Wednesday, October 17, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tohra not averse to poll pact with BJP
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 16
Taking an off-beat stand, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal and a Panthic Morcha stalwart, today declared that he was not averse even to the BJP having an alliance with the morcha provided the former bade good bye to the SAD headed by Parkash Singh Badal. However, he hastened to add in the same breath that he knew that the BJP won’t leave the Badal government as it was an equal partner of the ruling SAD in open “loot” of Punjab.

Talking to newsmen, in the office of Rajwant Singh Jhikka, District unit President of the SHSAD in the presence of Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, secretary general of the party, Jathedar Tohra said the Morcha would welcome poll pact with any party except the Akali Dal (Badal) and the Congress.

“We are ready to accept the BJP in case it leaves SAD (B)” he said. “We are in contact with the BSP, the CPM, the Lok Morcha, the Lok Bhalai party of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and others for the coming poll”. We will make every sacrifice, including settling for less number of seats to win elections,” he said.

“We would go to each and everyone, including the Democratic Akali Dal of Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala, declared former SGPC chief.

He declared that he would follow suit in case Mr Parkash Singh Badal (renounced politics). “Only in renunciation we can meet otherwise there can be no meeting point between us,” he quipped. He accused Mr Badal of “grabbing” all four bodies — Akal Takht, the SGPC, the SAD and the Legislative assembly. Mr Badal was unfit even to run the government but was playing havoc with other three Sikh institutions, he continued.

Accepting three-member panel constituted by SGPC chief Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Jathedar Tohra, who had remained SGPC chief for 25 years, demanded that the panel should be given powers to punish those found guilty in the sacrilege case. This punishment can be religious, he said. “We had opposed the judicial commission because it would take legalistic view of the case while the Sikh panel having two retired judges of the High Court would take Sikh philosophy and Sikh psyche into consideration, continued Jathedar Tohra.

Jathedar Tohra also alleged soft-pedalling on the part of five Sikh head priests. “How come that they had chosen to ignore the press reports about Mr Badal visiting the dera of Baba Bhaniarawale”? he asked. How come that they had not taken any cognisance of Baba Bhaniara’s claim that Mr Badal’s OSD and SAD General Secretary Kirpal Singh Badungar had visited his dera many times, he asked.

Mr Tohra disclosed that he had filed a defamation case against a Jalandhar-based Punjabi daily, Ajit, and had claimed Rs 50 lakh as damages for publishing a story about his meeting with Parkash Singh Badal at Chandigarh to effect a rapproachment.

He demanded an amendment through notification in Section 295-A of the IPC for providing capital punishment to those responsible for sacrilege of holy scriptures.


Morcha to seek Badal’s sack
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 16
The Panthic Morcha will seek immediate dismissal of Mr Parkash Singh Badal as Chief Minister from the Governor of Punjab, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), tomorrow after the culmination of a protest march from Fatehgarh Sahib to Raj Bhavan.

Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SHSAD, who had a closed-door meeting with Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, at his residence here today, said Mr Badal had to step down as he had failed to protect even his own guru (Guru Granth Sahib).

He said Mr Badal maintained a studied silence for weeks together despite the acts of sacrilege by followers of the excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

He said it was strange that the Badal government had not recognised the high-level panel to probe the sordid happenings.

He said though Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi was appointed by the ruling party as president of the SGPC, yet Mr Badal was deliberately humiliating him by not accepting the panel announced by him.


Atonement kicks off controversy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 16
The atonement of some Sikh families, having direct links with excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib has kicked off a fresh controversy.

Sikh circles feel that being a supreme Takht, only Akal Takht is competent to issue edict concerning Sikhs. Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SHSAD chief, said it was a dangerous trend that the Sikhs who had established relations with Baba Bhaniara in gross violation of the hukamnama were atoned at Takht Kesgarh Sahib. They were taken to the Takht by SGPC member, Mr Jarnail Singh Aulakh. Though Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of the Takht is abroad, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Head Granthi, and Mr Udham Singh, manager, were presented during the atonement.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former SGPC secretary, said the Anandpur Sahib, Patna Sahib, Hazur Sahib and Damdama Sahib Takhts could deal with religious matters pertaining to the Sikhs. However, main issues could be dealt by Akal Takht only. He said if the hukmnama of Akal Takht was violated by any Sikh, he could not be bailed out by any other Takht.

Meanwhile, Mr Tohra alleged that Mr Kirpal Sing Badungar, secretary of the ruling party and officer on special duty, was bailed out by the Sikh High Priests despite the fact that he had direct relations with Baba Bhaniara. He alleged that during interrogation, Baba Bhaniara told CIA staff that Mr Badungar used to visit his dera frequently.

Mr Tohra challenged the clean chit given to Mr Badungar. It may be mentioned here that Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura, executive member of the SGPC and district president of the SHSAD, had criticised the mild tankhah pronounced by the High Priests on Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, his son, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh.

Mr Tohra urged the High Priests to take strict action against Mr Kewal Singh Badal, junior vice-president of the SGPC, and Mr Aliwal who dye their beards in gross violation of the Sikh maryada. He said Mr Avtar Singh Hit should be removed as president of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee as he had also started dying his beard.

He also demanded that the diary of Baba Bhaniara wherein he had mentioned the names of politicians and bureaucrats whom he had paid money should be made public.


SSF sacks Channi for ‘hooliganism’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 16
Even as Jathedar, Akal Takht, has directed Mr Charanjit Singh Channi of the Khalsa Action Committee to appear before October 25 along with his accomplices for “hooliganism”, the Sikh Students Federation (SSF) has sacked him from primary membership of the federation.

Mr Gurcharn Singh Grewal, president of the SSF, said the federation had to take this decision due to his alleged “anti-Panthic, anti-federation and anti-Akal Takht activities”. He said Mr Charnjit Singh had formed the action committee in gross violation of party discipline.

Meanwhile, the Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, said no Sikh could challenge the hukmnama issued by Akal Takht. He said it was for the first time that Mr Charnjit Singh and his accomplices indulged in “hooliganism” when tankhah was pronounced on Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, his son Kewal Singh Badal, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, spokesperson for the Dal Khalsa, clarified that his organisation was unnecessarily being dragged into the controversy as no activist of his party shouted slogans in front of Akal Takht.

He said the Khalsa Action Committee had misused the name of the Dal Khalsa.


Three undergo ‘tankhah’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 16
Three of the five Sikh leaders who were awarded “tankhah” (punishment for religious misconduct) for their connections with the excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, including Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, former MP, Mr Bhagh Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Ropar district president and general secretary, respectively, of the SAD (Amritsar), appeared before Takht Sri Damdama Sahib here today after the completion of their three-day “tankhah” at Anandpur Sahib.

The five leaders had been ordered to undergo a three-day “tankhah” at five Takhts of the Sikh religion by the Jathedar of Akal Takht. Following the edict the three Sikh leaders dusted shoes of devotees, washed utensils, listened to the kirtan (one hour each) and then stood before the Takht carrying placards seeking forgiveness for their sins.


Sacrilege: Bitta asks Jacob to intervene
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, president of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, today met the Punjab Governor, Mr J.F.R. Jacob, and submitted a memorandum demanding, among other things, a CBI probe into the incidents of burning of ‘birs’ at various places in the state.

Mr Bitta, who was accompanied by well-known pop singer Daler Mehndi and several office-bearers of the front, including Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mr Jagmeet Bawa and Mr Jogendra Kaushal, expressed a deep sense of dismay and resentment over the incidents of sacrilege. The memorandum said these incidents betrayed a sinister design aimed at whipping up communal frenzy, disturbing peace in the state and pushing Punjab once again into the inferno of murder and mayhem.

“What is most disturbing is the similarity in pattern. In the early 80s, militancy started in Punjab through such stray acts when the places of worship of the two major communities in the state witnessed sacriligious acts which outraged the religious susceptibilities of the two communities. As a result, Punjab remained blood-soaked for more than a decade leading to the loss of thousands of innocent lives and property worth millions”, they said.

The memorandum also regretted that by blaming each other, political parties were purusing their own agenda. The Governor must intervene to identify culprits through an inquiry by the CBI and give them stern punishment.


Piara Singh’s effigy burnt
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 16
Members of the Sikh community here today held a protest rally and burnt an effigy of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara for alleged sacrilege incidents. The protesters took out a procession burnt the effigy at Gandhi Chowk.

Later they met officiating SDM, Mr Verma and presented a memorandum to him. The rally was addressed by Mr S. S. Neki, Mr Sukhpal Singh and Mr Gurminder Singh.


Disinvestment panel on PSUs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
The Punjab Government has formed a Disinvestment Committee to decide the fate of loss making public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the state.

Disclosing this while talking to newsmen here after presiding over a state level function in which ex- servicemen who had been awarded gallantry awards were given monetary assistance of Rs 2 lakh, Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the committee had been given a three-point programme. He said it would recommend whether loss making PSUs should be closed down or merged with other companies and whether there was any chance of salvaging them. He said the committee would present its report in December.

The Finance Minister also made it clear that there was no question of the government defaulting on making payments to be paid to employees. He said speculation in this regard was completely baseless. He said at no point of time had the state government defaulted on payment of salaries nor was such a situation likely to arise.

Saying that he could not call the financial position of the state as normal, he said the state was being steered towards normalcy with tight financial discipline. He said the financial situation was being improved despite the fact that the fiscal position had been very weak when the Akali — BJP government took over in the state.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said during the present Akali - BJP government the state revenue had increased by 32 per cent. When questioned about the alleged diversion of funds from other heads to allocate funds under the “sangat darshan” programme and objections made in this regard by a senior bureaucrat of his Ministry, he said no diversion of funds had taken place from the Finance Department. When asked whether any action was being taken in the matter, he said this was the prerogative of the Chief Minister.

Earlier 11 ex-servicemen and their families were given monetary assistance of Rs 2 lakh at a function organised at the State Library by the Small Savings Department and the Sainik Welfare Board. Speaking on the occasion the Finance Minister said it was for the first time that this kind of financial assistance was being given to ex-servicemen and their families.

He said besides this the government was giving a pension of Rs 1500 per month to those who had been awarded the Vir Chakra which was the highest as compared to other states which were giving Rs 25 per month and the Centre which was giving Rs 850 per month.

The minister said since 1999, families of 200 soldiers who had been killed had been given an assistance of Rs 13 crore from the War Heroes Relief Fund. He said Rs 4 crore had also been given as an ex gratia grant to them. Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir disclosed that 14 families of war martyrs had been given jobs in the district.

Those families who received given assistance on the occasion were of Honorary Capt Karam Singh (Param Vir Chakra - posthumously), Naik Chain Singh ( Mahavir Chakra - posthumously), Sipahi Swaran Singh (Vir Chakra- posthumously), Naik Surjit Singh (Sena medal - posthumously), Sipahi Jagir Singh (Mention in Dispatches — posthumously) Buta Singh (Vir Chakra), former Lance Havaldar Devraj (Vir Chakra), Havaldar Malkiat Singh (Vir Charka), Hon Capt Malkit Singh (Vir Chakra), Naik Chuhar Singh (Kirti Chakra) and Sapper Bahadur Singh (Shaurya Chakra) were also given assistance.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh also presented the letter of appointment in the PCS to Poonamdeep Kaur, widow of Major Manwindra Singh, who was killed in the Kashmir valley in December, last year.


Cops adamant on returning awards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
As all parleys to convince them seem to have failed, nearly 40 policemen facing human rights abuse and other charges today reaffirmed their decision to return gallantry awards to the President on October 21 on the occasion of National Police Commemoration Day.

The DGP Punjab, Mr Sarbjit Singh, who was in the city in connection with some function told mediapersons that he could not do anything in the case and also denied that he was in the city to make a last-ditch effort to persuade the cops. He added that it was the personal decision on the cops and his personal viewpoint was that the awards should not be returned at any cost.

According to a spokesman for the Zinda Shaheed Police Officials Welfare Association, 15 cops facing various charges will visit Delhi on that day and first meet Mr L.K. Advani, Home Minister, and then proceed to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to return the gallantry awards. He said it had been decided that only 15 cops would return on that day.

The spokesman said the cops had deferred their decision as parleys were being held at various levels to found out a solution to the problem. “However, as no one seems to be bothered about their viewpoint, they have decided to go ahead with their plan,” he added.

It was agreed by all that the CBI, which was handling most of the cases was “partial” to the cops. It was strange that the cops facing charges were acquitted in magisterial and judicial inquiries, but still were facing charges and certain punishments, the spokesman added.


Warrant issued against SHO
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
A local CBI court today issued non-bailable warrant against Mr Kishen Singh, Station House Officer, Majitha police, in a case involving the alleged disappearance of a truck driver.

The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Kishen and the SP (Headquarters), Barnala Mr Mohinder Singh in the case. Both have been charged with the disappearance of truck driver, Sukhwinder Singh, on July 27, 1990, from Shahzada village bus stand in Majitha. The SP (H) is presently on interim bail.

After the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the CBI to investigate the case, the SP had filed an affidavit in the court stating that warrant had been issued against Sukhwinder and that he had been declared an absconder in a criminal case.

The CBI has alleged that both police officials had tampered with official records in an attempt to implicate the driver in a criminal case.


State in red due to wrong policies: Sodhi
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 16
The Badal government has virtually brought the state on the verge of bankruptcy as the income of departments like the Mandi Board has been mortgaged to certain financial institutions for next seven years for want of funds. Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, General Secretary of the PPCC minced no words in lashing out at the ruling Akali-BJP alliance and termed the policies pursued by it as erroneous and faulty.

He said the Akalis were luring the public on false promises to somehow continue their “misrule”. He said the government in the state was on its last legs and would soon be ousted. While describing the “sangat darshan” programme initiated by Mr Badal as “fraud darshan”? Mr Sodhi said while the state government was in the red with a debt of more than Rs 58000 crore huge grants were being doled out for the so-called development works.

He said the government had made a mockery of the democratic set-up. He said the plight of the farmers could be gauged by the fact that more than 470 farmers had already committed suicide during the past few years. Mr Sodhi said the Badal Government had come up with 22-point manifesto for smooth and efficient governance but the stark reality was that only one out of the 22 points which was free electricity to the farmers, had been implemented that too at the cost of emptying the state exchequer.

He alleged that Congress workers were being implicated in false cases. He said if the Congress was voted back to power, all such cases would be withdrawn within 48 hours and the erring police officials allegedly dancing to the tunes of the Akali leaders would be brought to book.

On the fake arms license scandal, he feared that the arms issued would be misused by the hooligans at the time of elections. Mr Sodhi claimed that the Congress would bag not less than 78 seats as per the survey held by an agency. He said Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder and Dr Manmohan Singh have been entrusted with the job of framing a comprehensive election manifesto.

Mr Sodhi was accompanied by Mr Gurnaib Singh Brar, a former MLA, Mr Ratinder Singh Saiyanwala and hosts of senior Congress leaders. He also announced the appointment of Ms Usha Chopra as president of the Mahila Congress wing.


SAD wants to put off elections, alleges Cong
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 16
Punjab Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh while demanding the setting up of a time-bound judicial commission to look into the recent acts of sacrilege, today alleged that the SAD government was conspiring to get the Assembly elections postponed.

Speaking at a function organised by the Bairagi Mahan Mandal which bestowed him with the Baba Banda Bahadur award, he said the judicial commission should be asked to submit its report before the elections.

He said the commission should be given terms of reference, including specific investigation as to who was responsible for the acts of sacrilege and why had they been done.

The PPCC chief alleged that the Akalis wanted to get the elections postponed on the plea of deteriorating law and order situation.

Later while talking to newspersons when he was questioned about the links of Congress leaders with Baba Piara Singh, he said former Union Minister Buta Singh and state Legislature Party Leader Jagjit Singh had already clarified their positions, adding that they had only visited the dera of the baba. He said the Akali-led government had, however, allowed him (baba) to encroach upon 150 acres of forest land and had also provided Punjab police as well as BSF jawans for his security.


NCP to contest 50 seats in Punjab
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, October 16
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) today announced that it would contest around 50 seats in alliance with other members of the Punjab Lok Morcha in the coming state Assembly elections.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Swaran Singh, president of the Punjab Pradesh NCP, said his party would contest 40 to 50 seats. Under no circumstances would it have any electoral tie-up with the Congress or the BJP, he asserted.

He said four former Congress ministers and two district unit presidents of the party had approached the NCP for the party ticket to contest the Punjab elections. He declined to name them, but said the party ticket would be given only to those persons who approached the NCP in this connection before the announcement of the list of candidates by the Congress.

Mr Swaran Singh did not rule out the possibility of seat adjustments with the Panthic Morcha. He claimed that the SAD (B) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was trying for unity with the SHSAD led by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra in order to defeat the Congress.

The NCP leader said there could be an electoral understanding with the SAD if it broke its ties with the BJP. He added that various changes were being brought about in the youth wing of the NCP to make it stronger. Dr Bhupinder Singh Laddi had been appointed president of the Punjab state youth wing of the NCP. 


Highway cops have saved 85 lives so far
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 16
On April 9, 2001, Mr Sukhbir Singh, Mr Ranbir Singh and Mr Jagtar Singh, all residents of this district, were seriously injured when the car in which they were travelling hit a truck parked on the Bathinda-Malout road. They were picked up by police personnel posted at the Highway Integrated Traffic Enforcement Cell (HITEC) and taken to hospital immediately. All were saved.

On June 15, 2001, Beeru Ram, of Sirsa district, was injured badly when he met with an accident involving a tractor-trailer on the Bathinda-Sirsa road. The HITEC personnel at Jassibaghwali rushed them to hospital, thereby saving his life.

Ever since the HITEC posts, set up at various points in the district with the efforts of district police chief Jatinder Kumar Jain, have become functional, as many as 85 persons have been saved.

Dr Jain, who alongwith Bhai Tirath Singh, a social worker inaugurated and HITEC post on the Bathinda-Goniana road today, said the posts were equipped with an ambulance, a motor cycle, first aid and adequate personnel.

These personnel remained on duty round the clock and also helped in monitoring the smooth flow of traffic, apart from shifting the injured to nearby hospitals.

The posts had also been provided with kits for drug addicts and breathalyser. These posts had also been helping in detecting those involved in the smuggling of drugs.

So far, five HITEC posts in the district had been made operational.

An STD-PCO and drinking water facilities had also been provided at these posts which could also be used for collecting information against criminals.


10 cr project to revive Rambagh Gardens
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
The Punjab Government has undertaken an ambitious project to revive the old heritage building at the Rambagh Gardens built by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh here. The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, during his last visit to the city had directed the local municipal corporation to immediately undertake the Rs 10-crore project to restore the old glory of the gardens.

A committee headed by the Minister for Public Relations, Mr Natha Singh Dalam, has selected the model for the restoration work prepared by the Department of Architecture of Guru Nanak Dev University.

The Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, today said the first phase of the work would include construction of the boundary wall which would be 7326-feet-long with four gates on which the work had already commenced.

The design of the wall and the gates had been approved by the Chief Minister which would reflect the traditional architectural pattern of the historic buildings in the Rambagh Gardens. These gardens were based on the concept of Shalimar Bagh. The design was the brainchild of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, according to a study conducted by the Reader of the Department of Architecture. Mr S.S. Behl and his assistants, Vijay Kumar and Nitin Batra.

Mr Kaushal said the second and the third phase of the project will include landscaping, lighting, parking and irrigation of the green area comprising 84 acres.

The Rambagh Gardens also housed his summer palace which has now been converted into museum while the other buildings include baradaris, which are also being restored in conformity with their original design.

Mr Kaushal said the first phase of the project, including the boundary wall and entry gates, was likely to be completed before the commencement of the centenary celebrations of the coronation of the Maharaja Ranjeet Singh on November 13.

The gates would be built on the Mall Road on the M.M. Malvya Road sides while the boundary wall running into 2.25 kilometres will encompass the entire Rambagh Gardens on all sides.


Traders observe bandh against goondaism
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 16
Protesting against the increasing incidents of goondaism in the town, shopkeepers and traders kept their shops and business establishments closed, while members of two rehri unions observed a complete bandh here today.

The call for the Sangrur bandh was given by the unions alleging that incidents of goondaism are on the rise in the town and the local police has “failed” to arrest the culprits who had attacked and seriously injured Mr Ishwar Chand, president of the local Rehri Union, and his son a few days ago following a minor altercation on the issue of parking of a scooter by the alleged attackers.

However, a majority of the shops were opened in the afternoon as members of the unions did not force the shopkeepers to keep their shops closed for the entire day. Besides, some shopkeepers also opened their shops in the morning here.

A large number of rehriwalas also held a protest march through the town shouting slogans against the Punjab police, the Punjab Government and the goondaism. They also held a rally in front of the local police station which was addressed among others by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A), Mr Rajinder Kumar, district president of the Rehri Union, Mr Jatinder Kalra, a municipal councillor, and Mr Nand Lal, a former secretary of the rehri union.

Later, the protesters marched to the office of the Deputy Commissioner and held a rally there. Mr Alloarkh warned the administration that if it failed in taking action against the alleged culprits, a public interest litigation would be filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to curb the incidents of goondaism and checking of the police records for the past six months.

A deputation of the union met the Deputy Commissioner and submitted a memorandum to him in this connection.


World Food Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, today celebrated the World Food Day at Sheron village in Sangrur district in collaboration with IFFCO.

Dr S.R.Singla, Assistant Regional Director , said the World Food Day was celebrated every year on October 16 to mark the foundation day of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The theme given by the FAO for the World Food Day-2001 is “Fight Hunger to Reduce Poverty”.

Dr Singla said a seminar on the topic was organised in which various experts from different departments took part. He said prior to the World Food Day celebrations, a 10-day training course for 50 farm women of the village was conducted. Stipend-cum-assistance of Rs 22,500 was also given by the office for the purchase of 50 metal bins, Dr Singla said.

He said Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, SDM, Sunam, presided over the function and distributed metal bins and certificates to the trainees on the occasion.

Dr Singla urged the gathering to minimise foodgrain losers occuring due to conventional ways of storage by adopting modern storage practices.


Death due to doc’s negligence alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
In an affidavit, Mr Ravel Singh, an employee of ESI hospital, has alleged that his son (9 ) died because of the negligence on the part of a senior doctor of the same hospital .

Mr Ravel Singh alleged that the doctor did not come to the hospital despite his best efforts when condition of his son deteriorated in August as he was attending patients at the private nursing hospital, allegedly being run by his wife.

He further alleged that the doctor had failed to diagnose actual disease of the child and continued to prescribe ‘wrong medicines’.

When contacted, Mr Parkash Mohinderoo, the doctor, denied all allegations levelled by Mr Ravel Singh. It might be possible that Mr Ravel Singh had got treatment from some other doctor hence he was not responsible for the death of his son, he added.


Patwaris go on relay fast
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
Revenue patwaris of Punjab went on a fast and staged a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioners office here today.

Expressing solidarity with the patwaris, the District Kanungo Association also joined the dharna.

According to Mr Nirmaljit Singh Bajwa, president of the union patwaris in the group of five will sit on relay fast for 24 hours, before the next group takes over. He said “accepted” demands were rejected by the Deputy Commissioner.

The union was protesting against the non-implementation of their demands, including GPF and GIS.


Parkash utsav of Bhagwan Valmiki
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab Government has decided to celebrate the parkash utsav of Bhagwan Valmiki on November 4. A state-level function will be organised in this connection in Ludhiana.

This was decided at a meeting held here today under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The Chief Minister will also inaugurate Valmiki Bhavan in Ludhiana on that day, according to an official press note issued here.


One killed as bus rams into truck
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 16
One person was killed and another injured in an accident which could have been a major tragedy when a bus hit a truck carrying LPG cylinders near Deon village, about 17 km from here, this evening.

The deceased has been identified as Jagsir Singh (19) of Deon village. He was a trainee conductor of the bus. The identity of the injured, a migrant labourer, could not be ascertained. He has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The driver of the bus lost control due to some snag in the vehicle and hit the truck parked at a roadside dhaba. The truck was loaded with LPG cylinders.


No-tillage technique for Punjab soon
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 16
The Punjab Agriculture Department has decided to introduce “no tillage technology” in the state in the coming rabi season. The technology will help in the early sowing of wheat. Besides it will save about Rs 2,000 tillage costs per hectare.

This was stated by Mr Sarwan Singh Bains, Director Agriculture, Punjab, while talking to mediapersons here today. He was here to inaugurate an Agriculture Bhavan building built at a cost of 20 lakh.

By the technology, which has already been successfully introduced in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the next crop can be sown without or partial tilling. Punjab Agriculture University has developed a strip till drill, which can sow the seeds after partial tilling and Pant University has developed the zero till drill, which can sow the seeds without any tillage. Both machines have a specially made drill and two boxes containing seeds and fertiliser, which help in sowing the seeds in the untilled fields.

The Punjab Government was planning to introduce these drills for the benefit of farmers. The strip till drill which costs about Rs 35,000 was being offered to the farmers at a subsidised price of Rs 17,500. The zero tillage drill was even cheaper costing about Rs 14,000 with a subsidy of Rs 5,000 on it. The commercial production of these drills has started in Ludhiana and Jandiala and they would easily be available to the farmers.

Besides the commercial benefit of the drill, its introduction will also help the government to reduce the area under wheat and rice without any reduction in yield. The experiments conducted by agriculture experts have shown that if the wheat was sown early viz, between October 25 and November 15 high yield was produced. In 1999, when the farmers of the state went for early sowing, a record yield of 47 quintals per hectare was produced.

With the introduction of the new drill, the farmers won’t have to prepare the field before sowing. They can easily go for early sowing. The agriculture department has estimated that even if one lakh hectare area under wheat cultivation was reduced this year, the yield can still be maintained at the last year’s level with early sowing. 


‘Sell’ produce at uniform rates
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 16
Dr Jaspinder Singh Kolar, Director of Extension Education, PAU, Ludhiana, has called upon farmers to follow the marketing model adopted by farmers of the USA and Canada to sell vegetable and fruits at uniform rates and get rid of the present cropping pattern and wheat-paddy rotation.

He said this while presiding over a concluding function organised by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kherri (Sangrur) and the annual meeting of the Punjab Naujawan Kisan Sanstha here yesterday. As many as 250 farmers, trainees and members of the sanstha participated.

The farmers were advised to get every member of their families involved in agriculture on the pattern of Japan where each member contributed to enhance the income.

The need to adopt value addition of various products obtained from the farmers’ own fields was also emphasised. The farmers were exhorted to adopt subsidiary occupations like mushroom growing, bee-keeping, hybrid seed production and dairy farming to enhance their income.

Mr Ravinder Sharma, Assistant General Manager of Nabard here, asked the farmers to form self-help groups for better production and marketing of their produce. He said such groups would be given loans.

Mr Jaskaran Singh, an expert in farm power machinery from PAU, asked the farmers to sow wheat with strip-till and no-till sowing machines after harvesting paddy. This would save fuel, fertilisers and labour charges at the time of sowing of wheat.

Dr Jagpal Singh Sidhu, Deputy Director, Krishi Vigyan Kendra, said potato seeds should be treated with fungicides by using dip method to control black scurf and scab diseases.

An exhibition on home science produce was also organised.


Farmers defy ban, burn paddy straw
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 16
Farmers in the district continue to burn paddy straw as they find it costly to cut the same. This is, however, being done in violation of the ban imposed by the district administration and the farm experts advice in this regard.

A visit to few villages in the region including Nathana, Gobindpura, Kalyan Sukha, Kothe Guru, Ballian Wali, Lehra Mohabat brought out that farmers preferred to burn paddy straw . Farm experts of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, had during the training camps held earlier told them that burning of straw would destroy friendly insects which enhance soil fertility. This would have an adverse effect on crop production.

They had also suggested that since there was sufficient time gap between harvesting of kharif crop and sowing of rabi crop, they should irrigate their fields to soften the straw before cutting it.

The farmers, on their part, maintained that cutting straw by using expensive implements or deploying manual labour is an expensive proposition. Further, since there was no processing unit or any cardboard factory in the vicinity, taking the same to far off places for sale was not easy. While straw from small fields can be used as animal fodder, it would go waste in case of bigger chunks of land, they added. The district administration has also imposed a ban on the burning of straw under Section 144 of Cr PC.

Mr Harvinder Singh Bhatti, Chief Agriculture Officer of the district, admitted that though farmers were not following the instructions of the department but at the same time paying for the rent of the machinery or deploying labour was expensive for most of the farmers.

Mr R.Venkatratnam, Deputy Commissioner, said the SDMs have been asked to take stern action to prevent farmers from burning paddy straw. 


Officer caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, October 16
Mr Krishan Chander Sharma, Executive Officer of the local municipal council, was allegedly caught red-handed today while taking a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a contractor.

Mr Khushi Mohammad Khan, DSP (Vigilance) who headed the raiding team, said Rs 20,000 was recovered from Krishan.

He added that Mr Ruldu Ram, a local contractor, complained to the Vigilance Department in this connection. Mr S.P. Singh, SP (Vigilance) directed the team to lay a trap.

The two government officials who accompanied the vigilance team as witnesses included Mr Ram Darshan Singla, SDO, PSTC, and Mr Didar Singh, Auditor, Food and Supply Department.

