Saturday, December 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Takht will keep away from politics: Badungar
Varinder Walia

Amritsar, November 30
Describing Akal Takht and the Sikh clergy supreme, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, SGPC President, said today he would ensure the autonomy of the great Sikh institutions so that they could not be used to meet political ends.

Talking to TNS, he said he would not tolerate any attempt to belittle the Takht by anybody. He said he held the Sikh High Priests in high esteem and their supremacy would be maintained. The SGPC came into being in 1925 after supreme sacrifices and hence any attempt to politicise it would be frustrated, he said.

He, however, evaded a question on a major chunk of SGPC funds distributed in Ludhiana district by his predecessor, Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi.

Replying to a question, Prof Badungar said he would also ensure that there was no confrontation between the SGPC and Akal Takht during his tenure.

In another significant statement, Prof Badungar said he would endeavour to restore maryada. Asked whether he would ensure the presence of Giani Puran Singh, Head Granthi, at the meeting of Akal Takht as per the Sikh tradition, he said: “Let me study the entire issue”. If need be, he would seek the advice of the clergy to resolve the matter, he added.

It may be mentioned that Giani Puran Singh had refused to attend the meeting of Akal Takht on the plea that he could not sit with the three Sikh High Priests who were “excommunicated” from the Panth through a controversial edict issued by him in capacity as Jathedar, Akal Takht.

Prof Badungar said the SGPC was a religious body and it would be confined to religious activities only.

Without naming Mr Talwandi, Prof Badungar said that ego and dictatorship had no place in Sikhism. Office-bearers or members of the SGPC had to be humble and dedicated to the faith.

Without elaborating he said there were instances when some senior persons tried to use the Sikh institutions for their own gains and this must be avoided.

Asked about the publication of his picture with excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, Prof Badungar said he would file a defamation case against the printer and publisher of the daily. He claimed that he had never met the excommunicated baba, adding that he did not even know the location of the dera.

He said though the Badal government had banned the controversial granth and ordered the arrest of Baba Bhaniara, apart from demolishing the dera, he (the Chief Minister) was being accused of indifference. He appealed to the Sikh sangat not to be misguided by baseless propaganda as his picture was super-imposed with the help of a computer.

He said he held his predecessors, Mr Talwandi, Mr Tohra and Bhai Ranjit Singh in high esteem and hence they should not indulge in mudslinging anymore.


SGPC, Akal Takht in turmoil: Mann
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 30
Mr Sirmranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that the SGPC and Akal Takht were in turmoil due to maladministration of the ruling Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Mann said Mr Badal was in the habit of “tukna” i.e biting and pecking at one SGPC President after another. Firstly, Mr G.S. Tohra did not suit him, then Bibi Jagir Kaur, and now Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi had not suited him. Mr Badal had also unceremoniously changed Akal Takht Jathedars, he added.

Mr Mann agreed with Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, Panthic Morcha’s convener, view that Mr Badal had managed to get a clean chit from the Akal Takht Jathedar for the present SGPC Chief Kirpal Singh Badungar for having links with excommunicated Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

When asked whether BSP Supremo Kanshi Ram was indulged in arms-twisting by repeatedly demanding lion’s share of seats, Mr Mann said seats sharing should be decided in close-door meeting, quipped Mr Mann. He favoured reservation for Dalits but also maintained that a balance should be maintained by granting them one-time benefit.

Mr Mann alleged that the November 18 package of the Prime Minister and octroi abolition proved that both leaders were in favour of urban people. He opposed octroi abolition as it would disturb civic development.

He alleged that the Centre was shying away from purchase policy of foodgrains and demanding opening of Punjab borders with Pakistan and Central Asia so that farmers could market their produce in these countries. The move to abolish the Essential Commodities Act was to please black marketeers and hoarders. Mr Mann later addressed Shahidi conference at nearby Narangshahpur village in memory of Mr Gurbinder Singh Binder. Mr Rajinder Singh Fauji had organised it. Senior party leaders Mr Dhyan Singh Mand, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, Dr Harjinder Jakhu, Mr Paramjit Singh Johal also spoke on the occasion.


AISSF (U) joins issue with Tohra on SGPC poll
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 30
The All-India Sikh Students Federation (United) has joined the issue with former SGPC President and Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra on the recently held SGPC elections.

