P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Money exchanged hands in police transfers: Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 16
The political affairs committee (PAC) of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has accused the Punjab Congress of accumulating large sums of money for giving prized postings to police officers. Demanding a probe into the recent transfers, the PAC that met here today said the money had been collected for use in the elections being held in five state assemblies.

Talking to newsmen shortly after the meetings, party president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said “several crores of rupees had been collected as election fund and prized postings had been distributed in return”. Mr Badal said that PAC had decided to raise an issue before the people so that the matter comes out in the open. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the transfers.

Mr Badal said that PAC had also taken strong exception to the statements of two senior police officers, DIG (IRB-Patiala) Mr G.S. Grewal and Mr Harinder Pal Singh Bains SP (D) Nawanshahr, under Section 164 of the CrPC before a Kharar court. The credibility of the statements by the two officers was suspect, as in ordinary circumstances it should have been an Investigating Officer (IO), who should have recorded statements rather than they be taken to a court.

PAC has questioned the two officers for remaining quiet for so long and at the same time decided to approach the Union Home Ministry to get the antecedents of the two officers verified through a probe. “We will approach the Home Ministry for a probe and demand the sacking of the two officers from service”. People with such credentials were detrimental to the force and must be sacked, he added.

PAC further demanded a CBI probe into the allegations of corruption against PWD Minister, Partap Singh Bajwa. Mr Badal said that the minister had been accused of acquiring 213 acres in Ropar district and the matter should be handed over for investigation to the CBI. He said that if the government did not take any action in this regard, the party would approach the high court for inquiry.

Announcing that party leaders had been assigned duties for the forthcoming state elections, Mr Badal said that party general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa will be in charge of Delhi polls, while Mr Gurdev Singh Badal will be the party in charge in Rajasthan.

Mr Badal was empowered by PAC to take any decision with regard to the forthcoming elections of the SGPC. Mr Badal has summoned a meeting on November 19 where the matter would be further discussed.


SAD workers told to gear up for ‘jail bharo’
Tribune News Service

Amargarh (Sangrur), November 16
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary general of the SAD and Union Cabinet Minister and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Punjab Finance Minister, yesterday called upon the activists of the SAD to be ready for participating in a mass struggle and jail-bharo andolan in a big way if Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, is arrested by the Congress government.

This call was given at a function organised in connection with honouring Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at the local Grain Market yesterday by Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA from Dhuri and Mr Iqbal Singh Chundan, a senior Akali leader from Amargarh, jointly. The function was presided over by Mr Parkash Singh Badal

Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra was honoured by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa along with other leaders of the party by presenting him a shawl, a Sri Sahib (sword) and a picture of Harmandir Sahib for his services to the Sikh panth during the past about three decades as president of the SGPC and a Sikh leader.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said the Amarinder government was registering “false” cases against the SAD MLAs and former ministers to tarnish the SAD image. He said there was no rule of law in Punjab now as there were separate rules for the Akalis and the Congress workers. He said Mr Amarinder Singh was trying to put the Akalis behind bars to rule for a longer period, but his own party had decided to remove him from the post of Chief Ministership as it felt that if Mr Amarinder Singh remained in power it would lose all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the ensuing elections.

Jathedar Tohra said Capt Amarinder Singh was aiming at only to weaken the SAD and to take control of the SGPC.

Mr Dhindsa exhorted the Akali workers and leaders to strengthen the SAD by forgetting all differences.

LUDHIANA: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers would court arrest if former Chief Minister and Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. This was decided here on Saturday at a party meeting headed by state BJP President Avinash Rai Khanna.

Mr Khanna later said the BJP in the state was fully committed to stand by their Akali brothers and were ready for any sacrifice. Mr Khanna said the BJP and Akali workers will retaliate in unison in case Mr Badal was detained.


Intelligence officials shadowing me: Matharu
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, who has caused a flutter in the ruling Congress party in Punjab by targeting two senior ministers, said yesterday that intelligence agencies had been constantly shadowing him for the past few days.

“Whereever I go, unknown persons in plain clothes follow me”, Mr Matharu told The Tribune here. “A number of officials of intelligence agencies today personally contacted me at Kurali and asked about the documents pertaining to the two ministers”, he added. When asked what specifically they were seeking from him, Mr Matharu said they wanted to know how I gathered information regarding the properties of two senior ministers and from where I got the documents”.

