Monday, December 24, 2001, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong rallies ‘danger signals’ for SAD
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Dirba (Sangrur), December 23
Pointing towards the gathering of thousands at the Congress rally here today, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Punjab Chief Minister and MLA from Lehragaga, said such type of massive Congress rallies had forced the Akali leaders, including Punjab Ministers, to spend sleepless nights as these rallies were a “danger signal” for them in the ensuing Punjab Assembly elections.

The rally was organised in favour of Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, MLA from Dirba and district president of the Congress, who is a Congress candidates from this Assembly constituency in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Mrs Bhattal said during their previous tenures, the Akalis had always made excuse that their government had been “toppled” before the expire of their five-year term. She said this time they had completed the term and had themselves paved the a way for “finishing” the Akali Dal by their own “wrong policies”.

Mrs Bhattal condemned the Badal government for the incidents of suicides, by Punjab farmers. She said on the other hand Mr Badal was claiming that he had benefited the farmers in a big way. She asked Mr Badal “if it is true, then why the farmers are committing suicides?”

She said the Akali leaders were spreading corruption at every-level in the state and had also sold government property at throwaway prices to their close confidants.

Mrs Bhattal appealed to the gathering to think seriously about the eviction of villagers from the border villages, saying that this might be a gameplan of the government to get political gains.

Mrs Bhattal also promised a ministerial berth to Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba, in case the Congress formed government and Mr Dirba won the election. She asked the gathering to elect Mr Dirba to have a minister from their own constituency.

Mr Shamsher Singh Surjewala, a former Haryana Minister, said in Punjab Mr Parkash Singh Badal and in Haryana Mr Om Prakash Chautala were “deceiving” the farmers. He appealed to the gathering to vote for the Congress.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Dirba said people of Punjab had already made up their mind to defeat the SAD and provide victory to the Congress. The days of the Akali government were numbered, he added. He criticised Badal government for discrimination in the allotment of funds to his constituency as he was a MLA of the Congress.

Among others who addressed the gathering included Mr Abdul Guffar, a former Punjab minister; Mr Madanjit Singh, a retired SP; and Mr Balwant Rai, a local Congress leader. Mr Dhanwant Singh, MLA from Dhuri; Mr H.S. Lottey, acting president of the district unit of the Congress; and Mr Jagtar Singh Dhanaula, president of the district Youth Congress, were also present.


Will Patiala oblige Amarinder?
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 23
After Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Patiala district seems to be going “Captain” Amarinder Singh way.

Patiala has been the nucleus of power after the Muktsar and Faridkot area represented by the Badal family during the past nearly five years of Akali rule. While former SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra called the shots in the district during the first two years of the Akali rule in the state, the district is now being “ruled” by Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, after the split in the Akali Dal.

Now it seems, Patiala may become the centre stage of Punjab politics as Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh, who is vying for the post of Chief Minister, is a candidate from the Patiala assembly segment.

The situation has become such that except for the Banur seat of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, where he is likely to face a stiff competition, all other seats won by the combine in the last elections are suspect. The Congress is, on the other hand, buoyant with there being a literal scramble for the party ticket from the various Assembly segments in the parliamentary constituency as they are being termed “safe” by party leaders.

Political sources said the only problem for the Congress would arise if the party did not field ideal candidates as there are many claimants for each ticket. The sources said out of the total of eight Assembly seats in the district, surefire candidates were available for only three seats of Patiala, Dakala and Shutrana from where Capt Amarinder Singh, former minister Lal Singh and former minister Hamir Singh Ghagga, respectively, are expected to get the party nod.

The party has a major problem in adjusting former minister Brahm Mohindra who has a natural claim over the Patiala Assembly seat having represented it many times but may have to give way to the PPCC President. Besides this the picture is most unclear in Rajpura where District Congress (Rural) President Hardyal Singh Kamboj seems to be the choice of Patiala MP Preneet Kaur. Former minister Raj Khurana, who has a strong following in the area being a member of the predominant ‘Bhawalpur’ community but appears to be on the wrong side of the fence of the PPCC leadership, could cause problems if denied renomination from the seat.

The party also has problems in Banur where there are three strong contenders for the party ticket in the form of former minister Mohinder Singh Gill, Sheelam Sohi, wife of former leader Ravinder Sohi, and Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who is the choice of Patiala MP Preneet Kaur because of the work done by him during the last Lok Sabha elections. It is being felt by party circles that the intense rivalry among party candidates in the constituency could be exploited by Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

Jasjit Singh Randhawa seems to be the favourite for the Ghanaur seat. However, the recent nomination of Ms Margaret Alva to the AICC scrutiny committee for Punjab could buttress the candidature of Mrs Amarjit Kaur as Alva was responsible in her rejoining the Congress. In Nabha also Randeep Singh, son of former minister Gurdarshan Singh, may get the party nomination solely because his main rival Ramesh Singla has been convicted in a case. In case of Samana, however, the choice could be very difficult for the party as besides prominent leaders Sant Ram Singla, Surinder Singla, Birdevinder Singh and Harinderpal Singh Mann, the brother of the PPCC chief, Malvinder Singh, is also in the race.


BSF, Army strive to reassure border villagers
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, December 23
A cheerful-looking BSF Commandant S.S. Chahar, coming back after attending the monthly flag meeting with the Wing Commander and other officers of the Pakistan Rangers on the Pakistan side near Sadiqi post yesterday, did not give the impression that there was any tension on the international border. As per the custom, the meeting was hosted by Pakistan’s security force by putting a “shamiana” across the zero line. The BSF had played host last month by arranging the routine meeting at a spacious and well-furnished hall constructed near the border post.

Even on Friday evening, a good number of visitors from both sides enjoyed the Retreat Ceremony, visitors told this correspondent last evening. The surroundings had been decorated with flower plants to give the post a pleasing look.

The people of the border area are now coordinating with the security force in the construction of a temple at the BSF office close to the international border, according to Mr Subhash Jhanb, a social activist. Interestingly, scribes of the border area are taking keen interest in making the environment eco-friendly. BSF men are also taking care of a mazar near the zero line on this side of the border.

