|Monday, September 11, 2000,
Centres dithering delays
Randhawa freed, police pulled up
Near-complete border fencing
Cyber dhabas for villages
Bhattal fails to show up at PPCC
Row over AICC unit ends
Voters in mood to punish
30 injured as bus collides with
CPI accuses MC leaders of
A Sikh Regiment battle etched in
Village contests being left out of
Will DRDA staff be regularised?
PSHRC takes up
tortured womans case
Tributes paid to 1965 war hero
Punjab to check sale of inferior
Delay in disbursing pension
Tipri rhythms are fading out in
23 marriages solemnised
PCMS body decries anomalies panel
Two commit suicide
14 held for gambling
Husband, kin held for dowry death
Fake pay orders racket
One killed, five hurt in attack
Bank unions to resist
Millers seek policy on levy rice
Agricultural corporation to set up
Centres dithering delays
BATHINDA, Sept 10 Rice mill owners have not entered the grain markets to purchase paddy yet as the Central Government has not announced its policy regarding the ratio and price of levy. Apart from it, the government has not announced the rate of custom milling.
Moreover, the government has not come out with its policy regarding the specifications on which Central and state procurement agencies will accept rice from the millers.
The rice mill owners said in absence of any clear cut policy of the government it is difficult to workout the viability for running their respective units.
It was the main reason which was forcing the farmers to make distress sale of paddy even before the procurement season started. Though the government had announced Rs 540 as minimum support price (MSP) for per quintal paddy, the fine quality paddy was fetching Rs 400 to Rs 480 per quintal in the markets throughout the state.
Mr Subash Aggarwal, member, Punjab Rice Millers Association, talking to TNS, said to avoid such a situation, the Government should have announced the paddy procurement and rice acceptance policy simultaneously. This step would enable the millers to make the purchases of paddy from the markets before the procurement agencies started its own operations on one hand and on the other it would save the farmers from making distress sale.
The rice millers were also apprehensive this season as they were thinking that with the increase in the overhead charges due to the hike in the rates of electricity and labour charges, the chances of running their units in profit had diminished drastically.
Mr Ashok Grover, another rice mill owner, pointed out that apart from these factors, the millers were facing hardships as the government had been increasing the MSP every year despite the fact that the rate of Indian rice in the international markets was declining every year. Moreover, the acceptance of Indian rice was also on a decline among the international consumers.
If the Central
Government was serious for saving the interest of the
farmers and the rice mill owners, it should make
arrangements for giving subsidy of those millers who used
to export rice to foreign countries.
Randhawa freed, police pulled up
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 The court which is conducting the trial in the case involving Rajiv Singh Randhawa, a human right activist, expressed its displeasure to the police for making false claims before the court on his involvement in a recent case of murder and dacoity in a city bank.
Mr Randhawa was subsequently released by the court of Mr Justice Arun Vir Vashisht after a three-day remand.
Rajiv Singh was arrested on September 6 while attempting to hand a petition to UK Home Secretary Jack Straw in front of the Golden Temple.
He was charged with robbery and murder as well as offences under the Arms Act in connection with an armed bank robbery in which two persons were killed.
Mr Randhawa is also a key eyewitness in the disappearance of Mr Jaswant Singh Khalra, a human right activist, who had unearthed evidence that hundreds of bodies were illegally cremated by the Punjab police after their arrest in 1980s and 1990s.
The prosecution could not satisfy the court over the detention of Mr Randhawa regarding the case of bank dacoity and murder following which he was released.
The court also directed the police to inform the court of any recoveries made during the remand period of Mr Randhawa.
Near-complete border fencing
MAMDOT (Ferozepore), Sept 10 Fencing of the 5-km stretch of Indo-Pakistan border across the Sutlej river here is near complete.
The fencing of the stretch, which falls beyond the Sutlej river was started late last year, under threats from the Pakistani Rangers. The Rangers had objected to the fencing saying it was too close to the zero line.
However, the Border Security Force (BSF) went ahead and gave assistance to labourers and construction agencies in fencing the stretch.
The BSF had to face challenges from across the border and the nature as well. A lot depended on weather conditions. Labourers had to cross over to the construction site through Sutlej river. Transportation of material by boats was also a difficult task.
The idea was to bring 3,000 acres of land in this stretch under cultivation. As tilling of this stretch was difficult, some 800 families of three villages Gazniwala, Raja Rai and Chak Rao Ka, who have their lands here mounted pressure on the government for adequate fencing beyond the Sutlej river.
Previously, the fencing was ahead of the river and the farmers could go there only after getting frisked and crossing the river with the help of boats. This had hit the cultivation of this stretch that witnessed mushrooming of wild grass.
While the stretch has been adequately fenced, the Joginder Post, is yet to be shifted near the wires. Besides, the BSF will also shift its own power sub-station near the fencing to ensure regular electricity supply to the Cobra wire network.
However, a 150-200 metre wide gap caused by the Sutlej in this part of the border stretch remains a matter of concern. Although the BSF has its own boats for patrolling, the riverine gaps in the entire Ferozepore sector have been into the thick of controversy, after several intruders confessed to having used these for smuggling.
