Sunday, December 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akali disunity shot in arm for Cong
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 1
With Akali unity having fallen by the wayside, a section of Congress leaders from Punjab see a silver lining in this development and now believe that the party’s prospects for regaining power in the state have received a shot in the arm.

This section did not share the view of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee that the Shiromani Akali Dal of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had already lost the battle at the hustings because of its “misrule” over the past five years and its alleged acts of omission and commission.

These Congressmen, who have been actively lobbying with the party high command to change its campaign strategy in Punjab by getting actively involved in the affairs of the Sikh panth among other things, insisted that it would still be naive to write off the SAD.

They also contended that the PPCC had not done enough over the past two years to earn the confidence of the farmers and the underprivileged sections. With Assembly elections in Punjab barely three months away and the warring Akalis unable to get their act together, the PPCC needed to close ranks rather than being caught in internecine factional feuds.

During an interface with Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently and at the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the party, these Punjab Congressmen stressed that the AICC and the PPCC could not adopt a passive attitude to distortions in textbooks about the Sikh Gurus or in matters concerning religion.

They emphasised that the Congress must be in the vanguard in fighting these divisive tendencies and remain focussed on what it could do for the uplift of the people at large coupled with the development of Punjab. This must be realistic and convincing rather than the party indulging in the usual bluster and rhetoric.

This section has also impressed upon the Congress President that merit and winnability should be the criteria for selecting party candidates for the Assembly elections in Punjab.

Congress sources said Ms Gandhi had also indicated that she favoured certain party MPs from Punjab selectively contesting the coming Assembly elections. Simultaneously, she was keeping her options open on who should become the leader of the legislature party in case the Congress triumphed in the state.

The Congress President is believed to have left the leadership issue wide open though she said this would be decided by the legislature party. As has been the practice, the Congress high command foists its choice on the legislature parties in the states. Despite their reservations and as is only to be expected this section of Congressmen from Punjab assured Ms Gandhi of their unqualified support for whatever decision she took in respect of the state.


POTO unacceptable in any form: Cong
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Bajwara (Hoshiarpur), December 1
Admitting that there were some lapses in TADA, the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) today outrightly rejected the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) in any form.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) is in the process of a dialogue with other parties such as the CPI and CPM for an electoral alliance before going to the poll scheduled to be held in February.

Speaking to The Tribune, AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni, AICC treasurer Moti Lal Vora and PPCC President Amarinder Singh, who were here to participate in a function organised at SBAC Higher Secondary School here today, said POTO was not acceptable to their party in any form and no changes in it could satisfy the Congress as the ordinance was totally undemocratic and against the very principles of the Constitution. “Actually, POTO has many inherent defects. The biggest is that it is aimed at taking away the freedom of the Press, which has to be maintained at any cost in a democratic country like India”, the Congress leaders said in unison.

We outrightly reject this in any form, though we are against terrorism and feel that everybody should fight out the evil without dragging politics into it. We may consider a new legislation, if it does not violate the democratic norms and constitutional rights, they added. Ms Ambika Soni admitted that TADA, introduced by the Congress, too had many defects and the party had learnt a lot from such defects, abuses and misuses. She also criticised the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, for stating that the BJP did not need the Congress support as it was in a win-win situation as far as POTO was concerned.

Referring to the stance of the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, on the issue, Ms Soni said the BJP-led government did not bother to hold discussions on the issue with the opposition parties before introducing it in Parliament. Moreover, it is an attack on media and its freedom.

Mr Charanjit Channi, MP, gave a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the school management. Mr Vora said such schools were the need of the hour in the rural areas. Others, who were present on the occasion included Mr Ramesh Dogra, MLA, and Mr Rajesh Thakur, General Secretary District Congress Committee.

Later, addressing a gathering at Roshan Grounds, Hoshiarpur a Capt Amarinder Singh lashed out at the Akalis for their dismal performance during the past four-and-a-half years.

Referring to his repeated allegations that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had amassed huge properties, the PPCC chief said a judicial commission would be set up by the Congress after coming to power. He also criticised the SAD-BJP for increasing unemployment and slump in the agriculture and industrial sectors.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, leaders of Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said Mr Badal and his family was involved in corruption.

Among those, who were present on the occasion included Mr Tejinder Bittu, Secretary, PPCC, Mr Davinder Babbu, president of the Punjab Youth Congress, former Punjab ministers, Kewal Krishan, Ramesh Dogra, Lakhmir Singh Randhawa, Jagmohan Singh Kang and Congress MPs Balbir Singh, Charanjit Channi and Santosh Chaudhary and Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, MLA, Nakodar.


Sikh youths asked to shun ‘patkas’
Akal Takht not to entertain minor complaints
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 1
In a significant development, Akal Takht has decided to accept only those complaints which pertain to the entire Sikh Panth henceforth.

This was stated by Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, while talking to TNS at his residence here today. He said during his meeting with the newly appointed SGPC chief, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, which was likely to take place next week, he would ask him to constitute Sikh advisory board and revive the Sikh History Research Board at the earliest so that any Panthic issue was properly scrutinised before referring to Akal Takht.

He said it had become a ‘fashion’ to refer minor issues to Akal Takht which should be scrutinised by an advisory board, the Sikh History Board or the Dharm Parchar Committee. While the Sikh History Research Board had remained defunct in the recent past, no advisory board could be constituted by the SGPC, despite reminders by Akal Takht.

He said he would ask the SGPC to nominate members to the Dharm Parchar Committee and other boards on merit. Jathedar Vedanti said a day after his installation as Jathedar, Akal Takht, on March 29, 2000, he had directed the SGPC to spell out the functioning of Sikh High Priests apart from framing rules and regulations for the appointments and removal of jathedars.

However, these directives could not be implemented. He hoped that the new SGPC chief would ensure that there was coordination between the two Sikh institutions — Akal Takht and the SGPC. He said while the SGPC had to look after the administrative side of Sikh shrines, Akal Takht had to ensure the implementation of ‘maryada’ (Sikh tradition) in toto.

It may be mentioned here that during the stint of Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, the SGPC did not implement many directives of Akal Takht which brought Sikh institutions at loggerheads. Now Prof Badungar has said he will work for the restoration of the “prestige and honour” of the high priests. He has also stated that he will ensure that nobody or organisation uses Akal Takht for political ends.

In yet another significant directive, Jathedar Vedanti asked the Sikh youths to wear turbans instead of ‘patkas’. He said turban gave a separate identity to a Sikh while ‘patkas’ defeated the purpose. Jathedar Vedanti said it had become a fashion among the Sikh youths to wear ‘patkas’, which looked odd. So much so, the Sikh youths wearing ‘patkas’ were also seen paying obeisance at the Golden Temple and other Sikh gurdwaras, which was a matter of concern. Jathedar Vedanti asked the media not to publish ‘sensational’ news regarding the Sikh High Priests or Takhts. He also asked the Sikh ‘sangat’ not to indulge in the criticism of age-old Sikh institutions.


Vedanti violated ‘maryada’, says Ranu
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
The Sehajdhari Shiromani Akali Dal (SSAD) has taken a strong notice of the photographs published in certain newspapers in which Akal Takht Jathedar, Mr Joginder Singh Vedanti, was seen adorning a garland of flowers and allowing devotees to touch his feet while carrying ‘bir’ during the Gurpurab celebrations in Amritsar.

According to Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, President of SSAD, Jathedar Vedanti had not only violated the Sikh “maryada” but had also insulted the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

The party appreciated the statement of the newly elected SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, regarding not to allow politicisation of Sikh religious institutions like Akal Takht and the SGPC.

“If he really means it, the Jathedar of Akal Takht should be advised to avoid making statements like the one made during the episode of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, asking all followers of the Baba to apologise at Akal Takht, accompanied by the SGPC member concerned from their locality.”

Dr Ranu was of the view that every ‘gur Sikh’ and true follower of Guru Nanak Dev could offer prayers or apologise on his own, without the assistance of any SGPC member. He requested Jathedar Vedanti not to issue such directions in the future so as to keep Akal Takht free from politics.

Reacting to the “unity message” by the Jathedars of the five takhts, Dr Ranu asked the takht Jathedars to confine themselves to giving directive solely concerned with religion and keep themselves away from politics. “Everyone knows what happened to “hukamnama” issued on the Akali unity by the then Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh during the tercentenary of the Khalsa celebrations.”


Chandumajra backs Talwandi
Tearing up of SGPC ballot paper
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 1
Justifying the action of Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi with regard to the tearing up of ballot paper in the recently held SGPC elections, the Panthic Morcha today stated that Jathedar Talwandi had given proof that he was a true Akali.

Talking to mediapersons here, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, chief spokesman for the morcha and general secretary of the SHSAD, said this kind of reaction was the need of the hour as it represented the sentiments of the Sikhs. He said only Mr Parkash Singh Badal could explain to the Panth what was his compulsion to make Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, against whom there were allegations that he was a follower of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara, SGPC Chief.

Prof Chandumajra also alleged that Mr Badungar had been made SGPC President on the recommendation of Bhaniara to affect the decision of a panel of three retired judges constituted by Jathedar Talwandi to probe into the incidents of sacrilege, allegedly by followers of the baba.

Prof Chandumajra also expressed apprehension that the SGPC might dissolve the panel or create hinderances in its functioning.

He said with the appointment of Mr Badungar Mr Badal had closed the door for unity.

He said the issue of sharing of seats would not create any hurdle in the formation of an alliance with the BSP. He said the morcha convener, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, had formed a five-member committee which would meet Mr Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo, after a state-level rally of the morcha to be held in Ludhiana on December 9 to settle the issue.

Regarding the sharing of seats with the constituents of the morcha, he said a decision to this effect would also be taken after December 9. He said the morcha had fixed a criterion for fielding candidates, according to which winning chances of the candidate and his popularity would be token into account.

Prof Chandumajra described abolition of octroi as a political stunt. He said Mr Badal had not made alternative arrangements for revenue the morcha would also oppose the cess to be imposed on diesel, he said.

He also criticised the Union Government for poor presentation during the Doha conference on WTO’s policies.

He said the morcha would expose the misdeeds of the Badal government at the December 9 rally.

Earlier, he addressed a meeting of the morcha at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here today.


Insulted,Talwandi returns SGPC car
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 1
Political vendetta thy name is politics. This was witnessed when Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi was ousted from the presidentship of the SGPC on November 27 and was asked to surrender the official car immediately after the new president had been elected.

Mr Talwandi sent the official car back to Amritsar some day in the evening after reaching Ludhiana. His telephone connection at his residence and the mobile phone were also got disconnected on November 28.

Even the mobile phone provided to his PA, who is an employee of the SGPC was also withdrawn.

When asked for his comments, Mr Talwandi refused to say anything. SGPC officials are also understood to have asked the Chandigarh sub-office of the SGPC to surrender the official vehicle which is being used by the three-member panel probing into the incidents of sacrilege allegedly committed by followers of Baba Piara Singh Bhaniara.

The commission has been holding its meetings in Chandigarh and is yet to submit its report to the SGPC.


Notice issued to Punjab, CBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Taking suo-motu note of a news report appearing in an English daily alleging that a test conducted by a Chandigarh-based laboratory on polythene sheets purchased by Markfed for covering foodgrain had exposed a scandal apparently having financial implications running into several crores, Mr Justice A.S. Garg of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the issuance of notices to the state of Punjab and the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Garg has also directed that the matter should be placed before the High Court Chief Justice for referring it to an appropriate Bench.

Observing that the matter was of a serious nature, Mr Justice Garg, in his detailed order, has also asked the respondents to tell why the matter should not be investigated by the premier investigating agency to ensure that the actual offenders, who had misappropriated and embezzled the money, causing financial loss to Markfed, should not be prosecuted by registering a case.

It may be recalled that the news report had alleged that Markfed had sent samples for testing to a local laboratory after complaints were received from all over the state regarding sub-standard polythene sheets supplied by a Rajkot firm for Rs 7 crore. As per the report, nearly 40 per cent of the samples were found to be defective.

The report had further stated that another batch of sheets delivered recently to Markfed by two firms from Delhi and Rajkot after a fresh tender was invited were also found sub-substandard. It had further claimed that the facts indicated the involvement of some senior officials of Markfed.


80 pc of ‘blindness’ due to cataract
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 1
A two-day annual conference of ophthalmologists organised by the Punjab Ophthalmological Society at the local Baba Farid Sabhyacharak Kendra which began today impressed upon the state governments to give more powers to the government medical colleges and hospitals and civil medical centres so that better health services could be provided to the needy.

The conference also demanded to check red tapism.

Dr S.K. Chopra, former professor and head of the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, said 80 per cent of the blindness was caused due to cataract which was curable. Dr Devinder Sood from New Delhi said the latest technology and equipment prove helpful in checking glaucoma.

Dr R.S. Gill, member of the scientific committee of the society, said funds collected from the patients in hospitals and NRI students during their admission to government medical colleges should remain at the disposal of the authorities of the institution so that they could utilise it according to their needs.

Dr P.S. Sandhu, President of the society and Registrar Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. Faridkot, said in Punjab the blindness rate was only 0.74 per cent in comparison to 1.54 per cent in the country.

Dr P.K. Khosla, Secretary National Academy of Medical Sciences and former head of the eye centre, AIIMS, New Delhi, said the medical experts should also avail themselves of the benefit of continuing medical education to enhance their knowledge.

Dr N.K. Singla and Dr R.Bajaj, organising secretaries of the society, Dr J.S. Gujral, Vice-Chancellor of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, inaugurated the conference while Mr A.Venue Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, presided over it. Nearly 300 delegates are participating in conference.


45 lakh Indians ‘infected with AIDS’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
To educate truck drivers about the preventive measures against AIDS, a seminar was held today at the office of the local Truck Operators Union by the district health authorities.

About 360 truck owners, drivers and helpers participated in the seminar, Mr Hazari Lal, Chairman, Punjab AIDS Control Organisation, Mr Jagjit Singh Jiti, president of the union, and Dr Avtar Singh Sidhu, Civil Surgeon, were among others present on the occasion.

Dr Sidhu said about 45 lakh people in the country were infected with AIDS. The situation was alarming in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland, he added.

Mr Bansal exhorted people to be faithful to their partner. If the preventive measures were not taken the situation in the country would become alarming.

He said foreign countries were making elaborate efforts to prevent AIDS. He also highlighted the ill-effects of the disease.

Mr Bansal said there was a city in Zimbabwe where so many people had died of AIDS that they were finding it difficult to bury the dead.

The Health Department authorities apprised participants of the possible causes of AIDS. They asked them not to indulge in unsafe sex and to use fresh needle while getting the blood transfused.

The local United Welfare Club, organised an awareness rally here today. Volunteers of the club distributed pamphlets and booklets depicting preventive measures and other information about AIDS to residents of the city.

Ferozepore: The Health Department organised various competitions, seminar and a rally to mark the World AIDS Day. The poster-making competition was held at D.C. Model Sr Sec School and the awarensess rally was held by schoolchildren. According to Dr S.K. Rewari, Civil Surgeon, the seminar was held on the premises of the Civil Hospital to create awareness about the deadly disease.


Faridkot gets video conferencing facility
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, December 1
Faridkot has become the first district of Punjab where the facility of video conferencing has been started. The facility was today inaugurated by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr A. Venu Parsad at his office.

Mr Parsad, while addressing a press conference here today, said the facility had been started as per the decision of the Punjab Government.

He pointed out that through the facility of video conferencing, on which a few lakhs of rupees had been spent, a communication link could be established with any part of the country where the same facility already existed.

With this facility time of the government functionaries could be saved on one hand and on the other the pace of development could be made fast.

So far, only 36 districts in the country were having the facility of video conferencing.

He added that presently video conferencing in the district was being run through the V-Sat and shortly it would be routed through ISDN lines.


Bogus votes being made: ex-MLA
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha, December 1
Mr Raghubir Singh, former MLA, today alleged that bogus voters were being registered and names of genuine voters were being deleted from the voter’s lists by government official who had been revising electoral rolls.

In a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), State Election Commission, Punjab, the Chief Secretary, he alleged that government officials had been registering bogus voters and deleting the names of genuine voters from the list under political pressure. He alleged that all was being done in a bungalow located in this town.

He alleged that a senior official of the Revenue Department, who was earlier associated with a political person, had been instrumental in making bogus votes and deletion of genuine votes.

He said he had urged the authorities to intervene and issue instruction to the Deputy Commissioner, Muktsar and the SDM, Gidderbaha, to verify the claims filed in connection with registration of new voters and deletion of names.


Shiv Sainiks burn Pak flag

Phagwara, December 1
Hundreds of Shiv Sena activists, led by Punjab unit vice-president Pawan Prabhakar and local unit president Inerjit Karwal, held a protest march and burnt the effigy of the Pakistani President, Gen Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani flag here today.

Protesting against the killings of innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir and cross-border terrorism, the Shiv Sainiks, raising anti-Pakistan slogans, marched through the bazaars of the town and later converged in a rally.

Addressing the rally, party leaders condemned Pakistan for supporting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. They urged the Union Government to stop the Lahore bus and rail services to Pakistan.

The protesters also blocked the National Highway No 1 for about 15 minutes. UNI


Gurpurb celebrated with fervour

Batala, December 1
A big religious procession was taken out here yesterday to celebrate the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Devji. The procession started from Singh Sabha gurdwara and passed through Dera Baba Nanak road, Gandhi Chowk, City Road, Hansli Bridge and terminated at Singh Sabha Gurdwara.

Panj Piaras led the procession. People from all walks of life, including women and children took part in the procession. Tractor trailors also took part in the procession. No political leader was seen in the procession. OC


Man succumbs to burns
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
Raj Kumar Sharma, who received burns in a fire mishap yesterday, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital here today.

The Kotwali police station handed over the body to relatives of the deceased after the post-mortem examination of the body had been done.

A local boy, Deepu, was injured when a tractor-trailer hit his bicycle.

Gurcharan Singh was killed and Harpal Singh injured when their scooters collided head-on at the Bathinda-Dabwali road.


Maulvi has heart attack; out of danger
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December 1
Matloo Ahmad, Maulvi of old Sadar Bazaar Masjid (Mosque) yesterday had a heart attack in the Masjid Complex here while offering Friday Namaaz.

He had to abandon Namaaz. He was taken to Trauma Ward of local Civil Hospital for treatment. He is reported to be out of danger and responding to treatment in the Hospital.

Make shift Maulvi completed the Namaaz in the afternoon as a large number of devotees had assembled in the Masjid for offering Namaaz in wake of Ramzan days.

Maulvi told that attack was severe when he was reading Namaaz but Allah served him.


C.L. Bains is Punjab Election Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
Mr C.L. Bains today assumed the charge as the state Election Commissioner, Punjab.

Talking to mediapersons after assuming the charge, Mr Bains reiterated his firm resolve to ensure a free and fair election process keeping in view the values of the democratic setup of the country.

Mr Bains, an IAS officer of 1966 batch, has worked on important assignments in Punjab.

The present post of the state Election Commissioner is a constitutional and equivalent in rank and status of a High Court judge.

The tenure of the post of State Election Commissioner is for five years.


Dy Chief Engineers, SEs promoted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 1
The PSEB has promoted three Deputy Chief Engineers and 10 Superintending Engineers (SEs) besides others postings and transfers today.

A press note said Mr M.S. Dhaliwal, Deputy Chief Engineer, Headquarters, had been promoted as Officiating Chief Engineer, Personnel, Ludhiana. Mr S.C. Bhatnagar, Deputy Chief Engineer, Technical Audit, Patiala, had been promoted as Officiating Chief Engineer, RE and SIL, Patiala while. Mr C.J. Rai, Deputy Chief Engineer, Planning — 2, had been promoted as Officiating Chief Engineer, Operation and Maintenance, GHTP, Lehra Mohobbat.

Mr S.K. Kaura, Additional Superintending Engineer, Operation and Maintenance, GGSSTP, Ropar had been promoted Officiating SE, Planning-2, Patiala. Mr N.M. Sharma, Additional SE, Substation Design, Patiala had been promoted Officiating SE, C and LD(P), Patiala, while Mr O.P. Sharma, Additional SE, Kharar had been promoted Officiating SE, TRW Circle, Patiala; Mr Param Hans, Additional SE, Technical as Officiating SE (T) to Member Operations, Patiala; Mr Mohan Lal Gupta, Additional SE, Technical Audit, Ludhiana as Officiating SE, Technical Audit, Patiala; Mr P.C. Gupta, Additional SE, PD and SI Cell, Patiala; as Officiating SE, DS Engineering and SI, Patiala; Mr Amarjit Singh Walia, Additional SE, Operations and Maintenance, GGSSTP, Ropar, as Officiating SE, Fuel and Efficiency and Training, GGSSTP, Ropar; Mr P.S. Gandhi, Director, C and LD(P), Patiala as Director, Computer Services, Patiala; Mr H.D. Naroria, Director, DS Engineering and SI, Patiala, as SE, TLSC Circle, Jalandhar; and Mr Avtar Singh Kalsi, Deputy Chief Engineer, Fuel and Efficiency and Training, GGSSTP, Ropar as Deputy Chief Engineer, Headquarters, Patiala.


4 killed as bus rams into tree
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, December 1
Four persons were killed and 35 injured, five of them critically when a private bus hit a tree near Awankha today. The deceased have been identified as Surjit Singh, resident of Banthawali, Suresh Kumar, resident of Behrampur, Rashpal Singh, owner of the bus and resident of Gurdaspur, and Rakesh Kumar of Makaura.

The injured have been rushed to the Civil Hospital. Five of the seriously injured have been referred to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar. Two of them have been identified as Karam Chand of Ogra and Soma Devi of Mangani.

According to passengers, driver of the bus which was going from Dinanagar to Behrampur tried to overtake a tractor but lost control and rammed into a tree.

The bus has been impounded and a case registered with Dinanagar police station.


Two dead
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 1
Raj Kumar Sharma, who received burns in a fire mishap yesterday, succumbed to his injuries in the hospital here today. The Kotwali police station handed over the body to relatives of the deceased after the post-mortem examination of the body had been done.

A local boy, Deepu, was injured when a tractor-trailer hit his bicycle.

Gurcharan Singh was killed and Harpal Singh injured when their scooters collided head-on at the Bathinda-Dabwali road.


GND varsity heritage village to get 20 lakh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 1
The state government will provide Rs 20 lakh for the establishment of “Punjabi heritage village” on the Guru Nanak Dev University campus.

This was stated by Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Minister for Revenue, here today while inaugurating a four-day Guru Nanak Dev University inter-zonal (men and women) youth festival final.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said various old articles, like utensils, ornaments, weapons, clothes, phulkari and agricultural equipment depicting the Punjabi culture would be exhibited in the village.

Mr Sekhwan said the establishment of the village would be a commendable contribution of the university to preserve the heritage of Punjab and make the younger generation aware about it. Such festivals provided the youth a platform to perform their hidden talent.

Dr S.P. Singh also informed Mr Sekhwan that the university was the first one in the northern region to include the competition of folk orchestra for the first time.

In the youth festival, more than 1,000 students of various colleges at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr districts are participating in the items of music, dance, theatre, orchestra, folk orchestra, group song, one-act-play, shabad-bhajan, giddha and bhangra,

The Vice-Chancellor honoured Mr Sekhwan with memento and phulkari.


‘Bring in attitudinal change’
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 1
Thapar Institute of Information and Technology (TIET) Director, Dr M.P. Kapoor laid stress on the need for training employees of public sector banks to have an attitudinal change for better customer service in the competitive market of today.

Presiding over a seminar organised by the Patiala Management Association today Dr Kapoor also said that with the increased cost of education, on one side the masses of the country had remained deprived of the facility of basic education while on the other, seats for basic sciences like Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry went abegging in the universities.

He said the government had also failed in providing free and compulsory education to children upto the age of 14 years. He said it was here that banks could encourage and adopt meritorious students from poor familities for higher education.

State Bank of Patiala General Manager (Operations) J.R. Devgan, while speaking on the occasion, threw light on the innovative measures adopted by the bank towards providing better service to the various sections of society and creating a customer-friendly atmosphere in the bank. He said soon it would be able to reach any branch of the bank in the country, with interconnectivity of branches being done on speedily.

Mr Devgan said other steps instituted by the bank included acceptance of cheques for collection till the end of working hours and cash transactions to be done till one hour earlier. He said loan facilities were also being extended, with women now able to obtain short term loans on their own guarantee.

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