The decision to recall the Indian High Commissioner from Islamabad and cancel the Samjhauta Express service has created tension among residents of the villages falling between the drain and the international border. This correspondent found about 12 tractor trailers-carrying furniture, desert coolers, beds and other valuables from Pucca Chishti and Ghadumi villages. People said they were not migrating but sending the heavy goods to safer places. Pucca Chishti village is located at a distance of 3 km from the border.

Mr Banta Singh Sarpanch of Asafwala village, 5 km from the border on the Sulemanki road, claimed that residents of his village would not migrate. Sahib Singh, a centurion, and Teja Singh (70) have witnessed bloodshed and destruction during Partition in 1947, then the Pakistan aggression in 1965 and 1971. Some of their relations are still in Pakistan. They argued that as more than 600 residents of the villages located between the drain and the international border had been made captive in 1971 and they had to stay with the Pakistan army for many months, therefore those people were not going to take any risk now and follow others in taking away valuables to safer places.

Residents of the border villages have more respect for the Army and the BSF this time. Brig S.K.S. Rana has been visiting the villages along with civil officers to acquaint them with the ground realities and trying to solve their problems. Renovation of the Army school, creation of the Horse Riding Club and the exhibition of sophisticated arms and ammunition are the steps which have instilled faith and confidence in residents of the border villages. The campaign to inspire youths to join the Army has borne fruit, as some of them had got jobs also.

The BSF officials are trying hard to persuade residents to stay in their respective villages, assuring them that there is no threat to their security. This correspondent found many farmers sprinkling fertilisers and cultivating their fields at an arm’s length from the cobra wire. Farmers were seen taking care of their cotton crop at Khanpur village, located 2 km from the border. However, some were carrying luggage on “rehras” and “marutas” to places considered safer.

Well-informed sources said Pakistan, by erecting the 15-ft-high Dhussi Bundh on their side of the border had prevented the Army from observing what was happening there. The Indian Army has been concerned over the December 1 incident when cobra wire was reportedly found cut near Mauzam village. It is said that the wire had been cut on both sides without disturbing the wire which carried the electric current. The cuts were reportedly repaired afterwards. An intrusion had been reported at Khajuwala by adopting the same modus operandi near Bikaner. Meanwhile, the Army and the BSF are taking all possible security precautions with the means at their disposal.

Security beefed up at Attari station
Our Correspondent

Attari, December 23
Even as the railway station here is yet to receive any official intimation of the suspension of the Samjhauta Express from January 1, elaborate arrangements are being made in apprehension of possible infiltration by ISI agents in a last-ditch attempt to enter India via the rail route.

The number of checking counters have been increased to meet the security requirements. The customs staff have been put on high alert to counter any infiltration attempt.

The Intelligence Bureau and other intelligence agencies are leaving nothing to chance following reports about possible attempts by Pakistan to send in spies.

The Samjhauta Express recorded a drop in the number of passengers soon after the December 13 attack on Parliament House, according to Mr J.R. Sharma, station superintendent. He said only 127 passengers arrived and 145 left on December 17.

However, the number of passengers arriving or leaving has picked up after the government announced on Friday that the rail/road link with Pakistan would be snapped.


Truck operators ‘underpaid’
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 23
The civil administration here has requisitioned for transporting material to the security forces posted at forward positions during the past few days. The truck operators have expressed their willingness to perform this national duty.

Some truck operators, however, said they were paid fixed charges per day for performing this duty during 1965 and 1971 wars but now the government was underpaying them. Mr Bhupinder Singh, Mr Anil Sharma, and Mr Vinod Kumar Verma, all truck operators here, in joint statement today alleged that about 50 trucks had been requisitioned but they were paid lesser than the due amount.

They demanded that instead of deploying contractors and middlemen the administration should requisition the trucks from the operators and also make the payment to them directly.



Reforms led to officer’s transfer
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 23
Try to reform and get transferred. This seems to be true at least in the case of the local district administration, from the way the Additional Deputy Commissioner General, Mr Krishan Kumar, was transferred just four months after he was posted here.

Mr Krishan Kumar, a 1997 batch IAS officer, after taking charge in August took many reformatory steps, which pleased the public but annoyed those in power. He started the time bound action scheme on the complaints coming in the ‘sangat darshans’. The complaints were registered and the authorities concerned were directed to take action within a stipulated time. This move increased the faith of the people in otherwise listless ‘sangat darshans’ and the attendance in the programmes increased manyfolds much to the chagrin of the officials. Mr Kumar also issued notices to the officials who were regularly found absent from the ‘sangat darshan’.

During his short stint here he also conducted many inquiries, including the deaths of fish in the Sutlej allegedly due to the release of toxic chemicals and the theft of the sand from various rivulets of the district. This obviously annoyed many in the district and probably resulted in his transfer.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr Krishan Kumar was transferred for nine times within a span of two years. As the Additional Deputy Commissioner, in fact, his four months stint in Ropar was his longest assignment. He had earlier worked as the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, for three months, Additional Secretary, Power, for two months and the ADC, Moga, for just 10 days.

Many local organisations, including the Citizens Welfare Association, District Bar Association and the State Karamchari Dal have demanded the cancellation of his transfer orders. The District President of the Karamchari Dal, Mr Surjit Singh Saini, and the President of the Citizen Welfare Association, Nangal, Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, in press notes issued here yesterday condemned the transfer. 


Akalis seek another term for Badal
Tribune News Service

Sunam, December 23
The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has not yet finalised the names of candidates for the ensuing Punjab Assembly elections, but Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA from Sunam, and son of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, was yesterday projected as the SAD candidate from this Assembly constituency at an election rally organised by the party at the local new grain market.

Almost all speakers called upon people to give another five-year term to Mr Parkash Singh Badal as Chief Minister.

The speakers also urged the people to give a “crushing” defeat to the Congress describing it as an “anti-Punjab” and “anti-Sikhs” party.

For the past some time it was being felt that factionalism was growing in the district unit of the SAD as the groups led to Mr Surjit Singh Barnala and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa were ignoring each other. But yesterday’s election rally showed that it was not unity but as many leaders owing allegiance to the Barnala faction including Mr Baldev Singh Mann, AM of the PSEB, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla and Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, both Punjab ministers, were on the dais at the election rally. Even Mr Kanjhla and Mr Mann asked the gathering to work for the success of Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa in the ensuing Assembly elections.

Some speakers criticised the Panthic Morcha alleging that it was helping the Congress.

Almost all speakers lauded the performance of the Badal government. They said the Badal government had brought large-scale industries worth thousands of crores of rupees to the state. It had also worked in a big way for the uplift of the Dalits. Besides, it also provided several concessions to the employees and the traders, they added.

Addressing the gathering, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC, lashed-out at the Congress for an attack on Harmander Sahib. He said the Vajpayee government had provided Rs 100 crore for the tricentenary celebrations of birth of the Panth. He asked the gathering to give another chance to Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa by electing him in the ensuing Assembly Elections.

Among others who addressed the rally included Mr Charnajit Singh Atwal, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha; Mr Avtar Singh Hit, president of the Delhi unit of the SAD, Mr Tota Singh, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, Mr Ranjit Singh Balian, all Punjab Ministers; Mr Baldev Mann, AM of the PSEB; Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu, Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, all MLAs; Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MP and Mr Gurbachan Singh Fatehgarh, district president of the SAD.


Cong leaders slam govt for corruption
Tribune News Service

Samrai (Jalandhar), December 23
The Punjab Congress today alleged that the state was lagging behind in the field of development due to the “wrong” policies being pursued by the ruling SAD-BJP combine government.

The party has also promised to set up a judicial commission to probe the alleged appropriation of huge amounts of money by SAD and BJP leaders through “unfair” means.

Addressing a public rally organised here today by Mr Amarjit Samra, a Congress MLA, Mr Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, a senior Congress leader and the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, alleged that the state was being pushed to a state of no development by the ruling combine and its leaders were neck-deep in corruption.

“We had demanded a judicial probe against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who had appropriated property worth Rs 3500 crore by various means, but he backtracked as he could not face such a probe,” he said. He also lashed out at BSP supremo Kanshi Ram for using Dalit votes for his “selfish” ends. “Kanshi Ram’s selfish tactics have been exposed and people have started discarding his policies,” Mr Chaudhary said.

Senior congress leader Gurcharan Singh Ghalib also chided Mr Kanshi Ram and alleged that the latter’s motive to form a joint front with the Panthic Morcha was to harm the Congress.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, in charge of the frontal organisations of the Congress, said the youths of the state had decided to support the Congress in the coming elections. He said the Punjab Youth congress had gained a lot in the recent past and its workers would be deployed around polling booths to check rigging.

Mr Balbir Singh, the local MP, alleged that corruption had surpassed all levels during the five-year SAD-BJP regime. “You go to any part of the state and talk to people and they will come out openly against the government and the all-prevalent corruption. It is so rampant,” Mr Balbir Singh said.

Meanwhile, addressing a separate rally in the city, the PPCC vice-president, Mr Avtar Henry, announced that if his party came to power, it would set up a judicial commission to probe the allegations of corruption against SAD and BJP leaders and ministers. “We will not spare the guilty and they will be brought to the book,” he said.


MCPI to contest seven seats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), a constituent of the Punjab Lok Morcha (PLM), will contest seven Assembly seats in the ensuing elections while it would strongly oppose both Congress and SAD-BJP candidates on other seats and work for the victory of the Left democratic and other deserving candidates, including those fielded by the morcha.

This was stated by Mr Kuldip Singh, Secretary, Punjab State Committee of the MCPI, after a meeting of the committee here under the presidentship of Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri. The party will field its nominees at Rajpura and Ghanaur in Patiala district, Kharar in Ropar district, Dirba and Sangrur in Sangrur district, Kila Raipur and Payal in Ludhiana district.

The meeting observed that the PLM was functioning cohesively for the past more than six months and several key issues concerning Punjab and Punjabis were raised during this period. It also noted that the breakaway group of CPM, led by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, had openly revolted against the revisionist and pro-Congress approach of the top leadership of CPM and further hoped that the Pasla faction would play a positive role in state politics.

The MCPI state committee took a serious view of war hysteria being created by the BJP-led NDA government and apprehended that the forthcoming Assembly elections might be postponed to gain political mileage out of the prevailing uncertain situation. According to Mr Kuldip Singh, the party took strong exception to an alleged circular issued by the UP Government to keep a watch on minorities, especially Muslims and Sikhs, terming it as an attack on secularism and minorities.

CHANDIGARH: At a meeting presided over by Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, national general secretary of the MCPI here on Sunday, the party decided to field its candidates from seven assembly segments and announced the names of five candidates — Mr Kuldip Singh (Kila Raipur), Mr Prem Singh Nanwa (Rajpura), Mr Lakhwinder Singh Buani (Payal), Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon (Sangrur) and Mr Labh Singh Bhangu (Ghanaur). The other two seats the party will be contesting are Dirba and Kharar.

According to Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, a member of MCPI, the list of seats and the names of the candidates had been forwarded to the convener of the PLM, Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala. The State Committee also welcomed the breakaway group of the CPM led by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla.


Intense lobbying for Sangrur Cong ticket
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Intense lobbying has started among various Congress candidates to secure the party ticket for the Sangrur assembly constituency which is otherwise known as an Akali stronghold.

In the race for the ticket are Mrs Varinder Kaur Ghuman, Mr Arvind Khanna, Mr Surinderpal Singh , Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Pawan Sharma, Mr H.S. Lote, Mr Gurbax Singh, Mr Tejbir Gogi and some others.

Informed sources said that senior leaders of the party high command were lobbying to secure the ticket for their respective aspirants. They said that Mrs Varinder Kaur Ghuman’s family had direct access to Mrs Sonia Gandhi’s family and she had emerged as a front runner for the party ticket. Mrs Varinder Kaur hails from Phaguwal village, near Bhawanigarh, in Sangur district. Her candidature has been supported by at least 37 sarpanches, 16 former sarpanches, and eight municipal commissioners of Sangur, besides a number of truck unions and others. The Ghuman family also has close friendship with Mrs Preneet Kaur, wife of Capt Amarinder Singh, president of the PPCC.

Mr Arvind Khanna, who has established himself in the area as a social worker, has the support of Capt Amarinder Singh. He is said to be a close relation of the PPCC chief. Mr Khanna is also close to certain senior party leaders in Delhi.

Former Minister Jasbir Singh, who had won in 1992, is expected to be accommodated in the Dhanola constituency. He had earlier contested from Sangrur. The main contenders seem to be Mr Surinderpal Singh, Mrs Ghuman, Mr Khanna Mr Pawan Sharma.


CLP leader lashes out at Kanshi Ram
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
The leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, today lashed out at the Bahujan Samaj Party supremo, Mr Kanshi Ram, claiming that he was “behaving like a dictator and treated his party workers as nothing more than bonded labourers”.

Chaudhary Jagjit Singh alleged that Mr Kanshi Ram was not practising what he preached. The CLP leader said the BSP supremo had no base left anywhere in the country.

“He stands exposed before the public as he has come to be known for trading MLAs and MPs and making huge money”, he said about Mr Kanshi Ram.

The Congress leader seemed to be irked with the BSP leader, particularly after the latter showed his inclination towards the Panthic Morcha. The BSP draws maximum support from the Dalits, who have traditionally been with the Congress and Chaudhary Jagjit Singh is himself a Dalit leader.

He maintained that even if Mr Kanshi Ram joined hands with the Panthic Morcha, the Congress would stand benefited. 


Cong ‘ignored’ border belt development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today addressed a gathering of SAD-BJP workers from Amritsar district at his residence under the ‘‘sangat darshan programme’’.

He said the government had put forth the grievances of residents of the border district to New Delhi for seeking special incentives/concessions for them. This got the area over Rs 8 crore as compensation, every year for farmers whose land was beyond the barbed wire on the Indo-Pak border.

The state had also sanctioned Rs 4 crore for each border district (Amritsar, Ferozepore and Gurdaspur) for overall development and provided Rs 25 crore for the construction and repair of roads in the border districts.

Mr Badal said it was unfortunate that the previous Congress government did “not pay any attention” to the development of Punjab, especially the border belt.

Among those who addressed the gathering were Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, Mr Gulzar Singh Ranike (all ministers), Mr Vir Singh Lopoke, Mr Prem Singh Lalpura, Mr Ujjagar Singh Rangretta, Prof Jagir Singh Bhullar, Mr Manmohan Singh Sathiala, Mr Ajaypal Singh Meerankot, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla (all MLAs) and Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, SGPC member.


BJP plan to meet Badal ends in fiasco
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 23
The plans for show of strength and solidarity by the ruling Akali-BJP combine today ended in a “fiasco” when a part of the jatha scheduled to reach Chandigarh was left here. The jatha was to meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and apprise him of the current situation in the border district.

Efforts by Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, Minister of Health and BJP district president Mr Om Parkash Kalia came to a “naught” as the buses scheduled to carry BJP workers, reportedly including 30 each from the north and Verka constituencies failed to arrive, to carry the waiting passengers. Mandal presidents, ward heads, district office-bearers, Yuva Morcha chiefs and heads of ex-servicemen and transport cells numbering about 175 were left “high and dry” due to the unorganised programme.

Mr Kalia when contacted admitted to the cancellation. He said the absence of the buses had led to today’s happening. However, some municipal councillors on condition of anonymity, pointed out that the absence of the Deputy Commissioner who had allegedly promised the arrangement for buses was being blamed for the incident.


Political activity picks up in Mansa
Our Correspondent

Mansa, December 23
In view of the forthcoming elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, political activities have been gaining momentum and aspirants for the party ticket are leaving nothing to chance to get nominated.

In Mansa district, situated in the Malwa region of Punjab, considered a stronghold of the Akalis, the CPI has always managed a victory with support of the Congress. This time the local Congress leadership is exercising pressure on the high command not to leave the Mansa and Budhlada seats to the CPI as they are confident of winning these.

There are four Assembly constituencies in the district. During the Vidhan Sabha elections in 1997, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh of the SAD defeated Congress-supported CPI candidate Buta Singh from the Mansa constituency. In Budhlada, the seat was won by CPI candidate Hardev Arshi, who was also supported by the Congress. He defeated Mr Harbant Singh Dattewas of the SAD.

In the Joga constituency Mr Baldev Singh Khiala of the SAD, who has now joined the Panthic Morcha, defeated his rivals Sher Singh Gagowal of the Congress, rebel Akali Sukhdev Singh Dhillon, a former Health Minister, and Mr Barjinder Singh Manshaia of the SAD (A).

In the Sardulgarh constituency Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar of the SAD (A), who later joined the Congress, defeated the formidable Akali candidate, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, now member of the Rajya Sabha and General Secretary of the SAD.

For the forthcoming elections, 11 persons have applied for Congress nomination for the Mansa Assembly constituency. They are the President, District Congrees Committee, Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, Mr Rampal Dhaipi, Secretary PPCC, Mr Manjit Singh Jhalbutti, who was secretary, PPCC, and was expelled, the Vice-President, PPCC, Mr Narotam Singh Chahal, an advocate, and Mr Gursimran Singh Manshaia, president, District Youth Congress.

There are four aspirants for the Congress ticket for Budhlada, including Mr Megh Raj Goyal, a veteran Congress leader, Mr Bagh Singh Dattewas, former Chairman, Market Committee, Budhlada, and Ms Savita Yadav, President, Municipal Council, Budhlada.

There are seven aspirants for the Sardulgarh constituency, including Mr Kirpal Singh Makha, former minister, and Mr Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, MLA.

For the Joga constituency, eight aspirants have applied for the Congress ticket. Among them are Mr Sher Singh Gagowal, President, DCC, and Mr Raj Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, an advocate.

The main contenders for the SAD ticket for the Mansa Assembly constituency are sitting MLA Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh, Dr Lakhwinder Singh Moosa, district president, Youth Akali Dal, and Mr Sardul Singh Gharangna, who is the son of Mr Niranjan Singh Gharangna, driver of the Chief Minister.

For the Budhlada Assembly constituency, there is a tussle between Mr Harbant Singh Dattewas, who was defeated by the Congress-supported CPI candidate, Mr Hardev Arshi, during the last elections, and Mr Jaswant Singh Phaphre Bhaike, an advocate and former Deputy Speaker Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The aspirants for the Joga constituency include Mr Baldev Singh Makha, member, SGPC, and Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, Chairman, Milkfed, Punjab. There are rumours that Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, member, Rajya Sabha, and General Secretary SAD, may contest from this constituency to enter the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.


Doshi made Cong SC/ST cell gen secy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 23
Mr Parkash Doshi, a resident of Gidderbaha in Muktsar district has been appointed the general secretary of the SC/ST cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Mr Mahinder Singh Kalyan, chairman SC/ST cell PPCC said in a letter written to Mr Doshi that the appointment had been made to strengthen the party.


SAD leader joins Congress
Our Correspondent

Moga, December 23
Mrs Mohinder Kaur, wife of Mr Manjinder Singh, president, Nagar Council, Dharamkot, along with her supporters joined the Congress yesterday. She made this announcement at a meting of the Congress held here yesterday.


Malta tragedy: panel may approach Lokpal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 23
The Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission may approach Punjab Lokpal in case the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, and the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti continued to keep a studied silence over the “pigeons episode” in which two ruling Akali Dal Ministers, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal and Mr Sujan Singh and an SGPC member, Mr Tarlochan Singh Dopalpuri, had allegedly left behind some persons in Canada on the occasion of Baisakhi.

Mr Balwant Singh Khera, Chairman of the mission, yesterday said activists of the mission would hold “ardas” at Golden Temple for 300 victims of the Malta boat tragedy on December 25 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. “After the ardas, we will organise a demonstration against religio-political Sikh leadership outside the complex in case the Jathedar of Akal Takht failed to take any notice of mission’s letters”, warmed Mr Khera.


Lack of enthusiasm mars Jor Mela
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 23
Though just a day is left for the commencement of the Shaheedi Jor Mela, a major annual event of the state, yet a lack of enthusiasm prevails among the stall owners, and organisers of amusement games due to commercialisation of the mela and the exorbitant rates being charged by the private contractor, who has taken the land from the SGPC at very high rates.

This has resulted in shifting of the site of mela activities away from the vicinity of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib. Most of the shopkeepers were today seen putting up their stalls at distant places. Those who have put up their stalls near the gurdwara are likely to fleece the devotees due to the heavy rent they themselves are paying, shopkeepers say.

Earlier the owners would put up their stalls well in advance, which gave the surrounding area a festive look. But the sky-rocketing rates have dampened their spirits and the mela site is presenting a deserted look.

The manager of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib said the SGPC had given the land to Pritam Singh of Amritsar on a lease of Rs 10 lakh. He said the SGPC could not interfere in his working as the lease money had already been taken from him and he was free to sub-let it at any rate.

The shopkeepers told The Tribune that they attend the mela every year to earn their livelihood. But the private contractor, they allege, is using muscle power and demanding a rent of Rs 1,000 per square feet area. “We cannot afford this rate and have decided to put up our stalls away from the actual site.’’ they say.

At present, a couple of swings, circus and a few khajla stalls have been put up on the mela site.

With the Assembly elections round the corner, the political parties are making efforts to mobilise the public to show their political strength and woo the voters. The SAD has proposed to organise a conference at the traditional site opposite the gurdwara main gate.


Shatabdi to halt at Sirhind
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
Shatabdi running between Delhi and Amritsar will stop at Sirhind from December 25. This was disclosed here today by the senior Akali leader and Rajya Sabha member Gurcharan Singh Tohra. 

Mr Tohra received a communication in this regard from the Railway Ministry today. The stoppage will coincide with the ‘martyrdom day’ of the two younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, which falls on December 28.

The senior Akali leader pointed out that Sirhind had a historical importance as it was here that the two younger Sahibzadas achieved martyrdom. Expressing his gratitude to the Railway Minister, Mr Tohra said, it was the long-pending demand of the people of the area including Mandi Gobindgarh, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala. 


Astrologers rule out war
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 23
Heightened tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the December 13 attack on parliament House is not likely to result in a full-scale war, even as the two countries will never have friendly ties.

These predictions were made by some of the astrologers who were here to participate in a national conference on astrology which concluded here today.

“India and Pakistan are placed in enemy houses as per their-zodiac signs Taurus and Aries, respectively. There is no such possibility of friendly relations between the two in future also. Presently, Jupiter and Rahu are in a transit phase over Mars, which have a strong possibility of leading to a state of violence in both countries. This astrological situation can at the most create a war-like situation,” said Pandit Krishan Ashant from Delhi.

Mr Mohan Bhai Patel, an astrologer from Gujarat, was of the view that Saturn had entered Taurus on July 15, “which means that the coming period will be fruitful for India and the country will attain more importance at the international fora.” He said Pakistan and India would remain perennial enemies.

Mr Bhaskar Sharan Bhalla, a Hoshiarpur-based astrologer, however, maintained that there was a possibility of the outbreak of war after January 14. “It might start from minor provocations and take the shape of a full-fledged war,” he said.

Pandit Rajiv Sharma said though the situation was explosive between Pakistan and India, possibility of the outbreak of war was remote. “As Rahu enters Brishk raashi on February 16, 2002, the situation is explosive for all those living on earth. It will be a year of conflicts and after that there will be a solution to the Kashmir problem.”


Army harassing farmers: Mann
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 23
Opposing war between India and Pakistan, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today alleged that Sikh farmers were being forced to dig up bunkers in the border areas by the Army personnel.

The party also demanded that the general house meeting of the SGPC be called to discuss the future of Sikhs in the wake of possible conflict between “Hindu and Muslim civilisations”.

The party president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, who was addressing a press conference along with the district president, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, and Mr Paramjit Singh Johal, a senior party leader, alleged that farmers, particularly, the Sikhs were being harassed by the Army in the border areas and they were made to dig up bunkers and their tractor-trailers were being used to ferry Army’s belongings. He said the Sikh never wanted a conflict between the countries, but, this time it was being thrust upon them. He alleged that farmers in the border areas were being terrified so that they should harvest their crops soon and migrate to other places. “They are being treated like bonded labourers,” alleged Mr Mann adding that an 11-member committee has been set up by his party to look into problems of people of border areas.


Centre earmarks 54,000 cr for roads
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 23
The Central Government has earmarked Rs 54,000 crore in the 10th Plan for the construction and maintenance of the national and state highways and rural link roads.

Talking to The Tribune at the residence of the Mayor here today, the Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways, Major-Gen B.C. Khanduri said the ministry would disburse Rs 2,500 crore and Rs 1,000 crore per year to the states for the construction of new rural link roads and maintenance of state highways, respectively.

The minister said the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had recently approved a Rs 450-crore project for the four-laning of the Jalandhar-Amritsar-Wagah national highway under the North-South Corridor Scheme and the work on the project would start soon.

Regarding availability of funds with the ministry for undertaking infrastructure development throughout the country, General Khanduri said they would raise a loan of Rs 20,000 crore from the World Bank, International Development Fund and Japan International Bank. Besides, the ministry would garner Rs 20,000 crore from the cess imposed on diesel and petrol during a period of seven years. “We have also decided to issue bonds to collect money from the public and talks with the Life Insurance Corporation of India for a loan are in the final state”, he added.

In fact, we are also encouraging private contractors to participate in infrastructure development by way of allotting work for the construction of roads worth Rs 4,000 crore on built, operate and transfer (BOT) basis. This would also create more employment opportunities across the country.

Later General Khanduri laid the foundation stone of the Damoria Railway bridge flyover, which will be constructed at a cost of Rs 26.11 crore. Addressing at a public function at Partap Bagh grounds here, the Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal, said with the sanctioning of Rs 26.11 crore by the Central Government for the replacement of the age-old Railway Under Bridge, popularly called “Damoria pul” which used to get submerged during rains and virtually divided the city into two parts, about 10 lakh residents of the city were hoping that a new overbridge would be built soon.

Mr Sehgal, a prospective BJP candidate from Jalandhar (North) constituency, criticised the Congress for its failure to build a flyover at Damoria bridge during past 45 years of its rules. “The project will be completed within 15 months and we have already entrusted the construction job to the UP Satoor Nigam Limited, a UP state undertaking”, he announced.

General Khanduri said two super highways — linking Srinagar to Kanya Kumari and another linking Guwahati to Silchar — would be constructed and Rs 29,000 crore had been earmarked for the purpose.

Another project, linking Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata would be completed by 2003, he said.

The minister said the government would give preference to Indian companies and the customs duty on imported construction machinery had been lifted.

Members of the Punjab Council of Ministers, including Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon and Mr Swaran Singh Phillaur also spoke on the occasion. 


Scholars: make Akal Takht autonomous
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 23
Sikh scholars today opined that Akal Takht should be made an autonomous body and it should not work under the direct control of the SGPC.

In a seminar organised here today, the Sikh scholars opined that Akal Takht should not be used by any party for political ends.

They said the appointment and removal of the Sikh high priests should be done after evolving a consensus on the issue.

Among those who spoke on the occasion were Dr Ranjit Singh Buttar, Bhai Joginder Singh Talwara, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Dr Jodh Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Dalbir Singh and Dr Gursharn Singh.


Beating up of SGPC men to be probed
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 23
The Punjab Government has deputed Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, to conduct an inquiry into the beating up of six employees of the SGPC, including the Manager of Gurdwara Ber Sahib, allegedly by the police on Friday over the possession of a piece of land by the PUDA authorities for the construction in front of a chowk of the gurdwara.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, in a telephone message to the Deputy Commissioner, asked him to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit his report within two days.

In a meeting with Akali leaders of Sultanpur Lodhi last evening at Chandigarh, Mr Badal assured that officers found guilty would be transferred and punitive action taken against them.

Meanwhile, the Akali leaders have decided to defer their agitation demanding of transfer and suspension of the SDM and the DSP of Sultanpur Lodhi. The Deputy Commissioner has directed the PUDA authorities not to raise any structure on the land.

Meanwhile, eight municipal commissioners of Sultanpur Lodhi have raised a banner of revolt against Mr Jaimal Singh, president of the Municipal Council, Sultanpur Lodhi.


Drive on AIDS awareness
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 23
The District AIDS Control Organisation (DACO) has launched a campaign to create awareness among youths about the AIDS.

The campaign will focus on AIDS and the threat of Hepatitis-B. The lectures, discussion sessions and workshops would be organised in schools, colleges and training institutes. Rural areas will get special attention.

Workshops were held in five schools, here. According to the DACO youth clubs in villages could help a lot in this regard. Ms Raj Gupta, chairperson, DACO said that even after spending huge sums and launching a number of programmes and campaigns in the country by government agencies and NGOs, there was still lack of awareness among public in rural and backward and less developed areas.

She added that under UTA i.e. University Talk AIDS programme, the NSS volunteers all over India were being trained in the field of HIV/AIDS awareness.

A special workshop for NSS volunteers was organised yesterday at District Institute of Educational Institute (DIET) at Deon village.

Ms Gupta said the students were told that prevention started from awareness. The students were told to ask questions to increase their interest in the subject.

The necessary information regarding Hepatitis was also imparted to students during these camps. The information like, child should be immunized at the time of birth for Hepatitis, the virus of H-B is 100 times infectious than AIDS virus and it can remain alive at room temperature for more than a week, 00004 ml blood was sufficient and it spreads through sex, blood transfusion and through needles.

She said that DACO would make all possible efforts to cover all areas in the district and achieve its motive to make aware every single person about AIDS and other dangerous diseases.


Amanjit elected Bar chief
Our Correspondent

Dhuri, December 23
Mr Amanjit Singh was elected president of the Dhuri Bar Association here last evening by defeating Mr Ram Saran Dass Jindal by a margin of five votes.

Mr Amanjit Singh got 26 votes, while Mr Jindal 21 votes.

Mr Hardeep Singh Bhasaur was elected unopposed as vice-president. Mr Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa was elected secretary by defeating Mr Rajiv Singla by a margin of 13 votes.


Rs 12 lakh sanctioned for judicial complex
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 23
Ms Gurcharan Kaur, MP, has announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the improvement of a Bar room and its surroundings while Mr Mohan Lal Garg, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Bathinda, agreed to sanction Rs 7 lakh for the construction of a parking area for the cars in the local judicial complex.

These announcements were made at a meeting of advocates held here yesterday. The MP while addressing the gathering emphasised on the need for better working conditions for the advocates.

The members of the District Bar Association had also organised a meeting on Friday in the honour of former members of Bar.


BKU alleges supply of substandard fertiliser
Our Correspondent

Moga, December 23
The general secretary and the press secretary of the state unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian and Mr Bhupinder Singh Mavesari respectively yesterday urged the state government to conduct an inquiry into the substandard DAP fertiliser and underweight bags supplied through cooperative societies to farmers in the state.

Speaking to mediapersons here yesterday, they alleged that the farmers were forced by the government to buy DAP fertiliser produced the Markfed at Rs 419 a bag while the price of other DAP variety in the market was available at Rs 405 a bag.

They alleged that the Markfed fertiliser supplied to farmers was sub-standered and the farmers who had used this had suffered heavy losses.

If the government forced the farmers to buy only the Markfed fertiliser they would launch an agitation they said.

They urged the government to increase the commission of the cooperative societies so that these societies should not suffer further losses.

They urged the government to reduce the rate of urea fertilisers as in the open market, it was cheaper.


DC orders scrutiny of Bholath voters
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 23
Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, has ordered the scrutiny of 6,900 new voters of the Bholath Assembly constituency in this district. The General Assistant to the Deputy Commissioner has been deputed for the task.

Mr Aggarwal today said that he ordered the inquiry as the number of new voters had exceeded the limit of 5 per cent of the total number of votes. He asserted that transparency and impartiality would be maintained in the scrutiny and only genuine persons would be enrolled as voters.

Two secretaries of the Election Commission of India had visited Bholath on December 21 to look into the complaint filed by Mr Sukhpal Singh Khaira, secretary, PPCC and aspirant for the Congress ticket from Bholath that bogus votes were being made in the constituency. He had also alleged that the SDM, Bholath, had been helping Bibi Jagir Kaur, sitting Akali MLA from Bholath, in the enrolment of bogus voters.

It is reported that the secretaries themselves made a door to door survey to check the authenticity of voters and found irregularities in the new voters’ lists.


Committee to examine staff demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
A deputation of the Punjab State Services Federation, a representative body of Punjab Government employees, led by Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, former MP, called on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, and discussed the demands of the employees.

Giving details, the Chief Secretary, Mr N.K. Arora, said that the Chief Minister has constituted a committee of senior officers to examine the demands pertaining to giving the next promotional scale to government employees of all categories after 4-9-14 years of service, giving 15 per cent house rent allowance to employees posted at Patiala, scrapping of the limit for those suffering from chronic diseases in the matter of open medical reimbursement and commutation of pension after 15 years from the date of retirement.

The demands would be sympathetically considered by the committee and an appropriate decision taken within a week.


Student dies in police custody
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 23
Pardeep Singh, a Class X student and resident of Gandiwind Dhattal village, died allegedly in police custody last night. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered against the in-charge of the Jamarai police post, ASI Harbhajan Singh, in this regard. On the other hand, the police claimed to have registered a case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act against Pardeep on the seizure of 534 intoxicant tablets from him.

Sources said Pardeep Singh (17) was going to Fatehbad village on a scooter along with his two relatives when he was stopped by the ASI for triple riding and taken to the police post where he was allegedly tortured, as a result of which he died. The body was brought to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem examination. Dr Karamjit Singh, SMO, said a three-member panel of doctors would perform the post-mortem tomorrow.

The police sources confirmed the registration of the case against the ASI Harbhajan Singh. A large number of residents of the area protested against the alleged custodial death and gheraoed the police post today.


Man kills 3 of family, self
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 23
A man hacked to death three members of his family before committing suicide in Partap Singh Wallah village near Haibowal here today. It’s suspected that acute poverty faced by the family could have led him to take this step.

According to information received here today, Kamaljit Singh (35), a worker with a hosiery in the city allegedly axed his wife, son and sister at his house in the village and then committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan. The incident came to light late in the afternoon, when some neighbours went to the house. Those murdered have been identified as Kamaljit’s mother Inderjit Kaur, son Jaspreet Singh (7) and sister Pushpa (20).

A suicide note, written by Kamaljit Singh, has been recovered by the Haibowal police from the house. It said that he had killed members of his family and was committing suicide due to family tension.

A pall of gloom descended the village as the family was on good terms with the other villagers. The villagers told The Tribune that the family though not financially sound was respected in the village. 


Mohali college wins youth fest trophy
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 23
Government College SAS Nagar with 96 points, has won the overall trophy in the three-day Zonal Youth Festival of Punjabi University, Patiala, held at Government College, Ropar.

Government College, Ropar, with 91 points bagged the runners-up trophy while Jawaharlal Nehru Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, with 47 points, got the third position in the festival.

Bhangra: Government College, Ropar (recommended) and SGTB Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Gidha: Baba Zorawar Singh Fateh Singh Girls College, Morinda (recommended) and Shaheed Kansi Ram Memorial College of Physical Education, Bhagomajra, and Government College, SAS Nagar (commended).

Classical instrument (percussion): JLN Govt College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh (recommended), Government College SAS Nagar, and SGTB Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib (commended).

Classical Instrument: (non percussion): Government College, Ropar (recommended) and Government College SAS Nagar and JLN Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh (commended).

Classical Vocal: Government College, Ropar (recommended) and Government College, Dera Bassi (commended).

Orchestra: JLN Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh (recommended) and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Vaar gayan: SGTB Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib (recommended) and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, and Government College, Ropar (commended).

Folk Song: Shikha Jain, JLN Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh ((recommended) and Jaspreet Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar and Bikramjit Singh, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Geet Gazhal: Jaspreet Singh, Government Public College, Mandi Gobindgarh (recommended) and Pawan Kumar, Government College, Ropar, and Inderjit Kaur, Jawahar Lal Nehru College, Mandi Gobindgarh (commended).

Shabad/Bhajan: PMN College, Rajpura (recommended) and JLN College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Government College, Ropar (commended).

Group Song: Government College, SAS Nagar, (recommended) and Government College, Ropar, and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Classical Dance: Government College, Ropar (recommended).

Debate: Anju Sood, Punjabi University, Regional Centre for Information Technology and Management, SAS Nagar and Mandeep Kaur, SGTB Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib (recommended) and Lotika JLN Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, Rajbir Kaur, Government College, Ropar, Jagminder Kaur, Government College, Dera Bassi, and Harsimran, BASJS Memorial College, Bela (commended).

Elocution: Shilpa, PMN College, Rajpura and Swati Goyal, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (recommended) and Puneet Kumar, Government College, Ropar, Baljit Kaur, JLN Government College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, Sandeep Kaur, BZSFS Girls College, Morinda and Kharak Singh, Shaheed Kanshi Ram Memorial College, Bhago Majra (commended).

Poetry recitation:- Jagminder Pal Kaur, Government College, Dera Bassi, and Sanjeev Kumar, Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, Mandi Gobindgarh (recommended) and Harsimran Kaur, ASBASJS Khalsa College, Bela, Jatinder Singh, Government College, Ropar, Navneet Kaur, BZSFS Girls College, Morinda and Manjit Kaur PMN College, Rajpura (commended).

One act play: Government College, SAS Nagar (recommended) and BZSFS Khalsa College, Ropar (commended).

Group skit: Government College, Ropar (recommended) and Government College, SAS Nagar and SBS Khalsa College Padiala (commended).

Group mime: BZSFS Khalsa Girls College, Morinda (recommended) and Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, (commended).

Histronics: Gurvinderjit Singh, ASBASJS Memorial Khalsa College, Bela (recommended) and Malkiat Singh, Government College, Ropar and Suneet Kumar, GP College, Mandi Gobindgarh (commended).

Mimicry: Jaswinderjit Singh, Government College, Ropar (recommended), Harish Verma, Government College, SAS Nagar, (commended).

Costume parade (traditional Punjabi dress): Ramandeep kaur, JLN College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, (recommended) and Jagroop Singh, Government College, Ropar, Ishwinder Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar, and Rajinder Kaur, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Fancy dress: Gangandeep Kaur, Government College, Ropar (recommended), Rupinder Kaur, BZSFS Girls College, Morinda, Amritpal Kaur, Government College, SAS Nagar, and Jashanjit Kaur, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Rangoli: Kuldeep Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar, and Shalini, JLN College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh,(recommended) and Jaya Mathur, JLN College for Women, Mandi Gobindgarh, Kamaldeep Kaur, Government College, Ropar, Jyoti Bala, Government Public College, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Jaspreet Kaur, Government College, SAS Nagar, (commended).

Collage making: Rajbirinder Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar (commended) and Saneh Lata, Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, Parveen Kumar, Government College, Dera Bassi and Gurcharan Singh (commended).

Cartoon making: Jatinder Pal, Government College, SAS Nagar, and Arun Kumar, Government College, Ropar,(recommended) and Raj Kumar, Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, Mandi Gobindgarh and Sukhwinder Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar (commended).

On the spot painting: Narinder and Mandeep, Government College, SAS Nagar (recommended), Parveen, Government College, Dera Bassi, and Pardeep Kumar, Government Public College, Mandi Gobindgarh (commended).

Poster making: Jatinder Pal and Ashish Dhup, Government College, SAS Nagar (recommended) and Sarabjit, Government College, Ropar, and Kanwarpreet Singh, Mata Gujra College, Fatehgarh Sahib (commended).

Clay modeling: Harsimran Singh, Government Public College, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Ashish Dhup, Government College, SAS Nagar (recommended) and Lakhwinder Kumar, PMN College, Rajpura, and Sukhwinder Singh, Government College, SAS Nagar (commended).


Golden jubilee of school celebrated
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, December 23
The local Vidya Mandir Model School celebrated its golden jubilee today. It is perhaps the first school to celebrate its golden jubilee in the lifetime of its founder-Principal, Ms Jagtawali Sood, who had started the school in 1951 with an objective to impart education to girls.

Presiding over the prize distribution function, Mr Takshan Sood, Minister of State for Excise and Taxation, said the credit for taking the school to pinnacle of glory went to Ms Jagtawali Sood, who had dedicated her entire life for the upliftment of women by educating them to meet the challenges of life and at the same time maintained high standards of education.

Eminent Vedic scholar, Dr Brij Behari Chaube, said he had never heard of a school which had celebrated its golden jubilee in the lifetime of its founder-Principal. He said the school had started with a strength of only three students which had now increased to 1500.

Mr Anurag Sood, secretary of the school, also spoke on the occasion. Students of the school presented a cultural programme. 


End deadlock, teachers urge CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
On the fourth day of the chain fast by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), the President of the Federation of Principals, Mr S.S. Sodhi, joined the protesters outside the office of DPI (Punjab), here today.

The fast is being organised by the committee representing 172 non-government aided and aided colleges in the state. While addressing the protesting staff, Mr Sodhi appealed to the Chief Minister, Punjab, to resolve the deadlock immediately while alleging that the state lacked in the field of higher education.

Prof Malkiat Singh, Prof Jagir Singh, Prof Devinder Singh, Mr Sardul Singh, Mr Hans Raj, Mr Bharat Bandhu, Mr Laxman Kumar were among the members on fast today.

While addressing the protesting staff, Prof Manocha and Prof Karamjit Singh, president and general secretary of PCCTU, alleged that the Finance department had held back the salary grant worth Rs 100 crore since 1999.

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