Wednesday, March 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Cattle die of mysterious disease
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Khanna, March 6
Farmers of several villages in the district are having sleepless nights as a virulent disease is gradually claiming the lives of their precious livestock which are the sole means of their very sustenance.

A visit by The Tribune team to the affected areas revealed that hundreds of milch cattle have already perished because of the deadly disease which appears to be the foot and mouth disease, though it has not been identified and declared as such by the Animal Husbandry Department so far . In fact, farmers are fighting a losing battle against the disease on their own as adequate help has not been extended by the authorities concerned of the state government.

Although the government officials concerned were available in the area , they were reluctant to talk. The surprising factor is that many a cattle which had been immunised against the disease have also perished. The vets also admit this fact. The villagers say the authorities concerned have identified the disease, but they are not disclosing it for reasons best known to them.

The Tribune had highlighted the spread of the disease in its columns only yesterday. Some officials in the PAU had confided that the foot and mouth disease had surfaced in the state.

Sources said a team of veterinary doctors from Jalandhar had visited the area to collect samples etc. but it also did not reveal the nature or the name of the disease. According to the farmers, the cattle run high fever in the beginning and then they stop eating. A watery discharge resembling white froth starts flowing from their mouths and the feet develop lesions. It takes only a week or so before the animal meets a sudden death because of a possible heart failure or starvation or both.

In Ghaloti village alone, nearly 250-300 milch cattle have already perished because of the disease and nearly 150 cattle are still suffering from it. Reports of the disease affecting milch cattle have also come from Ghudani Kalan, Rara Sahib, Jeerakh and Bilaspur villages in the district.

Since the detection of the first case in Ghaloti village last month, the disease is spreading among milch cattle of the area like an epidemic. The villagers are dumbfounded. Their valuable cattle, in many a case the only source of their income, are being consumed by the disease one by one and they are witnessing the tragic loss helplessly. There is very little that they can do to avert further loss of lives of their ‘earning cattle’.

There is hardly a cattle owner in the area who has not lost one or more animals. A large number of buffaloes, cows, bulls and calves have perished so far owing to the disease. For the ignorant villagers, it is a ‘mahamari’ of some sort which is literally ruining them .

Sadly, the State Animal Husbandry Department is trying to keep the spread of the disease a secret. No guidelines or instructions, whatsoever, have been issued to the villagers to enable them to effectively cope with the problem . Even the name of the disease has not been disclosed to them.

Several villagers with whom The Tribune spoke said they came to know about the disease only when their cattle started running high fever and stopped taking food , and a watery discharge started from their mouth. Madho Singh of Ghaloti village, who lost five of his buffaloes during the past 15 days, said, “My buffaloes developed very high fever and stopped eating at all. I rushed to the doctor. He tried so many medicines but all in vain. The fever persisted and one by one they all fainted and fell on the ground. In five days, I lost as many buffaloes. I have suffered a loss of Rs 1 lakh.”

Similar is the tale of woes of almost all other residents of the village. Gurdev Kaur lost both her buffaloes while Sita Singh , who bought a pair of buffaloes recently, is also without one today. A poor villager having no other source of income was depending on his two buffaloes for earning his bread and butter. “I am totally ruined. This disease has left me half dead. I have no idea how I will be able to fend for the family now”.

Nirmal Singh, another sufferer, said he was told by the vet that his cattle had died of heart attack. While the veterinary doctor in the local dispensary knew about the disease, Nirmal Singh claimed that doctors could not diagnose it. “Some doctors from Jalandhar reached my place and took away blood samples and pieces of heart and other parts of the body with them. But they have not told anything about the disease so far. Many villagers came to them, but they could not provide a satisfactory answer to our questions. They just came and went.”

Official sources confirmed that experts from the Research Centre of the Animal Husbandry Department, Jalandhar, had reached the village and taken samples from there, but it seems that they did not bother to educate the villagers about the disease.

“Our ‘hadda-rori’ receives five to six dead animals every day. A foul smell emanates from the place and invades houses in the village. No measures are being taken to dispose of the dead animals . Their bodies just decay there. It may result in the further spread of this disease’’ opined a villager.


Chautala: sops harming farmers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 6
Stating that free power and water was harming the interests of Punjab farmers and was resulting in widespread wastage of groundwater, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, said today that he had advised his Punjab counterpart, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, against it.

