a senior lecturer in correspondence courses, Punjabi University, Patiala, for his research on the role of the Akali Dal in Punjab politics; Mr Kirpal Singh, Chief Khalsa Diwan; Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, a civil engineer from Patiala district and Dr Surinder Singla, chest specialist from Sangrur district.
Mr Badal also presented cheques of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of martyrs of Kargil operation and financial assistance to the tune of Rs 5.40 lakh under various sainik welfare schemes.
Mr Geetika Kalha, Commissioner, Jalandhar division and Mrs Parminder Narinderjit Singh, wife of Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar presented 20 tricycles and 20 sewing machines to the poor and needy persons on behalf of the District Red Cross Society.
Later, the Chief Minister hosted at home at the local Circuit House which was attended by senior, civil and police officials and prominent citizens, freedom fighters and mediapersons.
Later, a delegation of the Punjab Chandigarh Patarkar Parishad presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister against the highhandedness of his Cabinet colleagues.
Reporters of Independence Day functions poured in from Gurdaspur, Nawanshahr, Batala, Faridkot, Samrala, Fazilka, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ropar.
In Gurdaspur Congress factions led by Mr Khuswal Behal and Mr Chanderpaul Singh took out separate prabhat pheris.
Punjab ministers unfurled the national flag at district headquarters.
The Bharat Vikas
Parishad, Abohar completed its target of planting 1250
saplings by observing vanamahotsava at the BSF camp and
the Homoeopathic Medical College complex. RSD Girls High
School students also planted saplings.
Badal govt has failed:
LALRU, Aug 15 "The Badal Government has failed on every front and has cheated the people during its tenure. The law and order situation has worsened and the rate of unemployment has gone up," alleged Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former member of parliament, while interacting with mediapersons here on Sunday.
The Sarav Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) will start the second round of nyaya sudhar against the failure of the Akali government in September, he said.
Moreover, the state had got less financial grants from the centre during the period of the Akali government. Criticising the government, he said that more than 300 projects had been wound up which had swelled the number of unemployed youth in the state.
Direct subsidies to the farmers had been abolished, which had ruined the Punjabi farmer and affected the agriculture adversely. In spite of promising non-imposition of octroi, the government had cheated the public by imposing it, he alleged.
Referring to the law and order situation, he said that the incidents of killing, kidnapping, theft and other criminal activities had increased manifold. Instead of providing security to the public, the police had been indulging in criminal activities, he alleged.
On the Udham Singh Nagar issue, he held Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, responsible and said: Mr Badal has betrayed the people of Punjab. Had Mr Badal raised the issue, Udham Singh Nagar could have been excluded from Uttaranchal.
He criticised the massacre in the valley and said that India should keep all options open for talks with Pakistan to solve terrorism.
Cong to champion
JALANDHAR, Aug 15 It an effort to project a clean image and to contain criminalisation of politics, the human rights department of the Congress had vowed to act as a watchdog by scrutinising lists of prospective party candidates to be prepared by the All-India Congress Committee before the General Elections.
The department has admitted occurrence of large-scale human rights violations in the state of Punjab after 1980 and has demanded the constitution of a commission to look into such incidents with promise that such a body would be part of the party poll manifesto.
The objective of the unusual step is to ensure that no such candidate is able to contest the election and tarnish the image of the party who has been accused of violating human rights. To achieve its aim, the department has decided to ask its parent organisation the AICC to provide it with lists of prospective candidates.
Mr A.K. Sood, an AICC General Secretary, in charge of the human rights department set up by party President Sonia Gandhi in December last, and Mr Dev Anand Mishra, a former AICC General Secretary, said the department had resolved to fight criminalisation in politics. As the first step towards the goal, the party had decided to deny ticket to leaders who had allegedly been involved in human rights violations, directly or indirectly. Mr Mishra and Mr Sood were here to attend the first meeting to the state unit of the department here yesterday. Replying to a question on the alleged involvement of some Congress leaders in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and allotment of party ticket to them later, both leaders said if something wrong had been done in the past it would not be repeated in future.
