P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Kang in a spot over cheque distribution
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 29
Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will inquire into the ongoing controversy over distribution of cheques for Rs 24.50 lakh by Cabinet Minister Jagmohan Kang in the Morinda assembly constituency.

This was stated by Parliamentary Secretary (Industry and Commerce) K.P.S Rana while addressing a press conference here this morning.

Mr Rana, also an MLA from the Nangal constituency, alleged that out of Rs 34 lakh allocated for the development of five assembly constituency in Ropar district, Mr Jagmohan Kang had distributed huge amount to the people of his constituency in connivance with senior official of the administration.

He said the matter was taken up with Capt Amarinder Singh, who assured that he would mark an inquiry into the case.

He said the inquiry would also be conducted against senior officials of the administration who had allocated funds to Mr Kang without following rules and regulations framed under the Panchayati Raj Act.

As per the Act, the power of allocating funds was with the Panchayat Samiti not with any individual official. But in this case, senior official with the administration had issued huge amount to Mr Jagmohan Kang without informing other members of the Zila Parishad, he added.

“This was gross negligence. The fund was to be distributed equally among various assembly constituency, including Nangal, Anandpur Sahib, Kharar and Chamkaur Sahib,” he said.

Mr Kang had distributed cheques to 24 villages for the various developments works at a function held Majri village on December 26.

Mr Jagmohan Kang, who is believed to be a confidant of the Bhattal group, fell into controversy when Ropar Zila Parishad Chairman Kuldeep Kaur raised objection over the distribution of cheques by him.

She had complained that she was not informed before issuing cheques to Mr Kang. Subsequently, the chairman had suspended the accountant who had issued cheques to Mr Kang.

Later, acting on the report of Chief Executive Officer of the Zila Parishad H.S Garcha that the Chairman had issued order of suspension contrary to the Panchayat Raj Act, the accountant was re-instated.

Sources said the issue took political turn when the Zila Parishad officials approached Mr Rana for seeking his support in the matter. The officials of the Zila Parishad appealed to Mr Rana to take the matter with Capt Amarinder Singh as the administration officials were getting support from Mr Kang.

When contacted, Mr Jagmohan Kang, refused to comment on the issue.

Mr Garcha, CEO of the Zila Parishad, was also not available for comments despite repeated request to connect him on his mobile phone.


Centre urged to consult CMs on Budget
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Union Government, which has never involved the elected state governments in the pre-Budget discussions and meetings, is under tremendous pressure to consult the Chief Ministers before finalising the Union Budget proposals.

Every year the Union Finance Minister and his officers hold meetings with various lobbies such as traders, industrialists and corporate houses, economists and other experts and even with trade unions to seek their views to prepare the Budget. But they never call Chief Ministers to enlist their opinion with regard to the Budget proposals and new policies regarding vital sectors such as agriculture, industry, trade, education, health, infrastructure etc to be announced through the Budget speech.

Not happy over such an attitude of the Union Government, sources said that this issue was recently raised at the high powered committee of state Finance Ministers headed by the Finance Minister of West Bengal. The committee was set up by the Union Government to deal with financial issues such as sales tax etc of states. The committee urged Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, to call the Chief Ministers for consultation before giving final touches to the proposals.

Sources said that actually this issue was raised by Punjab Finance Minister, Surinder Singla at the meeting. Other members of the committee supported it and asked the Union Finance Minister to do the needful in this connection.

When asked Mr Singla confirmed that he had taken up this issue. He said that he had raised it, keeping in view various financial aspects and policies which play a vital role in the economy of the states. “I am hopeful that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would be called by Mr Chidambaram for the pre-Budget discussions.”

“We want to give technological push to our agriculture sector and wanted proposals in this connection in the Union Budget”, he added. Likewise, there were only three states — Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Punjab — having impressive textile industrial base. These states would obviously like to have proposals in the Budget to modernise their industry to compete in the world market which had been freed from the quota system.

“Our requirements of research and development (R and D) programmes are not similar to other states. Likewise, we would like that the Centre should be considerate to the states such as Punjab with regard to their power needs”, he added.


Border points to have close-circuit cameras
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, January 29
Close-circuit cameras will be installed at some of the vantage points on the fencing of the Indo-Pakistan border to monitor the movement of anti-social elements across the international border.

The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr S. Regupathy, who arrived here on a two-day visit to review the border area management, said that he would interact with senior officers of the border security force and immigration authorities manning the international exit and entry points at the Atari Railway station and Wagah joint check post.

Talking to newsmen, the minister said that infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir had been restricted due to the erecting of fence on the J & K border with Pakistan. He asserted that by 2006 the fencing work was likely to be completed and felt that the infiltration would completely stop as the government had already installed thermal devices and cameras at various points for surveillance on the international border and the LOC. He said recently the government observed the strict vigilance had considerably brought down the infiltration from across the border.

