P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Fernandes, Shahnawaz to attend SAD rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 7
Union Ministers George Fernandes and Shahnawaz besides BJP spokesman Vijay Malhotra are expected to represent the NDA at tomorrow’s anti-repression rally being organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to mark its protest against the “treatment” being meted out to its President Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The NDA leaders will be accompanied by Union Fertiliser Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. The entire top leadership of the SAD and the Punjab BJP is expected to participate in the rally which is being organised on the premises of the Dukhniwaran gurdwara in the city.

Preparations are in full swing for the rally with a special 50 feet by 20 feet brick stage constructed in front of the office of the manager of the gurdwara. The arrangements are being overseen by SGPC chief Gurcharan Singh Tohra and senior leaders, including former SGPC chief Kirpal Singh Badungar, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundur, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal. While Mr Tohra and Capt Kanwaljit Singh spent some time at the gurdwara in the morning, the other leaders camped at the site of the rally for most of the day. Mr Manpreet Singh Badal is expected to stay in the city this night.

Sources said around 1,000 persons had arrived on the gurdwara premises till this evening. Most of these persons have come from the Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha areas. More people are expected to pour into the gurdwara today, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Mr Badungar while talking to TNS, said contrary to the announcement made by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Akali workers were being thwarted from coming to Patiala. He said, according to reports received by them Akali legislator Harbans Singh Dattewas had been rounded up along with his followers at Mansa and Akali workers had also been rounded up at Amritsar and Gidderbaha.

Mr Badungar said a naka had also been put up at Bhawanigarh to stop Akali workers from Bathinda and Sangrur from reaching Patiala. He said people coming towards Patiala were being subjected to intense screening. It was unfortunate that the government was resorting to such tactics to stop people from collecting at the “bhog” of the ‘’akhand path’’ being held in the gurdwara.

AMRITSAR (OC): Senior Akali leaders belonging to the SAD today evaded a police crackdown and managed to leave the city to participate in the protest rally being organised by the Akali Dal tomorrow in protest against the arrest of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Police parties raided the house of an Akali leader, Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, in a bid to stop him for going to Ropar but failed to arrest him as he had already fled the city to reach Ropar. Another police party kept a vigil outside the house of an SGPC member and former secretary-general, Ms Kiranjot Kaur, to prevent her from going to Ropar.

Inspite of a police crackdown on more than 500 Akali leaders and workers, they managed to flee the city to participate in the protest rally as the Akali Dal issued an appeal for a massive show of strength against the “anti-democratic” tactics adopted by the Congress government.


Patiala rally: govt claim disputed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
Akali Dal MLA and party spokesman Manpreet Singh Badal today contradicted the claims of the government that the proposed Patiala rally tomorrow against repression was being allowed unhindered.

In a statement he said about 100 persons from the Gidderbaha constituency were arrested last night, warning them against participating in the rally.

The SAD spokesman claimed similar reports had been received all 117 assembly constituencies in Punjab.

Transport vehicles were being stopped at various points to prevent Akali workers from reaching Patiala. The police had been deployed in front of every gurdwara to prevent the Akalis from assembling at Patiala.

He said the official figures had put those under arrest at nearly 10,000. These people had been under preventive detention for the past one week.


Refund on basis of fake High Court order
Excise & Taxation official booked
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 7
A criminal case has been registered against Mr Samarjit Singh, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner (DETC), appeals, and Mr Sulkhan Singh, record keeper, and three transport companies in the city police station for their alleged involvement in making payments worth lakhs of rupees to three Amritsar-based goods transport companies by conniving with them on the basis of a fake order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The case under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 477-A and 120-B, IPC, and Section 13(1) Id and 13 (2) of the prevention of Corruption Act, against Mr Samarjit Singh and Mr Sulkhan Singh was registered.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that while Mr Sulkhan Singh had been placed under suspension, action against Mr Samarjit Singh was yet to be taken by the state government. The district police authorities had deputed the DSP (City) to make investigations into this case. Some vested interests allegedly tried to drag the name of Mr Kulwant Singh Brar, a former DETC, in this scam but the higher authorities of the Excise and Sales Tax Department, said that Mr Brar was not involved in it.

Official sources said that what these officials had done was that instead of verifying the order of the HC in which it was mentioned that mobile wing of Sales Tax Department, Bathinda, had imposed a fine on these transport companies wrongly and hence it should be refunded to the concerned transport companies, they refunded the amount and thus caused a loss to the tune of Rs 10 lakh to the state government.

The sources added that the mobile wing of the Sales Tax Department, Bathinda, imposed fines on three transport companies, Harmeet Goods Carrier, Amritsar, Narang Roadways, Amritsar, and Harmeet Transport Company, Amritsar. These officials refunded Rs 3,32,850 to Harmeet Goods Carrier, Rs 3,30,000 to Narang Roadways and Rs 2,70,000 to Harmeet Transport Company.

Though the refund to these companies were made about five years ago when Mr Samarjit Singh was the Deputy Director, Enforcement, Bathinda, the Department of Excise and Taxation lodged the FIR on December 5. The matter pertaining to registration of the FIR against the accused officials and transport companies was delayed for reasons best known to the Excise and Taxation authorities.

Information gathered from official circles revealed that the department came to know about this fraud when it was found that in the case in which the Punjab and Haryana HC had ordered the refund of amount, no representative of the department appeared in the court in connection with the hearing of the case.

After that when the officials tried to find out the fake court orders on the basis of which the refund of about Rs 10 lakh was made, these were found missing. Apart from it, those papers which could establish the fact that a fine was imposed on these transport companies by the Excise and Sales Tax authorities and the papers which established the fact that Mr Samarjit Singh had ordered the refund of amount to these transport companies on the basis of HC order, were also found missing. No arrest has been made.


CM to meet Sonia on  Dec 9 again
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 7
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, would meet Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, on December 9 at Delhi even as the party high command has decided to contest the forthcoming Parliament elections with the same Cabinet team.

This was informed by Mr Rana Sodhi, Political Adviser to the Chief Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today. He claimed that Ms Gandhi was taken into confidence before booking Mr Parkash Singh Badal in a corruption case.

Mr Sodhi, however, said that the AICC wanted to strengthen the state units all over the country in the wake of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.


