Wednesday, November 14,  2001, Chandigarh, India

 

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Lacklustre beginning of coronation celebrations
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 13
The two Sikh high priests, Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Kesgarh Sahib, and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, were conspicuous by their absence at the ‘ardas’ performed at the Akal Takht before the beginning of the procession to mark the bicentenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Giani Puran Singh, head granthi of the Golden Temple, and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of the Akal Takht, who were sitting side by side also did not exchange even a word.

Though Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, had claimed that the gathering at the beginning of the celebrations would exceed two lakh and the procession would be 2-km long, the ceremonies got off to a bad start. As compared to the tercentenary celebrations of the birth anniversary of the Khalsa Panth, the response to the coronation ceremony celebrations was dismal. According to sources, the Chief Minister has conveyed his displeasure to all concerned for the poor show. He, however, has asked the party leaders and officials of the district administration to gear up for the concluding function of the bicentenary celebrations.


 

Showcasing Ranjit Singh’s grandeur
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 13
Dr Jean Marie Lafont and his Muslim wife Rehana Joseph have brought some rare artifacts, paintings and documents from France, Pakistan and India to be exhibited at the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at Ram Bagh garden here to mark the bicentenary celebrations of the maharaja’s coronation, which start from the Golden Temple complex tomorrow.

The French historian was fascinated with the achievements of the legendary maharaja and his multifaceted personality. Narrating his love for the Sikh ruler and his secular credentials, Dr Lafont talking to TNS said during his posting at Lahore in 1972 while doing research on Indo-Greek archaeology that he was drawn to look into Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his French army Generals who had married Muslim and Hindu women that set his mind to study the history of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Dr Lafont did research on Maharaja Ranjit Singh from 1882 to 1949 and his research work “La presence francaise dans le royaume Sikh du Penjab” got him degree of Doctorate of Literature from the University of Paris in 1987 and Giles Award from French Akademi in 1995. It took him 10 years of research which took him to various parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India besides meeting the descendants of various French Generals settled in France.

He pointed out emphasis on the exhibition will be on the reunification of Punjab after the fall of the Mughal empire and to the formation of strong kingdom which comprised of united Punjab, including Multan, Kashmir and Ladakh and Peshawar up to the Khyber Pass. The exhibition has been arranged in six segments.

In the military segment the paintings, artifacts and related documents show the military might of the maharaja who had engaged experienced French army men of Napoleon in 1882. Giving details of his military adventure and epic battles Dr Lafont said the Maharaja’s 5,000 elite troops stormed the Khyber Pass and went to Kabul in 1839. He added that during the Anglo-Sikh wars at Ferozeshah and the Chillianwala without the maharaja in command and without its French Generals his army challenged the British Raj.

The most significant facet of Maharaja Ranjit Singh which enamoured Dr Lafont was his secular image. A full section of this exhibition is devoted to religious policy of the Maharaja towards his subjects, the Sikhs and Hindus and the Muslims.

The next section shows the economic health of Punjab under his rule, where agriculture flourished, trade developed considerably. A favourable balance of exchange provided the state with a surplus of gold and silver which was used for the gilding of prestigious shrines and Harmandar Sahib.

Art flourished in Punjab with various schools of miniature paintings. The traditional Kashmiri Pahari schools flourished while stress was also laid on Lahori school with its blending of French taste as illustrated by the productions of Imam Bakhsh Lahori’s workshop. The maharaja also took interest and financed the first geological exploration of the Himalayas by helping the French explorer Victor Jacquernot to help map the Himalayas.

Dr Lafont has produced a catalogue Life and Times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord of Five Rivers which is to commemorate the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The 184-page, 224 colour illustrations sponsored by the Government of Punjab are being released tomorrow.


 

SAD ‘distorting’ historical facts to woo voters
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 13
Lashing out at the ruling SAD-BJP combine, the Panthic Morcha leadership today said the government was wasting public money and was twisting historical facts by organising the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

At the same time, the morcha leadership announced that it was going to launch a movement against the SAD-BJP government for its alleged role in shattering the established religious tenets.

The Panthic Morcha convener, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, and rebel Akali leader, Mr Ravi Inder Singh, alleged that historical facts were being twisted by the ruling combine just to please the voters. “They are celebrating the coronation of the Maharaja whereas it is a historical fact that no coronation of the Maharaja ever took place. In fact, Maharaja Ranjit Singh was bestowed upon the title of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh by the then Akal Takht Jathedar Baba Sahib Singh Bedi, who had directed the former that he will remain a “sewadar” of the “quam”, said Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi.