Mr Chautala, talking to newspersons here today, said such sops were harming the interests of farmers as they were overutilising water.

Mr Chautala said in comparison, the Haryana farmer could not afford to waste water. “Since we do not have much groundwater and power resources, we are encouraging sugarcane farming which can raise the watertable level, he said, adding that his government was offering the highest minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 110 per quintal for sugarcane, for this, the government had to suffer a loss of Rs 48 crore. “Even the Centre had objected to such a high MSP, but we had to guard the interests of the farmers who are going in for sugarcane cultivation in place of paddy and cotton. We are opening two more cooperative sugar mills in the state. Moreover, we have already given Rs 12 crore to Punjab for repair of canals to prevent seepage and loss of water,” he said.

Mr Chautala said the WTO agreement was likely to harm the farming community and economy of the country and Punjab and Haryana were impressing upon the Centre to amend or remove some “anti-farmer” and “anti-industry” clauses of the agreement. “We have taken up the matter with the Prime Minister and we are hopeful that he will do the needful,” he said.


Ceasefire a surrender to terrorism: Buta
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 6
While criticising the BJP-led Central Government for announcing unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir, which had taken toll of hundreds of security forces and members of minority communities, Mr Buta Singh, a former union Home Minister and MP, alleged that the Central Government had virtually surrendered before the ever increasing terrorism in the valley.

While talking to reporters here today, he alleged that since the Central Government had failed to control terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister, in order to cover up his inability to tackle the situation, had announced unilateral ceasefire resulting in killing of security forces and members of minority communities.

“What to talk about safety of common man, the government has not even able to save their own security forces who were being killed by various terrorist groups during the ceasefire, ” said Mr Buta Singh.

Claiming credit for routing the decade-long terrorism in Punjab with the help of security forces during the Congress regime, the former Home Minister said the Central Government should immediately withdraw the unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism should be dealt with by taking strong steps as was done in case of Punjab.

He further alleged that all frontal organisations of the BJP, including the VHP, the RSS the ABVP, were using the Central Government as a tool to spread Hindutva terrorism throughout the country.

Talking about electoral reforms and the allegations levelled by the Punjab Congress chief, Capt Amarinder Singh, that electronic voting machines (EVMs) could easily be tampered by changing its electronic circuit or chip by the respective state governments, Mr Buta Singh said the EVMs had failed in all parts of the world and ballot paper voting system should be reintroduced as was done by Britain, Germany and France to save democracy in the country.


India’s appeal to UN questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) President and MP, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today expressed his serious concern over the demolition of statues of the Buddha by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Equating the demolitions by the Taliban with the desecration of the Golden Temple complex in 1984 and the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992, Mr Mann said that the threat given by the Shiv Sena that it would destroy other Muslim heritage buildings if the Taliban did not stop its actions, speaks of the tit- for- tat policy which must be stopped.

He said the BJP had applauded the late Indira Gandhi for Operation Bluestar. He alleged that the present Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, was responsible for the demolition of Babri Masjid and said that such leaders never condemned the action of the security forces at Charar-e-Sharif in Kashmir when the Congress was in power.

“We will not allow any fundamentalist outfit like the Shiv Sena to destroy any more places of worship,” Mr Mann said adding that the impact of India’s appeal to the UN against the action of the Taliban was in doubt as its own moral position on the subject was weak.

Mr Mann also accused the Shriomani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata party government in Punjab of double standards.

“The Dal (Amritsar) also takes a serious view of the 14 per cent increase in the defence budget as it will step up the arms race in the region,” he said.

Mr Mann was also critical of “non-representation” to the Sikhs in the beuraucracy at the Centre and in the Supreme Court. “There is no Sikh Judge in the Supreme Court. No Sikh officer is Secretary to the Government of India. The balance must be restored,” he said maintaining that the “denial of representation” to the Sikhs clearly exposed the “anti-minority character” of the BJP.


DAVP tightens noose around small papers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 6
Roop does not have any looks to show, Swaran is gold no longer, Senapati is not fighting and Inteqam no longer taking revenge. Even as all these newspapers have died a slow death due to the change in the newspaper policy of the Punjab Government which stopped advertisements to small newspapers, now even the central government has tightened the noose around small papers by imposing stringent norms for eligibility to get advertisements at DAVP rates which they will find near impossible to meet.

