Monday, November 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akalis must reconcile to facts: Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Driven out of power by the people of Punjab, the Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, refuses to reconcile itself to the fact that it has been rejected by the electorate on account of the then Badal Government’s rampant corruption and failure to address the people’s problems, says Mr Kuldip Singh, General Secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.

“It is shocking that Mr Badal, instead of honouring the people’s verdict, has been indulging in activities which could prove detrimental to the interests of Punjab in general and the Sikhs in particular, to which Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is committed to protect at all costs,” he said.

The manner in which Mr Badal tried to enact a drama to portray a false picture of the Congress making attempts to sabotage the SGPC elections or bidding to instal some “puppets to run the SGPC, was only an expression of his frustration on account of his refusal to reconcile himself to the fact that Akali Dal politics based on favouritism, nepotism and corrupt practices, had been totally rejected by the people,” the UP Sikh leader said. He was talking to newsmen here this afternoon.

The manner in which Mr Badal had given a wrong portrayal of the SGPC poll had caused panic among Sikhs residing outside Punjab. Their worry was natural as they had, with great difficulty, after the unfortunate 1984-riots, managed to come to terms with life. The community had to pay a heavy price for the wrongdoings of the Akalis and it was on account of this experience that the Sikhs overwhelmingly supported the Congress in the Delhi poll and later in the Punjab Assembly elections.”

He added that Sikhs all over the country had fully understood the Akali gameplan solely focused on enjoying the fruits of political power, be that at the Centre or in Punjab.

“Why does not he sever his links with the saffron brigade, of which he is an ally at the Centre if he thinks himself to be a well-wisher of Sikhs?,” he asked.


Punjab, Uttaranchal hydel project likely
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, November 24
Punjab and Uttaranchal are likely to go for a joint hydel power project.

Mr Surjeet Singh Barnala, Governor, Uttaranchal, told TNS today that talks between Punjab and Uttaranchal on the project had resumed.

He added that Punjab would get power at a cheaper rate and Uttaranchal revenue.

Mr Surinder Singh, Chairman, high-powered committee on Finance, Punjab, also met Mr Barnala. He said Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab and Mr N.D. Tiwari, Chief Minister, Uttaranchal, had discussed the project.

He added the joint hydel project would be beneficial to both states.

Regarding the recent SGPC elections, Mr Barnala said the Sikh sangat should reform the poll process. He said leaders of the Sikhs should have a rethink of the politicisation of the SGPC. He said the SGPC Act should be followed by one and all, lamenting that the elections were fought like Assembly elections and not like those of a religious body.

Mr Barnala said the draft of the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act was under consideration. He stated that the SGPC Act, 1925, which gave right of franchise to the Sikh sangat, should be honoured by all.

The Governor said the Uttaranchal Government was promoting religious and adventure tourism, adding that the condition of roads leading to important religious places, including Hemkunt Sahib, Kedarnath and Ritha Sahib, were being improved. He said the road being constructed to Ritha Sahib would reduce the travelling distance by about 80 km and informed that the road to Rishikesh was being doubled in width.

Mr Barnala said the state was mobilising its machinery to accommodate five crore pilgrims for the Ardh Kumbh Mela.


Guru Nanak’s teachings ‘still relevant’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
The coexistence of science and religion is essential for the progress of a country. Hence the teachings of Guru Nanak are still relevant as they teach how to maintain a lifestyle based on truth and honesty in a socially active environment.

These sentiments were expressed by Ms Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister, Delhi, while presiding over the 33rd foundation day celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

She said the revolutionary inventions such as cloning and genetic engineering should be used judiciously, keeping in mind the threat to the balance of nature.

Earlier, Dr Surjit Kaur Chahal from Pune University contrasted religion with modern research. She said tampering with the laws of nature was dangerous to mankind.

Also present on the occasion were Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sujata Miri from Shillong University, who was a guest speaker, prof Mrinal Miri and Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar. A martial arts performance, a prize distribution function and langar were organised to mark the occasion.