Alleging that the Punjabi Suba movement of the Akalis had the backing of Pakistan, Mr Sood said rights violations had been taking place in the state since 1980. Most such violations were committed by misguided youth, unemployment being the main reason for the frustration. Mr Mishra said the partys objective was to curb violations, most of which occurred due to lack of awareness about ones rights, by fighting these at the social as well as the legal level.
We are going to educate people, particularly school and college students, about their rights and duties as well. Efforts would be made to make the police authorities to put boards in police stations with rights of people described on these, Mr Mishra explained.
Mr Mishra and Mr Sood expressed concern at the increasing human rights violations in the state due to a never before unholy nexus among the ruling SAD-BJP combine, civil and police officials and criminals.
Mr Umrao Singh, chairman
of the Punjab unit of the department, and Mr Mishra
demanded that a commission be set up to look into all
types of violations in the state. They alleged that
Akalis, who had been claiming to be champions of human
rights, had diluted their stance on the issue after
assuming power. Lets have a commission
now, Mr Mishra demanded.
Amarinder promises fight for UT
BABA BAKALA, Aug 15 Virtually launching a pre-election campaign on the occasion of Independence Day, Mr Amarinder Singh, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, announced here today that his party was ready for a mid-term poll.
Let Mr Parkash Singh Badal dare announce the elections. We will win with a thumping majority, he declared. Even though Mr Amarinder Singh claimed that there was no dissidence in the PPCC in the presence of Mr Moti Lal Vora, General Secretary, All-India Congress Committee and in charge Punjab affairs, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister, and Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, member of Parliament, were conspicuous by their absence.
Mr Amarinder Singh said the Congress would give a crushing defeat to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in the forthcoming Assembly elections. In a significant statement, he said his party would fight for the transfer of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to Punjab and fair adjudication of inter-state river waters after coming to power. He said it was a matter of regret that the SAD which had come to power on the promise of getting the just demands of Punjab conceded, had failed to pursue these with the Centre so far.
The Sarb Hind Shiromani
Akali Dal led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra failed to hold
a conference as its tents were allegedly removed by the
administration. The gathering of the SAD was
unimpressive. Akali workers began leaving the pandal when
a senior Akali leader announced that Mr Parkash Singh
Badal would not be able to come. On the other hand, the
Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) attracted a good gathering.
Interestingly, many leaders of the SHSAD, including Mr
Major Singh Uboke, a former member of Parliament, were
seen on the LBP dais with Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia,
President of the party. Mr Ramoowalia said his party
would explore the possibility of a third alternative in
Punjab with the help of like-minded parties. He said the
SAD and the Congress were enemies of Punjab and
Punjabiat. Both parties had spread communalism for
remaining in power. He announced that his party would
continue to fight for the cause of Punjabiat.
DA deposited twice in GPF accounts
PATIALA, Aug 15 A careless clerk of the Block Primary Education Officer's office has submitted and got passed dearness allowance of about 130 government teachers into their General Provident Fund account twice.
The making of dearness allowance bills twice has resulted in Rs 7.43 lakh being taken out of the government treasury twice in March 2000. The money has been deposited in the General Provident Fund account of the employees. While the teachers did not know about it, the Education Department decided to deduct Rs 2,000 per month from the salary of the employees for three months. Teachers have objected to the cuts in their salaries.
A government teacher, Mr Kamalpal Singh, said the Block Education Officer had started cutting Rs 2,000 from the salary of the employees in July without taking them into confidence. He said some of the teachers had requested that the deductions be rationalised and cut over a longer period of time, but the request had been turned down.
The District Education Officer (Primary), Mr Harnam Singh Bajaj, said dearness allowance of employees had been deposited twice due to a mistake by a clerk working in the Block Education Officer's office. He said the clerk had got the bills passed twice and when the anomaly was discovered, it was decided to deduct the excess amount credited to the accounts of the employees from their salaries. He had written to the department to get the clerk transferred to some other place, where the responsibility would be less. The same clerk had made a few mistakes earlier.
