P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bonanza for Mansa on I-Day
Tribune Reporters

Mansa, August 15
With the agricultural growth already reaching the saturation point, the state government will now focus on industrial revolution and an impressive beginning has already been made with the relaunch of the Bathinda oil refinery, stated the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, after unfurling the Tricolour at a function to mark the country’s 59th Independence Day here today.

Addressing a gathering at Nehru Memorial Government College here, he said an IT park spread over 5,000 acres was being developed near Mohali. The state government had already made a request to the Centre to set up a National Institute of Biotechnology in Punjab and it had also tied up with the province of Saskatoon of Canada to set up a biotechnology complex in the state.

Besides, another biotechnology complex was coming up in Dera Bassi and was likely to be commissioned shortly. He said the state had also taken up the matter of allotment of a textile cluster and a petrochemical complex at Bathinda with the Centre. The relaunch of Guru Gobind Singh Refinery would result in economic transformation of the state.

Highlighting the need for diversification, Captain Amarinder Singh said declining land holdings and increase population had forced the state’s farmers to shift from wheat-paddy rotation to highly remunerative crops like oil seeds, vegetables and fruit.

As expected, the Chief Minister announced a bonanza for Mansa district. He said the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) had approved the railway overbridge at level crossing at a cost of Rs 16 crore and would be completed within two years.

He also announced the remaining amount of Rs 25.76 lakh for the completion of Dr B.R. Ambedkar Bhawan. For the upgradation and repair of roads in the district, he announced a grant of Rs 27 crore for the Dakha-Raikot-Barnala road and Rs 26 crore for the Barnala-Mansa-Sardoolgarh-Sirsa road, which are likely to be completed by next year. The Chief Minister sanctioned Rs 6.58 crore for the sewerage facilities in the Mansa and Rs 10.20 crore for 100 per cent coverage of water supply scheme. He also announced Rs 35 lakh for the Municipal Council, Budhlada, for the repair of city roads and construction of a library building besides Rs 2.64 crore for the 100 per cent coverage water supply scheme in Budhlada city and Rs 5.44 crore for the 100 per cent coverage of water supply for Sardoolgarh and Bhikhi.

Earlier, the CM took salute from an impressive march past and exhorted people to draw inspiration and imbibe the spirit of patriotism and nationalism among themselves through the supreme sacrifices made by the country’s great martyrs. The CM felicitated 15 freedom fighters of the district with a shawl and a citation. He also disbursed sewing machines among needy women, tricycles among handicapped and cheques among the beneficiaries of the Ashirwad Scheme.

Prominent amongst others present on the occasion included Mr B.I.S.Chahal, Adviser to Chief Minister, ADGP Chander Shekhar, and Commissioner Faridkot, Division, Dr Roshan Sankaria. However, Akali Dal MLAs from the district Mr Balwinder Singh Bhundar, Mr Harbant Singh Datewas and Mr Jagdeep Singh Nakai, were absent.

ROPAR: The World Bank has sanctioned Rs 1,100 crore grants for the developments of the roads in the state. But the Punjab Government has plan to spend Rs 1,200 crore on 18 main roads in the state and also railway overbridges, said the Deputy Chief Minister, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, after unfurling the flag on the Independence Day function held at Nehru Stadium here today.

She said Rs 1,750 crore had been reserved for the development in the rural areas while Rs 450 crore was being spent for old-age pensioners of the state. She distributed tri-cycles, cheques among the needy persons.

Mrs Bhattal announced holiday on August 16 for all schools and colleges in the district. She assured the Nagar Council, Ropar, a help of Rs 5 lakh for the development of Ropar town.

AMRITSAR: Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, after hoisting the national flag at local Guru Nanak Stadium on Independence Day, said Rajasansi International Airport would be prepared this year at cost of Rs 80 crore.

He said work on four laning of Jalandhar-Wagah road would start within two months. The contract had been given to an international company and in the first phase work would begin from Dhilwan to Verka. Besides, he said 870-km roads would be laid to connect the roads with neighbouring states. He added that 22 railway over-bridge would also be raised.

FEROZEPORE: Independence Day was celebrated here amid a lot of enthusiasm and patriotic fervour at Shahid Bhagat Singh Stadium, where Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Tourism Minister, Punjab, unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute from Smartly dressed contingents drawn from the BSF, the CRPF, the police, the Home Guards and NCC caders during an impressive march past. He was escorted by Deputy Commissioner, B.C. Thakur and Mr Sudhanshu Srivastava, SSP, Ferozepore.

HOSHIARPUR: Independence Day was celebrated on local Police Ground today. Dr Kewal Krishan, Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, unfurled the national flag and took march part salute from the BSF, the police, the Home Guard contingents, NCC cadets and scouts.

PHAGWARA: Minister of State for Forests, Hans Raj Josan today hoisted the national flag at the Independence Day function held at local Govt Senior Secondary School for Boys amid tight security. Local MLA-cum-Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Joginder Singh Mann, and other dignitaries were also present on this occasion.

BATALA: Independence Day was celebrated today at Govt Polytechnic College, Kahnuwan road, here, where Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, unfurled the national flag.

SANGRUR: On the occasion of the 59th Independence Day, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Punjab, today unfurled the national flag and inspected the parade at War Heroes Stadium here. He also honoured freedom fighters, and distributed tricycles and sewing machines among the needy persons.

GURDASPUR: Independence Day was celebrated with fervour at various places across the district today. The Minister for Local Governments, Mr Jagjit Singh, unfurled the national flag here. He gave a grant of Rs 40 lakh for the Gurdaspur Minicipal Council and Rs 1 lakh for the children participated in today’s function.

JALANDHAR: Food and Civil Supplies Minister Avtar Henry today unfurled the Tricolour at Guru Gobind Singh Stadium here during a function organised to celebrate the 59th Independence Day. The ceremony was attended by almost all senior officials of the district.

KAPURTHALA: Ten Urban Estates have been planned to be developed in the state for which the procedure of acquiring the land has already been started. It was revealed by Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, while addressing the public after unfurling the flag on the occasion of the 59th Independence Day at Guru Nanak Stadium here today.

The chief gust granted Rs 10 lakh for the Civil Rest House here.

BATHINDA: The Deputy Speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Prof Darbari Lal, unfurled the National Flag on the 59th Independence Day here today. In Muktsar, Excise and Taxation Minister Sardul Singh unfurled the National Flag and took salute from the Independence Day parade. He appealed people to join hands to curb corruption, female foeticide and drug menace in the state.

In Moga, Education Minister Mr Harnam Dass Johar, unfurled the national flag to mark the 59th Independence Day. Addressing a gathering, the minister said teachers would soon be recruited in government schools.


