P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Capt, Bhattal put up unity show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
A large number of state Congress leaders and workers, including legislators, who had earlier expressed differences with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, today turned up for a meeting to discuss arrangements for Ms Sonia Gandhi’s scheduled visit to Bathinda later this week.

Agriculture Minister and Deputy Chief minister-designate Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Harman Das Johar, Mr Tej Parkash Singh and Mr Harbans Lal were prominent among the erstwhile dissidents present at the meeting. Also in attendance were ministers, MPs and MLAs.

This is for the first time that Congress leaders put up a show of unity since dissidence cropped up, forcing the party high command and AICC President Sonia Gandhi to intervene.

Ms Gandhi is scheduled to visit Bathinda on January 15 to launch a scheme of empowerment of panchayati raj institutions (PRI). The Chief Minister said in the first phase, functions, funds and functionaries pertaining to six departments, including social security, development of women and children, Welfare of SCs/BCs, public health, rural development, health and family welfare and education, would be transferred.

The Chief Minister also urged Ms Bhattal to convene a meeting of the ministers concerned and party workers, besides officers of the district administration, tomorrow to monitor the arrangements at Bathinda.

Capt Amarinder Singh refuted media reports in which Ms Bhattal has been quoted as saying that she still wanted the Chief Minister to be removed and that certain issues within the CLP remained unresolved. He also criticised the Central Government, saying that the BJP-led coalition did not want the panchayats in the Congress-governed states to be empowered.

About the Daler Mehndi issue, the Chief Minister said that a probe was on into the role of the cops who were investigating the case of human-trafficking against Daler Mehndi. “The guilty policemen will be punished,” he said when asked that Daler Mehndi had alleged that the cops had demanded a bribe during the investigations.


Tohra to visit Pakistan soon
Tribune News Service

SGPC to stay away

Tohra said the SGPC would not participate in the state government-sponsored centenary celebrations of Guru Angand Dev, Guru Granth Sahib and “Shaheedi” of Sahibzadas. The government, he said should stay away from celebrating such religious functions. If the government wanted to make any contribution it should develop Khadoor Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib and Amritsar where these centenary religious functions regarding centenaries would be held during the next months.

Chandigarh, January 11
SGPC chief, Mr GS Tohra, is angry with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s silence over Sikh religious places during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Mr Tohra said today that before the visit he had written to Mr Vajpayee to take up the issue regarding the upkeep of Sikh gurdwaras with the Pakistan Government, especially President Pervez Musharraf. But Mr Vajpayee did not raise the issue. The Vajpayee Government was behaving in the same manner with the Sikh minority as the earlier governments did. “Sikhs are an important minority in India and they were pained because of the poor upkeep of their religious places in Pakistan. It would have been better if Mr Vajpayee had taken up this issue”, Mr Tohra said.

Mr Tohra, however, congratulated Mr Vajpayee and his counterpart in Pakistan, Mr Zaffarullah Jamali, for making efforts to normalise relations between the two countries. “Punjab has been at the receiving end during wars between India and Pakistan. Its farmers along the Indo-Pak border have been suffering huge losses. Peace between the two countries would go a long way to resolve the problems of farmers in the border belt”, Mr Tohra said.

Mr Tohra would visit Pakistan shortly and take up the issue of Sikh gurdwaras with the government there. Many issues remained to be settled with the Pakistan Government regarding Sikh shrines, the most important being over 750 acres of land belonging to gurdwara Janamasthan, Nankana Sahib. The land is being cultivated by certain landlords on paying a negligible rent. However, one farmer has offered to raise the rent to Rs 6,000 per acre there. All Sikh religious places in Pakistan could be renovated with the income from this land, said Mr Tohra.

The SGPC chief said he would like to meet Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani before leaving for Pakistan. The Pakistan Government had agreed to provide a corridor up to gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib 1 km from Dera Baba Nanak in India for devotees to have darshan of the historic gurdwara”, said Mr Tohra.

He said he would also ask Mr Vajpayee to allow a Sikh procession to proceed to Kartarpur Sahib in April this year when the fifth birth centenary of Guru Angand Dev would be celebrated. The Guru was given Gur-Gaddi at Kartar Sahib Gurdwara, according to Mr Tohra. However, the main function with regard to the celebrations would be held at Khadoor Sahib.


