P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SGPC unhappy with celebration preparations
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 24
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today expressed dissatisfaction over the arrangements made so far by the district administration in connection with the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib, proposed to be started from September 1.

The displeasure was conveyed to the representatives of the district administration, including the Deputy Commissioner and the district police chief, at a meeting held here today. However, the district officials assured the SGPC of coming up to the expectations of the Sikh sangat.

For smooth flow of the traffic, it was decided to introduce a one-way system on all roads during the celebrations. No vehicle would be allowed to enter the walled city from August 28.

Among those who attended the meeting were Capt Kanwaljit Singh, a former Akali minister, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Jhabal and Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta — all SGPC members — Mr Dalmeg Singh , SGPC secretary, Deputy Commissioner Raminder Singh, Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, and other officials of the administration .

Meanwhile, work on a 10 quintal palki (palanquin) on which Guru Granth Sahib would be placed on September 1, was completed today. The palki is made of gold (14 kg), silver, copper and expensive wood. It took more than five months to complete the palki.

The factionalism in the SGPC and the Akali Dal has resulted in a lack of coordination. All Sikh high priests including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, would remain pre-occupied with the chetna marches being taken out from various parts of the country to mark the occasion. They would reach Amritsar on August 30, while the presence of the Akal Takht Jathedar and other high priests in Amritsar ahead of the celebrations is a must as a number of dignitaries from all over the world are thronging Akal Takht and the Golden Temple to discuss important issues concerning the Panth.


Over 30 medical teams for Amritsar function
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, August 24
More than 30 special medical teams, including five mobile teams fully equipped to meet any eventuality, headed by medical officers will be placed at important locations and periphery of the walled city from August 30 to September 1 during the quadri-centennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib here as several lakh people are expected to visit the holy city.

Besides medical officers these teams will also include one pharmacist, one multipurpose female worker, one multipurpose male worker and a class IV employee. The teams will carry emergency medicines and first aid kit. A meeting of all senior medical officers of government-run hospitals and the Civil Surgeon was held here today.

The medical teams will work in three shifts and will remain on duty round the clock during celebrations.

Dr H.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, while talking to this correspondent said the Health Department had made adequate arrangements to meet any eventuality. He said medicines worth Rs 3 lakh were being procured. These medicines and treatment will be given free to pilgrims in need. He said all government-run hospitals, including Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and Civil Hospital had made special arrangements in this regard.

He said even private multi-speciality hospitals like Escort, Fortis, Kakkar and Muni Lal Chopra hospitals had been informed to keep their emergency and intensive care units on alert in case of any mishap.

Medical teams would be posted at Government College for Women, Khalsa College Public School at Amritsar and Fatahpur village, Government Polytechnique, Chheharta, United Convent School, Mai Bhago Polytechnique, Dairy Complex and New Amritsar where devotees would be camping for the celebrations.

Dr H.S. Nagpal, president of the district unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also been informed. He said two exhibition stalls for information regarding medical aid had been placed at Chowk Fawara near the Golden Temple and New Amritsar, the venue of the celebrations.


Youth Akali Dal to participate in quadricentennial celebrations
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
The General Secretary, SAD (B) and an MP Mr Sukhbir Badal, today said the members of the Youth Akali Dal (B) would lead the nagar kirtan, which would be taken out from Takht Damdama Sahib on August 29 to mark the beginning of celebrations of 400th anniversary of installation of Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden temple, Amritsar.

Mr Badal, who addressed a meeting of the party MLAs, MPs and other members of the organisation said that members of the Youth Akali Dal would wear white ‘kurta pyjama’ and saffron coloured turban on the occasion.

He said that people should celebrate the historic occasion by keeping its religious sanctity intact and nobody should try to drive political mileage from the same. Meanwhile, Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon, former Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, in a press note issued today said ex-servicemen would participate in the chetna march, that would be taken out on the occasion.


Warm welcome awaits chetna march
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 24
Gurmat Chetna March would be accorded a warm welcome, when it enters Fatehgarh Sahib district on its way to Amritsar on August 29. The SGPC has given the rights to heads of various educational, religious, social institutions and political leaders of the area to make required arrangements in this regard, said Dr. Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal Mata Gujri College Fatehgarh Sahib, while addressing mediapersons here today.

He said that a meeting of SGPC members, SAD leaders, principals of colleges, managers of gurdwaras and over 24 principals of Khalsa Schools, belonging to Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala and Ludhiana districts was held here today in this regard.

He said that Gurmat Chetna March, dedicated to Sant Kabir and Guru Ravi Dass, would start from Banaras (birth place of Sant Kabir and Guru Ravi Dass) on August 25 and would reach Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib Delhi on August 28.

The march would leave Delhi on August 29 and would be received at Sambhu, at Punjab border by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister, along with top SAD and SGPC leaders. He said that the march would reach Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib in evening and processionists would stay overnight at Fatehgarh Sahib before leaving for Amritsar.

He said that all buildings, including Gurdwaras, colleges and schools would be decorated with lights and the route from Sambhu to Amritsar would be decorated with welcome boards, banners and gates. A light-and-sound programme would be organised at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib.

He appealed to all sections of society to welcome the Gurmat Chetna March and to join the celebrations of 400th year of installation of Guru Granth Sahib.


Negligence behind jailbreak; 2 more suspended
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Preliminary inquiry into the Ferozepore jailbreak case has reportedly established negligence on part of prison officials. Soon after an inquiry report into the matter was submitted to the Punjab’s Prisons Department this morning, two more officers were placed under suspension with immediate effect.

The suspended personnel included Deputy Jail Superintendent Amarjit Singh and Assistant Jail Superintendent Shiv Raj Singh. The number of jail officials placed under suspension after the incident has now risen to nine. Seven officials, including two head wardens and five wardens, were suspended on Monday.

Giving details of follow-up action, the sources in the Prisons Department claimed that a letter was also written to the state government apprising the authorities of the situation and alleged lapses on part of jail officials. This, the sources added, was essential for enabling the state government to take necessary action against the erring officials.

Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) J.P. Birdi and Inspector-General of Police (Prisons) S.K. Dutta were not available for their comments on the issue.

Referring to the inquiry report, the sources, meanwhile, stated that probe into the incident by Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Prisons) Jagjit Singh had revealed that rules and regulations, specified in the jail manual, were not being followed by the jail staff in letter and spirit.

The report added that there was laxity on part of jail officials. Department authorities looking into the matter further claimed that Punjab Armed Police (PAP) personnel posted at the surveillance towers had also acted in a negligent manner.

The three inmates — including two sentenced to life imprisonment for murder — had managed to escape from the jail after making a hole in the toilet wall. They reportedly scaled the outer wall with the help of a bamboo rod and a rope.

The incident was second of its kind to have taken place in 2004. On January 21, three alleged assassins of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh had escaped from Model Jail in Burail village in Chandigarh. The trio were yet to be traced. Following their escape, several steps were taken both in Punjab and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. But lessons were not learnt from the incident, apparently.


Service tax unjustified: Badal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 24
Dubbing the imposition of the service tax on truckers an unjustified step, the Shiromani Akali Dal chief Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said instead of burdening the truckers with taxes, the government should try to solve their problems.

Mr Badal, who was talking to mediapersons after addressing a meeting of the party office-bearers here, said the service tax on the truck operators was neither required nor justified, particularly in view of the multifold hike in the prices of inputs like diesel. “I am told that operating trucks is no more a lucrative business, for the hike in input prices and for the increasing competition. So I don’t think that any tax should be imposed on the truckers, most of whom are Punjabis,” said Mr Badal, who was accompanied by Mr Balbir Singh, former Jalandhar MP, Bibi Jagir Kaur, Ms Upinderjit Kaur and Dr Daljit Singh Cheema.

Mr Badal, who discussed the party’s preparation regarding the celebrations to mark 400 years of installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple, said his party was celebrating the event in a big way and he would lead a march from Sultanpur Lodhi to Amritsar on August 31. The procession would reach Amritsar by evening of August 31. He exhorted the party office-bearers to mobilise people for participation in the celebrations.

Referring to the approach of the Congress led Central Government towards Punjab, Mr Badal alleged that the Centre was not going to extend any relief to Punjab. “They have not given any flood relief. So what we should expect from them?” questioned Mr Badal.


Punjab seeks gas pipeline link with national grid
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Punjab has sought a gas pipeline linkage with the national gas grid. It has approached the Gas Authority of India Limited in this connection.

"Negotiations are on with GAIL. We have put our case before the authority with all facts and figures at our command", said a senior officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, which has taken the initiative in this connection.

"Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and all other states have gas pipeline linkage with the grid. Punjab has no such facility", said the officer. As Punjab required the linkage to set up a gas-based thermal plant at Doraha, the PSEB authorities had been pursuing the matter with authorities concerned in Delhi.

"If need be the state government would also approach the Prime Minister and the Union Petroleum Minister in this connection", says the officer. Punjab is a power- deficit state. It faced a lot of problem to avail power from the national grid in the past months. In fact, certain surplus states and Central organisations jacked up power rates and sold power to Punjab at the highest rate when it was facing a serious crisis on the power front.

After going through such a rough experience, Punjab has reviewed its policy of not making fresh addition to its existing power generation capacity. In fact, as Punjab availed power at cheaper rates from the national pool and other surplus states for the past many years, the governments concerned had opposed the installation of new power projects during that period. However, now the Union Power Ministry has told all states concerned that they should be self-dependent and not look towards the national pool, which always remains over-stretched at the time of crisis.

Keeping in view the latest developments, Punjab has not only decided to start work on the phase II of the 500 MW Lehra Mohabbat Thermal Plant but also proposed to install a gas- based 1000 MW thermal plant near Doraha. Power generation cost is far less in gas-based thermal plants compared to coal- bases ones.

Only a few weeks ago, GAIL had announced to lay a gas pipeline worth Rs 4500 crore to link Jagdishpur in Uttar Pradesh with Haldia in West Bengal. " If such a huge project can be sanctioned for UP and WB, why could the same not be done in case of Punjab", asked the PSEB official.

Punjab's big misfortune is that the Centre had not invested a single penny in the state in the power sector, while in other states such as Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, J and K etc, the Centre's public sector undertakings such as the National Thermal Power Corporation and the National Hydro Power Corporation have invested several thousand crores of rupees in power sector. For instance, one atomic power station near Kota and one gas- based power generation station near Anata have been set up by the Central Government agencies and likewise in Uttar Pradesh numerous power plants at places like Singrolly, Rihand Unchhahar etc had been by the public sector undertakings functioning under the control of the Central Government.

In Delhi, power plants have been set up at Badarpur and Dadri and in Haryana, a gas- based power plant has been set up. In Himachal and J and K, various hydro power projects have been set up by the Centre. But Punjab, which is the leading agricultural state and where the per capita power consumption is perhaps the highest in the country, has been ignored by the Union Government as far installing any such project in the state is concerned. 


Population growth rate in Punjab comes down
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

GURDASPUR: The population growth rate in Punjab has come down by 0.1 per cent since the last census in 2001. As per new information collected by the Census Department six months ago through a sample-based registration survey, a positive trend regarding decreasing population growth rate has been noticed in the state.

The Director, Census, Mr Inderjit Singh, gave this information while addressing a press conference here recently. He was here to hold a meeting of Gurdaspur officials regarding the campaign to issue birth certificates.

The Director further said as per the sample survey, however, the sex ratio in the state remained alarmingly imbalanced. Fatehgarh district continues to have the lowest sex ratio of 754 females for 1000 males in the entire country.

The Department of Census has also conducted a special survey to identify the number of handicapped people in Punjab. The data regarding the handicapped people in the state is being calculated under five heads, including the mentally challenged.

The data regarding the number of handicapped people in the state would be ready shortly. It would help the government in planning welfare schemes for the handicapped in the state.

A pilot project for issuing multipurpose national identity cards has been launched for the northern states in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir. Once the project was tested and its anomalies were removed, it would be implemented in the entire country.

Punjab has topped in issuing birth certificates under the national campaign to issue birth certificates. Till date 43.38 lakh birth certificates have been issued in the state under the said scheme. Till the completion of the campaign on September 15, about 50 lakh new birth certificates would be issued in the state.

The Punjab Government has also amended the birth and death registration rules to facilitate the general public. Under the notification issued by the Punjab Government on 3-08-2004, the fee for the late registration of the name in the birth certificates has been exempted for a period of two years.

Similarly, the production of the birth certificate has also been made mandatory before admission in any school of the state, he 

The Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, Mr Harjit Singh, who was accompanying the Director, said in this district till date 2.40 lakh birth certificates had been issued. 


Bank services paralysed
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, August 24
All banking operations here came to standstill today following the nationwide strike call given by various bank unions.

Clearing operation throughout the city were paralysed, affecting business transactions.

Various bank employees’ unions, under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions, held a demonstration outside Indian Overseas Bank and Punjab National Bank, Hall Bazar today. Mr S. S. Dhillon, regional committee member of the All-India Overseas Bank Employees Union, demanded immediate settlement of wage revision.

SANGRUR: Local branches of public sector banks observed a strike on Tuesday and held a demonstration in front of the main branch of the State Bank of Patiala here in support of their demands regarding the signing of the eighth bipartite settlement of wage revision, which is due since November 1, 2002.

Functioning in the banks was paralysed completely.

The demonstrators were addressed by Mr B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Sangrur; Mr Surjit Singh Dhindsa, a leader of the Punjab and Sind Bank Officers Association, Sangrur; and Mr Pali Ram Bansal, secretary, All-India Gramin Bank Officers Association.

FARIDKOT: More than 300 employees all nationalised banks here observed a complete strike here on Tuesday, crippling the bank services in this town.

They held a demonstration and rally in front of the main branch of Punjab National Bank.

Mr S.P.S. Sandhu, president, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, condemned the Union Government for not accepting the demands regarding wages.

Refusing to accept the proposal for an increase of 9.15 per cent in the salaries, Mr Sandhu said the Government had given a 12.15 per cent increase after a settlement with the employees in 1997 when the institutions were facing heavy losses.

BATALA: Bank employees of this subdivision gathered outside the Allahabad Bank branch here to protest against the “delaying tactics” of the Indian Bankers Association (IBA) in finalising the eighth bipartite settlement.

Employees of the PSEB, BSNL and roadways also joined the rally in support of the bank employees.

Various speakers at the rally condemned the “anti-employees” attitude of the government.

The IBA’s conditions for settlement like frequent transfer of employees and abolition of special allowances were not acceptable, they said.

BATHINDA: A complete strike was observed by the employees of various public sector banks here on Tuesday.

Mr Pawan Jindal, convener of the local unit of the United Forum of Bank Unions, in a press note issued here said employees of all banks held a rally in front of the Union Bank of India on the Mall Road.

He added that leaders at the rally threatened to intensify the agitation if the wage revision, which was due from November 2002, was not carried out by the Indian Bankers Association.


‘Father’ of rice revolution warns of endemic malnutrition
P. P. S Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Did you know that rural school-going girls in Ropar are superior in their growth status as compared to the general Indian rural girls? Or that the percentage of severely malnourished girls among them was insignificant though they suffered from mild to moderate malnutrition? Or that 800 million people, mostly in developing countries, went to bed hungry every night and micronutrient deficiency afflicted three billion people? No? Then read on.

As for growth and nutritional status of school- going rural girls in the age group of 5 and 10 years, a study by R N Vashisht, Kewal Krishan and Charandeep Kaur should help parents take proper care of their daughters, who grew well up to a certain age and thereafter were deprived of the required diet and nutrition. For this study, the researchers had used 11 anthropometric measurements to arrive at the conclusions after studying 282 girl students.

When Dr G S Khush, the ''father'' of rice revolution, known internationally, warns of endemic malnutrition, worldwide, he stresses the importance of biotechnology and germ plasm improvement in alleviating the problem of malnutrition, which affects half of the world's population. Therefore, for wide economic benefits, he suggests linkages between agriculture and nutrition to promote dietary change and improve nutritional status.

In his special article on ''future nutritional strategies'', Dr Khush gives glimpses of research to evolve rice varieties genetically rich in minerals and Vitamin A. In the absence of these, large populations suffer from deficiency syndromes. His estimate was that one billion of the world's population resided in iron-deficiency regions, with vast numbers suffering from goitre, lower intelligence and increased pre-natal mortality.

This and more information is contained in the new series, ''Panjab University Research Journal (Science)'', now available in a new format in its 51st year of publication. It answers such questions and gives just a key-hole view of the vast and varied world of sciences. It is edited by Professor I S Dua.

Scientists are a class apart, who study the most unimaginable, curious aspects of human life or flora and fauna. They often come up with revealing results and try to co-relate their research findings to improve the quality of human life, preserve ecology, pep up economy, better understand the human body and its functions, find cure to disabilities, deficiencies and diseases etc.

Besides the 16 research papers and a special article by Dr Khush, the 230-page journal contains abstracts of some 17 Ph.D thesis for which degrees were awarded in 2003. If there is one on ayurvedic system of medicine in health care, the other is on socio-cultural impact on drug addiction in far-away Thailand or on ''asymmetry'' syndrome among the Gujjars in Punjab and Haryana and how even footprints help establish their identity.


