R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S


A sweet sight to behold
ike programmed clocks, gur-producers come back each year to station themselves on all major highways of Punjab.


Attack flayed
: The SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, on Saturday condemned the attack on Giani Balwant Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, by some persons belonging to a dera. 

Clerk nabbed: Rajpal, a clerk in the SDM's office, was caught taking a bribe by Vigilance officials. A case has been registered. 

: Ms Raj Hans has been appointed Mahila Organiser of District Congress Seva Dal, Hoshiarpur unit.

Agent held: The police has arrested Dilawar Singh, a travel agent, on the complaint of Nirmal Chand of Kahri village. He has alleged that the accused charged Rs 2.25 lakh for sending him to Italy. The accused has neither sent him there nor has he returned the money.

Compensation: Swami Varindranand Giri, vice-president, All India Hindu Shakti Sewa, urged the Central and State government to provide compensation to Hindu families of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir who suffered at the hands of terrorists on the pattern of compensation paid to the 1984 riot-effected Sikhs families. 

Seminar held: Guru Teg Bahadur Khalsa College of Education, Dasuya, organised a seminar on “Practical Implications of Human Rights- an Indian Perspective” at the college premises on Saturday. 

Penalised: The District Consumer Forum has ordered the Reliance General Insurance to make payment of Rs 1,64,000 to Ravinder Pal Singh of Urmar Tanda in an accident case. 

Truck stolen: A truck loaded with wooden logs belonging to Harbhajan Singh of Piplanwala was allegedly stolen on Friday. A case has been registered.

Two killed: An unidentified person aged about 42 years was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle at Pul Pukhta village on Friday. In another accident, Lakhbir Singh of Dhattan village died on the spot when his scooter collided with a truck on Friday.

Traffic blocked
: Activists of the Punjab Kisan Sabha, BKU (Ekta) and Kisan Sangharsh Committee blocked traffic at Goraya and other places in the state on Saturday to protest against the delay in paddy procurement by government agencies and the indifferent attitude of the state government towards the farming community.

Workshop: A workshop was organised on Saturday at the Army Public School at Beas to update the knowledge of teachers and principals of various army schools.

Funds released
: The Local Bodies Department has allowed the nagar council to spend Rs 1 crore on important projects after clearing its financial liabilities.

Transferred: The Municipal Executive Officer (EO), Mr Jagir Singh Thind, has been transferred. He will swap places with Hoshiarpur EO Harbhajan Singh. Mr Thind has been at loggerheads with most of the councillors. He was facing a number of departmental enquiries.

Eye camp: A free eye check-up and operation camp was held at the Civil Hospital here on Friday. As many as 100 persons were examined. Cataract operations were also performed.

SONG CONTEST: A group song contest was organised by the local chapter of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, here on Sunday. Eleven teams from nine schools participated in the contest presided over by Mr S.P. Chand and Mr Shamlal Anand. The president of the local unit, Mr M.L. Verma presented the welcome address. The winners are: Sanskrit: Swirls Public School (1); Hindi: Holy Angel Senior Secondary School (1); S.D. Senior Secondary School (2); Punjabi: Mukt Public School (1); KK Senior Secondary School (2).



Cultural extravaganza: Aagman-2005, a cultural extravaganza, was organised to welcome the first year students of different streams of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) at the law auditorium of Panjab University on Sunday. Students presented a skit and other cultural items. Lost souls, a musical band, also performed on the occasion. The newly-elected and former departments representatives were also honoured. Gaurav Chhibar and Sugandhi were adjudged Mr Fresher and Miss Fresher, respectively. A dinner-cum-dance party was later organised at the Chandigarh Club. 

Disaster management: Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes, Chandigarh, organised a lecture on “Disaster management” its campus, near Banur, Chandigarh, on Sunday. All faculty members and students of the Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Swami Vivekanand College of Pharmacy, the Swami Vivekanand College of Education, participated in this lecture. Due to Saturday’s earthquake the group institutes organised a special awareness lecture and Sunday was made a working day for this awareness drive. Various speakers spoke about the precautions to be taken during earthquakes. 

NSS CAMP: As many as 98 students, including 50 girls from Government College, attended the 10-day National Social Service (NSS) camp under the care of camp in charge Rajni Bhalla and MS Sukhija here. The camp cadets held literacy workshops in the nearby villages of Chowki and Majri for the illiterate and elders, while most of the girl cadets imparted training in embroidery and stitching work to the young girls. OC

SAMMELAN: Over 500 workers of the Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha from Panchkula district participated in a Sammelan on Sunday. The district president of the morcha, Mr Deepak Sharma, presided over the function. The BJP leaders, including former MP Satya Pal Jain, Jaivir Godara, Kanwar Pal, G.C. Gupta, Virender Rana and Aseem Goyal, exhorted the workers to maintain a rapport with the people. 



FACTORY GUTTED: A cardboard factory was gutted in fire in Arjun Nagar near the Industrial Area on Sunday. Flames were first spotted around 2 pm. Four fire engines were pressed into service, which took nearly four hours to bring the blaze under control.

VIJ TO FILE CASE: Former Ambala Cantt MLA and Vikas Parishad chief Anil Vij said on Sunday that they would file a case in the Minerva complex issue in the Supreme Court. Mr Vij alleged that whenever the Congress was in power, there had been land scams. He said that the land mafia had taken over John Sahab Ki Diggi for barely Rs 50 per sq yard. However, after a considerable struggle the land mafia had to leave it and the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose park had now been constructed there. 

HEART CAMP: The Rotary Club of Ambala organised a free heart check up camp at Kumari Rukmani Devi Memorial Hall on Sunday. The club president, Mr Kamaljeet Jain, said about 500 persons were examined at the camp held in collaboration with Escorts Heart Institute.



2 die in accident
: The wife and a daughter of Subhash Kaushal, a resident of Samlohal village, were killed when the motorcycle they were riding on met with a head-on collision with a pick-up Jeep on NH-21 near Ghagas on Saturday. Subhash and his other daughter were injured in the accident. 

Legal notice: Rajesh Kumar, a PWD contractor at Gangloh, has served a legal notice to the Executive Engineer, PWD Bilaspur division, demanding payment for the construction of the civil dispensary in Tarsooh. He has alleged that despite completing the work in the stipulated time in accordance with the conditions specified, he had not been paid. 



A sweet sight to behold

Gur-makers can be seen lining Punjab’s highways at this time of the year
Sugar route: Gur-makers can be seen lining Punjab’s highways at this time of the year. — Photo by Pradeep Tewari

Like programmed clocks, gur-producers come back each year to station themselves on all major highways of Punjab. With the ripening of the sugarcane crop, the countryside comes to be dotted by these gur-makers, bringing sweet tidings for gur-users.

This year too, with gur production having just started, one can see scores of cars parked along the roadsides as people stop by buy the goody. Each morning, fresh gur is prepared, which is sold off by the evening, says Bishan Singh, who has positioned himself along the Ambala-Ludhiana national highway.

These gur-makers set up 5-feet-tall earthen tandoors and use mammoth, 3-feet-wide kadhais to prepare this traditional sweet of Punjab.

They claim that they use no caustic soda to make the gur. Thus, it does not have the usual whitish tinge and does not leave an acidic taste in the mouth. The trade is dominated by people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Local farmers also set up their stalls in small pockets.

Lesson in dedication

In this era when many a person retires from service unsung, a government teacher, Surinder Kaur, had teachers from all over Punjab gathering recently to give her a rousing farewell.

Surinder Kaur had served in Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Ropar and was a vocal champion of teachers’ rights. She even faced termination of service while fighting for the rights of fellow teachers but was reinstated later.

Having joined the education service as an ad-hoc teacher in 1973, she had been associated with the Unemployed Teachers Union and later went to play a major role in the Government Teachers Union.

At her farewell, emotional speeches were made. Teachers recollected how this woman had been arrested in 1987 while fighting for the rights of teachers in the adjoining state of Haryana.

Born days after Independence in Sultanpur Lodhi (Kapurthala), Surinder Kaur had become the first girl from her village to pass Class X, and she later went on to do higher studies.

Among her several achievements is one that is of importance for women employees. Surinder Kaur had managed to get a rule enforced under which women employees, who resigned their jobs for some reason, were allowed to rejoin service within 10 years.

Sarpanch raj for 37 years

Nirbhai Singh
Nirbhai Singh

He was only 28 when he was elected Sarpanch of Bholewal village in Ludhiana in 1963. Since then, Nirbhai Singh has never tasted defeat in panchayat elections and has created a record of sorts by serving as the sarpanch of his village for 37 long years. In June 1998, the post of sarpanch in his village was reserved for a woman and he had been at the forefront in canvassing for a female candidate. After her term, he was the one to be elected again to the post in 2003. Having graduated from Agricultural College, Ludhiana, in 1956, Nirbhai Singh, (70), had to face the ballot only twice—-in 1963 and 2003. On other occasions, he was elected unopposed.  His mantra of success is tireless work for the welfare of villagers, who count on his honesty and dedication. “I have never run after success in elections. My counterparts in other villages would woo voters with liquor and narcotics, but I refrained from doing so. Even then, people used to come and assure me of their support,” he says.

“At times, I do feel bad that my supporters have never got a drop of liquor from me, while in other villages election time is the time for goodies. But those who have stood by me despite this, will never let me down.”

His repeated success at the hustings does not mean that he has had no enemies. “I keep working for the welfare of the villagers and this is what silences my detractors.”

Nirbhai Singh feels that a sarpanch has no business to have affiliations with any political party. A sarpanch should be above party and vote politics, only then can he work effectively at the grassroots, he feels.

He is, however, dismayed at the prevailing unemployment, poverty and corruption. “It is the people at the grassroots who have to join hands against these problems. Otherwise, our country will become a mockery of democracy,” he adds.

Contributed by Ajay Banerjee and Kanchan Vasdev


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