Besides, indications are that the Pakistani Rangers and their army built defences close to this river stretch. Mischief to facilitate the ISI in exploiting this riverine gap cannot be ruled out.
FEROZEPORE: Women volunteers will be deployed along the border to assist the BSF personnel in frisking the women members of the farmers while going to and fro across the fence on the Indo-Pakistan border to work in fields, Mr G.S. Bhullar, the newly appointed DGP of Punjab Home Guards and Civil Defence disclosed this today in BSF Station Headquarters. The decision was taken as there were reports that women members were being utilised in smuggling and other across border crimes as there are several people whose fields were on the other side of the fencing. There are certain areas where the fields of Indian and Pakistani farmers are just adjacent to each other, which makes such spots vulnerable for anti-social and smuggling activities. BSF jawans were facing lot of inconvenience while conducting search of women going across the fence. DIG, BSF Mr Hemant Purohit who was also present welcoming this move said that this decision would relieve pressure on BSF jawans and help to curb cross border crimes, which recently registered a spurt.
Mr Bhullar, stated that the existing conditions in respect of the uniform, equipment and other facilities being provided to Punjab Home Guards personnel needed urgent attention and improvement. He accepted that the arms given to Home Guards personnel were out moded and said that he was going to take up this issue with the government soon. He asserted that the Punjab Home Guard volunteers were highest paid in the country, at present they are being paid Rs 70 per day which is likely to be enhanced to Rs 90 as declared by Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal a couple of days back. He told that 50 per cent of the expenditure of volunteers deployed on border duty and 25 per cent for those deployed in other areas was borne by the Union Government. He expressed concern about the reduction in the number of volunteers from 26,000 to present 14,000 during last few years and asserted that the main reason was that a lot of persons had got permanent jobs and others retired.
Mr Bhullar attributed
deteriorating condition of Punjab Home Guard and Civil
Defence to financial constraints and lack of
infrastructure. Lauding the Home Guard jawans, Mr Bhullar
said that whether it was against external aggression or
natural calamity, the jawans had stood shoulder to
shoulder with the BSF and Army personnel.
Cyber dhabas for villages
LUDHIANA, Sept 10 With a view to provide Internet facilities in rural areas, the Union Ministry of Communication has decided to set up sanchar dhabas in all the villages of the country.
These dhabas will be set up either in the village post offices or panchayat office for providing information and communication facilities to ruralites.The centres will provide internet, telephone, telegrams and other related facilities to villagers.
Announcing this at a press conference before launching the fully computerised services at the head post office here today, the Communication Minister, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, said the modalities of the scheme had been discussed and it would be launched shortly.
He said, the dhabas will be run by a Universal Obligation Scheme Fund specially set up by the centre for the purpose.
The fund has been created as the Dhaba scheme was not economically viable but the government will go ahead with it so as to provide the latest facilities to the rural population as it would, in the course of time bring rich dividends to the country.
He said that 5 per cent of the revenue saved by various departments of the Communication Ministry would be diverted for scheme.
With the setting up of sanchar dhabas villagers in the country will be able to access information through internet. He said, while several private persons had opened cyber cafes in urban areas for the benefit of the urban population, the rural people were not provided with the facility so far.
The minister claimed, the NDA government was committed to provide modern facilities at the doorsteps of anyone so that the entire population could benefit from the information technology wave sweeping the world.
The minister announced that as another stride towards providing facilities to the rural population all villages in Punjab will get telephone connections by September 15 this year. He said, of 13 thousand odd villages in the state no more than 50 did not have a telephone connection.
He said that Punjab will become the sixth state or union territory to have a phone in each village. Earlier Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andaman-Nicobar islands, Pondicherry and Haryana could boast of this feat.
Mr Paswan also announced replacement of all paper-coated telephone wires in the country within the next three years. He said with the opening of sanchar dhabas and providing of more connections the telephone density in the state would rise to 7 per 100 by 2005. He informed that the state had much higher tele-density than the countrys average figure of 2.8 but it was still far less than the developed countries which have a density of above 50 per 100 persons.
The minister announced that postal services in the country were being given a facelift as well. Now for a population of every 300 people, a letter box will be installed.
He said expansion of the services will benefit several extra development agents who are currently employed by the department of posts on ad hoc basis. He announced that most of these would be regularised as the working hours of these persons will increase.
PHAGWARA (FOC): Mr Paswan today scoffed at a suggestion that the move to privatise telecom services was tantamount to an admission of failure of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
Talking to newsmen at the residence of Jaswant Singh, a close relative of his he maintained that after the Congress government opened the floodgates to privatisation in 1991, the NDA could not keep its windows closed.
The floodwater has already entered and we have to swim with the stream, said Mr Paswan. He also brushed aside suggestions that privatisation was being done under pressure from the USA or international finance bodies.
It is not that our telecom employees were not competent, they lacked care and concern for challenges, said the Minister.
