P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bringing the two Punjabs together
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
Even as the mother tongue of Dr Akhtar Hussain Akhtar, Editor of Punjabi monthly, Lehran, published in ‘Shahmukhi’ (Persian script to write Punjabi in Pakistan’s Punjab) and ‘Gurmukhi’ (script to write Punjabi in Indian Punjab), is Pushto, yet he preferred to do M.A in Punjabi from Panjab University, Lahore .

Lehran has become a cultural bridge between East and West Punjab. After the initiative taken by the monthly Punjabi magazine to publish literature in ‘Shahmukhi’ and its transcription in ‘Gurmukhi’ script, many Punjabi writers in Pakistan have started following the trend.

Dr Akhtar, has endeavoured to teach Gurmukhi alphabet to the readers through his magazine so that the gap between Punjabi writers and readers of both the Punjabs could be bridged.

Some of the books which have been published simultaneously in ‘Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi’ scripts included ‘Bolde Athru’ by Amin Malik and ‘Kurlandi Tan’ by USA-based Pakistani writer Ashraf Gill.

Talking to The Tribune here, Dr Akhtar said initially most of Punjabis used to taunt him for his Pushto accent but he took up the challenge to complete his MA in Punjabi. Consequently, his sustained efforts brought out Lehran Punjabi.

Though Dr Akhtar has been publishing Lehran Punjabi in Persian script since 1965, yet the publication of its transliteration in ‘Gurmukhi’ is a recent development. He said the editorial board of the magazine had been making relentless efforts to impart training in learning ‘Gurmukhi’.

Mr Mohmmad Sadiq, a resident of Lahore, who has been working as Assistant Editor with Lehran, said that he had done a lot of research on the legendary Punjabi poet Waris Shah for the past 30 years. Mr Sadiq who can recite ‘Heer’, an epic by Waris Shah by heart, said the poet had depicted the composite Punjabi culture so beautifully that nobody could match him in this feat. He said the picturesque village scenes; the description of the beauty of Heer and the portrayal of Ranjha, were marvellous.

He claimed that the latest research in Pakistan had revealed that Waris Shah had written three copies of ‘Heer’ one of which was kept in Lahore Museum. He said his organisation used to organise competitions on poetry of Waris Shah every year at various places in Pakistan.

Another member of the Editorial Board of Lehran, Mr Ashiq Rahil, is also a renowned Punjabi writer in Pakistan. The three-member Editorial Board also visited Guru Nanak Dev University and the School of Punjabi Studies in the university to engage more Indian writers for contributing regularly to the magazine.


Communists allege persecution in Pak
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, April 2
"Communists feel insecure and continue to face grave threats in Pakistan, both from the fundamentalists and the government", this was stated by Mr Imdad Qazi, general secretary of the Communist party of Pakistan here today.

In the city along with the fraternal delegates from foreign countries attending the 19th Communist Party Congress Mr Qazi revealed startling facts about political parties in Pakistan with special reference to his party members who faced threats of "elimination" and destruction of life and property from terrorist outfits affiliated to Talibans and Mujahideen.

The communist leader disclosed that fundamentalists consistently threatened them. "The government too operates covertly, harassing our activists. While intelligence agencies shadow us heavily to keep tabs on party activities".

Talking about 'persecution' he said communists had faced "harassment" from the inception of the party till 1985.

Recalling some incidents he alleged that a general secretary of the party Hassan Nasir was tortured and killed. Another activist Nasir Abbas was tortured in 'Shahi Killa' and he later became mentally deranged. "Throughout the subsequent reigns of Yahya Khan, Sikander Bakht, Zia-ul-Haq, Ayub Khan and even during. Z.A. Bhutto's regime, communists in Pakistan suffered tremendous persecution till the party was legalised in 1986", he added.

Like them, other opposition parties like Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League were both being run by members who were pursued, pressurised, jailed, lured, muzzled and forced to toe the government line, he said.

Explaining the reasons for this he said the communists had given a call after 9/11 terrorist attack on WTC, USA to "oppose" the George Bush regime and expose Bin Laden. This had brought communists on the hit-list of fundamentalists who supported Talibans and the government that offered assistance to the USA.

He claimed, that in the same year, Pak communists were able to garner 18 positions of district Nazims (mayors) besides its 150 councillors won municipal elections throughout Pakistan and got the Nazim's post in NWFP. "We are ready for the forthcoming elections in August and determined to give a fight to the ruling party."

While advocating peace and an end to the arms race and acceptance of reality of Partition between India-Pakistan, the communist leader said the Kashmiri Committee had invited them and improving trade and cultural ties would eventually resolve the Kashmir issue.

The party, which had filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for asking president Pervez Musharraf to shed his Army uniform as President and had accused Mr Shaukat Aziz Pak Prime Minister, of "rigging" elections and bungling election funds, said it was against terrorism in any form.

As many as 32 communist delegates from 14 countries, including Vietnam, Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Korea, Bangladesh, Syria, Australia, Portugal and Pakistan were honoured by Mr Satya Pal Dang, veteran communist leader, Mr Amarjit Asal District General Secretary CPI and Dr S.P. Singh Vice-Chancellor GNDU.


Communists urged to unite
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 2
Comrade Jagjit Singh Layalpuri, National General Secretary of the Marxist Communist Party of India, inaugurating the party state-level conference here today made a scathing attack on the policies of the “imperialist” globalisation, being perused by the Congress and the BJP, under the garb of economic reforms. He said these so called economic reforms had ruined the weaker sections of the society to benefit a few.

Comrade Layalpuri, addressing the delegates at Longowal village near here, lamented that the two main Communist parties of India, the CPM and the CPI, were unfortunately supporting the Congress-led UPA government, betraying the cause of working classes and the Communist movement.

He also called upon all Communist parties and groups to unite at one platform and develop an independent revolutionary Communist movement in the country, instead of tailing behind the Congress.

Comrade Kuldip Singh, secretary of the Punjab unit of the MCPI, presented a political and organisational report of the party.

It contained a report on financial and socio-economic crisis which the state was undergoing and the resultant poverty, unemployment decreasing standards of living of masses.

The fourth state-level delegate conference of the party began today at Longowal village, about 20 km from here. At least 200 delegates from various districts of Punjab are taking part in it.

Commencing the conference, Comrade Ganda Singh, a veteran Communist leader and freedom fighter, hoisted the party flag. After that the delegates placed flowers on martyrs’ column, especially erected in memory of the comrades, who had laid down their lives in revolutionary struggles.

Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon from Sangrur, Mr Prem Singh Nanwa from Patiala and Lakhwinder Singh from Ludhiana, were elected as members of the presidium to preside over the two-day state-level delegate conference and conduct the proceedings.

Mr Mangat Ram Longowal, Mr Pawan Kaushal and Mr Ajaib Singh were elected as members of the steering committee for the delegate conference.

Tributes were paid to Communist leaders who had passed away. A two-minute silence was observed in their memory.


Ranjit sagar lake rising
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur April 2
The inflow in the Ravi river has increased easing the pressure to meet irrigation demands of the Majha area through UBDC canal in forthcoming sowing season. The inflow in the Ranjit sagar lake yesterday was 5118 cusecs against the last year’s inflow at this time at 719 cusecs.

The water level at the Ranjit Sagar Dam was 508.81 meter yesterday. It was about 12 meters higher than the level of 496.30 meters last year. The inflow in Ravi are expected to be highest this year due to the massive snowfall in its catchment areas, especially the lower hills.

With the water level in the lake rising at the rate of about 1 meter daily the authorities here expect to attain the till date highest storage level of 518 meter at the dam in the next 10 days. The maximum storage capacity in the dam is 527 meters. The water level in the other major reservoirs of the state was also rising due to low power demand and comparatively higher inflows.

The Chief Engineer, BBMB, at Talwara, Mr Naresh Kumar Jasrai, when contacted said due to the good rains in February and better water management by the BBMB, the water level in Pong was now 19 feet higher than last year.

The water level in pong reservoir yesterday was recorded at 1329.47 feet against the last year’s level of 1310.62 feet at the same time. The inflows in the Beas river was also 3013 cusecs against the last year inflow of just 1027 cusec at the same time.


Katasraj ‘kalash’ placed in Durgiana Temple
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 2
The Kalash (urn) containing holy water of Brahm Sarovar of Katasraj, an ancient Hindu temple of the Mahabharta period in Chakwal district (Pakistan), has been placed in the local Durgiana Temple for ‘darshan’ by the devotees.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, brought the ‘kalash’ from Pakistan recently.

Mr Surinder Arjun, working president, Shri Durgiana Temple Committee, said while talking to The Tribune here today that Capt Amarinder Singh was the first Chief Minister of Punjab to visit the Katasraj temple in Pakistan where he had donated Rs 11 lakh for the maintenance of the temple. The ancient temple is in a dilapidated condition and needs immediate repairs. Normally, in Pakistan Sikhs are not allowed to visit Hindu shrines due to a hidden agenda of the Government of Pakistan.

Mr Arjun said with the sole efforts of Capt Amarinder Singh, the Government of Pakistan had agreed to earmark Rs 2 crore for the renovation of the Hindu shrines.

