Monday, November 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Display of ‘jalau’: SGPC in a fix
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 11
The SGPC is in a dilemma over the display of “jalau” (show of splendour) at the (Golden Temple complex to mark the bicentenary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s coronation, which begins from November 13.

Sikh ‘sardars’ in their hay day used to offer priceless gifts and rare things to the temple, including jewellery, precious stones, gold and silver. Though the biggest contribution was made by Majaraja Ranjit Singh yet some top officials of the SGPC suggest that the “jalau” can not be organised on other than four special occasions. These four occasions are the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Guru Ram Das, Guru Gobind Singh and the installation anniversary of the Guru Granth Sahib. Sources pointed out that apart from the four occasions the “jalau” could be held on two special occasions too. The first was in 1965, when the sacred relics and arms of Guru Gobind Singh were brought from the UK, the second occasion was the concluding of “kar seva” in 1973.

On the other hand the SGPC has categorically refused to accept the suggestions put forth by Mr Tirlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, Minority Commission, to display all items of “jalau” in ‘parikarma’. Talking to TNS Mr Tirlochan Singh expressed concern over the attitude of the SGPC. He said it was the best occasion to display the invaluable items as Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the biggest contributor to “jalau”. He said the SGPC chief, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, had rejected the proposal on pretext of security. He, however, said the SGPC might replace four silver gates of Harmandir Sahib by golden ones.

According to renowned Sikh scholar, Dr Madanjit Kaur, the word “jalau” has been taken from Arabic word “jilwa” which means show of splendour. In the context of Darbar Sahib it means the display of various precious articles and jewellery of the temple with the avowed purpose of presenting it in all its glory. The articles of “jalau” include two golden gates, presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and other two which were got presented by the management of the temple. They are engraved with floral design and episodes from the lives of the Sikh Gurus. The other items are the ‘golden chattar’ (the canopy with the bejewelled peacock), 'gold chakras', 'real chhabas', golden 'gauchha mukaishi', 'jhalar tile di', 'sone de pakhe', ‘jarau sehra’ (bejewelled gold-pearl-headband). This headband was prepared under the order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh for adorning his grandson, Kanwar Naunihal Singh’s head at the time of his marriage. It is said that when Maharaja looked at the headband at the time of ‘sehrabandi’ of the prince, he was thrilled with its splendour and at once decided to present it to the Darbar Sahib.

Meanwhile, the holy city is spruced up to celebrate the bicentenary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh coronation. All efforts are being made to relive the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Soldiers with flowing beards and blue dress elephants, camels and horses would form part of the royal procession to be taken out at the beginning of the five-day long celebrations to mark the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The historic Ram Bagh — the summer palace of the legendary Majaraja has already been given a face lift. Elaborate security arrangements are being made in wake of the proposed visit of the Prime Minister Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, chiefs of three services are likely to salute the life-size statue of the maharaja in Ram Bagh.


Show-cause notice served on Brar
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 11
The AICC observer for Punjab affairs, Mr Moti Lal Vora, has issued a show-cause notice, returnable within seven days, to Congress MP Jagmeet Singh Brar for violating party discipline.

This was stated by Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), at a hurriedly called press conference at his new Moti Bagh residence here today.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the issue of Mr Brar’s outburst against the party rank and file was taken up at the highest level. He had apprised Party President Sonia Gandhi of the development recently. The PPCC chief added the party leadership would come down heavily on those creating indiscipline. He cited the examples of Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh and Mr Raghubir Singh, Presidents of the Faridkot and Muktsar District Congress Committees (DCC), respectively, who had been served with show-cause notices for violating party norms. Yet another leader, Mr Manjit Singh, a general secretary of the PPCC, had been suspended on the same count.