Campaign to oust Chautala soon
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 7
Mr Pratap Singh, former MLA and younger brother of Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, predicted that Mr Chautala and his sons will have to pay a heavy price for indulgence in corruption in the state and he will meet the same fate which former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had been experiencing.

Mr Pratap Singh, while addressing a press conference here, said that he along with other like-minded people had set up Haryana Nirman Manch and it would launch a campaign in the state for ousting Mr Chautala from power. He said that during the campaign, the people would be made aware of the fact that if Mr Chautala again came to power, he would make the state a hell.

“Haryana was far behind in the matter of corruption and crimes as compared to other states but now it has acquired first place in these things in the country,” he said.

He said that the long meetings of Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and Mr Chautala with Mr Badal in jail was an evidence that criminalisation of politics in the country had been taking place under the present ruling set-up.


Jakhar ridicules INLD’s claim
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 7
PPCC vice-president Sajjan Kumar Jakhar has ridiculed INLD leaders, for claiming that their party has emerged as third big force in Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha elections.

Speaking at a reception given to Mr Vinod Kumar, newly elected MLA from the Hanumangarh Assembly constituency, at Panjkosi, near here, on Sunday, Mr Jakhar said the INLD had fielded 11 candidates in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, eight of them lost their security deposit even. The state president of the SAD in Rajasthan, Mr Surjit Singh Kang polled only 5,700 out of 90,000 valid votes in the Sri Karanpur constituency. INLD president Om Prakash Chautala and SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal had campaigned for three days in the constituency of their high profile candidate. Other losers too tasted crushing defeat. The INLD had put up 60 candidates against a target of 100, most of them were defectors who had been denied ticket by the BJP or the Congress.

Hundreds of Congress workers, besides all the senior members of Dr Bal Ram Jakhar’s family, campaigned for Mr Vinod Kumar in Hanumangarh having more than 70 villages and twin cities supported him from here. The function was organised by the Jakhar family to welcome Mr Vinod Kumar and thank supporters and sympathisers. Over 3,000 attended the langar this afternoon at Panjkosi. Those who garlanded Mr Vinod Kumar included Mr Tulsi Ram, president Municipal Council, officebearers of Congress committees of the subdivisions, municipal councillors, sarpanches and women.

Mr Sunil Jakhar, MLA, and Mr Surender Kumar Jakhar, Chairman IFFCO, Tokyo, thanked the workers for visiting Hanumangarh time and again to mobilise people in favour of Congress candidate Vinod Kumar. He was the only Congress winner in two districts of Rajasthan bordering Abohar.


Mann releases poll manifesto
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 7
The SAD(A) president and Lok Sabha member from Sangrur, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, here today announced the names of four candidates of his party and released a manifesto for the ensuring Lok Sabha elections. He predicted that the poll could be advanced and held by April next year.

While he will re-contest from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency, Dr Harinder Jakhu, Mr Bhag Singh and Fauji Satpal Singh will be the party candidates from Phillaur (reserved), Ropar and Bathinda Lok Sabha seats. Party general secretaries Jaskaran Singh, Charan Singh Lohara, Anoop Singh Minhas and Dr Harjinder Jakhu were also present.

Releasing the poll manifesto, Mr Mann promised eradication of corruption, provision of shelter, food and clothes, opening of borders with Pakistan for the promotion of trade, tourism and pilgrimage, free education to all up to graduation, free cycles to Dalit girl students, introduction of Punjabi and compulsory English from Class I, round-the-clock power supply in urban and rural areas for the industrial and farm sector and jobs for unemployed youths.

Mr Mann made an offer to the SAD for entering an electoral alliance with his party so that Sikh votes were not split and the Congress could be shown the door. However, he put a rider for this alliance, saying that the SAD would have to discard “corrupt” leaders, like its President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and accept his party’s symbol and identity. The SAD should now project those leaders who are not corrupt, he advised.

Talking about the BJP, Mr Mann claimed that the party was now coming closer to his party’s agenda by extending the hand of friendship to Pakistan and combating corruption. “In case the BJP discards its communal agenda and adopts a secular approach, my party might consider having an electoral alliance with it as well”, he declared. Barring the Congress, the doors of my party for a poll tie-up are open for other parties, he remarked.

He alleged that while Ms Mayawati had dealt a body blow to the Dalit movement by getting involved in corruption, the Badals had betrayed the minorities by indulging in massive corruption.

He took the Punjab CM to task for not taking action against its “corrupt” ministers, including Mr Partap Singh Bajwa and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was found of giving an instant clean chit to the corrupt members of the Congress.

He denounced Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for meeting the Badals in Patiala Central Jail yesterday. Mr Mann felt that Mrs Swaraj had come because the Prime Minister was away on a foreign tour. Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee would not have allowed her to come, he said.

Mr Mann, however, declared to launch an agitation next month in case “innocent” Akali and BJP workers were not released. These workers were protesting peacefully in support of their leader, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he said. He condemned attacks on Sikhs in Hyderabad and asked Deputy PM L.K. Advani to intervene.


Punjab to approach Centre on Bt cotton

Ludhiana, December 7
The Punjab Government will approach the Union Ministry of Science and Technology for the release of Bt cotton varieties which have been tested in Punjab and found fit for cultivation to avoid fleecing of the farmers of the north zone by the unscrupulous traders who are allegedly selling the seeds of such varieties which have not been recommended for the north zone comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

A high-level meeting was convened by the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr J.S.Gill, in Chandigarh which was attended, among others, by Dr B.C. Gupta, Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab, the Vice-Chancellor of PAU, Dr K.S. Aulakh, Dr N.C. Jain, Additional Director-General (Cash Crops), ICAR, Dr G.S. Chahal, Senior Cotton Breeder, and Dr Joginder Singh, Head Department of Entomology, PAU, to discuss the situation with regard to the trials conducted by the PAU on the Bt. cotton varieties in Punjab and insistence of the ICAR for conducting the trials for two years on the same varieties under its aegies.

According to Dr G.S.Chahal, representatives of the ICAR and the Union Government were informed that the trials of Bt. cotton varieties, RCH-134 and RCH-138, had been conducted by the PAU mandatory for two years — one year under the directions of the RCGM (review committee on genetic manipulations) of the Ministry of Science and Technology and for the second year under the directions of the ICAR during 2002 and 2003, respectively. PAU scientists emphasised that the trials conducted so far had been according to the requirements of the ministry and a final decision on the approval of any one or more of these Bt hybrids be made to make these available for cultivations in Punjab for the next crop.

According to Dr Chahal, the Chief Secretary elaborated the problems of the state government due to lack of any recommended variety of Bt. cotton. The Chief Secretary expressed the apprehension that the farmers would be cheated by the traders by providing them seeds of varieties other than recommended for the north zone.

Dr Chahal said that Dr Jain and the representative of the ministry of agriculture were convinced of the genuine apprehensions of the Punjab Government regarding the possibilities of the adverse effects of cotton cultivation due to delayed recommendation of Bt cotton in Punjab. They suggested that since the RCGM was the nodal agency for a final decision, the same should be approached to consider the recommendation of Bt cotton in Punjab as a special case by exempting it from mandatory testing by the ICAR for two years.

It may be mentioned here that Bt cotton has been recommended for the south and central zones but no variety could be made available for Punjab and the entire north zone. In view of this situation, the farmers of this region were likely to purchase Bt cotton from any source.


Art is anti-establishment, says Habib Tanvir
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 7
Habib Tanvir’s scintillating theatre never allows you to rest. It stimulates thinking, pricks the conscience and challenges the mind endlessly. From incest to communalism, the thespian’s plays stir the soul, ensuring that art does what it is essentially meant to do, “shake establishments into introspection.” The realistic value of Tanvir’s theatre emerges by the use of folk dramatics. His cast never includes glamorous faces. It rather shines with Chhattisgarhi folk artistes, who charm the audience with their untutored, yet intense ways.

In Amritsar to stage “Charan Das Chor” on the concluding day of the heritage festival, Tanvir, once an MP who gave up his political berth to serve art, ran down politicians who communalise politics. With the genocide in Gujarat weighing heavy on his heart, he said, “All major political parties have been inadvertently communalising society. Some workers are audacious enough to sing praises of Shri Ram in one breath and hail death in the other. Someone should tell these custodians of religion that by prefixing “Shri” to Ram they are actually bringing God down to the level of human beings. In Chhattisgarh, where I live, Lord Ram is Ram alone. He is never Shri Ram.”

These caustic remarks define Tanvir’s fiery profile. They also reflect the honesty which shines through his productions, be it “Ponga Pandit” which was criticised on the assumption of being anti-Hindutva or “Bahadur Kalaren”, which bared the stigma of incest. The playwright-director, who, through Nacha Theatre, brought folk artistes of Chhattisgarh to centrestage, confirms his fixation for honesty, “Art is essentially anti-establishment. It seeks change because there is always room for improvement. My theatre is never didactic. It fires the mind and deliberately so.”

In “Charan Das Chor” also, Tanvir uses mordant wit to weave a poignant tale of a man who embraces death to protect truth. The play is an adaptation of a Rajasthani folk tale dramatised by Vijay Dan Detha. Also featuring Tanvir’s daughter Nagin (who sings in most of his productions), the play derides corruption. The story goes that a guru once asks thief Charan Das to give up stealing if he wished to be his disciple. The thief makes four vows, but the guru further requires him never to lie. In a moment of trial, the thief chooses to honour his oath and vindicate his guru’s faith. He prefers execution, while the world bows to falsehood.

While Tanvir’s amateur folk artistes worked wonders on the stage, musical elements in the play added punch to the presentation. Most of Tanvir’s plays are musical, as the director admits, “I love music because I believe in the Natyashastra. Song has the ability to carry the theme from the mundane to the sublime level. Music is not only entertaining but also thought-provoking. My artistes are great musicians.” Taking pride in his group, Tanvir said, “These folk artistes stand for continuity of tradition. Illiterate and uninhibited, they communicate as though the world was their stage. The charm is that they are untutored but not uneducated. They know their cuisine, their costume, their epics well.”

Folk artistes have also appeared in the most significant of Tanvir’s productions, including a classic play “Mitti Ki Gari” by Shudraka, “Uttar Ram Chant” by Bhavabhuti, “Duryodhan” by Bhasha, and “Motey Ram Ka Satyagraha” by well known writer Premchand.


Jazzy B, Pammy Bai wind fest on traditional note
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 7
After a heartwarming poetic symposium that highlighted the intellectual side of the Amritsar Heritage Festival yesterday, it was time to recall the vigour of Punjab so that the celebrations could end on a truly traditional note.

During the past five days, the city hardly saw the king of crowd that turned up to cheer the Punjabi pop wagon, led by Jazzy B across the borders and Pammy Bai, right in Punjabi. The heady mix of songs was typical of the two singers who have their individual styles. While Jazzy B was just not short of loud, melodious Punjabi Songs, set to music by the famous music maker Sukhshinder Shinda, Pammi Bai brought the folk flavour to the festival, which saw almost the whole city converging on Guru Nanak Stadium.

The compeering, the fillers and the actual presentations all fitted well into the festive scheme, which was planned much in ahead. While it goes without saying that the security people had a hard time controlling the overtly enthusiastic Punjabi crowd, the evening passed on from one song to another, riding on the hit numbers of Jazzy B, including Surma, Naag saam le... and the latest Chadi jawani akhh mastani ho gai mutiyaar di....

For Pammy Bai, it was a time to offer a purely Punjabi treat. He presented all folk melodies one had wished to hear.


Dhindsa : SAD not to appoint morcha dictator
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 7
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the Shriomani Akali Dal (SAD) and Union Minister for Fertilisers and Chemicals, yesterday declared that the SAD would not appoint a “morcha dictator” to run the “anti-repression” morcha against the Amarinder Singh government, scheduled to begin on December 9.

He said the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would guide the morcha from jail.

Mr Dhindsa was talking to mediapersons after meeting SAD and BJP workers and leaders in the district jail here.

They were lodged in the jail following preventive arrests made by the state government in connection with their visit to Ropar on December 1 when Mr Badal had appeared in a court there.

Mr Dhindsa said the first jatha of 101 SAD leaders and workers would court arrest on December 9, the first day of the morcha.


Akalis have no issue, says Ravi Inder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 7
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (I) flagged off the first political rally of his party here today in a show of strength.

