Sunday, March 18, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Baba Santa Singh accepts ‘tankhah’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 17
After 17 years of his excommunication from the Sikh panth for carrying out construction of Akal Takht against “Sikh Maryada” (after Bluestar) Baba Santa Singh chief of Baba Budha Dal today accepted the “tankhah” (punishment for religious misconduct) pronounced by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar from the rostrum of the Akal Takht today.

However, Giani Puran Singh, head granthi, Golden Temple did not attend the meeting of five high priests in which the written petition of Baba Santa Singh seeking unconditional apology from the panth was discussed at length.

Baba Santa Singh, Budha Dal chief, appears before Akal Takht on Saturday. Photo By Rajeev Sharma
Baba Santa Singh, Budha Dal chief, appears before Akal Takht on Saturday. Photo By Rajeev Sharma

The move of the rejoining of the Khalsa Panth by Baba Santa Singh was kept top secret as it was being opposed by some of his followers.

The five high priests, including Jathedar Vedanti, Prof Manjit Singh, Giani Kewal Singh, Giani Bhagwan Singh, Giani Gurbachan Singh announced that Baba Santa Singh would be re-admitted into the Sikh fold after five days of “tankhah” which include recitation/listening of Japuji Sahib and arranging Akhand path at Gurdwara ‘Likhansar’ (part of Takht Damdama Sahib) and offering “Ardas”.

Baba Santa Singh, who is not keeping good health was brought in a wheel chair in front of the Akal Takht.

Baba Balbir Singh, who was appointed chief of the parallel sect of the Budha Dal by the SGPC after excommunication of Baba Santa Singh welcomed the decision of Baba Santa Singh for bowing before the Akal Takht after a long gap. He, however, said that now Baba Santa Singh must drop his claim to be chief of the Budha Dal as he had appeared before the Takht as a ‘humble Sikh’. He claimed that he was ‘real Jathedar’ of the Budha Dal as he was honoured at the occasion of the tercentenary of the birth of Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib and many other occasions by the SGPC. Though Baba Balbir Singh denied that he had opposed the readmission of Baba Santa Singh into the Sikh fold yet sources pointed out that pronouncement of “tankhah” was delayed for about an hour as Akal Takht was not clear about his (Baba Balbir Singh) fate. However, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti said that Baba Santa Singh would continue to be chief of the Budha Dal after his readmission into the Sikh fold.

The Budha Dal sect has a great history as its Jathedar Baba Phula Singh had pronounced “tankhah” on Maharaja Ranjit Singh for developing illicit relations with a lady called Moran.

After the damage to the building of Akal Takht during Operation Blue Star in June 1984, Baba Santa Singh took the responsibility to re-build the supreme temporal seat at the behest of Mr Buta Singh the then Union Home Minister who was deputed by Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister for this purpose. Though Mr Buta Singh had approached many ‘Babas’ of ‘Kar sewa wale’ for the renovation of the Akal Takht but everybody refused to do so as they would lay the pre-condition for the withdrawal of security forces from the SGPC complex. Baba Santa Singh took the help of Baba Narain Singh and convened the so called ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ on August 11, 1984 at Akal Takht and took the decision to carry out the ‘Kar sewa’. However, the Sikh Panth described it as “sarkari sewa”, as men and material of government departments were used for this purpose. The contract was given to a big company “Skipper Builders” owned by one Tejwant Singh. The renovation was complete within a record time of one and half month time. However, he was excommunicated from the Panth as the renovation was not carried out as per “Sikh maryada”. At that time Baba Santa Singh had claimed that he had done a “great sewa” as neither the SGPC nor the high priests had dared to stop Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale from occupying the building of Akal Takht which resulted in its damage of the Takht during “Operation Blue Star.”

While pronouncing “tankhah” the high priests gave lot of relaxation to him on health ground.

Baba Santa Singh is the second Sikh after Canada-based Rattan Singh Girn who had applied for atonement before the Akal Takht within a month. Earlier, Jathedar Akal Takht had started the process for readmitting Mr Girn into Sikh fold on February 27.

