P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder canvasses for indisposed Preneet
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 18
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today stepped in to canvass for his wife and Patiala parliamentary candidate Preneet Kaur, who was taken ill after addressing a public gathering in the Sunam Assembly segment. This is the first time that the Chief Minister has campaigned for his wife in the constituency.

Mrs Preneet Kaur has been indisposed for the past two days. The Congress sources said she was down with fever and seemed to have caught some viral infection. They claimed that she would be back in action tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ms Preneet Kaur’s daughter Jai Inder Singh Kaur has also suffered food poisoning and is indisposed. Jai Inder has been given charge of the Patiala Assembly segment and in her absence, it is being looked after by the DCC Urban President Ved Prakash Gupta and Mayor Vishnu Sharma.

However, the health of “Yuvraj” Raninder Singh is improving. The Congress candidate’s son has recovered from an illness which had kept him out of the election campaign for more than a week.

Capt Amarinder Singh meanwhile, today addressed a large gathering at Laxmi Palace in Sunam after inaugurating the election office of the Congress in the Assembly segment.

The Chief Minister, while speaking on the occasion, said his government had to take some hard decisions after coming to power because it had inherited an empty treasury. He said the measures being taken by the State government had started showing positive results and the government had enough funds to take on development works in the constituency.

He said the state government had ensured scheduled supply of electricity for eight hours to the farm sector in the state and now it was committed to providing 24-hour supply to every village in the state. He said Rs 280 crore had been made available for the scheme which would be completed by June 30.

The state Congress President H S Hanspal said capitalistic policies had ruined the farming sector in the country. He said in such a situation the slogan “India Shining” had lost its sheen. Two municipal councillors switched their allegiance to the Congress from the SAD on the occasion.

Preneet’s plea to pensioners
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 18
Patiala Congress candidate Preneet Kaur today appealed to the Pensioners’ Association to withdraw the black flag march schedule for April 20 .

Reassuring the pensioners that all their demands were genuine, she said she would plead their case with the state government but regretted that due to the model code of conduct their demands can only be met after the parliamentary elections.

She requested them to work for her and cast their vote in favour of the secular forces.


Punjab got raw deal: Lal Singh
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 18
The NDA-led government had given a step-motherly treatment to the state government, and now the time had come for the people to vote it out of power and form a Congress-led government in Delhi for the development and prosperity of the state. This was stated here today by Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, while addressing a rally in Sirhind town, organised by Dr Harbans Lal, MLA, and the District Congress Committee in support of Samsher Singh Dullo, the party candidate.

Mr Lal Singh said Mr Badal claimed himself to be the champion of farmers but he never raised any demand or issue of farmers with the NDA government, in which the SAD(B) is also an alliance partner. He said the Central government had always been increasing the MSP but for the past five years, the MSP had not been increased though the prices of agriculture-related items had increased by 14 per cent. He said it was only Capt Amarinder Singh, who had organised a dharna in front of the Prime Minister’s residence and offered himself for arrest for the cause of farmers.

He said the state government had ensured smooth purchase of paddy and wheat. In the 15 cooperative mills of the state, sugar worth Rs 550 crore was lying and the Central Government was not allowing the state government to sell this sugar or consume it, he added.

He said the remaining three years would be observed as development years and all villages would be provided 24-hour power supply by the end of June and Rs 261 crore had been deposited with the PSEB in this regard. 


Mann opposes Cong ticket to Tytler, Sajjan
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 18
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD (Amritsar) candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency, today criticised the Congress for allotting party ticket to Mr Sajjan Kumar and Mr Jagdish Tytler, who were allegedly involved in anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

Mr Mann also criticised Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and the SAD candidate from the Sangrur Lok Sabha seat, for not doing any development work in the constituency in the past several years. He also asked Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress candidate from the Sangrur seat to either run his Umeed Khanna Foundation or resign from the membership of the Punjab Legislative Assembly.

Mr Mann stated this while addressing election meetings in the villages of Sangrur and Bhawanigarh areas today.


Bihari doctor banking on migrants’ support
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 18
If wishes were horses Dr Janardhan Singh would romp home victorious. Hailing from Patna in Bihar, he has come all the way to try his luck from the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency. In the process he has also picked up the Punjabi language and reminds one of the famous Punjabi comedian Bhotu Shah, who mimics migrants speaking Punjabi. Dr Janardhan goes from “peend to peend” claiming “peend bi sada, zameen bi sadi, traactor bi sada” and now Ludhiana vee sada.