Earlier addressing a press conference, the SAD(I) president, while lauding the grit of the Congress in reining the corrupt, said the Akalis had no issues for morchas being announced by them. “Is it a morcha against or for corruption”. The morchas earlier had lofty issues like the dharma yudh morcha, kranti morcha, etc but here the Akalis were fighting for personalised politics.

The former Tohra loyalist said that funds were being misused by the SGPC, and pointed out that the public should be made aware of diversion of funds. The statement assumes significance in the wake of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra heading the SGPC body.

The SAD(I) president announced that two more rallies would be held in the Doaba and Malwa regions.


Family members of 6 martyrs honoured
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 7
Family members of six martyrs and two ex-servicemen were honoured during a function to mark Armed Forces Flag day at Punjab state war memorial here today.

Earlier, the chief of the Western Command, Leiut-Gen S.S. Mehta, and the chief of 11 Corps, Leiut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, laid wreaths at the war memorial.

Addressing the gathering during the function, Lieutenant-General Mehta said it was the responsibility of the serving defence personnel to solve the problems being faced by the ex-servicemen, who had dedicated their youth to the nation. “In fact, we should ensure proper implementation of rehabilitation schemes for the families of the martyrs,” he added.

Commenting on the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme, recently introduced by the Central Government, General Mehta said there was a need to create awareness among the retired soldiers about its benefits. “We will ensure proper implementation of the scheme at the grassroots level. Besides, the ex-servicemen should come forward with their grievances without any reluctance as we are duty-bound to redress these”, he said.

The president of the Zila Sainik Welfare Office-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, said a special counter for ex-servicemen at the Transport Department had been opened for the preparation of driving licences, registration of vehicles and other related work on a priority basis.

The family members of martyrs, who made the supreme sacrifice to maintain the sovereignty of the country, ex-servicemen and serving defence personnel shared their experiences. Those who were honoured included Ms Amarjit Kaur, widow of Sepoy Piara Singh, Ms Harwinder Kaur, widow of Havildar Balbir Singh, Ms Ram Piari, widow of Pnr Dalipa Ram, Ms Pritam Kaur, widow of Subedar Shankar Singh, Ms Channo Devi, widow of Naik Nazar, and Ms Piari, mother of Constable Lakhbir Singh (CRPF) while Sepoy Sohan Singh and Sepoy Kabul Singh were also felicitated for their contribution to the Indian Army.

Risaldar Harbir Singh (97) who served in the Indian Army during the British regime, was given a memento for contributing a sum of Rs 70,000 for the construction of a sainik bhavan at Shahkot. General Mehta also formally opened a Kargil gallery at the war memorial.


Expand bus service to Pakistan, says Gujral
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, December 7
While expressing satisfaction over ongoing peace initiatives taken by Indian and Pakistan to normalise the relations, a former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, yesterday said that no dramatic results should be expected out of the current initiatives.

Mr Gujral, who was speaking at a seminar on “Indo-Pak relations” organised by Kanya Maha Vidyalaya here, said that he was expecting a thaw setting in and there were hopes that a new chapter in the history of Indo-Pak bilateral relations would begin during the forthcoming SAARC meeting.

He said that India has evolved an eight-point programme identifying various issues and first of these points was about confidence-building measures (CBMs) between the two countries. He said that Kashmir, which was of most significance, was one of the eight points.

The former Prime Minister held that for the success of these initiatives people-to-people contact should be facilitated by improving transportation and grant of visa. “There is a need to start new buses between the two countries like one from Amritsar to Lahore and from Srinagar to Muzaffrabad,” He said, adding that India was always open to talks even as its main concern was state-sponsored terrorism.

While responding to a query he said, “Democracy in Pakistan is always in our interest. There had been no war, when there was democracy in the neighbouring country, he added. Asked about any American pressure on both the countries to improve bilateral relations, he said that he did not know about any such pressure, adding that even if there was any such initiative on the part of America to promote cordial relations between the two neighbourers, it was only for a good purpose.

Mr Gujral, however, maintained that the real dispute between the two countries was not about land but of thinking. “While India cherished its democratic and secular ethos but this was not the case in Pakistan and that is the real cause of dispute”, he said.

He disclosed that the UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan, had told him that no militants from India had either joined warring factions in Afghanistan, while most of these militants belong to other countries of the world. “While foreigner ‘Mujahdeen’ are operating in Kashmir, but none from other parts of the country,” he pointed out to stress the strength of Indian democracy and secularism.

Commenting upon the current state of development in Punjab, he said that the Punjab would soon become Bihar since the respective state governments had failed to educate the masses, particularly women folk in the past more than 50 years. “Besides, the people are not coming forward to transform the society at grass-roots level, which is an alarming trend witnessed during the past more than two decades. It is not the government, which will change the social trends, the people will have to take the lead in this regard,” he added.

Mr Gujral further said that there was a need to impart quality education to the younger generation to bring Punjab on the development path. Others, who were present include Mr Naresh Gujral and Editor of Daily Vir Partap, Mr Chander Mohan.

Earlier Mr Gujral released a cassette of songs by media baron Barjinder Singh Hamdard.

The cassette was released by Mr Gujral at a function at Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here this evening.

Titled “Jazbaat”, the cassette has Hindi and Punjabi ghazals.


Board okays shifting of bus stand
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 7
The first meeting of the Kapurthala Development Board was held here on Thursday under the chairmanship of MLA Rana Gurjit Singh to review various projects.

The board reviewed the progress of projects such as Science City, the Institute of Renewable Energy and Punjab Technical University and discussed the draft plan for integrated development of villages surrounding these institutions.

The project, named as Kapurthala Knowledge Urban Project, based on an innovative concept advocated by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to provide urban amenities in rural areas, will be the first of its kind in the country.

The members discussed a proposal to shift the local bus stand and milk dairies outside the congested residential and commercial areas. Proposals for a bypass and a transport nagar in the city were approved by the board in principle. Respective departments will prepare detailed plans for the implementation of the same.

It was decided that facilities in the sports stadium here should be upgraded. The board also decided that the Municipal Council should implement a scheme for houses for the urban poor.

It was decided to develop the Kanjli wetland as a picnic spot with the help of the private sector.