The minister said that the government was seriously considering the option of deporting illegal migrants from Bangladesh as large number of them enter India through unfenced border with that country. Mr Regupathy said that fencing work on the border with the Bangladesh was making steady progress as large number of rivers criss-cross the border, which was hampering the fencing work.

The minister said that he would also look into the problems faced by border area farmers who had fields across the fence and added that the compensation due to them had not been paid to them for last three years. He added that he would personally meet the representatives of the people of the border area.

Commenting on the humiliation suffered at the hands of the immigration authorities at the Wagah joint check post by the former Prime Minister, Mr I K Gujral, he said that he would definitely seek the comments of the officers concerned and would ensure that no such incidents took place in the future.

Later the minister witnessed the retreat ceremony at the Wagah check post and had interacted with the BSF and immigration officers.


NGO raps Punjab Govt on Dalit atrocities
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The atrocities on Dalits are on the rise in Punjab in the wake of the hostile attitude of the judiciary and the Punjab Government, alleged Mr Colin Gonsalves, Executive Director of the Delhi-based NGO-- Human Rights Law Network (HRLN)--today. Talking to The Tribune here, the eminent human rights activist painted a sorry-state-of-affairs in Punjab, saying that between October and December last year the state reported 21 "documented" cases of Dalit atrocities which was "truly shocking". This was despite the fact that only about 2 per cent cases are registered by the police, he alleged.

Allaying misconceptions about the "misuse" of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Prevention of Atrocities Act, Mr Gonsalves shot back: "Where is the question of misuse of the Act when it is hardly used. The conviction rate under the Act is about 1 per cent which speaks volumes about the insensitivity of legal fraternity."

To top it all, 25 PILs are pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the question of bonded labour. And no review petitions are filed by the state government in the acquittal cases, he added.

With a view to sensitising the government officials, the police and legal fraternity, the HRLN planned to open legal awareness centres in all 17 districts of Punjab by the end of this year.

Coming down heavily on the role of the Punjab Government in not implementing various provisions of the Act, Mr Gonsalves alleged though the Punjab Government had sought an amount of Rs 80 lakh from the Central Government to pay compensation to the Dalit victims of atrocities, yet no Dalit had been paid compensation for the past over five years.

The socio-economic condition of the Dalits in Punjab, which comprise about 29 per cent of the population, is clear from the fact that they own only 2.5 per cent of total land holding in the state. And over 70 per cent of the below poverty line (BPL) card holders are Dalits and get raw deal from the state government agencies.


Death rate in hospital high, says PSHRC member 
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, January 29
Although the facilities in the Dr Vidya Sagar Mental Hospital have improved after shifting to the new building, the death rate in the hospital is high, observed Justice R L Anand, member, Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), who visited the local hospital and Nari Niketan here today.

Justice Anand while talking to ‘The Tribune’ said earlier a team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which had visited the hospital several months ago , found many flaws in the working and building of the hospital. But this time it was better, he observed.

However, he expressed his concern over the high death rate in the hospital which caters to northern part of the country, including Punjab and Haryana. At present the death rate in the hospital is 14 to 15 a year. He directed Dr B L Goel, Director of the medical hospital, to report to commission besides district administration and other authorities on the deaths of the patients admitted to the hospital for treatment of mental illness. He said it was mandatory to inform to district administration and to the commission about the deaths of patients, cause of death and post mortem report. Dr Goel told the PSHRC about the problems faced by the hospital.

Justice Anand who also visited Nari Niketan observed that the conditions at the Niketan were not satisfactory. He said that there was not proper medical and educational facilities for the destitute women and girls. He said doors were broken and store was in pitiable conditions. The drainpipes were broken in this decades old building.

He said that no doctor had visited the Niketan for last six months. The PSHRC member said that national human rights commission had undertaken a study of all the mental hospitals in the country.


Unemployed teachers, cops clash; 20 hurt
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, January 29
At least 20 persons, including five women and 10 policemen, were injured when an agitation by members of the Unemployed Elementary Teachers Union turned violent after the union activists were prevented from proceeding towards Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s residence to submit a memorandum to him. In the melee that resulted, the police resorted to a lathi charge besides opening water cannons and bursting tear-gas shells while the protesters pelted them with stones.

Trouble erupted when the protest march by the unemployed teachers reached the barricades put up by the police at YPS Chowk which is near the Chief Minister’s residence. Leaders of the union insisted on handing over the memorandum to either MP Preneet Kaur or the Chief Minister himself. The agitators were protesting against the contractual hiring of teachers besides demanding that the teachers hired on this basis be regularised. Despite persuasion, the protesters hardened their stance and delivered a five- minute ultimatum to the police personnel who, however, did not budge from the barricades.

As the nearly 800-strong crowd started pushing back the barricades, the police resorted to a mild lathi charge followed by opening water cannons. However, this failed to disperse the crowd which turned violent and in the scuffle that ensued some policemen received injuries. The incensed policemen rained lathis on the protesters and beat up several persons, including five girls who received a severe thrashing after being pushed to the ground. The protesters then pelted the police force and the fire engines around with stones as a result of which one fire engine was damaged. The police in turn lobbed tear-gas shells at them.

The agitators threw back a few tear gas shells at the police before scattering as the lathi- wielders hounded them in the lanes and bylanes near the Chief Minister’s Moti Bagh palace residence. Senior police officials reached there and the situation was brought under control. The injured teachers have been brought to the Model Town dispensary while the injured policemen have been admitted to the Government Rajendra Hospital. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, Mr A.S. Rai, said a case would be registered against the teachers for indulging in arson besides other charges.

Tripuri police station incharge, Mr Dharam Dev, received head injuries after being hit by a stone and Sub-Inspector Nazar Singh, Civil Lines police station, was injured in the leg during the melee.


BC Roy Award for NRI
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
Dr Inderbir Singh Gill, president-elect of the World Laparoscopic Urology, has become the first non-resident Indian (NRI) to be awarded the Dr B.C. Roy National Award in the eminent medical person category for the year 2004.

A world renowned urologist laparoscopic surgeon, Dr Gill is currently the Director, Urologic Laparoscopy and Robotic Surgery, at the world famous Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, USA. A regular visitor to India to deliver Lectures and perform surgeries, he has been in the USA for the past 15 years.

Belonging to a family of doctors, he is a son of Dr Devinder Singh Gill and Dr Rajinder Kaur Gill. His grandparents, J.S. Gill and Susheela Gill, were also doctors. His sister, Ms Taminder, and brother-in-law, Mr KNS Dhillon, are also doctors based at Ferozepore. Dr Gill’s wife, Ms Navneet, is also a doctor.

Talking to TNS on the phone from Ohio, Dr Gill said he was elated on being chosen for the award. It is a singular honour, more so, since it is from India. The award is a testimony to the fact that hard work never goes unrecognised, especially among your peers, he added.

Commenting on the medical facilities in India, he said there were some world-class ones at some of the metropolises, but whatever Indian doctors lacked by way of infrastructure was more than made up by their skill and the determination to give the best to the patients, he opined.

He also added that he wants to train more Indian doctors and students and was making efforts to waive registration free so that more doctors and students could attend the conference in 2006.

Dr Gill completed his MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala, and MS in general surgery from the DMC. Subsequently, he did MNMAS in general surgery from the National Board and went on to complete his super-specialisation in urology from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. Later, he did his MNMAS in urology.


Canada to set up 9 more visa collection centres
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 29
The Canadian Embassy will set up nine visa centres in the country by March this year so that immigrants and visitors do not have to travel to Delhi for filling and submitting application forms.

This was revealed by Mr Navdeep Singh Bains, MP from Mississauga - Brampton South, who was in the city to attend a felicitation ceremony hosted in honour of a Canadian delegation here yesterday.

Talking to TNS at the residence of Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Mr Bains said he had visited the Canadian Embassy in New Delhi and it appeared that people from far-off places had to wait for a long time to get their applications processed. This caused delay and hardship to people.

Since a large number of applicants were from Punjab, he said the need for setting up another centre in Punjab, besides the existing one at Chandigarh, was felt. "The officials here have told me that one would be set up in Punjab, though the place was yet to be decided. Once this is done, people do not have to go to Delhi. The burden of the visa officers would be lessened and they would have more time to process more applications, he pointed out.

Mr Bains, whose family migrated from Chak 12 GB village near Raisinghnagar in Rajasthan, said he was taking up the issue of getting Indian degrees recognised in Canada. Denying discrimination against Indian universities, he said it was true of other countries as well.

"I, along with other Punjabi MPs in Canada, are actively pursuing the issue and have asked the government that immigrants desirous of seeking jobs, should be affiliated to registered professional bodies in Canada so that they could be placed on an equal footing with Canadians, he added.

The turbaned and youthful MP said the government was keen to resolve the issue and the matter was being referred to various committees. Minorities in Canada, especially Indians, were hard working and had made a mark in all fields.

Commenting on the experience of the visit, he said his primary concern was to have bilateral tie-ups in the field of education. "I have visited some of the top educational institutions in the north and am of the view that the primary education set-up needs to be revamped. Who is going to avail the facilities at the top when a majority of students drop out before matriculation, he questioned.

He said he had identified certain areas which could benefit from Canadian International Development Aid programmes. There could be tie-ups with Canadian schools where children from Punjab could be exposed to the educational atmosphere in their schools, he opined.

Mr Bains was later felicitated at a public reception hosted by the Canadian Journalists Club and the management of Sanjh Savera, a Canadian daily. Those present on the occasion were Kum Kalan MLA Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Dr Kehar Singh, a former Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, former MP GS Galib and BSP leader Gurmail Singh Pehalwan.


Cong leaders vent ire at Lalaji’s function
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 29
A large number of people from different walks of life paid glowing tributes to ‘Punjab Kesri’ Lala Lajpat Rai at his native village, Dhudike, on the occasion of his 139th birth anniversary yesterday.

The chief guest, Punjab Minister of State for Science and Technical Education, Mr Rakesh Pandey, said the state government would erect a memorial dedicated to Lalaji.

Unfortunately, the function, which was held to remember the great freedom fighter, turned into a political battleground. The minister had embarrassing moments when some persons associated with the ruling party condemned a local Congress leader and held the party responsible for making Lalaji’s birthplace a ‘political arena’.

The minister failed to gave a fitting reply to those venting their ire..

Earlier, the minister and other dignitaries paid floral tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai

He sanctioned Rs 2 lakh from his discretionary fund towards the maintenance of Lalaji’s memorial.

Hoshiarpur: The birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai was celebrated here on Saturday. A function was organised at the local Lala Lajpat Rai Senior Secondary School which was presided over by Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, member, Rajya Sabha.

While paying rich tributes to great freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai, Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa said the concept of politics had completely been changed now. People were joining politics to amass wealth.

He said we should follow the footsteps of great freedom fighter like Lala Lajpat Rai to make the country prosperous.

Varinder Sharma, Rajiv Sud, V. K. Mehta, Ajaib Singh and Sat Pal Singh also paid tributes to Lala Lajpat Rai.


Cong hopeful of victory in Ajnala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Chairman of the Rural Development Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee( PPCC), Mr Pritpal Singh Bishanpura, in a statement said today that the Congress had started the election campaign in the Ajnala Assembly constituency.

He said that he had held a meeting of the cell office-bearers at Ajnala. All office-bearers had been told to work for the victory of Mr Harpartap Singh, who had been declared as candidate for Ajnala seat by the party. The constituency had been divided in a number of zones and the cell activists had been assigned duties zone wise, he added.

Mr Bishanpura claimed that the Congress would win the byelection with a good margin. People were impressed with the performance of the Capt Amarinder Singh Government on vital issues. The solid stand taken by the Chief Minister on the river waters issue had gone well with the people of the area. ''Earlier, the Congress had won two byelections---Kapurthala and Garhshankar---with a huge margin and the same performance would be repeated at Ajnala, he asserted.


No party will win majority in Haryana, says Rinwa
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 29
Prof B.L. Rinwa, former state BJP president and in charge for party campaign in Haryana, has said no single party will be able to get clear majority in the Vidhan Sabha elections in the state.

Talking to newspersons here at his residence, Mr Rinwa said he had found an anti-incumbency wave flowing in Dabwali, Rohri, Sirsa, Fatehabad, Ratia, Tohana, Kaithal, Cheeka Gulha, Pehowa, Shahbad, Radaur, Ambala and many other areas. The electorates were talking about rampant corruption, state-sponsored encroachments, gross administrative irregularities and were identifying the INLD as “Indian Lathet Dal”. Never before such kind of misuse of the police and civil administration had been witnessed in the state, he added.

Professor Rinwa, a member of the national disciplinary committee of the party, said Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and his sons had unleashed a reign of terror and economic atrocities on their political rivals and businessmen.

Lashing out at former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Prof Rinwa said the BJP MLAs had not been given proper recognition and respect during the SAD-BJP government from 1997-2002 in Punjab. It was unfortunate that SAD was now being unable to perform as an opposition party in the state.

The state unit of the BJP will hold a “pol khol” rally on February 27 in Ludhiana to expose misdeeds of the Congress government, he added.


Rights panel asks ADGP to probe murder case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 29
The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission have decided to take cognizance of the murder of Kaka Singh.

Mr N.K. Arora, member of the PHRC, in his orders, a copy of which was received here today, said Ms Harbans Kaur had alleged that her son had been murdered but ASI Krishan Lal, in charge of police post, Bahavwala, took no action because the accused were influential persons. Moreover the widow and her family members were facing threat to their life and property. The commission was inclined to take cognizance of the matter.

The commission has directed the ADGP (Crime) to inquire into the complaint and submit a report before the commission on or before February 19. A copy of the order had been sent to the Principal Secretary, Home, for sanction under Section 14 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.

Mr Tanzin Wangyal, Director of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, said the commission had decided to investigate the matter in pursuance of the powers conferred under Article 338 of the Constitution accordingly, the ADGP (Crime) Punjab had been directed to get the complaint investigated through an officer of the Headquarters and send the action taken report within 20 days.

