P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mushtaq moots joint-panel on history
Efforts on for Hindu, Sikh festival in Pakistan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 5
While unfolding the agenda for the next World Punjabi Conference proposed to be held on the eve of Baisakhi in Lahore next year, Mr Kanwal Mushtaq, its general secretary, said efforts would be made to revive common festivals of Hindus and Sikhs, including Lohri, Divali and Holi in Pakistan.

Talking to The Tribune, here today, he said the conference would also strive to organise festivals in the name of great Sufi saints and Hindu/Sikh writers to promote composite Punjabi culture. He hoped that the members of conference in India would also reciprocate the gesture and organise similar festivals in the name of great Punjabi poets like Shah Mohammad of ‘Jangnama’ fame, who was born in East Punjab.

Mr Syed Majid Yazdani, a Punjabi poet and News Editor, of Daily Din, Lahore, said the current thaw in the region should be utilised to revive the age-old bonds of Punjabis who were separated during the Partition.

The general secretary of the conference said though the recent meeting in Patiala had achieved the desired goal to bring West and East Punjab closer yet it failed to issue a joint declaration. We were expecting solemn assurance by the West Punjab Chief Minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, to introduce Punjabi language at primary level in all schools of West Punjab, he added.

Mr Kanwal Mushtak and Mr Syed Majid Yazdani said history, written in both sides of Punjab was distorted and hence there was a need to re-write it. They also mooted the idea for constituting a joint Commission comprising eminent historians of both Punjabs so that distortion in the history could be removed. Mr Mushtak said that it was the moral duty of older generations of both Punjabs to help minimise misunderstandings at the juncture when new generation had desired to improve bilateral relations.

Appreciating the gesture of Guru Nanak Dev University for establishing Sai Mian Mir Chair, Mr Mushtak hoped that this gesture was likely to be reciprocated by East Punjab by establishing Guru Nanak Chair at Panjab University, Lahore. He added that the conference would also try to observe the martyrdom days of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev and other patriots in Pakistan who had jointly fought the freedom struggle along-with their Muslim and Hindu brethren. He said they were common heroes of India and Pakistan.


Cultural exchange could bring
peace in region: Jamal

Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 5
Dr Jamaludeen Jamal 81, a well-known Punjabi scholar from Pakistan, who came to India to attend World Punjabi Conference at Patiala after 58 years of Partition opined that the present process of exchanging heritage culture by the scholars and writers of India and Pakistan could make relations more cordial between both the two countries and could be helpful the permanent peace in the subcontinent.

He was talking to this correspondent at local DAV College here on Friday. Besides arranging conferences in both countries, exchange of views among the scholars, free mail service should be allowed. Postal services should be made cheaper and mailing system should be improved for making delivery of magazines, newspapers and books etc. as early as possible in the two countries. Free accessibility of people should also be allowed and trade links should be created which would bring them more nearer.

Dr. Jamaludeen Jamal who is now settled in California (USA), belonged to Harsa Kalota village of Mukerian, tehsil of Hoshiarpur district. He was accompanied by Mr. Janmit Singh, Principal, DAV College, on his way to his ancestral village. Principal Janmit Singh took him to his college and arranged his interaction with the students.

Dr. Jamaludeen was a doctor but has now switched over to the development of the Gurmukhi script in the USA. He is the author of five books out of which he had compiled a book of Punjabi poetry of 180 Punjabi poets. He has also written a primer for learning Punjabi, titled “ Bachian di Dekhwal “ in Gurmukhi script. On account of the non availability of type in Gurmukhi script in Pakistan, the said pen written book in his own handwriting was printed on Litho press in Lahore.

He suggested some joint venture by Indo-Pak scholars to further promote rich heritage culture of Punjab in both countries for harmony among the people of these countries.

Answering a question Dr. Jamaludeen Jamal said during his three-day stay in Punjab he was very much impressed by the hospitality extended to the delegates of Pakistan by the people of state. His doubts relating to hatred for Pakistan had been eliminated.


Dy Speaker mesmerises Elahi with Urdu couplets
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), interacts with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of Pakistan, at Punjab Raj Bhavan
The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), interacts with Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of Pakistan, at Punjab Raj Bhavan on Sunday. the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is also seen in the picture.

Chandigarh, December 5
Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of Punjab (Pakistan), has been completely swept off his feet by the hospitality extended to him and his family by the Punjab Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh. Emotionally overwhelmed by the welcome given to him since December 2, Chaudhary Pervaiz misses no opportunity to mention about the rousing reception given to him wherever he went during the past four days.

Today was the day of Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly, who mesmerised Chaudhary Pervaiz with his Urdu couplets recited at a tea party hosted by the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, at Punjab Vidhan Sabha here.

Accompanied by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chaudhary Pervaiz arrived at the Punjab Assembly well beyond the scheduled time. Turning nostalgic, Prof Darbari Lal, narrated the tales of his childhood spent at Bulle-Ki-Shah village, that incidentally now is a part of the Assembly segment of Chaudhary Pervaiz in Pakistan. Prof Darbari Lal has a good command over Urdu and has a lovely style of reciting couplets.

Chaudhary Pervaiz is highly optimistic about the ongoing peace process and feels that it would climax into a better future for the two countries.

He is all for increasing the frequency of the exchange of delegations of MPs, MLAs, jurists, students, artists and journalists between the two countries to foster mutual goodwill and harmony. The World Punjabi Conference and the Indo-Pak Punjab games would go a long way to further strengthen the peace movement between the two countries, he opined.