Mr Khan said as per the complaint, a contract worth Rs 15 lakh was awarded to Mr Ruldu Ram by the municipal council authorities. Though the contract was awarded about one-and-half-months ago, the work-order was not being issued to Mr Ruldu Ram by the Officer Krishan had been demanding the sum for issuing the work-order to the complainant.

A case under the Prevention of the Corruption Act has been registered, he added.


Company owner booked for forging FDRs
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 16
The police booked the proprietor of Indian Freight Carriers on Sunday for allegedly forging seven fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) amounting to Rs 5,600 which were to be encashed on maturity and were held as security deposit by the Army authorities for civil hired transport contract from Pathankot to Leh via Zozila in 1998-99.

According to the FIR, Capt P.S. Riar of road head supply depot told the police that the Manager of the State Bank of India, Udhampur, wrote to Army officials saying the bank had detected seven forged FDRs by the owner of Indian Freight Carriers.

The police has registered a case.

In another case, the police has booked the proprietor of the local Him Contractors for not delivering goods to the Army in Leh. The owners of the firm were recently arrested.


Cash, ornaments looted from temple

Hoshiarpur, October 16
Two masked youth looted cash and gold ornaments from a temple after wounding its priest at Mukerian after midnight last night, the police said today.

The youth, in their twenties, forced their way into the Hanuman temple near a school in the town at around 0130 hrs. hit priest Sudarshan with a stick on his head and then removed Rs 20,000 and more than 20 grams of gold jewellery and fled, the police added.

The priest was admitted to the Mukerian Civil Hospital. A case under Section 458 of the IPC has been registered. UNI


Foreign currency looted

Jalandhar, October 16
Two employees of a private finance company were today deprived of an unspecified amount of foreign currency by car-borne men in the city, police sources said.

Amandeep and Munish Sharda carrying a briefcase containing foreign currency were going on a scooter to the city railway station shortly before 0600 hrs when car-borne men hit their vehicle.

When Sharda tried to retrieve the briefcase he was threatened with an iron rod by one of the car riders. They picked up the briefcase and sped away.

Amandeep and Sharda were to catch a train for Delhi. UNI


3 youths booked for abducting girl
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 16
The police has booked three youths, two of whom have been identified as Gursimran Singh and Rajesh Garg, for allegedly abducting a 17-year-old girl from the Mall Road here yesterday. A case has been registered under Sections 363, 366 and 34 of the IPC at Kotwali police station.

Mr Harbans Singh, father of the girl, had lodged an FIR in which he alleged that when his daughter was going to a computer institute situated at the Mall road Gursimran, along with two of his accomplices, came in a car and allegedly pulled her into the car.

Policy sources said Gursimran Singh, alias Raja, of Power Colony of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabat, was the son of an engineer working there, while Rajesh was resident of the local Power House road. The third person could not be identified.

The police said none of the abductors had been arrested so far, but a search was on to nab them.


Thieves held 
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 16
The Baghapurana police has arrested Bhajan Singh of Duneke village in the district and recovered a stolen refrigerator and some truck tyres from his possession. Two other persons of Kaleke and Nathoke villages in the district have also been arrested and various stolen goods recovered from them.


College students observe strike
Our Correspondent

Sunam, October 16
Students of the local Shaheed Udham Singh College today went on strike and staged a dharna in front of the office of the city police station here to press for the acceptance of their demands.

They were demanding the arrest of Jaswinder Singh and Kulvir Singh, both ETT teachers, Gagandeep Singh, Manish Joshi, Ranbeer Singh, alias Ravi, and Balwinder Singh, alias Hani, for allegedly attacking Mr Swarn Singh and Mr Harinder Singh, alias Hani, leaders of the Students Federation of India (SFI) with sharp-edged weapons and lathis on October 13. The police has registered a case under Sections 307, 324, 323 of IPC read with Sections 148 and 149 of Cr PC against the suspects. Students owing allegiances to the SFI threatened to gherao the office of the local DSP on October 20 if the guilty were not arrested. Mr Swarnjeet Singh Dalio, General Secretary of the SFI, Punjab Unit, urged the Punjab Government to take action against them.


Function concludes
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 16
A national-level techno cultural event, organised by the local Lala Lajpat Rai Institute of Engineering, concluded here today.

The Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Mr HS Gurm, was the chief guest. He laid the foundation stone of the MCA block of the institute. Participants came from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and other states.

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