Referring to the telecom employee strike against privatisation, he said 2004 was not a quote from a Bible or scripture. There was nothing wrong in advancing the date for opening up the department to the private sector, he asserted.
Bhattal fails to show up at PPCC
PATIALA, Sept 10 Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and party MP Jagmeet Brar failed to attend a party meeting held under the presidentship of Pardesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh at Sunam yesterday to finalise the party strategy for the Assembly by-election .
However, party sources tried to downplay the issue saying that the absence of Mrs Bhattal and Mr Brar should not be misconstrued. Party Vice-President and in charge of the party office Sant Ram Singla said Mrs Bhattal could not attend the meeting as her brother was seriously ill . He said she would be campaigning intensely for the Congress candidate in the by-election .
Mr Singla said similarly Mr Brar would be campaigning for the party candidate in the by-election and that he could not attend todays meeting as he had gone out. He said the party would put up a united fight in the by-election and that all party leaders would campaign for Congress candidate Parmeshwari Devi.
However, even though Mrs Bhattal is likely to campaign intensively for the Congress candidate in the by-election, she has not been given any official responsibility. The party has divided the entire constituency into three sectors with senior leaders Santokh Singh Randhawa, Gurcharan Singh Ghalib and Kewal Krishan heading them.
Meanwhile, Mr Sant Ram Singla added that the entire area had been divided in 22 zones and party leaders assigned duties for each zone. He said senior leaders of the pardesh Congress had been deputed for each zone and four to five local leaders from the constituency would assist them in the campaigning.
He said the PPCC had cut up the constituency in 19 rural zones and three urban zones. He said Mr Kewal Krishan had been assigned the duty of being the election in charge of the lone urban zone. He further said the election in charges of the three zones would camp in Sunam itself during the campaigning period and that Capt Amarinder Singh would also campaign in the constituency for the entire period.
Mr Singla, when questioned about any further alliances before the period of withdrawal, said talks were going on with the CPI. He said the party was hopeful that the CPI would support the Congress candidate and withdraw from the race itself.
Among those who attended
todays meeting were Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa, Mr
Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, Mr Kewal Krishan, Choudhary
Jagjit Singh, Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, Mahila Congress
president Gurkanwal Kaur and district Congress president
Gurcharan Singh Dirba.
Row over AICC unit ends
JALANDHAR, Sept 10 The controversy over the presidentship of the Bathinda unit of the Human Rights Department of the All-India Congress Committee ended yesterday with the Departments Punjab unit of president and former MP Umrao Singh clarifying that Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, a former Minister, was the head of the unit.
The Bathinda unit of the organisation had run into the controversy following alleged claim by Mr Tehal Singh Sandhu, the convener, that he was the chairman of the district unit. He even organised a meeting of office-bearers yesterday in the capacity of the chairman of the newly floated organisation headed by Mr Umrao Singh.
Voters in mood to punish
PATIALA, Sept 10 Pradesh Congress Vice-President Sant Ram Singla today said voters were in a mood to punish the Akali-BJP combine in the Sunam By-election for their failure on all fronts and that the Congress offered them the only alternative in the by-election.
In a statement here, Mr Singla described the statement of former Union Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal that the Shiromani Akali Dal candidate would win easily as a figment of his imagination.
He said Congress
candidate Parmeshwari Devi was getting an overwhelming
response in the constituency which was demonstrated on
the day she filed her nomination papers. Mr Singla said
all workers had been geared up for the campaign and that
Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh was also
AISF conference on Sept 28
JALANDHAR, Sept 10 The All-India Students Federation (AISF) has decided to organise its 25th national conference at Jalandhar from September 28.
According to a press note, Mr Rahul Bhaiji national president of the AISF said that conference would discuss the Bhratiya Janata Party led central governments alleged move to communalise and commercialise education and following RSS hatred agenda to create the differences between different communities.
30 injured as bus collides
PHILLAUR, Sept 10 Hundreds of villagers, including women, demonstrated and blocked traffic in protest against the polices failure to trace those responsible for the mysterious death of a young unmarried girl, Sandeep Kaur near Maur village on Friday. Demonstrators raised anti-police slogans. Former Minister Ch. Santokh Singh, who led the demonstrators told this correspondent here today that Sandeep was working at a farm when she fell unconscious on September 4. She later died.
Her parents suspected foul play in her death and alleged Sandeep was poisoned. The blockade was lifted after an assurance by DSP Phillaur, Sajjan Singh Cheema.
In an unrelated mishap more than thirty persons, including women and children sustained injuries, when a private bus, carrying them was collided with a tractor trailer near Paragpur village on GT road last evening. All the injured were admitted to different hospitals.
In a third mishap a
woman, Kanta, a mother of two children, was allegedly
murdered by her-in-laws at Nagar village in Fillaur
sub-division yesterday. The police has registered a case
under Section 304-b IPC against three persons, including
her husband, Ram Krishan and arrested him.
CPI accuses MC leaders of
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 A three-member committee constituted by the CPI to probe the alleged nexus between land grabbers and the Municipal Corporation has submitted its first report alleging violation of government rules, flouting of bye-laws and orders of the High Court.
