P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal emerges stronger after celebrations:
Bibi Jagir Kaur
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Employees of the SGPC count the money offered by devotees at the Golden Temple on the occasion of the celebrations of the 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in Amritsar
Employees of the SGPC count the money offered by devotees at the Golden Temple on the occasion of the celebrations of the 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib in Amritsar on Thursday.
 — PTI photo

Amritsar, September 2
The total negation of the SGPC and the control of the center-stage by the Shiromani Akali Dal during the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib was an attempt to project Mr Parkash Singh Badal, a former Chief Minister, as a “towering religious leader”.

The Sikh Panth was feeling the vacuum after the death of Gurcharn Singh Tohra. However, the way Mr Badal handled the centenary celebrations, he has become acceptable to everybody. This was the crux of the introductory remarks made by Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former SGPC chief and stage secretary, when she called Mr Badal to address the gathering in the presence of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a former Prime Minister, and a galaxy of religious leaders from different faiths and Sikh high priests yesterday. However, leaders of rival Akali factions were conspicuous by their absence . The names of Bibi Surinder Kaur Badal and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal were repeated by the stage secretary .

Though there was a huge enthusiasm of the Sikh Sangat to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib, the SAD, SGPC, rival Akali factions , a section of Sant Samaj and even the state or central government failed to come up to the expectation to celebrate the mega event.

The lack of vision on the issue of Siropa also created an unsavoury situation as “discriminatory approach” in the “Guru Ghar” could not be acceptable to the Sikh sangat. The denial of Siropa outside the information office of the SGPC to Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, along with the President of India and giving the same at the sanctum sanctorum by none other than Head Granthi of the Golden Temple next day baffled many. The SGPC itself had stopped the practice of presenting Siropa to the visiting dignitaries by the Sikh high priests long ago. The only exception was Queen Elizabeth, who was honoured in her capacity as symbolic head of the Church in Great Britain. However, the Head Granthi honoured the ‘Patit Sikhs’ in the sanctum sanctorum who either cut or dye their hair.

Another attempt of Mr Badal to project himself as “religious leader” was to get himself seated in the chariot ,meant for carrying Guru Granth Sahib from Ramsar gurdwara to the Golden Temple along with his “patit” (apostate) security personnel, which clearly amounted to the violation of maryada. The wheel of the chariot broke due to the excess weight of ‘un-authorised persons’, with the result that the head granthi had to carry Guru Granth Sahib on his head for some distance. The denial of space for holding seminar by the GND university to the SGPC also created an unsavoury situation .

Ignoring of Sikh intellectuals who translated Guru Granth Sahib in different languages was considered as blunder on part of the organisers.


Encroachments, traffic chaos back after celebrations
Our Correspondents

Amritsar, September 2
No sooner did the VIPs returned after their visit here for the celebrations of 400th year of installation of Guru Granth Sahib yesterday, the city too trudged back to ‘normalcy’.

As soon as the virtual cantonment-like situation eased out, temporary encroachments too reared their heads. Taking a round of the city, The Tribune team found people selling goods on footpaths and draw carts. They hardly took any time to display their wares to take advantage of the huge rush of devotees.

Mayor Sunil Datti today announced that the encroachments removed for the celebrations would not be allowed to return and further said that the MC would strive for more anti-encroachment drives in other areas.

However, hardly had the security loosened that the temporary encroachments reappeared.

Barely anyone was seen managing the parking areas near the Golden Temple in the walled city. Unauthorised parking of vehicles ruled the roost as soon as the traffic police seemed disinterested after days of hectic duties.

Several instances of haphazard parking, traffic congestion, blaring horns of vehicles were heard bringing home the message that the management only had short-sighted and short-lived plans.


2 devotees die near Golden Temple

Amritsar, September 2
Two unidentified devotees died in the marbled periphery of the Golden Temple, last night.

Amarjit Singh, Medical officer of the medical camp which was set up in the periphery of the Golden Temple, said today that one woman aged around 70 years and another a middle-aged man were brought dead in the medical camp.

He said during the preliminary medical examinations it appeared that both died due to asphyxia.

The devotees had come to take part in the celebrations to mark the 400 years of the installation of the Guru Granth Sahib. — PTI


Documentary on Guru Granth Sahib soon
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
“I wrote the script of the documentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib seven times before finalising it and even dropped the idea once but as it was the Guru’s wish which helped and encouraged me to continue with my work”, said an elated Mangal Dhillon, Bollywood’s famous actor, producer and director.

He was here to film some shots of the quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib to be incorporated in the documentary which was earlier planned to be released during the celebrations. The editing has already been completed but the final documentary will be released after incorporating these shots.

The documentary is all about Sri Guru Granth Sahib, its compilation, message and significance in Sikhism.

Mangal Dhillon showed a brief part of the documentary to select mediapersons here. It also contains thoughts of many religious and renowned persons, including Swami Ram Tirath Dandi Sanyasi and noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The narration is by Dhillon.


Calendar on Guru Granth Sahib released
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 2
Thousands of devotees thronged Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib last evening to pay obeisance and to attend Ruhani Kirtan Darbar on the occasion of 400 years of installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Bhai Lakhwinder Singh from Gurdwara Sri Fatehgarh Sahib, Bibi Jaspreet Kaur Mohali, Bhai Harinderpal Singh Mohali Wale, Bhai Anokh Singh and Bhai Sarwan Singh Chandigarh wale, Prof Jagjit Singh Sirhind wale, Bhai Sahib Singh Shahbad Markanda wale and Bhai Gurkirat Singh from Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, recited shabads.

A special calendar prepared by the District Cultural Society on Guru Granth Sahib was released by the Deputy Commissioner and distributed among the devotees. Yuva Chetna, a monthly magazine of the hospital welfare section of the District Red Cross Society was also released.

Various social, religious and political organisations organised langar on this occasion.

Addressing the gathering, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, urged the people to help the district administration in commemorating the 300th year of the martyrdom of Sahibzadas.

He said he would urge all political parties not to organise political conferences on the eve of the annual Saheedi Jor Mela.


Increment for SGPC staff in violation of Act
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 2
In gross violation of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, the outgoing working president, Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, today announced one increment to all SGPC employees, including those in educational institutions, after successful completion of quadricentennial celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Raghbir Singh, Additional Secretary and Personal Assistant to SGPC chief confirmed the news.

The announcement would put a monthly burden of more than Rs 10 lakh on the apex body, it is learnt.

However, sources in the SGPC said Mr Pakhoke made the announcement in violation of the Act as he ceased to be president after formal notification issued by the central government to co-opt 15 members in the SGPC’s general house.

Interestingly, Mr Pakhoke is not even a member of the new house as he could not contest the recently held SGPC elections.


Students present kirtan
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 2
Students of MA (Gurmat Sangeet) presented kirtan in the Punjabi University gurdwara here today. The function was organised to mark the occasion of the 400th year of the installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. A sermon was also delivered by Dr Shamsher Singh on the occasion.

Besides presenting kirtan in Ramkali and Majh ragas, students also presented Partal, Manglacharan, Asa Di War, Alahunia and Mudawani under the guidance of Dr Gurnam Singh, Head, Gurmat Sangeet Chair.

Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai appreciated the presentation and lauded the formation of Gurmat Sangeet Chair by the university.


Project report on Rs 520-cr plan to be prepared
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 2
The Mayor Mr Sunil Datti, and the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr K.S. Kang, will hold a detailed discussion on the integrated development plan of Rs 520 crore for the holy city, with Secretary, Local Bodies, in Chandigarh tomorrow.

A comprehensive project report will be prepared to be presented to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and subsequent deliberations will be held on sanctioning of finance for the ambitious projects.

The Prime Minister, on his visit to the city yesterday, had given his nod to an outline of an integrated plan based on surveys prepared in seven months. The plan is divided into three parts.

The first part includes a broad perspective on a development plan for the walled city, while the second part is focused on the development of slum areas. The third part emphasises on the special needs for flyovers and overbridges to decongest the existing traffic lifelines of the city.

According to the plan, the walled city area needs special attention as it is also a vital part of ‘buffer’ and ‘core’ zones demarked in the dossier prepared for the Golden Temple for recognition as a world heritage site by Unesco.

A rough estimate of Rs 75 crore has been projected for this area, including Rs 25 crore for heritage conservation of old buildings in the demarcated area, Rs 20 crore for parking for devotees, Rs 10 for water supply and sewerage in and around the Golden Temple, Rs 10 crore for lighting and Rs 10 crore for roads.

The plan points out that the city has suffered due to overcrowding.

The second part records 63 slums that need a gigantic package of Rs 241 crore for sewerage augmentation. The third part of the plan deals with an urgent need for flyovers and overbridges. It mentions seven such sites.

The plan laments that the rapid growth of urbanisation has led to overstretching of civic amenities.

This has led to nearly 35 per cent of the population of more than 11 lakh here to be deprived of water supply and sewerage facilities.


Pak delegation calls for visa-free travel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
A 15-member delegation of members of the Pakistan National Assembly was felicitated at the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today.

A former Speaker of the National Assembly and ex- Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Gohar Ayub Khan, who is leader of the delegation, set the pace for bonhomie and free flow of sentiments, when he prayed for “peace and friendship” to prevail between the two neighbouring countries still tied in cultural bondage. His hope was people-to-people exchange programmes will erase the walls of mutual “mistrust” and help the two countries to work for the economic emancipation of the people in the two countries.

The delegation is on a study tour of India to interact with MPs and MLAs and better understand the functioning of the elected democratic institutions, processes and procedures. “If the USA and Canada can do without visa or have mutually beneficial bilateral trade relations, why cannot Pakistan and India have the same way, since we have much in common. We can also adopt the same model in Pakistan and India and it should not be difficult to do so”.

Mr Gohar gave a brief description who all today constituted the National and “provincial” assemblies in Pakistan, where graduation has been prescribed as the minimum qualification for a candidate to contest an election. Consequently, large number of youth, men and women, have entered the portals of the legislatures and were expected to give a new direction to the country, he added.

Talking to the electronic media later, Mr Gohar said the forthcoming talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries, beginning September 5, were expected to revolve around an eight-point agenda that would further improve the relations between the two neighbours.

To a question, he added that withdrawal of troops from Siachin would also help ease tension, improve bilateral relations and also lift the burden now borne by the economies of Pakistan and India.

The delegation was welcomed by the Deputy Speaker, Prof Darbari Lal. In his speech he sought “unrestricted” travel facilities and easy “accesss” to the religious places across the borders, a point stressed by the Prime Minister at Amritsar on September 1.

Among others who spoke were former Deputy Speaker, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Akali MLA, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh. From the Pakistan side, it was Senator Muhammad Anwar Bhinder, former Speaker, West Pakistan Assembly and Mr M P Bhandara, Member National Assembly.

The common refrain in all speeches was to remove the artificial geographical barriers, unite hearts, form a common economic zone on the pattern of the European Community, live in peace, sink differences, remove restrictions and allow free exchange of culture and trade.

Later, in the evening the Pakistani delegation called on the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), at Punjab Raj Bhavan.


PRTC buses go hi-tech
Global positioning system installed in three buses
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
Travel on buses of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) is set to change. Bus drivers are likely to drive at the prescribed speed, stop at authorised places and be more punctual. This may come about with the installation of the global positioning information system (GPIS) which will enable monitoring of the complete movement of the corporation’s buses.

The GPIS system has been introduced in three PRTC buses on an experimental basis and was formally inaugurated by Patiala MP Preneet Kaur at a function presided over by PRTC Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta. The MP took to the hot seat of a bus to see how the system worked and also talked with the control room on the telephone which is now available to the drivers under the GPIS system.

The GPIS system is likely to be a boon for the PRTC management, bus staff and also commuters. The management can track the complete movement of the bus on a map and come to know exactly when the bus reached at any spot. The system also records stoppages, checks the speed at which the bus is moving and can also tell whether it stopped at an unauthorised spot and also when diesel was filled or taken out from it.

This is done by logging on to the site of m-Trak which has devised the system through satellite. The GPIS system, which consists of a small box and a telephone, has been fitted close to the driver’s seat in three buses. The bus staff can be immensely benefited by the system as besides a telephone facility, it also has a button which when pressed indicates that the bus is in trouble by sending an SOS message to the control room.

Mr Basav Raj of Mode Apps while giving information about the system at a function organised at the PSEB headquarters here, said the company would be providing customised maps to the corporation so that it could pin point locations of its buses and further streamline the running times. Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, while speaking on the occasion, said operation of the GPIS system would be possible through the headquarter office here which was being completely computerised.

Mr Gupta said it had also been decided to computerise all depots of the corporation.

Ms Preneet Kaur said efforts must be taken to completely integrate the system in all its buses in a phased manner.


Councillor, husband attacked for exposing corruption
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 2
Mrs Shobha Rani, a municipal councillor representing ward number 8 in the Pathankot Municipal Council, and her husband were attacked by henchmen of contractors for allegedly trying to expose corruption. The municipal councillor has been highlighting the alleged misappropriation in the construction of a drain in her ward for more than eight months.

While talking to The Tribune at her house today, Mrs Shobha Rani alleged that the residents of her ward were facing a problem due to the improper drainage of rain and waste water. She got an estimate of Rs 5 lakh passed from the municipal council authorities for the drain to solve the problem.

The work on the drain started in December 2003. The contractor, entrusted with the work, used substandard material in the construction of the drain. The people of the ward, led by her, reported the matter to the local municipal council authorities. The local MLA, Mr Ashok Sharma, also visited the spot and directed the contractor to maintain the quality of construction of the drain.

However, the contractor continued with his sub-standard work, with none of the authorities taking action against him. The result was that just after the first rain last month, the drain gave way and the water entered the houses of the residents of her ward. The entire base and walls of the newly constructed drain gave away, she alleged.

The municipal councillor further alleged that with the local authorities failing to take action against the contractor, she called the media and exhibited the poor construction of the drain.

The contractors could not digest their criticism and initially threatened her on phone. She gave a written complaint to the police regarding the threats received on phone. However, no action was taken.

On August 31, at about 11 pm when she was coming back home with her husband, two miscreants stopped them on the Limini road. They broke the window panes of their car and later stabbed her husband. Her husband received injuries in the arm and other body parts.

A written complaint regarding the attack was lodged at the division number one police station of Pathankot. However, till the filing of this report the police had neither registered an FIR nor arrested the culprits.

The SP, Pathankot when asked about the non-registration of an FIR in the case, said he would look into the matter.

The municipal council authorities were not available for comments.


Settling in UK may be difficult for granthis
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 2
Settling in the UK for “granthis” and “kirtanias” may turn out to be a difficult exercise from December onwards, in view of the UK Home Office which plans to make it mandatory for them to undergo an English speaking test before allowing them to immigrate to that country.

Immigration to the UK was virtually considered to be a cakewalk for “granthis” and “kirtanias” alongwith their families. So far, there had been a high demand for them there. A large number of persons from Punjab settled there.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Harjap Singh Bhangal, a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales and an expert in immigration law, said that according to the plan mooted by the UK Home Office, “granthis” and “kirtanias” would be allowed to settle in the UK, only if they managed to pass the level IV English speaking test, at the time of immigration. “After a period of about two years, the level of test is likely to rise to VI and chances are that they might be asked to pass a written test also,” said Mr Bhangal.

Mr Bhangal, who runs the London Immigration, an immigration consultancy with its offices in Jalandhar and Southall (UK) and who also addressed a press conference here today, said those, intending to settle in the UK, should not fall in the hands of unscrupulous agents and rather should adopt the proper procedure, which was not so complicated as was being dubbed by those with vested interests.


Punjab milk, meat for Europe likely
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 2
Export of milk products, meat and its byproducts from Punjab may be allowed to European and other countries soon.

Stating this at a state-level farmer awareness function organised by the Animal Husbandry Department here today, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry Minister, said India had been declared free of rinder pest disease which would help in providing a boost to export of milk and meat products.

Mr Kang said to prevent and control contagious diseases like hemorrhagic septicemia, 7.8 lakh doses had been administered in cattle through a network of 1362 veterinary hospitals and 1478 dispensaries throughout the state.

Mr Kang further announced that the regional disease diagnostic lab at Jalandhar would be modernised at a cost of Rs. 30 lakh.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister for Social Security, stressed upon the need for diversification in agriculture.

Asserting that there was a need to empower women in rural areas, Ms Nandita Bakshi, secretary of the New Delhi-based Bisnouli Sarvodya Gramodyog Sewa Sansthan, a leading NGO, said women could support their families by playing an effective role in dairy farming.

Dr Jatinder Markanda, a scientist from the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, informed about new techniques of silage making, modern designs of animal sheds and good management practices. 


Cong yet to learn ‘coalition dharma’: Bardhan
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Having serious differences with the Central Government over the foreign trade policy announced by it , the CPI today said that the Congress ministers and national leaders were yet to a learn the ‘coalition dharma’ to run an alliance government at the Centre.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, Mr A.B. Bardhan, General Secretary of the CPI, which is one of the principal supporters of the Union Government, said major decisions were being taken by the Union Government without taking into confidence the parties supporting it at the national level.

He said though the Congress as a party had accepted that “coalition governments” had become a reality in the Indian democratic system, but it (the Congress) was yet to learn the ropes to run such a government. The practice of holding consultations with coalition partners and also supporting parties was a must to avoid unnecessary problems in the running of such a government, said Mr Bardhan.

Mr Bardhan has obviously not liked the way foreign trade policy (2004-2009), had been announced by the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, without taking the CPI and certain supporting parties into confidence. “We were not consulted on this issue”, said Mr Bardhan, who pointed out certain important faults in the policy.

Mr Bardhan said that on the WTO issue, Mr Kamal Nath had yielded too much to the USA-led lobby of developed countries. “ The Union Commerce Minister virtually surrendered Indian interests to the developed world”, he added.

When asked whether the CPI would ask the Union Government to review the trade policy, Mr Bardhan said he was studying it and the party would come out with a detailed reaction in this regard in due course.

Disagreeing with the emerging common perception that the Union Government might not last long, Mr Bardhan said that he was certain that the government would be in place for its full term of five years. He also added that there were not difference among the two major Left parties-the CPI and the CPM-over functional relations with the Union Government.


CPI National Congress in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The 19th National Congress of the CPI will be held in Chandigarh. A decision in this connection was taken here today. The Punjab unit of the CPI will host the Congress.

Making the announcement, the General Secretary of the CPI, Mr A.B. Bardhan said today that the exact dates of the Congress would be announced soon. But it would be held in the last week of March next. As many as 800 delegates from the country and 40 delegates from abroad would participate in the Congress.

Earlier, Mr Bardhan held a meeting with senior leaders of the Punjab unit of the CPI to chalk out the programme regarding the Congress.


BJP’s protest against Karnataka Govt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
The district unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by Mr K. K. Mudgil, district senior vice-president, today organised a protest march through the town and held a rally at Pheruman Chowk, condemning the action of the Karnataka Government for making a case against Ms Uma Bharti, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, for allegedly unfurling the National Flag 10 years ago at Hubli.

The rally was addressed, among others, by Mr Mudgil, Mr Prem Gugnani, district general secretary of the party, Mr Lalit Kumar Garg, district president of the Legal Cell of the party, Mr Jogi Ram and Mr Achhru Ram Goyal, both leaders of the BJP.

The speakers demanded removal of “tainted” ministers from the Union Council of Ministers and reopening of cases related to the 1984 “anti-Sikh”riots. They also condemned the Karnataka Government for “implicating” Ms Uma Bharti in a case. They lashed out at the Union Government, led by the Congress, for its “failure” on every front during the first 100 days of its regime.

The protesters also raised slogans in favour of Ms Uma Bharti and against the Karnataka Government.


Malerkotla resident recalls stay in Pak jails
Vikrant Jindal

Malerkotla, September 2
Mr Khushi Mohammed, a local resident who was repatriated along with 35 others to India on August 31 by the Pakistani authorities, today recounted his tale of woe about his life in Pakistani jails during the past few years. He reached Malerkotla yesterday.

Mr Khishi Mohammed said he, along with his family, had gone to Mannawalan village Shekhupura to meet his relatives on December 13, 1990. After two months when he was returning to India with his family members his passport got misplaced in a bus in Pakistan.

He was frightened and sent his family members to India while he himself stayed back to search for his passport.

When he did not find his passport he started living in Gujjranwala in stead of going to Manawalan. He got a job in a cycle factory and after one year he opened a vegetable shop. Meanwhile, his father, Mohammed Bashir, wife Akhtri and children from India reached Pakistan to meet him. Some officers of the ISI suspecting him to an Indian spy took him in custody and sent him to an unknown place.

These officers tortured him and then sent him to police station in Rahwali Cantt, Gujjranwala. He was sent to Gujjranwala jail on July 27, 1998. Then he contacted his relatives in Pakistan who related the story to his father in Malerkotla. His father reached Pakistan to meet him and after seeing his son’s condition returned to India.

Later a court in Pakistan sentenced Khushi Mohammed to one year’s imprisonment but he remained in different jails for eight years and was tortured mercilessly. He said out of 35 persons released in Pakistan, 10 were mentally deranged and they even did not know their names.

He said during these years his mother Kahima, died while waiting for him. He said now he would start his own business in Malerkotla. He revealed that about 85 persons who had completed their punishment in Pakistani jails were still waiting for their release.


In dire need of basic amenities
Bharat Bhushan Dogra

PATHANKOT: Residents are up in arms against the local civic council which has failed to provide better sanitation, affective sewerage, adequate water supply and good roads to its people who pay all taxes, yet are devoid of the basic amenities.

The civic council has even failed to acquire land to dump waste and garbage which lies scattered all over the place under Khaddi Bridge. There is unbearable stench in the area near the bridge.

The council at its last meeting had resolved to purchase land to be converted into a dump yard and a sufficient amount was allocated also in the Rs 15 crore budget of the council but nothing concrete had been done in this regard so far.

The condition of people in Manwal and other villages on the Shahpur Kandi road is more pathetic. They have to cross the bridge many a time during the day to attend to their work. Most of the passersby can be seen crossing the bridge covering their mouths and noses to avoid stench.

Not only this, despite the complaints made by the residents of Ram Lila ground, the Kali Mata Mandir road, Shastri Nagar, Rampura locality and Indira Colony, the council authorities have not bothered to provide basic facilities to the people. The residents have complained that the drains remain full of filth and garbage and no sweeper comes to clean them up. Heaps of garbage on roadsides leading to those localities make life miserable for the people.

When contacted the council president, Mr Sharvan Kumar, said the matter pertaining to the purchase of land for waste dump was under consideration. Once the land is acquired, the sanitation conditions of the city will start improving.

Mr Harminder Singh, SDM, here told this correspondent that necessary instructions had been given to the civic council with regard to the removal of all grievances of the people.


Concern over eye bank’s functioning
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
Mr Sushil Nagpal, a resident of Bhucho Mandi town of the district and a dedicated activist for the promotion of the eye-donation movement, is disappointed over the “apathetic” attitude of the authorities running the eye bank in the town.

Mr Nagpal, who heads the Eye Donation Society, Bhucho Mandi, became disappointed as he could not get a positive response from the eye bank authorities when about a month ago he made a call to them in connection with the donation of eyes of a person, who died in Bhucho Mandi town.

“I felt discouraged when I had to make about 30 phone calls in about one and a half hours to contact the officials concerned of the eye bank Bathinda. Not only this, the team from the eye bank, Bathinda, reached Bhucho Mandi to extract the cornea of the eyes of the deceased about one and a half hours after they were informed. The whole process took more than three hours,” pointed out Mr Nagpal.

Not only Mr Nagpal, another activistor, who has been working towards controlling blindness in the area has expressed displeasure over the functioning of the eye bank at a meeting held in the town recently.

Taking cognizance of the situation prevailing in the eye bank in the local SSD Mahavir Dal Eye Hospital, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. A. P. Sinha, deputed the Civil Surgeon, Dr Yashpal Singla, to inquire into the matter.

Sources said Dr Singla had called a meeting of the eye bank authorities tomorrow to know their problems and to make arrangements to run the eye bank smoothly.

“My main concern is that every eye, which is being donated, should be transplanted to the needy immediately. If the eye bank authorities require something, it will be given to them,” pointed out Dr Singla, adding that he had come to know that in certain instances inordinate delay was taking place in the extraction and subsequent transplantation of donated eyes by the eye bank authorities.

Dr S. K. Bansal, President, SSD Mahavir Dal Eye Hospital, said the eye bank had been functioning normally. He said there may be certain complaints against its functioning due to the fact that the eye bank authorities did not compromise on quality and ethics. He added that the functioning of the bank was affected for a few days only when a doctor, who was an expert in karetoplasty, left his job and the new doctor joined after a few days.

He said tomorrow’s meeting was being held to evolve ways and means to improve the functioning of the eye bank. He said so far 17 pair of eyes had been transplanted ever since the eye bank came into existence about a year ago. Before that Mahavir Dal Hospital had transplanted about 50 eyes.


Raju, the dancing horse, enthrals audience
Tribune News Service

Talhan (Jalandhar), September 2
Raju, a six-year-old horse, mesmerised its audience, as it danced to “Bhangra” tunes with its measured footsteps on beats of a “dhol” for half an hour.

Residents, were enchanted by Raju, owned by a horse trader Jarnail Singh of Mir Pur Mari village, of the district, which had come to participate in an animal show organised by the Punjab Animal Husbandry Department here today. Entering the ground like an accomplished dancer, the animal danced for the audience for about half an hour. Raju accompanied by a “dholi”, repeated its dances on public demand.

Raju, according to Jarnail Singh, could dance on six different beats apart from “bhangra” tunes. “My Raju cannot only dance on all its four legs, but, can also dance on beats like dhamal, haider and jutt,” explained the proud owner, who owns four horses and six mares in his stables.

To see a horse dancing to the beats of a “dhol” for so long was a visual feat for children, who had formed a circle around Raju. “It is wonderful to see it dancing rhythmically and for so long,” said an excited child.

“Rani, a mare and a close companion of Raju, can also dance like Raju. It takes about a month for a horse to dance as it is a very intelligent animal. I choose the most intelligent ones and teach them how to dance,” said Jarnail Singh, adding that Raju had won a number of awards and prizes in different animal shows.


A rare ‘cuckoo’ saved
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 2
In a rare act of compassion and generosity, Mr H. S. Chahal, SSP, here, bought home a wounded “cuckoo” bird, a rare species, struggling for its life. He found it lying on the middle of a road, which he nursed and provided medical treatment.

An unidentified shooter in the Mall Road area , apparently shot at the bird, when Mr. Chahal was on his walk last evening. He heard a gunshot fired nearby. Thereafter, he saw a bird lying on the road.

He bought the wounded cuckoo to his residence and gave it first aid. A doctor from the local veterinary hospital was called and the bird was given medical treatment that saved its life.

Dr B.S. Sodhi, a senior veterinary doctor, who was treating the bird said the cuckoo was hit by an air rifle shot which had grievously wounded it and damaged one of its wings.

He said he had applied the medicine, and the wound would take some time to heal, after which it would be able to fly again.

He said the bird was one of a rare cuckoo species found in this region and must have arrived from the Harike bird sanctuary. Mr Chahal said he would keep the bird with him till it fully recovered.

He said the police was also trying to locate the shooter who had hit the bird with the air rifle.


Jawan killed in encounter with militants
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 2
A newly married jawan, Gurjeet Singh (22), of the Sikh Regiment sacrificed his life in an encounter with subversive elements in the Mhor sector of Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. Gurjeet Singh, originally a resident of Shahtirwala village of Fazilka subdivision, received a fatal bullet injury on his skull on Tuesday night in an encounter that ensued between security forces and militants.

A pall of gloom descended an otherwise sleepy last border village, Shahtirwala, as soon as the news of the demise of Gurjeet Singh was received by his parents on Wednesday around 11 a.m. Baldev Singh, his wife started weeping inconsolably at the loss of their beloved son. When this correspondent visited Shahtirwala village today, the body of the young martyr had not yet arrived.

According to official sources, the body of Gurjeet Singh, which was being brought by road, was likely to reach Shahtirwala village by tonight. Gurjeet Singh had joined the Army three years ago.


25 eucalyptus trees axed
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 2
The Cantonment Board today axed 25 eucalyptus trees that lined the Mall Road leading to the Vajra Corps.

The residents of the cantonment said the trees were chopped off unnecessarily as they were neither old nor were they hinderance to those living close by. But the board officers have said these had grown very tall and caused threat to the adjoining buildings and electrical wires which hanged past their canopy.

Mr K.J.S. Chauhan, Cantonment Executive Officer, said he had sought permission from the defence officers before felling them. He said he had held talks with the gardening section as he was planning to replace these trees with some other ornamental trees, keeping in view the security factors.


BKU activists gherao 2 buses
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
A section of activists of the BKU today gheraoed two private buses at Sandhoa village in this district for hours together to lodge their protest against the injury caused to a farmer, Bant Singh, by the driver of one of the buses yesterday.

The BKU activists were demanding legal action against the driver who had caused injury to Bant Singh by driving the bus negligently. They also demanded adequate compensation for the injured.

Police sources said that BKU activists released the buses after a case was registered under Sections 279, 337 and 338, IPC, against the driver, Gurdeep Singh, in the police station, Maur Mandi, in the evening.

Sources added that after releasing the buses, the BKU activists went to the village gurdwara and held a meeting there. The outcome of the meeting could not be known.


Spray mars festivities, four hurt
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 2
A band playing amidst dancing baraatis and the new tradition of spraying all and sundry with ‘’snowflakes” from spray cans is a common sight at marriages in the city.

However, the innocuous spray proved deadly when four women and children of a marriage party received burn injuries last night as flakes from the can came in contact with fire from a ‘diya’.

The spray, which is a chloro-flora-hydro carbon product, is often used at the culmination of the welcome ceremony of ‘baraat’.

Last night, a family from Rajasthan, which had come specially to Patiala for the marriage of their daughter to a local boy, had a terrifying experience due to use of this spray.

Women members of the family had collected outside Khoobsurat Palace near the Railway Crossing No 22 at 10 p.m. to receive the “baraat’’, when the “snowflakes” came in contact with the flame of a ‘diya’ being held by one of the women received superficial burn injuries on the face and also had their hair singed even as their costly ‘saris’ were ruined.

A few children standing beside them, also suffered superficial injuries.

All injured were taken to a clinic in nearby Ajit Nagar.


Tributes paid to martyr
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
Leaders from to all political parties today attended the bhog ceremony of Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, who died while fighting against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir few days ago, at Gill Patti village of this district, to pay their tributes to the martyr.

Eighteen youths of the village donated blood at a camp organised in association with the United Welfare Society. The residents of the village also organised langar on the occasion.

Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, an Army jawan, died while he was fighting against terrorists in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir. Sepoy Kuldeep Singh, was given heroic welcome when his body was brought to his native village by Army personnel few days ago. Thousands of people belonging to different walks of life attended the cremation ceremony, which was carried out in full military honours.

Mr K. A. P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing the gathering said all facilities, which were being extended to martyrs, would be given to the family members of Sepoy Kuldeep Singh at the earliest.


Sajjan Jakhar flags off train
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 2
Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, a former minister, flagged off a passenger train at the local railway station. The train, originally running between Bathinda and Bikaner, has been extended to Abohar. Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, Railway Minister, had promised to extend the train while presenting the Railway Budget.


Sept 15 deadline to regularise water connections

Patiala, September 2
The Municipal Corporation has asked city residents having illegal water and sewerage connections to regularise these by September 15. The Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, today said no previous bills and fine would imposed on the consumers till the deadline. OC


Peak load timing changed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 2
The PSEB has changed the evening peak load timing for consumers falling under all operation zones except Central Operation Zone, Ludhiana, from 6.30 pm to 9.30 pm The evening peak load timing for consumers falling under the Central Operation Zone, Ludhiana, is from 7 pm to 10 pm.


High Court
Badals' plea questioning Judge's power dismissed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 2
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed the petitions moved by former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Badal, former ministers Tota Singh, Nirmal Singh Kahlon and Sohan Singh Thandal challenging the power of the Special Judge, Ropar, S.K. Goel in hearing the disproportionate assets cases involving them.

Mr Badal, his son and the three Akali leaders had questioned the validity of the ongoing proceedings before Mr Goel. They had claimed that the notification issued by the Punjab Government on November 17, 2003, appointing Mr Goel as the Special Judge to hear their case, was issued without either consulting the High Court or seeking its concurrence. Interestingly, Mr Goel was made party to the writ by name. Saying that since no sanction had been taken from the High Court before appointing Mr Goel as the trial judge the proceedings are illegal and in violation of Article 21 of Constitution, the petitioners had sought quashing of the proceedings.

However, the Bench of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Amar Dutt did not agree with the contention of the petitioners and dismissed the petitions. In its order, the Bench noted that the Special Judge had the jurisdiction to try the case. It also observed that proper permission had been taken from the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker for booking Mr Badal.

While dismissing the petitions, the Bench said that it expected the Special Judge not to get influenced by the petitioners and conduct the trial expeditiously. The Bench also directed the Special Judge to conclude the trial within one year.

It may be recalled that Mr Goel had earlier dismissed application filed by Mr Badal and his son in this regard. Meanwhile, sources close to the Akali leaders have said that they will file a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court.

Record submitted

The Punjab Government today submitted in the court the entire record pertaining to the wireless purchase scam in the High Court.

Sometime back, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant had directed the Punjab Government to produce the record.

Today, during hearing in a public interest litigation filed by two advocates - Mr Ashok Chaudhary and Mr R.K. Kwatra, seeking a comprehensive inquiry by an independent agency into the embezzlement of approximately Rs 2.58 crore, the Bench adjourned the matter to September 9.

Two senior police officers, former Additional Director-General of Police (Computers and Wireless) D.R. Bhatti and former Superintendent of Police (Telecommunications) Malwinder Singh Sidhu, have already been chargesheeted by the Punjab Government for their alleged involvement in the case.

The two have also filed affidavits in the court, seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregularities. 


Take to hyola mustard seed, farmers advised
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
A seminar to encourage the cultivation of hyola mustard seed was organised at Dhuri, 13 km from here, by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of Punjab on Thursday in collaboration with the Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation. Mr Kirpa Shankar Saroj, MD, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation, advised the farmers to diversify from wheat and cultivate hyola mustard seed as it was more remunerative.

He assured the farmers that the Corporation would procure hyola mustard seed at the minimum support price of Rs 1600 per quintal in case the open market price fell below the MSP. Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, also assured the farmers of full cooperation in marketing their produce.

Mr A.R. Sharma, President of the Solvent Extractors’ Association of Punjab, hoped that in view of conducive government policies, supportive international price scenario and the growing demand for erucic acid-free mustard oil, the cultivation of hyola mustard seed had a bright future. Guidance was also provided to the farmers regarding cultivation techniques for hyola. 


No shortage of DAP: Randhawa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
The Cooperation and Horticulture Minister, Punjab, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, said all necessary arrangements had been made for the timely supply of DAP to the members of the primary agricultural cooperative societies. While presiding over a review meeting here today, he said the total quantity of DAP fertiliser required by the primary agricultural societies in the state in the coming rabi season was about 1.59 lakh metric tonnes. He assured the farmers that there would be no shortage of DAP in the state.

The DAP fertiliser manufactured by IFFCO, most of the farmers, was being supplied to those societies which are attached with nodal point.

The minister said the IFFCO authorities had given in writing to the Department of Cooperation that they would be supplying 1.10 lakh metric tonnes of DAP fertiliser to these societies. For another 50,000 metric tonnes of DAP, an MoU had been signed by Markfed with IFFCO. The DAP procured by Markfed would be supplied to those cooperative societies who were not attached with the nodal point societies. Therefore, the total demand of the farmer members attached with 4000 cooperative societies in Punjab, amounting to 1.59 lakh metric tonnes, had already been tied up with IFFCO. In addition to this, Markfed had also made arrangements for another 12,000 metric tonnes of DAP manufactured by other major fertiliser companies in India.

The minister also said about 80,000 metric tonnes of DAP had already arrived in the state. Of the 80,000 metric tonnes, 25,000 metric tonnes had already reached the primary agricultural societies. The remaining would be arriving in the coming few days. He said a control room in the office of the RCS was being set up to monitor daily arrival of fertiliser in the state and daily sale of DAP by the primary agricultural cooperative societies and Markfed. As many as 12 senior officers had been deputed to monitor the progress of arrival and distribution of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs in the state. Each officer would be looking after one or two districts.


Four more law officers appointed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 2
The Punjab Government has appointed four more law officers to handle its legal cases, taking the total to 108, just 14 short of the earlier number.

However, if reports are to be believed, the number could go up further.

Today, the government issued the appointment letters to four new law officers, including one Senior Deputy Advocate- General and three Assistant Advocate- Generals.

The new appointees are Mr Ramandeep Sandhu, Senior Deputy Advocate-General, and Mr P.C. Singla, Mr Sarabjit Singh, and Ms Anuradha Bali, all Assistant Advocate- General.

Interestingly, Mr Sandhu is the second person after Mr B.B.S. Sobti to have been demoted. While Mr Sobti was demoted from Senior Additional Advocate-General to Additional Advocate- General, Mr Sandhu has been made Senior Deputy Advocate-General even though he was Additional Advoc Sources said that the government was likely to appoint one more Senior Additional Advocate- General as well as some more law officers for its Delhi office.


PPSC scam approver charged with forgery
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 2
In a case of alleged takeover of a petrol pump using forged documents, the Deputy Commissioner has written to the Principal Secretary and Financial Secretary (Revenue) seeking necessary action against the prime accused, Prem Sagar, who is also a co-accused-turned -approver in the PPSC job-for-cash scam, the Registrar and all other witnesses in the sale deed. The DC has sought action following a probe into the matter.

It may be mentioned here that Sagar allegedly took possession of a 3-kanal plot at Kot Ise Khan in Moga. Later, he reportedly forged documents to usurp the petrol station, which was in the possession of his younger brother, Pardeep Kumar, located on the land in question. Pardeep Kumar was engaged in a legal battle with his brother for the past nine years, but first his proximity with the then PPSC chairman Ravi Sidhu and later his decision to turn approver in the much-publicised case came in the way of resolution of the land dispute as government officials in Moga were “unwilling” to act against Sagar. However, the moment the probe into the case was shifted out of Moga, the investigation officer, Mr Priyank Bharati, who is the SDM of Jaito, not only indicted Sagar of using forged documents but also found the sale deed Registrar in Zira office guilty of illegal transfer of property.

Earlier, Pardeep had accused his brother of using his political and bureaucratic connections during Ravi Sidhu’s tenure as the PPSC chairman to get 3 kanals where the petrol station was located, at Kot Ise Khan in Moga transferred in his son, Vinit Kumar’s name by impersonating as the land owner. He stated that he had got the possession of the petrol station after a family settlement in 1985 and the petroleum firm concerned transferred the same to his name. He owned the petrol station till 1995 after which Sagar, who was close to Ravi Sidhu, allegedly took over the petrol station using forged documents. Pardeep made a lot of complaints in Moga, but to no avail. Later, he demanded that the probe into the case be shifted out of Moga so that Sagar could not influence its findings.


Gang of car thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 2
The district police claims to have busted a five-member gang of auto thieves with the arrest of its two members, and recovered six stolen vehicles, including two sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and four cars, from their possession.

Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said that following a tip-off, a special police party laid naka at Sewerage Chowk and intercepted a Mahindra Scorpio vehicle (CH-03Z-3947) and its occupants were arrested. They were identified as Tarsem Singh and Chanchal Singh, both residents of Ferozepore.

During preliminary interrogation, the arrested persons revealed that they were part of a five-member gang of auto thieves and the vehicle they were found travelling in was stolen from Ludhiana last year. The vehicle was displaying a fake registration number.

The other members of the gang have been identified as Harpinder Singh of New Delhi, Arvinder Singh of Amritsar and Parmod Kumar Jain of Ludhiana.

Their revelations led to the recovery of five more stolen vehicles. Mr Bhullar further said that Harpinder was the ring leader, whereas Parmod Jain used to provide fabricated sale documents to the gang. The stolen vehicles were given new identity and were sold to unsuspecting buyers. A case has been registered.


Gang of thieves busted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 2
The CIA staff claims to have busted a gang of thieves with the arrest of five persons. Three iron rods, knives, .303 mm pistol, live cartridges and other material have been recovered from them.

According to Mr Gurmeet Singh, CIA Inspector, the police got information that some unscrupulous persons had gathered at a hideout on the bank of Bhakra canal near Sidhuwal village and had firearms in their possession.

He along with other members of the CIA staff raided the hideout and after a chase arrested five persons along with weapons. He said they were identified as Tirath Kumar from UP, Parmodh Kumar, alias Kala, from Rohtak, Devi Singh from Karnal, Rangi Lal from UP and Kuldeep Singh from Jandiala Guru. He said during interrogation they revealed that they used to burgle shops by breaking shutters and commit robbery by injuring the occupants of the house.

He said the accused confessed to having committed various thefts in the area. After interrogation, a motor cycle (PB 55 A 8895) was also recovered. He said further investigation was on and more crimes committed by them were likely to come to light.

The police has registered a case under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC at Sirhind police station.


Man shot at, Rs 6.75 lakh robbed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 2
Three car-borne youths shot at an employee of Dutt Multi Metals, an industrial unit at Mandi Gobindgarh town, and fled with a bag containing Rs 6.75 lakh on GT Road Mandi, near Khalsa School, last evening.

The injured has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh.


Teachers not paid for three months
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 2
A large number of teachers working in state government schools, which were upgraded in 2001 are not being paid their salaries regularly.

These teachers, who do not get salaries for months together, have been left with no other option but to borrow money to meet daily needs. Sometimes, such teachers pocket insult while borrowing money at high rate of interest.

“It has been happening for the past three years and we are being forced to borrow money”, pointed out a number of teachers with disappointment writ large on their faces.

Now again a large number of teachers working in upgraded government schools have not been paid salaries for the past three months due to non-release of the requisite budget.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the power to draw salaries of such teachers by the head teacher was renewed every year as the payment of the same fell in the planned expenditure category. Senior officials of the state Education Department used to delay the same resulting in inordinate delay in payment of salaries to the teachers.

Information revealed that not only the DDO powers, but the sanction for these posts has to be renewed every year.

Major Basant Kumar, district secretary, Democratic Teachers Front, Bathinda, said on the one hand the state government had been wasting crores of rupees on inserting advertisements in print and electronic media to please certain leaders, while on the other it had been running away from its duty of paying salaries to its employees regularly.

He said all procedures, including the sanctioning of posts, release of DDO powers and necessary budget, which were repeated every year, should be made automatic to avoid unnecessary delay in the release of salaries for months.

He said the morale of thousands of teachers had been affected all over the state as they had been feeling humiliated.

He demanded that all teachers who had completed their probationary periods successfully should be given confirmation letters automatically by the Education Department. During the next meeting with the senior officials of the Education Department, this demand would be raised, he said.

The teachers pointed out that if only the DDO powers to heads of upgraded schools were given, they would be able to draw and release the salaries of those teachers working under the non-planned category posts. These school heads would not be able to draw and release salaries of those teachers, who had been working in the planned category posts till the Finance Department accorded sanction to such posts.

Ms Gurwinder Pal Kaur Dhillon, District Education Officer (Secondary), when contacted said the delay was being caused in the payment of salaries to the teachers of upgraded schools as the Finance Department was yet to release the budget for the same. She added that Finance Department was yet to give DDO powers to heads of such schools also. She said as per her information, such teachers would be paid their salaries in a day or so.


Students burn effigy of varsity admn
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 2
The Punjabi University Students Confederation burnt the effigy of the university authorities in front of the Department of Political Science to protest against the ‘anti-student’ policies of the administration here today.

Addressing the gathering, the coordinator of the confederation, Mr Gurnam Singh Virk, said despite several requests the administration had not accept any demand of the student community till date.

The confederation demanded that Punjabi be introduced as compulsory subject in BSc (medical and non-medical).

It also said the university decision to introduce internal assessment of 20 marks should be cancelled.

The confederation further said the authorities had assured that a new hostel would be made available to students by August 31, but in vain.

The confederation threatened to intensify its struggle, if the administration failed to accept their ‘genuine’ demands.


Seminar on Sikh literature

Patiala, September 2
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, organised a seminar on ‘Sikh sacred literature — a view from East India, here today.

Dr Himandri Banerjee, Professor and Chairman of Guru Nanak Chair Jadhavpur University, Kolkata, expressed views on deeper meaning contained in Guru Granth Sahib and its perception by non-Sikhs.

He said Sikh shadads were chanted by members of Brahmo Samaj in their meetings. He discussed the advent of Sikhism in Bengali life and its influence on it. The Head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Dr H.P.S. Walia, delivered the welcome address. OC


Teachers’ body seeks PUTA poll

Patiala, September 2
The Centre for University Teachers, Punjabi University, has passed a resolution requesting the university authorities to conduct election to the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA). The resolution was passed at a meeting here today.

It further appealed the authorities to give voting rights to teachers whose rights had been challenged in court causing hindrance to the elections. OC


Students block traffic
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
Members of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) unit of the Akal Degree College, Mastauana Sahib, near here, today observed strike in the college and blocked vehicular traffic for more than half-an-hour in front of the college gate on Sangrur-Barnala road.

They were protesting against the alleged “callous attitude” of the private bus operators and their employees against the students, regarding bus-passes, in their buses.

The protesters were addressed among others by Mr Sukhwinder Singh, a state-level of the PRSU, and Mr Sukhcharan Preet, a University of the PRSU.


Auto component, garment industries can create more jobs in Punjab: CII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 2
Taking forward its growth agenda for Punjab, the CII has developed two representative models for generation of employment, covering the garment industry and the auto component industry.

The models project large-scale employment generation in the state for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers, especially women. Such projections are based on specific, result-oriented and time-bound efforts of the government, cautions the CII in a press note issued here today.

According to the Planning Commission, Punjab is likely to face increased unemployment in the post -Ninth Plan period (2002-2007), a trend supported by the fact that unemployment rate during 1993-2000 grew to about 7 per cent, as against 5.6 per cent in 1983-1992. The sectoral employment structure in the state reveals that more than 50 per cent of the 90 lakh workforce is employed in the agriculture sector, followed by about 30 per cent in the services sector and about 20 per cent in secondary areas.

Such a structure appears unsustainable, as agriculture cannot absorb the increasing workforce profitably. In fact, this sector already faces considerable disguised unemployment, which must be relocated to other sectors.

Given Punjab’s strengths in the hosiery industry in terms of skilled manpower, a thriving business community and opportunities in the global market, the CII feels that there is potential to create between 25,000and 1 lakh jobs in the garment industry in Punjab, most of them for women. At present, Tirupur exports about Rs 5,000 crore garments, whereas garment exports from Punjab are about Rs 1,000 crore.

The auto component industry has been growing at about 20 per cent during the past 10 years due to the increasing demand for automobiles in the country. Greater export opportunities, due to the increased level of outsourcing in developed countries, are also accelerating this growth.

The state has a strong base for the growth of auto component industry due to availability of raw material in the form of forged steel and the skill of communities. The auto component industry in Punjab can build on these strengths and claim a larger share in both domestic and export markets, feels the CII.

A CII-Accenture study estimates that the auto components industry in Punjab can grow from its present size of Rs 2,155 crore to Rs 7,500 crore. Auto component exports from the state can be increased from Rs 144 crore to Rs 4,500 crore by 2010. This growth will swell employment from its present level of about Rs 45,000 to about 1.6 lakh during the same period. The future growth is expected to come in high-value-added segments. New jobs will be for trained, qualified and educated people in different sub-segments of the auto component industry.


Milk plant gets Rs 24.2 cr aid
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 2
Being a sick unit, the Sangrur Milk Plant of the Milkfed, Punjab, has been brought under the rehabilitation plan. Under the plan, the milk plant will get Rs 24.20 crore from 2004 to 2011 from the Union Government and the Punjab Government as grants to improve its financial health. The Union and state governments will share the amount on 50:50 basis.

The proposal for the rehabilitation plan of the milk plant was prepared by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) with the support of the Milkfed, Punjab and the Sangrur District Cooperative Milk Producers Union.

Due to procurement of about 30,000 litre of milk per day till 1998 by the milk plant against the installed capacity of 1 lakh litre per day and mounting interest on the loan, the losses kept on increasing, resulting in accumulating loses of Rs 21 crore till March, 2004.

Mr R.K. Sharma, General Manager of the Sangrur Milk Plant, said here today that under the rehabilitation plan, the Sangrur District Cooperatives Milk Producers Union would revitalise defunct milk producers’ cooperative societies to increase the number of societies from 320 in 2003-04 to 450 in 2011.

He said the milk would also enhance the involvement of women dairy farmers in cooperative dairying. He said procurement of the milk, as per the plan, had been fixed as 1.10 litres per day in 2011, whereas the target for the year 2004-05 had been fixed at 67,000 litres per day on an average basis.

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