P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Hurdles in declaring Golden Temple world heritage site
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 22
The move to get the Golden Temple declared as a world heritage site by Unesco by the next year may run into rough weather even as a section of international Sikh community has raised serious objections for keeping the dossier on the temple as a top secret document .

Unesco has also given credence to the objections raised by the representatives of various Sikh organisations and has asked the government of India to ensure the participation of the community before the Golden Temple is declared a world heritage site .

Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, a UK-based international adviser to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, who met the senior officials of Unesco, apart from holding meetings with many Sikh intellectuals, including SGPC members, here yesterday said it was unfortunate that the dossier on the Golden Temple, sent to Unesco was kept a top secret. He said the Golden Temple was a common heritage of the Sikhs all over the world and hence the SGPC alone could not take a final decision on its own without taking the world Sikh community into confidence .

Meanwhile , in a letter addressed to Bibi Jagir Kaur, Mr Hardip Singh Mohali, an SGPC member, has raised serious objections over certain contents of the dossier. He said it was a matter of concern that the SGPC dossier mentioned it as ‘Golden Temple’ instead of describing it as a gurdwara or the darbar sahib. He said the repeated mention of ‘Golden Temple’ in the dossier created misunderstanding.

Dr Jasdev Singh Rai also showed the copy he received from the Director, Unesco, World Heritage Centre, addressed to Bhaswati Mukherji, Ambassador, the permanent delegate of India to Unesco, on the subject of declaring the Golden Temple as a world heritage site. The letter of the Director, Unesco reads, “Unesco has been contacted by several religious groups of the Sikh faith, based not only in India but also in the UK and Canada who were concerned over the possible impact of the world heritage listing on the character of the sacred site”.

The Unesco communication further reads , “The main issue raised by the Sikh leaders was the lack of consultation with the representatives of the Sikh community in the process of nomination”.

It clearly mentions that the removing of objections by consulting the representatives of the Sikh community was a must for listing the Golden Temple as a world heritage site. “The participation of local people in the nomination process is essential to make them share responsibility with the state party in the maintenance of the site.

Giving reasons for raising objections, Dr Rai claimed that even the then SGPC chief, late Gurcharn Singh Tohra was convinced that declaring the Golden Temple as a world heritage site would invite trouble to the shiromani committee so far as the management of the Golden Temple as per Sikh maryada was concerned. Dr Rai said that as per the provisions of Unesco, the Central Government would get a right of direct interference in the management in case the Golden Temple was declared as a world heritage site.


Police for post in Patiala court complex
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Punjab Police authorities have decided to approach senior judicial officers for setting up a police post in Patiala court complex. The police has also decided to step up vigil in the vicinity.

The development is significant as a clash between members of two political parties on Tuesday had left at least five supporters injured. The free-for-all had lasted for about 20 minutes.

The sources in the Punjab Police headquarters in Sector 9 here say that the proposal for setting up the police post was mooted about four months ago. But the matter is still pending.

They add that patrolling within the court complex was stepped up even before the incident. Moreover, notices announcing ban on carrying firearms in the court complex had been installed all over the place.

Giving details, the sources assert that police authorities in Patiala are likely to hold a meeting with the Sessions Judge concerned for discussing the issue. Senior Superintendent of Police A.S. Rai is likely to take up the matter with him.

The sources add that this is not the first time violence has rocked a court complex. They say several cities in the region, including Bhiwani, Panipat, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Amritsar, have witnessed such incidents.

It was in November, 2002. Panipat resident Joginder Kaur’s statement was to be recorded by an Additional Sessions Judge in a criminal case regarding the demolition of her house and her alleged kidnapping for taking into possession her property.

In her initial statement before the police, Joginder Kaur had reportedly alleged the involvement of Haryana’s senior politician. As per the reports, she was to “plead for action” against the politician and others as the police had failed to take any action. But before she could open her mouth, the “accused and their accomplices succeeded in shutting up the evidence by shooting her dead despite the presence of two security guards”.

Then a crude bomb exploded in Ludhiana district courts. This was not all. Soda bottles were hurled, resulting in a stampede, last year, following clashes between two rival groups, again at Ludhiana courts.

In Amritsar also, an advocate sustained injuries in the district court complex after being attacked by a group. Another lawyer was allegedly involved in the incident. Before this the thundering roar of shots fired in all directions had created an atmosphere of terror in Chandigarh district courts complex. For over 15 minutes, the lawyers and the litigants, even cops, had scurried for cover behind trees and parked vehicles as the firing had continued indiscriminately.

No one was seriously hurt even though a bullet had managed to pierce a glass window of a Judge’s chamber before striking a pipe. It had all started when one group, present in the court complex in connection with a murder case, had challenged the other group.


Bibi misusing SGPC resources: Mann
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) will file a case against the SGPC Chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, in the court of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission for “misusing” SGPC resources.

The president of the party, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, said today that Bibi Jagir Kaur had been using the SGPC employees to beat activists of other parties. He said that most of those involved in beating SAD (Amritsar) activists at Patiala a few days ago were SGPC employees posted at various gurdwaras in Patiala.

Bibi Jagir Kaur was spreading the culture of “violence” among SGPC employees instead of utilising their services for the management of gurdwaras. “She was following the path of a Mahant Narainu, who had used brute force against Sikhs long back to keep his control over gurdwaras”, said Mr Mann.

He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal was out to ruin all Sikh institutions through his puppets. “The former Chief Minister was not bothered what happens to Sikhism and its institutions”, said Mr Mann.

Denying the allegation of Bibi Jagir Kaur that workers of SAD (Amritsar) wanted to eliminate her, Mr Mann said that his party had no agenda of eliminating her. “Our party’s only objective is to eliminate criminality and evil among Sikh leaders holding important religious positions”, he added. “We would continue to oppose her on every step to make her quit the presidentship of the SGPC because of her alleged involvement in a criminal case”, said Mr Mann.


Poster of Bibi defaced
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 22
A huge poster bearing the picture of SGPC President Jagir Kaur was found defaced here today.

The poster had been put up about a month ago on the GT Road near Gol Chowk in connection with the quadricentennial celebrations of Guru Granth Sahib.

There is a black cross over the face and the word “Mahantni (a derogatory term used for those who controlled gurdwaras by force in the beginning of the last century)” written below it. Also the words “Bibi” and “Kaur” have been crossed in her name printed on the poster, leaving only the word “Jagir”.

The vandalised poster was later removed by supporters of Bibi Jagir Kaur.

However, leaders of SAD (A) were quick to hold a press conference to hail what they called the “blackening of the face of Bibi Jagir Kaur.” Party leaders Harjinder Jakhu, Surinder Kaur, Gurjant Singh Kattu, Rajinder Singh Fauji, and Resham Singh Pappi declared they would honour the defacer in case he made his name public.

Bibi Jagir Kaur had slurred the image of the Sikh community, they said, referring to the circumstances surrounding the death of her daughter, Harpreet Kaur.


SGPC blames SAD (A) for hooliganism
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 22
The SGPC today blamed the SAD (A) activists for the hooliganism in the Patiala courts complex during the ongoing court case against SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur a few days back.

In a press note today, the SGPC demanded an inquiry into the episode.


MBBS admissions case to be reopened
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, October 22
The state government has decided to reopen the case regarding admissions in the MBBS course at DMC, Ludhiana, to candidates low on merit last year.

Mr Satish Chandra, Secretary, Medical Education and Research, while talking to The Tribune on phone today said that after going through the facts of the case the government had decided to institute a fresh inquiry to fix the responsibility for admitting students in the MBBS course despite being low on the merit list in 2003.

Meanwhile, Mr Ravinder Kumar Sultanwind, president of the All-India Youth Association (AIYA), urged Mr Chandra to register a case of fraud against Dr P. S. Bedi, former Principal of the local Government Medical College, and chairman of the selection committee that was instrumental in giving admission to allegedly undeserving students.

However, Dr Bedi, when contacted, claimed that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had let him off in this case while DMC was strongly indicted as the court had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 for irregularities in the admission.

Mr Sultanwind said the Secretary, Medical Education and Research, had framed charges against Dr Bedi after completing an inquiry in January 2004, in which he had pointed out that the then Principal had committed serious irregularities in the admissions for DMC, Ludhiana, for which he was liable for disciplinary action.


Pak artistes add colour to Dasehra festivities
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 22
Dasehra in the holy city this time had added gaiety with the participation of about 62 Pakistani artistes in the festivities.

Here for the Lahore-Amritsar “Saanjh” festival, the artistes from across the border said they were happy to carry with them memories of the colourful festival symbolising the triumph of good over evil celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs alike in traditional style.

Not only were today’s celebrations unique with Muslims participating in the festival, but the Lahore guests also added a special colour to occasion.

Perhaps for the first time, a Pakistani troupe participated in a Hindu festival with such abandon.

As Pakistani artistes Goonga Sayin Dholia and his brother Mithu Sayin, both hearing and speech impaired, played the dhol for hours in typical Multani style, the spectators too responded with equal gusto, performing the bhangra. The fusion made many elderly persons nostalgic as they remembered the pre-Partition times.

The performance of a Multani folk dance by Mohammad Sharif, Ijar Ali, Mohammad Iqbal, Allah Ditta and Aktar Abaas made the audience dance in step with them. So great was the enthusiasm that it became tough to control the crowd at the Chheharta Dasehra ground.

The famous dholis had to be stopped at dusk after a non-stop performance of nearly two hours to make way for the effigies of Ravana, Meghnatha and Kumbhkarana to be burnt.


Sufi singers bridge gap between two Punjabs
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 22
Sufi kalams by Iqbal Bahu and Sayin Zahoor and an address by Pakistan musicologist Sarwat Ali made an emphatic effort to bridge the cultural gap between the two Punjabs on the inaugural day of the “Saanjh Amritsar-Lahore Festival” at Khalsa College here last night.

The eight-day festival is being organised by the Amritsar-based Punjarjyot and the Lahore-based Rafi Peer Group.

Prof Sarwat Ali from the National College of Art, Lahore, speaking on “Sufi Awaz Punjab Di”, said it was the impact of the Bhakti movement that helped the Sufi tradition to attain new heights. He said the then Punjab became the major centre of the movement.

“We should not forget that the Vedas were also written on this land thousands of years back”, he said.

Iqbal Bahu, a celebrated singer, started the programme by singing Amrita Pritam’s famous poem “Aj akhan Varis Shah nu kiton kabran vichon bol”. He regaled the audiences with Varis Shah’s “Hir”. Then he sang the famous folk number “Bol mitti deya baveya”. Supporting artistes with Bahu were Akmal Qadri on flute, Lakha Khan on sarangi, Varis Ali Khan on tabla and Moonavar Husain on harmonium.

Sayin Zahoor, attired in typical black tunic, enthralled the audience with his full throated voice of “Allah hoo”. He rendered three kalams of Baba Bulleh Shah and a folk song. A follower of Bulleh Shah, he has received worldwide fame for his spellbound voice.


Sugar sector on the verge of collapse
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The future of hundreds of employees and workers hangs in balance as the Punjab's cooperative sugar sector is on the verge of collapse. There are as many as 14 sugar mills in the cooperative sector in the state. These mills contribute about Rs 70 crore every year to their piled up loss that runs into several hundred crore of rupees.

The crushing of cane should have started by now in most of the mills. But no mill has started cane crushing operations yet. In fact most of the mills will get cane supplies only for a few days to run their operations. Reason: area under cane has gone down drastically in Punjab this year. It has come down to 40,000 hectares from 70,000 hectares last year.

And if this trend regarding the fall in the area under cane continued for one or two years more, then most of the cooperative mills would have to be closed permanently. Even now, there are three mills which have not operated since 1997. At one stage the flourishing sugar sector in the state had given a big hope to state's economy. It had given a boost to the diversification in agriculture. But that era is over.

"Hardly three mills will be able to start the cane crushing operations by mid-November, while others are expected to remain dormant for most of the crushing season that usually begins in October and continues up to March end, depending on the availability of cane for crushing", said a senior officer associated with the cane sector.

In fact top officials of the Sugarfed are facing a dilemma whether they should put on certain sugar mills, which will be having cane for only a week or so for crushing, on steam or not. "If such mills, which will get cane supply only for a few days, are put on steam, then the mill management would have to pay the salaries and other allowances to mill workers for the whole season. Mills, who are to pay dues of cane worth several crores to farmers, are not in a position to take such a financial burden", said the officer.

"But if such mills are not operated, then farmers falling in their zone would have to supply cane to other mills located at a distance", said the officer.


Agriculture — a climbdown from riches to rags
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
In January, 2003, Punjab had received from the World Bank an agricultural policy review paper outlining the options to re-orient the state’s farm sector towards diversified and sustainable growth path. And, given the fact that agriculture remains the mainstay of the state’s economy and employment, there was concern that the pioneering role played by farmers had begun to peter off.

This development was the outcome of the visit of a World Bank mission, on request from the state government, in November, 2002.

This, however, continues to be exploited recklessly in the absence of any sound legislation or policy to stop misuse of water. Even Punjab Agricultural University has failed to evolve one.

In the backdrop of that policy paper, the World Bank, sources told TNS yesterday, repeatedly tried to engage Punjab bureaucrats and technocrats concerned to frame a project report to secure financial and technical help to resuscitate agriculture sector. Till date, Punjab has failed to prepare a comprehensive project report and get the necessary help from the World Bank. Such is the attitude of the state towards agriculture, which is the anchor of its economy.

The sources said to be aware of mounting challenges or the realisation that urgent action was needed to encourage diversification and work for sustainable agriculture is one thing. And taking practical steps is quite another.

The government, perhaps, conveniently forgets that major constituents in electoral politics live in villages and their interests can be ignored only at the peril of their own political future and fortunes. This applies to both the Congress and the Akalis.

The draft concept paper on agriculture submitted to the state by the bank in January, 2003, continues to gather dust, though, it had taken abundant caution to ensure that political economy considerations would be weaved into the project, keeping in mind the role and intervention of the Central policies, as well.

The Central policies play a role in terms of minimum support price and procurement of rice and wheat. This will require introducing certain reforms, as well. Though tentative outline of the project profile was also discussed, Punjab has not taken any tangible steps all these months. It is more interested in structural adjustment loans etc. To be involved in the project were agriculture-related departments — Animal Husbandry, Horticulture, Finance, Planning, Food and Supplies, Power and Irrigation.

Meanwhile, the bank’s Punjab development report June, 2004, has also touched upon the state of agriculture and expressed concern over ‘’growth slowdown and environmental sustainability’’ and how from prosperity Punjab was hurtling towards miseries in the agriculture sector.

Despite tall claims and re-hashing of the old ‘’achievements’’, PAU, too, has miserably failed to march with time and evolve strategies, modules and models for the state’s 70 per cent farmers, who own less than four hectares. Less said the better about the state’s successive agriculture ministers and Financial Commissioners, Development, whose priorities were elsewhere.


Record production keeps cotton prices low
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 22
The continuous fall in the prices of the cotton crop for the past six weeks has disheartened the growers.

The prices of raw cotton (narma variety) have been fluctuating between Rs 1850-Rs1950, despite the fact that its minimum support price is Rs 1815 in Punjab and Rs 1785 in Haryana.

The opening prices of the same variety touched Rs 2500 in the month of September, 2004. Similarly, the prices of the Desi variety have been anything between Rs1800-Rs1860 against the MSP of Rs 1310 in Punjab and Haryana both.

The farmers are a confused lot. They are in a dilemma whether to hold back their stocks and sell the same when the prices go up or to sell their stock immediately to raise the much-needed cash to meet pressing liabilities.

The Cotton Advisory Board (CAB), in its report released a few weeks ago, had predicted a record production of cotton in India this season. The board had predicted that the production would be around 2.13 lakh bales as compared to about 1.75 lakh bales last year.

The prediction affected the prices of raw cotton in the entire country adversely, thus placing the growers to disadvantage.

The other factor which played a vital role in lowering the prices of cotton crop is the fact that throughout the world the increase in production of cotton is expected at 14 per cent of last year’s production while the increase in demand is expected to go up by 2.8 per cent. The high yield and low demand has led to the fall in prices. The total global production is expected to be around 23.5 tonnes and the demand 21.9 tonnes.

Information gathered by TNS reveals that growers have suffered on account of poor purchase of raw cotton by the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI).

The CCI is a commercial organisation and runs its operation as per the market trend.

The CCI has been finding it difficult to compete with private buyers, a section which has been earning profit by evading the market fee on the crop.

The CCI has written to the Secretary, Punjab Mandi Karan Board, to curb this menace so that it could opt for bulk purchases.

So far the CCI has purchased only 1500 bales in Punjab, 600 bales in Haryana and 2200 bales of cotton in Rajasthan.

Mr Ashok Kapur, former president, Northern India Cotton Association (NICA), when contacted, said cotton export was not possible at the moment as the international prices were at parity or lower than the prices of cotton in domestic markets.

He said apart from this, textile mills owners had also not been storing cotton as they had learnt that it would be available throughout the year.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh Brar, president, Punjab Young Farmers Federation (PYFF), said a delegation of the federation would meet Union Minister Shard Pawar to urge him to make efforts to ensure remunerative prices to cotton growers.


Chandumajra plans dharna on Oct 28
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), today said that his party would organise a dharna at Bathinda on October 28 to protest against the drastic fall in the price of cotton.


Jain succeeds in winning rebels back
No-trust motion seems a formality now
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 22
Municipal Council president, Joginder Pal Jain got a shot in the arm when six councillors from the rebel camp joined hands with him today. This has given birth to the possibility of dropping the no-trust move against him. Mr Jain is facing the second no-confidence motion within a couple of months.

Dissident leader Naseeb Bawa had handed over a letter signed by 21 municipal councillors expressing their intent to bring another no-trust motion against Mr Jain merely four days back.

The other dissident councillors were stunned with the turn of events and said if they had to join Mr Jain then why did they sign the letter for bringing a no-confidence vote.

Sources said that the dissidents paid the price of leaving these councillors “open” unlike last time when they were camping at various locations before the no-confidence vote on September 22.

This gave Mr Jain an opportunity to approach the fence-sitters and reconcile with them.

The dissident leaders’ claim that all 21 councillors would remained united till taking their fight to a logical end has fallen flat in a short span of time. With six councillors switching side this time, Mr Jain would not have to make much effort to ensure continuation of his term as the MC president.

When contacted, Mr Jain said that there were some small misunderstandings that had been sorted out through mutual talks. Reacting to the councillors’ move, Mr Bawa said that in democracy people had the right to choose their representatives, but still they would continue their fight against “undemocratic ways and corrupt practices” of the MC chief.


Race for Moga Cong chief’s post hots up
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 22
With the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, accepting the resignation of the Moga Congress chief, Dr Tara Singh Sandhu, the race for district party presidentship has hotted up.

Among the frontrunners are a former Punjab minister, Dr Malati Thapar, Mr Labh Singh Ahluwalia, Mr Jagrup Singh Takhtupura and Mr Gurbachan Singh Brar.

Dr Sandhu’s resignation is being seen as a big jolt to the Jagmeet Brar group. His term as the district president was marred by infighting between various factions of the party and the defeat in municipal and Lok Sabha elections. However, he denied that he had resigned owing to his differences with Dr Thapar and added that he quit his post as he had to go abroad for some personal work.

He said he had handed over his resignation to the PPCC vice-president, Mr Vijay Khullar, in Moga on September 10, but it had not been accepted till now due to elections. On his future role in the party, he said he would take up any assignment given to him, adding that he had gone to Maharashtra for campaigning in the recent Assembly elections even after resigning as Moga Congress chief.

Commenting on Dr Sandhu’s resignation, Dr Malati Thapar said it should have happened earlier as party workers were not satisfied with his working. She said Dr Sandhu had nothing to do with the Congress and it was Mr Jagmeet Brar who made him the district party chief.

Dr Thapar denied she was in the race for the post and said a person dedicated to the party cause should be appointed.

Mr Gurbachan Singh Brar refused to comment on Dr Sandhu’s resignation, but said he was ready to shoulder any responsibility given by the party. Mr Jagrup Singh Takhtupura said he was too busy in personal affairs for the past one month to know anything about party activities and could not comment on the issue. Mr Labh Singh Ahluwalia could not be contacted for comment.

The Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, who received Dr Sandhu’s support when he was facing a no-trust vote last month, said he shouldn’t have quit and it was unfortunate for the party.


Monkeys play havoc at Nangal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Naya Nangal, October 22
Terror spread by violent monkeys has made life hell for local residents. Monkeys have become a threat to the chemical-based National Fertilisers Limited (NFL) Plant , located here.

Having their habitat in a strikingly attractive hilly terrain along the Nangal reservoir, monkeys play spoilsport in many ways. They enter classrooms of Capt Amol Kalia Fertiliser Model Senior Secondary School to grab tiffins from students. Stealing of eatables from fridges by entering kitchens is quite common. They also take away shoes of devotees who come to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Bhibour Sahib.

No one can dare to dry clothes in the open. Monkeys have got into the habit of tearing and lifting clothes. To walk down home from vegetable markets with fruits, especially bananas, is to invite trouble. Monkeys take no time to mount a group attack to snatch away fruits. They do not spare even those who take fruits and vegetables on scooters.

“They have mastered the art of attacking human beings, especially females carrying eatables,” said Dr K.R. Arya, who served in the NFL as a Deputy Chief Medical Officer for long and now runs a private hospital.

The NFL authorities, who run the school, have posted at least four guards armed with sticks around the school to protect students from attacks of monkeys. Despite such arrangements monkeys jump onto the school roof by climbing nearby trees and enter the rooms. “We try our best to protect students but you know how difficult it is to check this menace,” says Ms Kapila, Principal of the school.

However, what has been disturbing the NFL authorities is the entry of monkeys inside their plant. “They pose a big threat to the plant when they start fiddling with sensitive valves”, says a senior officer. There are valves controlling high pressure gases and mischief by monkeys can play havoc. “ We have the Central Industrial Security Force to keep watch around the clock but in spite of it monkeys make it to the plant”, said the officer.

For the past several months, the NFL authorities have been trying hard to check the monkey terror. “We brought an expert who had a trained langur to chase away monkeys. The experiment remained successful for one month”, said Mr A.J.S. Kohli, Deputy General Manager ( Human Resources) of the NFL. However, one day when the expert was away, monkeys attacked the langur that was tied to a tree. They bit their tormentor ( langur) to death.

Now the NFL authorities have contacted Nand Lal Bandarwala. He is said to be an expert in transporting the monkeys to other parts. He had done this job successfully earlier at the BHEL plant at Hardwar and Ranikhet and the NFL authorities have contacted him through BHEL.

Mr Kohli says that Nand Lal visited the NFL Plant, school and the monkey habitat a few days ago. He is prepared to handle the job. According to his estimate, there are about 2000 monkeys around.

“But we have sought the permission of the Punjab Wildlife Department authorities to capture monkeys and to remove them to some isolated place in dense forests along the Shivalik hills in the Punjab area”, says Mr Kohli. “ Our case is now lying with Mr A.S. Dogra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, for approval”, he added.


Ousted poultry staff on the road
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Ousted employees of the Punjab Poultry Development Corporation, whose lives have come to a standstill following their retrenchment two weeks ago, are now on the road and have sought alternative employment for the state government.

The Punjab Government had recently downed the shutters of one of the oldest corporations and retrenched 26 of its employees, including three daily wage earners. While 32 others had accepted the golden handshake and the package offered to them by the state government, the retrenched ones had declined to do so. Among the retrenched employees are two widows, Raj Kumari and Amrik Kaur, who had been given jobs as class IV employees on compassionate grounds.

Raj Kumari, who is shattered after losing her job, told TNS that she had got the job in the corporation following the death of her husband, Phool Chand. Narrating her tale of woe she said that even as they had not been paid any salary for the past four years, she was feeding her children by working as a domestic help but losing a job in the given circumstances had come as a severe shock. The plight of Amrik Kaur, who too was given a job as a class IV employee after her husband Karnail Singh's death is no different. She is at a loss to explain to how she will bring up her three little children without any regular source of income.

Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of the Corporation Employees Union said that the government which had promised to given them alternative jobs in case the corporation was wound up has brought them on the roads. The Cabinet vide one its decisions in 2001 had decried that these employees would be adjusted elsewhere. But they have been left to fend for themselves.

He said the downfall of the corporation started only when the reins of control passed from the hands of bureaucrats to the veterinary officers in 1994, and some of its senior officers have also been in the vigilance net for alleged bungling in purchases. Prior to that it was a profit- making venture.

Mr Sharma and Mr Manohar Lal said they have so far not been paid salaries, which had been withheld for the past 40 months, arrears for the revised pay scales since January 1986, besides no Dearness Allowance and bonus. The government on an average owes each class III employee anything between Rs 5 to 6 lakh and a class IV employee about Rs 4 lakh as part of these dues and outstanding payments like gratuity and leave encashment. In fact, the government has to pay a salary of Rs 2.5 crore to these employees as part of their salaries. The government has sanctioned Rs 7 crore for settling these arrears of the employees. But the retrenched employees who were crying foul are of the view that the government should have instead sanctioned Rs 1 crore to get the corporation out of the red than release money to wind up the same.

The plea of the employees is that the government should get them adjusted as class II and IV employees in the dairy farms of the Punjab Livestock Development Board and this would help put back their lives on the rails. Mr Manohar Lal said additional charge of these posts had been given to those already employed even as they are finding it hard to make both ends meet after losing their regular jobs.

Even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed that their dues be cleared by November 5, they were yet to receive any payment, and some of those who had accepted the golden shake are also yet to be paid all their dues. Most of the employees faced with an uncertain future do now know the fate of their families in the days to come.

The Joint Director of the Animals Husbandry Department and the Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Vinod Kumar Gupta, justified the retrenchment of the employees in the wake of the corporation being wound up and said their dues would be paid in due course after the process of audit of accounts was completed. He claimed that dues of employees who had accepted the golden handshake already stand cleared.


Focal point is no one’s baby
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, October 22
Enmeshed in a tangle created by two government bodies, industrialists in the Focal Point here have much to lament about.

The controversy surrounding the takeover of the Focal Point continues unsettled and the three successive state governments have failed to arrive at a solution which may satisfy both parties, the Punjab Small Industries Export Corporation (PSIEC) and the Municipal Corporation, Patiala. As such it remains a classic example of the lack of political will to boost the industry in the region, despite counter claims by the state government.

Both the PSIEC and the Municipal Corporation, do not want to take up the responsibility for the upkeep of the point. Ironically, the PSIEC collects water and sewerage charges while the Municipal Corporation collects octroi and house tax from the industrialists.

Earlier, the industrialists had also paid development charges to the PSIEC. The Department of Industries which was to disburse subsidy has failed to do so even after nine years.

The point is marked by pollution , filth, potholed roads, broken light fixtures, poor infrastructure and absence of basic amenities and security cover.

According to norms it was to be taken over by the Municipal Corporation after five years since its establishment. However, much to the chagrin of the industrialists both have washed their hands.

Mayor, Vishnu Sharma complains that the PSIEC, on account of having taken hefty development charges for the plots, should pay the requisite amount to the corporation prior to the taking over. The PSIEC on the other hand insists that the corporation is dilly-dallying on the issue and should take over the area promptly.

As the two continue to blame each other the industrialists are suffering. “Roads become waterlogged and slushy during rain and during dry weather the gaping potholes are enough to deter even the most stout-hearted commuter”, says industrialist Vikram Goel.

General Secretary of the Focal Point Industries Association, Vijay Tayal laments that ,” Most of the lights on the streets are non -functional. We were promised by MP Preneet Kaur and the Mayor that the area would soon be taken over, however to no avail”.


Dimpy has links with Abhey, Badals: Partap
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 22
Apprehending that mastermind behind various kidnappings Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy might engineer help for his escape from the Bathinda police custody again, Mr Partap Singh, a younger brother of the Haryana Chief Minister, has urged the Punjab Chief Minister and the Centre to ensure that Dimpy could not use his “political clout” for securing his release from police custody.

While alleging here today that it was virtually jungle rule prevailing in Haryana, Mr Partap Singh demanded that Haryana should be put under President’s rule.

He alleged that Dimpy, a close associate of Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, had close links with Mr Abhey Singh Chautala and the Badal family.

“I will meet Capt Amarinder Singh and apprise him of that Dimpy could secure his release through unlawful means this time also”, said Mr Partap Singh.

He also screened a CD in which Dimpy was seen enjoying a cultural programme at Chautala village. At the function Mr Abhey Kumar Chautala was the chief guest.


Alarmed at robberies, Atwal speaks to SSP
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 22
The Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, has taken strong notice of the growing incidence of robbery in and around Phagwara, especially in nearby Gandwan village.

On his visit here yesterday, he rang up the SSP, Kapurthala, and expressed displeasure over two dacoities in one night at Gandwan where 24 armed dacoits, posing as commandos first looted the house of Didar Singh on the Mehtan-Gandwan road and then of Harbans Singh.

They also injured the latter, his wife Joginder Kaur and son Harinder Singh.

Mr Atwal asked the SSP to intensify police patrolling in the area

He later inaugurated Gian Singh Sandhar Stadium at the local Arya Senior Secondary School. Former Punjab minister and state BJP Vice-President Swaran Ram and Chairman-cum-MD of Wahid-Sandhars Sugars Jarnail Singh Wahid accompanied him.


Body recovered from village fields
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 22
The body of a Nepali, who had been murdered by unidentified persons yesterday, was found lying in the fields at Chapparchiri village, near here today.

The matter was brought to the notice of the police by Mr Rupinder Singh, who had employed the Nepali as a servant.

He told the police that the deceased, Surat Lal, used to take care of the crops. He said that he saw the body hidden in bushes when he came out to the fields today.

The police said that the body of Surat Lal had sharp injury marks on the face, neck and legs. His body had been sent for a postmortem examination.


2 arrested for hunting deer
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 22
The Gurdaspur police has booked two hunters for killing a deer in the Sujanpur area of the district. The SSP, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said that Sub-Inspector Joga Singh posted at Sujanpur got specific information that two persons had killed a deer and were busy skinning it.

The Sub-Inspector with the help of forest range officials raided the specified place and found Ram Prashad and Rohit, both residents of Chhatisgarh, while skinning the deer.

The accused later told the police that they saw deer being chased by dogs. When it came near them in an injured condition they killed it. They were busy skinning it for meat before the police arrested them.

A case under Sections 9, 38, 48, 50 and 57 of the Animal Protection Act, 1972, has been registered against the accused.

In another incident, the police arrested Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Nawanpind Attalgarh, in the Mukerian area who was accused of theft of two-wheelers in Gurdaspur and its adjoining areas.

Rajesh Kumar was arrested during a routine naka. After his arrest one scooter and one motor cycle were recovered on the information provided by the accused.

Besides, the police has also arrested Subhash Chander, a resident of Pandori Mahanta, and Gagandeep, a resident of Shehzada Nangal, for indulging in satta operations.


Ex-Army man strangles wife, 2 minor kids

Amritsar, October 22
A retired Army personnel allegedly killed his wife and two minor children at Fatehabad village in Tarn Taran police district last night.

A police spokesman said that the accused, Jaspal Singh (45), had allegedly strangled his wife, Bhupinder Kaur (40), daughter, Kamalpreet(13) and son, Ajay Deep Singh (7) following domestic unrest.

His elder son, Fateh Deep Singh (10), escaped by giving the slip to his father.

The surviving child briefed the police about the incident and the police had filed a case of murder against the ex-Army man who was still untraceable. — UNI


Two held for raping minor
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, October 22
The police today arrested two persons on charges of raping a minor. The incident occurred at Suara village, 14 km from Nurpur Bedi, in Ropar district yesterday.

A team led by ASI Bhupinder Singh arrested the accused, Khushal Singh and Gurmeet Singh, from Adgrain village, according to the DSP, Anandpur Sahib, Mr Varinder Singh. The duo will be produced in a court here tomorrow.


SD College wins overall youth fest trophy
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 22
In the three-day Punjabi University Sangrur Zone Youth Festival, which concluded at Government Ranbir College here last evening, S. D. College, Barnala, won the overall trophy. Government College, Malerkotla, was the runners-up, while Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, finished third.

In the three-day youth festival, about 1,000 students from 22 colleges of the Sangrur zone participated in 30 items. On the concluding day, Ms Nisha Sarad, DPI (Colleges), Punjab, gave away the prizes to the winners.

The following are the results:

Giddha: S.D. College, Barnala,1, and Government College, Malerkotla, 2.

Bhangra: Desh Bhagat College, Bardwal, Dhuri, 1, and Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 2.

One-act play: Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 1.

Group skit: Guru Harkishan College, Phulewal, 1, and Guru Teg Bahadur College, Bhawanigarh, 2.

Group shabad: S.D. College, Barnala, 1; geet/ghazal: Government College, Malerkotla, 1; group song: S.D. College, Barnala, 1.

Classical dance: Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 1, and Government College, Malerkotla, 2; classical vocal: Government College, Malerkotla, 1; classical instrumental percussion: Government College, Malerkotla, 1, and S.D. College, Barnala, 2; classical instrumental non-percussion: S.D. College, Barnala, 1; painting: L.B.S. College, Barnala, and Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 1; collage- making: Ramji Dass College for Women, Malerkotla, and Government College, Malerkotla, 1.

Orchestra: S.D. College, Barnala, 1 and Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, 2; Elocution: Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, and Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, 1; poetical recitation: Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, and Guru Harkishan College for Women, Phulewal, 1; costume parade: Bhai Gurdas College of Law, Sangrur, 1; Vaar singing: S.D. College, Barnala, 1, and Guru Harkishan College, Phulewal, 2; histrionics: Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, 1, and Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, 2.

Poster making: L.B.S. College, Barnala, and S.D. College, Barnala, 1; clay modelling: S.D. College, Barnala, and Government College, Malerkotla, 1; folk song: S.D. College, Barnala, 1, and Akal Degree College for Women, Sangrur, 2; mime: Government College, Malerkotla, 1, and S.D. College, Barnala, 2; western solo: Government College, Nabha, 1, Government Ranbir College, Sangrur; 2; western solo vocal: Government Ranbir College, Sangrur, 1.


Lahore varsity delegation arrives
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 22
A 13-member Pakistani delegation of teachers and students from the Department of Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences, crossed over to India from the Wagah Joint Check post here today.

The delegation, headed by Dr Farrukh Khan and Dr Maria Khan, on the first day of the three-day visit interacted with teachers and students of the Department of History, Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Farrukh said they had come with an open mind and the main goal of the visit was to meet eyewitnesses of Partition. He said it would help clear their perception about Partition.

Dr Maria said she had heard a lot about Partition and had developed a particular view point about it.

Guru Nanak Dev University Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, welcomed the delegation and said such interaction between the faculty and students of India and Pakistan would be helpful in fostering close relation between them.


Govt adopts new method to save college recognition
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 22
The state government has adopted a novel way to save Government Medical College, Faridkot, from being de-recognised by transferring 24 senior medical teachers, including heads of various departments, from Government Medical College, Amritsar.

However, medical teachers would be transferred back to Amritsar after the inspection by the Medical Council of India (MCI), proposed to be completed by October 27.

In case of simultaneous inspection by the MCI of both the colleges, both are in danger of losing their recognition due to the number of vacant posts.

This is not for the first time that such an arrangement has been made to save affiliation of Government Medical College, Faridkot.


Last date for submitting exam forms extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The last date for submitting examination forms — without the payment of late fee — by regular students has been extended by the Punjab School Education Board.

The students studying in class X can now submit their forms till November 9 against the earlier date of November 3. Those studying in class XII can furnish forms till November 11 against the earlier date of November 5.

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