He was happy over the invitation extended to West Punjab legislators by Dr Kewal Krishan. Showering praise on his counterpart, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chaudhary Pervaiz said that Amarinder Singh had made a tremendous contribution to bring Punjabis from either side of the border more closer.

He visited the Assembly Hall, the Speaker’s chamber, the CM’s chamber and also took keen interest to understand the functioning of the Assembly during its sessions the role of the opposition etc.

Dr Kewal Krishan and Capt Amarinder Singh jointly presented a memento to Chaudhary Pervaiz. Prominent among others who were present on the occasion included Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and Mr Lal Singh, both Cabinet Ministers. The Chief Secretary, Mr Kamran Rasool, West Punjab, was also present.


Governor hosts lunch for Elahi

The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) on Sunday hosted lunch for Chaudhary Elahi. Chaudhary Pervaiz was accompanied by Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Governor appreciated the increasing dialogue, economic cooperation and social interaction between the two Punjabs.

He said positive initiatives were needed between the neighbouring countries to sort out issues for establishing lasting peace in the region.

He complemented both Chief Ministers for showing a level of leadership in the exchange of cultural and sport events and said that the process must continue to promote understanding between the people of the regions.


Bureaucracy in Pak is anti-Punjabi,
claims Pak writer

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 5
Renowned Punjabi writer Prof Afzal Tausif has said that bureaucracy and politicians in West Punjab are ‘anti-Punjabi’ and have become a hurdle in the promotion of the language .

Presenting her paper on the plight of Punjabi language in West Punjab, at a seminar organised by Janwadi Punjabi Writers Sangh at Nat Shala, here yesterday, she said the euphoria created with the visit of West Punjab’s Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to India was unlikely to produce results unless both Punjabs took concrete steps for the overall development of the Punjabi language . She said it was most unfortunate that West Punjab could produce only 24 women Punjabi writers even after 57 years of the Partition .

Speaking on massacre of Punjabis at the time of Partition, Prof Tausif said the tragic incidents would have been avoided had the Punjabis united at that time.

She said the exchange of gifts like Arabian horse and tractor between Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Capt Amarinder Singh won’t solve any problem. She said there was dire need to identify the problems being faced by Punjabi language in West and East Punjab.


Benazir to end exile next year, claims aide

Jalandhar, December 5
Maintaining that activities of fundamentalists in Pakistan had been brought under control to a maximum extent, Mr Arshad Aulakh, media adviser to the former Pakistan Prime Minister, Ms Benazir Bhutto, said here yesterday that the latter would end her exile and would return to motherland early nest year to lead the Pakistan People’s Party in next elections. — OC


Patna Jathedar not to attend Dec 8 meeting
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The Jathedar of Takht Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, today said that he would not only boycott the meeting convened by Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti on December 8 but would also declare the latter a tankhaiya on December 10 if he failed to disassociate himself from Giani Gurdit Singh, author of the controversial book, “Mundavani”, by that time.

Jathedar Iqbal Singh was in the city to attend a samagam organised by Gurdwara Gur Gyan Parkash Sahib, Jawaddi Taksal, here today.

Toughening his stance, Giani Iqbal Singh said although he was pained at the decision to proceed against Jathedar Vedanti, he had no other option as the book had hurt the sentiments of the Panth. Casting aspersions on the Granth was a blasphemous act and cannot be forgiven, he stressed.

“Instead of urging the author to tender an unconditional apology, Jathedar Vedanti was allegedly instigating Giani Gurdit Singh to remain defiant and challenge the authority of Takht Patna Sahib.”

“I was informed that Jathedar Vedanti and Giani Gurdit Singh would be attending the samagam today and that the matter would be resolved amicably. It seems that the duo have decided to stick to their stand and have prepared themselves to face the consequences,” he pointed out.

“I will proclaim the hukumnama (edict) at 5 am on December 10 in case I receive no reply from both parties. Attending the December 8 meeting convened by Jathedar Vedanti is out of the question as I have to leave for Patna tomorrow to fulfil some prior commitments. I had asked the Jathedar to advance the meeting but he refused to consider my request,” he added.

Commenting on the controversy, he said the book had created confusion in the minds of the community about Guru Granth Sahib which was intolerable. Giani Iqbal Singh said Jathedar Vedanti was trying to run away since he had no credible reply on the issue. In fact, some eminent personalities had tried to mediate but their efforts were thwarted by Jathedar Vedanti, he said.

The Jathedar reiterated his stand that all five Takhts were supreme since the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, himself accepted the supremacy of Guru Granth Sahib only and had decreed that all matters concerning the Panth be decided by the Panj Pyaras. This meant that no decisions could be taken or implemented which did not have the concurrence of the Jathedars of the five Takhts, he stressed.

Replying to a query on why such differences had cropped up now when in the past all decisions were taken by the Akal Takht Jathedar, he said of late the Jathedars had started toeing the line of their political masters by misusing powers vested in them. Is it not true that the political masters have installed and removed Akal Takht Jathedars on their whims and fancies, he questioned.


Probe ordered into graft charges against bank MD
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 5
The working of the Pathankot-based Hindu Cooperative Bank has come under cloud with the Department of Cooperatives initiating an inquiry into the corruption allegation against the Managing Director (MD) of the bank, Mr Suresh Gupta.