The Chairman stressed that while formulating the plans, the respective departments must ensure community participation, private sector participation and participation by NRIs to mobilise resources.

Brig Sukhjit Singh, Vice- Chairman, and senior officers of various departments participated in the meeting.


Theigh Kanjla centre faces shortage of funds
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 7
Guru Nanak Nagar Theigh Kanjla vocational centre set up on the Kapurthala-subhanpur road, 6 km from here for giving vocational training to unemployed youths in 1990 faces financial crisis these days.

Set up on barren land of 300 acres appeared a green belt as one lakh plants have been planted all over the land.

Guru Nanak Nagar Theigh Kanjla also known as Centre for Training and Employment for Youths (C-PYTE) was set up for saving district’s youth joining militants by providing them jobs in Army, para-military forces and in administration, has become of a victim of lack of funds.

The Punjab government has stopped the monthly stipend of Rs 400 given to unemployed trainee youth as a pocket money in a period of six months and has also slashed the annual budget from Rs 7 crore to Rs 4 crore in the past two years. Newsmen were invited to the centre today.

Colonel Joginder Singh in charge of the centre said that 88246 unemployed youths train by the training centres in Punjab since its start, 54971 youths had given jobs in Army, para-military forces and public sector undertakings so far. He disclosed that seven of Army jawans recruited from this centre were killed during the Kargil war. Their photos are displayed in the hall. Forty barracks house 1200 youths.

He told that at present there were seven training centres in Punjab of which 7000 youths got employment annually in Army, para-military forces and public undertaking sectors. These centres are located at Kapurthala, Nabha, Lalru, Ludhiana and Faridkot.

He told that 1474 youths of these centres joined Army and para-military forces after training in the past seven months.

Army officials have been training youths at the centre.

The centre is also giving vocational training to youths for starting own enterprises.

Colonel Joginder Singh said following the stoppage of stipend to youths as pocket money there was decline of 30 per cent in the recruitment. He urged the government to start stipend regularly and enhance the grant to Rs 7 crore.


PSHRC notice to Excise Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 7
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), while issuing notice to the state government on alleged consumption of liquor by underage persons, has sought a detailed report from the Excise and Taxation Department on the enforcement of legal provisions that prohibit the sale of liquor to such persons.

Acting on a complaint alleging negligence in enforcing provisions of the Punjab Excise Act, the commission on December 5 directed the Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, to submit the report by February 17.

Section 29 of the Act prohibits the sale of liquor or intoxicating drugs to any person below the age of 25 years even if it is being bought for the consumption of someone else.

The complaint states that the past few years have witnessed a spurt in underage drinking, followed by associated problems such as motor accidents, suicides, violence, indulgence in crime, graduating to other hard drugs and erratic behaviour.

Pointing out that underage drinking is much more prevalent in the northern parts of the country, particularly in Punjab where drinking is considered as a “manly” attribute, the complaint states that changing social norms, stress and pressures of modern life have contributed to the growth of this malaise. In larger cities too, the problem has assumed alarming proportions since teenagers and minors can be openly seen consuming liquor in bars and clubs. Bar-tenders or waiters are totally unaware of the fact that providing liquor to persons below the age of 25 years is illegal, the complaint adds.


SCs, STs march up to minister’s house
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 7
Activists of the All-India Confederation of SC, BC, ST Organisations, Punjab, today held a state-level rally outside the local Town Hall and held a protest march up to the house of Punjab Social Welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann in New Model Town here.

The protesters were led by Mr Jasbir Singh Pal, state president of the confederation. They shouted slogans against the Punjab Government near Mr Mann’s house in protest against the government failure to honour its poll promises about implementing the Dalit agenda. However, they could not gherao Mr Mann’s house as had been announced earlier. A heavy police force was present.

Addressing the rally, Mr Pal announced that similar protests would be held outside the houses of other Dalit ministers and MLAs. Mr Mann’s house was targeted first because he dealt with the Department of Dalit Welfare and had done little for them, alleged Mr Pal.

The protesters flayed the government for not implementing the 85th constitutional amendment benefiting Dalits, not clearing backlog of 1.5 lakh jobs, back-door abolition of reservation through privatisation, wastage of crores of rupees on Sarb Sikhya Abhiyan and enhancement by 125 per cent of fee in higher education.

The protesters also demanded an increase in reservation to 33 per cent, allotment of surplus land to landless tillers, 55 per cent reservation in contract system, implementation of the Mandal Commission report and all pro-Dalit constitutional amendments. It was also declared that a national-level rally by the confederation would be held in New Delhi at the Ramlila ground on December 14 to highlight the aforesaid issues.


Delivering post no longer a man’s job
Gurvinder Kaur

PATIALA: It is not her name alone that is unusual, her profession is even more so. Meet Bhrawan Wali Khanna — purported to be the first post woman of the country to have taken to the field. Sporting a spruce khakhi salwar and kameez complete with the red circular badge of the Department of Posts, she picks up her bicycle at 11 a.m. every morning to drop off letters to their destinations.

Sorting out post at her desk in the General Post Office here, it is easy to mistake Bhrawan Wali as one of the many women clerks around. However, she comes into her own the moment she rises to gather the post into her khakhi bag besides putting the bulk of it in her bicycle basket for distribution.

Does she do this out of choice, you wonder? Yes, comes the gentle reply. This soft spoken post woman complete with bindi, sindoor and bangles loves her work in the field. Not only has she been doing this for the past 13 years, she has even refused her next promotion that will bring her to a desk job in order to continue working in the field for the future.

Born after the birth of five brothers and named accordingly, Bhrawan Wali passed her matriculation exam and started working as Branch Post Master (BPM) in her native village Loh Simbli in the district way back in 1977. Always encouraged to be financially independent by her parents, she replied in the affirmative when asked whether she would be willing to take up work in the field after passing the examination for promotion to a postman’s job in 1982 and never regretted the decision since.

And her colleagues, how do they stomach her invasion of this all male bastion? Nothing to worry here. All of them are full of praise for “postman Khanna”. Asserting that she is more efficient and quicker in distributing post in the area allocated to her than her male colleagues, Baljeet Singh, a clerk in the GPO says: “Though she has been allocated the time-consuming court complex area besides a large area in the inner city, she comes back to the office in nearly half the time the others take to dispose of their packets of correspondence”.

