Thursday, November 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Core panel plans to meet Badal today
Bid for unanimous SGPC presidential election
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
Another attempt will be made by the seven-member core committee tomorrow to meet SAD President Parkash Singh Badal pertaining to the election of the SGPC President. Mr Hardeep Singh Mohali, spokesman of the committee, said today. A meeting of the committee was held under the chairmanship of Mr Mal Singh Ghuman at Mohali this afternoon.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Hardeep Singh said the committee repeatedly tried to contact Mr Badal but in vain. However, as Mr Badal would be at Alamgir Gurdwara tomorrow in connection with a meeting, the members of the committee would proceed to that place to hold a meeting with the SAD President. The objective of calling on Mr Badal was to prepare a ground for the unanimous election of the SGPC president. Mr Badal would be requested not to put up his party’s candidate in the SGPC elections and to support the consensus nominee.

When asked what will be the committee’s next line of action if the proposed meeting with Mr Badal did not materialise tomorrow, Mr Hardeep Singh said the committee would consult all those members of the SGPC who had supported its efforts for consensus on the election of the SGPC President. After holding consultations with them and others, the committee would announce its nominee for the SGPC elections, most probably on November 11.

When asked what made him part company with Mr Badal, Mr Ghuman said that he had been raising his voice for the depoliticisation of the SGPC for the past several years. The supremacy of religion over Sikh politics was required to be established and it was being done by him, said Mr Ghuman. The dominance of politics and leaders over Sikh religion all these years had caused a great damage to Sikh religious institutions.

Earlier, Mr Tirlochan Singh Dupalpur, a member of the SGPC, narrated his story as to how he escaped from Balasar farmhouse of Mr Badal a few days ago. “When I was not allowed to leave the farmhouse, I escaped from there early in the morning and walked for about 10 Km to catch a bus for Dabwali from where I came to my native village near Nawanshahr”, he added.

When asked whether he had told Mr Badal that he wanted to go home, Mr Dupalpur said that he did not contact Mr Badal or SGPC President, Kirpal Singh Badungar. He said the stay at the farmhouse was very uncomfortable as no separate rooms had been provided to SGPC members. No one was forcibly taken to Balasar. He said he fully supported the move of the core committee pertaining to the presidential election.


Govt wants to disrupt SGPC poll: Badungar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 6
The SGPC President, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, alleged today that the Punjab Government had sinister designs to foment violence on November 12. In order to disrupt the SGPC poll for giving its control to the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar. Mr Badungar was talking to newsmen at the residence of Mr H. S. Preet, an Editor of a monthly Punjabi magazine.

He said the government wanted the November 30 deadline of the SGPC election to lapse since after it the control of the body would rest with the Deputy Commissioner as per the constitution of the SGPC. All this would not be in the interest of the Sikhs, he warned.

Mr G. S. Tohra, a former SGPC President, had shaken hands with those who were hostile to the Sikhs rued Mr Badungar.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, who hold no authority or office in the government, were dictating terms to the Amarinder government regarding religious affairs of the Sikhs, he said.

The statements of the Chief Minister and the DGP, Punjab, were far from the truth, he remarked. SGPC members were being kidnapped in the name of security while telephones were either being tapped or attended by the policemen posted at the residences of the pro-Badal SGPC members, he alleged. Even Junior Vice-President of the SGPC Kewal Singh Badal was being held hostage.

Mr Badungar denied that the pro-Badal members were being held captive in Haryana. They were being protected from the Punjab government’s evil designs, he claimed.

On the issue of the Sikh jathas to Pakistan, Mr Badungar said he had written again to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister for lifting ban on jathas as the tension on the Indo-Pakistan border had eased.


Cong interfering in SGPC poll: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 6
The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) , Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today announced that party activists would undertake a one-day “jail bharo andolan” on November 15 in protest against the anti-people and persecution policies of the Congress government.

Talking to mediapersons after addressing a party meeting here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the agitation would continue in case the government did not arrest protesting Akalis or let them off after a few hours. He said in that case the “andolan” would continue on November 16 and 17.

The Akali leader accused the Congress government of interfering in the elections to the office of president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC).

He alleged that the government was unabashedly using the police to browbeat SGPC members into supporting the front which had been created by former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Mr Ravinder Singh.

He said the move would however, boomerang on the Congress as people knew the real motive of the party.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the Congress government had failed to rise up to the expectations of the people. He said the party had betrayed the people by not keeping the promise to ensure free supply of power to farming sector.


SGPC member detained, let off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 6
Mr Kewal Singh Badal, a son of former Agriculture Minister Gurdev Singh Badal, was on his way to meet Mr Parkash Singh Badal at 11. 30 a.m. when he was signalled by the Raikot police to halt.

“An ASI manning the naka near the Hari Singh Nalwa roundabout, then took him and his driver —Gurjant Singh — to police station.

The two were detained for seven hours. Mr Badal has brought the incident in the notice of the party high command. After narrating the incident, he refused to give details about the treatment he got at the police station.

The vehicle — (PB 10 AS 0103), in which they were travelling belongs to the Alamgir Sahib Gurdwara. Kewal Singh was recently appointed as the junior vice president of the SGPC from the Sidhwan bet.

Police sources said his vehicle was stopped during a routine checking and that the vehicle did not have the necessary registration documents. Upon verification, Kewal Singh was allowed to go.


