Friday, October 5, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punish those shielding Baba: Talwandi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 4
Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, President of the SGPC, has said if the photographs of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and other Sikh leaders are found in the banned granth of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, he will take strict action against these leaders. Mr Talwandi was talking to mediapersons after addressing a big congregation at the bhog ceremony of the burning of ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib at Tarkhan Majra village today.

When a reporter pointed out that a vernacular daily had published the photographs of Mr Gurdev Singh Badal and another Akali leader with Baba Bhaniara in his granth Bhavsagar, he said he did not believe the report.

Earlier addressing a large gathering at the bhog ceremony, he said it was an unfortunate incident and a challenge for the entire Sikh community. He said he had requested the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to seriously inquire into the role of the officials and politicians who had been shielding Baba Bhaniara.

Quoting an instance from history, he said during the chief Ministership of Pt. Ram Krishan an incident of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib had occurred in Ludhiana district and Pt Ram Krishan had given a statement in the Punjab Assembly that the post of Chief Minister could be sacrificed a thousands times, but the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib would not be tolerated at any cost. He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal, being a Sikh, should take a bold step in that spirit.

He said the Supreme Court of India had given the status of a “living Guru” to Guru Granth Sahib and the culprits should be booked under Section 302, IPC. If the government had to amend the law, it should do it.

Reacting to the demand of Mr Kuldeep Singh Wadala, he said he was ready to call a meeting of the various panthic organisations to chalk out a strategy and to discuss the issue of strengthening the Sikh religion. He urged the politicians not to drive political mileage from the tragic incident.

Addressing the gathering, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, said these incidents had been committed as part of a well-planned conspiracy to disturb the peace in the state and to destabilise it. He alleged that Congress was behind all these conspiracies. The SAD had enough proof that even in 1981 the Congress was behind the sacrilege of mandirs and gurdwaras in the state. He assured the gathering that stern action would be taken against the culprits and the government was consulting legal experts on this. He said all provisions of law would be invoked against the culprits.

Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, chairman of the Mandi Board, demanded that the SGPC should convene a conference of the Sikh intellectuals to sort out the problems being faced by the Sikhs. He said there were black sheep among the Sikhs who go to the deras of babas like Baba Bhaniara to get their blessings.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, senior Congress leader, reacting to the statement of Capt Kanwaljit Singh said it was not a platform for politics. He said Capt Kanwaljit Singh was making vague allegations out of frustration and it was a manifestation of the sick mentality of the Akalis. He demanded that incidents of sacrilege should be probed by a sitting high court judge.

The Panthic Morcha will start the Akhand Path tomorrow at the same venue and the bhog will be performed on October 7 in which all panthic leaders will participate.

MALERKOTLA: A large number of Sikh youth activists, Akali workers and residents of Mandiala village took out a protest march in the village, staged a dharna on the Malerkotla-Mandiala road and blocked traffic for more than an hour in protest against the “sacrilege” incidents reported from various parts of the state.

The activists sought the resignation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, for the alleged failure of the Punjab Government to protect the holy book.

Mr Arshad Dali, senior leader, Panthic Morcha, Mr Abdul Gaffar, general secretary, PPCC, Mr Mehmood Akhtar Shad, general secretary all-India Shiromani Akali Dal (youth wing) and other leaders also condemned the incident and demanded stringent action against the culprits.

JALANDHAR: Scores of residents of Adampur blocked the traffic on the Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur road and burnt the effigy of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, while residents of Kartarpur observed a bandh to press for the registration of case of murder against the Baba.

Residents of Adampur converged on the main road and raised slogans against the Baba and the state government. Similarly, hundreds of residents of Kartarpur gathered at Gurdwara Thamji Sahib, and marched to the main chowk. Meanwhile all markets at Kartarpur remained closed as a mark of protest against non-registration of murder case against the Baba by the state government.

BARNALA: In response to a traffic blockade cell by the Panthic Morcha activists, the Panthic Morcha on Thursday morning blocked vehicular traffic on the canal bridge at Harigarh village, about 15 km from here, on the Barnala-Sangrur road from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. According to reports, the traffic had to be diverted through other routes at nearby villages.

Talking to The Tribune on phone from Dhanaula, Sant Baba Tek Singh, president of the Sangrur unit of the SHSAD, said the morcha had to block the traffic to protest against the burning of ‘birs’ of Guru Granth Sahib at various places by the followers of Baba Bhaniara.

POANTA SAHIB: The Himachal state Akali Dal has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to take action against those responsible for sacrilege at Tarkhan Majra in Ropar. In a statement issued yesterday, Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr Paramjit Singh Chanana, president and general secretary, respectively, of the Dal, condemned the incident. They urged the Punjab Government to take necessary measures to ensure that no such incident was repeated.


Baba’s son arrested
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 4
Satnam Singh son of Baba Piara Singh Bhamiara was arrested tonight for the desecration incident at Gharuan village, 20 km from here, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Ropar, said on phone.


States to be penalised for overdrawing power
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 4
With the implementation of the newly launched Availability-Based Tariff (ABT) scheme by the Union Power Ministry, the states overdrawing power will now have to pay more for creating indiscipline in the grid. Mr T.S. Garang, Chief Engineer (Power), BBMB, told The Tribune that the scheme which was implemented from August 1, was aimed at improving the quality of power and to prevent damage to the generating units, caused by undeclared withdrawals from the grid by the states.

At present the states contribute power to the grid through their thermal and hydel generating units. The grid also receives power from the Central power producers such as the NTPC and NHPC. The ideal frequency at which the power is following in the grid is about 50 Hz. The states give their generation and demands to the Central power grid in advance according to which they are allocated the quota of power withdrawal from the grid.

