Thursday, August 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Congress vendetta unhealthy: Advani
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Longowal, August 20
Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani today said the Congress in Punjab had set undemocratic precedent by adopting politics of vendetta against its political rivals and such a dangerous trend did not auger well for the people of Punjab and the country. He said parties come and go but adopting a vindictive attitude was unhealthy.

Addressing an impressive gathering in the sprawling stadium of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology here this after noon, he said it was unfortunate that the Congress had chosen to settle scores with the SAD by targeting its leaders and workers instead of working for the welfare of the people.

Paying the tributes to the late Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, he recalled that during the Emergency, when most of the leaders, who opposed the draconian measure, were in prison, they would eagerly await news about the progress of the morcha started by the Sant. It was inspiring for us to know that at least there was someone who was still pitted against injustice. Eventually, the Emergency was removed but the contribution of the Sant was indeed unparalled during that time. Later, too, he stood for what was best for Punjab and was victorious in what he did but tragically his eventful life was cut short, he added.

Squarely blaming the Congress for the damage done to the image of the Sikhs as terrorists and separatists who wanted a separate state. ‘Operation Bluestar’ and the 1984 genocide of Sikhs in Delhi were too recent to be forgotten, he added.

Union Human Resources Minister Murli Manohar Joshi said he was shocked to see the distortions in history books, which showed that Guru Teg Bahadur had not been martyred for pleading the cause of Kashmiri pandits but had been killed as a result of internal intrigues of his household. Similarly, there were many such books which list Sikhs as terrorists and criminals.

Former Chief Minister and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal too, categorically blamed the Congress for the assassination of Sant Longowal and said it was ironical that the party that had got him killed was today celebrating his martyrdom. He traced the history of the party’s betrayal of the Sikhs and said that no Punjabi could ever vote for a party that was responsible for sending the Army to the Golden Temple and the genocide of Sikhs in Delhi.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Balranji Dass Tandon, Mr Baldev Mann, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Gurdev Baddal, Mr Tota Singh, Mr B.S. Bhunder and Mr Avtar Singh Hit of the DSGMC.


Longowal’s kin given govt jobs
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), August 20
Paying tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on his 18th death anniversary at a state-level “shradhanjali samaroh” organised here today, the prominent speakers, including Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, criticised the Akalis, especially Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for rejecting the “Rajiv-Longowal Accord” and observing the Sant’s death anniversary for political gains.

Nearly 100 yards away from the venue of state-level function, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) organised a gathering where some photocopies of the Accord were burnt, claiming that it provided for Punjab’s river waters to other states.

At the state-level function, Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, honoured Bibi Sham Kaur, a sister of Sant Longowal, and presented her pension papers. The Chief Minister also presented appointment letters of government jobs to six family members of the late Sant — Ms Parminder Kaur, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Nirbhey Singh, Ms Jaspreet Kaur, Mr Bikar Singh and Mr Baljit Singh.

Capt Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal had not participated in the death anniversary function of Sant Longowal for eight years but was now observing it for political gains. He also said Mr Badal had remained in power for five years, but had done nothing for the members of Sant’s family.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced Rs 20 lakh for providing more drinking water facility in Longowal village. He also laid foundation stone of “Shaheed Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Marg” to be constructed and strengthened from Longowal to Sherpur at a cost of Rs 1.58 crore.

Earlier, Capt Amarinder Singh along with Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Mr Avtar Henry, Mr Ramesh Dutt Sharma, all Punjab Ministers, and Mr Arvind Khanna, Sangrur MLA, paid floral tributes to the portrait of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Agriculture Minister, Punjab, also lashed out at the Akalis and termed Mr Badal, Mr G.S. Tohra, Mr S.S. Mann and Mr Ravi Inder Singh as “enemies” of Punjab’s peace. Mr Jagjit Singh Dhaula, a Congress leader, presented a memorandum to the Chief Minister regarding demands of Longowal village. The Chief Minister assured that these demands would be fulfilled in two years.