SGPC member booked

Jalandhar, November 6
A case was registered against SGPC member, Mrs Surinder Kaur of the SAD and her son Harjinder Singh of Lalia village under the Goraya police station today.

According to police sources, the case was registered under Sections 379, 409, 420, 468, 471 and 500 of the IPC following complaints by officials of the Forest Department that the two were responsible for felling 40 trees planted on government land.

Harjinder Singh is a member of the SAD youth wing. The two are still at large and it is believed that Mrs Surinder Kaur has taken shelter with other SAD members of the SGPC in a safe place in Haryana to avoid being intimidated by her political Akali opponents in view of the November 12, SGPC presidential poll. UNI 


Security in Golden Temple beefed up

Amritsar, November 6
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has beefed up security inside the Golden Temple complex here in view of the November 12 elections of the SGPC office-bearers.

A visit to the shrine here revealed that the SGPC Task Force had been deployed in strength in the “serai” area of the complex which are located the rest houses for devotees and the administrative offices of the SGPC. SGPC task force members, comprising mostly of ex-servicemen were present even inside the Golden Temple and all along the “Parikarma”. But they were not interfering with the devotees paying obeisance.

Meanwhile, the main gate of Teja Singh Samundari Hall housing the SGPC president’s office and that of the other office-bearers was locked and the task force, armed with spears, was standing on guard.

Visitors to Teja Singh Samundari Hall were being frisked by securitymen and allowed to enter through a smaller side entrance adjoining the main gate.

Special attention was being paid to the security outside and inside Teja Singh Samundari Hall, the traditional venue for the SGPC presidential poll.

Local newsmen had a taste of the security measures when they were allowed to enter Teja Singh Samundari Hall through the smaller side gate but only after thorough checking. They had to show their identity cards.

Likewise, the main gate linking Teja Singh Samundari Hall with Guru Nanak Nivas was also locked.

The task force members have been deployed all over the complex round the clock.

The only entry to Guru Nanak Nivas is through a small entrance from a demolished building which once housed the office of the Akali Dal faction headed by Mr Surjit Singh Barnala.

The SGPC task force was formed in 1986 when militants took shelter in the shrine to escape the wrath of the security forces when Mr Barnala was the Chief Minister of Punjab.

The task force members, besides providing security to the five high priests inside the shrine and other ‘granthis’, are also responsible for maintaining the sanctity of the shrine. UNI


Sevadars sent to serve SGPC members
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 6
A section of sevadars (caretakers) of various gurdwaras being managed by the SGPC has been sent to various places in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to look after the members of the SGPC. These members have been staying in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for the past many days.

Sources said these sevadars, including some women workers, had been sent to the Balasar farm of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, in Sirsa district besides Teja Khera farmhouse owned by one of Mr Badal’s friends in the same district and one of the religious places in Himachal Pradesh.

Mr Jagpal Singh, who identified himself as treasurer of Takht Damdama Sahib, when contacted on phone, denied the fact that sevadars had been sent to Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to take care of members of the SGPC staying there.

Mr Sukhchain Singh, sevadar of Gurdwara Hazirattan Sahib in the town, denied that any sevadar from the gurdwara had gone to Haryana or Himachal Pradesh for taking care of members of the SGPC staying there.

Former Union Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, while talking to TNS, alleged that the Congress government in the state had ordered the police force to make arrangements to install the government’s own man as President of the SGPC. Various wings of the police force, including CID sleuths and Vigilance Bureau personnels were also being used by the Congress in this “illegal’ mission, he added.

Meanwhile, the sources said the Haryana police had started challaning vehicles, bearing registration numbers of Punjab state, which it found moving under suspicious circumstances in various pockets of Sirsa district.


‘End corruption, nepotism in SGPC’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 6
Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, a senior member of the SGPC Committee and Chairman, Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee, has opposed “parchee” system to elect the president of the SGPC. He said the election process should be democratic for the mini-Parliament of the Sikhs. Mr Romana alleged here today that the body became a den of corruption and nepotism in the past 30 to 40 years due to mismanagement.

Mr Romana added that Mr Kirpal Singh, SGPC Chief, had failed in his job due to political pressure and interference in the body.

Envisaged goal of providing clean and transparent administration in the maintenance gurdwaras and spreading the message of Sikh Gurus had been lost sight of, he added. Refusing to comment on the proposal of the seven-member committee of ‘non-aligned’ members of SGPC for a consensus candidate he made it clear that if he got a chance he would give priority to the eradication of corruption and nepotism which had tarnished the image of the SGPC. He also promised to increase its income by Rs 20 crore in three months after becoming its president.

However, he refused to make any comment on his recent meeting with Mr Ravi Inder Singh, senior Akali leader and former Speaker of Punjab.


Ghuman puppet in Cong hands: SAD
Our Correspondent

Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, MLA, and senior SAD leaders meet at Bathinda on Wednesday. — Photo Kulbir Beera

Bathinda, November 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Bathinda district unit held a meeting at the Haziratan gurdwara today to draw up programme in respect of election of the SGPC president on November 12 and morcha of the party from November 15.

The meeting reposed faith in the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and were confident that thousands of party workers would participate in the proposed morcha.

The meeting condemned “atrocities” of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on the SGPC members.