Mr Matharu said that he told intelligence officials that he had already handed over photo copies of press statements having enough details regarding the two ministers to media persons during press conferences. “Yesterday, four officials of intelligence agencies came to me separately and today the number of such officials was more”, he added. “I have nothing to hide and have revealed all the information to media persons regarding ministers and their relations”, he added.

Mr Matharu said that he had been associated with the Shiormani Akali Dal (SAD) headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal for the past seven years and held a post of propaganda secretary of the party for Ropar district before Mr Badal’s unity with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Mr Matharu, who runs a school at Kurali, said what he stated against the two ministers at the two press conferences held on September 17 and November 11, respectively, was in the knowledge of the top leaders of SAD. “I had given all information to top leaders of SAD before convening press conferences”, he added.

Mr Matharu said that he had been fighting against the ruling Congress party in Punjab for the past two years.

“In April last year, I filed a case in the court of the District and Sessions Judge at Chandigarh against the ruling Congress MLAs from Punjab for not declaring their assets. They had promised to declare the assets in their election manifesto”, he added. This case is still pending.

Then another case was filed a few months ago when the ruling-Congress party had prepared a proposal to appoint two additional members of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) violating the law. He said that before the beginning of the necessary legal process in that case, the Punjab Government appointed two members of the PPSC. This case was also filed in the same court, where earlier case has been going on, he added.

Then another case was filed early this year against Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the All-India Congress Committee. He said that the Mrs Gandhi had promised to give employment to each eligible woman in Himachal Pradesh during the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. However, that promise was not fulfilled. Hence the case. He said that he had also been receiving some anonymous phone calls.


Allegations on ‘benami’ assets baseless, says Bajwa
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 16
The Punjab PWD (B&R) Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, yesterday said that opposition parties were trying to tarnish his image by levelling baseless allegations regarding “benami” assets to counter the anti-corruption campaign launched by the state government.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Bajwa alleged that he was being targeted by certain people, supported by political parties, when Assembly elections were due in some states. This was being done to gain political mileage, which was highly deplorable, he added.

Mr Bajwa was here to attend the 15th delegate convention of the Diploma Engineers Association of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). He said he had discussed the issue of “benami” properties with Capt Amarinder Singh and efforts were on to ascertain the political forces, who had alleged that the minister had amassed assets worth crores of rupees in different parts of the state during his recent tenure as a public servant in the Congress regime.

When asked whether there might be the involvement of some Congressmen in the whole controversy, he ruled out the same and said he was not in the race for chief ministership at all.

Mr Bajwa said that after coming to power, the Congress government had adopted better management policies to reduce the loss of the PSEB by Rs 1000 crore.

“The government is committed to provide eight hours of uninterrupted power supply to agriculture sector even as it is necessary to tax the power consumed, though, at subsidised rates,” he said, adding that the demands of the PSEB employees would be discussed with the Chief Minister and assured to get these accepted soon. Mr Raman Bhalla, Administrative member of the PSEB, also spoke.


Move afoot for NRI Lambardars

Jalandhar, November 16
The NRI Sabha, Punjab, has hailed the decision of the Punjab Government to appoint NRI lambardars in villages where 20 or more families have migrated to foreign countries.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, said the NRIs were getting allienated for increasing incidences of cheating and encroachments on properties by the land mafia with the help of forged documents and muscle power.

He said the proposed appointment of NRI lambardars would restore the confidence of NRIs as they would keep a close watch on the properties of NRIs. — TNS


Pak play ‘Bullah’ kicks up controversy
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 16
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, the great Sikh warrior who, on a divine command of the Guru, shook the foundations of the Mughal rule and took revenge of the martyrdom of the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh in the early 17the century, was re-christened as Joginder Singh Jogi by a 27-member Pakistani troupe which had crossed the Radcliff Line. The play ‘Bullah’ is on the life and times of Baba Bulleh Shah, which was staged in Amritsar yesterday.

