P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Turbaned students not allowed entry into French schools, says Sikh body
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Despite claims by the Indian government that it had received assurances from its French counterpart that Sikh students would be allowed to wear turbans to school, turbaned youths were either not allowed to enter schools or were made to sit in segregated classrooms after the start of the new academic session on September 2.

Mr Gurdial Singh, who is the president of the International Sikh Human Rights Organisation, while talking to TNS from Bibany, a suburb of Paris, said his son Jasvir Singh was not allowed entry into the Louis Michhele School in Bibany on Thursday. He said as he had gone to the school with his son on the first day of the new session, he had demanded to see the Principal.

“We were allowed to meet the Principal, who expressed his helplessness in allowing my son to enter the school premises with his turban”. He said he had reminded the Principal that the French Interior Minister and other officials had given assurances to the Sikh community that their children would be allowed into schools with their headgear but it had no effect on him. “The Principal sympathised with me but said he had not received any order to exclude Sikh children from the new law”. Gurdial Singh said he had taken up the issue with local schools’ secretary, who had asked him to wait for a few days for the matter to be sorted out.

Meanwhile, reports said that while in some schools Sikh students were denied entry, in others they were allowed to enter the premises but seated in separate classrooms away from their classmates. “They were told that they would get the necessary introductory books separately,” said Shingara Singh Mann of the Franco Sikhs Organisation headquartered in Paris. Mr Mann, while talking to TNS, said there was also confusion as to what kind of headgear would be allowed. “We have heard from some sources that the ‘patka’ will be allowed but not the turban. This will create problems for senior boys,” he said.

Mr Mann said some schoolchildren were also told that they would be admitted in different schools. “I feel the French government wants to demoralise us as uprooting a child from his class in a particular school will not only affect his performance but will also have an adverse psychological impact on him,” he said. Mr Mann said he and other Sikhs had approached government functionaries, asking that the exact rules applicable to Sikh students be given in writing but the same was not forthcoming.

Sikhs in Paris are concentrated in the Bibany and Brancy suburbs with Bibany also having a gurdwara. Reports from both suburbs indicated that the French Government was still hedging on what was to be done with regard to Sikh students. They said though the government functionaries had indicated earlier that the students would be allowed to continue wearing the turban, school principals were not taking any risk in the absence of any government directive in this regard.

Meanwhile, the Sikh Nation Organisation, headed by Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, has appealed to Sikh organisations to hold protests outside French embassies around the world. Dr Randhawa, who has also raised the issue with the UNO as well as the Sikh high priests recently, said Sikhs were being forced to take up the issue at the global level with the French Government being unable to decide on the matter despite negotiations since January when the new law banning religious headgear was introduced in the French parliament.


Race for new SGPC chief hots up
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 4
Who will be the new SGPC President? This question is being asked in the political circles especially in the Akali factions.

Already, a notification has been issued by the Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, regarding the election of new members of the General House of the SGPC on August 30. It is a legal necessity to hold the election of the President within 30 days from the issuance of the notification.

Sources said today that the commission had recommended to the Union Home Ministry to hold the election of the SGPC President on September 16. There were 182 elected and co-opted members of the general House.

As is the practice, all powers to select the candidate for Presidentship of the SGPC would be given to Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President, by its Political Affairs Committee (PAC), an apex policy framing and decision making body of the party. Mr Badal has called for an extended meeting of the PAC on September 7 in Jalandhar. Party MLAs, MPs, former MLAs and MPs and other senior leaders, including Presidents of the district units of the party, have also been invited to attend the meeting.

Main agenda of the meeting is gear up the party’s rank and file for the Garhshankar and Kapurthala byelections to be held on October 13.

But the issue of the SGPC President is also expected to be figure in the meeting though another meeting of the PAC will be called by Mr Badal to decide about the candidate for the posts of Presidentship.

At the moment, Bibi Jagir Kaur, former President of the SGPC, is trying hard to become the SGPC President. Another contender for the post is Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, a former President of the SGPC, who has been nominated as member of the General House at the behest of Mr Badal.

Bibi Jagir Kaur has emerged as front runner because three important Akali leaders — Mr Alwinder Singh Pakhoke, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan and Mr Suchha Singh Langah could not become members of the General House as their nomination papers were rejected. But they have won the legal battle and the court has ordered to hold elections in the SGPC constituencies from where these leaders had filed their nomination papers. Even if they win elections, whenever these are held, it will be of no use to them as election of the SGPC President would held well before they make to the General House. All three have been nursing the ambition of becoming the President of the SGPC.


NAAC team not satisfied with Punjab colleges
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 4
Colleges of Punjab have a good infrastructure vis a vis other states but are far behind the latter in terms of self-sustenance, vocational courses, library inter-connectivity, placements and industrial tie-ups.

This was stated by Prof R.P. Kaushik, Chairman, National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) peer team, on the last day of his three-day visit to Doaba College here today. Prof D.K. Maheswari and Principal S.M. Singh accompanied him as members of the team.

During his visit, he pulled up the college authorities for not coming up with fund-generating resources. He said that since the state government was not in a position to provide them sufficient funds, it was high time the colleges worked out strategies for developing means to attain self-sustainability.

Professor Kaushik pointed out that the UGC was offering at least 21 programmes meant for running vocational courses and offering incentives to students from reserved categories and the Scheduled Tribes. But he said that it was disappointing that there were a few colleges in the state availing such facilities offered by the commission. The Chairman also pointed out that many colleges in Delhi and other states had set up special cells that helped the institutes in designing projects for availing grants worth crores from the HRD Ministry and the Ministry for Science and Technology. He said colleges of Punjab were yet to rise to such a level so as to make any effort in this regard.

The Chairman said that while he was culling the data of Punjab colleges at New Delhi, he had seen that very few colleges in the state had inter-connectivity in their library by means of the Internet or intranet. He said this was the time when no college could boast of self-sufficiency in terms of reading or research material. He said that such a concept had become common in other states but not in Punjab.

The biggest surprise came to Professor Kaushik when he found that very few colleges had signed MoUs with the industries for suitable training and placement of their students. He urged the colleges to make sure that their faculty from different departments did some work and built up some network with prospective employers so as to provide good jobs to their students as soon as they moved out of the colleges.

Giving the status of accreditation process in the state, Professor Kaushik said that so far three universities and 22 colleges of Punjab had been accredited. But he said that more than 25 colleges of the state had already been assessed and their grading would be made public soon. In all, he said that over 1,034 colleges and 104 universities of India had been accredited till date. But he said that as many as 13,000 institutions were still left, forcing the council to extend their existing deadline from the year 2005 to 2007.


NAAC team visits college
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 4
A peer team of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) comprising Dr C.P. Srivastava, former secretary, UGC, Dr Furqan Qamar from Jamia Milia University, and Dr Lalit Mohan Sharma, Principal, Netaji Subash Chander Bose Memorial Postgraduate College, Hamirpur, visited Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial College, Mukandpur, from September 1 to 3 for physical verification of self appraisal report submitted by the college.

During the visit, the team interacted with the management, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and students and observed the functioning of each department and the activities of the NSS, NCC, Youth Club and other students’ associations.

A function was organised on the college campus on the concluding day of the visit of the NAAC team. The team members lauded the efforts of the Shergill family and NRIs in providing better education facilities to the rural youth.

The members of the team advised the managing committee to start more postgraduate courses. Dr Amarjit Singh, Dr Surjit Singh Bhatti, secretary and principal respectively, Prof Shamshad Ali, Prof Nirdosh Kaur, Mr Harinder Beesla, among others addressed the gathering.


Cut in salary: Law officers refuse to join office
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 4
Strong resentment is brewing among the newly appointed law officers in Punjab, with many of them refusing to join at the reduced salary. Even those lawyers who have joined office are openly expressing anger over the huge cut in salary payable to them.

While Punjab Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh and members of his staff are tight-lipped on the issue, sources said that many of the newly appointed law officers had so for not joined. These include some Additional Advocate- Generals and Senior Deputy Advocate- Generals.

It is also learnt that Mr B.B.S. Sobti, who was demoted from his previous post of Senior Additional Advocate-General to Additional Advocate- General, has also not joined so far.

While making appointments of new law officers for a one-year term, the Punjab Government failed to follow the suggestions of the high-powered committee to reduce the number of law officers from 123 to 62. Instead, the government reduced the salaries payable to its law officers.

Thus, an Additional Advocate- General is to be paid just Rs 15,000 as against over Rs 25,000 earlier. Similarly, the salaries of other law officers have also been reduced.

"If the government can't reduce the number, why did it reduce our salaries? Who will put in his or her 100 per cent if such measly salaries are paid? The cut in salary is all the more surprising because the Punjab Government has never been able to pay our salaries on time," said a newly appointed law officer.

Meanwhile, speculation was also rife that Ms Anuradha Bali, who has been appointed Assistant Advocate-General, will be asked to resign. All that the Home Department officials were ready to say on the issue was that "no final decision has been taken so far".

The candidature of Ms Bali for the post is said to have been pushed by Home Secretary S.K. Sinha.

Interestingly, Mr Sinha, who was forced to give up the post of Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister under pressure from rebel ministers and MLAs, continues to evade the media.

"He is somewhere in Chandigarh," is the staple reply of staff at his residence. Mr Sinha is reportedly under fire from all quarters for blatantly taking the number of law officers to about 110 despite recommendations to the contrary.

While news reports have also said that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is upset with Mr Sinha on the issue, sources in the government say that the number of law officers could not have been taken so high without the knowledge of the Chief Minister.

Interestingly, in a back-dated order, the government has re-appointed controversial lawyer R.K. Rathore as Additional AG for Delhi.

The licence of Mr Rathore was suspended by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana sometime back for professional misconduct. However, he appealed against the order in the Bar Council of India, which stayed the operation of the order.


World-class roads in Punjab soon
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Punjab will soon boast of world-class facilities in terms of road infrastructure. The Minister of Finance and Planning, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla, has promised industrialists that the dream will be realised within three months. The state government, he said, had identified 18 corridors for first-class highways that would make Punjab the best physically connected state in the country.

During an interaction with industry representatives here yesterday, the minister also assured that the state government would come out with a solution regarding the problem of truck unions “to the satisfaction of industrialists”.

“We are well aware that the benefits extended to the industry are nullified due to hike in costs by truck unions, which is not acceptable. We will bring the unions together and find a solution to this problem to your satisfaction,” he said.

He also said the government planned to incorporate suggestions from industry groups before implementing VAT.

The state government, with the Industrial Policy 2003 now in place, would work on implementation aspects so as to create on facilitating environment for industry to flourish. The minister assured government support to enhance industry’s competitiveness.

On the issue of non-release of subsidies by the government he said the government would try to release subsidies as and when funds were available.

The government was also examining a model legislation contract farming, he said, adding that Punjab’s second push in agriculture would come through crop diversification and contract farming to remedy the stagnation that had set into this key income and employment generating sector.

However, more than policies, it was the change in fundamental thinking that would push up the productivity, he emphasised.

Regarding reforms in labour laws, Mr Singla said the government needed to have fine balancing on the issue, where certain basic rights of labourers were also to be kept in mind.

Apprising the minister of the problems being faced by the industry, Mr Rakesh B Mittal, chairman, CII, North, emphasised on implementation of VAT, developing tourism, strengthening of state highways and infrastructure. He also emphasised on building Indo-Pak trade, which, he said, would go a long way in improving relations between the two countries.

Conceding that the state government had limited funds, Mr S.C. Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Industry and Commerce, Punjab, urged the industry to leverage the government’s contribution to maximum advantage. Available schemes should have a multiplier effect to generate more resources in the economy, he said.


Resentment over auction at throwaway prices
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 4
An auction of medical instruments in Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Government Medical College here has caused resentment in the medical fraternity, as these were reportedly disposed of at throwaway prices.

As many as 450 such instruments, a majority of them concerned with surgery, were auctioned, fetching a price of Rs 7100.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind of the All-India Association alleged that the auction carried out on June 21 was done merely nine days before the retirement of Dr PS Bedi, former Principal of the medical college.

Dr Bedi, when contacted, said he had no role to play in the auction. He said the instruments had been obsolete for years. He stated that the decision in this regard was taken under Medical Superintendent Dr Geeta Sharma. Dr Geeta said the original cost price was of the instruments was fixed. She said the instruments had been purchased years ago. Some were bought as far ago as pre- Partition, dating back to 1946 and a majority were bought in the year of Partition as per records .

However, Mr Sultanwind said Mr Baljit Singh, operation theatre assistant, who left the hospital in November 2002, prepared the list. He said some of the instruments were ‘special’ and so were sparingly used. He asserted that many were serviceable and many others could have fetched a much higher price. It was alleged that the auction at ‘throwaway prices’ was carried out to facilitate some nursing homes of vested interests. Moreover, he pointed out that “there was absence of signature of operation theatre supervisor, who is store-keeper of these articles and corresponding registers”.

Dr Geeta said a district-level committee with medical, administration and other representatives as members decides on the auction. The case is then sent to Director Research and Medical Education, for nod by Secretary, Medical Research and Education.


CPI demands early poll for local body
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
The city unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today urged the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Mr Jagjit Singh, to make arrangement for holding the election of Municipal Corporation immediately.

In a statement issued here, Mr Jagdish Ghai, Secretary, CPI, while dubbing the delay in holding the corporation elections as unfortunate, pointed out that problems of insanitation, street- lights, repair of roads and streets, inadequate water supply and sewerage facilities had been causing concern to the citizens.

He said though the term of the elected body of the then local Municipal Committee, which was later elevated to Municipal Corporation, ended in April 2003, no fresh election for the corporation was held by the state government so far. He added that even the Punjab Government had failed to carry out the demarcation of the wards.

He said though the Punjab Government had set up the interim advisory committee to look into the problems of the citizens, all members of this committee belonged to the ruling Congress party.

He added that representatives of other political parties should be included in the committee.

He said the CPI had demanded that no further delay should be made in the holding of elections.


BJP to announce candidate for Garhshankar seat soon
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 4
The Bhartiya Janata Party is likely to announce its candidate for the Garhshankar Assembly byelection during next week.

Stating this here today, the state BJP chief and MP, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, who was here to participate in the ongoing kar seva of the local Devi Talaab temple, said the party would announce its candidate, probably on September 8 or 9, after holding a meeting of the state unit office-bearers.

Lashing out at the Congress government in the state, Mr Khanna said the Congress had failed to ensure the proper development of the state.


Embezzlement detected in govt school
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
During a surprise check of schools in the district, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Daya Singh, DEO(S), has detected embezzlement in school funds of Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Bassi Pathana. The Deputy Commissioner has deputed Mr Darshan Singh, tehsildar, along with DEO office staff to scrutinise the school funds and accounts.

Embezzlement of funds worth lakhs of rupees was detected in the school when the clerk of the school failed to produce relevant records to the inquiry committee, as Principal was on leave. The Deputy Commissioner has ordered to seal the record and Principal room.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia said he had been visiting rural and urban schools to check the presence of staff as well as to provide fans, furniture and other required infrastructure to the schools.

He said during a visit to the school at Bassi Pathana, he checked GP fund ledger and found that it had been tempered with by rewriting. On inquiring about certain bills, the clerk got nervous and admitted to fraud. He said the tehsildar had submitted a prima facie report to him which showed that the clerk had withdrawn lakhs of rupees from GP funds and made no entries. He withdrew stipends but did not distribute these to students and gave loans worth Rs 50,000 for scooter and motor cycles to teachers.

Also, various payments made to teachers were not entered in the ledger. Similarly, a sum of Rs 50,000 was withdrawn for a computer in the school, but no computer was purchased.

He said the embezzlement might run into many lakhs of rupees. After a probe, criminal cases would be registered against the erring persons, he added.

He said the embezzlement had been made in connivance with school staff, Principal and officials of the Treasury Department.

He appealed people to join hands and extend cooperation to administration in eradicating corruption from schools.


Portugal Ambassador pays obeisance at gurdwara
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 4
Mr Joaquim Ferreira Marques, Ambassador of Portugal in India, along with his wife and daughter, paid obeisance at Gurdwara Shri Fatehgarh Sahib today.

His visit was planned by the Indian Association of Friendship with Foreign Countries, (IAFFC), a Delhi-based organisation. He was accorded a warm welcome at the gurdwara by Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Shiv Kumar Sharma, SSP. Members of the gurdwara management were also present.

Mr Joaquim said the number of Sikhs in his country was small, but they all were good citizens. He said he had read, listened and watched much about the traditions, faith, religion and culture of the community, so he decided to visit Punjab and have a personal interaction with them.

He said after paying obeisance at the Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, he would go to the Golden Temple, Amritsar, to join the celebrations of the 400th year of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. He said he was very much impressed by the prosperity and lifestyle of Punjabis. He said what he witnessed here was more than what he had heard about Punjab and Sikhs. He was narrated the history of the gurdwara, where two Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh were bricked alive.

Mr Jasbir Singh Nischal, secretary of the IAFFC, said the organisation had friendship ties with 18 countries and Portugal was one of them.

The Ambassador and member of his family were presented Siropas by the Head Granthi. Later, he also paid obeisance at Rauza Sharif.


Rally on SYL canal held
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ramgarh (Chamkaur Sahib), September 4
The Dal Khalsa, a Sikh hardliner group, today launched an agitation against the move to construct the remaining portion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal in Punjab stating that Haryana and Rajasthan were not riparian states and did not have right to get water from the rivers passing through Punjab.

Around 200 members of the group held a rally at Ramgarh village, near Chamkaur Sahib.

They lauded Capt Amarinder Singh for terminating all accords on water-sharing with Haryana and Rajasthan. They criticised former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for having double standard over the issue and ignoring the interest of the Sikh Panth.

A member of the SGPC, Mr Karnail Singh Panjauli, said we would not allow river waters to flow to Haryana and Rajasthan. He said Punjab was facing power crisis due to shortage of water as 60 per cent of the farming was being done through tubewells and the water level in the state had gone down by several feet.

The working president of the group, Mr Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, said the SAD had lost its original values. 


Bank employees’ strike on Oct 5, 6
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Demanding immediate conclusion of the eighth bipartite settlement, bank employees and officers throughout Punjab will observe a strike on October 5 and 6.

“Bipartite settlement has been due since November, 2002. The offer by the IBA of Rs 920 crore and Rs 674 crore to workmen and officers is far below expectations of the employees. Even the wage hike offer of 9.5 per cent this time is below 12.25 per cent hike that was given last time. If the IBA does not resolve this issue bank employees will be forced to go on strike,” said Mr Amarjit Kaura, secretary, AITUC, while addressing a press conference here today.

Talking about various issues of the banking sector, Mr Kaura emphasised on the need to take stringent measures to recover NPAs. He said the All India Bank Employees Association wanted amendment of the Securitisation Act to cover attachment of personal properties of defaulters. The association also demanded that the list of defaulters be published.

He informed that the eighth conference of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation will be held at Ludhiana tomorrow and over 700 delegates from public and private sector banks would participate.

Among other issues to be taken up during the conference will be dilution of government stake, Mr Kaura said. The rate of interest on bank deposits has come down from 13 per cent to 5 per cent affecting millions of people. Even the agricultural sector is getting loans at a higher interest rate as compared to corporates.


SPICMACAY team leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
A 12-member delegation of SPIMACAY, headed by its founder of youth movement, Dr Kiran Seth, left for Pakistan yesterday to explore possibilities of opening its chapters in the neighbouring country.

The society that promotes Indian classical music, dance and culture amongst youth has nationwide chapters in all major cities and in some foreign countries too.

Ms Manveen Sandhu, state coordinator and Principal of Springdale Senior School, said schools and colleges in Pakistan were going to be a major challenge some groups there were averse to classical music and in particular of Indian culture. She said she had high hopes from her recent talk with Ms Sajda Vandal, principal of the National College of Arts, Lahore, for a society chapter there. Ms Sandhu would be accompanying an Indo-Pak theatre troupe of students on September 6 to perform a play ‘border-border’ under the cultural exchange programme.


Another post-mortem conducted
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 4
On a demand of residents of Kahri village, the police got a fresh post-mortem of the body of Jatinder Singh, a youth of the village, conducted by a board of four professors of Medical College, Patiala.

According to the fresh report, as many as 22 marks of injuries were found on the body. Besides, 5 cm x 3.8 cm head injury, the main cause of the death of Jatinder Singh, was also detected. Police sources said according to the opinion of the members of the board, this head injury could be caused by hitting of blunt weapon or baseball or accidental fall on hard surface.

The sources said the SP (D), along with the DSP (D) and the SHO, Model Town police station, would now investigate the case to ascertain the real cause of death.

Jatinder Singh (18) was found seriously wounded near Hoshiarpur-Phagwara bypass recently. He was taken to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared dead on admission. On a statement of his uncle Karnail Singh, a case was registered under Sections 302, 34, IPC, against Dr Raj Kumar, running a CT scan centre in the city, and his brother Jatinder Kumar.


Gurbani exponent enthrals gathering
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 4
Bhai Baldeep Singh, the 13th generation ‘Gurbani kirtan’ exponent enthralled the gathering during the UGC-sponsored seminar on classical music organized by Khalsa College for Women here yesterday.

Talking to this correspondent, Bhai Baldeep Singh said he was trained in ‘Kirtan maryada’ in the classical music tradition due to his commitment to ‘Gurbani’. He honed his skill on music instruments under the guidance of Giani Harbahajan Singh.

Bhai Baldeep Singh has established the Indus Valley Conservatory Centre for Archives and Research in New Delhi.

He added that with the help of sophisticated technology, he has managed to document and preserve sacred musical practices and renditions. He has made three documentaries on kirtan.


Sikh priest escapes attack by thief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 4
Giani Mohan Singh, additional Head Granthi, Golden Temple, had miraculous escape today when one of the thieves, who had broken into his house in broad daylight, tried to attack him with Giani Mohan Singh’s sword only.

The incident occurred when Giani Mohan Singh reached his home in Shaheed Udham Singh Nagar after performing his duty in the Golden Temple. While one person was already inside the house after breaking the lock, his accomplice was waiting for him outside on a motorcycle. However, when Giani Mohan Singh, accompanied by his gunmen, reached the house, the thief snatched the sword from Giani Mohan Singh and tried to attack him. The gunmen of Giani Mohan Singh chased them. While one of them, later identified as Sabhi, was overpowered by the gunmen, other fled with money and ornaments.


Punjab to be greener
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
As much as 18 per cent area of Punjab will be brought under forests by 2014 as against only 6 per cent at present.

This was stated by Mr Hans Raj Joshan, Minister of State for Forests, Punjab, while addressing a district-level vanamahotsava function at the Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal village, about 20 km from here, last evening.

Mr Joshan said the Centre had fixed a target to bring 33 per cent area of the country under forests by 2014. He said the Forests Department had achieved the target of planting various saplings in 10,565 hactares in the state this year.

The saplings were being planted with the help of 108 municipal councils and five municipal corporations. More than 12,000 panchayats were also being encouraged to plant saplings in their respective areas.

Mr Joshan said the state would launch a programme soon to plant saplings along side ‘phirnis’ and streets in villages as part of the ‘Green Punjab’ programme.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Chanchal Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer, Mr Surjit Singh Dhiman, MLA from Dirba and Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director of the Institute.


Earring removed from throat of one-year-old
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 4
Doctors at Guru Nanak Mission Hospital, Dhahan Kaleran, here saved the life of one-year-old Simran, daughter of Mr Ranjit Kumar of Talwandi Jattan village, by conducting a surgery to remove an earring of 2-cm radius from her throat yesterday.

Simran was brought to the hospital with a breathing problem while her nose and mouth were bleeding. During examination, ENT surgeons found an earring stuck between her nasopharynx and lasyngopharynx and due to its large size Simran was neither able to swallow it or emit it. The doctors tried to remove the ring in OPD but in vain. A surgery was performed and the ring was removed.


Rare surgery performed
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 4
A rare surgery, ‘Revision Tympanomastoidectomy’, was performed on an NRI, Ms Sandeep Kaur (18), here for reconstructing her hearing ossicular chain.

Sandeep had been suffering from pus-discharge from both ears and deafness.

He said she was operated upon five times, thrice on the right ear and twice on the left ear, in the USA, but she remained deaf in her left ear. Then she was brought here for treatment and after the revision of ear surgery, Sandeep could hear normally now.


Rs 45,881 lakh disbursed under priority sector
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
A meeting of the Sangrur District Consultative Committee was held under the chairmanship of Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, here yesterday.

The meeting reviewed the annual credit plan of the district and took stock of the progress made under various government-sponsored schemes in the district.

Mr T.S. Anand, Lead District Manager, informed the meeting that a sum of Rs 45,881 lakh had been disbursed by banks in the district under the priority sector against a target of Rs 37,785 lakh during the quarter ended June 2004. The highest disbursement of Rs 42,307 lakh was in the agriculture sector. Priority sector advances stood at 86 per cent of the total advances. Advances to women beneficiaries stood at 5.2 per cent of total advances against a benchmark of 5 per cent, he added.

Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, directed all the bank officials to speed up the process of achieving the target of 30 per cent growth in the agriculture sector, as per the new Central Government policy, so that maximum number of farmers could get the benefit under this scheme.


Cultural show
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 4
Teachers are builders of the nation and they have contributed to the welfare of society in a big way.

These views were expressed by Ms Surjit Pakhija, zone chairman of the Lions Club (Umang), at Teacher’s Day celebrations at Government Model Senior Secondary School here today.

The club honoured three teachers for their contribution towards education. They were Mr Avtar Singh Gill, principal, Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Mrs Balwinder Kaur, Principal, Government Model Senior Secondary School, and Mrs Daljit Kaur, a retired principal.

Teacher’s Day was also celebrated with enthusiasm at Little Blossoms High School.


Doctor cremated
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 4
A young woman doctor Kiran Tuknayat, who was working as a Medical Officer at the Lachowal village dispensary, and allegedly committed suicide by jumping into Bhakra Canal near Gangowal Power Station on September, 1, was cremated here today. Hundreds of citizens, including her doctor colleagues, attended the funeral.

According to information, the doctor’s husband Dr Arun Tuknayat, who was a skin specialist at the local Civil Hospital, had died on March 23. Since then, Dr Kiran, who is survived by a son and daughter, was very much shocked and took the extreme step. The body of Dr Kiran was found floating in the Ganguwal hydel project last morning.


Missing woman rescued
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, September 4
A 38-year-old woman, who had been missing for the past two years, was found with a tantrik by the district police here today.

Investigations made by the police revealed that the woman, a resident of Lahori Gate, was lured by the tantrik who had allegedly mesmerised her.

After getting a tip-off, the police found her at Kapurthala bypass, near Baba Pir Chaudhary’s durgah. This ended the two-year-long hunt by her husband and her two adolescent children.

The tantrik, Jaspal Singh, a resident of Khanpur, is in police custody.


Summary revision of electoral rolls
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 4
The district administration today released special summary revision list of electoral rolls.

The procedure, which entails preparation of the list of identification particulars, would continue till September 10.

Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh said here today that the filing claims and objections would be allowed between September 15 and October 15.

He said the preparation and printing of supplements of additions, deletions and corrections would be completed by December 31. The final publication of electoral rolls would be done on January 3.


VIPs call on Baba Virsa Singh
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 4
Scores of followers, including top Punjab bureaucrats and political leaders gave a warm welcome to Baba Virsa Singhji during his 45-minute halt at a restaurant, on the Rajpura-Ambala road, this evening.

Escorted by the Punjab police, an air-conditioned bus carrying Baba reached the venue at about 8 pm. After attending the 400th celebrations of the Guru Granth Sahib, he was on his way back to Delhi from Amritsar.

Seeking blessing of the Baba, Mr Prakash Singh, MLA from the Payal Assembly constituency, Mr Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, DIG, Patiala range, Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, a former Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Mr Bhagwan Singh Dua, a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and a number of local leaders had assembled to have blessings of the Baba.


Confusion over martyr’s marriage cleared
Our Correspondent

Gurjit Singh dances with his wife after their marriage on July 3, 2004. The photo has been copied from their marriage album.
Gurjit Singh dances with his wife after their marriage on July 3, 2004. The photo has been copied from their marriage album.

Abohar, September 4
Confusion created by a media report that Gurjit Singh of the Sikh Bravo Coy was yet to marry a girl in the Muktsar area on September 20 was cleared with the presence of his wife and in-laws during cremation at Shehteerwala village near the International border yesterday. The brave soldier lost his life fighting militants near Mahor (Ramban) in Udhampur sector early this week.

His relatives showed an album that verified Gurjit’s marriage on July 3 this year. The couple was together for nine days only as Gurjit had to leave for Jammu and Kashmir on July 12. His wife, besides sister and mother were inconsolable yesterday. All members of his parental and in-laws families were, however, proud of him for having made the supreme sacrifice for the country. He had joined the regiment three years ago.


Body found
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 4
A body of an unidentified person was recovered by the police from near Jhanjeri village yesterday.

According to the police, the body was found from near a mango orchard in the area and appeared to be of some poor person.

It was sent to the local Civil Hospital for post-mortem.

The police said that information in this regard was provided by Mr Gurmukh Singh, Sarpanch of the village.


Indian lifestyle appraised
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
Indian lifestyle and value system is much better than the ethos of Western countries.

This was stated by Dr Som P. Ranchan, eminent poet, philosopher and critic, while delivering his keynote address at a seminar held on “Indian Ethos and Value Today” by the English Literary Society of the local DAV College today.

Dr Ranchan, who has a wide teaching experience in India and abroad, pointed out that the Indian lifestyle and value system was much better than the Western culture because of the fact that Indian ethos were deeply rooted and closely related. He pointed out that the structure of the Indian society was based on harmony, assimilation, patience, tradition and concept of the Guru. The keynote address was followed by the question-answer session.

Dr J.S. Anand, Principal, DAV College, Prof N.K. Gosain and Dr P.S. Romana, Professor, Regional Centre, Punjabi University, Bathinda, participated in the question-answer session.


Kirti Kisan Union holds protest
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 4
Members of the Kirti Kisan Union gheraoed the Punjab State Electricity Board SDO of Bhindar Kalan subdivision yesterday. The gherao, in which a large number of women also took part, continued till 7 pm.

The union members were demanding to connect the village’s power supply to the city feeder. SP motor connections be converted to AP ones, besides withdrawal of “excess” power bills. The union leaders alleged that power board employees demand bribe for replacing burnt transformers. Their other demands included 16-hour power supply to the rural sector.

The gherao was lifted in the evening after the SDO reportedly accepted one of their demands. The union leaders, Nirbhay Singh Dhudike and Devinder Singh Ghali, said the SDO had agreed to convert their motor connections from SP to AP within 2 months.


Roof collapse: probe hangs fire
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 4
A probe into cowpen roof collapse at Sanghera village in which about 85 cows had died and over 30 injured, has been hanging fire even after one month of the incident. Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, had ordered a probe into the incident.

The Deputy Commissioner said yesterday that the inquiry report had not reached his office so far and he would be able to tell anything pertaining to the causes of roof collapse and subsequent death of cows only after receiving the report.


Roadways staff resent govt attitude

Moga, September 4
Punjab Roadways employees will protest against the state government, besides holding protest rallies against the Congress candidates, at the constituencies where Assembly byelections are due next month if their demands are not met. This decision was taken at the annual general council meeting of the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union here today. The union president, Mr Darshan Singh Kang, said the Punjab Government should induct a fleet of 400 new buses and formulate a policy to provide better amenities to the passengers. — TNS


Man gets life term for killing wife
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 4
The judge of the District Fast-Track Court, Mr Hardayal Singh, has sentenced a person to life imprisonment and fined Rs 1,000 for killing his wife.

In the case of non-payment of fine he would have to undergo a further imprisonment of two months.

The convict, Jaswinder Singh, was a resident of Sadhawala and had killed his wife in October, 2002.

Sources said that Jaswinder Singh’s wife, Baljeet Kaur, opposed his illicit relationship with other women, which led to her murder.

On the basis of the complaint by the victim’s brother, Baltej Singh, the police had registered a case against Jaswinder under Section 302 of the IPC.


Multiple agri-goods licences to go
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
In a decision that could have far-reaching consequences in the agriculture sector, the state government has initiated steps to cancel the additional licences of those pesticide, fertiliser and seed dealers who have more than one licence for one premises to prevent the sale of spurious agricultural items.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Agriculture, Punjab, who has been coordinating the raids conducted by department officials on pesticide dealers in Ferozepore, Bathinda and Sangrur districts, said that the exercise for the cancellation of additional licences would be started district wise and would cover the state within a few weeks. He said the government had been getting reports that dealers with more than one licence on the same premises were indulging in the sale of spurious agricultural inputs. When they were caught and one licence was cancelled, they continued selling on another licence.

The government was also planning to make the procedure of revocation of cancelled licences more stringent. Efforts were being made not to revoke the cancellation of a licence of any dealer till the conclusion of the legal proceedings against him.

He said the government would press for major amendments in the different Acts pertaining to the manufacture and sale of pesticides, fertilisers and seeds to save the farmers from unscrupulous traders.

Today six teams of the Agriculture Department — five headed by Joint-Director-level officers and one headed by the Director — raided pesticide dealers in Abohar, Malout, Bathinda, Tapa, Barnala, Raman Mandi, Maur Mandi and other towns. Forty samples were taken, which would be sent for examination to different laboratories under a secret procedure. If any pesticide was found substandard, immediate action would be taken against the dealer concerned, Mr Randhawa said.

In the current agriculture season, the department had collected 1,305 samples of fertiliser, of which 20 had been found substandard and 1,653 samples of pesticides were taken and 64 out of these had been found substandard. Apart from this, of the 5,965 samples of seeds collected, 118 had failed. It had also come into his notice that at certain places spurious agricultural inputs were being sold with official connivance, he said.


ST team raids chemist shops
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 4
Sales Tax Department officials today raided the premises of local wholesale and retail chemists. The police sealed the records of Arora Medicos and Arora Jaysons. The raiding team took with it the books of the said firms and CPU of their computers.


Cheating case against travel agent
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 4
Four youths of this district — Mr Harwinder Singh, Mr Manwinder Singh, Mr Kehar Singh and Mr Jasbir Ram — were imprisoned in Pakistan after being cheated by travel agents. However, on intervention by the Indian Government, Mr Harwinder Singh, Mr Manwinder Singh and Mr Kehar Singh managed to secure their release in August, 2003, but Mr Jasbir Ram is still imprisoned in Queta jail.

Mr Harvinder Singh has now filed a complaint against Mr Kulwinder Singh, alias Kinda, a travel agent of Bodal village. In his complaint, he alleged that Mr Kulwinder Singh took Rs 2 lakh from him to send him to Greece in August, 2001. It was decided that he had to pay Rs 1.50 lakh more to Mr Kulwinder Singh after reaching Greece safe and sound. Instead of sending him to Greece, Mr Kulwinder Singh sent him to Moscow with other youths. However, they managed to enter Greece illegally and were arrested before being sent to Pakistan, where they were imprisoned.

The Dasuya police has registered a case under Section 420, IPC, against Mr Kulwinder Singh.

In another case, the Sadar police, Hoshiarpur, has registered a case under Section 420, IPC, against Mr Kulwinder Singh, a travel agent of Lakhpur Sahni in Kapurthala district, on a complaint by Mr Bakshi Ram of Singhpur village.

In his complaint, Mr Bakshi Ram alleged that Mr Kulwinder Singh took Rs 1.20 lakh in December, 1999, for sending his son Mr Jasbir Ram to Lebanon. Instead of sending his son to Lebanon, Mr Kulwinder Singh sent him to Turkey. Mr Jasbir Ram managed to enter Lebanon illegally but was arrested and sent to Pakistan.


Singer accused of human trafficking
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Noted Punjabi singer Sukhi Brar is now wanted by the police in a “kabootarbazi” case. The Patiala police today handed over a complaint received against her to the Economics Offence Wing.

Earlier, a police party of Sadar Police Station, where an FIR has been registered against the singer, had gone to her Mohali residence to question her with regard to the case but had to return without being able to meet the singer.

Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Shadipur village near Bahadurgarh on the outskirts of the city, had filed a complaint against the singer on September 1. The complainant had alleged that the singer took Rs 3.5 lakh from him to send his daughter to the USA as a member of her dance troupe. He said he waited for nearly one year for the singer to honour her promise but on getting no response he approached the police.

The Patiala police has, meanwhile, transferred the case to the Economic Offences Wing so that a detailed investigation could be carried out into the matter. Earlier the Sadar police had registered a case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC, (misappropriation of funds and cheating), against the singer.


2 fake wrestlers booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 4
Two fake wrestlers have been booked under Sections 420, 406, 120-B, IPC, and Section 24 of the Immigration Act for duping Navdeep Singh of Jhikka Ladhana village of Rs 5 lakh on the pretext of sending him to Canada in 2000. Navdeep had later died.

His father Balbir Singh had lodged a complaint with the police against the accused.

One of the fake wrestlers, Sunny Gill, already had several cases of human trafficking registered against him. Sunny was once son-in-law of veteran wrestler and film star Dara Singh, though the latter had said to have severed relation with him owing to his shady activities. Sunny had slipped away abroad long back to escape police dragnet.

The complainant had alleged that his son had given Rs 2 lakh to the accused in January 2000. He again gave Rs 3 lakh in July the same year. His passport was also taken.

However, after the death of Navdeep Singh, his father demanded money back. The accused gave him a cheque, which bounced on presentation. Since the other accused returned him part of the amount this afternoon, Balbir Singh had asked the police to exclude his name from the case.


Intoxicants seized in raids
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
During raids on a shop of an unregistered medical practitioner and a medical hall here today, a two-member team comprising Mr Sanjiv Kumar, Drug Inspector, Sangrur, and Dr Makhan Singh, Medical Officer, made a big haul of intoxicants and drugs.

Talking to TNS over the phone, Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, said following secret information a few days ago that an unregistered medical practitioner Ravi on the Gaushala Road here was selling intoxicants to the youth, he had ordered the Drug Inspector to raid Ravi’s shop.

The Deputy Commissioner said during the raid a large number of tablets, capsules, injections and syrups being misused as intoxicants were seized. The seized medicines included 23,800 tablets of phenotil and monotil, 400 injections of G-norphin, 1280 capsules of nitazepam, 26 bottles (100 ml) Corex syrup, 11 bottles of rexcof cough syrup, 3,600 tablets of diazepam, 432 capsules of proxyvam, 400 capsuls of spasmo-proxyvon, and 400 capsules of parvon spas were seized.

Mr Husan Lal said when the Drug Inspector asked Ravi to disclose the source of his purchase of medicines Ravi gave the name of the Krishana Medical Hall, Sunami Gate, Sangrur. The team raided the premises of the Krishana Medical Hall and seized 5,050 tablets of phenotil and monotil, 100 capsules of hyphodek-10 mg and nine empty boxes of phenotil as the owner of the shop could not produce the purchase record.


Woman dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 4
Kiranjit Kaur (24), a resident of Balian village, near here, was killed while her one-year-old son, Kulwinder Singh, suffered injuries in a road mishap, which took place near Ghabdan village, about 8 km from here on the Sangrur-Patiala road yesterday.

The local police said here that Kiranjit Kaur and her son were sitting on a tractor when the road mishap occurred. It further said a Maruti car rammed into the tractor-trailer due to which Kiranjit Kaur and her son fell on the road. Kiranjit suffered serious injuries and she was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries. Her son was also admitted to the hospital. Police said the driver of the Maruti car, Mr Charanjit Singh, also suffered injuries and was admitted to Civil Hospital.


Civil Hospital doctor caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
Dr Ramesh Maheshwary, Medical Officer in the local Civil Hospital, was caught by a team of Vigilance Bureau led by the DSP, Mr Ashutosh Kaushal, while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from a medical representative.

Mr Kaushal said a trap was laid on the complaint of Mr Surinder Kumar a medical representative with Sun Pharma. In the complaint Mr Kumar alleged that Dr Maheshwary had been demanding bribe from him for prescribing the medicine manufactured by the company. He added that a deal was struck at Rs 8,000.

He said Mr Kumar paid Rs 4000 to Dr Maheshwary as the first installment and the rest of the amount was to be paid later. When the team of Vigilance Bureau raided the residential premises of Dr Maheshwary, the bribe money of Rs 4000 was recovered from his possession.

The Executive Magistrate, Mr Rajesh Verma, and the DSP, Mr Sukhdev Singh Chahal, accompanied the raiding team. A case had been registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the Vigilance Bureau police station here.


2050 schools without heads
Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, September 4
A large number of posts of school head have been lying vacant in senior secondary and high schools of the state. According to the figures, out of 1,304 senior secondary schools of Punjab, 1050 (80 per cent) are without regular principals. Similarly, out of 1,742 high schools, around 1,000 (about 60 per cent) are without headmasters.

Besides, out of 228 education blocks, 210 (90 per cent) are without regular block primary education officers. About 60 per cent schools are such where principals or headmasters have never been posted ever since their upgradation. On the top of it, according to a new education policy, more schools are being upgraded.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesperson for the government secondary teachers union, Punjab said the main reason for such a large number of vacancies of school head was that senior headmasters, lecturers, masters and centre head teachers had not been promoted for long. Another reason was that there had been no direct recruitment of school heads. Besides, a large number of school heads retired from service every month, he added.

Mr Kalra said the government had sought details of cases of eligible headmasters, lecturers, masters and centre head teachers for promotions in October, 2002. Meetings of the Departmental Promotion Committee for selections of principals were held. However, no decision could be taken at the meetings. A similar dilly-dallying policy with regard to the headmasters and block primary education officers was being adopted by the department.

Mr Kalra has urged the Chief Minister and the Education Minister to frame a permanent policy for promotions and filling the vacancies of school head so that the administrative work and studies in the schools are not affected.


Teachers demand elections to PUTA
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4
Various teaching factions of Punjabi University today got together to demand immediate elections to the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA), even as they alleged the university authorities were not conducting the elections on “lame” excuses.

The teaching factions, which include the Progressive Teachers Front (PTF), the Democratic Teachers Forum (DTF) and the Centre for University Teachers (CUT) today said only the PUTA elections in 2002 - 03 had been stopped because the same were challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

They said there was no reason to stop subsequent elections as the court direction relating to PUTA elections was for the year 2002-03 alone.

The results of the elections 2002-03 could not be announced because the result was ordered to be kept in abeyance by the High Court. Teachers of Guru Kashi College, Talwandi Sabo, who had been given voting rights by former Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, but had the same taken back by the next dispensation, had challenged the university decision in the High Court. The High Court had allowed the elections to be held but had stayed the declaration of results.

Meanwhile, Dr Joga Singh, a teachers’ leader said the university should allow voting to teachers whose voting right had been challenged in the High Court.

He said since the non-teaching employees of Talwandi Sabo College had already cast their vote more than once, there was no merit in denying voting rights to teachers of the college.

He said PUTA was an essential link between the teaching community and the authorities and it was high time that this link was restored.

Meanwhile, in another representation to the Vice-Chancellor which was signed by 27 teachers of various factions, it was stated that the teachers had submitted a memorandum requesting for early elections to PUTA too.

The statement said the faculty should be allowed to express its opinion on various academic, social and political issues affecting the university and society at large. It said an effective PUTA had always improved university functioning in the past as well.


PTU not to open new distance education centres
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 4
Punjab Technical University (PTU) has decided not to open any new distance education centre and will try to consolidate and improve standard of education in the existing distance education centres. The Vice-Chancellor of the PTU, Mr S.K. Salwan, gave this information while talking to mediapersons here today. He was here to preside over the annual function of the Shri Sai Institute of Engineering.

The distance education courses had received a good response but in certain cases reports of lack of faculty or infrastructure were received. Due to this reason the university has decided to improve the facility in its existing network of distance education centres rather than opening new centres.

He further said the PTU had directed all engineering colleges, that have completed two study sessions, to apply for grading from the Nation Bureau of Accreditation (NBA). Initially, the engineering institutes were being directed to voluntarily get their grading done from the NBA. However, later the grading would be made mandatory for the institutes. The grants and other facilities provided by the government to the institutes would depend upon their grading from the NBA. Besides, the PTU would also conduct an internal academic audit of the institutes being run under it to keep the minimum standards.

Responding to a query regarding the controversy regarding the examination system of the PTU, the VC said institutes had been directed to start bridge courses, to tide over the problem. In these bridge courses the institutes would organise extra classes for comparatively weaker students to help them come at par with the minimum criteria fixed for promotion to higher classes.

To increase the placement opportunities of its students, the PTU was creating a data bank that would be available online to its student. This year 1089 PTU students were absorbed in private sector through campus placements.


GCWF to contest PU Senate poll
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 4
The General Categories Welfare Federation (GCWF), Punjab, has fielded its candidate for the coming Senate elections of Panjab University, the polling for which would be held on September 19.

Mr Harbans Singh Sidhu, district president, GCWF, Bathinda district, said here today that this was for the first time that the federation would be contesting any elections directly. He said the federation had fielded Mr Prabhjit Singh, senior vice-president of the federation as a candidate for the registered graduate constituency of the university Senate.

Mr Sidhu said extensive meetings with registered voters of Mansa, Bathinda, Muktsar, Rampura, Gidderbaha, Malout and other nearby towns had been held and the aim and agenda of contesting the elections had been explained to them. He said due to caste-based reservations and astronomical rise in fee of the university courses, many deserving students of general categories were left out. The federation would oppose this, he claimed.

The federation candidate, Mr Prabhjit Singh, said they had been getting encouraging response from the voters. Dr Gurjant Singh Sekhon, Senior Medical Officer, Malout, said they would try to mobilise maximum votes for the candidate fielded by the federation.


PAU holds training camp on pest control
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 4
Punjab Agricultural University organised one-day training programme at the Regional Fruit Research Station here under the IRM project. The project sponsored by the Union Ministry of Agriculture has been initiated in 28 districts of North India to design new strategies to combat insecticide resistance in insects which ensure effective pest management and profitable cotton production.

Welcoming the participant farmers, Dr R.K. Gumber advised them to follow the recommendations made by the PAU for harvesting good yields. Dr A.K. Dhawan, state coordinator of the project, told the cotton growers about insecticide resistance management strategies which included need-based use of insecticides at recommended doses with proper sprayer and spray methods. He also stressed upon the conservation of natural enemies.

Dr P.K. Arora, district coordinator of the project, gave other valuable tips on pest management. Dr P.S. Aulakh, Dr Kamaldeep, Mr Anil Kumar and Dr Vijay Singh also interacted with the farmers to know problems at the grass-root level.

The participants were told that the PAU had decided to present a street play titled “Sambhal Samajh Kar Hee Keetnashak Ka Upyog — Ek Mukti Marg” to disseminate the IRM technology in cotton growers. This National Award-winning play would be staged at Bhangala and Rajpura villages of this subdivision on September 11. Another training camp will be held on the occasion.


Markfed celebrates golden jubilee

Chandigarh, September 4
It came into being with three employees, one bicycle, 13 members and a capital share of Rs 54,000. Fifty years later Markfed has the distinction of being Asia's largest marketing cooperative.

The organisation commemorated its golden jubilee recently and is all set to announce a number of projects as a part of its year-long celebrations.

Currently, the organisation, a federation of 3021 co-operative societies, is directly representing "the interests of over one million farmers" in the state and employees over 3,000 persons.

The organisation has its own oil plants, sugar and rice mills, along with canneries and processing units, besides research and development laboratories. — TNS

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