P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



2 Takhts, Sant Samaj hold parallel function
Quadricentennial celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 15
In an apparent attempt to challenge the authority of Akal Takht, two Takhts – Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib, a section of Sant Samaj and the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal today held parallel quadricentennial celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib, as per the old Bikrami calendar.

The celebrations were held in gross violation of the Nanakshahi calendar, approved by the SGPC and Akal Takht.

Mr Mohinderpal Singh Dhillon, general secretary, Takht Patna Sahib gurdwara committee, said the five Sikh high priests, including Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib, participated in the ‘Nagar Kirtan’ today. He claimed that similar celebrations were held at Takht Hazoor Sahib as per the traditional calendar. Earlier, Jathedar Iqbal Singh had alleged that Jathedar Akal Takht had not visited Patna Sahib and Hazoor Sahib to remove discrepancies in the Nanakshahi Jantri (calendar) as per the wishes of local sangat there.

However, the ‘parallel function’ organised by Gurmat Sidhantak Sant Samaj, headed by Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi and the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal evoked lukewarm response from the local Sangat. Unlike the functions organised by the SGPC, Akal Takht and Shiromani Akali Dal here on September 1 when a large number of Sikhs from different parts of world thronged the Golden Temple, there was poor response from different quarters.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, described the parallel function as ‘anti-Panthic’. Jathedar Vedanti said that he would invite leaders of Sant Samaj and Panthak Morcha to reach a consensus on the Nanakshahi calendar to avoid any division in the Sikh Panth.

However, Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president of Sant Samaj claimed that the actual date for the quadricentennial celebrations fell on September 15.

He said the Sant Samaj had constituted a seven-member committee to remove certain discrepancies in the Nanakshahi calendar. However, neither the SGPC nor the Sikh clergy had responded to the request so far.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, president, All-India Shiromani Akali Dal, said the Gurus themselves had celebrated all the occasions as per the Bikrami calendar. He said the solar calendar was also prevalent during the time of the Gurus but they never accepted the same.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal for requesting Dhirmalias for handing over the ‘Adi Granth’. He said Guru Teg Bahadur himself had given back the ‘Bir’ to Dhirmalias and hence there was no point in getting the same back. He also flayed the action of Mr Badal in entering in the ‘rath’ (chariot) along with his ‘patit’ (apostate) security personnel which was meant for Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh high priests. On the denial of ‘siropa’ to the Chief Minister, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said while the person who had taken a bold stand on inter-state water dispute was given step-motherly treatment, the great honour was given to his Haryana counterpart, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, who wanted to grab Punjab’s water by getting the SYL completed.

Earlier, the Sant Samaj honoured certain personalities who had made great contribution in the religious field. However, the Sikh high priests did not turn up for getting the ‘siropa’. The ‘granthi who conducted the religious duties at Manji Sahib was given ‘siropa’ on behalf of the Sikh high priests. However, many religious processions taken out from different parts of the state reached here yesterday evening.


Power crisis gives knockout punch to Punjab industry
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Scheduled and unscheduled power cuts have given a crippling blow to the manufacturing sector, especially hosiery and knitwear industry, in Punjab. The daily loss suffered by the industrial sector is worth crores.

The average daily production of industry in Punjab is in the range of Rs 300 crore. The average power cut of 8 hours daily, besides mandatory two-day weekly off for industry, makes it to suffer a loss of about Rs 1000 crore a week, according a group of Ludhiana-based industrialists. It includes small, medium and large-scale besides non-categorised Industries.

The prices of raw material used by the industry have started shooting up. The production cost has also soared. A number of Ludhiana-based industrialists would not be able to honour the export commitments as they have slashed their daily production to the tune of 70 per cent because to steep rise in production cost. In fact, it is a multipronged blow to the industry. The worst sufferer is the casual labour, the number of which is in thousands alone in Ludhiana city. Casual Labour has become jobless because of power cuts all over the state.

The office of the Director of Industries, Punjab, says that the annual turnover of small, medium and large-scale industry is in the range of Rs 56,000 crore and the total investment is in these three sectors is around Rs 40,520 crore. However, the department has no knowledge of how much daily loss is being suffered by Punjab’s industry because of the power crisis.

But various industrial associations such as the Steel Manufacturing Organisations, the Hosiery and Knitwear Manufacturing Associations, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce have an idea of the loss suffered by their respective sectors.

Mr Venod Thapar, president of the Ludhiana Knitwear Club, says that hosiery and knitwear industry was passing through the most critical phase. It is seasonal industry and power cuts have come at the time when the industry is supposed to attain the peak level of production to provide hosiery goods not only in various parts of the country but also abroad, especially to Middle East countries.

The knitwear industry was to honour export commitments worth Rs 700 crore but the cut in production in recent days would make things difficult for the industry in this regard. Besides, other manufacturing industry also has export commitments worth hundreds of crores. There were about 10,000 units of hosiery and knitwear industry in Ludhiana alone.

While the production cost has gone up by 20 to 30 per cent, there is about Rs 20 to Rs 30 per kg increase in the yarn used to manufacture knitwear material. “We are in a critical situation because we cannot increase the price of our finished products now because we have got orders booked for supply of finished material to our,” Mr Thapar adds.

Mr Joginder Singh, another hosiery manufacturer, says that labour was in a difficult situation as thousands of casual labourers have lost jobs in recent days. “Yesterday, we met the Chief Engineer and asked him to reduce power cuts to save industry”, said Mr Davinder Singh from Ludhiana. Cycle parts manufacturing industry is also facing grave crisis.

The furnace industry says that they have cut production by 60 per cent. Rates of iron and other material have started shooting up because of a cut in production. There is a demand of 2000 tonne of iron in Ludhiana market but production has come down to 800 tonne. One can imagine the situation in such circumstances, he adds.

Mr P.K. Verma, Resident Director of PHD Chambers of Commerce and Industry, here says that his office had been virtually flooded by complaints regarding unscheduled power cuts in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Mohali, Gobindgarh and Dera Bassi, all major industrial centres in Punjab. Most industrial units would not be able to survive this knock-out punch they have got because of the power crisis.


Govt to give Rs 900 cr to PSEB
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 15
Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Punjab, said today that the state government would provide about Rs 900 crore per year to the PSEB to meet the losses and other expenditures. At present, the PSEB’s transmission and distribution losses were about 24 per cent per year while in Euorpean countries these losses did not cross 7 per cent figure, he added.

Mr Singla was addressing a national workshop on “Emerging scenario of hydro-Thermal Power”, organised in connection with the 37the Engineers day at Sant Harchand Singh Longowal Central Institute of Engineering and Technology (SHSLCIET) at Longowal, about 20 km from here.

The Finance Minister also said the PSEB employees had no right to oppose its privatisation as it was the issue to be decided by the people. He said the privatisation of the PSEB would benefit the people. He said however, the employees had the right to seek better service conditions for them. He also said the privatisation of the PSEB was in process.

Mr Singla also claimed that by controlling the transmission and distribution losses of the PSEB, about 600 MW electricity could be saved. With this, there would be no need to enhance the power generation capacity at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore. He said “India-Plus Electricity and energy” target would make the country prosperous. He said if power did not grow fast, the country could not move fast towards progress. He also said during the past 10 years not even a single megawatt power had been added in the state.

Later, talking to mediapersons, Mr Singla said the government was making such an arrangement that old-age, widow and pensions would be given regularly to beneficiaries after November 1 next. He also stated that the Punjab government would release its share of about Rs 500 crore for getting about Rs 1,500 crore from the Centre for spending the same on central sponsored scheme of various departments.

Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, SHSLCIET, Dr V.K. Jain, Dean, Welfare: Dr J.S. Dhillon, Head, Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering Department, SHSLCIET and Dr Sanjay Marwaha, Co-ordinator of the workshop also spoke. Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner was also present as a “guest of honour” at the function.


Cabinet Minister rank for Brahm, J.S. Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
In a significant development, two newly appointed Chairmen of public sector corporations in Punjab have been accorded the status of Cabinet-rank ministers.

They are Mr Brahm Mohindra, former Minister who has been appointed Chairman of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation and Mr Joginder Singh Mann, chairman of the Punjab Agro Foods.

According to informed sources in the Chief Secretary’s office, two others including Dr Mohinder Singh Rinwa who has been appointed Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board and Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who has been designated as Chairman, PUNCOM, have been given the status of a Minister of State.

Before their appointment as chairmen of various corporations, Dr Rinwa, Mr Mann and Mr Bajwa were members of the Punjab Council of Ministers headed by Capt Amarinder Singh.

However, they lost their jobs when the Chief Minister downsized his ministry some time ago.

Mr Mann is the nephew of former Union Home Minister, Buta Singh, and has held charge of important departments in the ministries headed by Mr Beant Singh and later Capt Amarinder Singh.

However, it is the conferment of the status of a Cabinet-rank minister on Mr Brahm Mohindra after his appointment as chairman of an important corporation like Punjab Agro Industries Corporation which has intrigued observers.

Mr Mohindra is the only non-MLA to be accorded the status of a Cabinet-rank Minister. Mr Mohindra has held important positions in the party as well as ministry.

He remained a minister in the cabinet headed by Mr Beant Singh, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mr Harcharan Singh Brar during which he handled important departments like industries, health, medical education, transport, science and technology and social welfare.

Mr Mohindra has represented the Patiala city constituency in the Punjab assembly for three terms. In the last elections, he was forced to vacate the seat for Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Mohindra fought from another constituency but lost. Patiala constituency is now represented by Capt Amarinder Singh. 


Three principals not paid for 2 yrs
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 15
Call it apathy of government officials or flouting of rules by school managing committees, three principals of government-aided schools of the district have not been paid their salaries for the past two years.

The situation has reached such a passé that the principals are now finding it difficult to make both ends meet. Repeated rounds to the district and state government education offices have proved futile.

The college managements have expressed their helplessness, as 95 per cent of the payment of their salaries was to come from the state government.

The three principals are Mr Gurnam Singh Saini of Lyallpur Khalsa Senior Secondary School on Nakodar Road, Mr Yoginder Pal Joshi of L.R. Doaba School and Mr Sunil Manchanda of Jain Parbati School at Vijaya Nagar.

While Mr Saini is still working on the post, the government’s decision of not approving their posts has cost Mr Manchanda and Mr Joshi their jobs. Mr Joshi said he was told by his management to go back to his previous post of science teacher, which he refused. He went on long leave and retired on July 31. Mr Manchanda, however, had 15 years of service, but he alleged that his management expressed helplessness to pay him due to which he was forced to step down.

Stating his position, Mr Saini said he had been working in the same school as a social science teacher since May, 1990, and became the Principal on December, 2002.

Soon, a senior teacher of the same school challenged his selection and it was quashed. Another selection procedure was followed and he was reappointed to the post in February, 2004.

Mr Saini said he had submitted his case for approval for the purpose of grant-in-aid through the District Education Officer (Secondary) to the DPI (Secondary). He said his case had been forwarded to the Secretary, Education, who had further marked it to the Finance Secretary. He said he had approached the officers several time to know the status of his approval but to no avail.

Mr Saini said he was the only breadwinner of the family. Both his children were studying and his father was aged. He said he had constructed a house for which he had taken loans, but he was finding it difficult to repay any instalment, since April, 2003, and the interest was getting compounded every month.

Mr Manchanda said he had worked for one and a half years in the school. Though the management was kind enough to make some payments to him, he said his only regret was that he was not allowed to continue thereafter.

Mr Joshi said he was the Principal and had retired but he was yet to receive the salary for the services he had rendered during his tenure.

Mr R.R. Badhan, District Education Officer (Secondary), said since all posts had been sanctioned during the period May, 2002, to January, 2003, the state government could not send the approvals for the posts as this was the time when appointments had been frozen.

However, the principals said cases of scores of principals appointed all over the state during the same period had been approved. They alleged that the department was adopting a pick-and-choose policy in this matter as some select cases forwarded by managements had already been passed approved.


Sangrur SSP threatens journalists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
It was a display of power resorted to by the SSP, Sangrur, Mr G.S. Dhillon, here today outside a hotel after some journalists took pictures of his car and escort vehicle with red lights on these, in violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court order.

Mr Dhillon stopped just short of showing his muscle power when he tried to snatch the camera of one of the reporters of a national television news channel who approached him to seek his version.

The incident occurred when a group of journalists approached him to seek his version on why he was using a red light on his private car, (PB 13N-3536), escorted by a police Gypsy (PB 13 M-2031), also with a red light, since he was not within his jurisdiction.

First, Mr Dhillon, who was not in uniform, denied that he was the SSP or had come in a car with an escort. However, soon he got angry and threatened a television journalist: “I will see you”. He even walked towards the journalist, apparently in a bid to snatch his camera. However, he was restrained by other journalists who told him that he should not complicate matters.

He claimed that he was on a private visit to the hotel and did not want to comment on anything. He went on to say that he would do whatever he liked. He said he was not aware of any court order. “Show me the order you are talking about,” he shouted, adding, “who are you to ask me…I will see you.”

While he was arguing, he signalled his security personnel to leave the place along with the vehicles. The journalists had, however, already taken the pictures of the vehicles parked and recorded the events.

He then called some HDFC officials who came in two private cars and left the hotel. A TV journalist said Mr Dhillon had taken his visiting card and told him that he would “see him”.

Mr Dhillon, however, denied that he had threatened or misbehaved with any of the journalists. He also denied that he had used red lights or was travelling in his official car.

He said when some journalists approached him and asked him to give them a “sound bite”, he refused as he did not know who they were. “Moreover they had not taken any appointment,” he said, adding, that “there was no point in asking any questions from me since I was on a private visit to the hotel”.

The Chandigarh Punjab Journalists Association has condemned the incident and demanded that the government should ensure that the “threatened” journalist is not harmed.


No permission for fixing lights atop vehicles
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
The security wing of the Punjab Police has decided not to give permission for fixing beacon lights atop government vehicles till a notification issued by the Punjab Government was either amended or issued afresh.

The notification had come under severe criticism as it had “left out” certain categories of high-ranking police officers, besides senior bureaucrats.

Going by the notification, all government officers — except for Additional Secretaries and Principal Secretaries — were not entitled to affix the lights atop their vehicles. Even Additional Directors-General of Punjab Police (ADGPs) were not authorised to use the blinkers.

The sources in the Punjab Police headquarters revealed that for several months the police, without going into the details of the notification, continued to grant permission to persons unauthorised to use the blinkers. In fact, as a result of oversight permission was granted to more people than the “police could actually manage”.

Even chairmen of boards and corporations, besides Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members, were allowed to travel in cars with beacon lights.

But on Monday, ADGP Shashi Kant — in-charge of security in the state — found that the ADGPs and over 135 other senior government officers were not entitled to use red blinkers in view of the notification.

The sources asserted that the matter pertaining to the use of red lights, and other aspects of traffic regulation, was taken up by the Punjab and Haryana High Court this morning.

The court was reportedly informed that a committee would be formed for formulating guidelines in the matter. The case will again come up for hearing on Thursday at 3.30 pm.


Principal beats up boy, classmates retaliate
Geetanjali Gayatri and Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Ropar, September 15
The Principal of Dashmesh Academy, Anandpur Sahib, allegedly beat up a Class IX student of the school and tried pushing him out of the window for being rude to his teacher.

The other students, in an attempt to save their classmate, reportedly manhandled him fracturing his arm.

The incident was hushed up for a week as the students were allegedly intimidated by the school’s management. However, the student was today helped by a sympathetic teacher to draft a complaint and send it to the authorities concerned.

Students of Class IX, it said, had even staged a protest on September 10, a day after the incident, outside the office of the Principal, Mr Nicholas Gomes, against corporal punishment which was routinely meted out to them.

It may be recalled that the entire batch of Class XII students of the academy had fled the campus last summer alleging mistreatment. The strength of the academy too is now down to just 350 students.

According to the complaint, Ms J.S. Sahota, geography teacher, reprimanded Balwinder Singh Mundi on September 9. Mundi answered her back and the teacher left the class in a huff.

She returned with the Principal who came with a hockey stick and beat up Mundi for his rude behaviour. The student alleged that he even tried to push him out of the window at which his classmates stepped in and came to his rescue.

Together they beat up the principal who ended up with a fractured arm.

When contacted, Mr Gomes denied having even touched Mundi, let alone beat him up. He claimed that the student had not done his homework and the teacher scolded him for it.

Later, the student was brought to him and he, too, sternly warned Mundi to mend his ways.

“The matter was closed at that. I strongly decry corporal punishment. I did scold him and that is all,” he said.

He added that the faculty had ganged up against him and was maligning him since he was an outsider.

“I come from West Bengal. Since I am heading a school in Punjab, the staff is uncomfortable working under me.

They have often conspired against me since they prefer working under a principal who belongs to Punjab rather than an outsider. That is the true story,” he asserted.

He admitted that he had a fractured arm though he said he had hurt it while playing cricket with the students.

“We were playing cricket a day after Teacher’s Day when the ball hit me. I thought the pain would go away gradually. When that didn’t happen, I got an x-ray done and discovered I had a hairline fracture.

This has nothing to do with a scuffle with the students,” Mr Gomes maintained.

Sources in the school said that Mr Gomes today called the victim to his room and allegedly intimidated him. He warned the student of dire consequences if he failed to so.


Indira did not consider Operation Bluestar a mistake: Alexander
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
“Indira Gandhi did not consider Operation Bluestar a mistake. The mistake was in the manner of implementation of the decision and not in the decision itself,” writes Mr P.C. Alexander in his book “Through the Corridors of Power”. Mr Alexander, who retired as Governor of Maharashtra a couple of years ago, was Principal Secretary to both Mrs Indira Gandhi and Mr Rajiv Gandhi.

“It was Indira Gandhi’s consistent policy not to criticise the Army either in private or in public even if she was convinced about the lapses in the implementation of the decision,” he writes in the chapter on the Akali agitation.

The initial Army action was “confined to the siege and flushing out operations in the identical gurdwaras in different places and in the Golden Temple in Amritsar”. “There was no reference to any plan except for an effective siege of the buildings involving cutting off telephones, electricity, water, food and inflow of men and weapons. However, there were major and sudden changes in the plan that had been approved by the Prime Minister on May 25.”

General Vaidya after a quick visit to Punjab and after consultations with his senior colleagues in the Army sought an urgent meeting with Mrs Indira Gandhi on May 29 to inform her of some important changes in the plan.

“Needless to say the PM was taken aback by this sudden change. She was quite perturbed at the suggestion of use of force inside the temple and asked Vaidya several questions seeking clarifications. She enquired as to what would happen if the terrorists put up stiff resistance ? She also wanted to know how long it would take to subdue such resistance and particularly as to what would happen if the terrorists took refuge in the inner sanctum where the Guru Granth Sahib was placed.

She asked him why the previous strategy of siege and flushing out was being discarded so soon (after all, Vaidya, had outlined it only on May 25). She also sought details about the comparative analyses in terms of loss of life and damage to the temple with respect to either of the plans. Another question she raised was whether such an action inside the temple would have any adverse effect on the loyalty and discipline of the Sikh jawans in the Indian Army,” writes Mr Alexander in his book.

He further says that Vaidya spoke with such confidence and calmness that the new plan he was proposing appeared to be virtually the only option open to the Army. Vaidya said that the other option was fraught with dangerous consequences and hundreds of innocent people may fall victim to firing along the roads leading to Amritsar and in the vicinity of the temple.

Mr Alexander also reveals in chronological order the sequence of events about the series of secret meetings a special panel headed by Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao had held with jailed Akali leaders. Some of these meetings had taken place in a private house in Chandigarh and a few others in another private house in Vasant Vihar in Delhi.

Claiming that as one closely associated with all behind-the-scene discussions, decision making processes and strategies concerning the Akali agitation during the period 1981-84, he was perhaps more in the know of the facts on the subject than many others who had written about it, he was always conscious of his responsibility as a witness to history to present the facts correctly to the people at large.

He writes that he wanted to include the Akali agitation in Punjab and how Indira Gandhi handled it in his series of articles he had written about his years with Mrs Gandhi after quitting as Governor of Tamil Nadu in 1990.

“When I informally consulted Rajiv Gandhi for his opinion, he expressed his anxiety that publication of certain facts might lead to unnecessary controversies. His advice was to postpone the publication for some more time. But ‘this some more time” turned out to more than a decade as I was Governor of Maharashtra till July, 2002. Now that I am free from the trammels of office, I can place the full facts about the Akali agitation, as I knew them,” writes Mr Alexander.

While talking about the possible reason of why Indira Gandhi did not consult Giani Zail Singh before Operation Bluestar, Alexander says that “the only reason I can think of as to why she did not inform President Zail Singh about her decision on the final stages of Punjab operations was that her relations with him by then were strained to the extent of her losing full trust in him.

Another reason may be that the way the operation inside the Golden Temple turned out was quite unexpected and she could not have anticipated the seriousness of the damage caused.”


Baba rolls 2,500 km to reach Amritsar
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, September 15
A Guiness book record-holder for covering hundreds of kilometers by rolling, Baba Mohan Das, popularly known as “Ludkan Baba”, is set to break his own record, in yet another mission for spreading the message of peace.

The Baba reached here today after covering nearly 2,500 km in eight months, starting from Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.

He bathed before entering the Golden Temple premises and prayed for world peace.

He has already covered 30,000 km from Ratlam to Vaishno Devi, Ayodhya and even London. This is his fourth expedition which has enhanced his record by 2,500 km to make it almost unbeatable by any other.

He said his journey began on January 28 from his ashram in Madhya Pradesh. He covered Ujjain, Devas, Ashta, Bhopal, Rajgarh Guna, Gawalior, Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, New Delhi and other cities to reach here .

People gathered around him as he reached here and some even started kneeling before him. Baba Mohan Das has 10 sewadars with him who walked all the way with him.

The Baba who has sought government help and cooperation for the completion of his journey, said he had applied for visa with about 60 men to visit at Nankana Sahib.

Narrating his experiences, he claimed that he had first embarked on such a yatra in 1990 from his native place to Ayodhya.

In 1994, he visited London where a film was made on him by the BBC and a certificate was given to him for this.


Assembly byelections on Oct 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Byelections to Kapurthala and Garhshankar Assembly constituencies will be held on October 13. The last date for filing nominations is September 22.

In a press release issued here yesterday, Punjab's Election Department said the notification would be issued shortly. The scrutiny of nominations would be held on September 23.

The last date for the withdrawal of candidatures was September 25. The polling would be held from 8 am to 5 pm. The model code of conduct has already come into force in Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur districts and shall remain in force till the completion of the election process on October 25.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kapurthala, is the returning officer for the Kapurthala Assembly constituency, while the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Garhshankar, is the returning officer for the Garhshankar constituency. 


Shiv Sena (H) to contest byelections
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 15
The Shiv Sena (Hindustan) yesterday declared to contest the forthcoming Assembly byelections in Punjab next month. Mr Pawan Gupta, president, said at a press conference here that he had visited Hoshiarpur and met party activists at Phagwara to gauge the ground realities.

“I interviewed 10 aspirants at Hoshiarpur and seven at Phagwara for shortlisting the names of candidates for the Garhshankar and Kapurthala Assembly seats,” he said. The names would be declared on September 19.

Mr Sanjiv Ghanauli, Sena’s state President, Mr Dev Sharma, state vice- president, and Mr Ajay Mehta, Kapurthala district president, was present at the press meet.

“The Shiv Sena (H) can emerge as an alternative to the present political players in Punjab as people are disillusioned both with the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine,” claimed Mr Gupta.


CPM candidate files nomination papers
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, September 15
Mr. Mahan Singh Rouri, CPM nominee for the ensuing Garhshanker Assembly seat, filed his nomination papers at the SDM office, Garhshanker, 12 km from here, today. A large number of CPM workers reached the SDM office in a procession. Prof Balwant Singh, state secretary, CPM Mr Rachhpal Singh, Mr Vijay Mishra, Mr Lehmber Singh, Mr Raghunath Singh, Mr Darshan Singh Matoo, and Mr Rakesh Nayyar, senior CPM leaders, addressed a rally organised there and reiterated the party’s commitment to fight against the communal forces.

Later answering a query regarding the recent statements of the Congress leaders that the party would field its own candidate instead of supporting the CPM, Prof Balwant Singh said that the seat adjustment with the Congress had almost been finalised at the highest level and a formal declaration regarding the Congress–CPM alliance for the by-elections in Punjab was being awaited.


Baba Farid Mela begins
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 15
The much-awaited Baba Farid Mela began on a religious note here today. A series of celebrations to mark aagman purb of Baba Sheikh Farid started with the path of Sukhmani Sahib followed by ardas at Gurdwara Tilla Baba Farid, where the great Sufi saint meditated for 40 days before heading towards Pakistan.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, inaugurated a blood donation camp at Government Brijindra College.

The camp evoked an overwhelming response, with students queuing up in large numbers. The school principal, staff and parents of some students donated blood.

The local blood bank authorities said the response exceeded their expectations and they collected 70 units of blood against a target of 51. Later, the donors were honoured at a simple ceremony. Sources said the donation had to be stopped owing to time limitation.

A state-level painting workshop was the next event. A number of artists from various parts of the state have arrived to participate in the workshop.

What makes this event unique is that artists have to base the concept of their work on the life and philosophy of Baba Farid.

Addressing a gathering, the chairman of the Gurdwara Godri Sahib Baba Farid Society, Mr Inderjeet Singh Khalsa, said the workshop was an attempt to encourage artists and gave an opportunity to budding artists to draw inspiration from their work.

Talking to The Tribune, Amarjeet Singh from Bathinda, who is participating in this workshop for the third time, said his paintings were based on Gurbani’s philosophy and like previous years, he was planning to draw a painting based on Baba Farid’s ‘shlokas’.

Another artist from Kotkapura, Gurmail Singh who is into clay modelling and statues, said he was participating in the workshop for the first time and would get to work on innovative ideas here. Sher Singh, an artist who has won a national award, was here with his associate from Noida, Col Karamjeet Singh, (retd), who has now picked up a paintbrush.

He said his collections were put up in various Army offices.

He said he would love to bring divinity in colours on this holy occasion. Charanjeet Singh, an artist from Chandigarh, said he had heard about this even earlier, but was participating for the first time.

He said he had been to many workshops, but the spiritual touch made this workshop a special one.


Special children visit painting workshop
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 15
The state-level painting workshop that began here today had very special guests. A few children from a school run by the Red Cross for blind, hearing impaired and mentally retarded children had arrived to see artists’ work and drew inspiration from them.

These children were keenly watching the artists at work. The correspondent interacted with them through their principal and tried to explore how would they understand the art and an artist’s creation. Gursewak and

Harmanpreet, both deaf and dumb, and other three mentally retarded children quickly identified Baba Farid’s painting despite the fact that the artist had merely drawn the outline.

Not only this, they also identified the “shloka” on which the painting was based as birds were also shown in it.

The “shloka” was — “Kaga karang dandheleya sagla khaya mass, eh do naina mat chhoyo phir dekhan ki aas”. When they saw a clay model having religious symbols of different religions they cleverly used their hands and expressions to point out as to which religion the symbols belong. They identified men and women in paintings and sculptures by moving their hands towards moustache and nose.

Ms Prabhjeet Kaur, the school principal, said the hearing impaired children had great interest in painting and other art forms and they were good at painting. She said a student with low vision, Mangal Ram, won a state-level painting contest held at Ferozepore two years back.

She said these children were visiting this workshop for the third time in a row. “They love painting, clay modeling and dry decoration and their works had been put on display at the school building,” she added.

About 15 students of the school were in Mansa these days to participate in a painting contest. The school had three wings — Umang for mentally retarded children, Ujala for blind, and Umeed for hearing impaired.


Message of release from jail came as surprise
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Kot Bhai (Muktsar), September 15
“The order of our release from Pakistani jail was a biggest surprise in my life. I will not forget the day when I, along with Mohammad Arif, was told by a Pakistani official that we are going to be released from jail shortly,” said Lance Naik Jagsir Singh, who came to his village late last evening after spending more than five years in different jails of Pakistan.

He said that he considered his release from Pakistani jail as second birth for him and he would strive hard to sacrifice the same for the sake of nation.

Lance Naik Jagsir Singh, who along with Sapper Mohammed Arif, was given a warm reception by the residents of this village yesterday, went to local gurdwara to pay his obeisance today.

Later, a cultural programme was organised by the local Youth Club to honour him.

Both jawans were taken in custody by the Pakistan Rangers on September 17, 1999, during the Kargil conflict. They were lodged in Rawalpindi jail before they were released and sent back to India.

After they were received at the Wagha border on August 9, they were immediately taken to military Hospital and after their medical examination, they were allowed to meet their kin.

Though Lance Naik Jagsir Singh tried to keep himself away from media persons, in a brief interview with

The Tribune today he said that he could send letters to his home and his friends only through a stranger who met him in jail and was kind enough to help him in that matter.

Claiming that he was not harassed by his captors as there was no torture mark on his body, he said that he was under great psychological stress as he was feeling that he was a captive.

When mediapersons insisted, to know about harassment, he said that he was a military man and he was not supposed to talk to civilians in connection with those matters which were connected with the Army.

He added that mediapersons could ask any questions from the officers. He said that he had come on one-month leave and after spending leave he would join his duty in 108 Engineering Regiment.

Meanwhile, the family members of Lance Naik Jagsir Singh kept on receiving guests from this and surrounding villages who came to congratulate them on his return to his native after a gap of five years.

Even schoolchildren paid a visit to his house to have a glimpse of him.


Rafting expedition of Army begins
Tribune News Service

Mirthal (Gurdaspur), September 15
The Double Victory Brigade of the Vajra Corps today launched a 105 km rafting expedition in the Beas from Mirthal, about 60 kilometres from Gurdaspur. Lt. Gen PK Singh, AVSM, GOC Vajra Corps flagged off the expedition.

Col AP Singh of the Vajra Corps started journey by raising oars and shouting war slogan “Jang Kae Jawahar”. Twenty participants in four rafts are taking part in the expedition.

The expedition, besides the adventure, has been given a special task to confirm the reports of spotting of Demoiselle crane an almost extinct bird variety, in the Mand area of the Beas.

The Army authorities said the members of the expedition had been briefed about the characteristics of Demoiselle crane.

They had also been given cameras to click the photographs of the birds, the rare birds or animal they noticed during the expedition.

If the reports regarding the presence of the Demoiselle crane were received from the members of the expedition, a special campaign would be launched to locate the bird.

Besides the expedition would register the presence of early migratory birds species like Sarus crane, Mallards, Pintails and Spot bills.

The grasslands of the Beas basin had also been home to Gharials. They were, however, now thought to be extinct. However, still the expedition would try to spot them at the islands before the railway bridge at the Beas.

During the preparation of expedition a wild boar was spotted swimming across the river. A shoal of Mahseer was also spotted waiting for the food coming down from an adjoining tributary.

Lt Gen PK Singh said the expedition report would be prepared later. It would contain the data regarding ecology of the Beas river. The report would be given to the civil authorities for further action.

The expedition, would also help troops getting acquainted with the riverine areas of Punjab and tackling challenges faced in negotiating rivers, he said.


Bank employees observe strike
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 15
Activists of the United Forum of Bank Unions today staged a dharna in front of local Union Bank of India to lodge their protest against the apathetic attitude of the managements in connection with the acceptance of their genuine demands.

Addressing a rally, Mr Ashok Sharma, Zonal Secretary, Punjab Bank Employee Federation, alleged that the bank managements had been avoiding a hike in the pay scales of employees despite the fact that the employees had been agitating for the past many months.

He added that on one hand, the bank managements had been showing huge profits of their respective banks, on the other, the managements had not been coming forward to accept the demand of a hike in pay scales of the employees.

Mr Sharma warned the government and the bank management that non-acceptance of their demands would lead to intensive mass agitation on October 5 and 6.


Centre indifferent to turban issue, says Badungar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 15
Former SGPC President and co-opted SGPC member Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar today alleged that the Congress-led UPA govt was insensitive and indifferent to the issue of French ban on the Sikh turban and its refusal to allow turbaned students in its schools.

Despite a Sikh Prime Minister, no worthwhile efforts were being made to address this issue, alleged Prof Badungar in a chat with mediapersons here. “The PMO is so careless that it did not have the courtesy to acknowledge my three letters on the turban issue, what to speak of addressing it,” he claimed.

The former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had shown more concern for Sikh sentiments, Prof Badungar said. He had taken up the issue of sending Sikh jathas to Pakistan and spoken to the American President about hate crimes against Sikhs in the wake of 9/11.

Turban was a religious symbol and an inseparable part of the Sikh dress code, he said. The matter was of greater importance than realised by the government.


Army man found dead

Bathinda, September 15
Hav Mahabir Singh, who was posted in the 17 Wireless Regiment in the local military station, was found dead under mysterious circumstances late last night.

Hav Mahabir Singh, a resident of Bhiwani district of Haryana, was reportedly inspecting checkpost in the local military station last night. After inspecting two checkposts, he did not reach the third checkpost which he was also supposed to inspect. — TNS


Parallel truck union formed
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 15
A dispute going on between the local truck union and an FCI contractor for the past three months took a new turn with the contractor succeeding in creating division in the union of around 400 truck owners by forming a new union yesterday. Members of the new union began lifting of rice from the godowns with the help of the police.

The lowest bid for lifting the rice from FCI godowns by Mr Jasbir Singh, contractor from Rajpura, had been accepted. But he had failed to lift the rice due to the opposition of the union.

On the directions of the High Court, he had been able to lift some loads with the help of some trucks brought from Rajpura under the protection of the police.


Farmers advised to adopt new methods
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
Farmers have been urged to adopt new technologies like bed planting and zero tillage to save water and fertilisers keeping in view the depleting water resources during the annual Kisan Mela organised by Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Speaking at the mela which was presided over by Cooperation and Horticulture Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa, the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, said farmers should go in for diversification of crops to ensure there was no further decline in the water table in the state. He said the farmers could also be given knowledge on how to market their crops.

Addressing the gathering the university Director of Research, Dr Govinder Singh Nanda, apprised the farmers of the varieties of different crops developed by the PAU. He said the PAU had also developed some machines for crop production, post-harvest operations and soil and water management. He advised the farmers to adopt water saving technologies like bed planting in wheat and drip irrigation for horticulture crops in order to overcome water shortages.

Dr Nanda said though PBW 343 was the wheat variety sown over 70 lakh hectares in Punjab, but PBW 502 had been developed and recommended in the North and was the ideal substitute for PB 343. Dr Nanda said the PAU had recommended PBW 509 for late sown rainfed conditions. About 7,000 seed packets were available for sale in the fair.

Earlier, Jasjit Singh Randhawa said agriculture was becoming a non-profit venture due to shrinking land and a decline in the water table. He said this problem could be surmounted by adopting new research technologies which could increase the productivity of foodgrains.

Mrs Sapinder Kaur Cheema, Member, PAU Board of Management, stressed the need of educating women. She said women played an important role in the field of agriculture but educated women could manage their house as well as business wisely.


Walia Chairman of Khadi Board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Ex-MP Charanjit Singh Walia today took over as the Chairman of Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board. Soon after taking over charge, the Chairman was felicitated by Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Lal Singh, besides other dignitaries.


Four cops suspended

Batala, September 15
Four policemen, including an ASI, were suspended today for dereliction of duty.

Those suspended are ASI Pritpal Singh, Civil Lines, Batala, Baldev Raj, Satnam Singh and Waryam Singh. — OC


Cop booked in suicide case
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 15
The railway police has booked a Punjab Police constable, Baljinder Singh, on charges of forcing Hardeep Singh, a resident of Gulabgarh locality of Dera Bassi, to commit suicide. A case has also been registered under Section 306 of the IPC against him at the Lalru police post.

Hardeep Singh, an auto mechanic, had committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on the Kalka-Ambala line in Gholumajra village, near here, on Tuesday.

In his complaint to the Railway police, Mr Hari Singh, father of the deceased, alleged that in a suicide note, found in a diary, Hardeep Singh had held constable Baljinder Singh responsible for his death.

The constable was a neighbour of Hardeep Singh and posted in Lalru police station. The constable had been harassing Hardeep Singh over some dispute, alleged Mr Hari Singh, an ex-serviceman.

Mr Banarsi Dass, Station House Officer of the railway police, Patiala, said the constable, who had absconded, would be arrested soon.

The body of the deceased was handed over to the family after post-mortem.


Father kills son
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 15
A case of murder of a five-month-old son by his father was reported from Bachhohi village under Mahilpur police station last evening.

According to police sources, Kashmir Kaur, mother of deceased child, Inderjit Singh, has lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her husband, Sarabjit Singh, used to quarrel regularly with her.

Yesterday when she was sitting with Inderjit inside the house, Sarabjit Singh came there and forcibly snatched the boy from her. Later he dashed Inderjit on the ground thrice and escaped.

She with the help of her neighbours took the injured boy to a private hospital at Hoshiarpur where the child succumbed to his injuries.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC, against Sarabjit Singh.


Cops booked for corruption
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Patiala’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajinder Pal Singh Anand and in-charge of CIA staff Darbara Singh have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly misusing official power during police service. This was revealed by Additional Director-General of Police (Vigilance) A.P. Pandey.

Addressing Vigilance Bureau officers during a state-level crime meeting, he added that a criminal case had also been registered against the Principal of Moga-based Giani Kartar Singh Memorial School for working with another organisation, despite a government job.

The meeting was attended by IG-cum-Director S. Chittopadhyay, besides Deputy Inspectors-General of Police N.S. Dhillon, Ishwar Chander and G.S. Sahota.

The Vigilance Chief said the bureau had put its best efforts to eradicate corruption among public servants.


Police party attacked, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 15
Two persons were arrested for attacking a police party in Daulewala village here today. Sources said that the police got a tip-off some poppy husk smugglers were in the village. When the police party reached there, a few persons present there attacked them.

According to the Sub-Inspector of CIA Staff, Dharamkot, Mr Bachan Singh, two policemen were injured in the attack. On the basis of his statement, a case has been registered against Malkiat Singh and Bagicha Singh under Sections 353. 181, and 332 of the IPC at Kot Ise Khan police station.


Punjabi University students begin chain strike
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
Punjabi University students today started a chain strike in front of the office of the Vice-Chancellor besides holding a procession in the campus to the beating of drums, which they called a “peepa march”.

The students, led by the Punjabi University Students Confederation (PUSC), which consists of leaders from all major student bodies on the campus, took the step after “repeated pleas” to the university administration to accept their demands did not elicit any response.

Student leaders said the chain strike would continue till the university agreed to the demands.

Confederation convener Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal said the university was deliberately spreading misinformation. The university had claimed that it had withdrawn late fee on October 8, but sent a communication to all department heads on October 9 that late fee should be taken from all students till October 13, he said.

The university had also not withdrawn the correction fee from all categories of students. It had failed to accommodate students from the arts and science streams in hostels in order to give hostel facility to students of the newly opened University School of Engineering. 


Students hold rally against PTU’s new rule
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 15
Over 250 students from engineering colleges all over the state held a rally here today protesting against the implementation of a new rule by Punjab Technical University (PTU).

The students burnt the effigy of the PTU authorities outside the university campus on Ladowali Road. Then they took out a rally raising slogans against the university. The students also approached the Deputy Commissioner and presented him a memorandum of their demands, which included roll back of the new rule as per which a student who has a compartment in any course in the first semester cannot take admission in the fifth semester.

The students said due to the new rule they would lose one academic year as the re-evaluation, re-appear and results of re-appear take several months. As a result, they could not take admission before the start of new session next year.

The students said their college authorities were also siding with them as they too had sent several representations to the university authorities to consider their case. The university authorities, however, maintained their stand by saying that the students had failed in the course for four times and it was not possible to accommodate them anymore until they passed their first semester course.


Student “assaults” three lecturers
Our Correspondent

Batala, September 15
Teachers of the Baring Union Christian College, Batala, held a meeting in the college yesterday under the chairmanship of the president of the teachers’ union and condemned the “assault” on three college lecturers by a student on September 13.

The teachers’ union, in a resolution, condemned the incident and demanded strict action against the errant student. Mr Ashwani Kansra, secretary of the union, alleged that drug addiction among students was a matter of concern.

He appealed to the civil administration to take strict measures to check this menace. The police has launched an investigation into the case.

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