In a statement, Mr Tarsem Singh Bholla (CPI) councillor has claimed the Municipal Town Planning Department indulged in unauthorised activity on a large scale.
Giving instances, the councillor, addressing presspersons said a scheme was formulated to link Fatehgarh Churian Road, Majitha Road and Batala Road via a ring road to reduce traffic pressure in the inner city.
Similarly plans were passed to connect G.T. Road with Chabal Road. Besides this a 40 feet wide Tapai Road was to be linked to Chabal Road.
The three-member committee found that all these areas under the purpose for which the roads were envisaged, is connecting rural area with urban areas was defeated by encroachment along all of them.
Interestingly a councillor of the area also encroached upon a road.
Mr Bhola alleged that
nearly Rs one crore collected in compounding fee for
change of land use and land violations remain unaccounted
for. Similarly structures which were demolished including
Karan Palace at Joora Pipal, 40 shops in Ghah Mandi, 14
shops in Katra Sher Singh by former commissioner Mr S.S.
Rajput were recently reconstructed after his transfer.
A Sikh Regiment battle etched
CHANDIGARH, Sept 10 On the 6,000-ft high Samana Ridge at Saragarhi in the North-West Frontier Province lies a heap of stones which was a cairn constructed at a battlesite to commemorate a saga of valour 103 years ago, etched in military history as one of the five greatest battles ever fought.
The cairn may have crumbled and the men associated with the historic battle long gone, but over a century after the actions of 21 Sikh soldiers in defending their post at Saragarhi in the rugged Hindu Kush mountains awed the world, the story of the little known but exemplary battle continues to be heard, read and taught around the world.
On hearing the acts of valour, the British Parliament had then risen in unison to pay homage to the fallen soldiers. The unique battle, which is being taught in schools of France and figures as one of the eight collective stories on bravery published by UNESCO, has only been included in Punjabs school curriculum from this year. The Anandpur Sahib Foundation has also decided to include the epic battle in the Khalsa Heritage Memorial.
All 21 troops had been awarded the Indian Order of Merit, the then highest gallantry award applicable to Indian soldiers, equivalent to the Victoria Cross or the Param Vir Chakra.
After the second Miranzia expedition in 1896, the Samana Ridge was occupied as it was the only way to check raids by hostile tribesmen and also to secure trade routes which cut into the feuding and fanatical Afridis and Orakazais tribes. The 36th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment (now 4 Sikh) was deployed on the Samana Range between Khanki and Miranzai valleys. About 3 km to its east was Fort Lockhart where the battalion commander was based and to the east was Fort Gulistan. The Saragarhi post, a rectangular stone and mud structure with four-metre-high walls, served as a visual communication link.
A recce around Samana on September 9 revealed a strong force of Afridis and Orakazais tribesmen. As many as 29 standards were counted and the next day more contingents of Afridis arrived. A force of 25,000 tribesmen was estimated.
On September 12 before daybreak, about 20,000 tribesmen swarmed the ridge towards Saragarhi. Several thousand surrounded Gulistan Fort, while a third body cut off all links with Fort Lockhart.
At about 9 a.m., the Saragarhi Fort was attacked by about 10,000 tribesmen. The post was not capable of prolonged defence against such odds owing to weakness in construction, location and troop strength, while the enemy was hoping for an easy victory. But it was not to be.
The first attack was repulsed with heavy casualties to the enemy. Over the next six hours, a force, under Havaldar Ishar Singh, repulsed repeated attacks, with victory nowhere in sight for the attackers. The tribal chief, Gul Badshah, tried to allure the defenders and after failing, launched another attack.
This time, however, two of the attackers managed to reach the north-west corner, where, shielded from fire, they managed to breach the fort wall. The tribesmen poured into the fort, but were checked with bayonets and pushed back.
They then set fire to bushes and forced them into the breach, filling the fort with smoke. It was noticed from Fort Lockhart by the Battalion Commander, Lt Col Hargton, who led a relief force of 98 men, but was intercepted by the tribesmen and forced to fall back.
All this while, the signaller, sepoy Gurmukh Singh kept up communication with the other two forts. His last message at 3 p.m. was that all his comrades were dead and that he wanted permission to close down the signal centre and use his rifle. On permission being granted, the sole survivor then took up his rifle and shot 20 tribesmen before being burnt alive.
The tribesmen later admitted that they had lost 200 men with another 250 wounded in the battle. They also told of how the defenders had held on and that a wounded soldier had shot four of them when they tried to force their way into the fort.
All dependants of the Saragarhi heroes were given two acres of land and financial assistance of Rs 500. In addition, September 12 was declared as a holiday for all Sikh soldiers. To commemorate the battle, an impressive obelisk was built at Fort Lockhart at Samana, which stands till today.
The valour and gallantry
displayed by the Sikhs has been summed up in a verse:
On Saragarhis ramparts died, the bravest of
the brave. Beneath Saragarhis ruined walls, they
found a fitting grave. For Saragarhi bears the fame, they
gave their lives to save.
