Friday, September 21, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bhakra, Pong levels down
Irrigation to be hit
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

  Bhakra Pong
Optimum 1680 1390
2001 1648.63 1371.96


1647.53 1348.55
1999 1668 1384
* All figures in elevation feet

Chandigarh, September 20
The level of water in the reservoirs at the Bhakra and Pong Dams has been recorded at 32 ft and 18 ft below normal, respectively, as the official filling season of the two massive reservoirs ended today.

In the case of Bhakra — the biggest hydro power dam in the country — this has been officially classified as the second consecutive “dry season”, a phenomenon which has never occurred since the dam came up more than four decades ago.

Engineers at the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) have put the use of water on a “caution and judicious” use mode to ensure its optimum utilisation till May-end next year when the filling season begins. The irrigation as well as power generation requirements have to be kept in mind and will be met , said the BBMB Chairman, Mr S.K. Duggal. Demands from the partner states had been received till May next year and planning had been done accordingly.

The availability of water would be as per the predetermined classifications for a dry season, Mr Duggal said while adding that no cuts would be imposed but usage had to be as per the norms laid down.

This morning the level at Bhakra was 1,647 elevation ft, 32 ft lower than the optimum filling level of 1,680 elevation ft and barely 1 foot more than the level achieved last year. In the reservoir at the Pong Dam the level was 1371.96 elevation ft, 18 ft below the optimum level of 1,390 elevation ft, besides being 23 ft more than the level achieved last year.” The BBMB gave an assurance that “there is no need to panic” even as there is little chance of a rise in the water levels as the monsoon has withdrawn from the region as per the Indian Meterological Department.

Explaining the shortfall Mr Duggal said early rain in June stopped the natural snow melt. And then inflows were reduced , especially in the Sutlej river, due to very poor rainfall in the catchment area . This year the catchment area of Bhakra received a total of 75 cm of rainfall as against the normal of 84 cm. In the case of Pong the rain fall was 169 cm against the normal of 144 cm.

In the past the BBMB has managed with even lower levels of water. In 1993 the level was at 1,628 elevation ft — the lowest ever. Even then everything was managed well without hitting dead level of the dam, which is 1,462 elevation ft in the Bhakra Dam. Below this level, the turbines do not work.

Normally, the reservoirs fill up to a few ft short of the optimum level. In the recent past 1998 was the best season when the levels were close to and even beyond the optimum.

The lower levels of water also mean that Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh will have to do with lesser shares of power and water in the coming months. The share of water and power of the partner states is fixed on the basis of three parameters that change according to the inflow of water in the reservoirs. The three parameters are “dry”, “dependable” and “mean”. The last is the best followed by “dependable” and “dry” conditions.

The loss of power generation cannot be quantified, but there will be a drop. This year the Central Electricity Authority has fixed the generation target for the BBMB at 10,060 million units, down from 11,000 million units in the previous year. 


SGPC drive against ‘living gurus’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
In a significant development, which may have far-reaching consequences in Sikh circles, the SGPC has launched a campaign against ‘living gurus’, the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak (RSS), in the wake of the forthcoming elections in October.

In a hard-hitting editorial in Gurmat Parkash, a monthly periodical of the SGPC, a call has been given to the Sikh ‘sangat’ not to allow ‘anti-Sikh’ forces to enroll themselves as voters.

After the Sehajdharis, the SGPC has opened a new front, firing a salvo at the Namdharis, Radhasoamis, the Sacha Sauda sect, the Nurmehal sect, followers of excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhanyara, the RSS, the Wadhbhag Singh sect and idol worshippers.

The periodical cautions that it is the foremost duty of the ‘sangat’ to safeguard the interests of the Sikh Panth at the crucial juncture when the SGPC elections are round the corner.

The SGPC has already passed a resolution, debarring the Sehajdharis from becoming voters.

The fresh campaign against different sects which worship ‘living gurus’ may create problems for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal as it has strong pockets of voters in different constituencies of the state.

Interestingly, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, has presided over a function of guru Nanak Dev University where an announcement for establishment of Satguru Ram Singh Chair (founder of the Namdhari sect) was made, to woo the Namdharis. Similarly, the Sacha Sauda sect, which has its headquarters in Haryana, commands considerable influence in the Malwa region, including the home constituency of the Chief Minister.

The followers of Sacha Sauda invariably play a significant role in the Assembly and parliamentary elections.

The BJP has formed the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation to counter the move of the SGPC, debaring the Sehajdharis from becoming voters.

Earlier, Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, had fired a salvo against “living gurus”. Though Giani Kewal Singh retracted his statement against Baba Nand Singh, founder of the Nanaksar sect, he has been spearheading a campaign against “living gurus”.