Adds Postal Assistant Bhagwant Singh: “whereas other women who are promoted to the post of a postman always refuse to go out in the field even after committing to do so, here is one who does it out of choice”. The praise is well deserved as it is a tough job indeed. Be it the scorching loo in the summer, the pouring monsoon or the bitter winter cold, Bhrawan Wali has chosen to take it all in her stride as “manfully” as her other postman colleagues.

Though no other woman in her department has yet opted to emulate her example, Bhrawan Wali has not stopped hoping that one day she would be able to inspire one of her sex to take to the field. “If working woman expect similar privileges, they must be ready to carry out the same duties as their male counterparts,” she says, adding “however family support plays a key role here and mine has always been very positive about my professions”.

Well respected both by her co-workers and public that she serves, Bhrawan Wali brushes aside the query regarding any problem she has ever encountered during her work. “She lost her bicycle once. It was stolen along with the day’s post when she was inside an office delivering the letters”, quips a colleague. Was the bicycle recovered? “No, only the letters were found dumped at the overbridge later”, comes the reply. Well this is one occupational hazard “postman” Bhrawan Wali may continue to contend with as long as she loves doing her daily rounds with the postal department.


Medical camp held at ex-servicemen’s rally
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 7
Ex-servicemen will be given representation in all district-level committees to be formed by the district administration and their problems, if any, will be sorted out on a priority basis. Moreover, social organisations will also be motivated to enroll ex-servicemen as their members so that the district administration and society at large may derive benefit of their services and experience.

The district administration will extend all facilities to the ex-servicemen and take steps to improve the living standards of ex-servicemen by extending all sorts of assistance to them, said Mr S.K.Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-President, District Sainik Board, while addressing a state-level ex-servicemen’s rally organised on the eve of Armed Forces Flag Day by the District Sanik Board on the MG College grounds here yesterday. He said, “We are enjoying Independence due to the sacrifices of soldiers".

He said it was our moral duty to pay tributes to the martyrs and to show solidarity with the widows of the martyrs’ families, orphan children and disabled soldiers who made supreme sacrifice for the country as well as for the serving soldiers, who were defending our borders.

On this occasion, a medical check-up camp was also organised, where specialist doctors from various fields and dental surgeons examined up the patients and medicines were provided to them free of cost. Information stalls were set up by the Territorial Army to train the youth for employment as well as to give information to ex-servicemen and their wards regarding employment opportunities.

The war widows, gallantry and meritorious award winners were honoured. Financial assistance of Rs 300 per month to 188 ex-servicemen and Rs 45,000 for marriages of daughters of nine ex-servicemen was given besides other grants. Addressing the rally, Col N.S. Pall, District Sainik Welfare Officer, said in the memory of martyrs a memorial would be constructed soon at Fatehgarh Sahib, while the construction of a Sainik Guest House would also be completed soon.

He said that a gallery had been set up at Fatehgarh Sahib in which brief biographies of the martyrs since 1947 had been displayed.


Jaundice cases reported
Our Correspondent

Verka (Amritsar), December 7
A number of jaundice cases are being reported from the Verka township near Amritsar. Many persons have been taken ill during the past one month. Rajrani (55), a resident of Patti Bhara, who was suffering from acute jaundice, has been taken to Mumbai for treatment, said her daughter-in-law. Ranjit Singh, a labourer and his wife Pinki and son Bablu are also suffering from the disease.

Residents of the area have been complaining about contaminated water for a long time. The lack of proper sewerage has resulted in water-borne diseases in the area. The municipal corporation and the Health Department have allegedly turned a blind eye to the problem.

The District Health Officer, Dr Sant Parkash Singh Dhillon, expressed ignorance about jaundice cases in the region. A number of cases of dengue fever were also reported in the area during the past two months.

Mr Anil Kumar Joshi and Mr Ram Singh Panwar, presidents of the district unit of the BJP (Rural) and the Verka mandal of the BJP, respectively, said the disease was slowly turning into an epidemic.

Dr Dhillon, DHO, said the department would send teams to the area.


Chronic ailments blamed on changing lifestyle
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 7
Tobacco, alcohol, failure to get preventative health services, changing life style, lack of physical exercise and environmental pollution and mental stress are the six major risk factors responsible for a large number of chronic ailments. These, if taken care of, can reduce morbidity and mortality rate to a great extent.

This was disclosed by Dr D.S. Bhullar, a senior medical officer from the local Medical College during a three-day ‘Sarv Sikhia Abhiaan’ programme being held at Government Girls Secondary School, Patiala. As many as 70 teachers from various schools of the city participated.

Block co-ordinator, DIET, Nabha, Ms Neelam Aneja, spoke on the guidance and counselling of schoolchildren for opting a profession depending on their capability and educational interests to shape their career.

The master trainer Ms Manvinder Kaur Bhullar, speaking about the physically and mentally challenged children said they should be taken as a part of society.

Ms Kiran Sharma, another master trainer, talked about the growing indiscipline among schoolchildren and the need to understand the reasons for the same.

Ms Murari Lal Sharma spoke on the responsibilities of teachers, Mr Gurdeep Singh on first aid and Mr Ravinderpal Singh stressed on the importance of morning assembly in schools.


Preneet visits Tohra’s wife in hospital
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 7
Patiala MP Preneet Kaur visited the SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s wife Joginder Kaur in a city hospital today.

Ms Preneet Kaur visited Mrs Joginder Kaur at Patiala Heart Institute along with Mayor Vishnu Sharma and District Congress President Ved Prakash Gupta. She inquired about the latter’s daughter and also hospital doctors.

The SGPC chief’s wife has been admitted in the city hospital for the past two days. Her condition has since improved.


168 examined at camp

Bathinda, December 7
As many as 168 patients suffering from various ailments connected with prostrate, kidney stone and urinary disorders were examined at a medical check-up camp organised by the Lions Club (Classic) here today.

Mr Sanjeev Garg, camp in charge, said out of 168 patients, examined by a panel of doctors of Bathinda, Delhi, Jalandhar and Sirsa, 37 had been identified for surgery. All tests were done free of cost. — TNS


Protest against hospital Director
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 7
A rally by IV class employees of para-Medical and Health Department was held against the Director of Mental Hospital here on Friday. They marched in procession from Government Medical College to the Government Mental Hospital.