Gurmukhi brings Pakistan Punjab closer to India’s
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Title of Punjabi magazine ‘Lehran’, published in ‘Shahmukhi’ (Persian script) from Lahore which has now started teaching ‘Gurmukhi script’ to its readers
Title of Punjabi magazine ‘Lehran’, published in ‘Shahmukhi’ (Persian script) from Lahore which has now started teaching ‘Gurmukhi script’ to its readers. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, January 11
New bridges are being built to establish people-to-people contact between two Punjabs. While the monthly Punjabi magazine, ‘Lehran’, published from Lahore took the initiative to publish literature in ‘Shahmukhi’ (Persian script) and its transcription in ‘Gurmukhi script’ simultaneously, many Punjabi writers in Pakistan have started following the trend.

The Editor of ‘Lehran’, Mr Akhtar Husain Akhtar, has endeavoured to teach alphabet of Gurmukhi to the readers so that gap between Punjabi writers and readers of both the Punjabs could be bridged up.

Dr Joginder Singh Kairon, a noted Punjabi writer and a former Chairman of the Punjab Text Board, said that this trend would help writers of both the Punjabs to study the source material available in ‘Gurmukhi’ and ‘Shahmukhi’ scripts.

Dr Sukhdev Singh Khehra, a Professor of Punjabi School of Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, said that more than 60 per cent of Punjabi literature of medieval period was available in ‘Shahmukhi script’ only.

Hence, it is the need of the hour to learn both the scripts to study and research. Dr Khehra said that the university had been making sincere efforts to bring both the Punjabs closer by teaching ‘Shahmukhi to the students of MA (Punjabi).

A subject of ‘Pakistani literature’ is also a part of the academic course. Dr Khehra who had done his Ph.D. on ‘cultural consciousness in Punjabi literature’ had dished out unique information about the robust Punjabi character by reading Punjabi novels of Pakistan.

Many Punjabi novels, authored by Fakhar Zaman, who was a minister during Bhutto’s regime, had used symbols to write about the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Though his Punjabi novels were published in Gurmukhi script due to the efforts of Dr Karnail Singh Thind, a former Registrar of Guru Nanak Dev University yet Pakistan’s Punjabi literature is being published in ‘Shahmukhi and Gurmukhi’ scripts simultaneously.

Dr Jatinder Jolly, a Reader in GND varsity’s Punjabi Department who had done his doctorate on ‘Pakistani literature,’ said that the publication of Punjabi literature in both the scripts would go a long way in bridging the gap between Punjabi writers of both the Punjabs.

Ms Jagjit Kaur, a research fellow of the department, has been doing research on Pakistan’s Punjabi literature under Dr Jolly these days.

Some of the books which were published simultaneously in ‘Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi’ scripts included ‘bolde athru’ by Amin Malik and ‘Kurlandi tan’ by USA-based Pakistani writer Ashraf Gill.

These books were printed in the press of noted Pakistani Punjabi writer, Illyas Ghumman who is based in Lahore.

A series of books of Urdu writers of Pakistan have been published by Mr Kulwant Singh Suri, the son of famous Punjabi novelist Nanak Singh.

The books are a blessing for literature lovers and have brought priceless poetic art to the doorstep of a common man. For Punjabi singers, musicians and composers the easy-to-read script would open doors for more meaningful milieu of songs compared to the current trend of music scores.


Sops political bribery: Hanspal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
PPCC chief, H.S. Hanspal, has criticised the sops announced by the BJP Government to woo the voter.

Terming these announcements as political bribery, Mr Hanspal said that the Central Government had slept over issue of concessions in income tax returns for the salaried class for more than four years of its tenure and now on the eve of these elections, the government was reaching out to the common man.

A cut in customs duty or in the air travel tax not going to help the common man, who had to buy kerosene at Rs 10 a litre as compared to less than Rs 4 during Congress rule. Similarly, concessions given on laptops, computers or cell phones were not have any bearing on the common man’s life. Hence, the common man would not be fooled by these announcements.


Rs 2 crore to be released for galiara scheme
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, January 11
A sum of Rs 2 crore will be released for the two remaining phases (IV and V) of galiara yojna (beautification and decongesting of the surroundings of the Golden Temple) of the holiest Sikh shrine.

