P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mela postponed as Pak fails to give
visa to 1,000 Indians

Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
The two-day Aman Mela in Lahore, which was billed to attract 1000 Indians from several states, has been postponed due to the failure of the Pakistan High Commission to grant visas. The mela was to start in Lahore today.

Indian and Pakistan High Commissions witnessed chaos when 17 Pakistanis got stranded in India as their group was forced to return to Pakistan yesterday before 5 pm. Those stranded had gone to see a film when the announcement for their return was made at the Aman Mela in Jalandhar.

“The Pakistan High Commission has not been able to issue visas in time. The mela has to be postponed till the next week,” Rajya Sabha MP and Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande told The Tribune here today.

The aspirants, however, suspected that the delay was mainly to get back to the Indian authorities for their failure to issue visas to 1000 Pakistanis, who were to participate in the Indian chapter of the mela in Jalandhar. Only 500 Pakistanis were granted visas for the purpose.

The mela, one of the first of its kinds with representation from several states, was held on November 23 and 24 here but the Pakistani delegates had to return even without having their food as a large part of their visa period was taken up in border clearance which took about 26 hours.

The sources said the Pakistani delegates were given visa clearance by the Indian authorities just 15 minutes before they were scheduled to leave for India. There are also unconfirmed allegations that some security personnel of both countries illegally demanded money from the visitors from Pakistan.

The source said such was the pressure of the visa authorities of both countries that they just could not stamp the passports as there was a heavy exchange of the people between the two countries during this period.

The Pakistani authorities in India were also busy because of the Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz’ visit to India during this period.

A large number of delegates had turned up from across India and those who were scheduled to go to Pakistan have been stranded in Jalandhar. At least one thousand people had come from Jammu and Kashmira alone.

Considering the Indian response, Ms Deshpande, heading the Indian delegation, has now asked the delegates from the northern states to reduce the number of those to half to suit a possible Pakistani response.

Ms Deshpande said she got the information that volunteers were offered to the High Commissions to help them stamp the visa applications and passports. Around 3000 Sikhs had recently gone to Pakistan on the occasion of Gurpurb.

Ms Deshpande said the strength in both the High Commissions has not yet been brought to full level. The MP said she would raise the issue in Parliament and would also demand for camp offices of High Commissions at the Wagha border to handle such situations.

The delegates from both sides, who interacted with one another, were elated despite the procedural problems, saying the peace process and the people to people contact could not be reversed now and the chances of the two countries coming close had strengthened.

The new date of the mela in Lahore will be fixed shortly, Ms Deshpande said, adding the people who had come from the far-off areas could not be sent back.


Pak play presents balanced view on Kashmir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
The Interactive Resource Centre (IRC), a theatrical group of Pakistan, which gave the slogan “theatre is a weapon and it is the people who should wield it”, yesterday staged a play, “Aman”, which presented a balanced view on the Kashmir problem .

The IRC mustered courage to produce a play which could earn the wrath of militants in Pakistan. The play was organised by the Rotary Club and highlighted the plight of residents of Kashmir who had been suffering due to the deadlock between India and Pakistan.

The play was based on the theme of “Parchhaian”, a famous poem of Sahir Ludhianvi which says that “Jang to khud ek masla hai, yeh kia maslon ka hal karegi” (war itself is a problem, how can it resolve any issue?).

Mohammad Waseem, director of the play, said the play was staged in various parts of Pakistan and was appreciated by the common people who had been the worst sufferers due to the prolonged problem of Kashmir. He said the message of the play was that both countries have not been able to start a direct dialogue to resolve the problem so far. Mercenaries had been complicating the problem at the behest of certain super powers.

Another play, “Bhathe Mere Dian Itan” presented the plight of bonded labour, a common problem in both countries. A labourer who is unable to pay medical bills is forced to sell his kidney. The play is performed in a way which involves spectators to suggest ways to save the person from selling his kidney. Some of the spectators responded to the call of the director and went on the stage to suggest means to carry forward the story.

Waseem said there were more than five lakh bonded labourers in Pakistan, most of them belonging to minority communities, including Christians and Afghans.


Pak writer not to accept Sahit Shiromani award
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Pakistan based Punjabi writer, Najm Hossain Syed, is not inclined to accept the Punjabi Sahit Shiromani Sahitkar Award for the year 2001, which is to be given to him by the Punjab Languages Department on December 3 at Patiala.

Mr Syed told The Tribune on the Phone from Lahore that he would not accept this award worth Rs 1.25 lakh as he had never accepted any award from any Government institution or private organisation. “ I do not write for awards. I write for people and acceptance of my writings by them is the biggest award for me”, he said.

“I have my own philosphy and perception about the awards and am not one of those who run after such worldly honours”, he said.