Taking strong exception to his statement that the newly elected head of the SGPC had links with Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, the AISSF convener, Dr Manjit Singh Bhoma, has asked Mr Tohra to first look at his own conduct. He said it was no secret as to how the then SGPC President (Mr Tohra) had gone to the Nirankari Bhavan to seek votes, how he was made to appear at Akal Takht and how his exoneration was manipulated. Mr Bhoma further said here today that Mr Tohra was feeling belittled in his own eyes over the election of Mr Badungar to the highest temporal post of the Sikhs as the former was reported to have bragged that Mr Badungar could not even be elected member of a village panchayat till he (Mr Tohra) was around.

Other signatories to the statement were Mr Gurdip Singh Leel, Mr Rajinder Singh Kaka, Mr Kamaljit Singh Grewal, Mr Pritam Singh Bharowal, Dr Kirpal Singh Sudhar, Mr Rajwinder Mintu, Mr Sanjiv Chana, Mr Bobby Bhandari, Mr Gurnam Singh Kalsi, Mr Swarnjit Sony, Mr Varinder Singh Rinku, Dr Harinder Singh Virk, Mr Harpal Singh Cheena, Mr Devinder Singh Banga, Mr Hardev Singh Dholan, Mr Sukhwant Singh Sukha and Mr Kuldip Singh Sonu.


Thousands throng gurdwaras
Tribune Reporters and UNI

Jalandhar, November 30
The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev was celebrated at gurdwaras and religious places with traditional fervour here today.

Hundreds of devotees thronged gurdwaras to listen to shabad Gurbani. Bhog of akhand path were conducted and religious prayers recited on the occasion of gurpurab. Lyallpur Khalsa Senior Secondary School organised a special “kirtan darbar”.

Langar was organised by various religious and social organisations at various places.

SHIMLA: Solemnity and religious fervour marked the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of Sikh devotees, undeterred by cold, thronged gurdwaras since morning and offered prayers.

Devotees attended lectures on the life and teachings of the Guru.

Reports of celebrations were received from Mandi, Riwalsar, Manikaran, Paonta Sahib, Nahan, Solan and Dharamsala.

Governor Suraj Bhan and Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal have expressed their greetings to people on the occasion.

KULU: Gurpurab was celebrated here with fervour. All shops and other business establishments remained closed at Kulu and Bhuntar. Colourful “jankian” were taken out yesterday amid the chanting of bhajans and kirtan. Langar and kirtan were held at gurdwaras in Manali, Bhuntar and Manikaran. 


Gurpurb celebrated
Our Correspondent

The devotees taking "Langar" at Gurudwara Kila Mubarak on the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji on Friday in Bathinda. 
— photo Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, November 30
Gurpurb was celebrated with religious fervour at all gurdwaras here. All gurdwaras were decorated for the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. 

“Ardas” was performed and “langar” (community kitchen) were organised for the devotees.

A nagar kirtan was taken out in the city yesterday from Gurdwara Singh Sabha. Community kitchens were organised at many places in the city. 

Religious diwans and dhadhis were also organised.


Live telecast of Gurbani launched
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, today inaugurated the live telecast of Gurbani from the Golden Temple by ETC channel to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev here today. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, General Secretary, Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhowal, Senior Vice-President and Dr Gurcharan Singh Bachan, Secretary of the SGPC, respectively, were also present on the occasion. Earlier, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, read the message in the name of the Sikh sangat.



Amarinder slams govt for corruption
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 30
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Capt Amarinder Singh, here today promised that if his party came to power in Punjab, it would usher in a new epoch of economic and industrial progress, besides a corruption-free governance. Addressing a seminar on “Issues Before the State,” organised by Prof Satish Sharma of the Ludhiana chapter of the Congress Intellectual Cell, Capt Amarinder Singh said: “The Congress has a vision of a rich, prosperous and progressive Punjab”.

Presenting a dismal picture of the state of affairs under the Akali-BJP regime, the PPCC President levelled allegations against the government. He claimed that corruption had crossed all limits and every job was on sale. He alleged that all appointments made in the state, whether by the Punjab Public Service Commission or the Services Selection Board, were done after charging hefty amounts from the candidates.

The Congress leader warned against disillusionment among the educated, unemployed youth of the state. He pointed out that since merit was not being made the criterion for appointments, deserving candidates were being left out. “Our neighbour will try to exploit this disillusionment among the youth and the consequences can be fatal...we should not forget the dark decade of the 1980s,” he said.

