Friday, November 9, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vora: Brar to be given show-cause notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Mr Moti Lal Vora, in charge of Punjab Congress affairs, today said a show-cause notice would be served on the PPCC vice-president and MP, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, seeking his explanation on his recent utterances on the allotment of the party ticket and leadership. Mr Brar had expressed himself against giving the party ticket to relatives of Congress leaders.

Talking to newsmen at Punjab Congress Bhavan, Mr Vora said no one in the party, irrespective of his or her rank, could take the liberty of violating discipline. He wondered why the five-month-old truce within the party had breached. He called for a “ceasefire”.

Mr Vora was in Chandigarh for the Campaign Committee meeting.

The PPCC president, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the issue of leadership of the legislative wing would be decided by the MLAs, while the selection of candidates for the Vidhan Sabha poll would be done by the party’s Central Committee.

To galvanize the state Congress for the coming elections, a meeting of the Punjab coordination committee has been convened in New Delhi on November 12.

It was decided at today’s meeting to start interaction with workers at the grassroots from December 1, covering at least four constituencies every day. This programme of “worker darshan’’ would last till December 31.

Thereafter, a state rally was proposed. While its venue and date are yet to be decided, Ms Sonia Gandhi is expected to address it.


Talwandi not absolved, says Takht Jathedar
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 8
Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti today said SGPC President Jagdev Singh Talwandi had not been exonerated of any charge pertaining to the controversy over his alleged role in the presentation of a “siropa” to Kashmir Singh, an ex-communicated Sikh.

Jathedar Vedanti, while talking to the TNS, said the issue of Mr Talwandi’s involvement in the controversy was not on the agenda and it did not come up for discussion during the meeting of the Sikh high priests at Amritsar yesterday. “How can we decide an issue which had not been even discussed during the meeting,” said Jathedar Vedanti while urging the media not to create any confusion regarding sensitive matters.

The Jathedar said the agenda of the meeting revolved around eight persons who had gone to the dera of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, the sacrilege of holy “birs” of Sri Guru Granth Sahib by his followers and issuing guidelines regarding transportation of “birs”.

“I had only commented that we had not received ample proof about Mr Talwandi’s alleged role in honouring Kashmir Singh and not that he had been absolved of the charges against him,” he said.


Identity card backlog in Punjab worries EC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Though a formal announcement on the holding of elections to the Punjab Assembly is expected to be made by the end of December or in the first week of January, a lot needs to be done still to complete the issuance of voter identity cards in the state.

Informed sources said that about seven weeks would be required to hold the poll from the date of announcement of the elections. While about 35 days are required from the day of the issuance of the notification to the holding of the poll, three weeks would be required by the state government to complete the required procedural and legal formalities.

The government expects an announcement on the elections any time between December 25 and January 10.

As the UP Government has also expressed its willingness to hold the Assembly poll in February, it is obvious that the elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal will be held simultaneously.

However, the sources said that a lot of work was required to be done on the I-card front in Punjab. Till date, I-cards had been issued to about 1.08 crore voters out of a total of 1.56 crore. Will the authorities be able to finish the task of issuance of the remaining I-cards before the poll notification? This question has been worrying the Election Commission of India.

The authorities concerned have set about 70 camera teams for the I-card job. There are at least 11 districts where the I-cards are required to be issued to about 30 per cent of the voters.

The commission has already issued instructions that no one will be allowed to vote in the coming elections without the I-card.

At a high-level meeting held here today, Mr T.S. Krishnamurthy, Election Commissioner of India, reviewed the progress of the I-card work in Punjab.

Informed sources said that Mr Krishnamurthy wanted that the work on I-cards in the remaining five districts should be started simultaneously to finish it by November 30. He was informed at the meeting that the work in three districts would start in the next few days.

Official sources said that it would be impossible to finish the I-card job by November 30. It would spill over to December, they added. However, all-out efforts were being made to expedite the process connected with I-cards. More camera teams might be pressed into service. The authorities in the districts would also be directed to extend full cooperation to complete the I-card task at the earliest.

