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Tight security for Advani yatra
Venue changed, route decorated
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, March 24
The preparations by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to welcome Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s rath yatra have reached their peak.

The venue for Advani’s public meeting has been changed from Cheema Chowk to Jalandhar Bypass taking into account the factors of security and traffic congestion. Initially, leaders here had decided to hold the rally at Clock Tower Chowk, a relatively congested and busy commercial area, but the venue was subsequently changed to Cheema Chowk.

However, in a meeting convened here last evening, the district and police officials were able to persuade local BJP leaders to shift the rally venue to Jalandhar Bypass Chowk. According to them, the flow of traffic would be better and movement of the cavalcade of Mr Advani would be easier.

The visit of Director-General of the Punjab Police Dr A.A. Siddiqui to the town on Monday evening was indicative of the foolproof security cover being provided by the police. This follows the reports that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), headed by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, would come out openly against the rath yatra.

The Lok Janshakti Party, headed by former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, has also announced to stage black-flag demonstrations against the yatra. The party activists have termed the yatra an election gimmick.

The stretch of the Old GT Road from the Jagraon Bridge to Sabzi Mandi, from where the rath yatra would pass through the city, had been recarpeted by the civic body. However, the MC officials asserted that the work was a part of the ongoing road development project in the city, which was likely to be completed by the month-end.

According to party functionaries, no efforts were being spared to accord a rousing reception to the Bharat Uday Rath Yatra. Even though the party is not contesting the Lok Sabha seat here, Mr Advani’s visit was expected to give a boost to the prospects of the candidate put up by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Dr Subhash Verma, district president of the BJP, said senior party leaders had been assigned duties to oversee arrangements for welcoming the cavalcade of the Deputy Prime Minister after it arrived in the city at 10.30 am tomorrow.

Party functionaries, Mr Balraj Singh, Mr Parveen Bansal, Mr Sat Pal Sagar, Mr Kanti Behl, Mr Sat Pal Sharma, Mr Shakti Kumar, Mr Sunil Mehra, Mr Kamal Gupta and Mr Rajinder Pal Jain would receive the yatra in their respective areas. They would also be making other preparations.

Around 500 two-wheeler riding workers of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha would lead the cavalcade through the city to the venue of the rally.

The entire route of the rath yatra in the city, covering Samrala Chowk, Cheema Chowk, Partap Chowk, Gill Chowk, Vishwakarma Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Clock Tower Chowk, Mata Rani Chowk, Sabzi Mandi Chowk, New Sabzi Mandi and Salem Tabri areas, was being decorated.

According to Mr Ashok Loomba, general secretary of the party, the venue of Advani’s public meeting had been shifted to a site adjoining a petrol pump near Jalandhar Bypass due to security reasons. He said the party was providing all possible cooperation to the administration and the police to make their task easier.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of SAD(A), has asked the Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Mr G.S. Cheema, to stop the rath yatra from entering the state. He alleged that the utterances of the Union Home Minister during the past few days in the course of his rath yatra had left no one in any doubt that the underlying purpose of the yatra was to create a communal divide and disturb peace in Punjab.

Tight security arrangements have been made by the district police in view of the threat by the Akali Dal (A) to stop the rath yatra of Mr Advani at Khamano tomorrow.

The SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Shiv Kumar, today visited Khamano around 3 pm and took stock of the situation.

He said no one would be allowed to stop the rath yatra and action would be taken against persons trying to do that. He said nine nakas had been set up in and around Khamano to stop Akali Dal (A) workers from reaching Khamano. Traffic would be diverted from Farour village, if required, he added.

Meanwhile, the police has conducted raids to arrest Akali Dal (A) leaders, but many of them have already gone underground. About 10 workers have been arrested in the district so far and the raids are on to arrest more.

On the other hand, Akali and BJP leaders today held meetings to take stock of the preparation to welcome the rath yatra.

The police on Wednesday detained nine SAD (A) activists, including district youth chief Ravinder Singh Khalsa and district senior vice-president Gurdial Singh here on Wednesday. The step was taken as part of security measure to ensure safe passage to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s Bharat Uday Yatra, which would enter the state on Thursday.