Many small newspaper proprietors have failed to submit the application forms for fresh empanelment or renewal of rate contract with the DAVP for the year 2001 - 2002, the last date for which expired recently on February 28. The application forms were not submitted by them as they could not fulfil the conditions demanded for empanelment.

According to a recent communication sent by the DAVP to all small newspapers, they must give complete details along with vouchers of the newsprint purchased by them, proof of income from sale of newspaper along with a balance sheet of profit or loss, file of the newspaper published during the past six months and an affidavit certifying that the newspaper is being published regularly along with its average circulation figures. The affidavit clearly says that if the circulation figures are found to be incorrect anytime the proprietor concerned will be liable to face action and his publication will be debarred from the DAVP panel.

Editors of small newspapers while talking to TNS said they were placed in a no-win situation. Some said they had sent the application form but had not sent vouchers of either the newsprint purchased by them or the circulation figures and the balance sheet. ‘’How can I send the details asked by the DAVP’’, said an Editor on condition of anonymity. He said the DAVP now wanted the name and address with the telephone number of the printing press, its make and brand name, size of the machine, printing capacity per hour and information whether any other publication was being printed by the same machine along with the print order. ‘’ It is impossible to meet these conditions as most of the bills made by us as well as the circulation figures are bogus’’, he added.

Some newspapers are not taking the trouble to reply to the DAVP circular and forgoing empanelment as their basic premise for applying is wrong. Most of them have claimed high circulation figures which cannot be justified. It is based on these figures that they are able to earn more for display advertisements given by the DAVP. A proprietor said most newspapers applied for the circulation category which was above 25,000 and below 50,000. The DAVP rate for this category was around Rs 40 per cm per column. On the other hand if they gave circulation figures nearer to the true figures of 2,000 copies per day they would get advertisement at the rate of Rs 10 per cm per column.

Surprisingly, however, some of the small newspapers of Patiala have still chosen to apply for empanelment with the DAVP and given affidavits claiming that their circulation was between 25,000 to 50,000. This has been done by others in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar though the number of newspapers applying for DAVP empanelment has gone down. The DAVP is set to weed down the number of newspapers eligible for advertisements from it by a few thousand following the latest move. While around 6,500 papers were empanelled two years ago now only 3,000 papers remain empanelled.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Small Editors Newspapers Union has taken strong exception to the latest DAVP move. Union president Sohan Singh Barha said the union would take up the matter with the Press Council. While welcoming the constructive steps taken by the DAVP to weed out non-functional papers, he said steps should be taken to encourage functional papers. Mr Barha also urged the Punjab Government to revise its advertisement policy towards small newspapers, saying that it should revive the earlier policy of giving display advertisements to small newspapers which had been closed since July 2000. ‘’ If this is not done whatever papers remain will close down’’, he added .

Another editor, Avtar Singh, who brings out Gairat weekly, said steps could be taken by the government to help small newspapers by directing local bodies like the Improvement Trust, zila parishad and the municipal corporation to give advertisements to small newspapers. “What is the point in giving advertisements by these bodies to national newspapers when local papers could suffice at a fraction of the cost’’, he added. 


SHSAD MLAs hold meeting
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
A meeting of SHSAD leaders was held here today at Jigiana, near here, under the chairmanship of Mr G.S. Tohra. It was, among others, attended by legislators Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Hira Singh Ghabria and Manjit Singh Calcutta.

Sources said the legislators would raise various issues during the ongoing assembly session. Four main issues reportedly came up for discussion during the meeting. The main issue, the sources revealed, was corruption. They pointed out the Akali government had promised to weed out corruption from the state. Instead, corruption was now at its peak.

Besides, the legislators would raise the issue of those officers who had opposed Operation Bluestar in 1984 and were now being “marginalised”. Instead those officers who had approved of the operation had been given plum posts. The meeting alleged that the “inspector raj”, which Mr Parkash Singh Badal had promised to finish had increased. Besides, the legislators would ensure that free power was not stopped to farmers.

Briefing the media, Mr Tohra pointed out although unity was good, it could not be reached as long as the basic issues remained unresolved. He said the party leaders were unanimous that unity could be possible only on equal terms as there was no need for the party to compromise, particularly on issues which had led to the division.

He said it was Mr Badal who had flouted the Akal Takht hukamnama and he should apologise for the same. Besides, he had promised to safeguard Sikh “maryada”, which he had not.

Mr Badal would have to apologise for all acts of omission and commission before talking about unity, he asserted.


