P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sikh leadership complicated turban issue: Dr Rai
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 7
Dr Jasdev Singh Rai, International Adviser to Jathedar Akal Takht, has given firsthand information about the series of meetings he had with the Government of France to resolve the turban issue.

He alleged that divergent views of Sikh leadership, submitted to France especially from America and India, had complicated this issue.

Dr Rai alleged that “continuing interventions from India, stating that ‘turban is an unremovable religious item and must be accommodated’ made the entire exercise difficult.

The Sikhs in the USA and some of their representatives in France continued to deal with the press without any prior preparations or joint position. Their position was that the Sikhs would die for the turban and that it was holy.”

Interestingly, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, executive member of the SGPC and a delegation of Sikhs from France, had accused Dr Rai of complicating the issue.

Giving chronology of his meetings with representatives of the French Government, Dr Rai claimed that the matter had almost been resolved due to his efforts, but the decision of certain Sikhs from France to move court complicated the problems.

Dr Rai alleged that some Sikh groups, especially in the USA, imagined the worst and started a campaign prematurely. They threatened to take France to the European Court, he said.

Dr Rai further claimed that he had immediately arranged a meeting with the Religious Affairs Head, Mr Roudaut, at the French Foreign Ministry through the Ambassador for Human Rights. Ambassador Keller was also present at the meeting.

“I reminded them of para 67 achieved at the ‘World Conference against Racism’ in Durban that accepted that the situation of the Sikhs was unique”, he said.

They immediately arranged further meetings with Mr Sevaistre, Chief of Bureau, Cultural Affairs at the French Interior Ministry.

“Mr Sevaistre put the French position clearly and diplomatically,” he said.

Dr Rai said he contended that turban was not an “ostensible” sign, therefore the law did not apply to the Sikhs.

“I argued that when a member of the Christian, Islamic and Jewish faith adorn an obvious sign, they have taken a conscious decision to be religious, gone through some initiation ceremony and are announcing that fact to the world through their sign. In contrast, the vast majority of Sikhs who wear turbans have not taken ‘amrit’, the equivalent of Christian baptism. How can the turban be an ostensible sign then?”, he said.

Dr Rai claimed that his logic was accepted by the French Government. Mr Sevaistre and Mr Jouve were keen to find a solution.

He alleged that when solution was about to be found, problems started arising from the USA and India. Neither party tried to reach a consensus approach. They continued to push the simplistic principle that the turban was an important religious sign. He claimed that French pointed out the confusion to him.

Dr Rai alleged that USA Sikh groups were politicising the issue. They were not willing to listen to anyone.

On his criticism that he had not taken Sikhs from France into confidence and complicated the matter, Dr Rai claimed that he took Mr Iqbal Singh from France to the first three meetings. At the meetings, except the last one, French Sikhs had accompanied him, he said.

“We then had further meetings with Mr Jouve and finally had a meeting with the Minister for Education, Mr Luc Ferry. The meeting was attended by five representatives from different gurdwaras in France and a representative from the United Sikhs, who had failed to liaise with me before.”

Dr Rai claimed that the meeting was constructive and the minister promised to find a solution.

The French position began to change as the issue in the press continued to stress turban as an important “religious” item. This sounded like “ostensible” to the press, he said.

With the help of the ministry, the majority of students went to school. Problem remained with a mere four students.

The government had offered to put them in private schools at its expense, as long as the arrangement remained discreet. However, a group of Sikhs decided to tell the press, he said

The government had to retract this arrangement in public when the press accused it of partiality towards the Sikhs. The arrangement broke down.

The legal action taken by certain Sikhs had put a stop to the dialogue.

Dr Rai, however, denied that he had dubbed turban “cultural symbol”. “My position was to show that the law did not apply to the Sikhs, because both the intention of it and the issue of ‘ostensibility’ did not apply to the Sikhs,” he concluded.


PM urged to take up turban issue
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 7
The Sikh Nation Organisation (SNO), at a demonstration held at Chotti Baradari, here, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to take up the turban issue The protest was held against the expulsion of three Sikh students in France yesterday for wearing turbans in their schools.

Dr Manjit Singh Randhawa, president of the SNO and convenor of the Culture and Heritage Conservation Initiative, said here today that although Sikhs feel proud of Dr Manmohan Singh but he was yet to act as a true Sikh to defend the honour of Sikh turban and human rights of schoolchildren in France.

The organisation maintained that the Indian Government should not hesitate in condemning the controversial scarf ban law which violated various UN Conventions on human rights.

The SNO has decided to intensify its ongoing stir against the French law and has appealed the Sikhs to wear golden yellow turban on Divali when it would announce the second phase of the agitation on the issue.


Gurdwara poll panel stays counting of votes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
Amidst allegations of booth capturing by cops in Gurdaspur and Dhariwal constituencies, the Gurdwara Election Commission today stayed the counting of votes in these places till further orders.

The Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections, Justice Jai Singh Sekhon, also asked election observers and the Commission's Secretary to submit their reports after looking into the allegations.

In his detailed order, Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice J.S. Sekhon observed that the Commission had received "numerous complaints alleging interference by the local police" during Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) polls.

Giving details of the grievances, Justice Sekhon asserted that the complaints were accusing the police of "pressuring and harassing the voters by implicating them in security proceedings as well as in other cases".

Referring to the complaints, the Chief Commissioner asserted that the situation was worse in the Dhariwal constituency. The situation in Taran Tarn constituency was more or less peaceful.

Quoting a complaint forwarded by candidate Sucha Singh Langah, the Chief Commissioner added that booths had allegedly been captured by the police in Phandal, Kul Santokh Rai, Dula Nangal, Bhikariwala and Daulatpura villages.

Moreover, several sarpanches and other supporters had also been taken into custody by the police in an alleged attempt to frustrate the efforts of the Commission to conduct free and fair polls.

Elaborating upon the circumstances leading to the passing of stay orders, Justice Sekhon asserted that the Punjab Government had failed to respond to a letter written by them on October 8.