The leaders observed that despite harassment at the hands of official machinery, majority of the SGPC members would support SAD (B) candidate for SGPC Presidentship.

Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former Punjab Minister, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali and Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, both MLAs and all district-level leaders, were present in the meeting.

Mr Garg said that Capt Amarinder Singh wanted to suppress the people so that they did not ask for better facilities. He said that the Punjab Chief Minister wanted to control the SGPC by proxy.

He said that the SAD (B) would face the “atrocities” of the Congress to protect Sikh interests. He said that the conduct of a few SGPC members aimed at benefiting the Congress. He said that such members had betrayed the Sikh Panth.

Another resolution of the meeting condemned the activities of Akali leader Mr Mal Singh Ghuman who formed a seven-member committee. The meeting said that Mr Ghuman was working as a puppet in hands of Mr Tohra, Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Capt Amarinder Singh.

The meeting said that the statement of Mr Ghuman on non-interference of political parties into SGPC affairs was made on the behest of the Congress and the SHSAD.

Mr Tungwali said that the Congress government in the state had not fulfilled even a single promise made before the election. He said in the name of eradicating corruption SAD (B) members were harassed by the government machinery.


Ghuman’s admission

MR Mal Singh Ghuman, who has been expelled from the SAD for “anti-party activities” by Mr Badal, today disclosed that he had not voted for Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar in the SGPC presidential election. He said as he had reservation about Mr Badungar’s candidature, he voted against him. “I have always tried to break the monopoly of certain individuals over the SGPC, he added.


Sikh Forum memo to Vedanti
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 6
In a memorandum, the Sikh Forum today urged Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to hold the annual election of the SGPC executive under his direct supervision.

The memorandum submitted to Jathedar Vedanti at his official residence here today by Capt Channan Singh Sidhu, president of the forum stated that Sikh Panth could not tolerate conducting of the SGPC election under the supervision of the state or Central observers. He said Sikh Panth considered Jathedar, Akal Takht, as supreme who was non-voting member of the SGPC and hence could ensure free and fair election.


Dal (Mann) PAC meets on Nov 12
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 6
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) on November 12 here to decide on election to the post of SGPC chief.

Mr Mann said that the party would adopt “wait and watch” policy on support to any candidate for SGPC chief’s post.

He described the advertisements in newspapers against Mr Parkash Singh Badal as “government sponsored.” He said it was correct that Mr Badal had been violating tenets of the Sikhism, but the derogatory remarks against him were “unethical.” He alleged that advertisements were funded by the state government as the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, headed by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra did not have funds for it.


Obey SC order on SYL: Chautala
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 6
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala said here today that the Punjab Government should show wisdom in completing the construction of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal by January 15, 2003, as directed by the Supreme Court.

Talking to reporters at Panjkosi village, 12 km from the here, Mr Chautala said the Haryana Government would be left with no alternative but to initiate contempt of court proceedings if the Punjab Government failed to obey the verdict of the Supreme Court by then. The Chief Minister had arrived here with other members of the family to attend a social function at the house of his in-laws.

Mr Chautala said Haryana had been trying hard to settle all geographical and water disputes with Punjab for the past three decades but the attitude of all governments of the neighbouring state has been non-cooperative. Haryana had not given its claim on Chandigarh and Abohar-Fazilka besides other areas.

Asked to comment on the criticism of the Punjab Government by the SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal and other leaders for sparing water for drought-hit areas of Rajasthan, Mr Chautala said a political colour should not be given to every event. Capt Amarinder Singh was justified in providing water and other commodities to Rajasthan as an immediate neighbour and from the national angle. Haryana would be sending 1,000 truckloads of fodder and wheat for drought-hit areas of Rajasthan. We will not mind providing even drinking water to Rajasthan, Mr Chautala said.

The Chief Minister said Mr Badal had a farmhouse in Haryana. We should not interfere in the movement of SGPC members if they are guests of the Badal family there, he said.

Talking about his impending foreign tour, Mr Chautala said the purpose was to inspire the NRIs and other potential investors to set up industries and other ventures in Haryana. “We are prepared to provide a friendly environment, free of corruption and red tape.”


Kapurthala MC chief resigns
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 6
Mr Ashok Kumar Aggarwal, president of the local Municipal Council, today resigned from the post of the council president keeping in view the no-confidence motion moved by 15 municipal Councillors and local MLA Rana Gurjit Singh on October 28 against him.

A meeting of the council on the no confidence motion had to be convened by the Executive Officer within 14 days from the date it was moved. Now with the resignation by Mr Aggarwal, the motion stood infructuous.

Mr Ashok Aggarwal took over as the president of the council on October 23, 2002, following the decision of the Supreme Court in his favour. Earlier, the post had been lying vacant since February, as the Punjab and Haryana High Court had set aside the election of Mr Aggarwal to the post of the council president on a writ petition filed by Mr Sudesh Kumar Aggarwal, who was defeated in the election to the president post, and declared Mr Sudesh Aggarwal him as elected president. Mr Ashok Aggarwal later obtained a stay against the Punjab Government restraining it from issuing a notification in favour of Mr Sudesh Aggarwal.

In the last Assembly election when the Congress came to power in the state, the SAD-BJP combine, which was ruling the council lost majority as four Akali and BJP councillors switched loyalty to the Congress. Mr Sudesh Aggarwal was elected vice-president of the council after its vice-president Paramjit Singh had resigned. in the absence of he president of he council Mr Sudesh Aggarwal officiated as acting president till October 23.

Meanwhile, Mr Sudesh Aggarwal today again took over the charge of acting president of the council. In the resignation letter Mr Ashok Aggarwal had not assigned any reason for the move but he, however, appreciated the work done by the vice-president.


BJP chief to visit state on Nov 14

Phagwara, November 6
BJP President Venkaiah Naidu will visit Punjab on November 14 to give boost to party’s nationwide “Gaon Chalo Abhiyan” in the state.

Party state general secretary (organisation) Avinash Jaiswal today said Mr Naidu, after meeting the media at Amritsar, would address the party rally at Tarn Taran to give an impetus to the party’s campaign. He would also address a meeting of the newly-constituted state body of the BJP in the border town the same day. Union Ministers Shahnawaz Hussain and Vinod Khanna would accompany the party president, he added.

Mr Jaiswal said the Tarn Taran rally would be preceded by a series of party meetings to be launched from tomorrow at Moga. The last in the series of meetings would be held at Amritsar on November 13. UNI


DD centre to cater to Malwa farmers’ needs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 6
Doordarshan will now target the special requirements of the Malwa belt by going in for “narrow casting” of a special programme which will cater to the agricultural and cultural needs of the people of the area.

Disclosing this here today after the formal inaugural function at the low power-transmission centre here, Jalandhar Doordarshan Director Ashok Jailkhani said under the “narrow casting” scheme a special programme developed for the people of the area would be aired on television in a range of 25 to 30 km.

Mr Jailkhani said the programme named ‘Saavi Dharti’ (green earth) would be aired at 6 p.m. every Wednesday. A special studio had been created for the purpose.

The Doordarshan head said the narrow casting programme was one of the 16 such programmes started by Prasar Bharati all over the country. He said it would focus on special agricultural needs of the Malwa belt with both experts and a common farmer being associated with the programme. He said farmers would also be advised with regard to the use of fertilisers, pesticides and other requirements of their crops by experts.

The programme would also focus on the cultural tradition of the Malwa belt with stress on Malwai giddha, jhumar and traditional sufiana kalam as well as the classical tradition of the Patiala gharana. He said it was hoped that artists of the region would get a boost following the launch of the programme.


Cash crunch hits road maintenance
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 6
The reported poor financial condition of the Punjab Government is now taking its toll on the planned and link roads in the state. The Chief Engineer, PWD, has written to the subdivisions not to spend any amount on the maintenance of the planned and link roads. In a clear diktat issued by the Chief Engineer, the PWD authorities have been warned against creating any liability under the maintenance of road head No. 3054.

The officials have been warned that if they get any planned or link road repaired, the department would not be liable for any payment and the officer concerned will have to bear the entire expenses from his own pocket.

The order is taking a heavy toll on the condition of the planned and link roads in the district. Generally after each monsoon these roads were repaired for the wear and tear created by the rains. The repairs included filling of patches and clearing of berms.

This year, however, no funds have yet been released for repairing these roads. Due to this, many main roads in the district are in a bad shape and are deteriorating further. The Nangal-Anandpur Sahib road, the main road connecting Punjab with Himachal, is in a pathetic condition. Due to lack of repairs, huge pits have been formed on the road, which are bigger with each passing day due to heavy traffic on the road.

Besides, the condition of most of the link roads in the district is deteriorating due to lack of repairs. Sources in the PWD Department, speaking on condition of anonymity, said at present many link roads required minor repairs after monsoon. However, if these were not repaired in time, the heavy vehicles passing over them would make the damage irreparable. The laying of premix, which was comparatively expensive, would then remain the only alternative for making the roads motorable.

The sources said the aggrieved people of the district approached the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, and complained against the pathetic condition of roads in their areas. The Deputy Commissioner summoned the PWD authorities who expressed their helplessness in repairing the roads quoting the letter of the Chief Engineer, PWD.


CM flags off relief for Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh today flagged off a fleet of 17 trucks carrying rice and flour to draught-hit Rajasthan.

As a humanitarian gesture, the relief from Punjab for Rajasthan is the outcome of a recent visit there by Capt Amarinder Singh, who was moved by the plight of the people. The Chief Minister said more ration would be sent, including pulses, ghee, sugar etc to Churu district, one of the worst affected districts.

The rice despatched today has been contributed by the Punjab Rice Millers Association. Punjab has already sent a special train of wheat.

Capt Amarinder Singh thanked Baba Man Singh Pehowawale and Baba Hansliwale for their gesture in feeding the hungry and urged them to start “langar” there.

Later, talking to newspersons, Capt Amarinder Singh said no bloodshed would be allowed during the SGPC presidential elections on November 12. Adequate security arrangements would be made.

When asked about Mr Mal Singh Ghuman, he said the Vigilance Bureau was yet to complete investigations in his case. The state government was not interfering in the SGPC elections and none of the members had submitted any complaint to him in this regard.


Harbhajan Maan’s date with Tribune readers
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 6
It was a pleasant surprise for a number of Jalandhar residents to find their young heart-throb and Punjabi Pop singer Harbhajan Maan, coming to them with a whiff of musical air and knocking their doors early in the morning with his broad sunny smile.