The employees demanded the cancellation of false cases against some of the employees and reinstatement of dismissed employees. They also demanded transfer of the Director Mental Hospital.


Farmers stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, December 7
Farmers, who have been agitating for the past four days, paid tributes to martyrs of the Ghadr movement on Friday during a dharna staged in support of their demands. The farmers are protesting under the banner of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee, which is being supported by the Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta).


Licences of 6 brick-kilns suspended
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 7
Resentment prevails among the brick-kiln owners of this district against the Punjab Government over the suspension of licences of six brick-kilns about a week ago by the District Food and Supply authorities on different grounds like size and quality of the bricks and use of different types of fuel in the brick-kilns. These brick-kilns are situated at Sangrur, Bahadurpur, Bhawanigarh and Cheema.

Giving this information here today, Mr Kewal Krishan Longowalia, president of the District Brick-Kiln Owners Association, Sangrur, said a meeting of the brick-kiln owners of the district strongly opposed the Punjab Government for authorising the District Food and Supply Controllers (DFSCs) to check at least 10 per cent brick-kilns of the district every month.

Mr Longowalia said the meeting felt that checking of brick-kilns by the Food and Supply authorities would increase corruption. He said the meeting also authorised him to take the necessary steps to get the suspension of the licences of the six brick-kilns revoked. The meeting also felt that such policies of the government would bring a bad image to the government, he added.


Eminent novelist attacked, looted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 7
As many as seven miscreants attacked eminent novelist and short story writer Talwinder Singh last night when he was returning on a scooter alone after watching the heritage festival.

The miscreants allegedly stabbed him at nine places near Children’s Hospital in the Majitha Road area. He was rushed to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital. Two of the stab wounds were serious. However, the novelist is out of danger as per the hospital report.

As much as Rs 1,700, a mobile phone, licence card and important documents were allegedly looted from him. A case was registered at the Civil Lines police station here today.

The folklore research academy of which Mr Tirlochan is senior vice-president, condemned the attack and urged for enhanced security during night functions.


Danish citizen arrested
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 7
The Kotwali Police today arrested a Denmark citizen on charges of forging seals of various local police stations in order to claim insurance worth several lakhs in Denmark.

Superintendent of Police (Detective) Inder Mohan Singh disclosed here today that the police had arrested Denmark resident Ajit Singh, who had a house in Century Enclave in the city, on charges of fraud. He said a probe had been started against Ajit Singh some time ago on the request of the Danish Embassy. The police officer said Ajit Singh had availed of an insurance cover of 1.68 lakh Danish kroner four times after claiming that his valuable goods and money had been stolen during his stay in India. He said Ajit Singh had been able to claim this money because he had presented documents from local police stations which affirmed that his goods and money had been stolen during his visit in the city. The insurance cover had been availed of four times from 1993 to 2001.

According to Mr Inder Mohan recently the Danish citizen had filed a claim for 1.57 lakh Danish kroners on the same ground. He said the Danish insurance company suspected that the claim may not be true and asked its government to take up the matter with the Indian authorities. Following this the Ministry of External Affairs had asked the Patiala police to investigate the matter on behalf of the Danish Government. Investigations revealed that Mr Ajit Singh had not registered a single complaint of theft in any police station in Patiala during the past more than one decade. The inquiry revealed that the accused had made some stamps of authorities of local police stations which were used to affirm complaints of robbery filed by him.

A case has been registered against Mr Ajit Singh under Sections 465, 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC in the Kotwali police station.


Two gangs of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 7
The district police claims to have busted two gangs of thieves with the arrest of its five members and recovered stolen vehicles and gold ornaments from their possession.

The district police chief, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, in a press note issued here today, said that three scooter-borne youths had snatched a pair of gold ear-rings from Mandeep Kaur in the Basti Bawa Khel area while she was on the way to market on December 2. While one of the accused, Paramjit Singh of Railway Colony, was arrested on the spot, two of his accomplices, Pritpal Singh and Mandeep Singh, managed to flee.

They were arrested near Wariana village this afternoon. Their revelations led to recovery of two scooters, a pair of gold ear-rings and two bicycles. Meanwhile, the police arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in gold chain snatching. They were identified as Vishal, Prem Kumar and Jaswinder Singh.


Cop arrested on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, December 7
The Vigilance staff yesterday arrested police constable Balwinder Singh posted at Talwandi Chaudhrian police station on the charge of accepting a bribe of Rs 15,000 from the complainant, Sher Singh of Toti village, last evening.

ASI Gurmit Singh, who had demanded the bribe, however, fled on seeing the Vigilance staff after handing over the bribe money to Balwinder Singh. The erring police officials also manhandled the Vigilance staff and injured the complainant by beating him with the buts of sten gun.

Vigilance DSP Rajwant Kumar who led the raiding party, told mediapersons that ASI Gurmit Singh had demanded Rs 30,000 from the complainant whose relatives, Amarjit Singh and Swaran Singh, were involved in a poppy husk case. The deal struck at Rs 15,000 and the complainant informed the Vigilance staff.


Police clueless about robbery
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 7
The local police is yet to find any clue about last evening’s Rs 3 lakh robbery, which took place in the high-security Police Lines area within hours of police claims about solving a case of robbery of Rs 1.22 crore.

The victims in both incidents were employees of forex companies. Yesterday’s robbery, committed by four armed scooter-borne persons, took place when the Punjab DGP, Mr A.A.Siddiqui, and a former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, were in the city amid tight security.

The incident took place when Mr Avinash, an employee of Sagar Forex Company, situated in Prime Towers, was returning to his office on foot after drawing an amount of Rs 3 lakh from the nearby branch of the ICICI Bank. When he was just about 20 yards away from his office, he was cornered by four scooter-borne persons, who took away his bag at gunpoint and fled towards the war memorial. Mr Avinash informed Mr Vidya Sagar, the owner of the company, who in turn informed the Division No. 6 police officials, who reached the spot after about 15 minutes.

Mr Avinash told senior officers, including the SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, that all robbers were clean-shaven. Mr Vidya Sagar said Mr Avinash had been working with the company for about three months.