Mr Wangyal has made it clear that if the report was not received within the stipulated time, the commission may exercise the powers of Civil Courts under the Act.

The widow had alleged that her son was kidnapped and murdered by some farmers of Rajpura village on the Abohar-Hanumangarh road but the police described it as an accidental death and disposed of the case. She had been fighting from pillar to post for the past year to get justice.


Gurmat Sangeet losing composite-culture appeal: Singh Bandhu
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 29
“Nagma voh jo rooh sune, rooh sunaye” summarises music in the ‘ears’ of Singh Bandhu Surinder Singh who is a little perplexed at the need to define a particular music for a particular purpose and even further the need to bar a certain set of people from singing at religious places.

“This is what happened in Punjab and Gurmat Sangeet grew apart from classical music”, he says, adding that Sikh institutions, that had never done anything for either the music or ‘Gurbani’ of the community, were responsible for this. “Is it not surprising that Bade Ghulam Ali Khan could perform at the Lahore gurdwara but later established ‘kirtanis’ like Bhai Chand and Bhai Lal were thrown out of their jobs in gurdwaras”.

The classical vocalist, who was here in Punjabi University as part of an initiative to revive the rabab tradition by the Gurmat Sangeet Chair, said the classical purity of music which used to be rendered in gurdwaras had been lost when non Sikhs were forbidden from performing at prominent gurdwaras. “A rich composite tradition was lost for ever”, he added.

While Gurmat Sangeet lost out due to loss of contact with classical music, the classical vocalist says the sole use of the ‘harmonium’ had eaten at its soul. “Gurmat Sangeet was initiated by Bhai Mardana on a Persian instrument, rabab, which Guru Nanak felt was most appropriate for use while he was composing his janam sakhis,” he said. The disappearance of rabab from Gurmat Sangeet had affected its unique characteristic.

“I feel the harmonium is being used as it is most easy to master”, he says, adding that the instrument is solely responsible for affecting the basic structure of Gurmat Sangeet. “Rabab on the other hand is an instrument which does not have any overlapping sounds and does not disturb the singer as well as the audience from the ‘shabad’ being sung”.

Surinder Singh says mastering rabab is, however, a difficult task and this had probably made it redundant at present.

The classical vocalist made a fervent appeal for reviving the use of rabab while addressing the gathering at the inaugural function of a workshop being held to train youngsters in the use of the instrument.

He said he had introduced the use of the instrument in his cassette “Gayo Sachi Bani” and would use it more often in his works. For the students he had a word of advice: “Don’t go into music for instant rewards. You will be lucky if you are able to master music and even then the reward may be self satisfaction only.”

Earlier, the inaugural workshop saw Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai stressing on the need to adopt the original mode of ‘gurbani’ recitation through the use of rabab. Gurmat Sangeet department head Gurnam Singh thanked the Guru Gyan Parkash Foundation and its head Bibi Jasbir Kaur for financing the department and its activities.

He said 52 students from the university and its affiliated colleges would be imparted training on rabab at the week-long workshop.


SSP launches complaint redressal system
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, January 29
The district police today launched Computerised Complaint Redressal System at all police stations in the district. The DGP, Punjab, Dr A.A. Siddiqui, launched the system at the SSP office here.

Mr M.F. Farooqui, SSP, while demonstrating the functioning and different features of the system to the DGP Mr Satish Sharma, IG, Jalandhar Range, said the new user-friendly software had been developed keeping in view the necessities of practical policing so that qualitative improvement and efficiency in police functioning could be brought in. Besides, it would help bridging the gap between the police and public. It would help in prompt tracking and monitoring of the complaints, said the SSP, adding that all police stations had been computerised and as many as 120 police officials had been imparted basic training on computer applications in police functioning.

In the next phase, computerised registration of FIRs would be started at all police stations in the district, Mr Farooqui further said.

Later, talking with mediapersons, Dr. Siddiqui said the ‘Punjab Police Bill’ was under consideration of the state government.

Dr Siddiqui expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction among Punjabi youth and added that concerted efforts at the administrative, political and social levels were needed to check drug addiction. The role of education institutions in creating awareness against drug addiction was important, he added.

Answering a query he said he had not been offered the governorship and he would accept it on merit. “I have a lot of work to do after retirement and do not need any job”, remarked the outgoing DGP, adding that he would devote his time in spreading ‘Sufism’. Presently, he was busy collecting Sufi literature, Dr Siddiqui added.


Vaccine for dog bites not available
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 29
Vaccine meant for treatment of dog bites is not available in any of the Civil Hospitals in Punjab for the past several months on account of the ban imposed by the Supreme Court on its manufacture. Samples manufactured by the Central Research Institute, Kasauli, which were supplied in this part of the region, have also been discontinued after imposition of the ban.

The ban was imposed in the light of observations by the World Health Organisation. Earlier, it was available in all Civil Hospitals and was within the reach of victims of dog bites. The total expenditure on post exposure treatment was less than Rs 200. Yellow card holders, government employees and persons from economically weaker sections of society were given free treatment. This vaccine used to be administered in the anterior abdominal wall of the victim.

On account of non-availability of the vaccine, victims of dog bites now have to purchase costly vaccines prepared through human tissue culture from the market on exorbitant rates.

According to experts, six injections are required during post exposure treatment and the cost is more than Rs 1500. A majority of victims are unable to spend this huge amount on treatment.

Dr Ajay Bagga, a social activist and spokesman of the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association, said keeping in view the ban on the vaccine manufactured from sheep brain , the government should purchase and supply the vaccine prepared through human tissue culture to all Civil Hospitals so that even the poor could afford the treatment.

He said earlier various government agencies used to eliminate stray dogs by launching special campaigns. But this practice had been stopped since long. The number of stray dogs had increased in rural as well as urban areas. To control the menace of stray dogs, the government should formulate an effective policy. He also urged dog lovers to get their pets vaccinated. 


40 women attend training camp
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 29
Forty women participated in a four-day camp organised by IFFCO here. These participants took keen interest in knowing about working of beauty parlours and making soft toys. They also visited the Industrial Training Institute at Kheowali.

Mr Nahar Singh Mavi, area manager, IFFCO, said Ms Harjit Kaur and Ms Meena Kohli gave live demonstrations during lectures on making soft toys and keeping skin healthy without using chemical-rich cosmetics marketed by multinational companies.

The SDM, Mr Jaskiran Singh, presided over the closing ceremony of the camp. He said women based in rural areas in Gujarat had set an example by forming village-based milk producing and marketing societies. Lijjat Papad was also an enterprise of women entrepreneurs.

However, in this area of Punjab bordering Rajasthan, Haryana and West Punjab province of Pakistan, ‘pardah’ dominated the rural lifestyle. Girls were not allowed to go out of villages for higher education. Literacy rate among women was low, he said.

He said, it was amazing that IFFCO had succeeded in increasing the number of participants in such programmes during the past two years. “The region leads in fruit production. Small-scale fruit processing units run by women will not only add to their family income, but will also enable them have nutritious processed items at lowest possible cost. The administration will extend all help if women trained at such camps, opted to form self-help groups or cooperative societies,” he said.

Mr Chanchal Mehboob Singh, ARCS, and Mr Tek Chand Dhuria, general manager of the Fazilka Central Cooperative Bank, said NABARD had asked cooperative banks to liberally finance self-help groups and the cottage industry in rural areas. No guarantee was required for a loan of Rs 25,000 in such cases, he said.


His journey ended in prison
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 29
In yet another incident of how fake travel agents are duping gullible Punjabi youth, so-called travel agents of Chansu Brahmina duped Jatinder Kumar of Rs 2,42,500 and sent him to Sri Lanka, instead of Italy, where he was imprisoned for two months.

A case of cheating regarding the incident has been registered at the Mahilpur police station.

According to police sources, travel agents Darshan Ram, Paramjit Singh, Manohar Lal and Satnam Singh of Chansu Brahmina lured Harjinder Singh and Jatinder Kumar of Makhsuspur village for earning huge money in Italy.

They demanded Rs 4.50 lakh each from them for settling them there. After persuasion and many promises, Harjinder Singh paid Rs 4.50 Lakh to them. Jatinder Kumar too handed over Rs 2,42,500 to them.

On receiving money, the accused assured the youths that both would be sent to Italy within a week.

But even after many months they did not fulfil their promise.

When parents of Harjinder Singh and Jatinder Kumar pressurised them to either return the money or send the boys to Italy, they put Jatinder Kumar on a flight purportedly to Italy.

But soon on landing, Jatinder Kumar realised that he had been sent to Sri Lanka instead of Italy.

Somehow, he arranged his illegal stay there. But was arrested by the police and imprisoned by the court for two months.

When his parents came to know about the imprisonment of their son they with great difficulty managed to bring him back to India.

On September 7, 2004, Harjinder Singh and Jatinder Kumar approached the above said travel agents for getting back their money.

Instead of returning their money, the said travel agents assaulted them with sharpedged weapons and threatened them with dire consequences.


PF paid to retired staff, clarifies college management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Reacting to a news-item published in these columns regarding the non-release of provident fund to five retired professors of S.D. College, Barnala, the managing committee has clarified that the entire amount has already been paid to the teachers concerned.

In a communique, management committee president Mohinder Kumar Bansal has also claimed that an attempt has been made to tarnish the image of the college and its governing body. He has also described as baseless the allegations levelled in the news report.

The report, “PF not released even after 12 years of retirement”, published on December 10 last year, had mentioned that five professors were awaiting the release of provident fund.

Giving details of the cases, Mr Bansal has asserted that the payment was made to the teachers through cheques. He has added that “huge amounts had to be deposited by the college with the Provident Fund Commissioner for complying with his orders. The matter was pending in the court regarding the said deposit.


Govt move to privatise 3 sugar mills
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 29
A nexus of private sugar mill owners, bureaucrats and politicians is trying to jeopardise the cooperative sugar mill movement in the state. This is the apprehension of farmers and authorities of cooperative sugar mills.

Sources in the Department of Cooperatives said already a move had been initiated to close down the Jagraon, Patiala and Zira cooperative sugar mills. After closing them, the government might offer them to private entrepreneurs.

Farmers associated with the cooperative mills, however, alleged that the move was aimed at creating a monopoly of the private sector in the sugar sector especially in Punjab. At present there are 15 cooperative and seven private sector sugar mills in the state. The government is allegedly closing the said cooperative mills on the plea that they are incurring losses.


PPCB's appeal to industrialists on pollution
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 29
Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), yesterday appealed to industrialists of Punjab to contribute their mite in the campaign launched by the board to keep the atmosphere pollution-free. He also warned industrialists against the adverse effects of pollution.

Addressing a meeting of industrialists and industrial workers here, Mr Bajwa also told the industrialists that the PPCB had fixed a target to bring Punjab on top in controlling pollution. He said this target could only be achieved with the active support of all Punjabis, especially industrialists, industrial workers, and government and non-government organisations. He said the PPCB was also emphasising on creating awareness among the masses about pollution.

Mr Vijay Gupta, president of the Sangrur District Industrial Chamber, assured the Chairman of the PPCB that industrialists of this district would follow the guidelines.


Town to get facelift
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, January 29
Keeping in view, the tercentenary celebrations of the supreme sacrifices made by the forty Muktas (the liberated ones), the government had released a grant of Rs 3 crore to tackle the sewerage problem in the town.

Mr B.R. Banga, Deputy Commissioner, said this while talking to the mediapersons after a highlevel meeting of district officials, which was convened in connection with the facelift of the town.

Mr Banga said the state government had decided to construct four gates on the roads passing through the town in the memory of 40 Muktas.

He said the repair work on all five major entry roads including the Muktsar-Malout road, the Muktsar-Gidderbaha road, the Muktsar- Panniwala road, the Muktsar-Jalalabad road and the Muktsar-Guruharsahay road would start from February 17 and would cost about Rs 1.80 crore.

He said the government had given green signal for the construction of sports stadium, which would be named Bhai Maha Singh stadium, near the local Government College.

He said a 40-feet-high tower near the local Mini Secretariat complex carrying the names of 40 Muktas would be erected and a wall near Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib would be constructed on which the brief history of the last battle of Guru Gobind Singh with Mughals would be embossed.


Cops rescue sambhar
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, January 29
The life of a two-and-half year old sambhar, which strayed into the thickly populated area at Bhartan Kalan village falling in the bet area in the district on Thursday night, was saved due to timely intervention of a police party led by Mr Navjot Singh Mahil, DSP, and Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SHO.

The sambhar, which probably travelled along the Sutlej before straying into the village, was caught by some villagers, who were reportedly planning to slaughter it.

Deals were reportedly being struck by meat lovers for purchase but the DSP foiled the designs by rushing to the site on receipt of information. He summoned the DFO and veterinary officers and the sambhar was rescued from the custody of the villagers.

A medical examination of the animal was conducted before it was handed over to the Forest Officer, who took it to the sanctuary situated at Hariana in Hoshiarpur district.


Physician to be honoured for writing in Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 29
Local Government Rajindra Hospital Consultant Physician Dr Harshinder Kaur has been chosen by the Shaheed Memorial International Sewa Society for an award for her writings in Punjabi.

Dr Harshinder, who has earlier written a book "Dil Diyan Bimarian" which was released by the National Book Trust, has been selected for her work in the field of Punjabi journalism through a series of articles on healthcare.

The society had earlier honoured Dalip Kaur Tiwana and Dr Amrita Pritam for their work for Punjabi literature.

Dr Harshinder said she had also received intimation that she had also been chosen for an award by the Mata Gujri Trust which would be bestowed on her on February 2.


NRI donates 51,000 for relief
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 29
Mr Hardarshan Singh Mejie hailing from Bassi Pathana of the district, here to attend the non-resident Indian forum meeting, handed over a draft for Rs 51,000 to Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner for tsunami relief today.

Mr Hardarshan Singh said he had opened community centres at Bhudian, Ambala, Bangla Balur Ashram villages in Hardwar. He started his career as a professor at Roorkee Engineering College and at Guru Nanak Engg. College Ludhiana.