He had to withdraw his statement against Baba Nand Singh as the Nanaksar sect has considerable influence among voters in different constituencies.


Pakistani Hindus reluctant to return
Tribune News Service

Attari (Amritsar), September 20
Many Pakistani Hindu families which alighted from the “Samjhauta Express” here have said that they would prefer to commit suicide than return to their country as they had suffered years of humiliation in the hands of the majority community there.

The Hindu families said they would find their roots in the country of their forefather. They said that they had virtually vacated their respective houses and brought whatever they could carry along with them.

Taba Ram a resident of Balampur, 400 km away from Lahore, his wife Premi Devi and children said Hindus were treated as second rate citizens in Pakistan. “They would kidnap our daughters and force them to convert to Islam. Many Hindu families had already embraced Islam under pressure from Muslims,” they said.

They attributed possible US attack on Afghanistan as reason for migration to India. However, they said that they had confronted worse days than “war”.

Kesar Ram and his wife Cheemu said many Hindu families which had shifted to India were having better life here. Another Hindu family of Biru Ram, said they had been born and brought up in Pakistan as their forefathers had opted for Pakistan at the time of Partition. However, with the passage of time, they realised that it was a blunder on their part to opt for that country. They alleged that the Hindus were not being given government jobs there.

Most of the passengers of the Delhi-Lahore bus and the Samjhauta Express said residents of Pakistan were having a sense of insecurity due to apprehension of the US onslaught on Talibans. The Pakistan will have to face a piquant situation as it would be extremely difficult to stop the influx of Afghani nationals in case of a war.


Protest rallies against burning of ‘Bir’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 20
Despite withdrawal of call for Punjab bandh by the Sikh Students Federation today, protests against the burning of holy Guru Granth Sahib ‘Bir’, allegedly by followers of the Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, gained momentum today, with people blocking traffic and organising rallies in various parts of the district. The most vociferous protests were carried out in the Anandpur Sahib and Nurpur Bedi areas which are in the vicinity of the dera of Baba Piara Singh.

Villagers of the Nurpur Bedi area gathered at the Jajh crossing at 9 am and blocked roads there, disrupting the traffic on the Anandpur Sahib-Hoshiarpur and the Anandpur Sahib-Jalandhar roads.

The traffic remained suspended here for three hours due to the blockade. The people raised slogans against the Baba Piara Singh and burned his effigies, The traffic blockade was lifted only when Bibi Jagir Kaur, former president of the SGPC came there and urged the people to lift the blockade keeping in view the harassment to the commuters.

Addressing the gathering present on the occasion she termed the incident as unfortunate, but urged the people to maintain peace.

In Anandpur Sahib, almost complete bandh was observed on the call of the local leaders to protest against the burning of the ‘Bir’. The government offices and institutions, however, remained open. The people of the town, including the students of various schools and the officials of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib marched in protest in the town demanding the arrest of Baba Piara Singh. Later they blocked traffic on the Nangal-Chandigarh road for two hours and burned an effigy of the Baba.

Prof. Manjit Singh, Jathedar of the Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib talking to this correspondent said that keeping in the view the emotions of the people of the area the government should take strict action in the matter. On being asked if Baba Piara Singh should be arrested, the Jathedar making an indirect reference to the Baba said, “All those responsible, directly or indirectly for the burning of the Bir should be arrested. If appropriate action was not taken in the matter, it could lead to some untoward incident, due to hurt feelings of the community.” He also urged the people to consider only the Granth as the ‘Guru’ as per the preachings of the Sikh Gurus, rather then following certain persons.

In Ropar also students of the government college organised a rally and burned an effigy of Baba Piara Singh to protest against the burning of the “Bir”. They also blocked traffic on the College road.

An almost complete bandh was also observed in the town on the call of the local Beopar Mandal. Reports of total bandhs were also received from the Morinda and Chamkaur Sahib areas. In Rasoolpur village, where the “Bir” was carried and burnt by the miscreants, the bhog of path was organised, which was attended by Prof Manjit Singh.

The district Bas Associations in Ropar and Anandpur Sahib also strike work in protest against the burning of the ‘Bir’. Meanwhile the district administration has put up nakas on all roads leading to the dera of the Baba Piara Singh in the Nurpur Bedi area.

The policemen allegedly were not allowing any person towards the dera of the Baba apprehending violence. However, the sources said that 5000 devotees of the Baba had gathered and barricaded his dera to protect it from any kind of attack.


Wadhawa Singh, deputy fall out
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Differences have cropped up between the chief of the Babbar Khalsa militant organisation, Wadhawa Singh, and his deputy, Mahal Singh, both till recently based in Pakistan.

‘’Mahal Singh recently left Pakistan for an undisclosed destination following apparent differences between the two militant leaders,’’ intelligence sources told The Tribune.

The former Indian Air Force man accused of masterminding bomb blasts in Punjab and member of one of the Panthic Committees supporting “Khalistan”, Mahal Singh had fallen out with Wadhawa Singh some time ago back.

Both were living in the same house in Model Town in Lahore till six months ago before Mahal Singh parted ways to live in a separate house in the same city, the sources said.

Though no exact reason for the two developing differences was yet known, the main cause was believed to be control of funds, the sources said.

Their sponsor, the ISI of Pakistan, also seemed to have developed cold feet on support to them due to their ‘’incapability’’ to strike in Punjab.

However, Wadhawa Singh was still in Pakistan, the sources said.

Ranjit Singh Nitta of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) and Paramjit Singh Panjwar of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF-Panjwar) were still believed to be in Pakistan.

Except for Nitta, who had still been carrying out bomb blasts in the Jammu area, others had almost become ineffective, the sources said.

Mahal Singh, son of Mr Jind Singh, hailed from Dassuwal village in Tarn Taran police district.

Mahal Singh’s children were abroad with his daughter being in the USA.

His elder brother, Sukhdev Singh Babbar’s family was also believed to be in the USA.

However, Mahal Singh’s wife, Ms Gurmit Kaur, was working in Darbar Sahib in Amritsar, the sources added.


BJP workers ignore mandal chief’s call
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
Even as the mandal president of the BJP, Mr Narinder Mittal, issued a written statement yesterday that the BJP workers would boycott all functions of the Punjab Science & Technology Minister Mr Chiranji Lal Garg and the president of Municipal Council, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar the workers of the district unit of the BJP, including Municipal Councillors, senior leaders and the vice-president of BJP mandal attended the function of Mr Bhullar today.

Mr Bhullar inaugurated the new building of the administrative wing of municipal council today and talking to reporters said that all Municipal Councillors were sent invitation letters. He denied having any knowledge of the boycott call given by the mandal president of BJP. It was not a political function and people from all walks of life attended the function. Even BJP Municipal Councillors attended the function, Mr Bhullar said.

To a question Mr Bhullar said that if even a single case of corruption as alleged by the BJP unit, was found true against him, he would resign. The civic body was running well and a vigilance probe by the local bodies department was on. He expressed confidence that the probe would bring out the truth.

On the rift between the BJP and the SAD Mr Bhullar said that three Municipal Councillors of the BJP, Mr Chiman Lal Garg, Ms Shashi Dutta and Ms Bimala Garg, senior leaders of the BJP Mr Tarsem Goyal and Mr Parminder Goyal attended today’s function. “It was a function of the council and all councillors of all parties were invited,” he said.

These three councillors were present throughout the function, which was videotaped, he said.

Mr Om Parkash Sharma, Press Secretary, SAD, and Mr Chamkaur Singh Mann, senior vice-president, Youth Akali (Badal) in different press notes issued here today said that while the BJP leaders were stating that they had boycotted the functions of Mr Garg and Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, president Municipal Council, they actually were attending their functions.

Mr Narinder Mittal, mandal president, BJP when contacted said that no BJP worker or Municipal Councillor had attended the function of the Municipal President. The activists and the leaders may had gone for their routine works in the council’s office, he said.


SAD youth wing to be ‘reconstituted’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 20
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said the youth wing of the SAD would be reconstituted in 15 to 20 days to strengthen the party.

Mr Badal said this in reply to a question while talking to newspersons at the PWD rest house here last night. He was here to mobilise support for the party’s Killianwali rally to be held on September 25.

Mr Badal said the SAD might grant up to 20 per cent of party ticket to the youths in the ensuing Assembly elections in the state. However, he added the final decision would be taken in this regard by the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party.

Regarding the demand of the BJP for more than 23 seats in the ensuing Assembly elections, Mr Badal claimed that there was no dispute between the SAD and the BJP over the sharing of seats.

With regard to the abolition of octroi issue, he claimed that SAD was not humiliating the BJP by postponing a decision in this regard time and again. He said the Department of Local Bodies was under the control of a BJP Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon. So how one could say that the SAD was humiliating the BJP on this issue. However, he declined to comment more on the issue.


Sops to woo voters, protesters kept at bay
Tribune Reporters

Ratwara Sahib, September 20
In an effort to win over the people in this area of the Morinda Assembly segment, considered a strong hold of the sitting MLA of the Tohra group, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, the Punjab Chief Minister distributed cheques worth around Rs 3 crore among 83 gram panchayats and civic bodies of Kurali and Morinda at a sangat darshan programme here today.

Anticipating protests by political opponents, the Chief Minister flew in at the venue of the sangat darshan in a chopper amidst tight security arrangements. A protest march by workers of the Congress, led by a former minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, was not allowed to reach the venue. The road leading to the gurdwara remained blocked for half an hour. However, members of the Anandgarh Hatao Sanjhi Sangarsh Committee preferred to hold a rally in a school building along the Mullanpur-Garibdass road.

Starting with his rhetoric, the Chief Minister said there were no political reasons for holding the sangat darshan. He said his political opponents, who were opposed to his way of giving justice to the people, had left no means to sabotage it . Some had even taken legal recourse, he added.

During the programme, the entire official machinery was “sitting” there to reply to questions by the Chief Minister. All did not go satisfied, like Mr Gurcharan Singh of Togan village, who remarked: “Eh tan sangat darshan ghat lagda hai. Aphsaran kol likhian hoian shakaitan hi sunia ja rahian han”.

For Angad Singh of Seonk village, it was like a replay of earlier such programmes in other parts of the state. Hundreds of villagers in tractor trollies, trucks and jeeps and on foot reached the gurdwara, with memorandums and “expectations”.

It was Mr Badal’s first visit to this part of the Morinda Assembly constituency since he assumed power in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in February, 1997. The villagers were expecting sops and important announcements.

The sarpanch of Naya Gaon, Mr H.S. Bajwa, remarked, “We were expecting declaration of NAC to our area, but Mr Badal gave us a lollipop instead”. The sarpanch said they told the CM that they did not need any financial assistance, but NAC status. His views were seconded by Manjeet Singh Kamboj, president of the Joint Action Committee, Naya Gaon.

Mr Arvind Puri of Mullanpur Garibdas village was disappointed from the grant of Rs 8 lakh. He said, “Ours is one of the largest villages in the area. The expectations were very high.” Mr Tahal Singh of Balolpur Tandiya village, however, remained sitting outside the venue as “nobody told” him that the CM had arrived. He said that he wanted to personally speak to the CM.

A 70-year-old man, Mr Gurbash Singh of Raipur village, was seen looking for the tractor trolley in which he had reached the venue along with other residents of his village. He said, “I had no expectations. I just came here to see the CM, but later I decided against it.”

Mr Nand Singh (65), a resident of Jhanpur village, said he just came to “have a glimpse of Badal”. Mr Thakur Singh of Chetawali village said the cheque for Rs 2.40 lakh given to the village by the CM was not sufficient.


Amarinder’s promise ‘misleading’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal today described the promise made by the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Capt Amarinder Singh, to give bonus on paddy if his party was voted to power as misleading and politically motivated.

In a statement issued here, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, general secretary of the SAD, and Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, senior leader of the party, said that such statements of Capt Amarinder Singh were nothing more than a political stunt aimed at wooing voters. They said the farming community in the state was aware of the past of the Congress, which never bothered to safeguard the interests of farmers.

They said that because of the anti-farmer policies of the previous Congress government, the farming community was pushed into a debt of Rs 6,600 crore.

They said that during the past four and a half years of the Badal government, farmers had got a total increase of Rs 250 per quintal in the minimum support price of paddy and Rs 280 per quintal of wheat. The total benefit to farmers was Rs 3,150 crore. The increases from 1992 to 1997 were insignificant.


AISSF (U) sets up policy-framing body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Dr Manjit Singh Bhoma, convener of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (United), today announced a 20-member apex policy-framing body of the federation.

A meeting of the apex committee will be held on September 22 at the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

Mr Bhoma said a 51-member ad hoc committee and advisory board would be announced soon. 


MLA flayed for attack on scribes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
Even as the stand-off between mediapersons and Garhshankar MLA Shingara Ram Sahoongra over the issue of his arrest or unconditional apology continued for the second day today, several leaders and organisations condemned the MLA’s assault on journalists.

The newly formed action committee of the Jalandhar and Doaba Journalists, which is demanding an unconditional apology from the MLA and action against ASI Sucha Singh, today received many messages of condemnation of the incident and the irresponsible behaviour of the MLA.

Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, a former Punjab minister, and a Dalit leader described the attack as an act of gagging the freedom of the Press. Mr Vijay Sampla, the state president of the BJP’s SC and ST Morcha, demanded the arrest of Mr Sahoongra. He threatened that in case the police failed to do so, the morcha would launch a statewide stir against the state government.

Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, a former MP and Dalit leader criticised the MLA for his uncivilised behaviour towards journalists.

Mr Vipin Bhatti, president of the state unit of the National Students’ Union of India, Mr Davinder Singh Babbu, president of the Punjab Youth Congress, and Mr Pawan Diwan, chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the Indian Youth Congress, have also condemned the attack on scribes and demanded the arrest of the MLA. These leaders also condemned the police for the registration of a false case against four journalists at the behest of Mr Sahoongra.

