P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dalit leader likely to head PPCC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
As the Congress high command has started thinking seriously about giving the command of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) in the hands of a Dalit leader, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Chowdhary Santokh Singh have become hot contenders for the post.

Sources maintained today that after consulting the top leaders of the Congress in Punjab, the party high command had started examining the possibility of making a Dalit President of the PPCC. In fact, according to sources, Ms Sonia Gandhi, President of the All-India Congress Committee, has said that Dalit leaders should be given prominent representation in the PPCC.

Sources said though the present PPCC Chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, is still in the race and is trying hard to continue for another term, the Congress high command has also started shortlisting the names of Dalit leaders. The party high command has nothing against Mr Hanspal and he has the backing of Ms Ambika Soni and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, but there is a general feeling that he is not assertive. He is soft-spoken and very cool.

According to sources, Ms Sonia Gandhi wants that an effective and tough Dalit leader from Doaba region, where the population of Dalits is significant, should be made the PPCC chief. Dalits from the Doaba region, like from other parts in the state, have always stood by and large with the Congress in the elections. Both Mr Kaypee and Chowdhary Santokh Singh are from the Doaba region.

Mr Dullo also fits the bill as he is known for taking a tough stand on issues and is also very assertive. “Mr Dullo has the guts to call a spade a spade and he can’t be any one’s rubber stamp,” say senior Congress leaders.

“The high command is looking for a leader who would be able to unify the party and have the guts to point out the failures of ministers in various aspects of the governance. He should be able to evaluate the performance of every minister and party MLA independently and inform Ms Sonia Gandhi accordingly,” said the sources.

As elections are to be held in Punjab in a year and a half from now, the high command wanted to gear up the party machinery well in advance.

The PPCC President will play an important role in suggesting prospective winning candidates for the next elections. The Congress high command would also start evaluating the performance of ministers and MLAs on its own.

“Though the high command has gathered a lot of information about the functioning of all MLAs and ministers yet it would soon start another exercise in this connection,” said the sources. Already reports have been circulating in the media regarding the performance card prepared by the party high command of all Union Ministers of the Congress. And the next reshuffle in the Union Ministry will be made on the basis of performance and non-performance. “Of course, similar criteria can be applied in the states also by the high command.”


5 star facelift for CM’s office
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
While the PWD authorities concerned are busy giving final touches to make Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his staff’s offices look like a five star hotel on the 2nd floor in the Punjab Civil Secretariat, but one room on that floor has remained locked.

Informed sources say the authorities concerned had asked the Revenue Department to vacate that room for renovation. However, sources said the Revenue Department’s officers concerned told the Chief Secretary that the room could not be vacated as very valuable revenue records were stacked in a that room. Most of the records were in a very fragile condition and could be destroyed during any shifting.

Sources said while the entire other portion of the 2nd floor had been given a grand look, but that particular room had not been touched so far. Earlier, the Chief Minister and his staff’s office occupied a small part of the 2nd floor. But now the entire floor has been covered by the CM and his staff’s offices.

Sources said the renovation bill had shot up to Rs 3 crore while the earlier estimate was of Rs 1.5 crore.

There will be smart cards for entry in the area earmarked for the Chief Minister and his immediate staff. There will be no easy access to that area. Those holding smart cards will be able to enter in that zone.

Besides, entry will be on the basis of finger prints. Sources said that the finger prints of all those who have to visit the Chief Minister’s office on a regular basis will be recorded in computerised sensors. When the person, whose finger prints are recorded in the computer touches the entry gate, it will open on tallying with the finger prints.

Sources said there would be two dozen security telephones which would start ringing if any living thing weighing above 35 kg entered the area during the night or during the office closed hours.

Earlier, it was expected that the renovation work would be completed by April end. But it has already been delayed by a month. It will take another two weeks to complete the job.


Doctor booked for causing HIV infection to
pregnant woman

Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 30
Negligence allegedly by a female doctor has infected a local woman and her minor child with the HIV virus. The victim got some relief when her months of labour bore fruit with the registration of a case of negligence against the doctor.

Meanwhile, negligence on part of the doctor has completely shattered the victim’s family. It is the probably the first case of its kind in the state. The police fears that many other persons might also have received the blood from the same infected donor.

Dr Harpreet Kaur Bhullar, of the Bhullar Nursing Home has been booked by the Sarabha Nagar police for showing negligence during blood transfusion to the woman who was pregnant and under her treatment. The accused doctor is stated to be in the USA now.

The blood was given to the woman in the fourth month of pregnancy in November 2003. She and her child got infected with HIV virus. The woman had come for a routine check up at the hospital and was diagnosed by the doctor as having less haemoglobin.

Her husband, who is the complainant in the FIR, said they came to know about it when the woman was admitted in the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital later for her delivery. The doctors took here blood test and found her HIV positive much to shock and dismay and the woman as well as her husband and other relatives.

But their tale of sorrow did not end here. Her newborn was also tested positive for HIV. The family later found that one of the four donors of the blood was HIV positive.


Opening of drug de-addiction centre delayed
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 30
The long pending proposal of the administration to set up a drug de-addiction centre in the Civil Hospital for rehabilitation of innumerable drug addicts in the district has been hanging fire for the past several months.

While the administration had even chalked out a small piece of vacant land close to the entrance of the Civil Hospital for the purpose and had planned to get the foundation stone laid by MP Rana Gurjit Singh in the month of January, no headway had been made in the project till now.

Though the number of addicts has been rising in the district, especially in the periphery, including Subhanpur, Bholath and Sultanpur Lodhi, the district is ill-equipped to handle them as it does not have any means to counsel them against the drug menace and restore normalcy in their lives. The role of the administration has become more significant as there are hardly any active social help groups or NGOs working in this direction.

The previous Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rakesh Verma, had written to the state government a number of times seeking funds for setting up a de-addiction centre through some scheme. Mr Verma, the then SSP, Mr Arun Pal, and the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.P. Jagat, had held meetings to plan the centre. The MP had also assured some help by granting funds for the purpose and was, therefore, invited to lay the foundation stone of the centre in the Civil Hospital. But the programme was cancelled due to some reasons better known to the officials concerned.