Along with eminent Punjabi writers such as Mr Gurdial Singh and Dr Jaswant Singh Neki, from India, Mr Syed, was chosen for the award by the Advisory Board of the Punjab Languages Department on November 18 at a meeting held here under the Chairmanship of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister. This was the first time that the award was given to given to anyone from across the border.

Sources said that as the Punjab Language Department had got wind that Mr Syed would not accept the award, it approached eminent Indian Punjabi writer who was known to Mr Syed to request him to accept the award for the promotion of friendship between India and Pakistan and for the sake of Punjabi language, his mother tongue.

Mr Syed is a leading Punjabi writer in Pakistan. He was to be honoured along with 51 other writers and journalists at the concluding function of the World Punjabi Conference to be held at Patiala from December 1 to 3.


Vedanti issues notices to
US gurdwara management

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
The Sikh high priests are likely to take action against Mr Gurtej Singh , a former professor of Sikhism and certain other NRI Sikh leaders, for their continuous support to Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana , a cop-turned-Sikh scholar , who was excommunicated from the Sikh Panth.

Meanwhile, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, has issued notice to the management of Gurdwara Dikshi (Canada) for allegedly organising a function where derogatory language was used against him (Jathedar Vedanti) by different speakers. The notices have been served on president and secretary of the Gurdwara management committee there.

The sources, close to Jathedar Vedanti said the Sikh clergy had decided to take stern action against certain Sikh scholars, including Mr Hardev Singh Shergill, Mr Gurcharn Singh Jeunwala, Mr Sukhwinder Singh Hansra and Mr Manjit Singh Sahota, who had organised the function in Dikshy Gurdwara on September 25, in gross violation of the edict issued by the Akal Takht.

The directive of the Takht had asked the Sikhs to sever all relations with Mr Kala Afghana. When contacted, Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, Personal Assistant to Jathedar Akal Takht, alleged that the Sikh scholars had used most derogatory language against the Jathedar during the function.

Meanwhile, Mr Kala Afghana has suffered a big jolt as his close confidant Mr Avtar Singh Dhami has decided to snap all relations with the excommunicated Sikh scholar. In a fax message, received by Akal Takht secretariat, Mr Dhami announced that he had no relations with Mr Afghana anymore. Mr Dhami has also dissociated himself from the ‘Sikh Bulletin’, a mouthpiece of Mr Afghana.

Earlier, the SGPC had withdrawn the title of ‘Professor of Sikhism’ bestowed on Mr Gurtej Singh, a former IAS officer on the recommendation of Akal Takht.


Physically challenged youth beaten
up by police, booked

Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot November 26
A handicapped Dalit, Pawan Kumar, of Gosainpur village has accused the Sujanpur police of beating him up and keeping in illegal custody at the behest of politically influential people.

Pawan Kumar who runs a tailoring shop said his parents had a dispute over an adjoining wall with his paternal uncle. When he returned home for lunch on November 23, Kuldeep Singh, father-in-law of the sarpanch, and some others came to his house and asked him to bring down the wall of the house as it was on the land of his uncle. Since his father was not at home, Pawan Kumar requested them to come later. This peeved Kuldeep Singh who allegedly abusing him. When he asked him not use abusive language, Kuldeep Singh went away threatening to teach him a lesson.

When Pawan Kumar reached his shop after lunch, the sons of Kuldeep Singh came there and allegedly started beating him up in the presence of a large number of people. The police was also called.

He alleged that policemen also thrashed him in the village to set an example for those who raised their voices before the henchmen of the local minister.

The police registered a case against Pawan Kumar under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC for fighting with his neighbours. Generally in case of a fight between two parties or individuals, both parties are booked under these sections.

However, in the present case, the police only booked Pawan Kumar whose one leg is crippled. He also bears injury marks.

Pawan was rescued from police custody by former BJP minister Satpal Saini who alleged that a rein of terror had been let loose by the men of the local minister with the help of the police.

The SSP, Mr Narinder Bhargav, said he had not received any complaint regarding police brutality. If a complaint was received, an inquiry would be ordered, he sad.


Varsities bar further counselling,
students left in the lurch

Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
Hundreds of B.Ed aspirants all over the state, who had been waiting for a fourth counselling for getting admission against vacant seats in education colleges, have been left in the lurch following the recent decision of the universities to bar further admissions.

The decision has given a jolt to the students who said the only alternative before them was to leave the state and pay higher fee and boarding charges. Many girls said owing to restrictions, they could not move out of Punjab, leaving them with no choice but to wait for another academic session.

The decision is also bound to cause financial loss to private colleges.