Talking to the press, Jathedar Vedanti claimed that many more Sikhs from India and abroad who were excommunicated from the Sikh Panth in the past had desired to rejoin the Panth. He said Akal Takht forgave all whosoever bowed before it.

The followers of Baba Santa Singh said that he had decided to rejoin the Sikh Panth for the “high spirits” of the Khalsa Panth. They said his step would be inspiration for others. Baba Udhe Singh nephew of Baba Santa Singh, Maharaj Singh, Baba Partap Singh and Mr Prithipal Singh, Personal assistant to Jathedar Vedanti played crucial role for bringing Baba Santa Singh into the Sikh fold.

It may be recalled that at many occasions, especially during the Hola Mohalla processions, the followers of Baba Santa Singh and the SGPC and common Sikh would confront with each other. It was age old tradition that the chief of Budha Dal would lead the procession on such occasions. With his rejoining the Sikh Panth, these festivals would now be celebrated peacefully. 


Puran Singh asked to explain
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 17
The five High Priests have reportedly sought an explanation from Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, Golden Temple, for not attending the meetings of Akal Takht. Giani Puran Singh who abstained, from the previous meetings, was not invited today’s meeting at which a decision was taken to award “tankhah” to Baba Santa Singh.


3500 schools sans heads
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The Punjab Government continues to dither over the issue of filling over 3500 vacant posts of head teacher, head master and principal in the government primary, high and secondary schools respectively.

Though the government has made tall claims in the past with regard to checking the menace of copying, it has failed to provide quality education in the schools and colleges because of the vacant posts. Functioning of educational institutions in the absence of regular heads remain in disarray.

The government has given several statements assuring people of filling the vacant posts. But it has done little on this front except entangling itself in legal complications on the issue of direct recruitment of head teachers. Though there is no bar on the government for filling a certain percentage of posts of head teacher, principal and headmasters through promotion but it has not done much on this front also.

According to official sources 2550 posts of head teacher in primary schools, about 500 posts of headmaster in high schools and nearly 500 posts of principal in secondary schools are vacant.

Out of 2550 posts of head teacher, 2033 are to be filled by direct recruitment and the remaining through promotion. In case of headmasters , 395 posts are to be filled through direct recruitment and remaining through promotion. In the case of principals, 214 posts are to be filled through promotion and some of the remaining posts are to be filled by direct recruitment.

The number of vacant posts of head teacher is the highest in Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts where about 300 posts in each district are unfilled. In Sangrur district about 90 posts of headmaster and 62 posts of principal are vacant. In Ferozepore district, 51 posts of headmaster and 32 posts of principal are unfilled. In Ludhiana, which is considered most progressive district of the state, 50 posts of principal are vacant.

Even the scenario in government colleges is gloomy. Nearly 70 posts of lecturer in different subjects are vacant in these institutions.


Corpn jittery over demolition
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 17
The Corporation is likely to find itself in troubled waters over the “hasty” demolition of multi-storey shopping complex covertly being built in blatant violation of byelaws of the Corporation highlighted by The Tribune dated March 15.

Not only was the demolition orders executed in “unusual haste” allegedly to cover up its own misdeeds but a flurry of activity was witnessed in the Corporation today over the scrutiny of seven other illegal constructions being similarly undertaken in Corporation limits, with the reported connivance of political connection corporation and town planning officials-nexus.

Three of these are Bharavan da Dhaba, nearly six illegal shops at Amrit Talkie chowk and a building near a gurdwara in Kashmir Avenue. Hectic activity was witnessed to plug loopholes in the files of these constructions which have been in the public eye for quite some time as also action plan to reply to the hue and cry over the hurried demolition.

Meanwhile the byelaws were flouted by the Corporation itself in demolition action of the said structure. Insiders in the corporation on conditions of anonymity say that the Corporation’s action of demolition is a “knee jerk, panic reaction” giving a clear impression of a “cover up” behind the face of a stringent action. According to Section 269 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act 1996, subsection I states that where the erection of any building or execution of any has been commenced, or is being carried on or has been completed subject to which such sanction has been accorded or in contravention of any provisions of this act or byelaws made here under.