Talking about the “lofty” powers given to the Lt-Governor, Delhi, by the Central Government, Ms Dikshit demanded the withdrawal of two circulars in this regard. She said these had become a hindrance to the functioning of her government.

The Chief Minister demanded autonomy and special status for Delhi, as provided to Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura under Article 371 of the Constitution.


Allow Hindu pilgrims to visit Katas Raj: VHP
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 24
The All-India Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Mr Mohan Joshi, today demanded that Hindu pilgrims should be allowed to visit Katas Raj in Pakistan in the same way as their Sikh brethren were allowed to visit Nankana Sahib.

He took exception to the objectionable behaviour with the Sikh jatha by officials of Pakistan and the PSGPC. The Indian currency was not exchanged by Pakistani banks while the jatha was referred as ‘sarkari jatha’ and its members were called “gulams” (slaves), he alleged. While we treat Pakistani visitors to Khwaja’s dargah with respect, the Pakistani government treated Sikh and Hindu jathas shabbily, he regretted.

Later at a press conference he said the Indian Government should destroy terrorist training camps in Pakistan like Israel had done in Palestine and Egypt.

If required, India should use atomic power for eliminating these trans-border camps, he said at the residence of Mr Ajay Kochhar, district unit secretary of the Parishad here.

Asserting that the nation faced three major problems of terrorism conversions and the Ram Janambhoomi temple issue, Mr Joshi mooted seven-point formula to resolve these. He alleged that the country faced two types of terrorism — Islamic and Christian which was being funded by foreign countries. For tackling Christian terrorist in North-East states, negotiations should be held with in the ambit of the Indian Constitution after the terrorists outfits like Peoples’ Govt of Nagaland abandon their demand for a greater Nagaland, he said.

Mr Joshi alleged that 40 lakh Muslim fanatics had infiltrated into Punjab from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Pakistan and Bangladesh under a conspiracy to spread Islamic terrorism. Out of it, 10 lakh were Bangladeshis and 50,000 Pakistani nationals whose visas had expired, he alleged.

He said 60 per cent of rural Muslims out of their 14 crore population and two crore Christians out of their total 2.75 crore population in India were against fanatics.

He demanded the scrapping of the National Minorities Commission as it had allegedly become a Christian and Muslim body. Article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir should be scrapped, he demanded. Conversions should be banned and those undergoing conversion should be penalised.

Lastly, the Ram Janambhoomi temple land should be handed over to Ram Janambhoomi Nyas. The case should be solved out of the purview of the Supreme Court and Parliament should solve it with consensus, he added


Circus maltreating animals: PFA
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 24
Colourful Australian macaw and cocatto parrots operating a toy cannon and beautiful spitz dogs and pups passing through a ring of fire might be a source of amusement for spectators, particularly children, but the audience as well as the management of a circus running at the local Pratap Bagh park might not be aware that making birds and animals perform these acts amounts to cruelty as per various sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

Even as the circus management has denied that it is indulging in any kind of cruelty against animals, its functioning has come under a cloud following objections raised by the People for Animals (PFA), Jalandhar. The organisation, after an inspection, found that the circus was running without mandatory registration with the Animal Welfare Body of India (AWBI) and in violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The circus has Munni and Bholi, two female elephants aged 22 and 30, who perform pooja, act like a drunkard and play cricket. Badal, Bharat, Tipu, Sonia, Paro, Jyoti, Purnima and Lakshmi, all horses, parade before spectators, while 10 parrots not only operate a small toy cannon, filled with explosives but also pull a rickshaw, host a flag, do the balancing trick and move on an umbrella. But most of these acts, according to the AWBI and the PFA, amount to sheer cruelty to animals.

Seeking the registration of a case against the Bharat Circus management under the relevant Act, the AWBI and the PFA, which has submitted a detailed report to Mr K. Siva Prasad, the Deputy Commissioner, said the biggest violation was that the circus was not registered with the AWBI and hence it could not make animals perform, under Chapter 5, Section 22 of the Act and in accordance with a government notification.

