Sunday, September 23, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC: burning of ‘bir’ amounts to murder
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), September 22
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has demanded the registration of a case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code against the culprits responsible for setting fire to a “bir” of the Guru Granth Sahib at Rattangarh in Ropar district a few days ago. Addressing a press conference after a special meeting of the SGPC Dharam Prachar Committee here, SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi said the act amounted to murder as the Supreme Court had given the status of a Guru to the Guru Granth Sahib.

The SGPC chief had called a special meeting of the Dharam Prachar Committee here yesterday to discuss the issue. The meeting, while condemning the incident at Ropar, decided to organise a “bhog” and “akhand path” at Gurdwara Bhatia Sahib in Ropar on September 30. The committee also appealed to people living in various cities and villages to organise similar “bhog” and “akhand path” at their places to mourn the incident. Today’s meeting was attended by all members of the committee, including Dr Kharak Singh, Giani Gurdit Singh, Mr Bir Singh, Mr Vir Singh Madhuke, Mr Joginder Singh and Mr Gurbachan Singh Bachan.

Commenting on the controversy over the alleged burning of the Niara Granth in Ludhiana, Mr Talwandi demanded a ban on the granth as it “distorted the original granth.” He said the SGPC did not recognise it and sought a ban on it. Mr Talwandi regretted that the Sikh religion was being targeted by vested interests.

In a major decision, the committee decided that “dharmik vidya” (religious studies) would be started in all SGPC-run educational institutions. The SGPC would also provide its teachers to all other institutions interested in introducing religious courses. The salary of each teacher would be provided by the institution and the SGPC, the committee decided.

The SGPC chief announced that Guru Nanak Dev University had conferred the status of a research centre on the SGPC research board. He said research fellowships would also be instituted to carry out research on Sikh religion and history. He said the writings and lectures of Giani Dit Singh, the founder of the Singh Sabha movement, would also be published and a two-year fellowship with a monthly scholarship of Rs 5,000 would be started. Besides, a lecture would also be organised every year at Khalsa College, Amritsar, he said.


Akali workers gherao Manjit Singh
Our Correspondent

Nurpur Bedi (Ropar), September 22
Agitated Akali workers of Anandpur Sahib, Nurpur Bedi and Nangal this afternoon gheraoed the Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Prof Manjit Singh, and the local SGPC member, Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh, at the local Gurdwara Dewangarh for about half an hour over the issue of launching an agitation against Baba Piara Singh.

The incident happened when at a meeting called at the gurdwara, the Jathedar appealed to the gathering to maintain peace while protesting against the burning of the Guru Granth Sahib “bir”, allegedly by followers of Baba Piara Singh. The young activists in the gathering, who were for an aggressive agitation against Baba Piara Singh, were peeved at the proposal of the Jathedar and gheraoed him. They demanded that the Jathedar should tender his resignation if the government did not arrest Baba Piara Singh within 48 hours.

When the Jathedar offered to resign, the activists were pacified. However, they gave an ultimatum that if the government did not take action against Baba Piara Singh within 48 hours, they would themselves go to his dera to punish him.

Earlier in the day, on a call given by local leaders, hundreds of activists of the SAD and the BJP, alongwith workers of other parties gathered at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. The activists then moved in a procession to the gurdwara in Nurpur Bedi. The procession was led by Prof Manjit Singh, Mr Pritam Singh Salomajra, the district president of the SAD, and other local leaders.

The gathering at the gurdwara adopted several resolutions today, demanding from the Punjab Government that Baba Piara Singh should be arrested for allegedly instigating his followers to burn the “bir”, his Bhavsagar Granth should be banned, all arms licences issued to his followers in the “dera” at Nurpur Bedi should be cancelled and the arms should be confiscated.

Meanwhile, highly-placed police sources said that due to the mounting pressure from political and the religious leaders, Baba Piara Singh might be arrested soon. The police has already sealed his dera and is not allowing trucks or other vehicles to his dera. They said Baba Piara Singh, apprehending arrest, was trying to get anticipatory bail from the court.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, when asked to comment on the issue of the Baba’s arrest, said the police was examining the case legally and action would be taken very soon.


Ban book by Baba: Jathedar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 22
Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, today sought immediate ban on ‘Bhawsagar Samundar’ a controversial book authored by Baba Pyara Singh Bhaniara.

In a press note issued here today, Giani Kewal Singh said Baba Bhaniara had already been ex-communicated from Sikh Panth due to his alleged anti-panthic activities. He condemned the torching of Guru Granth Sahib by followers of Baba Bhaniara. 


Security in border villages tightened
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 22
Security measures in the border villages of Ferozepore and Amritsar districts have been stepped up, keeping in mind the possible attack on Afghanistan by the USA and its allies. Security forces reportedly have been instructed to keep tight vigil on border, especially in view of the announcement of the Prime Minister’s visit to Killianwali, near Dabwali, on September 25. The PM would unveil a statue of Mr Devi Lal, former Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Haryana, there on that day.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, Punjab, informed that a massive ‘sadbhavana’ rally would be held at Killianwali. Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, Mr Farooq Abdulah and Mr Chandra Babu Naidu, Chief Ministers of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Andhra Pradesh, respectively, are expected to address the rally.

According to BSF sources, “Pakistan has imposed night curfew in border areas as a security measure to stop crossing of border by Pakistani smugglers, who provide valuable information to Indian intelligence services. Our Home Ministry, too, has issued us instructions to keep vigil on Indian smugglers and doubtful persons living in border villages.”

One of the officials disclosed that the Border Rangers in Pakistan had also made a list of 28 smugglers, some of whom had already been eliminated by the Pakistani forces. He added that senior officials of the BSF and Army had been instructed to ban regular visit to border areas to monitor security set-up.”

A visit to some villages by The Tribune team near Hussainiwala border revealed that though the villagers did not fear war in wake of the possible attack on Afghanistan by America, they were curious about the increase in movement of BSF vehicles. Mr Dalbir Singh, a youth of Gatti Rajoke village, said, “There seems to be no danger of war. But to be on the safer side, our forces have increased their presence.”

However, Mr Avtar Singh Aulakh, IG, BSF, when contacted at Jalandhar, denied any increase in deployment of forces along the border area. He said, “The BSF is taking routine measures to ensure security along the border.

The increased vehicular movement due to transfer of battalion posted at Ferozepore border has raised curiosity among the villagers as it coincided with the attack on America.” Expressing satisfaction over the level of preparedness, he said there was no chance of any attack on the PM’s rally by any militant from across the border.


Bush assures Sikhs of safety
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 22
The US President, Mr George W. Bush, has assured Sikhs in America that there will be no more attacks on them. This assurance was given by Mr Bush when Dr Rajwant Singh, president of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, met him, along with more than 20 clerics, for 45 minutes on Thursday. They were invited by the US President to seek their advice on the current situation.

According to information received from Dr Rajwant Singh, Mr Bush welcomed him as his “Sikh brother” and said “his heart goes out to the Sikh community because of the recent series of attacks on them.”

Dr Rajwant Singh informed the President that the number of attacks on the Sikhs had exceeded 200. He said, “We have been made the target because of our appearance, but still we pray for you, your family, the Cabinet and the nation. We feel that during these testing moments we need to come together instead of being divided.”

The President assured Dr Rajwant Singh that he was serious about protecting the lives of the Sikhs in the USA.


One held for turning hostile in graft case
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 22
Kamalbir Singh of Chhagian village of this district was arrested after he turned hostile in a corruption case registered with his assistance against Mr Ram Singh, Junior Engineer, PSEB. He was given a cash reward of Rs 25,000 by the state government for exposing corruption.

Kamalbir Singh, who had assisted the Vigilance Department in catching a government official red-handed while accepting bribe on July 21, 1998, turned hostile in the court.

Mr Ram Singh, who was accused in the corruption case registered against him for accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from Kamalbir Singh was acquitted by the court when he (Kamalbri Singh) turned hostile.

However, the Vigilance authorities, taking strong notice of this incident, registered a case against Kamalbir Singh for committing fraud with the state government under Section 420 of IPC on September 19. He was subsequently arrested by the Vigilance Bureau authorities. Mr Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, DSP (Vigilance), has been investigating the case, official sources said.

Sources added that this was not the first such incident eversince the state government had announced Rs 50,000 as award for those who would facilitate the arrest of a gazetted official and Rs 15,000 award for those who would facilitate the arrest of a non-gazetted official indulging in corruption.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that in Bathinda, Faridkot and Moga districts, more and more persons who had facilities the arrest of government officials indulging in corruption had been turning hostile after pocketing the reward money.

Sources added that the modus operandi of such persons was that first they facilitated the arrest of government officials by exposing their corruption and pocket the reward money given to them by the state government and then they would turn hostile after getting some consideration offered by the accused.

The Vigilance Department officials, who had been confronting trouble from this trend had approached the higher authorities to devise a method to check this menace so that the corruption case could reach its logical end.

Sources added that the Vigilance Department officials had also asked the authorities to make arrangements for recovering the amount of cash awards from those complainants who turned hostile after pocketing the same.


Engineers rue ad-hocism
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) Association has demanded comprehensive long-term planning for its 80,000 workforce, besides giving importance to human resource development programmes.

In a statement here, association president M.S. Bajwa said it was an irony that the HRD programmes had been given least importance over the years and ad hoc policies of various managements had proved counter-productive for the organisation.

He said board managements had failed to formulate any manpower planning programme or HRD policy. He said there was no recruitment policy worth the name. On the one hand the entrance test for recruitment of Assistant Engineer had been postponed on flimsy grounds thrice and on the other many subdivisions and power plant installations were without engineers for quite some time.

The PSEB engineer said the board had also failed to implement its own placement policy and transfers were being made on “whimsical” grounds. He said during the recent transfers, some officers who were likely to be promoted in the next two months or had been in that position for only two months had also been transferred.

The association felt if the prime concern of the management was to get the optimum from its available manpower, the first and foremost prerequisite was to put the right persons at the right job, particularly from the managerial cadre was responsible in getting the maximum out of personnel at its command.

He said the management had failed to implement any transfer policy and ad hocism was the rule rather than exception. He said the transfers had been made totally on extraneous considerations due to political interference.

The association also alleged that the board had dismantled the prevailing in-service training programme without making alternative arrangement. He said in-service training of its personnel remained non-existent in the PSEB, except for a brief period, during the past more than one year.

He said the requirement was to employ professionals with adequate exposure to the power sector and experience in the latest personnel management practices as adopted by the corporate sector. 


SAD gears up for ‘sadbhavana rally’
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Killianwali (Muktsar), September 22
Thousands of youth workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) have started fanning out into various districts of the Malwa region to generate enthusiasm among party workers in connection with the “sadbhavana rally” being organised in connection with the 88th birth anniversary of the late Chaudhary Devi Lal on September 25 here.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary, SAD, while talking to TNS today, said more than four lakh persons would attend the rally which would be presided over by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Mr Badal, who is monitoring the arrangements for the rally, said he had toured Ferozepore, Sangrur, Mansa, Muktsar, Faridkot and Bathinda districts and had got an unprecedented response from the public. Meanwhile, this small town, bordering Haryana, is being given a facelift. Roads leading in various directions from this town and to the venue of the rally have been relaid.

Hundreds of people have been pressed into service to erect a huge “pandal” to accommodate the people and a media centre is being set up.

Meanwhile, in a press note the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has said the state government has developed a memorial with a 12-ft bronze statue of the late Devi Lal in this town.

He said Mr Vajpayee would inaugurate the commemorative feature and unveil the statue of the late Devi Lal, who was a tireless crusader and the leader of the masses.

Besides Mr Vajpayee, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr N. Chandra Babu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Farooq Abdullah, a Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, and the Chief Minister of Haryana Mr Om Prakash Chautala, would attend the rally.


SAD workers walk out of Kanjhla’s meeting
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
An altercation between Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Social Security Minister, Punjab, and Jathedar Avtar Singh Madevi, district General Secretary of the SAD and Chairman, Market Committee, Malerkotla, took place at a meeting of the Akali workers at Nankiana Sahib Gurdwara near here today. This altercation led to virtual “walk-out” from the meeting by Jathedar Madevi, Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Sports Minister, Punjab, and a large number of supporters of both leaders.

This altercation took place when Jathedar Madevi in his address spoke against the “behaviour” of Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla. He alleged that Mr Kanjhla’s way of address was not good when he went to a pension camp on September 19 at Dhuri to bring sanction letters of some old age pension cases at the instance of Mr Nusrat Ali Khan. This provoked Mr Kanjhla, who was present at the meeting, and he asked Mr Madevi to sit down, but Mr Madevi did not oblige Mr Kanjhla and continued his address. During this period, the war of words continued.

After concluding his address, Mr Madevi left the venue while Mr Nusrat Ali Khan followed him. A large number of their supporters also did the same. When Jathedar Gurbachan Singh Fatehgarh, president of the district unit of the SAD, saw the virtual walk-out, he intervened and persuaded Mr Madevi to join the meeting. Jathedar Fatehgarh’s appeal was honoured and all returned to the venue.

Later, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister, reached there to address the workers for the success of the Killianwali rally. 


Mann blames Delhi for attacks on Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha and President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) today said terrorism could not be defeated by terrorist methods by any government in the world. He said the SAD (A) condemned those who attacked innocent people in the USA recently and killed thousands of persons.

Mr Mann was talking to reporters at a blood donation and free dental check-up camp near Santpura gurdwara here. He added that attacks on innocent persons should not be made anywhere in the world. Besides this, reasons for terrorism should also be addressed, he added.

Mr Mann also criticised the Indian government for attacks on Sikhs in the USA. He said the Indian government did nothing to educate Americans about the identity of the Sikhs. He also criticised Mr Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, president of the Council of Khalistan, for doing nothing for the Sikhs in America though he received $ 1.25 lakh annually as salary from the funds, collected from Sikhs there. Mr Aulakh also had failed to educate the Americans about Sikhs, he added.

Mr Mann demanded immediate arrest of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara Wala by saying that his followers burnt the “Bir” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib on his behest. He also demanded Baba’s eviction from the forest land where he had set up his dera near Ropar.

Mr Mann also added the final selection of the candidate for the post of Chief Ministership on behalf of the morcha would be made by Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi and the elected MLA after the next Assembly elections.

Mr Mann also demanded a compensation of Rs 15,000 per acre for the cotton growers of cotton-belt whose crop had been damaged.


CM continues to give sops, despite Oppn outcry
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 22
Undeterred by the Opposition outcry, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal continued to dole out money at yet another ‘sangat darshan’ programme organised here yesterday.

At Mamdot he distributed a grant to the tune of Rs1.25 crore to 89 gram panchayats and promised much more if returned to the power.

As usual, the entire district administration was on its toes. Mr Badal, who was at his benevolence best, did not disappoint the sangat.

Justifying the reasons behind his ‘sangat darshan’ programme, he asserted that it was an exercise to expedite development works and was, perhaps, the best way to redress the grievances at the grassroots level.

Emphasising on the need for reorganising the federal system for smooth and effective governance, Mr Badal said this could only be achieved if the common man had easy access to the government as well as the bureaucracy.


Talwandi appoints confidant as OSD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 22
The wings of Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary, SGPC, have been clipped as Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President, SGPC, has appointed his confidant, Mr Narinder Singh Bara, as officer on special duty (OSD).

Earlier, the SGPC had allocated the work of a number of gurdwaras to Mr Harbeant Singh, Additional Secretary, as Mr Talwandi allegedly wanted to “corner” Dr Bachan. Since his election as SGPC chief in November last year, Mr Talwandi has been intending to replace Dr Bachan. However, he has not been able to do so as Dr Bachan reportedly being shielded by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and President, Shiromani Akali Dal.

Interestingly, Dr Bachan, who has served as Director, Youth Services, Punjab, was appointed OSD by Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief, on September 25, 1999. Dr Bachan, however, was elevated to the rank of Secretary, SGPC, on December 2, 1999, replacing Mr Kulwant Singh.

Mr Bara, who had been political secretary to Mr Talwandi for quite some time, is working as chairman, of the Guru Ram Dass Educational Society, Gurdaspur.

Many Akali leaders and SGPC members, including Mr Balbir Singh Baath, MLA, Mr Bachan Singh Mohkampura and Mr Jaswinder Singh, member, SGPC, have welcomed the appointment of Mr Bara as OSD.


Pvt counters in temple to go
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
Collection of money and goods from the premises of the Kali Devi temple here by setting up of counters by various private organisations is likely to come under focus, with the district administration deciding to get all counters removed and one counter being removed from the premises.

Though the Kali Devi temple is under the control of the district administration, religious and social organisations have set up counters on the temple premises to collect money as well as ration items for the community kitchen.

At present, the Shiv Shakti Sewa Dal is operating three collection counters on the temple premises and the Gaushala Committee is taking collections from devotees from a table put up by it on the premises.

The administration has, on its part, recently “pursuaded” the Shiv Shakti Sewa Dal to remove its counter near the havan kund in the temple. Earlier the administration had removed the counters of a private Sarovar Committee, which were collecting donations in the temple, and installed its own counters for collection of donations for the construction of the sarovar, presently underway.

The decision of the administration to get the private organisations to remove their counters from the temple premises within a week has evoked protest by the organisations. Members of the Shiv Shakti Sewa Dal are the most vociferous, charging the administration of not doing anything for the development of the temple and stopping those consistently engaged in development works. The dal is all set to protest any move to remove their collection counters, with a recent meeting being held in this regard to take stock of the situation.

The dal president Rajan Sharma said the dal had been collecting donations in the temple since years for development works. He said it was responsible for the construction of a langar bhavan, besides running langar service for devotees twice a day. He said besides this, it had constructed the parking space on one side of the temple, an entrance gate, a cycle stand, a shoe house and toilet facilities. He said the dal was now constructing a dharamshala for devotees, adding donations were accepted in cash and kind for running all these welfare measures.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, when contacted said the administration was instrumental in beautifying the temple and that it had initiated a Rs 50 lakh scheme under which a “sarovar’’ was being constructed in the temple compound, besides a massive beautification drive. He said the administration had dug up the tubewell for the sarovar at a cost of Rs 9 lakh, besides completing the stairs of the sarovar and marble laying on the rear of the temple.

Mr Bir said counters for collecting donations had been established indiscriminately on the temple premises in the past and it had now been decided to use pursuasive tactics to get them removed. He said he had asked all religious and social organisations not to collect donations on the temple premises. He said the Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) had been deputed to take action in this regard within a week.


Company fined, told to refund money
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 22
Accepting the complaint of Mr Vinod Kumar, a local resident, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mansa, directed M/s Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited, Mumbai to refund Rs 50,182 illegally charged from the complainant, with interest at the rate of 18 per cent from September 5, 2000, along with a cost of Rs 2000.

The forum also directed the company to pay Rs 1,000 on account of damages caused to the vehicle of the complainant after its seizure and Rs 5,000 on account of business losses and another sum of Rs 5,000 on account of mental tension and physical harassment caused to the complainant.

The complainant had purchased a 5-door Mahindra & Mahindra vehicle on hire purchase basis on August 16, 1998. He had deposited margin money of Rs 98,000 and the balance amount was to be paid in 24 monthly instalments.

The complainant stated that as per the statement of account dated September 5, 2000, Rs 54,168 were shown to be outstanding against him which he was ready to pay but on August 26, 2000, the said firm forcibly and illegally seized the vehicle. The vehicle met with an accident while in custody of the financier.

The financier had illegally charged Rs 40,000 on account of expenses towards seizure of the vehicle and Rs 10,182 on account of the penal interest from the complainant.


Morcha leaders honoured
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 22
Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir on Thursday handed over letters of appreciation to eight veteran morcha workers for participating in various morchas organised by the SAD and the BJP.

Speaking at a function held to distribute the appreciation letters, Mr Bir, who is also the Chairman of the Sangharshi Yodha Committee formed by the state government, said 152 persons who had spent three months or more in jail under Sisganj Morcha, Dharamyudh Morcha, Morcha Against Emergency and Punjabi Suba Morcha had been identified for grant of the appreciation letters. He said apart from the “samman patar” a financial assistance of Rs 300 per month would also be given by the state government to the awardees. He said the state government was also contemplating providing reservation to the kith and kin of the awardees in government jobs.

While addressing the gathering, members of the SGPC and the local Akali Dal-BJP combine said due to incomplete jail records it had been extremely difficult to identify the morcha participants. A committee, comprising the district police chief, Jail Superintendent, SDM and local rural and urban Akali-BJP combine leaders, had been constituted to facilitate the process. 

Those given appreciation letters were Mr Sampuran Singh of Rohta village in Nabha, Mr Aya Singh of Nabha, Mr Atma Singh of Rajla village in Samana, Mr Mohan Singh of Roshanpur Jhungian in Patiala, Mr Dharam Singh of Dharoki in Nabha, Mr Gurdayal Singh, Mr Jagir Singh and Mr Dalip Singh of Patiala.


Hospital amidst dung heaps
Lalit Mohan

The Morinda Civil Hospital is surrounded by heaps of cow dung which, besides emitting a heavy stench, also provide a breeding ground for insects that cause several diseases. The hospital authorities are believed to have taken up the issue with the Municipal Council but they have failed to get a positive response.

Doctors also express concern at the proximity of the cremation ground to the hospital. The cremations which are visible from the hospital have a detrimental effect on the indoor patients, they maintain.


In the absence of traffic control at the main crossing in the town has made it a highly accident-prone point. This crossing takes a large volume of traffic from Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Ropar and Patiala. The traffic lights installed at the crossing remain out of order most of the time. The absence of traffic police leads to chaotic conditions in which the bus drivers rule the road with little respect for traffic rules.


The Deputy Commissioner of Ropar, Mr G.S. Grewal, has directed the Executive Officer of the Morinda Municipal Council, to allot land to the Bangalas who have been camping in the local bus stand for a number of years. They have become a major hurdle in the renovation of the bus stand. Last time the district administration tried to remove them, they blocked traffic on the Morinda-Chandigarh road for about 20 hours. The impasse was resolved when the Municipal Council authorities were directed to give them housing sites. Since then the matter has been resting there. Now the Deputy Commissioner has directed the Executive Officer to allot land to the Bangalas at the earliest so that the renovation of the bus stand could be taken up.


Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu, Punjab’s Minister for Printing and Stationery, laid the foundation stones of four link roads in the area which would be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.82 crore. The SDM, Mr Daljit Singh, said that work on the construction of link roads from Singh Bagwantpura to Bamanmajra (1.5 km), Balamgarh to Kakron (2.70 km), Birak to Balamgarh (4.03 km) and Kakot to Hirdapur (2.70 km) would start soon.


Officials of the Income Tax Department organised a camp in Hindu Dharamshala here to acquaint the local businessmen with the benefits and methods of filing income tax returns and depositing income tax. The Income Tax Officer of Ropar, Mr Gurmail Singh, the Income Tax Officer of Chandigarh, Mr Adarsh Kumar, and the president of the Traders’ Association of Morinda, Mr Kalaish Kaushal, were among those who addressed the gathering.


Library not for public
Padmini Jain

The book shops here offer hardly anything other than text-books, and the only library, the Guru Nanak Municipal Library, does not look like one. Though it has a number of almirahs stuffed with a variety of reading material, it is hardly available to readers.

The tendency of the staff not to entertain visitors, keeps the people away. Very often, there is no one to guide your and if you do find the librarian, the keys are not there. If luckily, both are available and if you are not a member, you cannot even sit there.

How to become a member? New membership is given only in March-April. A student preparing for a competitive examination enquired from the staff if there was another library in the town. She was shooed away with the comment that she was mad.

The timings of the library, are 8.30 am to 12 noon and 3 pm to 6 pm. Neenu, a schoolteacher, went there 11.30 am, looking for a newspaper of August 11. The attendant declared that it was closing time. Moreover, she was advised not to go to the library for such small things which could easily be had from elsewhere.

If any one wants to see an old issue of a newspaper or a magazine, he has to write the request in a register and return after a day or two so that the staff is able to locate the issue. Chances are that on the prescribed day, either the place is closed or the person concerned is not there.

There is only one college is Rajpura and its library is not so well stocked. This leaves the students with no option but to buy all the books that they want to read, which of course, is an expensive option.

A student who recently ventured into this library was told that the staff was on strike and he should read the newspapers to know when the strike would end.

Strike or no strike, the library always wears a deserted look. Only a few old men are seen in the reading room, browsing through newspapers.

The attitude of those responsible for running this library has made it akin to a museum where you cannot touch any of the exhibits.

In a town where the cable operator has to be specially requested to relay news channels and the public library is not all that public, the dearth of intellectual activity has made the soap operas on the idiot box the favourite pastime of the people.


Help eradicate social evils
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, President of the Punjab BJP, addressing office-bearers of the youth wing, today called upon the youth to help eradicate various social evils from society.

Mr Avinash Jaiswal, general secretary of the Punjab BJP, told office-bearers of the youth wing that the Congress was responsible for the spread of corruption in all walks of life. The Congress had ruined almost all institutions by pursuing self-serving policies. Mr Jaiswal asked the youth to set new standards of morality in public life. He recalled the sacrifices made by Sardar Bhagat Singh, Shaheed Udham Singh, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Pandit Deendayal Upadhaya and others.

Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Grewal, president of the youth wing of the Punjab BJP, assured the party leadership that about 1,000 youth from Punjab would participate in the national youth conference scheduled to be held at Agra on October 13 and 14.


77 cases settled at lok adalat
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 22
A state-level lok adalat was held at the local court complex today in which 77 cases were settled and compensation of Rs 27,38,308 was given as per settlement.

Ten courts were set up which heard 381 cases related to motor accident claims, matrimonial disputes, bank loan disputes, civil suits, loan disputes of private parties, recovery suits by the Punjab State Electricity Board and criminal suits in which compromise was possible.

The National Insurance Company, Bathinda, had put up a case before the court regarding some money dispute involving Sukhdev Kaur and Charanpal Kaur as one party and Mangu Ram as the other party. The case was settled by Mr B.C. Rajput, District and Sessions Judge. The case was disposed of and compensation of Rs 3.4 lakh was paid.

Mr Surjeet Singh, Mr Karnail Singh and Mr S.K. Garg, Additional Sessions Judges, Mr Gurbir Singh, Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mr Surinder Mohan, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Harjinder Pal Singh Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Mrs Poonam Ratti and Mr Daljeet Singh, both Civil Judges (Junior Division), Mr Hira Lal Garg, retired Sessions Judge, Mr Gurdev Singh Dhiman, retired Judge, Mr Mithu Ram Gupta and Mr Amrit Pal, president and secretary of the District Bar Association, respectively, were among those present on the occasion. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajput said people should bring their cases to the lok adalat. He said these courts were being organised by the Punjab Legal Services Authority at various places in the state.

He said members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, women, children, undertrials, handicapped and those with an annual income below Rs 30,000 could avail the facility of the lok adalat.


Documentary on Bhagat Puran Singh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 22
A documentary titled “Triveni,” based on the life and mission of Bhagat Puran Singh, the founder of the Pingalwara Charitable Society, was released here yesterday. The documentary has been made by young marketing executive Vishav Narain Sharma and his friend Uptish Singh.

Talking to newsmen here Mr Sharma said he was inspired by the service rendered to the destitute and mentally impaired by Bhagat Puran Singh. He said it took him over three months to prepare this 22-minute documentary.

The team dedicated the video cassette to Dr Inderjit Kaur president of the Pingalwara Society.


New insurance scheme for farmers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
An insurance company floated by IFFCO and KRIBHCO jointly will now insure all farmers for life without getting any premium, who will purchase fertilisers from IFFCO and KRIBHCO. Both cooperatives recently floated this company after procuring a licence from the government.

Talking to mediapersons at the PWD rest house here today, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, said the company would insure the farmers for Rs 4000 against the purchase of a fertiliser bag from IFFCO or KRIBHCO while maximum limit for insurance of a farmer against the purchase of fertiliser bags had been fixed at Rs 1,00,000.

Mr Dhindsa further said initially this scheme would be introduced in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka while it would be implemented in other parts of the country in a phased manner.

Mr Dhindsa also disclosed that he would inaugurate this scheme on September 30 at Ludhiana. The premium for insurance of the farmers would be deposited by IFFCO and KRIBHCO.

Regarding strategy of the Shiromani Akali Dal for distribution of tickets for the Assembly elections in the state, Mr Dhindsa said SAD was conducting a survey in this regard. He said only the winning candidates would be allotted tickets while factionalism would find no place in the allotment of tickets. He admitted there was a little factionalism in Sangrur district which would be eliminated soon.

He also added that every person had the right to seek party ticket but it did not mean that the party had several factions in the Assembly constituency.

With regard to the promise of bonus on paddy by the Congress, in case it comes to power, Mr Dhindsa said the Congress was misleading the farmers on the bonus issue as it was not in power neither in the state nor at the centre. He said the farmers in the state were happy with the enhancement of Rs 20 per quintal for paddy and they did not seek bonus.

Mr Dhindsa said the Union Government was making a consensus to fight against the global terrorism. Regarding attacks on Sikhs in the USA, Mr Dhindsa said it was a case of mistaken identity because the Americans were unable to make a difference between a Sikh and an Arab.

In reply to a question, Mr Dhindsa said in the case of recent controversy over Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, every action with regard to the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib was condemnable.


Procurement of paddy begins
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 22
The process of paddy procurement at Bhuchu Mandi town in the district began yesterday.

Addressing a gathering of Arhtiya Association and farmers, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr R. Venkataratnam, said a new grain market would be constructed at the earliest in the town. A site selection team would be sent to the town and the next procurement would be done from the new grain market. All formalities for the market at Maur Mandi town in the district had been completed, he said.

He said to streamline the procurement process 118 procurement centres had been divided into 18 sectors. Two Additional Deputy Commissioners, three Subdivisional Magistrates, District Development Officers, Tehsildar, Block Development Officers, and Naib Tehsildars had been appointed in charge of the sectors.

A meeting of procurement officers would be called daily at 9 am. and work for the day would be planned. The procurement would begin at 10 am, he said.

The Deputy Commissioner appealed to the farmers that only dry and clean paddy should be brought to the market.


Milkfed project for milch animals
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 22
The Punjab State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Ltd, known as Milkfed, Punjab, has drawn up a project for genetic improvement in milch animals, especially buffaloes, for which it has earmarked a budget of Rs 4 crore.

This was stated by Mr Jagdip Singh Nakai, Chairman, Milkfed, Punjab, while addressing a profit-distribution function at Manvi village near Malerkotla yesterday. On this occasion, more than Rs 3.81 lakh was distributed among 181 milk producers of Manvi village’s Milk Producers Cooperative Society as profit-cum-incentive. The function was presided over by Mr Teja Singh Kamalpur, Chairman, Sangrur Milk Plant.

Mr Nakai said efforts were being made to import semen from New Zealand and Australia for improving the breed of milch animals through artificial insemination and embryo-transfer and to enhance milk production in the state.

The Milkfed Chairman said under the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council programme, 50 modern dairy farms were being set up in the milkshed area of Ludhiana where 15 to 50 animals would be kept in each farm. He said the scheme would also be extended to other districts in the state.

Mr Nakai said Milkfed was initiating steps to educate rural women to improve the quality and increase the quantity of milk. He said separate women milk producers cooperative societies were being formed in the state in this direction.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Cheema, General Manager of the Sangrur plant, advised farmers to adopt dairy farming as the main occupation to improve their economic condition.


Rs 405 crore spent on grain markets
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 22
The Punjab Public Health Minister, Raja Narinder Singh, today said the state government had spent Rs 405 crore on constructing plinths in the state during its term in 415 grain markets, while only 151 plinths had been constructed at a cost of Rs 150 crore by previous governments.

Speaking at a function at Roti Moran village in Nabha sub-division, the minister said the construction of plinths had facilitated the food grain procurement process and eased the hardship faced by farmers on account of adverse climatic conditions which affected their produce in the markets without concrete plinths.

He said the Akali-BJP government had given loans of Rs 1,000 crore to farmers during its tenure besides facilitating easy borrowing by encouraging the Kisan Credit Card scheme. He said a special scheme had been introduced for women under which they would be encouraged to take up sewing and embroidery work. The minister announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for a community centre in the village and also Rs 1 lakh for the village primary school and Rs 25,000 each for the village panchayat and the youth club.


Finance Dept nod not mandatory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 22
The Punjab Government today exempted all departments from seeking approval of the Finance Department if appointments are to be made of next of kin of terrorist or riot victims on compassionate ground to fill posts vacant for over six months.


5 get life term for murder
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, September 22
Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, Additional Sessions Judge, yesterday convicted Balwinder Singh, Gurdeep Singh, and Bahadur Singh, all residents of Fathudingha village, and Gurdev Singh of Goindwal Sahib village of Amritsar district on the charge of killing Jagjit Singh of Fathudhingha under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

Mr Mahal sentenced them to life imprisonment and fined them Rs 2000 each. Mr Mahal also sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years for causing gunshot injuries to Kulwinder Singh, his mother Veer Kaur and Lakhwinder Singh. All sentences shall run concurrently.

Mr Mahal, however, acquitted Shingara Singh and Surjit Singh in the case. A land dispute is said to be the cause of the murder committed on July 14, 1999.


Opium seized
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 22
The Samana police seized 15 kg of opium from a truck during a surprise check at a barrier near Dhedal bus-stop in Samana, about 35 km from here, yesterday.

Disclosing this here today, Senior Superintendent of Police Paramjit Singh Grewal said the truck was coming from Patiala. The search was made under the supervision of DSP Samana. The truck driver, Malkit Singh of Jalal Pur Ghoga in Amritsar, was also nabbed. Another person sitting beside the driver jumped from the truck seeing the police and escaped. He has been identified as Gurminder Singh of Ludhiana.

A case has been registered under Section 610 of the NDPS Act.


Readymade garments are in
Shashi Pal Jain

In recent years, readymade garments have gained popularity among the men women and children of this town. A number of readymade garment shops now flourish in the main market and the intense competition among them tends to work in favour the customers. The approach of the festival season floods the market with the latest designs while many shops declare discount sales. The fashion trends in Chandigarh affect the market here to a great extent.

Only some years ago, readymade garment shops were unknown here and the people preferred to get their clothes stitched from tailors because it was cheaper than buying factory made garments.

However, with the opening of a large number of garment — making units in cities like Ambala and Ludhiana, and the rising standards of living, tailor has taken a back seat.

Most of the shopkeepers prefer to get their supplies from Ludhiana even if Chandigarh offers a greater variety of brands and is also close to Kharar. Explains Mr Sanjay Goel, a garment dealer: “Chandigarh has a large variety of trendy garments but for the traders of a small town like Kharar, Ludhiana is preferable. Chandigarh offers costly brands which are out of the reach of the people of this town. They want the latest fashion but prefer brands that cost less and also satisfy their fashion aspirations”.

Mothers with their small children are seen selecting readymade garments and sometimes there is intense bargaining with the shopkeepers. Some shops are open even on Sundays as shoppers have more time on a Sunday.

As the winter approaches, woollens have started pouring in. Earlier women used to knit the woollens but in the changed scenario, they prefer the readymade stuff. Readymade garments have given a different look to the main market of Kharar with attractive outlets and showrooms.

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