DC orders more flying squads for examinations
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, has taken a serious note of irregularities in the conduct of Class X and plus two examinations. He has directed the District Education Officer (DEO) to constitute more flying squads and take necessary steps to prevent paper leak and copying at all examination centres in the district.

He held a meeting with all Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Mr Avinash Chander Sethi, DEO (Secondary), and other senior district-level functionaries of the Education Department here yesterday.

He directed the DEO to ban carrying of mobile phones into the examination centres. He said if any examinee was found carrying a mobile phone in the centre, the set should be confiscated and unfair means case should be made against him. In such a case, the invigilator concerned and the centre in charge should be held responsible and action should be taken against them for having allowed the examinee to carry a mobile phone in the centre.

He said Section 144 of the CrPC, banning the gathering of five or more persons, was already in force in the district. He said he was writing to the Senior Superintendents of Police of Ludhiana, Jagraon and Khanna to direct the police personnel on duty at the examination centres and other officers to ensure that people did not assemble around the centres.

The Deputy Commissioner also directed the Sub-Divisional Magistrates to personally conduct surprise checks at examination centres. All Executive Magistrates should also do the same, he added. Mr Verma said the examiners must remain more vigilant on the day of mathematics and science examinations. He also appealed to the general public that in case they had any information about any instance of mass copying, they should inform the SDM concerned about the same so that action could be taken against the guilty.



Lectures, rallies mark World TB Day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
The World TB Day was observed by the Health Department here today at the local Civil Hospital. Dr Anil Verma, District TB Officer, said about 4,500 patients suffering from tuberculosis or TB (tubercle bacilli) were getting medicine free of cost by the department. Seven tuberculosis units and 43 centres were working in the district to eradicate TB.

The SMO, Dr Manjit Kaur, appealed the persons with lasting cough for more than two weeks to get their X-ray examination done.

Dr Verma said the theme for the World TB Day 2004 was “Every Breath Counts — Stop TB now”.

He said India accounted for 1/3rd of the global TB-affected population. As many as 40 per cent of the people were infected with TB and it was unfortunate that in a single day, more than 20,000 persons became infected with TB.

An awareness rally was also organised. Dr Gursharan Singh, president of the IMA, Ludhiana, flagged off the rally in which 200 students of Dayanand Medical College, Lord Mahavira College and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital took part. A poster-making competition was also held.

The Health Education Cell of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital organised the 38th Health Education Lecture at Dumra Auditorium here.

Dr S. K. Jindal, Professor and Head, Department of Pulmonary Critical Care, PGIMER, Chandigarh, delivered a lecture on the current scenario of TB in India.

Dr J. Whig, vice-principal of DMCH, delivered the welcome address. He said TB was one of the most prevalent diseases in India and with DOTs programme its eradication was possible.

Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina, convener, Health Education Cell, said 8 million cases of TB every year and 1000 deaths due to the disease were reported everyday all over the world. In India, 30 to 40 per cent of adults were infected with the disease and one to five million cases were put on treatment every year.

In his lecture, Dr Jindal said the situation could be brought under control with the effective application of DOTs programme.

The impact of TB could be estimated from the fact that 5 lakh deaths took place in India every year and 3 lakh TB-affected children were not able to go to school. If left untreated TB could further affect 10 to 15 per cent people every year.

A memento was presented to Dr Jindal by Mr Amrit Nagal, secretary, managing society of the DMCH. Dr Sandeep Puri, medical superintendent of the DMCH was also present.



SAD holds poll meeting for Ropar Lok Sabha seat
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 24
Mr Harmel Singh Taura, former minister, while addressing an election meeting yesterday at Bhadson village near here in a gurdwara said the Congress government in the state had failed on all fronts and people should defeat its candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The meeting was organised by SAD activists in support of its Lok Sabha candidate, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra.

Lashing out at the Congress, he said after coming to power the party had not only forgotten its pre-poll promises, but had also withdrawn the concessions provided by the SAD-BJP government to Dalits and free power to farmers.