Light and sound show on  Ranjit Singh
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
After waiting for years to secure a place for Punjabi valour in the Parliament House of the country, the Punjabi community across India as also the world will now watch a special ceremony dedicated to the memory of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. For the first time in the history, the icon of Punjabi might, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, will find his rightful place in the Parliament House, when the Prime Minister of India Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee will unveil the 22-foot high statue of the Maharaja tomorrow. The statue, created by eminent sculptor Ram Sutar, was installed in the Parliament House some time back.

If that was not a gesture enough, all Parliamentarians, including the PM, the Lok Sabha Speaker and other dignitaries will witness a special multi-media sight and sound presentation on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, following the unveiling ceremony of the statue. To be presented by none other than the Chandigarh-based film maker and theatre person Harbux Latta, the light and sound show, titled, “Sher-e-Punjab”, will create history by becoming the first-ever Punjabi theatrical production to be presented in the newly- constructed Balayogi auditorium of the Parliament House in New Delhi tomorrow.

Talking to The Tribune from Delhi, Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Secretary-General, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bicentennial National Celebration Committee, said: “For years we had been nurturing the urge to see the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh adorn the premises of the Parliament House. The last sovereign ruler of the country, Maharaja Ranjit Singh is the true embodiment of Punjabiyat. He not only ended invasions from the north-west but also established an equitable kingdom in the Punjab. It was about three years ago that we approached the late former Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Mr M. Balayogi, with the request of allowing us to install a statue of the Maharaja. Before he died he conceded our request, following which we got a 22-foot high equestrian statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, prepared by Ram Sutar, who is also the creator of Maharaja’s sculpture installed at Rambagh, Amritsar. Another matter of pride is that Harbux Latta’s light and sound multi-media production on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be presented in the Parliament House for the first time tomorrow.”

Having conceived, produced and directed the show reflecting the might of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Latta feels it is a great honour to be awarded an opportunity to highlight the glory of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s raj.

The hallmark of Latta’s show is his novel idea of incorporating the 18-foot video screen with drama and light and sound to make a historical impact. He will also use 8000 watts of digital sound and digital video projection to do justice to the concept of the show. In the lead roles in tomorrow’s production will be Arjun Singh as Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Bhopal Singh as Fakir Azizuddin, Rajinder Rosy as Sada Kaur mother-in-law of Ranjit Singh and Narinder Neena as Maha Singh, father of Ranjit Singh.


Nation finally salutes Master Tara Singh
Tarlochan Singh

At last the nation is paying its tribute to the memory of one of the great freedom fighters, Master Tara Singh by adorning his portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament at the hands of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on August 21.

Master Tara Singh was the leader of the Akali Dal and sole spokesman of the Sikhs. He had such an authority that his one word could seal the fate of millions of Hindus and Sikhs.

No history book contains any reference to the role of Master Tara Singh, how he got half of the Punjab (now Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh) integrated into India. He was born in a Hindu family in Haryal village, near Rawalpindi, on June 24, 1885.

Nanak Chand, as he was then known got converted to Sikhism at the age of 14 and was baptised by amrit and given the name of Tara Singh.

It is said that after Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) no Sikh had such vast influence in the community as Master Tara Singh.

Every Sikh leader of modern times was in fact his creation. At one time Partap Singh Kairon was his secretary, while India’s first Defence Minister Sardar Baldev Singh was his nominee. Sardar Swaran Singh was made a Minister and leader of the Akali Assembly Party in Lahore by him. Sardar Hukam Singh, who rose to be the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, owned his entry into Parliament to Masterji.

Sardar Buta Singh was picked up by him and made member of Parliament in 1962.

The demand for partition of the Punjab was first mooted by Master Tara Singh, when Strafford Cripps announced his Draft Declaration in 1942. In a memorandum to the Cripps Mission he demanded: “The Sikhs cannot attain their rightful position or can effectively protect their interest unless the Punjab is redistributed into two provinces with River Ravi as boundary between them.

If you can separate provinces from India for the domination of Muslims, how can you refuse to separate a big area for protection of Sikhs from the rule of a single community?”