College Principals and Directors blame Guru Nanak Dev University for the poor conduct of counselling this year. They alleged that subsequent counselling sessions were delayed and ate into the academic session of the colleges, which could not be less than 180 days.

The Principals said while the first counselling was held in the last week of July, it took the university over two months to hold the third counselling that was held on October 2. The academic session, however, had started almost two months prior to this.

The college authorities said there were several procedural delays as the university had not prepared a complete schedule of the counselling before hand. The university held its first counselling then sent the report of the admissions to the government. The government said the universities should be authorised to go in for another counselling. The same procedure was followed after the second and the third counselling sessions, causing delays.

The college Directors pointed out that while the government was keen to hold another counselling session, the universities had declared that it was not possible. The colleges were also not given the right to fill the remaining seats on the basis of the management quota.

As many as 54 seats are still lying vacant in colleges. Many students who had first joined the colleges and later left the course had also left seats vacant. In Jalandhar alone, nearly 20 seats are lying vacant in five colleges. Most of these are vacant in Government Education College.

Mr Ashok Mittal, Chairman, Lovely College of Education, said two seats were vacant in the college. He said even today many students were coming to him for admissions.

Similarly, nearly 20 seats are lying vacant in the colleges of Ludhiana and its outskirts. The office superintendent of Devki Devi Jain College of Education said three seats were vacant in the college.


Canada Sikhs urged to unite on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), today urged the Sikhs residing in Canada to unite on the turban issue. The Canada Sikhs have been protesting against the ban on wearing turban in front of the French Embassy in Canada.

In a letter written to the Canada Sikhs, she said the community had made many sacrifices for protecting their identity. She said a high-level delegation of the SGPC would go to France to discuss the matter with the authorities concerned. She said that all the Sikhs in the world should unite over this issue.


Display of splendour at Harmandar Sahib
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, November 26
Historic precious jewellery, artifacts, gems, stones and other wares were displayed in “jalao” at Harmandir Sahib on the occasion of Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev here today.

Valuable gifts on historic occasion and by significant persons connected with Sikh history were tastefully presented in exhibitions at Harmandir Sahib, Akal Takht and Gurdwara Baba Atal.

Amongst the valuable items at display from the “toshakhana” were invaluable necklace of diamonds and pearls of Kunwar Naunihal Singh presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The other items included jewel-encrusted kirpan of the Maharaja, a ring of Princess Bimba, gold canopy, gold and turquoise peacock, gold necklace made of currency notes of Guru Nanak Dev, spades and containers presented during various ‘kar sevas’, gold ‘bir’ of Baba Deep Singh displayed only once a year and eight ornate doors.


‘Class of 84’ brings Rajit home
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, November 26
It was a homecoming for Rajit Kapur, a renowned theatre, television and cine artist. Born in the city, he was here to perform in “Class of 84”.

Rajit Kapur of “Zubeida” fame said it was a tremendous experience to act in his hometown.

Directed and Written by Rahul da Cunha, “Class of ‘84” was enacted by artistes like Rajit Kapur and Ritu Raj. The rest of the team comprises Shernaz Patel, Radhika da Cunha, Dipika Roy, Zafar Karaciwala, Sohrab Ardeshir and Vikrant Chaturvedi.

Set in the backdrop of an urban environment, the play catered to the taste of the English play buffs.

The drama unfolds the house of Raveena and Sanjay Mehra, where seven friends meet after 17 years on the occasion of their batch-mate Jojo’s sudden and mysterious death. All of them had passed out from St Xavier College, Mumbai in 1984. The mourning takes them on a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

As the curtain goes up the audience is treated with a volley of cheerful banter and heaps of nostalgia. But as it progresses, one gets to see the old unresolved strifes, unconsummated romances and unhealed scars, that larks behind the surface. So as the layers began to peel, the seven friends get closer to the real cause of Jojo’s death, taking the audience to a whirlpool of complexities.

The play was jointly sponsored by the Durga Das Foundation, The Tribune and Spice Telecom.

Mr Mukul Khanna, DGM, Marketing, Spice Telecom, Punjab, said looking at the overwhelming response received during the staging of the previous plays here and Jalandhar like Pune Highway, Dance Like a Man, Ismat Apa Ke Naam, they brought this play to entertain the theatre lovers of the city. He said the play had been successfully staged in all major cities of the country.


Declare Kukas as freedom fighters: MP
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Punjab Rajya Sabha member, Mr Ashwani Kumar, has taken up with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the issue of getting Kuka and Ghaddar movements declared as integral parts of the country’s freedom struggle.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Ashwani Kumar has recalled the great sacrifices made by members of both the Namdhari sect and the Canada-based Ghaddar Party in the first phase of the freedom struggle.

The Prime Minister’s office has acknowledged the letter.