The money will be released as part of the first instalment of Rs 55 crore package approved for the pending two phases out of the total five of the yojna (corridor plan).

The assurance was given by Mr N. Gopalaswami, Union Home Secretary, today after he undertook an on-the-spot survey of the galiara surrounding the temple.

The Home Secretary directed the Deputy Commissioner to release the money after Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta took up the matter with him. Mr Calcutta alleged that the galiara was being ruined due to the callous attitude of the administration and offered, on behalf of the SGPC, to maintain it in case the administration felt unable to do so.

Deliberating on the completion of the two pending phases of the yojna, the Home Secretary said the first instalment of Rs 2 crore would be used for projects which could be completed by the year-end — to be ready before the commencement of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib next year.

Meanwhile, the SGPC today urged Mr Gopalaswami to allow the plying of buses between Amritsar and Pakistan so that devotees could pay obeisance at gurdwaras there twice a week.

The matter was taken up by Mr Calcutta with Mr Gopalaswami at a meeting held at the Circuit House here today. Mr Gopalaswami told TNS the Central Government would look into the matter.

It is learnt that a senior official of India also discussed the matter with his Pakistani counterpart to work out the modalities for plying a bus service between Amritsar and Lahore. However, the only hitch is that Punjab continues to be a “disturbed area” in the record of the Central Government as declared during the peak of militancy. This was why instead of a Amritsar-Lahore bus service, the government opted to start a bus service between New Delhi and Lahore and passengers were not allowed to board or alight from the bus on the way.

Earlier, Mr Gopalaswami visited the Golden Temple twice to pay obeisance. He listened to ‘kirtan’ and partook of langar in the community kitchen of the Golden Temple.

Mr Gopalaswami told The Tribune today,“There is considerable decline in infiltration from across the border in Jammu and Kashmir after the ceasefire declared by both countries”.

He said although the passes in Kashmir were covered with snow during winter, the fencing work along the international border and preventive measures on the Line of Control had also helped in checking infiltration. He hoped that the pending fencing work on the border would be completed by the time snow started melting in June.


Nothing right at Chanalon
Tribune News Service

Chanalon (Ropar), January 11
The Punjab Government’s ambitious plan to establish a Focal Point at Chanalon in Ropar district with better infrastructure in 1991-92 is yet to become a reality as till now only 45 to 50 units, of the 250 small-scale units are functioning in the area.

Several units in the area have closed down because of poor civic amenities and the apathy of the Punjab State Industrial Export Corporation ( PSIEC) and the local municipal corporation. The area was developed by the PSIEC on 105 acres. However, a visit to the area by a TNS team only indicated a step-motherly treatment being meted to our entrepreneurs here.

The president of the Chanalon Industries Association, Col Jatinder Singh, told this correspondent that even though unit owners were paying octroi and all local taxes, yet they were not getting proper infrastructure and administrative support in return.

The area, by virtue of its proximity to Chandigarh and Ludhiana,has tremendous potential for industrial growth, but has so far not been in a position to develop any industrial culture. Most of the units had either closed down or shifted to other areas, he added. In fact, a dilapidated building, which houses the site office of the PSIEC, at the Focal Point, speaks volumes of the apathy of the authorities concerned.

Col Jatinder Singh said the government did not make any effort to set up any major industry in the area and had over the years failed to understand the problems of the entrepreneurs and their workforce despite repeated representations.

Mr Ashwinder Singh, an industry owner, rued the poor maintenance of the area. Internal roads are in bad shape and virtually non-existent at some places. Wild growth of shrubs and bushes cover the road berms all through, including vacant plots. Water stagnation and lack of sewerage disposal were resulting in insanitation and foul smell in the area, he added.

Factory owners were forced to use pump sets to flush out sewage water in vacant spaces, thereby providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Due to constraint of funds, the corporation has not been able to repair faulty streetlights.

Mr Ashwinder Singh rued the absence of a proper shopping complex in the area and said Chandigarh was the nearest market for raw material and finished goods. However, the octroi charge of 2 per cent of the purchase value of raw materials, was an obstacle.

The vice-president of the association, Mr J.P Singh, pointed out the problems being faced by them in the absence of a hospital, police post, post office, bank and an electricity board complaint office on the premises. And for most of these basic services, entrepreneurs have to go to Kurali, about one and a half km from here, or Mohali.

