P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab to donate Rs 10 crore to PM’s Relief Fund
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Government today decided to send a cheque of Rs 10 crore to the Prime Ministers’ Relief Fund for the victims of the tsunami-affected southern states and union territories.

Talking to the newsmen here this morning, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said the cheque would be personally presented to the Prime Minister by Mr Surinder Singla and Mr Jagjeet Singh, both members of the Council of Ministers.

“We have also decided that all legislators should contribute their one months’ salary towards the Prime Ministers’ Relief Fund. I hope all legislators would cut across party lines to contribute for it.

“We also hope that all employees of the Punjab Government and its corporations and boards will also contribute their one days’ salary for the fund to mitigate the sufferings of the victims. This would come to about Rs 10 crores,” he said revealing that first consignment containing light bedding, clothes and ration was being dispatched to New Delhi for onward transmission to the affected states.

“I have already talked to the Chief Ministers of the affected states and asked them for any special or particular help they needed from us. We would treat it as most urgent in furnishing whatever we can,” he said, maintaining that he had appealed to all Punjabis to contribute whatever possibly they could for the victims of this unprecedented calamity.

The Punjab Government would also motivate and mobilise various sants and deras to move to affected areas for starting community welfare projects, including langars.

He said he was in constant touch with the special cell created by the All-India Congress Committee for monitoring relief operations in the affected areas. Another cell was operating in the Union Government.


IAS body to donate 1-day salary

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab IAS Officers’ Association today decided to contribute their one-day salary to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to help the victims of Tsunami tragedy. Already, a cheque for Rs 1.25 lakh, out of the existing deposits with the association, has been issued in favour of the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

Meanwhile, the association has expressed grief over the untimely death of Mr G.R. Bansal, senior state Civil Services officer, in a road accident. — TNS


Govt to mobilise ex-servicemen for relief work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Government has decided to mobilise ex-servicemen in the state to contribute manpower and material for the relief operations in Tsunami-hit areas along the eastern cost. A decision to this effect was taken today.

Director, Sainik Welfare, Brig J S Jaswal (retd), said that there were a large number of ex-servicemen in the state who were being urged to come forward to render assistance.

Stating that the focus would be on provision of food, clothes, shelter and medicines to the affected populace, he added that the department would also welcome donations in cash and kind.


Devotees throng Tahliana Sahib to have glimpse of Ganga Sagar
Amarjit Thind and Mahesh Sharma

Raikot (Ludhiana), December 28
Thousands of enthusiastic devotees thronged the Tahliana Sahib, gurdwara here to have a glimpse of Ganga Sagar, a sacred metallic urn of high religious and historic value for the Sikhs, in general, and residents of this area in particular, as the same was gifted to the erstwhile rulers of the walled town Raikot by Guru Gobind Singh three centuries ago.

Despite waiting for the urn for more than seven hours, the residents waited patiently till evening for the ‘‘darshan’’ of the urn. It was brought to this area atop a specially decked wagon followed by a massive religious procession that started from gurdwara Manji Sahib, Alamgir, in the morning.

Various religious and social organisations of Raikot and surrounding villages came forward to make the occasion memorable. The Sukhmani Sewa Society, SGG School, Goindwal and Rai Public School erected welcome gates. The municipal council had got all four gates and various chowks renovated for the occasion.

The Jagraon district police had a tough time regulating the crowd of devotees and they had to divert local traffic. The administration had ordered to close some shops near the tehsil office to avoid congestion.

Apprehending mismanagement, the administration had changed the tentative schedule and asked to bring the urn to the kothi of the erstwhile Nawab of Raikot, where it was kept for public display before Partition, in the evening after display at Tahliana Sahib.

The urn was brought back to this town nearly after fifty-seven years by Mr Rai Azizullah, a member of the Lahore National Assembly, whose father Rai Faqirullah Khan had taken Ganga Sagar to Pakistan at the time of Partition. Mr Rai Azizullah is a descendent of Rai Kallah, who had received the sacred gift from Guru Gobind Singh in 1705.


Punjab to revive ETT course for teachers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Government has decided to restart the Elementary Teachers Training course, which was terminated a few years ago, at all district headquarters. The admission in the ETT course will be made through the entrance test.

Informed sources said today that the state government had decided to increase the seats for ETT course in each district to 200. Earlier, during the Akali Government the number of seats in each district was 125. Sources said the total number of seats in the state had been increased to 3400 while earlier number was 1925. After training the candidates would become eligible for appointment in elementary schools where thousands posts are lying vacant.

The last admission in this course was made in 2001 when Mr Tota Singh was Education Minister. That session continued till 2003. There are 17 District Education and Training Institutes in the state to handle this course.

There are political reasons to restart this two year course. The present government will complete three years of its term in two months from now. And after February, it will practically having only one and half year to take major “ please all” decisions. The revival of the ETT course is the first step in this direction.

Sources said the process to apply for entry in the entrance test would start in the second week of next month. The government had already given its approval to restart the course. In fact, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister for Schools, has directed the authorities concerned to complete the admission process in the shortest possible time.

The last date to submit the form to sit in the entrance test will be January 27. The test will be held on February 27. Forms for submitting the applications for the test will be available from January 11, it is learnt.

Only those candidates who are domiciles of Punjab will be eligible to sit in the test. A certificate in this connection will have to be submitted to the authorities concerned. The wards of state government employees, who are posted in Chandigarh or serving here in some other capacity, will be eligible to apply in any one district of their choice the admission. But they would have to submit the proof that their father or mother is serving in Chandigarh.

Only those candidate having 50 per cent or above marks in the plus two examination will be eligible to apply for the entrance test. However, there will be relaxation of 5 per cent marks for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Candidates must have passed Punjabi, Mathematics and Science subjects at the matriculation level. The minimum age required to apply for the test is 17 years.

The entrance test , which will be conducted at district headquarter, will be worth 200 marks, say sources.


Takht jathedars unlikely to recognise new Taksal head
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 28
With the split in Damdami Taksal, the Jathedars of Akal Takht, Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib may not give recognition to Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma as acting head of the Sikh seminary for the time being.

Sources close to Akal Takht point out that such recognition could be given to a regular head of the Taksal who would announce that Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale was killed during Operation Bluestar. Though Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and the SGPC had presented ‘siropa’ to Bhai Isher Singh on June 6 last year to mark “ghallukara divas” where Sant Bhinderanwale was declared a “martyr”, yet Baba Thakur Singh, the then acting Jathedar of the Taksal had refused to accept this theory.

So much so Baba Thakur Singh had criticised Jathedar Vedanti for his “lack of understanding” on certain Sikh traditions. Jathedar Vedanti, too, is a student of Damdami Taksal.

It is learnt that Jathedar Vedanti will accord recognition to Baba Dhumma if he was appointed a regular jathedar. His appointment as acting head has given clear indications that Damdami Taksal want to encash from the myth that Sant Bhinderanwale was still alive and would come back some day to take over as regular head. Such an approach is considered a direct challenge to the authority of the SGPC and Akal Takht.

On the other hand, the breakaway group of Damdami Taksal, headed by Baba Ram Singh, a former priest of the Golden Temple, has accepted the line of Akal Takht and believed that Sant Bhinderanwale was killed during Army operation in June 1984. Bhai Manjit Singh, senior vice-president, Shiromani Akali Dal and son of late Sant Kartar Singh (predecessor of Sant Bhinderanwale) and his supporters have already given their unflinching support to the breakaway group.

It is learnt that Akal Takht secretariat had got the fax message from the USA on June 17 last year, bearing the signature of Baba Thakur Singh, which read that Baba Ram Singh would be his successor. Moreover, many senior leaders of the Taksal, including Baba Dharm Singh, Bhai Mukhtiyar Singh and Raagi Sarwan Singh had met Jathedar Vedanti during his recent visit to the USA.

However, Jathedar Vedanti said that he had not yet decided whether to attend the “antim ardas” of Baba Thakur Singh, scheduled to be held at Gurdwara Gurdarshan Parkash, Chowk Mehta, or at Gurdwara Gurshabad Parkash, near Batala, on January 2.

Parallel “antim ardas” functions would virtually be show of strength by both the groups.


Akali Dal hits back at Mann
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
The Akali Dal here today condemned the inclusion of names of Mr Baldev Singh, Defence Minister, and Mr Ravi Inder Singh in the list of traitors released by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann.

In a press conference organised here today, Mr Jaspal Singh, general secretary of the Akali Dal circle, Mohali said Mr Mann had forgotten that his forefathers had committed various acts of treachery against the panth and Punjab. He said Mr Mann's maternal grandfather, Aroor Singh, had given siropa to General Dyer, who was responsible for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

He said it was only due to Mr Baldev Singh's efforts that Mr Mann's father, Joginder Singh Mann, was appointed recruiting officer in four districts. When Mr Mann was lodged in Bhagalpur jail, only Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Capt Amarinder Singh used to visit him, he said.

Mr Jaspal Singh alleged that Mr Mann had not been able to digest his defeat in the Lok Sabha and the SGPC elections due to which he was targeting Mr Ravi Inder Singh and his family.

He said the SGPC poll results had proved that the Panthic Morcha was able to win seats only due to Mr Ravi Inder Singh and Mr Mann was not able to retain the hold on his home turf.


Natwar writes to SGPC on turban issue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 28
Mr K. Natwar Singh, Minister of External Affairs, conveyed to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) that the French Government had told the Indian Government that the restrictions on Sikh students in the schools was being applied under the law which was passed by their Parliament.

The French Government said that the law was uniformly applicable to students of all religions and was applied without discrimination.

An SGPC press release issued here today said that the minister, responding to the letter of Bibi Jagir Kaur, said that the issue had already been taken up with the French Government at the highest level and the Central Government would continue to do so.


Indo-Pak relations: another step forward
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Holding of World Punjab Conferences, Indo-Pak Punjab Games and exchange of visits by the Chief Ministers of East and West Punjab marked the beginning of a new chapter of bonhomie and cordiality in bilateral relations between the border states of two neighbours. It was after 57 years that people of two Punjabs were able to freely exchange visits.

It was in the beginning of the year, in February, that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, led an entourage to Lahore to a rousing welcome there. He not only participated in the World Punjabi Conference held there but also discussed a number of issues of reviving and revitalising relations between the two Punjabs by holding a series of meetings with his counterpart, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, and members of his Council of Ministers.

And before the calendar year could end, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, paid a return visit to formalise and institutionalise a number of events, including making Indo-Pak Punjab Games an annual feature.

The most redeeming feature of this eventful year has been the free exchange of visits by artistes, including folk singers, writers, sportsmen and women. Feeling threatened by growing western influence on the folklore, conservationists must have heaved a sigh of relief as the cultural events organised during the last two months of the year were a step in the direction of cleansing Punjabi folk of “vulgarity”.

Besides, holding of the World Punjabi Conferences would be a major boost to Punjabi literature. Work on narrowing differences in scripts by the use of Information Technology will make literary works and other writings available on either side of the border.

Sports, folk and literature are the key areas in which gaps, which looked difficult to be narrowed, have been nearly filled.

In sports, though there has been a long history of bilateral exchange of club, state and even national teams between India and Pakistan, but holding of Indo-Pak Punjab Games will give a big fillip to promotion of sports in either of Punjabs.

The real challenge will come when the next edition of the games are held in Lahore next year.

Other areas where people-to-people contact can improve is bilateral trade. There are enormous opportunities for businessmen, industrialists and traders on either side of the border.

The Punjab Chief Minister is expected to lead a delegation of trade and industry to Pakistan early next year to work out modalities for holding joint trade shows, paving way for the start of trade by surface through Wagah and then Hussainiwallah.

Also in the offing is a visit by a delegation of Punjab legislators to Pakistan Punjab.

Besides art, culture, sports, another redeeming feature of the year has been the exchange of visits by hospital administrators, doctors and technicians of two Punjabs.


GND varsity crisis deepens
Teachers association threatens to boycott exams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 28
The crisis in Guru Nanak Dev University has deepened further even as the Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) has threatened to boycott the examinations, besides gheraoing the Governor–cum-Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor if Dr G.S. Kang was not elevated as the head of the Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy Department from January 1.

The GNDUTA general secretary, Dr Kuldip Singh, said that the Punjab Governor had no power to issue a directive to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, which was in contravention of the statutes of the university. The Governor had no constitutional power to scuttle the chances of Dr Kang to become the next head of department.

Dr Kuldip Singh said that the Vice-Chancellor had conveyed to a deputation of the association that Dr Kang was unlikely to be the next head of department as per the ‘directives’ of the Governor-cum-Chancellor of the university. The association got clear indications that a teacher who is not a physiotherapist was unlikely to be the next head of Physiotherapy Department, thereby superseding Dr Kang.

However, the association pleaded that if Dr Jaspal Singh, who was not a physiotherapy teacher, could be the head of Physiotherapy Department for nine years, why this status was being denied to Dr Kang?

The deputation of the association, headed by Dr Davinder Singh, held an emergency meeting with the Vice-Chancellor for half an hour. Dr Kuldip Singh claimed that the Vice-Chancellor told the deputation that he could not disobey the Governor, who wanted a physiotherapist as the next Head of Physiotherapy Department.

The deadlock on headship continued for a long time even as both the teachers association and students of the Physiotherapy Department took diametrically opposite stands. The students had threatened to resort to the ‘extreme step’ if ‘unqualified’ person was made the head of Physiotherapy Department. The students had pleaded that their course would be disaffiliated by the Indian Physiotherapy Association (IPA) if Dr Kang having arts background became the head of department.


Kidnapping case solved within 10 hours
SMS leads them to police custody
Tribune News Service

Malout, December 28
While it took months to plan a kidnapping, it was just a blank SMS sent to the parents of the kidnapped boy that landed the accused, Gursahib Singh and Labh Singh, into police custody.

The two accused, who kidnapped Sukhmanpreet Singh, three-year-old grandson of a local industrialist, Mr Sant Singh, on the night of December 24, were arrested by the police within 10 hours after they executed the kidnapping by tracing their location from the cell phone they used to raise a demand of ransom from the kin of the victim repeatedly.

Police sources said the accused started using the stolen mobile belonging to Mr Sant Singh after kidnapping the boy and shifting him to Abohar. The accused kidnapped the boy at 1.30 am on December 25 and took him to Kabarwala village on foot, while the child was fast asleep. The boy was kidnapped from his house.

The sources added that Gursahib Singh, a former employee of Mr Sant Singh, along with his accomplice, had entered the house of Mr Sant Singh after scaling the wall with the help of a telephone pole. Finding all the members of the family sleeping, the accused kidnapped the boy and also took away the mobile phone of Mr Sant Singh.

After reaching Kabarwala village they got a jeep and went to Abohar and called up the parents of the boy to get a ransom. The parents of the boy had got in touch with the boy by that time and the origin of the call was traced to Abohar. But before the police could locate them, the accused shifted to Muktsar.

After reaching Muktsar the accused again called the parents of the kidnapped boy and demanded a ransom of Rs 14 lakh. The amount in cash was to be kept at a point specified by the accused near the distributary of Panniwala village.

By now the police had started raiding the suspected hideouts of the accused and had rounded up some of their accomplices. The accused got aware of the police activity and were pushed to a corner. They dropped the child at the Malout bus stand and called his parents who recovered the child. The police arrested the accused from Sekhu village and registered a case under Sections 364 and 457 of the IPC.

Mr L.K. Yadav, SSP, said that with the help of modern technology the case was solved in less than 10 hours.


Infighting mars state BJP
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 28
In Punjab factionalism is marring the state unit of the BJP. Former ministers and senior leaders of the party and their supporters are feeling being sidelined by the present leadership of the party in the state.

In Gurdaspur district some former ministers and their supporters are at loggerheads with the present office-bearers of the district unit of the BJP. A former BJP minister, while talking to The Tribune on condition of anonymity, alleged that the person who managed the office of the present Congress MLA during the last Assembly elections had now been made the district president of the BJP. Most of those BJP members who had opposed the official candidates of the party during the last elections had now been rewarded with the posts of office-bearer of the party at district and block levels.

Due to the infighting among party workers could even be seen at the block level in the state. The warring factions of the party were competing to scuttle each other rather than working as a collective opposition.

In Hoshiarpur district the infighting between BJP groups led by the local MP and present state president of the party, Mr Avinash Khanna, and the local MLA, Mr Tikshan Sud, has come into the open. A supporter of Mr Sud has filed a suite in the local court challenging the presidentship of Mr Avinash Khanna. The sources here said that the supporters of Mr Sud were feeling let down by the state party leadership.

The sources said that heated words were exchanged recently between the district BJP president from Ropar, Mr Vijay Puri, and a senior leader of the Bhartiya Yuva Morcha, Mr Arvind Mittal, who is the son of the former BJP minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal. Following the exchange a show cause notice was issued by the state leadership of the party to Mr Arvind Mittal.

The rival faction in Ropar has sent a compliant against Mr Puri to the central leadership of the party. They have accused him of helping and praising Congress leaders in the elections of the Ropar Market Committee.

Similarly, infighting was also reported in Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar districts. The sources also said that infighting was also intensifying for the state presidentship of the party.


Amritsar, Mohali to be special economic zones
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Punjab Government has decided to declare Amritsar and Quark City, Mohali as Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in accordance with the central Government’s policy to provide an internationally competitive and hassle- free environment for exports. A proposal in this regard will be forwarded to the Union Government shortly. These were deliberated upon at a meeting held here today under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill.

The Central Government, as part of its policy introduced in January 2000, had given approval for setting up 27 such zones in various parts of the country in the private/joint sectors or by the government. These two, would be the first ones to be set up in Punjab,.

Talking to TNS, Principal Secretary ( Industries), Mr S.C Agarwal said the state government would now be forwarding its recommendations to the Central Government in this regard. While the proposal with regard to Quark City stands finalised, the one pertaining to Amritsar is at the discussion level due to some funding issue, he said.

While the state government, on its part would make available basis services like water and electricity, besides offering exemption from paying various state taxes, the Central government would provide certain other facilities.

Mr Agarwal said units would be set up in these zone both for manufacture of goods and rendering of services. All the import/export operations of these units will have certification basis. Banking units will also be set up. In some cases, the existing export zones have been converted into Special Economic Zones.

Meanwhile modalities for setting up Industrial parks, including IT and Agro parks were also discussed at another meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The same would be placed before the Cabinet for approval shortly, it is reliably learnt.


Sikh scholar's birth anniversary to be observed on March 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The birth anniversary of late Principal Satbir Singh will be observed on March 1.

This was announced by Mr Hardev Singh Rosha, president of the International Punjabi Vikas Manch, while speaking at the first death anniversary function of Mrs Jaspal Kaur, widow of Satbir Singh, at Patiala yesterday. Principal Satbir Singh was a renowned Sikh scholar, having written about 100 books on Sikh history and religion.

A number of scholars, professors and doctors attended the function. Many people had come from Kolkata, Delhi, Ludhiana and Yamunanagar.

Professor Kulwant Singh urged upon his son Mr Ajaibir Singh to get manuscripts of the late Principal published in various languages, which will truly be a tribute to the Sikh scholar.


International conference of Ahmadiyyas concludes
Tribune News Service

Qadian (Gurdaspur), December 28
The 113th annual international conference of Ahmadiyyas concluded here today. On the concluding day the speakers laid stressed on giving rights to women in the Islamic society.

In the first speech delivered today, Maulana Mohammed Kareemuddin, Additional Secretary of the Admadiyya community in India, said the countries that had not given social, economic, political and religious rights to women could not progress. Islam had sanctioned the right of women to inherit ancestral property 1,400 years ago. Islam was the only religion that not only recognises the socio-economic rights of women, but also vests them with the power to choose her life partner and the right to divorce. However, certain fanatics are misguiding the society over the rights of women in Islam.

Mirza Zaheer Ahmad Khadim, secretary of the Ahmadiyya movement, said the community has progressed by leaps and bounds since it was launched by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889 with just 40 members at Qadian. Today, the community is established in 178 countries constituting more than 150 million followers. The community has the privilege of running its own TV channel, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.

During the convention, the address of the present head of the community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad would be telecast live across the globe on the channel.

The concluding session of the conference was attended among others by former cricketer and Member of Parliament from Amritsar, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, and the president of the SGPC, Bibi Jagir Kaur. The concluding address at the conference was delivered by spiritual head of the Ahmadiyya community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

While talking to The Tribune, Prof Raj Kumar Sharma, president of the history society, Gurdaspur, said according to historians, Ahmadiyya movement arose amidst the turmoil of the downfall of the old Islamic culture and the infiltration of new culture in India.

The founder of the Ahmadiyya movement Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was initially proclaimed as a great reformer among the Muslim community. However, the differences arose between Muslims and Ahmadiyya’s when in 1889, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad announced that he had received a revelation authorising him to receive men’s allegiance as the promised messiah and Imam Mahdi. However, the Muslims took this announcement as blasphemy.

The result of the conflict was that today the Ahmadiyyas have been declared as non-Muslims in Pakistan. They are not being allowed to perform the Haj pilgrimage. The movement split with the passage of time. One section set its headquarters at Lahore under a lawyer Muhammad Ali, while the other section has its base at Qadian.


New moth species identified
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Its wing span is just 11mm, head pale yellow and antennae are black. It’s a new species of moth.

This species of moth, Diastalica asymmetria, has been identified by a team of scientists of the Department of Zoology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, in this region.

The team led by Dr V.K. Walia has collected 11 male and five female samples of the species. Dr Walia says this species is the first representative of genus Diastalica Walsingham in India. This monobasic genus is a native of Central America.

The samples were collected from Kalesar in Haryana and Subathu and Sairighat in Himachal Pradesh.

Dr Walia, who is working on a project on micro moths sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, says during the study they recorded 150 moth species of 12 families. More than 10,000 samples were collected. The area of study is lower Shivaliks of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

He says Renuka, Subathu, Sairighat in Himachal; Kalesar and Badkal lake in Haryana; Mount Abu, Ranakpur and Mamer in Rajasthan; and Ambaji in Gujarat are rich in flora and fauna.

Mr Deepak Wadhawan, a research scholar, says this species differed from the known species in body colouration and pattern only.

Prof Walia says these tiny insects, measuring only a few millimeters, have never attracted the attention of scientists. Under the project, five collaboration centres are working to study the moth fauna in India.

Likewise, species of other genera of Ethmia, Stegasta and Eupselia have also been recorded in the North. Previously, they were recorded from other parts of the globe.


Books on martyrdom of Sahibzadas released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Three books focusing on the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh’s Sahibzadas were released today.

Two cassettes and one CD of shabad sangeet by Dr Gurnam Singh, Bhai Manpreet Singh, Prof Alankar Singh, Prof Jagjit Singh, Dr Surinder Kapila, Bibi Jaspreet Kaur and Dr Nivedita Singh were also released.

Brought out by the District Cultural Society and the District Administration of Fatehgarh Sahib, the books “Chhote Sahibzadian Di Shaheedi Gatha”, “Sir Deejay Kan Na Keejay”, and “Sach Neehan Which Chamke” are written and edited by Kavi Pandit Puran Chand, Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha and Dr Harchand Singh Sirhindi, respectively.

Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib S.K. Ahluwalia said the books were aimed at paying tributes to the Sahibzadas.


Self-help groups: a success story
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 28
The family of Surjeet Kaur was on the verge of starvation till a few months back, but today they do not only have a roof over their head, but also have a regular monthly income. This has happened due to the concept of self-help among a group of women.

The wave of women empowerment is sweeping across Punjab as women self-help groups are scripting their success stories in non-descript villages. Moga alone has about 400 self-groups of which 244 groups comprise of members of the BPL (below poverty line), while the rest have general members.

Landeke, a small village has five self-help groups that are playing the key role in transforming the status of rural women. The groups are generating funds by contributing monthly savings of as little as Rs 30 or more. A revolving fund has also been raised and loans are given to members for launching productive ventures.

Talking to The Tribune here today, the CDPO, Ms Ripna Sandhu, told that the self-help groups at Landeke village have achieved great success in the last year or so. She said there were three BPL groups and two general groups in the village. The group members have ventured into business like vermiculture, dairy, bee keeping, cloth and grocery shops, and STD booths.

One of the members, Jasbir Kaur, said she had taken a loan of Rs 10,000 for buying a buffalo, which is now giving 10 litres of milk daily. She is earning about Rs 5,000 a month now and is even paying instalments of Rs 1,000 per month against the specified loan instalment of Rs 600 per month.

"I want to pay off my debt and be self-reliant as early as possible," said an exuberant Jasbeer Kaur. She was earlier involved in stitching, but her economic condition deteriorated as she had to leave the job due to health reasons.

"All the groups have opened their bank account where members raise their savings, while the treasurer of each group always has some amount that proves handy in case of an urgent need to a member," said Jasbir.

Another woman, Surjeet Kaur, who was fighting a battle of survival a few months back, is financially independent today. She took keen interest in vermiculture and is now earning a handsome amount by selling vermicompost.

"We buy vermicompost at Rs 500 per kg, which gets doubled in a period of 45 days. It also leads to the production of manure that we sell at Rs 10 per kg or Rs 450 per quintal in case of a bulk order," she said.

Surjeet Kaur, who also owns a buffalo now, has constructed a proper home for her family. "I have earned about Rs 10,000 through vermiculture in the past 8 months. Our only problem is limited space and it would be better if some panchayat land is allotted to us," she said.

Constitution of self-help groups has also boosted the confidence of rural women and they are now even toying with the idea of taking up waitress' job at marriage palaces.

"Earlier, we used to hesitate to talk to outsiders. Now, we hold our monthly meetings and can interact with anyone visiting the village," said Surjeet Kaur. "We are even holding posts in our groups, as each group has a president, a secretary and a treasurer," she added.

Interestingly, these self-help groups are also helping others. "When villagers approach them for money, the groups lend the amount on interest, which boosts their earnings," said Ms Sandhu.

These groups also give loans to the needy. "For instance, a group of this village recently loaned some amount to a new group at 2 per cent interest. In this way they save a lot and they don't need to seek funds from other possible sources" she added.

The CDPO told that 21 members of two groups have been given one buffalo each a couple of months back. A group of 10 women have also been given a contract to clean up a block of the district administrative complex that earns them Rs 10,000 per month.

"They don't shy away from any work and they haven't yet sought cooperation from their husbands," she added. Ms Sandhu said a group having Rs 10,000 in its bank account could get the subsidy of Rs 10,000, besides a cash credit limit of Rs 40,000.

The district administration is upbeat with the overwhelming response to the self-help groups. While the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Mandeep Singh, termed the self-help groups as an effective medium of poverty alleviation, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Neelkanth Ahvad, said the self-help drive was fast becoming a mass movement.


Ropar remained in news
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 28
The district which is usually considered to be sleepy turned out eventful this year, as it not only got recognition at the national level, but also at the international level.

The district hit the headline in the national and international media when a truck driver hailing from Ropar was taken hostage by Iraqi militants in July. The crisis continued for 42 days. After the release, truck driver Sukhdev Singh who hails from Makruna Kalna in the district got a hero’s welcome from hundreds of locals and senior officials of the district.

The district remained at the centre of religious activities as the three-day Saheedi samagam was organised at Chamkaur Sahib to commemorate the tercentenary of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas from December 19. Over three lakh devotees paid obeisance at various gurdwaras in the town.

The Congress managed to steal the show by declaring it a subdivision and announcing various projects.

Thousands of devotees came here to see “Ganga Sagar” during the samagam.

Since January, the district has been in news. The district hit the headline when three accused in the Beant Singh assassination case escaped from Model Jail, Burail. Two of the accused Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara, hail from Ropar.

The district remained politically active because of the corruption case hearing against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family members in the Ropar district court. Supporters of both parties gave a hard time to police personnel when they gathered outside the court and raised slogans against one another.

The district drew attention in May when the mother and brothers of BSP stalwart leader Kanshi Ram, who hails from Khawashpura village in the district, alleged that BSP supremo Mayawati had detained Mr Kanshi Ram and they were not allowed to meet him.

Nangal town in the district was in news when the water level of the Bhakhra Dam had gone down by about 100 feet. The low level of the water not only caused low power production for the Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh but also affected water supplies in the areas.

The administration sound red alert following the threat of rise in the level in the Sutlej following leakage of water from an artificial lake Pareechu, formed in China.

Anandpur Sahib was in news in November when work on the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Complex Memorial halted due to the paucity of funds.


City-Ropar road to be closed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 28
Commuters from Chandigarh have to use the diversion road from Kurali to reach Ropar as the national highway-21, passing through the Kurali town in the district, will remain closed from tomorrow for sometime.

About 1.5-km-long national highway in Kurali town will be closed for the construction of robs on the level crossing. Commuters from Ropar will also have to use the diversion route to reach Kurali.

Senior official, in the PWD said the computers would not face any problem to reach their destination as an alternate route from Kurali to Ropar was well maintained.


Harassed by octroi staff, man seeks justice
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 28
A social activist has accused the authorities of the Municipal Council, Bhawanigarh, of inaction against employees of an octroi contractor who had allegedly harassed and manhandled him when he was passing through the town in a car.

In a communication to the Director, Local Bodies, and the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, Mr Tarsem Garg, a social activist of the Chaura Bazar area in the town, has alleged that he was harassed and manhandled by Mukesh Kumar and his associates on November 7 while he was passing through Bhawanigarh town.

According to the complainant, he had gone to visit some relatives on the occasion of Divali. As he had to pass through Nabha, Sangrur, Bathinda, Kotkapura and Jagraon and was carrying some gifts to be presented to his relatives, he got a state transit pass made from the local Municipal Council.

Though employees at all other councils acknowledged the state transit pass issued by the local council, Mukesh Kumar, posing as an employee of an octroi contractor, refused to acknowledge it and insisted that he pay a fine on the value of the gifts.

Mr Garg alleged that Mukesh, along with his associates, detained him for more than four hours and manhandled him. He could escape from their clutch only after paying a fine, arbitrarily fixed by them.

Mr Garg claimed that he had made a written complaint to an employee of the council, who was on duty at the main octroi on the same date, but no action had yet been taken.

The complainant has now urged the higher authorities to investigate the matter and ensure justice for him.


‘Yoga has changed our lives’
Our Correspondent

Doraha, December 28
Ever since a yog sansthan introduced its classes in the pollution-free atmosphere of Guru Nanak National College here in 1999, people in the town have witnessed a sea change in their physical, mental, social and psychological behaviour.

A majority of them have accepted yoga as a way of life, which, they say alone can keep them hale and hearty in the existing humdrum.

People of the town, who attend yoga classes regularly, feel that they have been relieved from a majority of physical and mental ailments that had made them sick for the past many years.

Mr Tarlok Singh Jaggi, a resident of the area, feels that one feels light after doing yoga. “We can handle our day’s work being cheerful. Besides, the mental peace it provides to our restless brain helps keep anger under control and handle every situation with minimum pressure”.

The inner purgation and lightness felt after doing yoga is extreme, says Mr Pritam Singh Jaggi, who never misses out on his exercise.

Another yoga enthusiast asserts, “The open and clean atmosphere of the college campus, communion with God and nature, the sweet fragrance of flowers and trees early in the morning and late in the evening makes us feel in heaven”.

“The link with the Almighty, experienced through various yog asanas, have made my life worth living,” says Mr Pardeep Goel, who is also regular with his exercises.

Mrs Savita Bector, in charge of the evening session, said asanas were being practised with great dedication.

Mr Paramjit Singh, district president and in charge of the local unit of the yog sansthan, said, “With the active support of the college management and the Principal, we began our classes in March, 1999, for the morning session. Since June 15, 2001, the evening classes are also being conducted regularly”.

Mrs Sarabjit Kaur, the morning session in charge, feels, “The overwhelming response we are receiving from people even since the introduction of the yoga classes, has made us more enthusiastic.


Trees axed illegally
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 28
A large number of trees have been axed illegally by the locals in Kherhi village, about 30 km from here. The fully grown trees spread over 200 acres of “shamlat” land of the village were cut down by the villagers on Saturday and Sunday, without any permission from the competent authority.

The rules say that for cutting the trees from the “shamlat” land, first the villagers have to inform the BDPO. Then, he will forward their case to the Forest Department after inspecting the site. Even after getting the sanction from the Forest Department, villagers have to organise auction for the cutting of the trees in the presence of the BDPO.

But, in this case, the locals neither informed the BDPO nor they sought permission from the Forest Department. In addition to it, they did not hold auction for it.

When the Tribune team went to the village, it found that the villagers involved in the illegal activities have hired the labourers and trees were axed on Saturday and also on Sunday. The labourers were seen busy in shifting the cut trees to the safe hideout.

When the villagers were questioned about it, they admitted that trees were axed without any permission and that they were not aware of any legal formalities.

“The villagers did not inform me nor did they move any application for cutting the trees. They have cut down the trees illegally and action will be taken against them under the rules. I am away to Chandigarh and have received the information about the incident. I will soon issue a notice and will send a letter to the Director, Development, Rural and Panchayat, for action, said the BDPO, Surinder Pal Singh.

When contacted the District Forest Officer, Mr S.S Bhatti, said that the Forest Department had seized the trees cut by the villagers yesterday. The Panchayat of Kherhi village has admitted its mistake and ready to pay the fine.

“The villagers informed me that they were not aware of legal formalities. They were short of money to organise a religious function and cut the trees to earn money for the function” added Mr Bhatti.


Ex-gratia for kin of furnace blast victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of kin of the three persons who were killed in a blast in a steel furnace unit at Mandi Gobindgarh yesterday. Besides, the Chief Minister also announced financial grant of Rs 25,000 for the injured in the mishap.


Revive sprinkler system to conserve water, say experts
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Punjab Government’s failure to revive a scheme aimed at promoting the use of sprinkler system by farmers is not only resulting in water wastage, but is also affecting the yield — at least this is what irrigation engineers are claiming.

They assert that the use of sprinkler system by the farming community can cut down water wastage by 35 per cent to 50 per cent in the state. This is not all. The yield can increase by anywhere between 5 per cent to 8 per cent.

The experts add that wastage is minimised as the system discourages excessive water seepage and cuts down evaporation losses.

“The yield increases as the system results in equitable distribution of water throughout the field and washes the crop every time it is used, thereby making it healthy,” says engineer Vijay K. Bansal.

He is also a corporate member of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

“Currently about 500 farmers in the state are using the system”, he adds.

Meanwhile, giving details of the scheme aimed at promoting its use, sources in the Punjab Government say that power connections to tubewells were being released to agriculturists — opting for sprinkler systems — on priority basis by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

Going into the background of the scheme, the sources claim that the same was introduced by the Beant Singh government and was continued by the Akali-BJP combine. It was scrapped by the present government in April, 2002.

The sources claim that the revival of the scheme is necessary because ground water is going down rapidly in the country at an estimated rate of 16 to 20 cms annually. Punjab, they insist, is no exception.

They add that 60 out of 231 blocks declared “danger” zones — as far as water scarcity is concerned — are in Punjab alone. Ludhiana and Sangrur, besides parts of Bathinda, Moga, Faridkot and Muktsar, are the worse affected, they assert.

Quoting an example, the sources say that Israel is one of the biggest exporter of flowers in the world, even though it receives just 110 mm of rainfall. On the other hand, India receives 1000 mm, but is nowhere in the competition, due to poor water management.

They add that the reintroduction of the scheme aimed at encouraging the farmers to go in for the system can actually make a difference as over 70 per cent of water available in the state is used by the agriculture sector.

The sources assert that the PSEB is somehow reluctant to revive the scheme despite strong recommendations by the office of Punjab’s Chief Conservator of Soils, Director Agriculture, besides Punjab Agricultural University and other experts.

Also, the reintroduction of the scheme will not impose any financial burden on either the state, PSEB or the Union Government. “As such there is not justification in not reviving the scheme, they conclude.


Fish farmers ruin historic Keshopur wetland
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Under tremendous pressure from indiscriminate fish farmers, the historic Keshopur wetland (chhamb) of Gurdaspur is losing its natural habitat. Home to rare birds like Siberian cranes and rare varieties of aquatic plants, the 990 acre wetland is under invasion from fish farmers who are plundering 220 acres for prized catch.

Not only have they hired labour to scare away migratory/ domestic birds, they are using diesel engines to maintain water level in fish ponds, thereby threatening endemic species of flora and fauna.

The practice started when nine panchayats owning the area leased out 220 acres to fish farmers for a meager Rs 1000 per acre per year. As rains have failed in the past some years, it has been easy for fish farmers to take over the wetland. It dries up in summers and it is easy to dig up ponds in the otherwise marshy area. Draining out of water of chhambs has also caused considerable drop on the area’s water table.

Concerned over widespread damage which is preventing migratory birds from coming in, wildlife officials, including Honorary Wildlife Warden, Gurdaspur, Mr S.S. Bajwa and NGOs are asking for termination of lease and declaration of Keshopura as a bird sanctuary. Incidentally, the Chhamb used to be the favourite hunting spot of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who shot ducks. Before Partition, the Governor of undivided Punjab also used to come here for hunting.

With conditions being reversed and many duck poisoning cases coming to light, Gurdaspur’s Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) chapter is urging the Punjab Government to save the wetland. SPCA vice-president Jagdish Singh Dhillon and members Lt-Gen Kamaljit Singh (retd) and Col Parmjit Singh (Retd) have sent written representations in this regard.

Earlier in 1998 DFO of this forest division had recommended to the Chief Wild Warden to declare Keshopur as a wetland and bird sanctuary. He had also mentioned that this Chhamb had rare lotus (Nelumbiun) and some species of rare semi aquatic and aquatic plants. Mr Jagdish Singh of SPCA reasons, “If the state can lose lakhs by banning fishing at Harike wetland it can also compensate these villages which will lose just Rs 2 lakh if the lease is terminated. This chhamb is unique in that its water level can be maintained with little modification in the existing drainage system of Doga canal.”

Gurdaspur losing wetland wealth

Gurdaspur has a lot of underground water flowing from the Shivalik hills and the Himalayas and some of this water rises to the surface in depressions and low lying areas forming wetlands. Excessive water from wetlands forms nullahs which flow into the Beas and the Ravi to form waterways which provide habitat to rare birds, turtles and fish besides maintaining water table of the area.

Of late water from these wetlands has been drained out to provide land for farmers. This has resulted in shrinking of these wet lands, affecting bird and animal life. Animals like wild boar and deer were a common sight in many of Gurdaspur’s chhambs but they have vanished due to destruction of habitat by man.

The Keshopur Chhamb for its part attracts migratory birds like Barheaded Geese, Mallards, Pintails, Brahmany Duck (Surkhab), Gadwall, Whistling Teal, Spot bill, Pochard, Snipes, Gulls, Cranes. Its permanent residence includes Cormorants, Egrets, Herons, Storks, Coot, Black partridge, Kingfisher, Grebe, Spotted Sandpiper.


A prominent floriculturist
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

KAPURTHALA: Flowers nurtured by him are the centre of attraction in the lobbies of some top hotels of North India. He has also been exporting the Asiatic and Oriental Liliums cultivated in his fields to South-East countries.

Mr Sandeep Puri, a prominent floriculturist of Punjab, started his business almost a decade back. His father, Mr Vishwanath Puri, has been a potato grower but when Mr Sandeep joined the family agri-business, he wanted to diversify it.

With no training of the business in hand, Mr Sandeep went to Holland at that time to understand the technical know-how. Investing almost Rs 1 lakh into the project, he brought back nearly 30,000 bulbs of gladioli and started the floriculture business in half an acre. For the first two years, there was no harvest. But in the third year, his fields bloomed and he got a good response from the market.

“In the first two years, I simply cared for the plants and tried to gain knowledge about the market so that I did not get any problem in selling my flowers. I sold my stuff from Amritsar to New Delhi”, he recalled.

“My success lies in the fact that I have been marketing my produce on my own and there has never been any middleman. This helps me in ensuring more profitability. I have never tried to sell my flowers in the mandi. I have directly approached the retailers and set up the market to sell my produce,” he added.

After the first crop, Mr Sandeep started multiplying his bulbs and practising cross-hybridization of non-registered varieties of gladiolus and lilium. He even set up green houses to ensure proper condition for his light and heat sensitive plants. Slowly, he expanded his area of cultivation to four acres. A descendant from the royal family of Kapurthala, Brig Surjit Singh, also offered him to cultivate flowers in a small portion of his land holdings.

Some very peculiar shaded liliums from Mr Sandeep’s gardens were sent to New Delhi when ex-US President Bill Clinton visited India. His flowers won much appreciation from him and he even took alongwith him a few sticks of the flowers. Now some experts from Holland will be coming to his farm next month to share some information about the same business.

But, says Mr Sandeep, “Many persons in Punjab and around have started taking to floriculture business, making the competition very tough. Those who are able to produce different flowers and that too with a good grading are only able to survive.”


Rebels demand probe into anomalies at MC
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 28
Breaking their silence after a couple of months, the dissident councillors have once again come out against the Municipal Council chief, Mr Joginder Pal Jain, and have written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to order a probe into the prevailing “anomalies” at the MC.

During a meeting attended by about 13 councillors, the dissident leader, Mr Naseeb Bawa, alleged that the MC chief was adopting dirty tricks to save his chair and was misusing people’s money. He alleged that the statement of a woman councillor’s husband that why they shouldn’t take commission was a clear pointer to the fact that councillors were being given commission in MC works.

Mr Bawa further alleged that there was an uproar in the MC when an official didn’t pass cheap quality “rehris”, which indicated that officials were being pressurised to pass low quality goods.

When contacted, Mr Jain denied allegations levelled against him and said that he was ready to face a probe into the matter. He said that some councillors had joined hands with the rebels owing to misunderstanding and they had returned to him after talks. He denied that any of the councillors was lured to join him.


DSP caught accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Continuing with its drive against corruption in the state, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau has caught “red-handed” Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sukhdev Singh Chhina on graft charges.

The DSP, posted at Zira, had allegedly demanded Rs 20,000 for favouring a Moga resident in taking possession of land. During the search of the DSP’s house, the vigilance sleuths seized 78 bottles of English wine, 50 grams of contraband opium, 4 kg of poppy husk and also seized Rs 3 lakh in cash.

In yet another case, the Vigilance Bureau arrested a clerk in the office of Punjab DPI (Secondary), Ravinderpal Singh, along with the Principal of Senior Secondary School in Nawanshahr, Hardyal Singh, for their alleged involvement in fake transfers of 18 government teachers. Another Ludhiana resident, Harjinder Singh, was also arrested in the same case.

Giving details of the case against the DSP, an official spokesman said the officer was nabbed after the flying squad of Vigilance Bureau laid a trap on Monday night at his house and seized the money.

Chief Director-cum-Additional Director-General of Police in charge of Vigilance Bureau A.P. Pandey said the officer had initially demanded Rs 50,000 for helping complainant Sukhdev Singh in taking possession of disputed land.

Going into the background, he said the complainant’s mother entered into an agreement for purchase of 44 kanal seven marlas from Roor Singh. Later Roor Singh sold a portion of the land to Gian Singh. As the other party wanted to take forcible possession of the land, the complainant approached the DSP for help. He, in turn, demanded Rs 50,000 for helping the complainant in maintaining his possession of land and also for helping him in case of interference by the other party.

The DSP also advised the complainant to get a complaint marked to him from the Deputy Inspector-General or the Senior Superintendent of Police. A deal was struck between them. According to it, the DSP would take Rs 20,000 as advance. The remaining amount was to be paid after the completion of the job.

The Vigilance Chief added that on the complainant’s information, a raiding party under the supervision of Superintendent of Police Darshan Singh was sent to conduct a raid. The DSP was caught “red-handed”. The 50-year-old DSP had joined the police service in 1976 as a constable. Being a ‘kabaddi’ player, he was promoted as DSP in 2003.

Regarding the other case, he said the accused had approached the teachers directly for transfers to stations of their choice. A fake transfer list of 18 teachers was issued under the signatures of the Deputy Director, Schools.

He further stated that another accused Bhupinder Singh, working as a clerk with Mohali’s municipal council, was also arrested in a case registered under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Giving details, he said accused Bhupinder Singh, a ‘Safai Shakha’ clerk in MC, Mohali, used to collect instalments of ‘hada rori’ from a contractor.

The accused recovered an instalment amount of Rs 16,385 from the contractor, but it was neither deposited in the MC account, nor was any receipt issued. As such, the accused embezzled Rs 16,385, the Vigilance chief added.

He said yet another case was registered against accused Inspector Gurmukh Singh, in charge Economic Offences Wing of Ropar district, for allegedly demanding and accepting Rs 5,000 to help complainant Karamjit Singh in the investigation of a case. The accused was arrested and a challan against him has been submitted.


Man killed in property dispute
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 28
The body of Dharamvir Dogra was found in the well of his fields at Kabirpur Sheikhan village today.

According to police sources, Baldev Kumar, his brother Inder Parkash, sons of Sansar Chand and Jasbir Singh of the same village, allegedly killed him and threw his body into the well. Sources said that Dharamvir went to his fields yesterday and did not came back home.

There is some property dispute between the deceased and the accused. The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 201 and 34, IPC.


10-year-old boy found murdered
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 28
A school going boy of a migrant family was kidnapped and murdered in Indira Nagri locality here.

According to information, Ravi Raja (10), son of a migrant of Uttar Pradesh, had gone to play yesterday afternoon. When he did not return by the evening his parents informed the police and made announcements through public address system.

The chowkidars of the Central Ware House near Indira Nagri, found the body of missing boy inside the complex today. They immediately informed Mr Ram Avtar Singh and Mrs Veerbala Nagpal, both members of the local municipal council. The family of the victim was also informed and the body was identified.

There were no blood stains on the spot. It appeared that Raja had been stabbed to death somewhere else and his body thrown near the wall quietly during night. There were injury marks on his neck. The Congress councillors and the organisations of migrants from Uttar Pradesh condemned the incident at a meeting held in the locality. The police has initiated the investigations.


Clash at a local hotel
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 28
A clash took place at a local hotel when some stringers of regional channels allegedly forced entry into a hotel room and tried to record the proceedings there.

According to information, the clash took place in the hotel when some stringers of regional TV channels allegedly forced entry in to a hotel room and tried to record proceedings there. There was a strong protest over this and it led to unpleasant situation.

The police rushed to the hotel on learning about the incident. The cameramen alleged that their TV camera had been snatched and damaged.

On the other hand the hotel owners said they had no knowledge for what purpose the room had been booked by the varying groups.

The police sources said the complaints from both sides had been referred to the district authorities. A senior police officer from the district headquarters arrived here last evening for an on the spot inquiry. The police has not registered a case in this connection, the sources said.


Rs 2 lakh, jeep looted at gun-point
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 28
A group of five unidentified car-borne robbers decamped with Rs 2 lakh and a Scorpio vehicle while threatening the owner of the vehicle at gun-point to shoot near Hazara village late last night.

According to the police, the incident occurred near Hazara village late last night when Amar Iqbal Singh was on his way home. According to sources, Rs 2 lakh and some documents were inside the vehicle. The police has registered a case in this regard and sounded the police authorities concerned of adjoining districts about the incident.


Application of polymer-based films discussed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 28
The scientists highlighted the new developments on small organic molecules and polymerbased thin films and their applications in sunlight harvesting (solar cells), photovoltaic cells, sensors, defence and new display systems for applications in defence to fashion on the third day of the five-day National Symposium on Solid State Physics.

The eminent scientists made these observations while presenting their papers at symposium being held at Guru Nanak Dev University here today. It is being organised by the university under the aegis of its Department of Physics and sponsored by the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India.

Prof R. K. Bedi of GND University emphasised the role of organisation of small organic molecules in the development of photovoltaic cells for harvesting sunlight. In his lecture, Dr Bedi said these films were studied for their structural, electronic and optical properties. He said the substrate temperature and deposition techniques were found to influence the formation chemistry and the properties of the organic films.

Dr D. N. Singh from Semiconductor Complex Limited (SCL), Mohali, presented the future role of emerging technologies like Micro Electrical Mechanical Systems (MEMS) in the development of accutators and sensors for health and environment. He said electro mechanical system was an emerging technology and was billed as a disruptive technology.

Dr Singh said this technology had potential to bring out novel devices which would make human lifestyles more compatible with the environment. He said essentially this technology makes Integrated Circuits (ICs) more efficient by providing it limbs and sense organs. He added that this technology had application in the field of aerospace, defence, healthcare, transportation, automated manufacturing, environmental monitoring and wide variety of consumer products.

Prof Satyendra Kumar from IIT Kanpur laid stress on the contribution of scientists from various disciplines likes physics, chemistry and engineering in developing new organic light emitting diodes for their wide general applications from defence to fashion.

Prof Ravindra N. Bhatt and Prof S. Sondhi from Princeton University, USA, highlighted the emergence of magnetic semiconductors in spin transport and electronic switches for daily use.

Prof P. Kratzer from Germany presented the thin sandwich films with tunable ferromagnetic characters in the development of new switches for security and other applications. Later, poster session and oral presentations were also held.


SBP gives loans to 200 farmers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 28
The State Bank of Patiala (SBP), Dhuri branch (Patiala region) organised a loan distribution function here today for farmers under various agricultural schemes and personal segment schemes.

Mr C.S. Kang, Deputy General Manager, said loans worth Rs 3.3 crore were distributed among nearly 200 farmers.

Mr Kang also said SBP was a technology-savvy bank and loans were regularly granted to agriculturists, businessmen and other segments of the society at liberal terms and at competitive rates of interest.

Mr V.K. Kochhar, Assistant General Manager, explained the bank’s achievements in various fields and requested the participants to get maximum benefit from the bank’s various p-segment schemes, which were specially designed as per the requirements of valued customers.

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