Monday, May 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Verma for second Green Revolution
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
The Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, today urged agricultural scientists to prepare the state for a second Green Revolution in view of the changed agricultural scenario.

On his maiden visit to the city, he presided over a meeting of farm scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here this evening.

Justice Verma said PAU had played a sterling role in ushering the Green Revolution in Punjab. He said it was a resounding success because of the large extension network of the university and the enterprise of the Punjabi farmer.

He said now that agricultural production was reaching a plateau, it was another challenge for scientists to develop the strains of high-yield varieties to that the state could maintain its pre-eminent position as the granary of India.

Justice Verma called upon the scientists to lay more stress on biotechnology and nano-technology while developing high-yield, disease-resistant and low water-consuming varieties of crop seeds for farmers.

Emphasising on encouraging diversification in agriculture and developing linkages between agriculture and the industry, he said the two should utilise the state’s surplus agriculture produce. He said the state had a tremendous surplus of wheat and rice and could offer these commodities as raw material to the processing industry on a long-term basis. The state also offers good scope for fruits and vegetables processing industry, particularly for crops like potato, tomato, garlic, kinnow and guava, he said.

Stressing upon the need for building effective backward linkage through contract farming and captive farming, Justice Verma said recent endeavours by the state government in this direction would help the farmers financially.

Underlining the need for evolving post-harvest handling system of agro products, he said the system should consist of processing, picking, cleaning, storing, grading, pre-cooking, processing, packing and transporting. The scientific system would result in reduction of wastage and increase in value addition for farm products, he added.

Justice Verma said the university should also focus on research of agriculture packaging to prolong the shelf life of agricultural products. He said modern marketing techniques should be developed for agro based products and for this purpose, cooperative bodies and private marketing companies should be encouraged.

Earlier, on reaching the Ludhiana Circuit House, the Governor was given a ceremonial guard of honour by a company of the Punjab Armed Police. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, and the SSP, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, were among the officers who received him.


Sale of blood by doctor’ disappoints donors
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
Two NGOs, the Aasra Welfare Society and the Ekta Welfare Society yesterday claimed that blood donors of the city were disappointed following to the alleged selling of blood by a private doctor of the city.

Mr Ramesh Mehta, president of Aasra and Mr Amarjeet Singh, president of Ekta said in a press note here yesterday that the blood donors refused to participate in blood donation camps, after a private doctor allegedly sold blood to a patient admitted to his clinic, few days back. They alleged that the doctor had charged hefty sum from a patient for the blood he had obtained from a blood bank here.

They claimed that the blood donors associated with their association were feeling cheated as the doctor allegedly sold the blood donated by them.

Dr. S.K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, had ordered a probe on May 13 into the alleged sale of two units of blood to a patient, who underwent surgery for the removal of a stone at a private clinic in the city.

Dr Goyal had asked Dr Jagjit Singh, District Family Planning Officer to hold the probe. The inquiry was ordered on the complaint of Mr Balwant Singh, patient’s attendant.

The owner of the private clinic Dr Subash Aggrawal denied the allegations. He said that the amount that he had charged from the attendant of the patient, included expenses of hospitalisation, medicines, blood unit, blood transfusion system and various tests.


PTU to set up digital libraries
J. S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, May 18
As part of its ongoing series of initiatives and to ensure availability of literature of latest essential technologies, Punjab Technical University (PTU) has decided to set-up digital libraries across the state in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, USA and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The project envisages to digitalising books of interest and making these available to students of PTU affiliated colleges at their choices of location, time and language. Towards its implementation, PTU has already obtained sanction to install five scanners and the relevant software, costing Rs 5 lakh each at Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana, Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology, SAS Nagar, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur College, Fatehgarh Sahib, Lala Lajpat Rai College of Information and Technology, Moga and Sai College of Engineering and Technology, Pathankot.

The training of the staff of these colleges would be conducted at the Indian institute of Science, Bangalore, without any cost to participants. “This would make the latest books, journals and reports available to students of affiliated colleges in the most economical way and enhance the knowledge network of PTU,” said Dr Y. S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor.

He said to promote sharing of resources among libraries by developing a network of libraries was being envisaged for collection, storage and dissemination of information to students. He said the project called “Developing Library Network” (DELNET) was being promoted with the help of that National Informatics Centre.

“Moreover, we are creating a knowledge reservoir in order to fill the gaps in teaching and research and a pool of experts for this reservoir has been enlisted from the industry, academia, R&D institutes and PTU. We have already started the knowledge reservoir followed by one at JR Government Polytechnic, Hoshiarpur and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Polytechnic and Pharmacy College, Patti,” said Dr Rajan.

He maintained that PTU planned to organise seminars on communication skills and technology management in the later half of this month and June.

“A talk by an expert or an eminent speaker would be organised per month on latest trends in engineering, management, pharmacy and related topics at various centres,” maintained Dr Rajan.

He said to raise the knowledge level of students and staff on world standards for meeting global demands, it was essential to effect collaboration with the industry and its Research and Development (R&D) wings.

The university was in the process of obtaining sanction for collaboration with a number of institutes like the Centre for Environment and Explosive Safety, Research Centre, Hyderabad, Administrative Staff College of India, India Lead Zinc Development Association and the Survey of India.

Dr Rajan said PTU had also decided to set-up a council for industry academia interaction. The council would co-ordinate and monitor efforts of PTU and its colleges to link training with placement and improve academia-business relationships. “Our emphasis is to outline the needs of industry and prepare students to fulfil needs of industry,” said Dr Rajan.


Cases of women taking to smuggling on rise
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
Mrs Chinder Kaur along with her associate Mrs Binder Kaur, both residents of the Talwandi Sabo area, were arrested by the police on March 26, 2003 while they were allegedly smuggling narcotics. A case was also registered against them.

On April 4, another woman namely Shinder Kaur along with farm hand Ganga Siri was arrested for alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics and 10 kg of poppy husk was recovered from them.

These are not isolated incidents for the past many years women of this region have been indulging in activities like smuggling of narcotics and illicit distillation.

Lure of easy money and chances of escaping detection by the police finding more and more women, particularly of rural areas of Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar and other district of Malwa region, smuggling narcotics. For this these women visit various places including neighbouring Haryana and Rajasthan for transporting narcotics from one place to other.

Official sources said that for the past three years, the situation had become alarming as more and more women had been entering to this illegal profession to make money. Apart from this, these women ‘smugglers’ had spread their areas of operation to other states also to increase turnover of the “business”.

In Mansa district alone, the police arrested 30 women in the current year so far, for smuggling narcotics including poppy husk and opium. In the corresponding period last year 10 women were arrested. In Bathinda, so far in this year, the police arrested 11 women for smuggling against 16 women, arrested in the last year. In Muktsar district, in the current year four women were arrested for smuggling poppy husk and opium against the total 12 women arrested last year.

Official sources added that in the past three years, 100 women were arrested in three districts for alleged involvement in the smuggling of narcotics. Some of the women were arrested twice or thrice as they re-started the same profession after getting bail in the first case registered against them and again arrested by the police.

A significant section of women accused, who were arrested for smuggling narcotics, took to smuggling after their husbands also in the same illegal trade were arrested and jailed. Using “contacts” of their husbands, these women also took to smuggling found it more lucrative and in this way they were initiated into smuggling.

The police functionaries, The Tribune talked to pointed out that women smugglers were almost caught on precise information. Most of the women escape routine checking at police nakas due to absence of women constables at these places and hence they had been making maximum use of this deficiency.

Meanwhile, women involved in smuggling and caught by the police have created problems for the authorities concerned of various jails of the region. The authorities concerned have been finding it difficult to house the ever-increasing number of women accused as very little space has been earmarked for women in the jails. In some jails, the authorities concerned have converted some portion of the jails into barracks for lodging women inmates.


Unsavoury incident at Akal Takht
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 18
The Task Force of the SGPC today swung into action when certain devotees led by UK-based Bibi Mejinderpal Kaur insisted on performing ‘path’ at the sanctum sanctorum of Akal Takht.

When SGPC employees pleaded that it was against the ‘maryada’ (Sikh tradition) to perform ‘path’ loudly, they refused to relent. Bibi Mejinderpal Kaur, who was earlier stopped from taking part in the ‘Sukhasan’ at the Golden Temple, told the SGPC employees that any devotee could perform ‘path’ anywhere. The Panj Piaras also told the group of devotees not to hamper the path of Guru Granth Sahib.

When both sides took opposite stands, women employees of the SGPC pushed the devotees led by Bibi Mejinderpal Kaur out of Akal Takht.

Senior SGPC officials, including Mr Ajaib Singh, manager, Darbar Sahib, and Mr Raghbir Singh, personal assistant to the SGPC chief, reached the site and defused the situation by allowing them to perform ‘path’ inside the Akal Takht building.

While Mr Zorawar Singh, associate of Bibi Mejinderpal Kaur, alleged that the devotees were roughed up by the SGPC’s Task Force, Mr Raghbir Singh and Mr Ajaib Singh alleged that they wanted to create an unsavoury situation at the behest of some ‘anti-Panthic’ forces. The SGPC officials alleged that some ‘patit’ Sikhs with ‘ulterior motives’ were supporting the group of devotees and it needed to be probed.


Doctor descendent of Hari Singh Nalwa
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
Dr Sarvjit Singh Nalwa, a seventh generation direct descendent of Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, the great Sikh general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the USA.

His father, Mr Surjit Singh Nalwa, has settled in Chandigarh after having spent 42 years in the USA.

“Sarvjit was born in Chandigarh in 1970 where he obtained his initial education,” says Mr Surjit Singh Nalwa. Talking to The Tribune, Mr Surjit Singh says that “Sarvjit is keen on developing research and clinical contacts with doctors in the field of head and neck oncology and reconstructive surgery as he will visit the city regularly.”

“Sarvjit graduated with honours from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in 1996. He was elected to the Alpha Omega National Medical Honour Society and received the University of Illinois Alumni Association Leadership award and the Merck Manual Leadership award. He completed his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“He subsequently completed a fellowship in head and neck oncology, reconstructive surgery at the University of Lowa. He received extensive training in the management of benign and malignant tumours of the head and the neck. Dr Nalwa is also trained in microvascular head and neck reconstruction. His clinical interests include the comprehensive management of tumours of the head and neck, thyroid and parathyroid surgery; head and neck melanoma; and reconstructive surgery, including microvascular free-tissue transfer, “ says Mr Surjit Singh Nalwa, who himself worked as a management consultant with companies like AT Kearney and IBM Corporation in the USA.

* * *

Mr Narpal Singh Shergill, an NRI journalist and a prominent Punjabi writer based in England, has released the fifth edition of his reference book “Indians abroad and Punjab Impact” the book was formally released in Ludhiana last week.

It contains complete information about 2,000 Sikh organisations and gurdwaras all over the world and carries the profiles of 125 eminent Punjabi personalities.

If also contains names, addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of over 1,000 community leaders, hundreds of community organisations, Indian media outside India, Punjabis doing well in politics, business, trade and industry abroad,” Mr Shergill told The Tribune here.


Father ‘beats’ daughter to death
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, May 18
A father, with help of his nephew, has allegedly beaten his daughter to death. According to an FIR lodged with the Sadar police, Fazilka, last evening, Piare Lal resident of Alamshah village of this subdivision, with help of Satnam Chand, son of his elder brother, reportedly killed his daughter Neelam (18) by throttling and beating her.

Mr Hakam Singh, his neighbour who lodged the FIR, has stated that on the night of May 10, while he was sleeping on the roof of his house, he heard Neelam crying, “Leave me, don’t beat me”.

When he peeped into the neighbouring house of Piare Lal, he allegedly saw both Piare Lal and Satnam Chand pulling Neelam. The next morning, Neelam’s parents declared that she had died all of a sudden and was cremated hastily.

It is stated that Neelam, who was a student of Government College, Fazilka, had a love affair with a boy of the college. When he came to know of this Piare Lal was reportedly enraged and he beat his daughter to death.

The Sadar police has registered a case under Sections 302, 201 and 34 IPC. The SHO is conducting the inquiry into the matter. Satnam Chand was arrested last night and he will be produced before the Judicial Magistrate.


JP open to poll pact
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 18
The SAD-BJP combine will jointly contest the June 29 panchayat poll, but like-minded parties are welcome for electoral adjustments, according to Mr Avinash Jaiswal, general secretary, BJP, Punjab.

Talking to newspersons here today, Mr Jaiswal said in reply to a question that though the decision would be taken by the party, yet he was not averse to an electoral truck with the Bahujan Samaj Party for defeating the Congress.

He disclosed that the party would observe the 112th jayanti of Dr B.R. Ambedkar here on May 21 by holding a seminar on the philosophy of Dr Ambedkar.

“We will dedicate to the public the Dr Shyama Prashad Mukherjee Punjab BJP Bhavan in Chandigarh on May 26”, Mr Jaiswal said.

A meeting of the state BJP executive, former ministers, MPs, MLAs, and district and block presidents would attend it, he disclosed.

He demanded a judicial probe into the alleged excesses perpetrated on the followers of Thakurdwara Bairagian, Hanuman temple, here.


Resumption of water supply after 30 years
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 18
More than 10,000 residents of four villages, Kothe Fatehgarh, Gobindgarh, Kothe Bambia and Kothe Mahalgarh, have heaved a sigh of relief following the resumption of regular drinking water supply recently in their respective areas after a gap of about 30 years.

Talking to this reporter yesterday Mrs Jaspal Kaur and Mrs Chinderpal Kaur of Kothe Fatehgarh village said they had to fetch water from hand-pumps located on the outskirts of the village at a distance of 4 to 5 km to meet their needs. Moreover, the water was unhygienic.

Mrs Ranjit Kaur, sarpanch of the village, said another storage tank should be constructed on the outskirts of the village to ensure smooth and uninterrupted supply of water to other villages. She also demanded that all sarpanches and panches of the gram panchayats irrespective of their party affiliation, should be taken into confidence about such projects.

Mr Darshan Singh, sarpanch of Kothe Bambia, said a water pipeline from the waterworks to his village, covering a distance of covering about 1 km should be laid on a priority basis to provide hygienic water supply.

Mr Mukhtiar Singh, a nambardar since 1966 of three villages, Mahalgarh, Kothe Bambia and Kothe Fatehgarh, along with his wife Mrs Manjit Kaur, member of the Block Samiti, Kot Kapura, belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal, demanded that the water course should be covered properly to supply clean water to all villages. They said the ground water in the area was not fit for consumption and there was urgent need to make the waterworks functional. They praised the role of Mr Kuldip Singh Chameli, Chairman of the Zila Parishad, Faridkot, who gave a grant of Rs 2.50 lakh against the total expenditure of Rs 2.75 lakh for the augmentation of the project.


Train fire: goods lie unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
Even as all bodies of the victims of the Frontier Mail fire incident have been identified, the Railway police is yet to identify the owner of a stove, that, according to one theory, caused the fire.

Along with the stove, some other belongings of the dead or injured persons have not been claimed by anybody.

The stove, whose parts have been sealed together, has been sent to forensic experts for examination.

The other belongings, including gold ornaments, tiffin boxes, clothes and some utensils, are lying unclaimed at the GRP station here. The gold ornaments, including rings, bracelets, bangles, chains and earrings, have been sealed and kept at the Railway Malkhana.

The police and the Railway Safety authorities have recorded the statement of the injured persons, but no one could give any clue about the person(s) who had boarded the train with the stove.

Initial reports said the stove belonged to some BSF personnel, but this has been denied by BSF officials. The police and Railway Safety officials have also not been able to crack the mystery of a bag, which according to the statement given by a BSF personnel, was the first to catch fire.


16 cases of enteritis reported
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 18
Sixteen cases of gastroenteritis have been reported in the past two days from the Onkar Nagar mohalla, which is an epitome of squalor and peopled by migrants. A visit to this area today by this correspondent revealed that the drinking water was laced with sullage. Sewerage was choked and the slum area, where people live in inhuman conditions with over 10 persons huddled like sardines in one room, had become a breeding ground for flies. It was learnt that a six-month-old girl, Sushma, died of a mysterious fever yesterday in street No 8 of the locality. Krishna (58) had died of a mysterious disease some days ago, though the medical authorities denied it.

The family of Harinath Parsad, including his daughters Sarita Kumari and Roopa Kumari, son Krishna Kumar, daughter-in-law Sunita and grand-daughter Ekta, is afflicted with the disease. Other suffering include Asha Devi, Ritu Kumari, Anjali Kumari, Rina Devi, Ram Pyari, her husband Mangru Ram, Gita Rani, Asha Rani and Sunita Rani. While two patients have been admitted to ESI Hospital, the other are getting treatment at home.

The Civil Surgeon, Kapurthala, Dr S.P. Jagat, accompanied by the SMO, Dr Subhash Sharma, and members of the rapid action team, today visited Onkar Nagar. Dr Jagat told newspersons that the disease was mild and manageable.

Asked whether the disease was gastroenteritis, the Civil Surgeon said a few cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea had been detected. Steps were being taken to check the spread of the diseases, he said, adding that team of doctors would visit the patients at home.

Regarding water laced with sullage, he said it was a serious matter and the municipality must take corrective steps. Eight water samples were taken today.

The SMO, ESI Hospital, Dr Harcharan Singh, said 19 cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea had been reported in the past 18 days. However, there was nothing to panic and remedial steps had been taken, he added.

Meanwhile, Ms Hardip Anand, senior vice-president, Nagar Council, Phagwara, and Mr Shinderpal, councillor from Ward No 8 in which Onkar Nagar falls, alleged that though the municipal authorities had been apprised of the contamination of water, nothing had been done.

The civic body chief, Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, claimed that steps were being taken in this regard.


‘Awareness must to check foeticide’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
For the eradication of female foeticide, effective implementation of the PNDT and MTP Acts and creation of awareness among the masses are the two most important preconditions.

This was observed by a number of experts who participated in a state-level seminar on the PNDT and MTP Acts organised by the local unit of the Indian Medical Association, the Federation of Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) and NARCHI, here today.

Dr D.P.S. Sandhu, Director, Health Services, Punjab, who inaugurated the seminar, said: “All 17 districts of Punjab are included in 34 districts of the country where the male-female ratio is the lowest. The best course would be to solve the problem by way of creating awareness among people,” said Dr Sandhu. He said the state government was taking steps for the implementation of the Acts and to create awareness.

Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Punjab Health Minister, said the state government was ready to extend any help needed by the IMA to put an end to female foeticide in the state. The Ultrasound Society of Punjab was launched on the occasion in the presence of the minister.

Dr H. S. Maan, president of the district unit of the IMA and president of the newly formed Ultrasound Society of Punjab, led about 300 sonologists from all over the state who pledged to be a part of the state government’s crusade against female foeticide.