The Commissioner may make an order directing that such erection or work be demolished by the one at whose instance the erection has commenced without or contradictory to sanction referred to in Section 262 or in contravention of any condition within such period (not being less than 3 days) on which a copy of demolition, with brief statement of reason thereof has been delivered to that person as may be specified in the order of demolition. Proviso: No order of demolition shall be made unless the person has been given by means of notice, served in such manner as the Commissioner may think fit, a reasonable opportunity of showing cause, why such order should not be made.

The byelaws clearly state that a minimum of three days was to be given to the party against whom demolition orders have been passed to give them ample time to reply to the notice or face action. In this case, the Mayor Brij Mohan Kapoor informed this correspondent at 2.30 pm of the notice to owners after an earlier talk on the same day February 14. However, at 10 am on February 15 the demolition of the structure had already commenced and photograph of the MC Action (demolition) were released to the media at 3 pm the same day. Hence from the serving of notice to demolition which finished at 2 pm the corporation gave the owners only 24 hours as against a 72-hour period.

Meanwhile Mr Daya Singh Sodhi former BJP president Punjab in a talk with The Tribune denied any hand in the multistorey shopping complex scam. He said his name was being dragged into the alleged scam due to his son in laws ‘proximity’ with the owners of the complex. However, he did not rule out the possibility of the hand of Corporation and Town Planning ‘high’ officials in the alleged covert operation. 


Industrial climate duty of state: Jatiya
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 17
Union Labour Minister Satyanarayan Jatiya today said if local entrepreneurs were to compete in the global market it became the moral duty of the State to provide them congenial industrial atmosphere so that they could concentrate on productivity.

Speaking at the second Lok Adalat held by the Labour Department here, the Union Minister said he would also direct the other State governments to follow the Punjab pattern in reducing the pendency of their Labour Court cases.

He said the State government had already sanctioned an amount of Rs 10 lakh for the purpose of carrying out a survey of bonded labourers. He assured that the Central government would fully cooperate on any initiative taken by the State regarding the issues of salvation of bonded labour, prevention of child labour and training to industrial work force on safety measures.

Mr Jatiya also appreciated the steps taken by the Punjab government to formulate a single inspection book. He promised to look into the possibility of issuing guidelines to officers of the Central government posted in the State to record inspection in the same book under ESI/EPF Acts. Around 4,300 cases were settled at the spot at the Lok Adalat in which Presiding Officers of Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda Labour Courts besides the Chariman of the State Industrial Tribunal participated. Around Rs 3 crore compensation was distributed among labourers on the occasion.

State Labour Minister Balramji Das Tandon said Punjab had a committed and motivated concillation machinery which was striving to maintain industrial peace. He said this could be judged from the fact that there were only 21 work stoppages involving 9,257 workers in the State during the year 2000. He said concilation machinery in the State on an average was receiving 9,000 cases per year out of which 50 per cent of them had been settled. He said this was the highest settlement rate in the country. He said attempts were being made to settle other industrial conflicts through reconcilation by settling them through the mechanism of Lok Adalats.

Mr Justice H.S. Bedi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also Chairman of the Punjab State Legal Services Authority, said settlement through the Lok Adalats provided quick and cheap justice to the workers who constituted the lowest strata of society. Dr B.C. Gupta, Secretary of Labour and Employment Department assured the ministers that with the help of the Legal Services Authority such Lok Adalats would continue in Punjab. Others present on the occasion were Chief Justice (retd) S.S. Sodhi, Justice (retd) Iqbal Singh, Chairman, State Industrial Tribunal, Punjab , Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Deputy Commissioner and Kripa Shankar Saroj, Labour Commissioner, Punjab. Mr Attar Singh Talabgar, Joint Labour Commissioner (retd) was honoured on the occasion for his contribution in the organisation of Lok Adalats.

The Department also organised a medical check-up camp in the premises of M/s Hindustan Levers Limited, Rajpura today where 200 workers were examined for occupational diseases. Mr Tandon while speaking at the function said the State was holding free medical check up camps for industrial workers since January 2000 and that 28,000 workers had benefited through this scheme during the course of 76 camps held in the State.