Capt Amarinder Singh said the move of the Central Government to dismantle the national procurement policy would lead to various imbalances in the procurement system for both paddy and wheat which would further lead to a law and order problem in the state. By lowering the MSP, as was being envisaged by the government after proposed dismantling of the procurement policy, the farmer of the state would become bankrupt which would lead to unstability in the state. The recent statement of Union Minister Shanta Kumar calling for a debate on the dismantling of the PDS was out of context as the farming community did not want debates but rather wanted to sell quickly their produce in the market. Mr Shanta Kumar had cited the Abhijit Sen Committee report to substantiate the government’s viewpoint on the dismantling issue.

The PPCC chief said that the farmer was least interested in such reports and added the Congress would strongly oppose the move of dismantling

The PPCC reaffirmed his stance that kith and kin of leaders would not be allotted ticket in the forthcoming Assembly elections. He also lashed at the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on his policy of holding “sangat darshan” programmes. He alleged Mr Badal was misusing funds and termed these programmes as merely populist measures.


PPCC secy suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The president of the PPCC, Capt Amarinder Singh, has suspended Mr Manjit Singh Jhalbuti, secretary, PPCC, from the primary membership of the party for gross misconduct and anti-party activities.


Badal in dilemma over next SGPC president
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 10
With Bibi Jagir Kaur’s announcement to contest the election for the post of SGPC president, if directed by the party high command and the ‘wait and watch’ policy of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, the forthcoming SGPC election is likely to witness a keen contest.

Though Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has reportedly assured present incumbent Jagdev Singh Talwandi of candidature yet he (Mr Badal) is under great pressure to replace him mainly due to his unpredictable nature.

There are a total of 185 elected members of the SGPC excluding five Sikh high priests, who do not have the right to vote. Eight members have died reducing the present general house’s strength to 173 members.

Now Mr Badal, who enjoys the support of the majority of the SGPC members, is in dilemma so far as selection of the candidate is concerned. Bibi Jagir Kaur was replaced as SGPC chief as she was embroiled in a criminal case relating to mysterious death of her daughter, Harpreet. She pleads that this is her personal case and it has nothing to do with the Sikh nation. On the other hand, Mr Talwandi had embarrassed Mr Badal many a time after becoming the SGPC chief. Only recently both the Akali stalwarts sank differences. Mr Talwandi also does not enjoy good relations with Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht and other Jathedars. Mr Talwandi has also given many controversial statements annoying many senior leaders. What goes in favour of Mr Talwandi is that Mr Badal does not find suitable candidate who could replace him. Mr Badal’s Officer on Special Duty, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, who was considered as ‘good’ candidate also got embroiled in controversy due to the Baba Bhaniara episode.

However, Mr Tohra who enjoys the support of 45 members and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann who has seven members in the general house, have not made any statement regarding the forthcoming election of SGPC president. 


Rs 15-cr project to clean West Bein
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
A Rs 15.33 crore project to prevent pollution of the West Bein, a tributary of the Sutlej, has been cleared by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The money has been received and work begun. The executing agency is the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has called a meeting of the Deputy Commissioners of Kapurthala, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur and officials of the Irrigation and Drainage Departments in Amritsar tomorrow to find ways to make the Bein perennial, allowing the free flow of water rather than letting it remain a drain for stagnant, stinking water. For this to happen, it is proposed to release water into the Bein from the Mukerian Hydel Works.

The real trouble with the West Bein is at Sultanpur Lodhi, where Gurdwara Ber Sahib is situated. It was here that Guru Nanak Dev spent his early life — 14 years and nine months in meditation. At that time clear water flowed in the Bein.

Keeping in view the historic importance and sanctity of the place, Mr Badal had initiated steps to restore the Bein. The premise is that the Rs 22.38 crore Sutlej action plan sanctioned by the NRCD will remain incomplete unless the Bein is also cleaned. Work is in progress on the Sutlej plan in Ludhiana, Phillaur, Phagwara and Jalandhar. With the sanction of the West Bein project, work will now be undertaken at Sultanpur Lodhi and Kapurthala.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Mr Vivek Aggarwal, told TNS today that at least 12 major towns’ effluents, domestic, industrial and agricultural, were discharged into the Sutlej resulting in serious pollution and health hazards. In the case of the West Bein, the discharge of six towns entered it.

