P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



MC poll: Cong, SAD workers clash, 6 hurt
Akalis stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
At least six Akali workers were injured, one of them seriously, as workers of the ruling Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal clashed during the bypoll at ward No 9 of the Municipal Corporation, Patiala, today.

The Congress candidate, Mr Gurdev Singh Punia, won by over 1,200 votes, defeating the Akali candidate, Mr Sandeep Singh Sandhu, who polled 1,000 votes.

Mr Sandhu levelled allegations of booth capturing and bogus voting in the afternoon against Mr Punia. He boycotted polling and staged a dharna on the Patiala-Sirhind road, leading to a traffic blockade.

Amid allegations of bogus voting, workers of the two parties resorted to hooliganism and sloganeering. The Akali MLA from Samana, Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra, alleged that Congress workers took law into hands and used non-democratic means to cast votes.

Local Congress leaders also claimed that their workers were beaten up.

The police was present in large numbers but SAD workers alleged that the police helped the ruling party rather than controlling the situation.

Rumours of booth capturing made the rounds the whole day. The voting was stopped twice, at 1.30 pm and 1.45 pm by the polling staff, but was resumed on both occasions. At 2 pm the SAD candidate decided to call all his polling agents and sat on dharna in front of Gurdwara Dukhniwaran.

Mr Rakhra said they had to boycott the elections as the government officials were hand-in-glove with the ruling party and said their workers were beaten up. He added that they would ask the Election Commission to cancel the poll.

The SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, said his men maintained law and order and had no conflict with the voters.

In all four candidates were in election fray, including two Independents.


Close win for Cong in Bariwala poll
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, September 18
In a close finish to the elections for the Notified Area Committee in Bariwala, the Congress got six seats, while the Shiromani Akali Dal won with five.

Ninety-four per cent polling took place. None of the political parties allotted symbols for the elections, which were purely based on political affiliations. There were 23 candidates in the fray for the committee having 11 wards.

The poll campaign of the Congress was managed by the daughter-in-law of former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar along with District Congress Committee (DCC) chief Mr Gursant Singh Brar.

MLA Sukhdarshan Singh Marar, ex-MLA Harnirpal Singh, and other SAD leaders ran the election campaign for their party.

The winning candidates include Navdeep Kaur of SAD from Ward No.1, Jagga Singh of SAD from Ward No.2, Gurmeet Kaur of Congress from Ward No.3, Pappu of SAD from Ward No.4, Vijay Kumar of Congress from Ward No.5, Alka Rani of Congress from Ward No.6, Sanjeev Kumar of Congress from Ward No.7, Charan Das of SAD from Ward No.8, Pushpa Rani of SAD from Ward No.9, Rajiv Kumar of Congress from Ward No.10, and Subhash Chander of Congress from Ward No.11.


SAD man wins MC byelection
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 18
The SAD candidate won the byelection held in ward No2 of the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib today. Interestingly, the official residence of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, SAD(A ) president, also falls in this ward and the party has fielded its candidate, who secured second position, whereas the Congress candidate, supported by Dr Harbans Lal,was third.

Subedar Jagjit Singh fielded by SAD won the election by securing 655 votes, Mr Dalbir Singh fielded by SAD(A) got 530 votes and Dr Arjun Singh Talania, Congress supported candidate, got only 255 votes.

Similarly in Amloh town, the elections were held in all wards of the council.

Sources said as the elections were not contested on the party symbol, six candidates supported by the Congress could manage to win out of 13 wards. The present president of the council Baldev Singh Aulakh (Congress) lost  the election.


Badal alleges misuse of authority
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that the government machinery indulged in highhandedness during the municipal elections today.

The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, alleged that the Congress misused the government machinery.

Meanwhile, party secretary Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said that the police virtually took control of polling booths in Patiala to help the Congress candidate. The Akali candidate , his polling agents and his supporters were forced to boycott the proceedings.

At Bholath, where Bibi Jagir Kaur was spearheading the Akali campaign, the police resorted to force to stop Akali supporters from casting their votes, Dr Cheema alleged.


Political hoardings make holy city ugly
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, September 18
Despite the blanket ban by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on putting up hoardings, a large number of huge hoardings, highlighting so called achievements or promises for development, have come up in all over the city due to the alleged connivance of politicians of the ruling government and the local civic authorities.

They even did not spare huge signboards depicting the direction, distance and names of the roads leading to various cities and states put up by spending huge amounts. The signboards are virtually superimposed by hoardings. These consist of photographs of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The High Court had banned erecting of such hoardings on railway tracks and roads within the municipal corporation limits as they distract the attention of people riding vehicles and putting their lives at risk and causing accidents.

However, not a single road or place, national and state highways are spared. Bus stop shelters, public toilets, walls of government buildings, every nook and corner of holy city, are dotted with such hoardings.

