P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pranab seeks votes in the name of peace
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, February 20
Accusing the previous government of “black days” which claimed hundreds of innocent lives, Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today sought votes for permanent peace in the border state.

Addressing a well-attended election rally here, today, Mr Mukherjee said merely losing or winning the Ajnala byelection was not going to form the government, yet victory of the Congress candidate would certainly boost the morale of the party. He said the Congress government at the Centre and in Punjab would accelerate the tempo of overall development and growth due to congenial relations and cohesiveness.

He said the Indo-Pak wars had failed to resolve any bilateral issue and hence both countries had decided to create permanent thaw in the region through dialogue. On the demands of ex-servicemen, Mr Mukherjee said the Ministry of Defence had created a special department for their welfare. A committee had been constituted under this department to look into their genuine demands including ‘one-rank one-pension’, and a decision in this regard would be taken soon.

The Defence Minister commended both Capt Amarinder Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Pervaiz Elahi in creating a congenial atmosphere of friendship, mutual trust and goodwill to give boost to trade and commerce activity in the border area.

Coming down heavily on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said people of Punjab would not spare those who had economically exploited and plundered the state for their ulterior motives to promote their clan, ignoring the development of the state and welfare of its people.


Ajnala byelection
Cong hiring crowds for rallies, SAD to EC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
Shiromani Akali Dal President Parkash Singh Badal today described the Congress rally at Ajnala as virtual admission by ruling party of losing mass base with the attendance by Union Ministers today. He also complained to the Election Commission of India alleging massive misuse of official machinery by the state government and hiring crowds to election rallies.

In a communication to the CEC, the party secretary, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, referred to media reports that spoke about hundreds of buses and other vehicles being forcibly acquired by the district administration in various parts of the state.

The reports mentioned specific instances, including one of about 50 private buses being detained by the Jalandhar transport authorities to carry Congress workers of the district to Ajnala. The reports, accompanied with photographic evidence, stated that transporters were being compelled by district authorities to bear the cost of the diesel themselves.

Describing this as “a grave violation of the model code of conduct”, the letter said that this could adversely affect the outcome of the byelection. The SAD communication also regretted the commission’s inaction on its earlier complaints.

Mr Badal, meanwhile, alleged massive mobilization of state machinery and stated that the Congress rally was a gathering of lawless elements and hired hoodlums picked up from the state.


Sukhbir issues I-cards to border youths
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, February 20
In an attempt to enrol youngsters of the border belt into the Youth Akali Dal, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the SAD, was seen issuing identity cards to the teenagers, during election rallies held in this constituency here today.

During his conversation with the youths of the border constituency, Mr Sukhbir Badal promised them due representation in the organisational set up of the Dal. He told the youths that the SAD would also adjust them in different corporations and boards after the formation of Akali government in future.

Addressing poll rallies, Mr Sukhbir Badal alleged that the law and order situation in the state had deteriorated and the present Congress government had failed to understand the psyche of the youth. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, had failed to visit the families of the mine blast victims.

He said that his party would raise the issue of deteriorating law and order in Parliament. He alleged that the state polity had been completely criminalised and the Chief Minister had politicised the police. The border state had already suffered a lot in the past due to deteriorated law and order situation.


PSSF holds protest against Cong
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
Members of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) held a protest rally against the Congress government at Ajnala where the party was fighting a tough battle against the SAD. They were protesting against the non-implementation of their demands.

The police stopped protesters at the Gumtala bypass from proceeding to Ajnala. They started their rally at the same place and raised slogans against the government. Even then several members, including Mr Such Singh Khatra, president, PSSF, succeeded in slipping to Ajnala town where they carried out a rally.

Meanwhile, Mr Khatra said members of the PSSF coming from Pathankot and Gurdaspur were stopped on the Fategarh Churian road and activists coming from Jalandhar and Ludhiana were prevented from leading at Beas.

He said the Congress government, prior to coming to power, had announced its manifesto of regular recruitment but did not do anything in this regard. He said their demands included stopping of privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board and regular recruitment of teachers.


Poll panel’s directive

Chandigarh, February 20
In response to a complaint lodged by the SAD regarding bogus names in the electoral rolls of Tera Khurd village in Ajnala Assembly constituency, the Chief Electoral office had sought a report from the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar.

As per the Election Commission direction, the Presiding Officers of polling stations concerned would be provided with the list of voters who are not the resident of Tera Khurd village.

The Presiding Officers would check the identities of these electors carefully before allowing him to vote. — TNS


Standing tall at Congress rally
Our Correspondent

Eighteen-year-old Vikas, who stands 8.4 feet, campaigns for the Congress in Ajnala on Sunday.
Eighteen-year-old Vikas, who stands 8.4 feet, campaigns for the Congress in Ajnala on Sunday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, February 20
Eighteen-year-old Vikas from Rohtak district in Haryana attracted crowds at the Congress election rally at Ajnala today. More than 8.4 feet in height, Vikas is perhaps the tallest in this region.

With a Congress flag draped around his neck, he sat along Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Union Defence Minister, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Sachin Pilot as they took the stage.

Vikas has also been a “sight” at Congress rallies in Haryana and Bihar recently. Today he was here to support Congress candidate Harpartap Singh Ajnala. “I like the Congress ideology of ‘sarv dharm’,” he says.

Happily dwarfing all at the rally, he shied away from media as he was unable to answer usual questions. So he preferred to walk in the crowd.

Unperturbed over the fingers pointed at him in amazement, he soon became the centre of attention as children looked curiously upto him and followed him like the pied piper with parents following their children in tow.

In all he was able to bring a little variety to the usual humdrum of allegations and counter allegations besides promises by politicians — the usual flavour of election rallies everywhere.


Punjab, UT fight over plying of buses
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
While the knotty issue of bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad has been settled by India and Pakistan amicably, nearer home, Punjab and the Union Territory, Chandigarh, continue to fight a bitter battle over the plying of state-owned buses in each other's territory.

A few days ago, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses were stopped from plying in Punjab. At least 70 CTU buses were “ detained” by staff of Punjab Roadways at various places in the state arguing that these buses have been plying illegally and without valid counter-signed route permits. Buses were only released after the intervention at higher level.

The CTU, too, does not allow the entry of most of the roadways buses in the Interstate Bus Stand in Sector 17.

As the issue is continuing to hang fire, a meeting has been fixed on February 22 to sort out the dispute. Punjab Government officials say that as UT officials are on the weak wicket, they get the meetings postponed.

“For the past some days, we have been convincing our employees not to stop CTU buses in Punjab. So far we have been successful. However, as the CTU officials continue to delay the resolution of problem, it would become difficult for us to keep employees away from stopping the CTU buses ”, Punjab officials say.

Punjab officers feel that the CTU authorities have made the Punjab Roadways to suffer loss worth several crores of rupees by putting several curbs on its operations in Chandigarh. For instance, they say, the Punjab Roadways buses coming from Jalandhar, Amritsar etc could not enter the main interstate bus stand in Sector 17 while all CTU buses plying on these routes touch this bus stand. Punjab buses terminate their journey at the Sector 43 bus stand. No passenger from Jalandhar, Ludhiana would like to board the bus which does not touch the Sector 17 bus stand. Because of this reason, the CTU buses enjoy huge business advantage over the roadways.

Now Punjab officers have laid the conditions that the CTU would only be allowed to ply buses in Punjab if the Chandigarh Administration allow all Punjab buses, which hold state government route permits, to enter the Sector 17 bus stand. Otherwise, no CTU bus would be allowed to enter any main bus stand in Punjab.

Other major dispute is over the distance covered by the CTU buses in Punjab on daily basis. Punjab officials say that the CTU, which has a fleet over 400 buses, covers between 53,000 km and 70,000 km daily in the state while Punjab buses only covers about 10,000 km.

Punjab officers say that they would allow the CTU buses to cover only 10,000 km or maximum 15,000 km while other CTU buses would have to stop operation in Punjab. Punjab wants that the CTU should sign an inter-state buses plying agreement with it as all other states sign.


Rain eases electricity crisis
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Nangal, February 20
The continuous increase in the inflow of water to the Bhakra Dam during the past one week has saved power crisis in north India at least for the next two weeks. The rainfall in parts of north India and also in the catchment’s area has reduced the demand for electricity and water supply from the Bhakra Dam.

Sources informed that the inflow of water to the Govind Sagar reservoir increased 2,866 cusec today in comparison to the last year. In addition to it, now the Bhakra Dam would have additional water for power generation as water supply to the region had also declined following less demand due to the rainfall.

The water inflow to the Bhakra Dam was 8,229 cusec today and discharge was 8,446 cusec. While last year, the inflow of water was 3,689 cusec the discharge was quite high at 16,000 cusec due to high demand.

Power generation at the Bhakra Dam was 50.24 lakh units today while last year it was 114.78 lakh units. The power generation was today less than half in comparison to the last year. But the demand for power had also decreased considerably, sources added. While at the Ganguwal and Kotla hydel plant based on the Nangal Hydel Channel, the power generation was 24.72 lakh units.

The power supply from the Bhakra Dam and Ganguwal and Kotla hydel plant to Punjab was today 26 lakh units, 18.84 lakh units to Haryana, 13.67 lakh units to Chandigarh, 2.39 lakh units to Himachal Pradesh and 1.43 lakh units to the NFL, Nangal.

Sources in the BBMB said that north India had momentary relief for the next two weeks. As for the past one month, power generation at the Bhakra had been stopped for more than three hours during the night due to paucity of water and also to get maximum generation at peak hours during the day.

The Chief Engineer, Power Generation (BBMB), Nangal, Mr Amrik Singh, said that rain helped improve power generation. As demand for electricity and water had declined due to rain for the past 10 days, we were supplying power to the consumer states as per their demands.


Elahi, Amarinder to lay highway foundation stone on March 15
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
West Punjab (Pakistan) has already started preparations for the launch of the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib and Amritsar-Lahore bus service at the earliest possible.

The major step being taken by the West Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, in this connection is the construction of the Wagah- Nankana Sahib highway that will bypass Lahore city. The issue of a bus service between Amritsar-Nankana Sahib was discussed again by Mr Natwar Singh, External Affairs Minister of India and Mr Elahi, who had hosted a lunch at Lahore for the visiting Indian delegation.

The trial run of the bus between the two most important religious places is likely to start in April this year at the time of Baisakhi. The festival is associated with harvest of various Rabi crops and has a great historic importance for Punjabis.

Official sources said here today that Indian Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Mr Elahi would jointly lay the foundation stone of the Wagah- Nankana Sahib highway on March 15 at Nankana Sahib. “All details of the programme prepared by the Pakistan Punjab Government have been conveyed to Capt Amarinder Singh’s office here, and the highway would soon be a reality”, sources said.

The distance between Wagah and Nankana Sahib would become less by 30 km with the construction of the highway.

Sources said that Capt Amarinder Singh would leave for Lahore on March 14 for four days and he would back on March 17. Besides his family members, he would be accompanied by leading industrialists, traders and other eminent personalities of this region.

Capt Amarinder Singh would visit various Sikh religious places besides important buildings which have over the years become important landmarks of history and Punjab’s culture.

Capt Amarinder Singh has close relations with the Elahi family which stayed at his new Motibagh Palace at Patiala for about a week recently. In a way it will be a reciprocal visit for the further consolidation of the peace process between India and Pakistan. People of both Punjabs, and also of Haryana besides their governments, are playing a pivotal role in this peace process. A few days ago, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, Chief Minister of Haryana, had visited Lahore on the invitation of Mr Elahi.

Capt Amarinder Singh would interact with the trading community in Lahore. There is a lot of scope to export wheat and high quality potato seed via Wagah border to Pakistan where quality seed is in great demand.


Nusrat Fateh Ali’s nephew replicates legend’s charm
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 20
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s music lends itself to a melange of images. Now spiritual, now basic, his melodies change tones as they trail a divine course from one meandering curve to another.

The texture of his music is rich with class and the manner of his offering all absorbing. From one musical sequence to another, Rahat gains a better reputation, the one that he has laboriously earned after the demise of uncle Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In the acid test of preserving a glorious legacy, Rahat has not faltered yet. He has only risen beyond the expectations of many who love to see Nusrat in Rahat.

And the young musician meets his challenge quite well as he did last evening against the royal backdrop of Old Moti Bagh Palace. With a truly endearing style and a rare musical flourish, Rahat had his audience soaking wet in the stream of melody. His accompanists Maruff Ali and Fateh Ali contributed immensely to the vigour that filled the space of performance to the brim.

What followed was a thrilling journey through the world of Sufism which gives the art of qawwali its classic charm. In the tradition of a true Sufi, Rahat Ali commenced yesterday’s recital at the heritage festival with a thoroughly inspired piece “Shah-e-Madine Ali…” Set to classical ragas, the presentation served as a fine introduction to Rahat who has reserved a special place for himself in the world of music. This, despite his inextricable link to the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and his music empire.

Rahat’s prowess was there for all to see last night as he gradually built the tempo of the presentation, moving on from pure divine pieces to philosophical ones, as by Bulle Shah. His next offering “Makke gayan gal mukdi nahi ….bhaven sau sau jumme padh aaiye…Bulle Shah gal taiyon mukdi jad main u dile gavaiye…” drew a frenetic applause from the audience which kept craving for more of Rahat’s music.

From Sufi verses to ghazals and songs, Rahat’s recital had all the flavours of music. His song ‘Teri yaad pave taan rovaan; tera zikar karaan te hassan…’ became an instant hit quite like his other presentations including the age-old classic “Akhiyaan udeekdiyaan”.

The young master of a rare art did not deprive the yearning listeners of the charm of his own recent hits like “Saanson ki maala pe”, “Tumhe dillagi bhool jaani padegi” and the chartbuster “Laagi tumse man ki lagan’ for which Pooja Bhat’s film “Paap” is still considered as a must see.

Technical virtuosity and masterful handling of Sufi verse remained Rahat’s hallmark throughout the three hour long presentation which left Patiala smitten and emerged as the best attraction of heritage festival so far.


Rabbi, Sukhbir rock Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 20
Rabbi Shergill has taken success with some measure of humility. The new Punjabi star on the horizon of popular music is taking one day at a time, moving from one circuit to another, hitting music lovers across the country with his earthy punch.

The Gursikh thoroughly enjoys singing “Bulle Shah” like every other Sufi in India and across the border. Now he plans to make more music, which he can call his own.

In Patiala today on a heritage concert, Rabbi quite besotted the locals with his rooted melody. The influence of Punjab’s exuberance was evident in Rabbi’s musical offering at YPS Stadium tonight.

The lyrics were more philosophical than popular music could accommodate. The singer charmed the listeners with his lyrics, the ones that made his album a hit.

The use of acoustics added to the flavoured singing of Rabbi, who is best identified with his version of “Bulla ki jaana main kaun”.

Next in line came Sukhbir, spilling the much-needed energy and winding up the nine-day Patiala heritage festival in style. On the verge of cutting two new albums, Sukhbir presented his chartbusters like “Sauda khara khara”, which his father, a “gurbani singer” wrote for him.

Interestingly, the seemingly glamour-struck pop star is quite rooted in reality. He is even working on a devotional album with his father.

For his part, Sukhbir is thinking of going Hindi with his next album. Talking to Chadigarh Tribune before the concert, Sukhbir said the lyrics of his new album were being written by Kumar Gill, writer of the title songs for TV soap “Jassi jaisi koi nahi”.

“I like working with Kumar Gill because he is spontaneous and can churn out words on a melody in no time. He suits my style. Also, I am working with new producers like Rishi Rich, Jassi Sidhu and a Canadian composer, Carl Wolf. Very shortly, I am going to present an altogether fresh version of my music,” Sukhbir said.

Influenced by reggae and Micheal Jackson, Sukhbir has always managed an edge with every new album. His song “Ishq tera tadpawe” is among the all-time Punjabi favourites. In his spirited style, Sukhbir enthralled the audience today, forcing some to shake a leg.


Crafts mela genrates good business
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 20
Even as the Heritage Festival comes to an end today, the Crafts Mela, which will continue till February 27, is generating a good response from the people of the city. The mela, which is averaging more than 10,000 ticketed visitors daily, is getting even more people on weekends.

Prabhleen, a housewife, said today, this was her third visit at the fair. “Earlier, I bought a few suits and now I am looking for engraved chairs.”

The mela has been a bonanza for most of the artisans with some artisans arriving even now to be included in it. As against a target of 150 artisans set by the Patiala Development Authority, the figure has gone up to more than 175. Those selling handlooms are doing well with the women. Besides suits, which are available from Lucknow, Kolkata and Rajasthan one can also shop for purses and ‘juttis’ from Rajasthan and silver jewellery from Jaipur.

Montoo Chitrakar from West Bengal is offering ‘pattachitras’ of all shapes and sizes and also corresponding prices. He says he has depicted various legends likes those of the Santhal tribe and also from the Ramayana and other religious texts in his panels which are painted using vegetable dyes only. He even has an panel on the recent tsunami up for sale.

Yesterday the sale of a Tanjore painting for Rs 1.25 lakh was a reason for cheer for various painters, specially those selling miniature paintings, who felt they were not getting a good response. The Tanjore painting, which has been created by M. Shankaran of Madras, depicted Lord Krishna along with two gopis with a palace backdrop. The artist had used gold dust and gold extensively in the painting which is also responsible for its high price. Shankaran said last year also he had sold a painting of Balaji for Rs 1.20 lakh to a customer in the mela. The artist was tying to innovate according to the demand in the region by bringing a painting of Guru Nanak, replete with gold work and precious stones from Jaipur, to the festival this year.

For the young the work of Bidar craftsmen who have brought trinkets in zinc pure silver and inlay work was also a centre of attraction. Artisan Ravi was offering a replica of Guru Nanak in zinc for Rs 35, a pair of swords for Rs 50 besides ashtrays, utility boxes and other items. Similarly a stall from Moradabad which was selling items in brass, including pen holders, lantern stands and coasters was also doing good business. Other artisans included paper mache makers from Kashmir who claim they have brought new designs and furniture makers from Saharanpur and even Jodhpur. Sadly the INTACH booth, which is offering souvenirs specially made to commemorate the festival and Patiala was not doing brisk business. Good prints of historic buildings, can, however, be bought from here.


Festival Diary
Pop stars play hard to get

by Aditi Tandon

NEW-AGE pop stars can sometimes play very hard to get. Just as Punjabi singer Sukhbir played all this day. Although he had reportedly checked into his hotel this morning, the managers kept repeating that the pop star was yet to arrive. When presented with the proof of his arrival, they changed. “We meant that he has arrived but has been sleeping since he got in.” If the claims of hotel authorities are to be believed, Sukhbir slept for about seven hours today.

While the singer’s arrival remained a mystery till about evening, some people who had been eagerly waiting on him started to compare and contrast the attitude of pop singers with that of actual legends of the field of Indian classical music and dance. While Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Savita Devi, Kiran Segal and other renowned exponents unfailingly obliged their admirers when in Patiala, the popular singers remained elusive. Perhaps they were busy creating a scarcity that does not really exist!

Patialavis flood Rahat Ali with requests

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s nephew Rahat Ali charmed the Patialavis with the magic of his voice. He sang with such energy that no one could believe he had landed straight on the stage after a journey of five hours. On his way from Wagah to Patiala, Rahat only paused in Jalandhar, his ancestral home. At Patiala he showed no signs of fatigue, as he blended his classical recital with a light classical one, besotting the students of National Institute of Sports housed in Old Moti Bagh Palace.

After the singer had presented his pieces, he invited requests, least aware that he was landing himself in trouble. Close to 30 requests were sent to Rahat, who could finally sing only five due to paucity of time. The qawwal nevertheless impressed all the youngsters who rushed to get his autographs. He also apologised to one group that wanted him to sing Nusrat Fateh Ali’s all time hit “Aafreen…” Promising to present ‘Aafreen” on his next visit to Patiala, the singer packed up amidst roaring applause and choicest compliments like “You are the best ji”.

First taste of “dhamaal”

Qawwal Farid Ayaz from Pakistan gave Patialavis the first taste of “dhamaal” day before yesterday. Breaking his rich vocal rendition midway, he directed his musicians to play the “dhamaal” on the tabla and other percussion instruments. What followed was a 10-minute blissful presentation featuring the highs and lows of percussion music. The sounds varied in texture and tone, creating a mind-blowing impact. As the musicians outwitted each other on the stage, it was time for the audience to enjoy the ‘dhamaal’ which finds a respectable place in the history of qawwali.

Sunday spells profit for crafts

Crafts persons woke up to pleasant surprises as all roads led to Sheesh Mahal on Sunday. Never mind the traffic blockades, this day was about grand sales at the crafts mela which had not been receiving a good response for the past few days. Even the artisans looked enthusiastic and spirited as visitors thronged the venue, willing to buy their wares. A sunny afternoon contributed to the bonhomie that lingered well past the evening.


Farmers being driven to suicide, says BJP leader
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
Former leader of the BJP Kisan Morcha and now top leader of the Punjab unit of the BJP said yesterday during the three years’ regime of the Amarinder government, more than 325 farmers had been driven to suicide due to debt and poverty in the Malwa region of the state.

He claimed this data had been collected by a Chandigarh-based NGO, Mr Inderjit Singh Jeji, human rights activist, and a team of the BJP.

Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, general secretary of the Punjab BJP and former vice-president of All-India BJP Kisan Morcha, who was here to attend a meeting of the party, claimed that the farmers in the state had taken 74 per cent of the loan from arhtiyas or financial institutions.

Now, the arhtiyas had stopped giving loans to farmers due to interference by farmers’ organisations at the time of return of loans by farmers.

Mr Grewal claimed that a team of the Punjab BJP had visited Chathewala village in Bathinda district, where a farmer had reportedly committed suicide due to his inability to repay loan.

It was learnt the farmer owed Rs 1.50 lakh to an arhtiya, Rs 1 lakh to Land Mortgage Bank and some amount to a cooperative society.

Mr Grewal lashed out at the Amarinder government, saying it had done nothing for the welfare of farmers so far. The rate of interest on loan being provided by cooperative institutions to the farmers was between 14 per cent and 20 per cent.

He asked the Punjab Government to reduce the interest rate on loans to farmers to improve their financial health.

He also criticised the government for not sending a report on drought-hit and flood-hit areas of the state to the Central Government. As a result, the Centre had yet to release any grant from the National Calamity Fund to Punjab.

Mr Grewal said the government had turned the Ajnala constituency into a police cantonment. He said the BJP was organising a major rally of the BJP Yuva Morcha on February 27 at Ludhiana to “expose” the “misrule” of the Amarinder government.


SGPC forms panel to review heritage dossier
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 20
Bowing to the pressure over the controversy regarding the Golden Temple dossier submitted to UNESCO for conferring world heritage site to Harmandar Sahib, SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur constituted a five-member subcommittee to study the contents of the dossier.

The committee will try to remove the apprehensions of various Sikh intellectuals who had opposed the dossier and its contents.

The committee, comprises of Dr Darshan Singh (Chandigarh), Prof Prithipal Singh Kapur, former pro vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Dr Sarbjinder Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr Jasbir Singh Sabar of GNDU and Prof Niranjan Dhesi of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar.

Significantly, the SGPC president also invited suggestions from Sikh ‘sangat’ in written.

Several Sikh intellectuals had raised objections over the dossier. Dr Jaswant Singh Rai, an NRI, had objected and raised the issue of “sovereignty” of the holiest Sikh shrine that would allegedly be compromised in view of UNESCO’s pre and post conditions for the heritage status.

Detailed notes had been sent to UNESCO about the “concessions” that may be effected to the shrine in case of heritage status to it that includes its identity, the ethos , ambience and spirituality that the shrine stands for, in view of it assuming a world tourism spot.

SGPC member Hardeep Singh Mohali had also locked horns with former SGPC general secretary Kiranjot Kaur, project director, on the contents of the dossier and had sought clarifications on certain portions. He charged the former general secretary of spreading “misinformation” to Sikhs.

The dossier was prepared during the tenure of Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar as the SGPC president.

Citing some pages from the dossier, Mr Mohali had stated that the dossier mentioned that the Golden Temple Heritage Committee would consist of only two members of the SGPC and that stakeholders to Sri Darbar Sahib complex, including Akal Takht (precinct zone), would include the SGPC, Punjab Government, Central Government, donors and UNESCO.

Ms Kiranjot had earlier stated that the registration unit of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee had expressly stated that it noted in particular the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, that provides for governmental non-interference in gurdwara management.

Questions had also arisen over the cost of dossier, disclosure of participants who framed the dossier, use of word “mandir” in place of Darbar Sahib and the usage of words like temple, temple complex instead of Darbar Sahib complex, Manager Darbar Sahib.


Patna Takht chief presents siropa to Brar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
Senior Congress leader, Jagmeet Singh Brar was yesterday presented with a siropa by the jathedar of Takht Sri Patna Sahib at Patna. Mr Brar has been sent to Bihar by his party as election observer. He is accompanied by Mr Manjit Singh Jhalbhutti and other Congress leaders from Punjab.

Giving information in this regard on the phone from Patna, Mr Brar said that he addressed a gathering in the gurdwara to tell that Mrs Sonia Gandhi had made a big sacrifice by refusing to be the Prime Minister of the country. She had given a big honour to the Sikh community by selecting Dr Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

Even at some other important places, Mrs Sonia Gandhi had played a crucial role to get Sikh officers appointed, he added.

Mr Brar said that neither Lalu Prasad Yadav nor his wife Rabari Devi had given any representation to the Sikh community in the Bihar Government. Many Sikhs have migrated from Patna to other places in the country because of bad law and order situation in that state, he added.

Mr Brar said that he would take up this issue with Mrs Sonia Gandhi.


Three of family die in roof collapse

Jalandhar, February 20
A woman and her two minor daughters were today buried alive and four others injured when the first floor of a house collapsed in Aman Nagar area of the city, police sources said.

The incident occurred in the morning when seven rooms on the first floor collapsed, they said.

The deceased have been identified as Shoba Devi (35) and her two daughters Rukhi (7) and Sonu (5), sources said adding the injured were identified as Pushpa Devi, Veeru, Vishamber and Dinesh.

While the bodies have been sent for post-mortem to the local civil hospital, the injured were rushed to a local private hospital where their condition was stated to be serious, sources added.

All the victims were migrant labourers and were living on rent in the small rooms built in the house owned by Mr Gian Chand.

The roof, which was not strong enough, was further weakened in the recent rain leading to its collapse, sources said.

A case of negligence has been registered against the owner of the house, they said. — PTI


Doc, lab technicians suspended in seven-year-old case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 20
The Medical Education and Research Department has suspended Dr Gurvinder Singh Marwaha, blood transfusion officer, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Mr Balwinder Singh, medical laboratory technician, grade-I, microbiology department, and Mr Kashmir Singh, senior medical laboratory technician, physiology department, Government Medical College, for negligence, which had led to the death of a minor girl in 1997.

In an order in December-end, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Secretary state government, said the three were suspended with immediate effect under Section 4 of the Punjab Civil Services (punishment and appeal) rules, 1970.

Confirming this, Dr J S Dalal, Director research and Medical Education (DRME)-cum-principal of Government Medical College here, said the order was passed at secretary-level after a number of inquiries conducted by a three-member committee of doctors, including Dr Narotam Bhalla and Dr Geeta Sharma.

Navdeep Kaur, aged around seven, had died in 1997 due to wrong blood transfusion after she met with an accident in front of her school in which her hand was badly crushed. She was admitted to Sarhali Civil Hospital and later transferred to the emergency ward of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, where doctors realised that she had profusely bled and required blood.

Dr Dalal said Tejbir Singh’s daughter’s blood was B-negative, while the lab technician Balwinder Singh did not cross-match donor’s (Tejbir Singh’s) blood group, which was found to be A-negative. The wrong blood transfusion led to serious complications, resulting in the girl’s death.

The DRME said it was the duty of Dr Marwaha, who was on duty at that time to cross-check and ensure that the right blood group was administered to the patient. However, he did not bother to do so, which proved fatal. He alleged that inquiries into this incident remained suppressed to allow the culprits to go scot-free. He said that Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, who came to know about the inquiry reports, ordered the suspension of the erring doctors and lab technicians.

Dr Marwaha could not be contacted for comments even after repeated attempts.

The All India Youth Association president, Mr Ravinder Sultanwind, in a letter to the Punjab Human Rights Commission, urged it to recommend to the state government to give suitable compensation to the deceased’s family.


Plan to rehabilitate safai karamcharis
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, February 20
Ms Santosh Chaudhary, chairperson, National Safai Karamchari Commission, while addressing a rally of ‘safai karamcharis’ at Banga said the Congress-led UPA government had drawn up a comprehensive plan to stop the carrying of night soil and for the rehabilitation of ‘safai karamcharis’ by 2007. ‘Safai karamcharis’ working under the municipal councils would be brought under the Labour Act by introducing amendments in the Act soon with a view to safeguarding their interests, she added. She said an exclusive survey was being conducted by the Commission with a view to taking stock of the plight of ‘safai karamcharis’ and their problems in different states so that special schemes to ameliorate their sufferings could be launched accordingly. She lamented that some state governments had not been making proper use of the funds being released by the Centre for the welfare of the safai karamcharis.

She said the Centre government had released Rs 22 crore for providing basic civic amenities of the slums area falling under the municipal councils of the state. Besides, the state government had constituted a ‘dedicated fund’ amounting to Rs 450 crore for providing various facilities to the downtrodden. This fund could not be transferred to any other scheme and was meant exclusively for the welfare of the downtrodden class.

Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, said as many as 131 families involved in scavenging work had been identified in the district and Rs 30,000 had been provided to them as stipend for educating their children. A sum of Rs 27.50 lakh was being spent on constructing houses for the 40 beneficiaries belonging to families involved in the scavenging work at Banga.

Mr Ram Lubhaya, MLA, Sham Chaurasi, Mr Pakher Singh Nimana, Mr Rajinder Sharma, Ms Jatinder Kaur Moonga, among others addressed the gathering.


Family planning programmes ineffective in northern states: expert
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
Dr Ram Chander Murty Kaza, Professor, Microsurgery, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, who pioneered non-scalpel vasectomy (NSV) in India in 1992 and carried out more than 70,000 vasectomy operations so far, yesterday said that family planning programmes in a part of north India was not being implemented effectively.

Dr Kaza, who was here to supervise the vasectomy training camp organised in the local Civil Hospital, said that southern states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had produced startling results due to the proper vasectomy implementation of the family planning programme.

Dr Kaza told The Tribune that northern states were lagging behind in population control programme as there were certain political compulsion in these states. About eight states, including UP, Bihar, Orissa, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and MP had been put in the empowered action group (EAG) category for which the Centre had been giving special funds for the success of the family planning programmes.

On the other hand, good quality implementation had made southern states to achieve desirable results in population control.

About the role of the NSV in population control programme he said before the non-scalpel vasectomy was introduced in India in 1992, the percentage of male sterilisation was 1.8 per cent. With its introduction, the male sterilisation had reached to 3.5 per cent.

On the population control measures in Muslims he said it was wrong perception.

He said Punjab was doing well in the family planning field.


Batala roads, sewerage in bad shape
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 20
Nineteen-year-old twin brothers Navin Aggarwal and Nikhil Aggarwal fell into a ditch, which had been dug up by the Sewerage and Water Supply Department more than a week ago, when they were going to their school on their scooter on Friday. The boys were saved from drowning by the shopkeepers and passers-by.

The father of the boys, Mr Mahesh Aggarwal, a resident of Bank Colony, charged the authorities concerned with criminal negligence by leaving the ditch uncovered along a busy road in the heart of the market.

The shopkeepers said the ditch was 15 feet wide and about 15 or 20 feet deep. It is a deathtrap for pedestrians and vehicle riders, particularly as it becomes invisible after the road is flooded with rainwater, they added.

A cyclist also fell into the ditch soon after the boys had been rescued. He was also rescued by the shopkeepers and passers-by.

Residents are sore over the condition of the sewerage in the town with a number of uncovered manholes posing a great risk to the lives of the residents.

Ms Shabnam Handa, Principal of Dr Daulat Ram Bhalla D.A.V. Centenary Public School, said sewerage and rainwater got accumulated on the road right in front of the school. Numerous complaints made to the authorities to repair the road had fallen on deaf ears.

She said an accident was waiting to happen as nursery students had to wade through water to reach the school.


US Cong men to explore sister state status
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 20
With the intention to explore the possibility if Punjab could be accorded sister state status by California, two members of the US Congress are likely to visit Punjab in May or June.

Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza, two members of the US Congress, would be accompanied by Dr Amarjit Dhaliwal, a Modesto-based oncologist and the lone nominated Punjabi member of the prestigious 534-member electoral college, which certifies the election of the US President.

The objective of the three-member US team would not only be to try to improve relationship between Punjab and California, but to also look for avenues of mutual ties in the field of hi-tech agriculture. “Since the California state is keen to establish mutual relationships in different fields, including economic and agricultural, with Punjab, Mr Jim Costa and Mr Dennis Cardoza would be coming to Punjab with me. We would also try to find out if the sister state status can be accorded to Punjab in near future,” said Dr Amarjit Dhaliwal, who was also a close associate of failed presidential candidate John Kerry and is widely known as a fund-raiser for the Democratic Congressional candidates.


Tributes paid to Abhi
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, February 20
Intolerance, lust for money, an increase in drug addiction and desire to lead a luxurious life are the main reasons behind the perpetration of crimes like kidnapping, violence and thefts by the youth. These views were expressed by Dr Avneesh Ohri and Dr Ajay Bagga, president and secretary, respectively, of the Savera, a society for social awareness.

Mr Bahadur Singh, a social activist, Mr Azhar Hassan, president of the Muslim National Front, Mr Shambhu Dutt, Father Thomas of Mount Carmel School, Mr Bhupinder Singh Pahwa and many others were present at a sarav dharma prayer organised by the society yesterday to pay tributes to Abhi Verma, a student of Class IX of the local DAV Senior Secondary School who was kidnapped and murdered at Hoshiarpur.

They exhorted people to launch a campaign to inspire the youth to shun drugs and lust for money and create a sense of tolerance among themselves by following the teachings of great saints like Mahatma Gandhi, Gautam Buddha, Guru Nanak Dev, Jesus Christ to save society from further disaster.

A blood donation camp was also organised.


Truck driver beaten up by staff of octroi contractor
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
The driver of a truck was allegedly “beaten up” by employees of an octroi contractor of the Dhuri Municipal Council yesterday.

The driver, who was injured, was later taken to Dhuri Civil Hospital for treatment.

As per the information, the truck driver was passing through a bazaar, carrying cement, when employees of the octroi contractor, armed with lathis, stopped him and “beat him up” for not paying octroi.

It is learnt that the truck driver was carrying the cement for the cremation ground and the octroi contractor had reportedly given his consent to a social worker of the Dhuri that no octroi would be charged.


100 women attend awareness programme

Kharar, February 20
More than 100 rural women participated in an awareness programme on women empowerment organised by the Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, at Anganwari Centre at Bajheri village near here yesterday.

Mr Dildar Khan, director of the sansthan, highlighted issues related to women’s rights and empowerment. He said though Indian society realised the need for women empowerment and various state governments had also started many schemes for their upliftment, yet women were marginalised.

Mr Khan said nearly half of India’s population comprises women, yet their participation in economic activities was negligible.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer of the sansthan, said the present era of globalisation had generated a lot of employment opportunities for women in various fields like beauty and health care, dress designing, food preservation and nutrition.

A training programme on maintenance and repair of sewing machines was also organised. TNS


Potato farmers seek Rs 20,000 per acre compensation
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, February 20
Sporadic rain and hailstorm in the past couple of weeks have ruined over half of the potato crop in the district, while the rest may have also been adversely affected. About 11,000 acres was under potato cultivation in the entire district.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Amolak Singh, a potato farmer from Kothe Thana Singh, said that he had spent Rs 11,000 on sowing, manure, labour, and pesticides of the potato crop and now he would have to shell out Rs 1,200 per acre for uprooting the same crop. Another farmer Gurchetan Singh lamented the apathetic attitude of the state government, which, he said, didn't encourage them for sowing crops other than wheat and paddy in spite of its own appeal to the state farmers to diversify.

He said the state government had neither fixed any minimum support price for potato nor made proper arrangements for it's marketing, which forced them to sell off their produce at cheaper rates.

They said that last year they kept their potato yield in the cold storage and got merely Rs 30 per quintal, whereas they paid Rs 70 per sack as storage charge. They demanded from the state government that the potato growers be given a compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre.

Another group of farmers from Gholia village said it was hoping for a good return from the potato crop this time, but the freak weather had pushed them into losses. Some of the farmers were debt-ridden and were planning to pay off their debts after reaping a bumper potato crop.

Meanwhile, the district Agriculture Department officials said though the intermittent rain had not yet affected the wheat crop, incessant rain in future might destroy the crop.


Forest dept to give incentives to pvt farms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 20
The Punjab Forest Department will encourage land owners to plant valuable trees on their private lands under farm forestry plan, to promote diversification of agriculture.

Incentives like quality seeds at the subsidised rates will be provided.

A spokesman of the forest department said about 31.78 lakh plants were supplied to the public last year.

Rs 10 crore has been allocated in the budget for plantation on non-forest government and institutional lands. About 9,290 hectares of land was brought under forest cover until December last year.

To raise plantations along roads, rails, canals and drains, a new novel scheme would be announced soon.

The Kandi areas would be covered under new schemes.


Another probe ordered against Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, February 20
Already facing a probe into corruption charges against him, troubles for the Faridkot Commissioner, Mr B. Sarkar, appear to be far from over. Now, the Punjab Governor has ordered a probe into an alleged bribery demand made by a Reader at the Commissioner’s behest.

The Under Secretary (Judicial), Department of Revenue, would investigate the matter.

The Under Secretary has asked the complainants to appear before him on February 28.

Earlier, Harpartap Singh advocate, had, accused the Commissioner of announcing a verdict against him after taking bribe from the other party.

The Food and Supply Secretary, Mr B.C. Gupta, is conducting the probe into the matter. Sources said that Gupta had recorded evidence in the case on February 16, but Sarkar reportedly failed to appear before him.

In the fresh case, the Governor ordered a probe following a complaint by brothers, Malkit Singh and Balbir Singh hailing from Jeonwala village. The complainants had stated that their father, Uttar Singh, had registered a will in their favour in the presence of the Sub-Registrar. They further said when their sisters challenged the will, the SDM and the Deputy Commissioner termed the mutation as correct and gave verdict in their favour. They alleged that when the will was challenged in the Commissioner’s court he demanded Rs 30,000 through his reader for a favourable verdict, but both the brothers refused to grease his palms. They further alleged that the Commissioner took a hefty bribe from the other party and declared the registered will as null and void and cancelled the mutation of 20 acres of land sanctioned in their name.


Dental doctor ‘ditched’ by NRI husband
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
The joy of Dr Tanupreet Kaur, a local resident and dentist, knew no bounds when she married Amritpal Bimbhra, a Canada-based NRI in August 2004.

However, three months later, her dreams were shattered when she came to know that she had been cheated after she was told by her husband that he would not come back to India.

Though a case has been registered against Amritpal Bimbhra, his father, Professor Prem Singh Bimbhra, his mother Surinder Kaur, brother Dr Pancham Pal and one relative, Capt Narinder Pal Singh, working in a private airlines for their alleged involvement in torturing Tanupreet for dowry, she is yet to come to terms with the tragedy.

Twentynine-year-old Dr Tanupreet was married to Amritpal after the accused and his family members claimed that he was an doing his doctorate in engineering in Canada. Her father spent lakhs of rupees on the marriage, which was solemnised at Patiala.

After staying for two months, the accused went to Canada. He later informed her that he would never come back. Later her in-laws allegedly started torturing her.

Worried and heart broken, she narrated the story to her family, including her father, Mr Mukhtiar Singh, who retired as Superintending Engineer from Punjab State Electricity Board. She was brought here from Patiala by her family members.

Mr Mukhtiar Singh, while talking to TNS said though a case under Section 406, 498-A of IPC and the Dowry Act had been registered against five persons civil lines, Patiala on February 16, no arrests had been made.


Kidnapping was fake, says police
Our Correspondent

Batala, February 20
The Batala police district has succeeded in solving the murder mystery of Rachhpal Singh, a resident of Shikar Machhian village 20 km from here, on the Batala-Dera Baba Nanak road. A special investigation team had been constituted to solve the case. Evidence gathered by the team showed the involvement of younger brother of the deceased, Mohan Singh, who was arrested.

Mr J.K. Jain, chief of Batala police district, told mediapersons here today that it came to light during investigation that after getting inspired by news-items regarding incidents of kidnapping, Mohan Singh concocted a story, which ultimately boomranged on him. In order to mislead the police, he stated that his younger brother Rachhpal Singh had gone to Amritsar on February 14 and was carrying Rs 1.30 lakh. He stated that at11:30 am, he received a call from Rachhpal Singh, who said that a payment of Rs 70,000 had been made to Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Majitha Mandi. Since then, his brother was not traceable and his body was found in Shikar Machhian village, 20 km from here on February 16.

Mr Jain said the police registered a case on February 16.

During investigation, it was found that neither Mohan Singh had received a call from Rachhpal Singh regarding the payment of Rs 70,000 to Ashwani Kumar nor was Rachhpal Singh carrying Rs 1.30 lakh. It has been disclosed by Mohan Singh that he and the deceased were under huge debt and people were pressing for the recovery of money. All loans were taken under the name of Rachhpal Singh. In order to get rid of lenders and have full control over business, Mohan Singh hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Rachhpal Singh.

The police is in possession of evidence to prove that the deceased had never disappeared. Rather he was in constant touch with his family members at Shikkar Machhian through phone. The police has recovered a chunni, rope, poisonous tablets on the statement of Mohan Singh.


25 quintal of BT cotton seed seized
Tribune News Service

Doomwali (Bathinda), February 20
Even as the mystery shrouding the seizure of more than 25 quintals of B.T. cotton seeds loaded in a truck by the sales tax authorities few days ago is yet to unfold Mr S.K. Singla, SDM, Bathinda, sealed the truck yesterday to prevent any mischief with the stock by its owner, which could not be identified by the authorities so far.

According to information a truck loaded with B.T. cotton seeds, which was bound for Punjab, where the sale and handling of same was banned under the Environmental Protection Act, was stopped at a information collection centre few days ago. So far no one has claimed the truck.

The truck was taken into custody by the sales tax authorities when no one claimed the ownership of the seeds. The documents available with the driver of truck revealed that the truck belonged to a business firm based in Maur Mandi town of Bathinda district.

When the sales tax authorities tried to contact that business firm in Maur Mandi, it was found that the firm had disappeared under mysterious circumstances within no time after the truck was stopped.


Photographer, assistant beaten up
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 20
Mr Jagtej Singh, a photographer and his assistant were allegedly beaten up by a section of residents of Teona village in this district when the latter got agitated over the fact that the former did not click their photographs with Mrs Sushma Singla, wife of the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, at a function held on February 18.

Police sources said that Mrs Singla was attending a function organised in connection with the distribution of cheques pertaining to various sorts of grants among different panchayats at Teona village in the late evening of February 18. The accused asked the assistant of Mr Jagtej Singh to click their photographs with Mrs Singla.

Though the assistant of Mr Jagtej Singh obliged them by clicking their photographs with Mrs Singla, he was beaten up by the accused after the function was over. Next day the accused also gave a good trashing to Mr Jagtej Singh.

A case in this connection has been registered by the police on the complaint lodged by Mr Jagtej Singh with the Sadar police.


2 thieves escape from custody
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 20
Two women chain-snatchers, Balkaro and Seema, escaped from the police lock-up here on Friday.

Three cops, including additional munshi Charajit Singh, constable Balwant Singh and a woman constable, have been arrested under Sections 223 and 224, IPC, for negligence of duty. However, they were later bailed out, but have been suspended.

The Kapurthala SSP, Mr Arun Pal Singh, has said a thorough probe would be conducted. Balkaro and Seema were caught in the act of snatching a gold chain from a woman at the local bus stand on February 16. Both were arrested under Sections 356 and 379 of the IPC.


USA “imposing” globalisation
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 20
“It was compulsion and not consensus which opened the floodgates for globalisation and India should be wary of American designs.”

Stating this here today while delivering the keynote address at the national seminar on “Globalisation : Prospects and Challenges for India” at the Kamla Nehru College for Women, Prof Ashwani K. Ray of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said it was primarily due to a weak government that India wilted under American pressure and paved the way for unfettered globalisation.

Prof Gurnam Singh, Director Research, Social Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, sounded a word of caution on the dangers of globalisation to country’s agricultural sector. Dr Vivek Kumar of JNU dwelt on threats of globalisation to marginal sections, especially Dalits. Dr Rajesh Kumar, Head, Post Graduate Department of Political Science, of the host college and convener of the seminar stressed the need to go slow on globalisation.

Prof Bhawani Singh of Rajasthan University read his paper on globalisation. Prof Rajinder Singh of the same university, Prof Shanta Verma from Delhi University, Prof Raonki Ram from Panjab University, Prof HK Puri from GND University, and scholars from Himachal and Jammu University also spoke.

Mr IK Sardana, president of the college’s managing committee, and Principal Kusum Verma were also present. The seminar was spread over three sessions and 11 papers were presented.


CPI for student union poll
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 20
Expressing concern over the non-holding of elections of student unions in colleges and universities for the past more than 20 years in the state, the Punjab unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) yesterday asked the Punjab Government to hold elections of student unions in colleges and the universities in the forthcoming academic session to “save democracy from criminals and youths from drugs.”

Talking to mediapersons here, Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the Punjab CPI, said earlier when elections to student unions were held, intellectuals came to politics, but now criminals have entered the field. He also proposed that the elected student bodies should be given responsibility of organising cultural and sports festivals in the colleges and universities to channelise the energy of the youths.

Dr Dayal criticised the Manmohan Singh government by saying that it had not been implementing the common minimum programme (CMP) of the UPA government. As per the CMP, the Central Electricity Act-2003 was to be reviewed to prevent the privatisation of the electricity boards in the country, but the same was not being done.

Dr Dayal said five parties — the CPI, the CPM, the Lok Bhalai Party, the SAD (Longowal) and the SAD (1920) — were organising a joint rally at Doraha in Ludhiana district on February 25 to protest against the proposed unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) into five corporations, imposition of heavy toll tax on vehicles on the Delhi-Amritsar GT road by the Central Government; and the proposed dismantling of the FCI by the Central Government.

He said the rally would ask the Central Government to make the income from toll tax public and withdraw the toll tax, besides dropping the dismantling proposal of the FCI. He said the rally would also compel the Punjab Government not to unbundle the PSEB. In case the Central and state government did not fulfil their demands, they would intensify their agitation after February 25.


Teachers present memo to MLA
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 20
As part of their ongoing protest programme, activists of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union yesterday presented memorandums to their area MLAs and MPs, including Mr Joginder Singh Mann, Congress MLA from Phagwara, and chairman Punjab Agro Foods Corporation. The memorandum pleads with the elected representatives to prevail upon the Punjab Chief Minister to resolve the long-pending issues of college teachers.

Meanwhile, Prof RS Brar, co-president, PCCTU, today declared that in order to add sting to the current struggle of teachers, the Punjab Deputy CM-cum -Higher Education Minister and the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, would be boycotted during their visits to colleges in connection with any function. These ministers were creating hurdles in the way of acceptance of teachers’ demands, alleged Prof Brar.

He also declared that a demonstration cum rally would be held in the constituency of Mr Singla at Bathinda on March 3. Teachers belonging to colleges affiliated with Panjab and Punjabi University would resort to mass casual leave on March 3, converge on DAV College, Bathinda, and stage a demonstration against the Finance Minister, added Prof Brar.

The demands of teachers include, among other things, regular and upgraded release of grants, pension and gratuity, HRA for rural area colleges, solution to pending issues concerning DPEs and librarians and implementation of the Johal committee recommendations.


Principal to take up gratuity issue
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, February 20
The Principal of the SPN College Mukerian Mr Rakesh Mohan, has decided to put the case of non-payment of gratuity to employees by private colleges before the senate of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Talking to newsmen here today the Principal said he served for over 20 years in AB College, Pathankot. Later, he did PhD and got selected as Principal in SPN College, Mukerian, and shifted here.

However, the management of his previous college failed to pay the gratuity for the period he served there. The university and DPI Colleges have repeatedly written to the college management to pay his gratuity. However, instead of acting on the direction of university the management of the AB College passed a resolution that they would not pay him his gratuity.

Like him many other Principals of aided colleges were being denied the gratuity for the period they served as lecturers. Some of them have got their gratuity through court. However, the academicians are being drawn into unnecessary litigation by the private managements who are not paying them their dues.

Now he has decided to take up the matter with universities. The senate meeting of Guru Nanak University is scheduled for February 22. “I have already sent my case to many Senators demanding penal action against the AB College management for not paying the dues”, he said. 


Upgradation, an indicator of quality schooling

AFFILIATED to the CBSE, Blossoms School, Patiala, provides education which plays an important role in building up a strong base in a student’s life. More emphasis is laid on the all-round development of kids rather than just making them engrossed in books. The school has always strived to live up to the expectations of agendas of the CBSE, New Delhi, of which 100 per cent pass percentage is one of the main targets. This year too, besides 100 per cent results, our three students have been come on the merit list in maths declared by the CBSE.

On the 24th Founder’s Day in October, 2004, the school got a Divali gift when it was upgraded to the senior secondary school with the medical, non-medical and humanities streams.

“Knowledge of Wisdom” is motto of the school and it is certainly a school with a difference. Established in 1981, the school has made rapid strides in the fields of education, sports and other co-curricular activities.

Situated in a pollution-free zone near Century Enclave at Nabha Road, the school has a vast playground for sports enthusists. Apart from it, there are three well-equipped laboratories and a well-stocked library.

Now, the school has grown into a full-fledged co-educational institution with a strength of 800 students. The management knows that in this age of information technology, it is no longer sufficient to learn the three R(s)” that are — Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic and there’s a dire need of learning the fourth “R” which is computer. The school has also set up a computer lab where children can have an access to e-mail and Internet facilities.



Blossoms School, Patiala, established in 1981, has come a long way and enjoys the reputation for excellence in academics, sports and cultural activities. The school feels proud in announcing its upgradation to the senior secondary school starting from 2005 for which the registrations are open.

Our school does not boast of elite or powerful lobby of parents. We provide education to people of all classes.

In Blossoms, there is a place for everyone from the brightest to the not-so-brilliant. Each child has manifold talents. Thus, we hold special classes for meritorious students and it bore fruit when our three students of class X were come on the merit list in Maths this year. Attention is also given to weak students by holding extra classes for them during vacations, which have made us proud of having 100 per cent results for the past six years.

The first step that a child takes at the age of three is in pre-nursery and nursery. It is at this age that Blossoms School becomes instrumental in shaping its student’s personality through playway. The school has especially adopted Montessori methods for its pre-wing.

Promotion to the next class in senior classes is purely on the basis of merit and judged by the performance of a student in the exams conducted throughout the academic session as per the CBSE norms. Internal assessment for IX and X is evaluated by the board for the final exams.


Two poets honoured
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 20
Mohan Lal Uppal DAV College, Phagwara, yesterday honoured noted poets Dr Jagtar and Mr Amrik Singh Puni (former Chief Secretary, Punjab), at the college annual function-cum-kavi darbar.

A press release yesterday said that local SDM Pritam Singh and Joint MD, Wahid, Sandhars Sugars Limited, Phagwara, Sukhbir Singh Sandhar were the chief guests at the function.

At the sanman samaroh, the Kaumantri Lekhak Manch presented the second Bapu Jagir Singh Kamboj Yadgari award to poet Parminderjit. The award carries a cash reward, a citation and a trophy.

The second Balwinder Rishi Navchetna Kavita and Ghazal award was given to Gurbhajan Gill and Parminder Sodhi. This award also carries a cash reward, a citation and trophies.

Mr Sodhi’s book “Rab de Dakiye” and Sukhwinder Kamboj’s book “Iko Jiha Dukh” were released.

Eminent Punjabi and Urdu poets including Dr Jagtar, Amrik Singh Puni, Sardar Anchhi, Mr Surjit Jaj, Mohanjit, Parminderjit, Dr Anoop Virk, Gurbhajan Gill, Darshan Buttar, Jaswinder, Parminder Sodhi, Gurtej Koharwala, Prof Minder regaled the audience.

A blood donation camp was also organised by the Rotary Club Central.


Musical evening at medical college

Patiala, February 20
A musical cultural evening, Surmai Sham, was organised by the Medicos Kala Sangam in the Government Medical College under the patronage of the Principal, Dr Kiranjeet Kaur.

The Kala Sangam president, Dr Subhash Kaushal, welcomed the guests and artistes. A CD of flute songs (instrumental) by Dr Manjit Singh Bal, Head of Pathology Department of the college, and general secretary of the Kala Sangam, was released by Dr Kiranjeet.

The CD contains tunes on nine old Hindi film songs like “Yoon hasraton ke daag”, “Kuchh kuchh hota hai”, “Raja ki agegi barat”, “O basanti pavan pagal” and “Dum dum diga diga”. Its music is given by Mr Vinod Ratti.

Prof Subhash Sharma, president, Rotary International, Patiala, introduced the artiste, Dr Bal, along with the contents of the CD, to the audience. A poetry session preceded geet and gazal. Doctors and employees of Medical College and Rajindra Hospital presented poems, song and gazals. TNS


Bandh against VAT today
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 20
On a call given by the All-India Beopar Mandal, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal will observe a bandh in the state tomorrow to lodge its protest against the proposed introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) system in Punjab.

Mr Madan Lal Kapoor, president, Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, in a press note issued here today, said that rallies would be organised throughout the state to press the state government to defer its decision to implement the VAT system.

He said the non-withdrawal of some provisions of the VAT, including seizure of stocks, maintenance of stock registers, recovering tax liabilities by selling dealers’ property, auditing of account by chartered accountant, heavy fine and punishment even due to small errors would bring the traders on roads.

Mr Kapoor added that the beopar mandal would continue agitating against the state government till it made arrangements to abolish octroi and market fee taxes.

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