Tuesday, June 26, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Nanakshahi calendar may kick up fresh row
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
The controversial Nanakshahi calendar which had created a “religio-political” turmoil for two years may kick up a fresh controversy in the coming days as the Dharm Parchar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has urged the Jathedar, Akal Takht, to immediately convene a meeting of the representatives of Sikh institutions to take a final decision in this regard.

Through a resolution (number 2210), the Dharm Parchar Committee has said that the diary of the SGPC could not be published as the Nanakshahi calendar was under the consideration of Akal Takht. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the Akal Takht secretariat for necessary action.

The controversial Nanakshahi calendar was the root-cause of excommunication of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief, from the Sikh Panth through a controversial hukamnama issued by Giani Puran Singh in his capacity as Jathedar, Akal Takht. The controversy culminated in the excommunication of three Sikh high priests and other SGPC leaders and then the unceremonious removal of Giani Puran Singh as Jathedar, Akal Takht.

The Nanakshahi calendar, authored by a Canada-based Sikh, Mr Paul Singh Purewal, is basically a solar calendar and makes a complete departure from the lunar calendar which is being followed by the Sikh community till today. The dates of the Hindu festival are fixed on the basis of the lunar calendar.

At one point of time, it had kicked off a controversy between some senior leaders of the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal as the former was against the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar. Besides, the calendar issue had also divided the Sant Samaj and the controversy had also polarised the Panth. While a section of the Sikh Panth was for its immediate implementation the other had supported Giani Puran Singh for imposing a ban on its implementation.

In the wake of the unsavoury controversy, Akal Takht had imposed a ban on any debate on the controversial Nanakshahi calendar.

During the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh was celebrated on January 5 and January 14 which led to confusion among Sikh masses. While the then Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Puran Singh, had led a religious procession to celebrate Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday on the basis of traditional Bikrami Samat, the SGPC held functions on the basis of the Nanakshahi calendar.

Interestingly, the controversial Nanakshahi calendar was adopted during the presidentship of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, however, the same was implemented by the SGPC House when Bibi Jagir Kaur became the chief of the “mini parliament” of Sikhs.


43 employees of SGPC demoted
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
As many as 43 SGPC employees who were promoted during the presidentship of Bibi Jagir Kaur are being demoted. Earlier, five employees were reverted after the SGPC Executive meeting.

Though Mr Harbeant Singh, officiating secretary, has denied that he had signed orders for reversion, Mr Dayal Singh, personal assistant to the SGPC chief, confirmed that the 43 were likely to be demoted in light of decision of the SGPC Executive held on June 21.


Bhindranwale declared ‘shaheed in 1995’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The SGPC today said that it had declared Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a “shaheed” in 1995 and there was no controversy at all in this connection as far as the SGPC was concerned.

The President of the SGPC, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, said in a statement that the SGPC had organised the “ World Sikh Conference” in 1995 where the families of Sikh “shaheeds” were honoured at a special function organised in this connection.

Family members of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale were also honoured. In other words, the SGPC had then declared that the Sant was not alive and he was declared a “shaheed”.

Mr Talwandi further said that there was no logic behind the raising of the controversy now. A copy of Mr Talwandi’s statement was made available to The Tribune by Mr Jawahar Singh, in charge of the local sub-office of the SGPC. In fact, the statement has been issued on behalf of Mr Talwandi under the signature of Mr Jawahar Singh.

Trying to set at rest another controversy linked with it, Mr Talwandi said that there was no question of disobeying or ignoring the “edict” issued by Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti with regard to the settling of the issue pertaining to Sant Jarnail Singh. Mr Talwandi said he had already told the facts about declaring the Sant a “shaheed” by the apex religious body of the Sikhs and the honouring of the family members of the Sant at the 1995 World Sikh Conference.

Jathedar Vedanti had directed the SGPC chief on the eve of “ghallugara divas” (June 6) to set up a committee within 15 days to look into the controversy relating to Sant Jarnail Singh. While many persons and the Damdami Taksal are claiming that Sant Jarnail Singh is alive, certain organisations have performed his “antim ardas” in front of Akal Takht.

In the context of the edict issued by Jathedar Vedanti, the SGPC chief said the present Jathedar of Akal Takht also attended the function organised on the occasion of World Sikh Conference to honour the families of Sikh martyrs. The conference was organised by the then President of the SGPC, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and its secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta. In fact, when siropas were presented to family members of the “shaheeds”, the head granthis of Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht and other granthis were also present.

Referring to reports appearing in various papers during the past few days in this connection, Mr Talwandi said the Jathedar of Akal Takht was the supreme authority and he had honoured every suggestion made by him. No Sikh could dare to ignore the edict issued by Akal Takht. It was not correct to say that he had ignored the edict of the Jathedar of Akal Takht to set up the committee as he (Mr Talwandi) had already made the position clear in this connection to the Jathedar, Mr Talwandi said.


Vedanti, Talwandi to attend ‘path bodh’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, and Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President SGPC have decided to attend the concluding “path bodh” function on June 28 at Talwandi Sabo.

In separate press statements Mr Talwandi has clarified that he had no difference with the high priests as he held them in high esteem.

However, Jathedar Vedanti said he was not attending the “path bodh” function under any pressure. He said rather he would attend the function as a part of his religious duty. He said another reason for his attending the function was to clear the stand on Sikh maryada, approved by Akal Takht, he said the religious places had some “maryada” and traditions and nobody could be allowed to distort the same.

Giani Man Singh, Head Granthi, Takht Damdama Sahib, had resigned in protest against holding the “path bodh” function which differed from the one published by the SGPC and approved the Akal Takht. Many Sikh organisations, including Akal Purkh ki Fauj and leaders and SGPC members from the ruling party had submitted memorandum to Akal Takht Jathedar for his immediate intervention.