Mr Brij Bedi, president the Citizen Forum alleged that the MC was doing its best to make the city ugly. “The corporation is making the city ‘colourful’ by allowing people to install iron and steal structures for putting hoardings for advertisements after throwing all norms to the winds. Instead of planting trees they are planting hoardings,” he added.

The corporation is allowing the installation of these illegal iron structures without taking into consideration the site, thus obstructing the view of historical and beautiful buildings. One such structure is constructed on the main G T Road in front of Khalsa College. Others were constructed on Crystal Chowk and inside newly constructed bus stand.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, state vice-president of the BJP, said on one hand the government made excuses of financial crunch for carrying out various developmental works, on the other hand, it is putting up hoardings and constructing huge structures expending huge amount.

Mr Bedi alleged that the corporation did not have money for the development of city, but apparently had enough for carrying out activities that cater to their vested interests.

Mr Sunil Datti, Mayor, could not be contacted for comments even after repeated attempts.


With eye on poll, CM enumerates
govt’s achievements

Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Chhapar (Ludhiana), September 18
Not just ‘Bole so Nihal’ reverberated frequently at the Congress rally here today, but even tone and tenor of the speeches at the rally also had religious theme. Even Capt Amarinder Singh was addressed as Sardar Amarinder Singh and not Maharaja Amarinder Singh, as his supporters usually do. All leaders appeared to be appealing rural electorate with the speakers including Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh sticking to a particular theme revolving either around the farmers or the Panth.

While the Chief Minister did it with subtleness, PCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo appeared to be obvious and at time even uncouth by praising the Congress for appointing a Sikh Prime Minister, a Sikh Chief of the Army Staff and much more, meaning that the party was more Panthic than the “self proclaimed guardians of the Panth, the Akalis”. This was greeted with shouts of ‘Bole So Nihal’.

The Chief Minister reminded the people of the “daring” step he took in annulling all water-sharing agreements with neighbouring states to “save the water of Punjab”. He said, he was warned by some people that if he went ahead with this step, it could cost him his job. “But I thought even that would not be too much for saving Punjab’s water and any sacrifice would be too small for it,” he said amidst a applause from a predominantly rural crowd.

Capt Amarinder said, his government had fulfilled not only the promises his party had made in the election manifesto, but had went even beyond that, while referring to the annulling of the water agreements. Reacting to the charges that his government had announced free power to farmers and Dalits with an eye on next elections, he said, when he took over, the state of economy was miserable. “It took us some-time to stablise and once our economic position became stable, we passed it on to the farmers by way of free power,” he explained.

On the charges of hijacking the Panthic agenda from the Akalis he asked, “religion is nobody’s personal property or privilege and not at least of the Akalis”.

He said, he was proud of holding the function of the martyrdom of the Sahibzadas and also the Parkash Utsav of Guru Granth Sahib. He said, he would soon be organising similar functions at Muktsar during the Magi Mela. He criticised Mr Badal for “making Akali Dal his private property”.

He regretted, it is the same Akali Dal in which there were selfless leaders like Master Tara Singh and Giani Kartar Singh and there is Mr Badal who had earned Rs 3,500 crore.

On the issue of prosecuting former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for corruption, he said, he was hopeful that the Supreme Court of India would refer back the case to the trial court. “You would soon see him making round of courts and hopefully he would be convicted as well,” the Chief Minister said.

Earlier, senior Congress leader from the area, Mr Jagpal Singh Khangura, presented a charter of demands to the Chief Minister, which included providing additional grant for the Kartar Singh Sarabha Memorial, setting up of a professional training college and Rs one crore for the development of Kila Raipur Assembly segment.


Falling water table: farmers advised
against sowing paddy

Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
Experts of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, gave information on various crops and fruits at the kisan mela at Rauni, near here, on Friday.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, inaugurating the mela said there would be no secure future for farmers till 10 lakh hectares were brought under other crops other than paddy.

Farmers would have to take marketing into their own hands, he added. The mela was organised by the Directorate of Extension Education, PAU.

Dr Aulakh asked farmers to use water efficiently as water table was depleting in the state. Every year it was falling by more than two feet. He called upon farmers to switch over to other crops like moong, soya bean and oilseeds to save water.

He informed that the university had worked out that growing of sathi-moong in April- June, followed by soyabean was a good alternative to paddy and it also yielded more profit.

Director of Research, Dr B.S. Dhillon, asked the farmers to follow university’s recommendations for maximum profits.

He asked them to maintain contact with farm scientists to use water, fertilizers and pesticides optimally and according to recommended doses.

Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, Director of Extension Education, said the university had started a campaign to educate farmers on the efficient use of water.

The theme of this year’s kisan mela ‘save water save Punjab,’ had been chosen to highlight the problem.

Scientists said some farmers were still using foratex and foradon, which the university had stopped recommending in 1994. The two pesticides were of not much use as these increased caterpillar growth.

Dr H.S. Rawal advised potato growers to ensure blight-free seed for growing while entomologist Dr Gurdip Singh gave advice on checking of tobacco caterpillar in cotton crop. The diseased plants should be rooted out, he said.

Dr G.S. Hira and Dr Kuldeep Singh Sandhu advised the farmers to use DAP fertiliser only at the time of sowing of wheat. It was of no use if applied later. They advised farmers to procure it in advance.

They asked the farmers of Patiala and Sangrur districts to apply 25kg zinc per acre in wheat-grown fields as these areas are deficient in the micro-nutrient.

It would be sufficient for three years, they added.


Industrial Facilitation Ordinance passed
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 18
In order to streamline the process of setting up industrial projects in the state, the Punjab Government has passed the Punjab Industrial Facilitation Ordinance 2005.

According to the Ordinance, industrial projects within a particular investment limit (not specified in the ordinance) would be now dealt at the level of “district committees”.

The committees headed by Deputy Commissioners would clear projects found viable. These committees would report to an “Empowered Committee on Industrial Facilitation” headed by the Chief Secretary. On the top has been constituted a “State Board” headed by the Chief Minister.

Interestingly, the State Board has been given powers to grant exemptions from the provisions of any other law made by the Punjab state legislature relating to industrial development.

The district committees with members from other departments would consider applications forwarded by the District Industry Centres (DICs) which would be the nodal agencies for receiving applications from the industrialists.

The district committees would report to the empowered committee which would have Principal Secretaries of various departments as members. While the empowered committee would directly take up projects above a specific investment limit, it would also review the projects cleared by the district committees. In case there is a point of contention the empowered committee’s view would be supreme. The Udyog Sahayak of the Directorate of Industries and Commerce would be the nodal agency for the empowered committee at the state level.

Other than reviewing the work of the empowered committee, the State Board on its own would also grant exemptions or relaxations to these ventures.

All these bodies would be constituted after specific notifications and would have to function in an efficient, time-bound manner. The various nodal agencies notified for various levels of investment would be facilitating clearances for the projects.


Lahore a Mecca for Indian kidney patients
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 18
Kidney donors from Pakistan are providing fresh lease of life to Indians suffering from renal failure!

With Lahore becoming a new hub of kidney transplantation in Asia, Pakistan has become much sought-after destination for Indian patients of renal failure. Indian patients are getting an attractive package for kidney transplantation. Unlike India, they (patients) don’t have to undergo lengthy procedural predicaments. They need to deposit Rs 10,000 (US dollars) with the hospital management of Lahore which arranges the donor.

At least four patients of renal failure from Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Patiala visited Lahore’s Rasheed Hospital on special medical visa, granted by Pakistan. Rasheed Hospital, New Garden Town, is a 100-bed hospital situated in the heart of Lahore in Garden Town, near Barkat Market where one could easily get a kidney. There are more hospitals in Lahore which have been receiving patients from all over the world, including developed counties.

One of the recipient of Pakistani’s donor kidney is a retired senior officer of Income Tax Department from Amritsar who underwent kidney transplantation at Lahore a few days ago . One recipient told The Tribune that lately Lahore had become a Mecca for the Indian patients of renal failure. Certain Indian doctors themselves have been recommending cases unofficially to Lahore’s hospitals even as the relatives were not coming forward to donate kidneys at home.

The website of the hospital provides online consultancy to the patients world over. The website of hospital reads, “The kidney is the most frequently transplanted organ in the world, but it is not free of complications. The complications might be related with the transplantation itself or with the immunosuppressive medications. The important post-transplant complications are transplant rejection. Even with good tissue match, the immune system may react against a healthy kidney anytime because it is foreign to the body. Less than 50 per cent of all kidney recipients experience at least one rejection, most of which can be controlled. Rejection usually causes symptoms like fever, pain, fall in urine output and tenderness over the transplant site. But these are rare now with the development and use of potent immunosuppressive drugs and rejection may occur without these symptoms”.

It is true in case of Indian patients who had been getting post-operative service from the local hospitals.

There are many transplant surgeons in Lahore. Dr Waqar Ahmed, specialist in the diagnosis and management of diseases of kidney. His special interest is kidney transplantation and has a vast experience of working with a highly motivated kidney transplant team. Another world famous transplant surgeon of Pakistan is Dr Shamim Hashim.


Top Cong, SAD leaders stay away from Gurgaddi ‘divas’ function
Our Correspondent

Khadoor Sahib (Tarn Taran), September 18
Absence of senior leaders and of ruling party and SAD was noticeable on the historic occasion of anniversary of ‘gurgaddi’ (installation of guruship) of second Sikh Guru Angad Dev at this township. In place of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC president Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, Mr Avtaar Singh Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies presided over the Congress conference.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal was chief guest of the conference organised by the SAD in absence of his father Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Akali president the junior Badal made a brief stay.

Leaders of both major parties criticised on each other and alleged them to be Anti-Punjab while claiming themselves to be messiahs of the masses.

MP Navjot Sidhu addressing the SAD conference on behalf of BJP in his typical style used humour in describing present scenario of the state.

Undermining achievements of the Congress he highlighted his achievements in raising crucial issues in Parliament which had been swept under the carpet by the Congress, including the SEZ and the issue of four-laning of GT road. He stressed that the ‘bond’ of the SAD and the BJP was permanent and would continue to face all circumstances and promised to dethrone the Congress in the state.

In the Congress camp Minister for Excise and Taxation Sardool Singh Bhandala charged the SAD with supporting terrorism during days of militancy and bringing the state into disrepute Mr Henry regretted that development in the state suffered due to favours by Mr Parkash Singh Badal to his near and dear ones at the cost of the state. He highlighted development schemes of his government.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Shahbazpuri, former Minister, presided over the Congress conference. Mr Sukhbir Badal threatened that if the SAD came to power all corruption cases against the Congress would be opened. He blamed the Congress for 1984 anti-Sikh violence. The CPI and the BSP (Ambedkar) too organised conferences on the occasion.


Two children buried alive as roof caves in
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, September 18
Two children of a family were buried alive when the makeshift roof of their one-room house in Focal point Colony here collapsed because of heavy rain last night. The mother of the victims and their five-year-old brother escaped with injuries.

The accident occurred at around 8 pm yesterday when owner of the house Gurnam Singh (27), along with his father-in-law Tawinder Singh, went on the roof to plug a leakage. They were putting earth on the roof when it collapsed suddenly.

When the roof collapsed Rita, wife of Gurnam Singh, was cleaning a fan and their five-year-old daughter Kiran and three-year-old son Kalu were sleeping in the house. His seven-year-old son Aman was playing. They all got trapped under the collapsed roof.

Rita managed to raised the alarm. Hearing her cries their neighbours rushed for her help and rescued Gurnam Singh, Rita, her father Tawinder Singh and Aman. But, Kiran and Kalu, who were buried deep under the debris, were evacuated in the last, and it was too late by then.

Both the children were suspected to have died on the spot. The neighbours also faced difficulties in rescuing the family as the room was filled with slush and mud.

People took the injured to a private hospital, where the doctors declared Kiran and Kalu brought dead. Rita and her other son, Aman were referred to the A.P. Jain Civil Hospital in Rajpura. They were discharged today.

Gurnam Singh, who is a labourer, had shifted into the new residence about two months ago. His wife Rita is a housewife and they were living hand to mouth, said one of their neighbours.

No case has been registered in this regard. Both the children were cremated later in the evening.


PSEB engineers oppose IRS man as HRD Director
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
The move of the Punjab State Electricity Board management to appoint a non-engineering officer from the Indian Revenue Services (IRS) against an engineer cadre post of Director, Human Resource Development (HRD), PSEB, Patiala, has been strongly condemned by the Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers’ Association, who has called it irregular and illegal.

The decision had been taken to accommodate an individual in the board and not to strengthen the human resource wing, alleged the association.

Appointment of a non-engineer official with no experience in the power sector as Director, HRD, will derail the HRD activities in the PSEB. The association has demanded that the decision be scrapped. The move is against service rules and professionally unsound as one of the minimum professional requirements for the Director, HRD, is that the officer must have practical experience in the power sector, which IRS officers don’t have.

The association has also objected to the parity drawn by the management between a 1996 batch IRS officer and a Superintending Engineer of the PSEB. This has been deliberately done to elevate the status of the board Secretary, an IAS officer.

The HRD wing in the board was created about 10 years back.

The association had repeatedly stressed upon the need to strengthen the wing and give all functions due importance as is in the National Thermal Power Corporation.

In the past 10 years, of the 15 functions required to be transferred to the HRD the board had allotted just the training part to it.

The Secretariat under an IAS officer never agreed to transfer placement, recruitment, career planning and other important personnel functions to the wing so as to retain hold over the administration, according to the association.

Now instead of making the HRD wing fully operational, the board had decided to dismantle a competent team of HRD officers, it added.


Sukhmani Samagam concludes
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 18
The three-day 32nd all-India samagam of the Sukhmani Sahib Seva Societies in the country concluded here today with a nagar kirtan.

Attended by about 50,000 devotees, mostly members from the 200 participating societies, the 5-km-long nagar kirtan was without any loudspeaker and without vehicles and crackers.

The sangat, including women and children, walked barefooted for about six hours on the circuitous route from New Dana Mandi on the Hoshiarpur road to various localities before culminating at the starting site. Even the flower-bedecked “rath” on which the bir of Guru Granth Sahib was placed was hauled by devotees themselves.

The devotees recited Gurbani, mostly related to Sukhmani Sahib. Kirtan by conducted, among others, by Bhai Harjinder Singh Sri Nagarwale and Bhai Pinderpal Singh Ludhianawale last night.

Addressing the congregation, Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar, Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, while lauding the services of the Sukhmani societies in spreading Sikhism, expressed concern over apostasy and growing menace of drugs. He said Sikh parents must teach their children the supreme sacrifices made by the Gurus for preventing the youth from getting weaned away from “amrit di daat”(baptism).

Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation Chairman Joginder Singh Mann, Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Sameer Kumar, SGPC member Jarnail Singh Wahid, Phagwara SDM Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal and Nagar Council president Malkiat Singh Ragbotra were among those who attended the function.

The next samagam would be held at Ferozepore. Societies from Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and various parts of Punjab attended the samagam held for the first time in Phagwara.

Voluntary bodies and NGOs took advantage of the handy religious platform for furthering their social causes like motivating masses for eye donation, keeping at bay social evils like female foeticide, drugs, apostasy, etc.

Posters, leaflets and literature were distributed by the NGOs at the samagam

Mr Bahadur Singh, senior vice-president of the Eye Donation Association, Hoshiarpur, addressed the congregation to motivate masses for eye donation.


Baba Farid mela begins today
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 18
The annual Baba Sheikh Farid Aagman Purab, which is celebrated with great enthusiasm in September every year, will start here tomorrow. The duration of the event has been reduced to five days this time i.e. September19-23.

The event will showcase a plethora of religious, social, literary, cultural and sports activities. The festivities will begin with the Sukhmani Sahib’s path at Gurdwara Chilla Baba Farid tomorrow morning. A three-day state-level painting workshop and Sheikh Farid National Punjabi Drama Festival will also be kicked off on the inaugural day. A blood donation camp will be organised at Government Brijindra College on the same day. On sports arena, cricket, football, basketball, gun shooting championship, and All India Gold Cup Hockey Tournament will also start on September 19. Teams like BSF, Air India, AIF, Namdhari XI, RCF, CISF, Central Railway, PSEB, Ropar Hawks, and CRPF, will participate in the hockey tournament.

Other tournaments like volleyball, shooting ball, kabaddi, dangal, body building and rural sports will be held in the coming days.

A Heritage Walk to make students aware of their cultural heritage will be held on September 21. It will begin from the Nehru Gate and culminate at Quilla Mubarak. The Tarksheek Natak Mela will be staged at the Amar Ashram the same day.

The NZCC, Patiala, will present Folk Dance Festival at the Darbar Ganj Complex on September 22, while Wadali brothers will perform on the concluding day at the Darbar Ganj Complex.

On the religious front, a ‘kirtan darbar’ will be held at Gurdwara Godri Sahib on September 22, while a nagar kirtan will be taken out on September 23. A ‘religious diwan’ will also be organised on the concluding day.

Literary activities include a seminar on Sufism and a mushiara on September 20 and a kavi darbar on September 22.


Akalis harp on Nanavati findings
Tribune News Service

Chhapar (Ludhiana), September 18
Former Chief Minister and the Shiromani Akali Dal (B) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal today said his party would not rest till the guilty of 1984 anti-Sikh riots were punished. He said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre owed an explanation to the people of the country as what action it had taken on the recommendations of the Nanavati Commission. He said his party alongwith other partners would organise a protest rally in New Delhi on November 4, and force the government to punish the guilty.


Daya Ram’s relatives denied entry
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 18
Another family claiming to be the relative of Daya Ram, who was released by the Pakistan Government recently in an unstable mental condition, reached here today from Jagdishpur village in Uttar Pradesh to identify him.

However, they could not meet Daya Ram today as it was a holiday and also for the fact that the district administration was busy in conducting election for three municipal wards.

The officials from Uttar Pradesh, accompanying the family, did not allow this correspondent to meet the family saying it would spoil their case.

Dr B.L. Goyal, Director, Dr Vidhya Sagar Government Mental Hospital, said they would allow only a few visitors to meet Daya Ram, that too after verifying their proofs.

He said they would permit only a few persons to meet him but did not allow them to pressurise him with volley of questions. 


Farmer buried alive
Tribune News Service

Garhshankar, September 18
Three persons died in separate incidents in the surrounding villages during the past 24 hours.

According to information, Girdhari Lal, a resident of Mansowal village, was buried alive when a building came crashing on him, last evening. The farmer was returning from his paddy fields when the tragedy occurred. He was crossing a building which suddenly collapsed. Villagers assembled and extricated him from the debris.

Seriously injured, Girdhari Lal was rushed to the Civil Hospital, Garhshankar. The doctors referred him to Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana, after his condition deteriorated where he was declared “brought dead”.

In another incident, a migrant labourer, Mr Pintu (28), died due to suffocation in a tubewell at Thinda village, near Mahilpur, last evening. Pintu had scaled down a ladder to the bottom of the well, owned by Mr Jaspal Singh, when he suffocated due to presence of some poisonous gas there.

Another unidentified migrant labourer died in Data village due to snake- bite. The labourer was working in his master’s fields when the reptile bit him.


Control room set up to help cotton growers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 18
Following reports of cotton growers fearing pest attack due to wet weather, the district administration on Thursday set up a control room to monitor the situation and provide information to the farmers.

Deputy Commissioner, Rahul Bhandari, held a meeting of the officials of agricultural and revenue departments and asked them to fan out in villages and sensitise the cotton farmers who are in panic after a couple of showers in the past 72 hours. He asked the officials to hold meetings with panchayat members and utilise public address system of village gurdwaras to disseminate information to the farmers.

He stressed that farmers be made aware of do’s and dont’s at this crucial juncture. The Director of PAU’s regional centre, Dr DS Brar, would be the in charge of the control room, from where the farmers could seek guidelines in case they needed help.

The DC told The Tribune he had already sent an interim report on the present spell of shower and its affect on cotton crop to the government. He said camps would also be held after a couple of days of sensitization work, in which the cotton farmers could seek answers of their queries from agricultural department officials. He said the damage to cotton crop would also be assessed as soon as the weather cleared up. He said farmers would also be told to purchase pesticides from standard shops to check their fleecing and adulteration.

The Chief Agricultural Officer, Mr P.S. Aulakh, said the farmers could contact control room at phone numbers 2211042 and 2219042 between 9 am to 6 pm in case they needed any information.


Repair of water channels put on hold
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, September 18
With the cancellation of tenders worth Rs 10.45 crore on September 2 of the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation, the construction and brick lining of watercourses in the Fazilka area has run into rough weather.

Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA, Fazilka, who is also the Chairman of the tubewell corporation, said the tenders were postponed. It is learnt that the tenders were cancelled following instructions of the Managing Director of the corporation. This has raised many eyebrows in political circles as there were reports of misappropriation of funds in the allocation of the tenders.

Sources said out of the total sanctioned amount of Rs 10.45 crore, more than Rs 8 crore was reportedly earmarked for water channels in the Guruharsahai and Jalalabad areas of Ferozepore district. This amount was allegedly diverted for Fazilka by flouting rules. This caused resentment among local leaders.

They also brought the matter into the notice of the Chief Minister, who in turn directed the Managing Director to cancel the tenders.

Mr S.K. Goyal, Executive Engineer, said that he was not aware of the reason for the cancellation of the tenders.

Meanwhile, resentment prevails among contractors who had deposited fees for getting the tenders.

Mr Surjit Kumar Jyani, a former MLA, Fazilka, has expressed apprehensions of large-scale corruption and misappropriation of funds in the allocation of the tenders. In a complaint to the DGP (Vigilance), he demanded that the tenders be issued under the supervision of the SP (Vigilance).


Graft cases: 2 cops, peon arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has caught two constables of the Rajasthan Police, a driver and a peon of Housefed Punjab, in separate cases, while accepting bribes.

A spokesman for the Bureau said here today that the two constables, Satpal Singh and Gurpreet Singh, alongwith a car driver Balwinder Singh were nabbed while they were accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000 in a hotel at Moga.

The complainant, Gurbir Singh of Dharmkot, Moga district, who paid up the cops fearing implication in a narcotics smuggling case at Sriganganagar.

In a separate case, Mahesh Kumar, a peon of Housefed, was caught while accepting a bribe of Rs 6,000 from the complainant, Mr Harjit Singh, for providing a no objection certificate (NOC) for a loan he had already paid.


8 hurt in clash between two families
Tribune News Service

Kharar, September 18
At least eight persons of two families, including a mother and her two daughters, were injured in Gharuan village last night following a clash, reportedly between the two families.

While four injured are shifted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here while the rest are admitted to the Civil Hospital, Kharar.

According to the police, family members of Nachattar Singh allegedly attacked family members of Gurmukh Singh of the village late last night following a dispute.

Mr Ravinder Pal Singh, in charge, Gharuan police post, said Gurmukh Singh’s family had alleged that members of Nachattar Singh’s family along with wife Amar Kaur and two daughters Kulwinder and Kamaljit, went to Gurmukh’s house laced with rods and a pick-axe, and attacked them.

While Gurmukh Singh suffered a head injury from the pick-axe, the others were injured with the rods.

Nachattar Singh’s family, however, told the police that Gurmukh Singh’s family had hit their son some days ago and also attacked them last night.

The police added that they had come to know that Nachattar Singh’s son was allegedly troubling a granddaughter of Gurmukh Singh.

They had objected to it some days ago and also warned the boy to desist from doing it.

The matter had also been brought to the notice of the panchayat.

The injured include Gurmukh Singh (60), Paramjit Singh (42), Ravinderjit Singh (36), Rashpal Singh (32), Narinder Pal (34) of one family and Amar Kaur (60), Kulwinder Kaur (25) and Kamaljit Kaur (32) of the other. Gurmukh Singh, Paramjit, Ravinderjit and Kulwinder are in GMCH-32.

The police is still investigating the case. Statements of both sides are being recorded but no FIR has been lodged.


Two arrested with smuggled liquor
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 18
The police intercepted a truck containing a huge stock of India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) at Bullanwari Chowk here last night.

Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, said here today that ASI Charanjit signalled a truck (HR-58-1904) to stop for checking near Bullanwari Chowk last night. As soon as the truck stopped, one of the three occupants jumped out of the truck and escaped. He was later identified as Ravinder Singh, alias Ashok Kumar, a local resident of Roop Nagar.

However, the police nabbed one of his accomplices, Labh Singh, a son of Kapuria of Thuska village in Yamunanagar district (Haryana), and the driver, Karam Singh of Sujanpur in Panchkula district (Haryana). On searching the truck, 192 cases (17.28 lakh ml) of IMFL were seized.

Mr Angra said the liquor had been smuggled from Himachal Pradesh. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against the accused.


Gang of car thieves busted

Batala, September 18
The local police has busted a gang of car thieves here today. During a naka-bandi on the Dera Baba Nanak road, an Alto car, driven by Harpreet Singh, a resident of Kotli Surat Mallian, was stopped by the police. As he could not produced the ownership documents, the police interrogated him. The suspect admitted that he had stolen the vehicle from Palampur in Himachal Pradesh.

Dr Jitendra Kumar Jain, SSP, Batala, said the gang used to hire vehicles and later take off with the vehicles at gun point. A case, under the Section 379/411, has been registered at the Batala police station. — OC


Food Industry Centre set up at PAU
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 18
A Food Industry Centre has been set up at Punjab Agricultural University to develop and popularise new food products among the agro-processing units. The Food Industry Centre has been set up in collaboration with the Ohio State University of the USA. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted an assistance worth $ 3 lakh for the project. This project will remain operational till 2006.

Dr G.S. Padda, Professor and Head, Department of Food Science Technology, has been appointed as Director of the centre in addition to his duties as head of the department.

According to Dr Darshan Singh, Dean, Post-Graduate Studies, Punjab Agricultural University, relatively greater emphasis on wheat and rice has resulted in over production of these two crops. The current level of agricultural production has become unsustainable due to deterioration of soil health, lowering of the water table and excessive use of agro-chemicals. All efforts to divert area from wheat and rice have failed due to poor market facilities for alternative crops.

Dr Darshan Singh emphasises that it has become imperative to convert the primary agricultural produce of wheat, rice, vegetables, fruits and milk to value-added products through agro-processing so that it may be easily absorbed in domestic or even in the international market. It is in this context that the Food Industry Centre has been granted to help PAU to enhance its capabilities for developing linkages with the food industry. In addition to production of food products, it will provide expansion of food industry which would generate additional employment in rural areas. Another important component of the project is to reform the teaching methodologies being adopted in various faculties of PAU Apart from establishing PAU linkages with the agro-food industry in the state, project envisages active participation of the food industry in teaching programmes of PAU in the form of effective internship of students with established industrial units. Experts from the industry shall be involved in classroom teaching as well as in interactive workshops to strengthen the linkages between the university and the food industry. Under the collaborative arrangements, an effective faculty exchange system with Ohio State University has been adopted in the identified priority areas. Three faculty members of PAU have already undergone advanced training in Ohio State University in plant breeding, soil and water engineering and meat hygiene and technology. A three-member team of experts from Ohio State University has already visited PAU and held extensive discussions with experts and post-graduate students of PAU and the industry people.

Three senior scientists of PAU, namely Dr Darshan Singh, Dr G.S. Chahal, Dean, College of Agriculture, and Dr G.S. Padda also visited the Ohio State University during June and July to study the planning and implementation of internship programmes in various undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

The academic council of Punjab Agricultural University has decided to confer the degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) on Ms Karren Holbrook, president of the Ohio State University, on October 25 at a special convocation.

The Food Industry Centre project has revived the collaboration between PAU and the Ohio State University which existed during the 1960s and 1970s under the Indo-US Technological Programme.


Private dental colleges ‘facing’ resource crunch
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 18
In the wake of non-fixation of annual fee for the students of private dental colleges of the state for the past two years, the dental colleges have been facing a financial crunch and are virtually on the verge of closure, as they have been charging provisional fee of Rs 55,000 per annum from the students from the academic year 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Stating this here on Thursday, Dr Vikram Sharma, president of the Punjab Private Self-Financed Dental College Association, further said if the fee fixation committee failed to fix fee for the private dental colleges in the days to come, then the governing bodies of the dental colleges would be compelled to charge fee ranging from Rs1.44 lakh to Rs 1.50 lakh from the students as per public notices published by them in the newspapers. He said the colleges had fixed the fee as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the TMA Pai and the P.A. Inamdar cases for the academic session 2005-06.

Dr Sharma said fee structure for the private dental colleges in the neighbouring states had been fixed from academic session 2004-05, which is much higher than the provisional fee of Rs 55,000 per annum, fixed by the Fee Fixation Committee, Punjab, from academic session 2003-04. Giving details of the fee and other charges, received by the private dental colleges in different states, he said in Haryana the per annum fee was Rs 99,000, Uttaranchal Rs 1.20 lakh, Himachal Pradesh Rs 1 lakh, Punjab University Dental College (yet to start) Rs 1.17 lakh, Rajasthan Rs 1.40 lakh and in Uttar Pradesh from Rs 1.70 lakh to Rs 2.13 lakh per annum.

Dr Sharma said though Government Dental Colleges in Amritsar and Patiala, charge Rs 13,000 as per annum as fee from each student, but they got the grant of Rs 2.66 lakh in Amritsar and Rs 2.40 lakh in Patiala per student from the Punjab Government for teaching only dental subjects, as medical subjects were taught in the adjoining medical colleges. But private dental colleges were imparting education to the students in dental as well as medical subjects in their own colleges. Thus, the provisional fee of Rs 55,000 per annum, fixed by the fee fixation committee, Punjab, seemed to be a meagre amount as compared to the expenses, incurred by the private colleges on the students from their own resources, as they did not receive any grant from the government, he added.

Dr Sharma appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to intervene and do the needful to save the private unaided dental colleges of the state.


Dental colleges “charging hefty fee”
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore, September 18
Stringent instructions from the government regarding fee structure for admission to the private medical and dental colleges in the state, notwithstanding, private colleges are still charging much higher fee from the students then stipulated by the Department of Medical Education.

After facing the PMT imbroglio, the parents of the selected candidates are now in doldrums over the hefty fees charged by some colleges.

Father of a girl student, who took admission in Sri Guru Ram Dass Dental College, Amritsar, disclosed that the college authorities charged an amount of Rs 2,11,900 for the admission of his daughter to first year BDS course which included Rs 1,50,000 as tuition fee, Rs 50,000 as security and Rs 11,900 as miscellaneous charges.

On the condition of anonymity, he said that the college authorities threatened to allocate that seat to the next candidate in the merit list if the amount desired was not deposited immediately.

The state government has prescribed a fee of Rs 55,000 for admission to dental colleges from the students who have cleared PMT exam conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

Parents asserted that most of them were not able to raise their voices due to the fear that the future of their child might get marred.


Seminar on future building design
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 18
Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC) today organised a seminar on “Intelligent buildings” in the computer department of the college faculty members of 17 engineering college of the state attended this seminar and participated in a panel discussion with experts.

Dr Vishal Garg, Head of the Department of Information Technology, IIIT, Hyderabad, delivered a seminar on intelligent buildings and discussed the new development in building design. He explained how electronics and information technology would be embedded in future building and this intelligent concept which would take care of parameters of building like fresh air, light, hygienic water, air-conditioning, noise level, monitoring of doors and automatic looking systems. He said in future intelligence of building would remain the key factor in construction and price.

He also highlighted various concepts of energy efficiency, space efficiency and usage of information technology in designing buildings.

College Principal, D.S. Hira said future building design would consider the space factor and try to optimise it. He said the rate at which the real state sector was growing would decrease the land under agriculture. He said the concept of intelligent building concept was the need of the hour as it optimised all building parameter like cost, material, environmental factor and noise.

Prof Gurpal Singh, Head, Department of Computer Engineering, said information technology should be applied in all walks of life. The department had started a lecture series under which experts were invited from industry and research organisations to acquaint students with the latest trends and developments.

Prof Ajaypal Singh, Prof Rajbahadur Singh, Prof Ravinder Kumar, Prof Dhavleesh Rattan and Prof Gurneet Kaur Tiwana also spoke.


Jasmeet wins painting competition
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 18
Jasmeet Singh of senior model school, Punjabi University, won the on-the-spot painting competition organised by the Association of Punjab Geographers to create environment awareness among schoolchildren on the occasion of Environment Day here today.

Results: On-the-spot painting competition: Jasmeet Singh (Sr model school, Punjabi University) 1, Jatin Sethi (Playways High School)-2, Parampal Singh (Bhai Ram Kishen Gurmat Public School, Phase-1, Urban Estate)-3.

Exhibition-cum-poster competition: Rajwinder Singh (senior secondary model school, Punjabi University)-1, Jatin Ahuja (Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School)-2. Arpita (Bhai Ram Kishen Gurmat Public school, Phase-1, Urban Estate)-3.


PSEB cuts for industrial units

Phagwara, September 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) yesterday relaxed its weekly power cuts for industrial units in Phagwara subdivision, this was disclosed by a highly-placed source in the PSEB. The source said that small, medium and large consumers in industry would be benefited by this relaxation.

The PSEB authorities disclosed that peakload hours for industrial units would remain in force. — TNS

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