Others who spoke included Dr Sanjiv Sharma of the IMA, and Mr Ravi Sodhi, Additional Advocate-General of Punjab.


College land dispute takes new turn
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
The Khalsa College land dispute took a new turn after Dr Harbhajan Singh Chhinna claimed to have a legal right on the disputed land, which, he said, was registered in his name in the revenue records. There was an attempt to grab the 5 kanal prime land on Ram Tirath Road by the Khalsa College Management Committee by misrepresenting facts and misleading the administration on the issue, alleged Mr Chhinna, a resident of Abadi Nika Singh near Khalsa College, at in a press conference here today.

Meanwhile, the Khalsa College management completed the construction of a boundary wall today after the dispute yesterday.

The honorary secretary of Khalsa College, Mr Gunbir Singh, said the land was in the possession of the management for the past 100 years and armed men were used to grab the college land.

However, Mr Chhinna said his father Tara Singh had bought the land and later it was transferred in the names of his heirs. He said demarcation was done in 1987 and the ‘girdawari’ of this land was present in the revenue register. He said in 1989 the college had accepted their ownership of the land, which had the signature of the then honorary secretary of the management, Mr Lal Singh Aujla.

However, the college management alleged that the police had tried to side with the Chhinna group to divest the college of its rightful land.

The then Tehsildar, Mr Narinder Singh, had turned down the claim of the Khalsa College Management Committee on the land after a case was filed by the management. Mr Chhinna said a court had granted the possession of this land to him on May 13, but before these orders could be executed, the management had attempted to grab this land. The management, however, refuted the claim of Mr Chhinna.


Kendra trains village women
Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: Women in this politically and economically well-placed subdivision were more backward than those in other areas. If the village has a primary school, the parents hardly allow their daughters to go to a neighbouring village for continuing education up to middle standard.

The observation comes in from none other than SDM Jaskiran Singh. He was addressing the concluding ceremony of the four-day Training and Visit programme organised by Indian Farmers Fertilisers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) here on Saturday. Over 40 women from border villages of Abohar and Fazilka participated.

Mr Jaskiran Singh regretted that some women sarpanches were seldom allowed to attend functions by their husband, who preferred to introduce themselves as the sarpanch of a respective village in place of their wives. Even many women members of the local Municipal Council had not been able to establish their independent identity. Their husbands worked as shadow councillors.

Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, a former Minister for Cooperatives, said that dominated by Marwari and Haryanavi culture, women folk in this region had found it difficult to come out of the purdah even in the 21st century. This was evident from the fact that there was no cooperative society exclusively run by the women.

Mr Jakhar and Mr Jaskiran Singh lauded the efforts made by IFFCO in pursuing the women to spend four days at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra here to get training in qualitative preparation of “papads”, “waris”, tomato ketchup, juice, jam and other eatables. This kind of new experience would infuse in them a new spirit and self-confidence. Some women trained by the KVK earlier in collaboration with IFFCO had formed self-help groups at Panjkosi and Shahteerwala villages.

Mr P.S. Sidhu, State Marketing Manager, IFFCO, said the organisation was going to link the village-level cooperatives with the information and technology network to acquaint the farmers with new technologies in farming sector. Free insurance for fertiliser buyers had already been introduced.

Mr Sarwan Singh, Senior Area Manager and Convener of the T&V Programme, said the women participants were taken to food processing units and self-help centres run by the women in the villages.

Mr T.R. Dhuria, General Manager of the Fazilka Central Cooperative Bank, offered loans under self-employment scheme to the women who had been imparted training at the Krishi Vigyan Kendra. He said Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar had pioneered schemes for the welfare of the farmers during his tenure as Chairman of IFFCO twice. Field officers R.K. Upveja and R.L. Sethi said that IFFCO had been organising camps in the remote villages not only for a better farming but also for dairy development, which was emerging as major allied business in the region now.


Setting up of distillery opposed
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 18
Members of the Pathankot Chamber of Commerce, panches, sarpanches and other residents of the area are agitated over the setting up of a distillery, by an industrial house at the Industrial Growth Centre here.

About 20 sarpanches, panches and other residents claimed today that, the setting up of the distillery nearby their villages will pollute the area.

Among others, who attended a meeting held here today in this connection were sarpanches Bakhshish Singh, Ranipur, Parveen Singh, Akhwana, Baldev Singh, Janial, Dharam Paul, Baroi, Dilawar Singh, Ranipur Upparla, Uttam Singh, Gho, Arjun Singh, member, block samiti, Jagan Nath, president, Kandi Vikas Morcha, Kuldeep Singh, panch, Chak Madho Singh, Parshotam Lal, president of the local unit of the Ex-Servicemen’s League, Jathedar Karnail Singh, Dr Amarjeet Singh, Ashwani Sharma, president of the poultry farm union.

The participants in the meeting said, they would form an action committee to protest against the setting up of the distillery.

They also said they would file defamation complaints against Mr Vijay Passi, president of the Pathankot Chamber of Commerce and Mr Jagat Aggarwal, managing director of Pioneer Industries for using defamatory language against the protesters.

The president of the PCC denied the charge of using defamatory language against anyone.


Town needs judicial complex
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, May 18
This border town was made subdivision in 1995 and as per instructions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court it should have separate courts. Presently, the judicial work of this subdivision is attached with Fazilka courts, 32 km away from this town. According to an estimate, 60 per cent of total cases pending with the Fazilka Courts pertain to Jalalabad subdivision.

Lack of infrastructure required for judicial courts here was the main hurdle. The newly built tehsil complex, which houses designated judicial courts complex and residential accommodation for the judges and subordinates have cleared decks for setting up judicial courts.

Mr Justice K.C. Gupta recently inspected the court complex and found it in order for commencing judicial work. Mr Justice Gupta was also apprised by the Bar Association that all revenue works of Guru Harsahai block had been attached with this subdivision, but judicial work of the Guru Harsahai sub-tehsil is attached with Ferozepore. Ferozepore is 31 km away from Guru Harsahai and the distance between Jalalabad and Guru Harsahai is 16 km. If the judicial work of Guru Harsahai block is attached with the Jalalabad it would be a great relief to the people of the area. Mr Satpal Kamboj, President of the local Bar Association, demanded that the judicial work of 20 km radius should be attached with the proposed local courts.

Mr Justice Gupta assured the advocates that in the general transfers a Sub divisional Judicial Magistrate would be appointed here to begin judicial work in this subdivision from the town.


Hit by bull, man run over by truck

Bathinda, May 18
Even as the district authorities have been making efforts to control the flow and movement of traffic, the increasing number of stray animals on the roads have led to many accidents. One such accident claimed one life today.

Sources said a stray bull near the Kamal Cinema road here hit Gurcharan Singh, a resident of the local Gopal Nagar, this afternoon. Gurcharan Singh was thrown in front of a speeding Army truck after he was hit by the bull and the driver of the vehicle failed to control the vehicle. Gurcharan Singh was run over by the truck.

Civil hospital sources said Gurcharan Singh was brought dead to the hospital. OC


Relay fast against lathi charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 18
An indefinite relay fast will be started beginning tomorrow by followers of Thakurdwara Bairagian, Hanuman Mandir, here to demand an apology from officials who had “denigrated the maryada” of the temple by resorting to a lathi-charge on followers inside the temple and withdrawal of “false” cases registered against them.

Mr Chhavi Bhaskar, one of the members of an all-party 21-member action committee spearheading the temple agitation, said members of the committee would observe a fast from 9 am to 6 pm in the Thakurdwara complex tomorrow.

It may be mentioned that while PUDA claims that the nine kanals land of a hospital on the Banga road has been transferred to it, the temple followers claim that the land belongs to the temple. Officials of PUDA were pelted with stones on May 9 while they tried to remove two boards put up by the temple followers. The police had to resort to a lathi-charge against which a bandh was observed on May 10.


Bank staff strike on May 21
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
Bank employees all over the country will observe a strike on May 21 in protest against certain policies being pursued by the Central Government.

Mr N.K. Gaur, joint secretary of the Patiala unit of the All-India Bank Employees Association, in a statement release here today, said at least six other banking unions had announced support to their demands.

He said activists would wear black badges, raise slogans against the Union Government and carry out protest marches and rallies in support of their demands. He said the main demands of the unions were halting privatisation of profit-making PSUs, no amendment to labour laws against the working classes, widening of the social security schemes, including those for the unorganised sectors, and increasing the interest on the PPF and the EPF to 12 per cent.

In a separate statement, the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha said it would participate in the May 21 strike. Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, president of the sabha, sought caste-based reservations in private companies and threatened to launch an agitation.


Rs 100 cr for rural uplift
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 18
The Congress government has planned development of rural areas of the state under which villages would be provided with basic amenities and infrastructure, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, MLA and Political Adviser to the Chief Minister stated this to reporters here today. Mr Sodhi said that Rs 90 crore had been allotted to various Municipal bodies in the state for construction of roads, provision of water, adequate sewerage. Apart from this over Rs 100 crore had been granted for the development of the villages and model gram schemes. Rana Sodhi reiterated that after the anti corruption drive in the state, Congress Government would put the economy of Punjab on rails and bring about prosperity in Punjab. He said that the policies of the Congress government had started yielding results as there was Rs 1000 crore increase in the state’s revenue last year. 


Bhatlan girl 15th in IAS exam
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 18
Though Ms Avantika Gautam, daughter of Lt-Col. Ashok Kumar Gautam (retd), who secured the 15th position in the All-India Civil Services Examination, is not residing in her native Bhatlan village, even then inhabitants of the village, especially family members of the late Vinod Kumar Gautam, younger brother of Lt-Col. Gautam, are overjoyed over the rare distinction won by Ms Gautam.

Mrs Nirmal Devi, wife of the late Vinod Kumar Gautam, is living along with her family in the village which is located in the remotest corner of the Kandi area in Bhunga block of the district. This correspondent visited her house this morning. She said 22-year-old Avantika was now living with her parents in Noida.

Avantika used to study for 10 hours daily. Ms Renu Gautam, her mother, is Vice-Principal in a Central School in Noida. Before appearing in the Civil Services examination Avantika did her engineering from the Netaji Subhash Chander Institute of Engineering, Delhi, by securing 88.7 per cent marks. She had secured the first position in the CBSE matriculation examination by getting 93.4 per cent marks.


Army’s cycle rally on unity ends
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 18
A nine-day cycle-rally for ‘unity’ concluded at the headquarter of Panther division amidst warm reception by Major-General Ashok Samantaray here today. The Sixteen-member team on ‘ekta’ expedition was flagged off from here on May 10 aiming at spreading message of national unity among people of Punjab in villages.

The team represented several religions and states of India. Lauding the efforts Gen Samantaray presented every member with a certificate of appreciation and a memento. The team visited Kalanaur, Dera Baba Nanak, Amritsar, Ferozepore, Zira, Kapurthala, Jalandhar etc and covered 650 km. A heavy vehicle provided close administrative support to the expedition, which visited historic battlefields, palaces and places of religious importance.


Janata Yuva Dal chief surrenders, in police remand
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 18
Mr Bikramjit Singh Khehra, president of the Punjab Janata Yuva Dal, yesterday surrendered in the court of Mrs Navjot Kaur Sohal, Subjudge, Junior Division, Phagwara. He was remanded in police custody till May 20. Mr Khehra, who is wanted in connection with the murder of an NRI, Mohan Singh, here on February 23, also presented in the court his double-barrel gun.

So far, five persons have been nabbed in the case. One more person, Baljinder Singh, remains to be arrested in the case.

The UK-based NRI, Mohan Singh, had come in the baraat of Mr Jaswinder Singh of Reru village. While some marriage party revellers were firing in celebration, a bullet had hit him and he had died on way to hospital.


MP assures return of abducted girl

Patiala, May 18
The case of the alleged abduction of a minor girl from the city to Bihar in which the Motihari MP (BJP) was accused of being part of the conspiracy, has taken a new turn with the MP giving an assurance to Patiala MP Preneet Kaur that the minor girl and the main accused would be presented before the Patiala police shortly. Disclosing this, Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal said the Motihari MP had talked to Ms Preneet Kaur in Delhi recently and given an assurance in this regard. He said the police would request the local court which had issued a non-bailable warrant against the MP for May 19 to give it another 15 days to produce the MP. TNS


BKU to oppose privatisation of PSEB
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
Mr Joginder Singh Kokri Kalan, state general secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta), in a press note here yesterday said that their union would oppose privatisation of the state power board and added that they would attend the Kisan Conference to be held at Tarn Taran.

Mr Kokri Kalan said that a decision to this effect was taken at in a state-level meeting of the union. He alleged that the Congress government had not honoured even a single promise made during the state Assembly elections. He said that the farmers’ organisation thinking to go to Delhi along with state Chief Minister, to protest there, should drop this idea. He said that the union had also resolved to gherao the officials who would come to disconnect power connections to tubewells or those who failed to repair the damaged transformers.

He said that the union would press for remuneration prices for sugarcane and potatoes.


Special drive launched
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
An official press release issued here today said that the revenue department had started a special drive to decide all pending cases of land records pertaining to mutations.

The press release said that the drive would continue till May 31. Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, State Minister for Revenue and Rehabilitation, would be visiting here to take a note of the work. The press release said that on May 20 a special programme to decide the pending cases of mutations would be organised at the grain market and urged the people to participate in the special drive.


Seven injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 18
Seven persons were injured, two of them seriously when a truck and a bus collided head on near Bhucho crossing on the Bathinda-Barnala road, 13 km from here, this evening. A Haryana Roadways bus was coming from Chandigarh towards Bathinda when a truck coming from the opposite side hit it around 8 pm. The truck belonged to Rajasthan.

The seriously injured Dharam Pal, driver of the truck, and Hamir Singh, a bus passenger, have been admitted to the local civil hospital. The others who received minor injuries are Amandeep, Tarsem Singh, Summit and Harminder Singh. The seventh person could not be identified immediately.


Fire in hosiery factory
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 18
A massive fire broke out in a hosiery factory near the MC octroi post on the Tajpur road late tonight.

Fire Department sources said four fire tenders had been rushed to the scene and senior fire officials had also reached there.

The number of casualties or loss of property had not been ascertained at the time of filing of this report. The cause of the fire was also not yet known. Sources said the fire broke out around 11 p.m. Unconfirmed reports said some persons were trapped in the building.


BKU leader for Senegal meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The president of the Kisan Coordination Committee, a former MP and national president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, has been invited to attend a meet on “Global forum on agricultural research” to be held from May 22 to 24 in Dakar, Senegal.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Gurbachan Singh Bajwa, general secretary, BKU (Punjab), said that Mr Mann had left for Senegal this morning. He said that only three representatives of the farmer organisations from the Asia Pacific region had been invited for the meet.

Meanwhile, before leaving for Senegal, Mr Mann said that the national governments had reduced their investment and activities in the agricultural and public sectors. 


Octroi staff not to be retrenched: minister
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 18
Chaudhry Jagjit Singh, Local Bodies Minister, Punjab, today announced that no employee of the octroi staff of municipal councils of the state would be retrenched with the abolition of octroi in the state from July 1.

Addressing a meeting of the municipal councillors and prominent citizens of the town in the meeting hall of the local municipal council, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh said the Punjab Government had fulfilled its promise to abolish octroi in the state. The Congress had made the promise in its poll manifesto. The octroi staff would be adjusted in the municipal councils of the sate.

He said in place of the octroi tax the government had been imposing the local area development tax on goods which would enter the Punjab state. He said goods worth Rs 36,000 crore entered Punjab from other states on which the Punjab Government would impose 2 per cent local area development tax and earn Rs 750 crore annually. Out of this income, the municipal councils would be given funds on a weekly basis for development purpose.

Chaudhry Jagjit Singh released a grant of Rs 1.79 crore for development works to the Kapurthala, Phagwara, Sultanpur Lodhi, Begowal, Bholath and Dhilwan municipal councils of this district. He hand over a cheque for Rs 67 lakh to Mr S.K. Aggarwal, president of the local municipal council, for development work. He said a cell to monitor development work had been constituted at the state level.

Rana Gurjit Singh, MLA, said since the formation of the Congress government in the state, the local municipal council had received Rs 1.08 crore for development work. He demanded that Rs 2.50 crore — a share of the municipal council from excise duty — be release to the council.

Mr Balbir Singh, member of the Lok Sabha from Jalandhar, also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the local municipal council.

Chaudhry Jagjit Singh laid the foundation stone of a mortuary room in the local Shalimar garden which being constructed by local Rotary Club. The land has been given by the municipal council.


Seven arrested for mahant’s murder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
The police has arrested seven persons, including a disciple of Mahant Nirman Muni who was murdered on May 5 along with his driver, following which their bodies were put in their Armada vehicle and thrown into a canal at Pabri village, near here.

Addressing press conference, the SSP, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, said a disciple of the mahant was responsible for the murder. He said the disciple, who had hoped to be the Mahant after the death of Nirman Muni, had conspired with some villagers to kill him. He said some villagers wanted the Mahant out of the way because his dera owned 900 acres, most of which had been leased out to them. The lease was ending this year and the mahant had told the villagers that he would not renew it.

The police said the main accused, Pathardass, and Ram Dhari and Shaminder Singh had been arrested on May 15. He said four others Balbir Singh, Pardeep Kumar, Sarwan Singh and Rai Singh Neeta — had been arrested yesterday. He said the Armada which had been thrown into the canal had been recovered and the bodies of the victims, had been sent for a post-mortem examination.

Three arms and some ammunition had also been seized. A pistol had been seized from Pathardass alongwith 20 rounds while a .38 pistol had been seized from Pardeep Kumar. A. 315 bore weapon along with four cartridges had also been seized at the instance of the accused.

The police said two other persons had also been made accused in the case even they had not participated in the crime. Pathardass had given Rs 50,000 to two hired killers, Jagtar Singh and Nirmal Singh, but had gone ahead with the murder himself when the mahant arrived at the dera suddenly. It has also been revealed that Pathardass had earlier told a former convict to harm the mahant.


Schools to get computers
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur May 18
Mr Khushal Bahl, Education Minister, has said that 1910 computers would be provided in schools in Punjab for computer education from Class VI onwards from the current academic session.

He said this after laying the foundation stone of the building of Government Primary School, Matwan, 4 km from here, today.

Mr Bahl said the government would provide funds for the construction and maintenance of school buildings to compete with private schools.

He assured that vacancies of teacher would be filled this year and the schools would provided material for furnishing.

He said with the introduction of sports as a compulsory subject in schools, the standard of games had gone up. Students of schools in Gurdaspur district had received 140 awards at the national level last year as compared to 15 before that.

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