Dr Janardhan believes that he is all set to spring a surprise in Ludhiana this time by winning the seat. And he has evolved the calculations to convince himself, if not his critics. He claims that of the total 15,58,400 electorate in Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, 4,80,000 voters are from Purvanchal (Bihar and Uttar Pradesh). He adds that all these voters belong to the working class most of whom are employed as labourers in various factories. He points out, it is this section whit votes in abundance.

He believes that there will not be more than 50 per cent polling in Ludhiana. That means only over seven lakh votes would be polled here. Of these over three lakh will be from Purvanchal, which he claims will go to him en bloc, while the rest four lakh votes will be divided between Mr Munish Tiwari of the Congress, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of the Lok Bhalai Party.

Dr Janardhan Singh is a practising doctor who runs a diagnostic centre in Patna. He says most of the time he remains in Delhi and claims close association with Dr CP Thakur, former Union Health Minister, who also hails from Bihar. It is the plight of the migrant labourers in Ludhiana, which drew him all the way to Ludhiana to contest from here.

He has not set any agenda. Nor does he have an policy or programme with which he can go to the people. He believes that political parties like the Congress and BJP hardly implement their policies. He holds that his mission is service to humanity.

It is not just the Bihari and UP migrant labourers’ support that Dr Janardhan is banking upon, but votes of thousands of doctors of Ludhiana. He points out that he is the only professional doctor in Punjab who is in the fray. He wants a chance to voice and articulate their problems in the Parliament.

Dr Janardhan does not want to leave anything to chance. He starts his day early in the morning. Accompanied by his supporters, mostly migrant labour leaders, he moves from place to promising place to change the profile of Ludhiana. 


SAD manifesto for uplift of poor
Tribune News Service

Khadoor Sahib, April 18
The election manifesto of the Shiromani Akali Dal, (SAD) which is under print, to promises to work for the uplift of the downtrodden and streamlining of farming by taking necessary steps. The manifesto has also promised to take care of the trading community and members of the Scheduled Caste, apart from pursuing all genuine demands of Punjabis.

This was stated by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, SAD, here today.

Replying to a question, Mr Badal said the president of the SGPC would be elected after the Lok Sabha elections.


SAD to complain against Cong
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to lodge a complaint with the Election Commission against the Congress for giving party ticket to Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, who were allegedly involved in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, said here today that giving party ticket to these leaders was an attempt to rub salt into the wounds of Delhi-riot victims. He said Sikhs loyal to the Congress should also lodge a protest with the party high command.


Two councillors join SAD
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) received a shot in the arm today when two Independent municipal councillors joined the party.

SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal present at the function to induct Mr Amrik Singh Jaura and Mr Baldev Singh into the party. Mr Badal was also inducted three former councillors — Mr Tara Singh Tokawala, Mr Hem Raj and Mr Jagir Singh, — into the party.


No grants received for foundation, says Arvind Khanna
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 18
Lashing out at Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, the SAD (Mann) candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency in the current Lok Sabha election, Mr Arvind Khanna, local MLA and Congress candidate for the constituency, today said that Mr Mann had nothing to say except telling the people that he (Mann), as a member of the 13th Lok Sabha, had distributed government grants worth crores in the Sangrur constituency.

Mr Khanna also stated that despite contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Sangrur during the past eight years, Mr Mann had not built his house in Sangrur, due to which he (Mann) had to stay in Sangrur as a guest whenever he visited the town. His house was located in Fatehgarh Sahib district, he added.

Mr Khanna was addressing an election rally after inaugurating his election office at the Kaula Park market here today.

Mr Khanna also challenged Mr Mann and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, the SAD candidate, to prove that he had received any grant from the government for his Umeed Khanna Foundation’s four social projects, namely health services, mahila manches, stitching centres and grants to clubs. He said if they proved this, he would not only leave politics but would also leave Sangrur town. He said Mr Dhindsa had done nothing during his 40 years’ political life for Sangrur.

Mr Khanna announced that he would make efforts to set up a modern hospital in Sangrur so that people could get better health facilities here instead of going to Patiala, Chandigarh or Ludhiana.

Among others who addressed the gathering included Mr Jasbir Singh, Mr Mukhtiar Singh, a CPI leader, Mr Ajit Singh Jawandha, a CPM leader, Mr Subhash Grover and Mr Pawan Sharma.