Highly placed sources in the Department of Cooperatives told The Tribune that the main allegation against the MD was that he nominated his brother, Mr Ashok Gupta, on the panel of the bank. At present, Mr Ashok Gupta is the sole lawyer on the panel of the Hindu Cooperative Bank at Pathankot.

Despite the direction of the Central Vigilance Commission that a relative or blood relation of any employee cannot be given direct or indirect financial benefit, the brother of the MD had been allegedly paid lakhs as fee for representing the bank on legal issues.

Mr Suresh Gupta when asked to comment on the issue admitted that his brother was the lawyer on the panel of the bank. He, clarified that earlier there were four lawyers, including his brother, on the panel of bank. Two of them had died while third is the congress MLA from Pathankot. So now his brother is the sole lawyer on the panel “Payments to my brother were made according to the bank rules. The board of the bank is likely to include more lawyers on bank by April,” he said.

However, the cooperative department sources said that the MD could not employ him as a lawyer on the bank panel. It amounted to abuse of his position by the MD for giving direct benefit to his brother.

The other allegations against him include charges of investing bank money in financially unstable institutions and fraud in sale of bonds. It has been alleged that the bank purchases 6000 bonds of Industrial Inv. Bank of India despite the fact that the financial institution was in poor financial health. Further the bonds were sold on April 15 and 19 this year at the price of Rs 17,900 per bond against the prevailing market rate of Rs 17,950.

After selling the bonds, the MD purchased bonds worth Rs 7 crore another financially unsound institution, Vadodra hotel and bridge at a price higher than prevailing market rate. Besides, allegations have also been levelled that bank money was invested in poor financial institutions like Himachal Pradesh SDL.

However, the MD claimed that the bank had invested in bonds as per the laid down directions.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Cooperatives and Agriculture, Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, said an inquiry into the allegations of corruption against the MD was in progress. Employees guilty of corruption would be taken to task, he said.


Bareta rape case
Rape case registered against accused
Chander Parkash

Bareta (Mansa), December 5
The local police has registered a rape case against the accused in a case pertaining to suicide by Navneet Kaur, alias Paramjit Kaur alias Pinki, of the town recently.

Police sources said the rape case was registered against Bhagirath Lal, a rice mill owner and senior BJP leader, Surinder Kumar, also a rice mill owner, Dharam Pal, Charanjit Kaur, alias Golu, and Palwinder Singh, mother and husband of the victim, late last night after they were found guilty of the offence in an inquiry conducted by a senior police official.

Earlier, a case was registered against the accused for their alleged involvement in forcing Pinki, wife of Palwinder Singh, an employee of the rice mill being run by Bhagirath Lal, to commit suicide.

Thousands of residents of the town and surrounding villages, including activists of the BKU, had laid a siege to the local police station for two days to press the authorities concerned to register a rape case against the accused. A case under Section 306 of the IPC was registered at the police station on a complaint of Ms Chinder Kaur, maternal aunt of the victim.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, during his recent visit to the Budhlada Hospital where the body of the victim had been kept, had asked Mr Sukhwinder Singh, ADC, to conduct a probe into the suicide and submit the report within 15 days.

The activists of the BKU and other agitators alleged that Paramjit Kaur was first raped by the accused and then forced to consume poison. They also alleged that the mother of the victim had illicit relations with one of the accused and had hand in the crime.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Pinki, who belonged to the town, was married to Mr Palwinder Singh of Sirsa. Mr Palwinder Singh got a job in the rice mill being run by Bhagirath Lal. He was also given a residential quarter on the mill premises.

On December 1, Pinki consumed celphos tablets under mysterious circumstances. She was taken to a hospital in Budhlada town and then to the Civil Hospital, Mansa. From Mansa she was referred to Ludhiana. She died on the way to Ludhiana.

A Duty Magistrate could not record her statement as she had been declared unfit for making any statement. She died without making any statement.

Mr Joginder Singh, SHO, Breta police station, said a chemical examination report of medical conducted on Pinki was yet to be received. He said raids were being conducted to arrest the accused.


Favourable response to Kisan Goshtis
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Harbeant Singh, an old farmer of Malwa belt, had a question. He wanted to know why the yield of his wheat crop had gone down by almost 20 per cent after he went in for zero tillage process.

"The land is the same, 19 acres. My labour and investment are also the same. But, why has the yield from my field gone down this year? Is it because I adopted the method of zero tillage?" he asked experts from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

The scene of this was one of the kisan “goshtis” being organised at the Circus Ground as part of the ongoing Agro Tech 2004, being organised by the CII.

These goshtis are interactive sessions, replete with television clips, where experts, both government as well as private sector, interact with farmers and try to remove their doubts.

Started during Agro Tech 2002, these kisan goshtis have been witnessing huge participation from farmers.

A farmer, Mr Gurnam Singh of a village near Patiala, stated that he was attending his third session of the day as he wanted to know more about some subjects.
His question on how to stop the wheat crop from turning yellowish due to a disease started a chain of similar questions.

"Last time, I attended one such goshti and implemented some steps that the expert told me to. I benefited a lot and that is why I am back," he said.

"Basically, with most of farmers not in a position to go to PAU or private sector experts for their everyday problems, they seize to this opportunity and try to get as much knowledge as possible," explains Vishal Rawat of agriculture-centric publication Agriculture Spectrum. Mr Rawat is closely associated with these goshtis.

One of the major issues that has been dominating proceedings of these goshtis is lack of proper marketing facilities for agriculture produce.

Farmers ask the experts why government agencies don't do much about improving the marketing system of farm produce. The "failure" of contact farming in Punjab also sometimes crops up during discussions.

Such is the interest among farmers for these sessions that groups of farmers actually request the organisers to discuss an issue other than what is being discussed.

For example yesterday, some farmers wanted to see a video clip about the steps needed to increase the yield from milch cattle.

Yet another wanted to know the latest techniques in organic farming. The cultivation of Jatropha, a medicinal plant that is used for manufacture of bio-diesel, farmers were told, can be more successful in Haryana than Punjab. The reason, they were told, is that the plant is grown on wasteland.

Says Dr Manjit Singh, who has been deputed by PAU to attend these sessions, "These farmers have a lot of questions which they ordinarily don't ask. They also have a lot of demands, which we cannot do much about."

As for the issue raised by Mr Harbeant Singh, he was told that his soil should be got checked.


Historical site in utter neglect
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 5
Evidence of a historical site about the existence of Harappan civilisation at Bara village, about 6 km from Ropar, is vanishing. This is because the place has not been taken into possession either by the administration or preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The site is disappearing unnoticed for want of care and protection as parts of it have been converted in to fields by the villagers who owned it.

The existence of the Harappan civilisation at the village came to light during the excavation of the site in 1955 and again in 1977. The medium sized mound situated along the link road in Bara village shows a 4-metre thick cultural deposit, which is divided, into lower, middle and upper levels.

The parts of pots of different colours and bones were seen in different layers of the mound. The pieces of pots and bones were also seen scattered in the area around the mound when The Tribune team visited the site.

The mound-reveals a story of neglect, as the place around it has already been converted into the fields. The timely action is important to preserve it; otherwise it will lose its artifacts, which could provide valuable information about the unsolved mysteries.

The pots found during the excavation by the Bara pottery were distinctive and basically red ware. The pottery was mostly painted in chocolate or black colour with geometrical patterns.

Besides, the structures were mostly built of stones, mud, bricks and burnt clay lumps.

Among the antiquities found in excavation are terracotta triangular cakes, animal figures, beads, gamesmen, toycart frames, wheels and beads of semi-precious stones. In addition to it, round and heart-shaped bangles, bracelets, sling balls and rings of faience are suggestive of a well-developed faience industry at that time.

“The site is important for researchers who have been working on the existence of Harappan culture. But as the site is decaying it will soon become extinct. It can be preserved for the students or developed as a tourist place”, said a research scholar who visited the site for research.

When contacted Superintendent of the Archaeological Museum at Ropar, Mr Suresh Singh, said that the department did not preserve the mound at Bara village. Therefore, it could not interfere in any kind of activity there. He said the artifacts discovered during the excavation from the site had been displayed in the museum.


Mann backs tirade against Vedanti
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 5
SAD (A) President Simranjit Singh Mann today lent support to the anti-Vedanti observations made by Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Takht Patna Sahib, describing these as bitter truths and food for thought among the Sikh diaspora.

In a press note issued here, Mr Mann demanded the discontinuation of the practice of presenting siropas (inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple as well as at special functions organised by the SGPC at its information centre for anybody, including foreign dignitaries, as it went against the Sikh creed of egalitarianism.

Presenting swords and siropas to non-Sikhs, as had been done in case of Pakistan’s Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi and BJP President L.K. Advani earlier, was against the law and Article 25 and could invite Arms Act provisions as the Constitution envisioned carrying of kirpan by Sikhs alone, he argued. Presenting siropas to members of the Badal family degraded the concept of siropas, he asserted.

Mr Mann asserted that the Patna Sahib Jathedar had raised right points. He agreed with Giani Iqbal Singh that the Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, had been partial in awarding tankhah to SAD President Parkash Singh Badal and ignoring the issue of Ms Surinder Kaur Badal visiting the dera of Ashutosh of Noormehal. He supported Giani Iqbal Singh for excommunicating Giani Gurdit Singh for authoring the book ‘Mundavni’. Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti should answer all queries raised by the Patna Sahib Jathedar and clarify his role in the controversial book, demanded Mr Mann.


Virbhadra rules out resignation by Kuldeep Kumar

Jalandhar, December 5
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today ruled out resignation by his Cabinet colleague and Industries Minister Kuldeep Kumar following the latter’s nomination as the new Congress state president.

“State Congress president Kuldeep Kumar will continue to work as a minister as well as the party president till the pleasure of the party high command,” he said while talking to reporters here.

Mr Virbhadra Singh and Mr Kumar were in the town to participate in the marriage ceremony of Hindi daily Vir Pratap editor Chandramohan’s daughter this evening. — UNI


Centre to introduce employment Bill: MP
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 5
There is no fundamental difference between the Left and the UPA government because the focus of the government was to ensure growth with social justice and creation of avenues of employment, particularly in the rural areas.

The UPA government will present an employment guarantee Bill in the coming winter session of Parliament, said Mr Ashwani Kumar, a senior Congress leader and MP, while talking to The Tribune here today.

He was here on the invitation of Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, to preside over a function organised to start the development process in the Sirhind constituency on the eve of commemoration of tri-centenary of the martyrdom of the Sahibjadas.

Mr Ashwani Kumar had sanctioned Rs 10 Lakh from his MP quota for construction of 2 km road leading to Fatehgarh Sahib.

He also addressed a public meeting at Nandpur Kalour town in the district and laid the foundation stone for a road.

He said it was a matter of concern for the country that BJP was raising communal issues to divide the country on communal lines. He said by the raising issue of Shankaracharya, the BJP had tried to divide society on religious lines.

He said he had urged the Prime Minister during his Amritsar visit to give Punjab a status of “special state”, as Punjab had always fought for the national cause. He said the Prime Minister had agreed to sanction big projects in BIO- Technology and industry.

He said Dr Harbans Lal had invited Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh, and the President, Mr Abdul Kalam to attend commemoration ceremony of sacrifice of Sahibjadas of Guru Gobind Singh. He called upon all organisations and parties to observe the occasion in true religious spirit.

Later, addressing a rural gathering at Nandpur Kalour, he said he had come from Gurdaspur to pay his obeisance to the martyrs. He said it was a matter of concern that political leaders were working for their personal gains.

He said if the trend continued, the democracy would not survive. He said that the UPA government would watch the interests of farming community on priority basis.

In his address Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, thanked Mr Ashwani Kumar for sanctioning Rs 10 lakh for his area. He said he had demanded Rs 25 crore from the Prime Minister for the development of the area.

He assured the pilgrims that all basic amenities would be provided to them on Jor Mela.

Vaid Hari Krishan, president, DCC, Joginder Maini, Ranjeet Singh, Chairman MC Sirhind, Gurinder Dhillon Chairman, Samsher Singh, chairman, Harinder Singh Kang, chairman, Pt Naresh Sharma, Subhash Sood, Congress leaders, also addressed the gathering.


Regularisation of colony sought
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, December 5
Residents and plot holders of the local Baba Jujhar Singh Nagar situated near Barnala Gate are in a dilemma as the colony falls within the land proposed to be acquired by PUDA for setting up an urban estate here. The plot holders and residents of the colony have constituted ‘Baba Jujhar Singh Nagar Welfare Association to press the state government to drop the acquisition proposal of Baba Jujhar Singh Nagar.

The association has urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, regularise it on the pattern of colonies regularised at Kharar, Jirakpur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and Bathinda.

Mr Dilbagh Singh Pabla and Mr.Joginder Singh and Mr Chaman Lal Jassi, president and secretary respectively said Mr Vikas Garg, Additional-Chief-Administrator cum Land Acquisition Collector, PUDA, Jalandhar, had asked the affected residents to give their representation against the proposed acquisition of land by PUDA.

In the representation to Mr Garg the residents have pleaded that the proposed acquisition of Baba Jujhar Singh Nagar was against the norms of PUDA as the survey for the acquisition of land was conducted at three or four locations in 1999 and since then PUDA had neither notified its intention or issued official notice to general public regarding the choice of location for the proposed colony. The Jujhar Singh Nagar consisting of 100 residential plots was established by a private coloniser development have been undertaken in 1994-95 and about 80 per cent of the area had been covered by construction.


Grants under Ashirwad Scheme to be released soon
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 5
Ashirwad Scheme, a replacement of the Shagun Scheme run by the SAD/BJP Government, is likely to be implemented in the state. This was stated by Ms Gurkawal Kaur, state Minister for Social Security, here yesterday.

The Punjab Government proposed the Ashirwad Scheme after it decided to discontinue the Shagun Scheme of the previous government on the plea that many illegal beneficiaries had taken advantage under the scheme. The previous government used to give Rs 5,000 as Shagun for the marriage of girls from poor families. Under the Ashirwad Scheme the present government has decided to provide Rs 11,000 as support for the marriage of girls belonging to the economically weaker families. However, till date the aid under the Ashirwad Scheme has remained only on papers.

Ms Gurkawal, however, said the budget for the scheme had been sanctioned and it would be implemented very soon. She said the Punjab Government had allocated a budget of Rs 196 crore for the old-age and widow pensioners in the state. Out of it Rs 49 crore had already been released.

The minister said as per a fresh survey there were 91,167 beneficiaries of the social security schemes in Gurdaspur district. All of them would be given monetary help under various schemes very soon. She was here to inaugurate a flower show competition organised in Fish Park by the Gurdaspur Municipal Council.

Mr Khushal Behl, former Education Minister and local MLA, who was also present, demanded the government should announce a special package for Gurdaspur district. Being the border area the district had unique problems that needed to be redressed through special development programmes for the area.

Ms Gurkawal Kaur distributed cheques worth Rs 4 lakh among panchayats of the area and Rs 12 lakh for the upgradation of facilities in 10 government schools.


Gurdwara granted permission for nagar kirtan
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 5
The event manager of the celebrations to mark the tercentenary of the martyrdom of Baba Zorawar Singh and Baba Fateh Singh, sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, has allowed the management committee of Gurdwara Manji Sahib at Aloarakh, near Bhawanigarh in Sangrur district, to organise a nagar kirtan on the occasion. An urn reportedly containing a part of the ashes of the sahibzadas is preserved at the gurdwara.

The sangat of the area will now witness two such events, the Sikhi Sidak March, scheduled to be organised by the SAD (A) from Gurdwara Damdama Sahib to Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup at Fatehgarh Sahib, and an other march from Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup to Aloarakh.

Mr Gurdit Singh, President of the management committee, Gurdwara Manji Sahib, told The Tribune that the event committee had allowed them to organise a nagar kirtan from Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup to their village on December 27.

He said a delegation of the management committee, led by former SGPC member Jathedar Seeta Singh, met the committee at Fatehgarh Sahib today. “After going through our representation, the manager asked us to prepare for the nagar kirtan,” said Mr Gurdit Singh.

Mr Subheg Singh, manager of the tercentenary celebrations at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup, confirmed that the management committee had been allowed to organise a religious procession as a part of tercentenary celebrations.


Ramoowalia to take up SGPC problems
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 5
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, member, National Commission for Minority Education Institutions, yesterday offered to take up the problems faced by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC)-run minority education institutions in the state.

Talking to newsmen after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, Mr Ramoowalia said since the commission was going to take care of the issues relating to the problems of the minority community-run professional and educational institutions in the country would give top priority to the grievances of the DGPC institutions at the highest level.

He, however, said the SGPC must present their case to the commission without hesitation.

Mr Ramoowalia said there were 143 minority education institutions in the country and the commission would help impart education to the minorities which included Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis.

He said the commission had been empowered with appellete powers to adjudicate the issues related to the minority institutions.


PPCB exceeding its brief: IMA
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 5
Irked over the “re-allocation” of areas to all four common bio-medical waste treatment facilities and making owners of hospitals jointly responsible for handling and treatment of biomedical waste by the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) without consulting it, the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Punjab, has accused the PPCB of exceeding its brief and violating the fundamental rights of consumers to select the service providers of their choice.

In its order issued on November 22, the PPCB had authorised all four treatment facilities, based at Ludhiana, Mohali, Amritsar and Pathankot, to collect, receive, store, transport, treat and dispose of biomedical waste from various healthcare establishments and had, in a way, made the owners of healthcare establishments jointly responsible for proper handling and treatment of biomedical waste in accordance with the provisions of the Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998. The PPCB had also divided the areas of operation among these four treatment facilities.

The PPCB exercise irked the IMA, Punjab, which maintained that the areas of operation had already been allocated by it.

Though no senior PPCB official was available for comments, it was learnt that the order was circulated by the PPCB among all its regional offices and the PPCB officials were asking doctors to sign with the treatment facilities.


Eradi tribunal team visits Harike barrage
Tribune Reporters

Harike, December 5
Two members of the Eradi water tribunal formed under the 1984 Rajiv Gandhi-Longowal accord for the distribution of water among Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, today visited the Ravi-Sutlej-Beas confluence here. The tribunal has been under political pressure to review the accord.

The members of the tribunal, Justice A.P. Balakrishnan and Justice M.Y. Eqbal, along with officials from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, had first-hand information about the availability of water for the three states.

The Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr Harbhagwan Singh, while presenting the Punjab’s case to the tribunal members pointed out Punjab did not have surplus water to release for neighbouring states.

Meanwhile, senior officials from the departments of irrigation Haryana and Rajasthan gave their viewpoint on the contentious issue of water, which had received a major set back with the abrogation of the Sutlej-Yamuna canal link agreement by the Punjab Assembly.

Justice Balakrishnan and Justice Eqbal spent about one and a half hours at the barrage.

The Advocate-General presented a three-page memo to the members enumerating significant aspects of the water available to the state. The note had pointed out that the original storage of the Harike reservoir was 67,900 acre feet but due to the accumulation of silt and vegetation the capacity had been reduced to about 10,000 acres feet only. The panel members after their four-day stay returned to Delhi.


Death anniversary of Tapiala observed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 5
The CPM today paid homage to freedom fighters, including Fauja Singh Bhullar, Gurdial Singh Tapiala, Achhar Singh China, and Sohan Singh Josh, at the 12th death anniversary of freedom fighter Dalip Singh Tapiala at his native village, Tapiala, located near the Indo-Pak border, about 24 km from here.

Mr Mangat Ram Pasla, state secretary, CPM, said in this era it was important to recall the efforts of freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives and comforts to get freedom for the nation.

He said in this materialistic, competitive and capitalistic world, people were rapidly forgetting the sacrifices of their forefathers. Such occasions helped in bequeathing these traditions and stories of sacrifice to our next generation.


General category welfare body members
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 5
The Kapurthala district and Phagwara block units of the Punjab State General Categories Welfare Federation have been dissolved and new office-bearers elected.

A press note issued last night by the state organising secretary of federation, Mr Surinder Kumar Saini, said that following had been unanimously elected the district office-bearers: president — Nirmal Singh, acting president —Amarjit Singh, senior vice-presidents — Ajit Singh Ghuman, Swaran Singh and Bhupinder Singh; general secretary — Narinder Sharma, joint secretary —Kulwinder Singh Dod, organising secretary — Buta Singh, cashier —Bhupinder Singh, press secretary — Sushil Sharma, legal advisor — Vijay Sharma.

Block office-bearers: president — Gurtek Singh, Senior vice-president —Satinderjit Singh Atwal, general secretary — Amrik Singh, joint secretary —Gurnam Singh Saini, cashier — Pardeep Kumar, organising secretary —Nirmal Singh Narur, press secretary — Harjinder Gogna, office-secretary — Bhupinder Sharma.

The new team resolved to spearhead the struggle to end caste-based reservation and work for economic-based and merit-centric job system.


HIV positive girl’s b’day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 5
It was altogether a different function held here yesterday in connection with the birthday of a HIV positive girl, who was adopted by Mr Vijay Goyal, a social activist and state awardee, after the death of her parents, who were also HIV- positive.

Not only did members of the family of Mr Goyal attend the birthday celebrations, but a section of district officials also came with gifts for the tiny tot.

The house was decked with flowers and guests came from all walks of life. A huge cake was cut. The guests included volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva, and tiny tots living in the locality.

Neha’s schooling had begun at the local Police Public School. She was three years old today. Journalists who went to Mr Goyal’s house to cover the event also presented gifts to Neha.


6 of family hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 5
Six pilgrims, including an NRI couple, were injured in a road accident on the bridge of Chaheru Bein on the GT Road, 8 km from here, last evening. The pilgrims were returning in their car to Delhi after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Their car hit the bridge railing causing the accident as the driver lost control of the vehicle. The injured were hospitalised here but were later referred to Ludhiana.

The injured included Mr Lal Singh, his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, NRIs based in New York, Mr Avtar Singh, his wife, Ms Harcharan Kaur, their teenaged son Surinder Singh, and Ms Daljit Kaur of Sant Nagari, Tilak Nagar, New Delhi. All are family members.


Residents stage dharna against encroachment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 5
Hundreds of residents of six newly developed localities today staged a dharna on the Amrik Singh road to protest against the non-removal of encroachment from one of the main roads of the town.

Residents including some office-bearers of the district unit of the Congress also threatened to intensify their agitation if the district administration failed to remove encroachment. They said a joint action committee of residents of Vishal Nagar, Panchvati Nagar, Green Avenue, Tagore Nagar, Shakti Nagar and New Shakti Nagar had been constituted to deal with the issue.


SC vacates stay on probe against police officials
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 5
The Supreme Court has vacated the stay on the probe against eight police personnel, including SP Jarnail Singh, and ordered a further investigation into a case in which Shavinder Pal Puri was falsely implicated in the recovery of 1.75 kg of opium.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Puri said the police registered a false case against him on September 26, 1998, showing opium seizure from his possession. Mr Puri wrote to some senior police officials, stating that he had been falsely implicated in the case.

Acting on his plea, the crime branch probed the matter and termed the case as false, following which the trial court also discharged him. Later, he filed a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which took a serious notice of the matter and ordered arrest of the police officials concerned, besides slapping a fine of Rs 5 lakh on them. The Moga police also registered a case against these police officials.

Punjab then took the case to the Supreme Court, that stayed proceedings in the matter. According to Puri, on November 22, a Supreme Court Bench, comprising Mr Justice Santosh Hegde and Mr Justice S.B. Sinha, asked the investigating agency to carry on its probe into the case. 


Murder case of 6-yr-old boy solved, 1 held
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 5
The Bhagta Bhai Ka police of the district has solved the blind murder case of six-year-old Birbal, alias Vicky, that took place on April 12, 2004, at Bhagta Bhai Ka town. The police also arrested Mansa Singh, who was allegedly involved in the crime.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the blind murder case was solved by Mr Rajinder Kumar, in charge, police post, Bhagta Bhai Ka. He added that Mr Rajinder Kumar came to know about the name of the suspect in the crime after he got a tip-off.

He said the victim, Birbal, did not return home on April 12, 2004, after playing with his friends. On April 14, his body was found from the pond located near his house. The body was bundled into a gunny bag along with bricks. A case in this connection was registered under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC at the Dyalpura police station.

The police could not get any clue about the murder for a long time. However, later Mr Rajinder Kumar got secret information and he arrested Mansa Singh.

During questioning, Mansa Singh confessed that he had killed Birbal. He said he had killed Birbal to take revenge from his father, Baba Sat Pal as he (Baba Sat Pal) had developed illicit relations with his (Mansa Singh’s) wife about six years ago.

The suspect added that due to these illicit relations, he used to harass his wife, who committed suicide later on. Subsequently, a case under Section 306 was registered against him and he was in jail. He added that after he got released from the jail, he killed Birbal to take revenge.


Pvt colleges deny gratuity to promotees
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 5
“Is it a sin to do Ph.D and become principal of a college?” asks Mr Rakesh Mohan Sharma, Principal, SPN College, Mukerian, who has been fighting with the management of his previous college to get gratuity.

Mr Rakesh Mohan Sharma served in AB College, Pathankot, for about 23 years. Thereafter got selected as Principal of a Mukerian college. However, the management of AB College has not paid him gratuity.

He is not the only one facing the problem. There are many lecturers who have improved qualification and moved to other colleges on promotion or for better avenues. However, the managements of private colleges were denying them their legal dues on one pretext or the other.

Some others in the district, who have also been denied dues by the private managements, include Mr Sawtantar Murgai, who served for 25 years at SSM Arya College, Dinanagar, and was presently serving as Vice-Chancellor of Gurukul Kangri University in Uttaranchal, Mr Balwinder Singh, principal, SAD College, Kaddor Sahib, Amritsar, who served as a lecturer at SN College, Qadian, for more than 20 years, Mrs Suman Lata, Principal, Sehzada Nanad College, Amritsar, who served for more than 20 years at SD College, Bathinda, and D.P. Gupta, who served for more than 20 years at Doaba College, Jalandhar.

As per the gratuity Act, any employee who has served for more than three years in any institution was entitled to gratuity.

However, Mr B.D. Bhudiraja, Dean, College Development, Punjab University, Chandigarh, said gratuity had to be paid once in life only if the employer remains the same. If an employee changes job and his employees change in process, he was entitled to payment of gratuity on termination of service.

Mr Rakesh Mohan alleged that his gratuity was not paid by the college concerned despite the DPI, Aided Colleges, and Guru Nanak Dev University directing it to do so.

He has now taken up his case with the syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University.


No schoolbuilding for deaf and dumb children
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 5
The children at the deaf and dumb school here are without any building or basic facilities. Their teaching is being carried out in the meeting room of the Small Savings Department. Among the files and meetings of the department, teachers of the deaf and dumb school are forced to impart them training.

The reason for that is that the local land mafia has targeted the old building and land of the deaf and dumb school. The owner, who was a nun and philanthropist, donated the land and building of the school to the Red Cross. With the passage of time the area came in the most posh locality of Gurdaspur town. The value of the land was now in crores.

This attracted the attention of the land mafia. They allegedly in connivance with some local officials produced a relative of the late nun. A relative produced the will of the late nun in which he allegedly claimed that the late nun bequeathed her entire property in his name.

The district administration, however, challenged the will in the court. While the matter of legality of the will was being decided in the court, a company owned by the local land mafia got the registry of the land and building registered in its name from the relative of the late nun, who claimed to be her heir.

The land mafia then tried to take control over the building by damaging its structure and getting it declared unsafe for the children. In this case the former Deputy Commissioner of the district,Mr Sinha, got an FIR registered against the accused.

Later the land mafia managed to get the deaf and dumb school shifted to the meeting room of the Small Savings Department. The issue of title of the land was still being contested in the court.

However, the real sufferers in this entire imbroglio were the deaf and dumb children. Whenever, a meeting is to be held in the room or some official work is to be conducted, the children have to shift to the verandah, braving the hot and cool climate. Besides, basic facilities like separate toilets were also not available to the students.

The teachers teaching the children alleged that the children were suffering due to the lack of basic facilities. They also alleged that they had not been paid any salary for the past one year.

Due to lack of basic facilities and low motivation level of teachers, the strength of the children in the school was not increasing. Presently there were just 30 students in the school.

Deputy Commissioner Harjit Singh, when contacted, said that they were fighting the case legally to protect the building and land of the deaf and dumb school. Till then an alternative site has also been sought to accommodate the children.


PCCTU decision endorsed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 5
Prof H.S. Walia, vice-president of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), and Prof Parminder Singh, secretary of the PCCTU today fully endorsed the decision taken by office-bearers of the PCCTU to postpone the programme of courting arrest by the teachers, slated for Chandigarh on December 7. The teachers were to court arrest to protest against the failure of the state government to fulfil their demands.

In a press note issued today, Professor Walia said the programme of the PCCTU coincided with the programme of the All-India Federation of University and College Teachers union (AIFUCTU), which had given a call for a march to Parliament the same day at New Delhi. The AIFUCTU had given a call to protest against the ban on strikes by the government.


PCCTU general secy’s decision condemned

Jalandhar, December 5
Two office-bearers and 11 executive committee members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) flayed the union general secretary for postponing the executive committee decision to court arrest at Chandigarh on December 7 in support of the teachers' long-standing demands.

PCCTU secretaries Dr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Aminder Pal Singh, and executive committee member, Dr R.B. Singh, while expressing resentment at the general secretary's decision termed it as "unilateral" and "undemocratic".

The union office-bearers urged the PCCTU president S.S. Hundal to postpone the decision to court arrest to for some days in the interest of the unity of the teacher's body. — PTI


Rice millers threaten to move HC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 5
Procurement agencies of the state govt have allegedly committed a fraud with rice millers of the State amounting to crores of rupees as they did not passed on maintenance and custody charges of paddy which the agencies got from the Central Government to the millers. The Punjab Rice Millers Association has urged the Chief Minister to direct the state procurement agencies to make payment to millers. Otherwise the association would be forced to knock the door of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said Mr Tarsem Saini, state President, while addressing a press conference at Bassi Pathana after presiding over the state-level meeting of millers.

He said a delegation of the rice millers would meet Mr Avtar Henry, Food and Civil Supply Minister, to apprise him of the problems being faced by Agro-based industry of the state. He said the state procurement agencies charge Rs 1.82 per quintal a month from the Central Government for maintenance and storage, where as the paddy is stored and maintained by the millers, so this cost should be paid to millers. He said it was unfortunate that not only the Central Government, but the state govt was also bent upon discourging the already sick industry of the state. He said the Chief Minister had made a promise with the association that the recovery rates of “Bardana” would be charged as 60 per cent of the levy rates but he had not implemented the promise. He said the state government had introduced the double taxation system by imposing tax on byproducts of paddy, where as tax is already paid on paddy. He urged the State Government to take up the issue with the Central. He said due to damage caused by rain during the purchase season, the paddy had high moisture content so during milling the yield lose weight by 3 per cent.

He said the rice millers were also being fleeced as the procurement agencies charge Rs 12.50 per gunny bag from the millers, whose market rate is approximately Rs 7.50 per bag.

Mr Sudhir Arora, State unit vice president, Mr Nakesh Jindal, joint secretary, Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, district unit president, Mr Vijay Verma, Chairman, Mr Lakhbir Singh, local president, also addressed press conference.

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