However, there is a general tendency among the partner states to overdraw power from the grid during the peak hours or season. This leads to a fall in frequency of the grid, which is detrimental for the generating units. Similarly, when the demand for power is lower, the states do not withdraw it from the grid and also resist or delay the closure of the generating units, which raises the frequency of the grid and, in turn, damages the generating units.

To check this indiscipline in the grid, the Union Government has now launched the ABT scheme. Under this scheme the states overdrawing power during the peak hours or at a lower frequency will be penalised and those overdrawing during low-demand or high-frequency periods will be awarded. For calculating the trend of indiscipline a 15-minute parameter will be taken as the basis. If any state is found to be withdrawing at frequencies lower than 49.02 Hz continuously for 15 minutes, Rs 4.20 per unit will be charged from them.

However, on the contrary, withdrawal of power at frequencies above 50.5 Hz, continuously for 15 minutes will be given free of cost to the states. For frequencies between 49.02 Hz to 50.5 Hz, a formula has been worked out to fix the rates of power.

Mr Garang said to implement the scheme, special power meters had been installed by the power grid at various inter-utility exchange points in the grid. The data from these energy meters would be transferred to the data collection devices and to the personal computers which would compute the withdrawals by the partner states.

Other experts who spoke on condition of anonymity said though the new scheme might improve the quality of power, it would also lead to unscheduled cuts specially in the major power user states such as Punjab. The electricity boards would tend to induce cuts as soon as the frequency went down rather than paying hefty rates for over withdrawals. This could also lead to further losses to the PSEB as the board would be forced to overdraw during the peak season such as the paddy season.

Some also attribute the recent power cuts by the PSEB to the fear of being overcharged under the scheme rather than dismal generation at hydel units as is being claimed by the board authorities. 


More water from Ranjit Sagar Dam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
The management of the Ranjit Sagar Dam today allowed the authorities to release extra water from the dam’s reservoir to generate about 250 MW of power from its power plants.

A spokesman said the power generation from the power plants had been increased well before the scheduled date to cover the demand and supply gap in the state.

He said the excess release of water from the reservoir would also help to operate the UBDC hydroelectric power system at the optimum level.

The BBMB authorities had extended their help to shift floating equipment from the dam site to allow the release of extra water from the reservoir.

He said excess release of water would be used for irrigation purpose in areas downstream. The Chief Engineer (Canals) has been intimated.


Radial gates of dam spillway tested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Operation and testing of the radial gates of the Ranjit Sagar Dam spillway with a reservoir at an elevation at 518.44 m were completed successfully on September 30, Mr J.S. Randhawa, General Manager of the dam, announced here on Tuesday.

The spillway is a massive RCC structure provided on the left bank of the dam for passing flood water. It has a multiple energy dissipation arrangement in the form of a stilling basin and solid roller bucket. Seven radial gates of size 15.57 mx 17.2 m have been provided for regulating the flow of flood water. These gates have been designed, fabricated and erected by Punjab Irrigation engineers.

The construction of the spillway structure involved 26 million cubic metres of rock excavation and the use of 1 million cubic meters of concrete. A special provision of an aeration galley has been made on the spillway plunge slope to prevent any damage due to cavitation as the velocity of water flow will be around 162 km per hour. As per the hydrological data for 50 years, it is anticipated that the operation of the spillway gates will be required every alternate year.

Mr Randhawa said that the project faced a major snag during the testing of the power tunnels and the project could not be commissioned in 1999. However, a team of project engineers and workers led by Mr Randhawa took up rectification work on the tunnels on a war footing. The job, which was anticipated to be completed in two years, was successfully done ahead of schedule in about a year.

The generation of power from this project started on August 12 last year. The total power generated till date from the project is 1,140 million units, bringing a revenue of about Rs 350 crore to the state exchequer.

The project has contributed to meeting the irrigation demands of farmers of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts. In addition, the water has been used to augment the canal water supply in Ferozepore district to meet the requirements of cotton growers.


Hate wave against US Sikhs ‘abating’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana. October 4
Though the hate campaign against Asians, particularly Sikhs, in the USA is now diminishing Asians still avoid visiting public places. This was observed by Dr Livtar Singh Chawla, founder Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, during his recent one-month stay in the USA.

Dr Chawla said immediately after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, US TV channels had been showing the picture of Osama bin Laden a number of times in a day. It was difficult to make distinction between a Sikh, Taliban and Arabs who also tie turbans and sport beard due to which Sikh immigrants became the immediate targets of hate and assault in the USA and for the first one week, they faced lot of hostility from the locals.

He said the situation started changing after a meeting of a delegation of US Sikhs and US President George Bush. The Sikhs organised a condolence meeting in New York to mourn the deaths of those killed in the terrorist attacks. It was given wide coverage on TV channels.

The US Sikhs also gave a full-page advertisement in the Washington Post explaining the difference between the Sikhs and the followers of Osama bin Laden. All these factors had led to the fall in the hate campaign against the Sikhs, he added.

Dr Chawla said even ladies had to face the angry looks and taunts of locals.

Dr Chawla felt that the terrorist attacks had made the American realise the ill effects of terrorism. The US TV channels also showed terrorist camps in Pakistan where training was being given to the terrorists to spread terror in Jammu and Kashmir.

Security at the airports in America had been tightened and now for international flights passengers had to report three hours before departure of the flight and two hours before for internal flights. Fear and panic still persisted among the Americans although situation was fast returning to normal there, he added.


Govt to accept levy rice alone
Step to boost private purchase of paddy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 4
In a significant move, the Punjab Government has decided to accept only levy rice till further orders to encourage the private purchase of paddy by the millers. Besides, all procurement agencies have been directed by the state government to clear payments for the paddy procured by them up to October 2 immediately.

Talking to The Tribune at the local grain market this afternoon, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Food and Supplies Minister, Punjab, said the government had finalised all modalities to accept the levy rice. He also said he had ordered all procurement agencies to make payments for the paddy, purchased up to October 2, immediately and submit their reports to him at the earliest.

Mr Mittal was here to inspect the procurement of paddy and review the arrangements made by the district administration in this regard. He also inspected the grain markets at Ahmedgarh, Malerkotla, Dhuri and Bhawanigarh in the district today.

Mr Mittal said the procurement agencies had procured more than 36 lakh metric tonnes of paddy till last evening as compared to 19 lakh metric tonnes during the corresponding period the previous year. He also said the procurement agencies had procured four lakh metric tonnes of paddy in a day on October 3 this year while on the same date the previous year the agencies had procured only two lakh metric tonnes.

The minister also stated that farmers of the state were confident this year that their entire paddy crop would be procured by the government. This was the reason they were bringing their crop in installments to the grain markets, he added. He also stated that he had not received any complaint from any quarter with regard to lifting or procurement of paddy.

Mr Mittal said the government had made arrangements to procure 125 lakh metric tonnes of paddy this year but he felt that the agencies would procure 115 lakh metric tonnes as compared to 112 lakh metric tonnes the previous year.

The minister also criticised the Congress for announcing Rs 30 per quintal bouns on paddy to the farmers. He said the Congress was misleading the farmers on the issue of bouns as it had never paid bonus to the farmers whenever it was in power in the past. He also claimed that the SAD-BJP alliance would form the next government in the state.

Mr Mittal said the procurement operation of the government provided employment to about 1 lakh families and circulated money worth Rs 10,000 crore in the market every year. He said the farmers, arthiyas, labourers, millers and transporters were the major beneficiaries of the paddy procurement operation.

Mr Mittal also described Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, as the biggest friend of the farmers. He said Mr Vajpayee had hiked MSPs of wheat and paddy every year despite adverse recommendations by the Agriculture Price Commission.

Mr Mittal also held a meeting with the officers of the procurement agencies and took stock of the situation with regard to paddy procurement. He also appreciated the role of the district administration in the procurement of paddy.


Grain cleaning units rusting away
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 4
As many as 34 mechanical power cleaning units worth crores of rupees installed in major grain markets of the state are rusting away with the machines neither being used to clean paddy and wheat nor being disposed of by the Mandi Board which had installed them. Ironically, the board is yet to decide the fate of the huge machines which occupy substantial space in the mandis even though it has been nearly 15 years since more than half of them were installed. The rest were installed around 10 years ago.

The mechanical units represent a classic experiment gone wrong. The trolleys of paddy or wheat were to be unloaded into a drum in the machine, following which it was to be automatically cleaned, weighed and sewn into bags. Though the machines were supposed to deliver the goods, these have been lying unused till date.

Sources said the machines could not be utilised properly as farmers, commission agents and the labour working in the grain markets were against the concept. They said while farmers were told that they would be put to a loss as some of their produce would be left in the machine during the cleaning process. Mr Devi Dayal Goyal, president of the Patiala Arhtiyas Association, said every year the commission agents used to get some paddy or wheat cleaned from the machine unit installed in the local unit so that the board officials could show that they were in a working order. He said this season, however, no cleaning had been done using the machine.

Meanwhile, officials disclosed that there were a total of 34 machine units installed in the various mandis of the State with Khamanon and Moga mandis having six units, Jagraon, Hoshiarpur, Dhanaula and Rajpura having four units, Kharar and Sanghol mandis having three units and Sahnewal, Ludhiana, Khanna, Morinda, Patiala, Nabha, Ghanour, Sunam, Bhawanigarh, Banda, Amargarh, Malerkotla, Dhuri, Ferozepore, Fazilka, Zira, Badnikalan, Kotkapura, Faridkot and Nawanshahr having two units each.

District Mandi Board Officer Bhajan Singh, when contacted, said it would be difficult to revive the units. He said these were not equipped to take adequate load. He said only 80 bags of paddy could be cleaned by the machine unit in an hour, which meant only a fraction of the paddy arriving in the mandi could be cleaned through this process. He added that the farmers were reluctant to get their produce cleaned through the machines. Mandi Board sources said as the scheme had failed despite the fact that the government had announced a Rs 4 per quintal incentive to farmers making use of the machines, the board had now formed a committee to decide the fate of the machines. 


Tohra’s challenge to Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
“Let us both say goodbye to politics to make way for the emergence of a new leadership to pave the way for unity among different factions of the Akalis”, suggested former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

“We have enough in the political field. In fact, Mr Badal got the maximum benefit. He has been party chief for over 10 years and also had three terms — totalling almost 10 years — as Chief Minister. It would be graceful for Mr Badal now to quit”, Mr Tohra said while replying a question about the prospects of unity between him and Mr Badal. Further emphasising the point, Mr Tohra said this was an honest advice from a sincere friend to the Chief Minister. He said that he would even resign from the primary membership of his party.

Mr Tohra said after Mr Badal quit the party, he would not object to the Chief Minister’s efforts to advance the political career of his son, Sukhbir Badal, cousin Manpreet Badal or son-in-law Adesh Partap Singh.

Ruling out any unity with Mr Badal, the former SGPC chief said at the press conference here today that Mr Badal had committed so many wrongs on the Panthic Front that no one having the interest of the Panth in mind would shake hands with him. Mr Badal had demolished all Panthic institutions including the Akal Takht, SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal, one by one. While the Congress had demolished the Akal Takht structure, Mr Badal had tried to wipe it out from the conscience of the Sikhs, he alleged.

Attacking Mr Badal with regard to the incidents of sacrilege of the scriptures, he pointed out that the Chief Minister was playing with fire by not taking strong action against those involved in the hurting the sentiments of Sikhs. Expressing total dissatisfaction over the action taken by the police against Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara and his followers, Mr Tohra said the action taken was just to fool people. First the Punjab Government did not take any action against the Baba and others and when action was taken it was just eyewash. In fact, Mr Badal would have never taken action, if the Governor had not asked Mr Badal to take the action against those accused of burning the holy books.


Exhibit content of heritage complex okayed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 4
The Exhibit Content of the Khalsa Heritage Complex coming up at Anandpur Sahib was approved by a panel of scholars and historians in a meeting here yesterday. The Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, was present at the meeting.

The content document prepared by the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, was presented for discussion by Ms Suranjana Satwalekar, head of the NID team. The content is visitor-centered, prepared keeping in view the visitors from rural, semi-urban and urban milieus from all over the world.

Summing up the discussion on the Exhibit content, the minister said the complex would cover entire Sikh heritage of the past 500 years. The complex is coming up in 6,400 sq. mt. area at Anandpur Sahib.

The NID team was advised to proceed with the preparation of the exhibit design for different episodes and events relating to Sikh history. On the issue of depicting the Gurus, their families and the Panj Pyaras in the complex, NID would follow the guidelines of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

Among those who participated in the discussion with Capt Kanwaljit Singh and the official team of the foundation were Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Dr Kharak Singh, member, Dharam Parchar of the SGPC, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, Prof Pritam Singh, both from Patiala, Dr J.S. Grewal, former Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Prof Pritam Singh, Dr Maheep Singh, Dr B.S. Rattan, Prof Bhai Baldip Singh of Gurbani Kirtan Gharana and Mr Harkirat Singh Sodhi (all from Delhi), Dr Harnam Singh Shah, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Darshan Singh, Brig Mr Gurdip Singh (retd) (from Chandigarh) and Dr Saroj Ghose from Kolkata. This was stated in an press note of the foundation.



An ailing Civil Hospital
Anirudh Gupta

The Civil Hospital portrays a picture of dismay and neglect as it is suffering from inadequacy and mismanagement. Although a 100-bed hospital on papers, it cannot cater for the medical needs of more than 60 to 70 patients at a time. Against sanctioned posts of 17 Medical Officer, only 12 are posted here as a result of which outdoor patients are facing a lot of inconvenience. There is no gynaecologist due to which such patients who comprise not less than 50 per cent of the total inflow face hardship. At present, Dr Brijbala, who is otherwise in charge of the Blood Bank; and Dr Renu Garg, radiologist, are attending these patients in addition to their normal duties. In the absence of an ophthalmologist at the hospital, most of the patients, especially the rural folk and old age patients, suffering from eye diseases like cataract have to bear the brunt. Although there are two ophthalmologists posted here, one of them, Dr N.K. Nanda, is deputed at the Canal Colony dispensary while the other Dr Santokh Singh, is with the mobile eye van. As the only orthopaedician, Dr J.S. Sandhu has to deal with emergency cases also in addition to work like issuance of handicap certificates, he is hardly able to devote time to outdoor patients.

Lack of infrastructure and resources also add to the patient’s woes. The mortuary machine, kept at the entrance to the emergency ward, went out of order within a week of its procurement and since then it has been lying inoperative. The ultrasound machine also remained out of gear for quite some time and a mechanic had to be called from Chandigarh to repair it. According to information gathered by The Tribune, working of the primary health centres (PHCs) at Ferozeshah, Mamdot and Kasuana, besides Talwandi Bhai remains much to be desired. There are several rural dispensaries and PHC’s without any doctor as nobody wants to serve in the remote and border areas.

The supply of medicines also does not coincide with seasonal ailments. According to a Medical Officer, though conjunctivitis often breaks out during the rainy season, the remedial medicines arrive somewhere near February, which is too late.

Only life-saving drugs are made available. To add to the patients miseries, the medical charges in the hospital are also quite high, beyond the reach of poor peasants which constitute a significant part of the total patient inflow as the hospital is under the Punjab Health Systems Corporation. Poor people cannot afford to pay these charges which go up to Rs 500 for a major surgical operation. There are fixed charges for everything starting from admission fees to dressing, stiching and for MLR. A doctor asserted that in most cases, “we have to pay from our own pocket especially in accidental cases, and we generally shirk from issuing MLR as the patient is not in a position to pay and moreover a lot of legal hassles are involved.”

Interestingly, if a patient goes to rural dispensaries, say for a minor operation or for a delivery, there are no charges whereas they have to pay a fixed amount for the same treatment in hospitals which come under the PHSC. Dr S.K. Rewari, Civil Surgeon, said efforts were being made to plug the loopholes and improve the functioning of the Civil Hospital. 


Encroachments take toll on Lodhi Fort
Tribune News Service

Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala) October 4
Majestic and famous Sultanpur Lodhi Fort which once stood as a symbol of power yielded by the powerfull Lodhi dynasty in northern India is in a state of neglect and is fast turning into a mound of rubble.

The fort, which is said to have been built by King Nasir-ud-Din, a general of Mahmood Ghaznavi in 719 (Hijri), has withstood vagaries of nature for centuries, might vanish from the map of Punjab soon if its proper care is not taken up immediately.

From historical point of view, it holds more value for some “saakhis” link it with Guru Nanak Dev, who is said to have stayed here for some time after taking a dip in Bein river which flowed along its outer walls during the days it was under the control of Nawab Daulat Khan Lodhi.

Ironically, instead of conserving it, it was converted into a police station and a residential colony for police officials, including the DSP, by the state government, which has only led to the further deterioration of the building, once known for its wall paintings and elegant use of water colours and chiselled bricks.

A round of the building revealed that a large portions of the fort, including two major “burj” have caved in during the past about five years for want of care. So much so, that the lime plaster of the main dome at the very entrance has got peeled off and the dome itself bears wide cracks and might fall anytime.

The only effort to save the building from further decay was made by a police official about five years ago by getting the main gate cement plastered this, infact, caused more damage to the building for it has lost its originality and the art which was there in the form of intricate designs in lime plaster, colourful paintings and sketches. In place of conserving the broken outer walls made of old small bricks, the police authorities have replaced these with a new wall and the whole place has fallen prey to encroachments by unscrupulous elements inspite of being in police hands.

So much so that the once a 40-feet pucca path around the building is no more to be seen. The “Bugghi Khana” and a few other important buildings in the fort have also collapsed.

Mr Ashok Neer, a resident, said nothing had been done by the successive governments to atleast clear the place from encroachments. “Encroachments are proliferating by each passing day,” he said. The local municipal council chief, Mr Jaimal Singh, too was sore about the attitude of the district administration and the state government towards this building of historical importance which in other words has been known as a major landmark of this township, said to be fountainhead of Sikhism.


Cops to return gallantry awards on Oct 21
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 4
The Zinda Shaheed Police Officers Welfare Association has reiterated their stand that all members would return gallantry awards to the President on October 21 to register their protest against their implication into alleged human rights violation cases.

Mr Sardool Singh, president of the association, in a press note issued here yesterday alleged that the failure on the part of the Central Government to outline a policy to deal with terrorism was the main cause of recent spurt in terrorist-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

These police officers, who had earlier decided to return gallantry awards on Independence Day, had reportedly changed their mind at the last moment after getting assurance from the Punjab Home Secretary that their cases would be reviewed.


Staff seek action against ‘erring’ doc
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 4
Even as an inquiry into a case of removal of a kidney by a doctor while operating upon a patient for removing tumour from her spleen is under way, employees of the local thermal plant yesterday held a rally to express resentment against the doctor.

The call for the rally was given by the ad hoc committee of the Ministerial Staff of the plant. Members of the Thermal Federation, Maintenance Union and Operational Union also participated in the rally.

The agitating employees demanded stern action against the doctor who allegedly removed a kidney of Ms Harjinder Kaur, a class-IV employee of the plant. They alleged that there was no need to remove the kidney while the tumour was in the spleen of the patient.

The leaders of the unions while speaking on the occasion, said they would decide on the future course of action after the result of the inquiry was announced.

They alleged that the doctor had intentionally removed the kidney, adding that the doctor had not taken the consent of the patient and her family members before performing the operations.

Mr Baljeet Singh, convener of the Ad hoc Committee said if the action was not taken against the doctor, they would intensify their agitation. The leaders demanded that compensation should be paid to the patient.


Lawyers condemn J & K killings
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 4
Lawyers of the city yesterday observed a strike in protest against the recent killings in Jammu and Kashmir and urged the Central Government to start a campaign to free the state from the clutches of terrorists.

Mr M.R. Gupta, president, District Bar Association said the purpose of the strike was to express sympathy for the victims of terrorism in the Kashmir valley. He said efforts should be made to stop the bloodshed which had claimed thousands of lives.

He said the residents of the valley had suffered a lot in the past decade. Mr Gupta said that although the security forces were making efforts to curb militancy, these should be intensified.

Mr Gupta said the advocates also condemned the incidents of sacrilege at various places in Punjab recently and the demolition of the wall of a place of worship in Ludhiana.


Plan to raise BSF companies
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 4
To strengthen the BSF, one company of BSF after each battalion will be raised soon. This was stated by Mr A.S. Aulakh, Inspector-General, BSF (Punjab), while talking to mediapersons at the Subsidiary Training Centre at Kharkan, 15 kms from here, today.

He said recruitment would be held at Faridkot, Ferozepore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Kharkan for Punjab youths and at Chandigarh and Kulu on October 15 for this purpose. There were 152 battalions of the BSF, out of which 24 were in Punjab. Fifteen battalions had been deployed at the Punjab border. Each company consisted of 157 jawans.

Mr Aulakh said the situation along Punjab border was under control and normal. There was a check on smuggling and no case had been reported for the past two-three months.

Later, he inaugurated a blood donation camp organised by the Bhai Ghaniayaji Blood Bank, Hoshiarpur. As many as 30 BSF jawans donated blood.


TA recruitment rally from October 10
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 4
A recruitment rally for soldier (general duty) in the territorial Army will be held at the local camping ground, near the Jagraon bridge, on October 10, 11 and 12.

This was stated by Lieut-Col Balbir Singh, Infantry Battalion-152 (TA) Sikh here in a press note today.

The recruitment would be open to candidates from Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Those who had passed matric and were within the age group of 18 to 42 years would be eligible for screening at the rally he added. The candidates should bring original certificate of matriculation along with marks sheet, proof of residence, character certificate and six passport size copies of photographs, he added.


Ballet based on PM’s poems
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 4
A unique experimental ballet entitled, “Bharat — Kal, Aaj aur Kal”, based on the poems of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, was presented by students of the Dance Department of Punjabi University last evening.

The format of the ballet, conceptualised by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, presented the changing faces of India. The ballet envisages that while the country was at its glorious best in the years gone by and men lived a life of freedom and forthrightness, modern man has hidden himself behind various masks.

The poet in Vajpayee feels that our present society is beset with evil all around ensnaring us in the mire of communalism, lawlessness and corruption.

However the poet is not depressed by the state of affairs as the ballet next portrays a bright future for the country.

According to the poet there will be hope and light for all in the years to come. The ballet culminated with the sentence, “Aao phir se diya jalayen....”

Speaking on the occasion the chief guest, Dr Ahluwalia, applauded the efforts of the performers and choreographer Daisy Walia, Head of the Dance Department. All 42 students of the department participated in the ballet.

The ballet is scheduled to be presented before the Prime Minister in November and will also be presented in various cities in India and abroad.



Lab technicians hold dharna
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 4
Members of Mansa and the local units of the Punjab Medical Laboratory Technicians Association today held a dharna in front of the office of the Civil Surgeon here to press the authorities for the acceptance of their demands.

The technicians were demanding that they should be given nominal rent accommodation, risk allowance and the implementation of high court decision regarding the pay scales. The employees urged the authorities that some of their demands which had been accepted should be implemented immediately.

Mr Dharam Pal Bansal, general secretary of the association, while addressing the employees said they would hold such rallies and dharnas until the authorities accept their demands. If the authorities did not give any satisfactory response to their demands, they would hold a rally at Lambi, the home constituency of the Punjab Chief Minister.


Phone Nos changed
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 4
The General Manager (Telecom), Mr K.C. Jindal, said here today that telephone numbers connecting with level “5” would be changed to level “45” on October 6 due to technical reasons. He further said that the department had set up a special cell to remove the difficulties of the subscribers due to the shifting of the levels. Subscribers could contact the Switch room at telephone numbers 455000 and 455007.


20 more houses for lepers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 4
The District Red Cross Society has undertaken a project to construct 20 more houses in lepers colony. This was stated by Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, after laying the foundation stone of the project here today. 


Farmers lack quality seed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Punjab is trying hard to tide over the crisis pertaining to quality seed of wheat. Farmers have been advised to get the seed tested before sowing. The authorities concerned have fears about the germination of seed of wheat stored by farmers.

The sowing of wheat usually starts in the third week of this month after paddy harvesting. It continues till the first fortnight of December. Quality seed has to be stacked well in advance to make it available to farmers for sowing. Punjab figures among the leading wheat producers in the country.

The wheat crop was by and large damaged by rain during harvesting last year. Experts say that when wheat grains get soaked germination is adversely affected.

According to experts, those farmers who had harvested the crop in dry whether need not worry. They suggested a simple method of testing seed germination. Farmers were told to select 100 grains of wheat from the seed stocked for sowing. These grains should be sown on a small area. If over 85 plants get germinated out of 100 grains, it means the seed is fit for sowing. If the number is less then farm experts have to be consulted.

The Punjab State Seed Corporation is busy in collecting quality seed from various sources. It has already stacked 85,000 quintals of certified seed of wheat. It would be sold at Rs 1300 per quintal. There would be a subsidy of Rs 200 per quintal to farmers on the seed. Mr Balbir Singh, Manager (Marketing) of the corporation, said the seed stacked by the corporation would be enough to cover 85,000 hectares of land.

However, the area under the wheat crop this year is expected to over 30 lakh hectares. The corporation has managed certified seed from the National Seeds Corporation, Rajasthan Seed Corporation, National State Farmers Corporation and its own sources. The Punjab Government has provided a loan of Rs 5 crore to these bodies to arrange quality seed.

The farmers have been told to sow PBW-343 and WH-542 varieties of wheat between October 25 and November 10. Both these varieties are early sowing varieties. PBW-373, which is good for late sowing, has also been recommended.

Punjab has fixed a target of 155.65 lakh tonnes of wheat this year. Focus will be to enhance the per acre yield of wheat and to reduce the area under the crop.


Farmers to meet on issue of relief
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 4
Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will participate in a rally here on October 9 to urge the government to pay compensation to those farmers whose cotton crop was destroyed by the American bollworm and other natural calamities. The rally will be held by the Punjab Kisan Sabha.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Sambar and Mr Jagjit Singh Joga, state and district vice-president, respectively, of the sabha, in a press note here today said office-bearers of kisan unions of various states had given their consent to attend the rally.

They said the government had not done anything to control the American bollworm although it had destroyed a large part of the cotton. They alleged that farm scientists had failed to find a remedy even though cotton crop worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed every year.

The farmers had spent a lot of money on pesticides in the hope that they would be able to check bollworm but their efforts failed. They had to spend about Rs 15,000 per acre on pesticides, the sabha leaders said, urging the government to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre to the farmers whose crop was destroyed.

They also demanded that the minimum support price (MSP) announced for cotton was not sufficient, taking into account the expenses of inputs. They alleged that the Chief Minister had not made efforts to get sufficient MSP for the crop.

They alleged that leaders of various kisan unions were booked in false cases.

Although the government had made claims that all arrangements had been made for the procurement of paddy and farmers would not have to wait for more than 24 hours for payment, the farmers were in mandis for days together and their crop had not been procured, they said.


Lift paddy from mandis, says PPCC Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Mr Nahar Singh Gill, General Secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Mr Prem Mittal, Convener of the Traders and Small Industries Cell of the PPCC, today lashed out at the Punjab Government for its failure to lift paddy from mandis and its inability to cope with the inward flow of paddy.

The hard-earned crop of the farmer is rotting in the mandis and the government agencies are reluctant to buy the crop at the minimum support price (MSP) much to the discontent of the farmer.

Mr Gill said the Akali-BJP government in Punjab could not fulfil its earlier promises and the bonus amount of Rs 300 crore sanctioned by the Union Government last year had not reached the farmer as yet.

The Congress leaders demanded a high-level inquiry into the whole affair. “The farmer is crying for early disposal of his crop while Badal is busy in his Sangat Darshan programme”.

They welcomed the announcement of Capt Amarinder Singh, President, PPCC, about grant of “bonus of Rs 30 per quintal to farmers if the Congress Party comes to power”. He added that this would serve as a relief to the farmers in the coming season.

Mr Prem Mittal added that the woes of farmers had increased manifold, as the Government was not making prompt payment to the Arhtiyas resulting in delay of payment to the farmers. Both demanded immediate payment of dues to the Arhtiyas and farmers.


Officials harassing farmers: minister
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 4
In spite of Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s claim that the state government has made elaborate arrangements for the procurement of paddy in all mandis, Punjab Jail Minister Ajit Singh Kohar yesterday alleged that procurement officials were harassing farmers by rejecting their paddy on one pretext or the other in the district.

Mr Kohar, talking to reporters at the local Circuit House, alleged that the process of procurement was virtually a non-starter in most of the 72 mandis and focal points of the district since procurement officials had failed to lift hundreds of tonnes paddy. He said this was contrary to the instructions of the Chief Minister in this regard.

“I along with Akali workers, have visited most of the mandis since the start of procurement on September 21. It has been found that officials of state procurement agencies have failed to lift paddy. The farmers have no option but to wait for weeks together for their turn since auction of paddy is not being held daily,” the minister said.

To substantiate his allegations against procurement officials, Mr Kohar invited mediapersons to visit the mandis to witness the harassment of farmers due to the indifference of procurement officials.


Markfed gets contract for four bus stands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 4
Markfed has been assigned the construction of four bus stands in the state on behalf of the Department of Transport at an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore in the first phase.

The construction of bus stand at Zira has already been completed within the deadline at an estimated cost of Rs 2.23 crore. It was inaugurated by the Chief Minister yesterday. This new bus stand has been constructed over an area of three acres of land and has 18 bays for parking of the buses which has been increased from nine bays earlier.

Other works of construction of bus stands assigned to Markfed at Ferozepur, Moga and Muktsar will also be completed by November 30. According to official information, the work of construction of bus stand at Ropar is likely to start after the completion of the formalities for the requisition of the land.

The work of construction of modern bus stand at Amritsar at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore, which is one of the prestigious projects, has also been assigned to Markfed. Construction is likely to start in the first week of November. The architectural and structural planning for the construction of bus stand has been completed and administrative approval for this bus stand has been accorded.


MLAs boycott planning board meeting
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 4
Three MLAs and one MP today boycotted the District Planning and Development Board meeting presided over by state Animal Husbandry Minister, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala.

The three MLAs namely Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar (Sardulgarh), Mr Hardev Singh Arshi (Budhlada), Mr Baldev Singh Khiala (Joga) and MP, Mr Bhan Singh Bhora boycotted today’s meeting in protest against the undemocratic norms being adopted by the Punjab Government in the functioning of the planning board.

They said the constitutional rights of people and elected representatives had been taken away.

Talking to TNS Mr Mofar alleged that elected representatives belonging to those parties which were opposed to the ruling SAD-BJP alliance were being ignored in the matter of the building of roads, (20 km new roads in their respective Assembly segments) and the distribution of funds for development works in their respective areas.

He alleged that at today’s meeting the administration was trying to get the approval of all MLAs, the MP and other members of the board for money amounting to crores of rupees spent in the past in the name of development.

He added that crores of rupees had been wasted by the ruling party leaders in connivance with officials in the name of development works without carrying out the same.

He alleged that in the Sardulgarh Assembly segment, civil and police officials had become ‘puppets’ in the hands of the member of the ruling alliance.

Mr Arshi alleged that funds meant for development works in different Assembly segments through the respective MLAs had been diverted for other purposes by the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to create party’s vote bank.

He said the Punjab Government had been flouting all norms of democracy and the District Grievances Committees’ meeting which was required to be held before 12 of every month was today held after about nine months in the district.

He alleged that the duration of the Vidhan Sabha sessions had been cut short, meetings of grievances and planning boards were held rarely, meetings of departmental consultative committees were not held and all this had made the elected representatives redundant and constitutional bodies defunct.

Mr Buta Singh, secretary, CPI, district unit, Mansa also boycotted today’s meeting.


Panchayat alleges fund diversion
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 4
Mr Harbans Singh, Numberdar, has alleged on behalf of the villagers of Beneri that the village Sarpanch Balbir Singh has encroached on village land. In another case, the Panchayat of Gulahar village complained against the use of development grants on other works.

This was stated during a sangat darshan programme held at Red Cross Hall here today. In yet another case, residents of Nanansu village, falling in Dakala block, alleged that the village Panchayat was encroaching upon village land and no action was being taken against it. Presiding over the programme, Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir asked the District Development and Panchayat Officer (DDPO) to look into cases.

Mr Prem Kumar, a resident of Adarsh Colony, Rajpura, complained against Balbir Chand, a restaurant owner, for having encroached upon land near Gagan Chowk. The Rajpura SDM has been asked to look into the matter.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bir asked the SDMs to ensure that the Deputy Superintendents of Police of all blocks remained present during the sangat darshan programmes so that the civil and police related cases could be solved on the spot.

Of the 130 cases, 80 cases were settled during the programme today. The district police chief, Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, has been asked to look into the 40 cases pertaining to the police department and to report on the latest position within a week. The remaining 50 applications were sent to the departments concerned for their consideration. Among others who were present in the programme were Municipal Corporation Commissioner Kulbir Singh Kang, Additional Deputy Commissioner Gagandeep Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Manvej Singh Sidhu and all SDMs of the district.



Special grant for Kotkapura
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 4
The Punjab Government has given a special grant of Rs 59.45 lakh for different development schemes at Kotkapura. Releasing the grant here today, Mr A. Venu Prasad Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, said Rs 50.60 lakh would be utilised for the pavement of streets and the construction and repair of various roads like Dwareana road, Bhagat Singh road, Deviwala road and Dashmesh Public School road.

The remaining amount would be spent on the improvement of sewerage in the town. In addition, Bibi Gurcharn Kaur MP has given Rs 7.50 lakh from her discretionary quota for the augmentation of drinking water supply of Jaitu town said the Deputy Commissioner. Work on the two projects would start with in a week, he added.


Millennium gifts to school
Praful Chander Nagpal

The local Rotary Club, with the cooperation of Rotary International, gifted a school bus and a computerised laboratory to the Smt Karam Bai D.A.V. Public School here. The gifts, worth about Rs 11 lakh, have been presented under the matching grant scheme of Rotary Foundation, a global network which conducts educational and humanitarian activities to further international understanding and peace.

The millennium gifts are considered a big boon for this small border subdivision of Punjab as it is likely to be milestone in providing computer education to school students.

Dr Ajay Dhawan, chairman of the project, said a fully and furnished air-conditioned modern computer laboratory had been set up in the school at cost of about Rs 4.50 lakh. As many as 18 computers had been installed. Besides, a new Swaraj Mazda school bus worth Rs 6.40 lakh has been provided for transporting children, particularly from rural areas, on a no profit, no loss basis.

A special programme for presenting the millennium gift was organised jointly by the Rotary Club and the management of the DAV Centenary Public School recently, in which Mr Zora Singh Mann, the local MP, Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, Forests Minister, and a galaxy of Rotarians of the northern region and Mr G D Jinda, Director of the DAV College’s Managing Committee, New Delhi, were present.

While lauding the activities of Rotary International, Mr Mann and Mr Surjit Kumar appreciated their initiative for propagating IT education, which they described as the prime necessity in the present educational set-up. Mr Mann announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh from the MP’s area development fund for the school, while Mr Jyani announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to the local Rotary Club, for sponsoring the project, the first of its kind in this district (No 3090).

Throwing light on the welfare projects launched by the Rotary Foundation, Dr Dhawan said Rotary International had adopted the motto “Mankind is our business”, and pointed out that since its inception the club had organised 15 annual free eye camps in which over 15,000 patients were examined and about 1500 eye operations performed. It had also organised a week-long mega-prosthetic camp with the cooperation of the Punjab Police and Bhagwan Mahavir Viklang Sahayta Samiti, Jaipur. In this camp over 7000 physically challenged persons from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan were examined and of them 4000 were provided artificial limbs free of cost. As many as 225 tricycles were distributed.

Besides, the club had sponsored the pulse-polio programme launched by the Health Department. He announced that the Rotary Club would organise a free intra-ocular lens transplant camp in the near future for which Rotary Foundation had sanctioned $ 5000.


Entrepreneurs give tips to students
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 4
The Department of Management Studies of Guru Nanak Dev University Regional Centre and DAV College organised a seminar on entrepreneurship and its relevance to management studies here today.

A number of renowned academicians and speakers from the industry and government departments expressed their views.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, who was the chief guest said students who worked hard and with honesty could be successful in entrepreneurship.

Dr C.S. Cheema, Chairman, Department of Commerce and Business Management, said entrepreneurship development was important for industrial development.

Mr Surjit S. Arora, a management consultant and industrialist gave some tips on how to become a successful entrepreneur while Mr Paramjeet Singh, another consultant, said in the present scenario, entrepreneurship was the most feasible option available to students.

Mr Ahsanul Haq, District Manager of the Punjab Financial Corporation, discussed various financial schemes available in this connection.

Mrs Kamna Raj Aggarwal, Chief Executive, exports, of a firm said inner force was vital to achieve something.

Mr Munish Arora , an industrialist said youths must venture out. 


Supplementary exams: roll numbers by Oct 6
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Punjabi University today said it would release roll numbers of students appearing for supplementary examinations starting from October 18, well in time.

Disclosing this the varsity spokesman, Dr G.R. Kataria said the position was reviewed by the Vice-Chancellor yesterday along with the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and other officials concerned and the work relating to computerised programming of the cut list of candidates was streamlined.

The spokesman said there would not be any delay in despatching the roll numbers to the students and that they would be sent by October 60. He said it was also decided at the meeting that any lapse or delay, found at any level, would invite strict action against the defaulting officials.

The spokesman said, while the work relating to undergraduate examination under the ‘’Delegation of Powers” issued by the Vice-Chancellor sometime back would remain with the Pro Vice-Chancellor, the VC has decided to directly take over the monitoring of the work of despatch of roll numbers to the students. Weekly reports will be sent by the Pro Vice-Chancellor to the VC, suggesting remedial measures where ever required, said the statement.



PSEB must follow CBSE exam pattern’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 4
The Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) has always followed the guidelines and instructions issued by the CBSE and the NCERT. Now it should also adopt the pattern being adopted by the CBSE for the Class X examination for the year 2002.

In a press note issued here today Mr Suresh Kumar, principal of the local Goodwill Public High School, said under this new pattern for Class X, there would be 25 questions with choices. Keeping in view the large number of students from rural areas, the PSEB should adopt this pattern, he added.


Traders resent harassment by Excise staff
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 4
Resentment prevails among local traders and transporters over the alleged high-handedness of Excise and Taxation Department officials posted at Information Collection Centre, Madhopur, set up by state government.

A large number of traders from Punjab, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir alleged that this barrier was a nuisance and officials appointed at this checkpost used to harass them.

The traders of the area alleged that their trucks were impounded by the officials and despite complete documents, heavy penalties were imposed upon them, allegedly on flimsy grounds.

According to representatives of the local Beopar Mandal, when the drivers go to centre for export entry, the officials reportedly demand “irrelevant” documents like purchase bills and copies of registration certificate of the vehicle and impose heavily penalties if any of the document is not in possession of the driver. The traders alleged that they were forced to fax the documents for vehicle for which they were charged heavy by the fax shop owner, allegedly in connivance with barrier staff. The traders demanded that this centre be abolished.

Mr Taranjit Singh, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said the Madhopur centre came under the jurisdiction of Jalandhar and Mr K.S. Bajaj was in charge of the barrier. When contacted, Mr Bajaj was not available for comments.

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