To counteract the Muslim League demand for a sovereign Muslim State the Akali Dal put forward the demand for a Sikh State. The main aim of the demand was to insist upon Partition of the Punjab. Later, they put forward the Azad Punjab scheme.

The Punjab had a coalition government headed by Khizr Hayat Khan with the Congress and Akali Dal as partners. In March, 1947, the Muslim League succeeded in getting the resignation of Khizr Hayat Khan in order to instal its own government. It was due to his tough stand that the Muslim League ministry could not be installed in the Punjab.

Master Tara Singh took a great risk but there are political thinkers who concede that his action changed the course of free India’s history.

The Muslims took to communal riots in Lahore and western parts of the Punjab. Thousands of Sikhs and Hindus were murdered and their homes razed. In vengeance they destroyed Master Tara Singh’s ancestral home and killed 59 of his relatives. All the Hindu leaders, including Bhim Sen Sachar, Gopi Chand Bhargava, Mahasha Krishan and Mahasha Khushal Chand, formed an anti-Pakistan Front, with Master Tara Singh as its sole dictator.

The British tried to influence the Sikh leaders to side with the Muslim League. Jinnah went all out to win over the Sikhs and offered them an autonomous state within Pakistan. Master Tara Singh spurned all offers and announced his decision to stay with India.

The demand of partition of Bengal, which was also a Muslim majority province, was mooted by the Hindu leaders at the behest of Master Tara Singh.

The Bengal leaders, Mr N.C. Chatterjee and Mr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, acknowledged the support of Masterji after their successful campaign in getting half of Bengal integrated into India. For posterity, it may be added that N.C. Chatterjee being the leading most advocate of the country represented Masterji whenever he was prosecuted by the Government of India.

This valiant fighter for freedom remained active and went to jail many a times in free India, demanding redemarcation of Punjab on linguistic basis. He breathed his last on November 22, 1967.

The writer is Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities


Prof detained for planning anti-DSP conference
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
The police today dragged a Punjabi University Professor and six others, including a 16-year-old boy, to the CIA Interrogation Centre for gathering at a shop near the railway station to hold a press conference to expose the “misdeeds” of the local DSP.

According to Prof H.S. Pannu, three Gypsies came to the shop when they were preparing to hold a press conference. Four persons who had earlier complained against the DSP were also present. He said the police asked them to sit down in the vehicles and when they refused, they were dragged to the vehicles. One of them sustained injuries when hit by a lathi. He said papers that were to be released on the occasion had been seized by the police.

He said they were taken to the CIA centre where they were pressured to enter into a compromise with the DSP if they wanted to save themselves from future ‘’trouble”. He said they were let off after teachers from Punjabi University, including representatives of the Sikh Intelligentsia Forum (SIF) and the Liberal Teachers Council (LTC), reached the centre.

He said former Punjabi University Dean, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, had appealed to the Patiala Range Deputy Inspector-General of Police and SSP following which they were let off.

He said they would approach the Punjab Human Rights Commission and the Chief Minister for protection.

The SSP, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, when contacted, said the teacher and others had been picked up following a report that some persons wanted to disrupt a public rally that was addressed by the Chief Minister in the city this afternoon. He said the state CID had reported that some employees of the state board might try to disrupt the rally. He said the Professor and the others might not have established their credentials properly due to which they could have been taken to the CIA centre.

He denied the allegations that they had been picked up to prevent them from holding a press conference against the DSP. He said the DSP and the complainants were embroiled in cases and the police had nothing to do with personal cases.


Who are Sikh gurdwara judicial panel members?
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Six days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court held that the issuance of a notification by the Punjab Government on July 5 last year was to cause “interference in the administration of justice”, confusion prevails as to who constitute the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

This piquant situation has arisen probably because of the reluctance of one of the parties to accept the SGPC counsel’s intimation of the court’s verdict which, under the Supreme Court’s directive, is to be normally honoured. Intriguingly, the parties concerned were represented by their respective counsel when the orders were pronounced on August 14.

Though the High Court has upheld the 1999 notification about the nomination of the panel headed by Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, the other panel headed by Mr Kashmir Singh Patti, refuses to vacate office on the plea that a certified copy of the verdict has not been served on him so far.

Both panels claim to be carrying out the work of the commission.

Interestingly, Mr Kashmir Singh Patti has already filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the August 14 order.

While on the one hand he has been maintaining that he will not vacate the office till he is served a certified copy of the High Court order, on the other he has moved the Supreme Court on the basis of the order about which he is officially claiming ignorance.

Under the apex court directive, a certified version of the court verdict given by counsel is to be honoured.

In the present case also, SGPC counsel H.S. Sidhu had reportedly faxed the order to the Deputy Commissioner as well as the Senior Superintendent of Police of Amritsar, besides sending its copies to the SGJC and the SGPC.

Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh also declared at Ludhiana that the state government would move the apex court against the High Court order. Sources reveal that the state government is yet to file an SLP in the apex court. Normally, an SLP can be filed only after a certified copy of an order is made available.


Keep subordinates on a leash, DGP to
police officers
Poonam Bhatth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Taking a serious view of the death of a Sub-Inspector (SI) under suspicious circumstances in Patiala last week, the Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP), Mr A.A Siddiqui, has issued instructions to all senior supervisory officers to exercise proper control over their subordinates.

Sub-Inspector Gurdeep Singh was found strangled to death at his residence in Urban Estate, Patiala, and his body was recovered three or four days after the incident, when the residents of a nearby LIG flat complained of a foul smell emanating from the victim’s house.

He had gone to conduct investigations in a case registered under Section 420, IPC, but never reported back. A report was subsequently sought from the SSP, Patiala.

The DGP observed that though most supervisory officers had mobiles and wireless handsets, they did not keep in touch with investigating officers (IOs). In this particular case, no missing or absence report was lodged even as the deceased remained absent for six days. “Investigating officers cannot remain absent from their places of duty indefinitely on the pretext of investigations,’’ he added.

He has directed all police officials going out on official work to make entries in the daily diary reports ( DDRs) of the police post or police station concerned and seek approval of their supervisory officers.

The daily roster should indicate the personnel on leave, those on outstation duty, absent etc. In fact, information about the absence of a police official should be reported to the next supervisory officer.


Fair selections aim of PPSC, says Sangra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
A five-member committee comprising the Chairmen of various state public service commissions has been constituted to draft the model rules of procedures for commissions. The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman, Lieut-Gen Surjeet Singh Sangra (retd), said here yesterday.

Mr Sangra, who took over as the PPSC Chairman in June last year, said his focus was ensuring fair selections and giving meritorious people their rightful due.

Asserting that “sifarish” and corruption would not be allowed at any cost in selection to various posts, he said the selection process for filling over 450 vacant posts of PCS officer, lecturer, veterinary doctors and other categories would be completed by December.

Mr Sangra said the posts which were taken away from the purview of the PPSC would be restored. He had already talked to the Chief Minister in this regard, Mr Sangra added.

The commission would introduce group discussions for selection of candidates for various posts. Modalities were being worked out for a new syllabus for the Punjab Civil Services (PCS) examinations.

The PPSC had decided to undertake “bifurcation of the written test and interview”, adding that experts from various vocations would now be a part of the interview panel, besides the regular members. It would also keep a record of those checking the answersheets of candidates.

Mr Sangra said the PPSC would for the first time conduct a general awareness test for the candidates nominated by the state government for appointment as PCS (Executive) officers. The services of the National Productivity Council would be hired to study the working of the commission with regard to the utilisation of manpower and money, besides its operational efficiency.

Refuting the allegations that there were differences over certain issues with certain members of the PPSC, Mr Sangra said most of the decisions were taken unanimously. However, members had every right to record their dissent.


CM launches health scheme for villages
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today launched the Rajiv Gandhi Pendu Jan Sehat Yojna under which 10 lakh latrines will be constructed in the state over the next three and a half years even as he said another scheme, “Ashirwad” would be introduced soon.

The Chief Minister, accompanied by a number of Cabinet colleagues, addressed a public rally at the Yadvindra Public School grounds here that was attended by a large number of people from the district and nearby areas.

The Chief Minister said casteism and pressure on land was resulting in discrimination against Dalits.

He said two lakh households would be covered during the first year of the scheme. Villages that had panchayats elected unanimously, those having women sarpanches and villages of martyrs would be given priority. He said each household would be provided with a latrine facility at a rough cost of Rs 5,500. Those living in “jhuggis” would be provided a common facility. The scheme would be implemented at a cost of Rs 500 crore and Rs 152 crore had been allocated in this year’s Budget for the purpose.

The Chief Minister said the government would also launch another scheme “Ashirwad” soon on the lines of the Kanya Jagriti scheme under which a certain amount of money would be deposited in the account of the girl child which she could withdraw on becoming an adult.

Later talking to newspersons, he said Union Minister Vinod Khanna’s insistence on inaugurating a bridge at Naushera-Pattan on the Beas today was a clear case of impinging on the rights of the state by the Central Government. He said no Central assistance had been given to the project and there was no reason why Mr Khanna should inaugurate it.

Speaking about SAD President Parkash Singh Badal, the Chief Minister said Mr Badal had no right to bask in the glory of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal as he had boycotted the accord signed by Longowal with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The rally was also addressed by Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal who tried to dispell reports that there was dissension in the party.

Finance Minister Lal Singh, Public Health Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa and Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh also spoke.


Heritage panel for Amritsar mooted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
Thousands of heritage buildings facing neglect may get a facelift if a proposal mooted at the state-level to constitute a heritage committee for the holy city gets through.

A high-level meeting focused on the rich cultural heritage of the holy city and its neglect largely due to “ineffective” government control. The meeting was held in Chandigarh and was presided over by the Chief Secretary. The Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr A.K. Dubey, Mr Gurmeet S. Rai of INTACH, and the Additional Commissioner of the municipal corporation here, Mr Kirpal Singh, also attended the meeting.

The Principal Secretary mooted a heritage committee on the pattern of the guidelines drawn by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation regarding the preservation of its heritage sites. It is for the first time that a heritage committee has been proposed for any city in the state on the outline of a metropolitan city. Only the Patiala corporation has a heritage committee, but that is on a different pattern.

The proposal favours that members of the committee should include an architect, an artist and three councillors. The committee would identify, define, conserve and preserve sites of historical importance. 


Doctors for decision on allowance by August 25
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 20
The state unit of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has urged Punjab Health and family Welfare Minister R.C. Dogra to ensure a final decision on the non-practising allowance (NPA) by the high-powered committee constituted for the review of the withdrawal by the government by August 25.

It was decided on August 12 at a meeting between government representatives, including Mr R.C. Dogra, and representatives of the PCMSA, including Dr Hardeep Singh, state president of the PCMSA, that the government would announce its decision by August 25 on the NPA issue.

Dr Surinder Singla, state general secretary of the PCMSA, said the association had suspended its agitation on August 12 after a firm commitment by Mr Dogra that the final decision by the committee on the NPA issue would be made before that date.


Protest saves old building
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 20
Local residents held a protest here today to save an old building from demolition. Made of small bricks and lime, the building was constructed by Maharaja Karam Singh of Phulkian state on the bank of the Rajindra Lake.

The protest was led by the Culture and Heritage Conservation Initiative. Its Convener, Mr M.S Randhawa, claimed that the building which was in perfect shape was being demolished by wrongly declaring to be unsafe. He said this was being done to establish a car parking facility adjoining the newly constructed District Courts Complex.

Dr Randhawa has urged the state government to intervene and save the building. He added that many historic monuments were being demolished to provide land to PUDA for the construction of a modern commercial complexes.

He said recently Kaur ji ki Haveli was demolished in the city by declaring it to be an unsafe building. He said after its demolition, a commercial centre was established at the spot which was still to find buyers.

The association has decided to appeal to the Punjab and Haryana High Court to give direction to the state government to identify and declare various historic buildings as safe to save them from demolition. He said the heritage of the state could be saved only this way.



Probe into non-payment of salary to handicapped
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 20
The Deputy Commissioner here, Mr Hussan Lal, has ordered a probe into the alleged non-payment of salary for the past several months to a handicapped, Dalit safai karamchari, Dogar Singh, of the local nagar council. He has deputed Mr Ajmer Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development), to hold an inquiry into the matter and file a report within a week.

Dogar Singh, a resident of Pakhikalan village, attributes his plight to the "indifferent" attitude of Mr Gurcharan Singh, President of the council. He has also blamed Mr Gurtej Singh Gill, a senior member and a former president of the council, in this regard.

Mr Gurcharan Singh refuted all charges against himself saying Dogar Singh, at the behest of other Congress councillors, had levelled false allegations against him only to tarnish his image. Mr Gill has also demanded a thorough inquiry by a senior officer to establish the truth.


Ministerial staff to wear black badges
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Mr Gurjant Singh Grewal, president, Punjab State Ministerial Services Union, Bathinda district unit, yesterday said that members of the union would wear black badges from August 24 to August 31 to press the authorities concerned to accept their long-pending demands and implement those which had already been accepted by the state government.

In a press note issued here yesterday, he said if the state government failed to take action on the demands of the union, the district-level rallies would be held on September 11 at every district headquarters and after that a zonal rally would be held at Jalandhar on September 18 and at Patiala on September 24.

A state-level rally would be held at Chandigarh on October 16. The members of the union would take mass leave on October 22.

He said there were 12 demands of the union which had been pending with the state government for long.


Youth killed as gun goes off

Moga, August 20
A 22-year-old man was killed as a bullet went off “accidentally” from a .12 bore gun of a local man, the police said today.

A large number of locals had come out of their houses with weapons last night when a rumour spread that some members of the kale kachhewale gang had taken shelter in a school. The alarm proved to be false and the locals were returning home when a bullet went off from the gun of one of them and injured Mandeep Singh.

Mandeep was taken to civil hospital, where doctors declared him brought dead. A case has been registered. — PTI


Farmers plan statewide stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Six farmers’ organisations of Punjab have decided to launch a statewide agitation against the “anti-farmer” policies of the state government. Mass conferences are scheduled to be held at Patiala, Ferozepore and Bathinda later this month to mobilise farmers.

According to a statement issued here today, the six organisations are the Bharti Kisan Union, the All-India Kirti Kisan Sabha, the Punjab Kisan Sabha, the Jamhoori Kisan Sabha, the Khetibari Kisan Vikas Front and the Kirti Kisan Union.

The statement alleged that the government had backed out from the promises made in the election manifesto. It has also not kept the promises made to the farmers in March this year.

The statement said the government was withdrawing subsidy on electricity, fertilisers and pesticides, besides freezing the minimum support prices for paddy and wheat. The government had neither withdrawn the sales tax on insecticides nor lowered the rate of interest on loans.


Rice millers evading market fee
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 20
Rice millers of the district are making money by purchasing ‘sathhi’ paddy from grain markets of the adjoining Haryana. ‘Sathhi’ paddy ripens within 60 days of its cultivation.

The rice millers purchase the paddy from Haryana markets in gunny bags bearing markings of Punjab procurement agencies. Later, these gunny bags are emptied and the paddy is dumped in tractor-trolleys which pass through the Chullar border and reach the premises of the rice millers directly, evading market fee and rural development fund of the state.

This paddy is not purchased by the government agencies of the state. The millers mix the rice obtained from this paddy with rice of the state paddy and deliver it to the Food Corporation of India. The millers are thus evading the market fee and making money by supplying such rice to government agencies. ‘Sathhi’ paddy is purchased by the rice millers at a lower price than the paddy purchased by the state agencies.


2 held for making contaminated distilled water

Muktsar, August 20
The Malout police, led by DSP Gurmit Singh, today raided the houses of two persons in Krishna Colony in the district and found contaminated and spurious distilled water being manufactured and supplied under different labels and brands.

The police team was accompanied by senior Health Department officials of Muktsar Civil Hospital.

Both the accused, Aman and Vijay, were arrested and later produced in court, which remanded them in judicial custody till September 3.

Stating this here, SSP Surinder Pal Singh said the police had received a tip-off that the duo was engaged in the supply of spurious and contaminated soda water under various brands and earning a huge amount of money fraudulently.

From Aman's house, according to the SSP, the police seized 261 bottles of different brands besides 70 empty bottles and a manufacturing machine. Similarly, from the house of Vijay Kumar, it seized 142 bottles of different brands, 38 empty bottles and soda water manufacturing machines.

The police took into possession all the material and the Health Department took samples for laboratory tests.

A case has been registered against the accused. — UNI


209 kg poppy husk, 1 kg opium seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20
Under the campaign launched against anti-social elements, the district police has arrested 16 persons for allegedly smuggling narcotics, including poppy husk and opium.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said from these accused, 209 kg of poppy husk, more than 1 kg of opium and two scooters had been seized.

He said under the Excise Act, 26 persons had been arrested and 25 criminal cases registered against them in the past one week. Two working stills, about 700 kg of “lahan” and 101 bottles of illegal liquor were seized from them.

Under the Arms Act, seven persons had been arrested in seven different cases. Six pistols, one gun and 17 cartridges were seized from them. Under the Gambling Act, 26 persons had been arrested after registering 18 cases against them.


2 youths flee from police custody

Jalandhar, August 20
Two youths, arrested by the police in a case four days ago, fled from police custody while being brought back to the Goraya police station after attending a court hearing in Nakodar on Tuesday.

While one of them was nabbed from a nearby village on Monday night, the search for the other is on, a police spokesman said .

Makhan Singh and Sandeep Singh were nabbed by the police on August 16 for indecent behaviour and were being escorted to the police lock-up when they succeeded in giving a slip to the police escort party. — UNI 


Talwandi Sabo centre to have engineering college
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 20
Months after establishing an engineering college on its campus here, Punjabi University has decided to start another engineering college at Guru Kashi Regional Centre in Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.

A press note said the proposal for the new engineering college had been approved at a meeting of senior university officials today which was presided over by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai. The college would be named after Maharaja Yadavindra Singh.

Mr Boparai said a specific number of seats would be reserved for the people belonging to the Talwandi Sabo area. 


Boy hostelers being favoured, say girls
Monica Ahluwalia

Patiala, August 20
Girl hostelers of Punjabi University have alleged that the management is biased towards them as facilities given to them are inadequate as compared to those provided in boys hostels.

Rupinder Kaur, (name changed), of hostel no. 2, said the girls were being subjected to a “stepmotherly” treatment by the university authorities. She alleged that the food being provided to them was inferior in quality as compared to the food served in the boys hostel.

Boys hostel have a co-operative mess system whereas in girls hostel the mess was being run on contract leading to inferior quality of food.

The girls also alleged that even the entry timings of the hostel were not flexible. Nearly all universities of the state, including Panjab University, Chandigarh had entry time till 9.30 pm. “We feel that we are in a prison after 7.30 pm and moreover there are no recreational or sport facilities in the hostel’’, said another hosteler In winters, entry timings were further restricted to 6.30 p.m.

The authorities had paid no attention to their demand for a cyber cafe and a gym facility despite repeated requests.

There is a single computer for four hostels and that, too, is without the Internet facility. Most of the girls do not get a chance to use it, they complained.

Unlike in the boys hostel they were not allowed to charge their cell phone batteries and iron their clothes in their rooms. While many boys have even kept coolers and other electronic gadgets in their rooms.

When contacted, the Dean, Students Welfare, Dr S.S Khehra, said no such requests had been received by the authorities till date.

This year a referendum was conducted on the mess system in the girls hostel and most of the girls favoured contract system in all the four hostels. He said if they wanted to use Internet they could go to Gole Market where there were a number of cyber cafes on the campus.



Varsity to fill vacant seats till August 29
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to fill vacant seats in various courses till August 29 with a late fee of Rs 1,000 with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

As per a notification issued by the Dean, Academic Affairs, the vacant NRI seats will also be filled till the same date with a late fee of Rs 1,000.

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