P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Baba Harnam Singh acting chief of Taksal
Ram Singh heads breakaway faction
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Baba Ram Singh, who was installed as Jathedar of the breakaway faction of the Taksal at Sangrai near Batala
Baba Ram Singh, who was installed as Jathedar of the breakaway faction of the Taksal at Sangrai near Batala.

Mehta Chowk, January 2
Even as Jathedars of Takhts and the SGPC today accorded formal recognition to the breakaway group of the 300-year-old Damdami Taksal, which has announced Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale as ‘martyr’, by presenting ‘dastars’ (turbans) to Baba Ram Singh, yet Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta, Adviser to the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and an SGPC member besides senior leaders of Akali factions accepted Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa as successor of Baba Thakur Singh, here today.

Contrary to the decision of the SGPC, SAD (Badal) and Sikh jathedars, Bhai Mehta’s decision was likely to initiate a fresh debate over the successor of Baba Thakur Singh.

Raising a voice of revolt against the joint decision of the Sikh clergy and the SGPC chief, Bhai Mehta claimed that Bibi Jagir Kaur had misguided the Sikh Sangat that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had given any signal to recognise Baba Ram Singh as successor to Baba Thakur Singh. He said he himself had spoken to Mr Badal who had described the ongoing controversy as an ‘internal matter’ of the Taksal. Annoyed over the decision of the SGPC and Sikh clergy for giving recognition to the breakaway group, Bhai Mehta alleged that Baba Ram Singh had concocted the story that he was installed as 15th Jathedar of the Taksal by Baba Thakur Singh. He said he had heard the voice of his conscious and hence attended the ‘dastarbandi’ of Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma here.

While the Baba Harnam Singh faction organised ‘dusehra’ (Antim Ardas) of Baba Thakur Singh here, the breakaway faction held a parallel function at Gurdwara Gurshabad Parkash, Sangrai, near Batala. After his formal installation as 15th Jathedar of the Taksal, Baba Ram Singh announced that the Sikh sangat would decide over the distribution of moveable and immovable properties of the Taksal.

Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht while speaking at Chowk Mehta, said it was unfortunate that the ‘so called Jathedars’ had given recognition to the breakaway group of the Taksal. He alleged that the Sikh clergy was dancing to the tunes of Mr Badal and had failed to take an independent decision over this significant issue. Bhai Harcharn Singh Dhami, President, Dal Khalsa, while speaking on the occasion urged the Sikh sangat to suffix ‘Bhindranwale’ after the name of Baba Harnam Singh. He urged Bhai Dhumma to fulfil the dreams of Sant Bhindranwale for creating a separate Sikh state. Among those who were present at Chowk Mehta were Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, President, Sant Samaj, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), Bhai Jasbir Singh Rode, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Mr Sucha Singh Chhotepur, an Independent MLA, Mr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, Mr Kanwarpal Singh, Mr Karnail Singh Panjauli, Mr Wassan Singh Zafarwal and Bhai Ram Singh, general secretary, SAD(A).

Baba Ram Singh is nephew of Sant Kartar Singh Khalsa, the 13th Jathedar of Damdami Taksal. Bhai Manjit Singh, senior Akali leader and cousin of Baba Ram Singh, said with his appointment, the controversy regarding the death of Sant Bhindranwale stood resolved.

Earlier, Baba Ram Singh had resigned as priest of the Golden Temple in protest when he was transferred to Jind in Haryana by the SGPC.


PUDA colony encroached upon
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, January 2
PUDA has launched a statewide campaign against encroachers and illegal colonisers. However, an entire colony of PUDA comprising 234 LIG, 172 MIG and 12 HIG flats has been encroached upon here. The situation is such while the original allottees have been waiting for the past 15 years for the possession of the flats, the encroachers are occupying the houses right under the nose of the PUDA authorities.

So much so that even the lower floor of the building that houses the PUDA office has been encroached upon. Due to illegal possession of the encroachers the colony has acquired the local name ‘dhakka colony’ (colony occupied illegally by force).

A few of the original allottees had approached the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) to get the possession of their flats. The PSHRC directed PUDA to get the flats vacated. PUDA at the last hearing in June last year had stated before the commission that their enforcement wing had written to the SSP, Gurdaspur, for police help to get the encroachments removed.

However, now another six months have passed but no action has been taken in this regard. Recently, a team of the PUDA officials had visited the site of the colony to take stock of the situation.

The Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr Vikas Garg, when contacted admitted that the PSHRC had directed PUDA to remove the encroachments. The efforts are being made to get the PSHRC order implemented.

The sources available here said that the Punjab Housing Board that was later merged with PUDA originally bought the said plots at Pathankot. The original allottees had deposited about Rs 12000 per flat as the down payment to the Punjab Housing Board.

However, during militancy days in Punjab many people migrated from the villages to Pathankot. The local administrators allowed them to take shelter in the said PUDA flats till some alternative arrangement was made. Since then the flats have been in the possession of the illegal occupants.

The sources in PUDA said more than 50 per cent occupants of the colony were not even the terrorist affected migrants who were allowed to stay here temporarily.

Most of the terrorist affected migrants who were allowed to occupy the flats temporarily have left back for their villages after peace returned in the state.

After they left many people here have illegally occupied the flats. The possession of the flats has even changed hands on oral deals, extending from Rs 40000 to Rs 1 lakh. The PUDA authorities had also brought up 20 booths in the colony. However, they have not been able to sell the booths because the illegal encroachers emboldened by the inaction of PUDA have constructed their vend outside the booths blocking their entrance.

Besides the allottees PUDA was also losing crores that it could gain from the sale of the said flats and booths.


Punjab seeks more time to unbundle PSEB
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Punjab Government has sought additional three months’ time from the Central Government for unbundling the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The state government has in its plea stated that since the procedures involved in unbundling the board into different corporations are very complex, the same cannot be implemented in such a short time. Hence, more time should be given.

Official sources said that the state government had shot a letter to the Central Government on this issue only two days back. The letter states that the government is ready to unbundle the board but due to pre-occupation in various activities, the same could not be implemented.

The official machinery remained very busy with the byelection, the World Punjabi Conference and the Sports Meet of the East and West Punjab during the past few months and could not take any concrete steps on unbundling.

A high-powered committee of the government had only a few days back decided to divide the board into various corporations to give relief to the ailing power sector. The decision only remains to be ratified by the Council of Ministers, which the experts view as a mere political formality now.

The decision of the Capt Amarinder Singh government with regard to unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) by ignoring the advise of the experts and engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has not only stirred employees agitation but has also opened doors for privatisation.

Even as the government claims that unbundling of the board into different corporations does not mean privatisation but experts view it as a beginning of the same. They maintain that the experiment of unbundling of boards in various other states have neither led to an improvement in the supply situation nor has electricity become cheaper. In fact, contrary to claims power supply rates have gone up.

Agitated over the decision, the employees have decided to burn the effigies of the Chief Minister tomorrow and will intensify their agitation if the government remains firm on its stand.

Experts feel that the state government should study the experiments of other states before taking such a bold decision in terms of power reforms.

Dr Surender Kumar of MDU, Rohtak, is of the view that the government should concentrate on bringing about necessary reforms in the board rather than going in for unbundling in the larger interest of the state.

“The so-called reforms in the Punjab power sector shall end up in creating more number of posts for the IAS, put larger burden on the exchequer, raise the electricity tariff and dump the people of the state into power disaster,’’ he add.

It is also learnt that Left parties at the Centre are also not in favour of unbundling of state power boards in the country.


Punjab keen on scientific study of crop damage by animals
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

A pair of blue bulls at Chhatbir Zoo, 20 km from Chandigarh
A pair of blue bulls at Chhatbir Zoo, 20 km from Chandigarh. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 2
The Punjab Wildlife Department is keen on a scientific study of the extent of crop damage by wild animals in the state.

Already in touch with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, for helping it conduct a scientific census, the department recently also sought the Institute's expertise in initiating a research project on crop damage in the region.

The need to have in place an assessment report on the extent of crop damage seems to have been inspired by the recent visit of the animal ecology expert from the Wildlife Institute of India. Mr Y.V. Jhala, Head of Department, Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, at the Institute in Dehradun, minced no words while saying that culling of blue bulls or wild boars was not an issue in Punjab, nor was it very urgent. The real issue, he said, was scientific management of animals.

The expert was in Punjab in December to train forest officials in the scientific counting and management of wild animals. Held in Van Chetna Kendra at the Tiger Safari at Ludhiana, the workshop was all about the estimation of wild animals, primarily wild boars, blue bulls, black bucks and monkeys. Having instructed the Punjab forest officials including about 20 District Forest Officers in measures and methods of a scientific census, Mr Jhala is now in touch with the department on the possible ways of assessing crop damage.

In an exclusive conversation with The Tribune today Mr Jhala said the December meeting was the first in the series of meetings held to discuss the methodology for conducting a census of wild animals in Punjab. Hugely concerned with the increasing man-animal conflict in the region,

Mr Jhala said hunting of animals to bring down their numbers was not advisable. It may be mentioned here that the Punjab Wildlife Department has been toying with the idea of issuing hunting permits to control the population of blue bulls and wild boars who have on several occasions damaged agricultural farms in Punjab.

Mr Jhala, however, maintains that culling and translocation of animals could be of much better help to prevent crop damage which will shortly be assessed.

"Let us not forget that most of the areas in Punjab have been ploughed. Naturally, the animals have little choice than to enter the farms and manage their food. In Punjab's agriculture intensive environment, the animals can only survive if the NGOs and wildlife officials manage to enhance their acceptance among people. People's tolerance has gone down drastically and this is not a good sign for animal population which is already dwindling."

Mr Jhala has already laid out a plan to help Punjab manage its wildlife, especially the blue bull and wild boar population. Research on crop damage will begin shortly, he said, adding that the Wildlife Institute will also look at which age groups of animals need to be removed in the interest of agricultural farms.

"Our research will be sensitive to animals and will ensure that animals don't become locally extinct.

Also we will assess crop damage by choosing specific sites all over the region," he said.


Plaza row takes new turn
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 2
The controversy surrounding the proposed Model Town market-based Municipal Corporation’s ultra modern shopping complex has taken an interesting turn with veteran Congress leader and former Revenue and Rehabilitation Minister Umrao Singh revealing that the MC authorities could not convert the park land into a shopping complex as it did not belong to the MC at all.

By erecting an underground shopping complex beneath the Shaheed Lieut Kuldip Singh Parhar Park, the MC authorities, according to Mr Umrao Singh, were violating its own agreement with the then Rehabilitation Department.

Under the agreement the park land was transferred to the MC in the early seventies by the erstwhile Rehabilitation Department without charging any cost and on the sole condition that the MC would maintain it as a park in future.

The objective of handing over the precious green patch to the MC was to provide residents with a place where they could have their morning stroll and other health-related activities. After transfer of the park land to the MC and similarly its other lands in various cities to different municipal committees for their maintenance as parks or green patches, the Rehabilitation Department was, however, closed down in 1975. Much before that the lands retained for rehabilitation purposes by the Central Government were transferred to the Punjab Government or the state Rehabilitation Department by the Central Government.

The big question, confounding one and all now, was that if the land originally belonged to the Punjab Government or the erstwhile Rehabilitation Department, and that if it was transferred to the MC for its maintenance as a park in future, how the MC authorities could convert it into a shopping complex? Has the MC violated its own agreement with the erstwhile Rehabilitation Department? The answer, as per the contention of Mr Umrao Singh, was in the affirmative. “How they can make commercial use of a piece of land which is originally not owned by them?

While the Punjab Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, and his supporters have been opposing it, the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, inaugurated the proposed shopping complex amid protests by shopkeepers and residents on Thursday.

When contacted, Mr Satwant Singh Johal, Commissioner of the Jalandhar MC, said that the underground parking was the need of the hour. “All lands belong to the erstwhile Rehabilitation Department. But now the situation warrants that an underground parking place should be set up. It is good that our elders had left the place as a park where we can set up an underground parking,” he said.


Providing succour to needy
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 2
In the chilly and foggy winters when no one likes to venture out, an army of about 50 volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa, a local non-government organisation (NGO) can be seen providing blankets to the homeless and the needy and lighting bonfires for them.

Not only this, the volunteers also arrange medical treatment for those affected by the cold weather in the local civil hospital and a dispensary run by them.

Over the past few years, this NGO has become so famous that during accidents and for locating missing persons, people approach them first rather than the police.

The volunteers have also taken up the task of fishing out dead bodies from the canals and other water bodies dotting this region for the past one decade.

“Our volunteers used to remain awake for the whole night in shifts to reach the site of any road accident without any delay so that injured could be given first aid and subsequently shifted to hospitals at the earliest,” pointed out Mr Vijay Goyal, president, Sahara Jan Sewa.

Equipped with four ambulances and two other vehicles, the workers are always on the move to locate destitute and others, who are in need of medical aid and food. After locating them, they are given aid as per their requirement, he said and added that animals are also being taken care of on the same pattern.

The organisation has also been cremating unclaimed dead bodies for the past 15 years. The Punjab Government has given The NGO the Bhagat Puran Singh Award and Bhai Kanhaiya Award.

They are also protecting the migrant labourers from the unscrupulous elements, who try to loot them after administering intoxicants and making them unconscious.

The organisation has been facing acute shortage of funds as they have not been getting funds from any agency of the state government despite the fact that every time the police finds an unclaimed dead body, the same is handed over to the organisation for cremation.

Mr Goyal pointed out that the organisation was promised a plot by the district administration many years ago for setting up a shelter for homeless but the same was not allotted to it so far.


2005—year of development in Punjab, says minister
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, January 2
The year 2005 will be observed as the year of development in the state and developmental works in urban areas would be taken up on priority basis with special attention towards slum areas, the Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjeet Singh, said while taking out draws for 152 plots of the Town Improvement Trust here today.

Earlier, addressing mediapersons at Circuit House, the minister said the colony, whose draw was taken out, would be equipped with all modern amenities and it would be called Giani Zail Singh Avenue.

He said the Improvement Trust had been told to allot small plots to those belonging to the poor section of society. He said Rs 13 crore had been issued to various municipal councils of the state to speed up the developmental works.

He made it clear that no municipal council would carry out developmental work by selling its prime property. However, if a plot was lying useless and illegal encroachment had come up on it then the municipal councils should not hesitate in getting it evacuated and selling it to utilise funds raised through its sale in developmental activities, he added. He said strict instructions had been given to municipal councils to check illegal encroachments and any negligence would not be tolerated in this regard.

Talking about Faridkot, he said the paucity of funds would not be allowed to come in the way of the city’s development. He handed over a cheque for Rs 15 lakh to the municipal council for developmental works. The MC president gave the minister a cheque for Rs 2 lakh as aid for tsunami victims.

Some municipal councillors took up the matter of lack of sewerage arrangements in the city, following which the minister asked officials to prepare an estimate for the same.


IMA wants 2005 as de-addiction year
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 2
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) yesterday urged the Punjab Government to initiate steps to make Punjab an “intoxicants free state”, by declaring the year 2005 as “de-addiction year”.

Talking to TNS here, Dr Surinder Singla of the Punjab IMA, said such a step was the need of the hour as lakhs of youths in the state had taken to drugs.

He said special de-addiction units should be set up in government health institutions at the district headquarters as well as sub-divisional headquarters for the treatment of drug-addicts.

Private doctors, too, should be encouraged by the government to set up such units.

Dr Singla said as part of its fight against drug abuse, the state government should include a chapter on the ill- effects of drug abuse in the schools and colleges curriculum.

The government should also ban advertisements on the electronic media as well as in the print media which encouraged the use of intoxicants by children and the youth.

He also suggested special development grants for drug-free villages and more health education camps.


Peace delegation arrives
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 2
Twenty persons under the banner of the Joint Indo-Pak Peace and Goodwill delegation of Overseas Indian and Pakistanis crossed over from Pakistan into India here today and read a joint declaration at the border.

This for the first time that a delegation comprising non-resident Indians and Pakistanis had come to visit both countries to promote peace between the two countries.

The joint declaration read that the delegation would support and stimulate the peace process between two nuclear neighbours. Leader of the group John Prabhu Doss said the delegation had come to strengthen the ongoing people-to-people contact between the two nations.

The delegation consists peace activists, academician, and journalists.

Mr Prabhu Doss said the delegation believed that peace in South Asia was essential to the stability and progress in the world. We the people of South Asian diaspora have responsibility to help create understanding, mutual trust and confidence among the countries in the region, especially between these two countries.

The people of Indian and Pakistani origin, living in the Western countries take this responsibility seriously and therefore travelling to the region to create goodwill, promote friendships, peace and harmony between the people and governments of both the countries,” he added.

Mr Prabhu Doss, originally from Madurai, appealed the governments of the two countries to relax the visa norms. He said the present rules were cumbersome and took too much time. However, he welcomed the relaxation of some visa restrictions by the Indian Government and hoped the Pakistan would respond positively.

He said they decided to form the delegation on the advice of Ms Nirmala Deshpande, a peacenik.

Ms Rati Tripathi, member of the delegation, said they started their journey from Karachi on December 27 and visited Peshawar, Islamabad and Lahore. In India, they would visit Delhi, Jammu, Kolkata and Mumbai.


4 Ahmediyas not allowed to board flight
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 2
Four Pakistani nationals, all Ahmediyas, who had sought political asylum in the United Kingdom were not allowed to board the Flightjet Airlines flight from the Rajasansi International Airport here yesterday.

A jatha of 31 Ahmediya Muslims had landed at the airport on December 18 to attend an international conference of Ahmediya Muslims at Qadian.

There is ban on landing of Pakistani nationals at the Rajasansi airport as Punjab is ‘Disturbed Area’ as per official records.

According to Mr Mansoor Ahmed, a resident of Qadian, the four Pakistani nationals who were not allowed to board the plane were Mr Nasir Ahmed, Mr Khizer Ahmed, Mr Irfan Ahmed and Mr Munib Ahmed.

The Immigration authorities had allowed the four to land at Rajasansi airport on December 18 after seeking permission from Delhi.


DC promises to promote Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 2
With a view to promoting Punjabi language, and literature, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Husan Lal held a meeting with the local Punjabi writers here yesterday and assured them that their demands would be fulfilled on a priority basis.

At this meeting, 25 writers took part. They informed the Deputy Commissioner about the problems being faced by the Punjabi language the dilapidated condition of the district library and the open-air theatre in the library complex.

The writers also expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of Punjabi culture.

Mr Husan Lal, while extending all help for the promotion of Punjabi language and literature, told the writers that some projects would be undertaken for the development of the language in the district soon.

Prominent writers who attended the meeting were Principal Sulkhan “Meet” (Retd), Dr Tejwant Mann, Mr Gurmail Madhar, Mr Mohan Sharma, Dr Charanjit Singh “Udari”, Dr Meet Khatra, Mr Charnjit Channi, Mr Krishan Betab, Mr Bachan Bedil, Mr Yadwinder Sidhu and Mr Dharam Singh Gulati.

The meeting observed a two-minute silence as a mark of respect to those killed in the tsunami tragedy.

Mr Husan Lal presented a cheque for Rs 25,000 to the office-bearers of the Punjabi Sahit Sabha, Sangrur.


Casteist remarks: SSP begins probe
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 2
The Kapurthala SSP, Mr Arun Pal Singh, is conducting an enquiry into the pertaining to a teacher who allegedly made caste based remarks against a student.

Miss Satnam Kaur, a plus two student of Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, here, had accused her teacher, Mr Nirmal Singh of passing remarks on her caste which according to her were offensive.

However, Mr Nirmal Singh, who is also the general secretary of the General Categories Welfare Federatition, Punjab, and a lecturer in commerce in the school, has outrightly denied the allegations.

Dalit activists led by Ambedkar Sena had staged a violent demonstration against Mr Nirmal Singh. A case under SC and ST(Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against him on December 21. Staff and students of the school had protested against registration of this case on December 22. The Ambedkar Sena had again staged a demonstration on December 30.

An enquiry was earlier conducted by the local DSP and a Deputy Director of the Education Department.

The Ambedkar Sena had rejected the enquiry conducted by the Education Department officer but had reposed faith in the DSP. But the SSP reportedly took the case in his own hands in view of its sensitivity.


Khalsa Panchayat alleges ‘conspiracy’ on water issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat alleged today that some lobby with in the Punjab Government was conspiring against the interests of the state on water issue.

In a press statement issued here today, the convener of Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Mr Rajinder Singh, claimed that this lobby had shown much higher inflow of water into Punjab and now when the ground water was falling at an alarming speed they were showing totally wrong figures.

The survey conducted by the Hydrology Wing of Punjab Agriculture Department for 2004 was nothing but a bundle of lies, the statement alleged.

He said only around 25 per cent of the actual fall in water level. The panchayat has sought a high-level inquiry into the same so that the culprits can be punished.


Railway staff to donate one-day salary
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 2
All staff members of Ferozepore Division of the Northern Railway have decided to donate their one-day salary amounting of Rs 50 lakh for the help of tsunami victims, the DRM, Mr Dharam Singh, said here today. He admitted that the much awaited 53-km-long Jammu-Udhampur rail section was still to be inaugurated. The section was opened for goods trains a few months back, but could not be opened for passenger traffic.

When asked about the safety measures taken by the Railways after the rail tragedy at Mukerian last month, the DRM said that the division had been divided in seven zones.


Relief fund for tsunami victims
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 2
A cheque for Rs 44,000 was presented by Mr Satpal Goyal, president, Wholesale Cloth Merchants Association (WCMA), to Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner, as a contribution to the relief fund of the tsunami disaster.

As per a press note issued here today, the cheque has been drawn in favour of the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund to help the families of those who lost their near and dear ones in tsunami tidal waves followed by massive earthquake.


50 doctors transferred

Faridkot, January 2
The Medical Education and Research Department, Punjab, has transferred about 50 doctors posted in various medical colleges. These include some doctors from Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot.

The doctors, who have been transferred from Faridkot to Amritsar, include Dr Karnail Singh, Dr R.K. Bhandari, Dr Tejbir Singh, Dr K.S. Kajal, Dr Deepak Gupta and Dr Gurdev Singh, while Dr Neeti Rajan has been transferred to Patiala. — TNS


New cultivation method yields bumper cane crop
Our Correspondent

Batala, January 2
Ring-pit plantation method of sugarcane introduced in some villages of Batala subdivision by Batala Cooperative Sugar Mills Ltd has shown remarkable results for 1,195 farmers who planted the crop in 1294 acres. The farmers obtained up to 781.50 quintals yield per acre which is far excess of the yield from plantation by normal methods of cultivation.

Mr Joginder Singh of Lodhipur village has been the biggest beneficiary of the ring-pit plantation method as he got a record produce of 846 quintals of sugarcane per acre.

Mr Balbir Singh Jaffal, general manager of the Batala Cooperative Sugar Mills Ltd, said here today that a meeting of more than 200 farmers was held at Lodhipur village on the occasion of Khet Divas (field day) in the presence of the Punjab Cooperative Minister, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, and the Additional Managing Director, Sugarfed Mr S.R.S. Gill, to apprise them of the details of new method of sugarcane cultivation.

The ring-pit plantation method was introduced by the Lucknow Cane Breeding Institute in 1994, but it did not meet success because of heavy cost on digging the pits and planting seeds. However, with mechanisation of pit-digging by the Batala mill and plantation through saplings, the cost has been reduced considerably.

Mr Jaffal said that the mill was providing all kinds of facilities to the farmers like knowledge of technique, pesticides and disease-free seeds.

This technique makes the task of the farmers less cumbersome. The crop does not fall nor it is damaged by rats. Irrigation requirement is also reduced to 40 per cent.


Rape accused held
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 2
The police today arrested two youths Raju and Satnam Singh and booked them under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC for raping a 13-year-old girl at the local Kaulsar Mohalla.

City police station SHO Sub-Inspector Gurwinder Singh said the police had received the complaint today and the rapists were nabbed immediately.

While Raju is a migrant from Bihar, Satnam belongs to Badwa village in Hoshiarpur district.

Both the accused were living as tenants in the mohalla. The minor girl was also a tenant in the same mohalla. They first threatened her and then raped her.

While Raju raped her on December 28, Satnam raped her on December 30, informed the SHO. The girl narrated the incident to her father, who lodged the complaint today.

The girl was medically examined at the local Civil Hospital, added the SHO.


Two bodies of migrant labourers found
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 2
Two disfigured bodies of migrant labourers were recovered from Darhheri Jattan village, near here, today.

Disclosing this, police sources said the bodies were discovered today by the Darheri Jattan village sarpanch who informed the police. They said it seemed the two were murdered and their bodies dumped last night.

The bodies will be kept in the Government Medical College mortuary for two days to facilitate their identification.

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