Another entrepreneur, Mr B.S Sahni, said in the absence of a proper fire station in the area, they had to depend on Mohali or Ropar.

Col Jatinder Singh pointed out that despite several representations to the authorities concerned, they had not been able to get a Punjab Roadways bus stop at the entry of the focal point.

The PSIEC SDO, Mr Karnail Singh, said as per provisions, focal points were to be maintained for five years from their inception by the PSIEC and then by the civic body, but despite joint inspections and meetings, the matter to hand over the charge to the Kurali municipal council was still under process. Despite constraint of funds, the government has continued to handle the maintenance of the area for the past six to seven years, he added.


SAD to unfold poll agenda at Maghi Mela
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 11
Expecting early Lok Sabha elections, the SAD leadership has started making efforts to organise a show of strength during a conference at Maghi Mela.

Apart from it, the SAD leadership has also been preparing the poll agenda which is likely to be unfolded before the huge gathering at the conference.

The party’s rally at Maghi Mela will be formal inauguration of campaign for the next Lok Sabha elections.

The Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, Union Health Minister, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Union Labour Minister, Mr Sahib Singh Verma, and a number of other senior BJP leaders would attend the SAD’s conference.

The rank and file of the SAD had already been making rounds to their respective areas to mobilise people for the conference.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, MP, had been monitoring the preparation for the conference.

Over the past few months, the morale of SAD rank and file and workers have gone considerably up after Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and his associates joined hands with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), started making repeated appeals for complete Akali unity.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, MLA, Rampura Phul, said the SAD conference would be the formal beginning of an end of Congress rule in Punjab.

Mr Sukhbir Badal claimed that during the past two years rule of Capt Amarinder Singh, the people of Punjab had come to know that they were subjected to different sots of atrocities while during the five-year rule of SAD-BJP government they witnessed huge development and rule of law.


SAD (A) bid for Akali unity
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 11
Members of the district unit of SAD (A) headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, yesterday urged the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Giani Balwant Singh Ji Khalsa, to make efforts to bring unity among various Akali Dals with the help of the Jathedars of the other takhts of Sikhs.

In a letter to the Jathedar, Takht Damdama Sahib, the members of the district unit of the SAD (A) pointed out that unity among various Akali Dals was necessary so that a united Sikh Panth could fight against the Congress and the other anti-Sikh Panth forces and more and more Akalis could be sent to the Lok Sabha in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Varinder Singh Mann, president of the district unit of the SAD (A), pointed out that the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib had also been made aware of the fact that though the SAD had an alliance with the BJP, issues pertaining to the Sikhs and Punjab, including the river water dispute, release of Sikhs who were languishing in various jails, denial of remunerative prices, etc, could not be solved by the BJP-led NDA government.


Workers told to gear up for poll
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, January 11
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today held a rally of the district rank and file of the party to prepare their cadres for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. In the absence of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and general secretary, SAD, who was scheduled to address to rally, senior party functionaries, including Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, former Irrigation Minister, Mr Paramjit Singh Sandhu, former MLA, and Jathedar Tirlochan Singh, member, SGPC, exhorted the party workers to gear up for the elections, which, they said, could be announced any time now.


Ludhiana to have centre for autistic kids
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11
Ludhiana is all set to have a full fledged centre for autistic children. After an intensive survey of the extent of this learning disability in the city, Savera School for Rehabilitation, a Chandigarh-based voluntary agency which has long been working in the area of mental and learning disabilities like dyslexia and autism, has decided to open a school for autistic children in Ludhiana. Along with this school, the voluntary agency will also run an early intervention centre for children.

The need to set up a centre for autistic kids in Ludhiana arose from the rising extent of learning disabilities among kids there. Savera, which has two centres in Chandigarh, already had on its rolls seven 10 children, who had to come all the way from Ludhiana to seek corrective therapy from the experts on the panel. Because of the increase in the number of autistic kids from Ludhiana, Savera has planned to set up an independent centre there.

Aashiana School for Autistic Children and Early Intervention Centre, to be inaugurated in Ludhiana on February 2, will cater to children upto six years of age. While the early intervention centre will offer therapy to children suffering from developmental delays of any kids (speech, hearing, learning etc), the autistic centre will have speech therapists and special educators for those suffering from autism. Autism, it may be mentioned, is a learning disability that falls under the category of pervasive developmental disorder. Although this disability is present since birth, its symptoms manifest in the child only after two years of age. In autism, a child suffers from malfunctioning in three areas.

Explaining the same, Director of Savera School for Rehabilitation Neil Robert said: “Autistic children hate to socialize. They are so reserved that they are averse to even their mother’s touch. About 50 per cent of autistic children don’t speak for no known abnormality in speech. Those who speak tend to repeat sentences. We call this echolalia. So if you ask the child something, the child will repeat the same after you.”

Autistic children also do not have any power of imagination. They just cannot think visually. Explains Mr Neil, “They are factual to the hilt. Their power to imagine is virtually zero. We had so many cases of autism from Ludhiana that it had become imperative to start a centre there. When we surveyed the area, we found there were negligible services for children suffering from a learning disability of the order of autism. Our school will offer sensory integration therapy to autistic kids. Enrolment is open now.”

The centre will thus become one of its kind in Ludhiana to look into the problem of autistic kids, 20 per cent of whom are in the category of normal or above normal intelligence. About 70 per cent of these children are in the category of mental retardation, while 20 per cent are borderline cases. About the therapy to be offered to autistic kids in Ludhiana, Mr Neil, who will be Director of the school in Ludhiana, said: “Such kids learn the best through hearing. Visual tools are also helpful. So we give them auditory and visual therapy. Because the problem stems either from over stimulation or from under stimulation of senses, we work on such kids by balancing the stimulation.”


Fake labour societies get benefits
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, January 11
Alleged fake labour societies in the district have become a bone of contention between contractors and persons running the societies. Contractors and the office-bearers of labour societies several times had tiffs in government organisations like the municipal councils and thermal plant in the past few months.

According to the provisions of the Cooperative Act the labour societies are given preference over the contractors while allotting work. The labour societies also have to deposit meagre earnest money at the time of allotment of work vis-a-vis contractors.

However, contractors allege that 80 per cent of the labour societies in the district were fake. These societies have been formed by influential people for benefits under the Cooperative Act. These fake societies were drawing benefits at the cost of the genuine contractors. A labour society principally comprises of the labourers who come together to procure work on their own. Concessions in the act were granted to the labour societies to free the labourers working collectively from the clutches of contractors.

However, in this district the labour societies have been formed just on paper by some influential people. They enter the names of their family members or acquaintances in the list of labourers and form a labour society. The fact that most of the members never work at any stage and the founders of the societies were acting as contractors by proxy. It was never checked by competent authorities. If muster rolls of the societies were checked and identity of the labour working for them was verified in the field it could help detect large number of fake labour societies.

During the stint of the SAD/BJP government the Department of Local Governments in view of the presence of large number of fake labour societies at one stage had withdrawn the benefits to them. However, the benefits as per the act have now once again been restored to the labour societies. In the recent past the authorities of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (Ropar) have also written to the Department of Cooperatives to verify the authenticity of the labour societies working in the plant. They have alleged that since as per the act the labour societies do not have to deposit the earnest money it was risky to allot big works to the persons running fake labour societies. The Deputy Registrar Cooperative Societies, Mr Harminder Singh Dhindsa, when asked to comment about the allegations of fake labour societies functioning in the district said that their authenticity was checked at the time of registration. Though there were no periodic checks to monitor the working of the societies the fact can be verified if some specific complaint was received. If any labour society was found misusing the benefits granted to it under the Cooperative Act its registration could be cancelled, he said.


MC turns blind eye to encroachments
Our Correspondent

Nabha, January 11
Encroachments on municipal land can be seen at many places in the town. Though a major chunk of land has been given on lease, remaining is open for influential persons to encroach upon. The council itself is also not lagging behind. A few years ago, it encroached upon the front portion of ‘Purana High Court Ground (Khasra No:- 783), which is the playground of local Government Senior Secondary School of boys and constructed shops there. These shops are still the bone of contention between the school and the council.

People have encroached upon a large drain behind PWD Rest House by constructing houses after filling it up. The lions club on the Cinema road had obtained 500 sq yards, on a lease of Rs 100 per year from the council for running a school for deaf and dumb and a home for widows. But now it is running a marriage palace on 4,500 sq yards while paying an increased lease of Rs 724 per year.

