P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Propaganda on Sikh detainees motivated: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The general secretary and official spokesman of the Punjab BJP, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, said today that a motivated propaganda campaign had been launched by the Congress and its agents against the SAD-BJP alliance on the issue of the release of Sikh youths who were detained under TADA long ago.

He said that the RSS, which had also been dragged into this controversy, had nothing to do with such political issues. It was a social organisation which confined itself to its sphere of activity.The RSS had neither given any document nor issued any statement as far as the issue of Sikh youths was concerned. Mr Grewal said that he had spoken to the official spokesman of the RSS, Mr Ram Madhav, in this connection and he had categorically made it clear that his organisation had not made any statement against the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, or given any document to the media on this issue.

Mr Grewal said the Congress was indulging in propaganda on this issue against the SAD-BJP alliance because its government in Punjab had failed on every front.It had failed to give employment to lakhs of unemployed youth and had done nothing for farmers, employees and poor sections. “Because of these failures, the Congress and its agents have been creating controversies to divert the attention of the people from development and other issues such as the unemployment of youth.”

Mr Grewal said that most of the Sikh youths were detained during Operation Bluestar, which was planned and executed by the Congress.


Auction rules tailored to help liquor baron,
say contractors

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
If allegations being levelled by wine contractors in Punjab are to be believed, a “liquor baron” will manage to collect over Rs 2000 crore by selling liquor at three times the original prices after creating a monopoly with state help.

In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor, wine contractor Mann Singh Garcha and others today claimed that a bottle of liquor, otherwise available for Rs 100, would be sold for more than Rs 300 after the creation of such a monopoly.

Giving details, they said a successful bidder would be required to pay 5 per cent of the bid amount at the fall of the hammer by way of part security. A contractor “offering a speculative or excessive bid” would be required to make an immediate deposit of an additional 10 per cent security at the time of the auction. The fact whether the bid was genuine or speculative would be determined by the authorities concerned.

Terming the stipulations as vague, the contractors said the authorities would accept 5 per cent security from the “baron” and his men, while asking others to deposit 10 per cent extra on the grounds of a speculative bid. By favouring one party, the authorities would be able to create a monopoly, they added.

The “liquor baron” was not available for comments.

A senior officer in the Excise and Taxation office, however, said the reason behind asking speculative bidders to deposit extra security was not to favour anyone, but to discourage them for making excessive bids. He also denied the allegations that the entire process was being tailored for favouring a particular firm. “The apprehensions are without any basis,” he said.

Describing the entire procedure as full of illegalities, the contractors, however, asserted that the government was otherwise also auctioning vends of all districts in one group from “one spot on one date” without even disclosing the details. In fact, the auction was to take place on March 20 from the Rotary Club in Ludhiana’s Sarabha Nagar.

Referring to the auction notice issued recently by the government, they said amendments to the rules and excise policy were being kept secret so that the same could be modified at a subsequent stage to benefit the “baron”.

They asserted that the creation of a monopoly in favour of the “liquor baron”, his family and firm was totally against the law, besides the principles of natural justice. It was aimed at extracting money from the general public. As such, it would be in the interest of the general public if there was a fair competition during the auction.

Speaking on behalf of the contractors, Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate-cum-former Advocate-General Mohan Jain asserted that till date they had not been able to get hold of a copy of the amended rules or auction conditions.

He asked the Governor to direct the state government to form groups before announcing the same through advertisements in newspapers. Directions against creating hurdles for other wine contractors in the auction process were also sought.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has called for immediate judicial intervention for stopping “the loot the state exchequer through a prearranged farcical auction of liquor vends”.

“The government has already struck an unholy deal with powerful liquor cartels through hand-picked officials... Only the judiciary stands between this robbery and justice,” he said.

Mr Badal further claimed that officials conducting the auction had been given discretionary and arbitrary powers to order the deposit of advance money at the fall of the hammer according to their whims. “The Chief Minister’s favourites would be required to deposit only 5 per cent, while ordinary vendors would be told to deposit more.”


Rodrigues inaugurates Pushpa Gujral science city
Tribune News Service

Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, discusses details of the model of Pushpa Gujral Science City with Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director-General, after the first phase of the science city was inaugurated in Kapurthala
Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, discusses details of the model of Pushpa Gujral Science City with Dr R.S. Khandpur, Director-General, after the first phase of the science city was inaugurated in Kapurthala on Saturday. Also seen in the picture are First Lady Jean Rodrigues and Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science, Technology and Industrial Training.
— Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Kapurthala, March 19
Giving a call for developing scientific temper among children, especially those from downtrodden families, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab, said Pushpa Gujral Science City could go a long way in helping achieve the desired purpose.