“As per Section 8(1) of the rules, the owner shall ensure that no sudden loud noise is deliberately caused within the vicinity of a performing animal, but in this case, parrots are made to operate the gun having explosive material in it. Moreover, dogs, four of which are kept in a small cage with a 61-inch length and 43-inch height, are made to pass through fire in violation of the law,” maintained Dr Sandip Jain and Dr G.S. Bedi, executive member of the AWBI and the president of the PFA, Jalandhar, respectively, who inspected the circus.

The inspection team, which has urged the district administration to stop the performance and take away the animals, also found that wings of parrots were cut of evidently by the operators, which was an act of cruelty.

“Though the circus has more than 10 animals, it has no veterinary doctor, which is mandatory under the law,” said Dr Bedi, adding that the Deputy Commissioner had assured him that action would be taken against the circus management.

On the other hand, Mr Paul Subhash, manager of the circus, maintained that the animals were not being subjected to any kind of cruelty and denied that the management was violating any law.


Blind hippo performs as admn sleeps
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 24
Despite opacity in both eyes which has rendered its lone hippopotamus blind and an undertaking to the district administration not to take any performance from the animal, the Jumbo Circus, which is stationed here presently, today made the hippo perform before thousands of people.

The Tribune team saw the hippo being brought to the ring by a glamorous girl who used a long stick to guide the hippo through its routine. The girl smiled and prodded the animal with the stick when it would not move and open its mouth on her command.

The animal, who was made to undertake a few circles, was visibly laborious in its gait and while exiting started veering to one side. Another person stationed close to the exit straightened its walk with the help of further prodding with a stick and guided it to its tank made directly behind the stage.

The management of the circus has persisted in taking a performance from the hippo despite a written undertaking given to the Deputy Commissioner yesterday that it was not taking any performance from the hippo as well as a chimpanzee in its possession. The district administration had ordered the circus to shift both the animals to the Chhat Bir Zoological Park on November 21.

Following this the circus management gave a written undertaking to Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh yesterday stating that they would shift the animals to the park and also not take any performance from them.

The Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said he would get the matter inquired tomorrow as he was presently out of station. He said he had already given directions to the Divisional Forest Officer to ensure both the animals were shifted to Chhat Bir.

DFO Karamjit Singh when contacted on the issue and asked why the directions had not been followed till now, said he had called representatives of the circus to arrange for transportation of both the animals to Chhat Bir yesterday. He said the management had, however, asked for two to three days time to make arrangements for transporting the animals.

The administration had taken this step following submission of a report made by the local SPCA representative Mahavir Sharma. It was submitted that the hippo had opacity in both eyes due to cataract of the cornea and was not in a position to see anything. The report said as the disease was curable, the hippo needed immediate expert medical attention and should be entrusted to the custody of appropriate authorities. It was also charged that the lone chimpanzee with the circus was being kept in a very small cage and that a iron band had been clamped on his neck.

Meanwhile, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) executive member, Dr Sandeep Jain, has in a communication to the Divisional Forest Officer submitting that the circus had applied for transit permit for a female elephant from Patiala to Hajipur in Bihar on health grounds.

The AWBI member urged the DFO to get the matter investigated as Hajipur was famous for sale and purchase of banned animals.



Harminder is acting Khalsa Diwan head
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Mr Harminder Singh, vice-president, Chief Khalsa Diwan, today took over as the officiating president. Kirpal Singh, who was the Chief Khalsa Diwan president, died in September this year. He wire perform the duties of president till a new one is elected in September, 2004.

Mr Harminder Singh is the managing director of the Freedom Group of Industries and the finance secretary of the governing council of Khalsa College. He has been working as vice-president of Chief Khalsa Diwan for the past four years.


Pro-azadi body’s drive against graft

Jalandhar, November 24
The Azadi Bachaon Anadolan, a Maharashtra-based organisation, which is against the concept of globalisation, has claimed that they had a list of 419 political leaders (dead and alive) who had accounts in Swiss Banks where they stashed their black money.