Mr Chuni Lal Bhagat, a local MLA, has also criticised Mr Sahoongra for his irresponsible behaviour. Former Punjab minister Harbans Singh Sidhu and PPCC secretary Sukhpal Singh Khaira have criticised Mr Sahoongra and the failure of police officials deputed at the Circuit House to take action against him. Mr Tejinder Bittu, organising secretary of the PPCC, demanded the suspension of Mr Sucha Singh, ASI, for trying to provoke the MLA at the Circuit House.

The Punjab Small Newspapers Association president, Mr Sham Lal Talib, and the general secretary, Mr Jatinder Mohan Wig, also condemned the manhandling of the scribes and demanded the arrest of the MLA.


11 hepatitis-C cases detected
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
Even as the district health authorities have been making efforts to control hepatitis-B, which has gripped several villages, the detection of 11 cases of hepatitis-C has created further confusion.

The alarming number of hepatitis-C cases, which have been detected by the blood bank in the local Civil Hospital, have stunned staff members.

Official sources said from June 7, 2001, till date, 11 cases of hepatitis-C had been found after screening of blood samples of 684 persons.

It was found that two of the donors had been infected by contaminated needles.

Dr Indu Bhushan, in charge, Blood Bank, when contacted, said more hepatitis-B and hepatitis-C cases after further screening could not be ruled out.

He said the situation was alarming. The Punjab AIDS Control Authorities and Director, Health Services, was being sent reports every month.

Dr Bawa Ram, Civil Surgeon, said the screening of blood for hepatitis-C was started on June 7 as per the decision of the Supreme Court. A section of employees working in the Civil Hospital said hepatitis-C cases were being detected in unprecedented numbers.

There were reports a few months ago that blood units collected from various blood donation camps and individuals were rarely tested. Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal, general secretary, DCC(I), said the Punjab Government should take necessary steps to prevent the spread of hepatitis-C in the region.


Clerk manhandles councillor
Our Correspondent

Raman Mandi (Bathinda), September 20
Mr Krishan Kumar Mittal, president of the local municipal committee, was allegedly manhandled by one of the octroi clerks and his associates when he objected to his taking liquor during duty hours. The police registered a case in this connection under Sections 353, 323 and 506, IPC.

Mr Krishan Kumar Mittal when contacted on phone said that he went to the Kamalu road octroi post last night when he received complaints that Satnam Singh, a clerk who was working on contract basis, was taking liquor during duty.

He said when he went there, Satnam along with some other persons who were not employees of the municipal council were taking intoxicants outside the octroi post.

Mr Mittal alleged that when he objected to this he was abused by Satnam. One of them pushed him and asked to go from there.

He further alleged that when he asked them to show him the records Satnam objected to it. He alleged that he wanted to note down the incident in the record book of the octroi post but he was prevented from doing so.

The Station House Officer of police station said the case has been registered against Satnam Singh and three other persons.


CNN, BBC get top rating
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 20
CNN and BBC topped in rating among Punjabi University teachers as channels best satisfying their urge to know about the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

This was observed at a survey carried by students of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, here, through a questionnaire by randomly selecting 120 teachers and students from 25 departments. Twenty-seven per cent of the respondents chose CNN and BBC as their favourite channels to see coverage of the bombings on World Trade Center and their repercussions.

Zee News, Star and Aaj Tak were rated second with 13 per cent preference by the teachers. However, among students Aaj Tak has been adjudged as the best channel with 25 per cent followed by CNN with 22 per cent, Zee News with 15 percent and BBC and Star sharing the 13 per cent preference quota. Doordarshan occupied the last position in both the categories of the respondents.

Among newspapers, The Tribune proved to be the best by getting 55 per cent preference among students in providing the detailed information about the incident followed by The Times of India with 27 per cent and Hindustan Times with 5 per cent preference rate. The teachers, too, found The Tribune along with Hindustan Times as the best papers for giving detailed reports. They both got 32 per cent each followed by The Times of India with 15 per cent.

In response to a question asked during the survey, it was found that most of the respondents got the information by 9 pm on the day of the attack, while another 14 per cent received it the next morning. The students, however, lagged behind their teachers in this respect as 22 per cent remained ignorant till the arrival of the newspapers the next day.

Both the teachers and students were unanimous in their opinion regarding the motive behind the attack. While 50 per cent of the teachers described shattering of US pride as the prime motive behind the attack, 40 per cent of the students held similiar view as well. Similiarly, 30 per cent and 25 per cent of the students and teachers, respectively, opined as revenge and terror as the chief motive behind the attacks.