Village contests being left out
of civic body
CHANDIGARH, Sept 10 The gram panchayat of Bhabat village in Ropar district has challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the notification constituting the Nagar Panchayat of Zirakpur, which had excluded the village from it.
A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice R.L. Anand and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh issued notice of motion to state of Punjab for November 28.
In a notification dated May 7, 1999, the state government had constituted the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat comprising the villages of Lohgarh, Himatgarh, Bishangarh, Bishanpura, Baltana and Dhakauli in Patiala district. But Bhabat, which has many common facilities like veterinary hospital, school, health centre, ration depot, etc, had been left out. The notification was quashed by the High Court on May 17.
However, the government again came out with notification on August 4, constituting the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat again comprising the same villages and leaving out Bhabat village. The government, while disposing of the gram panchayat objections, observed that the inclusion of Bhabat village in the nagar panchayat could be considered only after March 31, 2001 in view of the government ban on altering the existing limits of the panchayats and municipalities.
It was submitted by the petitioner that there being many godowns and godown-cum-shops in the village, being commercial in nature, was recommended for inclusion by the Director of Local Bodies. it also had common boundary with Zirakpur and a population of 11,000.
Will DRDA staff be
BATHINDA, Sept 10 About 400 employees of different categories of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), who have been working on temporary basis for the past 30 years, see a ray of hope again as the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will hold a meeting with their representatives tomorrow to remove their grievances.
Official sources said services of DRDA employees in Punjab were not regularised despite the fact that the Central government had directed the state government to absorb these employees in the state rural department many years ago.
Fed up with the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned, activists of the All-India DRDA Staff Welfare Association (Punjab unit) had threatened to self immolate themselves in front of the Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr Sunder Lal Patwa, when he had visited the state to inaugurate the Kaljharani employment project, a few months back.
Senior officials of the state government, who came to know about the threat, however, succeeded in pacifying the activists. After that the state rural development authorities and Joint Development Commissioner held discussions with activists of the association to work out a solution to their problem.
Mr Sadhu Ram Kusla, chairman, All-India DRDA Staff Welfare Association, while talking to TNS today said earlier meetings with Mr Badal could not be held on two occasions but the employees had pinned their hopes on tomorrows meeting.
He alleged that craft teachers working in the DRDA were being paid only Rs 1,200 per month, despite the fact that the state government had fixed Rs 1,760 as minimum wages. Apart from it, the gram sewakas of the DRDA had been denied leave, contributory provident fund and post retiremental benefits.
He pointed out that gram sewakas and craft teachers working in the state Rural Development Department had been getting full pay scales with all service facilities.
PSHRC takes up
tortured womans case
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has taken up the case of the wife of an alleged thief and her relatives who were tortured in illegal police custody.
The case was taken up on the complaint filed by Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP MLA. The next date for the hearing of the case has been fixed as October 3.
As per the complaint, filed by Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a person named Rajan was allegedly involved by the police in connection with a certain case of theft. Since Rajan was absconding, his wife and other members were picked up and kept in illegal custody by the police during which they were tortured. Later on his younger brother was detained illegally by the police and tortured for 17 days.
Tributes paid to 1965 war hero
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 The Panthers Division organised a solemn ceremony at the Abdul Hamid Memorial near Asal Uttar. It was on September 9, 1965 that company quarter master havildar Abdul Hamid of the Grenadiers, enacted saga of courage and supreme sacrifice a few metres away from the site of the memorial. The tree under which he breathed his last, is still looked after by the locals who witnessed the brave in action.
Company quarter master havildar Abdul Hamid, immortalised himself when he halted the advancing elements of the thrust of the Pakistani 1 armoured division. Equipped with an RCL gun, he displayed rare courage with utter disregard to his personal safety, and destroyed two tanks, single-handedly.
While engaging the third one, he was hit by a tank shell, directly, wounding him grievously.
Undeterred, he still disabled the tank and attained martyrdom. For his supreme sacrifice and raw courage, Abdul Hamid was awarded the nations highest gallantry award of Param Vir Chakra. As a mark of respect the state government of Punjab decided to bear the cost of maintenance of his memorial since 1999, at Asal Uttar.
Punjab to check sale of
FARIDKOT, Sept 10
The Punjab Government has decided to enforce seed Act
1983 shortly to check sale of substandard seed of
different varieties of crop in the state. This act could
not be implemented due to some technical problems
earlier. Under the act it will be mandatory for every
stockist to maintain a stock register in which he has to
mention the daily sale and the name of consumer and his
signatures. This was stated by Agriculture Minister
Gurdev Singh Badal at a meeting at Dhudi village 14 km
from here on Friday. He reiterated the determination of
the government to protect interests of farmers. Earlier
he declared the upgradation of village school from high
to senior secondary and laid foundation stone of
different link roads. He also announced a grant of Rs two
lakh for further development of the school. Later talking
to reporters he said the Food Corporation of India had
agreed to the proposal of the Punjab Government to sell
its (FCI) old stock of wheat and rice stored in the state
godowns at the rate of Rs 2 per kg to the weaker sections
of the society. The produce could not be exported earlier
to other states due to unavoidable circumstances known to
Delay in disbursing pension
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 The functioning of the Social Welfare Department in the disbursement of old age and widow pensions came under sharp criticism in the two sangat darshan programmes held today in the Beas area at Chowk Mehta and Baba Bakala which were presided over by Mr Manmohan Singh Sathiala, MLA and chairman, PEPSU Road Transport Corporation.
