P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Officers continue to ignore Punjabi
Language Department reports violations
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 24
The Punjab State Language Act, which was invoked in 1967 to ensure the use of Punjabi in government offices, seems to have failed to have the desired effect with the State Language Department reporting rampant violation of this Act by both officers and employees.

The Language Department, with its headquarters here is responsible for ensuring the use of Punjabi for official functioning. It has indicted 51 officers and 67 employees for not using Punjabi after conducting a check of 479 officers and employees all over the state.

A report in this context has been sent to the government. The checking, which was done in a random manner, indicates that as many as 20 per cent of government employees do not use Punjabi for official work.

The figures arrived at by the Language Department are not surprising. The department had regularly been reporting violations of the Act every year since checking of government departments was started six years back. In 1999 out of 1,049 employees checked 89 officers and 279 employees were found to be working in English.

Similarly, the figure was 163 officers and 417 employees out of 1,006 employees in 2000. In 2001, out of 917 employees as many as 294 officers and 575 employees were found working in English and in 2002, 223 officers and 394 employees out of a total of 943 employees were found to be working in English.

In 2003 out of a total of 1,118 employees 98 officers and 186 employees were found to be working in English.

A large number of officers continue to work in English though the figure of employees working in English has come down. Sources attribute this to the large number of bureaucrats adopting English at the district level and also in the State Secretariat at Chandigarh.

The sources said though tackling officers working in English was possible to an extent, it was difficult for Language Department officials to check senior bureaucrats at Chandigarh.

The sources said though an Act was in existence since 1967, it had failed to have the desired effect, despite several attempts by successive heads of the Language Department to give it teeth.

They said the Language Department had been able to push through a proposal to make it mandatory for all officers to write in the affirmative or negative whether an officer was using Punjabi in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of his subordinate.

A separate column had been created for this purpose. Sources said even this move had failed to have the desired effect with senior officers not taking the query seriously and depending on the claim of their juniors on this account.

The sources said the fact that the Language Department itself could not take action against defaulting government servants was also responsible for the current state of affairs.

They said according to rules, the department had submitted a report of defaulting employees to the Secretaries of their respective departments. In many cases senior officers to whom the report was sent for action were also guilty on the same count and, therefore, took the violation lightly.


BKU (Ekta) activists may ‘stop’ auction of land
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Chathewala (Bathinda), October 24
Tension has started building up in this village, falling under Talwandi Sabo sub-division, after hordes of activists of various factions of the BKU (Ekta) started reaching here today to “stop” the auction of a piece of land, belonging to a local farmer, to be held on October 26 as per the order of a Civil Judge passed a few months ago.

Though the police authorities have been awaiting the outcome of a meeting going on between leaders of the BKU (Ekta) and a section of civil officials to remove the irritants and to work out a strategy to hold the auction smoothly, they have also started making preparations to prevent the situation from taking an ugly turn.

The police has also been conducting raids on the premises of some of the leaders of the kisan union. Mr Gurcharan Singh Lallewala, president, BKU (Ekta), Talwandi Sabo block, and a few others have been taken into custody by the police in this connection.

A visit to the village revealed that about 700 activists of various factions of the Kisan union had arrived here today.

Senior police and civil officials have been holding meeting with representatives of the BKU (Ekta) at Sema village.

The auction of the land belonging to Mr Balwant Singh is to be held on the order passed by Mr N. K. Gaur, the then Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Talwandi Sabo. Mr Gaur, had also ordered the auction to be videographed.

Information revealed that the police authorities had failed to arrest any member of a kisan union despite the fact that a case was registered against them at the Kot Fathe police station on June 24 for their alleged involvement in the beating up of the bidders (mostly commission agents) at the auction of a piece of land, held in Chathewala village on June 16. They threatened to gherao revenue officials and snatched the camera of a videographer.

About 17 accused were identified in the case and were nominated in the FIR registered in the Kot Fathe police station under Section 379, 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

The decree was passed in favour of Mr Harcharan Dass, who was to take about Rs 3.40 lakh from Balwant Singh.

Though police officials failed to arrest the accused, including Gurcharan Singh, president, BKU (Ekta), Talwandi Sabo block, and Harpal Singh, an employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and others, as they created obstruction in the auction and prevented government officials from performing their duties. Mr Gaur himself lodged a complaint in the Talwandi Sabo police station and got a case registered against those who created obstruction in the execution of warrants issued by his courts in connection with the auction of the land.

On the complaint lodged by Mr Gaur, a case under Sections 184,186, 189 and 353 of the IPC was registered against a number of members of the BKU on July 29. However, the local police failed to arrest anyone in this case also so far.

Mr Bal Krishan Singla, president, Federation of Aarthi Association of Punjab, while urging the kisan unions to avoid the use of musclepower. He added that nobody should be allowed to harm cordial relations between commission agents and the farmers.


No payment made for Punjab Intranet: govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Punjab Government today gave its first official version on the setting up of the company Punjab Intranet and the news appearing regarding this in a section of the Press in the past few days as well as on the foreign visit of Mr Y.S. Rajan, a former Scientific Adviser to the Chief Minister, and Mr N.S. Kalsi, Managing Director, Punjab Infotech.

It described the news reports as “incorrect, distorted and misleading”.

The Principal Secretary, Information Technology, Mr B.R. Bajaj, today pointed out that the IT Department received a number of proposals that were evaluated through discussion with prospective investors and entrepreneurs. Any commitment by the government to execute a project was expressed through formal orders, as per the required terms, rules and regulations of the state.

“At no stage the state government entered into any agreement relating to the proposals of Esquire Communications. The department also did not make any payment or release any funds in this connection to any one,” he added.

Referring to the project for an Internet exchange, Mr Bajaj said that in November 2003, the Managing Director, Punjab Infotech, had reported that even this project needed to be reviewed in the light of the development that the Government of India was also setting up a similar national Internet exchange of India. It had thus been decided that Punjab should join the national project.

The Department of Information Technology at the Centre had since identified Punjab as the first state for setting up an Internet exchange node at Chandigarh with a capital of Rs 21 lakh.

On the visit of the two officials, he said it had become necessary to set the record straight, as Mr Rajan and Mr Kalsi had been deputed by the government to visit destinations in the USA and Holland to explore the possibilities of investment in IT, including the Punjab Intranet project, in July 2003.

It was a matter of record that during their visit, Esquire Communications had been informed that project proposals of Punjab Intranet for laying an optic fibre cable (OFC) network was not required, since Punjab already had OFC infrastructure laid by BSNL, Reliance, HFCL, Bharti, etc. They had also informed Esquire Communications that telecommunication was a Central subject and setting up any project on BOOT basis would require open tendering.

Mr Bajaj said in a press note that in the tour report Mr Rajan and Mr Kalsi had never recommended acceptance of any proposal given by Esquire Communications. The Chief Minister had endorsed their report on December 10, 2003.


NRI offers help to save national monument
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 24
Even as the mighty fort in this town, which has been linked to the Harrappa period by different historians, has been dying a slow death due to the negligent attitude of the authorities concerned, to protect this monument for posterity, an NRI, Mr Sukhminder Singh Chahal, an engineer, has made an offer to the Chief Minister of Punjab for its repair and preservation free of cost.

After receiving the offer from Mr Chahal, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has taken up the matter with the Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), New Delhi. Mr Chahal has also taken up this matter directly with D-G, ASI, New Delhi, for restoring the fort to its original form and to make it as a tourist attraction.

Mr Chahal, a former resident of old Bathinda district and who got his primary education from this area, visited India and this town from the USA after about 30 years in February, 2004. He was shocked to see the plight of Gobind Fort, which houses a historical gurdwara also. He again visited this town in April and July and decided to do something for the fort.

In the letters sent to the Chief Minister, Punjab, Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India, and the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, Mr Chahal, who is credited with 45 years of experience in civil engineering and execution of various mega projects in the USA, India and other countries, including the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, offered that he, with the cooperation of non-profit organisations, would restore, repair, maintain and preserve the Bathinda fort at no cost to the Governments of India and Punjab.

He added that his plan included the development of a tourist attraction under an agreement for a certain period and he along with non-profit organisations would make the local fort as one of the best preserved frontier forts of ancient times of India.

He pointed out that on his personal examination, it came to his notice that the fort structure and outside walls were deteriorating at a much faster rate than the rate at which the repairs of the same were going on. He added that during rainy season, the fort had been suffering huge damage. He said that it was estimated that major repairs could be performed within a five-year period while restoring other portions of the fort and developing tourist attraction.

Mr KAP Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, while confirming the fact that Mr Chahal had made an offer to preserve the fort, said that he had recommended his proposal to the Punjab and Central Governments.

Known as Gobind Fort, the local fort has been visited by three holy people as per the findings made by Mr Chahal. Baba Haji Rattan (Peer and ambassador of Raja Bhoj) visited the fort in 1045 AD, Guru Nanak Dev in 1505 AD and Guru Gobind Singh in 1705 AD.

The fort has withstood attacks from Sultan Mahmud Ghazni in 1004 AD, who later besieged it and then Mohammad Ghauri attacked it in 1189 and occupied it. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the illustrious ruler of this region, recovered its possession 13 months later after a fierce battle. It is said that Rao Bhatti, a Rajput king, established the modern town of Bathinda around the fort, which is believed to be built by Raja Dab, an ancestor of celebrated king Vinay Paul.

Though Gobind Fort survived attacks of various rulers, it has started collapsing due to the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned. The locals and people from other areas, who have been visiting it, always returned disappointed after seeing its plight.

A portion of Rani Mahal, where Razia Sultan, the first woman ruler of India, was imprisoned in 1240 A. D. by the then Governor, Mohammad Altunia, a corner in its north-western side, 18 out of total 36 bastions and the entire parapet of its 120 feet high walls and a large portion of its walls have collapsed. A few years ago, people were not allowed to enter into the fort as it started posing danger despite the fact that it is a national protected monument.


‘Bhai Sahiba’ title for Yogi’s widow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, conferred the title of “Bhai Sahiba” upon Yogi Harbhajan Singh’s widow, Bibi Inderjit Kaur, at his bhog ceremony in Espanola in New Mexico, USA, yesterday.

Yogi Harbhajan Singh, chief of Sikh Dharma International, had died after prolonged illness on October 5.

Eulogising Yogi Harbhajan Singh’s contribution in spreading Sikhism in North America, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti said now Bibi Inderjit Kaur should carry forward the work done by her husband in the service of humanity.

Political leaders, academicians, doctors, engineers and religious personalities from all over the world, who had assembled at Espanola to pay tributes to Yogi Harbhajan Singh, described him as a “multi-faceted personality”, a “pioneer of Kundalini yoga”, “an accomplished spiritualist” and “harbinger of world peace”.

Among those present were Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities; the Governor of New Mexico, Mr Bill Richardson; Congressman Tim Odall; a former Secretary of the SGPC, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta; Maa Bhagwati of Miami; and former World Bank functionary Shamsher Singh, besides Mr Ganga Singh Dhillon, Dr Kehar Singh, Mr Amarjit Singh Marwaha, Dr Rajwant Singh and several other members of the Sikh diaspora of North America.

Mr Richardson announced that October 23 would be observed every year as Yogi Harbhajan Singh Memorial Day in the state of New Mexico.

Messages of condolence from the US President, Mr George Bush, the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr Kofi Annan, the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Paul Martin, The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Andhra Pradesh Governor, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, and India’s Ambassador to the USA, Mr R. Sen, were also read out at the bhog ceremony.


President takes cognizance of complaint against
rights panel

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24
The President of India has taken cognizance of a complaint of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) regarding the “improper working” of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC).

In a communication to the general secretary of the LHRI, Mr Arvind Thakur, the President’s Secretariat informed that the complaint had been sent to the Union Home Secretary for “appropriate action.”

The LHRI alleged that the PSHRC had not been working as per the provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Under the rules, the PSHRC was obliged to study the treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation.

Levelling serious allegations against the commission, Mr Thakur alleged that there was no transparency in its working giving rise to suspicion and the NGOs were being given a raw deal by it.

Moreover, it was also obliged to undertake and promote research in the field of human rights and spread human rights literacy among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through the publications, the media and seminars. The commission was also to encourage the efforts of the NGOs and institutions working in the field of human rights.

The representation had argued that if the commission did not work according to the Act, the very purpose of its constitution would be defeated. For the protection of the human rights, there was need to be a true human being by ignoring own positions and posts.

Seeking the President’s personal intervention, the representation had advocated that the judicial members of commission, who were usually retired Judges of the high courts, should be trained in the field of human rights. Similarly, the members from bureaucracy should have a good record in public service, it was added.


Bibi Jagir Kaur lashes out at Mann
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
Bibi Jagir Kaur, SGPC President, today lashed out at Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (A), for holding demonstrations against her.

She alleged that the people discarded the SAD (A) during the last parliamentary elections as also in the SGPC general elections. Hence, out of utter frustration, they were resorting to demonstrations at the behest of the Congress.

Digging the past of Mr Mann, she said, “Mr Mann’s maternal grandfather Aroor Singh bestowed ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) upon General Dyer in the Golden Temple after the Jallianwala massacre.” She further alleged, “Mr Mann, who cleared his IPS examinations, got his ‘medical fitness certificate’ which he had failed at the instance of Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister. He is now repaying his debt to the Gandhi family and the Congress by holding demonstrations against her.”

The SGPC president was addressing a gathering at Ghunas village in observance of the death anniversary of Sant Attar Singh Ghunas.

Earlier the SGPC President announced that construction work of proposed world Sikh university at Fatehgarh Sahib would be undertaken shortly. The foundation stone for it would be laid to mark the tercentenary of martyrdom of four sons and mother of Guru Gobind Singh, scheduled from December 21 to 26. About 100 acres of land was being acquired for it, she added.

She said the SGPC proposed to establish five schools after the five martyrs of the last guru’s family.


Mayawati anti-Dalit, anti-poor: Nahar
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 24
National President of Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) Devi Dass Nahar today told a meeting of workers of the Phagwara Assembly here that BSP President Ms Mayawati was anti-Dalit and anti-poor. The corrupt leadership of the BSP would be exposed under a door-to-door drive.

The senior party leader, Mr Sanjiv Atwal, issued a press note in which measures to strengthen the organisation were also discussed.

Mr Nahar claimed that Dalits were tilting towards the BSP(A) due to Ms Mayawati’s inefficient ways of working. Party’s seven-point pro-people programme had been getting a good response. He demanded the implementation of the Mandal Commission report, end of contract system and the implementation of official promises made to Dalits.

Mr Nahar accused the SAD and the SGPC of discriminating against Dalits. He said the SAD did not do anything for martyr Baba Jiwan Singh during Badal regime even though Babaji had done much for Punjabis, especially Sikhs. It could not even declare holiday on the martyrdom day of Baba Jiwan Singh nor could it do anything for the completion of Gurdwara in his memory at Anandpur Sahib, he rued.

Mr Nahar said the BSP (A) meetings will be held at Rajasansi, Sultanpur Lodhi, Ajnala, Batala, Tarn Taran, Kartarpur, Chandigarh, Jalandar, Jandiala Guru, Khalchian, Amritsar, Aiwenkalan, Nakodar, Patiala, Sangrur between October 30 and November 21.

Senior party leaders Mr Tulsi Ram Khosla, Mr Sanjiv Atwal, Mr Jaspal Pandwa, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Gulzari Uchapind, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Raman Khosla also addressed the meeting.


‘Pesticides hamper child development’
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 24
Children in Bathinda have slower physical and mental development than their counterparts in Ropar, thanks to the excessive usage of pesticides. Children in cotton-growing areas have shown slow development, says a study conducted by Green Peas along with Kheti Virasat, an organisation working towards conservation of ecology, water and soil.

Ms Kavitha Kuruganty, principal investigator for the study that was completed earlier this year, said seemingly normal children had been badly affected due to chronic exposure to pesticides.

Ms Kuruganty, a researcher at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, who was here in the city recently, spoke to The Tribune about the Arrested Development Study.

The study was conducted in six states, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, across the country.

In Punjab, three villages — Mahinangal, Jajjal and Bangi Nihal Singh — were selected and comparisons made with four villages in Ropar district.

Various physical and psychological tests on children in control areas and in areas where pesticide use is excessive were conducted.

“The differences were wide. In mental ability test, for instance, more than twice the number of children were able to take the tests successfully in control areas (Ropar) compared to children in Bathinda,” she said.

While in memory test, 52.2 per cent from less exposed areas performed successfully, in the cotton-growing belt, this percentage was only 28.2.

It was noticed that various ailments like asthma, skin allergies, stomach infection, greying of hair and headaches were more common in case of children from Bathinda.

The study also found from family history that in Bathinda region, incidence of cancer, asthma, hypertension, kidney disorder, arthritis and nervous disorder was greater than that in Ropar.

“Cases of retarded children, genetic abnormalities and childless couples were shocking in number, while no such incidence was found in the control area,” Kavitha revealed, adding, “the worst is that the only corrective measure that can be taken is limited usage of pesticide to prevent any further harm”.


3 in race for market committee chief’s post
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, October 24
As the Punjab Congress high command has invited applications for the post of chairman, Pathankot Market Committee, the race between the various factions of the Congress has hotted up.

Though all the factions of the Congress claim unity, among the front-runners are Mr Vijay Partap Puri, younger brother of Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Housing and Development Minister, Mr Rakesh Kumar Pammi, former president of the City Congress Committee, and Mr Surjeet Singh Sheeta, an aspirant belonging to the non-Jat Sikh minority community and said to be a religious leader.

Sources revealed that the District Congress Committee is divided in two groups.

Though Punjab high command sources are silent over the names of the aspirants, sources revealed that the trio had applied for the post.

The name of Mr Vijay was reportedly recommended by his elder brother, Mr R.S. Puri and is supported by a good number of panches and sarpanches of Sujanpur block.

Mr Rakesh Pammi is said to be a close associate of PPCC general secretary Sham Behal, who is said to be the right hand of Ms Bhinder.

According to information, the high command has in consulation with both the factions of the Gurdaspur District Congress, chalked out a plan to give representation to all the factions of the Congress.

Mr Surjeet Singh Sheeta, a Congress leader of the area, claims close proximity to AICC general secretary Ambika Soni. Being representative of the non-Jat Sikh minority community, he claims to be loyal to the Congress throughout his life and totally dependent on Bhai Balwinder Singh Rangila, and head of a noted kirtani jatha.

Sources in the Punjab high command said that the selection for the post of chairman would be purely on merit.

Meanwhile, all the aspirants along with their supporters have rushed to their respective political bosses to support them in the coming screening process.


Ghulam Ali to sing Gurbani
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 24
History of sorts would be created in the world of music when legendry ghazal singer of Pakistan, Ghulam Ali, and hazoori raagi, Bhai Nirmal Singh, would cut a joint album of shabad kirtan to mark the golden jubilee celebrations of singing of the former.

This would be the first-ever joint album of the 'ustad-shagirad' (teacher-disciple) duo even as Bhai Nirmal Singh considers Ghulam Ali his teacher in the field of music. No other hazoori raagi has ever sung Gurbani with the ghazal maestro so far.

Talking to TNS here today, Ghulam Ali said golden jubilee of his singing was being celebrated in Pakistan and other countries by holding grand functions. He said though he had produced more than 200 CDs, yet joint cassette with his 'disciple' would be a unique experiment in the field of classic music.

Lauding the contribution of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, the ghazal maestro said he would pay him a tribute by producing a CD of his songs which were never sung by any singer, as part of year-long celebrations of his singing.


Pak troupe stages ‘Patay Khan’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
‘Patay Khan’ a Pakistan’s Punjabi satire directed towards the ruling class, was staged at the local DAV College sports grounds last night.

A 46-member Pakistani cultural troupe, here for the ‘Saanjh’ festival being organised by Punarjyot and Rafi Peer Theatre Group, Lahore, staged the first play in the eight-day festival.

Set in the middle ages when kings and feudal lords used to rule India, the opera unfolds the story of common people being manipulated by the rulers. Directed by Usmaan Peerzada, it depicted a rebellion against the king’s injustice by the residents of a tiny village.

Written by Imran Peerzada, it was presented in a traditional style of narrating folk tales. Though the play received lukewarm response, traditional dances in colourful attires by the cast in the opening and at the conclusion of the play proved to be saving grace of the performance.


Audience sways to Pak artistes’ dhol
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
Performance on ‘dhol’ by Goonga Sayin Dholiya and Mithu Sayin Dholia from Punjab, Pakistan last evening at the Ram Bagh gardens, the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was a rare treat for Punjabis here.

The dhol played by the two mesmerised the crowd who gave them a standing ovation.

The Multan folk dance was another highlight on the second day of the eight day ‘Saanjh Amritsar-Lahore Festival’, jointly organised by Amritsar based Punarjyot and Lahore based Rafi Peer Group.

Goonga Sayin, was the cynosure of all eyes, he was accompanied by Mithu Sayin, together they captivated the audience.

Mithu talking to the Tribune said dhol held a pride of place in Pakistan just as in India. Its importance could be gauged from the fact that no festival was complete without it. It was also an inalienable part of ‘dargahs’.

He said dhol originated from the dargah of Shahbaj Kalendar Jhule Lal at Ladkana district of Sindh, (Pakistan). Subsequently, dhols became an integral part of Punjabi culture.

Mostly they play dhol with Sufi dancers, who had long hair and wore tunics.

Belonging to a family of dholias, Mithu learnt dhol from his father.

He had performed in many countries, but he would always remember his memorable experience in India.

Dancers of Multan Folk Dance Group performed before the impressive gathering.

Mohammad Ashraf, head of the group, said the dance developed was in imitation of real dance of horses and camels, which was still practiced in Multan.

Baba Anwar (70) was the oldest member in the twelve-members group. The other members were Ijar Ali, Mohammad Iqbal, Manjur Hussain, Mohammad Yaar, Allah Ditta, Mohammad Sultan, Rafique, Akhtar Abbas, Mohammad Zahid Iqbal and Allah Ditta.


Society wants youth in Pak jail freed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
The International Bhai Mardana Yadgari Kirtan Darbar Society here today appealed to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and members of the National Assembly of Pakistan to arrange the early release of 22 Indian youths languishing in Central Jail, Mach, in Balochistan.

According to reports they were caught by the Pakistani authorities for being pushed into their territory by Indian agents who had duped them for jobs in European countries. The Pakistani Government had sentenced them to Jail for entering the country without valid documents.

The president of society, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, in a press release said that he had received a number of letter from the youths hailing from Punjab about inhuman conditions in jails and wished to be sent home at the earliest.

Releasing copies of the letters received from Tilak Raj and Rahul, he said the boys had expressed their desire that in case they were not got released soon they may not survive the ordeal and the harsh jail environment.


‘Chup de Jangal Vich...’ released
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 24
Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, today released a book “Chup de Jangal Vich Guachi Hook” comprising poems written in Punjabi by Pritpal Singh Gill, an NRI from Canada. The writer has penned poems on almost every topic including love, motherland and social evils.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Harbans Lal, said poets receive a lot of respect. Through their poems they caution people against various social evils. Appreciating the efforts of Pritpal Singh Gill, he said NRI Punjabis accord great respect and love to their motherland and Punjabi culture.

He appealed to the NRIs to invest in Punjab, so that more avenues of employment could be created. He said the government had initiated various proposals and concessions for those NRIs, who wanted to set up industries in Punjab. He assured them of government co-operation in this regard.

Mr Pritpal Singh Gill, who is also Secretary of the Kendria Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Canada, in his address said he wanted the book to be released in India.

Terming, Dr Harbans Lal, as a man of masses, he said he had come all the way from Canada to get the book released by him. He said many NRI Punjabis wanted to settle in the state and set up industrial units but non co-operation from the government and harassment by officers forced them to rethink.

Mr Gurpartap Singh, Assistant Advocate General, Mr Inderpal Singh Dhillon, Mr Sandeep Verma also addressed the gathering.


‘Operation Sadbhavna’ flagged off
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 24
The essence of ‘Operation Sadbhavna’, a programme of welfare and awareness, undertaken by the Indian Army was reinforced by the Dah Division.

“Vaadi se gulshan tak” an educational tour for ten days to Baijnath, Dharmsala, Kangra, Shimla and Chandigarh for 30 school children of high school, Gugarot, and Government Middle School, Sialin Naushera tehsil, of border district of Rajouri was flagged out on Saturday from the Army area here.

The tour provided the student with an opportunity to reach beyond the isolation of their own habitat. The spirit behind the tour was to make the children awareness with India’s diverse cultural heritage of which they formed an important part.

During the tour, the students will also visit the Military School Chail, where they will be exposed to the systematic and graduated process of grooming young boys to become strong and disciplined citizens of the country. They will also have an opportunity to experience the diverse fabric of demographic structure.

The tour was flagged off by Major General Mandatha Singh, YSM, officiating General Officer Commanding, and the White Knight Corps based at Nagrota.


Declare Ravi Das Mandir historical place:
‘dharam sansad’

Our Correspondent

Phagwara October 24
A ‘dharam sansad’ held during the ongoing three-day Manavwadi Mahanpurshan da Mela at Shiromani Guru Ravi Das Mandir on GT Road, near Chak Hakim village, adopted four resolutions demanding declaration of the mandir as a historical place and a grant of Rs 25 crore for it. Mela convener S.L. Virdi said today that it was also demanded that the hurdles in the way of ongoing construction work at Bhagwan Balmik Tirath at Amrisar should be removed and a grant of Rs 25 crore released for it.

The third resolution pertains to the removal of encroachments by landlords on the land of Budhist place at Sanghol village, and handing it over to the All-India Bhikhu Mahan Sangh. Attempts to dissociate the name of Dr B.R. Ambedkar from Technical University, Jalandhar should be given up, says the last resolution.

The sansad announced to launch a “Bahujan azadi andolan” said Dr Virdi, who would command the drive.

The sansad has demanded that a white paper be issued about the reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the past 50 years. A separate ministry be created for addressing the issues of the Dalit, poor the deprived, added the sansad.

Dr Paramjit Singh Jaj and Ratan Singh, both from GNDU, read out papers while Dr Naval Viyogi, Dr Parveenpal Singh, Prof G.C. Kaul, Dr Harnek Singh Kaler, Dr Avtar Singh and Ms Banso Devi took part in discussion.

The couples who had married intercaste were feted. In a kavi darbar, Ulfat Bajwa, Biba Kulwant and Arif Gobindpuri regaled the audience.


Aggarsain jayanti celebrated
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 24
The Aggarwal Sabha Sirhind today celebrated Aggarsain jayanti here today by organising an impressive cultural function. Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary was the chief guest, while Mr Pardeep Goyal, Income Tax Officer Sirhind inaugurated the function.

In his address DrLal appreciated the efforts of the Aggarwal community in the development of the area as well as of the country. He claimed the community had always served the downtrodden and the needy. He urged members to wage a war against social evils.

He also urged them to help the poor students and to arrange mass marriages of poor girls.

He announced a grant of Rs 1 Lakh for Aggarwal Bhavan and for Aggarsain Chowk near Octroi Post No.4.

Mr Ajay Modi, president of the Sabha highlighted various achievements of the society as well as the projects initiated by Sabha. He said the sabha had plan to help in the marriage of the needy and poor girls.

School children presented an impressive cultural programme and Mr. Harish Jain released a directory of the Aggarwal Sabha.


Aggarsain’s anniversary celebrated
Our Correspondent

Batala, October 24
Maharaja Aggarsain's birth anniversary was celebrated today at Aggarwal Bhavan, Community Hall, Khajuri Gate, here. Numerous members of Aggawral community from all over the state attended the function. Mr Ram Kumar Aggarwal, president, Aggarwal Sabha, welcomed the chief guest, Mr Pardeep Mittal, president, All-India Aggarwal Sabha, and other dignitaries who were present on the occasion.

Mahashay Gokul Chand, a veteran social worker and religious figure of North India by whose endeavour about 10 educational institutions are functioning in the town, inaugurated the function. Mr Amrit Lal, state president of the sabha, Mr Surinder Kumar, vice-president, and Mr Anjan Bansal, general secretary, were also present on the occasion.


Train engine derails
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 24
The engine of the 1-JP train bound for Jogindernagar derailed near the Kali Mata Mandir level crossing here this evening.

According to eyewitnesses, the train left the Pathankot railway station at 5.40 p.m. and the engine derailed at 5.50 p.m. However, no damage was reported.

Mr Satya Pal, driver of the train, said the fuel container of the engine, which is beneath the lower part of the engine, got stuck in pebbles lying in both sides of the track, causing its derailment. According to Railways officials, all passengers were safe.


Rail commuters write to Laloo
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
The Daily Railway Commuters Association has urged Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav with regard to daily passengers’ woes.

The president of the union, Mr Jagdish Singh, pointed out that the railway ticket checkers were harassing them for occupying vacant seats in the sleeper class by fleecing them and without even issuing them any receipts.

He requested the minister to include the supplementary ticket in their monthly passes so that they could travel in vacant coaches.

The association suggested that more coaches should be added to the DMU shuttle train since there was a heavy rush on the main route.

It appealed to the minister to take immediate steps to redress their grievances.


Eyesight of 2 boys damaged in accidents
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 24
Rohit (7), damaged his left eye while playing with fire cracker on the Dusehra festival celebration which left the family in distress.

Dr Rohit Om Prakash attending on him told The Tribune that Rohit had suffered extensive damage to his left eye and he may not be able to see properly for the rest of his life. He would also not be fit for jobs that required normal eyesight.

In another incident, Vaibhav Sharma (9), of Batala, suffered a serious wound in the left eye when an arrow hit him yesterday. Dr Rohit who examined the eye said that Vaibhav’s injury would take a long time to recover and pointed out that he too would not be able to do a job which required a good eyesight.

Dr Rohit felt the need to educate the public about playing with the fire crackers and arrows as these could cause irretrievable damage.


Lions Club’s Netar-2004 on October 31
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 24
Lions Club International District 3121F, will organise, Netar-2004, sight first seminar at Lions Bhawan, Chandigarh, on October 31.

Lion Preet Kanwal Singh, a member of the Public Relations sub committee, said that a meeting was held to discuss the arrangements in connection with the seminar.

The meeting was held under the presidentship of the Committee Chairman Lion R.K. Rana. Sub committees were also formed for the success of the function.

According to Lion Rana, the seminar would focus on eye operation camps, adoption of cheapest and most advance techniques for operating the needy.

He said that past International Director Lion K.M. Goyal will be the chief guest and inaugurate the seminar.

Area Coordinator Sight First Multiple District 321 Lion Jag Joyti Jain, Multiple Sight First Chairman Lion K.C. Dhawan and Technical Adviser Lion Dr A.K. Chodhary would be the main speakers.


SHO sent to Police Lines
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, October 24
The Station House Officer (SHO) posted at Sujanpur police station, near here, has been sent to the Police Lines, Gurdaspur, for dereliction of duty.

An order to this effect has been issued by the SSP, Gurdaspur, Mr Narinder Bhargava.

It is learnt that the SHO was sent to the Police Lines following inspection by the SSP when the SSP found serious security lapses on the part of the SHO.


Former panchayat member electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 24
Raj Kumar, a former member of the Ghallu panchayat, was electrocuted at his Indira Nagari residence here this morning.

According to information, when he was trying to catch a parrot at the rooftop of the house, his hand touched high voltage main transmission line. He was rushed to Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.

This was sixth such incident as the main line nearly touched many houses on the Mahashya Kripa Ram Marg in the locality.


Kharar power, water supply hit

Kharar, October 24
Several areas in the town remained without power today following a major file at the 132 KV grid substation at Khanpur village yesterday.

Power was supplied for about two hours in the afternoon but the supply was disrupted again. Water supply was also hit. The areas affected included Janta Nagar, Mehak Nagar, Didar Nagar, Swaraj Nagar and Green Avenue.

Machinery and equipment worth lakhs of rupees were damaged in the fire. OC


Custodial death alleged, FIR sought
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 24
A meeting of the action committee, formed in connection with the death of Amrik Singh, son of Mr Kartar Singh of Punnawal village, allegedly on the premises of Sadar police station, Dhuri, on October 8, held here today.

The committee president, Comrade Sohan Singh Sunam, demanded registration of a murder case against all those who were responsible for the death of Amrik Singh. It also demanded arrest of all accused in the case.

Earlier, in a representation submitted to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Darshan Singh, brother of the deceased, alleged that Amrik Singh died when he was beaten up in the presence of SHO by Kulwant Singh, a resident of Punnawal village, who wanted to take possession of land from him.

The committee also demanded a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family of the deceased, besides a government job for a member of his family. The committee has also asked the government to ensure the security of the family.


One killed in assault
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 24
Parvinder Singh of Sataur succumbed to his injuries at the local Civil Hospital last night. He, along with Sandip Singh and Rajinderpal Singh, of the same village were seriously wounded when Harpreet Singh, alias Happy, Gurtinder Singh, Surjit Singh, Kulwant Singh, alias Kanta, all of Bassi Kason, and Amrik Singh, alias Laddi, of Tohlian village assaulted them with swords, sickles, etc. at the bus stand of Bagpur Sataur last evening.

According to Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Rajinderpal Singh, son of Rattan Singh, along with his wife, was purchasing vegetables at the Bhangi Choe bridge here while going to their village last evening. Harpreet Singh, alias Happy, and Gurtinder Singh, alias Soni, teased his wife due to which they exchanged hot words. Later at 7 pm when Parvinder Singh, along with Sandip Singh and Rajinderpal Singh, went to the bus stand of Bagpur Sataur for purchasing sweets, all the aforesaid accused assaulted them and a clash between them took place there.

The SSP said that a case under Sections 302, 324, 323, 148, 149, IPC, had been registered against the accused persons. He said that Amrik Singh and Kulwant Singh, who was also injured during the assault and was admitted to the local Civil Hospital, had been arrested.


One held on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 24
The police today claimed to have solved the murder case of a Nepalese servant whose body was found in the fields at Chapparchiri village, near here, on Friday.

The Ropar SSP, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, said Babblu Yadav had been arrested on the charge of murdering Surat Lal. The suspect had been employed by Mr Rupinder Singh, who had taken land on contract for farm work, for paddy sowing. Surat Lal worked as a servant of Rupinder Singh.

Surat Lal had accused Babblu of stealing his watch. Babblu suspected that Surat Lal was preventing their employer from paying former’s dues. The suspect, who was carrying a spade, came to Surat Lal and asked him to accompany him on the pretext of helping him extricate a tractor that had got stuck.

He later killed Surat Lal. Babblu was traced from a doctor’s prescription slip that had fallen from his pocket while a struggle was going on between the two.

The SSP said the police was also probing the possibility of some other persons’ involvement in the crime. The case has been given to the CIA for further investigation.


25 grenades recovered
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 24
Panic gripped the Jalandhar Cantonment area as 25 rusted but live HE-36 grenades were found in the basement of an old house in the Lal Kurti Bazaar area of the cantonment today.

The grenades were seized by the police.

The HE-36 grenades were detected when some labourer hit a pitcher, placed about 3 feet deep. The detection led to panic in the area, but, residents were soon told by the police that the grandees were in the dilapidated state.

The house, according to Mr Gurpreet Bhullar, SSP, belonged to one Satish Jain, but, was rented out to the family of late Dharam Paul, which had been residing there for past about 50 years.


Body of girl found
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 24
The body of a 22-year-old unidentified girl was found in a gunny bag near the Amritsar bypass here this evening.

The incident, according to the police, was suspected to be an outcome of illicit relationship. However, no injury mark was found on the body during medical examination, which revealed that before being murdered the girl could have been subjected to sexual assault.

According to Mr Gurpreet Bhullar, SSP, the girl had perhaps died due to strangulation. “At the first instance this seems to be a case of illicit relationships. We are suspecting that some truck driver might be involved in the crime,” said Mr Bhullar.


NCC cadets write touching letter to Musharraf
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: If pronouncements made by hundreds of NCC cadets, who came to witness the retreat drill at the Indo-Pakistan Hussainiwala Joint Check Post here are any indication, then the day is not far when the governments of the two belligerent nations will be compelled to bury their hostilities in the interest of the people of both countries.

These NCC cadets drawn from various schools of Mandi Dabwali, who came all the way here to pay homage at the National Martyrs Memorial, handed over a touching and sentimental letter addressed to the President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, to Pakistani Rangers after the retreat ceremony, exhorting him to further take the peace process to new heights.

In the letter signed by over 100 students, they appealed to President Musharraf to contribute his entire mite for peaceful solutions to all problems, and instruct the misguided and disgruntled elements to stop abetting cross-border terrorism.

The NCC cadets led by 2nd Lieut Shashi Kant Sharma also lit candles at the samadhis of Shahid Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev situated here on the banks of the Sutlej, and resolved to eschew hatred and contribute towards peace, harmony and amity between the two nations.

The school students then gave voice to slogans like ‘‘India-Pakistan dosti zindabad’’ in chorus ,which rented an emotional touch to the entire atmosphere.

One of the cadets, Lalit Jain, said the youths of both India and Pakistan wanted peace and friendship to prevail amidst the two nations. He said it was high time that instead of bothering about misinformation generated through textbooks, media coverage and political rhetoric, the youths of the two nations should come forward and herald a new era of peace and harmony in their mutual interest.

My Satya Pal Baghi, freedom fighter, who also accompanied the school children to the memorial, said the barriers of cultivated animosity should give way to humane ways of tolerance, mutual respect and appreciation.

He said children, who were the future of tomorrow, had a great role to play in bringing together the two hostile nations on the path of friendship and progress.

Another cadet, Rohit, said he was aware of the hiccups in propagating views that did no match the official stand of the country but was prepared for it.

‘‘Religious fanatics do exist in both countries, but they are in minority.We need to wipe out the hatred so widely spread in our society’’, said Surubhi, a student of Class IX.

These cadets also plan to spread the message of peaceful coexistence and tolerance through street plays and educate the people on the issue.

‘‘There is no difference between India and Pakistan. Both countries share a common heritage and our social concerns, problems are so similar, they why this enmity’’, said Nisha, another student of Class IX.

Mr Baghi said left to these youthful messiahs of peace, the future of the country was in safe hands.

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 |