P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Amarinder shows empty pockets to Punjab staff
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had nothing to give to the employees at a state-level function organised by the Punjab State Services Federation, headed by new Congress inductee Charanjit Singh Walia.

He said the government employees would have to wait till an improvement in the financial position before their major demands, including assured promotions and the establishment of a fifth pay commission, could be met.

The Chief Minister though said his government was committed to accepting the demands even if they were met at a later stage. He said he would discuss the demands listed by the federation with its president, Mr Charanjit Walia. Though Mr Walia, who joined the Congress before the recent Lok Sabha elections and is at present Chairman of the Khadi Board, clapped enthusiastically even at this assurance, the employees who had gathered from all over the state went home disappointed.

Earlier, Mr Walia read out a long list of demands, including the setting up of a pay commission, assured promotions on the 4-9-14-year pattern, increasing the retirement age from 58 to 60, increasing the medical allowance of employees and pensioners from Rs 250 to Rs 500 and the filling of vacant posts.

Though Finance Minister Lal Singh in his speech held out some hope on the establishment of a pay commission, Pradesh Congress president H. S. Hanspal in his speech urged the employees to bring accountability into their functioning.

The Chief Minister was in an Akali-bashing mood and reserved some special comments for Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, whom he referred to as “Chhota Badal” two or three times in his speech. He said the government would disprove his claims that nothing had come out of the corruption allegations against him and his father. He said “things would come out” and the “ill gotten” wealth would be returned to the people.

The Chief Minister was candid on the corruption situation at present. “There is not a single department in the state from which corruption has been eradicated completely,” he said, adding he would not rest till an ordinary person was able to get his work done without doling out any bribe.

Later, while talking to newspersons, he said the ouster of Justice (retd) O. P. Verma as Governor had nothing to do with the passing of the Bill terminating the water treaties.

He said his government was inviting foreign capital to create jobs for the rural youth. “Foreign investment amounting to Rs 6,380 crore has been made in the state till now and Rs 10,000 crore is expected to be invested by the year-end to create 4 lakh jobs,” he said. Punjab Mandi Board Chairman Sant Ram Singla and Mayor Vishnu Sharma were also present on the occasion.


No reason to celebrate Punjab Day: Amarinder
Plans fizzle out in Bhattal’s absence
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
The absence of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has had its effect on the Punjab Day celebrations with the State Languages Department officials here claiming that the absence of “Madam”, who is out of the country, was mainly responsible for not holding the celebrations today.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was in the city today to preside over a function of the Punjab State Services Federation. When asked about the absence of any celebrations on the part of the Punjab Government, he retorted: “What is there to celebrate?” He said Punjab had become nearly a quarter of its original size with the formation of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh after the reorganisation of the state in 1966.

The State Languages Department, which has its headquarters here, usually starts off its Punjabi Week programmes on Punjab Day. This could not be done this time due to “administrative reasons”, says Additional Director M. R. Banga, senior-most official in the department in the absence of a regular Director.

When contacted on the issue, he claimed that the department had funds but could not hold the celebrations due to administrative reasons, besides the fact that Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was out of the country.

Meanwhile, sources in the department said the department had been unable to do the necessary planning to conduct the celebrations in the absence of a regular Director. Besides, they said there was confusion as to who should be called for the inaugural function of a Punjabi week.

Also, the sources said though the department had allocated Rs 3 lakh for the Punjabi week celebrations, the treasury had refused to release the amount. They said this was because the department had not conformed to certain directives, which had also resulted in the salaries of the employees being delayed this month.

Not only Punjabi week celebrations, even the Shiromani awards have been under a cloud. The awards have not been conferred since the past four years. The government needs to give out Rs 50 or Rs 52 lakh to eminent writers every year as prize money for these awards.

Mr Banga said the department had sent a recommendation for the formation of an advisory board for selecting the recipients of these awards more than two months ago. He said once a notification was passed in this regard, the process of selecting the awardees would begin.


Police arrests 450 farmers; stir tomorrow
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Resolving to deal firmly with the farmers’ agitation, the Punjab Police has arrested nearly 450 farmers in various parts of the state. Besides, police teams continue to conduct raids in villages to arrest more farmer leaders and activists.

Various farmers’ organisations have given a call to stop rail traffic on November 3 at certain places as a part of their ‘rail roko’ agitation launched to seek the waiving of loans, better price of cotton and clearance of sugarcane dues.

When contacted, the Punjab Police chief, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, told The Tribune this evening that the government was determined to deal firmly with this agitation. He said that farmers would not be allowed to disturb the movement of trains. “Arrests of farmers had been made keeping in view the call given by farmers to stop trains”, he added. The police would maintain law and order in the areas where farmers planned to stop trains.

When asked about the number of arrests made, Mr Siddiqui said that till this morning the number of farmers arrested was 307.

However, giving the details regarding the arrest of farmers, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan and Mr Satnam Singh Pannu, all leaders of various farmer organisations, which have given a joint call for the agitation, said as many as 440 farmers had been arrested and sent to nine different jails in the state. Among them 35 are women, they added.

With the arrest of 204 farmers, Sangrur district leads in the state. It is followed by Amritsar district where about 130 farmers have been arrested, according to Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan. Other districts where farmers have been arrested are Mansa, Muktsar, Ferozepore, Moga and Faridkot.

Farmer leaders claim that though the police has been making arrests, farmers in various villages continue to burn the effigies of the Congress Government in Punjab and also holding rallies against the state government without any fear.

“The Punjab Government had failed to check the exploitation of farmers. Cotton prices have gone down drastically in the past few days. Traders have joined hands with industrialists to bring down the prices of cotton. The government has become a silent spectator to all that is happening with farmers. And now it was using its police machinery to gag farmers”, said Mr Ugrahan. “The state government was supporting commission agents and traders”, he added.