The ‘kalash’ has been placed in the sanctum sanctorum of the Durgiana Temple for the benefit of the devotees.

The temple management has decided to take around the ‘kalash’ in a ‘shobha yatra’ through the lanes and bazars of the walled city from Monday morning. Later the holy water from the ‘kalash’ will be mingled in ‘sarovars’ of different temples of the Holy City.

Earlier the ‘kalash’, which was taken to Chandigarh straightway, was brought at the local Ram Talai Temple by Mr Yash Bansal, a close confidant of Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Later it was taken to the Durgiana Temple in a religious procession amid chanting of ‘shalokas’.


Bomb hoax keeps bank staff, police on tenterhooks
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 2
A hoax bomb call to the Civil Lines-based branch of Punjab National Bank not only left its employees terrified but also kept the police on tenterhooks for about two hours today.

Panic gripped bank employees as soon as the unidentified caller told a senior bank official that he had placed a bomb in the basement of the bank’s building. Following this, the security officer of the bank informed the police control room. A police team led by a DSP along with the dog and anti-bomb squads got the building vacated before search operation began.

As the news about “presence” of a bomb inside the bank spread relatives and friends of bank employees started making enquiries about their loved ones.

The scare, however, was short-lived as the dog and anti-bomb squads failed to find any explosive inside the bank during its two hour-long search operation.

The bank started functioning from 12 noon. The account holders and others were allowed to enter the bank after being frisked by police officials.

Mr Rajpal Sandhu, SP (city), said it was merely a crank call as no objectionable or explosive material was found inside the bank.


Vigilance detects 63 graft cases in Bathinda district
Rajbir Sekhon

Bathinda, April 2
Even as the Congress Government in the state has been repeatedly making claims of eradicating corruption in all its departments, it has become more and more prominent in almost all departments of the state government.

A number of cases of corruption have been reported from Bathinda, Muktsar, Mansa, Faridkot, Ferozepore and Moga districts in the recent past. However, the under the table deals involving government officials do not become illegal until these officials fall in the Vigilance Bureau (VB) trap. Information gathered by this correspondent revealed that the Bathinda Range VB, which includes Bathinda, Mansa and Faridkot districts, has managed to register about 51 corruption cases in the year 2004 under the Prevention of Corruption Act against persons working in government-run departments.

The VB team has remained on its toes during the current year also and managed to arrest as many as 12 persons till March 31, for accepting bribe.

From the figures it became evidently clear that the menace of corruption was very much prevalent in the Revenue Department as during 2004, 16 officials of this department had been nabbed by the VB.

Apart from it the police too could not save itself from the stigma of corruption as six policemen were nabbed due to their involvement in corruption cases during the last year. While three sarpanches of different villages were caught for misusing the grants allocated to the respective panchayats.

As per the details provided by VB, four persons, who were witnesses in various corruption cases registered against the government officials by the VB, were involved in criminal cases after they retracted their statements on the basis of which the corruption cases were registered against the government officials. Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, VB, pointed out that these four persons had also taken prize money from the state government for facilitating the arrest of government official by the VB while taking bribe.

Information revealed that four persons of the local body had been booked last year. Two persons each from the Health Department, Cooperative Department, Veterinary Department, Forest Department, Education Department, the PSEB, and one person each from FCI, PRTC, Food and Supplies Department and Punsup had been booked during the year 2004.

Interestingly, during the current year also, Revenue Department gave its maximum contribution to the list of corruption cases as three persons from this department had been booked just in the past three months. Employees of Telecom Department, PRTC, PADB, irrigation and canal department, local bodies, Social Welfare Department, Sales Tax Department, MES, Bathinda, and a former sarpanch too have been booked in different corruption cases. It was also revealed that an official of the rank of Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO) had also fallen into the trap of VB while accepting a bribe of Rs 1.25 lakh.

Mr Waraich said though the VB had been keeping a constant vigil on the activities of government employees, yet they could not suspect the loyalty of any official until they got some proof of corruption.

Mr Waraich pointed out that VB had been getting constant support from common people and this support had helped them a lot in trapping corrupt officials. He said a number of district level seminars and meetings had been organised to create awareness and to motivate people to curb corruption.


Dowry cases to come under community policing plan
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 2
In a major policy shift, Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) in all five districts and three police districts in Patiala Zone have been asked to exercise restraint while proceeding against members of families charged under various dowry crimes.

The district police chiefs have been directed by Patiala Zonal Inspector-General of Police Rajinder Singh to arrest the accused in such cases only after a comprehensive inquiry.

Sources said these directions had been passed after a survey by the police revealed that a large number of false cases were being filed by women against their in-laws.

Besides asking the district police chiefs of Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana, Ropar, Jagraon and Khanna, which fall under the Patiala Zone, to exercise restraint, all have also been asked to take dowry cases under the ambit of the community policing programme.

This system has already started yielding results with 4,698 disputes being referred to various districts in the zone last year. As many as 3,673 cases were solved through reconciliation. The community cell solved another 369 cases through mutual divorce.

Zonal IG Rajinder Singh, when contacted, said it had been decided to change the police strategy with regard to dowry cases after reports that in some cases, members of the accused family had committed suicide because of the humiliation suffered by them. He said the force had been given specific directions on how they should react after a dowry case was registered.

“The SSPs have been asked not to raid the house of the accused after registration of a dowry case. Instead, the accused should be called for a meeting”. He said it was also seen that sieze of dowry items did not help and that the items remained in police stations for years.

He said the police officers had been asked not to sieze such items. In order to ensure transparent functioning of the investigation officer in the case, the directions now held him responsible in case he made arrests not needed in the case.

The Investigating Officer would also be responsible for removing names of accused or relevant Sections from the FIR, if not proved, to ensure speedy and quick justice to the accused.


CM urged to study Delhi power board unbundling first
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
In an open letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the PSEB Engineers Association has drawn his attention to the “exploitation” of power consumers in Delhi following the unbundling of the Delhi Vidyut Board.

The Chief Minister has been requested to have a close look at the happenings in the power sector in Delhi before going ahead with his plan to unbundle the Punjab State Electricity Board. Even the Congress, which is the ruling party in Delhi and the BJP have started urging the authorities concerned to stop the “loot” of the power consumers there.

With a view to unbundling the PSEB, the Punjab Government has already started the process to get six power companies registered with the office of the Registrar of Companies in Jalandhar.

The association stated that following the unbundling of the Delhi board in 2002, three private distribution companies( discoms), owned by firms with big names, were engaged to distribute power in Delhi. The Delhi Transmission Corporation ( Transco), a government company, was forced to sell power to the discoms at 150 to 160 paise per unit bought from the grid for up to 276 paise per unit by it(Transco).

The private companies sold the power, bought at such a low price, to the power consumers at an average of Rs 4 per unit. Now there was demand by the private companies to increase the tariff by 30 to 60 per cent.

The association told the Chief Minister that myths that privatisation led to the supply of power to consumers at affordable rates, it would bring the power sector out of the red and competition and open access would lead to cheaper power had been exploded in Delhi.


Trade unions flay proposed police Act
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur April 2
Trade unions affiliated with the Left parties today organised a seminar to create awareness on the proposed police Act in Punjab. The Left leaders while speaking on the occasion termed the proposed police Act as draconian.

Speakers elaborated upon the provisions proposed under the new Act. Under the new Act, police officers have been given certain judicial and executive powers.

The draft Act enables a police commissioner or superintendent to bar any person who he feels is detrimental to peace from the area in which he resides for a period of six months. During this period the person can represent his case before the police commissioner through a lawyer, thus conferring a role of the judiciary on the police officer.

The Left parties will organise an awareness campaign to make the people aware of the Act.


Suvidha camp put off, villagers disappointed
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, April 2
Postponing Suvidha Camps seems to have become a habit with the district administration here. One such camp that was to be held yesterday in the grain market of Fattu Dhingra village for 33 villages falling in the vicinity was cancelled reportedly for a weird reason.

The administration was to allot houses of five marlas each to the homeless villagers from Scheduled Caste families in the area, but since the formalities required for the purpose could not be completed in stipulated time, the camp was postponed for the next week.

This is the third time that such a camp has been postponed. Last month, too, a camp that was to be held at Kabirpur village of Sultanpur Lodhi was cancelled twice as the MP, Rana Gurjit Singh, and the SSP, Mr Arun Pal Singh, who were to attend the camp, were busy with some private functions. Residents of 65 villages had felt harassed as the camp was postponed twice.

This time, too, the villagers, who had been awaiting the camp meant for their convenience, were left high and dry as they felt that their work pertaining to various departments would get delayed further. The preparations were in full swing as the tents had been erected for the purpose and the tables had been laid. But owing to orders from the administration, it was announced that the camp had been postponed.

No fresh dates for the camp have yet been announced though the insiders said that it would tentatively be held on April 7. A senior officer confirmed the reason for cancellation of the camp, though he wished not to be quoted.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, did not answer the phone call while the ADC, Mr Paramjit Singh, passed the buck to the District Welfare Officer. The District Welfare Officer said that he was not aware of the reasons. He said that allotment of the houses was decided at the BDO level. The BDO of the area could not be contacted as his cell phone was out of order.


District Credit Plan-2005 launched
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, April 2
Mr Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, Deputy Commissioner, unveiled the District Credit Plan for the current financial year here today. He announced the plan, at a meeting attended by the officials of banks, government departments and NABARD here. According to the plan, the banks in the district would disburse loans worth Rs 589 crore, including a sum of Rs 389.20 crore, for agriculture and allied occupations, during the current financial year.

Mr Grewal said the thrust had been given on employment generation through micro-financing in the credit plan so that the idea behind the launch of various self-employment schemes by the government could be translated into reality. He asked officials of the banks and different government departments to launch concerted efforts to evolve a delivery mechanism for the successful implementation of the schemes.


Panel announces stir over bus stand row
Tribune News Service

Goniana Mandi, April 2
With two persons arrested during the agitation reaching the local Civil Hospital for medical examination and the action committee announcing an indefinite strike in the area, the private bus stand controversy seems to be far from over.

The Akali Dal MLA from Nathana, Mr Gura Singh, who was also present at the hospital, assured full support to the committee. The injured, Ramesh Kumar Mattoo, who is also the Committee chief, and Bhagwant Singh alleged that during the agitation the police got them thrashed by men of a private contractor. They alleged that some policemen pulled their hair and held their arms and asked them to beat them up. They flayed the police for cane-charging the agitators who were protesting in a peaceful manner. They demanded those who “beat them up in connivance with the police” should be brought to book. Sources said a three-member panel led by the Civil Surgeon had been formed for their examination. They said the police had got them medically examined earlier too, but it was reportedly meant to cover up the matter. Now, committee had got a court order for the same.

Meanwhile, a number of protesters today gheraoed the Municipal Council president, Mr Sadhuram Romana, and demanded his resignation. Mr Romana said he would soon hold a meeting to find out a solution to the matter. SAD leaders also met the SSP and the Deputy Commissioner yesterday in this regard. They assured the SAD delegation of swift solution after a thorough probe.

Meanwhile, the committee members said being situated on the highway the bus stand was “illegal”. They alleged that various government departments, including Town and Planning, had rejected the proposal of the construction of a bus stand there, but the administration went ahead with it. They said the local residents had never asked for the new bus stand as the existing one was already far from the township. They said the new bus stand was another kilometre away from the town and it was unsafe for women to board a bus from there at night. They said they had been paying rickshaw-pullers Rs 5 as fare to the old bus stand, but they would charge them Rs 20 for the new stand.

They complained that the new bus stand didn’t have termination points and buses halt anywhere and leave. They said it was unfair on the part of the police to first cane-charge the peaceful agitators and then book them under Section 307 of the IPC.


Handloom store gutted
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, April 2
Goods, including cloth bales and garments, worth lakhs were destroyed in a fire that broke out in a handloom store in Shastri Market here this morning.

Residents and shopkeepers of the locality noticed smoke billowing from the store. They informed the store owner, Mr Ramesh Chawla, who informed the fire brigade authorities.

Mr Malwinder Singh, Fire Station Officer, Rajpura, said two fire engines were pressed into service. It took over one-and-half hours to bring flames under control.

A number of residents and owners of adjoining shops help in extinguishing fire.

The cause of the fire could not be ascertained yet.


Rotary projects for Pak
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 2
The incoming Rotary District Governors of Zone five and six comprising India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, have decided to have a joint community service project.

This was disclosed here yesterday by Mr S.P. Sethi, District Governor, Rotary District 3070.There was a proposal for a project for mentally challenged persons in Lahore and another for a Rotary blood bank in Karachi.


Check on vehicles
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 2
Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, Jalandhar Zone-cum IG (Traffic) Punjab, has said that all the SSPs and DIGs of the Jalandhar zone have been directed that any vehicle which was not authorised for transportation of passengers and was doing so should be proceeded against.

The traffic wing would be held responsible for any complacency in this regard. Any violation would be dealt with under provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1998.


HC restores membership of councillor
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 2
Hundreds of supporters of Mr Ashok Sood, former president and councillor of the municipal council Sirhind whose membership was revoked and was debarred from contesting elections for five years, were happy today as his membership was restored by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the orders of the government were quashed.

The Principal Secretary, Local Self Government, had revoked the membership of Mr Sood and had declared him ineligible to contest elections for five years.

The Principal Secretary had alleged that he was found guilty of misuse of public fund and tampering with official record.

Mr Sood challenged the orders of the Principal Secretary in the high court.


Marriage palace owner, partner sentenced
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 2
Mr K.K. Garg, Sessions Judge, Sangrur, yesterday awarded life imprisonment to Parveen Kumar, owner of Maharaja Palace, Sunam, and his partner Devinder Singh, both residents of Sunam, in a murder case registered against them at Sunam police station on July 11, 2003.

Angered over some issue, Parveen Kumar and Devinder Singh had fired on a marriage party in the palace on July 11. One of the bullets hit Ashok Kumar, who was taken to the Sunam Civil Hospital where he was declared dead.

The judge awarded life imprisonment to Parveen Kumar and Devinder Singh under Section 302 of the IPC and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each. However, under Section 307 of the IPC the judge awarded five years’ rigorous imprisonment to both the accused, besides a fine of Rs 2,000 each. Besides, Devinder Singh was awarded three years’ rigorous imprisonment under Section 25 (1) of the Arms Act and a fine of Rs 500.


Sant Ram Singla has brain haemorrhage
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 2
Mr Sant Ram Singla, a Congress leader and Chairman, Punjab Mandi Board, had massive brain haemorrhage today and was initially attended to by staff of Brain Diseases Centre, Patiala, headed by Dr Satwant Sachdeva and his team.

Later, he was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, by the same team and the case was entrusted to Dr B.K. Khosla, head of the department, neurosurgery, PGI.


Panel mooted for crop diversification
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 2
To achieve the objectives of diversification of agriculture in Punjab a rural commission should be established. The commission should have chief executive officers (CEOs) of different agencies engaged in contract farming and agriculture diversification activities as also the heads of various departments of the government engaged in the development of agriculture. The Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University should be ex-officio member of the commission.

These recommendations have been made in a report submitted to the Punjab Governor by Dr G.S. Kalkat, former Vice-Chancellor, PAU and world renowned expert on agriculture development. Dr Kalkat was directed by the Governor, General S.F. Rodrigues (Retd) to prepare the report in view of the reports of declining water table in the state and the poor economic conditions of Punjab farmers.

Dr Kalkat told The Tribune that he had submitted the report to the Governor and help of some of the national agencies like the FICCI was also being sought to achieve the objectives.

The rural commission should be headed by an eminent scientist of the state having practical knowledge of the realities of farming. Besides, at least 2-3 agricultural economists either serving or retired should be made permanent members of the commission. This commission must meet once a month to plan and discuss the implementation of the contract farming in the state and it should have the mandate to ensure diversification of 25 lakh acres by the year 2007.

Expressing concern over the failure of contract farming, the report points out that there was total lack of coordination between different wings of the state government dealing with farmers and farming. The Agriculture Department, Horticulture Department, Cooperative Department, PAU and PAIC have no coordination at any level leading to working of these departments at cross purposes. Despite best efforts and wide publicity only about 1.25 lakh acres of land had been brought under contract farming.

It farmers of the state want their produce to be sent to European countries then it is necessary that farm produce meets the EUREP GAP standards for good agricultural practices. The report is optimistic about the improvement in the relations between India and Pakistan. After the opening of the Wagah border, Punjab shall be in a very advantageous position for export of agricultural produce to Central Asia and Europe. There is need to gear up for the job, the report emphasises.


15 held following clash
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, April 2
The police has arrested 15 persons following clash between two groups of the Bhur Mandi area over a temple land dispute. Members of one group allegedly pelted stones on the other group at the cantonment police station on last night. The clash led to tension in the Bhur Mandi and cantonment areas.

Mr. S.K. Asthana, SSP, said one group led by Inder Pal Passi of Bhur Mandi and the other led by Manmohan Raju were called to the cantonment police station by the SHO in connection with temple land dispute .

It was decided that the both parties would visit the police station next week. After this, both parties left the police station, but instead of going home, they started arguing with each other outside the police station and some members of the Passi group attacked some persons belonging to the other party.

The SHO intervened and took members of the Raju group inside the police station, but members of the other group allegedly barged into police station and attacked some persons and police station staff. They also pelted stones, allegedly causing damage to police station property.

The police has registered cases against 12 residents of Bhur Mandi and over 50 unidentified persons, Fifteen persons, including Inder Lal Passi, Pardeep Bhagat, Vinod Passi, Panna Lal, have been arrested.


Suicide bid by teenager after denial of admission
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, April 2
A 13-year-old school boy Karan Parbhakar, had to be admitted in the local Civil Hospital today after he consumed sedatives after being refused admission in a school.

Mr Rajinder Parbhakar, father of the boy, told mediapersons in the hospital that his wife Anu Parbhakar had gone to Jain Model Senior Secondary School yesterday in order to seek provisional admission in class IX for their son as the middle standard results were yet to be declared. Karan was an old student of the school.

However, Mr Ashok Jain, secretary of the school management, bluntly turned down her plea for admission by saying that the boy was dull. Mr Prabhakar said today he himself went to the school alongwith Mr Sanjeev Bugga, senior vice-president of Nagar Council, Phagwara, but Mr Jain not only refused to give admission to the boy but also used objectionable language against “me and my son”, alleged Mr Parbhakar. Dejected by such treatment Karan consumed several tablets of sedatives. We found him slumping on the ground and rushed him to the hospital”, he said.

Mr Jain, however, denied the allegations. When Mr Jain came to the hospital, an angry crowd mobbed him and he had to be whisked away in his car by the police. Meanwhile the president of the school management, Mr Kimti Lal Jain, was seen pacifying the mob.

Sub-Inspector Upinder Kumar, who was dealing with the case, said a case would be registered only after recording the statement of the boy after he ragained consciousness, his father and others.

The Chief Medical Officers, Dr Subhash Kumar and Emergency Medical Officer, Dr Harnarinder, who were looking after the boy said the condition of the boy was stable. 


Farm labourer murdered
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 2
Hari Lal, a migrant from Gorakhpur district in Uttar Pradesh, was found dead in his bed with multiple injuries at Sadhuwali village on the Abohar-Sriganganagar road last night.

It is learnt that Hari Lal, a bachelor and a farm labourer from Bishanpura village in Gorakhpur district, had been working in the fields of a farmer at Sadhuwali village for last few years. Yesterday he did not report on duty. Anxious co-workers visited his room at night. To them it appeared that Hari Lal was sleeping with a small lightweight quilt covering his face. But they were stunned on finding that he had been killed. A blood-stained piece of wood was found in the room. The body had multiple injury marks.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, IPC on a complaint lodged by Radheyshyam, brother of the victim. The body was handed over to the relatives of the deceased after the postmortem.

In another incident, some residents of Panjawa village near the national highway, rushed to the link road last night on hearing the cries of somebody. Kashmira Singh said they could spot only two bicycles there at about 8.30 p.m. In the morning, other residents noted that one bicycle was lying beside a body in the shrubs. The victim was identified as Kirpal Singh (34), son of Mr Joginder Singh, a Rai Sikh community member of Tootwala. village. It appeared that Kirpal Singh had been beaten to death due to professional rivalry or some other reason. Mr Rajwant Singh, Sarpanch of the village, informed the police.

A case under Section 302/34, IPC, has been registered. The body was handed over to the family after the postmortem.


Prabir’s kidnappers had planned more abductions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The gang allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 18-year-old Prabir had plans to carry out other abductions also. As of now, efforts were on to extradite the wife of an accused from England. One of them was a former terrorist, while another had been declared a proclaimed offender in a different case in Rajasthan. None of the accused was prominent member of any political party.

Addressing a press conference this afternoon, Punjab’s Director-General of Police S.S. Virk said ransom of over Rs 1 crore had been paid to the gangsters for securing Prabir’s release.

Out of the total amount, Rs 89 lakh had been accounted for. Approximately Rs 30 lakh was recovered from accused Kulwant Singh alias Kanti, while Rs 20 lakh was recovered from suspect Sukhjinder Singh. The rest of the amount was used by the two for different purposes, the DGP elaborated.

He added that the police had zeroed in on the accused even before the boy was released but had to withdraw because the boy’s safety was at stake. He further added that special teams were dispatched to different places, including western Uttar Pradesh, for tracking down the accused.

In fact, the team members managed to reach STD booths from where phone calls were being made and ultimately the police succeeded in nabbing the accused.

Mr Virk added that accused Kanti’s wife had left for England soon after the kidnapping with her son. Approximately Rs 35 lakh was transferred to England through hawala transactions.


ICT project: students to pay 6 months’ fee in advance
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Director- General of School Education (DGSE), Punjab, has instructed the principals concerned to collect six months’ fee in advance from students in government schools where computer education is to be imparted under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project.

Besides, the government has increased the work hours of all schools covered under the project by 35 minutes. The principals have been directed to change the timetable of their schools accordingly.

Students of Classes VI to VIII are required to pay Rs 120 and those in Classes IX to XII Rs 150 as the first instalment of fee for six months. The first instalment is to be collected in April and the second in October. Under the project, computer education has been introduced in about 1,350 government schools.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was to inaugurate the project in Patiala today, but the function was cancelled at the last moment for unknown reasons.

Interestingly, the entire fee collected for computer education is to be deposited with the office of the DGSE. Cheques or drafts are to be sent in the name of the “DGSE Government of Punjab”.

The principals will be only performing supervisory duties. Every task, even minor ones such as the paying of Internet charges and the purchase of stationery, will be performed by the office of the DGSE.

A principal said that the Chief Minister’s office should ask the DGSE’s office why it was not allowing even the least functional freedom to the principals with regard to computer education.

The DGSE’s office has informed the schools that recurring expenses, including the salaries of teachers and Internet and stationery charges, would be sent from the head office to the schools in two instalments.

As the Punjab Government has approved the convergence of the ICT project and the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), all administrative expenses on the ICT project would be met by the District Education Officers (Secondary) from the management cost of the SSA.

There will be two theory and two practical periods per week. For practical classes, two lectures should be clubbed together by adjusting the timetable accordingly. Interestingly, according to the instructions of the DGSE, two students, and even three in exceptional cases, can be asked to share one computer during the period. The principals have been advised to split classes into two groups in case the number of computers is inadequate.

In the case of long-duration power cuts in the rural areas, the principals have been told to re-adjust the timetable accordingly. But no solution has been suggested if the power cut continues throughout the school hours. The principals have been told to buy chairs for the computer laboratories from the PTA or amalgamated fund.


Boparai forms panel
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
A meeting of College Development Council of Punjabi University was organised under the Chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr S. S Boparai, today. The DPI (Colleges), Mrs Nisha Sharad, Principals of the affiliated colleges and other university officials were present on the occasion.

The academic performance of various colleges was reviewed and problems faced by colleges, due to various shortcomings and limitations, were discussed threadbare. Subsequently, Dr Boparai constituted a three-member committee under the chairmanship of the Dean Academic Affairs to suggest remedies. The Dean (College Development Council), Dr R.S. Ghuman, tabled the inspection reports of various colleges before the committee.

The Principal, Mr Gurmohan Singh Walia, raised the issue of the introduction some new courses at BA level. The principals also decided to introduce Gurmat Sangeet as an elective subject at BA level and start short term communication skill training during summer vacations.


Russian delegates attend seminar
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, April 2
Prof Kim Shelin and Prof Gelina of Russia visited the Regional College of Management and Technology (RCMT) here yesterday.

As per a press note issued here today, a seminar was conducted and delegates talked about the project, “The living knowledge as a mean for harmonisation scientific education system by turning it to the creative improvement of individual system”.

Prof Gelina, journalist of the Soviet Union magazine, said that the teachings of great Indian saint Baba Virsa Singh, who resided in Gobind Sadan at Mehroli, had impressed her.


Students stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Patiala, March 2
Scores of students of the local Multani Mal Modi Degree College sat on a dharna in front of the college main gate in protest against the decision of the college management to refuse them roll numbers ahead of the university annual examinations. The students also met the Patiala MP, Mrs Preneet Kaur.

Meanwhile, the Principal, Mr V.K Sharma, said that he had to refuse the students their roll numbers as they had failed to comply with certain conditions laid down by the university.


Traders’ protest hits supply of vegetables
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 2
Traders at the local vegetable market went on strike today in protest against private fee collection. This hit the supsply of vegetables to the city residents.

Talking to The Tribune, Mahinder Kumar of Kacha Arhtiya Association said the fee collection work had been given on Rs 2.9 crore contract on March 21 and it was to be implemented from today. He alleged that the contractor, who got the contract, had sent about 150-200 youths to the market last evening and had created an atmosphere of terror there.

He said the traders were fearing forcible collection of fee by the contractor, as it was nearly impossible for him to recover his money by fair means. He alleged that today morning a trader was gheraoed by about 20 men of the contractor who were trying to recover the fee from him.

He said though the market would remain open tomorrow, the traders would decide by future course of action in consultation with their state body. 


IT park to come up at Baran village in Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 2
The Punjab Government will shortly be setting up an information technology and biotechnology (ITBT) park at Baran village, near here, shortly.

This was stated by the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at a press conference after he inaugurated the four-day All India Inter-Medical and Dental colleges’ cultural meet at the Government Medical College auditorium here today. The Chief Minister said 10 buses, including six for VIPs will leave Amritsar for Nankana Sahib on April 7. He said the only hitch they were facing was whether the buses would travel to Nankana Sahib directly or would the passengers have to disembark at the Wagah Border checkpost before travelling to Nankana Sahib in other buses. He said the Pakistan Punjab government had already extended invitations to 35 MLAs of Punjab who would travel to Nankana Sahib, provided the travel arrangements were completed.

He said for the smooth functioning of the local medical college, a three-member committee would be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner and improvements in the infrastructure would be made on the basis of the report which would be submitted by the committee.

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