The authorities also ignored at least three reminders seeking deployment of paramilitary forces in these constituencies.

The Commissioner added that "the Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision, as well as the dismissal of state government's special leave petition by the Supreme Court, justified the deployment of central paramilitary forces for conducting fair, free and peaceful elections".

He added that even the Commission's recommendation for deployment of Punjab Armed Police (PAP) personnel during the polls was ignored by the state government.

The Commissioner asked Gurdaspur's Additional Deputy Commissioner "to ensure compliance of the order".

He further directed the Presiding Officer concerned to "get Commission Secretary's attestation on sealed ballot boxes before depositing them with the Returning Officer for ruling out the possibility of tampering".


Govt failed to back SGPC poll: Sekhon
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Gurdwara Election Commission’s observations in its order staying the counting of votes in two constituencies has only confirmed the allegations that the Congress governments — both at the Centre and in Punjab — provided little support to it for conducting “free and fair” poll.

In fact, the state government ignored the commission’s repeated pleas resulting in bogus voting by cops after booths were allegedly captured in several villages in the Dhariwal constituency.

The elections to three Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) constituencies were held today. The counting of votes has been stayed in two constituencies.

Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice Jai Singh Sekhon did not mince words in his stay orders. Elaborating upon the circumstances resulting in the issuance of the stay orders, the former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge candidly stated that the “Punjab Government failed to respond to their letter written on October 8” for the deployment of paramilitary forces in these constituencies.

The Judge disclosed that the authorities also ignored at least three reminders forwarded by the commission on October 21, October 29 and November 3. He added that “the Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision, as well as the dismissal of state government's special leave petition by the Supreme Court, had justified the deployment of central paramilitary forces for conducting fair, free and peaceful elections”.

The Judge claimed that the matter did not end here. On November 5, the commission recommended the deployment of Punjab Armed Police personnel in the three constituencies. But got no response . Two days later only complaints were received.

It goes without saying that the situation would have been different in the constituencies had the commission’s request for paramilitary forces been accepted by the Centre and the state. The reports, to be submitted by the election observers and the commission’s Secretary, would reveal whether the inaction was deliberate.

Incidentally, this was not for the first time that the commission was “let down” by the government. Though it had sought strict action against the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of Amritsar and Gurdaspur, the Punjab Government simply divested them of the charge to conduct the elections. The authorities merely designated Additional Deputy Commissioners (ADCs) as DCs for the purpose of conducting the elections.


Pakhoke wins SGPC poll
Tribune Reporters

Tarn Taran, November 7
The Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today established its supremacy on the religious turf, with its candidate, Mr Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, winning the crucial SGPC election with a margin or 8,607 votes in a direct contest against Mr Joginder Singh Fauji, a candidate of the Panthic Morcha.

Barring a few incidents, the election passed off peacefully in the heartland of the Majha region. Mr Pakhoke has increased the lead as the SAD candidate, Bibi Manjit Kaur Alawalpur, had won the SGPC election against the Panthic Morcha candidate, Bibi Satnam Kaur, with a margin of 2,223 votes during the general election of the Shiromani committee in July. Tarn Taran is a dual constituency, of which one is reserved for women.

According to official results, of the total valid votes, Mr Pakhoke was polled 20,841 while his rival Mr Fauji polled 12,234 votes.


International airport proposed near Ludhiana
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, November 7
The Punjab Government has proposed the establishment of the greenfield international airport at Ladowal near here. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is understood to have approved the site.

According to information available with The Tribune, the proposed site is the erstwhile Central State Seed Farm, Ladowal, with an area of more than 2800 acres. The Central State Seed Farm was transferred to the Punjab government in May 2001 after a long struggle by the state government.

The seed farm land was later divided among different organisations, including the Punjab land Development and Reclamation Corporation and Punjab Agricultural University.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, had pressed the Central Government to establish a new greenfield international airport near Ludhiana in order to give a boost to export of agricultural produce and industrial goods and also help Punjabi NRIs.

Enquires reveal that a team from the Airport Authority of India has already visited the site and approved the same. In the event the airport is restricted to 5 km, an additional 352 acres will have to be acquired but to extend it up to 6 km an additional 572 acres will have to be acquired. The total land needed for the airport is 3500 to 4000 acres.

The Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC) has been made the nodal agency to take up establishment of the greenfield international airport at Ladowal. The state government is understood to have asked the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, to ensure that no unregulated growth takes place near the proposed site.

The Airport Authority of India team which visited the site felt that the site was good for development of the airport. However, the team was of the view that an area of 6 km x 2.5 km was essential with two runways along with world class facilities. The project, however, can be started with one runway of 3500 meters.

The Cochin International Airport is the first greenfield airport in the private sector in India, planned and constructed from scratch and capable of expansion on a modular basis. The airport has been constructed in 1300 acres with facilities matching international standards and has cost Rs. 315 crore.

The land of the seed farm at Ladowal has been divided among the different organisations, including the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation (1446 acres) Punjab Agricultural University (1252 acres) Punjab Police (50 acres) besides others.

The Punjab Government tried to set up an industrial focal point in the land allocated to the Punjab Land Development and Reclamation Corporation through the PSIEC but the project could not materialise as the industry did not show much enthusiasm for the same because of high charges of development and the area being flood prone.

The Punjab Government had to transfer nearly 200 employees of the Land Development Corporation to Punjab Agricultural University as the same could not pay them their salary for months. The PAU authorities have been pressing upon the state government to provide funds worth Rs 1.5 crores as salary component for these employees every month.

The Punjab Agricultural University has taken up research on sugarcane in the area allocated to it at the seed farm besides undertaking the seed multiplication programme of various crops. The PAU also has Laboratories with a huge investment.

The Finance Department of the Punjab Government has suggested that the establishment of the greenfield international airport should be taken up in the private sector as it involves huge investment. Before taking up the construction of the airport, NOC from the Ministry of Environment, Pollution Control Board and from the Ministry of Defence is required approval from the Director-General of Civil Aviation and approval from the Director-General Civil Aviation (Inspection).