He said the Block Education Officer had decided to deduct Rs 2,000 from the salary of each employee for three months as she was to retire by that time and wanted the deductions to take place during her tenure. He said only adjustment had been done in the case and the employees stood to gain from the transfer of money to the accounts.
Mr Kamalpal Singh said
the teachers stood to lose money due to the mistake of
the department, saying they would have to pay more income
tax due to the transfer. He said it was strange that it
took three months for the department to realise its
mistake after excess money was withdrawn from the
exchequer in March. He also alleged that while dearness
allowance for a period had been deposited twice, the
dearness allowance arrears for the period from June 1998
to December 1998 had not been withdrawn and deposited in
the General Provident Fund account.
CM urged to intervene in
medical college affairs
PATIALA, Aug 15 The PCMS Association, Punjab, yesterday urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to intervene in the functioning of the state medical colleges. The association alleged that the Education Minister was disinterested in the proper functioning of the department and maintenance of the academic standards in the state medical colleges.
In a press note issued here, the General Secretary of association, Dr D.C. Sharma, and the Press Secretary, Dr Ajay Bagga, alleged that almost 100 posts of senior residents, who were precursors to the medical teacher cadre, had been lying vacant in the medical colleges for the past several months. These senior residents were to be selected from the parent PCMS cadre as per a notified criterion.
A stretch of inconvenience
MALERKOTLA: A stretch of 700 metres ahead of Kelon Phatak on the Malerkotla-Raikot road is dotted with wide holes. Since the stretch is not metalled it causes inconvenience to pedestrians and vehicle drivers.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who visited this town in January this year had ordered the authority concerned to metal the stretch and construct a bus stand. But nothing has been done in this regard.
During the rains the stretch becomes muddy. As a result many vehicles get stuck in mud which causes inconvenience to the public, particularly to school children.
This area has about 50 factories, three educational institutions, a Muslim graveyard, one hospital, two mosques, one gurdwara and about 500 shops and residential houses.
A resident of the area, Mr Inderjit Singh, said though residents pay octroi, house tax, but the local municipal council has not provided the basic amenities to them.
Residents and various
social organisations of the town have been approaching
officials, from the local to the state level for the past
five years. They have threatened that in case steps were
not taken to lay the road they would not hesitate to
gherao the ministers.
Wives of detained cops send rakhis
AMRITSAR, Aug 15 Wives of detained policemen sent rakhis to the DGP, Mr Sarabjit Singh, to get their spouses released who have been languishing in jails for the past many years. Mrs Rajinder Kaur, wife of SP Dilbagh Singh from Ludhiana, made this appeal to the DGP which was handed over to him by BJP MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla here today on the occasion of rakhi.
The letter says the families of these policemen are facing great hardship. They led their force without caring for their kith and kin in spite of threats and even temptation of money to crush the insurgency so that people of the border state could live in peace, but now they are paying a heavy price for the good deeds, the letter says.
Mrs Inderjit Kaur, wife of Inspector Balbir Singh, Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur, wife of ASI Devinder Singh, Mrs Parkash Kaur, wife of ASI Arjun Singh and Mrs Surinder Kaur, wife of Inspector Gurbachan Singh are among the signatories to the appeal.
Water, slush and empty stands
AMRITSAR, Aug 15 Unprecedented security measures in and around Guru Nanak Stadium, venue of the state-level Independence Day function and heavy rain overnight resulted in thin public attendance.
Besides blockade of all roads leading to the stadium, securitymen prevented people from moving freely. Even those with passes were thoroughly frisked before being allowed to enter the venue.
Spectators were not allowed to carry cell phones. The strict security measures were attributed to the red alert in the country following reports of likely sabotage of functions by ISI militants.
Shops and commercial establishments were not allowed to be opened in the area and traffic was diverted. Many stands in the stadium remained empty.
The overnight rain, which began in the wee hours, today flooded many areas of the city, including the venue where water had accumulated beneath the dais. The TV and press camera crew had to cover the event standing in ankle-deep water. No effort was made to drain out the water.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute from contingents of the Punjab Police, the Home Guards, NCC cadets and schoolchildren, had to cancel inspection of the parade as it was not possible for him to reach the vehicle without getting drenched.