Third front must, says Chandumajra
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 6
Former Member Parliament and veteran leader of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, while talking to mediapersons at Bahadurpur village in the district today, stressed the need to create a third front. He said the creation of third front had become necessary as the Congress and the BJP were taking decisions jointly which were fatal to the interest of the country. He said policies of the third front would come to fore after ensuing elections of West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu legilative assemblies.

Talking about the Central Budget, Professor Chandumajra said the Budget proposals would put farmers, labourers, youth, producers and consumers under the yoke of middlemen. He said there was need of framing proposals to safeguard the interests of farmers and artisans from ill-effects of the GATT agreement but the government acted otherwise. Mr Chandumajra also stated that nepotism and corruption in Punjab had reached its pinnacle and the state was heading towards disaster.

He added that during the four-year regime of Mr Badal, more than 1 lakh employed youths were forced to give up their jobs. Mr Chandumajra said it had happened because a number of mills of cooperation sector and some other big industrial units in Punjab like Punwire were closed down during this period. Replying to a question regarding unity of the SHSAD with the SAD led by Mr Badal, he said it was not possible till Mr Badal sought pardon from the Akal Takht.


MC poll postponed
Our Correspondent

Samana, March 6
The election for the presidentship and vice-presidentship of Samana Municipal Council which was to be held yesterday has been postponed till March 12 by the Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr Manpreet Singh Chhatbal.

The Returning Officer stated to the press that the election had to be postponed due to a quarrel among the councillors of two groups, in which fist blows were exchanged. It is pertinent here to mention that there are two groups in the council, one belongs to the SAD (Badal) and the other to the SHSAD (Tohra). The then secretary of Local Bodies, Mr N.K. Arora, had dismissed the presidentship of Mr Tarsem Singla belonging to the Tohra group some seven months back on corruption charges. Mr Singla has the support of 10 councillors, including the local MLA, and the other group has the support of eight councillors. 


Jatha may leave for Pak on April 11
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 6
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) is making efforts to organise a tour of Sikh jatha to Pakistan. Tours to the neighbouring country were banned during the earlier tenure of Bibi Jagir Kaur in November 1999.

Consequently, the SGPC under its new president, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, is leaving no stone unturned to put up a good show. As part of the ongoing efforts by the SGPC a letter was written to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, today to seek permission for carrying out kar seva in Pakistani gurdwaras in conformity with Sikh maryada.

A pointed reference to the hectic deliberations to make a success of the Sikh jatha under the SGPC banner is the unusual haste in applying for a passport by Mr Talwandi under ‘Tatkal’ scheme.

The justification given for the hurried application, it is learnt, was that the SGPC chief “had to” lead the Sikh jatha to Pakistan on Baisakhi.

In addition to this, in yet another generous move the SGPC president has announced any number of devotees are free to apply as part of the Sikh jatha.

Earlier, the SGPC had fixed a quota for the number of persons eligible to go in the jatha.

This number comprised 3000 Sikh devotees of which 60 per cent were on behalf of the SGPC and the rest comprised devotees from other states.

The quota system was abolished in a recent decision on February 27 taken by the gurdwara committee.

According to information by the SGPC office, the jatha is scheduled to leave on April 11 for Gurdwara Panja Sahib while an advance party of the SGPC will reach Pakistan on April 9 to oversee arrangements for the devotee's stay, as well as prepare for the commencement of Shri Akhand Path according to Sikh maryada.

The jatha will then visit Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, Gurdwara Bora Sahib, Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore and return on April 20 to India.

Meanwhile, the SGPC has repeated its earlier announcement to all desirous of joining the Sikh jatha to apply to the SGPC office. All passports must reach the SGPC by March 10.


Punjab police officers to visit UK
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Four officers of the Punjab police — an Additional Director-General and three Deputy Directors of the Punjab Police Academy — will visit the United Kingdom for a fortnight from March 25 for studying the possibility of future projects on various policing subjects.

The Core Group of the Punjab police will comprise Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, Additional Director of Police, Punjab Human Rights Commission, and the three Deputy Directors of the Punjab Police Academy — Dr D.J. Singh, Mr Praveen Kumar Sinha and Ms Anita Punj.

The areas of study for the visiting team will include human rights, child rights, crime against women and children, community policing and higher police education and training. The entire programme of the Core Group is being sponsored by the British Government.