Besides pensions, other complaints related to construction of pavements, streets and drainage, power, revenue and roads.
The Deputy Commissioner
instructed the officials of the Social Welfare Department
to be available at a special camp at Chowk Mehta and Baba
Bakala on September 16 to expedite the work of
disbursement of financial assistance to its beneficiaries
and issue cheques accordingly without any delay. He said
the financial budget and sanction have already been
received and funds placed at the disposal of the
concerned department for disbursement. He warned that no
leniency would be tolerated in this respect.
Tipri rhythms are fading out
PATIALA, Sept 10 Tipri, a local version of dandia of Gujarat and a characteristic of the Patiala and Ambala districts, is losing popularity. Its performances are now limited to the occasions of Bavan Dvadsi, such as today.
Bavan Dvadsi is a unique festival of the region and is celebrated only in the Patiala and Ambala districts. Anywhere else, people are not aware of it. Now, tipri is performed during this festival only.
Once a major dance form of the region, tipri is now performed with vigour only once a year by local clubs. Competitions begin early in evening. A tipri competition organised by the district administration is held in Quila Mubarak every year.
The tipri sticks are similar to those used in dandia, but are stouter and dancers are all men. Each dancer holds a piece of rope attached to a central pole in one hand and the stick in the other. The art is to perform in pairs in the centre of the circle formed by the other dancers. Ropes of different colours get entangled and uncurled during the dance. The sticks are used to create a rhythm. Participants touch each other gently even though the stress is on fast movements.
Jagdish Pal, who has been performing tipri since 1955, does not know why the dance form is limited to Patiala and Ambala only. He said the art had been passed on to him by his forefathers and all his children, besides the others in the locality, had learned it. However, he finds the artistry of old times missing these days. The dance that had been made popular by persons like him, Dayal Chand, Bhima and Pyare Lal, had lost its former glory, he said.
Now, its performance has become restricted to only the festival days, he said. The other veterans of the art said youngsters used to practice extensively for the performance on the festival day. They said boys practicing tipri routines in akharas used to be a common sight in the old city. Though competitions are still held in many parts of the old city like Arna Barna Chowk, Adalat Bazar Chowk, Jauhrian Bhattian, Anardana Chowk and A Tank, there is less enthusiasm among the new generation about the dance. It was mostly performed by children of former tipri performers now, veterans said.
Besides tipri performances, residents witness tableaus on various mythological themes going around the city during Bavan Dvadsi. The festival is to celebrate the victory of Lord Vishnu, who in the form of a dwarf, had tricked Raja Bali to grant him three wishes, before transforming into a giant to take the Earth, the sky and Balis life.
festival-related programmes were held in the city. The
Brahm Mohindra Fans Club organised a tipri demonstration
at Sirhindi Gate. Members of the Sirhindi Gate team
entertained the audience with their performance. A former
minister, Mr Brahm Mohindra, was the chief guest at the
Sirhindi Gate function. At the function, he honoured
veteran tipri performers.
23 marriages solemnised
TARN TARAN, Sept 10 Twentythree mass marriages were solemnised today here at a function organised by the Local Citizens Council, which was presided over by Dr Inderjit Kaur, president, All-India Pingalwara Society, and Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Minister for Cooperation, Punjab, was the chief guest.
Dr Inderjit Kaur blessed the newly wed couples. Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura announced a grant of Rs 51,000 for the council.
BATHINDA, Sept 10 Moorni Devi was killed today in an accident which took place on the G.T. Road near the local Ganesha Basti this morning.
Holiday on Sept 12
JALANDHAR, Sept 10 The district administration has declared a local holiday on September 12 on account of Baba Sodal Mela here.
Mr S.Shiva Parsad, Deputy Commissioner, said all government, semi-government offices and educational institutions of the district would remain closed. The holiday will not be under the Negotiable Instruments Act.
74 lakh for Bathinda
CHANDIGARH, Sept 10 The Centre has released Rs 74.6 lakh for the wasteland development project in Bathinda. The money, from the Rural Development Ministry, is to be spent in the current year.
The project will provide a tremendous development boost to the relatively backward district, says an official release. The money for the project was sought when the Union Minister, Mr Sunder Lal Patwa, visited Punjab at the invitation of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, earlier this year.
Homage paid to Jagat Narain
MOGA, Sept 10 (PTI) People from all walks of life remembered veteren freedom fighter, politician and former Punjab Minister Lala Jagat Narain today.
The founder editor of the Hind Samachar group of newspapers. Narain was gunned down by the militants on September 9, 1981.