The ground turned into a pool of slush as securitymen marched past the dais. Most participants were ill at case due the slippery ground. Schoolchildren, too, presented cultural programmes in the slush with the sound system failing several times.
Those present on the occasion included the Director-General of the Punjab Police, Mr Sarabjeet Singh, the IG, Border Range, Mr Bakshi Ram, The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Narinderjeet Singh, senior police and civil officials, MPs and MLAs of Amritsar district.
The Chief Minister presented Parman Patras to nine prominent personalities of Punjab and compensation varying from Rs 85,000 to Rs 5 lakh to families of 18 Kargil martyrs.
Twenty tricycles and an
equal number of sewing machines were distributed among
handicapped persons and destitutes. Dr H.S. Soch,
Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, unfurled the
national flag at the university campus.
Orphanage presents orphaned look
PATIALA, Aug 15 Time seems to have stood still for Rajindra Deva Charitable Orphanage here. It still operates from the once majestic building donated by Maharaja Rajendra Singh in 1892. The dream of Dewa Singh, founder of the orphanage, still exists, but has faded somewhat now.
The building is in ruins and presents a deserted look. Everywhere in the building, plaster is peeling off. Nothing has been built to augment the facilities after its establishment and hygiene is below par. The ground in front of the main building is not maintained properly and has a depression where water accumulates. Due to this, no activity can be carried out here.
Children in the orphanage use open toilets and their bathrooms are no better. The main hall of the building is unused and does not have any furniture. Rooms of students are not being maintained properly and the place in front of the building has not been cleaned for years. At present, the orphanage has about 30 children, whereas, once it used to house about 70 of them.
The children here live for the future. Most of them have recovered from the effects of the tragedies in their lives. They are encouraged by the orphanage management to improve their condition through studies and practical training. Capital a boy called so because he was abandoned in the nearby Capital Cinema works in a press in the town to gain knowledge of the business and get a suitable job afterwards.
The Senior Property Manager of the orphanage, Mr Jaswant Singh Peshwari, said the institution encouraged children like Capital to excel in studies or take up skill-oriented vocational courses. He said these children studied in the nearby BN Khalsa School.
They also learn various skills in the nearby workshops. Mr Peshwari said the orphanage would soon have a new block with modern toilets and bathrooms. He said there were also plans to use the main hall as a common room with facilities like television and indoor games.
The orphanage authorities said they were not able to maintain facilities so far due to a lack of funds. Mr Peshwari said now funds had increased with more shops being given on rent by the orphanage. These shops are on prime land worth crores of rupees near the bus stand.
Resignation of Tandon sought
BATALA, Aug 15 Mr Jawahar Lal Gosh, general-secretary of the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Gurdaspur, today demanded the resignation of the Labour and Local Bodies Minister, Punjab, Mr Balramji Das Tandon, for the massive increase in the rates of water supply and sewerage connections.
The water supply
(domestic) rates have been increased from Rs 20 to Rs 90
pre tap per month and for commercial connections it is
increased from Rs 27 to Rs 180 per month. Likewise, for
sewerage connection, the charges have been enhanced from
Rs 120 to Rs 200 per year for domestic purposes, whereas
they have been increased from Rs 120 to Rs 400 per year
for commercial connections.
Power generation at Ranjit
PATIALA, Aug 15 The first unit of the Ranjit Sagar power plant started generating electricity on Sunday, according to a press release by the PSEB Engineers Association here yesterday.
The unit which generates 36 lakh units per day is expected to contribute to the peak-hour requirements of the region.
The project, which was to function a year back, got delayed due to some defects in the tunnels supplying water to the plant, said Mr Padamjit Singh, spokesman of the association. All the four units of the plant would be commissioned by October, he said.
However, the Ranjit Sagar power plant with a capacity ranging from 36 lakh to 72 lakh units per day is not sufficient to handle the growing need for electricity in Punjab which is to the tune of 1,000 lakh units.
Regularise ad hoc panchayat
PATIALA, Aug 15 Mr Brahm Mohindra, former Cabinet minister and member of the AICC, urged the state government to regularise the services of all ad hoc panchayat secretaries as a gesture of goodwill on Independence day.
In a press note, Mr Mohindra urged the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to regularise those who were in government service for the past five years. He said the government should pass a special ordinance to this effect.
Mr Mohindra claimed that
although more than 1,100 posts of panchayat secretary
were lying vacant, the government had advertised only 700
posts. He also claimed that the government was all set to
abolish the posts of nearly 500 panchayat secretary
working on ad hoc basis.
Students tie rakhis
on jawans wrists
WAGAH (Amritsar), Aug 15 The BJP MLA, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, along with 200 students from various schools and colleges tied rakhis on the wrists of hundreds of jawans of the BSF, the CRPF, the Indian Reserve Battalion and the Punjab Police posted here.
The mood was festive. The beats of the drum enlivened the checkpost. Thousands of onlookers from across the Redcliff Line saw the girls tying colourful threads on the wrists of the jawans.
Mrs Chawla, speaking on
the occasion, said she had been visiting jawans and
officers on the occasion for the past 30 years. She felt
it was the duty of the people of the country to honour
the brave jawans and officers who had made great
sacrifices for the protection of their motherland.
Women cyclists flagged off
MUKTSAR, Aug 15 (UNI) Two women cyclists of this small town were today flagged off for an expedition of Khardungle Pass in Ladakh, which is situated at a height of 18,350 feet above sea level.
The expedition, consisting of Sukhwinder Kaur and Paramjit Kaur, was flagged off by Punjab Minister of State for Rural Development Sujan Singh.
2 liquor smugglers arrested
GURDASPUR, Aug 15 The police has busted an inter-district gang engaged in the smuggling of illicit liquor from Batala to Gurdaspur. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note today said Nikka alias Taza Masih and Raja brothers and residents of Ghot Pokar under Gurdaspur sadar police station, have been arrested and 750 bottles of illicit liquor have been recovered from their possession.
A Maruti van, used for smuggling the illicit liquor, has also been taken into custody. Their accomplice Kala, resident of Mustafabad, who was driving the Maruti van managed to escape. The accused were arrested yesterday by a police naka party at bridge Mangal Sain. Harjeet Singh resident of Athwal village, Batala, who had been supplying liquor to the accused has evaded arrest.
10 held for gambling
TARN TARAN, Aug 15
Ten persons namely Boota Singh, Sawant Singh, Issa
Masih, Billa Masih, Baldev Singh, Manjit Singh, Kala
Singh, and Sukha Masih, all the residents of Khem Karan
have been detained under the Gambling Act by the Khem
Schools celebrate Independence Day
DERA BASSI, Aug 15 A cultural programme was organised by different government and public schools to celebrate Independence Day here today.
Mr Sher Singh Sidhu, SDM, Dera Bassi, took the salute at the march past of contingents of the Punjab police, Home Guards, Fire Brigade, NCC cadets and school students.
Besides presenting jhankies, students also performed skits based on patriotism.
Mr Sidhu, who was the chief guest, hoisted the Tricolour and emphasised upon the sacrifice made by Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev for an independent India. He said love for the country should be inculcated among the students.
Besides honouring the families of Kargil martyrs, four tricycles were also presented to the handicapped.
Meanwhile, Mr Ashok Kumar Sikka, Administrator of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, unfurled the National Flag on the premises of the civic body.
The students of DAV Public School, Dera Bassi, celebrated Independence Day with a difference as they took a pledge to work for the unity and integrity of the country. The teachers and students formed a human chain to give the message of unity.
RAJPURA: We should follow in the footsteps of the freedom fighters who laid down their lives for independence and be prepare for any type of sacrifice, said Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Minister for Punjab Public Works Department, while addressing a public gathering after hoisting the National Flag here.
The students of different schools presented an impressive cultural programme to mark the day.
Besides honouring over 30 persons and students for their outstanding performances in various fields, the minister also presented tricycles to the handicapped persons and sewing machines to poor women of the subdivision.
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