A former minister, Mr Raja Narinder Singh, reminded the audience that whenever the Akalis came to power, it had conceded the demands of the employees, Dalits and farmers. The Congress government had done nothing for the development of the people of the state during its two years' rule.

Mr Libra was critical of the Congress candidate, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, who during his five- year tenure as the Lok Sabha member from this constituency, had failed to work for the development of the area.

A former state Youth Congress President and former MLA, Mr Ramesh Singla, said the present Congress couldn't be called the party of the masses which had been a puppet in the hands of a few rich families. That's why he (Mr Singla ) had left the Congress and joined the SAD. Mr Balwant Singh Shahpur, former MLA, Amloh, accused the Congress of withdrawing the concessions of Dalits, given by the SAD government. The SAD would defeat the Congress candidate of this constituency, he maintained.



Shiv Sena not to support BJP-SAD combine
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
The Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) has made it clear that it will contest the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab on its own. The party has taken a strong note of the propaganda by the BJP-SAD combine that the Shiv Sena will support their nominees in the coming elections.

Addressing a news conference here last evening, the state president of the party, Mr Ravinder Arora, said an orchestrated campaign launched by certain vested interests was a conspiracy to create confusion among the electorate. He said, “According to information received from Lieut-Gen P.N. Hoon (retd), party in charge for Northern India, the talks between senior leaders of the Shiv Sena and the BJP for electoral adjustment outside Maharashtra have turned out to be futile.”

Mr Arora claimed that there was a feeling among senior Shiv Sena leaders, including the party supremo, Mr Bal Thackeray, that the BJP leadership was giving a raw deal to their party functionaries outside Maharashtra.

He said except for Maharashtra, there was no seat adjustment between the two parties and the Shiv Sena was all set to contest elections on its own from suitable places, not only in Punjab, but also in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Elaborating on the electoral agenda of the party, he said the successive Congress governments and later the SAD-BJP government in the state had failed to safeguard the interests of the trade and industry. The party was also opposed to the policy of privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board and handing over the work of octroi collection by local bodies to private contractors, who were fleecing traders, he added.



Early completion of unfinished projects sought
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 24
The Sarpanch of Bhaironmunna village, Mr Rajinder Singh, has demanded the early completion of unfinished development projects in the village.

He has demanded that the roads in the village should be repaired at the earliest. The link road from Bhaironmunna to Soodan Wala, the road leading to the cremation ground and the Chandigarh road need immediate repairs.

He also highlighted the need to cleanse the village pond, installation of streetlights and setting up of colonies for Dalits. These development projects should be initiated at the earliest, he said.

The grant of Rs 10 lakh by Mr Ishar Singh Meharban, former minister, and of Rs 1 lakh by an MP, Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, had been utilised for the development of the village, he claimed.



Lok Bhalai Party one-man show, says SAD candidate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
The SAD on Monday said Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia’s Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) was a one-man show and the issue being raised by the LBP did not reflect the ground realities.

Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president of the Youth Akali Dal and the SAD-BJP candidate from the Ludhiana Parliamentary seat, said despite indications that the LBP would contest many seats, no other candidate had been announced so far.

Party sources said Mr Dhillon had covered more than 200 villages and many towns falling in the constituency.

The district Bar Association and Pensioners Welfare Association and industrial workers had pledged him support.



Block Cong Committee releases list
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, March 24
The Block Congress Committee (BCC) organised a meeting of party activists at the Gymkhana Club here today. Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, former member of the Lok Sabha and candidate from Ropar (reserved constituency), was the chief guest. It was attended by MLA Sadhu Singh, district Congress chief Vaid Hari Krishan, state general secretary Joginder Singh Maini, council chief Joginder Pal Singla, council vice-president Jagmeet Singh Bawa and Gobindgarh Block Congress chief Narinder Singh Sekhon.

The following list of office-bearers of the BCC (Rural) was released: senior vice-president — Jarnail Singh Kumbh; vice-presidents— Kulwant Singh Turan, Sukhdev Singh Shahpur, Jagjeet Singh Badeen Pur, Harpal Singh Nivan, Mahender Singh and Major Singh; general secretaries— Rashpal Singh, Jagan Nath, Mahender Singh, Rupinder Singh, Wadhava Singh Kuldeep Singh Mander, Bhupinder Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Kartar Singh, Ashok Kumar and Ajit Singh; secretaries— Bahadur Lal Dhiman, Gurmukh Singh, Jagroop Singh, Santokh Singh, Amandeep Kumar, Sumeet Kumar, Sunny Sagar and Darshan Kumar; joint secretaries— Jeet Singh, Kamaljeet Singh, Balwinder Singh, Sukhdev Kaur, Hardyal Singh, Ramesh Kumar and Mewa Singh.



Writing on aspects of Sikhism
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, March 24
The Shiromani Punjabi Lekhak Sabha here was inaugurated here today by Dr Kharak Singh, a former economic adviser with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Rome.

Dr Kharak Singh, who has been producing a literary journal on Sikh history and research articles since his retirement, has also been an active supporter of the implementation of the Nanakshahi Calendar.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Dr Kharak Singh said during his job, he travelled extensively. Wherever, he went, his turban and beard aroused curiosity. People got interested in the Sikh religion and wanted to read about it.

Dr Kharak Singh said, “I could not recommend many books as very little literature was available in English. After my retirement in 1984, I settled down in Chandigarh and decided to write about various aspects of Sikhism in English, besides taking out a quarterly journal ‘Abstracts of Sikh studies’ from 1992 ”.

Dr Kharak Singh, later, founded “Institute of Sikh studies”. The institute has produced more than 25 books on Sikhism.

He said in 1994, I convened a meeting during which I recommended that the Nanakshahi Calendar should be followed. Members of the SGPC, representatives from universities and other Sikh organisations were invited to discuss the problems which lay with the existing Samvat Bikrami calendar.

“A committee was formed which drafted the Nanakshahi Calendar. A committee of historians was formed to find the exact days of Guru’s birthdays and death dates”, he said.

The Government of India has also accepted this calendar.

“Earlier, the dates of gurpurb varied according to the old calendar. Sometimes, the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh fell twice in a year. However, in 1999 when the tricentenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth were being held, Guru Gobind’s Singh birth anniversary did not fall on any day in that year,” said Mr Kharak Singh.

The other calendars like the Common Era Calendars that are followed all over the world follow the solar calendar too like the Nanakshahi calendar.

The problem with the Bikrami calendar is that its calculations are not linked with the sun but with a group of constellations of stars. So the Bikrami Calendar is longer than the solar calendar by 20 minutes. Therefore, the time gap increases by one hour after three years and after 70 years, the time gap will be of one full day.

Due to these calculations, Baisakhi that was celebrated on March 27 when Guru Nanak Dev was born and presently has shifted to April 14. In about 1000 years, Baisakhi will shift to May.

He said the institute was carrying out research on Gurbilas, Gursabha, Panth Prakash written in Braj Bhasha and translate in Gurmukhi script.



SAD, BJP men seek support for Dhillon
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, March 24
Rural workers of the Akali Dal and the BJP organised a meeting in support of the local candidate, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, yesterday.

They decided to divide the area into zones and asked members to campaign in favour of the party's candidate.

The meeting was attended by Mr Heera Singh Gabria, former MLA, Mr Santa Singh Umaidpuri, Mr Gurmail Singh Sangowal, member, SGPC, Baba Jagroop Singh, Mr Arjun Singh Majara, Thekedar Ajmer Singh Bhagpur, Mr Kulwant Singh Alamgir, Mr Baljinder Singh Dharaur, Mr Baldev Singh Dharaur, Jathedar Sukhdev Singh, Dr Shamsher Singh Kaili, Mr Pal Singh Sandhu, Mr Kulwant Singh Kanti, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu, Mr Pawan Kumar Tinku, Mr Manjit Singh and other Akali leaders.

Another meeting was organised at Arya Girls School, Sahnewal, under the presidentship of Mr Pawan Kumar Tinku, General Secretary of the BJP's Sahnewal Circle, yesterday. Mr Hari Krishan, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Major Singh, Mr Gopal Singh, Mr Jai Kumar, Mr Balwant Singh, Mr Harbans Singh and other BJP workers were present on the occasion.



Ex-servicemen league not govt body, clarify members
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 24
Col J.S. Mand (retd), president, Indian Ex-Servicemen League (Punjab, Chandigarh), chaired a meeting of ex-servicemen at Jagraon recently. Col Bhag Singh (retd), president, IESL (Ludhiana), was also present. The meeting was attended by working committee members and others.

The league condemned the “baseless” statement made to the Press by some ex-servicemen that the league was a government organisation funded by the government. The members said the league was a non-political body, self-financed and financed by the Royal British Commonwealth League. The league came into existence in 1964 and was recognised by the government of India and affiliated to the Commonwealth league, which has 53 nations as its members.

They said a few frustrated ex-servicemen were making such statements to mislead the ex-servicemen. The members said in case such statements were made in future, the league would go to court for filing a defamation suit.



Encroachments removed to make way for yatra
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 24
Keeping in view the Bharat Uday Rath Yatra, being undertaken by Mr Lal Krishan Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, which will pass through Samrala on its way to Ludhiana, all encroachments along the proposed route have been removed by the local administration.

The police has made tight security arrangements in the area. According to sources, workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will be rounded up this evening as a precautionary measure. Many workers of the party have already gone underground to evade action by the police. On the other hand, workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and the Bharatiya Janata Party are actively participating in preparations for welcoming the rath yatra.

Mr Anil Gupta, executive member of the BJP Punjab unit, along with senior officer-bearers, including president of the city unit, Mr Rajbir Singh Mangat, Mr S.P. Kalra, district media in charge, Mr Pawan Gupta, Mr Parkash Arora, Mr Tagra, Mr Raju Gopal, are busy making preparations for the yatra. Akali workers are also at work under the leadership of Mr Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian. Those actively participating in the work are Mr Joginder Singh Seh, Gyani Mohinder Singh Bhanglan, Mr Inderjeet Singh Lopon.



Tea seller kidnapped, five booked
Our Correspondent

Khanna, March 24
Mohinder Singh was allegedly kidnapped by five employees of wine contractors from near Gurdwara Kalgidhar on the GT road, Khanna, yesterday. A case has been registered against them at city police station.

Some employees of the local wine contractors of Khanna went to the shop of Mohinder Singh and Baldev Raj and started searching it. These employees had been identified as Sandeep, Lali, Binder, Kalam and Ganesh. These persons alleged that Mohinder and Baldev were illegally selling liquor at the tea stall. They beat them up and forcibly took Mohinder Singh with them in a vehicle. A case was registered against them. Later on, Mohinder Singh was released.



LIC extends insurance cover to 2 cr policy holders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24
The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has extended insurance protection cover to two crore people in the current financial year.

Disclosing this here today, a senior official of the LIC said the corporation had underwritten 2,05,23,365 policies with an assured sum of Rs 1,48,284 crore and premium of Rs 6,137.03 crore. This was in lieu of 3.10 lakh policies under the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana. A sum of Rs 5,700 crore had been collected under this scheme. Besides this, group cover to 22.69 lakh persons had been granted, the new premium under group scheme being Rs 2,332.85 crore.

He said LIC's individual assurance shows a growth of 13.44 per cent on policies, 22 per cent on sum assured and 19.94 per cent on first premium income. The group insurance portfolio, which had already crossed the target on premium income and number of lives, also reflects growth of 48 per cent in lives and 97 per cent in premium. The Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana, a boon to senior citizens, was likely to cross premium collection of Rs 6,500 crore.

The official maintained, with the prime productive days of the current fiscal ahead, the corporation was close to its goals thanks to growing response of policy holders to capital market linked plan-'Bima Plus,' new plan 'Jeevan Saral' existing single premium 'Bima Nivesh Triple Cover' and individual pension plans.

On servicing front, number of claims settled up to February 28 exceeded 77 lakhs for over Rs 15,000 crore. The number of claims was likely to cross one crore mark by the end of March.


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