Widows get sewing machines
Independence Day celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 15
Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour at Mata Gujri College stadium. Mr Lal Singh, Minister for Rural Development and Panchyats, unfurled the National Flag and took the salute from the contingents of the Punjab Police, the Home Guard and NCC cadets. He along with Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, inspected the parade.

In his address he paid rich tributes to Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh.

He highlighted various achievements of Capt Amarinder Singh government. He also announced that a new canal in the State would be constructed and it would be named after late Rajiv Gandhi. He said it would cost Rs 175 crore but he did not give the detail.

He said five marla plots would be given to Dalit families, the backlog of various types of pensions worth Rs 195 crore would be paid in four instalments and the government had started distributing pensions every month through panchyats.

He said Rs1100 crore would be spent on construction of roads, Rs 750 crore on providing clean drinking water. As many as 43 Industrial units are being set up to generate employment.

The District Social Security Department has organised a camp to give pensions to beneficiaries. Mr Lal Singh gave 15 sewing machines to widows and nine tricycles to physically challenged.

He announced a grant of Rs 21000 for the school.

He also announced holiday in the schools of the district tomorrow.

Dr Harbans Lal, unfurled the National Flag at Bassi Pathana in the district.

An impressive programme was organised at the ITI grounds. Schoolchildren presented cultural programme and the contingents of Police, Home Guard and NCC presented the parade.

In Amloh subdivision Mr Sandeep Hans and at Khamano sub division, Mr Ravinder Kumar unfurled the National Flags.


2 new jails in Punjab soon: Birmi
Our Correspondent

Kharar, August 15
The Punjab Government plans to construct two new jails on modern lines at a cost of Rs 450 crore. The jails will be constructed at Nabha and Kapurthala.

This was stated by Mr Malkit Singh Birmi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Jails and Sainik Welfare, Punjab, at a meet the press organised by the local unit of the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists here today. Mr Birmi was in the town to hoist the National Flag in connection with the Independence Day.

He said the new jails would provide adequate facilities to prisoners. At the same time a lot of stress had to be laid on the security aspect. The jails would have two boundary walls, each having a width of 2.5 ft and a height of 7 metres. He did not want that incidents like the Burail jail break got repeated as far the two new jails were concerned.

Mr Birmi said each jail would comprise four small jails having a capacity of 20,000 prisoners. Prisoners from the Patiala circle would be sent to the Nabha jail while those from the Jalandhar circle would be kept in the Kapurthala jail. The contract for the construction of both the jails was being given to a Malaysian firm and an MoU in this regard was to be signed next month. The company would be asked to complete the work in 18 months time.

He said a model jail was constructed in Ropar which was likely to be inaugurated by the Punjab Chief Minister in the first week of September. Nearly 1,000 prisoners from Jalandhar jail would be sent to Ropar.

Two additional barracks were being constructed in central jails at district headquarters. One out of them would be reserved for women prisoners, added Mr Birmi.

Mr Birmi later hoisted the National Flag at Christian High School. While addressing a gathering he highlighted the achievements of the Punjab Government. He also talked about the sacrifices made by Congress leaders in the freedom struggle. A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion.

A function in connection with the Independence Day was also organised at Sacred Soul International School, Gharuan. A cultural programme was organised. Students presented items having a patriotic theme. The National Flag was hoisted by the school Principal, Ms Neel Inder Kaur Sandhu.


Health Minister spurns MC water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
The Health Minister of Punjab, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, does not think the drinking water consumed by lakhs of residents of the city is fit for him!

This was evident at the Independence Day function, where he was drinking bottled water while all other VIP guests were being offered ordinary water.

During the one-and-a-half-hour-long function, after the Minister along with his wife, Ms Surinder Dogra, had made themselves comfortable on a sofa, the waiters were seen offering them branded bottled water.

The fact came to light when a waiter, offering water in ordinary glasses to VIP guests, specially brought a tray with empty glasses, a sealed mineral water bottle and offered it to the minister and his wife.

Quite a scene was created when some guests pointed out that the Health Minister was not trusting the water supplied by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which had been claiming supply of clean potable water to the city residents.

‘‘The tall claims of the local MC about clean water have fallen flat with the Minister not choosing to drink potable water. He wants to escape from the water-borne diseases. What about other guests who are also drinking the same water and lakhs of innocent people, who consume it everyday risking their lives,’’ said a prominent personality of Ludhiana.

Among others who drank the ordinary water included city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, Wing Commander Parmajit Singh Sibia, Chairman, Ludhiana Improvement Trust, Mr K.K. Bawa, Chairman, Housefed, mediapersons and other guests.


Patiala to have overbridge to ease traffic
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister of Cooperation and Horticulture, Punjab, unfurled the Tricolour at the Yadvindra Stadium here during the celebrations of the 59the Independence Day today. He inspected the parade and took the salute.

Mr Randhawa said Patiala would soon have another overbridge over Phatak No 21 to ease the flow of traffic. The work would start shortly, he said. Roads leading to Sangrur, Rajpura, Sirhind and Nabha would be four-laned.

Economic zones would be set up at Mohali and in Amritsar. The government had already got a green signal in this regard. Mohali would be developed as a centre for communications technology, and Rs 200 crore would be spent for the purpose. The minister revealed that there had been a 35 per cent increase in tax collections with VAT going online in the state.

World Bank had agreed to a Rs 1000 crore loan to develop infrastructure in the state. All major roads would be repaired and widened. Work on link roads was already in progress, he said. Speaking about the floods that ravage the district every year, Mr Randhawa said the Central Water Commission had approved a Rs 140-crore project to tackle 
the situation.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation Patiala; Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, Chairman PRTC, Mr K.K. Sharma, Chairman, Improvement Trust, Mrs Gursharan Kaur Randhawa, Chairperson, Zila Parishad, Mrs Anjali Bhawra, Commissioner, Mr V.K. Bhawra, DIG, Patiala Range, Mr Tejvir Singh, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr A.S. Rai were present on the occasion, besides others.

In the evening, a sports rally was flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner. Meanwhile in other Independence Day celebrations, Dr Param Bakhshish Singh, Registrar, Punjabi University, unfurled the National Flag in front of Guru Teg Bahadur Hall on the university campus. A contingent of university staff held the march past while university schoolchildren sang the National Anthem.

At the Diesel Loco Modernisation Works, a production unit of the Indian Railway, Mr D.L. Nagpal, Chief Mechanical Engineer, unfurled the Tricolour and took the salute from Railways Protection Force, Bharat Scouts and Guides and St John’s Ambulance Brigade.


Plea to recall sacrifice of martyrs
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, August 15
The Independence Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm by the local administration at New Vegetable Market, here today. Mr A.P.S. Virk, Subdivisional Magistrate, hoisted the Tricolour and appealed to gathering to keep solidary with the nation.