The department Head, Prof Navjit Singh Johal, said 46 per cent of the respondents expressed their ‘shock’ on hearing the incident, while ‘surprise’ was the reaction from 35 per cent and 22 per cent of students and teachers, respectively. Forty-five per cent of the students named Osama bin Laden as the chief suspect and 32 per cent teachers agreed with the students’ opinion. Fifty-three per cent teachers and 30 per cent students were not sure who the real suspect could be.

Lastly, the survey also brought forth that in the opinion of 50 per cent students and 28 per cent teachers, the consequences could lead to “world war”. Others quoted themselves as “major changes in international politics”, “economic breakdown”, “unified action against terrorists”, “priority to human rights” and “threat to peaceful co-existence”.


Bathinda to have parking lot
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, President Municipal Council, talking to mediapersons here today said to solve the problem of parking in the city the council was planning to shift the Fire Brigade building to a new location and construct a parking lot in the heart of the city.

Mr Bhullar said the Fire Brigade office would be shifted to a location near the municipal rose garden and a three-storeyed building would be constructed in its place. The ground floor of the building would have a market and the basement and the first floor would have parking places. No four wheeler would be allowed to be parked in the bazaars of the city after the construction of the building.

He said the project cost was estimated to be about Rs 2.5 crore and a tie-up with the District Improvement Trust for its construction was quite possible.

He added the construction work could be given to a private party. The builders could develop the place and after a lease of about two to three years the same would be returned to the council, Mr Bhullar said.


Extend’ quota benefit to Vimukt Jati sub-castes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
The Akhil Bharatiya Vimukt Tapriwas Jati Vikas Manch, Punjab, in a press note issued by Dr S.L. Kalyani has said that there are about 30 lakh persons belonging to the Vimukt Jatis in the country and they have demanded free education to the children of their community, to want their communities to be declared as “tapriwas” by the state government so that they could avail themselves the benefits of welfare schemes of government.

All sub-castes of the Vimukt Jatis should be given the benefits of reservation like other castes of Vimukt Jatis, he said.

If the state government do not listen to their demands they would launch an agitation, he said.


Writers forum announces awards
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Punjab Writers Forum today announced that it was honouring former Chief Minister Beant Singh, former Hind Samachar Editor Lala Jagat Narain and slain Akali leader Harchand Singh Longowal with the “Punjab Rattan” award posthumously on September 23 at a function which will be presided over by the Punjab Governor, Lieut Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

In a statement here, the president of the forum, Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, said the three former leaders were being given the award for their supreme sacrifice in fighting terrorism in the state.

He said besides this the forum would confer the “Punjab Rattan and Patiala Rattan awards on Major Manwindra Singh of Patiala post humously for his supreme sacrifice while fighting terrorists in Kashmir, former MP Kartar Singh Duggal and Sardar Anjum for their contribution in the field of literature and Rajmata Mohinder Kaur of the erstwhile Patiala state for outstanding social work, Raja Randhir Singh, Olympian, Tejinder Khanna, retired bureaucrat, Mr N.S. Gujral, Chairman, Punjab and Sind Bank, Prof Gursewak Singh, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Mr Viswajit Khanna, bureaucrat, Mr Rakesh Bharti, Chairman, Bharti Telecom Limited.

He said noted folk singers Hansraj Hans and Surinder Kaur would also be honoured for their contribution to folk art of Punjab. Among those who would awarded the “Patiala Rattan” are Ms Arrohi Walia, a young promising classical dancer, Subhash Chand Jain for contribution towards blood donation movement and Daily Ranjit, the oldest daily of Patiala.


Patwari killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
One person died and three were injured in the city in different incidents. Gurdev Singh, a city resident and posted as patwari at Bhagta village of the district, today was severely injured when his scooter was hit by a vehicle near Jeeda village.

In another incident, an old man was hit by a scooter. He suffered severe injuries. He was identified as Mr Gurdyal Singh. Sunil Kumar, a migratory labourer suffered minor injuries when he fell from a moving train, near here. Volunteers of the Sewa provided him medical aid. An old woman was injured when she fell from a moving train. She suffered head injuries . Her condition was stated to be serious.


Baba Sheikh Farid remembered
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, September 20
A seminar on the life and teachings of the Sufi saint, Baba Sheikh Farid, organised by the All-India Baba Farid Memorial Society on the eve of the nine-day “Aagman Purab” celebrations here today, appealed to the big powers to refrain from any type of war and maintaining peace in the world.

Dr Sewa Singh Chawla, Chairman of the Sant Kabir Chair, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, appealed to the people not to be a prey to selfish motives and to work for strengthening equality and peace. He said Baba Farid was optimistic and always advocated to forget and forgive. Dr Nasser Naqvi, Head of the Urdu Department, Punjabi University Patiala, described the Sufi saint a light house who toured 25 countries to spread his teachings of peace and love.