Bhunder blames poll system for corruption
Our Correspondent

Mansa, March 17
Shiromani Akali Dal Badal (SAD) general secretary and Rajya Sabha Member Balwinder Singh Bhunder said, although the story of was not good for the country, but it was conspiracy of the Congress which had been involved in corruption since its inception from Nagarwala episode of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to ex-Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao.

Mr Bhunder was speaking here today to the mediapersons after attending a function in the Rest House of Punjab State Electricity Board, in which more than 150 workers of the Congress and the CPI joined the SAD. Mr Bhunder advocated that the PM should not resign although the whole responsibility comes to the government’s chief, but only those guilty should step down. Mr Bhunder said all political parties were involved in corruption due to much expensive election system of our country.

Talking about co-operative spinning and sugar mills of the district Mr Bhunder said that Budhlada sugar mill, a unit of the Sugarfed, that had discontinued its operation many years back after suffering huge losses, owes Rs 50 crore to its creditors and the state government and to recommence production the mill needed this amount. While talking to this correspondent, he said, “Since this sum can’t be arranged easily, hence, it is rather impossible to see this unit come into operation at the hands of either Sugarfed or any such other government agency.

Hundreds of workers of spinning and sugar mills have been on an indefinite fast since last month to press for the resumption of production at these mills. It may be added here that hundreds of mill workers, who had got employment at these mills since its beginning when the mills went into production were rendered jobless when the mills were closed down after the state government termed it a sick unit. The workers, including many who had given away their fertile land to the government for setting up these mills, find themselves out of work.

The workers had first taken out silent processions and dharnas last year and then they undertook ‘fast unto death’ stir last month. One of the workers, Chamkaur Singh, who had given all of his two acres of land for setting up of the sugar mill, and was spearheading the agitation, ended his life at the end of last month as he was unable to feed his family.

To a question as to what was SAD government doing to resume production at Budhlada Sugar Mill, Mr Bhunder said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was personally supervising the proceedings of the talks regarding the resumption of production at the mill. The SAD general secretary also added that the CM had convened a meeting on this issue on March 22 to sort out the matter and some solution was likely to emerge at the meeting.


Channi seeks PM’s resignation
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 17
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, MP from the Hoshiarpur Parliament constituency, demanded resignation of the NDA government led by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee on moral grounds keeping in view the expose by alleging malpractice in the defence deals in a video tape brought by it.

In a press statement by his office yesterday Mr Channi said the suspension of four Army officers had clearly proved that mediators took commissions in various Army deals during the regime of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and George Fernandes.

He criticised Mr George Fernandes who once claimed himself as staunch follower of late Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya. He alleged that Fernandes gave up all his principles only to retain his chair.


PM’s effigy burnt by Cong
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 17
Effigy of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was burnt in the busy Hall Bazar area today by workers of District Congress Committee.

The workers protested against the unprecedented scandals during the NDA regime. The rally passed through the main bazars of the city.

The Congress workers under the leadership of the district President, Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, raised anti-BJP and anti-NDA slogan. Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP addressing the rally called for the resignation of the Central Government. Among the workers were Darbari Lal, ex MLA, Raj Kumar, General Secretary, PPCC Sunil Datti, Onkar Singh Duggal.


Two-year RI for engineer
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 17
Mr Surjeet Singh, Special Judge, Bathinda has sentenced Raghbir Singh Sukhija, Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE), Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) two years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) and imposed Rs 5,000 as fine after holding him guilty in a corruption case registered against him in police station, Maur Mandi in 1993.

Mr Singh also held in the judgement delivered on March 15, 2000, copy of which was procured by TNS today, that in case of default made by the accused in making the payment of fine, he would further undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months.

According to the facts of case, Raghbir Singh was arrested near weigh bridge of Maur Mandi while accepting bribe of Rs 2,000 from Mr Hardial Singh for sanctioning a tubewell connection for him.

The accused demanded Rs 2,000 from Mr Hardial Singh as graft for releasing the connection to him despite the fact a demand notice was issued to Mr Hardial Singh and he submitted the test report and deposited the required money.

Mr Hardial Singh met the DSP, Vigilance in this connection and the accused was caught red-handed by the team of Vigilance Bureau which was being accompanied by Mr Sukhmander Singh, Public Grievances Officer (PGO). A case in this connection was registered subsequently.


Army to hold rally of ex-servicemen
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 17
To resolve the post-retirement grievances and improve the quality of life of ex-servicemen, the Army with the assistance of the civil administration has decided to organise a rally of ex-servicemen settled in Punjab. For this purpose, the Army has decided to set up mini-offices of various departments at the rally site to provide on-the-spot reparation, assistance and guidance to them.

The various offices which will redress the problems include the office of Army Group Insurance, Resettlement Directorate of the Army Headquarters, Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Passport, Telecom Department, various financial and banking services, small scale industries and revenue departments.

According to Brig A.K. Khosla, Commander, 29 Brigade, a free medical camp with specialists from the Army, will also be held for the ex-servicemen. Facilities like ECG, X-ray, ultra sound, eye and blood testing and dental check-up will be provided at the camp. Wheel chairs, tri-cycles, hearing aids, spectacles and blankets will be distributed to the needy free of cost.

A recruitment rally will also be held for the children of the ex-servicemen and martyrs. According to Major Gen L.M. Tiwari, GOC, Golden Arrow Division, who is personally supervising all arrangements, the rally will go a long way in ameliorating the grievances of the ex-servicemen.

General Tiwari said Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh, PVSM VSM would address the rally besides hosts of ministers of the state government and the local MP.


Talwandi condemns killing of 2 Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 17
The SGPC President, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, severely condemned the murder of two Sikh youths in Poonch. He alleged that it was a deep-rooted conspiracy to oust the Sikhs from Jammu and Kashmir. He said the incident had created a fear psychosis among Kashmiri Sikhs. He urged for strict action against those who had unleashed a reign of terror amongst the Sikhs and demanded adequate compensation for them.

Meanwhile, the SAD (Badal) has also condemned the killing of Sikhs in Poonch. In a statement issued Mr Onkar Singh Thapar said “we condemn the Sikh killings in the strongest possible words”. He appealed to the Centre to provide security to the Sikhs residing outside Punjab.


NFL staff oppose disinvestment
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 17
The National Fertilisers Employees Union has criticised the decision of the Union Government to disinvest 51 per cent equity in the National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) and transfer the managerial share to private hands.

Mr Naib Singh Brar, President, in a statement issued here yesterday said the decision to disinvest equity in the NFL was not in the interest of the nation and the employees. The NFL was the second largest urea producing company and had played a major role in making the country self-reliant, both in the production of food grains and urea.

The track record of the NFL during the past 15 years had been impressive and the company earned profits of Rs 2282.35 crore, had paid dividend to the government of Rs 250 crore and Rs 286 crore had been paid in terms of corporate tax and duties etc. This works out to be larger than the total equity of Rs 490.58 crore, he added.

Mr Labh Singh, vice-president of the union said the company was poised to achieve new targets in the future also, and had survived all phases of industrial slow downs, economic competition from private players he alleged that as in case of Modern Foods Limited, the NFL, too may be sold the same way also. The decision of the government would affect approximately 6700 employees, directly and indirectly, he added.


Fire destroys cotton factory
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 17
A major fire broke out at a small-scale cotton factory in the industrial area of the city this evening and destroyed the machinery and the material but no loss of life has been reported.

Mr Ashok Kumar, owner of the factory, said the preliminary estimates indicated a loss of about several lakh of rupees. He added that the fire broke out due to a short circuit in an electric motor. The cotton and cotton seeds which were stored in and around the machines also caught fire.

The owner said only one labourer suffered minor burn injuries on his hand. The tragedy could have been worse if the workers had not separated the raw cotton from the cotton seeds when the fire broke out.

About three fire-engines were called and it took about an hour to extinguish the fire.


Prisoners learn to beat stress
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 17
A seven-day-long course in ‘The Art of Living’ concluded in Central Jail here today.

The course, the first of its kind in Punjab, was conducted by a two-member team of a Bangalore based group that teaches various forms of yoga and aerobics. The team comprised Ms Mohini of Chandigarh and Ms Satinder Kaur, a teacher in the local Government Model Senior Secondary School of Civil Lines.

Inmates said they were deeply influenced by these discourses. Piara Singh, an inmate, said, “The ’sudarshan kriya’, a breathing process, helped me release stress from the body. I wanted to take revenge after my release, but now, after going through the course, I have learnt the benefit of forgiveness and tolerance.” Another inmate, Gurvinder Singh said, “If such workshops are conducted on a regular basis, there may no longer be any criminals.”

Most of the inmates said the course should be of a longer duration. Mr G.S. Sidhu, Superintendent of the jail, said, “There has been a tremendous change in the attitude of the inmates after the course. Crime is not a part of our nature. The accumulation of stress over a long period makes us develop negative traits. These traits vent out as anger, fear, hatred, greed and revenge. Emotions like these are easily overcome if inmates attend such courses regularly.”


14 huts gutted
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 17
About 14 huts of labourers near Daraj railway crossing of Tapa, about 20 km from here, were gutted in a fire that broke out today morning at about 3 a.m.

According to reports, though there was no loss of life yet belongings of the labourers were reduced to ashes.

Fire engines brought the fire under control.


PUDA auction fetches Rs 62 lakh
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 17
The Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) earned Rs 62 lakh from an auction of 21 free-hold commercial and residential sites at Kapurthala yesterday.

Mr H.S. Nanda, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, stated here that the land of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) was auctioned under the optimum use of vacant government land (OUVGL) scheme, which fetched Rs 62 lakh.

The auction was conducted in a transparent manner and a video-recording of the proceedings made.


Train halted as passenger dies

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 17
The Amritsar-Darbhanga Flying Mail going to Darbhanga was yesterday halted at Sirhind station for about an hour following the death of a passenger, Railway sources said.

The deceased was travelling from Ludhiana to Ambala Cantt. He is reported to have died following a massive heart attack. Following the incident, the train got delayed, the sources added.

The Sirhind Railway police later sent the body to Civil Hospital here after registering a case. UNI


Profitable but much-avoided work
Harjeet Singh

Most people are not ready to open a piggery despite the fact that it is a low-investment and profitable business. The main reason for this is that people in general do not think that it is a “respectable” occupation.

Mr S.K. Sharma, Assistant Professor, Animal Husbandry, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, says that people come to the kendra for training in pig-breeding but later take up some other work.

He says during 2000 as many as 38 persons were given training in running piggeries though more than 100 had registered their names for the course.

He says pig-farming is profitable if undertaken after acquiring proper knowledge and getting practical training.

There are around 15 pig- farms in Bathinda district with 25 to 30 animals on each of these. However, most of the owners of these farms have not undergone training.

Mr Pawan Kumar, a pig- farm owner of Bheesiana village in this district, had got training at the Kendra. He owns a second farm near Bibiwala village. He says his business is running successfully and he is earning a profit of around 50 per cent.

He says even though there are a number of unemployed educated young persons, they did not want to go in for pig-farming in view of the attitude of society .

He started his business 10 years ago and now owns about 150 animals. Pig meat is supplied from Bathinda to different areas of Punjab and also outside the state.

Mr Pawan Kumar thinks that another reason why people avoid opening piggeries is the lack of proper veterinary facilities.

He says there is a shortage of experts in the diseases of pigs. He faces many problems whenever disease breaks out.

Official sources at Punjab Agricultural University say that the authorities had closed down the Pig Research Centre of the university.

Mr Kulbir Singh, a graduate in science, says he is willing to go in for pig-farming but his friends and parents are against it.

He says society will have to change its attitude towards the occupation if it is to be made popular.


Hailstorm destroys wheat crops
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 17
Standing crops, including wheat and green fodder, on more than 2,500 acres of land under Muradpur Nariala, Dhamian, Nainowal, Badala, Dhuge, Sarhala and Bure villages were damaged by a hailstorm on March 14.

Mr Joginder Singh, Sarpanch of Muradpur Nariala village, told this correspondent here yesterday that the hailstorm was confined to the aforesaid villages.

A delegation of villagers, headed by Mr Karmail Singh, Mr Dilbagh Singh and Mr Joginder Singh, yesterday met Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, and apprised him of the situation.

Later, Mr Sidhu told this correspondent that he had deputed Hoshiarpur Tehsildar to personally visit these villages and make arrangements to assess the losses.


Conserve water, farmers told
Our Correspondent

Moga, March 17
In view of the ground water level going down every year in Punjab, particularly due to sowing of paddy by farmers, experts of Punjab Agricultural University have called upon the farmers to diversify from traditional paddy sowing to other crops like sugarcane so that sub soil water level should not fall further.

Speaking mediapersons here yesterday a spokesman of the university said the water level which was only 10 to 15 feet in 1980 had gone down to over 100 feet below which to some extent had caused water shortage in state.

He further said if the farmers continued sowing paddy Punjab would suffer an acute shortage of water as paddy was the only crop in the state which consumed more water than other crops.

The spokesman further asked the Punjab Government to deal with the situation and persuade farmers to change over to other crops if they wanted that Punjab not to face water shortage, he said.


Optical fibre for rural exchanges
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 17
About 70 per cent of the rural telephone exchanges in Sangrur district have been provided with the new technology, the digital optical fibre cable (OFC) which offers a broader band width and manifold lines.

This information was given by Mr Gail Chand, General Manager, Telecom, Sangrur, while talking to this correspondent on Thursday at the local Telephone Exchange where he had come to preside over an open-house session of the Consumer Rights Day.

He disclosed that in 45 out of the 129 telephone exchanges in Sangrur district, phone connections were being offered on demand. Internet had already been commissioned there.


Murder accused arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, March 17
The district police has arrested a person, who was wanted in a murder case by the Mumbai police, along with an illegal weapon.

Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, stated here yesterday that a police party nabbed the accused from bus stand of Hamiri Khera village, near here, on Thursday evening and recovered a 12-bore country-made pistol from his possession.

He was arrested immediately and was identified as Ranjodh Singh of Chitti village. 


New dept from next session: VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 17
While addressing the annual conference of the Principals of the colleges affiliated to Punjabi University here yesterday, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor, said that to encourage studies and to spread awareness about environment, university would establish a full-fledged new department of Environmental Studies on the university campus from the next session.

Dr Ahluwalia said Punjabi University would extend all facilities to the affiliated colleges for starting computer courses and in this regard the university would adopt a constructive, liberal and flexible policy so that the colleges do not face any difficulty in getting affiliation and other facilities for computer courses. The university would also make all efforts to update computer courses to keep the students updated with the latest techniques in this field.

Dr Ahluwalia said that besides, academic excellence the students must be provided all facilities for development of cultural activities and sports in colleges. With this aim in mind, Punjabi University has decided to develop folk dances, folk singing and folk instruments.

Dr B.S. Bhatia, Registrar of the university, stressed active interaction between the university and the colleges. The Principals, who elaborated on the problems, offered suggestions and expressed their views included Mr Subhash Marriya, Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Mr S.S. Sodhi, Dr Vidvan Singh Soni, Dr Ram Singh Kular and Mr Joginder Singh.


Teachers postpone dharna
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 17
Teachers working in 11 SGPC-run colleges have postponed their dharna from March 18 to March 25, it was learnt today.

Sources of the coordination committee of SGPC-run colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union said the dharna was in protest against the alleged irregularities in these colleges, including the non-payment of revised grades to many teachers working against unaided posts, under-payment and violation of maternity rules.

Meanwhile, a delegation of these colleges would call on Jathedar Talwandi tomorrow to press for the acceptance of their demands.


Tota Singh visits exam centres
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 17Mr Tota Singh, Punjab Secondary Education Minister, paid a surprise visit to two government schools, Government Girls Senior Secondary School and Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Dhanaula, about 10 km from here today to inspect the examination centres and to curb the menace of copying in Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) plus two and the matriculation examination.

The people urged to provide aid for the construction of a new building of girls school. He assured them to sanction a grant of Rs 10 lakh from the District Planning Board funds.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |