P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



We want ‘dosti ka safar’ to continue: Elahi
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
“Dosti ka safar” (journey of friendship), which started 10 months ago on a sound footing, has been on the path to progress,” says Mr Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister of West Punjab, maintaining that “Kashmir problem should be left to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan for a negotiated settlement.”

This noticeable change in stance of Mr Elahi on Kashmir issue was significant as he had on December 3 taken the stand that “unless core issues, including Kashmir, are resolved to the satisfaction of both India and Pakistan besides people of Kashmir, process of normalisation of bilateral relations cannot be expedited.”

Mr Elahi said that on his return, he would strongly recommend to the President, General Pervez Musharraf, about starting of Amritsar-Lahore bus service, further relaxation in visa restrictions to facilitate free exchange of visits between peoples of the two countries and exploration of the possibility of permitting trade across the border.

“It has been a very fruitful and satisfying visit. The warmth, love and affection showered upon us in Amritsar, Chandigarh and Patiala would remain fresh in our minds all our lives. We want this ‘dosti ka safar’ to continue at an accelerated pace,” said Mr Elahi.

“We will like Capt Amarinder Singh to visit Punjab soon before we start work on a new road from Wagah to Nanakana Sahib. We intend to name the road after Guru Nanak,” Mr Elahi said, claiming that the work on this project would start immediately as “I want this road to be ready soon. We will provide all facilities to our Sikh brethren as and when they visit any shrine or Nanakana Sahib which is being developed as a model city.”

Today Mr Elahi used guarded language while answering questions on the Kashmir issue at a joint Press Conference with Capt Amarinder Singh at Chandigarh airport held prior to his departure for New Delhi at the end of his five-day visit to Punjab.

“The atmosphere of peace, bonhomie and friendship developed during the last 10 months is creating a conducive atmosphere for the two Prime Ministers to continue their dialogue on core issues, including Kashmir. I am hopeful that soon their efforts would find solutions to all such problems for eternal peace in the region,” said Mr Elahi.

Both Mr Elahi and Capt Amarinder Singh were unanimous in their view that “all we have achieved in the last 10 months in the fields of people to people exchange, art, culture, sports and for promotion of Punjabi language is unprecedented. We could not achieve all this in last 57 years.”

During his current visit, he said he did not expect that he and Capt Amarinder Singh would arrive at a consensus on important issues like sharing our research in the fields of irrigation, agriculture, including high yielding varieties and for opening new vistas in the area of trade, industry and business.

“We are going to invite captains of trade and industry from Punjab to meet our traders and industrialists to work out possibilities of joint trade and industrial exhibitions and also joint ventures in the field of light engineering and other areas.

“Success of this visit cannot be judged by the number of agreements. It has received an overwhelming response for strengthening cultural, historical and linguistic bonds between the two Punjabs. Writers, artistes and sportsmen from the two Punjabs have got together the way they never did before. We both want our Punjabi language to flourish and grow,” said Mr Elahi.

Mr Elahi maintained that introduction of Punjabi in schools may not take place immediately because of shortage of Punjabi teachers. “But as far as colleges are concerned, it will be done. Universities already have Punjabi Language Department.

In response to another question, he said that he was not aware of any distortion or misrepresentation in textbooks on the two Punjabs. “If it has to be corrected, we will do it.”

When a correspondent suggested that both Mr Elahi and Capt Amarinder Singh should impress upon their respective federal governments to lower telephone tariff between the two countries , Mr Elahi remarked: Jadaun dil dian duriyan door ho rahian ne, taran dian bhee door ho jaan geeyan. (Now when differences in hearts have started disappearing, those of wires would also go).”

Capt Amarinder Singh held that the chances of revival of Indo-Pak Games which used to be held in early 50s have now brightened. He announced that after the second Indo Pak Punjab Games in Lahore, the third edition would be held in Jalandhar.


Cong cold-shouldered Oppn during Elahi’s visit: SAD
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal has not liked the way leaders of Opposition parties were cold-shouldered by the ruling Congress during the five-day visit of West Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi to Patiala and Chandigarh.

“The ongoing peace process in which Punjabis on the either side are playing a pivotal role must be kept above the local political intrigues”, says Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, spokesman of SAD. “The way the ruling Congress sidelined the major political parties during Mr Pervaiz Elahi’s visit has not sent a right message across the political spectrum”, says Dr Cheema.

In fact the ruling party did not make any effort at any level to involve the Opposition, including SAD, the major political outfit, in the events associated with the visit of VIP guests from across the border. “ First invitations were not sent in time. Then no due courtesy was extended while inviting Opposition leaders”, says Dr Cheema, commenting on the events of the past five days.

First of all, the ruling party should have taken the Opposition parties or their leaders into confidence before deciding to invite Mr Elahi to this part of the country. “ If the ruling party had involved all important Punjabi leaders to receive Mr Elahi at Amritsar, it would have made more meaningful the entire exercise of promoting peace between the two countries”, said Mr Cheema.

He said that right from the word go, the attitude of the ruling party regarding the involvement of Opposition parties in functions organised during Mr Elahi’s visit was negative and full of arrogance.

At the national level informal consultations are held with leaders of all major Opposition parties at the time of such visits. In fact the ruling party ensures smooth meetings of visiting dignitaries with Opposition leaders to send the right message of national unity on bilateral and other international issues.

“Mr Badal showed grace by attending the opening ceremony of Indo-Pak Punjab Games yesterday at Patiala because he felt that the strengthening of relations among Punjabis on the either side of the border is the need of the hour to promote peace and friendship”, said Dr Cheema. “ It is insignificant whether Mr Badal’s name was mentioned or not at the games function because Mr Badal had gone there for a bigger cause “, he added.

Interestingly, while Punjabi leaders failed to give good example of themselves here, at Delhi they presented a united face in spite of their political and ideological differences. At the impressive reception organised for Mr Elahi at Delhi today by the President of the Delhi Shiormani Akali Dal, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, all top leaders of Punjabis were present.


Elahi urged to initiate industrial exchanges
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 6
The Patiala Industries Association (PIA) today appealed to Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi to initiate industrial exchanges with entrepreneurs in the Indian Punjab for the mutual good of both provinces.

A delegation of the PIA, led by its president Naresh Gupta and general secretary Vikram Goel, called on Mr Elahi today morning. The delegation members said the Patiala industry could help its Pakistan counterparts to develop the cutting tool industry in Pakistan Punjab. Mr Gupta said besides this, knowledge in agro industry could also be exchanged between the two countries.

Mr Gupta also appealed to the state Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to take steps to improve the industrial environment in Patiala. He said an ancillary hub for the automobile sector could be established in Patiala to give a fillip to its cutting tool industry.

The delegation members also called for developing a research and development centre for this industry in the city so that it could modernise itself according to international trends.

PIA general secretary Vikram Goel also urged that members of the PIA be included in the forthcoming industrial delegation of CII members which was scheduled to visit Pakistan Punjab alongwith Capt Amarinder Singh early next year. The Chief Minister assured them that he would look into this demand.

Others present on the occasion included Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) Chairman Ved Prakash Gupta and Mayor Vishnu Sharma.


Women on bikes strange sight for Pak dental surgeons
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, December 6
About 60 per cent children aged 4-9 years have been suffering from dental ailments due to poor dental hygiene in Lahore.

These are the findings of Dr Rao Mohammed Nasir Salim’s survey. According to it, despite being aware of oral hygiene, only 30 per cent Pakistani mothers of upper middle class actually take care of dental hygiene for their children.

Dr Nasir (27) was here with his fiancée, Dr Hina Zafar Raja, also a dental surgeon. She is the youngest person in a 40-member Pakistani dental delegation attending Inter-state Dental Congress and 44th Punjab State Dental Conference that concluded here recently. Both are lectures in Lahore Dental and Medical College.

Dr Nasir read his findings at the conference according to which only 7 per cent children in Lahore have undergone any treatment despite suffering from oral ailments. The most common causes of dental problems are unchecked sugar use, soft drinks and poor oral hygiene.

About 60 per cent of children have been found to be brushing their teeth only once a day. The children have a poor knowledge about using fluoride toothpastes and routine dental check-ups.

The survey was conducted among the upper middle class.

Dr Hina, along with Prof Tarik Zaman Ahmed, presented a paper on two studies of rehabilitation of ‘half-jaw’ cases. These are focused on the rising cases of mouth cancer in Pakistan affecting inner jaw and its restoration.

Talking to The Tribune here, the betrothed couple said since ‘saanjha Punjab’ had same “rich” food habits and cuisine, almost similar dental problems could be prevalent beyond the Radcliff Line.

When asked about dental problems among Pakistanis due to excessive chewing of paan or tobacco they said the practice was more prevalent in Karachi.

On the conditions of medical colleges in Lahore Dr Nasir, an alumnus of Nishtar Medical and Dental College, Multan, said the male-female ratio in colleges reported a phenomenal rise with a number of women joining medical and dental colleges. “Almost 60 per cent of students of medical stream are women. However a miniscule percentage has their own clinics or even joined private clinics,” he added.

The newly engaged couple, on their first visit to India, said they found it strange to see women riding bikes in India. They agreed that it was also strange for a betrothed couple to travel to another country before marriage. ‘But then her mother (Dr Hina) was escorting them’ said Dr Nasir sheepishly.

Dr Hina, a native of Mirpur in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, said she felt “very safe “in India although she recoiled from any suggestion to move around alone.


Indo-Pak dental conference planned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
The Indian Dental Association, Punjab State branch, has decided to increase interaction with the Pakistan Dental Association. A decision to this effect was taken at the Inter-State Dental Congress held at Amritsar recently. According to a press note issued by the state unit of the Indian Dental Association it was decided to form a dental body comprising 21 members for the purpose.

It was also decided that the first Indo-Pak dental conference will be held at Lahore in November, 2005.

Members of dental associations of both the countries proposed the name of Dr Bhagwant Singh, president elect, Indian Dental Association, and Prof M.A. Suli, past president, Pakistan Dental Association, as conveners of the conference. 


Exceptional performance by children during opening
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 6
Children of the city were largely responsible for the perfectly synchronised choreography of the Indo Pakistan games though they had only seven days to get their act together.

Raja Malvinder Singh, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh's brother, who was chairing the committed responsible for hosting the inaugural ceremony, fired all college students who were originally chosen as dancers and props in the inaugural function.

Raja Malvinder says was this was done because of lax discipline among college students. "We felt schoolchildren would be better suited for the job", he said adding the children had been able to grasp the choreography and perform with perfection after a week of rehearsal in the Bahadurgarh fort on the outskirts of the city. Raja Malvinder was also helped by a world class commentator Jasdev Singh which did not leave any place for interruption.

Yash Chopra impressed

Eminent film director Yash Chopra, who was here yesterday to see the opening ceremony, has requested for the cassette of the inaugural ceremony .He wants to use the methodology used at the function. Yash Chopra said it was very difficult to put 570 persons on a stage and then expect harmony. "In Mumbai we do not put more than 200 persons on the stage", he added.

Colourful commentary

At the wrestling bouts in the Polo ground, the star attraction was Bhupi Kochhar, the commentator of the event. Kochar had everyone in splits through his colourful commentary which brought rustic Punjabi humour to the fore. Be it dialogues like "Ho gayi balle balle, ek ute te dooja thale'' to describe an upset or the quip "Lag gaya naag gitta nuh" to describe a grip on the ankle or one like "Saap naal saap lade te jahar kahnu chade'' to describe an equal contest.

Many flocked to the wrestling mat to hear him. However, whether the commentary was up to "international" standard was another matter. But then as someone said the event was more of a friendship tie and the comments were in order for Punjabis who lapped them up.

Over-confident Indians

Over-confidence cost the Indian Punjab team dearly in badminton with the Pakistan Punjab team winning the contest three - two.

At the start of the five ties, Indian Punjab badminton officials were heard claiming that the matches would be a cakewalk for their shuttlers.

They were depending on the skill of Sachin Ratti and Vijaydeep Singh to see them through. However, Sachin was only able to win his tie after conceding one game while the other Indian shuttlers also played indifferently.


Limited Assembly sittings threat to democracy, says Bir Devinder
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6
Expressing his serious concern over the reducing number of Vidhan Sabha sittings and the diminishing role of legislature in debating issues of public interest ,former Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Bir Devinder Singh has urged the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, “to save this citadel of democracy from crumbling.”

It will be the fourth session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha during the current year. The last session in July was only for a day to pass the annulment of all previous rivers water agreements.

“After obituary references on the first day, the Vidhan sabha would transact legislative business only on the second and last day of its session. It is no less than a rude shock to me as I am reminded of the vibrant concerns expressed presiding officers of various Legislative Assemblies over the shrinking sessions,” wrote Mr Bir Devinder Singh.

Interestingly, the Punjab Vidhan Sabha secretariat has compiled complete information regarding sittings of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from its inception. Interestingly, yesterday when the Chief Minister of West Punjab, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, called on Dr Kewal Krishan, he agreed to invite a delegation of Indian Punjab legislators to visit Lahore and Punjab Assembly there.

Dr Kewal Krishan wanted some records of undivided Punjab Assembly to be transferred to Chandigarh. Mr Elahi not only agreed to make available the required records but also suggested regular exchange of visits between legislators of the two Punjabs.

Mr Elahi was pleasantly surprised to know that the Punjab Assembly in Chandigarh meets for less than 15 to 20 days a year for transacting both official and non official business.

Interestingly, the information compiled by the Vidhan Sabha secretariat makes interesting revelations. Not only the number of sessions but the time spent on debating issues of public interest too has diminished significantly over the years.

Sources point out that when Assembly meets on December 14 and 15, one of the important issues to come up is the declaration of office of Parliamentary Secretary to be not an office of profit and also the item about payment of income tax by the state for members of the legislature. Intriguingly, there will be no Bill which could generate a public debate before being approved to be presented during the coming session.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh has reportedly said that even the Speaker of the Lok sabha has been relentlessly trying to emphasize the importance of sittings of the legislative assemblies as well as Parliament as they give practical effect to the wisdom of framers of the Constitution who opted for government of, for and by the people.

“The sittings of the Vidhan Sabha play a pivotal role in making democracy work in the real sense. It represents the participation of the people in the government through the medium of question hour, call attention notices, notices, non-official resolutions and points of orders,” he said.

“The number of sittings of the Vidhan Sabha gain added importance in the light of the widespread grudge of the public representatives that the bureaucracy is undermining the importance of politicians. The reality comes in the public gaze during deliberations in the House and the wheels of the government get honed up when the Leader of the House knows in full public view the result of various policies of the government,” he said in his letter.

Further, he said, it was freedom of expression and spirit of self-governance which was getting threatened with the squeezing number of sittings and reducing the objective to mere discharge of constitutional obligation, thereby killing the underlying objective of accountability of the government to the electorate through their representatives.

“Let us face the truth with bold honesty and do what is within our control to march on the path of progress,” he said, seeking bare justice that was due to both elected representatives as well as electorate of the state.


PAU don pays the price for exposing seed scam
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 6
While the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the state was claiming to fight against corruption, a whistle-blower of a seed scam in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) was allegedly suffering harassment for exposing corruption.

Dr S.P.S. Brar, Senior Pulse Breeder, who blew the lid off the paddy seed scam of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana’s Seed Farm at Nabha has lodged a complaint with the Chief Vigilance Commissioner demanding action against a number of PAU officials for their alleged role in the scam. He has been frequently transferred and harassed by being served show cause notices on one pretext or the another.

He has brought to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner’s notice his victimisation, humiliation, and mental torture at the hands of the PAU Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh since December 2002 when he as Director of University Seed Farm, Nabha, exposed irregularities committed in the sale of paddy seed. He has also requested the Commissioner to save him from the ‘brutish’ treatment, which has been meted out to him since he exposed the scam.

The Vice-Chancellor was unavailable for comments. The investigation in the seed scam is pending. He, however, has claimed in the past that he was taking action against a number of PAU officials on disciplinary grounds and had no personal enmity against them.

Mr Brar has stated in the complaint that on taking over his assignment as Director, Nabha Seed farm, on December 26, 2002, he discovered numerous glaring administrative and financial irregularities in the disposal of the paddy seed of three varieties, PR 106, PR 111 and PR 116 in October, that year. He felt it was his duty to bring the facts to the notice of the higher authorities.

Accordingly, Dr Brar wrote a letter (memo No. 1371-72 dated December 20,2002) to the Vice-Chancellor pointing out various irregularities. He alleged that the standing crop had been auctioned which was unprecedented and unlawful, no notice of auction, which was mandatory as per rules, was published in any newspaper, the produce was willfully under weighed and sold at Rs 700 per quintal against the official rate of Rs 1565 per quintal, causing loss of lakhs of rupees to the public exchequer.

Mr Brar rued that instead of bouquets that he expected for his honesty and dedication to duty, he got brickbats - all because some top officials were privy to the shady transaction.

Dr Brar alleges in his letter to the Chief Vigilance Commissioner that the Vice-Chancellor initiated a number of revengeful actions against him with the motive of subjecting him to humiliation and mental torture. To begin with, the Vice-Chancellor divested him of the position of the Director of the Farm on January 6, 2003. His stint in this position lasted for just about 40 days. Subsequently, on February 17, 2003, as a punitive action he was transferred to the Regional Research Station at Gurdaspur, Mr Brar has alleged.

He was also declared absent from duty for three days despite the fact he had formally applied for casual leave well in advance. He has not been paid salary for this period. Mr Brar goes on to say that the Vice-Chancellor, not content with theses punitive actions against him served him a charge sheet in June, 2003 accusing him, inter alia, of tarnishing the image of the university by raising a bogey of irregularities in the sale of paddy seed.

He also alleges that the inquiry into the scam was wilfuly prolonged for over a period of more than one year to keep him under constant mental strain and tension. In addition to this his probation as Senior Breeder has not been cleared for unexplicable reason.

Dr Brar has alleged that by keeping him at Gurdaspur the university was wasting his scientific knowledge as well as its resources. Gurdaspur, he argues, is not suitable for research on pulses because of its humid climate. While all other scientists working on pulses are posted at Ludhiana or Faridkot, he, the senior-most of them all, has deliberately been made to languish at Gurdaspur without any useful research work, Mr Brar has added. The university is paying Rs 30,000 per month to him without getting the work for which he has been trained, he added.

Mr Brar has entreated the Chief Election Commission to take suitable action against the authorities.


Is police trying to hush up Bareta rape case?
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bareta (Mansa), December 6
Even as the local police has failed to arrest any accused in the rape and death case of Pinki, a controversy has erupted over the fact that her dying declaration could not be recorded by the Duty Magistrate, as the police official concerned initiated proceeding for the same after a long delay.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the doctor who attended on Pinki in the Civil Hospital, Mansa, when she was brought there after being referred from the Civil Hospital, Budhlada, informed the police at 1.35 pm that the patient was serious and arrangement for recording of her dying declaration should be made. But the police informed the duty magistrate about the same after about three hours at 4.25 pm when the patient was on her way to a Ludhiana hospital.

Interestingly, the Civil Hospital authorities again informed the police at 4 p.m. that the patient had been referred to the Ludhiana hospital on the written request of her mother, mother-in-law and husband. When the Duty Magistrate reached the Civil Hospital, Mansa, at 4.50 pm, she recorded that before she reached the hospital, the patient had already been referred to Ludhiana.

Ms V. Neerja, SSP, when contacted, said the policemen first approached the executive official for recording the dying declaration of the victim and when the executive official could not be found, the police official concerned approached the Judicial Magistrate for the same. She added that the police official did not make any delay in the process pertaining to the recording of dying declaration of Pinki.

A 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 victim, respectively two days ago after they were found guilty of the same offence in an inquiry conducted by a senior police official.

Earlier, a case under section 306 of the IPC was registered against them for forcing the victim to commit suicide by consuming poison. Though the victim died on December 1, the case was registered on December 2.

Palwinder Singh was an employee working in the rice mill being run by Mr Bhagirath Lal to commit suicide. The case was registered on the complaint of Ms Chinder Kaur, maternal aunt of victim.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, has already ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. Mr Sukhwinder Singh, ADC, has been asked to conduct probe and submit report within 15 days. Mr Sukhwinder Singh had started collecting all relevant documents connected with the death of Pinki under abnormal circumstances.

Information revealed that on December 1, Pinki consumed celphos tablets under mysterious circumstances. After her condition deteriorated, she was taken to a hospital in Budhlada town and then to civil hospital, Mansa. From Mansa she was referred to Ludhiana. While she was being shifted to Ludhiana, she died on the way.

Though Pinki died on December 1, her postmortem could not be conducted even on December 2 as the Civil Hospital, Budhlada, did not receive relevant papers for doing the so from the police till late evening.

Mr Joginder Singh, SHO, local police station, when contacted, said that as the FIR against the accused was registered late in the afternoon due to delay caused by kin of deceased in making statement before the police, the relevant papers could not be prepared before 5 pm on December 2. He added that raids were being conducted to nab the accused.


Victim knifes accused in court
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 6
An accused, who had come to the District Courts here today to attend a hearing, was knifed by the victim while he was sitting at the desk of his advocate.

The incident took place when Amit Kumar, who is an accused in a case of murderous assault on Moosa Khan, was sitting with his lawyer along with Gurmeet Singh, who had accompanied him to the court. The attack was led by Moosa Khan along with a number of other persons.

The accused, however, did not give up without a fight even though he was knifed five times in the lower half of his body. Gurmeet Singh, who was accompanying him, was knifed at three places. Among the assailants, Sher Khan’s fingers were cut while Amit was trying to defend himself against the assault. Sher Khan had earlier deposed in the court against Amit.

All three persons have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital. Kotwali police station Inspector Harpreet Singh said a case of attempt to murder (Section 307), besides Sections 326 and 25,54 and 59 of the Arms Act, was registered against Moosa Khan, Raju Khan, Jyoti Khan, Sher Khan and a few others, on the complaint of Amit. All accused are at large.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi today called for tighter security arrangements inside the court complex. He said this was the second violent incident in the court within a month. He claimed that supporters of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Jagir Kaur had brutally attacked members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).


Govt wakes up to save its 35 acres
Team visit Pak to locate record
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 6
The Punjab Government has finally woken up to save its 35 acre of prime land belonging to the Hydraulic Research Centre at Malikpur. All out efforts have been started to locate the revenue record illustrating the acquisition of the land by the government in the period between 1935 and 1940.

The Principal Secretary during his recent visit to the area had told The Tribune that a team of the Irrigation Department officials would be sent to Pakistan to locate the record there. Before Partition most of the revenue records of Gurdaspur district were centered at Lahore. The Irrigation Department officials would be sent to Lahore to trace the acquisition record of the Hydraulic Research Centre land, he said.

Besides, the sources said that a joint team of the officials of irrigation and finance departments had also been constituted to trace the record of compensation awarded to the owners before Partition.

As reported earlier in these columns the Hydraulic Research Centre in Malikpur was located in about 250 acre since 1935. Out of it the mutation of about 35 acre was affected in the name of the government or the Irrigation Department due to the dispute of ownership between land owners and cultivators.

Taking advantage of the lacuna, the local land mafia allegedly got the land registered in their name from original owners existing on papers. Ironically, the land on which models of the most of the important hydel projects of the country as the Bhakra, the Ranjit Sagar Dam, the Shahpur Kandi Dam and the SYL canal system existed and were tested, was now registered in the name of certain private property dealers.

The previous government in order to save the vacant land of the institute from the mafia transferred it in the name of PUDA. Though till date it had failed to get the possession of the land encroached upon by the land mafia, it was laying claim over about 40 acre which had been brought under forest cover under the Japan-aided project.

In order to take claim of the land, the PUDA authorities recently got the rest house of the institute demolished. The contractor employed by PUDA to demolish the rest house allegedly took away the machinery of the water supply facility of the institute.

The DFO, Pathankot, when contacted, admitted that a request from PUDA had been received for handing over the possession of land which had been brought under forest cover.

However, as per the rules PUDA must first deposit the forestation cost at the rate of Rs 10 lakh per acre and the cost of the land before its request was forwarded to the Union Government.


Dalit girl’s marriage disallowed at gurdwara
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bahona (Moga), December 6
Tension prevailed in this village today when the committee members of Gurdwara Sahib Chardi Kala disallowed the marriage of the Dalit sarpanch’s daughter at the gurdwara forcing the family to hold the ceremony at their home.

According to sources, Ms Kamaljeet Kaur, daughter of the village Sarpanch, Ms Jagtar Kaur, was to get married to Mr Gurpreet Singh of Galoti village this morning, but when the marriage party reached Gurdwara Sahib Chardi Kala, the committee members, led by their chief, Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, stopped them from entering the gurdwara.

A large number of people from both groups gathered outside the gurdwara where they had an altercation. A police team from Mehna police station soon reached the place to prevent any untoward incident.

Sources said earlier, too, there had been a spat between the two groups over the marriage of Majhabi Sikhs in the gurdwara. At that time, the local MLA, Tota Singh, had intervened and later a few marriages of Majhabi Sikhs were allowed in the gurdwara. There were also speculations of political rivalry between the two groups and caste factor coming in later.

However, the president of the committee of the gurdwara, Mr Rajinder Pal Singh, said there was no question of disallowing any marriage in the gurdwara on the basis of caste. He said that the gurdwara also had Majhabi and Ramdasia ‘granthis’ in the past. He said their only objection was to the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib being committed at Baba Jeewan Singh Gurdwara of Dalits. He alleged that one could find of ‘bidi’ stubs on the gurdwara premises.

Another villager, Mr Jarnail Singh, alleged that the Dalits even indulge in gambling there.

The committee chief said in case of marriage, the family concerned had to inform him five to seven days in advance, but the village Sarpanch didn’t approach him at all. He said that they could give go ahead to the marriage ceremony at the gurdwara only if they were willing to shift the ‘bir’ of their gurdwara to Gurdwara Sahib Chardi Kala.

On the other hand, the girl’s uncle, Mr Ajaib Singh, said they could not hold the marriage at Baba Jeewan Singh Gurdwara due to lack of space and some construction work in progress. He said many Dalits, including him, carried out the construction of the gurdwara whose closed gates welcomed them today when they reached there for his niece’s marriage. The Dalits dismissed the charge of any sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at their gurdwara. They strongly opposed the other group’s proposal of shifting the ‘bir’ from their gurdwara to Gurdwara Sahib Chardi Kala. They said they would agree to it only if ‘birs’ of all the four neighbouring gurdwaras were shifted there.

Another villager, Mr Jasbir Singh, alleged that earlier, too, they were stopped from holding marriages in the gurdwara owing to the caste factor.

Police officials, deployed outside the gurdwara, said they were there to ensure a peaceful atmosphere in the village and to prevent any clash between the two groups.


Flood-hit farmers of 26 villages await compensation
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 6
Farmers of 26 flood-hit villages of Moonak-Khanauri belt of the district have been waiting for the compensation on account of the damage to their standing crops during floods in the Ghaggar in August, but to no avail so far.

After a special girdawari, standing crops in more than 23,000 acre were found to be damaged, of which about 22,500 acre were completely damaged.

In view of the large-scale damage to the standing crops of farmers living in these flood-prone areas, the Sangrur Deputy Commissioner wrote a letter on September 15 to the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Punjab, seeking funds worth Rs 4.55 crore to distribute it as compensation among the flood-hit farmers.

However, no funds have been made available to the district administration by the government so far for this purpose.

A major chunk of the compensation amount is to be provided by the Central Government to the Punjab Government. The latter had not received the amount from the Central Government so far.


Auction fetches Rs 1.74 cr
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 6
A low turnout was seen at the auction for shops, booths and plots by the Improvement Trust here today. While Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma blamed the traffic condition in city due to the closure of the Bhandari Bridge for repairs for the low bidder’s turnout, the blast that occurred about two weeks back in the Nehru Shopping Plaza too seemed to have cast a shadow on the auction. Just a few shops earmarked for the Nehru plaza came under the hammer out of the 17 advertised.

The trust was, however, able to garner Rs 1.74 crore for various sites for which the reserve price was kept as Rs 1.12 crore.

Besides the Nehru plaza, the auction was also held for shops and plots in the Ajnala area. No bid was made for booth sites numbering five at the Ghee mandi as also for nine sites earmarked for the truck stand scheme. A 500 sq yrd residential plot in the Ajnala road scheme, fetched Rs 13,000 per sq yard, which was more than double the rate of the reserve price.


Inculcate spirit of Sikhism among youth, says Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 6
The first ever religious youth festival of Khalsa colleges being run by the SGPC concluded here with religious ceremonies. On the concluding day Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD leader, presided over the function.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh stated that in the present century the meaning of religion had been distorted, the system had become corrupt, losing all moral values and lust for power, money and position had basically defeated the purpose of Sikhism. It is unfortunate that society and the nation were facing various crises like moral, political, governance, economic and unemployment.

He said these crises could not be tackled until the Sikh leadership, religious heads and educational institutions don’t enthrall a sense of moral values, spirit of Sikhism and commitment towards society and nation among youths.

He appreciated the efforts of the SGPC and the college management for initiating such a youth festival.

The second session of the festival was presided over by Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Union Minister.

He expressed concern over the increasing impact of the electronic media on society, particularly on youths. He said the SGPC and the SAD would make efforts to combat the effect of electronic media.

Mr Dilmegh Singh, secretary SGPC, and Mr Kirpal Singh Libra gave away prizes to the winners. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal of the college, welcomed the guests and highlighted the achievements of the college. Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha conducted the stage.

On the concluding day MG College, Fatehgarh Sahib, won the overall trophy, while GNC, Muktsar, came runner-up. In declamation contest Guru Nanak College, Budhlada, stood first, GNC, Muktsar, second and Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College, Kotan, third. In poems MSK Girls College, Kotan, came first, GNC, Budlada, second, and GNC Muktsar, third.

In quiz contest, MSK Girls College, Kotan, came first and GNC, Muktsar, second. In religious drama competition MG College, Fatehgarh Sahib, stood first and Khalsa College, Patiala, second in Shashtri Vadan Sangeet Khalsa College, came first and GNC, Droli, and GNC, Muktsar second.


Don’t allow TV in child’s bedroom: expert
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 6
Experts while speaking at a continual medical education programme on adolescent problems at Government Medical College here today recommended that television and computers should not be allowed in bedrooms of children.

Dr C.P. Bansal, secretary, National Adolescent Chapter, who had come from Gwalior, said adolescents watched two to three hours of television everyday. He said this meant 14 hours of television in one week and at least 20,000 violent acts and 10,000 sexually explicit scenes. Dr Bansal said in view of these facts, parents should not install a television set or computer in the bedrooms of their children. He said it was neccessary to install computers in a common area so that access to the Internet could be monitored.

Dr Jugesh Chatwal, Professor from CMC, Ludhiana, discussed the issue of obesity in adolescents which he said was increasing alarmingly. He said sedentary lifestyle was responsible for this. He said children should be encouraged to take up sporting activities and avoid junk food. Emotional problems of children were discussed by Dr Monika Singh, a child psychologist from Chandigarh. The Government Medical College Principal, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, was the chief guest at the function which was moderated by Dr Harshinder Kaur.


Home Guards celebrate raising day
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, December 6
The 44th Raising Day of the Punjab Home Guards and Civil Defence was celebrated here amidst a lot of enthusiasm and patriotic fervour at the 5th battalion headquarters.

At an impressive ceremony, Mr Baldev Singh Tiger, Divisional Commandant, while addressing the Home Guards volunteers, said the Punjab Home Guards (PHG) had played a crucial role in combating insurgency in the state. He said whether it was internal security or guarding vital installations along the frontiers, the PHG had performed all duties meticulously despite lack of resources and infrastructure.

He said 30 volunteers of the border wing Home Guards attained martyrdom while fighting Pakistani forces along the border during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflict. Another 31 were grievously injured and nine volunteers were taken as PoWs by Pakistani troops. In all, 860 volunteers have sacrificed their lives till date in the line of the duty.

Mr Tiger said that during the recent Vidhan Sabha poll, the PHG had ensured free and fair elections in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, where 25 companies of the PHG were deployed. During the dark days of insurgency in the state, volunteers of the PHG worked with the police to root out terrorism from the state, and in that course, 362 PHG volunteers lost their lives.

Mr I.S. Johar, District Commander, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Company Commander, and Ravi Gupta, Chief Warden, Civil Defence, besides other senior PHG officials were present on the occasion.


Brick-kiln owners to gherao Assembly

Jalandhar, December 6
The Punjab brick-Kiln Owners Association today announced that it would gherao the state Assembly on December 14 in protest against the state government’s attitude towards an order of the High Court for making it mandatory for the brick-kiln owners to use fly ash of power thermal plants of the state in the brick manufacturing.

“We were forced to close down our kiln as the Delhi High Court has made it mandatory to use fly ash in the brick manufacturing, which is not practically possible. Now we have no option but to lodge our resentment against the state government’s attitude, which has not apprised the High Court of the clear picture of our problem,” Mr Sarabjit Singh Makkar, president of the association, told reporters here. — PTI


Girl hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 6
A minor girl was injured in a collision between an autorickshaw and a car here this morning.

It is learnt that seven school students, along with four teachers, were going in an autorickshaw when the accident took place on the hospital road. The auto-rickshaw overturned when it was hit by a Zen car.

Ramandeep Kaur sustained a head injury and also got her arm fractured while others suffered minor injuries.

No case has been registered by the police in this regard.


High Court
Proper power supply sought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice on a public interest petition seeking directions to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to provide proper electricity supply to consumers.

The petitioner, Mr Jai Gopal Dhuman, president of the Social Democratic Party of India, has also prayed that the PSEB be restrained from taking security from consumers for meters.

In his petition, Mr Dhuman has pointed out that the PSEB has been imposing long power cuts every day. He has also stated that the PSEB charges tariff as per meter reading or sanctioned load, whichever is higher.

Saying since the PSEB is not supplying full power to the consumers, there is more possibility of the tariff being calculated as per sanctioned load. He has added that the system of charging as per sanctioned load is, therefore improper.

The petitioner has also stated that despite the fact that the consumers have been forced to buy the meters, the PSEB also takes security from them in lieu of the same.

He has prayed that the PSEB be restrained from taking security from consumers and also pay interest on the security already taken.

The case will now come up on January 17, next year.

Plea dismissed

Mr Justice S.K. Goel on Monday dismissed the petition filed by former Punjab minister Brij Bhushan Singh Lally through which he had challenged the election of Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former minister Ajit Singh Kohar from the Lohian Assembly constituency in the 2002 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections.

Mr Lally had challenged the election of Mr Kohar from the Lohian constituency on the grounds that he had allegedly indulged in malpractices.

However, the court did not find favour with the contentions of Mr Lally and dismissed his petition.


Lawyers demand upkeep of Ambedkar statue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 6
A section of lawyers practising in the district courts here alongwith Mr Sham Singh Jaura, general secretary, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have demanded proper arrangements for the upkeep of the place where the statue of Bharat Rattan Dr B.R. Ambedkar had been installed. They said the place where the statue had been installed was being used by public for urination and stray animals roam there.

In a letter written to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K.A.P. Sinha today, the advocates pointed out that not only people could be seen urinating at the place and stray animals roaming around but also there was no lighting arrangements. The boundary wall was non-existent.

They pointed out that the statue was installed near the District Administrative Complex (DAC) and a park was developed around it. The park was inaugurated by the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on April 18, 1999. At that time a fountain was installed in the park, which had proper lighting arrangements.

They said that for the past many years the fountain was not working and the lighting system had stopped working. In the absence of cleanliness, the park had become dirty.

They demanded that the district administration should take interest in the upkeep of the park, which was constructed by the state government by spending huge money.


Rice mill owner booked for embezzlement
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 6
A case has been registered against Jaswinder Singh, alias Babbi, owner of the Baljindra Rice Mills, located on the Muktsar-Guru Harsahai road, in the city police station today for his alleged involvement in making embezzlement in the paddy worth lakhs of rupees belonging to Punsup.

Official sources said that a case under Sections 406, 409 and 120-B, IPC, was registered against Jaswinder Singh on the complaint lodged by Mr Upinder Nath Sharma, district manager, Punsup, Muktsar. The case was registered only after Jaswinder Singh was found guilty of embezzlement in an inquiry conducted by Mr Gurmeet Singh, DSP (City).

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that Punsup had given about 72,000 bags of paddy to the Baljindra Rice Mills during the current season. The accused instead of milling the same, shifted about 63,000 bags to undisclosed destination. The accused transported the paddy bags worth more than Rs 1.5 crore to undisclosed destination during the night of December 1.

The illegal shifting of paddy bags came to light when the field staff of Punsup visited the mill and suspected that some foul game was being played by its owner. The field staff informed the district manager, Punsup, who further informed the police and the higher authorities.

Sources said that though a formal application was moved by Mr Sharma against Jaswinder Singh on December 1 for registration of a criminal case against him, the case was registered today.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, DSP, when contacted, said that the case was registered after about five days due to the fact that the police was investigating the allegations levelled against Jaswinder Singh in the complaint lodged by Mr Sharma. He added that the inquiry was completed today and it was found that Jaswinder Singh was guilty of making embezzlement and hence a case was registered against him.

He said that though initially about 72,000 bags of paddy were shifted to some undisclosed destination, about 31,000 bags were brought back to the mill and at present the accused had committed embezzlement with Punsup to the tune of about Rs 66 lakh.


Man held for murder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 6
The district police today arrested a person for allegedly murdering an electrician with a sharp-edged weapon in the Bhargo camp locality here last night even as raids were being conducted to arrest the main accused identified as “Kufri”.

According to the police, the deceased identified as Darshan Lal (26) of the Bhargo Camp locality purchased fish from a shop owned by one Avtar Singh around 11 pm on Sunday before leaving for his home. As Avtar Singh was about to close his shop, Darshan Lal came back with his clothes soaked in blood. He fell unconscious outside the shop. Avtar Singh informed the family members of the victim and Drashan was rushed to the local Civil Hospital. Later, Drashan succumbed to his injuries.

According to police sources, Jagdish Ram, who was arrested by the police this afternoon, during preliminary interrogation, revealed that he and “Kukri” asked Drashan to share fish with them. Drashan simply refused to oblige. Infuriated over Drashan’s refusal, both accused attacked him with a sharp-edged weapon.


2 Batala residents arrested in looting case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 6
With the arrest of two persons, the Majitha police today claimed to have solved a looting case in which the accused had robbed Rs 3.30 lakh from Surjit Singh and Tejinder Singh, both dealers of fine chaff of rice and residents of Khanna Nagar, here on December 6.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SSP, Majitha police district, in a press conference here said that the accused, Sucha Singh, and his cousin, Major Singh, of Khazala village and Thariawal (both in Batala), respectively, were traced through the mobile numbers of the accused.

He said the accused looted the complaints while they were returning to Amritsar after taking payments from the Rana Sugar mills in Butar village. Mr Bajwa said that the accused had fired and seriously injured Tejinder Singh and took away the bag containing money.

The SSP said the police recovered 2.60 lakh and a country made pistol of .12-bore which Sucha Singh had purchased from Harbhajan Singh of UP for Rs 1,800. A case under Sections 25, 54, 59 Arms act and 397,34 IPC had been registered against the accused.

While answering the media queries, Sucha Singh said that he wanted to go Malaysia and for this he had taken money on interest. He said he gave the money to a Jalandhar travel, agent, Des Raj, who ran away with the money. 


Woman's body found in water tank
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, December 6
A woman's body was recovered from a water tank belonging to the Railways located at Lajpat Nagar here yesterday.

Residents of the nearby Railway Colony said that they had spotted her body yesterday morning. However, no police team reached the spot till 5 p.m. despite being informed early. Finally, the body was brought out of the tank at 6.30 p.m.

The brother of the deceased, Baggi Singh, was also present at the spot and he identified her body.

He told that his sister, 28-year-old Gurmail Kaur, was a resident of Jhandeana.

According to him, she was married to Jagsir Singh 12 years back. A mother of two, she was staying with her family at Gandhi Basti and her financial condition was poor. She was also a tuberculosis patient.

He said that she had gone to meet her relatives in Moga last Monday and had not returned. They had lodged a missing report in this connection at the city police station.

He suspected that her inability to afford her treatment could have compelled her to commit suicide.


Sons, grandsons booked for woman’s murder
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 6
Four persons have been booked for murdering an elderly woman for taking possession of her land. The accused are two of her sons and two grandsons.

According to sources, Jasveer Singh, one of the grandsons of the deceased, in his complaint to the SSP, has stated that his grandmother, Nand Kaur, was staying with her sons, Kehar Singh and Mehar Singh at Kokri Hera village.

He alleged that a couple of months back they hatched a conspiracy to grab her two acres of land.

They gave her some poisonous substance on November 23 that led to her death.

He alleged that when they reached their home to condole her death, they were neither let in nor showed her face. He alleged that his grandmother was consigned to the flames in a tearing hurry which raised doubt over her sudden death.

Taking serious notice of the complaint, the SSP has ordered a probe into the matter. A case has been registered against the sons of the deceased, Mehar Singh and Kehar Singh, and her grandsons, Darshan Singh and Chhinder Singh, under Sections 302, 201, and 34 of the IPC at the Mehna police station.


1 held for rape bid
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 6
A person has been booked for attempting to rape a girl belonging to Thuthgarh village, near here.

The complainant, doing a beauty course from a Dharamkot-based institute, was at home when she was called along with her make-up kit to the marriage of Baja Singh of the village.

As she did not have some make-up items, Baja sent Ratinder Singh on a motor cycle, asking him to take her to Dharamkot for shopping.

When they were on their way back to Thuthgarh Ratinder stopped the motor cycle near Kamalke village on the pretext of that the petrol tank was empty. She started walking and he took her to the roadside and tried to rape her.

A group of women passing by heard her screams and came to her rescue. Ratinder sped away on his motor cycle.

On the basis of the complainant’s statement, a case was registered against Ratinder Singh under Sections 376, 323 and 511 of the IPC.


2 drug peddlers arrested
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 6
The district police yesterday arrested two persons, including a woman, and recovered 2 kg opium from their possession.

Mr Kapil Dev, SSP, said the accused identified as Sukhdev Singh and Baljinder Kaur, alias Binder, were arrested by a team led by the SHO of Raman Mandi police station, Mr Malkit Singh, near Kanakwal village this district. Mr Jaspal Singh DSP, Talwandi Saboo, supervised the operation.

He said while one-and-half kg opium was recovered from possession of Sukhdev Singh, the remaining half kg was recovered from Baljinder Kaur’s purse.

A case has been registered under the NDPS Act in this regard.


Gold jewellery stolen from shop
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 6
A group of unidentified thieves barged into a jeweller’s shop at Phullawala Chowk here early this morning and reportedly decamped with gold ornaments worth more than Rs 2 lakh.

According to the police, the watchman of the market got suspicious when he found a window on the first floor of the shop opened. He also heard some voices and found a man standing near the window. Subsequently, he informed his fellow watchman.


Army man shot by colleague

Ferozepore, December 6
An Army jawan of the 13 Field Regiment was shot dead by his colleague while on duty at a depot in Kasu Negu village, near here, yesterday.

The deceased was identified as jawan Kala Singh, who was allegedly shot dead by jawan Gursewak Singh with his service gun.

Gursewak had been arrested and booked under Section 302, IPC, the police here said. A probe into the incident had been ordered.

Both jawans were on duty at the depot when the incident occurred. According to a witness, Gursewak Singh and Kala Singh entered into a heated argument, which led to the crime. — UNI


One killed in road accident
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 6
A scooterist was killed and another was injured when their scooters collided head-on, reportedly due to fog near Safuwala village, near here, on Saturday.

The deceased has been identified as Surjeet Singh, a resident of Safuwala village. The injured, Gora Singh, was rushed to the local Civil Hospital where he was undergoing treatment. A case has been registered against Gora Singh under Sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC at the Sadar police station.


34 primary schools face closure in Sangrur
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 6
As many as 34 government primary schools in Sangrur district may face closure in the months to come if the state government goes ahead to implement its reported move to close down those government primary schools which have 20 or less than 20 students in all primary classes from Class 1 to Class V.

In view of this reported move, the state Education Department had collected information in this regard from districts. Sources in the Education Department told The Tribune that these 34 government primary schools fell in nine education blocks — Sangrur, Sunam-1, Sunam-2, Ahmedgarh, Lehragaga, Malerkotla-1, Malerkotla-2, Barnala and Sehna — of the district. The names of villages/locations of 34 government primary schools, which have been reportedly identified for having 20 or less than 20 students in Sangrur district are as follows: Sunam-1 block — Gurdwara Akalgarh, Sunam; Kothe Jagat Singh, Kothe Amritsariye, Ishar Singh Wala; Sunam-2 block — Ramgarh; Ahmedgarh block — Ward No.1 Ahmedgarh, Shekhupur Khurd, Fojewal; Lehragaga block— Nawan Gaon, Shergarh, B.B.Mandavi, Dashmesh Nagar Daska, Handa, Julamgarh; Barnala block — Gurusar farm, Kothe Chugh, Kothe Kahan Singh, Kothe Aulakh, Gobindpur Dhanaula, Lambi Dhab Dhanaula; Sangrur-1 block — Nanakpura, Bhagwanpura, BBMB; Malerkotla-1 block — Chaproda, Toga Herri, Rampur Bhindran; Malerkotla-2 block — Chandu Rai, Nari ke Khurd, Totapuri Basti; Sehna block —Santpura, Dulamsar, Dharampura, Duraka Patti and Nimwala Maur.

Out of these 34 primary schools, interestingly there are five such schools, namely Kothe Aulakh, Totapuri Basti, Kothe Chugh, Chandu Rai and Gobindpur Dhanaula, which have students but they don’t have any sanctioned post of teacher there. Likewise, there are seven such schools — Kothe Kahan Singh, Lambi Dhab Dhanaula, Julamgarh, B.B. Mandavi, Dashmesh Nagar Daska, BBMB and Nari ke Khurd — which have no student, no sanctioned post and no teacher.

Besides, there are nine such primary schools, which have students and sanctioned posts but no teacher to work in these schools. There are three primary schools in the district which have no student or teacher despite having sanctioned posts. However, there are 10 schools which have students and at least one teacher each. Interestingly, there are some primary schools which have only six students, nine students, 11 students or 12 students in all classes from Class 1 to Class V. It is also learnt that a suggestion has been made to the authorities to shift the students from these 34 primary schools to the nearby schools in view of the larger interests of the students’ studies. Sources were of the view that though the state government had made a move to close down primary schools, having 20 or less than 20 students, it would not mature due to ‘political compulsions’.


Teachers to stage state-level dharna on
December 8

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 6
The members of the Government Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union will stage a state-level dharna in front of office of the DPI, Punjab, in Chandigarh on December 8 to lodge their protest against the non -implementation of their already accepted demands and non-acceptance of their other demands by the government.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president, Punjab State Government Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union said the union had given an ultimatum to the Punjab Government for accepting the genuine demands of retired and serving teachers of government-aided schools by November 15 failing which the union would be left with no option but to launch an agitation.

Criticising the Punjab Government for denying post-retirement benefits to the retired teachers and other employees, Mr Chahal said the government had stopped giving post-retirement benefits, including pension and gratuity, to those teachers who had retired after May 31,2004, despite the fact that about Rs 100 crore was lying in the pension cell of the state government. Due to the denial of pension to the retired teachers of the government-aided schools, they had started facing starvation.

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

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

The Finance Department of the Punjab Government had been keeping the file pertaining to the issue related with the merger of the DA with the basic pay of teachers and other employees of government-aided school Punjab with it for the past many months. This action of the Finance Department had created a disparity between the teachers of government-run schools and government-aided schools, which was not legal and justified.

He pointed that the state government had also failed to make the payment of salaries for the past two years to those JBT teachers who were recruited between May 13, 2002, and January 29, 2003, despite the fact that necessary sanction had been accorded to those posts by the authorities concerned.


Sculpture workshop concludes
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 6
A five-day sculpture workshop was organised at Khalsa College here in which renowned artists A.C. Sagar, Amrik Singh Namdhari from Jammu, Devi Dass Khatri and Ganga Prasad Maheto from Delhi along with Parvesh Kumar, a former student of the college took part.

Students of the Fine Arts Department worked with these artists and envinced interest in creating art pieces out of uncut stone.

Sagar and Namdhari have held several exhibitions at the Lalit Kala Academy and the Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

While Sagar created a Ganesha, Namdhari created the “unification” of ek Omkar out of stone. Om Ganga Prasad Moheto carved his favourite subject of “Ganga ghat” with the “trinetras” concept of Lord Shiva.

Students learned to cut the stone with the chisel and used the machine as well. They helped in finishing work with sandpaper and learned the finer nuances of sculpture.

Dr Virdi Dean, Academic Affairs, Punjabi University, was the guest of honour. He lauded the efforts of Ms Kamal Sohal, Head of the Fine Arts Department, of the college in making the workshop possible. The Principal, Dr Harbir Singh, thanked the renowned artists.


ABVP organises prize distribution function
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 6
Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, MP, said yesterday that students should be ready to make any sacrifice for protecting the frontiers of the nation.

Ms Gulshan, was the chief guest at the prize distribution function organised by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bathinda, It organised a GK test to mark the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

Mr Manikant, an office-bearer of the parishad, said 1,500 students of 205 schools of the district participated in the test. Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, former minister, also attended the function.

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