Three ‘buddies’ heading 3 top farm varsities of the North
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana: Three agricultural graduates (batchmates) of Panjab University are occupying the chairs of Vice-Chancellor of the prestigious state agricultural universities of the northern India. They are Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Dr M.K. Miglani, Vice-Chancellor, Chaudhry Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, and Dr H.U. Khan, Vice-Chancellor, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu.

All the three passed their B.Sc (Agriculture) from Panjab University, Chandigarh, in 1963. Dr Miglani was the gold medallist of the batch and Dr Aulakh secured the fourth position in the university.

Later, Dr Miglani got admission in MSc (Agriculture) in the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and Dr Aulakh and Dr Khan joined MSc in Punjab Agricultural University, which was set up in 1962 by the late Mr Partap Singh Kairon. The three “buddies’’ were together in Ludhiana at the PAU campus in connection with the meeting to select niche areas (centres of excellence) by ICAR along with the Vice-Chancellors of three other agricultural universities of the North.

Dr Miglani chose to become a bureaucrat and was selected for the IAS in 1967 and was allotted Haryana cadre. He retired as Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Haryana, and was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Chaudhry Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University at Hisar on July 1, 2003. It may be mentioned here that Haryana Agricultural University was also a part of Punjab Agricultural University campus before the reorganisation of Punjab and Haryana in 1966.

Dr Miglani told The Tribune that the focus at HAU was on resource conservation and bio-technology. The university had been facing financial crisis as ICAR had stopped all grants. After his joining the university, funds from ICAR had started flowing, and during the past nine months, the university had received Rs 21 crore from ICAR. There were arrears worth Rs 80 crore which the university had to realise from the Haryana Government. The budget of the university for the current year was Rs 106 crore.

Dr Miglani has served at various important posts in the Haryana Government. Dr H.U. Khan is the founder Vice-Chancellor of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Jammu. He also retired as Secretary, Agriculture, from the Jammu and Kashmir Government and served as Director of Agriculture and Horticulture for 17 years.

Dr Khan disclosed that they were running two colleges — College of Agriculture and College of Veterinary Science — with undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The university had acquired 600 acres of land. He was awaiting a grant of Rs 68 crore from the Central Government. He took over as Vice-Chancellor in 1999 for a five-year term and his term is due to expire in the month of October.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh took over the reins of Punjab Agricultural University in March, 2001, from Dr G.S. Kalkat. The biggest achievement of Dr Aulakh is that he has brought discipline on the campus and absenteeism has been eliminated. Absenteeism was the order of the day before he took over. Dr Aulakh is a strong disciplinarian and has undertaken the review of all the departments of the university for the first time since the inception of the university.

Punjab Agricultural University is also facing a financial crisis and Dr Aulakh has sought the intervention of the Chief Minister to tide over the crisis. The university is simply meeting the salary component with the financial assistance of the Punjab Government. The Chief Minister has promised to help PAU in meeting its financial requirements.


Govt helpless on hostage issue: CBI ex-chief
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, August 24
Former Director of the CBI and member of Interpol Mr Joginder Singh today said the people going abroad and their kin should always keep in mind the risk involved in the search of greener pastures.

The kin of the kidnapped Indians had demanded that the government should intervene. It was a legitimate demand. But we should keep in mind that our government had little leverage in the matter except for requesting the USA to help, observed Mr Joginder Singh. He was talking to The Tribune on his visit to his native place here.

“About two crore persons of Indian origins and NRIs are living in 107 countries of the world. A numbers’ of people have been cheated and lured with attractive pay packages abroad and later abandoned to die either on the high seas or end up in prisons as happened with the 281 Punjabi youths in 1997 and this year. But for each and everything we cannot blame our government”, he said.

He said the fate of four Indian truck drivers, taken hostage by the Iraqi militants, now hanged in balance. Even their employer company, the KGL, was willing to meet all their demand, which included pulling out of Iraq. But all cards were in the hands of kidnappers.

He added that it was high time that the government of India created opportunities for the increasing employment potential in the country. If equally good jobs were available here then the present contingency would not have arisen. “Let the government do some fresh thinking and spur into action so that the kind of incident which has happened in Iraq, leads to positive results at home”.


Indians used for security cover, says NRI
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 24
Mr Satish Kumar (32), who came back from Kuwait to his native village, Possi, shared his experience with mediapersons at his residence last evening. Mr Kumar said people of Iraq were not against Indians working there and considered them as their friends.

He said he went to Kuwait on February 19, 2004, with the help of a travel agent by paying him Rs 90,000. While sending him to Kuwait, the agent assured him that he would get his driving licence for the heavy vehicles. But he neither got the licence nor the work permit. Later he got a labourer job in a company. The company, he said, had heavy vehicles and used to send ammunition and other goods of the American Army to Iraq. An Indian was sent with each vehicle to Iraq as a security cover.

He said the Iraqis attacked the vehicles with sophisticated weapons and rockets. During one of his journey to Iraq, his vehicle was also attacked by Iraqis.


Sea of humanity at Army jawan’s funeral
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 24
A sea of humanity descended on the cremation ground of Gill Patti village of this district to attend the funeral of Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, who laid down his life while fighting terrorists in the Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir on August 21.

Not only residents of Gill Patti village to which Sepoy Kuldeep Singh belonged, but also people belonging to all walks of life from surrounding villages and towns, including Bathinda, attended his funeral to pay their last respects. The villagers pointed out that they had witnessed such a huge rush at the cremation ground for the first time. Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, who was not married, was inducted into the Army about three years ago.

“Sepoy Kuldeep Singh is a national martyr. By sacrificing his life for the security of the country, he has also brought fame to the village. He will be remembered forever and he has become an inspiration for the youths of this area who will also make efforts to get themselves recruited in the Army,” said a number of villagers, who were busy making arrangements for the funeral.

Not only were the kin of the martyr wailing, but a large number of people, who attended the cremation were finding it difficult to hold back their tears. Sepoy Kuldeep Singh was recruited in the Bombay Engineering Group (BEG) and was attached with 47 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) unit of the Army.

Though the family members of Kuldeep Singh were not able to talk, one of his relatives said for them, he had become immortal. Ms Kiranjit Kaur, sister of Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, tied “Rakhi” on his wrist when the body was brought by Army personnel. The moment the funeral procession accompanied by an Army band, started for the cremation ground, people lined the route and bowed their heads. People raised slogans like “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Jab Tak Sooraj Chand Rahega, Kuldeep Tera Naam Rahega”.

The pyre was lit by Mr Kulwant Singh, uncle of the martyr, who was taken care of by two other uncles Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Manna Singh’s after Kuldeep Singh mother had died. The body was cremated with full military honours as Army men reversed their arms and fired shots in the air. Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Commander, 81 Sub Area, and Col A.S.S Uppal, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Shiv Kumar, SP (H) attended the funeral. Wreaths were also laid on the body.

Mr Sinha pointed out that Punjab Government along with the Central Government and Indian Army would extend all financial help to the kin of the deceased. He added that an institution of the state government would be named after Kuldeep Singh as per the wishes of his family.


Plea of missing jawan’s wife falls on deaf ears
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Baghelewala (Moga), August 24
An Army man’s wife is running from pillar to post for the last four and a half months in search of her husband, Amarjeet Singh, deployed at 166, Field Sikh Regiment in Meerut, who went missing on March 30. Father of two sons, he joined the Army on August 27, 1981.

Amarjeet’s wife, Mrs Jaspal Kaur, had neither received any financial aid from the Army till now nor had any Army official visited her home. The incident not only gave her a shock, but had also created financial difficulties for her, though her relatives and neighbours are helping her out at present.

She said her husband, who was in the artillery section, was about to retire in a few months. She said he could not be a deserter, as he was eligible for all post-retirement benefits and was about to get the same soon.

A grieving Mrs Jaspal Kaur told The Tribune that she had also written to the Army headquarters, Prime Minister and the President in this regard, but was yet to get any reply. The Army had first declared him a fugitive, but later he was declared missing. She had also visited Meerut along with her brother, Mr Gurpreet Singh, several times, but to no avail. Gurpreet said they were told that Amarjeet was also not carrying his I-card with him, which could hamper his identification in case of any eventuality.

She said her husband had called up home on March 26 and said he would be returning home soon. He had also enquired about his children’s performance in exams. On March 31, his companions informed his family that he had been missing since March 30. His family rushed to Meerut on the very next day.

On April 1, the Battery Commander of the Army, Mr Pawan Puri informed the Faridkot SSP and the Moga police that Amarjeet had gone missing. Ms Jaspal Kaur said after this the Army declared her husband a fugitive. She wrote a letter to the Army stating that he went missing during his duty. After probing the matter the Army officials lodged a report at the Lal Kurti police station in Meerut.

Amarjeet’s wife and children are now clueless. They don’t know where to look for the man who mattered the most for them.


Cremation of bodies: Bitta gives clean chit to police officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Training his guns on the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over alleged fake encounters in Punjab during militancy, Mr MS Bitta, chairman of the All-India Anti- Terrorist Front, today came to the rescue of the Punjab Police saying that it performed its duty to protect the unity and integrity of the country.

Giving a clean chit to the police officials for their alleged role in the cremation of hundreds of unclaimed bodies in certain districts of Punjab, a list of which was released by the NHRC in the media recently, Mr Bitta demanded a blanket immunity for the police officials for their "gallant" fight against terrorism.

Taking on the human rights organisations for their alleged defence of the anti-national elements, Mr Bitta alleged that the rights organisations had been getting funds from the separatist organisations abroad, who were out to destroy the unity and integrity of the country.

A former president of the Indian Youth Congress(IYC), Mr Bitta, who survived a bomb blast outside the IYC Office in New Delhi on September 11,1993, alleged that all-out efforts were being made to get the death penalty of the main accused Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar converted into life imprisonment by the vested interests.

Mr Bitta, who had already sent a representation to the President to expedite a decision on mercy petition of Bhullar, demanded a CBI inquiry into the "delaying tactics" adopted by the Home Ministry in forwarding the Bhullar's file to the President. The ministry officials, apparently under pressure from the vested interests, had been delaying the forwarding of the file for one-and-a-half years and under the rules the death penalty would automatically be converted into life imprisonment.

He also took exception to the reported statements of the Union Ministers, Mr Hans Raj Bhardwaj and Mr Kapil Sibal, that the government had no objection if Bhullar's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. It would be a serious setback to the fight against militancy in the wake of separatist organisations' attempts to revive militancy in Punjab with the support of Pakistan's ISI, he asserted.

Mr Bitta also wanted a thorough inquiry into the links of the self-styled chief of the KLF, Harnek Singh, who was arrested by the Fatehgarh Sahib police recently, with various other organisations. His leading a comfortable life in Punjab for well over a decade speaks poorly of the performance of the intelligence agencies, he added.


Smuggling pressure increasing on Punjab border
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 24
With increase in production of poppy in Afghanistan this year, the pressure of smuggling along the Punjab border is also increasing. Sources in the BSF here said that arrest of BSF personnel posted in Amritsar and Gurdaspur with consignments of heroin is a clear illustration to the fact.

Yesterday, a Deputy Commandant of BSF posted at Gurdaspur, Mr Harpreet Singh, and his driver, Mr Roshan Lal, were arrested by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence at Delhi while smuggling heroin worth Rs 23 crore.

The Deputy Commandant was posted here in the special team on intelligence and these days was on official duty at Jalandhar. His driver was officially on leave. The Deputy Commandant had a criminal record. Last year the Pathankot police under the Excise Act booked him on the charge of smuggling 42 cases of liquor. The case is pending in the local court.

Sources in the BSF said the force deployed on the border had been put on high alert. The Taliban during their rule did not allow the cultivation of poppy in Afghanistan. However, after the collapse of their regime there has been a bumper crop of poppy in Afghanistan this year.

Attempts to smuggle heroin into India to further send it to European countries through the Mumbai port are likely to increase this year. The demining of the Punjab border and certain enclaves where the border fencing has been washed away have become sensitive points for smuggling from across the border.

Recently, Lieutenant-General Hari Prasad had written to the Punjab Chief Minister regarding the erosion caused by the Ujh and Ravi rivers in Tash Pattan area of Gurdaspur. He had stated in his letter that the border fencing was getting weakened due to soil erosion in the area. However, the Punjab Government has failed to take any action in the matter as yet.

Sources said like Tash Pattan there are many areas along the border where the border fencing has been damaged due to soil erosion. Though the BSF authorities here maintain that they have increased vigil at the sensitive points the areas still remain prone to smuggling and infiltration.


Trust dubs Savarkar ‘betrayer’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 24
Dubbing Veer Savarkar a ‘betrayer’ who had disgraced the freedom struggle by seeking apology from the British government, the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Committee yesterday urged the Central Government to replace Savarkar’s picture in Parliament House with that of freedom fighters like Sant Baba Vasakha Singh and Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna.

While supporting the step taken by the Petroleum Minister, Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar, who recently ordered the removal of quotations of Savarkar from the ministry’s office, the committee alleged that the BJP and the Shiv Sena were making a hue and cry over Aiyar’s step without any rhyme and reason and were trying to humiliate freedom fighters by linking Savarkar’s name with them.

The office-bearers of the trust asserted that Savarkar had not only urged the British government to release him but also offered to serve the British empire in any capacity through his petitions filed in 1911 and 1913.

“How can such a person be presented as a great hero and a freedom fighter who had started apologising merely after spending six months in jail?” questioned the office-bearers of the trust.

The committee members demanded that the decision to name the Andaman airport after Savarkar should be revoked.

They also demanded that the cell in Cellular Jail, where Savarkar was lodged, should not be preserved as a historical monument.


Temple sells land, buys controversy
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, August 24
A major controversy has arisen over the sale of land meant for a gaushala by the Sri Durgiana Temple Management Committee.

The land measuring more than 5 acres (47 kanal, 23 marla) was sold last month with an appreciation of only Rs 50,000 over the purchase price of Rs 42 lakh.

Located in Bhateywind village on the Ram Tirath road, the land was bought in 2002 for Rs 42 lakh and has been sold at Rs 42,50,000 two years later.

Mr Surinder Arjun, working president of the Durgiana management and secretary of the District Congress Committee, has alleged that the earlier management of the committee, under the control of BJP leaders, bought the land at a high price — its value was only Rs 26 lakh at the time — to favour an RSS leader.

The land was an empty plot when purchased and had a tubewell, a room, an electricity connection and a boundary wall when it was sold. It is alleged that no advertisements were published, tenders called or auction sanctioned despite the land failing to attract a good value.

Neither the land was not developed for use as a gaushala, for which it was purchased.

Mr Arjun says the land did not appreciate in value as its level was lower than the road by at least 5 feet.

He, however, says the present management has reached an “understanding” with the buyer, who is also a major donor to the temple.

He admits that advertisements, tenders or auction were not considered, but an approval from the temple management was granted in this regard .

He also admits that no sub-committee of the management was formed for the disposal of the land.

Meanwhile, Mr S.S. Sharma, a local resident, has raised the issue with the Deputy Commissioner and has written to the Chief Minister demanding a CBI inquiry.


Punjab seeks emergency flood relief of Rs 250 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Punjab Government has asked the Centre to immediately provide Rs 250 crore as flood relief for distribution among the flood-affected people of the state.

Informed sources said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, requesting him to immediately sanction the relief amount even as the report detailing the damages would be sent later. The Chief Minister has mentioned the damage caused by floods in the state, particularly in Patiala, Ropar, Sangrur and Mansa districts. Besides, heavy damage to crops 15 persons lost their lives and 250 heads of cattle had perished in the floods. Several hundred houses were also damaged.

The Chief Minister has further stated that owing to financial constraints, the state has no special funds for such relief or emergency purposes. Roads and water supply schemes have also suffered a setback owing to these floods.

Earlier, Mr Parkash Singh Badal had made a similar request to the Prime Minister. The Akali Dal member in the Lok sabha, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, had also raised the issue.


Bhaniarawala has birthday bash
Tribune News Service

Dhamana (Ropar), August 24
Amid tight security Baba Piara Singh Bhaniarawala celebrated his 48th birthday here, near Nurpurbedi town, yesterday. In the afternoon, a number of Akalis gathered at the Haripur Khatna gurdwara, near Dhamana village. After participating in a prayer Bhaniarawala distributed 48 kg cake among 150 followers who had come here for the celebration. A large number of his followers from Punjab and Chandigarh were not allowed to join the birthday celebration by the police.


AWWA raising day
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 24
The Black Elephant Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) has launched a week-long programme to mark the occasion of raising day here today. Mrs Sunita Khanna inaugurated the AWWA week by lighting a lamp.

The secretary of the association Ms Sukhwant Kaur highlighted various activities undertaken by the AWWA .


Eye awareness programme from today
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 24
The District Blindness Control Society (DBCS) will celebrate the eyesight prevention and blindness eradication fortnight in the district from August 25 to September 7.

Speaking on the occasion the secretary of the DBCS Dr Anil Pathak said more than 150 lakh people are blind in the country. Dr Man Singh Bhatia, adviser to the society, said the city has nearly 585 blind persons.


High Court
Chandigarh IGP asked to provide security to counsel
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 24
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Chandigarh IGP to provide security to advocate M.P. Goswami, counsel for one of the petitioners in the ongoing case regarding alleged irregularities in the selection of DSPs by the Punjab government under the sports quota.

Mr Goswami had moved an application in the court, seeking protection on the grounds that he was being shadowed by unknown persons and that he was being threatened.

The Bench headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy also reserved its judgement on an application filed by Jaskaran Singh Brar, one of the petitioners.

In his application, Mr Brar had sought permission to place on record some documents, which are reportedly part of the Sports Department file concerning the controversial selections.

In the last hearing, the Bench had given time to the Punjab Government to file its reply in the matter.

Among the documents sought to be placed on record are some notings on the Sports Department file regarding the selection as well as directives issues by various officials, including the Chief Minister. The documents include the advice of a law officer of Punjab, who has said that the selections are bad in law and it would be difficult to defend them in the court.

After hearing counsel, the Bench reserved its judgement.

PIL filed

A public interest litigation, which questions an action of the Punjab Government to appoint Chief Parliamentary and Parliamentary Secretaries to assist the Chief Minister, came up for hearing before a Division Bench of the High Court on Tuesday.

Filed by the Lawyers for Social Action, the PIL says that the appointment of MLAs as Chief Parliamentary Secretaries and Parliamentary Secretaries is illegal as it is against the spirit of the 91st Amendment to the Constitution.

The petitioners have also said that no MLA can hold an office of profit and if he does, he is liable to be removed from the membership of the Assembly.

Saying that by appointing ministers, removed from the cabinet during the recent reshuffle, the Punjab Chief Minister has gone against the constitutional binding of not having more than 15 per cent members of the Assembly as ministers, the petitioners have prayed that their appointment be set aside.


Locust alert in Ferozepore
Chander Parkash and Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, August 24
Even as the district administration has sounded a general alert for farmers over a likely locust attack on crops after one swarm was reported in this area on August 11, the administration and the state Agriculture Department authorities are not clear whether the field reports in connection were true or not.

Mr Ranjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, says that officials of the Agriculture Department have brought to his notice that a locust swarm entered India across the border in this district near Barkainwala village from Pakistan and returned towards Pakistan without causing any harm to the crops. However, Mr Subash Chander Khurana, Deputy Director, Locust Control and Plant Protection (LCPP), Department of Agriculture, says reports in connection with the locust swarm given by the field staff seemed to be wrong.

He explains that whenever a locust swarm passes over an area it never spares the crops. He says that while the reports of field staff are not being taken as correct, the officials have been directed to make all arrangements to deal with any situation. He says he has never heard of any locust attack in Punjab for the past many years.

Information gathered by The Tribune reveals that local agriculture officials received a report that a locust swarm was seen near Keri village of Rajasthan by farmers. The incident got extensive coverage in various Local dailies of Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan. Agriculture officials of Sriganganagar district then brought the matter to the notice of officials of this district.

After this, field staff of the District Agriculture Office reported that they had seen a locust swarm entering this district from Hindumalkot, a town of Rajasthan bordering Pakistan and Punjab. They added that the swarm passed over Barkainwala village and then returned to Pakistan.

Mr Sukhwant Singh Brar, Chief Agriculture Officer, Ferozepore, when contacted said though he had received reports that what the field staff had seen was not a locust swarm but dragon flies, foolproof arrangements had been made to deal with any situation.

He said 80 dusting machines had been procured while the Director, Agriculture, Punjab, had been requested to send the required pesticides. He said farmers had been advised to report immediately to agriculture officials and the control room if they came across a locust swarm.


BKU demands Rs 750 as MSP of paddy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 24
The district unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) today demanded the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy as Rs 750 per quintal for the ensuing paddy procurement season and Rs 15,000 per acre compensation to the farmers for their crops damaged during the recent floods in the state.

These demands were made by the BKU (Rajewal) at a protest dharna held under the presidentship of district president Gurjant Singh Mangwal in the SDM office complex, near main bus stand, here. The dharna was organised to protest against the anti-farmer policies of the government and in favour of farmers’ demands.

The other demands of the farmers include waiving off loans of the farmers, withdrawal of hike in the rates of diesel and petrol, payment of arrears of sugarcane crop and payment of Rs 20 per quintal as bonus on paddy for 2001 as promised by the Congress during the February 2002 Assembly elections.

Mr Baldev Singh Mianpur, state president of the BKU (Rajewal), demanded linking the rates of crops with price index, Rs 15,000 per acre compensation for the damaged crops in floods and waiving the power bills of farmers in flood-affected areas.

Mr Mangwal warned the government that if it did not increase the MSP of paddy soon, the farmers would be compelled to launch an agitation.


Forwarding of names a mere formality
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
Even though the Punjab Government has forwarded the names of 27 Punjab police officers for deputation with the Government of India, the sources in the police headquarters are insisting that the same is mere a formality.

The sources add that except for a few officers, none was fulfilling the conditions necessary for posting on deputation.

The sources claimed that a few of the officers were scheduled to retire next year upon attaining the age of superannuation.


Fire station gets generator
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, august 24
A high-powered generator has been purchased for the Town Hall fire station here following a report published in The Tribune on August 23. The generator would be installed tomorrow.

Besides this, overhauling of all fire engines have started and water filling points are being repaired.


Castrated youth attacked
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 24
Sudhir Kumar, a resident of Bhagatpura mohalla, who was sometimes back forcibly converted into a eunuch, Chander Kanta, after his costration by certain Kinner mahants, was attacked last night and had to be hospitalised.

He was returning along with his friend in a Maruti van after paying obeisance at Chintpurni shrine in Himachal Pradesh when the hockey-weilding assailants intercepted them near the Panshta bend on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road and thrashed them.

He alleged that since his court case was pending against the Kinner mahants, he was attacked so that he could not appear in court on August 31, when the next hearing in the case was scheduled. He has sought police protection as he feared a threat to his life.


Journalism lecturer commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 24
A 33-year-old newly appointed journalism lecturer of Punjabi University ended her life yesterday, an hour after she had attended a party in the department. The lecturer, Dr Inderpreet Kaur Mander, leaves behind her husband and a four-year-old daughter.

Department sources said Dr Mander was under stress yesterday morning and admitted as such to the department head, Dr Harjinder Singh Walia, as well as students of the department.

The lecturer was, however, not able to tell why she was under stress, saying that she could not tell the reason for this. However, Dr Walia said she seemed to pull herself up and also attended a party in the department in the afternoon before leaving the campus in her car.

The sources said Dr Inderpreet Mander rang up her husband, Mr Ishwar Singh Mansahiya, from near Sirhind one hour later saying she had taken some substance and could not drive her car, besides asking him to come to the spot.

However, by the time her husband reached the spot he came to know that his wife had been taken to the Fatehgarh Sahib Civil Hospital. Later in the evening, Inderpreet was shifted to the Government Rajindra Hospital here but was declared dead on arrival.

She left behind a suicide note in her car that says she was under stress and did not want to live any longer.


Kapoor, Verghese members of panel on minority education
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana: Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and Dr Mohan Verghese, Principal, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, are among the 27 members nominated by the Union Government on the National Monitoring Committee for Minority Education in the country.

The committee has been reconstituted by Mr Arjun Singh, Union Minister of Human Resource Development, after six years. The NDA Government led by Mr AB Vajpayee did not constitute this committee and the term of the last committee constituted in 1995 expired in 1998.

In a letter to the members of the reconstituted committee, Mr Arjun Singh has emphasised that the national common minimum programme of the UP Government makes important commitments on the issue of education of minorities.

The committee will advise the government on all matters pertaining to the education of minorities. In addition, it will review functioning of the various schemes launched by the ministry for the purposes of promoting minority education.

The terms of reference of the committee are to monitor the implementation of chapter 3-minorities education of the programme of action, 1992, and to recommend to the government how to best address issues related to reservation, recognition and affiliation of minority institutions and to advise the government on the contemporary approach towards traditional method of instructions.

The other members of the committee are Vincent Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi, Mr Sanyid Hamid, Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard University, Mr R Chenraj Jain, Chairman,Shri Bhagwan Mahavir College, Bangalore, Nawab Mohammad Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot,Chennai, Maulana Saeedul Rehman Azmi, Principal, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Uloom, Lucknow, and Mr Salman Khursheed, Chairman, Dr Zakir Hussain Trust, Delhi.

Maulana Anzar Shah, Vice-Chancellor, Waqf Darul Uloom University, Deoband, Shaharanpur, Prof Halim Khan, Chairman, Madrasa Board and secretary Islamia Karimia, Bhopal, Dr M Ishaq Kamkhanawala, president, Anujmane-Islam, Bombay, and Maulana Mohammad Wali Rehmani of Mungher, Bihar, besides others.


School authorities back missionary
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 24
The school authorities today rallied behind Father Robby against whom a former teacher of Little Flower Public School levelled charges of molestation and attempt to rape yesterday.

At a press conference held at the school campus today, he produced before the media all teachers and members of the management of the school. Father Robby, a missionary, claimed that he did not know the teacher, Mrs Rani Yohanan. He had come to the school after eight years for some work.

The teacher also did not even know his name. She had quoted him as Father Ruby whereas his name was Father Robby. All charges against him were fabricated just to pressurise the management for taking her back in the school, he alleged.

The Principal of the school, Sister Tissiana, while addressing the press conference also alleged that Mrs Rani Yohanan was teaching on a contract basis in the school. During her stint in the school she misbehaved with her colleagues and instigated schoolchildren against the authorities. She also sent a legal notice to two teachers of the school that created friction in the school. Due to it the management decided to dispense with her services from August 27 — the day her contract ended.

Furious at being ousted from the school, she levelled alleged fabricated charges against the management to malign the institution, the principal alleged. She also told that all staff members had given a written statement before the police corroborating the facts presented by father Robby.

The chairman of the management committee of all Little Flower Schools run in Punjab, Father Curian, while addressing the press conference told that they would not yield to any kind of pressure tactic adopted by the former teacher of the school.

Mrs Rani Yohanan when contacted told that the management might have pressurised the school staff to sign the statement. “I am going for legal action and would not let the culprit go unpunished”, she said.


Students demand MA classes
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 24
The unit of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib has urged the college authority to start MA (Punjabi and English) classes in the college.

In a representation submitted to the college Principal, the PRSU also demanded the construction of a common room for boys, indoor stadium and class rooms on the college campus.

The union also asked the college authorities to get the room of the arts block vacated from the Bachelor of Pharmacy classes in the college. It also asked the management to arrange an educational tour for the students.

The union also urged the college authority to refund the amount of the hiked fee, rolled back by the Punjab Government last year at the earliest.

A spokesman of the PRSU, Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, claimed that the Principal had assured the deputation of the students that the genuine demands would be met in due course.


Sumedha tops in MBA entrance test
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 24
Ms Sumedha Julka, a student of the BBK DAV College for Women, here topped the MBA entrance test conducted by Punjabi University, for the three universities of Guru Nanak Dev University, PTU, Jalandhar and Punjabi University, Patiala.

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