Thursday, October 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India

 

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P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


TOP STORIES


 

Akal Takht may summon Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
The Akal Takht is contemplating summoning Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann), and his personal assistant, Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana, for seeking favours from the excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

Sources close to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, confirmed that no Sikh who maintained direct or indirect links with Baba Bhaniara after his excommunication would be spared.

Though Mr Mann himself had not written any letter to Baba Bhaniara yet, it was written on his behalf, the sources said.

It may be mentioned here that photographs of three leaders of Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) had figured in the controversial “Bhavsagar Granth”.

While Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Surjit Singh — both leader of SAD (Amritsar) — have been undergoing “tankhah,” relatives of the late Sukhjinder Singh, who was senior vice-president of the party, had submitted to the Akal Takht that they were ready to undergo “Tankhah.”

The revelation of links of SAD (Amritsar) leaders has put Mr Mann in a tight spot as earlier he had accused the ruling party of promoting Baba Bhaniara.


 

Summon Tohra to Takht, Badungar urges Jathedar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The secretary of the SGPC, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, has appealed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht to summon a former SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra to the Takht for his alleged unwanted criticism of the decisions taken by the Takht.

Mr Badungar said that Mr Tohra was violating “panthic maryada” by criticising the Jathedar of Akal Takht and his decisions. Though the present Jathedar had been appointed by the SGPC, as per panthic traditions, Mr Tohra was not ready to accept him as the Jathedar.

He said Mr Tohra was playing into the hands of the Congress to weaken the panthic forces in the state. Mr Tohra had caused irreparable damage to Sikh traditions, principles and institutions during his 25-year-long tenure as the President of the SGPC.

The former SGPC President should tell the Sikhs how many Jathedars of Akal Takht had been removed by him when he was the President of the SGPC and the reasons for doing so.

 

SGPC poll may be delayed
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
SGPC elections which were due this month would be held after the forthcoming Assembly elections as it failed to complete the process for preparing electoral rolls. As the SGPC has failed to prepare even 10 per cent voters lists so far, the SGPC Secretary has sought more time from the Sikh Gurdwara Commission to complete the process by December 31.

Though Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary of the SGPC, has claimed that the voter lists for general election could not be completed due to strike by the revenue patwaris, yet sources said it was being done at the behest of the state government which wanted to delay the elections due to prevailing situation. After the burning of “Birs” of Guru Granth Sahib, the going for the ruling party does not seem smooth.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission had asked the SGPC to complete the voters lists by November 2.

According to sources, the notified gurdwara committees (Section 87 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act) could not receive 64 lakh forms for electoral rolls and hence the process for the elections could be delayed.

Though Justice Harbans Singh (retd), Chairman of the Sikh Gurdwara Commission, had started the process for preparing the voters lists for general election, yet the SGPC took inordinate delay to complete the process. So much so the SGPC could not decide the definition of ‘Sikh voter’ as it wanted to debar ‘Sehajdharis’ from casting their votes. Even as the SGPC passed a unanimous resolution to amend the definition, yet the Union Government could not amend the Act. The state government also drew flak from the rival Akali factions for not pursuing the case with the Union Government.

The sources pointed out that it would take at least six months to complete the process as publication of the lists was a cumbersome procedure.

Meanwhile, Dr Bachan has asked the employees to spare time for completing the voters’ lists due to strike by the revenue patwaris.


 

Despite tension, SGPC to send jathas to Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
Even as heightened tension prevails in Pakistan in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the SGPC has decided to send jathas to Pakistan. The jathas are slated to leave on November 23 for Gurpurb celebrations to Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The jathas would also visit Panja Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Sauda and Dera Sahib Gurdwara.

Sceptism, however, prevails over the SGPC’s decision at a time when a global war situation merits concern about sending Indians to a country where anti-India frenzy is high.

Meanwhile, reports from across the border also suggest massive arrangements this time for the welcome of Sikh jathas according to statements by Mr Sham Singh, co-chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (PSGPC).

Pakistan had earlier tried to run down the SGPC by making unsatisfactory arrangements. It also released photographs of improved gurdwaras under the PSGPC.

However, SGPC sources said the traditions should continue and has issued instructions to people concerned to submit passports by October 20. It also announced the departure of an advanced SGPC party to oversee the arrangements, a day prior to the departure of the jathas.


 

Meeting to revive Sikh Itihas Research Board
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
A meeting of the SGPC to revive its Sikh Itihas Research Board will be held here tomorrow.

The board had been defunct for the past about two years. Mr H.S. Dilgir, a close confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra was removed as director of the board when Bibi Jagir Kaur took over as SGPC chief.

The Sikh Itihas Research Board had played a significant role in the publication of Sikh history books. The board would also scrutinise the cases received by the Sikh clergy from time to time. It was once headed by known historians and Sikh scholars like Mr S.S. Amol, Mr Shamsher Singh Ashok and Mr Devinder Singh Duggal.

Though as per the provisions of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, the board is constituted by the SGPC general house every year, no meeting could be held so far.

In the absence of the board the Sikh Panth had to confront with many issues. The SGPC had to ban the books like ‘Saachi Saakhi’ authored by Mr Kapur Singh apart from stopping the sale of ‘Gurbilas Patshahi VI, authored by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti (now Jathedar of Akal Takht).


 

Afghan Sikhs in a bind
Our Correspondent

Attari, October 17
Due to the non-issuance of visas by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, not even a single Afghan Sikh stranded at Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hassan Abdal) could arrive here via the Samjhauta Express.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the Minorities Commission, said the Union Home Ministry could not give clearance to the stranded Afghan Sikhs as it wanted to verify their antecedents. He said Mr Nanak Singh, president of US Afghan Sikh Association, had sent a detailed report of the stranded Sikhs in Pakistan to the ministry for clearance. Mr Tarlochan Singh said the delay on the part of the ministry was due to the sneaking in of two Muslims from Peshawar to England in the guise of Hindus.

Meanwhile, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, a former president of the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, said he had confirmed from Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Pakistan that about 400 Afghan Sikhs had taken shelter there while many were stranded at Lahore. He said the Government of India should give gratis visas to them so that they could enter India without any hassles.

Though the SGPC had made tall claims of sending a liaison officer to Pakistan to help Afghan Sikhs, the decision has not been implemented so far.


 

Punjab offer on ‘nikasi’ land
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Punjab Government has decided to provide another opportunity to farmers tilling government land along the course of rivers in the state to get the land ownership right transferred in their names. There are thousands of acres of such land. It is called “nikasi” land in the local parlance.

Informed sources told TNS here today that the government had decided to allow farmers to pay the fixed price of the land till December 31 this year to be the owners. For the Scheduled Castes, the government had fixed a price of Rs 6,000 per acre and for others Rs 7,000.

The government would issue the allotment letters to the farmers concerned if they paid the price within a stipulated period. The sources said that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had directed the Revenue Department to issue such letters.

When contacted in this connection, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Revenue Minister, confirmed the receipt of such a directive from the Chief Minister, adding that the transfer of the ownership right to such farmers had been a part of the government policy for the past several years.

He said the previous Congress government had fixed a price of Rs 10,000 per acre for the Scheduled Castes and Rs 20,000 for others. However, the present government reduced the price in the case of both categories with a condition not to reopen the old cases in which farmers had agreed to pay the land price fixed by the previous government.

The government would now ask farmers interested in owning the land to pay the entire amount in lumpsum. There would be no installments. Mr Sekhwan said that though the government was owner of such land the girdawri was in the name of farmers in the revenue records.

Meanwhile, Mr Badal has approved a proposal to exempt from stamp duty the transfer of ancestral property among close blood relations. The government will charge registration fee on such property. As per the proposal, a father can transfer land and other property in the name of his legal heirs by paying a registration fee. Mr Sekhwan said that the proposal would be taken up at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers for approval.

The government had decided to sell about 110 acres at Rajpura. The land belonged to the Pepsu Development Board. A meeting of the board was held here yesterday. Members of the board told the government to frame rules and regulations before putting the land on sale. A member of the board said that the land could be allotted to cooperative societies or to PUDA after determining the prevailing market price. The land was kept for the rehabilitation of migrants from Pakistan after Partition. Since there was no one to be rehabilitated now, the decision to dispose of the land. 


 

Con man held by Moga police
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 17
The district police has achieved a major success with the arrest of a notorious con man who was involved in a number of frauds in Ropar, Moga and Chandigarh.

The con man, identified as Piara Singh, a local resident, was arrested by a police party led by Sub-Inspector Sat Pal Singh from Mohali recently.

Dr Sharad S. Chauhan, district police chief, said Piara Singh was involved in several cases of cheating and fraud registered against him at police stations in Moga, Ropar and Chandigarh. He had defrauded people of crores of rupees in the past few years, Dr Chauhan said.

Piara Singh was declared proclaimed offender by the subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, Moga, in 1997 in a criminal case registered against him at the city police station. The case was registered when he defrauded Karamjit Singh Manchanda of Rs 3.5 lakh on the pretext of appointing him as director in a diesel engine company named BRS Limited.

In another case, Piara Singh allegedly defrauded Sukhminder Singh, a resident of Talwandi Bhangerian village of Rs 10.25 lakh on the pretext of sending him to Canada. A case in this connection was registered against him at Moga city, police station.

Piara Singh also defrauded Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) of Rs 1.6 crore by preparing fake documents. He was booked by the Chandigarh police for committing fraud.

He also defrauded Behal Singh, a resident of Satia Wala village of Rs 90,000 on the pretext of getting him recruited as Naib Tehsildar. He was also booked for committing fraud with Punjab and Sind Bank, Daroli Bhai.

Dr Chauhan said Piara Singh had been evading arrest by changing his places of residence and physical appearance frequently.

Piara Singh was remanded in police custody after he was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate.


 

Cong MPs to move privilege motion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Congress Members of Parliament from Punjab will move a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha during the winter session against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, for not allowing them to utilise funds and creating hurdles in the implementation of the Area Development Scheme.

Talking to newsmen here yesterday, Mr Balbir Singh, MP from Jalandhar, and Mr Surinder Singla, chairman of the media cell of the PPCC, said that because of administrative instructions to the Deputy Commissioners from the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, funds meant for MPs’ area development were being arbitrarily disbursed without bothering about the schemes submitted by the MPs belonging to the Opposition Congress.

Mr Singla said that it was because of the policies of the SAD-BJP government that the utilisation of the MP Local Area Development Fund was the lowest in Punjab. Compared to the national average of 68 per cent, the figure for Punjab was just 50-51 per cent. Punjab lost some funds because of their non-utilisation in a time-bound manner.

Mr Singla and Mr Balbir Singh alleged that there had been numerous instances when SAD and BJP leaders of the state were found disbursing grants covered under the MPLADF. It was under pressure from the Congress MPs that the Chief Secretary called a meeting of all MPs last week where the issue was discussed.

Since MPs had not been allowed to utilise the grants properly and in the manner they wanted, the Congress MPs had decided to move a privilege motion in the Lok Sabha against Mr Badal, they added.


 

Punjab Cong to hold protest rallies
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 17
The Punjab Congress will hold rallies at all district headquarters in the state tomorrow to register its protest against the re-induction of Mr George Fernandes as the Union Defence Minister.

Addressing a press conference at the Congress Bhavan here today, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, said the decision of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to re-induct Mr Fernandes, who had to resign in the wake of Tehelka expose, in the Union Cabinet had once again exposed the double standards of the BJP. He said the Punjab Congress would organise rallies against the re-induction of a person who was facing alleged corruption charges before the commission which was yet to give findings, he added.


 

Preneet ‘flouts’ party discipline
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra said today that party MP Preneet Kaur had violated party discipline by projecting her husband and Pradesh Congress Committee President Captain Amarinder Singh as the party’s nominee for the local Assembly seat at a number of corner meetings held to convass support for a party rally being held in the city on October 28.

In a statement to The Tribune, the former Minister said according to party norms no individual could declare himself a candidate and nor could any party leader declare anyone’s candidature.

He said this act of the Lok Sabha member amounted to disrespect to the high command and that he had brought this violation to its notice. He said according to party procedure the Pradesh Congress Election Committee recommends names to the high command which are taken up by the Working Committee, Central Election Committee and the Parliamentary Board before these get the nod. He said unilateral declaration being done by Mrs Preneet Kaur weakened the high command’s authority and role adding “perhaps new entrants like Mrs Preneet Kaur are conversant with set party procedure”.

Mr Mohindra said he presided over a few religious programmes in the recent past and that such participation was only a coincidence due to the approaching festival season. He said he had been going to religious functions for the past 20 years or so and that attendance at such functions was an individual decision. He added that he was of the firm belief that religion and politics were two different things and a true Congress man did not mix the two.

Mr Mohindra also stated that he stood for secularism. He said this could be judged from the fact that he had defeated a Hindu Shambu Prasad in 1980 and went on to defeat Hindu candidates, including those of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti in 1985.



Cong, CPI to jointly contest elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The CPI and the Congress yesterday formally announced to jointly contest the coming Assembly elections in Punjab.

An announcement to this effect was made here by Mr Lal Singh, vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Mr Lal Singh said that a committee of Congress leaders led by Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, a former Member of Parliament, held talks with a committee of CPI leaders.

 

US body ‘adopts’ hospital
Parmod Bharti

Nawanshahr
The North American Sikh Medical and Dental Association, USA, has “adopted” Guru Nanak Mission Hospital being run by the Guru Nanak Mission Medical and Educational Trust, Dhahan Kaleran (Nawanshahr), for providing it with facilities on a par with international standards.

The association took this decision at its conference held in San Diego, California.

The association has not only recognised the yeoman service being rendered by the trust in the fields of health services and education but also honoured Mr Budh Singh Dhahan, popularly known as Babaji, founder-president of the trust. Babaji has been relentlessly mobilising donations from here and abroad to run the 250-bedded hospital, an English medium senior secondary school, a nursing school and BSc-level nursing college and a deaddiction centre.

The association has presented him with the latest medical equipment for the hospital. It has also promised to donate more equipment besides sending specialists and super-specialists on a regular basis to Dhahan Kaleran.

Mr Budh Singh says last year when he was on a tour of the USA for collecting donations for the trust, he was invited to address a conference of the association held in Washington from November 27 to 29.

At the conference, he appealed to Punjabi doctors to serve their motherland. He also gave a detailed account of the social service being done by the trust.

Mr Budh Singh says that afterwards Dr Ujagar Singh Dhillon and Dr Amarjit Singh, president and member of the association, respectively, visited Dhahan Kaleran separately and submitted their report on the activities of the trust to the association. On the basis of the report, the association decided to “adopt” the charitable hospital.


 

Shiromani awardee accused of plagiarism
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Controversy has come to surround Shiromani awards with a Hindi scholar awarded the Hindi Shiromani Sahitkar award last year being accused of plagiarising from the colleague’s book

Shiromani awardee Professor Hukam Chand Rajpal, who retired from the Department of Hindi of the Punjabi University last year, has been accused of plagiarising from a book written by his colleague and present Head of the Department of Hindi — Dr Push Pal Singh. Prof Rajpal, included various parts from a book “Adhunik Hindi Sahitya Ke Vikas Ke Vividh Saropan” written by Dr Push Pal and first published in 1975 in his recent book “Hind Sahitya Ka Vikas” which was brought out in 1997.

A comparison of both books revealed that around 12 to 15 pages have been lifted from Dr Push Pal’s book for the book written by Prof Rajpal. These include paragraphs from page 41, 45, 55, 123, 124, 128, 129, 336 and 395 besides few others which have been incorporated in Prof Rajpal’s book.

All matter from Dr Push Pal’s book, which appears in the subsequent work of the Shiromani awardee, has been published in toto without omitting any comma or full stop. Furthermore the addition of this matter has not been acknowledged in any bibliography or footnote written by the Shiromani awardee.

Prof Rajpal when contacted stated there was no need to acknowledge if some para of any other author had appeared in his book. He said the book in question was written as a text book for students adding I do not claim that it is a unique one”. He said if it had been a research book it would have been imperative to quote even a single word borrowed from elsewhere.

The Shiromani awardee said the controversy had been generated by some of his contemporaries who were not happy with the critical acclaim which his books, including 20 in Hindi and six in Punjabi, had received. He said the fact, that he had received the Rs one lakh Shiromani award, the Uttar Pradesh government award and the All-India Ambedkar award in a short period of time was not relished by some people.

Prof Rajpal said he was the first Hindi author to do his Ph.D and D. Litt on human values in modern Hindi poetry. He said he had also been given UGC assignment for research on Hindi writers of Punjab. He said in his recent book titled Punjab Ka Hindi Sahitya published last month, he had quoted Dr Push Pal Singh when referring to criticism of poetry.

Dr Push Pal when contacted said he would not like to enter into the controversy, other writers say the argument that matter could be borrowed from another book for a text book did not hold water adding no writer could portray some else’s matter as his own under any circumstances.

Punjab Language Department Director Dr Madan Lal Hasija, whose department is instrumental in the selection of the Shiromani awards said the issue had not come to his notice.

 

Of garbage and encroachments
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 17
Resentment prevails among residents of street facing Guru Nanak Park here against the digging of the lane for the laying of sewerage pipes . Sewers have already been laid in streets and residents do not know why new sewers are laid again. A resident without disclosing identity said that it was being done by the employees to earn commission.

The residents of the area unhappy over the growth of garbage depots in the city. Every crossing in the streets and on the road has become a garbage depot. Even schools like DAV High School and local ladies club have not been spared.

Encroachments on the main roads are rampant and are not taken notice of reportedly owing to approaching Assembly elections. Heaps of sand and stone are spotted on the roads being used as sale points.


 

Mortar shell’ found at railway station
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 17
A live “mortar shell” was found at railway station’s platform No 1 on Tuesday night.

Immediately, the GRP and local police were informed who called the army bomb-defusing squad. The squad reached the spot and removed the “bomb” which was later on defused by army officials at the army range. The other day a boy, Kuldeep Raj (12), was seriously injured in Kuther village, about 8 km from here, when a junk bomb exploded as he tried to remove brass from it.

Following these incidents there is panic in the town.


 

PCMSA flays demand to sack minister
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
The PCMS Association has described the demand to sack the Medical Education Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, as a ‘mischief’ and an attempt to blackmail the minister by some self-proclaimed leaders, who in no way represent the PCMS cadre.

Dr M. S. Randhawa, Dr D. S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, patron, president and general secretary, respectively, of the association in a joint statement said here yesterday that the PCMSA had found Mr Kalia a well-meaning person who worked a lot for the welfare of the PCMS cadre.

The association maintained that the standards of medical education had gone down not because of any minister but due to unquenching greed for private practice prevalent in medical colleges in spite of the fact that the state government provides the highest scales in the country.

The PCMSA while warning mischievous elements to desist from activities detrimental to the interests of the PCMS doctors expressed the hope that pending issues will be amicably sorted out with the minister soon.

 

Jail inmates educated about AIDS
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
A seven-day general AIDS awareness campaign and training of peer educators conducted by Ahsaas at the local Central Jail concluded yesterday.

Dr Ritu Sharma, Director, Ahsaas, stated that Punjabis were the most vulnerable class prone to this dreaded disease due to their typical characteristics and behaviour. Prisons being one of the high risk areas, social constraints tend to keep the information confined. Dr Sharma quoted that approximately three months ago, Punjab was a one of the leading states in AIDS cases.

She said keeping the sensitivity of the situation in mind and the importance of the issue, the campaign was conducted by Ahsaas at Central Jail with the help of the Civil Surgeon’s Office, Patiala, and two volunteers Mr Sukhraj and namely Ms Neetu Jindal from the Department of Social Work, Punjabi University, who had earlier been trained by Ahsaas in the Programme for Commonwealth Youth Programme, Asia Centre. She added that more than 1,700 males and nearly 100 females were imparted knowledge in three groups comprising 50 inmates each.

Dr Sharma said 25 inmates, including five women inmates, had also been trained as peer educators. The training team comprised specialists who had been dealing with the subject for over a decade from the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali branch, and the Punjab AIDS Control Society. Dr Sharma opined that the educators thus trained would disseminate information to other jail inmates and fresh inductees for more awareness on the alarming problem.

She said Ahsaas organised a medical camp in the jail on October 13 in which 200 patients were examined. Adding further about the projects, she elaborated that a three months yoga and meditation classes for inmates had also been initiated, under which at least 30 inmates would be trained who would subsequently make the jail authorities self-sufficient in carrying out the activities of yoga and meditation.

 

 

Boy crushed to death by bus
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
A boy was crushed to death by bus on the Bathinda-Mansa road this morning. He died on the spot.

Volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa took his body to a local hospital. The deceased was identified as Gurinder Singh, a local wrestler. After a post-mortem examination, the body was handed over to his family members by the hospital authorities.

Yesterday, a wounded man was found in an unconscious condition in the market place of the local fertiliser plant. Volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa provided him medical facility. Today, after regaining consciousness, he said his name was Vinod Singh, a resident of Delhi. 


 

Langooronwala mela’ begins
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 17
The unique “Langooronwala mela”, organised on the occasion of the “navratras,” commenced at the Durgiana Temple complex here today.

The mela attracts childless couples from all over the world, especially those who desire a male child. Thousands of these couples seek the blessings of the deity at the over 500 years old Sitla Mata temple in the precincts of the Durgiana Temple.

A “ber” tree, believed to be as old as the temple, is a mute witness to the countless couples blessed by the deity.

Following a rigorous regime, sons born with the blessings of the deity one made “langoors”, in keeping with the ancient myth about a regiment of monkeys of Hanuman in the Ramayana.

The mela concludes on Dushehra day. A special red attire embellished with silver and gold motifs is worn by those dressed as “langoors”. Age is no bar, for one sees a baby langoor alongside an 80-year-old man in a red tunic.

A conical red cap is used to cover the head. Fuller’s earth is used as make-up. Every “langoor” carries a silver or gold staff.

All nine days of the festival, “langoors” dance to the beat of the “dhol” while their mothers observes fast, sleep on the floor, shun footwear and recites verses from the Ramayana.

Also on the premises of the Durgiana temple is a Hanuman temple. It has an idol of Hanuman in a sitting posture.

Legend has it that the sons of Lord Rama had tied Hanuman to the “ber” tree when he tried to capture their “ashwamedh yajna” horse. This temple is also linked to Sikh gurus. Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Arjan Dev paid obeisance at the Sitla Mata temple.

Childless women tie a thread to the tree and untie it when blessed with a child.

Chand Lal, a 72-year-old grocery merchant from Pathankot visits the temple on every mela as his mother had resolved that her son would adorn the attire of “langoor” at the fair till his health permitted.

Even though his mother expired about nine years ago, Chand Lal has never failed to make an appearance at the temple. 


 

Aggarsain Jayanti celebrated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
The jayanti of Maharaja Aggarsain, founder of the Aggarwal community, was celebrated at a function organised by the local Aggarwal Sabha at Aggarwal Bhavan here today. Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, presided over the function.

Mr Balian announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the development of the Bhavan. He said the local Barra chowk would be named after Maharaja Aggarsain from tomorrow, for which he would ask the local municipal council to initiate required formalities.

Earlier, Mr Balian also unveiled a portrait of Maharaja Aggarsain at the main gate of the bhavan.

Mr Lavlesh Kumar, president of the sabha, urged the minister to provide land, lying at the back of the bhavan, for its expansion. He also sought a grant of Rs 5 lakh for it.

Mr Mahesh Kumar, president of the municipal council, Mr Jagroop Lal Gupta, senior vice-president of the sabha, and Mr Hari Krishan Goyal, an executive member of the sabha, also spoke on the occasion.


 

Dang urges early sanction of stipend
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
Veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang yesterday expressed his concern over delay in sanction of stipend to the children of the terrorist victims in the state. In a letter to the Director and Special Secretary, Department of Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr Dang said inspite of the recommendation to the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the sanction had not been accorded.

Mr Dang pointed out that even the children who had been incapacitated to the extent of 100 per cent were not being provided with the stipend. He added that the scheme was sanctioned by the then Chief Minister Beant Singh after a great deal of efforts made by them.

He urged the Chief Minister to get the scheme sanctioned at the earliest so that the affected children could derive its benefit.



CM to hear grievances
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will preside over a sangat darshan programme at Prem Bagh Palace on the Patiala-Devigarh road here tomorrow morning.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, said Mr Badal would hear grievances of people from about 145 villages falling in Dakala block. He added the sangat darshan programme which was to be held at Red Cross Hall would not take place.

Mr Bir said Mr Badal would listen to the grievances of villagers of Sanaur block at Language Hall on October 19.

 

Lab technicians to hold rally
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
The members of Medical Laboratory Technicians Association, Bathinda, would hold a rally and dharna on October 21 at Lambi, the home constituency of Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to press the state government to implement already accepted demands.

In a press note issued here yesterday Mr Dharampal Bansal, general secretary of the association, said that rallies and dharnas would continued till the demands of the association were implemented. He alleged that government was not implementing the High Court decision regarding pay scale of medical lab technicians.

Mr Bansal further said that there was a great resentment among the lab technicians of the state as they were not getting the facilities which were given to Central government lab technicians. He added that lab technicians working in Central government medical institutions were getting risk allowances because they had to examine body chemicals of AIDS, hepatitis-B tuberculosis and leprosy patients.

 

EME celebrates raising day 
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
The Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) celebrated the 58th anniversary of its raising on October 15. The day was celebrated here with traditional gusto. Major events included a “barakhana”, “pagal gymkhana” and Special Sainik Sammelan.

 


Shifting of gas godown sought
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
The residents of Harbans Theatre lane and other connected colonies like Sewak Colony, Delite and Lehal approached the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, to seek the shifting of a gas godown from its present location in the residential area. The president of the Harbans Theatre Lane Residents Welfare Association, Mr Pran Sabharwal, claimed under the orders of the Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Chandigarh, the proprietor of the gas agency had agreed to shift the godown by August 31. 

 

Punjab asks RBI to release Rs 1,500 cr
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
The Punjab Government has requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to release Rs 1,500 crore to it this month to clear the backlog in payments to farmers in the state.

Stating this at a press conference here, State Food and Supplies Minister Madan Mohan Mittal said a backlog in payments had occurred at some places due to the heavy paddy arrivals.

He said the state government had received Rs 4,100 crore from the RBI for purchasing paddy till October and Rs 2,000 crore were to be released by the RBI in November. Some payments were in the pipeline and would be released very soon, he added.

The minister said as far as procurement was concerned state procurement agencies were on track but the Food Corporation of India was behind its target. The Regional Manager of the FCI, had been asked to speed up the procurement, he added.

Mr Mittal said licences of 200 commission agents had been cancelled. Paddy transportation from one district to other was also being regulated. All managing directors of procurement agencies had been asked to coordinate with district food and supplies officers in this regard.

Earlier, he presided over the function of the Aggarwal Sabha in the city. District BJP president Ram Kumar Goel and Aggarwal Sabha president Madan Lal Mangal and general secretary Sohinder P. Kansal also spoke on the occasion.

 

 

6.87 lakh mt paddy procured in Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 17
Various procurement agencies have procured 6.87 lakh metric ton of paddy in the district till now. The procurement made during the same period last year was 14.45 lakh MT.

Stating this here yesterday, the Deputy Commissioner Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, said in the procurement made till now, the Food and Civil Supplies Department procured 1.9 lakh mt, Markfed purchased 1.29 lakh mt, Punsup procured 1.70 lakh mt, Warehouse procured 1.18 lakh mt, the Punjab Agro procured about 58,000 mt and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) procured nearly 70,000 mt of paddy during the current procurement season.

 

 

Paddy straw being burnt
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 17
Clouds of thick smoke have engulfed almost entire route from Ludhiana to Ferozepore in the district following the burning of paddy straw by farmers.

Although a ban had been imposed on the burning of the paddy straw, almost in all districts of the state, the farmers openly burn these for preparing land for rabi sowing. No action has been taken against them.

Some physicians said burning the paddy straw had led to respiratory diseases among people in the state. Nearly 25 per cent schoolchildren in the state were suffering from respiratory diseases, they added.



Paddy auction twice a day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has directed the procurement agencies to arrange the auction of paddy twice a day, preferably at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and from two points in all mandis. 

Mr Chautala, who was reviewing the paddy procurement operations here last evening, said senior officers should continue to supervise the procurement operations.

 

ORP scheme: cops’ fate hangs
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 17
The fate of the Punjab police personnel who were promoted under the ORP (Own Rank and Pay) scheme by the government during the days of insurgency in Punjab is hanging in the balance. Although the Supreme Court has stayed the orders of the Punjab Government on the reversion of these police personnel, no decision has been taken in this regard, leading to unrest among these officers.

The Punjab Government had earlier demoted these officers after the August 20 judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in which the court had pronounced to withdraw the ORP ranks and given a 10-day notice for the implementation of the orders.

Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa had filed a petition in the high court challenging the ORP promotions.

An apex court Bench comprising Mr Justice S. Rajindera Babu and Mr Justice Doraiswamy Raju, while admitting a writ petition by Narinder Pal Singh, Prem Dass and Naginder Rana on behalf of two SPs, 10 DSPs and 11 Inspectors, ordered that the reversions be stayed. It issued notices to the Punjab Government and the Director-General of Police, Punjab. The affected police officers were represented by the counsels namely, Mr P.P. Rao, Mr Kapil Sibal, Mr R.K. Gupta and Mr J. Ramamurthy. Mr Gupta said over the telephone from Delhi that this case has been clubbed with a case of the Haryana police in which regularisation of ORP was sought.

The practice of awarding ORP promotions was started during the days of insurgency in Punjab to boost the morale of policemen. During the early nineties, several policemen from the rank of ASIs to DSP were awarded ORP promotions for their role in counter-insurgency operations.

In 1996, a section of police officers led by Mr Randhawa challenged these promotions. The officers said the promotions were illegal and the DGP was not competent enough to award the same. After about five years, a Division Bench of the high court passed orders on the reversion of these officers and withdrawal of the ORP ranks, which has now been stayed by the Supreme Court.

 


Drinking
water project for 353 villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Nabard has sanctioned a drinking water project for the Punjab Government which will benefit 353 villages in the state.

The project, which will be implemented in seven districts, involves a total outlay of Rs 61 crore of which Nabard will provide Rs 54.90 crore Rural Infrastructural Development Fund assistance.

The project will benefit almost six lakh residents in the 353 villages of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib. “During implementation, the project will generate non-recurring employment totalling 21.96 lakh mandays,” said Mr A. Ramanathan, Chief General Manager, Nabard, in a press release.

 

Teacher arrested for fraud

Hoshiarpur, October 17
The Mukerian police yesterday arrested a school teacher on the charge of fraudulently getting three loans.

When Ravi Dutt Shastri of A.S. Senior Secondary School at Mukerian, after submitting a written apology to the school management for the fraud, lodged a complaint of harassment against the management, the school authorities handed over the case to the police.

The accused had allegedly secured a scooter loan of Rs 19,500 from a Punjab National Bank branch and another loan of Rs 15,000 in the name of his wife from the Central Bank of India on the basis of forged document bearing fake signatures of the principal.

The school management detected the fraud but let it pass after Shastri submitted a written apology. Subsequently, he lodged a complaint of harassment with the Education Department. UNI


 

Four injured in temple robbery
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
A gang of about 10 persons took away cash and gold jewellery from the Mahakali temple at Majitha byepass on Monday night after seriously injuring four persons, including priest Piara Lal and his wife Meena Devi.

Meena Devi who has been admitted to a hospital here said at around 2 a.m. on Monday night, 10 persons, including a turbaned youth, after severely beating gardner Ravinder Kumar and her brother-in-law attacked her husband and her while they were sleeping in their room on the temple premises.

The assailants then started ransacking the room and broke open the cupboard and took away Rs 4,000. A case has been registered.

 

Arhtiya robbed of Rs 6 lakh
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
An arhtiya was robbed of Rs 6 lakh from a place near Bodhipura village 35 km from here this evening. According to police sources Ranjeet Singh commission agent of Bhagta was going to Bhodipura village from Bhagta at 3 p.m. today on scooter. His vehicle was hit by a white car when he was near Bodhipur village. He fell off after being hit by the car and received minor injuries.

The looters, whose faces were covered, were carrying weapons. They took money from Ranjeet Singh and fled towards Moga.

Senior police officials visited the spot and search to nab the culprits was started.


 

Bungling in school finances alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
The Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of Shri Guru Harkrishan Public School here alleged that large scale bunglings were taking place in the school finances.

Mr Rajinder Singh Mann, secretary, PTA, in a signed statement issued here yesterday, alleged that the management committee of the school was not functioning properly. The Principal of the school was changed last Friday by the committee without any prior notice and without sufficient cause. The same Principal was issued an appreciation letter by the trustees of the school about four months ago, he said.

Mr Mann further alleged that a meeting of the PTA was called yesterday but they were not allowed to enter the school premises. One of the members of the committee used derogatory remarks against them, he said.

Even an inquiry report into the alleged bunglings had been submitted to the district police chief by the DSP(R), but no action has been taken so far, he added.

Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP, when contacted said the matter was being probed into and suitable action would be taken against those found guilty.


 

Teachers meet DC on holiday issue
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 17
Even as the authorities of the Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology are yet to find some solution to the problem of the agitation being held by first year students, members of faculty annoyed over the non-declaration of holiday in the institute today met the Deputy Commissioner and urged him to look into the matter.

The faculty members led by Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Lalit Mohan, president and secretary, respectively, of the Teachers Association of the college, along with other office-bearers of the association urged the Deputy Commissioner to take up the issue with the state government. They alleged that the college authorities were not following the instructions of the state government on the declaration of holidays in the institute.

An undeclared war has been going on between the faculty members and the college authorities for a long time on the issue of closing college on the holidays announced by the state government.

Dr Narinder Singh, Principal of the college, said the holidays in the college were given as per the schedule of the Punjab Technical Universities (PTU), Jalandhar. He said no engineering college in the state remained closed today. Regarding the agitation launched by the first year students he said the college authorities had taken the opinion of the PTU authorities and some solution to it would be found soon.



College teachers defer bandh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union in a statement today said the Punjab Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, had assured a deputation that gratuity would form part of the pension and other pension benefits for employees of non-government aided colleges.

Consequently, the union had decided to defer the proposed “education bandh” in the state and the rally to be held at Banur on October 19. Even the subsequent action on October 30 had been deferred. The executive would meet on November 4 to review the situation.

This was stated in a signed statement by the union president, Mr K.B.S. Sodhi, and the general secretary, Mr J.S. Randhawa, who had led the deputation.

 

Market Committee staff to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 17
The indefinite strike launched by Employees of the local Market Committee in protest against the registration of a “false” case against two of their colleagues, Jagan Nath and Baldev Singh, on the charge of snatching Rs 17,600 from a dealer and seizing the account books of two firms on September 22, took a new turn today when the Punjab Market Committee Karamchari Union decided to intensify the stir if the Faridkot police failed to withdraw the case.

Mr Jagdish Singh, secretary, State Market Committee Karamchari Union, announced that the employees would stage district-level dharnas from October 22.

Mr Harjit Singh Bholuwala, chairman of the Market Committee, said a five-member team led by the secretary of the committee visited the wholesale vegetable market on September 22 to check the evasion of market fees by commission agents. During the checking, the team seized the account books of Bhairon Fruit Company and Ganesh Food Company. Show-cause notices regarding evasion of market fee were issued to these firms, he said. However, the matter was resolved on the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, on September 25. The vegetable dealers also withdrew their stir after the decision, he added. He alleged that the police had registered a false case.

Mr Pritpal Singh Kohli, president, District Market Committee Employees Union, said a meeting of the state employees union had been convened at Ludhiana on October 21 to decide the future course of action. Meanwhile, DC A. Venu Prasad has assured that a probe would be conducted into the matter soon.

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