Talking to the Tribune, Mr Ashwani Kumar said what the Namdharis and the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee had enough substance in their claims. Denying them the status of freedom fighter and integral part of the freedom struggle of the country was unfair.

“During my last visit to Jalandhar,” he said, “I met Mr Bhagat Singh Bilga and Mr Ghandarv Sen Kochhar of the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee. They have made a fervent appeal to the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre to recognise the Namdhari movement and the Komagata Maru event as part of the freedom struggle.”

Their demand is supported by the historical events. In 1872, when Kukas (Namdharis) revolted against the British, 66 of them were gunned down in the Malerkotla saka. Though the Punjab Government has raised a Kuka memorial there in Malerkotla, but the next of kin of the Kuka martyrs had neither been given any recognition nor the sacrifices made by the community had been recognised in the history of freedom struggle.

Similarly revolutionaries mainly from the Doaba region and settled in North America, especially in Vancouver and Yuba city areas, too contributed a lot in the fight against the British. Nineteen members of the Ghaddris were shot by the British police while many others were injured. Again this supreme sacrifice of members of the Ghaddar Party has gone unrecorded, Mr Ashwani Kumar wrote in the letter.

“Since the Congress is the party representing the freedom movement, it should legitimately recognise the contributions of all those who made supreme sacrifices to get the country freed from the British. I, therefore, join the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Committee and the Namdharis to consider the role and sacrifices made by these two communities in the freedom struggle and accord recognition due to them.


Five deaths later, village says no to drugs
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Chitti (Jalandhar), November 26
Shocked over what drugs had done to the village, killing five of its youths in three months, the village has become the first village in Punjab which has resolved to keep drugs at bay and has warned drug peddlers against operating in the village.

Drug abuse had become common in the village. Though villagers refuse to admit that the toll was beyond five, some said the number of deaths was far more than what was being projected and it was for this reason that the panchayat was forced to take such a step.

The panchayat had also decided to boycott the drug peddlers who were operating from the village but, somehow this decision, it was learnt, could not be implemented due to some internal pressure. Subsequently, a resolution was passed that warned the peddlers to stop their activities and advised residents not to help such people.

Enquiries revealed that an anti-drug committee had also been constituted by the panchayat headed by sarpanch Tirath Ram but,it failed to stop the sale of drugs, particularly smack, due to alleged political patronage and inaction on the part of police officials. “We caught two drug peddlers and took them to the police but within minutes, they were freed under mysterious circumstances. We feel that one of the major drug peddlers has the patronage of a politician as his relative is working at the residence of the leader as a cook,”a group of people said.

“Smack has already brought death to a large number of youths of the village and now we have resolved not to tolerate this anymore. Our only problem is inaction on the part of the authorities,” said Santok, a villager. He said though poppy husk was selling in the village for about 20 years, smack was the latest entrant. “It is available freely here,” another villager said.


Kharar MC not to give NOC to
PUDA approved colonies

Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 26
The local Municipal Council yesterday decided not to issue no-objection certificates (NOC) in future to PUDA-approved colonies within the municipal limits.

This decision was taken at a general House meeting of the civic body here. Members flayed PUDA saying that the agency was collecting external development work in the town. Even facilities such as roads, water supply and sewer systems had not been adequately taken care of in the colonies.

The councillors accused PUDA of ignoring the future expansion of the town while approving colonies. The House said PUDA was interfering excessively in the municipal limits of the town. It was even planning to deprive the civic body of the fee charged for clearing building plans. In view of such activities of PUDA, the House resolved to decline the issuance of NOCs to PUDA-approved colonies.

The council president, Mr Charanjit Singh, said the civic body would come up with its own town planning schemes. The House also resolved to charge Rs 15,000 from companies and others setting up telecom towers in the town apart from levying a licence fee of Rs 5,000 every year. Those parties which had already installed such towers would be issued notices asking them to pay the required charges.

The council further decided to give employment to a son of Ashok Kumar, a municipal employee who had died earlier this year.


Labour unions hold protest march
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
On the call of the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO), comprising Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, Dihati Mazdoor Sabha, Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF), Lal Jhanda Bhatha Mazdoor Union (CITU), Punjab etc, a large number of labourers, farmers, brick kiln workers and youths today took out a protest march in the town against the government and raised slogans in support of their demands.

Later, the protesters held a rally at the district administrative complex here and submitted a memorandum to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr N.S. Walia, to forward the same to the Punjab Chief Minister.

Leaders of the workers, including Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA and senior vice-president of the Centre of Trade Unions, Punjab, Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri and Mr Chander Shekher, both conveners of the JPMO, Punjab, also addressed the rally.

Besides these leaders, Mr Sher Singh Farwahi, president, Dihati Mazdoor Sabha, Punjab, Mr Malkiat Singh Wazidke, district president of Zamhoori Kisan Sabha, Mr Bara Singh Bagi, a senior leader of brick kiln workers, Mr Lal Singh Dhanaula and Mr Karamjit Bihla, both leaders of the PSSF, also attended the rally.

Mr Jodhan and Mr Barri asked the Central Government to withdraw the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. They demanded employment or unemployment allowance for the unemployed youths. They expressed concern over the poor economic conditions of the farmers and demanded waiving off loans of farmers and agriculture workers.

They asked the Central Government to withdraw the notification which compelled the brick kiln owners to mix 25 per cent fly ash with soil in the manufacturing of clay bricks or tiles, as lakhs of brick kiln workers were facing unemployment only in Punjab due to the strike of brick-kiln owners who were opposing use of fly ash in bricks.

Mr Jodhan said thousands of brick kiln workers of the North Zone under the banner of the Lal Jhanda Bhatha Mazdoor Union would stage a dharna at the Jantar Mantar ground in New Delhi on November 26 against the order of the government with regard to use of fly ash in the manufacture of bricks.

Mr Chander Shekher said under open market policy of the Central Government, industrial units were facing closure, due to which lakhs of workers had no work nowadays. He also criticised the government’s privatisation policy.

Other leaders also condemned the state and Central governments for adopting policies of privatisation.


Temple’s tank remains dry on annual mela
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
Thousands of devotees from all over the country returned disappointed due to the absence of water in the holy tank of the ancient Ram Tirath temple where its annual mela concluded on the occasion of “Kartik Purnima” today.

This is perhaps for the first time that the tank remained dry, on the occasion of the annual mela that coincides with the Gurpurb of Guru Nanak Dev every year.

Devotees could manage only a “token” bath by sprinkling holy water from the segregated one-fourth part of the tank that had water to retain ‘sarovar’ fish.

Many were told not to attempt taking holy dip in the segregated area as this could endanger the life of fish that could die of asphyxiation, as had happened earlier this year.

The district administration’s apathy was evident as no attempt was made to fill the tank despite a joint demand by several organisations a month in advance in view of the approaching mela.

Apprehending tension at the site today, the police was deputed in strength as a permanent injunction was obtained in a court case in September against any new construction on the temple premises or “sarovar” by Mahants.

Devotees were made to park their vehicles about 200 metre from the entry of the shrine. About 150 policemen were deployed on the temple premises, ASI Gagandeep Singh said. Mahant Baldev Gir stated that it was sad that the sarovar for the first time had no water for holy dip.

However devotees, including Balmikis, Hindus, Sikhs and other communities, turned up in a large number to seek blessings.

Mr Ratan Ravan, president of Adi Dharma Samaj, perturbed over the non-filling of the sarovar by the district administration, stated that several Balmiki organisations, including Aklavaya Sena, Valmiki Sena, Adi Dharam Samaj and Bhagat Valmiki Dharma Samaj, under a single banner would undertake a second kar seva in January after approaching the district administration.

No VIP turned up at the venue today even as the last year saw many ministers and a former Union Minister at the mela.

The district administration in a statement just before the mela had claimed to have completed all arrangements for the success of the mela, including drinking water facilities, toilets and separate bathing area for women, with no mention of the empty sarovar.


Virasat Mela begins today
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
All arrangements have been made for the first-ever-two-day Virasat Mela (heritage festival) of Bathinda, which will begin on November 27 in the local Sports Stadium. The mela is being organised by the newly formed Bathinda Region Heritage Foundation.

The heritage festival is aimed at making the people aware of the past of the Malwa region by making an attempt to revive the old values, customs and traditions, apart from inculcating the spirit for preserving the historical and religious monuments dotting the region.

The BRHF has been formed by a section of people, including senior civil and police officials, academicians and medical professionals, who came on a common platform with the aim to preserve and propagate the rich cultural past of Bathinda, known as the heartland of the Malwa region.

Mr L.R. Nayyar, Commissioner, Income Tax and working President, BRHF, in a press note issued here yesterday, said that Pakistani Sufi singer Ustad Hussain Baksh and his sons would perform on November 27. The Sufi singers of this region would also participate in the event.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP and vice-president, BRHF, said that on November 28 old sports, including tug of war, wrestling, kabaddi, bazzi, mimicry and nachar, would be organised. Punjabi singers Harbhajan Mann, Gursewak Mann, Balkar Sidhu and Bibi Manpreet Akhtar would regale the audience.


Disabled ex-PSEB employee awaits benefits
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, November 26
Mr Dil Bahadur, an ex-employee of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), who became disabled in an accident while on duty, is still awaiting provident fund and other benefits due to him.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, Mr Bahadur said he was an assistant lineman with the PSEB. He suffered serious injuries when he fell down from an electric pole while carrying out some repair work on May 29, 2001. His backbone was broken that resulted in disability in his lower half.

A father of three, Mr Bahadur, is merely surviving on a pension of Rs 2,432 per month. He has discontinued his children’s studies owing to his poor financial state.

His woes don’t end here. “The PSEB has handed over a cheque amounting to Rs 3,61,808 to the local Labour Office whose officials are asking me to submit a guarantee of Rs 4 lakh for getting the same,” he alleged.

Lamenting the delay in payment, Mr Bahadur said he only had a plot worth Rs 90,000 and household goods worth Rs 1 lakh.

He said the officials also called him to their office for verifying his disability claim. He was taken to the office, which was on the third floor of the local administrative complex, on a wheelchair, but it could not be accommodated in the lift and he had to be manually lifted to the office.

The whole exercise caused further damage to his backbone that had to be fixed with a plate. He was also made to wait for a couple of hours for his verification.

A policyholder of the Life Insurance Corporation, Mr Bahadur is yet to receive its claim.

He said he had paid the half-yearly premium amounting to Rs 2,719 for 6 years. He said that his LIC agent delayed the proceedings of claiming his insurance amount.

When contacted, the Manager of the LIC, Mr S.K. Goyal, said his case had already been forwarded to the division office and the process would take some more time.


Chemists selling intoxicating drugs warned
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, November 26
Deputy Commissioner Alok Shekhar has said the district administration has received a list of city chemists who are making money by openly selling intoxicating drugs.

Addressing a special meeting of chemists from Jaito, Kotkapura and Sadik last evening, the DC warned the chemists selling intoxicating drugs to stop this trade immediately failing which strict action would be taken against them.

He made it clear that the district administration had launched an awareness campaign about the drug menace and any negligence by the chemists affecting the drive would not be tolerated.

He said the chemists could easily make out as to who was a drug addict or a patient. He said a ban had already been imposed on the sale of intoxicating drugs without a doctor’s prescription. He appealed the chemists to extend full cooperation to the district administration in this regard.

District Health Officer Rajinder Singh informed the DC that 417 chemists were issued licences in the district of which licences of 11 were cancelled in 2003-04 and recommendation to suspend licences of other five had been made.

He said drug inspector of Faridkot had an additional charge of Jalandhar, which was affecting the work in the district.

The president of the Chemist Union, Dr Harinder Mittal, assured the DC that the union would not hesitate in stopping those indulging in sale of intoxicating drugs at its own level.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of panchayats of the district, the DC warned those pushing stray cattle into the city limits of strict action. He said their act was affecting the drive launched by the district administration in association with the municipal council to curb the stray cattle menace in the city.


Sarpanch to face inquiry for selling woman, child
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
The Majitha police have decided to hold inquiry in the alleged selling of woman and her child by the Sarpanch of Bhindi Saidan village here. Mr R. P. S. Bajwa, SSP Majitha police district, has ordered Mr Manmohan Singh, DSP, to enquire into the matter.

It may be mentioned that Karnail Singh, along with Hazara Singh of Dagtut village, had allegedly sold one Simro and her son to one Balkar Singh of Nawa Pind village as published in a section of press. However, the Sarpanch had refuted the allegations.

The DSP when contacted said he had initiated the inquiry into the allegation. However, he added that the police had not received any written complaint in this regard.

He said the Sarpanch stated before the police that the husband of the woman was a drug-addict and she left on her own wish and not sold by him.


Confined to room for 25 years
Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Mansa, November 26
Destiny seems to have sentenced Mohinder Singh, a resident of Dulewala village of this district, to confinement. Hamir Kaur, the widowed mother of 45-year-old mentally retarded and mute Mohinder Singh, could not arrange treatment when he was young and now when the district administration has offered for his assistance to her for his treatment at a big hospital, outside the district, she has refused, saying that she can’t keep her son away from her.

About 25 years ago, Mohinder Singh started being violent with villagers and would tear apart their clothes. His mother would confine him to a room so that his movements could be restricted. She got a room constructed with ventilators in the house for him. He is rarely seen by residents of the village.

Facing poverty, Hamir Kaur has come to terms with the situation. She has married off her daughters, and has been taking care of her son.

She said her family had made arrangements for his treatment, but his condition had not improved. Her family had accepted it as God’s will. She says she will not send her son away for any treatment.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, who sent a team of civil officials to her house yesterday, when contacted, said as per information collected by him, Mohinder was neither chained nor confined to a room. He said Mohinder was confined to the room only when his mother used to go out of the house so that he would not harm himself.