A sanitary goods dealer encroached upon 400 yards (khasra no 375-376) just behind his shop and constructed a store there. In this move, he also brought down a dilapidated building of a booster pump of municipal council, which had been existing there for the last so many years. That pump was used to fill the adjacent water tank, which has not been in use for the past 12 years. A ‘samadh’ also came into existence in the backside of the encroached store. Mr Aman, proprietor of that shop, when contacted, claimed that he had been in the possession of that land for the last nine years. The E.O of the council showed his inability to get this land vacated by saying that a relative of owner of the shop was a senior IAS officer and they had encroached that land when he was posted in the Department of Local Bodies. A retired employee of the council said the council had issued a notice to dealer to demolish that store immediately, but he refused to accept the notice.

Similarly, the local Shiv Mandir Sudhar Committee is running a school on the land it had taken on lease for an old age home. A former member of this committee said old age home project was not viable for a small town like Nabha so the committee decided to open a school. A member of the senior citizen welfare association said, “The committee found the school business more fruitful than to serve the old.”

A newly elected councillor said out of total 76 leased properties, the council was getting something between Rs 1 to Rs 4 per day which amounts to be a few thousand rupees for thousands of sq yards of land. But still the Department of Local Bodies renewed these leases. He said out of 205 encroached properties, the case of only 26 had been settled.


Buses endanger canal banks
Our Correspondent

Ropar, January 11
The illegal plying of buses along the banks of canals in the district is not only threatening the life of commuters but also endangering the canal banks. A large number of minibus operators in the district have started plying buses illegally along the canal banks in the recent past despite objections by organisations maintaining the canals.

They have been doing so to tap the passenger potential of the villages adjoining the canals.

The BBMB authorities, who operate and maintain the Nangal hydel canal, had recently written to the district transport authorities against the minibus operators. They had alleged that the bus operators were violating the provisions under the canal Act that barred plying of heavy vehicles along the banks. The minibus operators had broken locks of gates erected to restrict the entry of heavy vehicles on canal banks, they alleged.

Sources said the plying of heavy vehicles along the banks generated vibrations that could damage the canal structure. Moreover, there was no protection along the banks. A slight error on the part of the driver could endanger the life of commuters. Over the past two years, accidents in which vehicles fell into canals have claimed over 100 lives.

The district transport authorities feigned ignorance about buses plying along the canal banks.

They said if any such complaint was received, action would be taken promptly.

While no permit has been issued to ply buses along the Nangal canal, the sources said permits had been issued to buses to ply along the Sirhind canal. The Transport Department has not even consulted the Irrigation Department before issuing the permits.

Since the Sirhind canal is a kutcha canal, plying of buses, even if necessary, should be regulated in consultation with the Irrigation Department that maintains it, the sources said. Due to the weakening of the banks, the Sirhind canal has already breached once near Ropar, causing loss to life and property.


CPI to build memorial to Bhaura at Malerkotla
Tribune News Service

Malerkotla, January 11
Cutting across party lines senior leaders of various political parties, including the Congress, SAD, SAD (A), CPM, CPM (Pasla), Lok Bhalai Party and CPI along with thousands of persons from different parts of the state today attended the Shardhanjli samaroh at the new grain market here organised to pay tributes to comrade Bhan Singh Bhaura, MP from Bathinda, who died on January 3 in New Delhi.

Talking to TNS Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said the CPI would built a memorial to Comrade Bhaura at Malerkotla.

Those who paid tributes included Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister designate, Mr Avtar Henri, Food and Supply Minister, Mrs Preneet Kaur, MP from Patiala; Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, MP; Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP from Sangrur, and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, MP from Ropar.

Condolence messages, were received from Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, Andhra Pradesh, Mr A.B. Bardhan, general secretary of the CPI, and Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Punjab Cabinet Minister.

Mrs Bhattal announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the development of Niamatpur, native village of Comrade Bhaura.

She also paid tributes on behalf of the Punjab Chief Minister.

Mr Avtar Henry gave his nod to rename Malerkotla Government College after Bhaura.

He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Bhaura memorial trust and Rs 2 lakh for Niamatpur village.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann also announced Rs 2-lakh grant for the trust along with Mr Dullo, who gave Rs 4 lakh from his MP fund.


Mohan Singh discovers paintings of Sikh gurus
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 11
The legendary Sobha Singh may have given the Sikh gurus faces we know, but there are  a few faces of the gurus unearthed by noted art scholar Mohan Singh, a former Director of the State Cultural Affairs and Archives Department.

Mohan Singh, who was recently invited by the Smithsonian institution to present his paper on Sikh Paintings, has claimed to have discovered at least two valuable paintings of the Sikh gurus after study of historical references, besides throwing light on important paintings done during the ‘Misl’ period (1708 -1799) and the Lahore Durbar (1799-1849).

The art historian says no visual account of the paintings nor any literary evidence have come to light as far as the first five Sikh gurus are concerned. He says this can be due to the fact that the sikhism during this period was in an evolutionary stage and the gurus remained busy in propagating the work of Guru Nanak. The martyrdom of Guru Arjan and the pontification of Guru Hargobind were the turning points in the sikh history, according to the scholar. There are a few contemporary paintings of Guru Hargobind, which throw ample light on his personality, he adds.

Mohan Singh says there is a historic reference in “Gurbilas Pashahi 6” about executing of a painting of Guru Hargobind. The reference says two artists, who were father and son, arrived at Kartarpur from Amritsar and made a request to Guru’s disciple Bidhi Chand to draw a painting of the Guru. The reference says on the basis of the sketch made by the artists they completed a painting of the guru which shows him on a horse back. It says the painting was bestowed to Bhai Bidhi Chand. Mohan Singh said this painting along with a few other paintings of the same era were in the possession of descendants of Bidhi Chand at Sur Singh village in Amritsar.

The art historian says a letter of Guru Hargobind, which has been reproduced by Dr Ganda Singh in his book “Hukamnama”, contains a request sent to his followers asking for nightingales and pigeons. He says this is also evident from a painting in Lahore museum in which the Guru is shown holding a hawk in his right fist and a quail in his left hand.

Mohan Singh has also cited a painting of Guru Har Rai, the seventh Guru, which is in the collection of Sodhi’s of Kartarpur. The Guru is shown standing with a long stick in his right hand. He says there are a few other paintings of the Guru in the same posture in the Chandigarh museum. “I used to wonder why a saint soldier having an army of 2200 soldiers is shown with a stick and not with any arm untill I happened to see a long stick belonging to Guru Har Rai with a beautifully carved ivory knob at its top in a possession of a Brahman family residing in Thakurdwara street in Amritsar.

He says there is a contemporary painting of Guru Gobind Singh at Harmandar Sahib, Patna, in which he is adorned with pearl necklaces, armlets and a bejewelled ‘aigrette’ on his turban.

Among the “lahore Durbar” paintings, Mohan Singh says a painting done by August Theodor Scheofft depicts the “Dashera festival” at the court of Lahore in which Maharaja Ranjit Singh is shown with his principal courtiers receiving gifts and ‘nazranas’. The main centre of attraction is Sher Singh, who is shown on horse back paying homage to his father. About 60 persons are included in the painting. Another painting from this period is of Jiwan Ram, an artist of Delhi, who painted Maharaja Ranjit Singh when he had come to meet Governor-General William Bentick at Ropar in 1832. The Maharaja is shown wearing the  Kohinoor diamond on his right arm. The historian says Emily Eden, sister of Lord Auckland, also painted Ranjit Singh in realistic form, besides Prince Sher Singh and his son Partab Singh.


Rs 50 lakh for Bhunerheri development
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 11
Finance Minister Lal Singh today said that Rs 50 lakh was being spent on the development of Bhunerheri area of the district. He made this statement after laying the foundation stone of a road being constructed from Gharaam to Mehmadpur via Jlahkheri.

Mr Lal Singh further informed that the 4.1-km-long road was being constructed at a cost of Rs 42.18 lakh.

He added that the road would be completed before March 31. Besides, an overbridge would be constructed at a cost of Rs 25 lakh from Jlahkheri to Mehmadpur.

Mr Lal Singh presented a cheque for Rs 10 lakh for the construction of the bridge. He added that two more cheques for Rs 15 lakh would also be given shortly. On the occasion, former minister Harmail Singh Tohra announced on the behalf of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, MP, Rs 5 lakh from the MP’s quota for the construction of the bridge.

An NRI also announced Rs 1 lakh for the purpose.