Capt Amarinder Singh also referred to the agricultural and industrial slump in Punjab. He said although it was a worldwide phenomenon, the Punjab Government had not done anything substantial to save the dying industry in Punjab. He said Punjab, which was ranked among the richest states of the country, had slid to eleventh or twelfth place as the per capita income had also come down significantly.

The PPCC President claimed that there was utter frustration among farmers as they were not getting their due. He claimed that about 600 cases of suicide by farmers had been reported from different parts of the state. “This reflects their sorry plight and the level of desperation,” he pointed out, accusing Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of betraying farmers’ interests.

Later, answering questions, particularly about corruption, Capt Amarinder Singh assured that only the candidates having a clean image and high integrity would be allotted tickets by the party. “While winnability will be the main criterion, factors like clean image and integrity cannot be overlooked,” he said. He said the prescribed application forms for prospective candidates asked for all details which would help in establishing the credentials of the aspiring candidates.

The local MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, and Mr Satish Sharma also criticised the Badal government, accusing it of inefficiency and corruption. They exhorted people to bring the Congress back to power. Prominent among those present on the occasion were Mr Pawan Dewan, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Mr K.K. Bawa, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mr Suridner Dawer and others. The seminar was also attended by the intellectual elite of the city.


Canada’s first woman Sikh minister
Ashok Sethi

Ms Sindi Hawkins (centre) after being sworn in as Cabinet Minister of British Columbia, Canada. Supreme Court Judge Uppal (second from left) and Hawkins’ parents (extreme left and right) are also seen in the photo.

It was indeed a red-letter day for the Ahluwalias settled in Canada to see their daughter, Ms Sindi Hawkins, being sworn in as the First Minister of Health Planning in British Columbia.

Sindi Hawkins alias Satinder Kaur became the first Canadian Punjabi woman to be elected in the Government of British Columbia from the constituency of Kelowna Mission, a resort, in elections held this year. Earlier, she was elected as Liberat Party MLA in 1996 in Okanagan West winning by a big margin over her rival.

Winning elections from Kelowna Mission was a feat as a majority of voters were rich Canadians with a sprinkling of Indian origin residents, it was indeed a cakewalk for the former head nurse.

Talking to the correspondent on phone from her ministerial office in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, Ms Sindi Hawkins said it was a proud moment for her as well as her family, which had migrated from Gurdaspur, to reach a cabinet position in a multi-racial country like Canada.

She pointed out that she was doing her utmost to make the people understand the feelings of the ethnic community like Sikhs who had suffered humiliation after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. Her primary job has been to create awareness about the Sikhs and other communities living in her province. The people in Canada were most considerate and gave due respect to people from other countries, their religion and culture.

Canada’s first Sikh woman minister said the British Columbia Government was keen to share health and medical expertise with Punjab. Her government has already taken up pre-natal healthcare projects in the state and wishes to pursue some more in the coming years. Her endeavour has been to ensure quality health for all in her state as the government has provided about 40 per cent of the total state’s budget for the health and medical planning.

Manohar Singh Ahluwalia and Sharnjeet Kaur, her father and mother, who had come to India the last week, while talking to the reporter, said the family with young Sindi and her three sisters landed in Canada on August 28, 1963. The family settled in the small town of Sturgis, where he was appointed a high school teacher in social studies and English. Mr Ahluwalia said Sindi learnt nursing, and worked as head nurse at Baker Cancer Centre at Calgary (Alberta) for more than 10 years. Later she joined another hospital and worked as neuro-science nurse. She then studied for a degree in law to specialise in medico-legal cases, he added.


BJP discusses poll strategy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 30
The Punjab BJP today discussed the strategy for the coming Assembly elections at a joint meeting of the legislative group and the election committee.

The meeting was attended by the BJP national general secretary, Mr P.L. Khandelwal, and the national secretary, Mr O.P. Kohli, besides the state president, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, the state general-secretary, (organisation), Mr Avinash Jaiswal, ministers, including Mr Balramji Das Tandon and Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, MPs and MLAs.

A party spokesperson told TNS that the position in all 23 constituencies that the BJP had contested in February, 1997, (it won 18) were reviewed. The BJP also identified additional 10-11 constituencies that it intended to contest in consultation and discussion on seatsharing with the coalition partner, the SAD.

The meeting appointed Mr Vinod Sharma, state secretary, the election in charge. The central election headquarters of the BJP will be in Jalandhar. Mr Sharma was a special invitee today.