Stating this to mediapersons here yesterday, the organisation Convener, Mr Rajiv Dixit, said they were now in the process of preparing a list of government officials and film stars who had deposited their black earnings in Swiss Banks. The organisaion, which has its headquarters at Wardha from where Mahatama Gandhi initiated the Quit India Movement, is against the concept of globalisation as Mr Dixit claimed that this would ruin the country economically in the long run. Mr Dixit said the Union Government should pass an ordinance in Parliament declaring that the black money of Indians deposited in Swiss Banks would be declared as national property. Nepal, Zaire and the Philippines had done this and Nepal got back $ 5 billion from Swiss banks, he added. UNI


No Punjab initiative on scavengers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
While the Central Government has taken many steps for the uplift of scavengers, sweepers, cleaners and their dependents, Punjab has failed to take any such initiative owing to lack of “proper definition” of safai karamcharis. This was stated by Ms Manju Chandra, vice-chairperson of the National Safai Karamchari Commission at a press conference here yesterday.

She said as part of the planning for the welfare and rehabilitation of the karamcharis, the commission would soon issue orders to the municipal corporations for keeping the karamcharis’ share in different contracts given by the MCs such as parking contracts.

She informed that the Social Justice and Rights Ministry had distributed Rs 671.19 crore till 2001-2002 under the N.S. L R K schemes in various states and union territories while 401257 safai karamcharis were rehabilitated from 1992-93 to 2000-01. She added that the government had disbursed Rs 277.70 crore as loan and Rs 245.41 crore as the financial assistance under the low-budget sanitation schemes.


Paper leak: houses of accused raided
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 24
The houses of the two officials of the Punjab Nurses Registration Council, charged with leaking B.Sc (nursing) question papers, were raided by sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau here today. The two accused, Gurpal Singh Kang and Charanjit Singh, are at large.

According to the police, houses of both accused were searched. Lists of their property were also prepared by the vigilance personnel.

Houses of some of their relatives were also raided to locate the accused. Sources in the council said the two had not come to the office since the past one week.

A case against them was registered by a flying squad of the Vigilance Bureau on November 15 on charges of leaking question papers of the first year B.Sc (nursing) examination held by the council in October this year.

The two were on anticipatory bail till November 22, following which their plea was dismissed by a Ropar court. Family members of Mr Kang said they would file another anticipatory bail plea in the Punjab and Haryana High Court tomorrow.


Contract appointments ‘improved’ healthcare
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 24
Dr DPS Sandhu, Director, Health Services, Punjab, claimed that some appointments on contract had improved medical care.

Dr Sandhu, was here to attend a meeting of the Punjab Ophthalmological society. While talking to The Tribune he said that due to lack of trained staff medical equipment in certain health centres was lying unused but appointments on contract had improved patient care. He said that dentists, radiologists and other technicians had been appointed still there was a shortage of 300 doctors in government hospitals.

Dr Sandhu, an eye surgeon, said that eye donation should be made a mass movement and called upon NGOs and religious bodies to work for it. He said that the Health Department faced a shortage of drug inspectors also and the government had been requested to make appointments to this effect.

He said that persons from other countries were visiting India for medicare especially dental care and he mooted health tourism exploit it. He said that there was shortage of trained paramedical staff like nurses in the English-speaking countries and Punjab should make use of this opportunity. He said that there was no plan of starting an evening OPDs in the state run hospitals.


Sensible’ eating for healthy heart stressed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 24
Dr Ravinder V Karan jekar, Medical Director, Fortis Heart Institute, Mohali, said cases of heart disease were increasing alarmingly and Punjabis faced greater risk of it.

Talking to reporters at the 27th camp here today he said that world incidence of heart diseases was 1.5 per cent. In India it was 3 per cent and in case of Punjabis and it was 6 per cent Punjabis. Bad eating habits and sedentary life style of Punjabis was to blame for it, he said.

He said heart patients medicines seek expert’s consultation only when medicines fail to pay off.

He admitted that the cost of treatment of heart ailments was exhorbitant, this he attributed to high costs on inputs. He advised people to go for Medical Insurance to take care of bills in case of a heart surgery. The persons insured under the group insurance schemes received “cashless” treatment at the institutes, he added.

He said the Fortis proposes to set up more world-class hospitals in major towns of the country including Delhi, and Amritsar. He said though heart diseases were detected mostly among the rich yet poor persons were not free from it.

At today’s camp 477 persons were examined and 118 ECHO tests, 200 ECGs blood grouping tests of 160 patients were done free of cost. Nearly 75 cases were referred to call up at Mohali office and others were told to modify eating and life- style by doctors.

Dr Rakesh Jaiswal, Dr Shivpreet Singh Sarna and other super specialists also attended the camp. 


Retina surgery method discussed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 24
Chairman High Powered Committee on Finance, Punjab, Surinder Singla called upon medical practitioners to provide best medicare to the patients. He assured all help to the Punjab Ophthalmological Society from the government for research and development (R&D).

Addressing the inaugural session of the three day 6th annual conference of the Punjab Ophthalmological Society here last evening Mr Singla said that the Punjab government was exploring the participation of private sector for better medicare to patients.

He said that the government at the moment could not provide medicare to poor patients due to lack of funds but it would do so by generating funds for it in the years to come.

He lauded eye surgeons from Punjab, who had done well internationally and their role in eliminating cataract, the main cause of blindness.

The session was presided over by Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, MP. The conference endorsed its earlier decision not organising eye camps in non-institutional settings. It observed that several persons lost vision after having been operated in such camps organised in schools, dharamshalas and other places sans proper sterilisation.

The conference condemned the Punjab government for designating the ophthalmic assistants as ophthalmic officers in Primary Health Centres (PHCs). It alleged that the said officers played havoc with patient’s visual health.

The conference also urged the government to limit duties of the ophthalmic assistants to the job they were trained for — primary eye care.

Dr Hector Bryson Chawla, an eye surgeon from Scotland, in his paper pointed out that stateof the art technique was there for the surgery of retina and it should be made use of by surgeons.

Prof H.C. Aggarwal of AIMMS, Delhi and Dr Kanti Singh of Delhi and 10 other eye surgeons deliver talks on glaucoma.

A run-for-sight was organised to promote eye donation and ophthalmic quiz was also organised for junior doctors for eye ailments and treatment thereof.

Dr Amrit Sethi, organising Secretary, of the society said that Dr N.S. Baweja of Jalandhar had been installed President of society. Dr N.N. Sood, glaucoma specialist of Delhi was given Dr Daljit Singh Ortaion award.


Dental health conference concludes
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 24
Dr S. Balagopal, Principal Sri Rama Chandra Dental College, Chennai, has stressed gradation of the dentists to provide better dental health services in the country. Syllabus should also be reviewed regularly for keeping abreast of technological advancement in this connection. Teachers training programme should also be monitored on priority, said Dr Balagopal.

Speaking on the concluding day of the dental health conference organised by the Punjab Unit of the Indian Dental Association here today he expressed concern over the lack of infrastructure and staff which were affecting the dental healthcare services. In view the heavy cost of dental health services the government should take steps to implement the dental insurance scheme for all. Moreover due to shortage of government dental hospitals in the country the middle income and poor patients should be given treatment by the private hospitals at the instance of the state governments, he added. He disclosed that the government of Chennai had adopted under-privileged areas for regular dental treatments to the needy for the past three years in the state. Experts also visit primary schools and talk to the children on dental care. He has also appealed the Dental Council of India to make community screening programme mandatory in every dental institution for the betterment of the society. Opposing such conferences Dr Jagmohan Lal another dental expert and principal, Bhojia Dental College Nalagarh (Himachal who has served Punjab for over 25 years laid stress on imparting basic knowledge of dental care which was the basic need in our poor country. He expressed concern over the change in the concept of education which had harmed the dental healthcare. He also emphasised the need for holding teaching workshops in this regard.

Dr Sanjay Kalra and Dr Vimal Kalia from BRS College (Panchkula) regretted that mushrooming of private dental institutions had diluted the quality of education. Commercialisation of the dentist’s profession was another factor. Dr Vimal Sikri of Government Dental College, Amritsar favoured more hospitals headed by specialists to check the dental caries disease among children. He said only two such institutions were functioning at Amritsar and Patiala which were unable to meet the entire state’s needs. He stated that this disease could be treated but it required awareness among the people. Dr Puneet Girdhar General Secretary of the council disclosed that an Intensive Dental Health Care programme had been launched for school children and over 8000 children were covered under it. Dr Bhupinder Kaur Padda, of Dental College Amritsar, Dr Malkiat Singh Principal Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences, Faridkot, Dr S.P.S. Sodhi and Dr Amritraj Bahl President and Organising Secretary, respectively of the state body also spoke.

More than 300 delegates from all over the country attended the conference. Messages lauding the conference were received from Lt-General (retd.) JFR Jacob, Governor Punjab, Mr Shatrughan Sinha Union Health Minister, Dr J.S. Gujral and Mr A. Venu Prasad Vice-Chancellor Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and Deputy Commissioner Faridkot.


Policy on organ donation sought
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 24
The Punjab Nephrology Society has hailed the government’s decision of a Vigilance probe into the sale of kidneys. The society demanded if the government felt that donation of organs from unrelated donors was an offence then it should be banned.

In a press note here today, the society said that the government should frame a policy to regulate organ donation from unrelated volunteers and eliminate the “middlemen”. “In fact, the controversy of kidney donation, projecting it as an illegal activity, was generated due to lack of public awareness in this regard and the touts involved in the racket had tarnished the image of doctors” the statement said.

Dr Khera hailed the arrest of some middlemen, who he said exploited the donors and demanded that a senior Vigilance official should probe the matter.

The statement also demanded a high-powered committee to suggest guidelines to the Authorisation Committees concerned to establish donors’ identity and measures to protect donors from exploitation.

The society declared that its members would not transplant kidneys till the state government framed a policy on unrelated donors.


Kidney sale: probe goes to crime branch
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Probe into the kidney sale case has been transferred to the crime branch of the police.

Police sources say that order transferring the enquiry was issued by high officials of the police in the middle of this month. IG (Border Range) Rajan Gupta said that he come to know of it from some media reports. He did not give more details in this regard.

Meanwhile, Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, former BJP MLA who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) plea in the high court in this case said that when the court admitted the PIL in which she had requested not to transfer either the inquiry officer or the case, how could police officials transfer the case to the crime branch. 


Ex-servicemen getting raw deal’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Describing the alleged rejection of the demand of “one rank, one pension” as a betrayal with ex-servicemen, the state president of the Indian Ex-Services League (IESL), Lt-Col. J.S. Mand (retd), highlighted the discriminatory treatment meted out to them by successive governments since 1947.

Addressing a rally of ex-servicemen, widows and their dependants here today, he alleged that Defence Minister George Fernandes had rejected their long-pending demand of “one rank, one pension” on flimsy grounds. He alleged that the minister had earlier accepted this demand at Anandpur Sahib in 1999. He said a sum of Rs 1,275 had been fixed as pension for a soldier whereas a peon got more than Rs 2,200 per month.

Lt-Col Mand appealed to all ex-servicemen, widows and their dependants to participate in the national protest rally, scheduled to be held at New Delhi on December 9.


Lahore court convicts Indian
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, November 24
The District and Sessions Judge of Lahore, on Saturday sentenced an Indian national to five years’ rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him for drug trafficking, sources in the intelligence revealed here today.

Zahir Shah, a resident of New Delhi, visited Pakistan in 1998 to meet his relatives. On a tip-off, the authorities concerned arrested him on his arrival at Wagah border as he was carrying 7 kg of heroin.

Sources further said the Judge had commuted the sentence of Zahir Shah after he made a judicial confession. In case of non-payment of fine, he would have to undergo further imprisonment of 15 months.


129 ‘empowered’ at Sai camp
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 24
Mohan Singh 60 after years signed with his right hand. He was among 129 handicapped persons who got artificial limbs at a camp organised by the local Satya Sai Samiti at Golden Public School here on Sunday.

Mohan Singh demonstrated his regained strength of his right-hand to the chief guest Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner. Polio-affected Mona (8) was provided supports for her legs. She was able to walk. The limbs cost the samiti Rs 1 lakh, which has been holding such camps for the past seven years.


Fire in bank
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, November 24
Five ACs and furniture were burnt in a fire in the local branch of Bank of Punjab on the Mall on Sunday.

Power short-circuit caused the fire. Security guard of the bank noticed the fire in the building. 


Bogus claims detected
Our Correspondent

Kaputhala, November 24
Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Verma has said 1,280 cases of old age pension out of total 4199 (since March, 2000) have been found bogus and their names have been deleted from the list. He stated that a maximum of 513 cases out of 1184 cases were found bogus in Kapurthala block. Similarly 396 cases out of 1554 cases in Phagwara, 208 cases out of 844 in Sultanpur Lodi, 109 out of 445 cases in Dhilwan and 54 out of 172 cases in Nadala were found bogus.


NCC day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 24
The 54th NCC day was celebrated here today by the 20th Punjab Battalion. A memento of the unit was released by the Commanding officer.

Lt Col AVS Andrews, Commanding Officer of the battalion said that families of the NCC officers were present at the function. He said that the message of good wishes and encouragement received from President, Vice-President and the Prime Minister of the country were read out to the cadets.

He said that the cadets took anti-dowry and eye donation pledges on the occassion.


Body found

Bathinda, November 24
The Kotpfatta police has registered a case under Section 174 CrPC after they found a body of the 27 year-old-male in a minor. 

The body was fished out by volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa and the postmortem was done at the local civil hospital. Mr Vijay Goyal. president of the NGO, said that the deceased was yet to be identified. OC


GND varsity signs MoU
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 24
Guru Nanak Dev University yesterday entered into an agreement with the University of Venda for Science and Technology (Univen), Limpopo Province, South Africa, for educational exchange programmes. The MoU was signed between Vice-Chancellor of GND University, Dr S.P. Singh and Prof Gessler Muxe Nkodo, Vice-Chancellor of Univen. The agreement is for a period of five years and has the option of renewal for another five years.

Dr P.A. Motsoaledi, Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Ms H.J. Moshamba, Department of Education, Maite Nkoana Mashbane, South African High Commission, New Delhi, Dr R.S. Bawa and Prof Kawaljit Singh were among those present to sign the MoU.

The MoU would entail promotion and expansion of international understanding, development and cooperation by stimulating and supporting educational, professional and intercultural activities, exchange of teaching material and projects among students and faculty of both varsities. General activity and areas of mutual interest would also include collaborative research projects, short-term training, cultural exchange programmes and other academic activities. Earlier, the varsity had entered into agreements with Wisconsin University, Wisconsin, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and 12 institutes of human genetics in Germany.


Varsity identified for networking
Our Correspondent 

Patiala, November 24
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has identified Punjabi University, Patiala, for providing networking in the first phase of its national-level programme.

Stating this here today, Dr G S Arshi, Director, Planning and Monitoring of the university, said that the Union Government had set up a UGC network for integration and virtual enhancement of academic infrastructure at educational and research institutions in the country. He said the network would be used for providing value-added service and would contain applications like digital library and distance learning of educational institutions.

In a communication addressed to the varsity, Vice-Chancellor, Dr A. Nigavekar, Chairman of the UGC, said to complete the task in a time-bound schedule, it had been decided to release 90 per cent of the capital expenditure in advance to the university. It said the amount would be paid to the varsity immediately with intimation to ERNET, India, so that it could install the system at the earliest. The remaining 10 per cent of the capital expenditure and recurring expenditure would be released on the commissioning of the networking.


MGN School goes for grading
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 24
The Montgomery Guru Nanak Educational Trust has decided to abolish traditional annual examination system by introducing grading system from nursery class to sixth standard in its public schools from the next academic session.

Addressing the gathering during annual prize distribution function of MGN Public School here today, its Principal Mr. R.S. Mehta, said the decision would help in the development of personality of a student since it would reduce the pressure of studies from their minds. “We will conduct five random tests during the year for assessment of students, he said.

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