Talking about the possibility of a poll alliance with any other party, Baba Bedi said parleys were on with other parties and a decision regarding the distribution of seats would be taken within a month.

Referring to the BSP chief, Mr Kanshi Ram’s comments that the BSP would be a major shareholder as far as the distribution of seats was concerned, Baba Bedi said every party had the right to lay its claim. “The talks are on with the Punjab Lok Morcha (Wadala), the Masihi Lok Dal and the Lok Bhalai Party and we will release our poll manifesto at the morcha’s December 2 rally in Ludhiana, which will kick off the poll campaign of the morcha,” said Baba Bedi, adding that the morcha leaders would hold their meeting with Mr Kanshi Ram on November 15 in Ludhiana.

Interestingly, Baba Bedi said if the SAD fielded Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi for the presidentship of the SGPC, the morcha would support him.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh said he was thankful to Mr Kanshi Ram for promoting him as the next Chief Minister, but the final decision would be taken by the party and Baba Bedi. Mr Ravi Inder Singh and former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode alleged that Mr Parkash Singh Badal has converted the Sikh organisations into his personal property.


 

Legal hurdles in eviction: CM
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 13
Bowing to pressure from the local residents and historians, the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today admitted that “legal complications” were blocking the eviction of three prominent clubs from the historical Ram Bagh here. The lease of all these clubs had expired between 1988 and 1989. The government, it is alleged, had swept the issue under the carpet then to appease the city’s influential who had often been using the facilities at these clubs.

In July, 1994, near by a decade after the terrorist era in Punjab ended, the issue was revived. After being in cold storage for another year, the government considered extending the lease of the clubs on the recommendation of a subcommittee. The government partially agreed to the proposal by hiking the rent to 10 per cent of the market value in 1995.

However, the Chief Minister yesterday said that all legal aspects would be looked into to carry out eviction even as the Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) continued its tirade against the clubs namely Amritsar Club, Services Club and Lumsden Club. The President of the AVM, Prof, Mohan Singh, asserted that the Chief Minister’s proposal for a “model garden” status for Ram Bagh would come to naught until the garbage dumping clubs were shifted to other areas. They also created noise pollution during varied functions held here. In addition, club officials had illegally encroached the bagh area.

Ram Bagh, was founded by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, who was also the founder of the city. The government had declared it a protected area while the Archaeological Survey of India had declared it a place of historical importance.

Meanwhile, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, talking to The Tribune said with Rs 10 crore allocated for the renovation and restoration of Ram Bagh, the work would be carried out in a phased manner over a period of three years.



 

End ‘humiliation’ of US Sikhs
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana
Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has taken strong exception to the report that Sikhs in the USA are being asked to remove their turbans while entering aircraft and has urged the US administration to end this “humiliation” of the Sikhs.

In a letter to the US Ambassador, Mr Robert D. Blackwill, on Wednesday, Mr Tarlochan Singh thanked the Ambassador and the US Government for taking all steps to help US Sikhs, but pointed out that the latest decision being strictly observed by various airlines in that country was creating a new problem for his community. “They (airlines) are asking Sikhs to remove their turbans while entering the aircraft. The turban is a religious symbol and no Sikh can abandon it under any circumstances. Even during both world wars, the allied army allowed Sikhs to fight with the turban and were exempted from wearing steel helmets, essential in certain battles. The Sikh community is very religious and adhering to the basic tenets, which are prescribed by our founder”, he observed.

Mr Tarlochan Singh pointed out that various Sikh groups had met US Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, a few days ago and they were satisfied to the extent that he had assured them that precautions would be taken. “But I have received complaints and reports that many Sikhs are still suffering under this law. The Sikhs want to fully cooperate with the authorities, but they also want to preserve their religious symbols’, he said.

Mr Tarlochan Singh has suggested that a metal detector can very well be used on the turban to detect anything. “It is humiliating for a Sikh to remove his turban in public or deposit it with the pilot. You have observed the living conditions of Sikhs in India and it was good of you to visit the main Sikh shrine in Delhi. Therefore, you can recommend to give this relaxation to your government”.

The Sikh community in the USA is very much satisfied with the support they are getting from the White House and from all authorities at state and city levels. We all are appreciating the US Senate has passed a resolution condemning the attack on the Sikhs and there is another resolution pending before Congress on the same lines.