There are reports that the stagnant water in the West Bein has polluted the sub-soil water in 100 villages along its length. The water of hand-pumps turned yellow after some time, he added. Hence, the project under the National River Action Plan.

The project envisaged water treatment plants for Sultanpur Lodhi and Kapurthala, pumping stations, effluent distribution systems, sapling plantation and public participation. The project, however, lacked on one count — open surface drains that still existed in the towns and perpetuated the problem.

Mr Aggarwal said the work was expected to be completed in two years. Once the West Bein was cleaned and the flow of water made perennial, this would automatically reduce the pollution level in the Sutlej.

The drains contaminating the river water are the Budha Nullah and the East and West Bein.


SAD, BJP councillors reach compromise
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 11
The SAD and BJP municipal councillors who were in dispute following the beating up of two BJP councillors by their SAD colleagues along with party workers in the last week of August, 2001, today reached a compromise in the presence of their respective leaders.

The compromise was reached at an undisclosed place in the morning in the presence of local minister, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, the president, Municipal Council, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, the president of BJP’s Bathinda unit, Mr Gulzar Singh, and the president of BJP’s Mandal unit, Mr Narinder Mittal.

The municipal councillors who were present in the meeting reportedly convened on the directions of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal included Mr Krishan Kumar Barg, Mr Basant Bhatia (both of BJP), Tirloch Singh and Mr Mohinder Singh Sohal (both of SAD) and a SAD worker, Mr Rajinder Singh.

In the last week of August, in a general house meeting of the Municipal Council, Mr Krishan Kumar Garg and Mr Bhatia were beaten up allegedly by Mr Mohinder Singh Sohal, Mr Tirloch Singh and Mr Rajinder Singh. No action was reportedly taken against the accused by the authorities concerned.

After the incident, BJP workers from all over the district took out a protest march in the city and raised slogans against Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, and the Municipal Council president, Mr Bhullar. The protest march was allegedly taken out on the directions of those SAD and BJP leaders who were considered to be staunch opponents of the minister.

After the protest march, moves were initiated from various quarters to effect a compromise between those who were in dispute. Mr Chiranji Lal Garg and Mr Narinder Mittal made efforts for bringing about the compromise but they failed as their move was allegedly sabotaged by opponents of Mr Garg.

Information gathered by Tribune News Service revealed that to thwart the designs of his opponents, Mr Garg kept today’s meeting a closely guarded secret and invited only selected leaders of the BJP and the SAD for the same. The other leaders of the SAD and the BJP was informed after the compromise was reached.

Even a formal press note in connection with the compromise signed by Mr Gulzar Singh, president, BJP’s Bathinda district unit, and Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar was distributed late in the evening through officials of the Public Relations Department to mediapersons.

In the joint press note, Mr Bhullar and Mr Gulzar Singh claimed that the tension between workers of the SAD and the BJP had been removed and they had taken a pledge to work together for the welfare of the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab.


Akalis let off steam against Swarna Ram
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 11
Factionalism in the ruling SAD-BJP combine here came to the fore yesterday when activists of SAD availed of the opportunity at Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s visit to Phagwara to attend a sangat darshan programme for letting off steam against local BJP MLA and Punjab Tourism Minister Chowdhary Swarna Ram.

When Mr Badal reached the JCT mills, the Akalis held a meeting with him at the mill’s rest house and complained that the minister sidelined, discriminated and ignored Akali workers. They added that they don’t have any say in the administration nor do they have any worthwhile representation in official bodies. While no Akali was a member of the local Improvement Trust, the BJP had its full share in the local market committee, alleged angry workers.

At one stage the enraged Akalis made Mr Swarna Ram to leave the room, insisting that they wanted to have a heart-to-heart talk with their party President and the BJP minister had no locus standi to be at an Akali meeting, the sources said.

The Akalis demanded that the ticket for Phagwara should this time be given to an Akali candidate. However, Mr Badal did not agree to the demand, it was learnt.

The Akalis were led by Mr Gurmukh Singh, president, local Akali jatha. Circle secretary-general Jatinderpal Singh Palahi and Akali stalwart Gurjit Singh Khalsa were also present.

Meanwhile, fighting Congressmen here could not unite even in their anti-Badal protest. Two separate groups, one led by former Punjab Minister Joginder Singh Mann and the other led by his arch rival Balvir Raja Sodhi held protests and were detained. The Congressmen were later let off.

Meanwhile, Mr Parkash Singh Badal while talking to the reporter here last night maintained that his party was not averse to poll reforms, but did not agree to the suggestion that the imposition of the Governor’s rule before the elections was imperative for impartial elections. He was talking at the residence of leading exporter and his friend Mr Paramjit Singh Sethi here. He was commenting on the observations of the Election Commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthi in Chandigarh recently.


‘PM won’t interfere in Akali affairs’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 11
Punjab Local Bodies Minister Balramji Das Tandon today dismissed as baseless the reports that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would effect a rapprochement among the feuding Akalis, but hoped that the misgivings would get over.

Talking to the newsmen here, Mr Tandon rejected the Election Commission suggestion that elections be held under President’s rule. He defended the preventive arrests of Congressmen who wanted to disturb the sangat darshan here yesterday.

Mr Tandon said a meeting would be held with the Centre for chalking out plans to check the depleting underground water table in Punjab. Use of water had to be regulated to conserve this natural resource, he said. Mr Tandon scotched the rumours that he was toying with the idea of shifting his constituency from Rajpura.


Tohra’s terms for truce with Badal
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 11
Extending his support to the Khalistan movement, the president of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today demanded that families of terrorist lodged in Jodhpur jail be given financial aid. Addressing party workers here today, Mr Tohra blamed successive governments for atrocities on “innocents”.

He said the SHSAD could compromise with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), if Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal apologised before Akal Takht for his mistakes and Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, was reinstated. 


Mann urges Bush to turn deaf ear to Vajpayee on terrorism
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Striking his usual extremist note, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) President, Mr Simranjeet Singh Mann, today sought the intervention of US President George W. Bush for addressing the issue of ‘‘majority terrorism in India’’.

Talking to The Tribune after addressing party workers at a function here, Mr Mann urged Mr Bush ‘‘not to listen to the Indian Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, on terrorism... since he had failed to address the issue of majority terrorism in India’’. Mr Mann observed that Mr Vajpayee had no right to argue against international terrorism when he had not tackled ‘‘the majority terrorism at home’’.

Mr Mann said he would talk to the US President to bring to his notice the ‘‘terrorism unleashed on the minorities across the world, more so in India’’. He alleged that POTO was aimed at ‘‘victimising the minorities’’, adding that POTO and the Moscow Declaration, signed recently between India and Russia, were ‘‘only a reflection of the RSS-BJP ideology with regard to their view on minorities’’.

He also criticised the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for his reported remarks that he had not studied POTO. He observed that Mr Badal had no right to continue as the Chief Minister if he was not aware of the POTO provisions, especially when it would have serious ramifications in his own state. He ridiculed the Chief Minister for the way he was being treated by the BJP.

Mr Mann warned against any concessions to Haryana on the sharing of river waters or any other dispute with Punjab.

Commenting on the defection of some of the close relatives of Mr Badal to the Congress, Mr Mann said it was a pre-planned move since the Badal family owned considerable property in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and other states for which it wanted protection. He said Mr Badal himself started his political career as a Congress legislator in 1957, so there was nothing wrong in his relatives joining the Congress.


Mann’s warning on SYL
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 11
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, yesterday said the morcha, especially, the SAD (A), would not allow to flow even a single drop of water in the SYL canal. He said the morcha activists were ready to flow their blood in the SYL canal to save the Punjab waters. He also added that they would adopt peaceful measures to prevent the construction work on the canal.