The Governor laid emphasis on devising means for spreading scientific awareness among the children from lower economic strata. He said the purpose of setting up a science city in the region could be achieved in the real sense only if such children, who otherwise had a very limited exposure, could avail a chance to gain the practical knowledge in the subject.

The Governor said this while addressing a gathering in an open pandal of the science city after he inaugurated its first phase here today. The Governor, along with his wife, Ms Jeans Rodrigues, were taken around the science city and shown various marvels of science constructed inside.

General Rodrigues took a ride of a simulator, viewed laser, 3-D and dome theatre show and went around the space centre, mini planetarium, health gallery, kids’ park and at least 50 science exhibits explaining the working of various laws of physics.

Over 300 students from nearly 10 government, government-aided and private schools had been invited to attend the show. Sainik School students played band on the arrival of the Governor.

Little before the Governor was to address the gathering, students from a government school of Wadala Kalan, that falls nearest to the science city, quickly entered the pandals in a queue as they had been called up to fill in some 25 vacant seats.

Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Science, Technology and Industrial Training, Ms Romila Dubey, Principal Secretary of Technical Education, and Brig Sukhjeet Singh, son of erstwhile Maharaja of Kapurthala, were present on the occasion.


News Analysis
Amarinder adds new dimension to Sikh politics
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Chief Minister,Capt Amarinder Singh, has added a new dimension to Sikh politics in Punjab. He has brought in its loop the Sikh religious places in Pakistan, making it an important factor.

Obviously, his objective is to counter-attack the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD), a powerful player in the state’s political set-up, the politics of which has been revolving around Sikh religious institutions, issues and other related aspects.

Capt Amarinder Singh has made some full-blooded attempts to weaken the hold of the Akalis on Sikh politics in the past three years. And his latest attempt with regard to the starting of a bus service from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib on Baisakhi day symbolically, and later on a regular basis, has certainly created “panic” in akali ranks because their Sikh constituency has been impressed by what Capt Amarinder Singh has done during his visit to Pakistan early this week.

“He has hit us hard politically by making the Pakistan Government construct a dual carriage way to Nankana Sahib and by getting approval for plying special buses to Gurdwara Guru Nanak Janam Asthan there on Baisakhi day from Amritsar”, said a senior Akali leader.

“We had been successful in thwarting Capt Amarinder Singh’ earlier attempts to capture the SGPC in 2002. And at the time of the celebrations of the historic parkash divas of Guru Granth Sahib and observation of the tercentenary of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas last year, we neutralised all attempts of Capt Amarinder Singh to hijack the Sikh agenda”, said the Akali leader. “But the Chief Minister has certainly got considerable political mileage from his latest moves on the Sikh political canvas”, adds the Akali leader. And he has attempted to influence the Hindu constituency by taking up the issue of the renovation of the historic Katas Raj Temple in Chakwal district of Pakistan. He has announced to pay Rs 11 lakh as the first instalment to take up the renovation work at the temple.

Capt Amarinder Singh has a well-planned politico-religious agenda for the next two years. And he has the full support of Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, on the issues pertaining to Sikh religious places in Pakistan.

Mr Sarna, who is also a close friend of the Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Pervaiz Elahi, was present at Nankana Sahib at the time of the foundation laying ceremony of the carriageway at Nankana Sahib on March 16. And he was the first to speak at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Janam Asthan there, appreciating the steps taken by Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Elahi to ensure trouble-free travel by devotees to Sikh religious places in that country.

Though the SGPC will send its jatha to Pakistan during Baisakhi in buses which will ply from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib under government control, it will be the effort of Capt Amarinder Singh and his associates to send Sikh opinion leaders like influential sarpanches from the countryside on the historic bus ride. When they return from Nankana Sahib, they will prove good public relations officers for the government, says a close associate of Capt Amarinder Singh.

The next Indo-Pak Punjab games will be held in Lahore in November. Capt Amarinder Singh will be present there. And then by the Baisakhi festival next year, the carriageway will be completed. Obviously, Capt Amarinder Singh will be there to inaugurate the carriageway at Wagah. And during this period, the decision to run the regular bus service between Amaritsar and Nankana Sahib is also expected to be implemented. Capt Amarinder Singh has planned his political calendar to take on the Akalis in the next Assembly elections due to be held in two years from now.

The Union External Affairs Minister, Mr Natwar Singh, is providing good support to the Captain. Though the initiative to get Indian detainees released in Pakistan was taken by Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Natwar Singh played a major role in getting their identity documents prepared on the Indian side. And because of this reason, Capt Amarinder Singh was able to bring at least 21 freed Indians,mostly Punjabis, along with him to India on March 17. This move ensured a lot of publicity for Capt Amarinder Singh.


NRI Sikhs may own houses at Nankana Sahib
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, March 19
The Government of Pakistan is contemplating to allow non-resident Indian Sikhs to construct their houses at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, on a request of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).

This was disclosed by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, DSGMC, at the Wagah joint check-post here today. Mr Sarna said he had taken up the matter with Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister, West Punjab, and top bureaucrats of Paksitan who had agreed to explore the possibilities of establishing a big colony of NRI Sikhs. At present, there was no provision for allowing any Indian or NRI Sikhs to build their houses in Pakistan. He said if the proposal materialised, it would be a big step in the overall development of Nankana Sahib.

In yet another important move, the Government of Pakistan may open Gurdwara Bair Sahib, Sialkot, to the Sikh sangat. The building of the gurdwara is in a dilapidated condition. Mr Sarna said the Pakistan Evacuee Trust Board might undertake the repair work of Gurdwara Bair Sahib through ‘kar sewa’ as per Sikh maryada. The gurdwara was built in honour of Guru Nanak Dev who had reached Sialkot via Jammu and found the city in the grip of terror at that time. Guru Nanak mitigated the sufferings of residents. Hazrat Hamza Ghaus, a seer, annoyed with a local resident, had cursed that the town would be doomed after 40 days of his meditation. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev had saved the town from being doomed.

Asked as to why top bureaucrats of Punjab, who accompanied Capt Amarinder Singh to Pakistan, were denied ‘siropa’ (robe of honour) in a gurdwara there, he said it was on account of their being apostate. He said such a development should be an eye-opener for the SGPC, which had been honouring apostate dignitaries and denying ‘siropa’ to Gursikhs.


Translation scam: Sikh outfits seek action
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
An open confrontation between Sikh high priests and various religious outfits over the translation scam involving the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) seems imminent.

Organisations have alleged that Telugu-speaking Vemaraju Bhanu Murti was allowed to alter entire stanzas of Guru Granth Sahib in the name of translation. Not only this, he carried out the alterations using sharp instruments on actual pages of Guru Granth Sahib, which is venerated as a living Guru by the Sikhs. As such, both the committee and the scholar had indulged in sacrilege and should be exemplarily punished.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Rajinder Singh of the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat said, " the Sikhs are feeling hurt by the inaction of the priests on an issue which has shook the entire community. As such, nine organisations have joined hands to adopt an agitational path to ensure that the DSGMC members responsible for giving the translation work to Murti are excommunicated from the Panth, besides being booked for sacrilege and hurting the sentiments of the people."

Since Murti could not be summoned at Akal Takht on account of being a non -Sikh, criminal proceedings should be launched against the former, he pointed out.

The organisations who have forged a joint front are the Guru Granth Sahib Academy, Toronto, the Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, Mata Sahib Kaur Gurmat College, Faridabad, Sahibzada Jujhar Singh Gurmat Missionary College, Ropar, the Khalsa Action Committee, besides the Ludhiana-based Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Sikh Missionary College, Amrit Sanchar Sewak Jatha and the Gurmukh Family Club.

Mr Rajinder Singh said it was criminal on the part of the committee to have entrusted the prestigious project to a person who was not even a scholar in his mother tongue leave alone Punjabi and Gurbani. The seriousness of the committee can be gauged from the fact that no one supervised him for years and when the scam came to light he had already altered the meaning of hundreds of stanzas in 730 pages of the holy scripture, he added.

The Akal Takht Jathedar should seek an answer from Avtar Singh Hit, Paramjit Singh Sarna, and Parhlad Singh Chandoke, all former chiefs of the DSGMC, on who gave the contract to Murti and why was the work allowed to go unsupervised all these years. Certain committee members have informed that so far Rs 20 crore out of offerings of devotees has been spent on the project, he added.

The organisations have said they will defer their programme for a forthnight to give time to the priests to act, following which they will go ahead with their programme.


NWFP Sikhs face tribal gang violence 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan has raised the expectations of Sikhs especially those living in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. The province is a tribal area where tribal warlords have complete domination. Even the Pakistan law-enforcement agencies face difficulties while dealing with tribal gangs.

Educational opportunities particularly in the field of information technology are inadequate in that area. Sikhs living there say that after there is complete normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan, their wards will get an opportunity to study in Indian educational institutions.

Mr Iqbal Singh (name changed) told The Tribune at Panja Sahib (Hassan Abadal) that in certain areas Sikh families faced a lot of problems from tribal gangs, who often resorted to violence and did not spare even Sikh religious places. He narrated certain recent incidents involving violence against even Sikh women and damage to Sikh religious places. There are also problems related to cremation grounds.

Sikhs of that belt have brought these matters to the notice of the Governor of the province and other authorities concerned but they, too, feel helpless in view of the domination of the tribal warlords.

Moreover, Sikhs there face difficulties in getting visas to visit religious places in India. They have requested Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to take up this issue with the Union Government.


No salary scam, says dam official
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Reacting to a news-item, “Another salary scam at Ranjit Sagar Dam”, published in these columns on March 8, the Financial Adviser and CAO of the Ranjit Sagar Dam Project, Shahpur Kandi Township, has clarified that “fake employees” were not working on the project.

In a communication to The Tribune, he has added that “the question of paying salaries to the allegedly fake employees did not arise” as the same “were drawn on the basis of duty certificates issued by the division concerned”.

Describing the report as “totally false and malicious”, he has claimed that The Tribune correspondent had not verified the facts before reaching “hasty conclusions”.

He added that the orders directing the payment of salaries to Class IV workers through banks were meant for all Punjab Government employees, and not for the Dam employees alone.

As of now, only 15 employees “physically working on the project” had not opened accounts in the banks.

Tribune Correspondent adds:

I stand by my report. According to a senior government officer, the move to transfer the salaries from treasuries to the banks was aimed at “checking the possibility of fake employees drawing salaries at the project”. Already an audit has been ordered by the Finance Department “to compare old and new records of Class IV employees, drawing salary at the project, to look into the anomalies”.

While filing the story I even contacted the Financial Advisor. He stated that he had no knowledge of recent developments as he was on leave. This was also mentioned in the report.


Physically challenged girl ‘raped’
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, March 19
In a sordid incident which came to light recently, an adolescent deaf and dumb girl aged around 16 was allegedly raped by a boy, Pawan alias Raju, son of Siya Ram, residing in her neighbourhood in Lakhasinghwala Hithar village under Mamdot police station. According to the police, the rape took place around eight months ago but the frightened girl did not inform her parents out of fear and possibly due to her inability to communicate properly. Police sources said the girl, who beloned to Rai Sikh community, used to go to Pawan’s house for domestic help but the family of the accused denies the same. Police sources say she might have been physically exploited and raped several times.

The incident surfaced only when the girl became pregnant. Thereafter, when asked, the girl informed her parents about the episode through gestures indicating that Pawan was the culprit. The father of the girl, Mr Kartar Singh, approached the village panchayat members but to no avail. Instead of taking any action against the guilty, he said the panchayat members told him to get the foetus aborted. The perturbed father who was not in a position to afford the medical expenses afterwards lodged a complaint at the Mamdot police station and subsequently, a case was registered yesterday on the basis of the statement of the father of the girl, Mr Kartar Singh.

Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, said the police registered the FIR against the culprit as soon as they got the information about the incident. He said however, to check the veracity of the facts, a DNA test of the girl would have to be conducted. Mr Kailash Chander, SHO Mamdot, who is the investigation officer ( IO) in the case, told that the medical check up of the girl had been conducted at the local Civil Hospital and the report was awaited. He said the accused was likely to be arrested shortly. According to the information, the accused boy, Pawan is around 17-18 years old and belongs to a Christian family.

Meanwhile, the girl has been admitted to Civil Hospital, Ferozepore. Dr P.S. Sauna, SMO, while confirming that the girl was pregnant said she was being kept under medical supervision and the delivery was expected any time.


Vinod Khanna rakes up bridge issue
Lalit Mohan and Bharat Bhushan Dogra
Tribune News Service

Kathlore (Gurdaspur), March 19
Raking up the bridge issue once again, local MP Vinod Khanna today organised a rally on the construction site of a bridge, which will connect the Narot area with the rest of the district.

Addressing a rally of BJP workers, Vinod Khanna claimed that like the Mukerian bridge, the Kathlore bridge was the result of his efforts. The Congress had turned a blind eye to the area during its 45 years of rule. “There was not even a temporary bridge for the population of around 1 lakh in Narot and Bamiyal blocks of the district,” he said.

Projects for both the Kathlore and Mukerian bridges were passed during the NDA government, he claimed. Also, the temporary bridge over the Ravi in the area was built during the tenure of NDA government at the Centre, he said.

On Rajya Sabha Member Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder’s circulation of letters in the media over getting the Kathlore bridge passed, he said Ms Bhinder was just trying to draw a political mileage out of the work done by him.

Besides Vinod Khanna, former BJP ministers Mohan Lal and Satya Pal Saini, district president of the BJP from Pathankot Ashok Prashar also addressed today’s rally.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohan Lal alleged that while leaders of the Opposition were being targeted by the Vigilance Bureau over corruption, no action was being taken against those Congress ministers against whom serious charges of corruption had been levelled.

Other speakers alleged that development in the state had come to a standstill. They alleged that most of the roads in the state were in bad state. Even work on national highway projects taken up by the NDA government had taken a beating, they alleged.


SGPC for Sikh member on Censor Board
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 19
The SGPC has urged the Centre to induct a Sikh representative into the Censor Board.

In a press note here today, SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur in a communique to Minister of Information and Broadcasting Jaipal Reddy said it was regretful that despite several sacrifices made by the Sikhs, they were being made an object of ridicule in films as well as in TV serials.


Ongoing tussle ‘affecting’ Wakf Board functioning
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, March 19
The ongoing tussle between the Congress MLA, Ms Razia Sultana and Mr Izhar Alam ADGP over the control of the reins of the Punjab Wakf Board is becoming more severe with every passing day.

The Muslim community perturbed over the dispute between Mr Alam and Ms Sultana, has appealed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, that the Board, which was meant for the welfare of the poor and needy people from the minority community, should be saved from the clutches of those individuals having vested interest in the Board.

Mr Javed Akhtar, Chairman, Muslim Welfare Forum said here today that Mr Alam was trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the board by misusing his position and resorting to threatening practices.

While referring to the complaint lodged by Ms Sultana, he said the entire Muslim community in the state would come out on roads if any action was not taken soon.

He said the work of the Board was suffering due to the present feud between the two.

He added that the charge of the Board should be given to such a person who was a true Muslim in letter and spirit.

Mr M.U. Beg, Mr Mohammed Shamin, Mohdammed Shaban, Hazi Trfan, Dogar Khan, Shamshuddin and other Muslim leaders were also present on the occasion.

Ms Sultana , who recently resigned from the post of the Chairperson, Punjab Wakf Board, had moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding a CBI probe into the incident wherein she had alleged that she was locked inside the Board office for several hours, allegedly on the instructions of Mr Alam.

The High Court had issued notices to Mr Alam and IG, Chandigarh on March 17.


Peace marchers cross over to India
Pawan Kumar

Wagah, March 19
The first-ever International Peace March comprising NRI Sikhs crossed over to India through Wagah check post today.

The march, which started from Nankana Sahib (Pakistan), the birth place of Guru Nanak Dev, on March 17, will culminate at Anandpur Sahib, the birth place of Khalsa Panth, on March 23 evening.

Mr Gurcharan Singh, a leader of the jatha and a resident of Canada, said more than 30 members of the “jatha” comprised Sikhs from countries like Canada, the USA, England, Middle East and Europe.

He said the objective of the march was to spread a message of peace all over the world, especially between India and Pakistan.

Talking to The Tribune, he praised the governments of both the countries for starting the Amritsar-Lahore bus service. He, however, added that it should continue forever so that Sikh devotees could visit Nankana Sahib without any difficulty.

Mr Ajit Singh Pannu, a US-based NRI and coordinator of the Dal Khalsa, urged the state government to work towards the release of Sikhs languishing in various jails of the country since Operation Bluestar in 1984. He said hundreds of youths had been lodged in the jails under TADA during the period of militancy.

He said while the state and Central governments were taking up the matter of safe release of Indian youths with their Pakistani counterparts, they should also take steps for the release of Sikh youths.

He said various issues pertaining to the Sikhs should be resolved through dialogue. He said Sikh sentiments were always ignored even in various SAARC meetings.

When asked about the upkeep of Sikh shrines in Pakistan, he said the neighbouring country had taken many steps to renovate various Sikh shrines.

He opined that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) should give recognition to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) so that proper “maryada” could be maintained at the gurdwaras there.

Mr Darshan Singh, another Canada-based NRI, rued that there was not a single eye hospital in Nankana Sahib. He said during their stay in Pakistan they held a medical camp where they provided patients with spectacles and medicines.

Meanwhile, a warm welcome was accorded to the march. Mr Parkash Singh, MLA Nawanshahr and Parliamentary Secretary, was also present to welcome the marchers.

Speaking on the occasion, he said the march would help remove misinformation among masses about the Sikhs.

He said the march was being organised independently and without the help of any religious body.

Decorated elephants, “gatka” parties and langar were the highlight of the march.


SGPC objects to Pak play
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 19
The SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, today took up the matter regarding a play, “Bullah”, being staged in Pakistan, with Minister for External Affairs Natwar Singh.

She stated that corrections should be made in the play as Banda Bahadur was being projected in poor light, which had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community here and especially the Akhil Bharatiya Baba Banda Bahadur, an organisation that brought the play to the notice of the SGPC, she stated.

She urged the minister to take up the matter with his Pakistani counterpart to delete objectionable portions of the play at the earliest.


12 injured in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 19
As many as 12 persons were injured when a mini truck coming from Malout side hit a Tata Sumo, coming from the opposite direction, at the Bathinda-Gidderbaha road, near the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) today.

The 12 injured, who were the occupants of the Tata Sumo, were going to Ganga Nagar to put a tower of one mobile company. The ill-fated Sumo was hit by the mini truck, when the driver of mini truck, Angrej Singh, tried to overtake another vehicle. The Sumo hit a tree after it was hit by the truck.

The volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa reached the spot and shifted the injured to the emergency ward of the local Civil Hospital.

The injured were Kala Singh, Baljit Singh, Gella Singh, Kaka Singh, Bhola Singh, Som Singh, Manga Singh, Avtar Singh, Nirmal, Mahinder Singh and Kuldeep Singh.

The condition of three was critical while three others, who suffered minor injuries, were discharged after giving them first aid treatment.


All set for Hola Mohalla
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 19
Various political parties and the local administration are ready to celebrate Hola Mohalla in Kiratpur Sahib from March 21 to 23 and in Anandpur Sahib from March 24 to 26.

The festival has become more significant for political parties in view of expected strength of about 25 lakh visitors not only from India but also from abroad here.

Senior Congress leaders revealed that the party was all set to prove its strength in the festival by making announcement related to the development of the area. The leaders have requested the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to announce giving district status to Anandpur Sahib subdivision on the occasion.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and the local Administration have made separate arrangements for various religious programmes and conferences.

“A large number of senior leaders, including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, SGPC president Bibi Jagir Kaur, Sukhbir Singh Badal and Capt Kanwaljit Singh will participate in the main function to be held in the gurdwara on March 25", Mr Karam Singh, manager of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, said.

District Magistrate Seema Jain has banned the sale of liquor from March 21 to 23 in Kiratpur Sahib and from March 24 to 26 in Anandpur Sahib. The District Magistrate has also banned carrying of arms during the celebrations.


Majithia enclave residents a harried lot
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 19
September, 2004 was a red letter day for residents of Majithia Enclave, a colony which has come up on the outskirts of the city, because work on a promise made by their MP Preneet Kaur to lay water pipes in their colony finally started. Nearly six months afterwards, they are a harassed lot as the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board is not making attempts to complete the work.

All efforts of the residents to get justice have failed till now. Even departmental orders made to the contractor within a stipulated time period have failed. Up till now they have exhausted all redressal forums to the officials of the board, its Chairman Jasbir Singh Dimpa, who they say did not even bother to reply to the complaint.

The residents of the colony while talking to TNS said after they filed repeated representations to the Sewerage Board, its Executive Engineer T R Kajal visited the Enclave along with his staff and was apprised of the problems being faced by the residents. Residents K K Sharma, Hari Om Gupta and M S Grewal said they told the board staff that the contractor had not bothered to repair any of the nearly 25 lanes which had been dug up to lay water pipes in the colony.

The residents said the contractor did not even bother to fill up the dug up area properly what to talk on relaying it with bitumen felt. This they said had resulted in various accidents with people falling from their scooters and other vehicles being stuck in the muck. They said after repeated representations they were told by the Superintendent Engineer of the board in January this year that all restoration work in the colony, including laying of bitumen felt, would be completed in one week from February 21 to February 28 through a signed letter.

Mr K K Sharma said even this did not happen with the contractor repairing only six of the nearly 50 cuts made in the locality. Even these cuts, he said, were repaired by using old bricks and mud instead of stone. He said the contractor had not even started laying bitumen felt anywhere in the colony.

The residents said despite the fact that the contractor assigned for the work had been negligent to his duties and was getting the work conducted in a hap hazard manner with there being only one or two labourers at work sometime, no action was being taken against him. 


Brain hospital comes up in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 19
A brain camp was held under the supervision of neurosurgeon Dr Satwant Sachdeva here today.

The camp, which was inaugurated by president of the Rotary Club, Mr Devi Dayal Goyal, attracted patients from far-off areas, including Pehowa, Guhla and Cheeka in Haryana.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sachdeva said that a new brain hospital, the first of its kind in the city, had come up near the 22 No railway crossing and this would cater to the needs of residents of the city. He added that complete neurological and neuro-surgery facilities would be available, including treatment of trauma, epilepsy, headache, stroke and unconscious patient care.

Dr Sachdeva, who earlier headed the department of neurology at Rajindera Hospital,said “ to provide comprehensive treatment to patients we have doctors like Dr Anupam Jindal of AIIMS, New Delhi. An intensive care unit, too, has been set up, which is headed by Dr Jasbir Kaur, which will look after the critically sick and unconscious patients.”

Dr Sachdeva added that brain disorders are still not taken seriously by the common man and most patients confuse brain attacks with heart attacks. Early warnings, which includes tingling sensation in body and numbness, should be taken seriously.


Economic programme for ex-Army wives
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 19
For the economic uplift of the families of ex-servicemen, a programme for the empowerment of wives of ex-servicemen belonging to Bathinda and Mansa districts has been chalked out.

In a press note issued here today, Ms Kiran Nandrajog, President, Chetak Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), said the target group, comprising ex-servicemen’s wives up to 50 years of age and their unemployed children, were being identified and their opinion were taken on the projects of their interest.

She said in the next stage various projects would be identified.

The women, selected for such projects, would be provided training by the hired artisans.


Conference on astrology begins
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 19
A two-day National Conference on Astrology and Palmistry ,which has attracted nearly 80 top palmists and astrologists from all over the country, commenced at the Rajindera Gymkhana, here, today.

The conference is being jointly organised by various social organisations, including Lions Club, Rotary Club, Dedicated Brothers Group, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Patiala Welfare Society and Punjab Jan Hit Samiti.

Since morning, scores of people could be seen flocking various tents in which the palmists and astrologers, many of them carrying lap tops, were guiding people.

Noted orator Dr D.R. Vij and Commissioner, Patiala division, Mr C.S Srivastava were the guests of honour. Mr Gopal Dass Neeraj of Aligarh was the chief guest while Mr Yogi Raj from Mirzapur presided over the proceedings.


Goods train derails
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 19
The rail traffic remained suspended from 10.30 am to 1 pm on the Jalandhar-Pathankot section on account of the derailment of an empty wagon of goods train No 9071 coming from Jammu near Mansar railway station today.

According to Railway sources, a hook of the last two wagons of the train broke between Mansar and Bhangala due to which both the wagons got separated from the train. One of the wagons derailed. Later, railway staff removed the derailed wagon from the track and the traffic was resumed.


5 Dal Khalsa activists get bail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 19
Five activists of the Dal Khalsa, including Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, accused of hijacking an Indian Airlines plane, were released on bail today.

The four other persons granted bail are Harcharanjit Singh Dhammi, acting president of the Dal Khalsa, Sarabjit Singh Ghuman, Balraj Singh and Baldev Singh.


Police reshuffle in Phillaur subdivision
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, March 19
In a major reshuffle in Phillaur subdivision, the Jalandhar SSP, Mr Satish Kumar Asthana, has transferred 55 policemen after allegations levelled by Goraya Nagar Council chief Kamaljit Singh Bittu that Goraya town had become a big centre of poppy husk and other intoxicants due to alleged connivance of cops with smugglers.

The transferred employees include Goraya SHO Makhan Singh, six ASIs, nine Head Constables, 21 constables, and nine SPOs and Home Guard jawans posted at two police posts of Goraya. Mr Mahinder Singh, PCR in charge, Phagwara, has been appointed the new SHO of Goraya police station.

It may be recalled that the Goraya Nagar Council chief Bittu was attacked and wounded by few allege smugglers, when he reportedly chased their trucks loaded with 220 bags of poppy husk.

The police impounded the trucks along with the poppy husk, but the alleged smugglers managed to escape, on March 12. The SSP later honoured Bittu.


7 injured in assault
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 19
Seven persons were injured in an assault, at Ranipur Rajputan village last night.

One of the injured, Balbir Singh, who suffered a bullet injury, was referred to the DMC, Ludhiana, in a critical condition, while the others were admitted to the Civil Hospital Phagwara.

Balwinder Singh of Ranipur Rajputan village and his friend Kuldip Singh of Bhabiana village scaled the roof of Resham Singh, brother of Balwinder Singh. When Daljit Kaur,wife of Resham Singh, and Tarlochan Singh,his son,came out on hearing the footsteps, they were attacked by the duo with sharp-edged weapons. When Resham Singh rushed out on hearing cries of his wife and son, he was also attacked.

When villagers reached the spot on hearing the cries, they were also attacked. One of the assailants opened fire from a country-made pistol. Balbir Singh,who had come to the rescue of Resham Singh and his family, was injured seriously.

One of the assailants Kuldip Singh, was also injured after irate villagers thrashed him.

It is learnt that Balwinder Singh’s wife had died ealier. He is an alcoholic and used to beat up three children. His two daughters and son finally started staying with their uncle Resham Singh. This irked Balwinder, who, along with his friend, Kuldip attacked his brother and the latter’s family.


946 bottles of whisky seized
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 19
The police seized 946 bottles of whisky from a canter coming from Chandigarh yesterday. These were to be sold in different parts of Punjab.

Mr Sanjeevan Guru, SHO, Badali Ala Singh police station, said the canter (CHW-6809) was intercepted at a naka and 946 bottles of whisky, which were concealed under the flooring of the canter, were seized.

The driver of the vehicle, Ravel Singh of Sambhu Kalan, has been arrested and case under Sections 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act registered.


India’s urbanisation haphazard, say planners
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 19
Eminent social scientists and planners concluded on the last day of the two-day national seminar on “Sustainable Urban Settlements: Issues and Strategies” here today that India’s urbanisation had been haphazard and devoid of any serious planning.

At the first technical session of the day on “Development and Planning”, Dr R.N. Sharma and Dr A. Shaban of the Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai, said unplanned urbanisation had led to several problems like congestion, traffic jams, environmental problems.

More than 24 research papers were presented by social scientists and planners today in the three technical sessions on “Development and Planning, Environment and Governance”. The seminar was organised by the Department of Sociology of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr M.S. Gill, Head of the Sociology Department of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Tejwant Singh Brar of the Indian Institute of Technology and Research, Roorkee, Mr Jasbir Singh, Director, Department of Planning, Government of Punjab, Dr Satinder Bhatia of SGTB Khalsa College, New Delhi, also spoke on the occasion.

Dr Ranvinder Sandhu presented the vote of thanks.


Techfair concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 19
The National Annual Technical Function (Techfair 2005) concluded today at Baba Banda Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), here.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, Punjab Technical University, was the chief guest at the prize distribution function while Kirpal Singh Libra, member secretary, college trust, presided over the function. Dr Grewal, in his address, said that apart from participating in technical competitions students learned from the experience gained in such competitions. He said more such technical competitions must be organised in the state.

Mr Libra congratulated the winners of the competitions and thanked participants from all over the country. He said the college would organise National Technical Convention in October.

Coordinator of the Techfair, Prof J.S. Oberoi, thanked the staff and students of the college for their active participation and making the Techfair a success.

Prof Gurdarshan Singh, in charge of model display competition said various teams participated in hardware and software category of models. He said modified integrated circuit engine of Amit and Vikas Kumar of DAVIET, Karnal was adjudged as best among hardware projects followed by human friendly robot of Sumit, Sunny, Jarnail Singh and Ravi Kathuria of IET Bhaddal.

In software category, floppy rescue of Kansal of SLIET, Longowal, was the best followed by video conferencing of Gurmanbir Singh and Jatinder Singh of BBSBEC, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Karandeep Singh of BBSBEC stood first in online shooting game followed by Deepak Goyal of MGM, Noida.

Kalpik Nigam and Deepak Goyal of MGM, Noida, stood first in the on the spot software development competition and Amandeep Singh and Atulayakant Sharma of RIET, Ropar, stood second.

Amandeep Singh and Bhim Kaul of RIET, Ropar, stood first in the paper presentation, Veenu Datta of SLIET Lalru secured second position and Bhupinder Singh and Parbdeep Singh of GNE Ludhiana were third. In technical quiz the team of GNE, Ludhiana, were first and the team of GTB, Malout, second.

In mechanical quiz, SLIET, Longowal, stood first and BBSBEC stood second. In electronic quiz Talwandi Sabo., stood first and USIC, Kurukshetra, second.


Bioinformatics  conference ends
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 19
The international conference on bioinformatics ended at Thapar College here today. In his concluding speech Dr P. Ramarav, Director, NIPER, said with the help of bioiformatic technology the production of crops would increase fivefold. He added that scientists working in this field would soon be meeting Mr Kapil Sibal, Minister for Science and Technology Ministry, to ensure that proper rules and regulations were drawn up for those working in field of cloning, bioinformatics, gene and reproduction. He urged the minister to help scientists working on bioinformatics so that India could emerge as leader in this field after the USA.

The CSIO Director, Dr L.M. Bharadwaj, said scientists were developing technology with the help of which doctors would not have to prepare X-rays, ECG, citi scan and MRI reports.


130 milk producers get bonus
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 19
An amount of Rs 1.33 lakh was distributed among 130 milk producers of the Manvi Milk Producers Cooperative Society as bonus at the fifth bonus distribution function of the society at Manvi village, near Malerkotla, yesterday.

Mr Vikas Partap, Managing Director, Milkfed, Punjab, was the chief guest while Mr R.K. Sharma, General Manager, Milk Plant, Sangrur, presided over the function.

While addressing the gathering, Mr Partap said Milkfed would increase the rate of milk fat by Rs 5 per kg from April 1 to benefit the milk producers.

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