He also asked public to recall the sacrifice of great leaders in the freedom struggle. He also appealed to the gathering to maintain brotherhood and harmony.

Earlier, he took salute at a parade in which units of the Punjab Police, the Home Guard and NCC cadets participated. An impressive culture programme was also presented by the students of various schools.

As many as 20 aged persons were also given Old age pensions. Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP, and Mr Harbansh Singh, president of the Freedom Fighters Association, Rajpura, were also honoured on the occasion.

Besides officials of different government departments, Mr Rajinder Raja, president of the Rajpura Municipal Council, and Mr Karam Singh Bhateri, Chairman of the Rajpura Market Committee, were also present.

The Independence Day was also celebrated at Banur, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur.


Nanavati report: SAD for strict action against the guilty
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
For Shiromani Akali Dal follow-up action on the Nanavati Commission report was the only issue. Speaker after speaker including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his son Mr Sukhbir Badal, stage secretary Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and others dwelt on the issue.

Mr Badal said that apology by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to the Sikhs and the nation was meaningless. “Why should Dr Manmohan Singh apologise?” “what was his fault or was he anyway involved or associated at the time of killing of Sikhs in Delhi and other parts of the country” he asked. He added, how can a simple apology exonerate the Congress from the massacre of Sikhs.

The former Chief Minister said, the SAD would go to people from August 20, the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and build pressure so that the guilty he punished. He demanded strict action against those indicted by the Nanavati Commission.

Mr Badal alleged that Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Chief Simranjit Singh Mann were “the two sides of a same coin”.

Mr Sukhbir Badal was carrying a copy of the Nanavati Commission report and showing it to people. Quoting from the report, he claimed, the commission had indicted several Congress leaders and now the party was trying to shield them.

He alleged the Punjab government had forgotten people. He alleged despite acute financial crisis faced by the state, the Chief Minister was keen to by an aeroplane for himself and Camry calls for his Ministers. While common man continues to suffer, he alleged.

Senior party leaders including Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Jagdish Garcha, Mr Mann Singh Garcha, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema and others were also among the speakers.


Only arrest of guilty will pacify Sikhs: Dal Khalsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The Dal Khalsa has said the apology tendered by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, following the Nanavati Commission report was not enough and termed it “meaningless.” It said all those named by the commission and various security agencies should be arrested and FIRs registered against them. Only then Sikh sentiments could be pacified, it added.

The president of the Dal Khalsa, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh, was speaking at a media conference here yesterday. Accompanied by Mr Satnam Singh Poanta Sahib, the Dal Khalsa chief said: “It was ironic that the apology for the genocide of the Sikhs had come from a person who incidentally happens to be from the community that was victimised in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.”

There is no need for a fresh probe now. Various commissions on anti-Sikh riots have established the involvement of Congress leaders. The Prime Minister was “shameless” in even mentioning about a probe now, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh asserted. “What more circumstantial evidence was required to arrest the guilty?” he asked. Furthering his claim to arrest the guilty, he said thousands of youths in Punjab had been arrested on the basis of independent statements recorded by individuals under Section 161 of the CrPC.

The Dal Khalsa completed 27 years of its formation on August 13 and strongly advocates “sovereign self-rule for Sikhs”.

When asked about the demand made by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, seeking an apology from the Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for allegedly fanning terrorism in Punjab, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh said, “Mr Badal was not responsible of terrorism. It was the attack on the Golden Temple by the Indian Army in 1984 which encouraged terrorism.”

Angry over the arrest of 21 Dal Khalsa activists following a function to observe the 21st anniversary of Operation Bluestar in June, Mr Kanwar Pal Singh alleged: “The Punjab Police had twisted slogans raised at the function to make them sound anti-national and book us under cases of sedition.” None of the slogans were anti-national and the entire march had been videographed, he claimed.

The Director-General of Police was targetting Sikhs and playing a partisan role to bring about electoral benefits to the Congress.

Coming down heavily on the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC), he said the Dal Khalsa had filed cases in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission for wasting money and acting arbitrarily.


Apology sought from Sonia
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) today asked Congress President Sonia Gandhi to apologise in Parliament for the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and alleged “misdeeds” of her late husband Rajiv Gandhi, as an apology by Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, was not enough in this regard.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann, secretary-general of the SAD (Longowal), said though an apology by Dr Manmohan Singh was good, it was not enough for the Sikhs. So it was now the turn of Ms Sonia Gandhi to apologise in Parliament for the “misdeeds”, committed by her late husband in connection with the anti-Sikh riots, he added.

Mr Mann criticised Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, for his reported statement that the SAD would launch a statewide struggle against the non-implementation of the Nanavati Commission report. He said: “I wonder that now Mr Badal says that people involved in anti-Sikh riots should be punished and the Nanavati Commission report implemented, but why Mr Badal had not done anything during his five-year tenure as Chief Minister for the victims of anti-Sikh riots.”

Mr Mann said that it was only Mr Surjit Singh Barnala who during his tenure as Chief Minister of Punjab, had done a good job for the victims of riots.


SAD to launch movement for justice from August 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will launch a “ movement to seek justice” to get the guilty of the anti-Sikh riots in 1984 punished. The movement, significantly, will start from August 20, the death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal.

The party has also demanded a special session of the Assembly to pass a resolution to arrest all those who were involved in the riots and present a challan against them in court.

The party announced its plans at the end of two-day meetings of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and the Governing Council here yesterday. The meetings had been convened to chalk out the strategy of the SAD in view of the Nanavati Commission report and also the action taken report.

Even if the launching of a movement seems to be aimed at the polls in the state scheduled less than 17 months away, the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said: “We do not want to make the Nanavati Commission report into a poll issue. It is a matter of fighting for the human rights of the victims.” As a part of this movement, rallies will held at various places in Punjab and also in cities like Delhi, Bokaro and Kanpur to highlight the plight of the riot victims.

When asked about his comments on the Gujarat riots, Mr Badal also refused to directly blame Mr Narendra Modi for any complicity in the carnage, but added, “We are against anybody who divides two communities.” Mr Badal claimed the SAD was the only secular party.

The SAD further added that the Congress was deliberately trying to use the apology offered by Dr Manmohan Singh as a justification for not taking any further action against Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and others named in the Nanavati Commission report.

Mr Badal said the party had passed a resolution saying the issues of punishing the guilty and rehabilitating the victims should not be confused with each other. Nobody could buy out the demands of punishing the guilty by doling out help to the victims. These are two separate issues.

He went on to ridicule Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, saying he was belatedly demanding compensation for the victims. He had still stopped short of condemning the Congress party for its role in the massacre, Mr Badal said.

The meeting of district presidents of the party yesterday had demanded a high-level probe into the allegations levelled by the then Delhi’s Lt-Governor, Mr P.G. Gavai, regarding the tackling of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The district chiefs of the SAD pointed out the disclosures made by Mr Gavai about the ‘’deliberate delay’’ by the then government in deploying the Army to stop the massacre despite Mr Gavai’s repeated requests to this effect. ‘’Mr Gavai had also said that Mr P. Alexander, Principal Secretary to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, had wanted the Lt-Governor to proceed on leave in the midst of the flames of the massacre in Delhi, and Mr Gavai had also categorically stated that a top head in the country would have rolled if he (Gavai) had opened his mouth at that time,’’ the SAD leaders stated.


Show of defiance at SAD (A) rally
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
It was a show of defiance at the political conference of the SAD(A). The party had appealed to Sikhs to boycott the Independence Day celebrations. Party workers and leaders were wearing black hair bands. Some workers were also wearing black gowns to register their protest against the “inaction” of the government to punish those guilty of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. There was a big banner showing the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, with his mouth shut and the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, with her eyes shut with the Tricolour.

Posters and calendars of Bhindranwale were on sale outside the rally venue.

The absence of Mr Mann, who is currently lodged in jail for the charges of sedition, was felt at the rally. The attendance at the rally was less. The speakers like the party general secretary, Mr Charan Singh Lohara, accused the Congress and Mr Parkash Singh Badal of being silent spectators to the “injustice” meted out to the Sikhs.

Mr Lohara alleged that the Congress had prevented Dr Manmohan Singh from making any reference to the riots in his Independence Day speech. “How can we say that we are free when a Prime Minister, who happens to be a Sikh, is not allowed to speak what he wants to speak?”, he asked.

Meanwhile, the BSP, the Lok Bhalai Party of Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia and the Bharitya Kisan Union (Rajewal) held separate political conferences. The turnover at the conferences was low.


SAD (A) observes ‘black day’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 15
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Mann) SAD(A) today observed Independence Day as black day in this area by putting black flags atop their homes tying black bands on their heads and sporting black banners in protest against arrest of party president Simranjit Singh Mann, non-prosecution of Congress leaders indicted by the Nanavati Commission and non-release of Sikh detainees in jails for the past over two decades.

Mr Rajinder Singh Fauji, Central Working Committee member of the SAD(A), claimed that he himself hoisted a black flag and displayed a black banner at his Naranshahpur village house besides putting a black band on his head and directed other activists to do the same. The black banner contained demand for Mr Mann’s release.


Tandon’s remarks against RSS
Advani assures to resolve the issue
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 15
Even a missive of Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a former state BJP chief, accusing the RSS of giving a new leaf and moral boosting to the Congress party by turning the heat on BJP chief L.K. Advani has already snowballed into a major controversy, Mr Tandon said that he never intended to lower the great contribution made by the RSS towards the country.

Talking to The Tribune, here today, Mr Tandon said that he himself became member of the RSS in 1942 and always held the outfit in high esteem. However, he said, Mr Advani had talked to him on telephone and hoped that the on-going controversy would be settled in camera.

Mr Tandon said that he had sent two-page letter addressed to the BJP president, a copy of which was sent to all BJP Executive Committee members and Members of Parliament, much before the visit of Mr Advani to Pakistan. Expressing surprise over the ‘leakage’ of his letter to the media, Mr Tandon said that it was sent confidentially to senior leaders of the party and was not meant for public circulation.

In his letter, Mr Tandon had criticised the RSS on the plea that it (RSS) was always shy of going to the press till the recent past. He said the BJP workers and its sympathizers were upset over the remarks made through statements and interviews given to electronic media against towering BJP leader like Mr Advani by the RSS. He said the NDA, formed with 24 various political parties, headed by the BJP had provided an ‘excellent’ government and hence it was natural that the tirade against BJP chief was not received well by all concerned.

He said the RSS, being a ‘nationalist party’ had been serving the nation through 75 different social and political organisations and 25,000 schools opened in remote areas. Mr Tandon said that he was still devotee of the RSS and hence there was no question of lowering its prestige at any stage.

Mr Tandon, in his letter had said that “since the day, Shri Sudarshan ji (RSS chief) had made some unfortunate remarks, through press and media, the position of the party in public eye is deteriorating day by day...Impact of these happenings in our party is giving a new leaf and moral boosting to the Congress party, despite serious cracks in the UPA.”

Mr Tandon had also suggested the RSS that it should not interfere in politics. Mr Tandon said, “A non-political organisation, whether religious, social, cultural, voluntary or others, have only limited agenda to an extent and agitate only to achieve that limited aim. On the other hand, a political organisation has to take cognizance of all aspects of the country’s well-being, its security concerns, economic progress, external affairs, military preparation.” …”In short, non-political parties have nothing to do with the political governance of the state or the country. On the other hand, political parties, regional or national, aspire to come to power whenever or wherever elections do take place,” he had said, adding that “all those regional parties, having the Congress party in opposition in their respective state strongly want a non-Congress party to rule at the Centre.”


Kisan clubs to promote clean foodgrains, vegetables in Punjab
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
A farmers' movement to grow clean foodgrains and vegetables and keep the environment clean has started taking roots in Punjab's countryside. Younger generation of farmers have started forming kisan clubs in villages to promote this phenomenon.

As many as 10 such clubs have been formed in Ropar district and nine in Nawanshahr district. Elsewhere also , similar clubs are being set up. Obviously, this is revolutionary transformation, though at a miniscule level yet, in the thinking of the younger generation of farmers, who over the years have been exploited by various political organisations and drug mafia.

The seeds of such a thinking have been sown by Mr Resham Singh, coordinator of the Regional Rural Bank for Ropar and Nawanshahr. He is a public-spirited person, who has aspired to set up such clubs in all villages in the state. Dr Phool Singh, Chairman of the bank, is fully backing his endeavour.

Mr Resham Singh has played a pivotal role to free a substantial number of people from the clutches of money lenders at Doomcheri village by starting some very innovative ventures there. He is a sort of a missionary trying to change the fortune of small farmers and landless labourers at the village level.

An Akal Sahai Kissan Club has been set up at Tira village, about 25 km from here, in Majari block. Interacting with The Tribune, Mr Avtar Singh Saini, who has taken all initiative to launch the club at Tira village, says that " all members of the club will shift to organic farming in due course". He says the club members, most of them farmers, have vowed to get rid of pesticides, which had become a source of various diseases especially cancer in villages. Farmers will be educated and guided to produce foodgrains and vegetables free from pesticides and chemical fertilisers and also keep the village environment free from all sort of pollutants.

"Our other motto is cooperative farming to reduce the input cost on agriculture. Removing drugs and intoxicants, discouraging over-exploitation of sub-soil water, immunising inhabitants and animals against various diseases by organising medical camps are also part of our mission", he adds. He says it will be in the interest of farmers to get rid of the wheat-rice cycle of crops at the earliest. The club will arrange loans for farmers to diversify to other areas after quitting mainstream agriculture.

" From marketing to arranging raw material, the clubs will extend all sorts of support to its members", says Mr Resham Singh. Not only this, employment-oriented training programmes will also be organised by the clubs for unemployed youth. Dairy, agro-forestry, piggery, goat rearing, floriculture and herbal farming are the jobs which farmers can easily handle without affecting their agriculture- related daily routine.


Plea for stopping entrance tests
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
Dr T.R. Sharma, a retired Professor and Dean, Education Department, Punjabi University, Patiala, has asked the authorities of various universities to give the logic behind asking the students of their universities to appear in the entrance tests for admission to various MA, MSc and other courses. He said when the universities asked their own students to appear in the entrance tests for various courses, it seemed that they had no faith even in their own examination system.

Dr Sharma was addressing the gathering as a key speaker at a seminar on “Why not the entrance test at every stage be stopped, like Tamil Nadu”, organised by the local Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum (SASWF) here last evening.

Dr Sharma also asked the universities to explain the logic behind not giving weight to plus two marks for admission to various courses in the medical, non-medical and other disciplines. He said if the entrance tests were necessary for admission to various MA, MSc, MBBS, BE courses, etc, then the condition of passing Class X, XII, BA and BSc examinations stood nowhere. He said if the agencies, conducting the entrance tests for various courses, were of the view that the practice of copying was part of the examination system at the lower level, then could they give a guarantee that their entrance test system was a foolproof and free from practice of copying and other such evils.

Dr Sharma also criticised the universities for taking heavy charges from the applicants in the name of application forms, entrance test and counselling.

Dr A.S. Mann, president of the Scientific Awareness and Social welfare Forum, asked the Punjab Government to immediately stop the entrance tests for admission to various courses on the pattern of Tamil Nadu as these tests claimed the lives of several students every year who could not pass the tests even after working hard for several hours and paying huge amounts to the coaching centres. He said in the name of preparation for the entrance tests, many academies and educationists “virtually looted” the students by charging heavy tuition fees for a span of about three months.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Prof Malkeet Singh Khatra, Head, Department of Punjabi, Government College, Sangrur; Prof Jagdev Singh Sohi, lecturer, Guru Teg Bahadur College, Bhawanigarh; Dr Amar Singh Azad, SMO, Bhawanigarh; Dr J.S. Somal, Homoeopathic Physician, Mastuana Sahib; Mr Amrik Singh Gaga, Master Fakir Singh Tibba, and Ms Manjinder Kaur Brar.


Cong men threaten to resign en masse
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 15
Members of the block Congress committee, Kalanaur, have threatened to resign en masse. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held here today.

Congress office-bearers of the area are sore over the recent appointments to the Kalanaur market committee. In a press note here, the Congress workers alleged that Akali workers had been appointed as office-bearers in Kalanaur at the behest of the Independent MLA, Mr Such Singh Chottepur.

One of the office-bearers appointed was allegedly an Army deserter and had undergone sentence for various crimes.

The Congress workers were being victimised, they alleged.

They said they had written to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo. If the state leaders failed to take action, the Congressmen from Kalanaur would go to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and submit their resignations.

Today’s meeting was attended, among others, by Mr Om Prakash, PPCC member, Mr Mohan Singh Ojla, former president, bloc the Congress committee, Mr Balwant Singh, block Congress president, Kalanaur, and Mr Ashwani Kumar, block youth Congress president.

Mr Chottepur, when contacted said he had selected persons for appointment to the committee on the basis of merit and keeping in view the sentiments of the locals. All the appointees were his supporters. “I contested the election as an Independent. If the Congressmen consider the men who supported me as Akalis it is their problem, he said.

About the allegation of the appointment of the Army deserter, he said even Capt Amarinder Singh had resigned to protest against Operation Blue Star. The appointee had not committed any crime other than that, he said.


Singla challenges Dullo’s authority
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 15
Challenging the authority of PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo asking the state ministers to restrain themselves in interfering in one another’s department affairs, Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, said the PPCC president was no one to issue such directions.

Terming the Cabinet members as a joint family with each of its member having the right to interfere in one another’s department affairs, he told mediapersons at the local Circuit House today, the decision of the government to enforce the 85th Amendment to the Constitution to safeguard the interests of the Dalits and other weaker sections of society. However, it could be reviewed after receiving directions from the Supreme Court following a writ petition filed by the general category, he said.

He was here to preside over the district level Independence Day function.

Assuring a deputation of unemployed ETT teachers who met him on the occasion, he assured to recruit 8,000 to 10,000 of them on a regular basis before the end of next month. However, a criterion must be maintained by recruiting teachers below the age of 40, he said.

Expressing concern over the declining of the strength of the students in both the elementary and primary schools, he exhorted the teachers to bring their respective institutions on a par with private and public institutions.

Making a scathing attack on the senior leadership of the SAD, for allegedly trifurcating Punjab in 1966 and later “disturbing” the peace of the state, the Finance Minister asked it to shun such activities.

Reiterating the determination of the state government to give various concessions like free power and water to small and marginal farmers and relief in the agriculture equipment and items to other members of the farming community, he appreciated the state Chief Minister for terminating the treaty regarding the river waters dispute.

Replying to a question regarding the ceasing of pension and other facilities of Mr Surjan Singh former MLA from Joga in Bathinda district, he said the matter was under the preview of the Deputy Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha. The minister also promised to take measures to upgrade Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital.

Unfurling the National Flag, Mr Singla criticised the SAD general secretary and MP, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, for failing to initiate any steps for the betterment of Faridkot. The chief guest announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh from his discretionary quota to those who got first three positions in both the parade ceremony and cultural activities. He distributed tricycles and sewing machines among the needy on the occasion. 


Physically challenged kids tie rakhis to BSF jawans
Tribune News Service

Wagah, August 15
Five mentally and physically challenged children had come all the way from Delhi to see the Retreat ceremony and tie rakhis to Border Security Force (BSF) personnel at the Wagah joint checkpost here today.

Ms Bhawna Sharma, media consultant, Defenceindia.com, while talking to The Tribune said that the children had themselves made rakhis for the soldiers who are serving the country without caring for their lives.

Ms Sharma said Mr Ponty Chadha, chairman, Mata Bhagvati Chadha Niketan, an organisation working for the mentally and physically challenged children, arranged this tour with Defenceindia.com a website which works for the welfare of defence personnel and their families. Mr Chadha had a soft, loving and helping heart for the children who are at the niketan and was providing them with education, food and medical facilities, said Ms Bhawna.


Dharna staged in front of Mahatma’s statue
I-Day celebrations a farce, say Class IV staff
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
No politician of any hue came to garland Mahatma Gandhi’s statue installed at Mall Road in this home town of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

However, for a section of state government employees, Mahatma still hold relevance as they staged a dharna in protest against the government policies in front of his statue with the hope that their agitation will be noticed by the authorities concerned.

Though hundreds of members of Class IV Government Employees Union staged a dharna for about three hours to lodge their protest against the “anti-employees” policies of the state government and its apathetic attitude towards their genuine grievances.

Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Minister of Cooperation and Horticulture, who unfurled the National Flag here on the occasion of 59th Independence Day, could not spare a few minutes to accept their memorandum.

Mr Darshan Singh Lubana, state president of the union, alleged that Mr Randhawa refused to give them time to accept their memorandum despite the fact that they had informed the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejvir Singh few days ago that union would be handing over a memorandum of their demands to the concerned minister on August 15.

Mr Lubana pointed out that the members of the union went to local circuit house to meet Mr Randhawa but could not contact him.

Later the members contacted the personal assistant of Mr Randhawa to seek an appointment with him but they failed.

Mr Lubana said this kind of treatment meted out to them had made them feel that the celebration of Independence Day by the state government had turned into a drama.

The Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues cannot find any time to listen to the problems of Class IV employees then how they could believe the speech made by Mr Randhawa on the occasion of Independence Day”, he said.

He said those, who had been running the affairs of the state government and celebrated the Independence Day with zeal today were the ones who had made Class IV employees as their “slaves”. He added that the Class IV employees would not tolerate such thing.

The Class IV employees were protesting against the abolition of thousands of posts by the state government. They were demanding that services of the workcharged and daily wagers should be regularised.

Mr Tejvir Singh, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said no leader of the Class IV employees union contacted him for handing over the memorandum to Mr Randhawa.

He added that his office received a letter from the union that the union was going to stage a dharna in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on August 15. He said if the union would submit the memorandum in his office, it would be sent to the state government.


Panel to probe killings during militancy
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Issru (Ludhiana), August 15
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today hinted at the setting up of a commission of inquiry to probe killings during militancy in the state. He said, he would discuss the issue at various levels, including legal experts, to decide terms of reference. The Chief Minister was here to address party’s rally organised in memory of Shaheed Karnail Singh Issru.

Rejecting the demand of a special session of the state’s Assembly to discuss the Nanavati Commission report, the Chief Minister said, there was no need to do that. He pointed out, the report had already been discussed in both houses of Parliament. However, he added, he was ready for a debate in the Assembly to discuss the entire issue including the killings of innocents in the state.

The demand was mooted by Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo during his speech at the rally. Probably for the first time, Mr Dullo also directed his ire at the Akalis, particularly Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Like the Chief Minister, Mr Dullo also devoted his entire speech to Badal bashing blaming him for the killings of innocents in the state during militancy. Mr Dullo said, Mr Badal owed an explanation to the people of the state for attending the bhog ceremonies of terrorists and never visiting the terrorist victims.

For the first time, the Chief Minister and the PCC president spoke in one voice today. Corroborating Mr Dullo’s charges against Mr Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh alleged, it he (Mr Badal) had mooted the Anandpur Sahib Resolution. He accused Mr Badal of sabotaging the Rajiv-Longowal Accord. He also blamed Mr Badal for the killing of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. He added, it was Mr Badal who led a delegation to the then Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1993 and submitted a memorandum to him demanding a separate state of Khalistan. “I would like all these issues to be examined”, he said, while saying that the commission would look into everything.

Both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Dullo defended their party, pointing out that Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh had tendered an unconditional apology to the Sikhs and the nation. “Can Mr Badal do the same and apologise for the killing of innocent people in the state?”, the Chief Minister asked, adding, “he can never do that because he (Mr Badal) is a coward”.

Later addressing a joint press conference the Chief Minister and the PCC president assured that all promises made in the election manifesto would be fulfilled. They claimed that the infrastructure, particularly the roads were being repaired and re-metalled. However, the Chief Minister said, there was problem with the power sector as the demand had increased.

On the selection of the elementary teachers, the Chief Minister said the government could and would make appointments on contractual basis only. He said, “the teachers are welcome to join but on our terms and conditions”.

Earlier tributes were paid to Shaheed Karnail Singh Issru. 


MC at it again; allows hoardings on footbridge
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 15
The local municipal corporation has once again allowed two huge hoardings of private telecom companies atop the newly built footbridge near the BMC chowk here, allegedly in violation of the Punjab and Haryana High Court order.

Two similar hoardings had been allowed on another footbridge on the GT Road and in front of the ISBT about three months ago.

The footbridges have been set up at a distance of about 100 metres from each other and the one at the BMC chowk is hardly used by pedestrians because of its proximity to the other bridge and for its “odd” location.

Opposition leaders have been saying that there was no use of the second footbridge near the BMC chowk and was allegedly built to oblige some advertisement companies.

Mr Krishan Dev Bhandari, Leader of the Opposition in the MC, said the MC had leased out these bridges to private companies for seven years at a much lower rent of Rs 3 lakh per month. He alleged that though the cost of each footbridge had shown to be around Rs 40-45 lakh under the built, operate and transfer system, each bridge could be constructed by the MC for Rs 20 lakh.

The hoardings were so prominent, that these distract vehicle drivers, which could lead to accidents.

Such hoardings were in violation of the directions issued by the high court that no commercial hoarding should be allowed to be put up along national highways, state highways and major roads.

Mr S.K. Sharma, IG (Traffic), Punjab, said such hoardings did violate the spirit of the court directions.

However, the MC authorities are of the view that the HC directions were not applicable within MC limits, where the speed of vehicles was slow. “It is in every city. Still we are seeking legal advice on the issue,” said the MC Commissioner, Mr C.S. Talwar.

Mr Surinder Mahey, Mayor, said for the development of the city, “private participation” was a must.


Probe graft charges against leaders: MLA
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Mr Om Parkash Soni, ruling party MLA and Chairman, Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation, today urged the Chief Minister to hold inquiries against alleged corrupt leaders so that the leaders with clean image could come forward in the government.

Mr Soni was addressing a function held at Putlighar Chowk to mark Independence Day, here today. Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Department (PWD) Minister who was also the chief guest of the government’s district level function, joined the rally organized by Mr Soni.

Without naming any leader, he said “Whatever the status of the leader whether he is Mayor or MLA or any minister, inquiries should be held as allegations of grabbing lands and corruptions against such leaders were increasing day by day”.

Interestingly, Mr Sunil Datti Mayor, Municipal Corporation, also held a separate rally at Chheharta.

Mr Soni said that no one should be spared while probing charges against corrupt leaders. He said clean-image leaders would help in proper development of the state, especially Amritsar, where a number of areas were still lacking of basic amenities due to tainted leaders. He also urged the PWD Minister to help in establishing the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the holy city, which he alleged, was being delayed due to vested interests of the corporation and certain corrupt leaders.

The PWD minister, said the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had announced Rs 1100 crore for establishing SEZ in Amritsar. He said the state government was locating the land and within two or three months it would be done. He said that hotel owners from all over the country were coming to the holy city. He added that the long-pending four-laning of road would start within two months.

He said the Ministry of Defence would hand over the historic Gobindgarh Fort belonging to Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the government soon. The fort would be converted into a war museum, which would become a major tourist centre.

Besides, he added, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Panorama in historic Ram Bagh would also be opened within a few days.


MoU for bus stands in Jalandhar, Ludhiana
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 15
With a view to providing better bus service to people of the state, the Punjab Government has drawn up a plan to increase the number of buses from 1,591 to 2,000 during the current financial year. With an increase in buses, drivers, conductors and workshop employees will be recruited, for which a proposal is being prepared by the Transport Department for approval from the state Cabinet.

Talking to mediapersons at the PWD Rest House here today, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, Transport Minister, Punjab, admitted that there was a shortage of about 200 drivers but this shortage would end at the time of the recruitment of drivers and other staff members for the new buses. He said the government had included 360 new buses in its fleet, while 100 more would be added soon.

Mr Kaypee said MoU with a company had been signed to construct new bus stands on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis in Jalandhar at a cost of Rs 13.50 crore and in Ludhiana for Rs 17.50 crore.


Lt-Col sits on indefinite fast over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 15
Lieut-Col Onkar Nath Chopra (retired) who has not received any response to his letters written to the President, Prime Minister and Capt Amarinder Singh, today started an indefinite fast in front of the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police here.

The former officer who had been awarded Army Chief Commendation Certificate came to know last year that some persons had taken possession of his land at Chanakera village, including a house, on the basis of some documents prepared in Punjabi. These were signed by wife of his brother who did not know Punjabi. The persons, whom the Col termed as members of a land mafia group, had reportedly referred to a will executed by his mother. Colonel Chopra was not even supplied a certified copy of the will by revenue officers even after the office of the CM intervened.

According to Colonel Chopra, he had met Capt Amarinder Singh, thrice in this regard. He has sent letters to 50 senior IAS and IPS officers in New Delhi and Chandigarh, giving details of the nefarious activities of the land mafia.

He had also explained his case to former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Bada.

They had reportedly told Colonel Chopra that the person with whom he had the dispute was a worker of the SAD but they were not shielding him.

He had also complained to Mr V.K. Duggal, Union Home Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, Chief Secretary, Punjab, and Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, Financial Commissioner, that local revenue officers had allegedly executed a large number of land sale deeds manually, though the working of the office had been computerised.


Govt committed to abolishing octroi: minister
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, August 15
Though Punjab Government is committed to abolishing octroi in the state, any date for the same could not be fixed as the government is still in search of an alternative. This was stated by Punjab Local Bodies Minister, Ch Jagjit Singh, while talking to The Tribune here yesterday.

He stated the government was working for providing drinking water in all parts of the state. Moreover, the state government would also repair roads wherever required.

When asked about any further development plans in municipal committees, the minister told The Tribune that the state government would spend Rs 300 crore and had set up a municipal development funds in this regard. He said that 20 per cent of the budget would be shared by a municipal committee while the state government would bear 80 per cent.

Replying a question, he said the state government had earmarked Rs 75 crore for providing basic amenities in the slum areas.

Ch Jagjit Singh further said the state government would computerise the working of all municipal committees and municipal corporations in a phased manner.

When his attention was drawn towards the alleged highhandedness of employees of private contractors for octroi collection and quoted an incident of stopping of the official car of Ms Sarojini Sharda Gautam, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, the minister assured a high-level inquiry against the culprits. The minister directed all municipal officials to ensure wearing of proper uniforms along with name batches by employees of private octroi contractors.

On encroachments on municipal lands the minister instructed all municipal officials to launch a state-level campaign against these and gave orders for their demolition.


Right to Information Act in Punjab by Oct
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 15
Each subdivision in Punjab will have an information officer to provide information on the functioning of the government as the state government has decided to enforce the Right to Information Act by October.

The Act promises to bring about transparency in the working of the government. Citizens will be allowed to seek information on any project, any delay, costs and also errors, if any. The Act will cover the public sector undertakings also.

Already, senior officials have held meetings on the subject. At the first instance the requirement is of having assistant public information officers at the subdivisional level to receive requests from citizens and forward these to the government department concerned.

The government is at present working out what fee has to be charged from the person seeking information. The Act has already been passed by Parliament.

Since a standard format for laying down procedures will not be feasible, the government will be suggesting to the departments to frame the rules for providing information.

Internal procedures can vary. The departments concerned will create facilities for the inspection of documents and fix the level of officials who will be taking a decision on the request of the citizen.


Stop vindictive postings, urge employees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 15
The Punjab Ministerial Services Union, while taking a strong exception to the ‘‘vindictive’’ transfers of union activists in the state food and supplies department, has asked the government to cancel the new posting orders.

The union threatened to hold a protest rally at the residence of the Punjab Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, at Jalandhar on August 18 if the government failed to cancel the posting orders by then.

Addressing a meeting of the state committee of the union here yesterday, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, state president of the union, announced that after detailed deliberations, the union had decided to extend issue-based support to anti-privatisation action committee, comprising six prominent organisations of the employees.

The union resolved that the joint struggle against privatisation should also incorporate other issues of the employees like the grant of time scale promotion, setting up a of new pay commission, allocation of posts in new districts, 7.5 percent house rent allowance at district headquarters and scrapping of contributory pension scheme.

According to Mr Darshan Singh, general secretary of the state unit, a seven member sub-committee had been set up to coordinate with the functionaries of the anti-privatisation action committee.

The meeting further decided that the ongoing struggle for acceptance of 31-point charter of demands submitted to the government, would continue.

The union leadership asked the government employees to be prepared for an extended fight against anti-employee policies and delaying tactics of the state government.

Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Gurjant Grewal, Mr Harbant Singh Mangat, Mr Sunil Kumar, Mr Mukhtiar Singh Chandi, Mr Sukhdev Singh Gill, Mr Rajesh Sachdeva, Mr Darshan Lal Sharma, Mr Jita Singh, Mr Satish Kumar Walia, Mr Dalip Singh, Mr Chanan Singh Mann, Mr Satwinder Singh Bawa and Mr Jaswant Singh Kahlon were among those who spoke on the occasion.


DIET staff not paid salaries for 4 months
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, August 15
Almost all employees working in the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) have not been paid salaries for four months.

Employees including Principals, senior lecturers, junior lectures, clerical staff and class IV workers of 17 DIETs of the state have not received salaries for January, February, June and July.

Sources said few employees had been paid salaries for January and February while none had been paid salary for June and July. Some employees had not even received salary for December.

The employees are not facing this for the first time. Almost every year, their salaries are delayed. Most of the clerical staff and class IV employees have got themselves transferred to government schools.

Mr Inderjeet Singh, Principal, DIET, Deon, said he had been informed that the employees would be given salaries in September.

Mr Sadhu Singh Randhawa, Director, SCERT, could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.


Meter check: PSEB summons residents after 6 months
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 15
Residents here are getting summons to appear in the office to check their electric meters which had been removed from their houses six months ago. At the time of removing the meters the residents were told that they would be asked to come to the PSEB office for the meter check within 15 days.

Residents fear that during this long gap the paper seals put on the meters could have been changed and meters could have been damaged.

‘‘I kept waiting for the notice for six months. The meter in my house was replaced on February 12 and all these months there was no communication from the PSEB office. Finally, two days ago, I received a notice which said I had to appear in the office but I could not read it as it was in Punjabi and I did not know the language,’’ said Mr J. L. Kapoor, a senior citizen and resident of Iqbal Ganj area here.

‘‘What is the idea behind checking a meter after six months? How can anybody judge whether the original paper seal was intact? This lacuna is aimed at harassing people only. I do not know what I would go through now?’’ he asked.

Another resident, who did not want to be quoted said though the idea behind replacing meters was very good, this long gap had raised doubts in the minds of consumers and it may cause harassment to so many people who were otherwise innocent.


Pensioners observe ‘black day’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 15
Pran Nath has only one arm but his handicap pension has been withdrawn. Another Sitaram was termed a “fake” pensioner in the same category even though both his arms were lost after an accident in 1987. He had been drawing pension till it was withdrawn in 2002.

The names of at least 35,000 persons in the district under the state’s welfare schemes have been deleted in the past two and half years following a suspicion that many pensioners were fraudulently withdrawing pension in categories of old age persons, handicap and widow pensions.

A large number of these septuagenarians marched to the Hathi gate, shouting slogans against Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today. Led by BJP state vice president Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, they observed a ‘black day’ protest on Independence Day.

Ms Kanta stated that despite a PIL petition that ruled in favour of restoring pensions that were “wrongly deleted”, in October 2003, the state had failed to make any headway.

It was reported that many of the fraudulent persons were still reportedly drawing pensions while the axe had fallen on genuine pensioners.

Sumitra Devi of Gali Calcutteywali, Bugli, Swarn Singh, Chandrakali, Swarna, Mallika, and Om Parkash, all pensioners said the government was indifferent to their cause and plight.

They decried the foreign trips, new cars and other, amenities to those in high offices, including MLAs, while the state cited fund crunch as reason to evade its responsibilities. 


Punjab to announce relief for small farmers
Tribune News Service

Issru (Ludhiana), August 15
The Punjab Government will announce free power to farmers on August 20. The announcement will coincide with the birthday celebrations of late Rajiv Gandhi. The party will hold a rally in Hoshiarpur to celebrate Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday.

Sharing this information with reporters here today, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, clarified that free power would be provided to small and marginal farmers only.

He said all details would be made public on August 20. Asked whether the state could afford to provide free power, he said the state revenue had increased by about Rs 200 crore.

The Chief Minister, however, ruled out the abolition of octroi at this stage. He said he had not made any commitment in this regard.


Punjabi varsity to start M.Ed course on campus
Tribune News Service

Dr Kirandeep Kaur
Dr Kirandeep Kaur

Chandigarh, August 15
The Department of Education and Community Service, Punjabi University Patiala, will host an international conference on education on the campus. Revealing this, Dr Kirandeep Kaur, Head of the department, said preparations for the conference had already been started.

“ We are in touch with experts on various topics of education abroad”, she said while talking to The Tribune today. Already 18 foreign delegates had confirmed their participation in the conference to be held in the last week of December. Dr Kirandeep Kaur said before the conference, there would be five pre-conference workshops on different topics.

Expecting as many as 500 delegates from various parts of India and abroad, Dr Kirandeep Kaur, said education had become a most important area in the present context of globalisation. The Vice Chancellor, Mr S.S. Boparai, and other university authorities had extended full support to the department to make the conference a big success, she added.

“Education was fast donning the mantle of knowledge industry the world over and India was rated among the leaders in this area”, she stated. In the light of the changing scenario, the conference would certainly set the agenda for the coming years as vital education-related issues would be discussed in it.

Meanwhile, responding to the huge demand from students, the Department of Education and Community Service, Punjabi University, Patiala, will start an M.Ed course on the university campus this year. It will be a regular one-year course. Dr Kirandeep Kaur said there would be 25 seats available in the course.

She said Punjabi University was for the first time starting this course on the campus. The National Council for Teachers Education( NCTE) had given its approval to run the course. We fulfill all conditions laid down by the NCTE to start the course”, asserted Dr Kirandeep Kaur. Those having passed B.Ed would be eligible for admission.

Dr Kirandeep Kaur said Mr Boparai and other authorities concerned had provided adequate funds to the department to launch the course from this academic session. “ We have been provided with all facilities required in this connection”, she added.

As present, most of the private B.Ed colleges are not getting adequate number of quality M.Ed teachers to handle the academic activities. With the starting of this course on the campus, this problem will be resolved to a large extent.


Jagdish Bhola among 7 honoured
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 15
The Independence Day was celebrated here today with enthusiasm. Several official functions were organised in the town on the occasion.

The main function was organised at the local M G M N Senior Secondary School. A colourful cultural programme presented by the students of the school and Janata College for Women was the highlight of the function. Mr Mangat Rai Jain, president of the Vidya Parcharak Sabha unfurled the National Flag.

Arjuna Awardee, Mr Jagdish Bhola, Mr Kuldeep Karir, CJM, Dr Rajinder Mittal, M Ch, Dr Naved Aslam, a cardiologist, Mr PS Ghabbadi, OSD to the Deputy Chief Minister, were among those felicitated on the occasion.


Budha Dal students honoured
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 15
Students of Budha Dal Public School, who had won the NASA’s settlement in space on moon competition were presented with Independence Day honours at the function here today. Those who received the honours included 11-year old Isha Dang, Dr Harshinder Kaur, Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Bahadur Singh, Mr Ram Kishan and Mr Bhagat Singh.

Isha Dang was honoured for her achievements at the international level in the field of dance while paediatrician Dr Harshinder Kaur was recognised for her social service. 

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