Standing tall at 8 ft 3 inches
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 11
Eighteen-year-old Vikas Uppal of Rohtak was the cynosure of all eyes at the local Konica Resort on the G.T. Road today.

The reason: He is 8 ft 3 inches tall, and claims to be the world’s tallest youth. He had come here to attend a social function.

Uppal disclosed that his hands were 13 inches long while his foot were 19 inches long.

His weight was 195 kg.

Though his height bothers him during travel, Uppal is proud of his height. “It is a gift of God and I have no regrets about it”, he asserted.


Man tests HIV positive
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 11
A youth who was lying at one of the platforms of the local railway station down with dysentry and vomiting, and admitted to the local Civil Hospital by an NGO today, was found to be HIV positive.

According to the NGO president, the man (35), was a truck driver and a resident of Gurdaspur district. He added that the man had gone to Jaipur for his treatment but was sent back by the hospital authorities. While coming back he alighted at the Bathinda railway station where his condition deteriorated.

About six months ago the wife of the patient had died of AIDS. He has a five-year-old son.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, January 11
A motorcyclist, Jaswant Singh, was killed in an accident, near Tara Palace on the Ferozepore road, on Friday.

According to reports, Jaswant Singh (27), a resident of Jalalabad, was going back from Fazilka when his motor cycle collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction, resulting in serious injuries to him. He was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where he succumbed to the injuries.


Expert for improving cotton-picking system
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 11
Dr Anupam Barik, Director, Cotton Development Directorate, Mumbai, said the target of producing 150 lakh bales of cotton will be achieved by the end of the season and more than 140 lakh bales were already in the market. Dr Barik, who had arrived to address a seminar at Sriganganagar, said area under cotton cultivation had decreased due to adverse condition, yet better crop would help achieving the targets. Quality had improved this year in all 13 cotton-producing states. Famine, constraints in irrigation resources and excessive use of insecticides by the farmers were major reasons for the decline. Moreover, cotton growers in Maharashtra and Rajasthan were preferring soyabean, barley and sugarcane was becoming popular in Uttar Pradesh, he said

As many as 113 markets had been developed for cotton in different states. There was a need in improving cotton-picking system. Ginning and Pressing factories had been advised to modernise their units to complete the global market and ginners will be provided training at an institute at Nagpur.

Dr R.N. Goswami, Assistant Director, Agriculture Research Centre, said cotton growers had to take up other crops as they suffered losses for four years due to attack by American bollworm and expensive insecticides increased the gravity of their sufferings. Weather too was not friendly in the past. This year things had made some improvement. For better results, agriculture universities in Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana will have to coordinate in expediting research, providing certified and virus-free seed.


Two held in murder case
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 11
The district police claims to have arrested two persons in connection with a blind murder case.

Sukhdev was in jail. His wife Jaswinder Kaur developed illicit relationship with his-step-brother-Dalip Singh.

On his release he planned to kill the lovers. But they turned tables on him. His mutilated body was found at Laroi Pind.

In another blind murder case, the police had found the body of Rakesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh in Ramgarh.

The deceased was allegedly killed by Amarjit Singh and Bhadur. Amarjit and Rakesh had an eye on Bhadur’s daughter.

The duo is yet to be arrested.


Man arrested for killing son

Hoshiarpur, January 11
The police said today that it had arrested Madal Lal, a vegetable vendor of Jandiala village of Jalandhar district, who had allegedly strangulated to death his 10-year-old son Ravi and attempted to kill his 12 year-old daughter Monika near Gagret (Himachal Pradesh) and eight-year-old son Prince near Phagwara on January 9.

District police chief L.N. Angra said that during preliminary investigation it was revealed that the main reason of the crime was poverty and Lal’s suspicion about the character of his wife. — PTI


Honour for two Malout Principals
Tribune News Service

Malout, January 11
Dr Tara Singh Kamal, Principal of Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa Institute of Engineering and Technology, Chhapianwali (Malout), has been elected honorary president, engineering science section, at the 91st session of the Indian Science Congress Association. This session was held at Panjab University, Chandigarh, recently.

Dr Gurdeep Singh, Principal of the Institute of Management and Information Technology, Malout, has been also honoured as secretary of this association as per a press note issued here on Friday by Dr U.S. Chawla, Dean, Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa Institute of Engineering and Technology.

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