The agitation started from Chattewala village in Bathinda district where farmers had gathered in big numbers on October 26 to stop the auction of the land of a farmer for recovering the loan that was given to him by a commission agent. Farmers had forced the government authorities concerned to postpone the auction. After that the call for rail roko agitation was given by farmer organisations.


Rail roko stir: BKU leaders arrested
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 1
About 450 workers, including a couple of top leaders, of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) have been arrested, while some others have gone underground in the wake of a “rail roko” agitation on Wednesday, state general secretary of the union, Sukhdev Singh Kokri told The Tribune here today.

Mr Kokri said that the main issue of the agitation was a decline in the cotton prices that had hit hard a large number of farmers in the Malwa region. He said there would not be any major disruption in rail traffic during their two-hour agitation, but the state government was arresting their workers under the same pretext just to suppress the voice of thousands of farmers.

He said that the massive protest by farmers at Chathewala, village had set the alarm bells ringing for the state government and the union would not allow any arhtiya to auction farmers’ land. He said that during their stir at Chathewal the government made all efforts to demoralise the union activists by “terrorising” farmers and “harassing” women.

He alleged that government machinery was misused in favour of arhtiyas at Chathewla.

Mr Kokri said that the state government’s effigies were today burnt in 70 villages.

He said that Baghapurana union, chief Sukdhev Singh Bambiha, block general secretary Ratan Singh Lande, Chhinder Singh Badhanikalan and Jagjeet Singh Lohara had been arrested.

He said that farmers were geared up to take part in the Wednesday’s agitation that would be a wake-up call for the state government.

Meanwhile, in Kotkapura block of Faridkot, the police conducted raids at about 40 places and arrested 18 farmer leaders, including the BKU district chief (Sidhu group) Major Singh, Sukhbir Singh, Balbir Singh, Hari Singh and Harcharan Singh. They were later produced in the court of the SDM who sent them in police custody till November 4.

In Jaito, union leaders, including Hari Singh Chaina, Teja Singh Chaina, Balwinder Singh Galeawali, Gurbaksh Singh, Mukthiar Singh, Chhinderpal Singh, Jagsir Singh, and Satpal Singh have been arrested.


Opening of Hussainiwala border sought
Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: In a memorandum sent to both Indian and Pakistani Governments, residents of this border town have once again appealed for opening the Hussainiwala-Kasur border for trade and transit in the next round of bilateral talks to be held between the two nations next month.

The Hussainiwala border was closed in the aftermath of 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.

Earlier, the former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s bus journey to Lahore and Agra Summit had raised some hopes but subsequent Kargil conflict and attack on Parliament dashed their hopes. Now once again the resumption of the dialogue between the two governments has kindled a new hope amidst the residents here, who feel that with the changed scenario between the two nations, their long pending demand to open this border may be fulfilled soon.

Mr Satya Pal Baghi, chairman of the local chapter of the Indo-Pakistan Dosti Manch, said that a delegation of representatives from the border area led by Kuldip Nayyar would soon meet the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in order to exhort them to include this vital issue in the agenda of talks being held with Pakistan.

Mr Baghi asserted that the Hussainiwala border should get priority over the proposed opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route because it would open the floodgates of prosperity for more than 50 lakh people belonging to the Malwa belt.

Mr Sarwan Singh of Bareke village said that this border should be opened soon so that the farmers could benefit from the export of fruits and vegetables and other agriculture produce to Pakistan, the Middle East and other Gulf countries through Hussainiwala route.

Major Harminder Singh Bhullar, OSD to CM, Punjab, while airing his concern about the poor fiscal condition of the border residents said that the opening of the Hussainiwala border would remove the hardships of the border residents to a great extent.

The local traders’ lobby, which has been persistently demanding opening of the Hussainiwala border for trade since its closure has become active again and their demand is gaining momentum with every passing day. This route was the lifeline of traders dealing in dry fruits, clothes, vegetables and fruits but after its closure in 1971, the booming trade disappeared.

Some of the traders shifted their base from Ferozepore to other places. Now, with the resumption of dialogue between the two neighbours, the traders assume the good old days might return.

Senior Congress leader Jagmeet Brar while talking to The Tribune said that he had already discussed this vital issue concerning Punjab with the Prime Minister. He said he would meet the Prime Minister again along with a delegation of the border residents and submit another memorandum in this connection.

Mr Ashwani Mehta, president, Local Beopar Mandal, said if the Hussainiwala border was opened for trade and transit, transporters, PCO holders, hotels and restaurants, porters and general merchants would be benefited a lot.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), said that he had raised this issue umpteen times in Parliament. While talking to The Tribune, he said he along with Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, a former Union Minister, would meet the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister in this regard.


Malta tragedy mission meets PM
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 1
A five-member delegation of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission — Mr Ranjit Singh, former MP, Mr Gurmail Singh (Ropar), Mr Sukhdev Singh (Bathinda), and Mr Chuhar Singh (Kapurthala) and Mr Balwant Singh Khera, its chairman — met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at his residence yesterday.

The delegation presented him a memorandum and a report regarding the tragedy in which 290 South-Asian youths, including 170 Indians (most of them from Punjab), were drowned in the icy Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy on December, 25, 1996.

Briefing the Prime Minister on the tragedy, Mr Khera said it was perpetrated by human traffickers of Greece, Malta and Italy. He alleged that neither the Union nor the Punjab Government had taken the matter seriously and no inquiry had been constituted in this regard.

As such, the Malta Boat Tragedy Mission, an NGO, had come forward to probe this incident. Members of the mission had visited Malta, Greece and Italy to collect facts and figures regarding what transpired on that unfortunate Christmas Day.

Mr Khera also told Dr Manmohan Singh that criminal cases against the alleged culprits based in India had been filed in Chandigarh and Delhi and were being followed up by the mission.

While a condolence resolution was passed in Parliament of Malta, Ms Tana De Juletta, an MP of Italy, had got a memorandum regarding the incident signed from 100 MPs of the country and presented to her Prime Minister. La-Republica, a newspaper of Rome, had inquired into the incident and prepared a film on the drowned ship, 110 m under water.