A team of doctors had been sent to the village for exploring the possibilities of his treatment. If Hamir Kaur gave her consent, the district administration would make arrangements for his treatment in a big hospital, he said. The doctors would also try to treat him at his house, he added.


Meetings held for welcoming Elahi
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker Darbari Lal and Commissioner of Jalandhar Division Swaran Singh in two separate meetings held here today gave final shape to the arrangements to welcome Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Choudhari Pervez Elahi who would arrive here on December 2 to proceed to Patiala and other parts of the country.

The state government has planned a grand welcome to the visiting dignitary. Mr Elahi would land at Rajasansi airport. He would be presented a guard of honour by Punjab police jawans at Circuit House, while cultural troupes would give giddha and bhangra performances, besides staging traditional folk songs to greet him.


Jarnail Singh shifted to Raj Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Mr Jarnail Singh, who has served at important positions in the Punjab Government and Union Territory, Chandigarh, has joined as Joint Director, Public Relations in Punjab Raj Bhavan, official sources said today.

He has replaced, Mr Surinder Malik, Public Relations Officer, who was transferred from the Raj Bhavan, a week ago by the Secretary, Public Relations, Punjab.


Kang’s brother files rejoinder to SI’s claim
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 26
Dr G.B.S. Kang, brother of Youth Akali Dal leader Kiranbir Singh Kang, one of the main accused in the case of exchange of fire between two groups of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supporters that left two persons dead and many injured, has filed a rejoinder to the claim of Sub Inspector (SI) Ramandeep Singh. Kiranbir is absconding after the incident.

Dr Kang, had earlier filed an application alleging that the police, particularly SI Ramandeep Singh, who was SHO of Kharar police Station, when the incident took place, had falsely implicated many members of the family in the case.

In an affidavit filed in the High Court, Dr Kang had alleged that the family was being victimised by the police by subverting the process of law.

He had also said that call records of the mobile phone being used by the SI would show that he was nowhere near the place of incident.


Cotton prices crash below MSP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
In a significant development which could have far reaching effects on the financial position of farmers, the prices of raw cotton have come down drastically and have gone below its minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,815 at many places in Punjab. The prices of raw cotton have already been ranging lower than its MSPs in Haryana and Rajasthan.

What has triggered fear among cotton growers is the fact that the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), which buys raw cotton at MSP, has started purchasing it at a price lower in Punjab.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that fair average quality raw cotton had been fetching Rs 1,760 to Rs 1,825 per quintal in the markets of Punjab. A major part of the raw cotton, which was arriving daily in the markets, had been selling at MSP or below than that. The raw cotton in Haryana and Rajasthan had been fetching lower prices than its MSPs.

Official sources said the CCI today purchased about 250 bales of raw cotton from Abohar Mandi at Rs 1,792 per quintal, which was Rs 23 less than its MSP per quintal. The CCI had also been purchasing raw cotton less than its MSP in the Kalianwali and Sirsa markets in Haryana. The raw cotton in Rajasthan had been failing to fetch MSP for growers for the past about one month.

A senior official of the CCI said the higher authorities had instructed the field staff to give MSP only to fair average quality (FAQ) cotton and the raw cotton which was having low quality must be purchased at a lower rate.

This is for the first time that the prices of cotton has gone down since the beginning of cotton season in September, 2004. The prices of raw cotton at the beginning of current season were around Rs 2500 per quintal.

Interestingly, the arrival of raw cotton is increasing day by day in the North and its prices are going down. About 30,000 bales have been arriving daily in Punjab, Haryana and Sriganganagar circle of Rajasthan. So far more than 11 lakhs bales have arrived in the markets. The CCI has purchased about 30000 bales so far in the current season.

Mr Ashok Kapur, former president, the Northern India Cotton Association (NICA), Bathinda, pointed out that due to a sharp fall in the prices of raw cotton, purchasers had started indulging in “wait and watch game” in the hope that prices would come down further.

Mr Bhagwan Bansal, president, the Punjab Cotton Factory and Ginner’s Association, said that due to unscheduled and long power cuts in the state, ginning and pressing mills had not worked to their full capacity and it had slowed the processing of raw cotton in Punjab. This led to the glut of raw cotton in their premises. So they could not purchase more raw cotton.

Meanwhile, Mr Kattar Singh Jeeda, President, Punjab Cotton Growers Association, has urged the Centre to ban the import of cotton for at least three months and impose 40 per cent import duty after the period to arrest the drastic fall in the prices of raw cotton in Indian.


Abducted girl raped for week; accused held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 26
A 19-year-old girl was, abducted from near the BMC chowk here and raped for one week.

According to the police, Samshad Ali, a rickshaw puller, in his complaint, alleged that another rickshaw puller Sikandar, allegedly abducted her daughter from near the BMC chowk on November 9. The efforts of the family members to search for the girl proved futile. Sikandar according to the complainant, allegedly kept the girl at a secluded place in the Maqsoodan locality on the outskirts of the city for one week.

He said the girl was allegedly raped for a week before Sikandar left her near their residence. Ali said his daughter was so terrified that she did not tell anything about the incident. She was allegedly threatened by Sikandar of dire consequences in case she tried to reveal anything to the family members or the police.

But after a few days, she disclosed every thing to her parents, who approached the police.


4 of family hurt, one killed in car accident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 26
Four members of a family of Delhi and their driver were injured when their Maruti car No. (DL-76Q-6041) rammed into a tree near Khakh village on the Jalandhar-Pathankot road early this morning. They were identified as Krishan Dev Misra (40), his wife Bharti Misra (35), his sons Parshant (15), Prabhat (12), and driver Vijay Kumar (35). Vijay Kumar succumbed to his injuries in a private hospital at Jalandhar.

According to police sources, they were going from Delhi to Vaishno Devi. At about 3.30 this morning, the driver became drowsy due to which he lost control over the car and it dashed against the tree. All the injured were trapped in the mangled car.

None came for their rescue till sunrise. In the morning, a passerby informed the activists of the Bhai Ghaniya Mission at Tanda, who immediately reached there and took out all the injured from the car and got them admitted to the Civil Hospital Tanda,

Vijay Kumar was referred to Jalandhar in serious condition.


Singla calls for alumni funds to help universities
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 26
The alumni meet of Punjabi University’s School of Management Studies today saw Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla urging old students to donate their first salary to the institution and set an example by contributing his one month’s salary of Rs 38,000 on the occasion.

The alumni of the Management Studies School, which was encouraged by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai to help the university tide over the current financial crunch, will need more coaxing. The old students did not contribute anything and the meet ended with only Mr Singla’s cheque in the kitty.

During the afternoon session when all VIPs had left and only the alumni and the students and teachers of the university were left to interact with one another, the reason why they alumni did not reciprocate the gesture of the minister became evident. Most of them were not pleased with their alma mater as it was the first time that they had been called for this kind of a meeting in 20 years.

Mr Singla had sought their help, saying that university needs funds and here is where the alumni come in as the universities in Punjab do not have the funds with the government funding also at a low ebb”.

He said this experiment had been successfully tried out in universities in the USA.

The minister also floated the idea of handing over key departments like the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences to the industry to generate resources for the institution. He said the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department could be handed over to Ranbaxy .”Any money generated from the creation of patents could be shared with the university”, he added.

An old student Kanwardeep Singh, said the web site designed by the department was shabby and ranked 193 on the priority list of the Google Search Engine.

Another alumni, H P S Lamba, when asked by the students as to how committed he and his colleagues were on the issue of providing placements, said: “where is the effort from your side. We have come here leaving aside so many things but not even half of the 190 students are here to listen to us”.


Amarinder visits Punjabi varsity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 26 
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today made it clear that no stone would be left unturned as far as preparations for the World Punjabi Conference and the Indo-Pak Games are concerned. He took a round of the city and Punjabi University, along with his brother, Raja Malvinder Singh, to check the level of preparations for both events.

Capt Amarinder Singh went on to the check new Polo Ground which has been created over 15 acres. Besides this, he visited the Club Building being created in the same premises.

He then visited YPS Stadium where his brother Raja Malvinder Singh and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi made suggestions of what could be done to improve the preparations. The Chief Minister was also briefed about the plan drawn up for the opening and closing ceremonies of the games.

The Chief Minister also met Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai.


Unions to protest against killing of students
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, November 26
The joint front of seven student unions today gave a call for a rally on November 30 to protest against the murder of two students of Adesh Polytechnic College, Muktsar, by the driver of a bus belonging to Orbit Transport Company on November 22.

A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting of student unions held here today.

They alleged that private bus operators had been taking law into their hands. In the past one-and-half-years, six students, including four belonging to Muktsar, had been killed by private bus operators.

Not only this, the authorities concerned instead of taking action against the killers, had been registering false criminal cases against the students, they alleged.

Two students of the college, Deepak Sharma from Bathinda and Gurpreet Singh were killed after the driver of the bus, on which they were travelling, drove the vehicle in such a manner that the heavy branches of trees alongside the road hit them. They were severely injured and later died.

They demanded that a case of murder should be registered against the driver and the owner of the bus. But, they alleged that authorities concerned had registered a case of negligence against the driver.

They demanded that adequate compensation should be given to the families of the victims. One member of the family should also be given a government job. They said the government should ensure that all students, who had been holding identity cards, should be allowed to travel at concessional rates in the private buses.

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