The state executive of the party will meet in Ludhiana on December 23, where again, besides the legislative group, MPs, chairpersons of improvement trusts, boards and corporations, district presidents and general secretaries and general secretaries of the organisational wings would be invited.

The spokesperson also said that boothwise meetings would be held between December 10 and 13 where the party’s organisational wings would be galvanised and apprised of the ‘’achievements’’ of the SAD-BJP government. Those meetings would be addressed by the ministers as well.


Estate dedicated to Atma Singh
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 30
The vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, Mr Tarlochan Singh, today dedicated the ultra modern Urban Estate built by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road here in memory of the late Jathedar Atma Singh.

Addressing the gathering at a state-level function organised by the PUDA authorities, the Vice-Chairman said the architect of new Kapurthala was the late Atma Singh. “The dedication of this estate in memory of such a selfless leader is a small tribute which we can pay to him. In fact, all political and social leaders should follow the path shown by him”, Mr Tarlochan Singh added.

He said Atma Singh had brought the Sikhs and the Centre closer to each other. “I was sent by the Central Government to hold talks with Atma Singh and his response was very mature and he had developed a peace formula which if implemented would have stopped a decade-long bloodshed in Punjab,” said the Vice-Chairman of the Commission.

He also praised the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for adopting a non-confrontational approach towards the Centre. “The state government has nothing for development and it is the Centre which is funding the development activities in the state”. He said PUDA’s initiative for development of Kapurthala was likely to get good response from NRIs.

Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Chief Administrator PUDA said to pay tributes to saints, social workers and martyrs all urban estates would henceforth be named after them. He said separate plots had been reserved in such estates for economically weaker sections.

The Punjab Urban Development Minister, Ms Upinderjit Kaur, said this estate would deter the people who had encroached upon the government’s land. She also expressed her gratitute to Mr Tarlochan Singh for writing a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister to dedicate the estate to her father.

Later, Mr H.S. Nanda, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, said the estate comprised 1,417 residential plots. It would also have facilities like sports complex, community and health centres, cinema hall and four educational institutions.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Swarna Ram, Mr Raghbir Singh and Mr A.K. Dubey, Vice-Chairman of PUDA.


Another case of polio suspected
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 30
Even as the state health authorities are trying to assess the reasons behind the two cases of polio in Faridkot district, detected in August and September, another suspected case of polio in this district has put them on alert.

Official sources said a child over two years old was suffering from polio at Tungwali village of this district.

The sources said a stool sample had been sent to a laboratory at Kasauli.

A close watch was being kept on the patient.

What is worrying the health authorities is the fact that this was the third case of polio which had been detected for the first time in the past three years.

The Central and Punjab Governments along with various NGOs, have spent crores in the past five years on the execution of the pulse polio programme launched in 1995.

Dr V.K. Kaushal, District Immunisation Officer, Civil Hospital, talking to TNS, said the child at Tungwali village had been vaccinated about a month ago.

He could develop a weak leg, he said, adding that report of the stool test would be received within a month.

The sources said after the detection of the two cases, the health authorities had launched drive in Bathinda, Muktsar, Ferozepore, Moga and Faridkot districts from October 30 to November 4.

The authorities would carry out an intensive pulse polio immunisation programme from December 2.

If preventive steps were not taken immediately, the spread of polio virus could defeat the purpose of the pulse polio programme, the sources added.


Rotary Club organises polio awareness rally
Surinder Bhardwaj
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 30
The Rotary Club, Sirhind, organised a polio awareness rally today. Students of Sirhind Public School and Rana Munshi Ram Sarav Hitkari Vidya Mandir took out the rally from GT road, Sirhind, and passed through the main bazar. The rally was flagged off by Dr Amrit Lal Dhingra, Civil Surgeon, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Dhingra lauded efforts of the club, in organising the rally. He said awareness about polio immunisation was the need of the hour because our country had initiated a crusade against its eradication from the country. He said Rotary International was doing a yeoman’s service by providing polio vaccination.

The rally was led by President, Harshvinder Singh, Secretary, Dharminder Singh Ubha, Bhupinder Singh, Krishan Gupta, Dinesh Verma, J.P.S. Chadha and Pardeep Thukral.