Mr Talwandi alleged that a section of media was publishing baseless news items regarding differences between him and Jathedar of Akal Takht. He said the Press should desist from publishing such news items.

The SGPC chief claimed that there was no difference on “maryada” issue. The Sikh “maryada” was acceptable which was published by the SGPC and approved by Akal Takht. He said the Jatha Bhinderan might have its separate “maryada” but its “path bodh” function organised at Damdama Sahib was not violating any “maryada”.

On the other hand, Jathedar Vedanti has said that he was invited to attend the “path bodh” function by the organisers. 


Princess Bamba’s will can’t be relied on: Colonel
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Last Will and Testament of Princess Bamba on which the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland has been relying is marked by suspicious circumstances and cannot be trusted, says Lt-Col Kanwar Karan Vir Singh (retd), one of seven claimants to the dormant Swiss bank account of Princess Catherine Duleep Singh.

In his response to the first order of the tribunal, Colonel Karan Vir Singh has also contested the claims of Hendrik Schmidt, Francis Hoare and the Punjab Government to the dormant account. “The main dispute now pertains to Princess Bamba’s Last Will and Testament,” says the Colonel. “ I bequeath my movable and immovable property to Karim Baksh Supra in grateful recognition of his faithful and devoted service and kindness to me during the last 61 years. He shall become the full owner of all the immovable property with full power to deal with it in any way he likes as a full owner, including my house comprising plot No. 103 and 104, situated in the block Model Town, Lahore. Likewise, he will become the owner of all the movable property of any description in all the three countries of Pakistan, Republic of India and the United Kingdom belonging to me or found to belong to me, “ reads her will.

He maintains that Princess Bamba was born in England in 1869 and not 1879 by quoting the marble epitaph on her grave at Lahore. After spending her first 25 years in England, she spent 52 years in undivided India and married Lt-Col Sutherland in 1915 in Lahore, and lived in Pakistan for only 10 years — from August 14, 1947, to October, 1957, when she died. As such, said Colonel Karan Vir Singh, the Succession Act of Pakistan would not be applicable in this case as was believed by the tribunal. She spent only 10 years of her life in Pakistan.

“Further, she did not specify her movable and immovable properties except for the two plots in Lahore. By giving the house in Model Town, she had clearly identified the property, which was admittedly immovable property. Since she specified possible places of her movable property, she had not mentioned the Swiss bank account of her sister,” he said, maintaining that the tribunal had also not taken into consideration other attending circumstances which, if read together, led only to one irresistible conclusion that the said will could not be considered free from doubt. It was executed on November 16,1955, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. This in itself raised suspicion as to how the two attesting witnesses, living at far-off places, came there voluntarily at such an odd hour, especially during winter months. This clearly indicated that the beneficiary was active in this regard. The doctor’s report was also lacking for verifying the fact whether she was capable of executing the will with a sound mind at the age of 85 years. She died two years later, argued the Colonel.

He also mentioned a pertinent point regarding the family history of Princess Bamba and its religious sentiments. Her grandmother Maharani Jindan, had in her last will said that her ashes should be merged in the sacred waters of the Ravi. Both Catherine Duleep Singh and Sophia Duleep Singh also made their wills mentioning therein that they should be cremated. The wills of the grandmother and the two sisters clearly indicated that they had strong sentiments pertaining to their family traditions and the religion of their family. As such, Princess Bamba could not be an exception. He said that all these submissions required consideration and as such Karim Baksh Supra would not be entitled to inherit all the movable and immovable properties of Princess Bamba.

Colonel Karan Vir Singh also contested the claim of the Punjab Government on the plea that the law pertaining to the inheritances of the former rulers of princely states was passed after Independence, but this account became dormant much earlier. The Kingdom of Punjab was established in 1799 in Lahore and Maharaja Duleep Singh was its fifth Maharaja. He was deposed in 1849 after which the British annexed the kingdom. As such, the Punjab Government was not entitled to make its claim.

— Concluded


Fraud’ in the name of boat tragedy victims
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 25
The functioning of the Malta Boat Tragedy Victims Association, representing a number of aggrieved people of the Doaba region, whose near and dear ones had drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in the 1996 Malta boat tragedy, came under sharp focus, with a number of its members, including the president of the association accusing a senior functionary of the association of having amassed wealth in the name of victims.

The relatives of the tragedy victims have also decided to write to the Ministry of External Affairs that it should not entertain the senior association functionary Balwant Singh Khera, a Hoshiarpur-based social worker, in future since he was running “his shop” in the victim’s name by collecting funds from their relatives and from Indians living abroad. The relatives who held an emergency meeting at Nehru Garden here today alleged that Mr Khera, who was not available for comment, had been exploiting them and had been collecting funds for carrying out “investigation” about the cause of the tragedy and about those youths who had gone missing during a mid sea transfer.

Mr Harbans Singh of Bidhipur village went to the extent of saying that Mr Khera had collected an amount of Rs 3 lakh from each member of a “fact-finding mission”, which had gone abroad to undertake the task of knowing the truth behind the incident. “Actually, none of the relatives of the victims was taken to France and Italy and any other country. Mr Khera took his own men on the trip and I have come to know that he had collected Rs 3 lakh from each of the members of the mission,” said Mr Harbans Singh. Interestingly, Mr Sarwan Dass, the president of the association, too, joined some anguished relatives and alleged that Mr Khera had been minting money in the name of the victims.

Mrs Narinder Kaur of Mari village near here alleged that they had been trusting Mr Khera, as he had been assuring them that he was close to the former Prime Minister Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, which would facilitate their easy approach to the Ministry of External Affairs. “But nothing happened beyond promises,” she said.

Mr Khera, when contacted at his Hoshiarpur residence, refuted the allegations levelled by a group of relatives of victims and maintained he had no connection with the association since he was helping the victims and was running his own organisation named the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission. He said he had not charged a single paisa from any member of the delegation which went abroad for conducting a probe into the incident. He said it was not a 21-member team as stated by relatives. Only four members went to countries like Italy and France.


Vora plans to unite Punjab Cong
Our Correspondent

Bhopal, June 25
The AICC treasurer and in charge of Punjab Congress Affairs, Mr Motilal Vora, is contemplating a “Dabra-type” conclave to foster unity among Congress leaders of Punjab. Dabra is a town in Gwalior district where Mr Vora, in cooperation with Mr Madhavrao Scindia, had assembled all warring Congress leaders of Madhya Pradesh in May 1993. In the presence of the then AICC treasurer, Mr Sitaram Kesri, the leaders had decided to sink their differences and contest the Assembly elections unitedly. After remaining in the Opposition for three years, the Congress had wrested power in the November 1993 elections.

Talking to this correspondent at his residence here yesterday, he said the Congress had a good chance of coming to power in Punjab only if the party leaders could sink their differences and work unitedly. The importance being given by the Badal government to the pro-Khalistani terrorists in the recent times and the anti-people policies of the NDA, of which the SAD is a constituent, had alienated a large segment of people from the present dispensation in Punjab, he felt.


Uproot Badal government, says PPCC chief
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Capt Amarinder Singh, today alleged that on one hand crime in Punjab had touched new heights and on the other the police was playing to the tune of SAD and BJP leaders.

Addressing a party rally here today, Capt Amarinder Singh said it was time people started thinking to get rid of the “misrule” of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The days of the SAD-BJP government were numbered as it had lost the faith of the people, he added.

Former Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who was reportedly unhappy over the constitution of the PPCC, stayed away from the panchayati raj chetna rally. However, a section of his loyalists, including Mr Surinder Kapoor and Mr Sher Singh Gagowal (both former ministers), attended the rally and addressed the gathering.

Mr Jagmeet Brar, who also did not attend the rally, while talking to The Tribune on the phone said he could not attend the rally as he was preoccupied with an important function at Muktsar district.

Lashing out at Capt Amarinder Singh Mr Badal said, he had failed to deliver goods.

Those who attended the rally included Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Chaudhary Santokh Singh, Mr Amarjeet Singh Samra, Mr Suresh Kumar, Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Mr Jagroop Singh Gill, Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, Mr Kulwant Rai Aggarwal, Mr Surinder Kapoor, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Mr Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Mr Ram Rattan Bhardwaj, Mr Krishan Kumar Sharma and Mr Tejinder Bittu.

Mr Shiv Lal Balmiki, General Secretary, AICC, Mr Anil Bhola, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Abdul Khurana, Mr Gurkeerat Singh Kotli, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhuller, Mr Darshan Singh Brar, Mr Opinder Sharma and Mr Devinder Babbu, president, Punjab Youth Congress, were also present at the rally.

Chudhary Jagjit Singh, MLA and leader of Opposition, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, while addressing the rally said Mr Badal had started bringing terrorists to the state to use them in the coming Assembly elections.

Wassan Singh Zaffarwal had already reached Punjab while Jagjit Singh Chohan could reach any day, he added.

Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, president of the DCC, Bathinda said under the rule of Mr Badal, more farmers had committed suicides because he had failed to take any step to improve their economic status.

Mr Jain said Mr Badal should tell people where Rs 350 crore given by the Central Government for compensating farmers who sold their paddy at rates less than the MSP had gone.


Amarinder doles out more promises
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25
The PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, said today if the Congress was voted to power in Punjab, it would constitute a commission headed by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to probe the charges of corruption against the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his family members and other associates. The commission would also probe the bunglings in the distribution of money to few ‘favourites’ by Mr Badal at sangat darshan programmes.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was here today in connection with the panchayati raj chetna rally, said Mr Badal had crossed all limits of corruption and had been looting the people remorselessly. The money which was being collected from the people in form of taxes was being wasted under the garb of grants to various organisations during sangat darshan programmes with the motive to influence voters, he added.

The PPCC President while talking to mediapersons said there was unity among the party workers. The newly constituted PPCC had been given approval by the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, he added.

Asked why Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minister, did not attend the rally today, Capt Amarinder Singh refused comment. He said Mrs Bhattal was a senior leader and it was up to her to attend the rally or not.

Asked about reports that all those who were dissatisfied with the newly constituted PPCC were holding a meeting at Mrs Bhattal’s residence today, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was not aware of it. He said the Congress was ready for an alliance with all secular parties for the coming Assembly elections to defeat the communal SAD-BJP alliance.

Asked why senior members of the party, including Mr Avtar Brar and Mr Harnam Dass Johar, had been kept out of the newly constituted PPCC, Capt Amarinder Singh said all leaders could not be adjusted in the PPCC.

Listing out promises being made to the people in connection with the panchayat raj, Capt Amarinder Singh, said village chowkidars, nambardars, panches, sarpanches, member, panchayat samitis and zila parishads would be given salaries if his party came to power in the state. The chairmen of all zila parishads would be given the status of minister of state. The facility of free bus travel would be extended to panchayat members, samiti members and chairmen, zila parishads.

The PPCC President said panchayats would be authorised to execute development works up to Rs 25 lakh. No member of panchayat, including sarpanch, would be prosecuted in any case without the prior approval of the Deputy Commissioner. Similarly, no member of samiti or zila parishad would be prosecuted without the prior approval of the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayats.

A privilege committee would be provided in the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act under the chairmanship of the zila parishad to take up the complaints of panches and sarpanches in connection with the violation of their rights. The committee would be empowered to recommend action against defaulting officials and the recommendations would be binding on the competent authorities. Capt Amarinder Singh said every year, 10 villages in each block would be provided with street light. Twentyfour hours power supply and filtered drinking water would be provided to all villages in the state, he added. He said ring roads around villages would be metalled and drainage systems would be constructed in each village. Special stress would be laid on checking various water-borne diseases in the rural areas.


Ex-gen secy of SHSAD joins BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
While a former general secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Gurinderpal Singh Dhanaula, today joined the Bahujan Samaj Party, Mr Kanshi Ram, chief of the BSP, said that his party would put up candidates in the 117 Vidhan Sabha constituencies in the coming elections.

While welcoming Mr Dhanaula and his supporters to the fold of the BSP, Mr Kanshi Ram said that he was here to wipe out the SAD- BJP combine headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal in the elections.

“I will stay in Punjab till Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who has been projected as Chief Minister by the BSP, takes the oath as CM,” Mr Kanshi Ram said. He said his party would not enter into an electoral alliance with any party and expected to win 60 seats. He said he had been out of Delhi for a long time and would go back there only after he achieved his target of making BSP-supported Chief Ministers in 10 states, elections in which were due to be held within the next two years or so. He said after Punjab, elections would be held in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. He had planned his strategy accordingly, but would not reveal it.

When asked why he had opted for a Jat Sikh candidate for the chief ministership against his party’s pro-Dalit and backward class line, Mr Kanshi Ram said that in Punjab only Jat Sikhs were enamoured of the office of Chief Minister. No one from among the Dalits and the backward classes had shown an inclination to be a candidate for the chief ministership.

“In my opinion, Mr Ravi Inder Singh is the most suitable candidate for this post among all Jat Sikh political leaders in the state,” Mr Kanshi Ram added. Mr Ravi Inder Singh would not only implement the BSP’s political line but also sit at my feet,” Mr Kanshi Ram asserted when asked about the feudal background of the Jat Sikh Akali leader.

Branding Mr Badal “Manuvadi,” (a believer in casteism), Mr Kanshi Ram said that Mr Badal was a devotee of those political forces which wanted to preserve the Brahminical order in the country. His indication was towards the SAD’s coalition partner, the BJP.

At present “my enemy number one is the BJP,” he said. He named several Akali and Congress leaders who had met him in recent years to seek his help at the political level.

Meanwhile, Mr Dhanaula said that both the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Badal and the SHSAD headed by Mr Tohra were in the grip of few families. He said in fact these parties had become “private limited companies” owned by leaders like Mr Badal and Mr Tohra. In these outfits, workers were treated like “siris” (agricultural labour) while leaders put everything at stake, even the “Panth,” to promote the political interests of their near and dear ones, he alleged.


Mand for strong ‘third front’
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, June 25
Mr Dhayan Singh Mand, vice-president, SAD (Amritsar), and former MP, while talking to mediapersons here at Gurdwara Manji Sahib yesterday said the panthic morcha, which includes SAD (Amritsar), the SHSAD, SAD (Panthic) and the Sant Samaj, had been formed in the state with a view to defeating the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress in the ensuing Assembly poll.

The morcha would welcome all political parties, barring SAD-BJP and the Congress, and all communities to join hands with the morcha to provide a formidable third front in the state, he said.

Mr Mand said the morcha would contest all seats and also give ticket to the Hindus. The election manifesto would be announced during a state-level rally at Ludhiana on September 2, he added.

Mr Mand welcomed the Vajpayee-Musharraf talks and said the SAD (Amritsar) had been demanding Indo-Pak talks for the past 15 years. He demanded that a high-level inquiry commission be constituted to probe into the killings of minority people in Kashmir.


Local issues to dominate BJP meeting
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
The district unit of the BJP has decided to take up city’s issues with the party high command at the meeting of the state executive to be held here on July 6.One of the major demands of the local leaders is the construction of an ultra modern 500 bed hospital in the city. The leadership feels that there is not a single big hospital in the area.

The demand for uninterrupted power supply for the city will also be part of the BJP agenda. Local leaders feel that the city deserves better deal in the supply of power as the thermal plant is situated here. “Power cuts have become a headache for the residents”, rued Mr Narinder Mittal, president, district unit of the BJP. He said the thermal plant was set up in the city the residents had hoped that they would not face power cuts, but their hopes were shattered soon.”

The other major demand will be about the condition of roads. The BJP leadership will demand that a special survey be conducted about the condition of roads.

Other demands that are likely to be raised at the meeting include the provision of better civic amenities, the upgradation of facilities at the local railway station, the provision of a government community hall in the city, and government-run coaching centre for poor students. 


BKU(E) harassing bank staff: union
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
Members of the Land Mortgage Banks Employees Union, Punjab, today alleged that activists of the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta) BKU (E) were harassing them and its leaders were misleading farmers.

Mr Baljit Singh, general secretary of the state unit, said the activists of the BKU (E) had gheraoed the Maur Mandi police station a few days ago.

They had demanded registration of a case against the Manager and the field staff of the Agriculture Development Bank.

Its leaders were misleading the farmers on suicide by Mithu Singh, a farmer of Sandhoa village, he said.

Mithu Singh, who committed suicide a few days ago, was not a loan defaulter of the bank and no arrest warrants had been issued against him.

The bank staff was being harassed unnecessarily, he said.

The BKU (E) leaders harassed the bank officials off and on. They had gheraoed the Bathinda branch twice. In one instance the building was gheraoed for more than 12 hours.

The bank employees had no connection with the issues raised by the BKU (E), he said.

Mr Gurdev Singh Bachoudi, president of the union, said the land mortgage banks were not financed by the state government.

The bank took loans from the Nabard and advanced the same to farmers. If farmers did not pay back the loan money, Nabard would not advance loans to banks, he said.

The activists should catch hold of ministers and bureaucrats, he said. Senior officials of the bank issued show-cause and explanation notices to the junior and field staff employees to increase loan recovery.

Their ability was judged from the loan recoveries, he said.

If the government did not check the high handedness of the BKU, the employees would go on an indefinite strike, the bank employees said.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, president of the district BKU (E), when contacted, said the kisan union had never stopped the bank employees from recovering loans or provoked farmers not to pay back loans.

Our only demand is that farmers should not be arrested and their lands not attached for defaulting,” he said.

Mr Jethuke said Mithu Singh owed money to the bank to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh and the bank employees had threatened him of dire consequences in case he did not repay the loan.


Jalandhar to have UK consulate
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 25
Keeping in view the sentiments of people of the Doaba region of the state Britain has decided to open its consulate for old aged and disabled here and has kickstarted the process by seeking clearance of the Indian Government for setting up such an office in the city.

Residents of Doaba have been urging the Indian Government and British authorities for long for setting up of a British liaison Office at Jalandhar. In the first phase, the British government, it was learnt, has given a nod to set up a liaison office which would offer assistance to old aged and disabled. The office, according to the NRI Sabha authorities, will offer advice to the people on various issues, will supply visa application forms and will forward these to Delhi.

The British High Commission in Delhi had expressed its wish to open such an office to the Ministry of External Affairs, which in turn had asked the Punjab Government to furnish a report in this connection. On the directions of the state government, the district authorities have conducted the ground work and have advised that such an office could prove to be useful for people of Doaba region and their relatives abroad. The Deputy Commissioner Mr K. Shiva Prasad, has confirmed that he had received a communication in this regard . According to an estimate, at least 80 per cent of Non-resident Indians hailing from Punjab belong to the Doaba region and nearly 6000 visa applications are submitted by people of this region through various travel agents.

The liaison office-cum-consulate would make administrative arrangements for visiting entry clearance and to provide a limited visa interview service to elderly or infirm applicants. The high commission, it was learnt, has also assured that the liaison office would be staffed by Indian nationals since they were in touch with ground realities and feelings of the people of the region.


Fire extinguishers outdated
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
It seems that the city has not learnt any lessons from the Dabwali fire tragedy as marriage palaces, cinema halls and even the railway station of the city are poorly equipped to deal with any fire tragedy.

The cinema houses are exposed to the danger as soda water and foam type fire extinguishers, which have been banned by the Union Government, are installed there.

Of the six cinema houses of the city only one has the hi-det system to deal with fire emergencies, othe cinema halls have outdated and poorly maintained fire fighting systems.

However, all cinema house owners claim to have trained man power to deal with the fire emergencies. Soda water and foam type fire extinguishers in spite of having been banned are still the most popular fire extinguishers.

The department of the Local Government had instructed the civic authorities in 1998 that the guidelines for using buildings as marriage palaces should be followed strictly.

Sources in the Fire Brigade Department said following the orders of the district police chief, the department had conducted a survey of the cinemas, the bus stand and the railway station and submitted a report in May. The report made shocking revelations.

The six cinema houses of the city have become the potential fire bombs because of the old fire fighting systems. Most of the halls have poorly designed entry and exit doors.

The report indicated that the cinema hall owners should be ordered to install modern fire fighting systems.

The condition of the local bus stand was even worse as the fire fighting systems installed there were out of order. The old fire extinguishers had not been re-filled, the report said.

Mr Baldev Singh, Sub-divisional Fire Officer, when contacted, said cinema house owners had been asked to comply with the government orders.


Punjab likely to set up censor board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, today warned that the government would not hesitate to arrest those involved in spreading obscenity and vulgarity through Punjabi films and songs.

He said the government would provide full opportunity to all concerned to make amends in this connection, but if the bad trend of cultural pollution continued, then the government would enforce relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to curb the same. He said the government had the powers to take action against those involved in spreading obscenity and vulgarity in any manner under Section 294 of the IPC.

The minister’s statement is likely to create a flutter in the Punjabi music industry, which is worth several hundred crores. Moreover, the issue can become a hot topic of debate in the days to come between supporters and opponents of the government.

The minister was addressing a meeting of writers, scholars, experts on Punjabi culture and other eminent persons called to know their opinion about the government’s proposal to set up a state censor board to weed out “vulgar stuff” from the state’s cultural milieu and take measures in this connection for the future. He said that in certain cases, singers had crossed all limits of uncivility as they banked on vulgarity to market their audio and video cassettes. The minister quoted lines from a number of Punjabi songs to prove his point.

He said his department was in touch with the governments of Maharashtra and West Bengal, besides the Union Government, to study their mode of putting a check on vulgar songs and scenes.

He said he would soon call a meeting of all eminent singers, representatives of recording companies and television channels to request them to promote Punjabi culture and avoid obscene stuff. However, he was unable to answer as to what his government had done to promote singers and artistes who were known as “puritans” and whose quality songs be enjoyed by family members collectively at home and also at social gatherings.

He said that even though eminent singers often claimed in their interviews that they believed in singing songs which could be enjoyed by family members together, their song videos showed semi-clad girls dancing in a lewd manner.

A majority of those who attended today’s meeting endorsed the proposal to set up the board but they also cautioned the state government from becoming the cultural police. Most of the scholars said that there should be a dialogue with all concerned before setting up the board. The government should first come out with its cultural policy to promote healthy Punjabi culture and negate the “unwanted stuff,” they said.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr Surjit Patar, Mr Surjit Singh Bhatti, Mr Waryam Sandhu, Mr Om Parkash Gasso, Mrs Sukhi Brar, Dr Nahar Singh, Dr Ashok Bhaura and Dr Jaswinder Singh.


Pak to have show on KBC pattern
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, June 25
Getting inspired by the unparalleled popularity of “Kaun Banega Crorepati”, which has set new milestones in the history of television not only in India but in neighbouring counties also, an international company in Pakistan, Shohaol B. Millennium International, which is already showing a lot of programmes in more than 36 countries, had decided to launch an infotainment programme “Kya Aap Banenge Crorepati” on the pattern of the KBC in Pakistan soon.

According to information, the new programme, which will be aired from Karachi station, will start in Octorber, 2001, and will be shown on ARY digital channel.

According to sources across the border, a public opinion exercise was conducted to select the host for the proposed programme and on the basis of it the company has been able to zero in on a renowned TV and film artiste, Moin Akhtar, for the coveted slot.

Since the KBC, being hosted by Amitabh Bachchan who still continues to be the heartthrob of millions not only here but across the fence also, has already gained unprecedented popularity in Pakistan, the company has decided that “Kya Aap Banenge Crorpati” will be on the same format with only a slight tinge of difference.

Sources reveal that a British team will soon be visiting Pakistan to impart training to persons involved with the making of the KABC. They will train the producer and the host, besides the entire recording team.

According to a spokesman for the ARY digital channel, the inaugural function for the programme will be held in Karachi during August, 2001, and the recording will commence in September while the programme will be aired in October only.

Moin Akhtar, who will be the host, in an interview while referring to the performance of Amitabh Bachchan in the KBC, said it would be a challenge for him. He expressed confidence that he would be able to live up to the expectations of the Pakistan TV viewers.


Community centre to benefit citizens
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 25
The aspirations of the residents of Urban Estate have finally been answered with the establishment of a community centre in Phase III, which will fulfil their functional as well as cultural needs.

The centre, which will be inaugurated tomorrow, has many unique features, including an open air stage, approached by steps and a ramp, a reception and lounge facilities, disclosed PUDA Chief Administrator, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, here today.

Mr Sidhu said the community centre had a multipurpose hall, which could seat 250 persons, with a stage and green rooms for performances. The hall would also provide spaces for buffets and gathering for a variety of functions and ceremonies. The interior of multipurpose hall extended into exterior spaces providing flexibility in urbanisation of spaces.

The hall also comprised a games room for indoor games and a senior citizen’s hall, along with kitchen and a pantry, which would cater to the needs of the senior citizens of the area. The first floor had a reading room, dormitories for residential purposes and a store, along with toilet facilities.

He said a red tile faced vaulted surface with punctures, ivory cream tile faced recessed wall surfaces and aluminium glazing constituted the impressive facade and emanated ambience of a community centre. The finishing material on the exterior also provided maintenance free facade.

The community centre, would also act as a meeting platform for the citizens of the neighbourhood, specially senior citizens, for relaxation and recreation towards healthy pursuits of life.

Mr Sidhu said simultaneously, a new office complex constructed on a 1.4 acre plot in Urban Estate, Phase II, would also be inaugurated tomorrow.

He said the building had been planned in the plot so as to provide maximum open space for landscaping and parking of vehicles.

He said the pockets abutting the building envelopes had been suitably landscaped with grass, shrubs and flower beds. The periphery of the plot had been planted with tall trees to filter noise pollution from the road. The parking lots would have shady trees.

Mr Sidhu said the entrance hall of the office complex would comprise an enquiry and reception counter and large counters for single window system, along with the waiting, working and movement areas for the public.

He assured that the general needs of the public would be met with in the entrance hall without disturbing the adjacent working areas of the officials.



Rajput mahasabha demands ticket
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 25
At its meeting held here last evening, the Punjab Rajput Mahasabha decided to adopt a give-and-take policy for the forthcoming elections to the Punjab Assembly in February next year. Members who came here from all over the state to take part in the meeting showed their resentment against all political parties for completely ignoring the community in providing tickets to Rajput leaders in the last state and parliamentary elections. As a result, not one member from this community went to Parliament or the state assembly.

Capt Vikram Singh, Chairman of the Punjab Rajput Mahasabha, told this correspondent here today the sabha had identified Sujanpur, Pathankot and Kanuwan segments of Gurdaspur district, Mukerian, Dasuya, Garhshankar and Hoshiarpur city segments of Hoshiparpur district and Nangal and Anandpur Sahib of Ropar district as being Rajput dominated areas.

Besides, Rajputs were also dominating in the reserved constituencies of Deena Nagar, Narot Mehra, Garhdiwala, Shamchaurasi and Mahilpur. He said the reservation of all these above segments had been done intentionally to let down Rajputs so that they could not make their appearance in the state assembly. He said the members of the sabha at the last meeting in Chaunta of Gurdaspur district demanded dereservation of all aforesaid constituencies. They had also decided in this meeting that if the de- reservation was not done all Rajputs and their families in the state would not vote in favour of any political party.

Capt Vikram Singh said it was decided at the last meeting to forge a pact with one of the leading political parties in state which was ready to give representation to the community in the forthcoming elections to the Punjab Assembly for sharing power on a give-and-take basis. Leaders of the sabha had already met the BSP chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, recently at Pathankot in this connection who had acknowledged the domination of Rajput community in certain segments of Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Ropar districts. Mr Kanshi Ram had also indicated that the BSP would make tactical alliance with the community to win at least six reserved segments with the help of Rajputs where they had a dominating position.

He said the leaders of the sabha would soon meet Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, president of the state unit of the BJP, and Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC president, to make them realise the political neglect of this community. After meeting them the sabha would make a strategy for participation in the state assembly elections. The sabha would also hold meetings to mobilise Rajputs for the coming elections.

He specifically pointed out that Rajput community was contributing in the defence matters of the country. A majority of the deceased in Kargil and Jammu and Kashmir operations were from this community who laid down their lives for protecting the Indian borders.


Warrant officer frees 4 Batala residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a warrant officer, earlier appointed by it, released four Batala residents, including a minor, after raiding a police station.

The warrant officer was appointed by the Court on a habeas corpus petition filed by Mr Satnam Singh of Chaudharywal village in Batala seeking the release of his wife and five other relatives.

The petitioner had alleged that his wife, Sukhcharanjit Kaur, and five others were detained at Police Station Hargobindpur after being picked up by a Station House Officer. He had raided the petitioner’s house in connection with a case registered under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code against acquaintance Dilbagh Singh, his counsel had added. Dilbagh Singh, he had claimed, was absconding.

He had added that the detainees included certain relatives of the petitioner who were visiting the village to attend a family function. No case had been registered against them, he had concluded.

In his report submitted before the High Court after conducting the raid, officer Hemant Singh Walia had stated that four of the six alleged detainees, present in the police station, were allowed to leave the place without any resistance as, according to the officials, they were not required in connection with any case.

The cops had informed him that the four had been called to the police station for questioning in connection with a case registered against Dilbagh Singh and were not required in any other case, he had added in his report.


Dharmender’ will never run after women again
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 25
‘Dharmender’ may never run after women again in busy streets of Mohali having met his end waiting for release after having spent five years in captivity.

‘Dharmender’ met his end two months ago. The local Deer Park authorities had sent his case for release into the wild five months earlier. ‘Dharmender’, a rogue monkey, who earned his share of notoriety snatching the purses of women in various markets in Mohali five years earlier, had been incarcerated in one of the two ‘’maximum security ‘’ cells for such creatures in the park here.

‘Dharmender’ may have died pining away for freedom but the fate of 12 other rogue monkeys, who have spent periods ranging from four to five years in the prison here, is still to be decided by the Wildlife Department. A case for the release of all 12 monkeys into the forest has been sent to the Wildlife department more than five months earlier, but action is still to be taken in the matter.

Rogue monkeys from all over the state are presently incarcerated in the park here. Most of the monkeys have been brought here around four to five years earlier. While ‘Dharmender’ was brought from Mohali, others have bee tranquillised and got here from Chandigarh, Ropar and Patiala, besides others places. While some monkeys have been guilty of harassment of city-goers, a few have created havoc in villages by destroying crops, hurting people and causing a general nuisance.

The park authorities said they had moved a case for release of the monkeys keeping in view the long period of incarceration suffered by them for their notorious activities and that they could not release them on their own without the government permission. They said the behaviour of the monkeys had been observed over a long period of time and that it was seen that most had lost their aggressive streak and needed to be given a second chance to lead a normal life.

Visitors to the park also feel the monkeys need to be given a second chance. Mr Narinder Singh of Kuttcha Patiala said as the normal life span of a monkey was around 25 to 30 years, the rogue monkeys could justifiably be said to have completed a ‘’life sentence’’ for their various crimes against human society.

In another interesting development sources said presently ‘’rogues ‘’ of society were teasing the rogue monkeys intentionally due to the fact that a notice had been put up before their cells that they were rogue monkeys and no one should try to go near the cells. The sources said some people found a perverse pleasure in teasing the monkeys with sticks and as the cells were quite small in comparison to the enclosures of other monkeys kept in the park, they were forced to retaliate. The sources said this should be stopped immediately and that they should not be allowed to be viewed by the people. The park attendants, who feed the animals, say even animals can change and that though all the new arrivals had been aggressive earlier and had to be segregated from the other monkeys in the same facility, they had improved with time.


Bank to sponsor anti-smoking drive
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 25
The State Bank of Patiala (SBP) will sponsor a campaign against pollution and smoking to be launched from July 1 by the local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). This was stated by Mr J.R. Devgan, General Manager (Operations) of the SBP, at a doctors’ meet organised by the bank here on Saturday. The announcement was made on an appeal by Dr Surinder Singla, Secretary of the local unit of the IMA.

Mr Devgan informed about a new scheme called “medi-home flexi finance” for doctors and medical practitioners. Under the scheme, the bank would provide financial assistance to them for the construction of nursing home, clinic, X-ray laboratory, diagnostic clinic and ambulance van etc. He said prompt service for the release of loans at concessional rate of interest would be provided.


Rs 3.5-lakh scam comes to light
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 25
A scandal involving misappropriation of Rs 3.5 lakh has come to light.

According to Mr Gian Chand Loomba, vice-president, INTUC, a Divisional Accountant working in the office of Financial Adviser, Ranjit Sagar Dam, issued an inprest of Rs 3.5 lakh without the approval of the Financial Advisor. When the matter came to the notice of the Financial Adviser, the Divisional Accountant was divested of drawing and disbursing powers on April 12 and shifted to another branch.

The Divisional Accountant did not refund Rs 3.5 lakh wrongfully drawn by him and instead made a payment of Rs 3.17 lakh to a contractor in May when he had been divested of the DD power. The payments related to 1998.

Mr Loomba said the payments to contractors related to office-expanses, but Rs 3.50 lakh drawn by him related to works. In other words, instead of drawing the money from the Treasury, he diverted the money from works, which only the government was competent to do.

Mr Loomba said divisional accountants were posted by the Accountant-General, Punjab to protect the government’s interest. But on the contrary, this accountant had threwn all caution to the winds regarding financial propriety and had committed grave irregularities by arrogating to himself the powers of the Financial Adviser and those of the government.


Presiding officers to meet on June 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
More than 400 delegates from all over the country will participate in the Presiding Officers’ Conference to be held here from June 27 to July 1, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, announced here today.

He said the purpose of the conference was to provide a forum to the Speakers of various legislative assemblies and councils to discuss issues related to the conduct of the proceedings inside the house. One of the main topics on the agenda of the conference would be the “need to evolve a code of conduct for legislators and steps to contain frequent adjournments of legislatures on account of disturbances.”

He said on an average 10 to 15 delegates are expected from each state. Besides, members of the executive council of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association were also expected to attend the conference.


Goods train derailed

Phagwara, June 25
Rail traffic on the Jalandhar-Ferozepore rail sections was disrupted for several hours after four wagons of a goods train got derailed near the Mahalana village railway station this morning.

Railway sources said the cause of the derailment could not be immediately known. The Railways has ordered a departmental inquiry into the accident.

Hundreds of railway employees worked hard to clear the rail tracks and restore normal traffic, which remained disrupted for several hours following the derailment. Meanwhile, a report from Ferozepore said the train was Jammu bound and was loaded with clinker. It had covered just a distance of 10 km from Ferozepore before its wagons got derailed.

DRM Railways, J..S. Marvaha along with other high officials reached the spot. UNI

Loona assumes charge
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir (Patiala), June 25
Conservator of Punjab Forest Department Mr R.K. Loona today took over as Punjab’s Additional Chief Warden (Zoos). The orders to this effect were passed by the Punjab Government on June 22.

Mr Loona was appointed as Zoo director by the government last year, but the post was abolished before he could join following litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. 

According to sources, Mr Loona took a round of Mohinder Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhat Bir on the Chandigarh-Patiala Highway at about 4 pm. He reportedly told the staff to make efforts for the upkeep of the zoo. It may be recalled that Punjab Chief Warden (Zoos), Dr Vinod Sharma, is currently undergoing treatment for heart ailment.


BJP youth wing to launch anti-drug drive
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 25
The district unit of the BJP Yuva Morcha will launch an anti-drug campaign by organising a rally here in July.

This decision was taken at a meeting of the district unit here yesterday. The meeting was held under the presidentship of Mr Mahinder Bawa, president of the unit, and Mr Jatinder Kalra, district secretary of the BJP, supervised the proceedings.

The meeting also directed block presidents to organise seminars and distribute literature against drug abuse in their respective blocks.

Mr Kalra called upon party workers and members of the Yuva Morcha to participate in the state-level rally to be held at Budhlada on July 6. The Rally will be addressed, among others, by Mr K. Jana Krishanamurthi.


Cong worker dies as truck overturns
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
A Congress worker was killed and 33 others, including two women, injured, when a truck carrying them overturned near Kotshamir, village about 15 km from here today.

The Congress workers were coming from Mahinangal village when the driver of the truck lost control of the vehicle while reportedly trying to prevent a collision with a truck on government duty.

The injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Two of them, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Sukhdev Singh who had sustained serious injuries, were referred to Ludhiana. The deceased has been identified as Chotu Singh.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, 65, who sustained injuries on the head and was admitted to the Civil Hospital, said a large number of his supporters were coming to the city to attend a state-level rally.

Mr Amarinder Singh, PPCC chief, visited the Civil Hospital and enquired about the health of the Congress workers. He expressed grief over the death of the Congress worker.

The driver of the truck reportedly absconded after the incident. A case has been registered. 


Estate Officer transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Punjab Government has transferred Mr Ravinder Singh, Estate Officer, PUDA, SAS Nagar, and posted him as District Transport Officer, Muktsar, in place of Mr Balwinder Singh. The Transport Department has been directed to post Mr Balwinder Singh at a suitable place.



Body of youth found on track
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
A youth was reportedly hit by a train and killed about 30 km from here. His body was found from the railway track today. The railway police and volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa brought the body to the local Civil Hospital for a postmortem. It was later handed over to his relatives.

The deceased has been identified as Jagdish (30), of the Balmiki Kaloi locality at Jaitu town. An unidentified person hailing from Bikaner died today at the local railway station. The Sahara volunteers said he had been suffering from tuberculosis.

A drug addict also died at the waiting room of the railway station. The volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa cremated the two bodies.


Lovers commit suicide

Batala, June 25
Two lovers allegedly committed suicide by taking poison at Sekhwan village under Gania ke Banger police station in the district last night, the police said here today. The police said Balkar Singh, a resident of Sekhwan village, was working at a gurdwara in Amritsar where Pawandeep Kaur (20) was studying. Both fell in love.

She was also a resident of the same village and their parents were not aware about their affair.They came to the village and allegedly took poison in the fields and died. PTI


Gang of auto thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 25
The district police claims to have busted a gang of purse snatchers and auto thieves with the arrest of all its five members. Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, stated here today that Vijay Kumar of Udhopur village, who was coming on a scooter, was arrested for carrying 450 gm of opium during a naka near Jalandhar Pulli at Nakodar today.

Four persons were arrested identified as Davinder Singh, Avtar Lal and Harjeet Singh of Qadian Wali village and Pawan Kumar of Sekha village in Noormahal.


GND varsity results today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
The results of MA, Part-I (History) and MP Ed, LL.B (Five Year Course) — 10th semester and LL.B. (Three year course, Sixth semester, and B.Lib. (second semester) examinations conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University in April/May will be declared on June 26, according to the Registrar of the University.


B.Sc. Home Science results tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 25
Punjabi University declared the results of B.Sc. Home Science Part II and Part III examinations here today. The results of B. Sc. Part II (Medical and Non-Medical) examinations conducted by the university in April would be declared on June 27, Mr R.K.Sharma, Joint Controller of Examinations, Punjabi University, said.

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 |