The delegation demanded that the remains of the young men drowned be removed out from the sea and delivered to the families for last rites.

It also urged the Prime Minister to constitute a high-level inquiry into the accident, provide a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to next of kin of each victim, take action against culprits, publish an official list of the deceased and issue death certificates to their families.

The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the mission and promised to ask Mr Natwar Singh, Union Foreign Minister, and Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, to settle the issues related to this tragedy.


Two PhD degrees for one thesis
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 1
Guru Nanak Dev University seems to have set a new precedent by ‘awarding’ two degrees on one thesis.

While Mr Preet Mohinder Singh Bedi, a lecturer in pharmaceutical sciences had already been awarded degree in the Department of Applied Chemistry during the previous convocation, he was ‘given’ another degree in the Pharmacy Department in alleged violation of university rules.

Interestingly, the Pharmacy Department was bifurcated into two departments, Pharmacy and Applied Chemistry, some time back. While Mr Bedi continued to be a lecturer in the parent department, his supervisor, Prof M.P. Mahajan was shifted to the newly created Department of Applied Chemistry. However, Mr Bedi continued his PhD under Dr Mahajan.

Though Mr Bedi was a lecturer in the Pharmacy Department, yet he got the degree in the Department of Applied Chemistry as per university rules. Now, eyebrows were raised when Mr Bedi got another degree in the Pharmacy Department.

However, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, denied that the rules were bent to accommodate Mr Bedi. He also denied that two degrees were awarded. Dr Singh said it was technically one thesis on which only one degree was awarded by making necessary changes. ‘This was change of the department on the record and nothing else’, he said .

On the other hand, Prof M.P. Singh Isher, Dean, Applied Sciences and Dr Gajinder Singh, Head, Pharmacy Department, said they were not consulted before the awarding of the ‘second degree’.

Dr Gajinder Singh said he should have been involved, being the Head of the Department, right from the submission of the thesis, if the degree was to be awarded in his department.

Mr Bedi left for the UK for post doctoral fellowship. Dr Gajinder Singh, however, feigned ignorance that Mr Bedi had gone to the UK. He said Mr Bedi had not been relieved by him so far.

Dr Gajinder Singh had earlier thwarted the attempt of the university for awarding PhD in his department on the plea that all the formalities were completed in the other department.


Food processing must for reviving farm income
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Food statistics

Countrywide, share of the food items is just 13 per cent out of the total exports. A substantial quantity of the total food items of 750 million tonnes perishes due to “inadequate post-harvest technologies and infrastructure’’.

In money terms, annually, the loss is estimated at Rs 76,000 crore. Of this, vegetables and fruits account for a loss of nearly Rs 30,000 crore. The post-harvest losses are 10 per cent for grains, pulses, oil seeds and over 50 per cent for fruits, vegetables, dairy and poultry products. Corresponding figures for Punjab are equally shocking.

Chandigarh, November 1
Punjab can ill-afford wanton wastage of food items, grains or pulses, fruits and vegetables. But this is happening due to the absence of adequate post-harvest technology and lack of processing industry.

If countrywide of the total food production, processing consumes just 2 per cent of the total produce, the percentage for Punjab is no better despite at least three corporations dealing with agriculture — Agro-industries, Agro-Food Grain and agricultural export. Besides just half-a-dozen multinational units, there are estimated to be around 200 processing units registered under the Food Product Order.

If the government has failed to build up a strong agro-processing and marketing industry, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is equally guilty of not producing suitable table or processing varieties of either vegetables and fruits. Also, the three corporations, too, have let down Punjab by not doing enough to educate and motivate farmers towards processing. They continued to sell farm produce raw.

For the neglect of agro-processing, blame must be apportioned to all the three agencies involved with farms and farmers. If the latter cannot be expected to come up with quality farm products that qualify for prescribed WTO standards, farmers could certainly be enabled to undertake some “primary processing” ventures. Total lack of institutional initiative and indifference of the government, Co-operatives, extension services of the Department of Agriculture and farm varsity cannot be ignored or excused.

For sustainable agriculture and reviving farm incomes and economies, food processing is imperative. PAU’s Head of Processing and Food Engineering, Dr B S Ghuman, says that India does not rank anywhere in the world list of food processing and exporting countries, despite being one of the largest producers of agricultural commodities. “We now have a tie-up with some farmers’ co-operatives in Moga for marketing ‘atta’ rather than wheat, as part of value-addition initiative’’.

Dr Ghuman says that much can still be done only if co-operatives and some of the corporations like Milkfed and Markfed were involved and farmers helped to undertake primary processing of food items. For instance, instead of selling wheat, quality ‘atta’ (flour) would mean value addition to farmer’s income.

There is Centre for Post-harvest Technology at PAU. However, it is understaffed and under financed. Hence, it has not made much contribution to agro-processing. The centre is engaged in doing research on cutting down post-harvest wastage in handling produce from the field to market to storage. Absence of cold chain infrastructure ‘kills’ perishable food items.

The center’s Professor of Food Technology (Vegetables and Fruits) Dr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, says, ‘Food processing is still at a nascent stage in the state”.

Dr Sandhu contends that Punjab produced around 30 lakh tonnes of fruits and vegetables annually. Of that barely 2 per cent was processed at present, while post-harvest wastage was immense.


East Africa too served as base for Ghadar movement
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR: Contrary to the common perception that it was South Africa which was one of the important bases of Indian freedom fighters, East Africa had also made tremendous contribution towards the Indian freedom struggle and had also served as a vital platform for Ghadri freedom fighters to enable them to wage a war against the British.

The Ghadar movement had started spreading in East Africa around 1914, the year when a unit of the Indian National Congress was established there and its first convention was held in Nairobi. Most of the Indians in South Africa were skilled Punjabi artisans, whose excellence in their own fields was even recognised by Winston Churchill, who had said,” The hard work put in by Punjabi artisans has established foundation of prosperity of this country.”