Reason: Madeeha Gauhar, play director, was told to censor the play before it was staged in Amritsar lest it earned the wrath of Sikhs living in Punjab. Talking to TNS, Gauhar admitted that the character portrayed in the play as Joginder Singh Jogi had indeed been shown as Banda Bairagi, who resorted to ‘revenge killings’ after the massacre of innocent Sikhs, during a performance of the play in Pakistan.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee is likely to join issue with Gauhar. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, a former general secretary of the SGPC, who saw the play, said the director of the play tried to portray Sikh psyche after the massacre of Sikhs at a particular point of time in history but the Panth would not accept Jogi being shown as Baba Banda Singh Bahadur. In the play, Jogi was shown as “enemy number one” of Islam. The rulers of that time punished Baba Bulleh Shah for showing a ‘soft corner’ towards the Sikhs who resorted to ‘revengeful killings’. Bibi Kiranjot Kaur said the SGPC would not allow Gauhar to portray Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as a tyrant.

The play is written by Shahid Nadeem, husband of Madeeha Gauhar. Tipu Sultan played the role of Joginder Singh Jogi, who, it is shown, went berserk after the massacre of innocent Sikhs and wiped out a large Muslim population in those days. Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was a contemporary of Baba Bulleh Shah (1680-1758), who lived in the times of the downfall of the Mughal empire, characterised by internecine conflicts, rebellions and civil and religious strife.

Baba Bulleh Shah was a beacon of hope and humanism who fought against all types of tyrannies being committed in those times. Gauhar said Baba Bulleh Shah condemned the misuse of religion by clerics and opportunists. He attracted ‘fatwas’ of ‘kafir’ on several occasions and when he died, the Mullahs of Kasur refused to allow him to be buried in the city graveyard. Bulleh Shah was buried outside the city. With the passage of time, the city of Kasur has spread and the grave of Baba Bulleh Shah is now in the centre of the city.


Bhattal to campaign in Delhi, Rajasthan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 16
Punjab Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been chosen by the Congress high command to assist in the first round of the Congress campaign in Delhi and Rajasthan.

A press note issued on her behalf here yesterday said Ms Bhattal would campaign in Delhi and Rajasthan from November 18 to 22.


Khalsa awards given to Sikh jatha members in Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 16
After exchanging siropas with office-bearers of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), the jatha leaders of the SGPC and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) accepted the “Khalsa awards” from the UK-based Dal Khalsa leader, Mr Manmohan Singh, who is also the chief of the World Sikh Muslim Federation (WSMF) in Lahore’s five-star Holiday Inn.

Mr Gurbax Singh Purain, an SGPC member and close confidant of Mr Gurcharn Singh Tohra, accepted the award on behalf of Dr Balkar Singh, the leader of the SGPC jatha since the latter reached the venue late. Dr Balkar Singh said he had received the award as it was presented for promoting Muslim-Sikh fraternity.

During an Iftar party arranged by the WSMF, “hot” speeches were delivered in the presence of the leaders representing the SGPC, the DSGMC, the American Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (ASGPC) etc. However, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna said the speech delivered by Mr Manmohan Singh was not liked by the DSGMC as it was not in “good taste”.

Similarly, an Iftar party was hosted by Mr Pritpal Singh, president of the ASGPC.

However, Dr Balkar Singh told TNS that presenting of siropa to office-bearers of the PSGPC should not be construed as giving recognition to the Pakistan’s Gurdwara committee. He said the stand of the SGPC was clear that the PSGPC had to be headed by baptised Sikhs.

Both Dr Balkar Singh and Mr Sarna said that Prime Minister of Pakistan Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and Punjab Chief Minister Mr Parvez Ilahi had accepted many demands of the Sikhs, including constructing of two-lane road from Wagah to Nankana Sahib and handing over the kar seva of the Gurdwara Janamasthan Guru Ram Dass to the DSGMC.

Dr Balkar Singh said the Chief Minister agreed in principal to remove the encroachments outside the historic Gurdwara Bhai Mani Singh. Significantly, the government of Pakistan had also agreed in principle to observe the 400th martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev in Lahore, which falls in the year 2006 in a big way.

Mr Sarna said the Chief Minister of Punjab had accepted the demand of the SGPC/DSGMC to hand over the entire land of cricket stadium, adjoining the Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore to mark the martyrdom centenary of the fifth Guru. Mr Sarna said that Mr Jamali accepted the invitation of the DSGMC to visit Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in New Delhi during his proposed visit to India.


SGPC not averse to apex body for Sikhs, says Tohra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
The SGPC is not averse to the proposal of forming an apex body for Sikhs provided it is not hijacked by so-called intellectuals, said the SGPC President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

The idea to constitute the apex body for Sikhs was floated at a two-day seminar on “Guru Granth- Guru Panth” organised by the Institute of Sikh Studies at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Kanthala, here.

The apex body should strengthen the institution of Akal Takht and advice the SGPC on religious, economic, educational and technical matters, said Mr Tohra. He assured the scholars that the SGPC, referred to as Parliament of the Sikhs, would help form the world Sikh body. But the proposed body should not die its own death as had been the case of the World Sikh Council.

Reacting to remarks made by speakers during the seminar on the authority of the Akal Takht Jathedar, he said the SGPC was contemplating to frame certain statutory provisions on appointing the Jathedar. He clarified that the Jathedar was not being paid any salary.

“Do not try to destabilise the institution of the SGPC. Elect the right people to the Parliament of Sikhs and come out with suggestions,” he said.

Mr Tohra was critical of those who only indulged in discussions and nothing was being done to restore the maryada of the Guru Panth. Those who criticised the SGPC should come forward with suggestions to run the constitutional body of the Sikhs, said the SGPC President adding that clergy was still indulging in promoting itself and propagating their caste and groups. “Our leaders are not performing the role of Guru Panth assigned to us by the 10th Sikh Guru,” he said.

He said the Centre was opposed to the framing of an All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act.

Mr Gurdev Singh, President of the institute, said during the two-day seminar, the speakers expressed concern that the Panth was passing through a crisis. A resolution was passed to have a central body to assist the entire Sikh community.

Dr Kharak Singh, member of the Dharam Parchar Committee of the SGPC, Dr Anoop Singh, a former VC of Punjab Technical University and Mr Sarabjit Singh of Punjab Agricultural University were among the prominent personalities who spoke on the opening day of the seminar.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Tohra, said he had not considered himself for the post of the President of the body, elections of which were scheduled for November 20. In the same breath, he said if the majority though opinion was in his favour, he would see.


Sikh scholars for sovereign state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 16
Sikh scholars while addressing a seminar on “Khalistan-Past, Present and Future” yesterday said that the “Panth needed to produce such leaders who understood the Khalsa Raj and were committed to struggle for establishing a sovereign state.”

The speakers said that without maintaining the supremacy of the Khalsa Panth, the Sikhs could not just go on like this. The seminar was organised by one group of Sikh intellectuals, led by a former MP, Mr Atinder Pal Singh, at the Baba Makhan Shah Lobana auditorium here.

Most of the speakers said the present Sikh society should resolve their differences within and work jointly for setting up a Sikh sovereign state.

Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, a Professor of History, speaking on the topic “Present situation of the Sikhs and future of the community” while advocating the need to set up a sovereign state, said the leaders should go in for an organisation, rather than making independent efforts. In his appeal to the Panth, he has sought that all means and efforts should be diverted in this direction.

Famous Punjabi novelist Jaswant Singh Kanwal opined that setting up of a sovereign state was a challenge for the Sikh Panth. He lamented that the present Sikh leaders were becoming blind followers of the forces which were working against the Sikh Panth. He said instead of feeling lost, they should take pride in their community and struggle to find a direction.

A former MP, Mr Atinder Pal Singh, said the so-called Sikh leaderships craving for power had led to resentment among people. He said since people did not understand the concept of Khalistan, the Indian society had not been able to adopt it till date. He clarified that the sovereign state was not bound by any geographical boundaries and would have a global spread.

Mr Atinder Pal Singh said every society of the world could adopt it and one need not be a Khalsa for this.

The former MP wanted that the political system should stay away from the separatist forces, terrorist and other anti-national forces, who can prove dangerous for the humanity. He appealed to the bureaucracy, state and the media to take up a joint responsibility of working towards this goal.


Traffic mismanagement leads to chaos
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 16
Mismanagement of traffic in the city has choked roads, endangering lives of commuters.

The plying of heavy vehicles without any check has caused many accidents in the recent past. On the busy Bhandari bridge, where heavy vehicles are banned, a truck recently mowed down a young girl on a two-wheeler while she was going for tuition classes early in the morning. Taking bribes to let people drive without helmets and in non-plying zones and parking in non-parking areas have taken a toll on the traffic.

Even as the state government was trying to bring the holy city on the World Heritage List, the district administration seems to be little concerned about traffic hazards increasing by the day and the traffic police and the municipal corporation seemingly incompetent to handle the problem.

The city witnesses heavy traffic due to the presence of several places of historical and religious interest like the Golden Temple, the Durgiana temple, the Jallianwala Bagh and the ancient Ram Tirath temple, besides the famous beating retreat ceremony at the Indo-Pak border. The unplanned constructions and rampant encroachments have also suffocated the city’s roads. During peak hours, the traffic jams lead to unpleasant situations, with brawls being common incidents.

Increasing number of marriage palaces, commercial complexes, hotels, restaurants and other public places without parking facilities have added to the chaos. Most affected areas include Putlighar, Hukam Singh Road, Chheharta, Hall Bazaar, Chowk Ghantaghar, Lohgarh Gate, Bhandari Bridge, Islamabad, Dhab Khatika, Majitha Road, Batala Road, Lawrence Road, Katra Sher Singh, Galliara, Gumatala By-pass and Nariangarh By-Pass.


Memorial gate to martyr inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 16
Those who sacrifice their lives for the nation are remembered and become immortal. They are a source of inspiration for the coming generations.

The communities which forget and do not respect their martyrs cannot make any progress and their future is not safe, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering at Sampli village after inaugurating a memorial gate constructed in the memory of a martyr, Jaspal Singh, who laid down his life during the 1965 war.

The gate has been constructed by the family of the martyr in collaboration with the village panchayat at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.

The Deputy Commissioner urged the youths to derive inspiration from the great martyrs and dedicate themselves selflessly for the cause of society and the nation.

He said “we all are enjoying independence due to the sacrifices of these martyrs, who laid down their lives for the nation.”

He said we should always remain indebted to the families of the martyrs and the district administration was committed to providing all sorts of help and assistance to such families.

He appreciated the efforts of the family of the martyr and said by constructing a memorial they had paid a fitting tribute to him.

The Sarpanch of the village read a charter of demands and requested that with the name of their village should be changed from Sampli to Sampli Sahib as this was a historical village.

He said a road should be named after the name of martyr.

He also demanded a civil dispensary, water supply, a 24-hour power supply and repair of roads.

The Deputy Commiss-ioner announced to name the village as Sampli Sahib and the name of a road after the name of martyr Jaspal Singh.

He also assured the village panchayat that the rest of their demands would be fulfilled soon.


Bimal Khalsa’s guard acquitted
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 16
The designated TADA court at the Maximum Security Jail in Nabha yesterday acquitted Balwinder Singh, who was the Special Police Officer associated with former leader Bimal Khalsa during the period of militancy in the state.

Special Judge S P Bangarh acquitted Balwinder Singh in the case, which was registered against him in May, 1991. Balwinder was booked under TADA after he was arrested in Patiala and a pistol, a grenade and nine cartridges were allegedly seized from his possession.

Balwinder’s lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi had argued that the police had concocted a false case against his client saying that the government wanted to discredit Mrs Bimal Khalsa as she was contesting election from the Ropar parliamentary seat.

The lawyer said the police had niether sealed the grenade or the pistol allegedly seized from his client.

He also claimed that Balwinder was presented before the Ropar police on May 10, three days before he was allegedly arrested in Patiala with weapons.



Bank told to pay compensation
Our Correspondent

Ropar, November 16
The local district consumer forum has directed the local branch of Punjab National Bank to pay compensation to Baldev Singh, a resident of Shampura, village near Ropar.

The complainant had alleged that he retired as driver from the PRTC, Patiala, on August 8, 2001. After retirement, he wrote to the PRTC authorities to commute in his pension and remit it to his account to the bank branch. He received a letter from the PRTC in November, 2002, stating that a sum of Rs 24,200 as commuted pension and Rs 7,429 as pension arrears had been forwarded to the bank.

When he approached the bank officials with the letter, he was told that the forwarded amount was not received by the bank and the contents of the letter would be verified from the PRTC and the branch concerned of the PRTC. The complainant made several requests to the PRTC and the bank authorities, but in vain.

The complainant demanded a compensation for Rs 10,000 for harassment he allegedly had to undergo at the hands of the PRTC and bank officials.

The PRTC authorities, in their reply before the forum said, it had remitted the disputed amount of the complainant vide cheque No. 555554 to the Chandigarh branch of the Punjab National Bank on November 25, 2002.

The bank officials in their reply termed the complaint as fabricated.

The forum, comprised of the president, Mr J.P. Gupta, and member Mr S.K. Bhatia, however, held the Punjab National Bank officials guilty of dereliction in duty. The complainant was awarded a compensation for Rs 3,000 and litigation costs of Rs 2,000.


CM urged to ensure paddy payments
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 16
The Federation of Arhtiya Association of Punjab yesterday appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to intervene and ensure that the payments due to them are released immediately.

Association president Bal Krishan Singla and general secretary Swarn Singh said the government had assured that payments would be made within 72 hours but the payments of procurement done a month back were still to be made. They said Pungrain and Punjab Agro were the worst paymasters adding other procurement agencies were also defaulting on payments.

Mr Singla said commission agents were finding it difficult to meet the demands of farmers who were also under stress because they needed money to sow the rabi crop.

He said the euphoria created due to the record procurement of 136 lakh tonnes of paddy had been lost due to delay in making of payments by the procurement agencies. He requested the Chief Minister to come to the rescue of commission agents and farmers.


Seminar on horticulture held
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 16
The National Horticulture Board of the Ministry of Agriculture, in association with the Progressive Youth Forum, Ghagga, organised a seminar on horticulture here today.

Assistant Director of the board Pushpinder Arya inaugurated the function. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Arya urged the farmers to go in for agriculture diversification and horticulture. Farmers from various districts of Punjab participated in the seminar. Mr Arya informed the farmers about the loans and schemes of the board. He added that farmers in Punjab were less aware of the national scheme which was available them.

While appreciating the 'Green World Project' launched by the Progressive Youth Forum, Mr Arya said the project would have positive results in Patiala and nearby places. The Deputy Director Horticulture Department, Punjab, Mr Sharnjit Singh, Mr Daljeet Singh, Mr Satish Sharma, Mr H.S. Saini and Mr Major Singh Sakhon also spoke on the occasion. The general secretary of the forum, Mr Rewal Singh Bhinder, presented the vote of thanks.


AIDS awareness drive okayed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 16
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai has approved the proposal of the National Service Scheme (NSS) Department to launch an AIDS awareness campaign under the countrywide "University Talk AIDS programme" (UTAP) in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

Giving this information here today, university NSS Director, Dr B.S. Mann said the two-day peer educator training programme would be organised at the campus on November 19-20 covering more than 1000 NSS volunteers and youth leaders drawn from affiliated colleges and selected villages. Dr Mann said the UTAP would also focus on activities like panel discussion, film shows, poster competition and mass rallies to spread awareness about the AIDS/HIV virus. A community youth leaders’ training programme would also be held at Punjabi University involving the youth leaders of five villages — Mithu Majra, Raipur, Bahadurgarh, Shekhupura and Chamarhari.

The Assistant Programme Adviser, NSS, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports S.K. Sahni would launch the UTAP institutional awareness drive by involving the student community from S.D. College, Barnala, the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, SGTB Khalsa College, Anandpur Sahib, Government Ranbir College, Sangrur and the local M.M. Modi College.

Dr Mann said another unique project to be launched under the banner of the NSS would be the "campus-to-community activities" for AIDS awareness in Public College, Samana, PMN College, Rajpura, Guru Harkrishan College of Management, Patiala, Guru Nanak College, Budhlada and Government SUS College, Sunam.


15,000 kids attend Bal Divas
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 16
The two-day Bal Divas organised by the hospital welfare section in collaboration with the District Red Cross Society concluded here today.

More than 15,000 children and students participated in various competitions in senior and junior sections, respectively.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the concluding function.

Prof Dharminder Singh Ubha, stage secretary, said the prizes would be given at a separate function.

The winners in bhangra were Mata Sundri School first, Divine Light International School Sirhind, second, Gursharn Singh and party third. In giddha, Radhika Mugrai and party first, Govt. High School Suhagheri second, and Amandeep Kaur and party third.

In choreography, Miss Nitu and Sonia first, Gursewak and party second and Nishu and party third.

In Rajkumar (senior) Sukrat Singh first, Fatehjit Singh and Indupratap second and Roopanpreet third. In Rajkumar (junior) Fateh Singh first, Karan Arora and Kushagra second, and Rohit and Tushar Kumar won consolation prizes.

In shabad/bhajan gayan, Mohit Gupta and party first, MG Ashoka Girls School Sirhind second and Gurlaj Kaur third.

In fancy dress senior Arshdeep Singh first, Fatehjeet second, Muskan Cheema third and Sanjam Kumar fourth. In solo geet (Hindi) Vishal Saini first, Ritika second, Navpreet Kaur third. Solo dance junior Arunima and Fatehjeet first, Amitesh and Ashima Batra second, Gursimran and Avinavneet third. Solo dance (seniors), Ghazal Bedi first, Navneet Kaur, Neha Sharma, Prabhdeep Kaur and Nitish Arora all second, Dipika Sharma, Harmit Kaur, Monika Rani, Tamana Batish and Chetna, all third. In bol baby bol, Deva Shelly first, Arshdeep and Preetinav second, Sukrat, Sumeet Singh and Asmeet Kaur third. In rangoli Paramjit Kaur first, Anjali Chani, Pooja Sood, Rajni Chani second, Isha Nanda, Jasvir Kaur and Simarjit Kaur third.


College teachers to hold protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 16
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union will hold a demonstration in front of the house of Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Higher Education Minister, Punjab, in Ludhiana on November 19 in protest against the government’s failure to ensure regular salaries and its failure to implement the pension-gratuity scheme.

This was stated here yesterday by Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr V.K. Tewari, president and general secretary, respectively, of the PCCTU.

This would be followed by a state-level rally in the constituency of the Chief Minister in Patiala on December 5.


Students enthral at annual function
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 16
Guru Nanak Foundation Public School celebrated its annual function here today. The Director of Thapar (R&D), Dr M.P. Kapoor, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, Principal of the school, Manohar Singh, welcomed the chief guest and the gathering and later presented the annual report of the school highlighting the laurels won by the students in different fields.

The students enthralled the audience with their performances in Japanese dance, Arabian dance, circus and other cultural items.

The chief guest gave away the prizes to students excelling in various activities, including science, computer, sports, library, social science and 100 per cent attendance. Anil Narula and Poonam of 10 plus two bagged award for the Best Boy and Girl of the year, respectively.


Study centre to be set up at varsity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 16
The Centre for South Central Asian Studies will be established at Guru Nanak Dev University to undertake socio-economic study and research of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Japan and Bangladesh. They will provide feedback to various governments and non-governments agencies for formulating scio-economic policies. This decision was taken at the Syndicate meeting of the varsity here yesterday.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, informed that a grant of Rs 1 crore had been given to the university for the establishment of the centre by noted journalist and former MP Kuldip Nayyar. The Vice-Chancellor said that they had established a medicinal plant park at its botanical garden to preserve medicinal plants.


Insurance plan for poor soon
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 16
With the help from the Central Government, the Punjab Government will soon introduce Janshri Insurance Scheme for the upliftment of families living below the poverty line. All earning members of these families in the age group of 18 to 60 years will be covered under the scheme.

The Central and state governments will contribute Rs 100 each as annual premium of the policy. This was stated by Mr Som Parkash, Director, Social Security, Punjab, to the correspondent here.

He said more than 4 lakh families were living below the poverty line in the state, of which 3 lakh would be covered in the first phase. Rupees 3 crore had been earmarked as the state government share during the current financial year. He said in case of death of a beneficiary the family would get Rs 50,000. In case of disablement the beneficiary would get Rs 25,000 .

Besides, two children of a beneficiary would get a monthly stipend of Rs 100 each from classes 9th to XII under the scheme.

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