While the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP got transferred elsewhere and the MP had been busy with foreign trips, the project was being dilly-dallied since then. Five months after the proposal was on the final stages, the centre is still no where in sight. On the pressing demand of the residents, the new DC, Mr Sameer Kumar, held a meeting with the SMO, Dr Birender Gill, here today to decide the course of action.

In today’s meeting, it was decided that another piece of land in possession of the hospital behind the petrol pump on Sultanpur Road could also be considered for setting up the de-addiction centre. Since the administration did not have any funds earmarked for the purpose, it was decided that the centre be set up with the help of public donations. A donation box is likely to come up at the hospital within this week in which the visitors, NRIs and other resourceful persons could donate.

The matter is now being taken up seriously keeping in view the increasing rate of crime being committed by the addicts. Many families in the district primarily located near the Mand area and those falling in Bootan, Nizampur, Noorpur Lubana, Dyalpur, Hamira, Theekrewal, Roopanpur Bazule and Kokalpur villages of Subhanpur sub-division have made production of illicit liquor their part-time business. This can be substantiated by the fact that as many as 167 cases have been registered under the Excise Act in the district in the past three months.


SAD-BJP protest against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 30
In protest against the anti-people and autocratic policies of the ruling Congress government in the state, the SAD- BJP combine organised a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ferozepore, today which was addressed among others by former Chief Minister and Parkash Singh Badal.

He accused that the Congress leadership was unnecessarily toying with the religious affairs of the Sikhs which would not be tolerated at any cost.

Mr Badal was pointing towards the announcement made by Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of forming a separate body to manage the gurdwaras and Sikh affairs in Haryana. He said the SGPC was a democratically elected body representing Sikhs from all over the nation and abroad, so no one should dare challenge the authority of the SGPC which has been formed after lot of sacrifices made by the Sikhs.

About the SGPC’s decision to construct a memorial in the memory of those who died during the Operation Bluestar, Mr Badal while justifying the move said the memorial was being constructed not only in the memory of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale but for all those Sikhs who had died during that operation.

Former minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said the Congress government has completely razed the atmosphere of goodwill and harmony in the state. While ridiculing the anti-people policies of the Capt Amarinder Singh’s government, Mr Sekhon said the Congress was making mockery of the democratic system in Punjab.

Mr Manpreet Badal, while expressing concern about the plight of farmers in the state, said the current rise in inflation, if remained unchecked, would break the backbone of the common man especially the farmers of the state. He said the Congress had always remained a part of “anti working class” and added that people from all walks of life were fed up from the misrule and deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab.


BJP chief to get Indian youths freed from Pak jails
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 30
Social Service organisations of Pakistan have started efforts for the release of all Indian youths detained in Pakistan’s jails. This was stated by Mr. Avinash Rai Khanna, MP and BJP chief Punjab, in a press note here today. He said that the High Commission of India in Islamabad informed him in a letter that of 60 Indian prisoners documents of nationality and passport of 16 had yet to be received.

According to the list sent to him by the High Commission, they are Suraj Pal alias Suraj Bhan son of Jeet Ram of Rajoli, Matana, Barara, Ambala (Haryana), Bhajan Singh son of Sohan Singh of Kaloya, Bainchan, Tanda, Hoshiarpur (Punjab), Bharat Bhushan alias Rinky son of Satpal House No. 672, Aman Nagar of Jalandhar bypass, Ludhiana, Jitendra Kumar son of Sohan Lal of Lidhran, Jalandhar, Jarnail Singh son of Banta Singh of Bhunshan, Dasuya, Hoshiarpur, Lakhvinder Singh son of Balvir Singh of Ajawar village, Rajurm, Patiala, Kulbir Singh son of Chanan Singh of Sadhra, Balachaur, Police Station Nawanshahr, Lakhvinder Singh son of Kartar Singh of Akala, Bholath, Kapurthala, Manjinder Singh son of Lal Singh of Mana Talwandi, Kapurthala, Jagtar Singh son of Gurbachan Singh of Miani Bakarpur, Dhilwan, Kapurthala, Makhan Singh son of Chanan Singh of Dingra Chowala, Dhogpur, Jalandhar, Manjit Singh son of Kabul Singh of OCG (Chitti), Nakodar, Jalandhar, Kuldip Singh son of Sadhu Singh of Sangowal, Mehatpur, Nakodar, Jalandhar, Surinder Pal son of Rati Ram of Kalewal Bhagtan, Mahilpur, Garhshankar, Hoshiarpur, Sukhwinder Singh son of Gurmukh Singh of Balan, Taill, Tanda, Dasuya Hoshiarpur and Amarjit Singh son of Piara Singh of Bariar, Begowal, Bholath, Kapurthala.

He said that he had taken up this issue with Mr. Amarjit Singh, Regional Passport Office Jalandhar and requested him for despatching of required documents to the department concerned.

He said he would continue efforts for the release of Indians from Pakistan’s jails.


AISAD for talks with Cong on Punjab issues
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, May 30
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) is open to talks with the Congress on any issue related to Punjab and Sikhs. This was stated by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, president of the party, at a press conference here today. He said they would soon meet Ms Sonia Gandhi, president, Indian National Congress and representatives of the Union government to take up long-pending inter-state issues, including the transfer of Chandigarh and other left out Punjabi speaking areas to Punjab and fair adjudication of river waters.

Addressing reporters, he said that his party wanted to get all genuine demands of the community conceded by opening channels with the ruling party, which were closed after Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

Criticising the SAD (B) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee he said that the SGPC should endorse the All-India Sikh Gurdwara Act draft which was lying with the committee for comments for the past five years due to which demands of a separate gurdwara prabandhak committee were being raised in various states.

He demanded removal of Mr Parkash Singh Badal from the Panthic stage as he allegedly had failed to save interests of the Sikhs as well as of Punjab. He said several cases were pending against Mr Badal and SGPC members before the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

Mr Mann sought that the Election Commission should de-notify the SAD (B) as a political party. He said the SAD (B) had filed an affidavit declaring itself as a secular and not a religious party. However, he alleged the party was involved in religious affairs.

He said the AISAD would also rope in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and various Sikh organisations of the world so that demands of the community could be taken up with the central government in an appropriate manner. He said the time was ripe as the Congress party had taken an initiative to revive relations with minorities by taking many positive steps to woo them.


Mann opposes separate SGPC for Haryana
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 30
The Akali Dal (Amritsar) has vehemently opposed formation of a separate Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for Haryana, saying there should be no question of division of the “parliament of Sikhs”.

At the same time, the SAD (A) has also questioned the right of the SGPC to erect a memorial to perpetuate the memory of those who lost their lives during Operation Bluestar.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the SAD (Amritsar), who was accompanied by senior party leaders, Mr Anoop Singh Minhas, Dr Harjinder Jakhu and Sukhwinder Singh Khalsa, said his party was opposed to the ongoing move to set up a parallel SGPC for Haryana. “Why division of the parliament of Sikhs. If managers are performing their duties well, these can be replaced with more efficient ones,” said Mr Mann. He also criticised SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal for meeting the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on “his own” to discuss the issue and said it was more of a personal meeting of Mr Badal with Dr Manmohan Singh. “If he was going to discuss a Panthic agenda, he should have involved others as well,” said Mr Mann who also pulled up the SGPC for criticising Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on the issue of plans to set up a separate SGPC for Sikhs of Haryana on one hand and for honouring Mr Hooda with a “siropa” during his visit to the Golden Temple, on the other.

Commenting on the SGPC move to erect a memorial to all those who had lost their lives during Operation Bluestar, Mr Mann and Mr Minhas said the SGPC had no right to do that, particularly in view of revelations made by veteran Congress leader P.C. Alaxander in his book, which suggested that senior Akali leaders, including Mr Badal and Mr Tohra, were fully aware of the government plans pertaining to Operation Bluestar.

Turning to the BJP, Mr Maan dubbed veteran BJP leader Lal Krishan Advani a “nuclear bomb for the South-East Asia”. “Even Pakistan Government should not have allowed his visit to Pakistan,” said Mr Maan. He said the SAD (A) would hold five conferences at Talwandi Sabo, Dinanagar, Mao Sahib and Akal Takht in Amritsar during the “ghallughara” week.


Explain stand on Bluestar, Pandhi asks CM
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
A former Akali minister, Mr Dalip Singh Pandhi, today asked the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to clear his stand on the Operation Bluestar by the Army in the Golden Temple in 1984.

Reacting to a statement made by Capt Amarinder Singh at Delhi after he returned from Canada in which he had opposed a move by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to built a memorial in memory of those who had died in Operation Bluestar in the Golden Temple complex, Mr Pandhi said that Capt Amarinder Singh should explain to people that why he had been opposing such a memorial when he (Capt Amarinder Singh) had resigned from the Lok Sabha to lodge his protest against Operation Bluestar.

He said that Capt Amarinder Singh should also explain to people whether he considered those, who were killed by the Army during the Operation Bluestar, as martyrs of the Sikh panth or not.

He claimed that by opposing the proposal of memorial in the Golden Temple complex, Capt Amarinder Singh had proved that he (Capt Amarinder Singh) was more interested in enjoying the comforts connected with the state chief ministership instead of fighting for the cause of Sikhs.


Punjab yet to form road safety councils
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Deaths in mishaps do not matter, apparently. Even though on an average 2200 persons die and another 10,000 are injured in road accidents every year in Punjab, the state government has done precious little to arrest the rate of mishaps.

Non-formation of road safety councils in the state, besides failure to remove liquor vends from the bus stands, and the ones dotting the highways, is a testimony to this effect.

The sources in the Punjab Police headquarters say cops have time and again brought to the notice of the Excise and Taxation Department the perilous implications of having liquor vends along the highways. But in vain.

Quoting an example, the sources say that several letters have been written by the Sangrur police requesting the Excise and Taxation Department to ensure the shifting of “killer liquor vends” away from the highway. So far, they have not received any response.

The sources add that nearly seven persons are killed and nine are injured daily in road accidents in the state, compared to two murders a day. A majority of them fall pray to drunken driving.

The story of indifference does not end here. The traffic wing of the Punjab Police had earlier asked the state government to form “road safety councils” at state and district levels to promote and encourage road safety through education, training and publicity.

In fact, a detailed proposal in this regard was submitted by the traffic wing to the State Transport Commissioner and other senior functionaries in the government.

The sources claim that recommendations for formation of councils were made in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. Giving details, they say the councils are supposed to co-ordinate the actions and functions of different departments and local groups involved in road safety matters. But till date the government has paid little heed to their request despite the lapse of over six months since the submission of the proposal.

Though senior Punjab Government officers refuse to comment, the sources in the State Transport Commissioner’s office say the matter is still under active consideration. Regarding delay in the formation of councils, the sources say large number of departments are involved in the process, resulting in consumption of time.


PSHRC Member B.C. Rajput transgressed powers,
says HC order

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 30
"While dealing with this writ, we have prima facie found that Punjab State Human Rights Commission Member B.C. Rajput has not only clearly transgressed the power vested in the Commission but has shown utter disregard to the directions passed by this court."

This observation forms part of the detailed order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal, while directing Mr Rajput to show cause why contempt of court proceedings not be initiated against him.

The Bench has also observed that Mr Rajput attempted to undermine the authority of the High Court by passing an order on December 9.

The matter in which the High Court issued show-cause notice to Mr Rajput for July 11 relates to a petition filed by Samana SHO Rajesh Chhibber challenging the order of Mr Rajput to the Patiala Zone IGP to transfer Mr Chhibber out of Patiala district.

On October 10, 2003, acting on a complaint, Mr Rajput had directed the IGP to transfer Mr Chhibber out of the district as he was allegedly interfering in the inquiry being conducted in the matter. The IGP issued transfer orders of Mr Chhibber, who moved the High Court.

In his petition, Mr Chhibber questioned the authority of the PSHRC to issue direction to the Police Department. He also stated that the order was arbitrary as no notice was given to him.

Taking up the petition, on October 23, 2003, a Bench headed by Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar modified the PSHRC order and directed that it would be treated as a recommendation. The IGP then cancelled the transfer order of the petitioner.

However, on December 9, despite the High Court order, Mr Rajput again directed the police to shift out Mr Chhibber.

Now, on July 11, Mr Rajput will have to show cause why criminal contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.

The same Bench also disposed of seven petitions, all challenging orders passed by Mr Rajput. It also imposed costs of Rs 25,000 on each complainant on whose complaint Mr Rajput passed the impugned orders.

In most of the cases, despite inquiries by police officers, who found complaints to be false, the PSHRC persisted with the proceedings.

Holding that the PSHRC has no power to order re-investigation in matters, which are being investigated, or have been investigated by the police, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Bedi also observed that the PSHRC has no power to order cancellation of FIR against a complainant.

The Bench held that entertaining such complaints would not only amount to thwarting of investigation at initial stages or interferring with the same but is also not permissible under the settled law.

It also suggested to the PSHRC to adopt a system where all complaints are first placed before a Division Bench for further orders.


PSHRC comes to rescue of woman social worker
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Over three years after Ms Davinder Kaur, a social worker running a nursing college in Hoshiarpur, was allegedly harassed by certain influential persons in connivance with the Punjab Police, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has come to her rescue.

Acting on woman's complaint, Mr BC Rajput, a commission Member, today asked the Additional DGP, Law and Order-cum-Human Rights, to inquire into the matter and furnish a report before July 28.

"From the allegations levelled in the complaint, a prima facie case is spelled out for proceeding under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993. The complaint is registered as a case," the order said.

Mr Rajput also urged the Hoshiarpur DC to ensure that the complainant was not harassed or humiliated by any public servant of the district illegally.

In her complaint, Ms Aulakh, Chairperson and Managing Director of the Guru Ram Dass College of Nursing, Hoshiarpur, alleged since 2002 certain influential persons, in connivance with police officials wanted to take over the management of the college through illegal means.

Eminent nursing bodies such as the Indian Nursing Council and Baba Farid University have appreciated the state-of-the-art facilities at the college. Despite this the Punjab Nursing Registration Council, Mohali, has served a notice on the institute on the basis of a "false" report submitted by a vigilance official.

And for the past about three years, she had repeatedly been harassed by miscreants. On her repeated pleas to the higher authorities, including the Punjab Chief Minister, she was provided a security cover in 2003.

On the other hand, her complaints to the Hoshiarpur police had not been investigated.


Programme Officer collects samples of food products
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 30
Following directions from the Social Security Department, the Programme Officer of Sangrur, Ms Nutan, today collected samples of food products from some of the anganwadi centres in Maud block. The Secretary, Social Security and Welfare, Mr R.L. Kalsi, said she had been deputed to find out the ground reality in the matter.

Sources said the Sangrur PO first reached the office of the CDPO, Maud. When media persons asked about the purpose of her visit, she said that she had come on a personal visit. But, minutes later the real purpose came to the fore as the CDPO accompanied her on her vehicle (PB-31B-9562) to villages. The PO finally admitted at the Anganwadi centre of Dhansinghkhana that she had come to check the food products at anganwadis.

The silence of the village’s prominent people, who were also present there, showed that they were still under some pressure from officers concerned. The PO then headed towards Chunarathwala and other villages.

Meanwhile, the Field and Workshop Workers Union today demanded suspension of the guilty officials, besides initiating legal action against them. The union flayed some officials for defying the orders of the Deputy Commissioner and indulging in replacement of rotten eatables from anganwadis.


Irregularities in land lease alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
The panchayat of Khairabad village, located near Rajasansi International Airport, has alleged that the Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) of the area had leased out prime land illegally to two natives of the village for the year 2006-2007 for a mere Rs 3.02 lakh.

Six of the eight members of the panchayat, including the Sarpanch, had passed a resolution on May 25 demanding revocation of the leased deal in favour of Gursharan Singh and Inderjit Singh and called for strict action against the BDPO, Mr Rakesh Kumar.

The resolution has been sent to the Director, Panchayati Raj, Chandigarh, Secretary, Punjab Rural Development and District Rural Development and Panchayat Officer.

Mr Santokh Singh, Sarpanch, told a press conference here today that the BDPO had leased land measuring nearly 18 acres to Gursharan Singh and Inderjit Singh for 2005-2006 on April 25 for Rs 3.02 lakh. However, he claimed that on April 27 they were informed by the BDPO that the lease of land had been extended to the same persons for another year on the same basis. He alleged that the panchayat was not taken into confidence and the deal had been done at the behest of political leaders of the ruling party who were eyeing this prime land valued between Rs 65 land and Rs 70 lakh per acre.

He alleged that Gursharan Singh and Inderjit Singh were mere masks but the real beneficiaries behind this deal were some others. He said the land was located near link road and just 4 km away from the international airport. The land around the airport has recently seen a spurt in prices following big hoteliers and colonisers making a beeline into the area.

Mr Amarjit Singh Assal, local CPI leader who was also present during the press briefing, said a conspiracy had been hatched to benefit influential political leaders. He sought an inquiry into the matter.

However, Mr Rakesh Kumar, BDPO, said Inderjit Singh and Gursharan Singh had applied for extension of the lease for 2006-2007. He said it was granted only after raising the lease money by 10 per cent. He claimed that he had talked to the Sarpanch over phone before leasing the land for the second time. He said some persons were trying to give political colour to a minor matter.


PSEB staff protest against privatisation move
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, May 30
The PSEB Employees Joint Forum has launched an agitation from today to protest against the proposed privatisation of the PSEB and the introduction of contract system for carrying out the development works for providing 24-hour uninterrupted power supply to the villages. The protest rallies would be organised at Nawanshahr, Aur, Rahon and Jadla till June 7. A massive dharna would also be organised in front of the SE, PSEB, here on June 9 to press the higher authorities to inquire into the alleged sub-standard development work done by the private contractor at Ramrai Pur, Kazampur and Chakli Sujat villages.

Leaders of the forum comprising Mr Madan Gopal Bhardwaj (Technical Services Union), Mr Harpal Singh (Employees Federation), Mr Hashmat Ali (AITUC), among others, accused the PSEB authorities of adopting adamant attitude with regard to the carrying out the development work done from the private contractor despite the opposition by the PSEB employees and the various irregularities committed by the private contractor in carrying out the work in various villages brought into the notice of the higher authorities.

Meanwhile, a PSEB official has levelled counter allegations on the forum members. He accused them of tampering with the development works done by the private contractor just for creating hurdles as well as nuisance to get rid of the contractual system. He further said that the PSEB Employees Forum had been misinterpreting contract system as privatisation. The contract system being adopted by the PSEB with a view to making up for the shortage of labour staff with the PSEB. The equipment is being provided to the contractor by the PSEB and the work is done under the supervision of concerned JEs/SDOs. The PSEB has started this practice of hiring labour from outside so that it could achieve the target of providing 24-hour power supply to all remaining villages.


World Bank team reviews watershed projects
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 30
On the completion of the World Bank programme of the Hoshiarpur unit of the Integrated Watershed Development Project (Hills-II) in the Kandi area, a World Bank ICR Mission team, comprising Mr Sri Vastava, Mr Lobo and Mr Eric, visited Atwarapur, Rehimapur, Patiari, Takhni of the Patiari Watershed and Patiarian village of the Chack Sadhu Watershed today.

The team was accompanied by Mr Balbir Chand Bala, Director (Kandi Area) and Special Secretary, Punjab, Mr Jatindra Sharma, Subject Matter Specialist (Forest), Mr D. Rajasekar, Divisional Forest Officer and team leader, Hoshiarpur, Mr Krishan Lal, Divisional Forest Officer, Balachaur, Mr N.S. Randhawa, Divisional Forest Officer, Pathankot, Mr Surinder Saini, Divisional Soil Conservation Officer, Pathankot and others.

The programme was for the integrated development of hill tracts called Kandi area which is characterised by seasonal run-off water forming choes and causing soil erosion and redeposition of land. The development works bear an integrated approach for watershed protection, community development that include soil conservation, horticulture, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, rural infrastructure development and augmentation of drinking water supply in villages in Kandi area.

According to official sources, all development activities under the IWDP were taken up in consultation and identification of problems of the villagers after forming village development committees comprising local community members.

At Atwarapur, the team members reviewed the projects by visiting sites and interacting with villagers. The team visited the area of Barrier wall in choes from where sub-surface water is tapped and used for irrigation for crops.


WB team visits watershed project
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 30
A World Bank team consisting of experts from the fields of natural resources management, agriculture economics, animal husbandry, etc today visited Nards, Chikna and Majher villages of the Daulowal watershed and Kotla and Badal villages in order to gather first-hand information on the Integrated Watershed Development Project. The project was started with the help of World Bank in 1999 was completed in March this year.

The team which visited the villages also included the Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.I.S Garewal, Director IWDF and Special Secretary to the Government of Punjab, Mr S.S Saini, Subject Matter Specialist and Chief Conservator of Soils, Mr O.P Chawla, Joint Director, Agriculture and other project officers and officials, said in a press release issued here.


‘Ankahi Gaatha’ — a tribute to revolutionaries
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 30
Twenty-nine artistes performed 42 characters in the 90-minute play “Ankahi Gaatha” (The making of a revolutionary) at the DAV College of Education here last night.

Interestingly, some of these artistes had said good bye to the stage more than a decade ago due to their family or commercial compulsions The Principal of the college, Dr Ranveer Pratap Asija, presided over the first show of the play that dramatic club “AKS” planned to stage on Monday and Tuesday also. Mr Vimal Thathai was the guest of honour.

The play based on Mr Piyush Misra’s script “Gagan Damama Bajyo” and Kuldip Nayyar’s book “The Martyr” was supported by background music composed by Mr Sunil Kumar, make-up by Mr Sandeep Verma, set designing by Mr Vikram Kamra and Sandeep, light effects by Mr Chain Singh, Mr Pawan Kataria and Mr Kewal Bansal.

Mr Surinder Narula, director, said this was a sincere effort to bring untold story of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, which had not been brought to light even in scores of Bollywood movies.

Mr Raju Nagpal, president of the club, said sacrifices made by the great heroes of freedom struggle needs to be highlighted again and again to inspire youth who were bidding adieu to patriotism and shunning responsibilities owed to the nation.

Mr Vijay Bholusaria, an eminent educationist and thinker, found himself speechless dialogues and presentation was really heartrending.

The artistes who participated included Abhi Gandhi, Jaspal Singh, Rupinder Singh, Anshuman Gandhi, Anjum Gulati, Satish Patel, Veena Nagpal, Monty, S.P. Singh, Mangat Verma, Deepak Kamboj, Ram Kumar, Sandeep Verma, Ashwani Gandhi, Vikram Kamra, Roop Singh Thakur, Bharti Sachdeva, Rakesh Sain, Praveen Chawla, Gaganpreet, Surinder Kukkar, Rishi Rai, Sumit Periwal, Gautam, Sarthak Narula, Babalpreet, Pradeep Thukral and Prashant Patel. 


Dharamshalas, gurdwaras house anganwadis
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 30
Dilapidated rooms of panchayat buildings, dharamshalas, gurdwaras, and even cattle ponds are housing the anganwadi centres in the district. If children are attending anganwadis in such a scenario one can image the plight of rooms provided for storing food products at these centres.

According to sources, about 95 per cent of the anganwadi centres lack basic amenities and children attending them have to sustain vagaries of weather. A majority of centres are running from dharamshalas that are virtually on the verge of collapse. While children study under a tree at an anganwadi of Burj Mehma village, a room allotted to this centre at a dera serves as a storeroom for keeping eatables.

Sources said these centres were started to lay the foundation of children’s health and development, besides serving as their first step towards schooling. Over 21,000 children are studying in 645 anganwadi centres of Bathinda.

In an incident that speaks volumes of their condition, the veranda of an anganwadi centre of Kuttiwal Kala village running from a dharamshala collapsed in the last week of March, but a holiday averted the loss of life. This centre had 35 children of the village.

Similarly, a dharamshala’s room that houses the anganwadi centre at Bir Talab village is in a shambles. Cracks have surfaced on its walls and the cement has come off.

Another centre of this village is functioning from a gurdwara. The centre at Raikhana village is also housed at an old dharamshala and children are free to go home whenever it rains, as its roof leaks from various points. In Burj Mehma, the single-room centre neither had a window nor power supply. The centre at Amargadh village is also running from a gurdwara. Bhagta village’s centre is functioning from a dilapidated room of government primary school.

In Raiya, the anganwadi workers have arranged some space at the local gurdwara for the centre on their own. In Chak Fateh Singh Wala and Chak Bakhtu, when the centre in charges didn’t find any place they had to accommodate children at their homes.

The state president of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers Union, Ms Hargobind Kaur, said the successive state governments had turned a blind eye towards the anganwadi centres. 


No Tobacco Day observed

Patiala, May 30
As many as 200 youth and children participated in the ‘No Tobacco Day’ observed by the various NGOs, including the Patiala Social Welfare Society and Dr Ambedkar Welfare Association, at Gandhi Nagar here today.

Dr Asa Singh former Civil Surgeon, said that since 1976 world was celebrating the No Tobacco Day. He added that every year 40 lakh persons died of tobacco and other intoxicants and urged people to get rid of the habit

Ms Usha Sharma, president of another NGO, the Amrit Nasha Mukti Centre, said that every citizen of the country should play some part for the welfare of the society. TNS


Tributes paid to K.N. Modi
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
A condolence meeting was organised at local Multani Mal Modi College to mourn the death of Mr Kedar Nath Modi, patron of the Modi Education Society, who breathed his last on May 27. He was residing at Modi Nagar near Ghaziabad, UP.

In a press note, Principal of the college, Dr V.K. Sharma, said that Mr Kedar Nath Modi was a known industrialist of the country and he had the honour to head Ficci. He added that he was devoted to the cause of spreading value based education in the society.

Group Captain B.P. Puri, secretary, managing committee of the college, paid homage to Mr K. N Modi and appreciated his efforts for the development of college.

Prof Surinder Lal, former principal, praised Mr Modi by calling him more an educationist than an industrialist. The Vice-Principal, Prof Shushil Kumar, read resolution and all present on the occasion observed two minutes silence for the departed soul.


Press Club formed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
Mediapersons working at the district headquarter all subdivisions of the district, at a meeting held here today, formed the District Press Club.

Mr Surjeet Singh Sahi was elected president of the newly formed club and he was authorised to nominate a team of office-bearers.

Mediapersons stressed the need to maintain unity among themselves as well as to adopt ethics of journalism. It was unanimously resolved at the meeting to identify the people having criminal background, who had entered into the profession and were bringing a bad name to their organisation. They appealed to the public to bring to their notice, if any scribe indulged in black mailing and demanded money for reporting any news item. The next date of the meeting had been fixed for June 15.


Snake scare: family returns home
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 30
The family of Mr Surinder Pal Singh, which had left its home in Dashmesh Enclave in Mundi Kharar after a number of snakes were found in the building, returned home today.

There was still fear in the minds of the members of the family and other residents of the area.

A team of the municipal council visited the locality and gave an assurance to the affected persons that chemicals would be put into sewers to kill any snakes still lurking there.

The terrorised family of Mr Surinder Pal Singh had killed several snakes in the house, which were found to be coming from various sewer openings. The main gutter of the house had a large number of snakes, including baby snakes.

Snake charmers had also been called from Morinda yesterday to tackle the problem. The help of the police and the fire brigade was also sought by residents.


‘Thikri pehra’ ordered
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
After the sharp rise in the incidents of robbery, especially in rural areas, Mr Tejveer Singh, District Magistrate, today ordered ‘Thikri pehra’ in the villages.

Mr Singh in his orders issued here today said that while ‘nakas’ would be laid inside of the villages, the railway tracks, Indian Oil pipelines and all other important places should be kept under watch to check the happening of any untoward incident. For this task, healthy young men of the villages would be pressed into service.

For implementation of the order all district Panchayats were directed to assign the duties to the people in their respective villages.


Drug overdose claims life
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 30
A 17-year-old boy of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony died after he took overdose of a drug last evening.

According to the police, Mr Amandeep Singh consumed some narcotic substance with his friends last night and fell unconscious after some hours. He was taken to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura.

He was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh by the doctors after his health deteriorated. While being taken to the PGI, the boy breathed his last near Baur. The police has initiated inquest proceeding in this pretext.


Transfer secys, SGJC asks Bibi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 30
Even as the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, has announced that she wont let anybody interfere in the administrative matters of the Shiromani committee, including transfers and postings, the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) has directed her to transfer Mr Dalmegh Singh and Mr Mohinder Singh, secretary and assistant secretary of the flying squad, respectively.

In an order issued here today, the three-member SGJC said the seniormost employee of the SGPC be appointed as its secretary in accordance with the rules.

The SGJC order reads that the allegations about the missing gold spades and excess billing during the quadricentennial celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib are yet to be proved by leading evidence.


Lawyers abstain from work
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 30
Taking strong exception to the assault on a local advocate by his clients, lawyers today decided to abstain from work. Advocate Avtar Singh Khera was reportedly attacked by his clients with sharpedged weapons on Saturday afternoon while he was on the way to his house.

According to sources, Tarsem Lal, a local resident, through Mr Khera had applied for grant of a succession certificate at Pathankot. The case was reportedly transferred to the court at Gurdaspur.

The advocate suffered some bodily problem and was operated upon at Jalandhar. The case was dismissed for non appearance of the client in the court at Gurdaspur.

Feeling annoyed over the dismissal of the case, Tarsem Lal and his son, Satish Kumar, had attacked the lawyer and allegedly snatched Rs 2,000 and a golden chain from the advocate. They alleged that it was due to the fault of the advocate that their case was dismissed.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the lawyers headed by Bar Association president Thakur Ravinder Singh today met the DSP (City) and demanded stern action.


Sukhbir allowed to visit UK
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 30
The SAD general secretary and an MP, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, was today allowed to visit the UK for medical check-up of his daughter from June 10 to July 10 by the Ropar court.

Mr Badal had moved an application in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.K Goel, on May 27 seeking permission to visit the UK. He had stated that he had an appointment with a doctor for the check-up of his daughter Gurleen Kaur.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, along with other family members, has been facing a case for allegedly possessing property beyond known sources of income in the court.


Farmer strikes gold(en) melon
Varinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Bhalana (Kapurthala), May 30
This golden and comparatively cleaner Taiwanese variety of musk melon has not only found favour as a more sweeter substitute of the local musk melon among melon lovers, it has also fetched rich dividends to Tarlochan Singh, a farmer of this village falling in India’s largest melon-producing Bhalana-Brindpur belt.

The farmer has claimed to have grown and experimented with this new variety of musk melon for the first time in Punjab.

Bhalana village is situated on the periphery of Brindpur village, which is known as the “melon bowl” of India as its farmers grow melons on 4,000 acres.

When Tarlochan decided to give practical shape to a suggestion given by a Delhi-based melon trader regarding the new variety of musk melon imported from Taiwan, he had no idea that he was going to make good money and that his musk melons would not only fetch five times more money but would also be in great demand in five-star hotels.

The biggest attraction of the “sun” variety, as it is known, according to Tarlochan, is its long shelf life, attractive colour and sweetness. This variety roughly commands five times more price than the other varieties grown in Punjab. “Whereas a normal variety of musk melon fetches around Rs 2.5 a kg, this new variety fetches between Rs 10 and Rs 15 a kg in the wholesale market, while in bigger cities like New Delhi it fetches up to Rs 30 a kg,” says Tarlochan.

He said he was encouraged with the response of buyers and exporters in New Delhi and would increase his area under this variety during the next season.

“I will also try this variety of melons,” said Baldev Singh Bhalana, a retired farm technocrat-turned-farmer of this village, who is known for experimenting with new plants and herbs. “I am impressed by the long shelf life of 10 to 12 days of this new variety and its crispy texture,” he said.

According to Tarlochan, the yield of the new variety is around 60 quintals per acre.


Farmers block road at Dirba
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
Activists of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta-Ugrahan), under the leadership of Mr Dalwara Singh Chhajla, finance secretary of the district unit of the union, blocked the Sangrur-Patran road today for about half-an-hour at Dirba village, about 26 km from here. They also staged a dharna for about four hours in front of the office of the Executive Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in protest against the non-increase of load of the tubewell motors of the farmers, who have not deposited the power bills of their motors for the past several months.

The Sunam SDM, the Sunam DSP and the Dirba XEN of the PSEB reportedly visited the farmers at road blockade site and talked to the farmer leaders. The farmers lifted the blockade when the SDM assured them that he would personally talk to the PSEB authorities to solve the problem of the farmers.

Mr Dalwara Singh Chhajla said after the withdrawal of free power supply to the tubewell motors in the state, on the call of the BKU (Ekta-Ugrahan) many farmers had not been depositing the bills of their tubewell motors. These farmers now wanted to get the load of their tubewell motors increased, but the PSEB authorities were saying that the load of the motors would be increased only of those farmers who would deposit electricity bills first.

The dharna was addressed among others by Mr Bukan Singh Sadewal, district president of the union, Mr Nath Singh Ubhia, district senior vice-president of the union, Mr Dilbag Singh Harigarh, Sunam block president of the union said Mr Balbir Singh Jhaloor, Lehragaga block president of the union.


Farmers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
A large number of farmers demonstrated against the discontinuation of electricity supply to tubewells by blocking the Amritsar-Pathankot road here today.

Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener, Kissan Sangharsh Committee, in a press note, criticised the state government and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). He said the Kathunangal Sub-division of the PSEB had discontinued the electricity supply to the tubewells. The various farmer organisations had given an ultimatum for starting supply to the farmers till May 26. He said when the board failed to restart the supply, farmers gheraoed the SDM’s office on May 27. 


8 hurt as two families clash
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, May 30
Eight persons, including an NRI and three women, were injured, three of them seriously, in a clash between two families of Bhappal village, 5 km from here, late last night.

The incident happened when Roshan Lal, Kishan Lal, his wife Roshani Devi and Mangat Ram reached the village in a van last night and Dev Ram and his son Raghubir Singh were lying on cots outside their house allegedly blocking a village street.

According to sources, the van occupants asked Dev Ram to give way for their vehicle to pass as the street was quite narrow. Raghubir Singh and his father objected to this and indulged in heated arguments. Following this, the van occupants drove to Sadar police station and lodged a report.

When they were coming back to their home from the police station, they were reportedly stopped by Raghubir Singh, Dev Ram and other family members.

Members of both the families clashed, in which Raghubir Singh and his family members allegedly used sharp-edged weapons and rods leaving the car occupants injured.

Roshan Lal sustained stab injuries in his abdomen. Raghubir Singh, his father Dev Ram, mother Surjit Kaur and sister Parveen also sustained injuries in the clash.