Mr Tarlochan Singh also met the Vatican envoy in India recently and urged him to plead with the Pope that he should issue an appeal to Christians all over the world regarding the religious symbols of the Sikhs and put an end to hate crimes against Sikhs in various countries.


 

Chances of Badal-Tohra patch-up remote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
The Punjab unit of the BJP has become desperate for unity between the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and a former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The other day, the president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, was honest enough to admit that the ongoing political battle between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra would hit the SAD-BJP alliance hard in the coming Assembly elections. And the most hard hit would be the BJP, which last time won 18 of the 23 seats allotted to it by its senior partner, the SAD.

Mr Rinwa has given an indication that senior leaders of his party at the national level may try again to bring about unity between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra. In fact, earlier the state leadership of the BJP had requested Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, to bring about a rapprochement between the two senior Akali leaders as it would improve the chances of the SAD-BJP alliance at the hustings.

However, according to informed sources, no one has contacted Mr Tohra from the top leadership of the BJP yet. The Prime Minister is scheduled to return tonight to Delhi from a 10-day tour abroad. The Punjab BJP is expecting that Mr Vajpayee will send feelers to Mr Tohra soon.

There seems to be no chance of meeting of minds between Mr Tohra and Mr Badal, even if Mr Vajpayee takes the initiative. According to supporters of the former SGPC chief, the BJP had ditched Mr Tohra when he was desperately looking for its support about two years ago . In fact, the BJP had humiliated Mr Tohra.

They say that when the political fight broke out between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra about two years ago, he (Mr Tohra) approached Mr Vajpayee, Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and even the RSS chief with a request that they should intervene to stop Mr Badal from taking extreme steps against him and his supporters. However, these senior leaders of the BJP turned a deaf ear to Mr Tohra’s request. At that time BJP leaders took the stand that it was not their policy to interfere in the internal affairs of the parties allied to the BJP.

“How will these BJP leaders now approach Mr Tohra?”, asked a staunch supporter of Mr Tohra.

A divided SAD was useful to the BJP to serve its political interests. The BJP leadership, as per its plan, did not make any effort for a rapproachement between the warring Tohra and Badal factions, say Mr Tohra’s supporters.

They say that in the company of Mr Tohra, Mr Badal was a strong Chief Minister. He was not even slightly bothered about the BJP. However, after parting company with Mr Tohra, the Chief Minister became politically insecure and vulnerable. Reports regarding dissidence started making the rounds in political circles and also in the media. Mr Badal started spending most of his time on the management of his flock of MLAs.

Such a political situation in the SAD suited the BJP the most. It made full use of the fluid situation in the SAD by securing one additional nomination for the Rajya Sabha from Mr Badal, more share in the Punjab Ministry and other political benefits by getting its men adjusted here and there.

But now when the elections are approaching, the rift between Mr Badal and Mr Tohra does not suit the BJP. The BJP is aware of the fact that Mr Tohra is master tactician. He would go all out to cause the maximum damage to the BJP in the elections. Mr Tohra’s supporters say that they will ensure that strong candidates of the Panthic Morcha are put up foe seats to be contested by the BJP.



 

Brar, Amarinder feud likely to be over
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 13
The Congress high command, which remained indifferent to party affairs in Punjab, has initiated several steps to bring about unity in the party rank and file with a view to the ensuing assembly elections.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, convener, Congress Parliamentary Party, Punjab, who fired a salvo against the PPCC President, Mr Amarinder Singh, at a press conference in Amritsar recently has flashed telephonic message to his loyalists and supporters not to make any statement against the party president and against the interests of the party.

On the other hand, the PPCC President, Mr Amarinder Singh has warned party workers against indulging in any anti-party activity.

Mr Brar, who met the AICC chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, yesterday for over half an hour, told this correspondent that his views were taken into consideration and he was told by Mrs Gandhi to play his ‘role’ in the formation of a Congress government in Punjab.

He said at the moment he was working on issues like POTO, international terrorism, WTO, plight of cotton growers and induction of Mr George Fernandes into Union Cabinet as Defence Minister, which would be taken up by the Congress leadership in the winter session of Parliament. He said he had also met Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha, Mr Shiv Raj Patil, in this connection.