Rajeana case: CBI probe sought
BATHINDA, Sept 10 Mrs Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, MLA and a senior BJP leader, today said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister of Punjab should order the CBI probe into police highhandedness that took place in Rajeana village of Moga district last month. Two sisters namely Jaswinder Kaur, unmarried and Gurcharan Kaur, widow, were allegedly abused and slapped by ASI Gurmail Singh of Bagapurana police station on August 16.
Talking to mediapersons
here today she said in Amritsar Harike Pattan women had
been tortured and gang-raped, she said that even the
Vidhan Sabha was not ready to answer questions about
PCMS body decries anomalies
AMRITSAR, Sept 10 The PCMS Association condemned the anti-employee recommendations of the state anomalies committee. The recommendations of the committee appear to be mischievous and purported to undo the justice meted out by state government to its employees. The state government will be put to embarrassment if the arbitrary recommendations of the committee are taken up by the state for consideration.
Dr Rabinder Singh Sethi, senior vice-president of the association said that its recommendation to withdraw time-bound scales given to PCMS doctors after four/nine and 14 years of service was ridiculous. The doctors working in different cadres of central government are already getting these scales for the past more than eight years. The Punjab Pay Commission gave PCMS doctors these scales only after careful considerations of facts.
The PCMS doctors are still getting lower pay scales as compared to other members of various all-India services. Any attempt to tinker with the existing pay scales will invite strong protests from the PCMS association.
Two commit suicide
PATIALA, Sept 10 Two persons committed suicide in the city during the past 24 hours.
According to sources Suneeta Rani of Darshan Colony allegedly committed suicide yesterday following a tiff with her husband. Sunitas father had died last week and she wanted to remain in her parents home at Theri village, near here, but was forced to come to her in-laws place by her husband following which she committed suicide .
In another case, Sandeep Baghi, an unemployed postgraduate youth, who had done a course on tourism, committed suicide after feeling frustrated at not being able to get a suitable job. The youths father is an Army officer and resides in the Urban Estate . He had allegedly committed suicide by consuming some pesticide.
1 dies in accident
Charan Singh met with an accident yesterday when he was hit by a car while on his way to pay obeisance at the Kali Devi temple here on The Mall. Sources said Charan Singh was a regular at the temple and met with the accident while going there with a bottle of liquor to offer as prasad at the temple. Charan Singh is survived by his wife and six daughters.
The body of a person has
been recovered from Bishen Nagar in the city. Sources
said Jaswinder Singh, a 55-year-old man, was strangled
and his body had been kept in a room for the past four to
14 held for gambling
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Sept 10 Police and civil officials led by Mr A.K. Singla ADC (G) and SP (H) yesterday made a raid on a gambling den outside Multani Dhaba on the GT Road Rajinder Garh near Sirhind town and arrested 14 persons involved in gambling and skill games.
According to the ADC (G) and the SP (H) the district administration had been getting regular complaints about the fleecing of the bus passengers as well as of the truck drivers, who used to halt at the dhaba for refreshment by the owners of the gambling den.
Narrating the modus operandi they said that the owners used to put their own men for playing various skill games and these people continue to win large amount and the innocent passengers fell in the trap and lose money. They said if any one tried to protest henchmen of the owner used to beat up the passenger.
The SP(H) said that a case U/S 13, 3, 67 of the Act Gambling had been registered. Owner of the dhaba is still at large.
Husband, kin held for dowry
GARHSHANKAR, Sept 10 The police in a case of death of Rekha Rani of Kokowal village near here arrested her husband Ramesh Kumar, sister-in-law Paramjit and brother-in-law Rakesh Kumar.
Rekha Rani of village Sagnoi of Una district, was married to Ramesh Kumar of Kokowal village three years ago. She was harassed by in-laws for bringing more and more dowry.
Last month she came back to her in-laws village after spending a month at her parents place after being given an assurance by Panchayat of the village.
On August 4, Rakesh
Kumar brother of Ramesh Kumar went to the house of
Rekhas parents village in a Maruti van and told
them accompany him to Kokowal village because Rekha was
ill. When they reached the village, the victim had
expired immediately and they were threatened with dire
consequences if they tried to inform the police, stated
father of the deceased in his statement to the police.
Fake pay orders racket
PHILLAUR, Sept 10
A fraud has been detected at different railway stations
of the Ferozepore division during the past few months.
According to railway sources, a gang of cheaters is
collecting huge amounts through fake pay orders.Recently,
two members of the gang presented fake railway pay orders
of Rs 11,000 and Rs 10,000 before the railway authorities
here and Phagwara railway stations, respectively, and
succeeded in getting the amounts in the name of ticket
refunds. The pay orders were supposed to be issued by the
Chief Commercial Manager, New Delhi, after receiving
ticket deposit receipts. The railway police has been
informed in this regard.Meanwhile, the railway
authorities have decided to take stern action against
those cycle/scooter/car stand owners who were caught
overcharging customers. Railway sources said here today
that a circular for fixation of rates had been issued.
One killed, five hurt in
BARNALA, Sept 10 One person was killed and five others injured here yesterday when a gang of burglars, numbering six to eight, attacked Honorary Captain Harnek Singh, his wife Kulwant Kaur, his daughter-in-law Kamaljit Kaur, his tenant Harwant Singh Bittu, his wife Pushpinder Kaur and a servant with iron rods and other weapons.
The victims were attacked when they were asleep in open in the rear courtyard of their residence.
Mr Harwant Singh Bittu, who runs a tractor workshop on the local college road, was killed. The remaining five were shifted to Dayanand Medical College Hospital.
The gang members also searched the rooms of the house.
Mr Ajaib Singh Kaleka, SSP, said it seemed to be the handiwork of professional criminals from outside the state.
Bank unions to resist
PATIALA, Sept 10 The twenty-first general body meeting and Triennial Conference of Associate Bank Officers Association (ABOA) today said all of its unions would go on a one-day strike in the event of any ordinance being promulgated for privatisation of banks.
The ABOA meeting, which took place in the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hall of Punjabi University, was attended by more than two thousand officers from 700 branches of the bank situated all over the country.
While speaking at the conference ABOA General Secretary A. Anantha Krishna Rao said the United Forum of Banks Unions (UFBU) had decided to launch a nation-wide campaign against the government move to privatise banks. He said dharnas would be held at all state capitals in this regard tomorrow.
Mr Krishna Rao said the main issues before the unions included opposing privatisation and blocking further disinvestment. He said the unions were demanding provision of adequate capital to capital starved banks and opposing downsizing of manpower through VRS and a freeze on employment.
Instead a list of defaulting big-borrowers should be published and wilful default should be declared a criminal offence. He said the properties of individual directors in defaulting companies should be confiscated and they should be made ineligible for further loans. He said strong legal reforms should be initiated to expedite recovery of bank dues.
Former ABOA President BC Bassi advised the members to be vigilant and to be prepared for any direct action as the government would try to privatise the banking industry.
Mr Amar Singh, Secretary
welcomed the chief guest Mr Alok Batra, Managing
Director, State Bank of Patiala. During the business
session Mr M.L. Bhasin, returning officer, introduced the
newly elected team for the triennial period 2000-2003
with Mr M.J. Walia as Chairman, Mr S.S. Sidhu as Vice-
Chairman, Mr Amar Singh as Secretary and Mr Chaman Lal
Singla as Treasurer.
Millers seek policy on levy rice
BATHINDA, Sept 10 Even as paddy has started arriving in the markets of Punjab, the rice millers are a confused lot in the absence of a rice-acceptance policy.
The rice mill owners have not purchased paddy yet as the central government has not announced its policy regarding the ratio and price of levy rice and the rate of custom milling.
Apart from this the central government has not yet announced the specifications on which the state and the central procurement agencies will accept the rice from the millers.
The rice mill owners stated that in the absence of any policy of the central government regarding ratio and price of levy specification and rate of custom milling they had been finding it difficult to work out the viability of running their respective units.
They added that this was the main reason which had forced the farmers to make distress sale of paddy even before the procurement season started. Though the central government had announced Rs 540 as minimum support price per quintal, the fine quality paddy was fetching Rs 400 to 480 per quintal in the markets throughout the state.
Mr Subash Aggarwal, member, Punjab Rice Millers Association, while talking to TNS said to avoid such a situation, the central government should announce the procurement and acceptance policy simultaneously. It would enable the millers to make the purchase of paddy from the markets before the procurement agencies started their operation and would also save the farmers from making distress sale.
He pointed out that this season the rice millers were also apprehensive as they were thinking that with the increase in overhead charges, there profits had diminished considerably. He added that the rate of electricity and labour charges had gone up.
Mr Ashok Grover, another miller, pointed out that apart from the above factors, the millers had been facing hardships at the central government had been increasing the minimum support price of paddy every year, despite the fact that the rate of the Indian rice in the international market was coming down drastically. Moreover, the acceptance of Indian rice had been decreasing in the international market.
He added that if the central government should make arrangements to give subsidy for those millers who export rice to foreign countries.
Agricultural corporation to set up
CHANDIGARH, Sept 10 The Punjab Government today declared food processing as thrust in the industrial policy. A number of incentives were announced to attract investment in this area due to the availability of large quantities of agricultural and horticultural produce.
A state policy on logistics related to horticulture produce had been evolved, said an official release. The aim was the commercialisation of horticulture, which would mean developing a cool chain infrastructure to avoid wastage which was up to 30 per cent now.
A high-powered committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for integrated horticulture development had been constituted. Another committee on exports under the Agriculture Minister had also been set up to define the roles and responsibilities of different wings/agencies of the government for the sustained development of horticulture produce through new varieties suitable for processing.
The Punjab Agricultural Export Corporation proposed to set up a food park with centralised facilities for the supply of disease-free plants, contract farming, pre-cooling-cum-cold storage, controlled atmosphere and ripening stores and a centralised juice concentrate and pulp production unit.
The food park would have the support of mini collection centres set up within a radius of 50 km for the procurement of fruit and vegetables for the centralised facilities and for 10 fruit and vegetable processing projects for frozen and dehydrated products.
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