Paddy procurement from today
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 20
Farmers of Punjab are eagerly awaiting the beginning of paddy procurement that will officially begin tomorrow. Thousands of farmers have so far been forced to sell their paddy at a price lower than the minimum support price announced by the government and in the process losing Rs 60 to 100 per quintal. All this happened due to the delay in procurement by the FCI and other state government procurement agencies.

The farmers have alleged that the commission agents and rice millers had made huge profits through unfair means, including the non-registration of paddy sales in market committee records. The state Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will now formally start the procurement process from Ferozepore, tomorrow.

Mr Pardeep Sabharwal, SDM, here has called a meeting of all officials of procurement agencies today to ensure hassle-free procurement in the Khanna Mandi from tomorrow. Officials of Punjab Warehousing Corporation while talking to The Tribune admitted that the procurement may not start in full swing as the “bardana” (gunny bags) were yet to reach the mandis. The rice millers admitted that they were also waiting for the operation of government agencies as their credit limits had been exhausted.

According to the records of market committee, about 77,200 quintals of paddy have been officially sold in the Khanna mandi by September 19, including 10,000 quintals of ‘Govinda’ variety. The rates had varied between Rs 460 to Rs 505. About 20,000 paddy bags were received in the mandi in the last 10 days. At least 40,000 bags were received today and the rates also increased to Rs 520 per quintal against Rs 475 prevailing during last week.


BKU blames govt for farmers’ woes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
Activists of the BKU (Ekta) today burnt an effigy of the state government at Bhuchu Khurd village on the Bathinda-Barnala road as part of the agitation organised in several villages of the district to press the government to meet their demands.

The BKU leaders alleged the government did not pay any heed towards the problems of the farmers. They alleged that while the government wrote off loans amounting to crores of rupees of industrialists it did not pay any relief to the farmers unable to repay the loans due to recurrent failure of crops.

The activists also held rallies at various villages of the district. The leaders who spoke on the occasion included Mr Shingara Singh, Buta Singh, Burj Gill, Bhola Singh, Natha Singh and Harjinder Singh (all senior leaders of BKU), and many others.

Activists of the Muktsar unit of the BKU (E) held a rally at Tehsil complex, Gidderbaha today. The rally was organised on the concluding day of the campaign of the farmers namely ‘loan waiving’ andolan. During the campaign the farmers held rallies throughout the district.

Addressing the rally today Mr Guruditta Singh, presidents of the Muktsar unit of the union said that the farmers were in debt. He said that farmers of the state had to pay Rs 5,800 crore loan. He added farmers were in debt due to the crop failure on account of seeds and pesticides were not up to the mark.

He said that the farmers were committing suicides due to harassment by arthiyas and the bank officials. He said that cotton crop was destroyed by American bollworm but no relief was paid for that.


PAU gets land for seed production
Gurvinder Kaur

Fauni (Patiala), September 20
The Punjab Government has transferred 1750 acres of land to Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, for development of seed production facilities.

Talking to this correspondent at the inauguration of kisan mela held at Krishi Vigyan Kendra here on Tuesday, the PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, said while 500 acres of land around the open jail, at Nabha had already been transferred, formalities had been completed for another 1250 acres of land in favour of PAU.

The VC stressed the need of carrying out diversified and precision farming to meet the challenges of minimising the cost of production and simultaneously improving the quality of farm produce. He advised the farmers to adopt subsidiary occupations like bee-keeping, mushroom, cultivation and dairy farming to supplement their income and obtain maximum output from the land.

Dr Aulakh urged to farmers to carry out farm operations themselves rather than depending only on the hired labour. While addressing a large gathering of the farmers at the mela, Raja Narinder Singh, Public Health and Civil Aviation Minister called for the application of bio-technology and other advanced scientific techniques in agricultural research and production. He also urged the farmers and agriculture scientists to step ahead towards milk, fishery and honey revolution after the era of Green Revolution.

Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director, Extension Education, PAU, announced that the kisan mela at Bathinda would be held on September 24, at Ludhiana on September 27-28 amd at Gurdaspur on October 1. He appealed to the farmers to participate in these melas in large numbers among with their families.

Dr Govinder Singh Nanda, Director, Research, highlighted the research achievements of the university and informed that good quality seed of newly recommended durum wheat variety PDW 274 would be available for sale during the kisan mela. Besides, 4000 packets of the seeds of improved varieties like wheat PBW 343, PBW 396, Raya RLM 619, peas E-6, toria TL-15, grams PBG-1, gobhi sarson GSL-1 were being made available to the farmers.