Mr Brar pointed out that he was in favour of making Congress strong in Punjab so that it could cash in on the failures of SAD-BJP combine government of Punjab and on expose the misdeeds of its functionaries. Sources in the Congress said efforts were on for a ‘patch up’ between Mr Brar and Mr Amarinder Singh. The high command had also come to know about those party workers who were trying to drive a wedge between Mr Brar and Mr Amarinder Singh.

The sources added that both Mr Amarinder Singh and Mr Brar had admitted before the high command that they had been gearing up the workers to fight the coming elections effectively.


 

VHP terrorising minorities: Buta
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, Nov 13
Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister Buta Singh today alleged that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was a terrorist organisation as it was “terrorising” the minorities in the country and the NDA government was not taking any step to curb its activities.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Buta Singh alleged that the VHP was now training its cadres to handle sophisticated weapons like the AK-47 and the government was turning a blind eye to all its activities. “The lathis (used in RSS ‘shakhas’) have now been replaced by AK-47 rifles”, he claimed

Referring to the introduction of the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO), Mr Buta Singh alleged that it was aimed at targeting a particular community. He said there was no mention of most of the terrorist organisations. While agreeing that there should be stringent laws to check the menace of terrorism in the country, he said these laws should only be area specific.

Strongly opposing POTO, he feared that it might be misused since the police and security forces in the country had an inherent tendency to side with the ruling party, no matter which party it was. “Whether it is the Congress or the BJP, our police and security forces obey the diktats of the ruling party”, he observed, adding that POTO might be misused against the minorities.

Mr Buta Singh strongly denied any association with the controversial sect leader Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara. He said he had visited him only once when he was told that he (Baba Bhaniara) prescribed nature cure for asthma. “Since my wife was a chronic patient of asthma, I went to see him and he offered some medicine and my wife felt some relief”, he explained, adding, “that is the only time I met him”. He reiterated that he had unfailing faith in Sikhism and only worshipped Guru Granth Sahib as a living Guru.

The Congress leader also supported and justified the recent conversion of about 10,000 Dalits to Budhism. He pointed out it was very difficult for people to live a subhuman life as they were made to live under the caste system. “So there is nothing wrong in opting for a dignified life”, he remarked, while disputing that it was not conversion, but a simple change of faith. Moreover, he pointed out, according to Indian Constitution Buddhism was part of Hinduism; hence it was not conversion.

Mr Buta Singh was here to attend a meeting of the local unit of the All-India Safai Karamchari Congress of which he is the president for past 25 years.



 

Buta: Brar using pressure tactics
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 13
Senior Congress leader and former Union Home Minister Buta Singh has described the recent statements of Mr Jagmeet Brar a pressure tactics to claim extra share in power. Talking to reporters here today Mr Buta Singh said, he did not see any factionalism the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

Mr Buta Singh said, although he was not involved in the state politics yet he was confident of party’s good performance in the forthcoming Assembly elections.



 

Bardhan to address CPI poll rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 13
The state council of the Punjab unit of the CPI will organise a massive regional rally here on December 17 against the economic policies of liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation of the Union Government.

In a statement issued here today, Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the CPI, said the main theme of the rally would be opposition to the WTO’s policies as the CPI was of the opinion that the NDA government, led by the BJP, had surrendered the interests of the nation to the developed countries, especially the USA.

Dr Dayal further said the policies of the WTO would have an adverse effect on the agricultural and industrial sectors of the state which would ruin the farmers and workers. He said due to these policies, a large number of factories would close down and unemployment would increase.

He said the rally would also expose the failure of the SAD-BJP government on all fronts and give a call for its defeat and replacement by a government led by the left, secular and democratic forces.


 

Morcha to protect legacy of Akali Dal: Mann
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), Nov 13
The Panthic Morcha in Punjab has been formed to prevent the Congress from capturing power after the ensuing Punjab Assembly elections and protect the legacy of the Akali Dal as Mr Parkash Singh Badal and the SAD have been losing ground in the state.

This was stated by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Akali Dal (Amritsar) and a senior leader of the Panthic Morcha, while addressing a political conference of the morcha here yesterday. The conference was also attended, among others, by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, President and general secretary, respectively of the SHSAD and senior leaders of the morcha.


 

Sant Longowal murder convict released
Our Correspondent

Nabha, November 13
Gian Singh, son of Mr Gurdev Singh of Pohir village in Ludhiana district, who had been undergoing life imprisonment in the murder case of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, an eminent Akali leader, has been released from the maximum security jail here after undergoing imprisonment for 17 years and four months. He had been booked under TADA.