The rallyists also raised slogans against female foeticide. It terminated at Rana Munshi Ram Sarav Hitkari Vidya Mandir where the club secretary, Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, addressed the students and teachers of the school. Dr Ubha said it was our duty to make people aware about the ills prevailing in the society. He strongly condemned female foeticide. He showed his concern about the declining female ratio in the state and in this district. Mr Mahesh Sharma, Principal, of a local school, also addressed the gathering. The students were given refreshments by the club.


Copies of The Hindu burnt
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 30
Irate Muslims, led by Syed Nazir Ahmed, president, Anjumane Dawtey Islamia Committee, today made a bonfire of the copies of the English daily The Hindu, for committing sacrilege by publishing sketches of Prophet Mohammad and Khalifa Abu Baqr. They demanded punitive measures against the paper and public apology from its publisher, printer, Editor and others concerned in this regard.

There were no picture or graphic sketches of Prophet Mohammed, Nazir Ahmed claimed. By publishing the sketches the newspaper had hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community, Mr Ahmed alleged.


Nurses urge govt to fill posts
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 30
The Punjab Nurses Association today appealed to the government to immediately fill posts of nursing staff as per norms of the Indian Nursing Council and accept its demands.

Ms Jeewan Preet Kaur, state president of the association, urged the government to intervene and accept its demands, including pay scale on a par with that of Junior Engineers (Rs 5800-9400), special nursing allowance on the Central pattern (Rs 2,000 per month), redesignation, cadre review, a separate directorate for nurses and increase in the stipend given to student nurses.

She claimed that of the 43 Assistant Nursing Superintendents (Matrons) required as per regulations in the medical colleges and hospitals at Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot, less than 10 were available.

Ms Amarjeet Kaur Dhillon, state vice-president of the association, said as per norms, more than 1200 staff nurses were required in the state medical colleges.

Giving a case study of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, she said there were 329 sanctioned posts, of which 150 were lying vacant.

She said only about 125 nursing staff members were working on a given day, putting great stress on the staff.

Ms Paramjit Kamboj, secretary of the Patiala unit, appealed to the human rights and women’s commissions to intervene on behalf of nurses. Ms Rajinder Bhattal, vice-president of the unit, claimed that the student nurses were being paid stipend less than that prescribed in the Minimum Wages Act for unskilled labour.

She said students nurses had to pay high tuition fee in addition to mess charges.


State-level science exhibition concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 30
The State Government has decided to validate the list of recruitment of teachers for one year. A selected teacher would be immediately sent to fill any vacancy caused due to retirement of any teacher, according to Mr S.S. Johal, Additional Secretary Education. He was here to preside over a three-day state-level science exhibition-cum-competition organised by the local Education Department, which concluded here today. He also presided over the concluding session and gave away prizes to the winners of the competition in various categories.

He said retirement was a continuous process and that the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, was very keen on making recruitment an annual feature. He said on the directions of the Education Minister, a survey was conducted in schools in the state regarding the number of posts lying vacant for the past five years.

He said the schools where the presence of teachers was found out to be between 80 and 100 per cent of the sanctioned strength, they have been put in “A” category, while those between 60 and 80 per cent have been put in “B” category and those below 60 per cent have been put in “C” category. He said newly appointed teachers would be sent to the “C” category schools and they would not be transferred to “A” or “B” category schools for at least three years. He said the newly appointed male ETT teachers would be sent to “C” category and remote rural area schools, while the female teachers would be adjusted in “B” category schools.

Later addressing students and teachers, he appreciated the local Education Department for organising the state-level exhibition. He urged the students to pursue science and Information Technology to compete with the rest of the world.

Mr H.S. Bhullar, DEO (S), presented detailed information and read the progress report of the department. He also announced a holiday on Saturday in all schools of the district.

The Ludhiana district was declared winner by scoring 53 marks in various types of competitions, while the second position was won by Amritsar district, which got 47 marks, and Bathinda was declared third by getting 25 marks.


Poor response to Indo-Pak mela
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
The sixth Raja Poras Hind-Pak Punjabi Friendship Mela held at the Wagha point checkpost today received lukewarm response from the local public. However, the organisers received a shot in the arm as 38 delegates from Pakistan participated.

Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, Congress member of Parliament, while inaugurating the mela said peace in the region was the need of the hour. Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, renowned Punjabi writer and Rajya Sabha member, in his keynote address said Punjabis from India and Pakistan still loved each other and this needed to be strengthened. He urged the Pakistan-based Punjabis to organise similar festivals across the border.

Ashif Shahkar, Punjabi writer from Pakistan, said the wall of hatred stood demolished when people from both countries participated in such melas.


Residents not to pay octroi for power used
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 30
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court while giving its verdict on a writ petition filed by the Public Grievances Association, a social organisation, said as the power supplied to the residents of the city was produced by Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant which was located in the municipal limits of the city, therefore the authorities could not charge octroi for the electricity used by residents. The PSEB charges 4 paise per unit as octroi from the consumers of the state. Octroi is collected by the board along with the electricity bills and after deducting 10 per cent money from octroi collected as service charges, the amount is given to the respective municipal councils.

The verdict further stated that the PSEB levied octroi on the electricity imported to a city but it could not do so in case of Bathinda as the power was produced in the city itself. The Division Bench has also asked the authorities to refund octroi levied from the consumers of the city since November 28, 1994.


Ownership rights order gets go-by
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 30
The Chief Secretary, Punjab, had issued directions to municipal councils in the state in March this year to transfer ownership rights to the holders/tenants on the payment of 20 per cent value of the property fixed by the Deputy Commissioners concerned on which general deeds were executed. However, the implementation of the order is still awaited.


BKU ends stir after officers’ transfer
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 30
The Bhartiya Kisan Union today ended its 57-day-old agitation following the transfer of four officers of the plant protection wing of the Agriculture Department.

Dr Gurdial Singh Phul, Joint Director, Agriculture, announced at a meeting of farmers that APPO Hans Raj Jagga had been transferred from Abohar to Bathinda, ADOs Sandeep Bhateja and Ramswarup to Jalandhar district and Sukhdev Singh to Ludhiana district. All were relieved immediately upon receiving the orders. He said the government had decided to institute a high-level inquiry into the allegations levelled by the BKU against dealers for selling spurious insecticides and the role of the officers concerned in the episode. Criminal cases registered against prominent leaders of the BKU at the behest of the APPO would be withdrawn. The criminal petition filed against SDM Sumer Singh Gurjar would also be withdrawn by department officials, he said.

The BKU president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, however, said farmers would reach Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi, on December 17 to participate in a march on the next day. The office of Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh would be gheraoed to press the demand for giving compensation to cotton growers at the rate of Rs 15,000 per acre for the loss of crop due to bollworm and the subsequent damage because of spurious insecticides.

Mr Lakhowal and other leaders said the BKU would urge the Union Agriculture Minister to announce MSP for sugarcane at Rs 110 per quintal and likewise for other rabi crops. A meeting of the state executive of the BKU will be held at Ludhiana on December 10 to finalise the gherao programme.


KCF man arrested, claims police

Jalandhar, November 30
The district police today claimed to have arrested a former terrorist of the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF-Panjwar) identified as Harpal Singh, alias Happy a resident of Bhana village under Ghardiwal police station of Hoshiarpur district.

Disclosing this here, SSP Gaurav Yadav stated that Happy was pickedup by a police party from a car service station in Dasuya which was being run by Harpal Singh yesterday. He said Harpal Singh along with six other members of the KCF had in September 1991 allegedly murdered four members of a family in Kartarpur using sharp-edged weapons.

While five members of this gang were shot in different police encounters, Harpal Singh and one of his associates identified as Avtar Singh Tari eluded the police. The SSP said Tari later went abroad and Harpal Singh went underground. The court declared both of them as proclaimed offenders.

Mr Yadav said Harpal Singh set up a car service station at Dasuya and began running it through “remote control”. He would occasionally visit the service station.

The Kartarpur police through certain sources got information about Harpal Singh’s occasional visits to the service station. It was while he was on a visit, that the police arrested him.

Harpal Singh was produced before a judicial magistrate who remanded him in police custody. UNI


Don’t derecognise colleges, MCI urged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 30
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association (PSMDTA) yesterday appealed to the Medical Council of India (MCI) not to derecognise the three government medical colleges in the state. In a statement here, the PSMDTA Core Committee chairperson, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, and the general secretary, Dr B.S. Sohal, appealed to the MCI not to take the drastic step of derecognising the three medical colleges as the government had failed to provide these with the required facilities. The inspection of the colleges by the MCI is due soon.

The leaders urged the state government to take steps to fulfil the MCI regulations regarding filling of posts and redesignation as well as ensuring minimal essential requirements in terms of medical and paramedical staff and hospital material.

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