Dr Sadhu Singh Malhi, Associate Director, KVK, Patiala, said the kendra produced 800 quintals of certified seed of kharif and rabi crops last year. 


Bank defaulters’ list released
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The All-India Bank Employees Association yesterday released a list of 284 defaulters of various public sector banks of Chandigarh and Punjab who owed banks more than Rs 1 crore in loan.

Releasing the list, its general secretary, Mr Tarakeshwar Chakravarty, said the association had been demanding since a long time for the release of such list by the Central Government. He said as this was not forthcoming it has decided to release the list itself.


Bank staff threaten agitation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The central committee of the All-India Bank Employees Association today decided to organise an all India strike on December 12 in case the Central Government persisted in pushing through legislation on “labour reforms” in Parliament.

The committee while announcing its decision to fight against the labour reforms introduced in the last days of the monsoon session of Parliament which included amendment of the Trade Union Act, said an ‘all-India anti-labour reforms day’ would also be observed throughout the country on November 23 and that gate demonstrations would be organised on December 3 to take a pledge to fight against the reforms.

The committee felt that the “labour reforms” were only a prelude to the entry of foreign capital and that public sector undertakings were being wrongly privatised under these reforms. It felt that changes in the Trade Union Act would included changes in the Industrial Disputes Act which would make holding of a “strike ballot” under government supervision and giving authority to employers to retrench staff or close unit were expected.

The association’s General Secretary Tarakeshwar Chakrabor-thy said the central committee would fight against these measures with the support of bank unions, central trade unions and independent trade federations. A unified platform would be created to coordinate the struggle.

The committee resolved to submit memorandums to the President, the Prime Minister and the Labour Minister in this regard besides meetings of AIBEA associations.


Dayal Singh sworn in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, today administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Dayal Singh as member of the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board at Punjab Bhavan.

The Chairman of the board, Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, was also present.


3 arrested, fake currency seized
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 20
The police has arrested three persons and impounded a machine used for making fake currency besides Rs 3700 in fake currency notes from them. The arrested have been identified as Harbhagan Singh Bhajan r/o Bandhala village, Swaran Dass of Mehmoodpur village police station Mukandpur district Nawanshahr, and Surinderpaul of Ludhiana. The police said that three fake currency notes of 500 denomination were seized from Surinderpaul, 22 notes of Rs 100 denominations from Swaran Dass while fake currency notes making machine was seized from Harbhagan Singh.

Meanwhile the police has arrested Jaswant Singh and recovered five gramms smack from him and arrested Baba Ram with 120 kg of poppy husk and Ram Saroop of Phillaur with 20 kg of poppy husk.


2 migrants murdered

Batala, September 20
Two Bihari migrant labourers were killed and six injured when a “Kala Kachha” gang attacked a tubewell in Diyalgarh village under Sadar police station last night. All labourers belonged to Madhmani district in Bihar, the police said here today. PTI


Candidates oppose PPSC decision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Parents as well as candidates have resented the decision of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) to conduct a screening test on October 14 to shortlist candidates for the posts of lecturer.

They say the test was not only irrelevant but will also put the candidates under the burden of an additional test. The commission had advertised 272 posts of lecturer in various subjects on April 3, 1999, and again on August 11 this year. No interview was held during the intervening period.

Candidates were caught off guard when the commission issued an advertisement on September 11 to hold the screening test. Such a test was never conducted earlier, the parents say. They argue that there was no rational behind conducting the screening test as most of the candidates had already passed national-level tests — NET and JRF which are conducted by the UGC and CSIR, respectively, for lecturership and research.

The commission has stated the test will be based on the master’s degree level syllabus of Panjab University. This will put the candidates who have passed out from other universities at a disadvantage.

The advertisement does not mention on which year’s syllabus the test will be based. Moreover the latest syllabus of Panjab University in each subject contains a few compulsory papers and a large number of optional papers. For instance, in MA Punjabi course, a student has to study eight papers, four of which are compulsory and the remaining four have to be picked from the prescribed10 optional papers.

The candidates have studied different optional papers. The problem is more pronounced in case of MA in history and economics. The commission has given only a month’s time to prepare for the test.

The non-clearance of the screening test will debar a large number of candidates from appearing in the interview who have otherwise passed the UGC test.

The parents have drawn the attention of the commission to constitute a selection committee as notified by the UGC in December 1998 and which was endorsed by the Punjab Government in March 1999. The notification makes it mandatory for the commission to involve the university in the selection process.

The notification of the UGC says that “for government colleges, the state commission must invite three subject experts for which the state commission will involve the university in the selection. The Principal and Head of the Department should be included in the selection committee. The Chairperson of the selection committee will be the Chairman of the commission or his nominee. The quorum for the meeting should be five,” including the subject experts.”

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