Earlier yesterday, police officials were elated at solving a robbery case in which Rs 1.22 crore were robbed by car-borne persons on October 16, 2001, from two employees of Tata Finance Amex Company. The police had arrested two main suspects — Mohan Singh, alias Maqbool, and Preeti — from a farmhouse in Gujarat.


85,000 looted from commission agent
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 7
Three unidentified persons reportedly looted Rs 85,000 from a commission agent of poultry trade at Dhuri, 14 km from here, last night.

Sources said three unidentified persons armed with sharpedged weapons entered the shop of Mukesh Kumar, commission agent of poultry trade, at Dhuri the previous night, and looted Rs 85,000 by training sharpedged weapons at him.


Science exhibition ends amidst controversy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 7
The four-day state-level science exhibition being organised by State Institute of Science and Technology at local BZFS Senior Secondary School concluded here today. The organisers were put in a pitiable condition as Mr Khushal Behal, Minister for Education did not turn up to preside over the concluding function following the footsteps of his State Minister for Education Prof Darbari Lal, who also failed to turn up to preside over the inaugural ceremony on Thursday.

There was great resentment among the teaching community, participating students and teachers.

Talking to The Tribune the students and teachers said that the absence of both ministers from such a big state-level event, where more than 1000 students and teachers from all 17 districts of the state participated showed how much they were concerned about the education as well as to boost the budding students in the field of science and technology.

They also resented the results declared on the concluding day. Teachers alleged that judges meant for judgement were from SCERT, who had no knowledge about the themes of exhibition like food and health, transport and communication, bio-technology, IT, energy and industry.

They said expert lecturers from colleges should be appointed judges as the teachers from SCERT has no knowledge of these subjects.

They termed the judgement as biased and favourable. Women students from Anandpur Sahib alleged that none of the judge visited their stall to inspect their models. Mr Sohan Lal DPI(S), Mr Jagtar Singh Khatra DPI(E) and Sadhu Singh Director, SCERT, presided over the function and distributed the prizes to the winners.

Addressing the students and teachers they said such exhibitions provided a platform to the budding students to exhibit their skills as well as provide opportunity for practical practice.

They said as in the present era of information technology and communication, the world had shrinked to a global village but still there were grey areas, where science and technology still had to do a lot.

They said that the science and information technology had a vital role to play in the development of any country.

They urged the teachers to motivate the students for selecting IT as career and to provide qualitative education so that the nation might get the quality product to compete at the world level.

According to Mr Hardeep Singh, district science supervisor, the results were declared by the judges from SCERT and from the secondary section Sushant Pal from Nawanshahr was first, Shingara Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib second and Gurwinder Singh, Ropar, was third.

In Intel Vidya Kumari, Ludhiana, was first and Disha Muktsar, second. In the individual project Harpreet Singh Ferozepore was first, Baljinder Kaur, Fatehgarh Sahib, second and Parminder Kaur Gidarwaha third. In the Teacher’s Project Kamaljeet Kaur, Payal, was first.

In the rural secondary section Rajvir Kaur, Ludhiana, first, Manjit Singh, Amritsar, second and Parminder Singh Mansa third. In the rural senior secondary Maninderbir Singh Gill, Bathinda was first, Devinder Singh, Jalandhar, second and Honey Kumar, Kapurthala, third. In the elementary section, Veenu Bhardwaj, Sangrur, was first, Harpreet Singh, Ropar, was second and Satbir Kaur, Fatehgarh Sahib, third. In the chart-making competition Kala Singh Patiala stood first, Dharminder Singh, Amritsar, second and Satbir Kaur, Ropar, third.

In the teacher’s extempore competition Kuljeet Kaur, Ropar, was first, Hem Raj Garg, Muktsar, was second and Baldev Singh of Nawanshahr was third. In the quiz competition, Rupinder Singh Muktsar was first, Sonam Bhatia, Gurdaspur, second and Gurpartap Singh, Mansa, third. In the teaching aid competition, Kanwaljit Mangat, Ludhiana, was first, Gurmeet Singh, Kapurthala, second and Rajesh Kumar, Nawanshahr, was third.

Bharat Petrolium gave prizes worth Rs 2000 each to students of three schools, who gave excellent performance. The schools are: Govt High School Braham Di Basian, Ropar, GS Chaki Hariala, Gurdaspur, and GS Multania, Bhatinda.


Impressive show by school kids
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 7
Cultural bonanza with the theme of unity in diversity marked the annual function of Divine Light International School, Sirhind, one of the premier schools of the district. The annual function was conducted in two sessions one for the tinny tots and the second session for the senior classes. Dr Harbans Lal MLA, was the chief guest in the first session, while Mr Madan Lal Hasija, Director, Languages, presided over the function. The tiny tots presented an impressive cultural programme particularly fairy dances and the parents had come in large numbers to witness the performance of their children. The kids were trained in their items and they forced the gathering to cheer them time and again. Both the guests in their addresses appreciated the efforts of the school managment in providing not only qualitative education but also training the kids in every field. Director, Languages, donated books worth Rs 10,000 for the school library.

In the second session Dr Manmohan Singh, Secretary, Higher Education, was the chief guest, while Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the function. The students presented variety of dances and songs related to all most all the states of India.

The choreography on “Unity in Diversity” theme was widely appreciated by all. In their address Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Ahluwalia said children were the future of our Nation and the fate of the country is in their hand. They said it was our moral responsibility that all of us must contribute for the overall development of children. They said that to get education was the fundamental right of every child and we must ensure that no child was deprived of this right. They said that educational, sports and cultural competitions develop the spirit of competition among the children, which prepare them to face the challanges as well as help in overall development of personality of a child. They said that the spirit of competition created self-confidence.

Prof. Ashok Sood, Director of the school read the annual report and highlighted the achievements of the School in various fields.


Traders’ terms for support to Cong
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 7
The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal today declared that it would oppose the Congress in the next Lok Sabha elections if the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, failed to accept its demands at a meeting of its representatives with him next week.

The announcement was made at a beopari sammelan here. About 200 traders participated in the sammelan. Those participated in the sammelan included representatives of various traders associations of Haryana, Rajasthan and Chandigarh.

Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal said that the main demands of the traders included abolishment of octroi, removal of sale tax barriers, elimination of inspector raj and stopping of introduction of exim forms.

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