All the injured were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

The police has booked Dev Ram, his brothers Desh Raj and Pal, sons Raghubir Singh and Jassi, Joginder Singh and some others on the complaint of Roshan Lal, the NRI. A case under Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC has been registered against them. No arrest has been made so far.


Rs 3.35 cr for unaided rural colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Setting a new precedent, the Punjab Government Higher Education Department today distributed Rs 3.35 crore among 21 unaided rural colleges being run by various volunteer, religious or public spirited organisations in the state.

All those colleges having students up to 700 have been given Rs15 lakh each and those having students over 700 have been given Rs 25 each. The Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who has the Higher Education portfolio, presented the cheques to the representatives of managements of such colleges at her office today. Two colleges got Rs 25 lakh each while others got Rs 15 lakh each.

It is the first time that such a grant has been given to these colleges, which has been imparting education mostly in the backward and remote rural areas. Mrs Bhattal said that the financial help had been given to these colleges to set up modern laboratories, computer facilities and other infrastructure required for students.

She said it was the first time that such a grant had been given to these institutions which were making a contribution in the areas where otherwise it was difficult to set up colleges even by the government. Mrs Bhattal said she would frame a permanent policy for helping these colleges on a regular basis every year.

Mrs Bhattal said all the 21 colleges had been selected for grant on the basis of their performance in education and allied activities. “ I had told the DPI (Colleges), who prepared the list, to make the selection purely on merit”, said Mrs Bhattal. She said in fact these colleges were located in the villages. Among the colleges which got the help are Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College, Talwandi Sabo, Bathinda, Amardeep Singh Shergill Memorial College, Mukandpur( Nawanshahr), SRSPM College, Niari (Gurdaspur), Sant Hira Dass Kanya Mahavidyala, Kala Sangha (Kapurthala), Maharaj Lal Das Brahma Nand Bhuri Graibdas (G) college, Tapprian Khurad (Ropar), Maharaj Brahm Sagar Brahma Nand and Bhooriwale (Grabid Dassi) College, Tibba Nangal (Ropar).

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said the committee headed by her would submit the report next week. She said the report would include suggestions for the improvement of education in government schools. Even colleges had been included in its purview by the Committee and it would also make recommendations in connection with government colleges, she said. The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, is abroad. As soon as he comes back, we will hold a meeting to finalise the report, Mrs Bhattal said.


Parents oppose termination of Principal’s services
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
The parents of some students of the local General Gurnam Singh Public School today gathered at the Banasar Bagh here and opposed the termination of the services of Ms Raveen Pandey, Principal of the school, by the Gurnam Singh Public School Trust on May 28. They also demanded revocation of the termination order of the Principal.

On the occasion, the leaders of the parents’ association said they would meet the Chief Minister, besides writing letters to the trustees of the school, to lodge their protest against the termination of principal’s services. Ms Pandey was appointed Principal of the school in March, 2003. In this school, about 1,800 students have been studying. The school has a name in the area on account of its achievements in different fields.

After the removal of the Principal, the trust Chairman had said that the services of the Principal had been terminated as she had not possessed the requisite qualifications and experience as per the guidelines laid down by the CBSE. Since the school had started the class X this year, an inspection team of the CBSE had noticed this discrepancy, he added.


Nayar releases anthology on South-Central Asia
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
Veteran journalist and former MP Kuldip Nayar released a book, on the “South-Central Asia – Emerging Issues” edited by Dr Kuldip Singh, Director of Centre for South-Central Asian Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, here today.

Speaking about the book, Dr Kuldip Singh, said fragmentation of former Soviet Union led to the emergence of 15 independent states. He said the post-Soviet Central Asia comprising Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, had aroused interest among regional and outside powers because of its political-strategic and economic significance.

The volume is an attempt to analyse political, economic and strategic importance of Central Asia with reference to India’s interests in the area. Dr Kuldip Singh said scholars had examined the process of establishment of diplomatic ties, economic significance for India, besides “the various pipeline options being worked out for transporting oil and gas resources of the Central Asian countries.”


Drive to motivate children to study
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
A campaign has been launched in the district to identify those children between the age group of six and 14 years who are not going to school, so that they could be motivated to get education under the government sponsored Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan scheme.

Rural Education Development Committees have been formed for this purpose, said Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering at Mahadian village in the district after laying the foundation stone of cluster resource centre to be constructed at the cost of Rs 2 lakh.

Addressing the gathering Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Commissioner (Corporation), Patiala, and outgoing Deputy Commissioner, thanked the village panchayat for inviting him. He appreciated the good works done by the village panchayat.

Col Panag, sarpanch of the village, highlighted the achievements of the village panchayat. He urged the Deputy Commissioner to provide drinking water facility in the inner part of the village and offered that the village panchayat was ready to share the expenses. He also demanded disposal of sullage water.


Loans worth Rs 556.15 crore disbursed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
A special meeting of the District Consultative Committee was convened by the State Bank of Patiala at Bachat Bhavan here today. Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner-cum-Chairperson, presided over the meeting in which the progress of banks for the quarter ended March 31, 2005, under annual credit plan was 

Mr S.S. Kharaud, Lead District Manager, said the banks had disbursed loans amounting to Rs 556.15 crore in the priority sector against a fixed target of Rs 531.41 crore. The DC appreciated the efforts of the banks for achieving this target. Mr S.S. Kharaud said in the district, 805 self-help groups had been formed and out of these 596 groups had been provided loans. He said targets under the SSI sector had also been achieved.

She reviewed the progress of various govt-sponsored schemes.

He said besides this, 38,521 Kisan Credit Cards had been issued for Rs 197.66 crore in the district.

The Chairperson expressed concern over the absence of officials of certain banks the meeting and warned that absence in future would not be tolerated.

Mr Ashwani Mahajan, AGM, Nabard, said venture capital Fund for dairy and poultry units had been set up under which interest subsidy at 50 per cent of interest cost would be provided. He said a new scheme, rainwater harvesting scheme, for the SC/ST had been launched by Nabard under which SC/ST farmer would be provided subsidy up to Rs 15,000 for setting up rainwater harvesting systems. 

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