Mr Krishnamurthy also discussed the arrangements to be made by the police to hold the elections smoothly. The process of identifying the sensitive polling booths and areas is expected to begin soon.

Among those who attended the meeting were Mr N.K. Arora, Chief Secretary, Mr Bikramjit Singh, Principal Secretary, Home, Mr G.S. Cheema, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Mrs Usha Sharma, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, all Divisional Commissioners and senior police officers.

Mr Krishnamurthy will address mediapersons tomorrow, according to official sources.


IHRO sets up panel on river waters issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), while posthumously honouring its European president Harjit Singh with Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Award for his service to human rights and the Sikh cause at his bhog ceremony here yesterday, also announced the setting up of a 15-member panel on the Punjab river waters dispute today.

According to a press note issued by IHRO chairperson D.S. Gill, the members include Dr S.S. Johl (agriculture economist), Mr G.S. Dhillon, Mr Pritam Singh Kumedan, Mr Hardev Singh, Sukhdev Singh, journalist, Jaspal Singh Dhillon (Human Rights and Democracy Forum), Bhai Kanwarpal Singh (Dal Khalsa ), Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal (BKU), Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal (BKU), Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi (Sant Samaj), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Jathedar Kuldip Singh Wadala (SAD-Democratic), and Bhai Jasvir Singh Rode (SAD-Panthic), besides himself.

Justice Kuldip Singh, former Supreme Court Judge, would be the panel’s Adviser while the Sukhdev Singh would act as its secretary, said Mr Gill, adding that “We will try to enlist support of the SAD, Congress and other political groups in this regard.”

The main purpose of this panel would be to make efforts to safeguard Punjab’s constitutional and riparian rights over its river waters and to declare null and void all previous agreements on the sharing of river waters as these were ultra vires of the Constitution.

It would organise an all-party meeting on December 10, International Human Rights Day, to oppose the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO).

Besides representatives of various groups, Ludhiana Mayor Apinder Singh and Bhai Karamjit Singh Sunam, paid homage to the departed soul. Late Harjit Singh’s brother-in-law J.P. Singh was handed over the award with a citation and “dastaar” by the City Mayor and Dr S.S. Johal on behalf of the IHRO. Chaman Sultanpuri recited a poem in memory of the deceased.


Cong ticket seekers file claims
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 8
The number of Congress ticket seekers in all eight segments of this district has increased considerably for the forthcoming Assembly elections. The ticket seekers along with their supporters have filed claims before the Congress observers who had recently visited the district. More than six women leaders of the Congress have also applied for tickets from various segments of the district.

Several Congress leaders, including Mr Naresh Thakur, a former state minister, Mr Iqbal Singh, a former member of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Kuldip Nanda and Mr Raman Kapur, general secretary and cashier of the District Congress Committee, respectively, Mr Brij Mohan Batra and Mrs Krishna Saini, both municipal councillors, Mr Mota Singh Deol, an industrialist from Simbli, and Mr Sunder Sham Arora, are seeking party ticket from the Hoshiarpur segment.

In Mukerian segment six persons, including Dr Kewal Krishan, a former Finance Minister, have applied for the Congress ticket. In Dasuya segment Mr Romesh Dogra, MLA, and Mr Amarjit Singh Sahi are the main ticket seekers.

In Tanda segment Mrs Surjit Kaur Kalkat, a former minister, Mr Sangat Singh Giljian, Baba Narjan Singh Miani and Mr Sadhu Singh Saini are the main contenders for the ticket.

In Garhdiwala segment more than 12 Congressmen, including Mr Dharampal Sabharwal, a former minister, Mr Joginder Nath, a former MLA, Mr Naranjan Singh Sahota, a retired PCS officer, and Mr Pawan Adia, president of the Dalit Sangharsh Samiti, Punjab, are seeking ticket.

In Mahilpur segment Mr Gurmail Singh, a former minister, Mr Kartar Singh Langeri, a former MLA, Mr Satpal Jassi, Mr Harjinder Singh Ladoo and Mr Paramjit Singh among others are seeking ricket.

In Shamchaurasi segment Mr Ram Lubhaya, husband of Mrs Santosh Chaudhry, MP, Mrs Raj Hans, Mr Ram Rattan, president DCC, Mr Mohan Lal Pehalwan, municipal councillor, Hoshiarpur, Mr Bhagwan Dass Badan, president of the Indian Overseas Congress, and Mr Ram Lal are seeking ticket.

In Garhshanker segment Mr Krishan Dev Singh Guddi, Mr Love Kumar Goldi, Mr Pankaj Kirpal Advocate, Mr Bhagt Ram Chohan, Mr R.S. Pathania, Mr Varinder Rana, Prof Kamal Kumar and Mrs Asha Vashishat have applied for the party ticket.


Mewa Singh Sonar joins Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The former Punjab Agriculture Director, Dr Mewa Singh Sonar, here today joined the Congress in the presence of senior leaders of the PPCC and the AlCC.

Mr Moti Lal Vora, treasurer of the AICC and in charge of the party affairs in the state, at a function organised at Punjab Congress Bhavan, said the party would be enriched by his vast experience in agriculture which was an important aspect of the state’s economy.

His joining the party would help the Congress to prepare the party’s policies and the manifesto in this field.

Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the PPCC, said Dr Sonar’s entry into the Congress was a clear indication of the party’s acceptability in all sections of society, especially, in the higher echelons of administrators. Dr Sonar said he was persuaded by Chowdhary Jagjit Singh, leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, to join the party.

Dr T.C.Malhan, former Director of Health Services( ESI), also joined the Congress. Dr Malhan held important posts in the Health Department before attaining the age of superannuation.


No differences with Talwandi: Bibi
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 8
Denying any differences with SGPC chief Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former SGPC President, however, took with a pinch of salt the SGPC decision to send Sikh jathas to Pakistan in connection with coming “avtar purb” of Guru Nanak Devji.

Talking to newsmen here this afternoon, Bibi maintained that the SGPC President had every right to send jathas but he should have also considered on whether the earlier jathas were treated properly or whether Sikh ‘maryada’ was followed fully by the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Mere “darshan” without “seva” or care of the Sikh shrines in Pakistan won’t achieve anything, she quipped.

Bibi Jagir Kaur as SGPC President had banned sending jathas to Pakistan after a parallel PGPC was floated in Pakistan.

When asked whether she was a candidate again for highest SGPC post, Bibi said she would support any candidate named by SAD President Parkash Singh Badal. When pressed further if her own name figured for the office on November 27, then what she would do, she quipped that it was for the party high command and “panth” to assign this service to any member and in case she was given the responsibility, she won’t flinch from rendering the service. “The order of panth would be humbly accepted”, she said.

When asked whether five Sikh high priests were not following a pick and choose policy by absolving Jathedar Talwandi and punishing others, Bibi replied that issue of Talwandi presenting a siropa to excommunicated NRI Kashmira Singh was not on agenda of the Singh Sahibans yesterday.


4,482 Dalit families to get plots
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
As many as 4,482 families of 303 villages have been identified under the Punjab Government scheme to provide five marla plots to those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes, who do not have houses to live in or plot to construct houses.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner in a press note issued here today said there was no eligible beneficiary in 159 villages of the district while in 73 villages 2,348 beneficiaries had been identified. The process for allotment of plots had been completed and ‘sanads’ had also been issued to beneficiaries, he added.

He said in 28 villages panchayat land was not available for construction of houses and in five villages panchayat land was available far away from the inhabited area. In 33 villages prices were to be fixed for purchase of land as well as for exchange of land.

He said the work on the scheme was being done on war-footing in the district. The funds for purchase of land were available with the department, he added.


Takht may ban carrying Granth in trains
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 8
Akal Takht may direct the Sikh sangat not to carry Guru Granth Sahib in trains. It may also direct the sangat not to place Guru Granth Sahib at tombs, cremation grounds etc.

A decision to this effect had already been taken by the Sikh high priests, but a formal directive is yet to be issued to the Sikh masses.

The directive is being issued apparently in the wake of the attack on the special train arranged by the Nanaksar sect, carrying ‘sarups’ (volumes) of Guru Granth Sahib near Kolkata. 


Trust gets nod for 2 schemes
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
The city residents will be relieved of traffic hazards and bottleneck as the district administration has got no objection certificate for the transport city and dairy schemes.

Mr M.L. Garg, Chairman, improvement Trust, in a press note issued here today said that the transport city being developed in 67.88 acres and the dairy scheme on 32.50 acres here had been approved by the state government in November, last year. As much as Rs 15 crore would be spent on the transport city and Rs 6 crore on the dairy scheme.

He added the transport city was being equipped with such modern facilities as workshops, booking agencies and spare part shops etc. The local truck union, tempo union, workshops and booking agencies would be shifted there, making the city more clean and less crowded.

The residential colony being developed in it would be one of its kind, with a separate boundary wall around it.

The Improvement Trust had made arrangements to make a 60-feet broad pucca road and waterworks worth Rs 2 crore.


Freedom fighters’ pension may be hiked

Chandigarh, November 8
The Punjab Government has decided to enhance the pension of freedom fighters and their widows from Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per month, Defence Services and Freedom Fighters Welfare Minister Ajit Singh Kohar said today.

The decision would be subject to the Cabinet’s approval, he told reporters here.


Seminar on legal services today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 8
The District Legal Services Authority will organise a seminar tomorrow at the local court complex.

Mr B.C. Rajput, Chairman, District Legal Services Authority and District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda, will preside over the seminar. At the seminar information on various schemes of legal services will be given to the people.


New SSP for Amritsar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Postings and transfers were ordered in the Punjab police today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh is now Senior Superintendent of Police, Majitha; Mr Lok Nath is SSP, Gurdaspur; Mr Harnek Singh is SSP, Amritsar; Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu is SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib; and Mr Ishwar Singh is SSP, Khanna, in place of Mr RN Dhoke, whose posting orders will be issued separately, says a press note.

Meanwhile, the government has created a new police station at Vardhman (Division no 7)in Ludhiana district . It will have 50 villages within its jurisdiction.


Press printing fake licences found
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 8
The police has raided a printing press engaged in the supply of fake driving licences, fake registration certificates of vehicles, fake character certificates, and fake computer application course certificates run by the Directorate of Sainik Welfare, Punjab.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP, talking to mediapersons here today said that Mr Balbir Singh Randhawa, DSP Counter-Intelligence, and his staff in collaboration with Sub-Inspector Skatter Singh, SHO, Gurdaspur, and his staff on a tip-off raided the New Gurdaspur Printing Press in the main bazar here on November 6. The raiding party seized four blank copies of driving licences, five fake vehicle registration certificates, 10 copies of character certificates and seven fake certificates of computer application courses.

The SSP said the police has also recovered five fake stamps of district officials, including the Additional District Registrar, life and deaths, Gurdaspur, Executive Magistrate, Tehsildar and FCI Gurdaspur and Inspector Food and Civil Supplies, Tibber for making ration cards.

A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 473 of the IPC has been registered against Mr Ajay Gupta, owner of the said printing press and his employee Mr Deepak Kumar. While Deepak Kumar has been arrested by the police Ajay Kumar is at large.

The police is busy searching the possible hideouts of the accused who has not been arrested so far.

The SSP said that during interrogation Deepak Kumar confessed his guilt and said they were selling fake certificates for anything between Rs 500 and Rs 3000.


5-star rating for Punjabi University
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 8
Punjabi University has been awarded the highest five-star rating by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).

