Sunday, December 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder rejects Kelkar proposal on farm IT
40,000 tubewell power connections to be released
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 28
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said here today that there was no innocent Sikh youth languishing in jail at present as claimed by various Sikh organisations.

Answering a question at a press conference after inaugurating the 63rd session of the Indian History Congress, the Chief Minister claimed that all those arrested during Operations Bluestar and Black Thunder had been released.

The Chief Minister backtracked on his recent statement that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President, would be arrested soon. He, however, clarified that the government was investigating the charges of corruption against him. The government would only arrest him after securing clinching evidence against him. He said that since his arrest would have an impact at the national level and the case might go up to the Supreme Court, the government would like to present a foolproof case against him.

Commenting on the proposal to interlink national rivers mooted by certain political parties and backed by the NDA government at the Centre, Capt Amarinder Singh described it as only a dream of some vested interests. He said such a project required around Rs 560 lakh crore for implementation and felt that the government would never be able to arrange such a huge amount. If the government ever decided to take up this gigantic project, it would have to first fix the requirement and availability of water for each state.

Talking about the controversial SYL canal project, he said Punjab would never give up its right to water and would do its best to protect the interests of the farming community.

Commenting on bringing agriculture under the tax net as proposed by the Kelkar panel, the Chief Minister said his government would oppose the proposal and would not let down the farmers of the state.

He said the government would pass a suitable resolution against income tax on agriculture in the Punjab Assembly. He said such a tax would harm the Indian agricultural economy and the BJP government at the Centre would be held responsible for the economic disaster. The state would not implement the proposal of the Kelkar task force because Punjab’s farmers were already facing a financial crisis due to low returns and high cost of inputs.

Talking about the waiving of the Rs 5,800 crore loan given to Punjab to fight terrorism in the state, the Chief Minister said he had taken up the issue with the Prime Minister, who had agreed to look into the matter. He had given an assurance on providing relief to the state, which was facing a severe financial crunch.

Capt Amarinder Singh said this loan was actually waived during the tenure of Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, but successive governments at the Centre had done little to give the final seal of approval on waiving the outstanding amount. He said he had personally written to the Prime Minister giving details of the loan for a final decision.

Replying to a question Capt Amarinder Singh said the Punjab Government had constituted a high-powered committee on power reforms. It would soon submit its report to enable the government to adopt legislation to curb the menace of power theft.

He said the Shahpur Kandi project, the Lehra Mohabbat project (Phases III and IV) and the Goindwal project would be undertaken on priority to augment power supply.

He revealed that 40,000 tubewell power connections would be released in the state in a phased manner. Out of these 20,000 would be released by March 31 next year in the first phase and the rest by the end of the year.

The Chief Minister said the World Bank had already sanctioned a loan of Rs 800 crore to provide potable water in villages. The state government had submitted a proposal for seeking loan of Rs 3,700 crore for the completion of various development projects.

Replying to a question with regard to the extension of the term of Chief Secretary Y. S. Ratra, Capt Amarinder Singh said he had already taken up the matter with the Union Ministry of Personnel and hopefully the case would be cleared soon. He ruled out the possibility of any Cabinet expansion or reshuffle in the near future.

Terming the Gujarat incident about the alleged misconduct of three Punjab Ministers as concocted, he said the news had been published in a Punjabi daily at the behest of the Opposition just to tarnish image of the Congress. Giving a clean chit to the ministers, the Chief Minister said the PPCC had already served a legal notice on the newspaper for filing a defamation case seeking damages of Rs 5 crore.


Cong foundation day celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Hoshiarpur, December 28
The foundation day of the All-India Congress Committee was celebrated by the District Congress Committee here today. A function to mark the day was organised which was presided over by Mr Isher Singh, general secretary, PPCC, at the District Congress Committee’s office in which Congress workers from all over the district participated.

Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, who was the chief guest, said it was high time that the party was strengthened by bringing the maximum number of people in its fold. He said workers were the backbone of the party.

Mr Kuldip Kumar Nanda, president of the DCC, Mr Raman Khullar, and Mr Rajnish Tandon, president and general secretary, respectively, of the city Congress and many other local leaders while recalling the Congress’ history said it was the only secular political party. Only Congress rule at the Centre could maintain the unity and integrity of the country.

Mr Isher Singh said a campaign was being launched to enrol members in the state. He advised party workers to work hard for the success of Congress candidates in the coming municipal elections in the state.

Mrs Harbhajan Kaur, BJP municipal councillor, joined the Congress on the occasion.

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee here today celebrated 118th foundation day of the Indian National Congress at Punjab Congress Bhavan. Mr H.S. Hanspal, presided the function.

Among others who participated were Mr Hans Raj Sharma, Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, Dr Kewal Krishan, Mr Brij Lal Goyal, Dr Ramesh Dutt Sharma and Mr Baldev Singh Kang.

BATHINDA: A section of Congress workers, led by Dr B.S. Dhaliwal, president, DCC, celebrated the foundation day of the Congress at the local office of the party.

Mr Pawan Kumar Mani, spokesman for the party, in a written statement issued here today said that the rank and file of the party once again took a pledge to fight the communal forces. He claimed that the representatives of other organisations of the party also attended the function.

NAWANSHAHR: The district unit of the Congress organised a ‘workers meeting’ here at Punjab Mata Vidhyawati Bhavan on Saturday to mark the raising day of the party. Mr Kuldip Rana, district president, Mr Ram Kishan Kataria, former MLA, Ms Gur Iqbal Kaur Babli, wife of local MLA Parkash Singh, Mr Lalit Pathak (Ballu), member PPCC, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Mr Vipin Taneja, youth Congress leaders and others addressed the gathering.


Cong to ‘change 50 pc DCC chiefs’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 28
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) plans to change 40 per cent to 50 per cent presidents of the party district units in the next two months to restructure the party at grassroot level in the state.

Many vice-presidents and general secretaries of the PPCC have been sent to every district for a review of the working of the party district heads under direction to report to Mr H.S Hanspal, President, PPCC in a month. Mr Balmukand Sharma Vice-President, PPCC, and former Minister, told mediapersons this here today.

Mr Sharma was here to preside over the 118th Foundation day function of the Indian National Congress organised by the District Congress Committee here disclosed that a special campaign had been launched to enrol over 10 lakh members of the party before end next March. Special attention would be paid to the Malwa region following poor performance of the party in the last Assembly poll in the state.

He clarified that Municipal Council election in Punjab had been postponed as the party leaders would be busy campaigning in favour of party candidates contesting Assembly election to be held in February in Himachal. He said though the party suffered setback in the Assembly elections in Gujarat yet its percentage of votes had improved.

He added that the party will oppose the demand of Mr Simranjit Singh Maan MP, and President, Akali Dal (Amritsar) for a Sikh homeland in the country. He said vested interested had levelled false charges against three state Congress ministers who were in Gujarat to campaign in favour of the party candidates.

Earlier speaking at the foundation day function he exhorted the party workers to take steps to spread the message of secularism in the country. He also cautioned the people against communal forces out to destabilise the country. Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar and Mr Pawan Goel President and Vice-President, DCC Faridkot, respectively also spoke.


SAD opposes IT on agriculture
Badal to take up matter with Centre
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 28
The SAD will oppose the imposition of income tax on agriculture in case the Union Government accepts the recommendation of the Kelkar task force in this regard. Besides, the party will not hesitate to vote against any Bill or proposal relating to such tax in Parliament.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Punjab Chief Minister and President of the SAD, in reply to a question by mediapersons here today, said he would take up the matter with the Union Government. He said income tax on agriculture would unnecessarily create problems for the farming community.

Mr Badal said if needed the SAD would take the lead in forming a manch, comprising all agricultural states, to oppose the proposed imposition of the tax.

Mr Badal was here in connection with a function organised at Gurdwara Sahib Hajirattan to honour those SGPC members of Bathinda district who voted for the SAD candidate, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, in the recently held SGPC presidential election.

Mr Badal honoured Bibi Darshan Kaur Toofan, Mr Satnam Singh Bhai Roopa, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Nathana, Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh and Dr Harcharn Singh Gill, all SGPC members.

The SAD President also announced that the party would support the BJP in the coming Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. He also stated the SAD would file an appeal against the acquittal of Mr Sajjan Kumar, a Congress leader, others in the anti-Sikh riots case.

He reiterated that the Rs 8,500 crore loan to Punjab had been waived by the Union Government, led by Mr Inder Kumar Gujral.

Mr Badal said the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had not been protecting the interests of the state. He had earlier not pleaded the case of farmers for hiking the MSP of wheat and paddy properly before the Union Government. Mr Badal alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh avoided approaching the Union Government in this regard due to an “ego problem”.

He also said that the Chief Minister had done nothing so far for filing a review petition in the Supreme Court in the SYL canal case though the deadline for completing the canal would end on January 14 next.

Mr Badal also criticised Capt Amarinder Singh for allegedly adopting a negative approach in running the state government.

He said every section, including farmers, employees, businessmen and workers, were unhappy with the Amarinder regime due to its “anti-people” policies. He predicted that it would not complete its term.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Badal suggested that the term of the President of the SGPC should be two years. He also criticised the Amarinder government for interfering in the SGPC presidential election in a big way.

He asked the workers and leaders of the SAD to begin the enrolment of party members which was started today.

Those who addressed the gathering included Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, a former Punjab Minister; Mr Sikandar Singh Malooka, a former MLA; Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar, MLA; Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President of the SGPC; Mr Gurdas Singh Badal, a former MP; and Mr Makhan Singh, a former MLA.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Badungar and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar were also honoured by the district unit of the SAD.

ROPAR: The SAD was against income tax on agriculture, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister, Punjab and general secretary of the SAD, said here on Saturday. He was reacting to the recommendations of the Kelkar committee released yesterday.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said farmers were already facing a financial crunch due to reducing subsidies, increasing costs of inputs and a relatively meagre increase in support prices. In this situation if the tax was imposed, it would make the going very difficult for them.

He said any decision to implement the Kalker committee report should be taken only after the full meeting of the NDA government.

About the acquittal of Mr Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 riots case, Capt Kanwaljit Singh alleged that the investigating agencies had not played a fair role in the case.


Varsity credentials questioned
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Recent media criticism that “historical research has reached the level of plagiarism with the merit of preservation” makes Guru Nanak Dev University a controversial host for the Indian History Congress starting on December 28.

According to dharam shastras, a Brahmin should not accept the hospitality of a hen-pecked husband, usurer, mentally sick, and impotent man. The Indian History Congress should have given a thought to it before accepting the hospitality of the university, whose credentials as centre for historic research have been doubted.

And among critics has been none other than celebrated author, historian and journalist Khushwant Singh, who in his September 14 column in The Tribune wrote that Guru Nanak Dev University “has announced the publication of 20 books to mark the bi-centenary celebrations of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Some of the editors are Vice-Chancellors. I expected to see something of the Maharaja which I had not seen before. I did not come across anything of the sort. All 20 publications are compilation of books and articles published sometime ago. No new research has been carried out. At best, the publications could, in Disraeli’s words, be described “plagiarism with the merit of preservation”.

Those who have been students of the Sikh history in general and Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s rule in particular and had the opportunity to go through some of the 20 publications brought out by the varsity have more than one reasons to be critical than appreciative of the effort.

For example, most of the articles in “Maharaja Ranjit Singh: The State and Society” are taken from “Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times”, published in 1980. Only the titles have been changed. Historian Fauja Singh’s “Territorial Organisation, Concept of State Rule and Distribution of Power” has been reduced to “Territorial Organisation and Distribution of Power”.

Sulakhan Singh’s “State Patronage to the Udasis under Maharaja Ranjit Singh” appears under the tile of “Patronage of the Udasis”. “Agricultural Production in the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh” by Sukhwant Singh appears as “Agricultural Production”.

Prof Tejwant Singh Gill’s “Kissa in the Times of Ranjit Singh” now becomes “The Kissa and the Kingdom”.

Another publication — Europeans and Maharaja Ranjit Singh — has the same story to tell. In this publication, the emphasis is on preservation. Grey’s “European Military Adventures, a Perspective” was published in 1929, Ganda Singh’s “Maharaja Ranjit Singh as European saw him” in 1939. Manjit Singh’s list of European Officers is from his 1983 M.Phil dissertation. ‘Military Strategies’ by Gulcharan Singh was originally published in 1976.

It was quite an effort to include Gianeshwar Khurana’s article ‘Contemporaneous English Historical Writing’ in both “Maharaja Ranjit Singh: the State and Society” and “Europeans and Maharaja Ranjit Singh”. In the fitness of things “The Rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Nature and Relevance” is reproducing articles already published in the “Journal of Sikh Studies”.

Interestingly, the precedent had already been set by the preceding Vice-Chancellor. During his tenure a “pirate” edition of “B-40 Janamsakhi Guru Baba Nanak Paintings” was published without indicating its edition, number of copies published, the printing press, and the year of publication without informing its editor or asking him if revisions or additions to the introduction are to be made.

The Editor, Surjit Singh Hans, protested to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, in May, this year. He has not received a reply so far. Historians and scholars from Panjab University, Punjabi University and GND University also lodged a protest in August and September. There has been no response from GND University so far.

The Registrar of GND University in his reply to the Education Secretary, Punjab, on October 9, wrote that the revised edition was published in 2000 and with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr H.S. Soch. In this case the name of Prof S.S. Bal, who was the Vice-Chancellor at the time of its first edition was reportedly deleted from the acknowledgements to thank the Vice-Chancellor by designation. The Editor was not allegedly informed about the change. The Registrar has made an interesting claim. The authors can be made to thank the person they did not.

“It is not a question of muddled principles but academic integrity” says the Editor, Surjit Hans. It is alleged that the pirated edition was published so that changes in the acknowledgements should not be known immediately and the unwary reader be led to believe that a major work on Sikh painting was published under the auspices of Dr H.S. Soch.

The ground for research in ‘plagiarisation and preservation’ had already been prepared. A wag, “quickfix” research tallies with the “quickfix” regime of the Akalis, as someone said.


Punjab’s economy in logjam
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Economic revival of Punjab remained a major issue this year. Steps initiated in this direction stand derailed. Hopes pinned on relatively young and educated Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, have been belied. For the past 11 months he has not moved beyond Akali bashing and targeting politicians who dare to stand up to him.

The problem of marketing foodgrains-wheat and paddy- resurfaced. The Union Government reluctantly procured foodgrains, while rats fattened on grains piled up in its godowns. Many a brain-storming exercise by agricultural and corporate magnates and professional seminarists were held on crop diversification. There was earnest plea to farmers to change from the wheat-paddy pattern. But farmers remained apprehensive to change.

The products of fledgling small and medium industry continued to be swept away by the flow of foreign goods in the market.

The initiation of strategic disinvestment in the HPCL has made the future of Bathinda refinery uncertain. This was the only big project in the public sector set up in the state since Independence. The process of closure of PSUs in the red has been almost halted. The proposal to screen surplus staff is still under wraps. There is no marked improvement in sales tax collection. Punjab is looking around for loans. The raising of a loan from the IFC generated hope but died with a controversy.

Politicians continued to brag about turning Punjab into California and making Mohali a Silicon Valley. Trained unemployed youth resorted to “maran varat” (fast unto death) almost daily at Matka chowk here to seek jobs. Greater number of jobless youth sought solace in drugs. Under frustration many had taken to terrorism not very long ago. Canada, America, Germany continued to be el Dorado for them. They resorted to legal and illegal channels to make it there. Those who escaped watery graves landed in jails.

No one has practically tried to address the question of Punjab’s transition from agricultural economy to industrial economy. Nathan Rosenberg and L.E. Bradzell Jr, say in a remarkable book “How the West Grew Rich” that “the medieval economy was overwhelmingly rural and agricultural...... The medieval society was preoccupied with elementary task of providing food”.

This is exactly the case of 21st century Punjab. The economy is overwhelmingly agricultural and aimed at providing food for the country. The state has not even seen the transition from agricultural to industrial economy that occurred in the west in last phase of 18th century.

Punjab remains locked in the medieval age for want of political leadership and bureaucratic vision.


EPF scam probe handed over to crime branch
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 28
The crime branch of the Punjab police has taken over the investigations of the sensitive EPF scam case in the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar. Sources said the ADGP (crime), Punjab, had written to the SSP, Ropar, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, to hand over the entire material regarding the investigations in to the case to the crime wing for further investigations.

The ADGP has also appointed the SP (crime), Mr Surinder Parmar, to carry out the investigations. The SSP, Ropar, has been directed to provide 10 policemen to Mr Parmar to help him conduct independent investigations in to the scam. The scam took place in the thermal plant in the period between 1997 and 1999. Two major labour contractors of the plant, M/s Calcutta Construction Company and the M/s Sodhi Errectors had allegedly swindled about Rs 1 crore from the EPF accounts of the contract labourers working under them.

After the fraud was detected, one of the contractors, M/s Sodhi Electors, deposited the swindled amount, while the other, M/s Calcutta Construction Company, refused to do so. Subsequently, a case was registered in the Sadar police station, Ropar, against the proprietor of the Ms Calcutta Construction Company on the complaint of the EPF authorities; while the other one was allowed to go scot free.

The vigilance wing of the PSEB also conducted an inquiry into the case. In its report they indicted about 25 officers of the thermal plant for dereliction of duty in the scam and recommended major and minor penalties against them. Though the findings of the vigilance wing were also endorsed by the three-member high-level committee constituted by the board to look into them, no action was taken against the guilty officials.

Meanwhile, the sources said the second labour contractor M/s Sodhi Errectors, who has recently been booked in the case, have secured a temporary anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. His bail was earlier rejected in the Sessions Court.


Pak ‘trying’ to revive militancy in Punjab
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 28
Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, Punjab, took the salute at a march past by 345 newly passed out recruits of the BSF at the Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) Kharkan, 12 km from here, today. Mr Bhullar awarded trophies to nine recruits for their outstanding performance in different subjects during their nine months’ basic training. Sarat Dutta was adjudged the overall best recruit constable.

Additional DIG Commandant (STC) BSF, Kharkan, welcoming the chief guest said the basic training, including subjects like weapon training, physical training, drill, field craft, border problems, border security and surveillance, field engineering, map reading, intelligence, international security duty, jungle training, law and human rights etc, had been imparted to these recruit constables. He said the training schedule would continue for another four weeks even after passing out to give these recruits a specialised combat training against terrorism before they are sent to their respective units.

Mr Bhullar applauded the role of the STC, Kharkan, in imparting excellent standard of basic training to the recruits. Congratulating them he said they should always be ready to meet any eventuality on the international border. He also advised them to be fully prepared, both mentally and physically, to even sacrifice their lives to eliminate the menace of terrorism which was posing a threat to the whole civilisation.

Mr S.N. Jain, Inspector-General, Punjab Frontier, BSF, accompanied the DGP. A colourful cultural programme was also organised after the passing out parade.

Later while talking to reporters at the STC, Mr Bhullar said Pakistan’s ISI was trying its best to revive militancy in Punjab and had tried to smuggle militants in the state through Jammu and Kashmir, but strict vigil and determination of security forces had thwarted their designs.

Mr Bhullar told reporters that the police was strictly watching the activities of the surrendered militants belonging to the state.

“We are keeping a watch on their activities so that they are not misled and lured once again by agents of the ISI,” he said.

He said no terrorist outfit would be allowed to raise its head once again. Punjab witnessed the worst decade of terrorist violence from the mid-80s that took several innocent lives.

Replying to a question regarding creation of posts of police commissioner in the state, he said the matter was still under consideration at the appropriate level.

Regarding promotions of some officers from the Punjab Police Service to the Indian Police Service, he said that some of the officers had moved court in this regard and the matter was now sub judice.

Mr Bhullar said the law and order situation in the state was good and many criminal gangs had been busted in the recent past while number of recoveries of stolen articles had also witnessed an increase.


Pak using gurdwara funds against India: Badungar
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 28
Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, SGPC today said that funds collected as offerings at gurdwaras in Pakistan were being used for anti-India and anti-SGPC propaganda.

Talking to mediapersons here Mr Badungar said the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), was using the money collected at the gurdwaras for spreading hatred and airing anti-India views and added that the committee had expressed its concern in this regard to the authorities concerned. He pointed out that as per the Nehru Liaquat Ali pact (1953), the management of gurdwaras in Pakistan should be in the hands of the Sikhs. He said while devotees of all religions were welcome in gurdwaras; the ‘seva’ of the same should be carried out only by those who knew and followed the Sikh maryada.

Mr Badungar said the acquittal of the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots had demoralised the Sikhs.

He claimed that even the court had pointed out that the prosecution agency had not pleaded the case properly.

He said that the SGPC was the parent body of the Sikhs and had control over funds of gurdwaras situated in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh and had religious control over gurdwaras situated the world over..

Later addressing SGPC members and other Akali workers, Mr Badungar said an institute to train ‘paathis’ for various gurdwaras was being set up at Sultanpur Lodhi, besides a coaching centre to groom the Sikh students for the UPSC and other competitive examinations at the national level.


Cane crushing goes swadeshi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Dissatisfied with sugar mill owners, the sugarcane growers of Doaba and some parts of Malwa are carting their produce to kulharris’ (indigenous ‘gur’ mills).

Hundreds of ‘kulharris’ dot highways and some link roads in the sugarcane belt. Most of these are run by migrants especially from Saharanpur and Meerut. Some locals too have been in the business for a long time.

Against the “delayed payment system of sugar mills, both in cooperative and private sectors” ‘kulharris’ make payments within seven to 10 days.

“It not only ensures us prompt payment but also saves us from the botheration of taking tractor-trailer loads to sugar mills and waiting for our turn to unload the produce. At times for three to five days”, says Bachan Singh of Majat village, near here.

Bachittar Singh of Banga adds that these “kulharriwalas” pay almost the same rate as fixed by the government.

Depending upon the sugar content, ‘kulharris’ offer anything between Rs 70 and Rs 95 a quintal. The support price for sugar cane in most parts of Punjab varies between Rs 70 and Rs 105 a quintal.

“What we are getting these days are early maturing varieties,” says Sadhu Khan of Jhanjheri village on the Chandigarh-Fatehgarh Sahib road. “I have been running a ‘kulharri’ for 25 years. The demand for fresh ‘gur’ and ‘shakar’ (gur powder) has picked up during the past few years. We sell fresh ‘gur’ at rates between Rs 15 and Rs 25 a kg.

“Our ‘gur’ is better than the ‘gur’ from Uttar Pradesh being sold in the north. Our ‘gur’ lasts longer”, adds Khan.

Most of these ‘kulharris’ crush between five to 20 quintals of sugarcane a day. It is a family business. The women clean sugar cane and help in crushing or selling ‘gur’ or ‘shakar’. The men process the juice into ‘gur’ or shakar. The remains of crushed cane are used as a fuel. The ‘gur’ stuffed with spices and dry fruit sells for anything between Rs 20 and Rs 25 a kg.


Preneet gains on Tohra’s turf
Jangveer Singh

Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 28
Once known as the political turf of Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra and later of ‘’Captains”, the year 2002 saw the rise of Preneet Kaur, wife of State Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in the district’s political arena.

Though Chief Minister Capt Amarinder may continue to remain numero uno in the district by virtue of the huge investments being made in Patiala city on his initiative, it is his wife who has come to represent the Congress face in the city as well as the district. She is overseeing political activity as well as developmental works in the district.

Mrs Preneet Kaur due to her unassuming and accessible image has made a niche for herself in the people’s hearts. The wheel seems to have turned a full circle for her. When given the Congress parliamentary ticket from Patiala three years back, all senior leaders of the constituency had opposed her candidature. Winning mostly on her own, the fate of many senior leaders of the constituency is in her hands now.

Besides overseeing the working of the Municipal Corporation personally, the Chief Minister’s wife is also an active member of the Patiala Development Authority (PDA). She simultaneously represents the party as well as the Chief Minister at most political and social functions organised in the district.

In contrast with the meteoric rise of Preneet Kaur, is the downslide in the political fortunes of Akali veteran leader and Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President G. S. Tohra.

The Akali veteran, known for his punishing political activity, has kept a low profile in both Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib districts eversince the Congress formed government in the state. Now the mantle of conducting party activity has been left to party General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra.

As far as Akali political activity is concerned, former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar have not been on the best of terms in the past. The recent elevation of Mr Badungar from being a mere officer on special duty (OSD) to that of SGPC President has made the former Finance Minister’s camp uncomfortable.

The fact that Mr Badungar is seen to represent the interests of Mr Badal in the district has not helped matters, specially as Capt Kanwaljit had become the party top man in the district after the exit of Mr Tohra from the party.

The biggest loser on the political front has been former minister and senior Congress leader Brahm Mohindra who lost from the Samana Assembly constituency and is in political oblivion following his differences with Capt Amarinder Singh.


‘Punjabis more prone to heart attacks’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 28
Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalra, heart specialist, Fortis Heart and multi-specialty hospital, Mohali, in a statement here yesterday said as cardiovascular diseases were assuming epidemics proportions. People should be educated about the prevention of heart diseases.

Dr Kalra said due to food habits and sedentary life style Indians, particularly Punjabis, were more prone to heart diseases. The stress of modern life was adding fuel to the fire. He said according to conservative estimates, it had been projected that one in every four men would suffer heart attack before attaining the age of 65 and women were also becoming increasingly susceptible.

He advised people to go in for health insurance schemes as the cost of surgery was prohibitive. He said Fortis had started holding cardiac OPD camps in various parts of the region.

Dr Kalra said Fortis would be holding cardiac OPD at camp of Bathinda on Sunday. He added that it was the 19th such OPD camp by Fortis in the series.


Harballabh feast for music lovers
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 28
Defying the December cold wave, thousands of music lovers and maestros left no stone unturned to relive the memory of Baba Harballabh at the 127th Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan at the Sri Devi Talaab temple, which kept reverberating with soothing shehnai, santoor and Dhrupad till early this morning.

The legendary santoor player, Pandit Shiv Kumar, performed at the festival after a gap of a few years, much to the delight of the music lovers. Armed with his instrument of Kashmir origin, which earned him unparalleled and global fame, Pandit Shiv Kumar said Harballabh was the only festival dedicated to music, “which was satiating music lovers for past 127 years.” What mesmerised the audience was his inimitable style with which he started his performance with an ‘aalap’ in raga Konsi Kanda. What added colour to the presentation was an equally powerful performance by Shafat Ahmed, who accompanied Pandit Shiv Kumar in the tabla.

The Shehnai of the Delhi-based Sanjiv and Ashwani Shankar duo mesmerised the audience with raga Yaman and graduated to the presentation of ‘drut gat’ in ‘teen taal’, followed by ‘jhala’. Anand Shankar. Anup Ghosh and Jogesh Shankar accompanied the Shankar brothers on the tabla, while Sunil Goswami accompanied them on the tanpura.

Earlier, vocalist Sombala Kumar from Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh came out with a magical performance of raga Bihag in the Dhrupad style. She presented a ‘bandish’ — ‘Hari Om Narayan, Ganpati Pashupati, Hari Om Narayan.” She was accompanied by Prithvi Raj Kumar on the pakhawaj. Mr Surinder Seth, vice-chairman of the sammelan, was the compere.

Earlier, Mr Balbir Singh, the local MP, announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the sammelan.


PSEB plan to check power theft
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 28
Government Hospitals and residential colonies of the State and Central security agencies, which till now were not checked for theft now will receive measured power supply under a new scheme initiated by the PSEB and billed accordingly.

The board, which is going in for this scheme in a bid to tackle the problem of power theft, particularly in the colonies of security forces, has decided to enforce the scheme in its own residential colonies also.

Giving this information here today, the Board Chairman, Mr Sudhir Mittal, said non power to the institutions or colonies would be metered on the respective 11kv meters. Ten per cent rebate would be given for distribution losses, three per cent for transmission losses and a further five per cent rebate on the billed consumption would be allowed as handling charges.

The Chairman further said the consumers in these colonies would be billed according to the net consumption recorded by their respective colonies.

To make the system transparent, the readings of the meters would be taken by the officials of their own departments. He said the respective departments would have to collect the individual bills on the basis of the annual consumption and pay the board according to the power released to the colony. In case of any complaint or default of payment, the power supply of the defaulting consumer would be disconnected by the staff of the respective department. A fresh agreement would be executed by the departments in this regard. The field officers had been directed to ensure that electricity supply to the existing connections in the colonies was shifted to a single point under the new scheme.


Work on canals full of holes: Vigilance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
A number of irregularities have been detected by the Vigilance Bureau in the various repair and other works carried out on the Bhakra Mainline Canal and its off-shoot known as Narawana Branch in the Punjab area.

To carry out linking work and strengthening and raising of the banks both the states have given Rs 11 crore to the Irrigation Department, Punjab. The inquiry was ordered following complaints regarding the use of funds. The preliminary inquiry of the bureau has substantiated information provided in the complaints. At certain places only 10 to 15 per cent work was done while payment was made for the full work.


Clergy ‘can’t issue’ directives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
By issuing “hukamnamas” (directives) the Jathedars of five takhts have of late wielded powers which “gurmat” never vested in them.

This observation has been made by Mr Joginder Singh Sawhney, Mr Gurtej Singh, General Narinder Singh (retd), Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon and Justice Ajit Singh Bains in a letter addressed to the Jathedar of Akal Takht, with copies to all Jathedars.

They further held that even Jathedars elected during “sarbat khalsas” never issued any “hukamnamas”. The practice of using Sikh clergy to issue “directives” started at the behest of the British.

They asked whether Akali Phula Singh or any of his predecessors ever issued any “hukamnama”? Were Jathedars ever allowed to use rights of Gur Panth before the Badal-Tohra combine appeared on the scene? Does the Sikh Gurdwara Act give Jathedars such rights? They held that “Vak” is taken from Guru Granth Sahib at Darbar Sahib every morning at 6. This should be taken as “hukamnama”.

Referring to the December 23 decisions of the Jathedars they asked. How a directive or an order pronounced by head priests of Takhts could be equated with the “hukamnama” from Guru Granth Sahib?

They appealed to the Jathedars to restore the right to take decisions to the Sikh congregation. The duties and responsibilities of Jathedars should be limited to the enforcement of “gurmattas” and decisions of the Panth.


SAD to work for riot victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The local unit of the SAD will urge party president Parkash Singh Badal and party secretary general and Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to lead a delegation to the Chief Justice of India for seeking justice for the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The local unit would also ask the party high command to sever ties with the BJP which has been “exposed” with the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar in the anti-Sikh riots and the trial of VHP leaders like Pravin Togadia under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), the Chandigarh unit president Gurpartap Singh Riar told mediapersons at a press conference here today. Mr Riar said the failure of the judiciary to deliver speedy justice in anti-Sikh riot cases had emboldened hooligans of majority community in Gujarat to “systematically carry out carnage” in the state against the people of minority community.


Send CRPF officers back: PPSA
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 28
A meeting of the Punjab Police Service Association, today demanded that of seven CRPF deputationists be sent back and decided to oppose their absorption in the Punjab police. Those seven CRPF officers were in the CM’s their security outfit. If these seven deputationists were absorbed, it would affect seniority of 450 PPS officers, the meeting said. Our officers are willing to perform the duty of CM’s security in which four IPS and four PPS offices were detailed, said the meeting.

The meeting also demanded withdrawal of “fake” cases against the police officers who had fought terrorism, promotion to SP rank and plots in PUDA estates for PPS officers. The meeting regretted that PPS officers were given just officiating SP rank after promotion. It should be full-fledged SP rank. A deputation of the Association will meet Capt Amarinder Singh on January 8 in connection with these issues, disclosed a spokesman of the association. The government will also be urged to plead the case of eight seniormost PPS officers in the court.


Former judge’s arrest stayed
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, December 28
Staying the arrest of the former judge of the Allahabad High Court, Mr R.K. Mahajan, in an alleged case under Section 36 of the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995, Mr A.K. Sharma, District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, has issued notice of motion to the state of Punjab for January 10.

The former judge was apprehending arrest in a case registered by the authorities of police station division No. 1, Pathankot, on the charge of selling a colony at Rara village here.

According to sources, an FIR was registered against Bhupinder Singh who was arrested and later released on bail by Mr Bhajan Ram, Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, here.

Seeking the grant of anticipatory bail, counsel for Mr Mahajan, Mr H.S. Pathania, submitted that Mr Mahajan had been implicated on false grounds. The counsel argued that the name of Mr Mahajan did not figure in the FIR nor had he violated any law or committed any offence.

Granting interim bail Mr Sharma directed the former judge to join the investigation as and when required by the police.


Plan to boost water supply
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 28
The district administration has drawn up a comprehensive plan to augment drinking water supply in the rural areas of the district. Under the scheme new pipelines will be laid, more reservoirs constructed and if need be more water works set up to ensure the supply of piped water.

Stating this here on Thursday, Mr A. Venu Prasad, Deputy Commissioner, said initially 44 villages in the Faridkot block would be covered. These include Burj Masta, Jhotiwala, Pakhi Kalan, Bhagthala, Sher Singhwala, Dhilwan Khurd, Sadiq, Kila Nau, Sadhawala, Kingra, Channiya, Tehna, Dal Singhwala, Ran Singhwala, Mallawala, Machaki Kalan, Jalaleana. Work on the project would be taken up in February and completed within two years. The entire project would cost over Rs 6.33 crore and all funds in this connection had been sanctioned by the Punjab Government, said the Deputy Commissioner.

A request for allocating Rs 2 crore more had also been forwarded to the state government for immediately improving the drinking water system in eight villages like Chet Singhwala, Kamaina, Pakhi Khurd, Bholuwala and Bir Bholuwala, Moranwali, Dhudi and Kila Nau. It was likely to be received shortly.

The Deputy Commissioner further stated that under the Swajal Dhara Scheme recently launched by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, piped water to five villages like Wander Jatana, Sukhanwala, Behval Khurd, Guru ki Dhab costing about Rs 3 crore had also been forwarded to the state government for early action.


Police remand for Bibi Jagir Kaur’s kin
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 28
Sarabjit Singh Man accused in abduction of Babblu a minor son of NRI Jagir Singh of Begowal and Parampal Singh were produced in a court on Friday which remanded them in police custody till December 30.

Sarabjit Singh, a nephew of Bibi Jagir Kaur, former president of the SGPC along with five others were arrested in connection with abduction of Babblu.

During interrogation Sarabjit Singh confessed that he had also hatched a conspiracy to kill Kamaljit Singh who claimed himself to be the husband of Harpreet Kaur, deceased daughter of Bibi Jagir Kaur but could not execute his plan because of security around Kamaljit Singh. Sarabjit also disclosed to the police that he procured a country-made pistol from Sriganganagar to kill Kamaljit.


Four acquitted
Our Correspondent

Khamano, December 28
Mr G. S. Gill, Sessions Judge of Fatehgarh Sahib, has acquitted Mr Bhinder Singh Ranwan and three others, Mr Dilwar Singh, Mr Sher Singh and Mr Baljit Singh, in a case filed by Mr Ram Singh. Mr Ram Singh had alleged that the accused had beaten up him in Manderan village and burnt his turban on December 5, 2000.

The police had registered a case under Sections 457, 295A, 323/34 of the IPC and Section 3 (2-3) of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act, 1989.

Mr Ranwan said he would file a defamation case against police officials for registering false case against him.

Meanwhile, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president, BKU, Mr Satnam Singh Behru, convener, Kisan Wing, SAD (A), Mr Justice Singh Bains of the Human Rights Commission, and Bahadur Singh and Kuldip Singh, local BKU leaders have demanded an enquiry in this regard.


Sant Harnam Singh remembered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 28
More than 1000 devotees visited Dera Ram Tilla, at Maluka village, 15 km from here, to participate in the annual samagam, held under the patronage of Sant Balwinder Singh, to remember Sant Baba Maha Harnam Singh on his anniversary today.

Sant Balwinder Singh recited Gurbani and appealed to the devotees to follow the teachings of Gurbani for peace, harmony and spiritual enlightenment.

The devotees braved cold wave since morning and waited in queues to have a darshan (look) of Sant Harnam Singh’s portrait. Langar (community kitchen) and medical camp were also held.


Army recruitment rally from Jan 6
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 28
The Army has organised a recruitment rally for Jawans (GD) for all castes at Gurdaspur from January 6 to 12. Interested candidates between the 16-21 age group belonging to Amritsar and Gurdaspur and having passed matriculation examination (with 45 per cent marks) or plus two, examination, should report at Gurdaspur on January, 6 at 6 a.m.

This was informed in an Army press note here yesterday. The candidates are advised to bring education, domicile, caste and character certificate along with two photocopies and 12 recent photographs with and without turban each.


Gurm’s police remand extended
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 28
The Duty Magistrate, Ms Rajvinder Kaur, today extended the police remand of former PTU Vice-Chancellor, Dr H.S. Gurm for three days.

Dr Gurm, who was booked by the Vigilance Bureau in a case relating to the alleged misuse of Rs 11 crore during his term as the PTU Vice-Chancellor, had surrendered in a local court, on December 21. Later, he had complained of chest pain and was referred to a hospital in Amritsar, where he was diagnosed to have some kidney problem and was still undergoing treatment.


Islam preaches peace, say Ahmadiyyas
Our Correspondent

Qadian, December 28
On the concluding day of the annual convention of the Ahmadiyya international movement here today, Mr Karimuddin Shahid, additional secretary, condemned violence. He said jehad had been misinterpreted. Islam was the religion of peace and love and preached neither extremism nor compulsion, he added. Mr Naseem Khan, head of the youth wing of Ahmadiyya movement, highlighted development activities undertaken by the movement.


170 panchayats given grants: DC
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, December 28
Ms Usha R. Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, yesterday said that 170 panchayats in the district had been given a grant of Rs 50,000 each. She was addressing panchayat zila parishad and panchayat samiti members here.

She said out of this, Rs 25,000 was in the form of monetary grant and the other half was in the form of wheat worth Rs 25,000. She added that the scheme was aimed to give employment to the rural poor.

She added that under a Central scheme to provide drinking water in rural areas, a project worth Rs 40 crore had been announced but due to a poor response, it was progressing slowly. She said till the sector reforms schemes were pending, monetary grant for drinking water could be given.

She appealed to the members of the elected bodies to educate the people about contributing 10 per cent of the finances for the sector reforms scheme, if they wanted safe drinking water. She said the Rs 20 per quintal bonus for paddy procured last year would be disbursed soon.


Final voters’ list by Jan 4
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 28
The final publication of voters’ lists of all 15 wards of the Municipal Committee, elections to which are scheduled in march, 2003, would be completed by January 4, 2003.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Gill, SDM-cum-Election Officer of the Municipal Committee poll, said as many as 29,831 voters had been registered in the 15 wards.

He said the voters had been registered by the staff after a door-to-door campaign. He added that on the last day of receiving new claims and objections yesterday as many as 668 objections and 570 new claims had been received. He said all claims and objections would be disposed of by January 3, 2003 and the final voters’ lists would be published on January 4.


Punjab posting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab government today placed the services of Mr Gurdip Singh, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Khamanon, at the disposal of the Chandigarh Administration for appointment on deputation with immediate effect. 

Order for posting SDM at Khamanon will be issued separately, according to Mr Y. S. Ratra, Chief Secretary, Punjab.


Robbery: bank staff were ‘negligent’
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 28
Negligence on the part of bank officials posted at the Surewal branch of the Ropar Central Cooperative Bank was a major factor that led to Wednesday robbery. The SSP, Ropar, Mr G. P. S. Bhullar, stated this after completing a preliminary inquiry into the case.

He said that on the day of the crime the manager of the bank went to Nangal along with another employee posted at the branch to collect cash. He, however, left the key of the safe, which contained about Rs 94,390, with the peon of the bank. Besides, the peon, who was a witness to the robbery, failed to set off-the burglar alarm in time. The SSP, however, ruled out the possibility of the connivance of bank officials.


Cash, jewellery looted, car taken away
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 28
Three armed robbers, one of whom was donning a Punjab police commando uniform, attacked the Urban Estate house of the owner of a famed dhaba and decamped with cash worth Rs 2 lakh, 25 tolas of gold jewellery, two mobile phones and a Maruti Zen car after locking 10 members of the family and servants in the bathroom today.

The incident, which spread panic in the Urban Estate area, took place at about 10 am when three persons came to the house of Mr Jasbir Singh, owner of Lucky Dhaba, and identified themselves as officials of the department of house tax of the local municipal corporation. One of the three persons was wearing a Punjab police commando uniform and a monkey cap. After entering the house, they took out a pistol, pointed it at Mr Jasbir Singh and ordered the family members and servants to move towards the bathroom, where they were locked by the attackers. They also threatened the family members that they would be shot dead if they tried to raise an alarm.

Meanwhile, two attackers, who were wearing turbans, collected the cash, jewellery and mobile phones and demanded the keys of the car from son of Mr Jasbir Singh. After they fled, family members raised an alarm, which attracted the attention of a passerby, who informed the police. A police party, headed by Mr Parmjit Singh Gill, SSP, reached the spot immediately and rescued the family. Mr Gill said a red alert had been sounded and the police was busy preparing the computer sketches of the attackers. He said special nakas were put up after the incident and police parties had been dispatched to arrest the criminals.


Robbers loot Rs 2.8 lakh from 2 banks
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, December 28
Robbers broke into two branches of banks at Abhun village, 12 km from here, last night and decamped with Rs 2,79,246 and a gun.

According to an FIR lodged with the Sadar police, the State Bank of India and Central Cooperative Bank branches, located in a building complex on the village outskirts, were broken into by the robbers after cutting window grills.

The robbery came to light when the bank branches were opened this morning.

According to Mr Milakh Raj Bagnia, branch manager, Central Cooperative Bank, the entire cash amount of Rs 1,80,369 was found missing from the safe.

According to Mr Gurdial Sharma, branch manager, State Bank of India, Rs 98,877 and a .12-bore double-barrelled gun of the bank guard were found missing.

Both banks reportedly do not have night watchmen.

The robbers are understood to have been equipped with a gas welding and cutting set. Two oxygen gas cylinders used in cutting safes have been found from near the bank branches.


Inspector booked for taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 28
The Vigilance Department yesterday booked Gurcharan Singh, Food and Civil Supplies Inspector, posted at Anandpur Sahib, on the charges of taking a bribe of Rs 500. Gurcharan Singh was arrested by Vigilance officials on a complaint of Balbir Singh Sandhu, a ration depot owner of Anandpur Sahib.

Balbir Singh Sandhu, in his complaint to the Vigilance officials, had alleged that Gurcharan Singh had demanded money for verifying the rate of kerosene to be sold at his depot.

A case under the Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered against the accused.


4 held for smuggling poppy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, December 28
Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note today said that the police had arrested four persons in three cases and seized 137 kg of poppy husk.

He said that 15.5 kg of poppy husk was seized from Tara Singh of Burj Rajgarh village, 20 kg of poppy husk was recovered from Harbans Singh, of Gumti Kalan village and 101.5 kg of poppy husk was recovered from Jit Singh and Kulwant Singh, both residents of Niour village. He said that three different cases under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS act had been registered against the accused.


Stress on updating library facilities
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 28
Inaugurating the 20th national seminar on “Digital Information System and Services” of the Indian Association of Special Libraries and Information Centres (IASLIC) at Punjabi University here yesterday, Punjab Education Minister Khushhal Bahl emphasised the need for libraries to provide access to quality information in a timely and cost-effective manner by using modern tools of communication.

Stressing that technological breakthroughs like the Internet could prove useful for libraries for providing cutting-edge information to users, Mr Bahl said that all possible steps should be taken to ensure that the libraries are accessible to as many people as possible.

The Surveyor-General of India and honorary president of the IASLIC, Mr Prithvish Nag, stated that it was high time libraries made best use of opportunities created by the digital movement.

In her key-note address, Prof Harsha Parekh from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, urged the government to frame a comprehensive policy in order to meet the challenges thrown open by the digital movement. She also called upon the librarians to adopt modern methods for research in library and information sciences.

The Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Mr S.S. Boparai, said that in order to survive in the highly competitive world, librarians and other professionals associated with library sciences must update their knowledge regularly. He said modern communication techniques would be instrumental in changing the face of libraries, as resource sharing via networking would provide answers to the many problems facing the libraries.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Pro -Vice-Chancellor of the host university, Prof R.N Pal, and local secretary of the IASLIC, Dr Jagtar Singh.


Hostel residents who love to stay back
Sukant Deepak

Patiala, December 28
For at least 50 students of different hostels of Punjabi University, the New Year’s eve is not about going back home and spending time with their folks or planning a party and jiving all through the night. It is in fact about celebrating with their “extended family” i.e. fellow hostel residents. For years they have been celebrating different festivities on the campus rather than going home or attending the numerous parties organised in the city during such seasons. This “cult” of students prefers to be away from their parents with their old friends in the abandoned hostel rooms.

Although this trend was popular among research scholars a few years back, it has steadily caught up with students of other faculties too. The students have individual reasons for staying back on the campus during the New Year’s eve and festivals, and the distance from their home is surprisingly not one of them. The most popular being that they are able to celebrate the way they want to. For some, staying in their rooms and enjoying the solitude is also a way of celebrating the festivals.

Decorating their hostels — although most students admitted that they seldom enjoyed decorating their homes on festivals — has been a part of their way of enjoying a festival for the past several years. With little inclination to turn homewards, the students stressed that staying back in their hostel rooms during festivals, when most other students had left, did not give them a sense of alienation.

Ankur Garg, a student from Himachal Pradesh who has been celebrating almost all important festivals on the campus for the past three years, said although it felt a little odd staying back when everybody had left, he enjoyed immensely with a select group of people who stayed back. “It’s not that I do not want to be with my family. It’s just that I can enjoy here the way I want to.”

The students of different hostels team up during the festivals and have their own little gathering at a hostel common room and are some times joined by professors who stay on the campus. Bonfire and discussions on varied topics follow.

Although this trend is yet to catch up with the girls staying in hostels, the boys who stay back, especially those from the rural areas, admitted that they were so used to staying on the campus that they felt a sense of “dislocation” when they left it, even during festivals. Several of them stay back even during the summer vacations.

The wardens of these hostels are so accustomed to seeing these students during vacations that now their absence during festivities surprises them. Warden of one of the boys’ hostels said such students keep the university and hostels “alive” even during vacations. “Sometimes, they visit our places during festivals and join celebrations for a short while. Now it’s hard to imagine hostels without them during festivals”, he said.


Petro dealers’ threat on supply to govt vehicles

Jalandhar, December 28
The Punjab Petroleum Dealers Association today threatened to stop supply of petroleum products to the vehicles of government officials’ tell outstanding dues were not cleared by the state government.

Showing concern over the non-payment of outstanding POL bills by the Punjab government which have reached over Rs 18 crore, J.P. Khanna, president of the association, threatened that now no government vehicle would be given petrol or diesel till outstanding dues were cleared by the government.

POL (petrol, oil and lubricants) supplies was a regular process every month for administration and other government departments and at the same time regular the release of payment at regular phase was also necessary to facilitate the petrol dealers to keep stock inventory.

The nonpayment by the state government had made many dealers financially starved as 70 per cent of their capital has been blocked with the state government, Mr Khanna said.

Even the threat perception by senior police officials and administrative officials, with abuse of power, was a common feature being faced by petro dealers, he said. PTI

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