The state government has already held a meeting with heads of various departments under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary and has initiated steps for the establishment of the airport.


Has Punjab the will to accelerate decelerated growth?
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
In Punjab, downward fall of economy continues. In fact, the state is burdened with ‘’stagnant’’ economy. There does not seem to be any discernible measures on the drawing boards to reverse the deceleration of the economy and to accelerate it.

This is the crux of the emerging ‘’worrisome situation’’, as Punjab prepares its dossier on the mid-term appraisal of the implementation of the Tenth Five Year Plan, 2002-07, called by the Planning Commission in New Delhi on November 19.

Informed sources told TNS tonight that fact-sheet is being compiled on the reasons for its continuing financial resource crunch, why Punjab has lagged behind in economic growth, which has been less than 2 per cent in the first three years of the Plan, steps taken on implementation of the national common minimum programme, why utilisation of Plan money and external funding has been unsatisfactory, how can slow economic growth rate be reversed and what corrective steps should be taken to put Punjab on the fast-track etc.

Insiders say that Punjab has failed to take ‘’hard’’ economics-triggered decisions. On the other hand, a chain of ‘’soft’’ options exercised by successive political executives coupled with lackluster performance of the administrative secretaries, has caused much damage to governance. There has also been poor delivery of social and economic services like education and health, devoid of quality. The state also does not have A-class infrastructure.

And, non-implementation of known reforms, stretching from administrative (for good, transparent governance) to power sector and taxation has also failed the state. Punjab needs to give a ‘’second push’’ to agriculture and encourage public-private sector partnership to attract investments and promote industry. The absence of all these has contributed to slow growth. Punjab’s slide back has been striking, since the beginning of 90s.

A large number of reports and recommendations of various committees and commissions have continued to gather dust as Punjab simmered and stagnated. Its revenue resources have been eaten up by committed expenditure and financial health is fast deteriorating.

‘’Given the total chaos that prevails in the state, powers that be will wake up only when Punjab tumbles down in the deep gorge. Those who are trying to suggest corrective and make efforts to keep it from topping over the precipice are getting frustrated’’, remarked a bureaucrat.

Referring to the November 19 mid-term appraisal, sources said how badly placed Punjab economy was could be gauged from the fact that while the state’s economic growth as less than 2 per cent in the first three years of the 10th Plan, country’s growth was 6 per cent against the targeted 8.1 per cent.

In the remaining period of the Plan, Punjab may achieve a maximum of 4 per cent economic growth, if "hard" decisions were not taken. How could here be development unless there was large investment, public as well as government. For this to happen, tax revenues have to be high and corresponding user charges have to be levied on the social and economic services the sate provided to the people. This was not happening.

Another stumbling block in economic development was power sector. In fact, the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill today spent the whole day discussing ‘’restructuring’’ the Punjab state electricity board with the chairman, Mr Y S Ratra, the Principal Secretary Finance, Mr K R Lakahnpal and others concerned. Its burgeoning manpower, that has swelled over the past 20 years itself needs a major reform.

The meeting observed that as compared to other state electricity boards, PSEB failed to ‘’outsource’’ its activities, privatise its services and continued to arm itself to the teeth. Understandably, it has had to cope with lot of political interference, pressures of unions etc. and was caught in Catch-22 situation. Its dilemma was how to right-size its babudom.

Punjab has to wake up and take drastic corrective steps on several issues, namely, power, infrastructure, education, health, sanitation and scavenging, governance, labour laws, gender equality, reviving agriculture and resuscitating industry by providing ‘’conducive’’ investor-friendly climate, encourage services and manufacturing sectors etc. if it was to stay afloat in the comity of states.

While the mid-term review may provide an opportunity for politico-administrative introspection, the fact remains that Punjab is becoming a ‘’hopeless’’ state with financial institutions and the centre shy of giving it any money because of absence of commitment to improve its housekeeping and restructure governance.


UN job most challenging, says Kiran Bedi
Ashok Sethi

Dr Kiran Bedi being welcomed by students of Citizen Forum Vidya Mandir in Amritsar
Dr Kiran Bedi being welcomed by students of Citizen Forum Vidya Mandir in Amritsar on Sunday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, November 7
Super cop Kiran Bedi has termed her present job as the UN Police Adviser as the most challenging in the present scenario with more than 14 countries facing internal strife.

Talking to this correspondent during her visit to her hometown here, Dr Kiran Bedi said several countries were facing a war-like situation. Giving details of the grim situation in Dafur in southern Sudan where the present government was involved in ‘ethnic cleansing’, she said millions of people were being ousted in a bid to control oil and mineral resources in the region.

She said the UN had its task cut out to manage the people who had been fleeing in panic against the oppressive Sudanese regime. She said the UN aimed at providing succour to the poor and hapless people in the area. Policing in such regions was indeed a complex task, she said.

The UN police adviser said she had been touring 14 countries including Liberia, Ivory coast, Congo, Siera Leone, Cyprus, Daffur, Kosovo, East Timur, Georgia and Haiti in the Carribean Islands where the UN was supervising peace-keeping operations.

Dr Bedi said a one-hour documentary based on Bipasa meditation “You be to sky” on jail reforms and used for police training had been released in the USA and New Delhi which received good response.

The super cop from India was also invited by leading universities of the USA to deliver lecture on her experience and on Indian culture. A documentary on Dr Kiran Bedi produced and directed by an Australian film maker will soon be released worldwide.

Later, during a visit to the local Central Jail here, Dr Kiran Bedi offered to set up an educational and vocational training centre for the women inmates in the jail.

Interacting with over 100 women prisoners she announced that her India Vision Foundation would undertake a major educational and vocational programme to give meaningful training to inmates who had been languishing in jail for several years.

The Superintendent of jail, Capt. S. P. Singh, accepted the offer and said that a few inmates who were also graduates would be trained as teachers while some others would help in running vocational courses like embroidery, tailoring and stitching .

Dr Bedi, while talking to newsmen, said a senior consultant from her foundation would soon visit the jail to work out modalities of the tie-up. The jail authorities would arrange stitching and embroidery machines to train the women prisoners. She hoped the centre would start functioning from December.

Earlier, the super cop visited the Citizen Forum’s Vidya Mandir being run by her husband where students of the school presented a street play on female foeticide directed by Dr Neeta Mahindra.


Number of students declining in primary schools
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The number of students in government primary schools has gone down drastically in Punjab. This phenomenon is being attributed to falling standards of education in the countryside.

There is a fall to the tune of 15.55 per cent in the number of students in the government primary schools in the rural areas. Of the total fall in numbers, 11.30 per cent is of girl students. The over-all decline in the number of students in such schools in the urban and rural areas is 10.57 per cent.

Mushroom growth of public schools in the countryside has hit the Government primary schools, where education system has almost collapsed. There is fall in the number of girl students in upper primary schools (middle level) in urban areas.

The truth regarding the falling number of students has come to light following the latest detailed report prepared by the Punjab State Council of Educational Research and Training.

The report had been submitted to the Union Government. In 1993, the total number of students in primary section in the government and aided recognised schools in rural areas was 16,62,583. And according to the latest report of the council, it has come down to 14,03,980.

The number of girl students has come down to 66,63,76 from 75,12,40. However, there is 7.81 per cent increase in the number of students in the government and aided primary schools in urban areas. Public school facilities are available only up to the primary level yet in most part of the rural areas.

“Because of the prevailing mess at the primary education level, children of poor sections of society and small farmers only now go to the government primary schools in the rural areas,” said a senior officer of the state government.

In fact, there is 0.92 overall fall in the number of students starting from Class I to Class XII stage in the rural areas. But there is 11.17 per cent increase in the urban areas. The overall increase in the number of students in the urban and rural areas is 2.57 per cent.

There is 16.80 per cent over all increase in the number of government primary, middle and secondary schools in the state. And maximum increase, 134.95 per cent, is in the category of senior secondary schools. The total number of schools at present is 19,864 and of these 17,240 are in the rural areas.

In the state there are schools which have no teachers. The total number of such schools is 465 and of these 440 are in the rural areas. And surprisingly maximum number, that is 72, of such schools is in Patiala district, the home district of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Besides, there are 2,115 single teacher government primary schools.

There are schools, which have no building, or katcha buildings or semi pukka buildings. There has been 21.64 increase in the number of teachers in the past one decade up to secondary level. But there is a 5.99 per cent fall in the number of teachers at the primary level.

The total number of sanctioned posts of teachers in all sort of government and aided schools is 1,26,282 at present. However, it is different matter that large number of these posts are vacant. There is also considerable fall in pupil-teacher ratio. In middle schools, one teacher teaches only less than 19 students and at the primary level below 40 students. At secondary level number of student per teacher is little over 24.


Beggars’ village takes to education
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Woman and girls learn sewing at a centre opened at Theri village in Patiala.
Woman and girls learn sewing at a centre opened at Theri village in Patiala. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar

Theri (Patiala), November 7
Sajan and his friends Sonu and Deepak no longer don their customary saffron ‘kurtas’. They have exchanged them for school uniforms of a nearby school. So have 25 other children of this village who have been admitted to the village’s government primary school. Many of these children who have lost their fathers were till now plying the trade the village is famous for begging in the name of religion.

Most of the children who are being educated for the first time in their lives were into begging courtesy their families who have made it a traditional vocation. Many do not have fathers as they have been lost to liquor and drugs. Those who have fathers do not have much of a future with the menfolk indulging in drugs at the cost of their children who have to don the saffron cloth and set out to beg if they are to eat anything.

Things are changing for the first time in the history of this village, with the district police tying up with various non-government organisations (NGOs) to ensure education for the children and livelihood for their families.

Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) L.K. Yadav says the idea of trying to veer the people of Theri village away from drugs and begging came up after complaints were received from village sarpanches of the area.

“Everyone wanted something to be done about this problem in Theri village with many advocating a hardline approach also. However, it was decided after consultation with the villagers themselves to take up some constructive activities in the village to reform the drug addicts and beggars”, he said.

Mr Yadav said initially the villagers were apprehensive about the scheme. However, they became interested when he got Rotary Club (Midtown) to sponsor the fee, uniforms and books expenses of three children — Sajan, Sonu and Deepak — to the nearby Jasmine Public School. He said the mothers of all the three children, who are widows, were given sewing machines by another NGO.

The project, which started in this small manner, has blossomed to encompass a number of poor families of the village. Now 25 more children are studying at the government primary school. The villagers have themselves provided a big room in the village for starting a sewing centre in which 40 women and girls are learning sewing on machines provided by the State Bank of Patiala.

They are being coached by an expert guide of the Dedicated Brothers Group who is responsible for training them. The trainees are being put through a six-month course after which they will be given certificates by the NGO.

The youth of the village are also being involved to set up their own enterprises. The District Employment Officer held a month-long course for 30 youth of the Sadh community. Ten youth have been selected for grant of loans ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh. They are set to open up provision stores, carpentry shops and other businesses.

All this is being executed by a coordinator appointed in the village itself. Pappu, who says this is full name, is responsible for checking on the students to ensure whether they are going to school regularly or not.


Seven water samples fail purity test
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 7
Out of 11 water samples, collected by district health authorities on October 25 and October 26 from the local jaundice-affected Adarsh Mohalla and Nabha Gate Phirni Road area, seven failed the purity test.

These samples, collected from different houses, were sent to the State Bacteriology Public Health Laboratory, Chandigarh, to test whether the water contained any pathogenic bacteria.

Sources in the Health Department told The Tribune yesterday that 22 water samples had been collected by the district health authorities since October 25 from different jaundice-affected localities of the town, Magazine Mohalla, Adarsh Mohalla, Nabha Gate Phirni Road area, and Indira Basti. The health authorities had collected 11 samples on October 25 and 26, five on October 29 and six on November 2.

