P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Release commemorative stamps in Amritsar, says Tarlochan Singh
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, June 6
The Chairman of the National Minorities Commission (NMC) has expressed his views on the issue of the venue of the release of commemorative postage stamps to mark the anniversaries of three historic occasions in the Sikh history and advised the ministry to favour views of the SGPC.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, chairman, NMC, took up the matter of the venue for the release of stamps with Mr Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communication and IT, today and expressed his support to the SGPC. “The religious body should be given preference to decide the venue of release”, he stressed.

While the SGPC favoured that the stamps be released in holy city, the state government took a diametrically opposite view and was making efforts to get the stamps released in Chandigarh.

This had led to a stand-off between the Congress-led government and the shiromani committee supported by the Akali Dal.

The NCM chairman in the letter observed that the installation of Guru Granth Sahib took place in the Golden Temple and hence it was more appropriate to release the stamp in the holy city. The Chairman also advised that the “Punjab Government may also participate in the function”.

Mr Tarlochan Singh also spoke to Mr Vijay Bhushan, Secretary (Posts) about the matter and apprised him of the situation.

The state government and the SGPC seemed to have locked horns over the release. Both, the SGPC and the state government seem to be eyeing to grab public attention by taking the credit of releasing the historic stamps.

The SGPC accused the Punjab Government of creating hurdles in the release of commemorative postage stamp. The SGPC stated that while authorities concerned in consultation with them had agreed to release the stamps in Amritsar as the only appropriate venue, the Congress led state government was pressurising the authorities to release the stamps in Chandigarh to gain publicity.

The SGPC President stated that she had written to Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, in December and requested him to advise the Communication Ministry to release three commemorative postage stamps to mark 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev , 400th years of installation day of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and 300th martyrdom day of four sahibzadas and mother of Guru Gobind Singh. The Prime Minister had acceded to this request and subsequently the postage stamps were approved by the Communication Ministry.

The SGPC President stated that Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, Director, Postal Services, Punjab Circle, Chandigarh called on her, here on May 6 to finalise the programme. Since Guru Arjan Dev, compiled the holy scripture at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib and installation took place here, it was decided to release this postage stamp at Dewan Hall, Manji Sahib on June 16, the 399th Martydom Day of Guru Arjan Dev.

Mr Dalmegh Singh, Secretary, SGPC, had informed in a letter to Director (Philately), Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication and IT, stated that since Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, compiled the holy granth at Gurdwara Ramsar, here and it was first installed at Harmander Sahib. Therefore, the holy city was the most appropriate place to release the stamp.

The SGPC President had already invited Mr Dayanidhi Maran, Minister of Communication and IT, to release the stamp.

The idea of releasing the stamp was conceived by late Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former SGPC president who wrote to then Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.


Govt ‘blocking’ release of postage stamp
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
The SGPC has accused the Punjab Government of creating hurdles in the release of a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at Gurdwara Manji Sahib here on June 16. The SGPC says that while the authorities concerned in consultation with them had agreed to release the stamp in Amritsar as the only appropriate venue, the Congress government was pressurising the authorities to release the stamp in Chandigarh to gain publicity .

In a press note issued here yesterday, it was stated that the SGPC President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, in a letter, in December to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had requested him to advise the Communication Ministry to release three commemorative postage stamps to mark the 500th birth anniversary of Guru Angad Dev, 400 years of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib and the 300th martyrdom day anniversary of four Sahibzadas and the mother of Guru Gobind Singh. The Prime Minister had acceded to the request and subsequently the said postage stamps were approved by the Communication Ministry.

Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur, Director, Postal Services, Punjab Circle, Chandigarh, called on Bibi Jagir Kaur here on May 6 to finalise the programme to release the postage stamp to mark the 400 years of installation of Guru Granth Sahib. Since Guru Arjan Dev compiled the holy scripture at Gurdwara Ramsar Sahib and the installation took place here, it was decided to release the postage stamp at Dewan Hall, Manji Sahib, on June 16, the 399th martydom day anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.

However, the SGPC President alleged that with a view to taking credit for issuance of the postage stamp and to get publicity, the Congress government in the state was exerting pressure on the authorities to release the stamp in Chandigarh .


Stamp on Kairon to be released
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 6
The Union Government has decided to release the postage stamp of the late Chief Minister of joint Punjab, Pratap Singh Kairon.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, said this while talking to The Tribune today. He said keeping in view the significant contribution of Kairon towards the development of Punjab he had taken up the matter of issuing postage stamp with the Union Ministry for Communication and Information Technology.

In a communication received recently the ministry has approved the proposal for issuing the stamp. The stamp would be released by the ministry.

After the release of the stamp, he would request the Chief Minister to raise a memorial of Kairon, Mr Randhawa said.


Fault at BBMB projects aggravates power crisis
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
The power crisis aggravated with the generation at the Kotla and Ganguwal hydel projects of 72 mw each of the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) at Anandpur Sahib came to a halt today. Four of the nine machines stopped functioning at the Nangal project when a jumper of a linking transformer was burnt at around 3pm.

The Chief Engineer, BBMB (Power), Nangal, Mr Amrik Singh, said three machines at Kotla and Ganguwal became functional after sometime. However, engineers were working on the fourth machine, he added.

The generation at the Nakiiyan and Ganguwal projects of the PSEB at Anandpur Sahib, which was also stopped last night, started this evening.

As the demand for power is increasing every day, there is a shortage of 54 lakh units in the state, sources said. The demand in the state is 1,100 lakh units while the supply from all sources is 1,046 lakh units, they said.

The supply from hydel projects and from the BBMB is 329 lakh units, 368 from thermal plants and 383 from the central grid. Out of the total power supply, the state suffered a loss of 34 lakh units during transmission.

The sources said that at present five of the six units of 210 mw each at Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar, were working.


Now, PTU’s examination branch in spotlight
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
In a startling revelation exposing prevalence of nepotism in the examination branch of Punjab Technical University (PTU), the Dean (Examinations), whose two children are studying in one of the affiliated colleges, allegedly went out of the way to get his son passed in a subject.

A son and a daughter of the Dean (Examinations), Dr Manohar Singh Saini, are students of B.Tech at Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, which is an affiliated college of the university.

While his son, Gurjinder Singh Saini, is a third year student in B.Tech (production engineering), his daughter, Eveneet Kaur Saini, is a first year student of B.Tech (information technology). Dr Saini, had joined the post in the examination branch in December last year and various examinations, including the last semester’s supplementary examination, were conducted under his supervision. He now holds the additional charge of Controller of Examination.

While Dr Saini defiantly claimed that he was out of the process of paper setting, checking or preparation of results of examinations his son and daughter had been appearing for, various officials have countered his claims saying he had gone out of the way to get his son passed in mathematics examination.

Gurjinder Singh Saini had reportedly flunked in mathematics in his fifth semester examination conducted in December with barely seven marks out of 60. Interestingly, the entire batch was awarded 12 additional grace marks on the pretext to compensate for the “difficult” questions that they had been told to attempt. PTU sources, however, maintained that the paper was very simple and students of previous batches had been getting through even tougher examination in the past.

Since the minimum passing marks had been 24, he was still short of five marks. Gurjinder was awarded one mark in re-evaluation while four more marks were awarded to him as per another rule of giving one per cent grace marks out of the grand total of theory papers a student appears for in a semester. Since Gurjinder had appeared in six subjects with a grand total of 360 in theory papers he got 3.6 marks equivalent to four.

“Everyone got 12 additional marks. Also, it was not my decision to grant the batch some grace marks. A special committee constituted by the university authorities had finally decided to award extra grace marks. Had I done any favouritism, I would have leaked question paper to them and they could have easily passed with good marks,” Dr Saini said.

Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, said he would get the matter inquired and in case any step showing favouritism would surface, the results of the semester could even be cancelled.

Earlier, The Tribune had exposed a case in which the Assistant Registrar (Examination), Mr Paramjit Singh, was enrolled as a second year student of M.Tech at the Beant College of Engineering and Technology, Gurdaspur. The PTU authorities have ordered an inquiry.


CPI, CPM to hold joint marches
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 6
In protest against prevailing corruption, deteriorating law and order situation and privatisation policies of the state government, the Punjab units of the CPI and the CPM will take out a CPI-CPM joint jatha marches from Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar on June 8 and from Hussaniwala in Ferozepur on June 9. These jatha marches will be flagged off jointly by the state secretaries of the CPI and the CPM.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Joginder Dayal, state secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said the Jallianwala Bagh jatha would culminate its journey at Desh Bhagat Yadgari Hall in Jalandhar on June 10 after passing through various towns, including Jandiala Guru, Batala, Pathankot, Hoshiarpur and Balachaur while the Hussaniwala jatha would culminate its journey at Chandigarh on June 11 after passing through various places, including Sangrur, Patran and Patiala.

Dr Dayal said the Left front would block roads in Punjab within four to five days after hike in the prices of diesel and petrol by the Union Government. He said the Left front would mobilise people for this purpose. He said the Left front had not allowed the Union Government to hike the prices of petroleum products during the past six months and it would also not allow the Union Government to hike the prices of kerosene and the LPG at this stage.

Dr Dayal also criticised the Punjab Government for initiating steps to hand over the control of government schools and the hospitals to the private parties. He said the industrialists were ready to take over the schools, especially in urban areas, as all urban schools were in the hearts of towns with five to six acres of land, whose market price ranged from Rs 5 crore to Rs 6 crore.

Dr Dayal said the law and order situation in the state was deteriorating day after day. The incidents of rape, loot, robbery, murder and smuggling were increasing in the state. There was no check on such incidents, leading to insecurity among the people of the state.

Dr Dayal also criticised the Akalis and the SGPC on the issue of construction of “Minar-e-Shaheedan” in the Darbar Sahib complex in Amritsar, by saying that in this way after a long gap they were again encouraging the radical forces in the state, which might create disturbance. 


SAD (L) protests against privatisation
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 6
The youth wing of the SAD (Longowal) today organised a dharna in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office against the decision of the government to privatise public institutions, including schools, hospitals and the electricity board. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, state president of the SAD (L), addressed the largely attended gathering and later submitted a memorandum to the DC.

Mr Chandumajra lashed out at the state government and said the government had failed to fulfil promises made during the elections. He said the government was running away from its responsibilities and on the name of privatisation, it was benefiting big industrial and trading houses. He said the privatisation was not in the favour of the people. He said the primary education, health, electricity, water and sanitation were the basic needs of the people, which were fulfilled by the government and if there was any deficit, the government should improve its working instead of giving it to private parties. He also alleged that the government had hatched a conspiracy to sell co-operative sugar mills at throwaway prices.

While talking to mediapersons. Mr Chandumajra said an alliance of like-minded parties would be formed in the coming elections to defeat the SAD (B) as well as the Congress. He said his party would start an agitation to save the SAD (B) from Mr Badal and to bring back all Taksali SAD leaders and workers back into the party.

Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, SGPC member, Mr Narinder Singh Tiwana, advocate, Mr Lakhbir Singh Sondha, district youth wing president, and Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra, state president youth wing also addressed the gathering.


SAD to organise Hindus’ conference
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 6
The SAD will now organise its first conference of Hindus here soon to expose the “real face” of the Congress, which has been allegedly exploiting the sentiments of the Hindus in the name of secularism, by calling other parties like the SAD and the BJP as communal parties.

This was stated by Mr Parkash Chand Garg, vice-president of the SAD, while talking to The Tribune here yesterday.

Mr Garg further said after the Sangrur conference, the SAD would also organise such conferences in other districts like Jalandhar, Patiala, Ludhiana and Amritsar to widen its base among the Hindus. 


Sohan Singh an ‘IB agent’, says Chohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 6
Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan , a separatist ideologue and President of the Khalsa Raj Party, today described Dr Sohan Singh, a former Director, Health and member of the Panthic Committee as an “agent of the Intelligence Bureau”.

Dr Chohan alleged that Dr Sohan Singh was “planted by the IB as counter-intelligence” to crush the separatist movement. He claimed that this information was given to him by Mr Sangat Singh, a former senior IB official. However, Bhai Narain Singh, convener of the Akal Federation, while refuting the charges alleged that Dr Chohan himself was close confident of Ms Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister and his credentials were always doubtful. He alleged that Dr Chohan was never sincere towards the movement and was never arrested for the Sikh cause.

He alleged that Dr Chohan was spreading disinformation to malign Dr Sohan Singh whose contribution could not be ignored. He said while Dal Khalsa leaders were arrested on charges of hoisting saffron flags on Republic Day Dr Chohan was not be arrested.


Kathlore bridge to be completed by July 2006
Tribune News Service

Kathlore (Gurdaspur), June 6
The Kathlore bridge, connecting over 100 villages of the border area with the rest of the district, will be completed by July 2006. About 18 per cent construction work of the bride has been completed. About Rs 2 crore per month was being given by the Punjab Government for speedy completion of the project.

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Minister for PWD, Culture and Archives, stated this while addressing a press conference at the Kathlore bridge construction site today.

He said the people of the Narot and Bamiyal blocks were cut off from the rest of Gurdaspur district by Ravi and Ujh rivers. The people had to ferry by boats to reach the main land. However, after the completion of the bridge, more than a 50-year-old demand of the people of the area would be met.

The minister flayed Mr Vinod Khanna, BJP MP from the area, for trying to claim the credit for the construction of the bridge. The Army authorities gave clearance for processing the case for the bridge to the Punjab Government in July 2003. A meeting was held with officials of Nabard in September 2003. The Nabard approved the 67-crore project in August 2004.

The Kathlore bridge was entirely a stage government project. While 80 per cent finance for the project had been provided by Nabard, the state government was contributing the rest 20 per cent.

The bridge was the biggest project being taken up at present by the Punjab PWD Department. It would be completed in a record time of 18 months.

Mr Bajwa also addressed a rally of party workers at Kathlore later. He was accompanied by the local Congress MLA, Mr Rumal Chand.

The Kathlore bridge, a major developmental project of the area, has been at the centre of a controversy. Prominent leaders of the area, sitting MP of the BJP Vinod Khanna and Rajya Sabha member from the area Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder have been trying to take credit for the project.

In the recent past, Mr Khanna had held a massive rally at the site to claim credit for the project. Mr Bajwa said today that the Congress would rebut the claims of Mr Khanna by organising a state-level rally in the area.

The bridge would also open a new route to Jammu and Kashmir. Heavy vehicles would directly reach Kathua from Gurdaspur through this new route. The new route would be 40 km shorter than the present Gurdaspur-Lakhanpur barrier-Kathua route.


Man seeks help for daughter’s treatment
Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, June 6
Mr Dinesh Kumar, who sells paan and cigarettes at Lawrence road, here from a kiosk has been running from pillar to post to get financial assistance to provide treatment to his seven year-old-daughter suffering from a serious mental disease. Though he saw a ray of hope when he received a letter of help from the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, it proved too late as doctors refused to give him hope to cure her.

He had his daughter Rani examined from noted neuro experts of the reputed medical institutes of northern India but due to paucity of funds he could not meet heavy expenses needed for complete treatment. His requests for financial help to various authorities yielded very little.

Father of three, Mr Dinesh says “she was born a healthy baby but when she was six month old she fell ill and was admitted to a hospital. It was then that they came to know that she was suffering from a mental disease”.

He approached specialists but all of them referred her to AIIMS, Delhi. He went to the cardiothoracic and Neurosciences Centre of the advised hospital in 2002 and got his daughter diagnosed. They told him that cost of the treatment would run in lakhs. Unable to pay the cost he returned home and started looking for help but failed to get any in time.

He approached various persons and institutions but to no avail and the time passed off. Eventually, he got a letter from Under Secretary (Welfare) S.K. Khanna, President’s Secretariat Rashtrapati Bhavan, on May 5 demanding the copies of relevant documents and estimate expenditures from hospital in order to examine his daughter’s case.

He immediately went to AIIMS with whatever little amount he had. However, he was a broken man to learn that his daughter could no longer be operated upon at this age. He was told that perhaps she might have to live on a daily dose of medicine and prescribed exercise, which would cost a few thousands per month.

Dejected he returned without any estimate from the hospital and complained of uncooperative attitude of doctors who kept asking him to come tomorrow. With little amount he returned home crestfallen.


Misuse of pesticides creates health problems in Malwa
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 6
Blatant use of pesticides in the Malwa region has given rise to a plethora of health hazards among people, especially the new generation, opined experts at “People’s Dialogue on Environmental Health in Malwa” organised by Kheti Virasat Mission at the Teachers’ Home here today.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Tiramal Rao of the PGI, Chandigarh, said the Punjab Pollution Control Board had tested the canal water in the Talwandi Sabo block and found the DDT and BHC content in it. He said the PGI had conducted a study on the rising incidence of cancer in 36 villages of Talwandi Sabo and 93 villages of Chamkaur Sahib blocks. The levels of heavy metals like arsenic and pesticides such as heptachlor were higher in samples of drinking water, vegetables and blood in Talwandi Sabo as compared to Chamkaur Sahib. He said a majority of deaths due to cancer in these areas were caused due to pesticides, tobacco and alcohol. However, he refused to pinpoint the “main culprit” saying there could be many reasons behind cancer. He cautioned the farmers to properly cover their faces while spraying pesticides, to use branded and licensed pesticides, and not to use empty bottles of pesticides.

Dr G.P.I. Singh of the DMCH, Ludhiana, rued that the state’s farmers were using pesticides despite knowing that these were poisonous. He urged the farmers to draw a line while spraying pesticides and understand that if pesticides could kill pests, they would also have an impact on humans. He said pesticides could cause a number of diseases like cancer, diabetes, blood pressure and heart ailments. In India farmers thought that anybody could spray pesticides, which was not correct. In the US there were about 13.5 lakh trained sprayers, out of which 10 lakh were farmers. He said their training included knowledge of pesticides’ contents and dose, size of nozzle, and storage instructions, etc. In the US a company had to impart training to farmers prior to launching a pesticide. Clarifying another misunderstanding, he said everybody got affected with the blatant use of pesticides. Presenting an instance, he said two newborn babies of a woman died one after the other. Later, someone suggested to her not to feed her milk to her baby. It worked and her third baby survived. On medical examination DDT was found in her milk. The poisonous contents of pesticides in eatables were also taking a toll on the brainpower of newborns and their brains didn’t develop fully. He said they were coming across diseases among the newborns, they had never heard of.

Dr Singh said pesticides, when sprayed on crops, fall on the earth and seep into land, poisoning the yield. He said countries like the US that manufacture pesticides had banned a number of pesticides as and when they came to know of their ill effects, but India’s farmers were still using such pesticides openly. He termed the “cocktail of pesticides” leading to dangerous side effects that led to incurable diseases.

The Executive Director of Kheti Virasat Mission, Mr Umendra Dutt, said air, water, vegetables, and milk in Malwa had pernicious contents and immediate measures were required to deal with the situation. Later, the participants and the speakers held a discussion on the issue. The dialogue focused on the need to take an initiative to make Malwa pollution-free and pesticide-free, sensitising farmers on proper use of pesticides, providing information on contents of the earth at the village level, seeking setting up of an agency to keep an eye on the problem from the government, and surveillance of soil and water quality in the area. 


Acute water shortage in Dhar area
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, June 6
Residents of Dhar subdivision in this district are reeling under an acute shortage of drinking water. The shortage of water supplemented with heat wave is making the life of residents of the Kandi area difficult.

The worst-affected areas fall under the Salti panchayat. Residents while talking to The Tribune said they were getting water just for one to two hours in a week from the Public Health Department. Most of the natural sources of water have dried up.

The water supply schemes in Kandi areas have been designed by the Public Health Department to provide 40 litre per head per day in the area. However, most of these schemes have failed to achieve the targets. The tubewell meant to supply water to the villages falling under the Salti panchayat was installed at a cost of about Rs 3 crore. It also failed to fulfil the requirement.

The department has now diverted the water of the Chaki river to wells so that the area falling under the tubewell could get regular supply.

The Executive Engineer, Public Health, said the erratic power supply was affecting the water supply. “In hilly areas motors are used to lift the water from the wells dug in the Chaki river bed. It takes about two to three hours to manage the pressure necessary to supply water to hilly areas.

However, in between if there was a power cut the entire exercise has to be repeated again,” he said.

The PSEB authorities have been requested to ensure 24-hour power supply to the public health scheme so that the water could be supplied regularly, he said.

However, experts said a lot of damage had been inflicted on the ecology of Kandi areas. Due to illegal mining the ground level of the Chaki river had gone down by 30 to 40 feet in many areas.

The water retaining capacity of the riverbed had reduced considerably. Due to rapid deforestation various tributaries of the river had dried up, reducing the discharge in the river to just 200 to 300 cusecs. 


Mazar of Prophet Mohammad’s heir in Samana?

Samana, June 6
A 500-year-old Mazar of Saiyyad Asad Ali, son of Imam Ali Raza, ninth heir of Prophet Mohammad, has been found in Samana, 28 km from Patiala in Punjab.

The information about its finding was announced at a press conference by Maulana Kalbe Zwad, religious leader of Shia community, who arrived here from Lucknow along with some historians and diplomats from Iran Embassy.

All the facts related to it have been confirmed with the old religious books. It is believed that after Mecca and Madina, this Mazar may become the second biggest religious place of the Shia community as no such spot was present in India and Pakistan until now.

The Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, has directed the authorities concerned to start working on the site immediately so that it could be declared a sacred place. — ANI


4 killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Beas, June 6
The killer Amritsar-Jalandhar road claimed four more lives when a Maruti van collided with a truck, near here, today. All the four occupants of the van died on the spot.

This is the second major accident within four days, even as four car-borne persons, belonging to Amritsar had died on the spot in a head-on-collision with a truck on June 2.

Earlier, at least 19 devotees, who were on the way to Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, Beas, were killed and 41 others were injured in a head-on-collision between a Swaraj Mazda and a truck near the Dera Beas on the Amritsar-Jalandhar GT Road on April 1.

The truck driver fled after the mishap.

The eyewitnesses said that the truck (HR 38-2711 collided with the Maruti van ( DL 3 CT 1738) coming from Amritsar.

The deceased have been identified as Tejinder Bedi, Ajit Singh Bedi and Satnam Singh, all residents of New Delhi, and Harwinder Singh, a resident of Sudhar Rajputan, Beas police station. The dead bodies have been sent to a hospital at Amritsar for a post-mortem examination. A case has been registered under various Sections of the IPC at Beas police station .

Though the then Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, had announced the four-laning of the Jalandhar-Amritsar road in 1999 but it could not be completed even after the lapse of six years. However, the Congress government has now announced that a sum of Rs 450 crore will be spent to make the Jalandhar-Amritsar road four-laned and in the first phase work on a 50-km stretch will be done. The project will get under way the next month. 


380 vehicles challaned in May
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, June 6
The local traffic police launched a challaning drive and issued 380 challans to offenders and collected Rs 3,06,667 as fine under various categories in May.

According to the traffic police in charge, Mr Dharamvir, several checkposts were set up in different parts of the town to nab the offenders. The main emphasis of the drive was to keep a special check on minors and youngsters driving overspeed.

The educational cell of the traffic police visited many schools, colleges, taxi stands and transport unions and delivered lectures on the traffic rules.

The traffic police also held a free pollution check-up camp at the local bus stand here yesterday.

“It will now be a routine feature to impart training regarding the traffic rules to school and college students and books will be distributed free of cost among them,” said Mr Dharamvir.


Major Padda cremated with military honours
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 6
The mortal remains of Major Deepak Kumar Padda were consigned to the flames on the Chakki bank cremation grounds with full military honours.

Major Deepak, son of Lieut-Col Paras Ram (retd), was injured in the Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir while fighting against terrorism on May 25. He was later shifted to Delhi where he died on June 4. He was attached with 14 Grenadier. His body was brought here today.

A large number of Army officers, JCOs, jawans and officials of the civil administration attended the cremation. The pyre was lit by Lieut-Col Paras Ram.

A contingent of the Army reversed their arms as a mark of respect to the departed soul and sounded last post when the pyre was lit. The martyr left behind his wife Sonia, son Ritik, mother Sharda and the father.


Shiv Sena chief held, released
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 6
The district police has began strict implementation of the violation of the Section 144 order promulgated by the district magistrate. The police has not limited itself on taking action against the labourers but has also taken to task political parties for showing scant respect for the orders.

The police arrested Shiv Sena Hindustan chief Pawan Sharma early today morning for staging a demonstration near Clock Tower besides putting behind bars six labourers in the focal point area. All of these were released on bail later.

The labourers were booked by the division No. 7 police on the report of an ASI who found that about 15 persons had gathered in an unlawful assembly in a colony. Sources said the labourers belonged a labour organisation who could have resorted to strikes in some industries.


Rajbir Kaur is Ms New Era
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 6
Ms Rajbir Kaur was declared Ms New Era-2005 at a fashion show organised by New Era Industrial Training Centre here today.

While Ravinder Kaur was the first runner-up, Ranvir Kaur was declared the second runner-up at the function where Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu, SDM, came as the chief guest.

Mr Sandhu said the present generation was more influenced by costumes worn by the western world and tried to copy them. They were moving away from the culture of the state which was wrong.

The fashion show was divided into three rounds. In the first round the participants wore sarees and some modern dresses. The second round was focussed on Punjabi culture and during the third round summer suit collection was displayed.


Farmer’s family alleges harassment

Amritsar, June 6
Prem Singh, uncle of Satinderpal Singh (25), who was shot dead when six persons opened fire at him in a hospital at Lopoke village on May 25, has alleged harassment by the accused.

Prem Singh stated that a dispute arose over the construction of a wall at Thahthi village under Lopoke police station. Following this, Palwinder Kaur, mother of the deceased, was badly injured by six persons using sharp-edged weapons, when no male member was present in the house. She was taken to hospital where her son Satinderpal Singh came to see her.

Prem Singh alleged that other accused were threatening them every day since the incident. — OC


Award for professor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Prof Pritam Singh of Patiala was given the "Panj Pani Award" at a function organised by Doordarshan, Jalandhar, recently. The awards were given to eminent personalities in the field of literature, arts, music and agriculture.

The professor who retired as Principal, Mohindra College, Patiala, is a well-known figure in literary circles, having done indepth research on Guru Granth Sahib, besides his commendable work in children literature.

Prof Pritam Singh was also founder-chairman of the Centre for Guru Nanak Studies at Guru Nanak Dev University. 


Four-year jail for doctor couple
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 6
Additional District Sessions Judge Sukhdev Singh today sentenced a doctor couple to four-year imprisonment for accepting bribe from a patient for treating his wife.

Sources said the Vigilance Bureau had registered a case against the couple — former Deputy Medical Commissioner Satnam Kaur and retired SMO Hartirath Singh — following a complaint from Lal Singh, a resident of Dharamkot, on August 6, 1993.

The bureau had also booked their assistants — Balwinder Singh and Avtar Singh — under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

However, both of them were acquitted.

The complainant had told the bureau that Dr Satnam Kaur and her husband had sought Rs 2,000 through their assistants for treating his wife, Harbans Kaur.

The deal was struck for Rs 1,000. All the accused were arrested when they were accepting bribe from the complainant.


Stop sale of spurious bio-fertilisers: BKU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) today urged the Punjab Government to immediate stop the sale of spurious bio-fertilisers in the state.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary of the BKU, said that bio-fertilisers were being sold in the state without any official authorisation or certification from the government departments concerned. “ Farmers are being looted by some private agencies involved in the sale of bio-fertilisers and the government has become a silent spectator to such loot”, said Mr Rajewal.

He said certain farmers had got these bio-fertilisers tested from some reputed laboratories and the results were shocking. Dirt was being sold to farmers by mixing amino acid in it. “This acid activates harmones in plants. Because of it, the chlorophyll intake capacity of the plants increases and their appearance becomes better. But the yield is not enhanced”, said Mr Rajewal. He was accompanied by Mr Baldev Singh Mianpuri, President of the BKU, and Mr Nek Singh Khokh, another senior leader of the BKU.

He said the state government should frame rules to check the sale of such fertilisers. The Fertiliser Control Order, which was applicable to various chemical-based fertilisers, should also cover bio-fertilisers.

He said there was no control on the prices of bio-fertilisers. These were being sold from Rs 100 to Rs 500 per packet weighing 10 kg. The BKU leader alleged that last year certain government officials were involved in getting bio-fertilisers sold through agricultural cooperative societies.

Mr Rajewal said the policy of the state government was anti-farmer as far as providing canal water for irrigation was concerned. The government was charging full “abiana” on canal water even though it was not made available in adequate quantity at various places. 


Young MLAs to discuss farm diversification
Rise above party affiliations
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Young legislators of Punjab, irrespective of their party affiliations, will meet under the banner of the Punjab Young Legislators Forum on June 8 outside the Assembly, to deliberate on the issue of diversification in agriculture.

The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues(retd), will inaugurate the discussion at the UT Guest House. The brains behind this initiative are Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Congress MLA from Batala, and Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Shiromani Akali Dal MLA from Gidderbaha. Mr Tikshan Sud, BJP MLA from Hoshiarpur, has extended his full support to the Forum. In all, about 40 MLAs from various parties have been backing the Forum.

The Forum, which was formed two years ago but remained dormant for political reasons, has been set up with a bigger purpose of building consensus among the main political parties over vital issues concerning the state. As diversification in agriculture is a significant issue at present, a beginning is being made by holding discussion on it.

A report on the basis of the deliberations will be prepared and submitted to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for further exercise on the issue. On the success of its first initiative will depend further activities of the Forum.

Except on emotional issues such as river waters Punjab has never witnessed political unity on policy matters among its main political players. In fact, Punjab has been witness to horrible bitterness among various political parties during the past 50 years. Destructive political competition among its main parties has remained Punjab’s bane.

“Without building consensus on vital issue, Punjab cannot march ahead on the path of development”, says Mr Manpreet Badal, who is general secretary of the Forum. “ We have made a small beginning and hope all right-thinking people will extend their support to the forum”, he adds. “ It is the need of the hour and we are moving ahead accordingly”, he adds.

Mr Ashwani Sekhri, president of the Forum, says there has been a tradition of political consensus at the national level among political parties on the issue of foreign policy, defence and other vital issues.

But it is altogether missing in states. “ Now we in Punjab, with the blessings of our elder politicians, have taken the initiative to form consensus on vital issues relating to the state by rising above politics”, says Mr Sekhri.


Programme for agriculture officers begins
Our Correspondent

Abohar, June 6
A 120-day training programme for facilitators was inaugurated at the CIPHET complex today. The Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad, has selected this town for the Rs 10-lakh project as hopes for the revival of cotton crop in the region are high.

More than 20 Agriculture Development Officers were selected from different areas for training.

Dr S.M. Ilyas, Director, said emphasis would be laid on crop quality keeping in view tough competition in the global market.

Efforts were being made to introduce indigenous machines to speed up the picking process.

Initiating the discussions, Dr Jasvir Singh, coordinator of the programme, said Punjab had left Andhra Pradesh behind in using insecticides in the past three years and attained the first position.

The insecticides result in loss to crops besides polluting environment and affecting health of humans and animals. He said integrated pest management was the only solution of the multifaceted problems.

Those who addressed the inaugural session included Dr Mangal Singh Sandhu, Joint Director Agriculture, Dr Jasbir Singh Bains, Deputy Director, Agriculture, Dr D.B. Singh, in charge, CIPHET, Dr R.K. Gumber from PAU, Ludhiana, and Dr N.M. Deb from Faridabad.


Deputation list likely to ‘demote’ 3 police officers
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Punjab Government has done it again.

The list of police officers forwarded by it for central deputation contains “all the wrong names”. If accepted, at least three senior Punjab Police officers will be virtually demoted.

This, the sources assert, is not only against the principle of natural justice, but also against the service rules of 1954. The action amounts to nothing less than punishment, they add.

Giving details, the sources assert that Additional Directors-General of Police (ADGPs) Shashi Kant and Jyoti Trehan — both of 1977 batch — are not empanelled as ADGPs in the Government of India.

The officers will have to join as Inspectors-General of Police (IGPs) if their names are accepted by the Central Government for deputation. Similarly, IGP S. Chattopadhaya will have to join as Deputy Inspector-General of Police as he is not empanelled as IGP in the Government of India.

Quoting the service rules, the sources assert that an officer cannot be posted at a lower rank and pay scale. Moreover, he cannot be asked to join at a lower post if officers junior to him have been promoted.

Citing an example, they assert that ADGP Kant cannot be sent as IGP specially when officers junior to him — including J.P. Birdi, Jyoti Trehan and Chander Shekhar — have been promoted to the posts of ADGPs.

The sources assert that the state government has always been infamous for sending wrong names for deputation with the Government of India. They add that the list of officers forwarded to the Central Government is often nothing but “farce” as the state government is not serious about sending officers on deputation. A large number of senior officers even accuse the state government of deliberately forwarding the names of officers unfit for the purpose.

As a result, the cases of at least eight senior Punjab Police officers were recently rejected by the authorities concerned. Over two dozen names were initially recommended for deputation by the Punjab Police.

Quoting another example, the sources claim that the case of a former ADGP was rejected last year as he was not fulfilling the necessary criterion for deputation with the Centre.

Though two years’ service before retirement is necessary for central deputation, the then ADGP’s name was forwarded despite the fact that he had just 10 months to go before attaining the age of superannuation.

Otherwise, it is mandatory for the state to send at least 31 police officers on deputation with the Centre. But the Punjab Police has been sending a far less number of officers. At present, there are just seven officers on central deputation. As many as 24 posts have been lying vacant.


Four hurt as brothers clash over land
Our Correspondent

Banur, June 6
Four members of a family, including an Army jawan, were injured following a clash between two brothers of Jangpura village near here, today.

According to the police, families of Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh clashed over some land dispute. The brothers had separated and had been residing in different houses. Their father Teja Singh is putting up with Mr Nirmal Singh for the past couple of years.

Kuldeep’s family attacked the family of Nirmal Singh at about 8 a.m. leaving four of them seriously injured.

Nirmal Singh, his wife Harbhajan Kaur, son Charanjit Singh, an engineer with the Army, and his wife Jasbir Kaur sustained serious head injuries in the clash. Kuldeep Singh, his wife Chhinder Kaur and sons Jatinder Singh and Balwinder Singh also sustained minor injuries.

Nirmal’s family members have been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura. The doctors referred Jasbir Kaur to the Civil Hospital, Patiala, after her condition deteriorated.

The police has recorded statements of the members of both families.


Absconding manager arrested
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
The CIA staff of Ropar today arrested Daleep Singh, the former Regional Manager of Incan Mutual Benefits Limited, Chandigarh, in Rs 70-crore scam case. Daleep Singh had been declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

The police had registered a case against Daleep Singh and others under Sections 420, 406, 120-B of the IPC in Kharar police Station in 2000.

Another official involved in the case was still absconding.

The police had registered a case after getting several complaints from people that the company officials failed to return their amount deposited in various schemes.

It is learnt that the Allahabad High Court had ordered the liquidation of the Incan Mutual Benefits Limited in 2000 besides handing over the case to the CBI for investigation.


Teachers decry privatisation of schools
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 6
To protest against the alleged government move to privatise educational institutes, thousands of government teachers organised a rally at the local Desh Bhagat Yaadgaar Hall yesterday.

The call for the rally was given by the Government Teachers Union Punjab and Democratic Teachers’ Front Punjab and was supported by the Adhiyapak Dal, SC, BC Teachers Union and Unemployed ETT Teachers Union.

Sucha Singh Khatra, general secretary of the Government Teachers Union, said the protests by teachers would continue till the state government filled 32,000 posts of the Education Department.

Datar Singh, president of the Democratic Teachers’ Front, said since resentment was widely prevalent, the government would be forced to shun its privatisation policy.

Daljit Singh, president of the Government Teachers Union, said different governments of Pun1

jab had been trying to weaken the education system, particularly the one which was based on government schools, and this had led to the deterioration of education standards in the state.

Harpal Singh Teja, president of the Adhiyapak Dal, said if government schools were privatised, more than 60 per cent population of the state would be left sans education.

Malagar Singh, president of the SC, BC Teachers Union, and teacher leaders such as Makhan Singh Brar, Harcharan Singh Channa, Ishar Singh Manpur, Daljit Singh, Amarjit Bhalla, Karnail Singh Sandhu, Davinder Punia, and Major Singh Sidhu, also addressed the gathering.


GND varsity exam results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 6
The results of the postgraduate diploma in computer application, MA (history) semesters IV, and MA (philosophy) semester IV examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April-May, 2005, would be declared tomorrow.

The results would be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org.


Attack on hostel superintendent flayed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 6
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association has condemned the attack on hostel superintendent Dr Manjit Singh Bal with sharp edged weapons by some students residing in hostels on June 3.

In a press note, association secretary Dr B.S Sohal, said Mr Bal was allegedly attacked by BDS students and an intern of the medical college with sharp edged weapons when they were asked to vacate the hostel which they were illegally occupying. An altercation had occurred between the students and Dr Bal in the morning and the students attacked Dr Bal after they scaled the walls of his premises late at night.

The association has asked Principals of both the dental college and the medical college to expel the students.

The association urged the police to arrest both the culprits on the basis of the FIR which has been lodged by Mr Bal with the police.


Plea to transfer Principal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 6
All 13 councillors of the Municipal Council Bassi Pathana, in a letter to the Chief Minister and the Education Minister, have urged them to immediately transfer the principal of Govt Girls Senior Secondary School of Bassi Pathana.

They said the principal had been working in this school since 1989 and due to her long stay the education standard has lowered and she had created a strong group among the teaching staff, which had worstly affected the studies of students. 


School celebrates environment day
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 6
Shivalik Public School here on Saturday celebrated World Environment Day. The aim was to spread awareness among schoolchildren about the need to protect environment. A sapling plantation drive was launched by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Surjit Singh Saini, on the occasion.

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