Dera head gets 10-yr jail for rape
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, January 29
Baba Dhanwant Singh, head of the Noor Vishwa Ruhani Charitable Trust based at Pilli Jhikki village, near Garhshankar, was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment by the fast-track court headed by Mr R.L. Ahuja here today for allegedly raping an unmarried daughter of an ardent follower of the dera.

The allegations levelled by Navin Kaur (name changed) in 2000 against the dera chief that she had been raped by the baba had kicked up a storm as the dera had a large number of followers, not only in the Doaba area, but around the globe.

Even as the dera authorities and the baba had been refuting allegations, Baba Dhanwant Singh was arrested by the Garhshankar police on August 29, 2002, following an inquiry by the Nawanshahr SSP.

The enquiry was ordered by the Jalandhar IG, Mr S.K. Sharma, on the basis of a complaint filed by the father of the girl.


Sub-Inspector gets six-month jail
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, January 29
The First Class Judicial Magistrate, Mr Jagjeet Singh Chauhan, has sentenced Sub-Inspector Avtar Singh to six-month imprisonment for keeping a shopkeeper in illegal custody, besides slapping a fine of Rs 1,000 on him.

Sources said complainant Sukhbir Singh of Bajakhana had filed a petition against the SI in the local court. In his petition, he had stated that he had a cloth store in Bajakhana and had to recover Rs 10,000 from Balwinder Singh of Jhakkanwala village.

When Balwinder didn’t pay his dues, he approached the police. At first, SI Avtar Singh denied any help, but when he gave him Rs 500, he agreed to look into the matter. He demanded half the amount due to him once the money was recovered.

A few days later, when Sukhbir reached the police station, he saw Balwinder sitting with the SI. On questioning about Balwinder’s presence there, the SI put him behind the bars.

The court found the complainant’s allegations true and sentenced the SI to six-month imprisonment under Section 342 of the IPC.


Travel agent booked
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 29
A travel agent, Gurbax Singh of Bathinda, had been booked for defrauding two local residents, Kamal Kapoor and Jawahar Lal, of Rs 6 lakh on the pretext of sending them to Canada. It was today learnt that a case under Sections 420, and 406, IPC, for fraud and criminal breach of trust and Section 24 of the Immigration Act has been registered against the agent.

Sodhi Singh of Mehtan village, who was instrumental in the deal, lodged a complaint with the police in this connection.


Pak national loses bag
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, January 29
A bag of Mr Bashir Hussain Bhatti, Chairman, Dulla Bhatti Academy, Lahore, was stolen from a taxi yesterday. He halted at a popular roadside eatery near Khajurala village on the GT road. When Mr Bhatti returned to the taxi (DL2CE/4861), he found the bag containing documents missing. Sadar Police Station here didn’t register a case when Mr Bhatti brought the incident to the notice of officials there.


2 held in murder case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 29
The local police has arrested two persons in a murder case. Daljit Singh and Jaswinder Singh of Sanghera village have been arrested for the murder of Ved Parkash on January 2, this year.


90 pc schools lack rooms, potable water
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 29
The intense cold conditions notwithstanding, thousands of students of elementary schools in the district were being made to sit on floor in the open for their classes. The basic infrastructure, chairs and benches, is missing here and instead of concentrating on studies, the morning for these students begins with cleaning of the floor.

Over 1 lakh students are studying in 862 elementary schools in the district, but an increase in the number of schools has not led to an improvement in the basic facilities. A visit to various schools in the district reveals that about 90 per cent of the students in these schools neither have proper classrooms, nor drinking water. There are schools which lack mats and the students have to carry sacks with them to attend classes in the open.

The worst situation is at the elementary school in Kherabad village, where the students have been attending classes in the open for the past one year. The reason is that the school building is unsafe as cracks have surfaced all over. When the Tribune team visited the school it found 45 students sitting on the verandah floor.

A visit to a school at Lodi Majra showed a student of Class III cleaning the verandah while other students were sitting in the open on sacks. The condition of the schools in Katli, Masol Burmajra, Kalma, Dhanauli, Bheora, Deekwada, Rasolpur, Mianpur and Panjoaru villages and in various towns of the district were found to be same. Thanks to government apathy, the basic education in the district seems to be the least concern of the authorities. Moreover, students found themselves helpless but to consume unfit water from water tanks and hand pumps installed in schools. Most of the water tanks in the schools have not been cleaned or chlorinated for quite sometime. The Health Department last year also declared that the water available in most of the schools was unfit for human consumption. Despite this the authorities did nothing in this regard.

The District Education Officer (Elementary), Ms Baspinder Kaur, said the authorities could do nothing in this regard. The Secretary, Education, has reportedly issued the instruction of not to reveal any information to the Press or interact with them.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |