P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab safe in Cong hands: PM
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Will the issue of the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and other related matters be settled before the Assembly elections in the state?

Answering a pointed question in this regard, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said here yesterday that there was a need to create right atmosphere between Punjab and Haryana in this connection. Obviously, the issue was on his mind and he had come prepared for the answer. However, as most of the mediapersons were focusing on the earthquake and developments regarding Bihar, they did not give due importance to the issue in their reports.

The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh and his Haryana counterpart Mr Bhupinder Singh, enjoy cordial relations. More over as they are not from the traditional school of politicians, they have the capacity to sort out issues across the table. With the active help of Dr Manmohan Singh and the AICC President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, these issues can be amicably settled. If these issues are settled, the Congress stands to gain in the next Assembly elections in Punjab.

Otherwise also, Dr Manmohan Singh, during his two-day visit here has raised the expectations of the Punjab Government for a big financial package in days to come from the Union Government. Obviously, the Amarinder Singh government needs such a package to gear up the process of development in the state well before the elections.

“Punjab is safe in the hands of the Congress government”. This was the answer given by the Prime Minister when asked about the initiatives to be taken by the Union Government for the development of the state. Now the special package given to the hill states like Himachal Pradesh has hit Punjab hard as industry has started shifting to the hill state because of the availability of tax concessions.

Capt Amarinder Singh has given a long list of demands to Dr Manmohan Singh and the most important among them is the setting up of an international airport at Laddowal, near Ludhiana. Without having an international airport, Punjab cannot realise the dream of modernising its economy.

In fact, Punjab does not have an airport of international standards. The one at Amritsar is not up to even the national standards. Efforts are on to upgrade the Amritsar airport. It has been seen that in recent past only those states are making big strides ahead in setting up information and technology hubs which have good air linkage.

The Prime Minister has assured to examine the Punjab’s proposal for the setting up an international airport at Laddowal (Ludhiana). Responding to other demands made by Capt Amarinder Singh, the Prime Minister has promised that he would ask the NTPC to set up a thermal plant of 1000 MW in the state. Punjab has no thermal plant in the central sector. Another plant, which will be gas based, and having the same capacity is being set up at Doraha.


Farmers resent lack of amenities at market
Perneet Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
While farmers are already having a tough time selling their paddy produce, lack of amenities at the local grain market and stray cattle menace have added to their woes.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Basant Singh, a farmer from Naruana village, said there were no arrangements for drinking water and maintaining a lavatory at the market. He said they had to go to nearby shopkeepers and commission agents for drinking water.

Though the market had toilets for farmers, they had been locked till a few days ago and were ill-maintained after being opened.

Sources said the ADC, Mr Harjeet Singh, had asked the market committee staff to open toilets and get them cleaned. Karam Singh, who had come to sell off his paddy, said his arhtiya was kind enough to allow him to use his bathroom to take bath in absence of any such facility for the farmers at the market.

Highlighting another problem, he said they had to remain vigilant all through night, thanks to stray cattle and a gang of food grain thieves. “We can’t imagine of having a sound sleep at the market. Farmers have formed their own groups and they sleep one by one so as to ward off stray cattle and thieves.”

Paddy grower Gurjant Singh also resented the lack of cleanliness and poor shape of sheds at the market. The roads leading to the market had potholes. But thanks to the inauguration of cotton purchase by Punjab ministers, an approach road was built overnight. Shopkeepers and vegetable vendors had also made illegal encroachments in the market and the authorities concerned had removed a few of them sometime ago.

The market committee chairman, Mr P. K. Gupta, said there was no such problem of drinking water and farmers get it easily from arhtiyas. He said toilets were being cleaned on a daily basis and if at all there was any shortcoming he would look into the matter.

Regarding stray cattle, he expressed helplessness stating that the market neither had any boundary wall nor gates. They only had two watchmen to ward off stray cattle, he added.


MLA pulls up staff for slow paddy procurement
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 9
Local Congress MLA and Chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation Joginder Singh Mann, inspected grain markets, including main Dana mandi on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road and reportedly pulled up staff of various procurement agencies for slow procurement of paddy. When the staff of procurement agencies came to know about the visit of Mr Mann to the mandis, they reportedly slipped away to avoid him.

Enraged Mr Mann rang up the staff concerned and pulled them up in the presence of arhtiyas and farmers, witnesses said.

Even local Market Committee Chairman Jaspreet Singh Satti, a close associate of Mr Mann, complained of slow procurement.

Even though the Punjab government had directed the agencies to speed up the procurement, the agencies staff were going with the procurement at a leisurely pace, much to the chagrin of farmers, rued Mr Satti.

Mr Mann warned the procurement staff that action would be taken in case he got any complaint about slow procurement.


Revised pay scale for bank officers

Abohar, October 9
Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, general secretary All India Grameen Bank Officers Association, has said that more than 70 thousand officers in the Grameen Banks all over India would be getting revised pay scale and allowances at par with the officers of the nationalised banks with effect from October 1. An amendment to this effect was made by the union government under section 17 in compliance of decisions given by the Supreme Court on a writ petition filed by the association, he added.

Mr Brar told newspersons here yesterday that arrears for the last 35-month period would be paid in two instalments. The first installment was to be released before the end of this month, while second would be disbursed in April month next year. The Supreme Court had directed the government of India to end disparities.

He regretted that pension and provident fund were not included in the revised scales. Thus the officers in the Grameen Banks will be getting 9.5 per cent increment as compared to 13.3 per cent made to the officers of the nationalised banks. The association had already put its case before the Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambram.

The highest limit in provident fund for the Grameen Bank officers was confined to Rs 6500 only and there was disparity in pension benefits of officers of the same rank working in the grameen and nationalised banks also. — OC


2 held for selling Bangladeshi woman
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 9
The local police today arrested Sucha Singh and Shibani, alias Sunder Kar, who reportedly sold Shantuna, a Bangladeshi woman, to Palwinder Singh of Bhulana village. They were arrested near here from Shalimar Bagh garden.

Palvinder Singh and his Bangladeshi wife Shantuna Das, whom he married after purchasing her for Rs 17,000 from Sucha Singh and his wife Basanti, were arrested on Thursday after the news about forcible confinement of a Bangladeshi woman appeared in a section of Press.

Shantuna Das told the police that she had been brought to Kapurthala by Shibani, alias Shunder, alias Sunder Kar, from West Bengal. Shantuna said she had reached from Bangladesh after crossing the border illegally leaving his 5-year-old son behind for earning livelihood after the death of her husband. Shantanu alleged that Sunder brought her to Kapurthala at the home of Sucha Singh and Basanti who then forced her to marry Palwinder Singh.

During interrogation it was discovered that out of Rs 17,000 given by Palvinder to Sucha Singh Rs 5,000 were given to Sunder who also belongs to West Bengal. Sunder was also married to Balwinder Singh with the help of Sucha Singh and his wife Basanti, a native of West Bengal.


Reunion after 38 years
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 9
Deep-rooted love and strong desire enabled 70-year-old Susan Milne from New Zealand to meet Ludhiana’s Poonam Kalra nee Florence after 38 years.

Way back in 1969, Ms Milne, after staying in India for seven years with her husband, left for England. She also left behind the little schoolgirl, Florence, whom she had taken care of.

After Ms Milne shifted base to New Zealand, she wanted to meet Florence. This is what made her to halt in India on her way to the UK. She started her search with the name of the girl, her love for animals and the city where she resided.

“I knew Florence was in Ludhiana, which I thought was a small village. So I just took a taxi to this city and decided to find her,” she said.

The search, however, was not an easy one. As if to complicate her search, Florence re-christened herself as Poonam Kalra after marriage.

“The taxidriver wanted to know my destination, which I myself did not know. But he was helpful. So I decided to look for Florence on the outskirts of the city because I had an image that someone who loved animals, maybe, had an animal farm or something of that kind. But whoever we met, declined having seen such a place in the city,” narrated Ms Milne, adding, “which is when we decided to go to the police”.

The police personnel, said Ms Milne, began their investigation immediately. “They contacted a few people and a councillor after knowing about Florence’s interest in animals, said it could be Ms Poonam Kalra, following which the police found her number and contacted her”.

Their meeting was, indeed, emotional. “I simply could not believe my eyes. I was only four when our father admitted us to a school and left for the UK. I was nine years old when I met aunt Susan and my association with her lasted for over six years, during which she loved me like my own mother,” an emotional Ms Kalra said.

Ms Milne, who says she always loved India, is happy meeting “warm and helpful people”, who fulfilled her desire to meet Florence.


Fact-finding report sought in Nayagaon rape case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 9
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), New Delhi, representative of the UN Commission in India, has asked for a fact-finding report in the Nayagaon rape case. The Dalit Rights Protection Forum (Regd) Punjab has been asked to submit an independent and detailed report on the alleged rape of the Dalit minor girl.

The report would be submitted to the NCDHR within a week and would include the statements of the victims and the accused in the case. Stating that the case has already been discussed with members of the NCDHR, Mrs Pushpa Salaria, President of the Dalit Rights Protection Forum, added that the NCDHR had also been apprised of the current status of the case.

“We have told the NCDHR that the accused are powerful and influential. Some of the influential accused managed to put so much pressure on the state that first it led to an unnecessary delay in the investigations and is now on the verge of derailment,” she said, adding that the forum would also be protecting the victim and her family and that they had been repeatedly threatened by some of the accused.

In a press note issued by Mrs Pushpa Salaria here today, members of the forum held an emergency meeting in Mohali yesterday evening and condemned the Punjab Government’s move for handing over the case to the CBI. Members of the forum appealed to the state police to put up challan against the arrested accused in the case before October 18, 2005 “otherwise it will cause miscarriage of justice. It is further requested by the forum to allow investigations to be continued by SIT so that the challan is put-up in time and the accused be punished,” stated a press note issued by the forum.

Members also felt that in case the challan was not put up before October 18, the accused would be free to come out on bail and would be a potential threat to the life and wellbeing of the hapless victim and her family. Also with a new investigating agency coming in to start investigations into the case, undue harassment would be caused to the victim’s family which is already in a shattered state of mind.

Among those who attended the meeting include advocate Mr S. S. Bawa, senior legal adviser of the forum, Mr Ramji Lal Jossia, general secretary, Mr Raghbir Singh, Joint Secretary, Mr Gurnam Singh, Finance Secretary of the forum.

The fact-finding report on the alleged atrocities on the Dalit minor girl of Nayagaon by all those involved in the case would be sent to the NCDHR, the National Commission for SCs/STs, New Delhi, the National Commission for Women, New Delhi, the National Commission for Minorities, New Delhi, and the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, besides the NCDHR.


Ex-spies a disillusioned lot
Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepore: “Unofficial spies” who were sent to Pakistan for espionage during 1965 and ’71 wars are fighting a different battle today, not against the enemy but against the red tapism and lack of initiative on part of the government to acknowledge their services.

While talking to The Tribune, these undercover agents who claim to have been recruited by various intelligence establishments narrated how after being tortured at the hands of Pakistani authorities for several years they were disowned by their own people.

Satish Kumar, who was engaged to Krishna in 1974, married her only in 1986. The reason for this delay was that he spent the intervening time in Pakistani jails after being caught. Despite intense pressure to marry elsewhere, Krishna kept her commitment to tie the knot with Satish, but the nation paid no heed. The Indian authorities refused to take him back at the Wagah border.

Another “unofficial spy” Kishori Lal Sharma, revealed how he was recruited by the Military intelligence to infiltrate into 1 Armoured Division of the Pakistan army and gather information about the performance of the T-59 tanks. Sharma, a diploma holder in automobile engineering said after three successful sorties into Pakistani territory he was arrested near Multan and later kept in various jails like Kot Lakhpat, Kasur, Mianwali, Multan and Baluchistan. Some others like Kapur Chand, and Sukhdev were sentenced to death following a court martial in Mianwali Jail. He remained in jail from 1967 to 1974. He said initially at the time of their induction into XI corps AHQ Liaison Office in Jalandhar in 1966 under the command of Lt-Col Hari Krishan Bhatti, they were made all promises of becoming an officer, but none were kept.

Another former Indian spy to Pakistan, Vasudev has the same murky tale to tell. Vasudev, who now works as a carpenter, said he was inducted by the then Lt-Col Hari Krishan Bhatti with several others. Only a few survived and the rest either died or lost their sanity.

Another spy, Mohan Lal Bhaskar, who died last year due to brain haemorrhage, wrote his experiences in a book titled, “Under the shadow of bayonets and bars”. He had spent seven years in different Pakistani prisons like Kot Lakhpat, Lahore, Central Jail, Mianwali, and Multan on charges of espionage. He too claimed to have been inducted by Indian intelligence agencies to infiltrate into important Pakistani organisations like the Atomic Energy Plant, Kota, and get information about the army units. Bhaskar wrote that he was betrayed by one of his colleagues, presumably a double agent, and was sentenced to death by a summary court martial, which was later commuted by a Military court to 14 years rigorous imprisonment.

These are not the isolated cases as several others like Joginder Singh. Onkar Nath Budhwar, Upendar Nath, Baba Ali Nawaz, Mohd Safdar, Mohd Deen, Master Somnath, Ram Lal Malangi and Bhimsain Verma met the same fate.

All these men were initially given a few months’ training and then, circumcised in Military Hospitals before they were sent on their mission. All these “spies” are a disillusioned lot today. Their requests to the government have fallen on deaf ears and now they have knocked at the doors of judiciary with a hope that their services may get the recognition they desire.


Ex-minister alleges harassment by vigilance bureau
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 9
The vigilance bureau had been harassing leaders of the opposition. Mr Satpal Saini, a former minister in the SAD/BJP government stated this to The Tribune today.

He alleged that recently 20 officials of the Punjab Vigilance bureau raided the premises of the ITI he was raising up in the remote Shahpur Kandi area on Thursday. The Vigilance official had come with evaluators to assess cost of the building. After the raid they called me to their office at Gurdaspur and harassed me.

The ITI building was being brought up after raising loans from a bank. The Vigilance official raided the premises at the behest of PUDA minister Raghunath Sahay Puri who belongs to the area. With elections in Punjab approaching, the minister wants to defame him by getting the Vigilance to raid on premises of the upcoming ITI, he alleged.

He said now that the Vigilance had raided, it should put before the people the finding of the raid. It seems the Vigilance Department had become a tool for harassment of opposition leaders he added. In his case the Vigilance neither registered a case nor followed any procedure before raiding his premises.

If the Vigilance really wants to check disproportionate assets, it should raid the properties of the ministers of the ruling party. The ruling party minister of the area has acquired six properties in Pathankot that were worth crores. A large numbers of benami properties had been acquired by the ruling party leaders in the area. A minister was bringing up a house that can be equated with the Moti Bagh palace of the Chief Minister in the area.

However, instead of raiding the said properties the Vigilance was trying to target leaders of the opposition.

DSP Vigilance Bakshsih Singh admitted that the premises of the ITI being brought by the former minister in Shahpur Kandi was raided.

Mr Saini in turn told that the DSP’s clarification as baseless. He said that the vigilance had no business to check the infrastructure of the technical institutions.


SGPC’s leased land sold illegally
Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 9
The Notified Gurdwara Committee (NGC) of the historical Gurdwara Satlani Sahib had leased about 300 acres of agricultural land to the late Baba Mangal Singh Satlani for 90-year lease on Rs 65,000 per annum, reportedly by flouting bylaws of the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925. Now his follower, Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani, has further “sold” the leased land. It is being considered as a gross violation of the Act.

In a public notice issued here, the SGPC today described the selling of the prime land attached to the gurdwara as illegal and warned the public not to purchase the land. The SGPC secretary said the earlier chunk of land, leased for a song, was illegal and in violation of the bylaws of the Shiromani Committee, even as the NGC was not authorised to lease the land for more than a year. He said the NGC was formed as per Clause 87 of the Act. He said the SGPC had never given the land on lease for 90 years to Baba Mangal Singh Satlani.

However, eyebrows are being raised over the “mishandling” of the case by the SGPC which had moved the civil court instead of approaching the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC) here, in the past . The Sikh Panth was shocked to see the proceedings of the case which showed Baba Mangal Singh Satlani, the then president of the Sant Samaj who was killed on the premises of Harmander Sahib, had managed to get about 300 acres on an annual lease of Rs 65,000.

However, three Sikhs of Amritsar district filed a case in the court of the SGJC, challenging the decision of the NGC to lease the land.

Meanwhile, Baba Gurpinder Singh Satlani, admitting that he had leased the land, claimed that he had to take this step to complete an engineering college at Satlani. He said Rs 3.50 crore had been spent on the college.


Tension over function at dera
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 9
Tension prevails over a religious function to be held at Medhpuri dera of Faridkot Kotli village tomorrow as the dera management has challenged the campaign by Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh.

Sources said the challenge might lead to a clash and if the district administration didn’t initiate necessary measures in time the tension could escalate. An “Akhand Path” before Dasehra was a regular feature at the dera and liquor forms a part of offerings.

Last year the takht had asked the dera management not to install Guru Granth Sahib but they didn’t pay heed. Two days back, the jathedar had sent a notice to dera manager Mahinder Puri stating that as per the edict of Sri Akal Takht, Guru Granth Sahib could not be installed at a “samadh” or a dera where alcohol was consumed.

He had asked the dera not to proceed with the installation. However, Jathedar Nandgarh said the dera management argued with the takht staff, which had served them the notice, and also warned that they would install Guru Granth Sahib at all costs. He said he had also sent a notice in this regard to the district police and management committee of the village gurdwara. They would not allow any sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib at the dera. He said he had also informed the Sikh organisations on the matter.

The jathedar said he would first send “Panj Pyaras” to the village and then he would visit the place with devotees. The dera management was free to do anything but they could not violate the tenets of the Sikhism.

Meanwhile, the sources said the SHO of the Sangat police station today held a meeting with the village panchayat and the dera’s management committee members so that any confrontation could be averted. Panchayat member Gurtej Singh said Sant Mahinder Puri had agreed not to install Guru Granth Sahib, which had reduced the chances of a clash to a large extent.


Durgiana panel seeks higher pilgrim quota for Katasraj
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 9
The Durgiana Management Committee and the All-India Hindu Rashtrya Sangathan are at loggerheads over pilgrim quota to Katasraj in Pakistan.

Taking exception to the meager number of pilgrims allotted under the banner of “Durgiana temple” for pilgrimage to the Katasraj Hindu shrine in Pakistan, the committee today sent a letter to the Union Ministry of External Affairs seeking an increase in its quota.

Opposing the allotment of higher quota to the sangathan, headed by Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president of the committee Surinder Arjun asserted that the temple authorities were the “bona fide” representative committee of the Hindus of the North India and had a right to get higher quota.

He said the sangathan was “unauthorisedly” charging higher sums from pilgrims even as no organisation was sponsoring the yatra and the yatris had to borne expenses on the pilgrimage.

Meanwhile, Mr Billa said Mr Arjun was a self-proclaimed head of the temple management committee. He (Mr Arjun) was creating dissensions among the pilgrims, Mr Billa said.

The temple head said they were charging Rs 30, which included Rs 15 for visa and as much amount for application form fees.

He accused the sangathan of charging “exorbitant” amounts from devotees.

Mr Billa refuted the allegation and said all accounts were with him and they were charging for only overhead costs.

The Durgiana head has reminded the ministry that the temple was given a quota of only 27 pilgrims last year with an option of only seven additional members while the sangathan was allowed to send 52 devotees .

Mr Arjun has demanded an inquiry into the overcharging from the pilgrims and also business dealings by certain organisations in the garb of pilgrimage.


Peace committee loses steam
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, October 9
With most of the nominated members distancing from the weekly meetings, the peace committee has lost its charm here. More than 80 per cent of the chairs remained unoccupied as SHOs of the local police stations tried to resolve long-pending disputes at the municipal town hall yesterday. The DSP, who was to preside over the meeting, could not turn up due to some other “important” assignments.

Interestingly, Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, who represented this area in the Vidhan Sabha, had reportedly come down heavily on the sub-divisional police for the failure in checking spate of thefts and other day-to-day activities of the criminals. He warned that the police, by saying goodbye to night patrolling, was loosing confidence of the public here.

The Director-General of Police, Mr Sarabjit Singh Virk, had floated the idea of forming peace committees in each sub- division of the state. The task was initiated only after Mr Rajinder Singh, Inspector-General, Zonal, visited the sub-division in connection with the de-addiction campaign three months back.

The formation of the committee run into rough weather as some leaders of the non-Congress parties condemned the authorities for not including their senior representatives in the committee. Interestingly, the police has also found Mr Banwari Lal Nagpal, president of the city Congress committee, unfit as he was above 70 years. Senior workers of the ruling Congress felt humiliated during the very first meeting of the committee.


5 Indians held in Turkey
Tribune News Service

Phagwara, October 9
As many as five Indians are among 26 persons apprehended when they were allegedly attempting to cross the Greek border illegally. This was disclosed by Gurjinder Singh, a resident of Bahram in Nawanshahr, 10 km from here yesterday. He was also deported by the Turkish authorities.

While talking to The Tribune, he said the migrants, who were captured by the Turkish Police, were from Palestine, Pakistan, Morocco and Algeria. They are lodged in the Bosnakvy jail in Turkey.

“A Turkish national, who is a travel agent, is also caught by the Turkish Police. The captured would be processed for deportation and produced before a local public prosecutor’s office,” he said.


Punjab offers help to quake-hit J&K
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, at an emergency meeting of senior officers at Patiala tonight, decided to rush 40,000 blankets and 10,000 tents in five trucks for the quake-hit in Jammu and Kashmir. He also decided to give Rs 2 crore in cash as aid.

He talked to Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, general secretary, AICC, who was here to attend the CMs’ conclave, in this regard.

He offered to rush medical teams and material help to the quake hit areas. Punjab has also offered its hospital facilities to treat the critically injured, it is learnt.


Rs 1600 sought as parking fee

Phagwara, October 9
A private scooter-stand contractor demanded Rs 1600 from Mr Ravinder Lakhanpal, a resident of Ratanpura mohalla, for releasing his scooter parked there for the past four months.

His scooter was impounded after he was challaned for not possessing the requisite documents by the traffic police in June this year.

He appeared in court in connection with the challan yesterday. The court issued the release order for his scooter.

On not finding his scooter in the police station, he was instructed to fetch his scooter from a private scooter stand near the bus stand. At first, the owner of the scooter stand demanded Rs 1600 but later reduced the amount to Rs 800 but no further. — OC


‘Tributes’ paid to Gen Vaidya’s killers

Gadli, October 9
A function was organised by Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal to mark the death anniversary of Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha, here today.

Tributes were paid by various Sikh leaders, including that of Dal Khalsa and Damdami Taksal, at a function held at the native village of Harjinder Singh, who along with Sukhdev Singh was hanged in connection with the murder of Indian Army Chief Gen (retd) A.S. Vaidya. Former Akal Takht Jathedar Jasbir Singh Rode, Akal Federation convener Naraien Singh, Sikh Students Federation president Mandhir Singh, and Balwinder Singh Chabal were present. — TNS


30 children from Doda visit holy city

Amritsar, October 9
A 33-member group of children, including three teachers from Doda (in Jammu & Kashmir), arrived here today under Operation Sadbhavna to get acquainted with Punjabi culture.

The Rashtriya Rifles has arranged the visit of the children beyond the valley to give them a feel of different culture of the country.

Brig Ajay Mehta, Commander 54 Infantry Brigade, addressing the visitors, said to instill a sense of pride over diversity of cultures of the nation children from remote areas of J&K were brought to cement national integration.

Capt P.S. Saini, coordinator of the visit, informed that from here the children would go to Patiala, Chandigarh and Kurukshetra. — OC


Seminar on TB

Sangrur, October 9
Dr Surinder Singla, chest and TB specialist and In charge of district TB centre, has appealed to the educated youths and students to play a big role in spreading awareness to stop the further spread of tuberculosis (TB) and curb the menace of drug abuse and tobacco products as they could motivate the common masses in this direction.

Dr Singla was addressing a gathering of students, their parents and teachers at a seminar on “Chest diseases, TB and drug abuse” at Jawahar Navodaya Vidiayala at Longowal village yesterday. — TNS


Politician in Ravana’s role

Pathankot, October 9
While many people consider certain politicians as Ravana incarnates, they have a chance to see one play this role literally. A former minister of Punjab, Master Mohan Lal, has been enacting Ravana’s life story in the Ram Lila staged by the local Rama Dramatic Club for the past couple of years. This time, he is serving the club as a compere.

Then there are two others who have stepped into Lord Rama’s shoes.

Local MLA and PTDC Chairman Ashok Sharma is playing the role of Lord Rama in the Krishna Natak Club here for the past about 20 years. — OC


Bank officials summoned
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 9
Mr Ranjeev Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, First Class, has ordered the summoning of Mr A. Bhattacharya, Chief Regional Manager, United Bank of India (UBI), Delhi, Mr Chaman Lal Arya, its Manager, and Mr Ashok Gupta, a clerk with the bank on November 11 in case of fraud filed by Mr Rajan Verma.

In his complaint, Mr Verma had alleged that the bank authorities had been shielding corrupt officers for the past 12 years. They had been manipulating and fabricating accounts of a minor child of Mr Verma and had withdrawn money from the account.

Earlier, Mr Pushvinder Singh, the then JMIC, in February 2004 had issued non-bailable warrants against the Chief Regional Manager of the UBI Delhi, under Sections 420, 409, 467, 468, and 471 of the IPC.

Section 340 of the IPC has been added against the bank official for giving false evidence in the court.


Crop management camp at Barnala
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 9
The rabi crops management training camp organised by the Barnala Agriculture Department under the stewardship of Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, Chief Agriculture Officer, district Sangrur in Barnala Agriculture Department office complex evoked overwhelming response from the farmers of about 55 villages of Barnala region on Thursday.

Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, who was the chief guest, stressed the need for using “healthy seed” for successful and profit-oriented farming.

He urged the farmers to be particular in regard to soil testing to attain optimum yield.

They must avail themselves of the services of the agriculture department frequently.

Dr Sohal suggested that the farmers must seize the initiative of forming farmers societies and associations for creating healthy markets for the sale of their crops to become self-reliant.

They could also avail themselves of various national monetary aid schemes to promote their profession.

Dr Dalip Chand Malhi, Agriculture Officer, Barnala informed that the Barnala Agriculture Department arranged an exhibition highlighting various useful techniques with the help of literature, banners, placards and techniques, making the farmers aware of pests and insects and to avoid unnecessary spray of pesticides and insecticides on crops.

Dr Malhi, Dr Hardial Singh, Agriculture Officer, Training Scheme, Sangrur, Dr Balwant Singh and Dr Baldev Singh Agriculture Officers spoke on the concepts of the integrated pest management (IPM) latest technique, organic farming, vermi-compost, bee-keeping and water management calling upon the farmers to reduce their expenses on farming by using latest techniques. They advised the farmers to avoid the unnecessary use of pesticides.

Mr Joginder Singh , a successful farmer from Harigarh village, too shared his experiences while addressing his fellow farmers.


Commission agents hold protest
Our Correspondent

Khanna, October 9
Commission agents of Khanna Grain Market have held a protest against the attitude of sheller owners, who had denied to unload 15 trolleys of paddy. The shellers owners said the paddy, loaded in these trolleys, was under specifications and they would bear the loss, if they milled that paddy. The decision of the shellers owner irked the commission agents and they started a procession against them. More than 1,000 from main grain market and Rahaun Mandi blocked the G T Road but were disbursed by the police.

Mr Sohan Singh Rosha, president of Arhtiya Association, Khanna, led the protest. He said the decision of the sheller owners was illegal which caused loss of 2,000 per trolley to them.

Meanwhile, 1,000 labourers gathered at the Samrala road to lodge their protest. Charn Singh, president of the labour union, alleged that the procurement officers forced them to clean the crop two times while they were getting labour charges for one time. But the police reached and disbursed them from the spot.

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