P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



No power for Punjab from other states
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Punjab State Electricity Board has virtually hit the blind alley as far as availing power from outside sources is concerned to deal with the deepening power crisis in the state. Due to this reason, it has been left with no alternative but to further enhance the timings of power cut in various parts of the state to cope with the emerging situation on the power front.

What has added to the growing power crisis is some fault that has developed in the unit number one of the Ropar thermal plant. Informed sources said that the unit was giving trouble and had thus added to the worries of the authorities concerned.

What has made things difficult for Punjab is that states like West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, which earlier helped Punjab a lot to deal with the power crisis, have now expressed their inability to extend further help because these states themselves are facing crisis on the power front.

Informed sources said that West Bengal, which was earlier diverting good part of its share to the PSEB, had now slashed it to half. The demand for power had gone up all of a sudden in West Bengal.

Likewise, Madhya Pradesh, which proved a huge support for the PSEB in the past weeks, has now flatly refused to spare power for Punjab. Obviously, the PSEB pays money to buy power from these states. Sources said that the power supply from MP's share has virtually come down to zero to the PSEB. There is a fall of about 50 lakh units in power supply to the PSEB from both these states.

As power generation from hydro sources has also come down, J and K has also slashed power supply to the PSEB.

Punjab is unable to get full share from the nuclear power plant at Kota in Rajasthan. It is providing only 15 per cent power to Punjab, it is learnt. However, the National Thermal Power Corporation is helping the PSEB. It is almost providing the PSEB it full share from its plants.

When contacted, a senior official of the PSEB said: " We are trying our best to deal with the situation but things were not moving our way because all major states are facing power crises". He said the power crisis would persist at least for two weeks more. Then harvesting of paddy would start in the border belt and demand for power would start declining.


Is Punjab being held to ransom on power crisis?
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Blackmarketing in power selling by surplus states has left the power deficit states like Punjab groping in the dark. In fact, what is happening on the power front at the national level is quite revealing. The new element in power blackmarketing, never heard of before, has virtually led to a short-circuit in the deficit states and also given a financial shock to their electricity boards.

What is blackmarketing in power and how is it done? The modus operandi is simple. The power surplus states, which get allocation of higher share from the central public sector units or under unallocated power, indulge in trading or blackmarketing in power by selling power through “unscheduled interchanges”. In other words, states that got their full share of power at cheap rates from the Central pool and were still left with surplus power resorted to power trading or blackmarketing.

Punjab is a classic example, a victim of such a power cult. Though the state had spent Rs 1,250 crore to purchase 5,949 million units of electricity from other states and sources, between April and August no power was now available under “unscheduled interchanges” even at Rs 6 per unit because of the shock delivered by surplus states that are blackmailing power-deficit states like Punjab. All of Rs 1,250 crore was PSEB’s own and the state had not paid a penny, though it owed to it over Rs 200 crore.

Though the present power crisis was more nature-induced, man-made machination further compounded the problems of deficit states. For the existing crisis of darkness in the power sector in Punjab, a major part of the blame must also be apportioned to the political governments that had failed to increase power generation in the past decade.

Punjab State Electricity Board Chairman S. Ratra has presented to the government a clear picture of the power scenario. He has suggested certain steps. The foremost was that Punjab take up with the Union Minister of Power to set up realistic terms for allowing flow of power from surplus states to deficit states under open access and allocation of corridor or transmission capacity to be leased on requirement or shortage basis and not through e (electricity)-bidding.

Also, that the Centre be asked to issue suitable directions to put an embargo on surplus states not to indulge in trading through “unscheduled interchanges” etc. but allocation be revised on “actual requirement or power shortage basis”.

Mr Ratra told TNS that Punjab wanted the Centre to reallocate power from RAPP to the state from Madhya Pradesh, a surplus state. The Chief Minister of Rajasthan needed to be approached to allow flow of power under banking for which draft agreements were ready. The Centre was also to be requested to allocate to Punjab 34 per cent share of Himachal Pradesh from Nathpa-Jhakri and also 7 per cent surrendered share of J and K.

In fact erratic monsoon has added to the power cuts, while demand of power in April-August had risen by 17 per cent in terms of MW and 8 per cent in terms of energy or lakh units, per day, compared to corresponding demand in April-August 2003.

Mr Ratra reeled off projects, short-term that PSEB will execute, and long-term MoUs and agreements that it has signed, to meet power shortage in the state in future. He concluded that despite such measures, Punjab would remain power deficit in the next three years — (-)17 percent in 2004-05, (-) 20 per cent in 2005-06 and (-) 22 per cent in 2006-07. Punjab also has arrangements for power purchase, till October 31, with West Bengal, Assam and DVC. However, there has been missed supply due to a variety of factors, including blackmarketing. He said : “We are in touch with Tatas. Next week Reliance is visiting to negotiate on power supply to Punjab. We are not defaulters on payment either to the Railways or to financial institutions.


Turban issue: Sikhs plan demonstration in NY
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 13
Few Sikh students have been able to get entry into schools in and around Paris wearing a handkerchief as headgear, even as a majority continue to be denied entry into schools even though they presented themselves sporting a shorter version of the turban or even a “patka”.

Meanwhile, a French who has embraced Sikhism has filed a case of discrimination in a lower court in Paris even as various Sikh organisations the world over have decided to organise a demonstration on the issue in New York on the opening day of the session of the United Nation’s General Assembly on September 22.

The road for negotiation has been closed with the Education Minister clearly stating that there cannot be two set of laws on the same issue.

Mr Shingara Singh Mann who heads the Franco-Sikh organisation in Paris, talking to TNS, said young Sikhs who had gone to school sporting a handkerchief as geadgear, had been allowed to attend classes in a few schools. He said other students were being allowed entry on the school premises, but were denied entry into classrooms. “These students generally sit in cafeterias of the schools for some time before returning home”, he said.

“We are not sure whether our children would be accommodated in private schools as we have received reports that they are going to take the same stand on the issue. The students have already lost 10 days of school following the reopening of schools on September 2”, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Mann and another French who has embraced Sikhism, Mr Kudrat Singh Menir, has filed a case of discrimination in a lower court in Paris. In their separate applications, the two have averred that their basic constitutional rights were not being guaranteed due to the ban on the wearing of any kind of headgear.

They two claimed that they were being treated as second category citizens inspite of legislative texts, pacts and international conventions signed and ratified by France.

Sikh Nation Organisation president Manjit Singh Randhawa said talks had been held with the United Sikhs Organisation of the United States, besides organisations in Canada, and that they had given their assent to the demonstration in front of the UN building. He said protests would be coordinated in India also.


CM on a political stabilisation mission
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, September 13
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is proceeding on a political stabilisation mission, and in the process he has employed 50 legislators of the Congress out of 61,including an 18-member Punjab Cabinet, and a number of persons as chairmen of state corporations and boards. Interestingly, the majority of the corporations and boards are bankrupt. The Chief Minister started the process of his stablisation with the downsizing of the Cabinet when he got rid of some of the inconvenient persons. Now when some legislators became vocal, he has started the process of appeasement of the same and has recast major political appointments.

This process of political survival has been started by him when the state is faced with a serious financial crunch and the annual deficit is on the increase. The state at present has a deficit of last year worth Rs 3,700 crore and the fiscal deficit of Rs 6,000 crore. Enquires made by The Tribune show that Punjab has as many as 62 corporations and boards and a majority of them are defunct. At one time there was talk of disinvestment of some of these corporations. The major corporation PSIDC has come out of the crisis only after the sale of Punjab Tractors worth Rs 220 crore and the PSIEC has liability of paying enhanced compensation worth Rs 150 crore. Punjab Alkalies Ltd has started improving its financial position with the sale of caustic soda and Infotech has succeeded in having buyback shares of Rs 18 crore.

Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, when contacted by The Tribune maintained that the political head of the state had to deal with the political greed and the Chief Minister had to resort to such an exercise.

Mr Singla said that the appointment of chairmen of various boards and corporations would not cause much burden on the state excheque. It would be between Rs 5 crore and Rs 6 crore per annum.

Mr Singla claimed that there were many corporations which were not defunct or bankrupt and were making profit.

Mr Singla further said that Punjab was not the only state which had resorted to such political appointments. He said that even during the Akali-BJP Government in Punjab, the Cabinet was of jumbo size. Besides, Mr Badal had appointed a number of persons on political assignments. Mr Singla, who had gone to Delhi to meet Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee along with five other ministers loyal to Mr Amarinder Singh, said there was no danger to the leadership of Mr Amarinder Singh. Mr Mukherjee had plainly said there was no proposal to change the leader of the legislature party, he claimed.

The common man in Punjab is upset at the accommodation of political persons at the cost of the state excheque as the state government is not taking discernible steps for the welfare of the people. The education and health sectors of the state have been completely ignored and thousands of jobs of teacher and doctor were lying vacant. Besides, veterinary dispensaries in rural areas also are without veterinary doctors.

There are 800 posts of veterinary doctor lying vacant in the state and for the past four years and there has been no recruitment of the same at all. The veterinary students of Punjab Agricultural University have been on strike for the past four days to seek jobs in the state Veterinary Department.


Chautala reaches Wagah with sacred water
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, September 13
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, who reached here today with “Mashak” full of sacred water brought from Sodhra village in Gujjranwala district , the birth place of Bhai Kanhaiya, said the “Sadbhavna Yatra”, launched to mark the tercentenary celebrations of “Bakshish Day”, was not aimed at gaining any political mileage.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Chautala said the aim of the “yatra” was to motivate people to follow the footsteps of Bhai Kanhaiya, who never discriminated between friends and foes and distributed water to all on the battlefield.

Members of delegation were also carrying urns full of sacred water on their heads when they entered India. A large number of people from Haryana and Punjab, who gathered at the joint check post, showered flower petals and profusely garlanded Mr Chautala and other members of the delegation.

The allegations that participation of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was also a part of the delegation and had sent a wrong signal in Punjab, were described as rubbish as the “yatra” had nothing to do with politics. Earlier, before leaving for Pakistan, Mr Chautala had hoped that the fetching of sacred water from the native village of Bhai Kanhaiya, would be a message for all for facilitating fair adjudication of inter-state river waters and early completion of the SYL.

Meanwhile, the Sevapanthi sect led by Mahant Parmjit Singh, which was part of the delegation led by Mr Chautala, also brought 42 volumes of old Shri Guru Granth Sahib from Pakistan for cremating them as per Sikh Maryada.

The Haryana Chief Minister said he had no words to express the love and affection showered upon the delegation by the people of Pakistan who were eager to establish good relations with India.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities, said the senior politicians and top bureaucrats of Pakistan were surprised to know about the status and facilities being provided to minorities in India. He said it was surprising that the top brass of Pakistan was not aware about the existence of the National Minorities Commission, which enjoyed a lot of statutory powers.


Jatha returns with fond memories from Pakistan
Our Correspondent

Attari (Amritsar), September 13
A mammoth 970-member Sikh jatha, after its 18-day visit, here returned today with a message of “real taste of freedom”.

Mr Hari Singh (85) jathedaar of Gurdwara Baba Nanak Shah, Dharki in Sindh said they were overwhelmed to be here on the historical occasion of celebration of 400th year of installation of Guru Granth Sahib in the holy city.

Mr Ishwar Singh (90) echoed his sentiments Mr Taru Singh (22), head of the jatha and youngest member nominated on the 10-member committee of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee (PSGPC), said that their visit to various gurdwaras like Anandpur Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Macchiwada Sahib, Baba Bakala Gurdwara had been memorable.

He said a 10-member PSGPC general body would be formed and Sikhs from other countries, including from SGPC, would be invited to be members. He lamented that they wanted to take 20 holy ‘birs’ to Pakistan this time but special arrangements conforming to ‘rehat maryada’ could not be made.

Similarly at least 15 ‘swaroops’ that were to be brought to India for cremation as, per maryada, could not be brought Pakistan had no ‘sthan’ for their cremation.

Mr Vijay Kumar, a Sindhi Pakistani Hindu who adopted ‘gurbani’, said any action in India has repercussions on minorities in Pakistan. He was quick to add that President Pervez Musharaff was one of the tolerant leaders. Ms Vidhya Sukar, who was able to meet her brother Tola Ram, who arrived here from Gujarat to meet her, was overjoyed and urged for easier visa restrictions to meet relatives from either countries.

Mr Roshan S Bhardwaj urged the Indian Government to allow Pak Hindus and Sikhs to freely visit their places of worship here and not restrict Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir as prohibited states for them.

Three coaches had to be requisitioned with special permission from Deputy COM (coaches) Ferozepore as nearly 1700 passengers were scheduled to board Samjhauta Express today, station superintendent, Mr S.K. Maidan, said.

Mr G.R. Sharma, Rail Traffic Inspector, Ferozpore arrived from Ferozpore to supervise arrangements. The train left more than six hours behind schedule today.


Punjabi finds favour in Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
Punjabi language is finding favour in Pakistan and students now prefer to do post graduation and Ph D in Punjabi,” according to Prof Ismatullah Zahid from Punjab University, Lahore. Prof Zahid was inter-acting with students, researchers and faculty members of the School of Punjabi Studies of Guru Nanak Dev University here today.

Dr Zahid said about 30 students had already completed their Ph D in Punjabi and 50 students were about to complete their Ph D. He said at present there were 51 seats in MA Punjabi at Punjab University, Lahore. Similarly more than 14,000 candidates were appearing in MA Punjabi privately every year. He said though western culture had influenced the Pakistani Punjabi society, people were still attached to their cultural heritage.

He said primary education to children should be imparted in their mother tongue which would help in their mental development. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of the university, while presiding over the function, welcomed Dr Zahid and his group and invited them to participate in the Punjabi week to be celebrated on the university campus during first week of November which was accepted by Dr Zahid.


CEC rules out order on SGPC promotions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 13
Taking a serious note about the recent promotions in the SGPC, Justice J.S. Sekhon (retd), Chief Election Commission, has ruled that orders issued by Acting President of the ‘defunct board’ (SGPC) has no legal entity as it is without jurisdiction.

In a hard hitting letter, addressed to Mr Dalmegh Singh, Secretary SGPC, Justice Sekhon said that issuing of transfer/promotion or appointment orders were considered as violation of the rules.

The letter of Justice Sekhon could affect the recent promotions of Mr Raghbir Singh as secretary who had joined on September 4, apart from the promotion of other employees.

These had been highlighted by The Tribune.

Mr Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke, Acting President, had also ordered many transfers and appointments of employees in SGPC-run institutions.

Justice Sekhon stated that the present SGPC House had been rendered defunct following issuance of notification on August 30 for the constitution of a new House in accordance with the provisions of Section 43-A of Gurdwara Act 1925.

Therefore, on the constitution of the new board (SGPC), with effect from August 30, the members of the defunct board and the president and other office-bearers of the Executive Committee, had ceased to hold office since the issuance of the notification.


Another reshuffle in SGPC
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 13
Yet another major reshuffle in the SGPC has been effected by its outgoing working president in violation of the directives of the Sikh Gurdwara Election Commission (SGEC).

The commission had directed the SGPC against any major decision till the election of office-bearers of the new SGPC house. According to sources, the SGPC has transferred certain employees of the Tohra group.


Saraghari school's fate hangs in balance
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Seven years after it was conceived, a project to establish a school in memory of one of the greatest battles ever fought on Earth continues to be a non-starter.

The Saraghari Dashmesh Public School, being built near Ferozepore, has no takers and its future hangs in balance.

With just a single floor bare structure being raised since and the boundary wall, built a few years earlier, having collapsed, the school is yet to begin functioning. According to sources, the state government has spent over Rs 60 lakh on construction of the school building so far and another about Rs 10 lakh have been budgeted for this year, with no result in sight.

The school is being built in memory of 21 Sikh soldiers whose little known but exemplary actions over a century ago at Saraghari are listed as one of the five greatest battles.

Saraghari was a remote outpost situated in North West Frontier Province and was being defended against tribals.

Yesterday was the battle's 107th anniversary. All 21 troopers, led by Hav Ishar Singh from the 36th Battalion of the Punjab Regiment (now 4 Sikh) had fought against 7,000 tribals to the last man and had been decorated posthumously with the Indian Order of Merit, then the highest gallantry award applicable to Indian soldiers.

The decision to establish the school was taken by the state government as far back as 1997, but the foundation stone of the building was laid only in May, 2000, by the then Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal. About 22 acres of land had been donated for the school by the locally based Mehenga Singh Trust.

A meeting, to be chaired by the local MLA, Mr R.S. Sandhu, the ex-officio chairman of the Saraghari School Management Committee is now scheduled to be held later this month to discuss the institute's fate and work out a long term perspective for the project to be feasible.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, and other senior district officials are expected to be among those attending the meeting.

"There are several good institutes already situated in the school's vicinity," Mr Sandhu said.

"We are thinking that a college or a technical institute in its place would be more feasible," he added. He said that NRIs could also be invited to help out with setting up the institute.

"The decision to set up the school appears to have been spontaneous, without giving a thought about its feasibility and long term objectives," a senior government officer said. There are over 50 schools in and around Ferozepore with a couple of them just about a mile away from the Saraghari School, he added.

Sources said that the Punjab Government had asked the Army to take over the school to run it on the lines of Army Schools and Army Public Schools, but the request was reportedly turned down by the Army due to administrative reasons.

The Saraghari battle has been hailed as one of the greatest battles ever fought.


YC men to be in state bodies soon: Awla
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 13
Active members of the Punjab Youth Congress (YC) will get representation in the state government bodies soon.

Stating this here today, Mr Raminder Singh Awla, state president of the YC, claimed that Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, had assured him that recognition would be given in the government to all those YC workers who had done a good job for the party in the recent years.

The YC chief was here in connection with a function, organised to expedite the PYC’s drug deaddiction campaign.

Mr Awla said initially the active workers of the YC would be adjusted in the District Planning Boards, District Grievances Committees and the Market Committees as members.

Mr Awla further said he had also assured the Punjab Chief Minister that the YC would extend full support to him on all issues, including river waters issue.

He said the YC activists would work towards eradicating drug-addiction from the state. He said the PYC activists would campaign in the rural areas to inspire the drug-addicts to give up use of drugs. He said now the PYC would organise also drug-deaddiction camps at a later stage.

The YC chief also administered an oath to the Youth Congress workers against the use of drugs.

About Ms Uma Bharati’s Tiranga yatra, he said the YC would oppose it in the state. 


Brar has a dig at Badal
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 13
The politicisation of 400 years celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief, was a blunder on his part as well as the party, said Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, a senior Punjab Congress leader, while talking to newsmen at PWD Rest House here yesterday.

Mr Brar said the decision of not inviting Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President, All-India Congress Committee, to the installation function was another mistake.

But he expressed satisfaction that Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, had conceded all demands, at the function, by Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal on the occasion for the development of Punjab.

On being asked whether it was a mistake by the Congress to revive old cases against Uma Bharti, then again withdrawing, Mr Brar replied whatever Mr Dharam Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister-led Congress government did, it was in the best interests of India.

Answering to a question on the issue of tainted ministers in the UPA government at Centre Mr Brar said Dr Manmohan Singh had been trying to offer good governance but stalling the proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on this issue by BJP was indeed very unfortunate. Mr Brar said in his personal opinion once a matter reached a court of law against any minister he or she should quit.

Mr Brar and Mr Kewal Dhillon, Vice-President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, could not satisfactorily answer newsmen’s questions on crusade by Capt Amarinder Singh against corruption becoming blunt in Punjab, the poor plight of state economy and measures taken to improve Punjab’s economy during Capt Amarinder Singh’s rule.

Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon stressed on the need to generate employment avenues in Punjab by paving way for industrialisation.


Badungar demands CM’s resignation
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 13
A former SGPC president and coopted SGPC member, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, today demanded resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for his failure on all fronts.

Talking to newsmen in the office of SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid, Prof Badungar alleged that the CM was doling out pre-poll sops in the form of chairmanships to MLAs in violation of the model code of conduct just to placate his party’s MLAs to keep his divided house in order. The CM had earlier violated the Constitution by inducting an army of Parliamentary Secretaries to please his MLAs and now he had cocked a snook at CEC by appointing 19 MLAs as Chairpersons of various corporations, boards, trusts, etc before assembly bypoll of Kapurthala and Garhshanker , he said.

The CEC must take cognisance of it, he demanded. The Congress government had broken down and the CM was just counting his days, he remarked.

Prof Badungar expressed serious concern over the 6.1 per cent decline in the Sikh population. If this dangerous trend was not arrested, the Sikhs would lose their clout, he warned.


Jagir Kaur’s call to Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 13
Former SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur today called upon the Sikh sangat to celebrate various Sikh centenaries in a big way. She was addressing a meeting of various Sikh organisations at the local Bhai Kanhaiya Seva and Simran Kendar. The meeting was convened by Sant Anoop Singh Una. She declared that the sangat from the Begowal area would take part in a big way in the Bhai Kanhaiya Chetna March from Phagwara to Anandpur Sahib on September 19. This march is being taken out in celebration of the tercentenary of Bakhshish Divas in memory of Guru Gobind Singh handing over balm and bandages to Bhai Kanhaiya for applying to wounded soldiers, irrespective of the fact whether they were foes or friends, besides serving them water during the battles in 1704.

Bibi Jagir Kaur called Bhai Kanhaiya a practitioner of human values and a precursor to the Red Cross movement. Sant Anoop Singh also spoke on the occasion. Local SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid, Youth Akali Dal general secretary Bhai Gurjit Singh Khalsa and former market committee chairman Jathedar Sarwan Singh Kular also attended the meeting.


Travel agent lands 3 youths in Pak jails
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 13
Three boys who had been sent to Cyprus for higher studies by their parents through a travel agent have landed up in Pakistan jails.

The parents of the three boys — Jarnail Singh of Dallewal village, Jaspal Singh of Ajram village and Charanjit Singh of Hariana village — all in Hoshiarpur, have demanded a CBI inquiry into the case and strict action against the agent Harinder Singh and Mr George Takkas, Principal of Task Educational College of Cyprus, who were paid Rs 3 lakh and Rs 80,000 for their studies besides an amount of $ 2500 for each boy.

The parents of the boys said the Principal of the college was in Hoshiarpur in November 2003, following which they had sent their children to Cyprus. On reaching the college, the boys were told to pay the fee, which they had already paid. The return tickets of the boys were also not given to them.

After the nightmarish experience, the boys then planned to return home via Turkey, where they were apprehended and sent to Pakistan jails. The parents of the boys have said that they would approach the International Human Rights’ Commission to represent their case.


Restore holiday on Mahavir Jayanti: Jains
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 13
As many as five Jain associations expressed their resentment and demanded restoration of national holiday in Punjab on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti.

Presidents of the Sri Atma Nand Jain Sabha, the SS Jain Sabha, the Sri Jain Shvetabar Terapanthi Sabha, the Digambar Jain Maha Samiti, the Sri Jain Mitar Mandal expressed their concern over the decision of the state government taken in April last year to withdraw the holiday on this special occasion.

In separate press notes various associations stated that all states had declared holiday on the day except Punjab. They said that Lord Mahavir had sacrificed his life for humanity and the state must be magnanimous to declare holiday in honour of his memory.


Oppn sarpanches being harassed, says ex-minister
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, September 13
Mr Mohan Lal, a former minister for Forests, Punjab, has alleged that sarpanches of various villages having affiliation with opposition parties are being harassed. In the Dhar block of Gurdaspur district alone, powers of 13 elected sarpanches of the BJP have been curtailed by forming village development committees. All these sarpanches have approached the Punjab and Haryana High court to get their powers restored. This was alleged by Mr Mohan Lal while addressing a press conference here today.

Citing specific instances of harassment of BJP sarpanches, he said the husband of BJP sarpanch from Donera village, Ms Gurjit Kaur, was employed as a peon in the Pathankot Municipal Council. He had, however, been suspended just to harass the woman sarpanch, he added. Similarly, the husband of BJP sarpanch from Bhanguri village, Ms Anita Pathania, was a BAMS doctor in same village. He had been transferred to a remote station in Amritsar district. The sarpanch’s husband was the only doctor in the remote area of Dhar block and after his transfer, no other doctor had been posted there, he alleged.

The former minister also alleged that the local Congress MLA used abusive language against BJP sarpanches. They were also denied their share in the grants from the District Planning Board.

The state government had recently issued a notification directing village sarpanches to deposit Rs 70 per water stand post per month with the Public Health Department. This was an injustice with poor people of the kandi area. Moreover, it was in violation of the election manifesto of the Congress in which the party had promised free water to the poor in the state, he said.

The BJP would hold a protest on September 16 in the Donera area of the Dhar block in protest against lack of basic amenities in the area and the repressive attitude of the local Congress leaders against the sarpanches belonging to opposition parties, Mr Mohan Lal alleged.

He alleged that the former government had created a subdivision in the Dhar Kalan area. However, the present government had failed to post an SDM or even a tehsildar there. Moreover, 25 of the 39 primary schools of the block were without any teacher despite the fact that former Education Minister Khushal Behl belonged to the district, he alleged.


No central grant for Farid mela starting tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
Even as only a day is left for the beginning of a week-long Baba Farid Mela, a national festival, at Faridkot, the Central Government has failed to release monetary grant for the fair so far.

The Baba Farid Mela, which is being held on the occasion of ‘aagman purab’ of great Sufi saint Sheikh Baba Farid every year from September 15 to September 23 at Faridkot town, was declared a national festival a few years ago when Mr Parkash Singh Badal was Chief Minister of Punjab. After it had been declared a national festival, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of India, since then had been giving a grant of Rs 5 lakh to its organisers every year.

But till now the Ministry of Cultural Affairs of Central Government had not given Rs 5 lakh grant to the organisers of the mela this year as the Punjab Government had failed to give utilisation certificates of the money given by the same ministry for organising other melas in the state last year, which had also been declared as national festivals.

Mr Alok Shekhar, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, while confirming the fact that no grant from Ministry of Cultural Affairs had been received so far, pointed out that he had taken up the matter with that ministry for early release of grant through the Punjab Government.

He added that district administration, Faridkot, had sent the utilisation certificate of the grant given by the ministry last year. He said that however, the Ministry of Cultural Affairs had not released grant for this mela this year despite the fact that a utilisation certificate had been submitted because of the fact that utilisation certificates of other grants given for other national festivals being held in Punjab, were yet to be submitted.

He said that this time, some changes had been introduced in the Baba Farid Mela. He added that for the first time, a sarv dharam nagar kirtan, involving representatives of all the religions, would be taken out on September 23, the concluding day of Mela.

Apart from it, a heritage walk event would be organised for the first time in the mela on September 21. Under this event, the participants, mostly children, would be taken to various monuments in this region in the morning.

In the evening, they would participate in the quiz and painting competitions based on those monuments. He added that this event was being organised to bring awareness among the children about the historical importance of various monuments and concern about their perseverance.

He said that Mr Aziz Ulla Khan, Minister of Cultural Affairs, Government of Pakistan, would attend the mela. Apart from it, a number of dignitaries of Punjab, eminent scholars, writers and dramatists would participate in the mela. A seminar to propagate the teachings and philosophy of Baba Farid would also be held.


Help restore town’s glory, Jakhar tells residents
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 13
Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Irrigation and Horticulture, has given a call for people’s participation to restore the past glory of this subdivisional town.

Addressing a gathering after dedicating Lala Lajpat Rai Park to citizens here, he said mere offering of flowers to the statues of heroes of freedom struggle would not serve the purpose. The countrymen would have to follow the principles and ideals, in letter and spirit, of the great men who had sacrificed every thing for the nation.

Complimenting Mr C.L. Mahajan, Senior Regional Manager, Punjab National Bank, for sanctioning Rs 37,000 for renovation of the park, Mr Jakhar said there were 56 NGOs in the town and they should take up such projects as the Municipal Council was not in a position to bear the cost of development due to the financial crunch.

Abohar had the largest number of private schools in the district and they could adopt a street each and contribute towards the facelift of the town. He had called a meeting of heads of the educational institutions in this regard, he said.

Mr Mahajan said the PNB had advised all branch managers to hold vanamahotsava in urban and rural areas. Saplings were not only to be planted, but nourished too.

Earlier, Mr Jakhar awarded winners of a talent hunt competition organised by DAV College here. He was welcomed by Dr B. C. Josan, principal, and Mr Baljinder Singh Bhullar, head of the EMA department.

Toppers in various competitions were Pradeep Thukral, Sandeep Verma, Sudhir Sharma, Shveta, Narender Kumar, Deepika Bansal, Ankita, Gurpinder Kaur, Seema, Neelam, Ramandeep Kaur, Bhupinder Virk, Harsimran Singh, Sheopat Ram, Ritesh Kumar, Shivender Bhardwaj, Dhiraj and Sarwan Kumar. 


State highway cries for repair
Ashok Grover

JALALABAD: The 84-km-long State Highway No. 20 between Ferozepore and Fazilka has been in bad condition for the past three years. Big potholes have developed on its entire route. Once a 45-minute drive to Ferozepore from here, it is taking almost double the time. In between some patch work was done to plug the potholes but survived for a short period. Mr S.C.Gupta, Branch Manager, Panjab National Bank, Jalalabad, who commutes daily from Ferozepore to Jalalabad, said due to the bad condition of the road daily commuters from Ferozepore had to start their journey one hour ahead of the normal time so that they reached the office in time.

The entire road is built along international border. So it is important from the defence point of view, but the traffic from Jammu and Kashmir, Amritsar and Jalandhar to Rajasthan passes through this road. Moreover, the economy of Jalalabad, Guruharsahai and Fazilka towns depends upon this road as the raw material as well as finished products of the agro based industry of the area are being transported through this route only.

Pawan Kamra, a leading rice miller of Fazilka town, observed that if the road condition did not improve before the coming kharif season it could affect the rice milling industry of this border belt.

Interestingly three ruling party politicians belonging to this area — Mr Hans Raj Josan, State Minister of Forests, Mr Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Political Secretary to CM, Punjab, and Mr Sunil Jakher, Political Secretary to CM, and MLAs of Jalalabad, Guruharsahai and Abohar, respectively, also commute on this road. While going to district headquarters, all these leaders have to go through this route but surprisingly nothing has been done in this regard.

With continuing bad condition the road accident cases have also increased. Mr Rakesh Juneja, Development Officer, New India Assurance Company, stated that keeping in view the claim cases of vehicles on this border belt it had been observed that the ratio was much higher in comparison to an other similar area.

When contacted Mr Inderjit Singh, SDO, PWD, Ferozepore said there was no pothole on the 22-km stretch of the road. But he admitted that the remaining part could not be repaired due to paucity of funds. He disclosed that a proposal to repair the highway at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore had been sent for government approval.


Demand to scrap quota based on caste
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
Mr Rajbir Singh Sidhu, general secretary, General Samaj Party, said yesterday that the caste-based reservations should be scrapped from the country and uplift of any deprived citizens should not be based on caste.

Mr Sidhu, in a press statement issued here today, said the form in which reservation was being implemented had strengthened the caste system in the country instead of removing it.

He said that people were getting caste certificates issued by government offices and still the government claimed that it had been trying to eradicate the caste system.

Mr Sidhu said that any move to introduce caste-based reservations in the private sector would be opposed as the same would adversely affect the performance of the private sector.


District Congress to complain against police
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
Taking serious note of the police “excesses”, the District Congress Committee has decided to take up the issue with the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the PPCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal.

This is the second time that the District Congress Committee has come out against a department during the party regime. Earlier, the Congress workers had held a protest against a district education officer for seven days.

In a meeting held in the Town Hall Club, party members alleged that instead of protecting the people, the police was indulging in “nefarious” activities.

They expressed concern over the “excesses” of the motor cycle squad and betting dens being openly run in the district.

The party leaders accused a police official posted at Badhani Kalan of being hand in glove with those smuggling poppy husk.

The incident in which the motor cycle squad allegedly attempted to snatch Rs 1 lakh from the officer-bearer of a party cell, Mr Prabhjeet Singh Kala, was also condemned.

The District Congress chief, Dr Tara Singh Sandhu, said when they approached the SSP in connection with that matter, he said it was a routine check.

The meeting also flayed the “third-degree torture” of two teenagers by the Baghapurana police and the police inaction in the case in which a placard announcing “main chor haan” (I am a thief) was hung around a shop employee’s neck after he was caught stealing some goods.

Dr Sandhu said top police officials were turning a blind eye to various irregularities prevailing in the district.

The committee members also raised the issue of the police “deliberately ignoring” the party office-bearers.

Mr Vijay Kumar Khullar, Mr Jagmohan Singh Gill, and Mr Gurdev Singh Gill, were also present in the meeting.


Rebel leader parade councillor
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
Putting all speculations to rest about some members of his group switching sides, leader of rebel municipal councillors, Naseeb Bawa, yesterday paraded 18 municipal councillors at the MC office. He claimed that he had the support of 23 councillors, including five from Shiromani Akali Dal.

Mr Bawa alleged that the Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, was offering money to the councillors to get their support.

The councillors also accused of Mr Jain of taking commission in contracts and octroi.

He said that they had also met the other councillors and discussed the matter with them. He said that Mr Jain was misleading these councillors and they would also vote against him during the no-confidence motion.

He alleged Mr Jain was spreading rumours about regaining support of various councillors.

But Mr Jain termed these allegations as baseless. He said that he had never taken any commission for MC works.

He said that since rebel camp was losing support of many councillors that’s why they were levelling these charges against him. Mr Jain said that he had the numbers to defeat the no-confidence vote against him. He said that the rebel councillors were levelling false charges against him.


Libra gives Rs 1 lakh for Shaheedi Smarak
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 13
Those who sacrifice their lives for the nation are always remembered and communities which forget their martyrs cannot make progress, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over the quarterly meeting of the District Sainik Welfare Board at Bachat Bhavan here today.

He said Fathegarh Sahib district had contributed to the unity and integrity of the country.

He said many from the district had lost their lives during the Kargil conflict and while fighting terrorism.

He said as a mark of respect to these martyrs, a shaheedi samarak would be constructed at the district headquarters.

He said Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra had announced a grant of Rs. 1 lakh for the purpose.

Maj Karnail Singh, Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare, said Rs 2.82 lakh had been distributed among 284 ex-servicemen.

He said a camp to identify Army pensioners and family pensioners would be organised on November 11 at Fatehgarh Sahib, December 6 at Amloh and December 8 at Badali Ala Singh. He highlighted schemes initiated for the welfare of ex-servicemen.


Book medicine company, say ophthalmics
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
The Punjab Ophthalmic Officers’ Association has demanded that a case under the Magical Remedies Act (Prevention of Misuse) should be registered against a company selling eye drops, which promised magical cures for eye ailments.

Mr Harjeet Singh, general secretary of the association, in a press note here, said some companies had been selling eye drops, promising that the same would cure cataract and other eye ailments, to villagers and illiterate patients.

He said the association held a meeting to create awareness on eye donation, which was attended by the Civil Surgeon, Dr Y.P. Singla, and other doctors.


Sewadars fall sick after consuming juice

Moga, September 13
About 12 sewadars of a ‘gaushala’ at Badhani Kalan fell sick after consuming juice of ‘kod tuma’ (a fruit).

They were rushed to a hospital after they complained of stomachache, nausea and loose motions.

Those admitted to the hospital include Saudagar Singh, Mukhtiar Kaur, Jeewan Singh, Gurdev Singh, Chhotu Lal. All of them have been responding well to the treatment. — TNS


Journalist alleges threat

Khanna, September 13
Suresh Kumar a reporter of a Punjabi daily of Jalandhar alleged that Mr Sanjay Ghai, a Councillor of the Ward No. 2 and relative of a senior Punjab Police officer had threatened him and tried to throw him from the Railway overbridge. He lodged a complaint against the councillor with a city police station. Journalists here held a meeting and condemned the councillor.

According to the complaint Suresh Sharma said he was walking on the Railway overbridge on Sunday evening, when Sanjay Ghai Councillor came to him and started abusing him. He threatened to kill him. When Sharma asked him not to abuse he caught him from arms threatened to throw him from the bridge and kill him. He also threatened him to frame him in a case because he was related to a senior police officer.


Rs 25 lakh grant for lawyers’ chambers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 13
The District Bar Association, Patiala, has received an instalment of Rs 25 lakh from the Chief Minister’s grant for the construction of the lawyers’ chambers in the Judicial complex. This was stated by the president of the association, Mr Rakesh Gupta, here today.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had laid the foundation stone of the chamber on September 13 last year in the presence of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana, Mr Justice B. K. Roy. Mr Gupta informed that the lawyers were invited to receive the amount at the New Moti Bagh Palace today where the Chief Minister assured them of his full cooperation and financial help for the speedy completion of the project. Another instalment of Rs 25 lakh is expected to be released next month.


High Court
Notice issued in kidnapping case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 13
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for October 5 on a petition filed by a woman, whose young daughter has been allegedly kidnapped.

In her petition, Gulzaro, who had threatened self-immolation in case her daughter was not traced soon, has alleged that even though her daughter, Salamat alias Sonu, has been missing for the past many days, police officials are not doing anything to trace her.

She has alleged that Sonu has been kidnapped by some persons. But, the Sohana police, instead of listening to her complaint and taking action, have been refusing to act. Even the FIR in the case was registered only after she met the Punjab DGP and Ropar SSP.

After hearing her counsel, the Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Amar Dutt issued notice.


Procurement of paddy to begin from Oct 1
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
The Punjab Government has made elaborate arrangements for the procurement of paddy, which would start from October 1.

To prevent glut, the government has set up 1,450 purchase centres in the state for procuring about 110 lakh MT of paddy out of the total 128 lakh MT of paddy that is expected to arrive in the markets.

Mr B.C. Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of Food and Supplies, said today that last year state government agencies along with the FCI procured about 98 lakh MT of paddy from the state. In the current year, the government had decided to procure 12 lakh MT of paddy more than last year. Private traders would purchase about 18 lakh MT of paddy, he said.

Five state government agencies — Punjab Agro Industrial Corporation, Punjab Food Grains Corporation, Markfed, Punjab Warehouse Corporation and Punsup would procure the paddy as per the share allocated to them.

Apart from it, the FCI would also play a significant role in the procurement.

He said in the current procurement season, it had been ensured that the farmers should not face any inconvenience.

Mr Gupta, who addressed a meeting of Deputy Commissioners of the districts falling in the Faridkot and Ferozepore divisions in connection with the arrangements, asked them to ensure that every purchase centre should be equipped with light, sanitation and other arrangements.

He also instructed them to ensure that every commission agent must have power cleaner, tarpaulin covers and generator set with him.

Every purchase centre would have to maintain a PR register certified by the official concerned.

All entries in connection with the purchases would be made in the register daily.

Mr Gupta also directed senior officials of departments connected with the procurement of paddy to put the required staff on procurement duty at the earliest.

They had also been asked to make rounds of the purposed grain markets and purchase centres.


Behman breach plugged
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 13
Cotton and paddy crops in a considerable area have reportedly been damaged after the fields were flooded following a breach in the Behman distributary of the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the breach took place early this morning and officials of the Irrigation Department managed to plug it. A breach in the same distributary had taken place about two to three days ago and caused considerable damage to the standing paddy and cotton crops in the surrounding fields.

Mr R.K. Chaudhary, Executive Engineer, Irrigation, Bathinda, said the breach took place after some persons made a cut in its bank. He said the breach was about 12 feet wide and it had been plugged. He said only two to three acres had been flooded.

He said a formal request had been made to the police for registering a case in this connection.


Rs 7 cr penalty on farmers waived
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills, a state-owned cooperative organisation, today waived the penalty worth Rs 7 crore that was imposed on farmers for defaulting in the supply of sugarcane to various cooperative sugar mills in the state.

Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, Managing Director of Sugarfed, said today that under the Cane Act, farmers were supposed to supply at least 85 per cent of bonded cane to mills in their areas. However, most of the farmers failed to honour the bond. Because of less supply of sugarcane, 10 per cent penalty was imposed on defaulting farmers.

He said that he had moved the case of defaulting farmers to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, through the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, for taking a lenient view in this connection because mills also did not make payment in time to farmers in lieu of sugarcane supplied by them.

He said that the state government waived the penalty worth Rs 7 crore which was to be charged from farmers.


Adampur MLA is Sugarfed Chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Adampur MLA Kamaljit Singh Lali was today appointed as the Chairman of the Punjab State Federation of Cooperative Sugar Mills (Sugarfed). He is the eleventh MLA to have been appointed as the Chairman of a board or corporation in past one week.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by Punjab's Information and Public Relations Department added that MLA Ravinder Singh Sandhu (Bubbles) today took over as the Chairman of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation.


Gang of robbers busted, four arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 13
The district police today claimed to have busted a six-member inter-district gang of robbers with the arrest of its four members, including the kingpin and recovery of arms and ammunition used by the criminals for committing robberies.

While two members of the gang managed to escape, their four accomplices were arrested, they included Balwinder Singh of Dosanjh Kalan village in Goraya, Gurbhej Singh of Dugri in Ludhiana, Balwinder Singh of Dugri in Ludhiana and Harpreet Singh of Jagraon. The two persons, who escaped were Sarabjit Singh of Phullanwal village in Ludhiana and Deepa of Gurusar Sudhar in Ludhiana.

The search of the arrested persons led to recovery of four country-made pistols of .315 bore from their possession. Preliminary investigation by the police revealed that the gang had been involved in at least nine robberies including snatching of a cash bag containing Rs 2,200 from a man employed at petrol station near Paragpur at gunpoint.

The gang was also involved in looting an amount of Rs 1500 at gunpoint from the octroi employee on Jalandhar-Hoshiarpur Raod, an amount of Rs 44,000 from a LPG gas agency at Ludhiana, cash of Rs 50,000 from a handloom shop owner at Ludhiana and an amount of Rs 24,000 from a liquor vend on Malerkotla Road.


SMO caught accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 13
Dr S.P. Gupta, SMO, Civil Hospital, here allegedly was caught red-handed while accepting bribe from a doctor today, by a Vigilance Department team, led by Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Sangrur.

Mr Rachhpal Singh said Dr Gupta was caught red-handed, accepting bribe of Rs 3000 from Dr Bhalinder Singh Gill in his office today afternoon. He revealed that the SMO had not been issuing last pay certificate (LPC) and giving salary of the this transferred doctor from the Civil Hospital, for the past seven months.

He further disclosed that the SMO had been arrested after he was booked in this case under Sections 7(13)-2, 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. He would be produced in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur, tomorrow

However, doctors of the Civil Hospital and chemists around the hospital said the SMO had been implicated in the case adding that Dr. Bhalinder Singh forcibly put powdered notes of Rs 3000 in the pocket of the SMO at the hospital gate while he was going out of the hospital. They alleged that it was a conspiracy hatched by Dr Bhalinder to get the SMO implicated in a false case to settle scores with him.


One booked on sodomy charge
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
A person has been booked for sodomising a seven-year-old boy at Ralia village. The accused, Swaran Singh, is absconding.

Sources said the boy had been to the village gurdwara to attend a function. A ‘rehriwalla gave him Rs 5 and persuaded him to accompany him to a toilet in the gurdwara where he indulged in the heinous act.

The sewadar of the gurdwara got him freed after hearing his screams. However, the accused managed to give him a slip.

The boy has been admitted to the Civil Hospital. The accused has been booked under Section 377 of the IPC.


Missing boy’s body found

Tarn Taran, September 13
The Sadar police has recovered the body of Shaganpreet Singh (14), a student of Class VII of Kallah village, who had been missing since Sunday, from the cremation ground of Khadoor Singh this morning.

Sukhdev Singh and Sukchain Singh, both residents of the village, had been booked under Sections 302, 34, IPC, allegedly for the murder of Shaganpreet.

Police sources said that Shaganpreet Singh had gone to Khadoor Sahib when the accused kidnapped him and beat him up to loot the cash he had. His body was thrown in the cremation ground.

The accused have been arrested. The father of the victim, Mr Charanjit Singh, is an Army man.


Opium seized
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 13
The police has arrested two persons and seized 1 kg opium from their possession at Basti Gobindgarh here.

The accused, Baljinder Kaur and Pamma, have been booked under Sections 18, 61, and 85 of the NDPS Act.


Principal, lecturer face inquiry
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 13
Deputy Commissioner Alok Shekhar has ordered a probe into functioning of Government Senior Secondary School, Machaki Kalan, after receiving a complaint against the school’s principal and political science lecturer. The DC has asked District Education Officer Sukhmandar Kaur Brar to investigate the matter.

Earlier, panchayats of Machaki Kalan and nearby villages, in a complaint to the Education Minister, had alleged that the teachers hardly took any classes in the school, which also lacked work culture. They alleged that the future of the students was at stake due to non-seriousness of the school principal Gurdeep Kaur and lecturer Suresh Arora.

They alleged that the authorities didn’t keep a check on some teachers as they were involved in social work.

They also complained about a decline in quality of education in the school. There were also allegations of the Parents Teachers Association fund not being spent properly.

The lecturer concerned is the district chief of National Youth Club. Arora said he was unaware of any complaint made against him.


PTU students threaten fast
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 13
Students of BBA and BCA from Punjab Technical Univeristy, who are on hunger strike for the past three months demanding a mercy chance to clear their supplementray examination, today said that they would go on an indefinite fast if the univeristy authorities did not take a decision in their favour.

The students said that a five-member committee, set up by the Chief Minister, was to present the report on September 17. In case it did not decide in their support, all of them would go on a fast from the next day. The students said that they would communicate the same message during their meeting with Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Technical Education, to be held tomorrow.

The students said that they had even met her earlier also and she had assured them of help. The students said that the committee had been formed under her recommendations and they had pleaded that they be given a chance to complete the degree in a stipulated time period of four and a half years. 


Industry shifting to J&K, Himachal
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot September 13
Industrialists belonging to this border area have been forced to set up their industries at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pardesh due to the “callous” attitude of the Punjab Government, which has not been providing them facilities on a par with these states.

The Punjab Government had developed an industrial growth centre here at a cost of Rs 34 crore and had announced various facilities for the industrialists. However, only a single unit was set up, and that too without basic amenties, what to talk of tax relief, said an official on duty. According to a rough estimate, about 100 industrialists of this area have shifted to either Himachal Pardesh or Jammu and Kashmir.

Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have given various tax reliefs and incentives to industrialists, for setting up industry in these states.

On the other hand, despite various announcements, the Punjab Government has failed to fulfil its promises.

Showing concern over the pitiable condition of the industrial growth centre here, Mr Vijay Passi, a spokesperson for the Pathankot Chamber of Commerce, said government agencies engaged in promotion of industrial growth had not been able to bring industrial awareness.

Sources said industrialists who had purchased land for setting up industries in the centre had started demanding their money back from the department concerned.

The centre virtually gives a deserted look and people have started dumping garbage there.


Bank highlights rural industries project
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 13
As per estimates based upon the result of Detailed Potential Survey of Patiala, nearly 45,780 units are likely to be set up with the help of an estimated credit flow of Rs 1893.48 crore during the project period and employment opportunities for nearly 1.69 lakhs rural people are likely to be created under the District Rural Industries Project (DRIP) launched by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

A three-day workshop on “Goal-oriented project planning” was organised by NABARD here today to create awareness about the project and also to decide upon the modus operandi to be adopted for the achievement of the goal.

The DRIP programme in Patiala if successfully implemented would lead to fast track rural industrialisation of the district and also create vast employment opportunities for the people of the region.

Speaking during the inauguration, the Chief General Manager, NABARD, Mr A. Ramanathan, said the bank had launched DRIP with the objective of creating significant number of sustainable employment opportunities in rural areas through enhanced credit flow to the rural non-farm sector. While emphasising the importance of such workshops, he indicated that the potential survey would be discussed so as to adopt an action plan and formulate various promotional interventions.

The Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, Mr Tejveer Singh who inaugurated the programme, appreciated the efforts made by NABARD under DRIP.

He said: “As the average land holding in the district is very small, DRIP can prove to be an ambitious project which may go a long way in resolving the problem of rural unemployment in Patiala”. He also impressed upon the bankers to promote the traditional craft of Patiala not only through bank credit but also by providing infrastructural and marketing support to the craftsmen.

Mr D.V. Deshpande, DGM, NABARD, said during the current year the bank had organised two Rural Entrepreneur Development Programmes which would benefit the rural youths in setting up their units and five more REDPs had been sanctioned in trades dealing in computer hardware, sheet metals and electrical and electronic repairs. He added that under Skill Upgradation and Design Development for Handloom Weavers a comprehensive cluster development programme for “tilla jutti” would be launched shortly.

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