Dr Inderjit Kaur Walia, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, said after receiving report from the Chandigarh laboratory about the water samples, she had written to the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner and the Executive Officer of the local municipal council to initiate steps for providing pure drinking water to the residents of the town, especially in the jaundice-affected localities.

Dr Walia said the health authorities would collect water samples again in the next couple of days from those houses whose water samples could not pass purity test.

Dr Walia said the district health authorities had started a temporary dispensary in the local Adarsh Mohalla, from November 2 for providing treatment to the jaundice patients at their doorstep.

As per the information, 195 samples of water were collected from different towns and villages in the district from April to October this year, of which 80 samples have failed the purity test. These samples were collected from the schools, ice factories, dhabas and houses etc.


Fuel price hike a "crude" Divali gift
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
BJP Youth Wing National Executive member, Mr Vineet Joshi, today termed the hike in fuel and cooking gas prices as a "crude" Divali gift from the Congress-led UPA government, proving its election slogan "Congress ka haath, aam admi ke saath". The present hike was the fourth in the last six months. Such an anti-people decision showed what the Congress "haath" would do to the "aam admi" in future.

In a statement, Mr Joshi said the slogan clearly implied that neither the Congress hand was meant to help the common man nor its heart was beating for the "aam admi". He questioned the "moral standing’’ of the Left parties, which have always claimed to represent the workers and peasants, in tolerating such a hike.

The statement recounts the previous increase in gas, oil and petroleum prices. The first was on June 15, when the hike was Rs 2 per litre for petrol, Re 1 per litre for diesel and Rs 20 per cooking gas cylinder. The second was on July 1 — Rs 1.40 per litre for petrol and Rs 1.10 per litre for diesel. The third was on August 1 with a price hike of Rs 1.22 per litre for petrol and Rs 2.24 per litre for diesel. Finally, the present fourth shock on November 4.

Mr Joshi said that the progressive increase of Rs 5 in the price of LPG cylinder every month for the next 26 months would lead to hoarding and black marketing. Such a policy was ‘slow strangulation’ of the already harassed "aam admi".

Election-linked decisions on such matters, contrary to international prices of crude oil, was itself a ‘’cruel joke’’ with the common man. With international prices now falling, the hike should also be rolled back and re-calibrated. The timing of the hike, in fact, smacks of political intrigue and expediency.


PUDA cocks a snook at pollution board
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 7
The multi-crore Integrated Township Project on the Patiala- Sirhind road has come under the scanner with the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) refusing to give a no-objection certificate to the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to release potential effluents from the township into the Badi Nadi.

The board, while asking PUDA to take environmental clearance for the township, which is to come up at Baran village, about 7 km from here, from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, has asked it to stop all development activity at the site. A letter in this context was addressed to its Additional Chief Administrator here on October 26 last month.

PUDA, however, is allegedly not willing to oblige the pollution board and is going ahead with development work at the site, claiming that it would take up the issue of environmental clearance with the Union Government.

The Secretary, PUDA, has written in this regard to the Centre. PUDA officials disclosed that tenders for the construction of a boundary wall were being issued and assessments were being made for the land which was to be developed under the first phase of the project.

Earlier last month, PUDA had confidently written to the pollution board that it should be allowed to dispose of potential effluents in the Badi Nadi after due treatment.

In an application to the board, PUDA claimed that it was asking for this permission as no sewer of the Municipal Corporation existed in the township.

The application was declined due to a recent amendment in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification. According to the amended notification, new construction projects which were undertaken without obtaining environmental clearance and whose construction work had not commenced or had come up to the plinth level, were now required to take such clearance.

Consequently, PUDA has now been asked to conduct an environment impact assessment study and also go through other environmental aspects, including the treatment of sewage and municipal solid waste of the proposed colony.

PUDA has also been asked to conduct a public hearing of people of Baran village and adjoining areas where it has taken over 350 acres for the township for the purpose of eliciting their objections and also taking remedial measures. Only after these procedures have been completed can it apply for NoC from the board.

Though PUDA has presently cocked a snook at the board’s objections to its project, sources said the project could be delayed as the Ministry of Environment and Forests was bound to proceed as per the terms of its amended notification on the issue of environmental clearance. They said the fact that PUDA did not take this aspect into consideration while planning the project was in itself a grave error on its part.

According to the sources, the Union Government had taken this step as most new townships and industrial estates were getting connected to the Municipal Corporations which themselves did not have sewage treatment facilities.

This, they said, was leading to pollution of surface water in the vicinity of these colonies. Besides this, the Ministry of Environment was also concerned about the location of the new projects, especially whether they had buffer zones and green areas.


No poor family at Jaito: survey
Tribune News Service

Jaito, November 7
Jaito has become the only town in Punjab that has no below poverty line (BPL) family. This has been revealed in a survey conducted by the local Municipal Council (MC).

Following the recommendations of the MC, the Food and Supplies Department has discontinued the benefits of the scheme to about 1,200 such families staying in the urban areas.

According to sources, acting on the Supreme Court orders, the Punjab Government had got a survey of BPL families done. The Municipal Council, Jaito, conducted a survey and forwarded its recommendations and list of BPL families to the higher authorities.

The list received by the Food and Supplies Department didn’t mention about 1,200 families who had been receiving benefits under the scheme for the past three years.

After the implementation of the MC’s recommendations, the supply of 35 kg wheat at Rs 4.27 per kg every month to these families was stopped from September this year.

Food and Supply officials said on the basis of fresh recommendations benefits under the scheme were discontinued to 100 per cent urban beneficiaries and 40 per cent rural beneficiaries.

On the other hand, the beneficiaries, who had been removed from the list, alleged that no survey was carried out and the MC staff had prepared the list sitting at home. They have demanded from the government that a probe should be conducted into the matter and action be taken against those who had deprived them of the benefits under the scheme.


Unions for full power to panchayats on pension
Tribune News Service

Jaito, November 7
Leaders of the Progressive Panchayat Union, Jaito-Kotkapura block, have termed the role of government officials in giving old age, widow, and disability pensions needless and demanded that all rights relating to these pensions be given to panchayats.

The demand was raised during the union’s monthly meeting under the chairmanship of its block president, Mr Mehar Singh Karirwali.

Moving a resolution on the matter, the senior vice-president of the union, Mr Kuldip Singh Wading, said though panchayats had been given the responsibility of awarding pension and ensuring its legality, there were some conditions that made it mandatory for genuine candidates to seek permission from government officials.

He demanded that these conditions be made flexible. Demanding the right of issuing below poverty line (BPL) cards for panchayats, the union leaders said panchayats knew the best about the financial state of people.

Passing another resolution, the union demanded the identification of illegally encroached land in villages by government officials and launch of an anti-encroachment drive.


Pensioners thank govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
The Punjab Government has accepted several long pending demands of its 10,000-odd pensioners and ordered grant of financial benefits to them.

These benefits include enhancement of dearness relief to 59 per cent from 55 per cent, effective from July 1, 2003; dearness allowance raised to 61 per cent from 59 per cent, effective from January 1, 2004; merger of 50 per cent dearness relief into the basic pension, effective from April 1, 2004; and grant of old age allowance on the pattern of the state government.

Stating this, the President of the Municipal Corporation Pensioners’ Association, Mr Kailash Khanna, said on Friday that this was a much awaited decision in the interest of the pensioners. “On behalf of all pensioners I thank the state government. The benefits will brighten the Divali festival in the homes of the pensioners.”


Medical conference ends
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 7
A two-day multi-speciality medical conference, part of the continuing medical education programme, concluded at Military Hospital in the cantonment here today.

Maj or Gen Jaiparkash, the Deputy Director, Medical Services of the Western Command, inaugurated the programme and delivered the keynote address.

Brig P.K. Bhuyan, Commandant of the Military Hospital, delivered the welcome address to the delegates at the inaugural function.

More than 150 civilian and military doctors from different hospitals and peripheral medical units participated in the programme.

While delivering a guest lecture on recent advances in management of hypertension, Brig O.P. Mathew, Commandant, Armed Forces Clinic, New Delhi, and a senior cardiologist of the armed forces, elaborated the methods for prevention of hypertension.


Stress on child care to prevent blindness
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 7
The district unit of the Punjab Ophthalmological Society, Punjab, organised the 4th symposium on “Contact Lens and Low Vision Aids Practice” here today.

More than 60 ophthalmologists from six districts — Ferozepore, Muktsar, Moga, Mansa, Bathinda and Faridkot — attended the symposium.

Inaugurating the symposium, Dr S.K. Chopra, president, north zone chapter of the society and former Professor and Head of Ophthalmology, Christian Medical College (CMC), Ludhiana, laid stress on maternal and child healthcare to prevent blindness at an early age.

Expressing concern over the poor availability of medical aid, he said more than three million children out of the total 12 million blind people in the country were suffering either from corneal or other low-vision problems.

Emphasising the need to hold health education camps in schools on regular basis to generate awareness among children about the causes of eye diseases, Dr Chopra said 80 per cent blindness was curable, particularly among children, but needed adequate care and treatment at an initial stage.

Criticising the existing governance system, which had failed to provide needy health care and other medical facilities to people in spite of 58 years of Independence, he said one out of every five persons in the country faced blindness in one way or the other.

Dr Chopra appealed to the Central Government to realise its responsibilities and devote more time and funds towards helping persons suffering from eye diseases.


Joint effort needed to check graft: DC
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 7
In a function organised by the Vigilance Department as part of the awareness week, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, administered the pledge of weeding out corruption to the government officials.

Addressing the gathering, the DC said that the menace of corruption was fast spreading its tentacles in society and a joint effort was needed to deal with it.

He said that if the people pledge not to pay bribe, corruption could be checked to some extent.

He appealed to the Vigilance officials to take strict action against those lodging false complaints, and take into account all aspects while acting against honest officials.

Vigilance DSP Surjeet Singh Khosa asked the people to give them correct information so that corrupt officials could be nabbed. 


Pankaj Udhas regales audience
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 7
Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas and his troupe got an enthusiastic response from the audience here last evening.

The show, “Sham-E-Ghazal”, was organised at the Raikot road complex of a corporate house here.

The two-and-half-hour long performance by the ghazal singer, who took to stage at 7.40 pm, left the audience asking for more.

He sang some of his hit numbers like “Chhiti aayee hai”, “Niklo na benaqab zamana khraab hai”, “Aaiye barishon ka mausam hai”, “La pila de saakiya paimna paimane ke bad”.

He concluded with “Ghungroo toot gaye”, much to the delight of the audience.

Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, MLA Dhuri, honoured the artistes with mementos and expressed his gratitude to the singer.


‘Paisa Bolda Hai’ staged
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 7
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) in cooperation with the State Bank of Patiala presented a Punjabi musical play ‘Paisa Bolda Hai’ at a show organised in the honour of Punjabi litterateur Dr. Prem Prakash Singh Dhaliwal at the Central State Library Hall here last night. The play has been adapted from Bengali social satire ‘Kanchan Rang’ and is directed by theatre couple Pran Sabharwal and Sunita Sabharwal.

The chief guest, Mr. J.P.S. Dhaliwal, while speaking on the occasion, said that he would continue his efforts to promote theatre, arts and NTAS in India and abroad.


Forest area to increase to 18 pc: Josan

Amritsar, November 7
Mr Hans Raj Josan, Forest Minister, said here today that the present 8.1 per cent forest area of the state would be increased to 18 per cent till 2010.

He was speaking on the 28th free ration distribution programme organised by the Chinmaya Mission at S.L. Public School here. As many as 201 widows were given Rs 500 worth of ration each free of cost. Mr Josan said the target of planting saplings on 12,500 hectares of land in the state during current year had already been completed. — OC


Hoshiarpur man dies in GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 7
An ailing man in early 60s, who identified himself as Surinder from Hoshiarpur, died in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here yesterday.

The man was found lying at the Daria bus stop and was taken to hospital by the police on November 5. He died the next morning.

The police officer who took him to the hospital said the man was speaking till he was taken to the hospital.

Nobody had come forward to claim his body. The police said he had told an officer in the GMCH that he was Surinder, son of Jagat Ram, of Hoshiarpur. He was speaking in a very feeble voice and except for identifying himself by name he could not speak further. The police could not get his address.


Vigilance Awareness Week observed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 7
The local unit of National Fertilisers Limited observed a Vigilance Awareness Week from November 1 by organising various educational programmes for farmers, employees and children.

In a press note issued, Mr Kapil Dev, a senior police official, who was present at the concluding ceremony, said that there should not be any hesitation in taking decisions in the overall interest of the organisation. He emphasised that the role of vigilance should not only be punitive, it should be preventive also.


‘Bandi Chhod Divas’

Amritsar, November 7
The District Congress Committee (Rural) led by Mr Inderjit Singh Basarke, president, said the party would celebrate ‘Bandi Chhod Divas’ on Divali. This was stated by Mr Basarke in a press note issued here today. — OC


High Court
Order reserved
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 7
A Special Bench of Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the High Court on Thursday reserved his order on a petition in the Bhikhiwind firing case.

This followed the prayer of the Punjab Government for a modification/clarification in the High Court’s previous order and arguments by the counsel for Naunihal Singh against it. Mr Naunihal’s brother Gurdial Singh was one of the six persons killed in the firing.

Mr Naunihal Singh’s counsel had moved an application stating that three of the accused — former Punjab Minister Gurtej Singh Bhullar, his son Anup Singh Bhullar and one Tirlok Singh Chakkwalia — had not been challaned by the police in the trial court in Amritsar. He had sought that the three be summoned.

However, despite repeated requests, the application was not decided, the petitioner alleged.

He moved the High Court and said that before proceeding further in the trial, his application to summon them should be disposed of.

The High Court passed an order allowing this application. However, the state of Punjab moved an application seeking a modification in the order stating that the part “before proceeding further” be deleted from the order.

To this, the counsel for the petitioner alleged that the interest of the state and the accused had merged and that the state had filed the application as a mouthpiece of the accused as it had no business and no legal or moral authority to do this. Instead, the state should have filed the application that witness Naunihal had filed, added the counsel.


Farmers’ fast from Nov 8
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 7
The farmers lodged in various jails all over the state would go on relay fast from November 8 over the alleged provision of sub-standard meals to farmers in Amritsar Central Jail and in protest against the non-release of farmer activists who were taken into preventive custody before the November 3 protest.

Hundreds of farmers of various organisations were arrested by the police and lodged in different jails during a statewide protest against the government on November 3.

In a joint statement, Mr Kanwalpreet Pannu, convener, Kisan Sangharsh Committee (KSC), and Mr Sukhdev Singh, general secretary, Bharti Kisan Union (ekta), said that the protest would continue till their demands were met. Mr Pannu said 101 farmers belonging to the KSC led by Mr Baj Singh today went on relay fast.


Farmers’ jail-bharo movement from today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 7
Activists of the BKU (Ugrahan) have decided to start a “jail-bharo” movement from tomorrow to lodge their protest against the atrocities being committed on its members by the police, and the alleged failure of the authorities to ensure remunerative prices of cotton.

Mr Shingara Singh Mann, general secretary, BKU (Ugrahan), said that more than 11 members from each district of this group would surrender themselves before the police everyday as a mark of protest. He claimed that the police officials had been trying to arrest the activists.

Claiming that their protest would continue till the government accepted the demands of the union, which included release of the arrested farmers, cancellation of all fake cases and FIRs against the activists and proper treatment of the injured farmers.


10 student leaders booked for protest at university
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 7
The Punjabi University authorities, which had earlier suspended four student leaders for fighting and consuming liquor on the campus, has now got a case registered against 10 more student leaders who were at the forefront during the blockade at the main gate of the university on November 5.

The Sadar Police has registered a case under Sections 147, 149 and 341, IPC, against 10 student leaders. The student leaders have been charged with interfering in the working of the administration, forcibly stopping teachers from entering the campus and threatening to disrupt the proposed World Punjabi Conference scheduled to be held on the campus in December.

The police, which was stationed on the campus on November 5, incidentally did not find any reason to take action against the students till it received a complaint from the university authorities in this regard.

The students against whom a case has been registered now are - Gurpal Dhaliwal, Sukhjit Chahal and Kanwar Gurpreet Singh all belonging to the SFI, Raminder Patiala and Rajinder Singh of the Punjab Students Union, Bakshish Azad of the PRSU, Gurpreet Singh of the ABVP, Bikramjit Singh Jattana of OPUS, Kirt Grewal of AIDSU and Gurnam Virk, who is the Convener of the Confederation.

Besides accusing the students of taking the law into their own hands, the university authorities had alleged that they had used abusive language in their speeches.

The authorities had also claimed that the students had alleged that they would stop the university from organising a folk music festival on the campus tomorrow and that they had locked four teaching blocks to stop anyone from entering.

Meanwhile, confederation leader Gurpal Dhaliwal in a press note issued here today said the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, was adopting a 'revengeful' policy while dealing with student leaders who were only trying to protect the rights of their fellow students.

Dhaliwal alleged that the Vice-Chancellor wanted to scuttle the World Punjabi Conference to be held in the university in December and wanted to put the blame for the same on the students.


Man held for ‘raping’ daughter
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 7
Mr M.F. Farooqui, SSP, while talking to mediapersons here on Sunday said the police had arrested Surinder Pal (52) a resident of Mehatpur Ulladhani village for allegedly raping his daughter when she was minor and continuing the illicit relationship for the past 10 years. The police arrested the accused after verifying the facts on the basis of a complaint lodged with the police by his daughter, added the SSP.

The accused Surinder Pal, was presented before the mediapersons, confessed that he raped his daughter for the first time when she was about 14-15 years old on the pretext that he wanted to test that she was a girl or a eunuch and afterwards he continued with his immoral act.

Surinder Pal’s first wife and mother of the victim, Usha had died when she was four years old. Surinder Pal then married Vimla, alias Asha from whom he had two sons. Though, he married his daughter to Prem, a resident of Mazari village in 2001, he himself spoilt the marriage of his daughter by disclosing his illicit relationship with his daughter to his son-in-law and his brother. After ‘breaking’ the marriage of his daughter, he took her to Visakhapatnam where he was working as a driver. The victim alleged that at Visakhapatnam she gave birth to a son fathered by her own father. Then Surinder Pal went to Dubai. She started living here at Waheguru Nagar.


Dowry death alleged
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 7
Mr Pargat Singh, father of Nasib Kaur, a resident of this city, today alleged in a signed affidavit that his daughter was strangulated to death by her in-laws after his family failed to fulfil their lust for dowry.

Mr Singh said that his daughter, who got married to Charanjit Singh, a resident of Patiala, in November, 2000, was constantly tortured by her in-laws for brining insufficient dowry.

He said that the in-laws of his daughter demanded large amounts of money for the construction of their house. He alleged that when they failed to arrange the money, they killed his daughter on the night of August 13, 2004. He said that the in-laws of his daughter had claimed she went missing while his family apprehended that she had been killed.

He said that the body of their daughter was recovered on August 17. He said that a case in this connection was registered at Patiala Sadar police station on August 15 under Section 304-B, IPC. He alleged that the in-laws of his daughter "managed" the police authorities to change Section 304-B to Section 306, IPC. He demanded that the accused should be prevented from interferring in the investigation.


One arrested for smuggling narcotics
Our Correspondent

Bathinda (Maur), November 7
In its campaign launched against the smuggling of narcotics, the district police has recovered 140 kg of poppy husk which was loaded in a Tracks jeep today.

Though the police party recovered poppy husk and impounded the jeep, one of the two accused escaped from the site after seeing a police party approaching them.

In a press note issued here today, the district police chief, Mr Kapil Dev, said the accused had been identified as Jaspal Singh, alias Maatu, and Harkaran Singh. The accused Jaspal Singh had been in police custody, while Harkaran Singh escaped from the site.

A case in this connection was registered in Maur police station under the NDPS Act and investigations were on.


Officer booked for temple demolition
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 7
The Model Town Police, registered a case under Section 295-A IPC against Mr Vinod Parkash, General Manager Bharat Sanchar Nigam yesterday for hurting religious sentiments by allegedly demolishing a temple of Lord Bhavneshwar Mahadev located in his office complex at Railway Mandi here.

Women staged a dharna in front of the office of the General Manager in protest. Mr Ram Parkash, DSP, and Mr Vijay Sharma, Executive Magistrate-cum-Tehsildar, along with a heavy police force reached the site.

They had a meeting with officers of the BSNL who told them that orders for demolishing the temple were given by the General Manager, who is on leave.

It was decided to reconstruct the temple. After puja reconstruction was started.


Officials told to open more EGS centres
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 7
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, has asked the district administration officials to restrain from opening EGS centres under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in the areas where elementary schools are functioning.

Addressing a meeting called to discuss the progress made under the scheme, the DC said that EGS centres should be opened at the places where they were needed more so that 100 per cent literacy rate in the age group of 6 to 14 could be achieved.

A probe has also been ordered into the construction of 145 rooms in different villages with the grant received under this scheme from the Central Government.

The DC said that he had come to know about the EGS centres being opened for a handful of children in some villages that already had elementary schools.

He asked the officials to get the children studying in these centres admitted to elementary schools after six months and shift these centres to the needy areas.

He also instructed the officials to find out as to whether Rs 500 per month being given to every school for teaching and learning material was being properly utilised.


Principals’ body to discuss demands
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 7
To discuss the deteriorating financial condition of private colleges in the state, the Association of Principals of Non-government Affiliated Colleges (Guru Nanak Dev University wing) will hold a meeting at Guru Nanak College, Phagwara, on November 11.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Chatha, president, Principals’ Association, said the members would chalk out the future plan of action to highlight their demands.

He said the main demands of the association included regular grants, restoration of the 95 per grant-in-aid system and resolving issues pertaining to the staff resulting from the shifting of the plus one and two classes from colleges to schools.

The members of the association said the percentage of grant given to the colleges had decreased considerably in the past few years. It had become extremely difficult to run colleges.

They said shifting of plus one and two classes from colleges to schools had further added to their financial burden.

The members said that during the meeting they would decide on the issue of coordinating with the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union for their ongoing struggle.


Inter-Zonal Youth Festival begins tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 7
The third annual Inter-Zonal Youth Festival of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) scheduled to be held on November 9 and 10 will now be spread over three days from November 8 to 10 at DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology.

The inauguration of the festival will be done by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, and Minister for Technical Education S.K. Salwan. The Vice-Chancellor will preside.

Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, will be the chief guest on the concluding ceremony, while Dr Swaran Singh, Commissioner, Jalandhar Division, will preside.

During the contest various literary and cultural events will be held which will include quiz, elocution, debate, painting, cartooning, poster-making, collage-making, clay modelling, rangoli, mime, mimicry, group song and folk dance contests.


Lecturers’ dismissal over dress code to probed
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, November 7
Taking note of the dismissal of three women lecturers by the management of Gandhi Memorial College for Girls for violating dress code, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, has asked the SDM, Mr Mohan Lal, to probe into the matter.

The teachers — Punjabi lecturer Narinder Kaur, sewing teacher Karamjit Kaur and computer lecturer Rajwant Kaur — had, in a press conference on Friday, charged the college management with forcing them to wear sarees.

On refusal, they were barred from marking their attendance and taking classes.

Sources said there were around 30 women teachers in the college, most of whom belonged to rural areas, but rarely wore sarees.


GND varsity scientist invited to the Hague
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 7
Prof Jai Rup Singh, Coordinator, Centre for Genetic Disorders, Guru Nanak Dev University and Dean Academic Affairs, has been invited by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Netherland Government, to participate in invitational conference on “Priority medicine for the citizens of Europe and the world”. The conference will be held in the Hague on November 18.

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