A team of three officers from the West Midlands police is currently on a tour of India. This visiting team interacted with senior officials of the Punjab police on various issues, exploratory to a possible memorandum of understanding on various subjects of common interest to both the Punjab police and the West Midlands police. The Chief Constable of the West Midlands police is also expected to visit Punjab next month.

The Punjab police team will visit London, South Yorkshire, the area under the West Midlands police, Scotland and Leeds.

The concept of community policing in which the British claim to have some expertise will be one of the major areas of study for the visiting Punjab police officers. Another area of focus for the team will be a study of higher police education and training.

The Punjab police is keen that its Phillaur-based police academy, one of the premier police training institutes in the country, gets the status of a Deemed University. As such, three Deputy Directors will be studying not only the syllabi and curriculum of higher police education programmes in England but also the infrastructure and equipment required for training policemen, especially in the areas of information technology and cyber crime.

The exchange of visits with various police organisations of the UK in the recent past and a few more in the coming months is expected to be of mutual benefit to both the Punjab police and the visiting teams.

Though officially nothing about the exchange of intelligence and information on the activities of various militant organisations based in the two countries has been admitted, these visits are also viewed as a joint bid to curb such activities in general and narco-terrorism in particular.

Meanwhile, Dr D.J. Singh of the PPA has been felicitated by the Indo-British Project on Child Rights and Child Protection in Punjab as a Lead Trainer. A medal and a citation were presented to him. The citation said that Dr D.J. Singh had started a movement to enlighten the population of Punjab on becoming a sensitive and caring society. “In his role as a Lead Trainer, he gained knowledge about child rights and child protection, designed an innovative training programme, and trained trainers to deliver the training effectively through a series of public education programmes,” the citation said.


 Admn’s assurance to HC on poll
Tribune News Service

Maur Mandi, March 6
The election to the posts of president and vice-president of the local municipal council has taken a new turn with the district administration giving a commitment in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today that it will be held in a free and fair manner on March 7.

Sources said the district administration had also promised that the election, which had been postponed several times, would not be postponed again.

Mr Rakesh Kumar Garg, Executive Officer (EO), Sardulgarh, and brother of municipal councillor Satish Kumar Garg, was given the additional charge of EO of the municipal council. Unconfirmed reports, however, said apprehending trouble, he had not taken over the additional charge and had decided to do so only after the election process was over.

The election which was to be held on February 16 on the directions of the high court was postponed by the SDM-cum-returning officer, Mr Sukhminder Singh, after one of the municipal councillors tore ballot papers.

The election could not be held on the next date (February 28) as the convener, Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), was away to Chandigarh to attend a meeting convened by the Chief Minister.

The election also could not be held as out of the total 14 councillors, seven had formed groups. In these circumstances, the vote of the MLA of Talwandi Sabo, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, has become decisive.

Both groups were being backed by senior leaders of the ruling SAD. Both groups have been pressing the district administration to make arrangements so that they could elect the president and vice-president of their own choice.

Mr Ajaib Singh Bhatti, ADC (General), said Mr Aggarwal, who had been made convener, was free to take the help of the police to conduct the election. He added that Section 144 of Cr PC had already been in force in the area.

Meanwhile, seven councillors, who had gone underground fearing a threat to their lives, have reached the town for tomorrow’s election.

Sources said the district administration would arrange an executive officer from another municipal council as Mr Garg had not taken over the charge.


40 students honoured by police
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, March 6
In an effort to boost the morale of the students who have excelled in academic, sports and extracurricular activities, the Kapurthala police, perhaps for the first time in its history, honoured 40 students of 10 colleges of this district at a function held at the residence of the SSP here on Monday evening.

The function was attended, among others, by prominent citizens, college lecturers, students, doctors, municipal councillors and members of the Police Public Relations Committee.

Presiding over the function, prominent Punjabi writer and poet Surjit Pater lauded the efforts of the police in honouring the students with certificates and gifts which, he said, would help in boosting the image of police in the eyes of the younger generation.

He urged the district police chief to continue this noble effort in future.

Addressing the gathering, SSP Iqbal Singh appealed to the students to channelise their energies for the uplift of society and building the nation.

He congratulated the students for their achievements in the fields of education and sports.

Renowned television artiste Gurpreet Ghuggi regaled the audience with skits and humour.

Pater gave away the certificates and gifts to the students.


Prof Manjit condemns Taliban act
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), March 6
The Jathedar of Takht Shri Kesgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, at a press conference today condemned the demolition of world-famous Buddhist statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

“The basic philosophy of Sikhism advocates religious freedom. The Sikh Gurus attained martyrdom for saving other religions. All religious leaders should unanimously condemn the demolitions because it is an attack on the religious freedom of the minorities,” he said.

He said this year’s Hola Mohalla would be dedicated to de-addiction. Drug addiction was one of the biggest threats endangering the youth.

A unique campaign involving social organisations and drug addicts would be started tomorrow at Anandpur Sahib to motivate the younger generation to give up drugs.


Manak, Gill regale audience
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 6
It was a rich fare at the annual Mela Melian Da organised at Majri Akalian near here, today with a huge rural crowd being regaled by entertainers including Kuldeep Manak, Gurbhajan Gill and Jaswinder Brar.

The annual event, which is organised by the Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Memorial Trust, aims at promoting Punjabi talent. It was inaugurated by the Additional Administrator, PUDA, Capt R.S. Randhawa.

Another unique feature of the mela was the special honour bestowed on children of soldiers who died in Kargil. They were honoured by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir.

Mr Bir appealed to the youth to take the lead in protecting the traditional culture by patronising traditional artistes and not being led by modern trends. He announced that he would take steps to ensure the organisers of the fair were able to get a grant of Rs 5 lakh from the Centre. He announced a grant of Rs 50,000 from his side.


Appoint municipal commissioner: manch
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 6
The local Vikas Manch in a letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has urged him to appoint a permanent commissioner to the Municipal Corporation.

The post has been under the charge of the Deputy Commissioner and lying vacant for the past eight months, according to Mr Y.P. Gupta, manch general secretary. The latter has also stated that the civic amenities are in a deplorable condition in the city limits whereas illegal encroachments, bad sanitation, broken roads and an apathetic attitude of the government rules the roost.


Cane growers allege bunglings
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 6
The Sugarcane Growers Association, Faridkot, in a resolution passed at its meeting held here last evening alleged bunglings had been made by the management of local cooperative sugar mill in connection with the sale of press mud and bagasse.

The association pointed out that press mud and bagasse were being sold at less rate by the management of the mill and this had been causing great financial loss to it.

Mr Surjeet Singh, president of the association, said those cane growers who had grown 1148 variety, were being threatened by the Managing Director of the mill, Mr Rawail Singh, that their crop would not be purchased despite the fact that most of the cane growers had grown that variety only.

He alleged the mill management had not made the payments for the first stock of sugarcane which was delivered to it by the growers in the current season. Penalty was also being imposed on those growers who had been failing to deliver the promised quantity to the mill as they had received less yield of sugarcane due to inadequate rains.

He further alleged apart from it, the cane growers were not being given any records in connection with the total quantity of delivery of sugarcane by them to the mill. He added that any cane grower, who demanded records from the mill management was being insulted by the management.

Mr Mohinder Singh Teona, general secretary of the Punjab Zimidara Union, in a letter written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had alleged unnecessary harassment was being meted out to the innocent suppliers of sugarcane by the management of the local mill.

He added the farmers were in a fix regarding GATT and these matters should be sorted out at the earliest. He added that the Punjab Zimidara Union had also sought an appointment from Mr Badal to discuss matters relating to farmers.

Mr Surjeet Singh said all payments of the sugarcane growers who had supplied cane to the local mill should be made immediately. He added the association had also demanded an inquiry regarding the affairs of the mill so that justice could be done to the cane growers.

Mr Rewail Singh, MD, when contacted, said no cane grower was being harassed for anything. He denied that press mud and bagasse was being sold at a less rate. He added that tenders were floated for the disposal of press mud and bagasse and they were given to the highest bidder.

He added the amount of penalty would be returned to those growers who would fulfil their commitment made in connection with the supply of particular quantity of sugarcane to the local mill. He said the payment for the first stock of sugarcane supplied to the mill by the growers was not made yet to assure that no grower could make default in his delivery of the required stock.


2 held in land grab case
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 6
The police has arrested Nanak Singh of Gurdaspur and his father-in-law Prithi Singh of Purana Shalla 10 km from here, for grabbing land of Mrs Nirmal Kaur, an NRI.

Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP said today that the land measured 22 marlas and was worth several lakhs of rupees.

The SSP said Nirmal Kuar sister-in-law of Nanak Singh complained to the police that she was staying in the USA for the past more than 10 years and had 22 marlas of land in the city. She had signed a general power of attorney of her properties in India on October 3, 2000, in the name of Prithi Singh.

The SSP said Nirmal Kaur fearing that she might not be cheated returned to India and sent a notice regarding the cancellation of the power of attorney. She sold the said land to Inderjit Singh of Batala, Jatinder Singh and Paramjit Kaur of Gurdaspur on October 17, 2000. She had sent a copy of the notice regarding the cancellation of the power of attorney to Commissioner, Jalandhar Division.

Meanwhile the accused in connivance with others get the plot transferred on November 15, 2000 in the name of Nanak Singh on the basis of the general power of attorney issued by the complainants. The SSP said an inquiry held in the matter by Mr Puran Singh Purewal, DSP, headquarters, found the accused guilty. A case under Sections 193/465/ 120-B of the IPC and 82 (a) of the Registration Act was registered yesterday.

Nanak Singh is already facing a trial in a criminal case registered against him in Khanuwan police station. He was caught red-handed while helping some students to cheat in the matriculation examination conducted by Punjab School Education Board.


Eunuchs clash, youth castrated
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 6
Zaheed Khan, a resident of Vikas Nagar in Dehra Dun district was castrated following a clash between two groups of eunuchs at Lambra village.

The victim, who came to pay obeisance at Peer Nigaha over two months ago met Chandani Mahant a eunuch and resident of Hariana town invited him at her dera.

When he reached Hariana instead of Chandani Mahant he came across another eunuch Asha Mahant.

He was unemployed and joined the group of Asha Mahant for which he was given wages.

On February 27 Asha Mahant along with Zaheed, Jagir Mohammad, Dharam Pal and Prem Lal went to Lambra village to get remunerations from a family there.

Meanwhile, Chandani Mahant along with her accomplices Sumitra, Banso, Subhash and Surinder Singh reached there.

This led to a clash between the two groups. Asha Mahant’s group fled the scene leaving Zaheed behind who hid himself in the nearby choe but was overpowered by Chandani Mahant’s group.

They took him to Hariana, castrated him and threw him in the adjoining choe. He, however, reached Asha Mahant’s dera and was admitted in Civil Hospital at Hoshiarpur.

The Hariana police has registered a case under Sections 365/326/327/148/149 of the IPC against Chandani Mahant and her accomplices.


11 Nihangs hurt in firing incident
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, March 6
The police has taken control of a dera of Nihangs on the Dashmesh Academy road here, after 11 persons were injured in a firing incident yesterday. A strict vigil is being maintained to avert any untoward incident due to the rivalry between Nihangs.

Eleven followers of Nihangs led by Baba Kashmir Singh were injured when a member of the rival group, Baz Singh, fired at them from a .12 bore rifle. Dispute between the two groups started over the camping site.

The disputed camping site belonged to the Sant Bhuriwale’s dera of Amritsar. After his death the deras at Amritsar were taken over by Sant Nirmal Singh. The dera at Anandpur Sahib was under the control of Baba Kashmir Singh. During the Hola Mohalla the followers of Nirmal Singh led by Dara Singh came to camp here. They demanded rooms at the dera Kashmir Singh. Not satisfied with the accommodation provided to them the group led by Dara Singh started erecting their own camps at the dera site. This led to an altercation between the two groups. Baz Singh, one of the members of the Dara Singh’s group, fired from a .12 bore rifle injuring 11 members of the rival group. Seven of the injured were admitted to Anandpur Sahib Civil Hospital and four seriously injured were shifted to Chandigarh.

Four Nihangs of the Dara group, including Rajinder Singh, Baz Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Surinder Singh, were arrested. A case under Section 307 of the IPC and Section, 25/27 and 54/59 of the Arms Act has been registered against the accused.


Charge sheet filed in Pinky case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
The police has filed a chargesheet in Avtar murder case. While the demoted police inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinky faces charges of murder under Section 302 of the IPC, other seven accused have also been named in the chargesheet.

The charghesheet was filed in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr B.K. Mehta, here yesterday. The other seven accused include Ravinder Singh alias Bittu Gill, Paramjit Singh alias Pummy, Jaswant Singh alias Punna, Iqbal Singh, Parveen Kumar, Pawan Kumar and Simarjeet Singh. There are 47 witnesses listed in the chargesheet.

The chargesheet mentions that on the fateful night of January 7, the deceased along with six others, was on way to Tagore Nagar. The eight accused were sitting on the roadside and parked two vehicles on the road. The accused allegedly prevented them from taking that road. 


Body found
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 6
Dead body of a woman was found in a “Rajwaha” near Kotbhai’ about 15 km from here, today.

The deceased about 50-year-old was brought to the local Civil Hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Welfare Club and cremated after a post-mortem examination. The deceased could not been identified.

The police sources said a case had been registered in this connection.


Modern academy for RSS teachers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
Vidya Bharti, affiliated to the RSS and running a chain of educational institutions across the country, will set up a modern academy at Mansa. The academy will cater to the needs of teachers in Vidya Bharti schools in the north.

The foundation stone of the academy will be laid by the RSS chief, Mr K.C. Sudershan, and named after Narayan Dass who devoted his life to the cause of Vidya Bharti.

According to Mr Madan Mohan Vyas, zonal president of Vidya Bharti, the academy will be spread over an area of 7.5 acres and completed soon.

Mr Vyas disclosed that all teachers of Vidya Bharti institutions in the North will get regular training at the academy. They will get orientation according to the national curriculum set by Vidya Bharti for its educational institutions. Vidya Bharti is the second largest educational organisation in the country after the government, with about 17,000 educational institutions, including colleges and schools, across the country, about 22 lakh students and about 85,000 teachers.

He said there were about 175 educational institutions up to the senior secondary level, in the north with about 10,000 teachers. These teachers would get regular orientation at the academy. The curriculum of the orientation would be set according to the education policy with focus on nationalist vision.

Vidya Bharti has been managing the educational institutions without any aid from the government. The academy, according to Mr Vyas would have facilities of boarding and lodging, besides a well-quipped library. The teachers would have a better understanding of national and international issues and their relevance to the country. Moreover, the academy would focus on a nationalistic approach towards education.

He emphasised that the academy would produce youth who would be accomplished in all aspects of education, including nationalism and patriotism, with physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual development. 


Computer course must for degree: VC
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 6
In a major policy step, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, will make computer IT course mandatory for graduate and post-graduate degrees by 2005, according to Dr H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor of the university.

Addressing newsmen at the annual prize distribution function at Saint Soldier College, Hadiabad, yesterday Dr Soch also declared that literacy work in rural areas would be made compulsory for degrees. A literacy committee would soon submit its report and students would be required to undertake “village sakhrata project” for becoming eligible for a degree.

They would be given upcoming courses in case they gave free education to five poor downtrodden students, continued Dr Soch. In this age of IT, a person without IT education was virtually illiterate, he said. Chapters about environment would be included in social science, he added.

Addressing the function, Dr Soch claimed that Punjab was a land of rich spiritual heritage, “We must make efforts to relate to these strong bonds of rich heritage,” he said. He gave away prizes to meritorious students.

Mr Anil Chopra, Chairman of the management, declared that the body would abide by the advice of the VC and give free education to five students in the new courses. Mr P.S. Sethi, MD, and Dr R.S. Gupta, Principal, also spoke.


Government college in poor shape
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

The local Government Rajindra College, one of the oldest educational institutions in the Malwa region, is in bad shape.

The leaking roofs of the building, the unsafe auditorium, inadequate number of classrooms, absence of an arts block and the poor condition of laboratories have failed to stir the authorities concerned to set things right.

The problem of leaking roofs is so serious that during the rainy season, parts of the building have to be vacated. The absence of arts and commerce blocks have compelled the college authorities to hold classes in the open.

Although the building is in need of immediate repairs, no funds have been provided by the Punjab Government for the purpose for many years.

With a student strength of about 2,600, the college, which has earned a name in the academic, cultural and sports fields over the years, seems to have been neglected by the government.

Fed up with the indifferent attitude of the officials concerned, the college authorities have started repairing some parts of the building using the funds generated by constituting the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA).

Mr Ashok Kapoor, Principal, said repair work had been done on the boundary wall. Besides, water coolers, the bicycle stand for girls, the open-air theatre and toilets had been made functional using the PTA funds.

He said some roofs were being repaired. A concrete lecture stand had been made in the open so that classes could be held there. A few gates had also been installed on the premises and blackboards repaired.

Official sources said the PWD had failed to carry out the necessary repairs despite a number of representations made by the college authorities in this regard. The department had only whitewashed the building last year.

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