Arvind Khanna opens poll office
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 18
Mr Arvind Khanna, the Congress nominee from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, opened his poll office in the local Sadar Bazar, near Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chowk, last evening.

Some Congress leaders including Mr Bachan Singh Pakho, former Punjab MLA, as well as a veteran Congress leader, Mr Bharat Bhushan Menon, vice-president, district Congress committee, and Mr Charan Kaushal, general secretary district Congress committee, reportedly stayed away from the function.

Mr Makhan Sharma, president, Municipal Council, Barnala, and Mr. Prem Chand Aggarwal, chairman, Improvement Trust, Barnala, were the prominent figures of the town who were present on the occasion.


Tilak Nagar residents to boycott poll

Jalandhar, April 18
Alleging that political parties were ignoring their problems, the residents of Tilak Nagar locality of the city have decided to boycott the ensuing Lok Sabha election.

“Although the colony was built long back in 1972, no politician has initiated any development work in the area and even roads, sewerage system and street lights were still a distant dream in the locality,” said Mr Vijay Baba, a member of Welfare Society of the colony.

Hundreds of people, including women carrying banners conveying their decision to boycott the election, came out on the road today and raised slogans against the central and state governments. — PTI


Sainis disown Channi
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 18
A meeting of the state executive committee of the Punjab Pradesh Saini Sabha here yesterday under the chairmanship of Mr Iqbal Singh, discussed the former Hoshiarpur MP Charanjit Singh Channi joining the BSP. Mr Iqbal Singh, a senior congress-man, told reporters that as Mr Channi did not take the community into confidence before joining the BSP, he could not claim their votes. Mr Channi’s alleged statement that votes of Sainis were in his pocket also invited criticism at the meeting, he revealed. Sainis had not forgotten the remarks of former BSP chief Kanshi Ram against the community at Langroya during last Assembly poll in the state, he added.

He reminded Mr Channi that his father, a former Punjab minister late Dilbagh Singh, had taken not only the Saini community but the entire area people into confidence in 1980 before contesting the Assembly poll as a rebel candidate of the Congress. “Later, Dilbagh Singh again took the community and the people into confidence before rejoining the Congress,” said the sabha president who claimed that theirs was the oldest Sabha that had been there since 1973.


CPM conspiring with BJP, alleges Channi
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, April 18
The CPM secretary, Mr Harkrishan Singh Surjeet, demanded the Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency seat from the Congress under a political conspiracy to help the BJP win the seat. Mr Charanjit Singh Channi former Congress MP from Hoshiarpur and current nominee of the BSP from the same seat, leveled these allegations while talking to newsmen at Nangal yesterday evening. He was at Nangal to inaugurate his election office as a BSP candidate.

Mr Channi further alleged that the CPM had never won even an assembly segment in the Hoshiarpur constituency. The current CPM nominee from Hoshiarpur, Mr Darshan Singh Mattu, lost in the last assembly elections. On the other hand the Congress had won 10 out of 14 elections in the Hoshiarpur constituency.

It was also strange that the Congress high command had not issued any official statement regarding the agreement reached with the CPM for the Hoshiarpur constituency. However, no Congress candidate was announced for the seat which was considered to be granted to the CPM.

The state leadership of the Congress was also kept in the dark regarding the Hoshiarpur parliamentary seat. The state leadership also failed to project its case regarding the constituency to the party high command. Since he supported the dissident group of state Congress, the Chief Minister and the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, did not lobby against leaving the Hoshiarpur seat for the CPM, Mr Channi alleged.

He further alleged that Mr Harkrishan Singh Surjeet projected himself as a prominent leader of the secular front. Being a senior leader he could easily gauge that the CPM could never win the Hoshiarpur seat. However, since he had still grabbed the seat from Congress, it showed that he was just helping the BJP in winning the seat.

Mr Channi also challenged the Congress decision by claiming that he would resign from politics if the CPM candidate won the Hoshiarpur parliamentary seat.

He also said he had the support of Congress workers of Hoshiarpur.


General Samaj Party to contest Bathinda seat
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 18
In an interesting development, the General Samaj Party (GSP), which has been fighting against caste-based reservation, today nominated Mr Gurpreet Singh, a Scheduled Caste member, as its candidate for the Bathinda (Reserve) parliamentary constituency for the forthcoming elections.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Rajbir Sidhu, general secretary, GSP, said their candidate, if elected to the Lok Sabha, would raise his voice against caste-based reservation in matters of recruitment in government jobs and educational institutes.

He alleged that benefits of caste-based reservation had been siphoned off by a section of powerful and influential Dalits. He said under the present set-up the real Dalits had been denied the benefit of reservation and only a section of persons belonging to their castes had been eating away all the benefits, which were intended for the benefit of the downtrodden. 


Declining voter turnout worries candidates

Jalandhar, April 18
Continuous declining trend in the voter turnout has created worry for the candidates regarding the outcome of the ensuing parliamentary elections.

From the past eight general election since 1977, there has been a continuous decline in the percentage of votes polled, with the exception being the 1985 elections.

In 1977, the polling percentage touched the figure of 72.25 per cent, which was the highest in the past eight general election but it declined in 1980, when it was only 59.74 per cent. In the 1985 general election, the polling percentage picked up to 66.88 per cent. After that, in every general election, the polling percentage has shown declining trend.

In 1989, the polling percentage was 59.12, which further declined to the lowest turnout of 31 per cent in 1992, when the Shiromani Akali Dal boycotted the elections during the days of militancy in the state. In 1996, the voter turnout was 58.53 per cent and in 1998, the declining trend continued as the voting percentage was only 58.50, followed by 49.29 per cent in the general election of 1999.

Looking at the Assembly-wise turnout, it has been noticed that the maximum votes come from residents of slums and backward areas, while from posh areas, the turnout has been on the lower side.

Why this decline in the percentage of votes? This is the question which disturbs every candidate during the time of elections.

A former Chief Minister and the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, expressed concern over the declining trend of polling percentage and urged the people to contribute to the formation of the future government by using their fundamental right. He said a study should be conducted to know the reasons why voters were not interested in the polling process in the world’s largest democracy.

“It seems that people have left taking interest in politics and rather prefer in their business and family affairs on the public holiday on polling day,” said Umrao Singh, veteran Congress leader and former MP, suggesting that the voting should be made mandatory for a perfect verdict of the people. — PTI 


Recognised schools’ body to support Cong candidates
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 18
The Recognised Affiliated Schools Association (RASA) Punjab has constituted a five-member committee in each parliamentary constituency to support candidates of different political parties in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state. Disclosing here today, Mr Jagdish Rai Sharma, chairman of the state association who also heads the committee in the Faridkot parliamentary constituency, said the committees of Patiala Gurdaspur and Ferozepore had decided to support three Congress candidates — Mrs Parneet Kaur, Mrs Sukhbans Kaur and Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar — from their respective constituencies and a decision regarding the remaining states was likely to be taken in due course.


Compare copies with original CDs in Badal case, says court

Ropar, April 18
The Special Court yesterday granted permission to compare copies of CDs supplied by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) with original video cassettes relating to corruption and disproportionate assets case against SAD chief and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others.

Special Judge S.K. Goyal accepted the plea of Mr Badal and others to compare the copies with the originals after VB Superintendent of Police and investigating officer in the case Surinder Pal Singh Virk told the court that the prosecution had no objection to it.

Counsel for Mr Badal and others had filed an application in the court in this regard, saying that they be allowed to compare the copies of the compact discs with original video cassettes as in absence of this it was not possible to know whether the CDs were copies of the originals. — PTI


CM, Sukhbir Badal receive nagar kirtan
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, April 18
Thousands of people belonging to different sections of society came out on the streets to pay obeisance to Guru Granth Sahib and have a glimpse of the nagar kirtan which was taken out from the Tutti Gandi Sahib gurdwara this morning to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev.

The nagar kirtan, led by the “Panj Piaras,” concluded at Sarai Naga village in the afternoon. The “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib was placed on a platform on a vehicle decked with flowers. Members of the Gurdwara management committee sprinkled rose water and petals and the road while the procession passed.

People on rooftops and on the streets raised slogans like “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”. The Punjab police band accompanied the nagar kirtan.

From the gurdwara to Sarai Naga village, the birthplace of Guru Angad Dev, people belonging to different villages along the route organised community kitchens. The Nihangs, who followed the “Panj Piaras”, displayed martial art skills by performing gatka.

The nagar kirtan at Sarai Naga village was received by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who arrived about one and half hours behind schedule time, the PPCC President, Mr H.S. Hanspal, a former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Badal, and the Congress candidate from the Faridkot parliamentary constituency, Ms Karan Brar. Mr B.R. Banga, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr R.S. Khatra, SSP, also accompanied the nagar kirtan.

Later, an ugly scene was created when some policemen, including a senior official, tried to stop Mr Sukhbir Badal from entering the D area of the pandal, where the concluding function was to be organised, despite the fact that a large section of Congress men were sitting there. Resisting the policemen, Mr Sukhbir Badal and his associates managed to enter the D area of the pandal.

A section of policemen, who were deployed for the security of Capt Amarinder Singh, were wearing shoes even in the D area, where the stage on which the “bir” of Guru Granth Sahib was placed had been set up.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Hanspal, Mr Sukhbir Badal and Ms Brar addressed the congregation on the occasion. All of them were given “siropas” by the gurdwara management. A book titled “Guru Angad Dev Ji — Jiwan Ate Sikhanwana” was also released on the occasion.


Punjabi varsity to hold wrestling contest today
Guru Angad Dev’s 500th birth anniversary
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 18
To commemorate the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, the Punjabi University has planned to organise competitions in those activities which were introduced and highly valued by the Guru himself.

Guru Angad Dev created an order and gave a definite shape to the Gurmukhi script and also encouraged the artistic expressions of writing of the script. To revive this spirit of tradition in young children, a calligraphy competition for students of University Model School and University Campus will be held on the Punjabi University gurdwara premises on April 19, a press note issued here today said.

Another activity which received special attention of the Guru was wrestling. A competition in this sport is also being organised by the Sports Department on April 19 in front of Gurdwara Sahib of Punjabi University.

On April 20, a huge kirtan darbar will be organised in which bani of Guru Angad Dev Ji in all the nine ragas formulated by the Guru himself will be recited.

A book on the life and works of Guru Angad Dev published by the university will be released by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai on the occasion.

A special lecture on life and spirit of the Guru will be delivered by Dr Jodh Singh after the Akhand Path.

Mohali: The 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev was celebrated here with great enthusiasm. The celebrations were held at the Amb Sahib Gurdwara, Phase VIII. Mr Hardeep Singh, convener of the local Tri-Shatabdi Committee, stated that thousands of Sikhs, along with leading religious personalities, including Singh Sahib Gyani Gurbachan Singh, Bibi Baljit Kaur Talwarewale, Bhai Harcharan Singh Khalsa Ludhianawale, participated in the kirtan.

Mr Hardeep Singh also said the Khalsa Chetna March dedicated to the 300th martyrdom of the four Sahibzadas would commence from gurdwara Amb Sahib on April 20. After passing through Mohali, Kharar, Kurali, Solkian, it would reach Chamkaur Sahib. The march will be led by Jathedar, Akal Takhth Sahib, Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Keshgarh Sahib, Gyani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar Damdama Sahib, Gyani Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Bhai Jasbir Singh Khannewale and Bhai Lakhbir Singh Ratwarewale.


Tarlochan decries misuse of religion by minorities
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 18
Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities (NCM), has taken note of the use of religion for political motives by the minorities, especially the Muslim community, in the country.

The NCM Chairman, who was here today to inaugurate the women’s block of the Bhai Veer Singh Birdh Ghar, being run by the local committee of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, said till now the word “monority” had only been used for the Muslim community, even though Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and Parsi minority communities were also registered with the NCM. The Chairman said it was a matter of great concern that in India the minorities has neither an agenda nor a joint committee. He said as the population of the Muslim community in India was about 13 crore whereas Sikhs had a population of only 2 crore, Muslim leaders had played politics but ignored economic, social and educational issues.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, addressing senior citizens and other residents of the town, appreciated the NGOs for their contribution to society. He said the Union Government was providing financial aid to NGOs under various schemes.

Mr Harbans Singh Kairon, secretary, local committee, highlighted the problems being faced by the committee. Mr Bhag Singh Ankhi, secretary, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar, Mr Jatinder Kumar Sood, president, Municipal Council, and others also addressed the gathering.


World Heritage Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
An independent Chapter of INTACH will soon be set up at Faridkot while efforts are afoot to set up similar chapters at Jalandhar and Ferozepore. This was revealed by Dr Sukhdev Singh, Punjab state convener of INTACH at a meeting of the district unit held to commemorate World Heritage Day here today.

Mr Harkamaljit Singh, secretary information, INTACH, Amritsar chapter, in a press note said the district unit of INTACH had decided to strengthen the INTACH Heritage clubs in schools and for which the programme would start with a sapling tree plantation drive at Kendriya Vidalya No 1 on April 22. He said the district chapter had prepared an action plan for the current year in which it would hold a seminar and workshop in October and an essay writing competition and a quiz contest in September.

Dr Sukhdev Singh said INTACH would preserve wall paintings and document other forms of cultural heritage. He said an expert committee might be set up to prepare a report on the historical buildings. All members urged the state government and other organisations to help in preserve heritage buildings and sites. They strongly criticised the demolition of the Saragarhi Memorial School and encroachment near Ram Bagh Gate and other heritage buildings.

Meanwhile, the Amritsar Vikas Manch has also demanded that special funds be provided for preservation of heritage. It also demanded that structures and parks older than 100 years be identified and provided protection under the Heritage Act. 


Sainik board ties up with IT group to provide jobs
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, April 18
The Sainik Welfare Board, Punjab, has tied up with a Bangalore based IT group to provide jobs to ex-servicemen and their family members on priority.

This was stated by Mr J.S. Jaswal, Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, while talking to this correspondent after presiding over a function to disburse grants among needy ex-servicemen and their family members here today.

Mr Jaswal said the assurance from the IT group to induct ex-servicemen or their kin on priority would solve the problem of the employment for ex-servicemen.

He said even the government had made it mandatory to have a member of the board in every committee constituted for filling vacancies in various government departments. He said it would help in providing jobs under the 13 per cent quota of ex-servicemen. He admitted that earlier the filling of these vacancies was difficult and most of seats remained vacant.

He said the board would soon open computer centres for imparting computer education to ex-servicemen in Faridkot, Chandigarh, Ropar and Gurdaspur this year. Earlier, there was only one computer centre at the Sainik Welfare office in Amritsar. Mr Jaswal said job-oriented computer courses would be run in these centres.

He said the board would soon start courses for improving public dealing and to develop communication skills of ex-servicemen or their wards. He said these courses would help them to get jobs at various call centres in the state. Mr Jaswal said the state government and the board was stressing on the generation of employment for ex-servicemen besides giving grants to them.

The Director claimed that most of the ex gratia payments to former soldiers, which had been pending for the past many years, had been made during the last financial year. Payments to all ex-servicemen in Amritsar district have been cleared, he added.

The Director said all 17 district headquarters of the board were being computerised for speedy work. He said necessary hardware had been purchased and ex-servicemen were being trained at Chandigarh.

He said the government had been urged to provide more staff for the smooth functioning of the board.

Earlier, Mr B.S. Nagal, General Officer Commanding, 15 Infantry Division disbursed grants totalling Rs 72,000 among 27 needy ex-servicemen and distributed 10 sewing machines among war widows.


Ideology missing in politics, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 18
Eminent political scientist and former Chairman of the National Minorities Linguistics Commission, Mr Harbhajan Singh Deol, said here today that Indian coalition politics was devoid of any idealism or dynamism. Political coalitions in the country were driven by the sole objective of capturing power.

Speaking at a seminar organised on coalition politics and related issues by the Punjab Academy of Social Sciences, Literature and Culture in collaboration with the Punjab Bhasha Academy here today, Mr Deol said in the existing political system politicians with gangster-like mentality had been flourishing while those with a clean image watched helplessly.

Prof H.S. Mehta, another eminent political analyst, said politics in the country was moving away from economic and social welfare issues as it used to be till a few years ago. Prof N.S. Dogra, on the political science faculty from Punjabi University, said the Mandal Commission-induced political upheaval had changed the political scenario a few years ago. 


Blast relief: Dang for CM’s intervention
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran CPI leader, today urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to intervene as no compensation had been given to victims who were injured in February 19 explosion in the court complex here. Many shops and goods were damaged in the blast.

Mr Dang alleged that loss incurred by destruction of shops and goods had not been compensated though lists were prepared and compensation was promised. He alleged that even the paltry amount of Rs 2,000 promised to every injured person had not been paid. The veteran CPI leader said treatment at government expense was announced after blast. However, expenditure being incurred by the victims themselves after discharge from hospitals was not being reimbursed despite repeated requestes to authorities concerned.

He alleged that no help had been given to reconstruct the demolished shops.

He alleged the district grievances committee had become unfunctional on the ‘pretext’ that election code was in force. The CPI leader said this move was wrong and uncalled for. Meetings of the district grievances committee were in no way violation of the code.

However, he said any decisions of the meetings could be postponed or may be taken up when the election code ceases to be in force.

He urged the CM to order the resumption of the functioning of the district grievances committee soon. 


Sikh panel points out bias against women
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 18
The Sikh Nation organisation has urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to allow Sikh women to perform seva and kirtan in the Golden Temple, Amritsar. He said depriving the Sikh women of their right to perform seva was wrong, discriminatory and against the teachings of great Sikh gurus.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, president of Sikh Nation organisation, in a statement issued here today supported the resolution passed on the subject by international Sikh women’s conference at Khadoor Sahib and appealed to all Sikh organisations to make their stand public on this issue.

He appealed to the Sikh high priests to address such issues of vital importance.

Meanwhile, Sikh women held a demonstration here to highlight the issue urging the SGPC to decide about the matter at the earliest.


Roza Sharif Urs starts

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 18
The two-day annual Roza Sharif Urs started at the tomb of Sufi saint Sheikh Ahmad Farooqui in Sirhind, today.

Thousands of devotees from across the country, Pakistan and Bangladesh reached here to participate in the 392nd annual Urs.

Last year, pilgrims from Pakistan could not participate in the Urs due to the strained relations between India and Pakistan. This year, a 48-member delegation from Pakistan reached here to attend the Urs.

Observed every year in ‘Safer’ month of the Muslim calendar, the Urs provides an opportunity not only to Muslims but also Hindus and Sikhs to pay obeisance to the saint’ enjoy the fair organised on the occasion and purchase handicraft items.

Devotees today visited Bras village and Talania. Roza Sharif’s Khalifa Mohammed Yohya Mujeddedi said special arrangements had been made for the boarding and lodging of pilgrims, including a community kitchen. The district administration has made elaborate arrangements for the Urs. — UNI


PSEB to install 1800 transformers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
In view of the paddy season, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) will install 1800 new distribution transformers besides increasing the capacity of 550 other transformers in the border zone. This was stated by Mr H.S. Sood, Member, Distribution, PSEB, during his visit to border villages here today.

Mr Sood said the capacity of grid substation 66KV Mudal, Batala, Dina Nagar, Jhabal and 132KV grid substation of Sarna had been increased.


Army man dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 18
An Army jawan died on the spot and three others were seriously injured, when an Army truck overturned on the GT Road at Ambey Majra village, near Mandi Gobindgarh town. The injured were immediately taken to the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh. After giving first aid, the injured were refered to the Army Hospital, Ambala.

The accident occurred around 11 am. The truck was coming from Pathankot and going towards Ambala.

The deceased was later identified as Sawar K. Suresh from 76 Armed Regiment Momun Cantonment, Pathankot. The dead body was handed over to Army officers.

Those injured were identified as Devwarth Yadal from 50 Armed Regiment Momun Cantonment, Pathankot, Lance Naik Chander Singh from 510 Light AD Regiment Madhopur, Pathankot and Raninder Pal from 52 Armed Regiment Pathankot. Members of the Swami Vivekanand Society helped the Army personnel in rescue work.


Five killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, April 18
Five persons were killed and 15 injured when a four-wheeler overturned near Mudowal village on the Subhanpur-Nadala road this morning.

The deceased have been identified as Avtar Singh (40) president, Youth Akali Dal Jalandhar cantonment, Paramjit Singh (25) of Lakhan ke Padde, Bhupinder Singh (13), Savinder Kaur and Manpreet Kaur. All injured have been admitted to the civil hospital here and stated to be out of danger.

The police said the victims travelling in a four-wheeler were going to Khadoor Sahib from Saprot village near Phagwara to pay obeisance on 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev and on the way they first turned to Lakhan ke Padda village to fetch milk from there. The accident occurred when the driver of tempo lost control of the vehicle after hitting a motor cyclist and a bicycle it turned turtle. The police said Paramjit a cyclist was killed and three persons travelling on a motor cycle were also injured.



Doctor ordered to pay Rs 50,000 compensation
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 18
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a medical practitioner to pay Rs 50,000 compensation and Rs 1500 as cost of litigation to a patient.

The order was passed by Mr Amarjit Singh Katari president, and Mr. S.K. Gupta and Mrs Parveenjit Kaur, members of the forum.

Mr Sohan Lal, a resident of Baba Ram Dev Mandir locality here, complained to the Forum on December 16, 2003 stating that he had pain and fever and went to a private clinic in September last year. The practitioner gave him antibiotic injections.

He alleged that due to negligence of the RMP an intra-muscular injection damaged an artery of the patient. There was infection at the site of the injection. After trying to control the situation the practitioner referred Sohan Lal for an ultrasound test. The test was conducted by a Gaushala Road-based centre. The patient was admitted to the civil hospital. The doctor said it was a case of abscess at the site of the injection. The doctor referred the patient to a private kidney hospital at Sriganganagar on September 30, 2003 in a critical condition. The patient had to be operated on there. He had to spend Rs 65,000 on the treatment besides agony.

In his reply the RMP denied that he had administered any injection to the complainant and claimed that he had only advised him to get an ultrasound examination. The practitioner told the Forum members that there was no entry of the complainant in the OPD register maintained by him. But other doctors corroborated pleas made in the complaint.

The forum felt that the complainant had to suffer for long as a result of administering an injection without proper diagnosis. The RMP was directed to pay Rs 50,000 compensation and Rs 1500 as litigation charges to the patient within 30 days.


Farmers to get eight hours of power supply
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, April 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is making arrangements to provide power for eight to 10 hours daily to farmers during paddy season. This was stated by PSEB Member, Operation, H.C. Sood while addressing a gathering at Rurrka Kalan village in Phillaur subdivision today. He was here to hear the problems and grievances of the farmers.

He said there would be no power cut for domestic, commercial and small-scale industrial consumers in the state as the PSEB was purchasing three lakh units of power daily. Mr Sood stated that the PSEB was providing three-phase power supply to farmers for four hours daily. He added that the PSEB was taking several precautionary measures to curb power theft and special campaigns had been initiated in this regard.


Truck with stolen wheat impounded

Moga, April 18
The Punjab Police today claimed to have recovered a truck, bearing a fake registration number, laden with 105 quintal of stolen wheat at Billaspur village. The wheat was procured by the Warehousing Corporation.

The wheat was loaded in the truck on the premises of commission agent firm Hari Singh and Company. The driver of the truck, instead of unloading the wheat at the store of the Warehousing Corporation, took the vehicle to an undisclosed place, the police said.

The commission agent immediately reported the matter to the police. Later, the truck was found stationed at a deserted place near Nihalsingh Wala last evening. Driver Jit Singh, alias Mithu Singh, was still absconding. — PTI


Policeman nabbed for stealing
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 18
The Civil Lines police has nabbed Harinder Singh, a police constable posted in Majitha police district, along with Sanjiv Kumar, a resident of Batala road, for allegedly being involved in many theft cases. The police recovered gold jewellery and mobile phones during a naka here.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kultar Singh, SSP said a case under Sections 379, 411, IPC had been registered against them.

The accused was also wanted in many vehicle theft cases. In preliminary investigations it was found that the accused was absent from duty for the past few days. Earlier, he was booked along with Jhilmal Singh of Sansaran Kalan for stealing and selling three motor cycles. A case was registered against them at Rajasansi police station. He also admitted to stealing a tractor trolley from outside the Golden Temple along with Kulwinder Singh of Tera Khurd. The police has recovered all the stolen vehicles from them.


Pre-nursery school opened
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 18
Ms Neeru Kukreja, president of Little Kingdom Pre-Nursery School, opened the 14th branch of the school here today. Speaking at the inaugural function of the school, Ms Kukreja said that 10 per cent of the seats of the school had been reserved for economically weaker sections of society.

Ms Shuchita Grover, director of the local branch of the school, said this was the third branch of the school in the state. She said that a baby-show would be held in the school next month.


Punjabi varsity Reader gets US invitation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 18
Dr Saroj Rani, a Reader of the Fine Arts Department of Punjabi University, has been invited by the University of California, USA, to present a paper on the Punjabi art.

Dr Rani, who was instrumental in renovating the university’s museum and art gallery, has five books and numerous research papers to her credit.

Two of her books in Punjabi language have been published by university while an English publication `The iconography of Shiva Pahari paintings’ is well-known in art circles.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |