P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Internal security of the country
deteriorating: Advani
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Qadian (Gurdaspur), December 12
The internal security in the country has weakened since the UPA government has come to power. The insurgency has increased in all parts of the country due to the weak approach of the government towards the forces threatening internal security of the country.

Mr L.K. Advani, President of the BJP and leader of the Opposition, stated this while talking to mediaperson here today. He was here to attend a function organised to commemorate a former RSS worker of the area, Ram Prakash Prabhakar. Ram Prakash Prabhakar was killed by terrorists at Qadian.

Mr Advani said during its six-year rule, the NDA government successfully improved the internal security of the country by taking tough and diplomatic measures. However, due to the policies of the UPA government, the cross-border terrorism has increased both in northern and eastern states of the country.

Bangladesh has become a safe heaven for terrorists. The UPA government has failed to take up the issue with the Bangladesh government. In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress won after striking an alliance with the naxals, he alleged.

The results of the move were that naxal and Maoist terrorist movements have been strengthened in the country. The increasing strength of the Maoists in Nepal was also a threat to the security of the country. In Jammu and Kashmir, the NDA government had started the dialogue with the Hurriat conference. However, presently the liaison of the Hurriat conference seems to have improved with the Pakistan Government rather than the Union Government of India, he said.

Earlier while addressing the gathering, Mr Advani praised the work of the RSS. He said the organisation has worked for the unity and integrity of the country. He also blamed the congress for the mass massacre of Sikhs in the 1984 riots.

Later, Mr Advani paid homage at the statue of Ram Prakash Prabhakar and inaugurated a library brought up in his memory. He also presented mementos to the kin of the martyrs of the area.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP from Amritsar, accompanied Mr Advani during his trip here. With his known wit and anecdotes, he charmed the audience that cheered him with loud uploads and clapping.

Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, former minister and SGPC member, was the only SAD leader present at the function which was organised by the RSS. While speaking on the occasion, he lauded the work of Ram Prakash Prabhakar for the area.

Mr Avinash Khanna, state president of the BJP and MP from Hoshiarpur, former BJP ministers, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Mr Tikshan Sood, Mr Maoranjan Kalia, Mr Mohan Lal and Satya Pal Sahni were among those present on the occasion.


No more jobs on compassionate grounds in PSEB
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today discontinued its policy of providing employment to the wards or dependents of deceased board employees on compassionate grounds.

Stating this here today, Board Chairman Y.S. Ratra said the board, which was a commercial organisation, could ill afford the burden of a mediocre human resource, which was inevitable under the scheme whereby wards or dependents of deceased employees were eligible for jobs in the organisation.

Mr Ratra said an analysis of the manpower being recruited through the channel of compassionate appointment had revealed that a majority of the incumbents had been recruited in the cadre of peons or other fourth class jobs. He said only a handful of the new recruits were in the clerical or technical cadres. Further, most of them were illiterate and had been appointed specially widows after relaxaing qualifications.

The board Chairman said since the spirit behind providing compassionate appointment was to enable the families of the deceased to get over the immediate financial crisis, it had been decided to continue with providing a lump sum compensation in such cases. He said such a compensation would be equivalent to 40 per cent of the basic pay, besides other benefits amounting to a minimum of Rs 3 lakh and a maximum of Rs 5 lakh.

Mr Ratra said in addition to this compensation, a special pension equivalent to the last basic pay drawn along with dearness allowance sanctioned from time to time would also be granted to the dependent till the date the deceased would have attained the age of superannuation. After this period the pension would be in accordance with the normal family pension. This scheme would be application in addition to the existing pensionary benefits.


Dalit girl’s marriage row gains political hue
Girl’s father asks gurdwara committee to apologise publicly
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 12
The issue of disallowing a Dalit girl’s marriage at Gurdwara Chardi Kala of Bahona village seems to be gaining a political hue.

A local politician has come out in the favour of the management committee of the Gurdwara. He is reportedly putting in efforts to make the Dalit sarpanch, whose daughter’s marriage was disallowed at the gurdwara, agree on ending the row with the committee members tendering an apology. However, the controversy has taken a new turn with the girl’s father, Preetam Singh, demanding that the gurdwara committee members should apologise publicly for their act and withdraw the resolution as per which no Dalit family would be allowed to hold ‘anand karaj’ at the gurdwara.

Sources said the Dalit sarpanch’s family also had a political backing and the entire issue was turning into a game of one-upmanship.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Preetam Singh said the gurdwara committee should apologise to his family at the very spot from where they had returned without holding ‘anand karaj’ of his daughter. He said he had heard about a resolution that was passed by the old management committee restricting Dalit marriages at the gurdwara. He said the committee should pass a new resolution allowing all, irrespective of caste, to organise ‘anand karaj’ at the gurdwara.

He alleged that the president of the management committee of Baba Jeewan Singh Gurdwara, which is a separate gurdwara for Dalits, Mukhtiar Singh, took the onus of disallowing his (Preetam Singh) daughter’s marriage at Gurdwara Chardi Kala due to political rivalry. He said Mukhtiar’s sister-in-law had lost the sarpanch elections to his wife and that’s why he was making statements against him.

Earlier, the controversy appeared to have been coming to an end with the committee members of Gurdwara Chardi Kala saying that they never stopped Dalits to hold ‘anand karaj’ at the gurdwara and the chief of Baba Jeewan Singh Gurdwara admitting that it was they who prevented them fearing decline in offerings to their gurdwara once Dalits started marrying their children at the other gurdwara.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, said both the parties had agreed on a compromise and they had also given it in the writing. He said the gurdwara committee had regretted the incident and had withdrawn the resolution disallowing Dalit’s marriage at the gurdwara. He said nobody could be forced to apologise publicly.


NRI loses house to temple galiara
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 12
This is a tragic tale of the ‘lost house’. Ms Surjit Kalsey (57) , a Canada- based woman Punjabi writer, who visited Amritsar today after a gap of 30 years and was eager to see her birth place, was shocked to learn that her palatial residence near the Golden Temple had been demolished to construct a ‘galiara’ (corridor for the Golden Temple) .

Ms Kalsey said that she was emotionally attached to her birth place where she spent her childhood . The entire lane — Gali Bagh Wali — had been usurped by the galiara scheme. What is worse, nobody had approached the family before the house was demolished . “Somebody must have misrepresented to get compensation for the house, unmindful of the sentiments attached to the house.

The ‘galiara’ project was the brainchild of the Central Government, which wanted to create a corridor around the Golden Temple after infamous Operation Bluestar. Many lanes and bazaars around the Golden Temple, which had a heritage value, were demolished for the galiara scheme.

Ms Kalsey, however, succeeded in identifying the place and the Gali Bagh Wali where her birth place once existed . Now it falls with the galiara. Nostalgic about the past, she took many rounds of the ‘lost house and lane’ bare footed. .

Talking to TNS, Ms Kalsey said that earlier she had visited India in 1988. However, she had to return from Jalandhar as Operation Black Thunder to flush out militants from the Golden Temple was underway .

Wife of a renowned Punjabi writer , Ms Kalsey had authored many books in her mother tongue. These included ‘Pauna Nal Guftagu’ (dialogue with winds) 1979 , ‘speaking to the winds’ (1982), ‘ Foot- prints of Silence’(1988), ‘Sand -scape’ (1996), ‘Aurat Shabad Te Shakti’ (2000). She had also transliterated some works of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

Before emigrating to Canada, Ms Kalsey had a stint as commentator of the All India Radio, Chandigarh .

Ms Kalsey is likely to write an autobiographical novel on ‘Lost house and Gali Bagh Wali’ to highlight the demolition of heritage around the Golden Temple after returning to Canada .


Guru Granth Sahib in all Indian languages by 2008
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, December 12
An eminent Sikh religious studies scholar, Dr Harbans Lal, said today that the Punjab Government had decided to translate Guru Granth Sahib into all Indian languages.

Talking to the Tribune on the concluding day of the fourth International Conference on Guru Granth Sahib organised by Guru Nanak Dev University, professor emeritus Harbans Lal said although the holy granth had already been translated into Hindi, Urdu, Sindhi, English, German and French, there was a need to translate it into other languages also.

Mr Harbans Lal had been appointed consultant to a Punjab government-sponsored NGO, which would be headed by Principal Jasbir Singh, a renowned Sikh resource person. He said the translation work would be completed by 2008.

Giving a brief of the four-day international conference, Dr Harbans Lal said eminent academicians and scholars of the Sikh religion had acknowledged the comprehensive history of the compilation of the Adi Granth, which stresses inter-faith character, universal message, respect for human rights, justice, peace and freedom of religious practices.

The consensus among the scholars was that the Adi Granth had visualised world peace through understanding. They felt that the ancient wisdom of the granth would be of a great value to the modern world and our civil society.

The international conference adopted 10-point guiding principles, which were endorsed by the representatives of the leading international organisations, including Mr Marcus Braybrook, President, World Congress of Faiths, Mr Tatiana Androsov, World Centre for Thanksgiving, Alfredo Sfeir Younis, World Bank, Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi of Sikh Dharma International, Dr Inderjit Kaur, Dr Rajwant Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Dr Harbans Lal, president of the Academy of Guru Granth Sahib Studies, Mrs Rajinderjit Kaur of the Sikh Women Association and Temple of Understanding, Mr Pritpal Singh Bindra and Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.

The guiding principles are: to recognise the presence of the divine light in every living human being; recognise that earth is created according to God’s cosmic blueprint and is intrinsically good; God is the creator and its creative manifestation extend to all humans; it is human destiny to emulate the divine attribute, experience divinity in work and service, follow the principles of righteous living by believing in equality, dignity, justice and human behaviour that cleanse the body and the mind; to build an institution of altruism and sharing social infrastructure; to advocate for those who are most vulnerable, uphold spiritual and moral responsibility to guide politics and finally to build the world order without the culture of “mine and yours” psychology.


Ludhiana dry port not to handle scrap
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, December 12
The Union Government has not included the Ludhiana dry port for import of scrap. This has resulted in the shortage of scrap.

Following a huge recovery of explosives at Ludhiana and other places, the government framed a new policy for the import of scrap from foreign countries. There are now 18 designated posts for such imports.

The exclusion of Ludhiana is surprising as it has the container freight station of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation. There are several inland container depots of private shipping companies at Ludhiana.

The government under its new rules for import of metal scrap allows only unshredded, compressed or loose form of scrap. Among the 18 ports which will handle scrap are Chennai, Cochin, Ennore, JNPT, Kandla, Moriugad, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Paradip, Tutirocin, Vishkhapatnam, ICD Tughlabad, Pipavin, Mundra and Kolkata. Earlier Ludhiana used to receive 4000 to 5000 containers of scrap every month.

The exclusion has badly hit the functioning of the shipping companies. The dry port used to supply scrap to Mandi Gobindgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. There is an office of the Central Customs Department headed by an officer of the rank of Joint Commissioner to look after the export and import needs of the industrialists of the region.

The ban on receiving imported scrap at Ludhiana has resulted in the shortage of scrap for the local industry. The prices of local scrap has touched Rs 18,500 per tonne.


Siberian cranes arrive in Kanjli
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala: Annual guests of Kanjli wetland have arrived for their two-month winter break. Hundreds of Siberian cranes can be spotted all along the Kali Bein that flows in Kanjli village, just 5 km from the city.

The migratory birds were spotted by the authorities of the wetland area this morning as they swam in the polluted waters of the bein. The birds were found nearly a kilometre away from the Kanjli Resort, where they found a silent zone in cool watery patches amidst the water hyacinth that has spread in the waters.

The new habitat of the birds is in complete solitude with no disturbance around the place. Tall trees have grown all over the area that provide the birds some shade here and there. Even as an unmetalled road has been constructed all along the Kali Bein from Kanjli village to Subhanpur, there are hardly any commuters on the road, thus ensuring peaceful stay for the birds.

The birds seemed very conscious of even the slightest disturbance in the environment. Even though they were quietly swimming around the area, they immediately left the waters and reached the skies. The birds kept on hovering around the tall trees and settled 500 metres ahead of the old place.

The birds could be seen in flocks of three to 20 from place to place. Mr Davinder Singh Neel, manager of the resort, said that he spotted them this morning. He said that the birds were annual visitors to the place and that they stayed around for nearly two months in the wetland.

Mr Neel said that the birds remained in a flock without causing any disturbance to other birds, including water crows and ducks, that were commonly seen in the area.

The employees at the wetland said that the resort which otherwise had a very few visitors owing to its bad condition was frequented often by bird lovers in the winter season who knew about the annual arrival of the Siberian cranes. He said that even though this time the majority of the birds were bluish grey in colour, white cranes were otherwise more commonly visiting the place.


Stray bull derails passenger train
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Had it been any other animal, the train would have cut it into pieces and would have managed to remain on the track, but a stray bull, which rammed into the Bathinda-Abohar passenger train this morning, derailed the same.

Fortunately, it proved to be a narrow escape for more than 300 passengers of the train which started from Bathinda and was derailed near Kabarwala village in Malout subdivision of Muktsar district. The accident took place at about 10 a.m. and two front coaches of the train were derailed.

The accident damaged about 150 metres of the track. Railway officials have started repairing the same. Interestingly all the passengers of the train made alternative arrangements for their onward journey and had left the spot even before the railway officials reached there.

Sources said that due to fog the train was not running very fast and its engine ran over the stray bull. The animal got entangled in the wheels of the coaches and caused the derailment. Rail traffic remained disrupted till late Sunday evening.

The SSP, Muktsar, Mr Ranbir Singh Khatra, and the SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh, reached the spot.

The railway officials had also started an inquiry into the incident.


Six more bus terminals to be privatised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Six more bus terminals in Punjab will be handed over to private companies for better upkeep and maintenance and providing them with world-class facilities. Following the privatisation of Amritsar bus terminal, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) and the Transport Department have now decided to hand over the operation and maintenance of some other terminals to private companies.

The Managing Director of the board, Mr Karan A. Singh, said the terminals in Nawanshahr, Ferozepore, Muktsar, Zira, Moga and Dera Baba Nanak were in for a new look as the government had decided to give them to private companies for modernisation and equipping them with the latest facilities.

He said the board had sought the services of Feedback Ventures Private Limited to execute the privatisation of these terminals. The companies interested in undertaking the project would be required to submit their applications by January 5.

Those who get the work of modernising these terminals will get the stand fee, rent from shops within the premises, parking fee of the place where private vehicles are parked, besides revenue generated by the advertisements.


Report on misuse of Sangat
Darshan fund submitted

Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 12
The district administration has got the report from Block Development Panchayat Officers regarding the misuse of Sangat Darshan funds, released by the previous Badal Government for development purpose. The government will initiate action against those sarpanches, who had not yet submitted utilisation certificates and misutilised the funds as per the report of BDPOs, said Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, ADC, presiding over the monthly meeting of district officials at Bachat Bhavan yesterday.

He directed all BDPOs and Executive Officers of Municipal Councils to start a campaign to remove the encroachments from government land immediately.

He also directed them to file petitions in the courts to get the stay orders vacated, if encroacher had got stay orders from courts.

He urged them to take personal interest in court cases to safeguard the government interests.

He said if they faced any difficulty in removing encroachment, they could also take the police help. He also directed all heads to speed up the recovery of loans from defaulters. He directed them to sent the lists of the defaulters to respective tehsildars so that the recovery process was initiated and money was recovered.

He said during the ter-centenary commemoration the government had sanctioned funds for various development works, so it was the duty to properly utilise these funds. He directed the officials of the rural development department to spent the grant only on those projects for which it had been sanctioned.

He urged them to involve panchayats and other social workers and youths in development activities, so that proper material was used during construction work.


Siropa has no place in Sikh religion: Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 12
Terming the presentation of ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) to the dignitaries at Akal Takht, Harmandir Sahib, and other religious places as a symbol of “Brahmanism”, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has said the custom practised at religious places, including Akal Takht and Harmandir Sahib, should be stopped immediately.

Mr Mann said this, in reply to a question, when his attention was drawn towards the non-presentation of siropa to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at Harmandir Sahib whereas his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, was presented with one during their visit to Harmandir Sahib on December 3.

According to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, Capt Amarinder Singh was not given a siropa at Harmandir Sahib because he dyed his beard.

Mr Mann said the siropa should not be given to anyone as it had no place in the Sikh religion. He said all were equal in the Sikh religion, so the siropa had no place in Sikh ideology.

Mr Mann described the recent controversy, involving Akal Takht on the issue of Giani Gurdit Singh’s book ‘Mundawani’, as unfortunate.


Preparations on for 300th Gurpurb celebrations
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 12
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) has initiated the preparations for the 300th anniversary Gurpurb to be celebrated in memory of the Sahibzadas at Patiala on December 24 and 25.

According to SAD (Mann) Press Secretary N.P. Singh, various committees and sub -committees have been formed to oversee the preparations.

Meanwhile, Mr N.P Singh disclosed that the SAD (Mann) activists would come out in a big way to protest against Bibi Jagir Kaur when she appears in the court on December 18 in relation to the alleged murder of her daughter Harprit Kaur.

Mr Baljinder Singh Sodhi, legal advisor of the SAD (Mann), also disclosed that the party would not tolerate atrocities on the Sikh community by the government.


College student injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 12
Ms Geeta, a college student, was injured when a car hit her while she was going on her bicycle yesterday. Volunteers of the Sahara Jan Sewa shifted her to the local Civil Hospital where her condition was stated to be stable.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that in another incident a 12-year-old boy, identified as Bittu, was injured when he was hit on the head with a brick by an unidentified person on the Naruana road.

The accused was allegedly trying to snatch money from the victim.


Zero-tillage technology getting popular
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 12
Finding it a cost-effective and farmer-friendly alternative, farmers of the state are going in for zero-tillage technology of wheat sowing in a big way. At the same time, farmers were shunning the conventional method of wheat-sowing gradually, for multiple advantages of zero tillage were such that these were alluring them in more than one way. What was attracting farmers, particularly, was the enormous savings, which could be anywhere between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 per hectare, depending upon the condition of the soil.

The new wheat-sowing technology was so popular among farmers that as compared to just 2.14 lakh hectares last year, farmers had sown about 4 lakh hectares of wheat with the help of new technology. Similarly, farmers in Jalandhar district, who had sown mere 5,714 hectares with the help of zero-tillage technology last year, have increased the area where the new technology was applied, to 20,000 hectares this year. Apart from money, what was drawing farmers towards the new technology was saving time and toil.

“In the case of traditional cultivation method, six to seven tillage practices were required followed by two-three plantings, but with the help of zero-tillage technology and a special machine used in the process, farmers could sow wheat directly in the field immediately after harvesting of paddy crop,” said Mr Naresh Gulati, a prominent farm expert.

Mr Baldev Singh Kahlon, Chief Agriculture Officer, Jalandhar, said the new technology was useful to farmers as it also saved the gradual loss of yield of wheat which was recorded after November 25. “If you sow wheat after November 25, you lose about 30 kg of yield per hectare. So by adopting the new technology, farmers could sow wheat directly after harvesting paddy and without waiting for preparation of their fields,” said Mr Kahlon.

He said in Jalandhar district, the Agriculture Department had about 40 zero-tillage machines for demonstration purposes.

According to Mr Gulati, application of the zero-tillage technique also resulted in a sharp decline in growth of weeds and there was lesser need for fertilisers as paddy straw itself acted as fertiliser with the passage of time. “Farmers can also save a lot of money as lesser water was required for wheat farming if this technique is applied,” said Mr Gulati.


No shortage of urea, says minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Punjab’s Cooperation and Horticulture Minister Jasjit Singh Randhawa said there was no shortage of urea in the cooperative sector. He also claimed that the government had made extra arrangements for urea.

The minister said the Department of Cooperatives was making arrangements for supplying fertilisers to the farmers through primary agriculture co-operative service societies. He added that the Department of Cooperatives had made more arrangements than the demand in the cooperative sector through Markfed and Registrar, Cooperative Societies.

The minister asserted that Markfed had made additional arrangements for 40,000 metric tonnes of urea. He appealed to the farmers and cooperative societies not to create panic.


Murder case solved, two held
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, December 12
The police today claimed to have solved a case in which two elderly women were killed at their Old Grain Market home a day before Divali. Two persons have been arrested in this connection.

Addressing a press conference here today, the SSP, Mr Kulchhinder Singh, said the police had recovered a couple of railway tickets from the crime scene. The police started probing into these tickets, which were from Ambala to Bathinda.

The police found that one Deepak Kumar, alias Deepu, and Ahmed Akhtar used to visit the home of the deceased, Ghona Devi and Lakshmi Devi. Both of them were also spotted with these women a day before their murder.

On interrogation, they confessed to murdering both the women for Rs 15,000. Deepak had taken a loan of Rs 15,000 from Lakshmi Devi on 10 per cent interest. She had asked him to return his money failing which she would report the matter to the police. He had promised to return the money before Divali, but when he could not manage the same he along with his friend, Akhtar, killed both of them.

For the past 20 years Ghona Devi was staying in this area along with her sister-in-law, Lakshmi Devi. Both the bodies bore injury marks that hinted at the use of some sharp-edged weapon, but the police had not recovered any weapon from their residence.


Kidnap case: CBI to probe again
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 12
A CBI court at Patiala has directed the investigating agency to re-examine the nine-year-old abduction case of Giandeep Singh, alias Richi, who was kidnapped by four unidentified youths on August 19, 1996. Giandeep Singh, whose father is a doctor in a government hospital, was only five years old when he was kidnapped.

The CBI had prayed to the court in an application on May 20, 2003, to close the case, which could not be worked out due to the lack of required evidence necessary for locating the child. The case was handed over to the CBI on April 16, 2001, after the failure of the police to trace the child and arrest the accused.

Dr Hardip Singh, father of Giandeep Singh, along with his lawyer, Mr A.K. Vermani, in a press conference here today, revealed that the court in its order expressed that there was a scope for further investigation on the points raised by the complainant. Hence the case was ordered to be returned for further investigation into the matter after the consideration of aspects stated during the hearing. The order added that the cancellation file would be taken up afresh after the submission of the result of further investigation.

While detailing, Dr Hardip said that his son Giandeep was abducted by four persons in a white Maruti van. He was coming back from school on a rickshaw with other tiny tots. The rickshaw-puller, Rajinder Kumar, alias Reda, was the only eyewitness to the incident.

An FIR was registered on the day of the incident at Civil Line police station. Following police failure to arrest the accused, Dr Hardip Singh filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court urging to handover the inquiry to an independent agency. Dr Hardip had suspected the involvement of some of his relatives in the kidnapping.

Mr Vermani alleged that the investigating officer of the CBI had not conducted a proper inquiry into the case. He said the CBI did not try to do appropriate investigation from the richshaw-puller, a major eyewitness in the case. He alleged that it did not bother to make computer sketches of the accused nor it took the proper help of media. Even after two months the CBI failed to restart the inquiry, he added.

He demanded that the complainant (Dr Hardip) should be involved in the inquiry and the rickshaw-puller should be questioned thoroughly.


3 of family killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 12
Four persons, including three members of a family, were killed and four others injured in a road mishap when a truck collided with a Toyota Qualis vehicle near Mallian village on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road, about 22 km from here this morning. According to information, the incident occurred due to fog.

The deceased were identified as Pramod Kumar, driver of the vehicle, Darshan Singh and his son Kuldip Singh and daughter-in-law Kiranpreet Kaur, all residents of Ludhiana. The injured are Jagjit Kaur, wife of Darshan Singh, Gurpreet Kaur, daughter, and two sons, Tejinder Singh and Prince.

The victims were coming to Amritsar to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple.

The injured were admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here.


Cop held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Kotkapura, December 12
A Head Constable posted at the local Sadar police station was caught taking a bribe of Rs 500 by a Vigilance Bureau team. According to sources, the complainant Beant Kaur, a resident of Sandhwa village, was involved in a dispute with her husband Harjinder Singh of Jhandeana for the past seven years.

She had lodged a complaint with the SSP who asked Head Constable Surjeet Singh to investigate the case. The Head Constable started harassing her and said if she would pay him Rs 1,000 he would take action against her husband. She struck the deal for Rs 500 and approached the Vigilance Bureau with her complaint. Surjeet was caught red-handed while he was taking the bribe at the Tehsil complex.


Vacant posts in schools to be filled soon: Johar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Vacant posts in government schools will be filled soon on contractual and regular basis — at least this is what Punjab Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar is claiming.

The minister is further claiming that a decision to this effect will be taken soon by a high powered committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

According to a press release, the minister added that all the pending cases of appointments in the Education Department on compassionate grounds would be cleared on priority basis at he earliest.

Referring to the promotions of school lecturers and headmasters, Mr Johar said necessary decision on this issue would be take within a month. He was addressing members of the Punjab Pradesh Teachers Union. Teachers, said Mr Johar, would not be given any outside school responsibilities except election and census duties, if need be.

The release added that the foundation stone of ‘Vidya Bhawan’ slated to be completed by the end of next year would be laid by Mr Johar at Mohali’s Government College on December 22.

It was added that in an attempt to increase enrollment of students in government schools, the age for admissions would be brought down to 5 years at par with the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.


Conference on ‘precision manufacturing’ ends
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 12
The two-day national conference on "precision manufacturing" concluded today at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), about 20 km from here. As many as 67 research papers were presented at the conference.

Dr Sunil Pandey, professor from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, who was the chief guest at the valedictory function of the conference, said the manufacturing sector should contribute more than 50 per cent in the gross domestic product (GDP) for the overall development of the country. With this only India could enter the select band of the developed countries, he added. He said such conferences played an important role in the development of technology.

Mr H.P. Singh, Director, SLIET, stressed upon the need of bridging up the gap between the industry and technical institutions, for fulfilling the requirements of the both and development of the country. Prof Varinder Sahni, chairman of the organising committee of the conference, said the SLIET would work for the creation of a nodal centre in the field of welding technology on the SLIET campus.

Among others who spoke on the occasion, were Dr D.S. Mehta from the IIT, Delhi; Dr Sunand Kumar from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hamirpur; and Dr Rajesh Kumar, organising secretary of the conference.


School holds annual function
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, December 12
The annual function of Sacred Heart Convent School was held here yesterday. Mr Hans Raj Josan, Minister of State for Forests, was the chief guest. He praised the school for providing curricular and extra-curricular activities on a par with schools in metros.

Mr Sukhmandar Singh, SDM, Jalalabad, was the guest of honour. Rev Fr. John Mundackal, provincial superior, Khrist Jyoti Province, Punjab and Rajasthan, presided over the function.

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