Mr Mann said he, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, announced a grant of Rs 15 lakh (5 lakh each) for the development of Badrukhan the birth place of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at a religious function today there.

Mr Mann demanded immediate payments for the procured paddy to the arhtiyas so that they could pass the same to the farmers.

Mr Mann also criticised the Moscow Declaration.


Panthic Morcha to hold rallies
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 11
Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, senior Panthic Morcha leader, talking to mediapersons here today, said the Panthic Morcha would organise rallies in all Assembly segments of the state from November 17 to 29 and hold a state-level rally at Ludhiana on December 2 to “expose the misdeeds” of the Badal government during the past five years. He accused Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of proving himself an “able successor” of the Congress by branding Panthic leaders like Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra as “traitors”.

He also accused Mr Badal of doublespeak as he had been talking of unity with Mr Tohra yet branding him as “traitor of the Panth”. Prof Chandumajra said the alliance with the BSP would be based on equality. Commenting on the recent statement of BSP supremo Kanshi Ram that the Panthic Morcha would be treated as a junior partner of the alliance, he said the BSP chief had clarified the reported statement to Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, convener of the Panthic Morcha.


CM blames Cong for Punjab ills
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 11
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, while addressing the public at a “sangat darshan” programme at Dhilwan village, about 25 km from here, today, blamed the Congress for various ills plaguing Punjab and the country.

Mr Badal distributed cheques for Rs 79 lakh for the development of the Bhadaur Assembly area, including Rs 35 lakh for development of the Bhadaur Municipal Council area, Rs 10 lakh for the disposal of water in Dhilwan, Rs 20 lakh for bricklining of drains and streets to four panchayats, Rs 5 lakh for the Dhilwan sports stadium and Rs 5 lakh for a drinking water project.


Khaira vows to defeat Bibi
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 11
Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, secretary, PPCC and president, Punjab State Progressive Farmers Association, a strong contender for the Congress ticket from the Bholath assembly constituency is making all out efforts to avenge his defeat at the hands of Mrs Jagir Kaur in the last Assembly elections.

Mr Khaira claimed that the month-long march he has undertaken was evoking a good response. Meanwhile today was the 11th day of his march.


Set up mental health care centres: experts
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 11
A two-day XIIth state-level annual conference on psychological disorders organised by the Punjab and Chandigarh Psychiatric Society (Puncips) which concluded here today laid stress on setting up mental health care centres at each district headquarters in the state. It also emphasised on organising camps on regular basis at the grassroots level to make people aware about the arrival of new drugs and modern surgical equipment in the market which could help in drug addiction, schizophrenia, epilepsy and other neurological problems.

Dr Ajit Awasthi, Additional Professor, PGI, Chandigarh, reviewed various Indian studies from the mid fifties to 2000 regarding the causes, clinical features and management on the schizophrenia.

He pointed out that a majority of the Indians suffering from the disease in India recovered because of the joint family system as compaired to poor outcome in western countries. Dr B.S. Chavan, Government Medical College, Chandigarh, underlined the need for the proper use of community resources which could prove more useful in solving these problems. He also emphasised on providing services at the doorsteps of patients besides opening day care centres in this connection. Steps should also be taken to check the increase in population and unemployment. Dr Harbhag Singh, another expert from Government Medical College, Patiala, suggested for giving hi-fat diet to children to check epilepsy.

In his presidential address Dr Paramjit Singh, Assistant Professor and Head, Psychiatry Department, Government Medical College, Amritsar and president Puncips, expressed concern over the lack of the facilities for imparting better training for health professionals in the country. He said primary health care professionals in the country were neither aware of the new developments nor had access and means to provide modern treatment to their patients.

Welcoming the participants Dr Jaswant Singh, organising secretary, Puncips, said the World Health Organisation, had declared 2001 as year of mental health and had given two slogans in this connection which included stop exclusion and dare to care. In his inaugural address while appreciating the society for holding such a conference, Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice Chancellor, Baba Farid University, of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said to keep ourselves abreast of these ever expanding developments in the field of health sciences it is essential to have regular interaction with experts and constant exposure to new methods and techniques.

Such type of conferences will prove to be of great help in upgrading knowledge of specialists in the field of psychiatry and equip them with the latest researches and technologies so that they can serve the society in a better way.

Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, chief guest of the function, Dr T. L. Parmar, Principal, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot and other experts also spoke on the occasion. More than 100 specialists from Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab participated in the conference.


Firecracker units crack laws
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, November 11
With Divali round the corner the illegal manufacturing of firecrackers is being blatantly carried out at Anngarh village in a violation of the Explosive Act, 1884 and 1983 under the very nose of the district administration.

The violations do not end here. Child labour is being engaged in this extremely dangerous profession, unmindful of the health hazards they are exposed to. Children of age group 7-14 are commonly seen handling and making crackers here. Even as most of the residents of the village are involved in the manufacture of crackers without obtaining requisite licence, roughly only about five persons in the whole village are reported to possess licence to manufacture fire crackers.

The trade and manufacturing is continuing, unaware of the dangers the persons involved are exposed to. Besides women in the village undertake the task of routine cooking using kerosene stoves not far from the unit using gunpowder for crackers. Besides the stocks are stored in nearby houses.

Rules that govern fire crackers state that these be kept in a shed made of non-inflammable material and which is safely secured to prevent any trespassers. However, when this correspondent visited the area most of the sheds and stalls had used inflammable material like tents with wooden planks to store firecrackers. Although people claim that they have taken precautions such as water storage and sand for an emergency. However, none of it could be found and moreover the water stored seemed insufficient.

Ironically, the District Magistrate orders released on November 7 instructed that no person shall store or sell any cracker or explosive materials without permission from the Sub-Divisional Magistrate concerned. Even Station House Officers of all police stations have been directed to carry out searches in their respective areas.


Sangat darshan or ‘grant darshan’?
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Nabha, November 11
The sangat darshan programme has truly become a “grant darshan” function. And common people desiring an audience with the Chief Minister to air their grievances are ignored in favour of select representatives who are called to the venue for distribution of grants to them.

At the November 8 sangat darshan here the Chief Minister finished with the programme by 11 a.m., had a short nap and was off to Shatrana to preside over a similar programme in the evening. The programme saw a prepared list of panchayat representatives being made on the directions of Nabha legislator and Minister Raja Narinder Singh which was given to the civil and police administration. Subsequently, only those who had been listed were allowed entry into the ‘marriage palace’ here where the programme was held.

Some people complained that they were not given grants due to their political leaning. Bachhan Singh, Sarpanch of Roti Moran village, said he was able to get near the stage but was denied a grant. However, those Congressmen who ‘joined’ the SAD like Mr Jagjit Singh Jaggi were more lucky.

A total of Rs 1.40 crore was distributed among 72 panchayats in the Assembly constituency and Rs 30 lakh given to Raja Narinder Singh for distribution at his discretion in the city.


CM lays stone of lawyers’ chambers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 11
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister and SAD President, today exhorted Akali leaders and workers to sink their differences and make efforts to strengthen the SAD in the state.

Mr Badal also asked the Akalis to learn a lesson from the defeat of some party candidates in Sangrur district in the February, 1997, Assembly elections. He also blamed the voters of the district for the defeat of the Akali candidates.

Mr Badal expressed these views while addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of the lawyers’ chambers in the district judicial complex here today. Mr Badal also asked the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, to issue a cheque for Rs 25 lakh for the construction of the chambers.

He said factionalism was prevailing in all political parties, including the SAD, and all was not well with his party in Punjab.

Mr Badal also criticised those who were condemning the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, urged Mr Badal to make efforts for the completion of the lawyers’ chambers.


Strengthen ‘dhadi’ art: Badal
Tribune News Service

Badrukhan (Sangrur), November 11
As part of the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a “dhadi darbar” was organised here today by Punjabi University, Patiala. Mr Natha Singh Dalam, Public Relations Minister, Punjab, inaugurated the “darbar”, while Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, was the chief guest.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Badal announced a grant of Rs 20 lakh for the development of Badrukhan village, the village of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s mother. A cheque of Rs 20 lakh was handed over to the village sarpanch on the occasion. Mr Badal also announced Rs 2 lakh for a village sports club and Rs 1 lakh for a dharamshala in the village.

Mr Badal urged the SGPC president, Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, who was present on the occasion, to set up an institute to keep the art of ‘kirtan’, ‘kavishari’ and ‘dhadi’ alive. He also urged the ‘dhadis’ to make efforts to strengthen this art.

Mr Badal also honoured Bhai Surinder Singh (Singh bandhu), Mr Kartar Singh, Director, Gurmat Sangeet Academy, Anandpur Sahib, and Bhai Avtar Singh, renowned musician from Delhi, by presenting them “Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award” on behalf of Punjabi University. Mr Dalam was also honoured with the award.

Mr Badal presented a shawl and Rs 1100 each to all dhadi jathas who participated in the darbar.


CARE being misused: SSP
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 11
Certain women have taken undue advantage of a scheme called CARE aimed to solve family and matrimonial disputes, according to Dr Jatinder Jain, SSP.

Of the 389 complaints received at CARE centres in 2000 as many 97 were filed. During 2000, out of 389 complaints compromise was reached in as many as 223 cases and six cases were registered.

The project, started last year had a woman DSP as in charge and four other members.

Dr Jain said in certain cases women had used the CARE centre as a tool to harass their husbands and in-laws. The CARE centres had received 369 complaints. Dr Jain said strict action would be taken against those who lodged false complaints.


Detention of MLA criticised
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 11
The detention of the Adampur Congress MLA, Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, has been widely criticised here.

The MLA was detained yesterday by the police as a “precautionary measure”. The Congress leaders, Mr Bhupinder Saini, Ms Santosh and Ms Vidwant Kaur, held a protest dharna at Adampur Chowk in Bhogpur, near the venue of the CM’s “sangat darshan” programme. They dubbed the arrest of Mr Lalli as an attack on democracy.

The PPCC secretaries, Mr Tejinder Bittu and Mr Anil Datta, said the arrest of the MLA reflected the “discomfort” in the SAD-BJP government over the rising popularity of the Congress. “The government is baffled,” they said.

Meanwhile, the AICC secretary and former MP, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, said that she evaded detention by going to Delhi.


Freedom fighters allege harassment
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 11
Members of the district freedom fighters council alleged during an executive body meeting here today that railway and roadways staff misbehaved with them whenever they went to their offices.


Medical camp
Our Correspondent

Amloh, November 11
As many as 280 patients were checked up by a team of doctors of Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, at Machhrai Kalan village, 3 km from here, yesterday.

Free Medicines were given to the patients, according to Mr H. S. Singh, Principal of the Medical College, here today.

The camp was organised by the Baria Welfare and Sports Club, Machhrai Kalan.


BKU (E) to stage dharna on Nov 21
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 11
Activists of the BKU (E) will sit on dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner on November 21 to press for acceptance of their demands.

The decision was taken at a meeting held in Bhundar village yesterday, in which leaders of the district unit participated. The meeting was a part of a campaign launched by the union after the release of its district president Jhanda Singh Jethuke from the local central jail. The BKU leader has been holding meetings with union activists at various villages since then.

Addressing the activists at various villages, Mr Jethuke said the union would continue its stir till the loan of Mithu Singh of Sandoha was not waived. Mithu Singh had committed suicide due to harassment by arhtiyas to whom he had to pay loan.

Mr Jethuke alleged that the arhtiyas were harassing farmers. He said at many places crops of the farmers were harvested forcibly by the arhtiyas. The administration was also favouring the arhtiyas, he alleged.

Mr Shingara Singh, general secretary, said the state government had not fulfilled the long pending demands of the farmers. He said the present government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, which claimed to be a guardian of farmers, had done nothing for them.


Hoarding shoots up potato prices
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 11
The potato prices have almost doubled in Punjab and its adjoining areas during the past one week. If 1 kg of potato was available between Rs 5 and Rs 6 in the retail market about a week ago, the same was available between Rs 10 and Rs 12 and at Chandigarh at Rs 14.

The wholesale prices of the vegetable have jumped from Rs 150 per bag of 80 kg to Rs 400-500 per bag during this period.

Sources maintained that the traders and big farmers of Punjab, particularly of Doaba region which was known as the ‘potato bowl’ of North India, had resorted to a large-scale hoarding of thousands quintals of potatoes in their stores and godowns.

‘‘Like other small farmers I too had sold my crop for Rs 150 per bag of 80 kg. But now I think that I and others like me were fools. We should have stored it for next few months,’’ said Gurjeet Singh, a farmer of Zahura village, in Hoshiarpur district.

‘‘Both small farmers and consumers are at the receiving end, it is the big farmers and the traders who reap the benefits’’, he said.


New Dist Attorney (Prosecution)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 11
The Punjab Government has posted Mr Balbir Singh Brar as District Attorney (Prosecution) in Ludhiana in place of Mr Ashok Kumar Pathak, who has been transferred to Fatehgarh Sahib in the same capacity. 


Truck carrying substandard seeds seized
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 11
The Batala police with the help of officials of the Agricultural Department seized a truck at Batala loaded carrying 160 bags of substandard seeds. The seeds belonged to Jathedar Seed Store, Sabzi Mandi, Amritsar, and was to be unloaded at Kahlon Pesticides, Batala. However, the owner of Kahlon Pesticides, Batala, has denied it. The bags bore mark of Ladowal Seed Farm, Ludhiana.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under various Sections of the Seed Act, 1966 and 1968, and the Seed Control Act, 1983, Essential Commodities Act, against the accused. Involvement of more persons in this case is not ruled out, said the police sources. Official sources said the case was registered on the intervention of Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Deputy Commissioner, on the report of the Chief Agriculture Officer, Gurdaspur.


PAU runs on whims or rules?
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 11
Is Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) being run on the whims and fancies of the authorities or the rules? The answer seems to be the former if the decision of the appointment of the new Comptroller is any indication.

Mr Gopal Dass who took over as Comptroller on November 9, was not selected by the board of management of the university at its meeting held on July 30, 2001, though his name was recommended by the selection committee after interviewing five candidates.

However, Mr Dass was appointed on November 8 by the board at its meeting held at Chandigarh. Eyebrows are being raised on the fact that while the board had not cleared his appointment at the last meeting without assigning any reason, but later appointed same person on the same post after three months.

The members of the board were tightlipped after attending the meeting and were not willing to tell the Press about the latest developments although the news spread like wild fire on the campus. The sources informed Ludhiana Tribune that decision of the board was not disclosed as the authorities wanted signatures of members on the minutes of the meeting to avoid any controversy later.

Earlier, a representative of the Punjab Government who had raised an objection on the appointment of Mr Dass at the last meeting, was transferred and the authorities had taken the matter to the board again. The representative at that time had said that the government would send an official to the PAU on deputation.

But later the government had shown its unwillingness to send a Comptroller on deputation and the authorities had taken up the case of Mr Dass again. A member of the board was also learnt to have written to PAU authorities to take up the issue of appointment again.

Mr Dass had moved the high court recently challenging the decision of the board for not appointing him as the Comptroller of the university although his name was recommended by the selection committee. The matter is still pending with the court.

The post of the Comptroller was to be vacated by Mr S.K. Bhatia on July 31 but he was given an extension of six months by the board. The PAU had interviewed five candidates on July 22 for this post and the selection committee had recommended the name of Mr Dass. Mr Bhatia had retired from the post on April 30, 2000, but at a special meeting of the board, he was granted extension and the post was also advertised. 

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