An official release here said the university had been informed about the Accreditation exercise result by NAAC Director V.N. Rajashekaran Pillai. A letter written by the NAAC Director to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, said five-stars stood for an overall institutional score of above 75 per cent.

The NAAC team had visited the university for three days in the beginning of September. Sources said the team was impressed by the work done by Punjabi University in the propagation of Punjabi language and literature as well as the amount of research activity conducted in the medium.

The team was also impressed by the research work done in some of the science departments, particularly the Department of Bio-technology. The team also appreciated the infrastructure in the varsity for various research activities.

The NAAC team included Assam University Vice-Chancellor Prof Subhas Chandra Saha, Dr S.P. Singh, Professor, Department of Life Sciences, Kumaon University, Prof Suranjan Das of the Department of History of the University of Kolkota, Prof Suresh Sharma, Principal, Moti Lal Nehru College (Evening), New Delhi, Dr B S Madhukar, Assistant Adviser, NAAC and Mr Ponmudiraj, Academic Analyst, NAAC.


Fest to boost dying art forms mooted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 8
The Association of Indian Universities senior representative, Mr Samson David, today said he would recommend the holding of zonal and national folk orchestra competitions to promote dying art forms.

Talking to newsmen at the North Zone Youth Festival being organised by Punjabi University, Mr David said the holding of such a festival regularly was necessary to rejuvenate folk art. The Department of Music of the university had evinced interest in the festival, he added.

He said instruments like ‘sur bahar’, sarangi and santoor may become extinct if they were not given encouragement. He said folk traditions being neglected could also be encouraged.

Mr David said Theatre and Television Head of Department Gurcharan Kaur and veteran theatre personality Navnindra Behl had stressed the need for conducting theatre workshops for college teachers and students.


Music competitions in youth fest
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 8
Competitions in western solo music, western group song, one act plays, light vocal music, classical vocal music, debate, on-the-spot painting and on-the-spot poster-making were held on the third day of North Zone Inter-University youth festival at Punjabi University here today. On the second day of the festival, competitions were held in group song Indian, one act plays, classical instrumental non-percussion, quiz preliminary, collage and cartooning.


Dass appointed PAU Comptroller
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 8
Punjab Agricultural University is learnt to have appointed Mr Gopal Dass as the new Comptroller of the university. This decision was taken by the Board of Management of PAU which met at Chandigarh today.


MAAC centre in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 8
2001-Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) has launched its centre in Patiala. The centre was inaugurated by the vice-president of MAAC, Mr Rajesh Turkhia, yesterday. MAAC is the brainchild of Mr Ketan Mehta, internationally renowned film producer-director who has won awards and is best known for his films like ‘Maya Memsaab’, ‘Aar ya par’ and TV serials. This is the fourth centre in the region developed in anticipation to the multimedia boom that presently is at the nascent stage.

MAAC is going to offer courses in various designing softwares like 3D studio Max, character studio, Photoshop, Premiere, 4D & 5D paint, sound forge and basics of Maya. These courses are of 5-month duration. After these courses students will be provided with career opportunities in the field of films, televisions and audio visual media as content developer, CD author, layout designer, graphic designer, art director, creative visualiser and many other opportunities in the areas of cinematography, direction, film scanning and recording, composing and editing.

On this occasion, MAAC conducted an introductory seminar at the central library auditorium. Focusing on requirement of animators, Mr Naveen Gupta, master franchise for the northern region said: “Software involved in animation and graphics is not tough or technical as is required for studying various programming languages.

Today, Industry needs latest digital technology tool for excellence in films and audio–visual media to create quality content for the infotainment industry worldwide. The director of local franchisee of MAAC, Mr Naveen Modgil, said: “The Patiala centre will be fully equipped with the latest infrastructure and the goal of the centre will not only be education-oriented but will also provide the students with an opportunity to work on live projects. The main emphasis will be a personalised attention with batches not exceeding five students.”

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