Gian Singh was one of the nine accused in the case. While the seven accused were released earlier, the chief of accused in the case, Jarnail Singh Halwara, was killed in an encounter with the police at Haripur Basti of Sangrur.

The hearing of the case, was held in the TADA court for 13 years and on July 27, 1998, the designated court at Nabha jail accused Gian Singh of murdering Sant Longowal and sentenced him to death. Gian Singh challenged the court’s decision in the Supreme Court which commuted his sentence to life-imprisonment. Later Gian Singh filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On the third hearing, the court ordered his release. Acting upon the court’s order, Gian Singh was released today by an order of the Home Ministry.


 

Hospital squandering money?
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 13
The Punjab Nurses Association has alleged that the Minister for Medical Research and Education, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, has turned a blind eye towards the wastage of money on non-priority items at the cost of essential and life-saving drugs at the medical college hospital in Faridkot.

It has also alleged that these purchases are being done in defiance of the drug purchase policy.

The president of the association, Ms Jiwan Preet Kaur, alleged here yesterday that nearly Rs 8 lakh had been spent on purchase of broomsticks, mops, phenyl, bedsheets and POP bandages, among other items. She said about 15 quintals of broomsticks and 3000 bedsheets had been purchased for the medical college while the hospital at Faridkot already had about 1600-1700 bedsheets.

She has questioned the purchasing of naphthalene balls with winters having already set in and blankets taken out of almirahs. She also pointed out the hospital had purchased liquid phenyl at the rate of Rs 40 per litre when it was freely available in the market at the rate of about Rs 18-20 per litre.

She further alleged these purchases were in defiance of the drug purchase policy which required these items to be purchased only from the original manufacturers, but the POP bandages had been purchased from Weavco, an organisation involved in the manufacture of items like carpets and bedsheets. The patients, she claimed, were suffering due to the non-availability of essential life-saving drugs while the authorities were squandering away the meagre budget.

She also accused the authorities of ignoring the needs of the patients by allocating 90 per cent of the budget of state medical colleges and hospitals for the payment of salaries alone.

The association said in the past three years, the government had increased ‘purchase’ fee, admission fee, bed fee, investigations, radio-diagnostic and operation charges. It had also sold off seats of the medical colleges to NRIs to generate funds. Fees and hostel charges for MBBS, BDS, D. Pharmacy, Nursing and other courses had also been increased.

Ms Jiwan Preet Kaur also criticised the alleged wrong healthcare policies of the government. She said the 1300-bedded hospital at Amritsar received only Rs 75 lakh government grant compared to Rs 84 crore being given to the 1000-bedded PGI. The association has demanded intervention of the Chief Minister to ensure optimum utilisation of public money.



 

Vultures return to Shivaliks
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, November 13
Vultures , which had almost disappeared in Punjab, have returned to the Shivalik foothills of this district this year. As many as 20 vultures were sighted in the area near Nangal, hovering over a carcass.

Reports that some vultures had been noticed in the forest areas of Nurpurbedi have also been received. Ornithologists, who are enthusiastic about the return of the vultures, said it was for the first time in the past two years that so many vultures had been sighted in the area. They said these vultures who seemed to be in good health might have migrated from the upper areas of Himachal Pradesh on the onset of winter.

The vulture population in Punjab had almost become extinct over the past few years. Though last year about 200 vultures were sighted in the Jandiala area near Mukerian, the Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Mr Gurmeet Singh told this correspondent that the population of vultures had reduced to just 20 this year. Even these birds sighted at Jandiala this year were reportedly not in good health.

A member of the District Environment Committee, Dr D.P. Singh, said the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), had analysed samples taken from dead cattle from Bharatpur, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and areas around Delhi. The study revealed high levels of pesticides like DDT, HCH and dieldrin in cattle fat.

High levels of these chemicals might be one of the reasons for the decline of vulture population in Punjab.

Besides this, new habitat was also one of the reasons. The vultures generally made their nest on peepal of banyan trees. However, the number of these trees had reduced, resulting in the loss of the vultures’ habitat. 


 

Alarming rise in use of pesticides

Moga, November 13
The excessive use of pesticides has resulted in environmental pollution and problems of pesticide residues in food and animal feed.

This was stated by Dr Darshan Singh, Professor-cum-head, Department of Entomology, while talking to mediapersons here on Sunday. He said pollution was posing a serious threat to health of human beings and animals, especially useful birds, most species of which had now become extinct.

Dr Darshan Singh said over the past three and a half decades, the annual pesticide consumption in Punjab had increased to more than 77,000 tonnes, which was the highest in the country. Of this, insecticides alone constituted 60 per cent of total consumption of pesticides and more than 90 per cent of the pesticides were used in the cultivation of cotton, rice and vegetables.

Dr Darshan Singh also observed that more than 504 insects and mites, 150 plant pathogens and 273 weeds species had developed resistance to pesticides globally. The problem of insecticide resistance in cotton was so acute in Punjab that to kill American bollworm, it required an application of 13 to 111-fold concentrations of insecticides, he added. UNI



 

Book of poems released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 13
The Rotary Club, Sirhind organised the release ceremony of ‘Te Akkhar Bol Pae’, a book of Punjabi poems, written by Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha in the Rotary Bhavan today. The chief guest, Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, Chief Editor, Chardhikala group of publications, released the book.

Mr Dardi, while speaking on the occasion, said that Dr Ubha has a great social relevance in his poetry and he described beautifully various social issues prevailing in society.

Dr Jagtar Singh Joga, a Punjabi scholar, in his paper on the book said that the book of poems written by Dr Ubha gives the message of high social and moral values. He said that his poems have deep concern for humanism and he has expressed his emotions regarding decline in human values. The poetry of Dr Ubha covers a wide range of topics from love affairs of the youth to highly sensitive issues of society.

Prof Ajmair Singh Aulakh, a dramatist, said that the present man is lost in consumerism and materialism.

Dr Sohinder Bir, Reader from Guru Nanak Dev University, said that Dr Ubha has dedicated himself to creative writing with full devotion and commitment. He has proved in his poetry that the pen is mightier than sword. Dr Ubha also highlighted the plight of women in society in an excellent manner.

Dr Gurminder Sidhu, from Mohali described the book as beautiful treasure of deep, rich and soul-searching thoughts. Dr Harchand Singh Sirhindi expressed his thoughts about the book by saying that Dr Ubha has the guts to call a spade a spade. Dr Charn Singh Gill said that letters speak only when a person is filled with emotions and pure conscience. He said that poetry of Dr Ubha is a beautiful mixture of emotions, logic and intellect.

Dr Ubha recited his poems on the occasion. The programme was attended by a large number of people including District Rotary Governor Vijay Gupta, Principal S.R. Sahni, Principal Dr Gurmohan Singh, Principal Joginder Singh, Sukhdev Singh Ahluwalia, Rotary Members.


 

Milk centre building on verge of collapse
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 13
A milk chilling-cum-collection centre (MCCC) was constructed at Narote-Jaimal Singh area of this subdivision about five years ago. Crores of rupees were spent on its construction. The centre was to provide facilities to the milk producers for selling milk at the support price.

Along with the MCCC, the provision was also made for the residential accommodation of the employees.

Now the dreams of the milk producers stand shattered as the building of the centre is on the verge of collapse. It has resulted in the loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer.

According to sources, the milk vendors of the area are forced to sell milk in the open market at a much lower price due to non-functioning of the centres. Even the residential buildings have been neglected and are still lying unoccupied.

According to Mr D.M. Mehta, a local resident, the MCCC should be repaired and should start functioning for the convenience of the residents of the border area and dairy owners.


 

B.Ed degree holders warn govt
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 13
B.Ed degree holders have warned the government that if the 1:5 formula being applied for their selection was not withdrawn, they would approach court. Mr Avinash Godara, district secretary of the Unemployed Teachers Front in a statement issued here today said if ETT candidates who had applied against vacancies could be called for interview, B.Ed graduates should not be called under the 1:5 formula. The recruitment agency had not stated this condition, he said. Many candidates who had the basic qualifications were weeded out by the formula, he added.



 

Boycott Divali: morcha leader
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 13
Dr Harjinder Jakhu, national general secretary of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), and a Panthic Morcha leader, today called upon Panthic circles to boycott Divali celebrations in protest against the acts of sacrilege.


 

Justice Iqbal Singh bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 13
Mrs Amrik Kaur, mother of Justice Iqbal Singh, Presiding Officer, Industrial Tribunal, Punjab, and grandmother of Dr Upneet Lalli, Deputy Director, Institute of Correctional Administration, died here yesterday after a brief illness. 


 

House gutted
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 13
A fire broke out in the house of Mr Harbans Singh today, reducing most of the household items to ashes.

Mr Harbans Singh, a Class IV employee with the state Health Department, said the fire broke out due to a leakage in the LPG cylinder. He was cooking food when the fire went out of control, he said.

The SSP who visited the spot said if the cylinder had exploded it could have proved more dangerous. Two fire engines put off the fire.


 

Fungal infection hits parmal crop
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 13
Crown leaf spot, caused by a fungal infection, has hit the PR-116 variety of parmal in Narot Jaimal Singh development block on the Indo-Pak border.

The crop on 1,000 acres, on both sides of the Ravi, has been badly affected. The farmers say that their requests to the agriculture department, for controlling the disease , has yielded no results.

The disease has also affected the PR-116 variety of parmal paddy, near Mirthal in Pathankot sub-division, it is learnt.

When contacted, Dr Parmjit Singh Bagga, plant pathologist at Regional Centre of Punjab Agricultural University, said that the disease was curable and preventable. He, however, said he was informed about the disease just 10 days back, adding that in future adequate preventive measures would be taken. 


 

Sangrur tops again in paddy purchase
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 13
Sangrur district has once again topped in paddy procurement in the state. By the end of the season, 19,19,395 tonnes paddy had been procured in the district.

Besides Sangrur, the other large paddy producing districts are: Ludhiana, 12, 93,043 tonnes, Patiala, 12, 52, 913 tonnes and Ferozepore 11,22,206 tonnes.

The Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, told this correspondent at Nangal today that there had also been an increase in the per hectare output of paddy this year. Despite a reduction of two lakh hectares under paddy, the target of 1.10 crore tonnes had been achieved this year, which equalled last year’s procurement.

The millers had purchased 14.4 per cent of the total paddy procured this year, the state agencies, 74.7 per cent, and the FCI, 25.3 per cent.


 

PSEB revenue collection up
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has substantially increased its revenue collection by extensive monitoring of revenue collections on a daily basis.

In a press note, Member (Operation) of the PSEB, Mr Kirpal Singh, said various drives had been launched to increase the revenue collection and several measures, including intensifying the anti-theft drive, change over to electronic metering, accounting of power at the generation, transmission and distribution stages had been undertaken.

Mr Kirpal Singh also said that the board had specified targets for all operation circles and also launched a scheme under which special incentives and appreciation letters would be given to those operation circles which showed a marked improvement in revenue in the current financial year.

He said cash receipts touched Rs 1749.85 crore between April and August while for the corresponding period last year the receipts were only Rs 1502.61 crore. This was possible because of the increased sale of power despite the fact that the total power availability in the state was comparatively less than last year. Mr Kirpal Singh added that cash realisation from the metered sale of power in October this year had also touched a record figure of Rs 442 crore as compared to Rs 400 crore in the corresponding period last year.

However, cash receipts of 15 divisions of the board had decreased and the board authorities had asked the officials concerned to take steps to make up for the losses.


 

Man on parole commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 13
Kartar Singh, who was in a sub-jail here for the past two years for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics, yesterday reportedly committed suicide in Bathinda while he was on parole.

Kartar Singh, a resident of Partap Nagar in Bathinda, was found in an unconscious state near Rose Garden lay volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva. He was taken to the Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Mr Vijay Goyal, president of the Sahara Jan Seva, said Kartar Singh had consumed celphos tablets and was identified from a note in his pocket.

Mr Amrik Singh, munshi of the sub-jail, said a case in connection with the smuggling of narcotics had been registered against Kartar Singh in Malout police station of this district. He confirmed that Kartar Singh was on parole.

He added that the sub-jail authorities had got no official information in connection with the suicide. The body had been handed over to the kin of the deceased following a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered.



 

New dates for Youth Festival
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 13
In the wake of the forthcoming National Games scheduled to be held in Punjab from November 19 to 30, Punjabi University has rescheduled the Zonal Youth Festival.
In a press note, the Director of Youth Festival, Punjabi University, Mr Daljit Singh, has stated that the Zonal Youth festival of Ropar zone will be held at Government College, Ropar, from December 7 to 9. Government Ripudaman College Nabha will play the host to the colleges of Sangrur zone from December 29th to 31and Bikram College of Commerce, Patiala, will organise the festival for Patiala zone from January 2 to 4.



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