While Bishan Singh, an East Africa-based freedom fighter faced a case of mutiny, according to Comrade Naunihal Singh, an office-bearer of the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Committee here, a large number of “inqalabis” had started opposing the British Empire in Kenya, where they not only vowed to damage government property, but also blew up a piece of railway link between Kenya and Tonganika, used for transportation of ration to the British soldiers. Five Indian freedom fighters-Ram Chand, Keshwa Lal, M.N. Sawle, Bishan Singh and Lal Chand were arrested for this and they were made to face a Military Court Martial on December 3, 1915. The trial was conducted barely for two hours and during this freedom fighters were not allowed to engage a counsel.

On December 4, 1915, Ghadarites were again produced in a court and four of them, except Ram Chand, were awarded death sentence.

On the very next day, Ghadarites were taken to Mumbasa where Bishan Singh was hanged to death in the open. The death sentence of Keshaw Lal and M.N. Sawle was converted into life term and Lal Chand’s sentence was reduced to a 10 years in jail. All were subsequently released from jail in 1919. Interestingly, Bishan Singh originally hailed from Basti Guzan locality of Jalandhar.

This event, according to an article written by Charanji Lal Kangniwal and published in a souvenir published by the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall Committee on the occasion of “Mela Ghadri Babbian Da”, which has began at the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Hall here, slowed down the pace of the Ghadar movement in East Africa for the time being. However, from 1930 onwards, East Africa once again became a centre for Ghadar freedom fighters, a group of which advocated armed fight against the British Empire. Interestingly, this group consisted of Giani Gian Singh, Bishan Singh Davinder Singh, Vasudeva Singh, Ujjagar Singh Boparai and Gopal Singh Chandan.

Indian newspapers “Desh Sewak” and “Kirpal Bahadur” also used to reach out to readers in Nairobi. They also made valuable contribution in freedom movement of East Africa.


Ghadri mela concludes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 1
“Aje na aya raj ve loka, Ghadri Bhagat Sarabhian da, Jago jago deve hoka, mela Ghadri Babean Da”.

With the enchanting of these lines penned down by playwright Amolak Singh, as part of flag song in his play staged on the last day of the “Ghadri Babean Da Mela”, the five-day festival organised in memory of the Ghadar martyrs came to an end. The play directed by Hansa Singh of the Navchintan Kala Manch Beas and his son, Kranti Pal, had as many as 165 characters playing their role in Giddha, jago, bhangra and folklore staged as part of the play.

The flag-hoisting ceremony of the “Ghadri Babean Da Mela” was performed by Dr Prem Singh, a trustee of the Desh Bhagat Yaadgar Committee, here today. Addressing the gathering, he said that there was the need to revive activities to protect human rights.

The president of the committee, Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga, said that the aim of the mela was to make the youngsters aware of the freedom struggle led by the great heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

Several plays were held for the whole day.


Governors should be neutral in functioning: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
SAD president Parkash Singh Badal today said that the Congress was back to its old game of using the office of Governor to serve its vested political interests.

Urging for reviewing the mode of appointment of Governors to make them neutral in functioning, Mr Badal said that the Congress-led Union Government was debasing and politicising the dignity of the constitutional office of Governor through wanton transfers and removals. This was typical of the ways of the Congress which had systematically tried to damage all respectable democratic institutions in the country.

Urging the Prime Minister to clarify his stand on this issue, Mr Badal asked: “Does he( PM) look at the Governors as custodians of the Constitution or as mouthpieces of his party?” Recalling that the NDA had set a healthy precedent by not disturbing any of the Governors appointed by the previous government, Mr Badal said that the idea behind the NDA initiative was to undo the damage that had been done to “our respected constitutional offices.


Action against 1984 riots guilty demanded
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 1
Demanding strict action against those behind the "massacre" of Sikhs in the 1984 riots, the Akali Dal (Ravi Inder) activists blocked traffic at Joginder Singh Chowk here today.

Earlier, the Akali Dal workers organised a protest rally, disrupting traffic on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore and Moga-Amritsar highways.

Addressing the protesters, the district chief of the party, Buta Singh, said it was ignominious that the perpetrators of the riots were still roaming freely in a democratic country like India. He said the entire Sikh community would not rest until the guilty were punished.

Paying tributes to those killed in the riots, the party leaders said it was unfortunate that even after 20 years of the incident, the government didn't seem committed to give justice to the victims of the tragedy due to which the minorities were feeling "insecure" in the country. The leaders demanded immediate compensation to the kin of those killed in 1984 riots. 


More cases of jaundice in Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
With the detection of nearly 10 more cases of jaundice in different parts of Sangrur town in the past two days, it seems the disease has been spreading in a number of localities as per the reports collected from the health authorities.

However, as per unofficial reports, the number of jaundice-affected patients in different parts of the town has crossed 30 so far.

Talking to The Tribune this evening, Dr Anup Kad, SMO, Civil Hospital, said seven cases of jaundice were detected in different OPDs of the Civil Hospital on Saturday.

He said these patients were from Prem Basti, Adarsh Mohalla, Patiala Gate, Magazine Street and Atwal Colony (near Government College). He said as per the doctors all patients had a mild jaundice so they had been sent to their homes after giving treatment.

Dr Kad held the contaminated drinking water responsible for jaundice cases. He said at various places, the water pipes were leaking.

Dr K.C. Goyal, District Health Officer (DHO), Sangrur, said that they had examined 23 suspected or recovering cases of jaundice on Saturday in the town.

However, jaundice tests were conducted on 13 of them, of which only two were found suffering from mild jaundice.

Sources said mild jaundice had also been reported from Mata Rani Mohalla area, near Adarsh Mohalla, and Nabha Gate Phirni road.


Signature campaign by Akal Purkh Ki Fauj
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 1
The Akal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF) launched a signature campaign here yesterday to appeal for justice for victims of the 1984 anti- Sikh riots and early indictment of the perpetrators.

Mr Jaswinder Singh, convener of the APKF, said on this day 20 years ago, riots were let loose on Sikhs. He said they had collected more than 1000 signatures. All these signatures on a letter would be sent to the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Chairman of National Minorities Commission and the Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation, he added.

He alleged that it was mockery of democracy that a parliamentarian involved in the crime was blatantly threatening Mr Harinderpal Singh Pulka, a lawyer of the Supreme Court, who is taking up the case of 1984 riot victims through a private news channel.

He said a photo exhibition displaying poignant scenes of the riots was also organised.


Mela Phagware Da organised
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 1
Punjabi singers Sarabjit Cheema, Satwinder Bugga and Pammi Bai stole the show at the first “Mela Phagware Da” organised jointly by a monthly Punjabi magazine and the Punjabi Kala and Sahit Kendar last night.

Satwinder Bugga kept the audience spellbound with his soulful, sad songs in an atmosphere which otherwise was overloaded with dancing song beats, bhangra, “bolis” and “dholis”.

Pammi Bai and Sarabjit Cheema enthralled the audience with “bolis” (folk couplets) and made people dance to their tune. Cheema also sang a number from his maiden Punjabi film featuring Indo-Pak actors, “Pind Di Kudi”.

Surinder Shinda, Gurmej Mehli, Yudhvir Manak, Amrita Virk, Sukhwinder Panchhi, Nachhattar Gill, Amrinder Gill, and Mangi Mahal also regaled the audience. Comedians Ghulley Shah, Deepak Raja, and Devinder Babloo sent the audience into bursts of laughter.

The first Buta Ram Dharamshot Memorial award was given to Nagar Council president and NGO stalwart Malkiat Singh Ragbotra. It carried Rs 5,100, a trophy, a shawl and a citation.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Home, Law and PWD, Punjab, Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamshot, was the chief guest while the Punjab Agro Foods Chairman, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, presided over the mela.


Lok Chetna Lehar’s appeal to CRPF authorities
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 1
Mrs Gurmit Kaur, a resident of Gallab village near Ajnala is helpless. Her son, Manjit Singh, laid down his life while serving the Central Reserve Police Force at Guwahati. Her daughter-in-law, Mrs Rajwant Kaur, latter availed all the benefits and remarried leaving behind two minor daughters.

Principal Bachitar Singh Tarsika, president, Krantikari Tarksheel Lok Chetna Lehar, in a press note issued here yesterday appear to the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and authorities of 6th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force to help the daughters of the martyred CRPF jawan.

Mr Bichitar Singh said Jaskarandeep Kaur (11) and Manjot Kaur (9), the two minor daughters of the late Manjit Singh were living with Mr Gurmit Kaur, while Mrs Rajwant Kaur is now married to Mr Harbhajan Singh of Akalgarh Dhapian village here. 


17 pilgrims injured as vehicle overturns
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 1
Seventeen pilgrims, including 12 women, were injured near Chak Hakim village on the GT Road last night after their Tata-407 vehicle overturned while trying to save a scooterist.

The pilgrims were returning after paying obeisance at Dera Jaimal Singh, Beas, to Ludhiana when the incident occurred.

Those injured included Jagdish Singh, driver of the Tata-407, two boys, Sonu and Minku, and Mira, Sanjay, Parkash Kaur, Mohinder Kaur, Sheela Rani, Manjit Kaur, Sunita Ghai, Ramkali, Krishna, Paramjit Kaur, Rani, Pritam Kaur, Gurmit Kaur, and Shanti. They were later sent to Ludhiana.


150 farmers remanded in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
As many as 150 farmers, including 32 women, protesting in the villages of Sunam subdivision against the rounding up of leaders of farmers in the state in view of “Rail roko” agitation were arrested by the police under Sections 107/151 yesterday. All the arrested farmers and women were produced in the court of Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Ravinder Singh, at Sunam who sent them in judicial custody till November 4. The arrested persons have been lodged in the Sangrur District Jail. Mr Ravinder Singh, SDM, Sunam, said the police had arrested all these farmers and women on the charge of breach of peace as they had been “instigating” other farmers to participate in the proposed “rail roko” agitation.

Talking to TNS, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union-Ekta (Ugrahan), said about 172 farmers, including 35 women, had been arrested from Jakhepal village today, when they had been holding a protest demonstration to mobilise farmers there in connection with the “rail roko” programme on November 3. He said the demonstrators, led by him, had been going to Cheema village from Ugrahan village to burn an effigy of the government there in protest against the distress sale of cotton. Mr Ugrahan said, the police arrested the demonstrators.


Court orders Punjab to reinstate Class IV employee
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 1
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice J.S. Narang has allowed the petition of a former class IV official of the Department of Agriculture, Punjab.

The petitioner, Mr Vijay Kumar, had approached the court seeking directions to the government to take him back in service from where he was abruptly dismissed after over two years of service.

The services of the petitioner, who had joined as peon on July 6, 1997, were abruptly terminated on July 23, 1999, without any reason being assigned. The Labour Court, on his suit, ordered the petitioner's reinstatement with all pecuniary and service benefits.

However, the government moved the High Court against the order of the Labour Court. But, the High Court as well as the Supreme Court upheld the order of the Labour Court and directed that the petitioner be reinstated.

But, the government failed to do so, forcing the petitioner to again approach the High Court.

Referring to the recent Address of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, in which he talked of the need for speedy justice, the Bench noted that the State of Punjab continuously refused to implement the court's order.

The Bench also noted that another worker, B.M. Sukhla, who had also been similarly dismissed along with the petitioner, had already died in 2003, leaving behind his young widow.


Cowshed mishap report submitted to DC
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 1
The probe report pertaining to the cowshed roof collapse at Sanghera which took place on August 3 this year following heavy downpour has revealed that the roof and walls collapsed due to pressure of fodder stored there.

The report was submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, by Mr Zora Singh Thind, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Barnala.

As many as 82 cows and one buffalo calf had died while 33 cows had sustained injuries in this mishap.

Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the causes of the mishap.

The SDM informed this reporter that while getting the cowshed constructed at Sanghera about a decade ago, the saint concerned did not take into account various technical factors.

Mr Thind said with a view to check recurrence of such mishaps in future, he had asked Mr Paramjit Singh Tuli, Executive Engineer, PWD (B&R) Barnala to make an on-the-spot study of cowshed in Barnala region.


Woman duped by travel agent
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 1
Manjit Kaur, a 31-year-old widow from Nawanshahr, wanted to go to the UK. Instead she was made to spend two months in virtual starvation in Ethiopia, where she was arrested by the immigration authorities and almost deported to Pakistan.

From Ethiopia, she was taken to Sudan where she spent another week in a hotel living only on onions and bread.

Finally on October 11, Manjit managed to return to India, having had the most harrowing experience of her life that had cost her family Rs 11.5 lakh.

The travel agent, Manmohan Singh, who allegedly pocketed this amount promising to take her to the UK is a Mohali resident. The hunt is on to nab this resident of Sector 69 here who allegedly also duped a resident of Hoshiarpur of Rs 7.5 lakh having made a similar promise to him.

I wanted to go to the UK to my relatives. Mr brother contacted Manmohan Singh through Rashpal Singh, a travel agent in Phagwara in December last year. Manmohan Singh told us that it would cost Rs 8.5 lakh. We paid Rs 3.8 lakh to him and also gave him my passport.

The rest of the amount was to be paid after I reached the UK. However, for over a month Manmohan kept me and my brother in Delhi, related Manjit.

The two stayed in hotels and later shifted to the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara. Paul Singh, a Delhi based travel agent, was contacted by Manmohan who arranged a visa to Ethiopia for Manjit telling her that a visa to the UK would be given to her in Ethiopia. Manmohan Singh and Manjit flew to Ethiopia.

‘‘I stayed there for two months. Manmohan made me stay with an Indian travel agent there by the name of Raj. When I objected, he told me that arrangements were being made for me to be taken to UK. He also made my brother pay Rs 2.5 lakh to his wife in Mohali, she said.

There was no food to eat there. I lived in virtual starvation. I had a paralysis attack and was hospitalised. Manmohan had already left for India and my brother was called with lakhs of rupees to attend to me.

But this was not all. Raj, the Indian travel agent, there allegedly handed over a fake Indian passport to Manjit that had a UK visa to travel.

She was arrested at the Ethiopia airport and taken to the Indian High Commission.

The Indian High Commission declared that the passport she was using was fake and she was in fact a Pakistani. Proceedings began to deport Manjit to Pakistan. But I fled and came back to Raj.

My brother was asked for more money and it was decided that we will be taken to the UK via Sudan. Raj and I reached Sudan and he left me in a hotel there.

I had no money and survived on onions and bread. I had to beg the authorities there to get me on a fight back to India, she said.

Manjit arrived at the Mumbai airport on October 11 from Sudan. On her return to Nawanshahr, the Mohali police was contacted and a case registered against Manmohan Singh, his father in law Amrik Singh, his wife, Jasbir Kaur, Rashpal Singh of Phagwara and Paul Singh of New Delhi.

Efforts are on to nab the accused.

(The name of the victim has been changed on her request)


NRI, Sarpanch booked for cheating
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 1
Two persons, an NRI and a village Sarpanch, have been booked for cheating in verification of the address at the time of the former's marriage with a girl hailing from Muktsar district.

Surprisingly, nobody from the couple’s family complained about the same and the reported political rivalry seems to have endangered the marriage of 59-year-old Charanjit Singh of Canada with 32-year-old Kulwinder Kaur of Bhagsar village in Muktsar district.

Sources said Jaswinder Singh, Binder Singh and others, in a complaint to the SSP, alleged that Charanjit basically hails from Bading village in Ropar district, but he married Kulwinder describing himself as a resident of Khosa Kotla in connivance with his cousin who was staying in the village. They got married on October 12 last year with the consent of their families.

On December 4, the couple gave an application in the tehsil office, Moga, for getting their marriage registered. In the application, Sarpanch of Khosa Kotla Jagraj Singh wrongly verified that Charanjit was a resident of his village.

Taking serious notice of the matter, the police has registered a case against Charanjit Singh and Jagraj Singh under Sections 420, 471, 465, 466, 468, and 120-B of the IPC.


Lovers commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, November 1
Two lovers died here today after they consumed some poisonous substance under a suicide pact. The deceased, Veerpal Kaur and Sansar Singh, were the residents of Kothehawana village.

Sources said that Veerpal and Sansar were having a love affair since long, but their families were against their marriage. The girl’s family had even got her engaged with a Muktsar-based boy and she was to get married on November 4.

Irked over their parents’ disapproval to their relationship, Veerpal consumed celphos tablets at her home today, while Sansar committed suicide in nearby fields.


International gang of smugglers busted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 1
Acting on a tip-off, the district police today busted a 16-member international gang of smugglers and arrested its seven members.

Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, in a press release issued here said that the accused used to smuggle heroin from Pakistan side to India. Those arrested are Sukhwant Singh, Kewal Singh, Major Singh, Sarabjit Singh and Baldev Singh, all residents of Daoke village, near Indo-Pak border, Dharam Singh and Sarup Singh of Bharobhal village.

He said the accused admitted that they along with Mahru, Shamsher Singh and Lakhinder Singh, alias Lakha, all residents of Naushehra Dhalan village, Nirvail Singh, Dildar Singh and Amolak Singh, residents of Bhume, Naresh Kumar, a resident of Vallah, Gurdip Singh of Tarn Taran, Sahib Singh of Kasel and Gurmit Singh of Bharobhal, had formed an international gang which used to smuggle heroin from Pakistani side.

The SSP said Rafiq, a Pakistani smuggler, used to throw narcotics and fake currency into Indian side which were then picked up by the culprits and smuggled to Lakhbir Singh, Naresh Kumar and Dilraj Singh. Earlier they used to smuggle the contraband to Suba Singh, who was in jail now.


Transporter shot at by unidentified gunmen
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 1
Two unidentified persons allegedly shot at and injured Mr Satpal, owner of an AC bus company, while he was out on his morning walk in front of his office in Mota Singh Nagar Market here today.

Meanwhile, the police investigations in the crime have revealed that some alleged shady financial deals could be the factor behind the crime. Mr Satpal (60) was having his morning walk with his friends in the morning when two unidentified persons fired shot which pierced his abdomen.

Interestingly, while the accused managed to flee, nobody, including Mr Satpal's walk companions, could hear any shots. As Mr Satpal fell on the ground, they mistook it for some other ailment. They realised about the attack only when they saw Mr Satpal bleeding and he was rushed to the local Tagore Hospital where his condition was stated to be stable.

“No eyewitness has come forward to narrate the incident so far. Anyhow, we are conducting investigations. The first phase of investigation has led us to believe that it could be some financial deals which could be the reason behind the attack,” said Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP.


Farmer shot over trivial issue
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 1
A farmer was shot dead over a trivial matter at Burj Dunna village here today.

According to sources, Resham Singh and his son, Harjinder Singh, were working in their field this morning. While irrigating their crop, water started flowing into the field of Mahinder Singh, who later had an altercation with the father-son duo over the matter.

Mahinder rushed back to his home and Resham Singh resumed his work. After some time Resham’s second son, Baljinder Singh, came to the field to deliver him lunch. When he was heading towards Mahinder’s field he saw him coming with a rifle in his hands. Mahinder soon fired a couple of shots at him, killing him on the spot.


Budget released, but salary eludes teachers
Rajbir Sekhon

Bathinda, November 1
First it was the Punjab Government which forced a section of its teachers to face humiliation for months together by denying their monthly salaries.

Now it is the turn of the district education authorities, which have been denying them salaries despite the fact that the state government had released adequate budget for the payment on August 20.

Documents in the possession of this correspondent revealed that while the education department had released the annual budget for the plan category posts in August, the District Education Officer (Secondary) did not allot the budget to the schools so far. The teachers, mostly school lecturers, have been waiting for their salaries since June.

Sources said the authorities concerned did not release the salary on the pretext that the budget had not been released by the Director Public Instructions (Secondary). The budgetary grant of Rs 97 lakh granted to this district by the DPI on August 20 was released by the District Education Officer (DEO) on October 26, after a delay of more than two months.

Information revealed that though copies of letters of budgetary grant were sent to all DEOs, District Treasury Officers claimed that they had not received any such letter.

“A number of reminders sent to the local DEO proved futile”, said one of the affected lectures on condition of anonymity.

He said the DEO (S) had stated in September that the salaries would be released in a day or two, but these had not been released.

Meanwhile, the DEO (S), Ms Gurwinder Pal Kaur Dhillon, could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Aided-school teachers’ ultimatum to government
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 1
The Punjab Government aided school teachers and other employees' union, while serving an ultimatum on the government for accepting the genuine demands of retired and serving teachers by November 15, threatened to launch an agitation after the deadline if nothing was done in that connection.

Criticising the government, Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president of the union, said that the government had stopped giving post-retirement benefits, including pension and gratuity, to those teachers who had retired after May 31, 2004, despite the fact that about Rs 100 crore was lying in the pension cell of the state government.

He said that it was very shameful that the Congress government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had refused to merge 50 per cent dearness allowance (DA) with the basic pay of the pensioners.

He said that the government had merged 50 per cent of DA of serving government employees in their basic salary but the same was not been merged with the basic pay of teachers and other employees serving in the government aided schools.

Mr Chahal pointed out that the state government had also been victimising the serving and retired teachers and other employees of the government and government aided schools. He added that both categories of employees were now fed up with the apathetic attitude of the state government.


YPS juniors dazzle with scintillating show
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
Junior wings of Yadvindra Public School put up a show which surprised their seniors and peers. The students gave scintillating performance after another at the annual function of the junior wing which saw the students singing, playing traditional and modern musical instruments and enacting skits on the environment and other issues.

The YPS prep and Class one and two kids presented small skits regarding the environment. The skits were beautifully choregraphed.

In another skit by the class four students the theme was all fun and frolic stressing on misplaced fears. It showed how three elephants become mortally afraid of a mouse who was coming to their door with threats of ripping away their houses.

The finale of the function was the “naga” dance which saw the girls of class five donning traditional ‘naga’ costumes and dancing with bamboo poles. There were songs in different items including songs “chiiti chitti bang bang’’ were also well received. These were coordinated by Mrs Shumali Devgan and Mr Subhasish Ghosh.

Later the Junior Wing Principal, Ms Brenda Ghosh, while speaking on the occasion, appealed to parents to adopt the “Catch -30” method as far as the children were concerned. “Catch - 30” she said meant 30 minutes of quality time with the children which she said could go a long way in shaping their personalities and making them more confident to take life head on.

The confidence of the students also came in for praise from Major General Pradeep Khanna, the chief guest on the occasion. Maj Gen Khanna said music was the elixir of life and that the school was doing well to give a chance to students to discover their hidden talents. He said music, drama and other co curricular activities were essential to shape the personality of young mind and said parents should also encourage their children on this account. The local MP Preneet Kaur and YPS School Principal R.P. Devgan were also present on the occasion.


School kids collect Rs 1.56 lakh for SOS village
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
Students of classes IV to X of the local General Gurnam Singh Public School have collected a sum of Rs 1,56,628 through voluntary donations recently for the SOS Children's Villages of India, Rajpura. The SOS CVI is a non-profit, non-government and voluntary organisation, with branches all over India. It is committed to the cause of taking care of orphaned or homeless children. The Rajpura branch of the SOS village is the only branch in Punjab.

Giving this information here today, Ms Raveen Pandey, Principal of the school, said Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairman of the school's Governing Body, had handed over the draft of the amount to the Assistant Director of SOS CVI, Mr Jagir Dass, at a simple ceremony, held on the premises of the school complex on Saturday.

Mr Jagir Dass, while speaking on the occasion said it was the highest amount, collected by an educational institution this year in Sangrur and Patiala districts. A special function would be organised in the school by the organisation soon to recognise the services rendered by the students in collecting such a big amount, he added. 


3 colleges sans regular principals
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 1
Three colleges in Barnala — Guru Gobind Singh College, SD College and Lal Bahadur Shastri Arya Mahila College — have been working without regular principals for the past many months.

The managing committees of the colleges have been delaying the appointments of regular principals on one pretext or the other.

College teachers and educationists believe that such a situation is best suited to the managing committees as officiating principals are by and large pliable and soft in running the college administration.

Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera, and SD College have been working without regular principals for the past 18 months and 12 months, respectively.

At Lal Bahadur Shastri Arya Mahila College, the post has been lying vacant for the past four months.


Women Youth Fest marks Punjab Day
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 1
The four-day Zonal Youth Festival for Women of ‘A-Zone’, organised by Guru Nanak Dev University today, marked the Punjab Day.

The festival was inaugurated by the Punjab Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, in the Dasmesh Auditorium of the university.

More than 900 student-artistes drawn from various affiliated colleges of Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts are participating in these competitions of music, theatre, literary and fine art items. Today, the competitions in gidha, mimicry, histrionics, one act play, flower arrangement, rangoli and phulkari were held.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Verka lauded the role of Punjabis, especially the youth, for their exemplary courage and bravery. He said Punjabis are second to none. Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. S.P. Singh, speaking on the occasion, said the university was committed to preserve the literary and cultural heritage of Punjab and for the development of the Punjabi language. He said such festivals give good exposure to the cultural heritage and the talent of the students.


BBSBEC wins overall Youth Festival Trophy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 1
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering, College (BBSBEC) here won overall trophy of Zonal Youth Festival of Punjab Technical University held at Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology Ludhiana.

The college won this trophy for the third year in a row. He said the college won 10 gold medals and five silver medals to win the trophy. Over 15 management and engineering colleges affiliated to PTU participated in this festival. The BBSBEC won the trophy with 104 points while the runner-up got 52 points.

Prof Gurpal Singh, Head Computer Engineering Department and Sports Coordinator of the college said that the college got first position in folk dances. Theater the college won first position. In One-act play and mimicry and in skit and mime got second position.

Prabhdeep Singh a student of Computer Science department of the college was judged the best actor of the festival. Navtej Singh of the Computer Science Department of the college won four gold medals and one silver medal.

He stood first in ghazal, group song Indian, Classical instrumental Solo, Vocal Solo and got second position.

In Fine Arts Competition the College got first position in clay modelling, in debate the college got first position.


Training course for rural youth at Thapar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
State Bank of Patiala Chief General Manager P.K. Panda today inaugurated a training programme started at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET) for training youth in machine and sheet metal work.

Under the programme 30 rural youth will be imparted skill training and upon the completion of the course, they will be given financial support to start their own small units.

The course is being imparted in collaboration with the Progressive Youth Forum of Ghagha. The programmes were initiated under the Rural Entrepreneurship Development Programme aimed at creating employment opportunities in the rural areas. The bank had sanctioned loans worth Rs 140 crore during the past three months to the industry, trade and services sector.


PRSU’s 3-day meet ends
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
The three-day second state-level conference of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) concluded here last evening with the passage of its constitution and declaration for building the nation through neo-democratic revolution under the revolutionary political ideology. In this conference, about 80 delegates of the PRSU from Sangrur, Mansa, Patiala, Gurdaspur, Ferozepore and Moga districts took part.

Election to the state committee of the PRSU was also held during the conference.

A seven-member state committee was elected unanimously. Mr Sanjiv Mintoo, Mr Sukhwinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh were elected state president, state secretary and state treasurer, respectively of the PRSU.

The conference also adopted some resolutions, including support to farmers’ agitations and demanded initiation of legal proceedings against all those who opened fire on the agitating farmers in Rajasthan recently, and support to ongoing revolutionary struggle in Nepal under the leadership of the Maowadi party.


Dairy products from other states hit Punjab
Our Correspondent

Lalru, November 1
The Punjab dairy sector is facing a serious threat due to unbridled sale of dairy products transported from other states. The dairy products from other states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra have not only causing huge revenue losses to the state exchequer but also brought many dairy product manufacturing industrial unit on the verge of closure.

Being cheaper in rates and substandard in quality, the dairy products like adulterated ghee, butter, milk and curd are being sold unchecked which had hit the Punjab dairy sector adversely, claimed Mr M.M. Verma, president of the Milk Plant Association, Punjab.

Mr Verma revealed that the state dairy industry had been facing serious financial crisis and the consequences could be more drastic in near future if the import of these products was not curbed at this stage.

The sale of the “adulterated” dairy products have picked up in the state. The adulterated dairy products are also posing a health hazards to scores of consumers.

He also raised objections against the functioning of the Punjab Health Department and the Dairy Development Board, Punjab, which had become ‘’mute spectators’’.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Verma said a delegation of the Milk Plant Association, Punjab, would meet the Punjab Chief Minister soon and appeal to him to save the dairy sector. Those who were present on the occasion, include Mr S.K. Sharma, General Manager (retd) Milkfed, Punjab, Mr S.P.S. Sahani and Mr Ravi Mehta.

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