And as slowly shedding their misbelief, they extended their warm feelings by saying, “Jee Aayian Nun,” in typical Punjabi style, Maan handed them a colourful gift hamper, which doubled their joy, particularly, as the gift was a joint effort by Maan and The Tribune Trust for anyone whosoever was found carrying a copy of The Tribune.

For residents, especially, the young Tribune readers, if the surprise visit by the singer filled the air with enthusiasm, for the seasoned readers it was a matter of nostalgia as they stole moments to go down memory lane to remember their long association with The Tribune and the long standing values it carried and for which it has been known for more than a hundred years.

“I have been reading The Tribune since I was a Class V student,” reminisced a 61-year-old frail looking Bhag Singh while talking to Maan and The Tribune caravan accompanying him,” Look, though it has transformed the society and has been able to keep pace with the changing world, yet I find the same spirit behind it, even after so many years,” said an emotional Bhag Singh while saying “Jee Aayian Nu” to Maan and The Tribune caravan. “The best thing for me is to note that The Tribune is carrying along the younger generation with an enthusiasm and it is visible from its vibrant association with youngsters like Harbhajan Maan,” said Bhag Singh, a resident of Urban Estate.

It was a matter of disbelief for Sharan, a NIFD student, as she received a sparkling Maan with a smile and with folded hands. As she came out with a copy of The Tribune, it was the turn of Maan to hand over the surprise gift hamper to her forcing her to say: “I cannot express myself in words. It’s sheer joy to receive the caravan and the gift it has brought for me,” said a recharged Sharan while inviting Maan and the caravan for a cup of coffee. Similarly, joy knew no bounds for Ms Amanpreet, also an Urban Estate resident, when the caravan descended on her home. “He is my favourite and so is The Tribune and the best thing has happened that both came calling in the morning. It’s certainly a day with a difference for me,” she said.

“I had never thought that the celebrity would be coming to Jalandhar in the near future, but seeing him with a lot of caravan people at our doorsteps is a pleasant shock for me,” said Anurag, a young Model Town resident. The caravan also paid surprise visits to the residents of The Tribune readers in the Bus Stand area.


Importance of language highlighted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 6
Scholars participating in the two day national seminar on “Recent perspectives in literature” opined that language was the hub of human life. Noted linguist Dr Prem Singh from Delhi said Sanskrit and Greek were closed to each other. He said language and its acquisition were necessary for acquiring knowledge. He said Sanskrit grammarian Panini was responsible for contributing towards modern day thoughts. He stressed the need to study the heritage of the east and the west as all new thoughts were based on it.

In his presidential address, Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor S. S. Boparai said ours was a versatile region that needed to be highlighted suitably.

Renowned scholar Dr Gurbahagat Singh exhorted scholars to read and write in Punjabi in order to enrich the language. He said the Sikh heritage of Punjab was a great contribution towards developing the recontruction of divinity of those literary forms which needed in present times.

Varsity Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr R. N. Pal welcomed the guests. Dr B. S. Khaira, head Department of Correspondence Courses, presented the vote of thanks.


400 get Rs 5,000 loan for rickshaws
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the Finance Committee, Punjab, said today the NGOs could help the administration for giving financial aid to poor people to help them earn their living.

Mr Singla was speaking on a function organised by the district administration to give cheques for Rs 5,000 each as loan to about 400 persons belonging to 85 poor families so that they can purchase cycle-rickshaws, under the self-employment scheme.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said a special survey was conducted to find the needy persons. He said that Rs 5 lakh would be given for the purpose. The Oriental Bank of Commerce and the Scheduled Caste Land Development Corporation would give the loans.

Mr Verma said half of the amount given to each person would be treated as subsidy. He said the beneficiary would have to repay the loan in instalments. He said each person would have to pay Rs 10 every day.

He said the aim of the scheme was that the rickshaw pullers could become owners of the vehicle. He said normally a rickshaw puller had to pay Rs 20 every day for hiring a rickshaw. Some of them who were in the occupation for past more than a decade might have paid more than the price of a rickshaw as rent, but still not owned one.

Officials of different departments and the bank were asked to be present on the occasion so that the paper work could be done immediately.


Cultural function on Vishvakarma Day
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, November 6
A cultural function was organised by the Vishvakarma Educational Society in Ramlila Ground to celebrate Vishvakarma Day here today.

Renowned Punjabi folk singers regaled the audience for more than five hours.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister of Punjab and local MLA, who was the chief guest at the function, appealed to the public to follow the teachings of Lord Vishvakarma and work hard to build a strong nation.

Mr Narinder Sharma, former sarpanch of Lohgarh village, presided over the function.

Scores of residents of the surrounding villages, Mr Jagjit Singh Dalli, president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, Mr Sukhdev Singh Changera, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Patiala, Mr Hardev Singh, sarpanch, Mr Gurcharan Singh, president of the Dera Bassi Truck Union, Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, Chairman of the Rotract Clubs, Rajesh Narain, Chairman, and Mr Narinder Dhiman, president of the Vishvakarma Educational Committee, were also present.

A fair was also organised by the committee in Chhat village.

Punjabi folk singers Ajay Deol and Suman enthralled the gathering to during the fair.


Send chimp, hippo to zoo: animal board
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
The Animal Board of India (AWBI) has said that the hippopotamus and chimpanzee held by Jumbo Circus, holding shows in the city these days, should be sent to a zoo or rescue centre. Dr Sandeep K Jain executive member of the AWBI, in a letter to the District Magistrate-cum-President of the SPCA, said during his visit to the circus, he had found that a hippopotamus had opacity in both his eyes and needed immediate treatment.

Dr Jain said the hippopotamus was probably blind as he did not respond when the food was placed before him rather he responded to sound or touch only. As such, the animal was not fit for performing in a circus and needed to be sent to a zoo or rescue centre.

Dr Jain further observed that the chimpanzee was tossing about in agony due to inadequate space in the cage. Dr Jain urged the District Magistrate to take samples of the food provided to the animals so as to check the quality.

He said the DFO should take the charge of the hippopotamus and the chimpanzee till the arrangements were made for sending them to some zoo.


5 injured in road mishaps
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
As many as five persons, including four women, were injured in two separate incidents in the district this evening.

In the first incident four women were injured when the autorickshaw in which they were travelling overturned near Bhuchu Mandi, about 15 km from here, this evening. The women returning to Lehra Khana village after paying obeisance at a religious place at Roomiwala in the district. They were admitted to a local private hospital by volunteers of the Sahara Welfare Club. In another incident Balwinder Singh, a truck driver, was injured when his vehicle overturned near Tungwali village here. 


More leprosy patients in Gurdaspur
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 6
The number of leprosy patients in this district is increasing. According to official sources, it has gone up by 40 patients during this year. It has been observed that the leprosy patients previously used to be from other states. During this year half of the patients affected with the disease are Punjabis.

Meanwhile, Mrs Madhvi Sinha, wife of Deputy Commissioner distributed 70 blankets among the patients of Dinanagar and 60 among the patients in Batala. She also distributed 10 blankets among the patients of the T.B. Hospital here on behalf of the District Red Cross.


AILU demand on Bar council poll
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 6
The All-India Lawyers Union (AILU) has condemned the election process of the Bar Council.

He has demanded the creation of constituencies. The working president of the state unit of AILU, Mr Kushwant Rai Joshi, said this here today. In the present system district or sub-division level advocates do not get true representation.

At present the electoral college for the council election spreads from Gurgaon in Haryana to Pathankot in Punjab. Candidates have to cover vast distances for campaigning. This adds to their poll expenses. Advocates from lower courts seldom can afford such an expense. The trend was obvious this time. More than 50 per cent of the candidates contesting 25 seats of the council were practising at Chandigarh.

As a result, many problems faced by the advocates at the district and sub-division levels were not redressed. While the advocates with 10 years experience in the Punjab and Haryana High Court were eligible for the High Court Judge’s post the same privilege was not extended to advocates practising at the lower courts.


Sabhas to hold rally today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
The Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha, the Sarb Bharat Naujawan Sabha and the Punjab Istri Sabha will hold a rally in the city tomorrow in protest against the anti-people policies of the Punjab Government.

This was stated in a press note issued today by Mr Balbir Singh Bhucho, convener of the Sarb Bharat Naujawan Sabha, and Mr Surjeet Singh Sardargarh, assistant secretary of the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha. They said unemployment had increased due to the wrong policies of the Congress government.

The leaders alleged that after the formation of the Congress government in the state, the problems of people had increased manifold.


Child labour awareness plan
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, November 6
Parmodh, 12, washes utensils in a sweet shop here. Santosh, 10, from Madhya Pardesh works at a grocery for six hours and later in the shop owner’s house too.

These are not isolated cases in the district. Many children in the age group of 7 to 14 slog in shops as slaves. Mr Inderjeet Singh Khokhar President District Gurdaspur, Bachpan bachao Andolan, said here to-day, that our campaign was not restricted to shops and industries but also to households. People were motivated to boycott the hospitality of such households.


PAMSA resents move on AMOs
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 6
Dr S.S. Romana, Senior Vice-President of the Punjab Ayurvedic Medical Services Association (PAMSA) said today move to terminate the services of Ayurvedic Medical Officers (AMOs) recruited by the previous SAD-BJP government was uncalled for as the appointments had been made per Supreme Court directions.

Dr Romana in a press note said the appointments were made on merit. He said the Supreme Court quashed appointments of a few AMOs two years ago. He said subsequently the Supreme Court had directed the state government to appoint AMOs afresh on the basis of merit. Following the apex court orders the state government held a written test and interview afresh and appointed AMOs.


Suicide cases in rural areas on the rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
In a public interest litigation filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a social organisation — Movement Against State Repression — has alleged that governments in the state of Punjab have failed in their constitutional duty to provide adequate loans to the farmers resulting in an alarming increase in the cases of suicides in the rural areas on account of debt trap. The petition is likely to be taken up by the High Court on November 11.

The organisation claimed that in the absence of adequate government financial agencies in rural Punjab, the farmers were being pushed into the hands of private money lenders and commission agents who were charging high rates of interest.

The organisation added that as per a study carried out by them, the cases of suicides by the farmers had increased by as much as 250 per cent. They further added that some agro-scientists had even predicted a total collapse of the agricultural sector in the state of Punjab within the next 20 years.

It was further alleged that the government had adopted an attitude of indifference towards these suicides hoping against hope that the problem would be solved. The problem, however, continued.


Farmers’ dharna at dist courts
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 6
Several hundred farmers under the banner of the Bhartiya Kisan Union held a dharna on the premises of the district courts today to protest against the “anti-farmer” policies of the Central and the state governments. The protesters were not allowed to break through the cardons to hold their dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

The dharna was led by the state unit president of the BKU, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann. Prominent speakers at the dharna included Mr Onkar Singh Bajwa, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the BKU, Mr Charan Singh and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Kahlon, district presidents of Ferozepore unit and Gurdaspur district units of the BKU, respectively, and Mr Shivdev Singh, vice-president of the Amritsar district unit of the BKU.

Mr Mann said the State Electricity Regulatory Commission also recommended reduction of the PSEB staff to 32,000 employees against the existing 96,000 employees besides weeding out inefficiency and corruption from the board. He said the government was silent on both these courts.

Mr Mann accused the Punjab Government of not putting pressure on the Centre to fix the rate of sugar-cane though the crushing season had already begun. He demanded Rs 125 per quintal as the rate of sugar-cane as the rates fixed by Haryana and UP were Rs 110 and Rs 105, respectively.

Later a deputation of the farmers presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner highlighting these demands. 


Animal fair poor draw

Vallah (Amritsar), November 6
Condition of farmers of the border areas in Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir due to land mines in their fields coupled with poor rainfall this year is unenviable forcing them to stay away from the ongoing animal fair at Vallah village held every year on the eve of Divali.

The animal fair unlike the ones in previous years, this time was found lacklustre. Even as the traders from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan and UP villages have been camping here with hopes to sell their animals for fat prices, but so far they have not succeeded in it.

The five Haryana-based groups of Camel traders camping in the Mela for the past five days could hardly sell five camels out of 300 brought here.

These traders said that they had been participating in the Mela (fair) since pre-partition days with their forefathers coming here to sell camels, till two years back, it was 100 per cent selling ratio which now has decreased unbelievably with the disappearance of demand for camels in Himachal, Rajasthan and Punjab”, traders added.

Continuing camel traders attributed the fall in demand to severe drought-like conditions in the northern region. “How could farmers think of buying more animals when their existing livestock is starving due to acute fodder shortage”, they quipped.

This time, traders, are sore at the alleged exorbitant transportation charges being demanded by private contractors vis-a-vis fixed by the district administration.

The district administration awards contract to private transporters to carry animals bought and sold in the fair to the destination of the buyer.

According to traders, contractors were charging toll for small four-wheeler vehicle like Tractor-trailer Rs 500 against Rs 250 fixed by the government. While truckers were charging Rs 1000 against 450. Moreover, buyer has to cough up the fare also.

The Mela Officer said, they had told all traders not to pay more than the rates fixed by the district administration. “But people are not heeding us. If somebody approached us with a complaint, we would certainly tale action” he added.

The fair began on November 1 and will conclude tomorrow.

One of the district administration officers on duty in the mela told on condition of anonymity that private contractors charge higher rates to meet cost due to the poor turn-out in the mela. “If we keep strict check on them, no transporter would come forward for the transportation of their animals”, he added.

Private transporters got the contract for Rs 94,500. If they do not charge as per their own ways, it would turnout to be a loss-making venture for them, the Officer added.

Officers in the mela said last year the government earned Rs 8 lakh but this time, mela officers are finding it difficult to meet even the last year targets.

The government is charging Rs 10 on the entry of one animal, besides 4 per cent Sales Tax on the selling price of the animal.

In lieu of these charges, the Government is providing certain facilities to animal traders in the mela, like free electricity, accommodation and water supply for the animals. But traders complained of poor facilities from the government in the mela. PTI


Cantonment Board proposes elections
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 6
The local Cantonment Board has proposed to conduct general elections of the board on December 29, that are due to be conducted by December 31. However, it is learnt that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) may further extend the term of the present board by another couple of months.

Disclosing this to TNS here today, Mr Parshotam Lal, Cantonment Executive Officer, said the MoD had earlier extended the term of the present board twice. The present extended term would expire on December 31. Therefore it was mandatory for the board to recommend general elections before the expiry date of the extended term.

He did not rule out the possibility of further extension of the term by another couple of months, maximum to a period of not more than one year, that is, till March 7, 2003.

In reply to a question, he said the board was preparing for the elections. The electoral rolls had already been revised and were under publication. He said the MoD had to issue a notification of elections 45 days prior to the date of voting as per the existing rules.

Since, the MoD had so far not responded to the recommendation of the board for elections as proposed on December 29, that was drawing closer, therefore it appeared that the MoD might further extend the term for another couple of months finally deciding the date of poll before March 7, 2003, he said.

Meanwhile, political activities have started gaining momentum in the Cantonment Board. The present members and aspiring candidates have begun meeting influential people to gather support for contesting the elections. Although there is no direct involvement of political parties in these elections but behind the scene local leaders of various parties support one or the other candidate to maintain their dominance over local politics.


DC ordered to redress grievances
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 6
Taking serious note of the district administration’s failure to readers grievances of people regarding the revision of electoral rolls for the local body polls in Fazilka and Abohar subdivisions here the State Election Commissioner, Mr C.L. Bains, today ordered Mr D.K. Tiwari, District Electoral Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, to ensure that the people get justice.

A copy of the order with The Tribune read, “Apropos my telephonic discussions with you today. As discussed, outside staff from Fazilka/Abohar be deputed on the verification duty as the allegations are too serious. As you told me that the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) is going to supervise the verification process, this should be done with close supervision by the ADC (General) so that people get justice”.

Earlier, the local people and representatives of the local bodies of Abohar, Fazilka and Jalalabad had on many occasions written to the State Election Commissioner (SEC) that irregularities were committed during the revision of electoral rolls at the behest of certain political parties. They had also objected to the district administration’s move to appoint the same staff on the verification duty that had revised the electoral rolls.

It is worth mentioning that the (SEC) had earlier written to the Deputy Commissioner on October 24 and October 31 to ensure that the same staff was not deputed on the verification duty but the orders were not implemented accordingly. When the complaints repeatedly flooded the SEC office, Mr Bains was forced to talk to Mr Tiwari today before sending similar orders for the third time.

Meanwhile, Mr Prem Kumar Vlaicha, president Municipal Committee, Jalalabad, and two other members of the committee alleged that the district administration violated rules and regulations during the revision and verification of electoral rolls. 


MC directed to utilise solid waste
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 6
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Seema Jain, has directed the municipal council, Mohali, to examine the possibility of utilising the solid waste for power generation.

Besides the installation of power plants, the councils were also asked to forward ideas for the recycling or utilisation of the solid waste. The directions in this regard were issued after a meeting of executive officers of the municipal councils in the district.

The meeting was held to draw a programme for the implementation of the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, in the municipal areas of the district.


Punjab transfers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Punjab Government has ordered the following postings and transfers: Mr Sudhir Mittal is now Secretary Tourism and will continue to work as Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala.

Mr Jaswant Singh is now Additional Secretary, Excise and Taxation, vice Mr M.R. Aggarwal, who becomes Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner (Admn), Patiala, against a vacant post, says a government press note.


Drug inspectors lack facilities
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 6
The Punjab Government has failed to take effective measures to control the menace of drug abuse.

According to reports, the government appointed nine drug inspectors to check medical stores but they have not been provided proper infrastructure to do so.


Crime in Doaba on decline: DIG
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 6
Mr Rohit Chaudhry, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Jalandhar Range, at a Press conference here today, said during the past four months Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Kapurthala districts of the range had shown all-round efficient and professional policing.

Mr Chaudhry said as many as 17 criminal gangs have been busted and nearly 117 members of these gangs arrested. He said crime in Doaba region had showed a downward trend. Murders had decreased from 70 to 48 from the past year. Rape, abduction and kidnapping cases had decreased from 80 to 61, he said.

He further said 198 cases were registered and 220 persons arrested under the NDPS Act. As much as 20.750 kg of opium, 16,809 kg of poppy husk, 2.8 kg of charas, 8.888 kg of smack, 316 morphine injections and 14,600 intoxicating tablets and capsules had been seized. As many as 106 persons have been arrested in 99 cases under the Arms Act and 39 pistols, eight revolvers, seven rifles, three guns and 692 cartridges, besides other weapons were seized. Two LeT militants have been arrested in this period and four blast cases solved.


Member of spying racket held
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 6
The police today arrested Grephen Masih of Dadwan village under Dhariwal police station for his alleged involvement in espionage activities. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note said the accused was a member of a spying racket. Two members of the gang, Amrik Singh and Lawrence of Dadwan, had been arrested earlier. Sunil Masih of Dadwan and Toshi of Dhariwal, other members of the gang, were still at large. Grephen Masih had links with his counterpart in Pakistan namely Nazir Gujjar of Dota village under Narowal police station in Pakistan.

The SSP said a few secret documents, including maps of bridges over the Beas near Purana Shalla/Mukerian and Madhopur headworks, had been seized.


PCCTU defers education bandh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) today submitted a memorandum to Capt Amarinder Singh. Pointing to the acute problem of non-payment of salaries in a large number of Colleges, the union demanded the withdrawal of 10 per cent annual cut on salary grants and stressed the need for implementing the pension-cum-gratuity scheme of December, 1996, and the UGC pay-revision package notified in December 1998.

The Chief Minister assured the PCCTU of holding a formal meeting with its representatives on November 11, says a press note signed by general secretary V.K. Tewari.

Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr V.K. Tewari, president and general secretary, respectively of the PCCTU, said here today that the union had postponed its call for an Education bandh, mass casual leave and a protest rally in Patiala slated to be held on November 8. The decision to defer the agitational call had been taken in the light of the formal meeting fixed by the Chief Minister for November 11. However, the meeting of the PCCTU general council scheduled for November 17 at Ludhiana to review the situation and to take decisions regarding intensification of the agitation, including indefinite strike and Jail Bharo Andolan, would be held.

The PCCTU demanded immediate issuance of a government order to pay the arrears of pay revision in cash instead of NSCs, as decided at a meeting with the Education Minister on October 8.


Departmental exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6
The departmental examination of Assistant Commissioners Extra Assistant Commissioners and officers of various other departments i.e. Agriculture Development Officers, Veterinary Surgeons, Fisheries Officers, Deputy Superintend, Superintend Jail, Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, BDPOs and Excise and Taxation Officers etc shall be conducted by the Central Committee of Examination, Punjab, from November 11 to November 15.

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