P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Bill to change working of education board passed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Punjab Assembly today passed a Bill to change the working of the Punjab School Education Board. This would include powers to control the terms of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the PSEB. Until now both the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman had fixed tenures of three years.

The Bill was passed amidst protest from the Akalis who said that this would reduce the autonomy of the PSEB.

Actually when the Bill was being passed the Akalis, in a deft move, sought a vote. This was done as a majority of the Congress MLAs, after the marathon debate on the Lovely Professional University Bill had gone for a cup of tea. The Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, had to sound the bell as per laid down procedure for having a vote. The Congress MLAs then rushed back to the House.

The Assembly also passed the Punjab Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Bill. The Finance Minister explained that this was pre-requisite for getting the benefits of the Finance Commission.

During the question hour the matter of privatising sugar mills was raised. The House was informed that the private sector sugar mills were making more profit in comparison to the government sector ones as the latter were overstaffed. The cost of crushing per quintal was much more in the government sector.

The Transport Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, informed the House that pending passenger tax dues of the Punjab Roadways and the PRTC would be cleared, as a grant-in-aid would be given. He admitted that CTU buses had been running without valid permits in the state since 1966 and now a policy was being framed.

During the zero hour Mr Sukhdarshan Singh Marahar of the SAD said that a case had been registered against him.

The Akalis staged a walk out saying their voice was not being heard.


SGPC takes control of gurdwara, prime land
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Gurusar Satlani, October 18
Amid heavy police presence, SGPC secretary Raghbir Singh, appointed Receiver by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC), took the control of historic Gurdwara Satlani Sahib and a huge chunk of agricultural land worth several crore (Hoshiar Nagar) in Amritsar district, here today.

The “taking over operation” was launched after the land was illegally leased out for a song.

Though the SGPC had deputed around 200 employees, including its task force, to meet any eventuality, the entire “operation” was completed in eight hours smoothly.

Though the followers of Baba Gurpinder Singh, caretaker of the historic gurdwara, initially tried to stop the SGJC’s Receiver from taking over the possession, he (Baba Gurpinder Singh) later agreed to vacate the entire gurdwara complex on certain conditions.

For this, the SGPC honoured Baba Gurpinder Singh and his associates with “siropas” (robe of honour).

Senior officials of the SGPC, including Raghbir Singh (secretary), Gurbachan Singh Mahia, Angrej Singh, Balkar Singh, Ram Singh and Dilbag Singh, were present during the “operation”, which was held in the presence of senior revenue officials.

However, devotees were put to inconvenience as the police had set up barricades on all roads leading to the gurdwara.

Earlier, the Notified Gurdwara Committee (NGC) of the historic gurdwara had leased around 300 acres of agricultural land to late Baba Mangal Singh Satlani for 90 years on Rs 65,000 per annum, by flouting bylaws of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925.

His follower, Baba Gurpinder Singh, further “sold” the leased land in gross violation of the Act.

In a public notice, the SGPC had described the selling of the prime land attached to the gurdwara as illegal and warned 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, and that 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.


Cong MLAs fight it out over ‘burfi’
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
A reference to a piece of “burfi” led to a verbal duel among Congress MLAs, who hurled accusations against each other on the issue of passing a Bill to allow a private university to be established in Punjab.

Several questions on the working of the university, its Chancellor and the background of the promoters were raised by Congress MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh. He even wanted that the Bill should not be passed as this would mean that a “sweet meat vendor will be chancellor of the university as the family which runs Lovely institutes also runs sweets shops in Jalandhar”. He added that “the university did not have the approval of the University Grants Commission.” The reply to this by the Deputy Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, were also laced with accusations.

The Bill to set up Lovely professional university resulted in a debate lasting for more than 90 minutes. During his long winding argument against the university, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said the university would get the right to self certify its courses. He said: “bhai tussi halwai eeh certify karo ke burfi kede banade ho ya balushai kedi banade.” Even as he was finishing his remark, Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, who was sitting in the second row, just behind the Chief Minister, happened to laugh. At this Mr Bir Devinder Singh said, “Sodhi ji haase de gaal nahin, tussi taan burfi kha laeye honi . Us te wark vi honi.”

Ms Bhattal said, “ main soch rahi see ki lagda hai eehna nu mithai paunchi nahin.” On this Mr Bir Devinder took umbrage and wanted her remarks to be expunged. Mrs Bhattal asked him why did he name Mr Sodhi with reference to the “burfi”. At this point Mr Sodhi also joined in.

Taking a dig at the Congress, former Finance Minister Kanwaljit Singh of SAD said the Congress had spilt vertically and demanded that what was this “mithai” business and it should be explained to the House.

It all started when Mr Bir Devinder Singh questioned the Bill by saying that “now a sweet meat vendor will appoint vice-chancellor, professors and lecturers”. The Bill, he added, “Allowed the new university to charge fee as it desires and would sell degrees.”

In reply Mrs Bhattal said the university was being set up by private promoters who were already running 20 institutes. The technical courses had the approval of the All-Indian Council of Technical Education.

She added: “It was not necessary that a sweet meat vendor cannot rise in life. The promoter is a law graduate.”


PSGPC: donate generously for quake relief fund
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 18
The Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) has appealed to Sikhs the world over to donate generously towards the earthquake relief fund.

In a release faxed to The Tribune here yesterday, Mr Mastan Singh, president, PSGPC, said the committee had already deployed relief workers in the areas worst affected by the earthquake.

He said he had set up an earthquake relief fund to help provide relief and support to all those in need and with generous support from people, the PSGPC would be able to play a vital role in the relief and rehabilitation process.

Mr Mastan Singh said to maintain transparency a sub account had been opened under the PSGPC.


Relief train leaves for Pak

Attari, October 18
Nine wagons loaded with relief material, sent by the Central and Punjab Governments, left for Pakistan today.

An engine of the Pakistan Railways arrived here to toe the wagons of the Indian Railways across the border to Lahore.

Five of the wagons loaded with medicines, tents, plastic sheets, blankets and food material had arrived from New Delhi in the morning.

Four additional wagons containing relief material collected by the Punjab Government were attached to the train in Amritsar. — UNI


Kashyap sworn in Chief Information Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Gen (Retd) S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab, administered the oath of office to Mr Rajan Kashyap as State Chief Information Commissioner at a ceremony held at Punjab Raj Bhavan, here today.

Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, Mr J.S. Gill, Chief Secretary, and Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, besides others were present on the occasion.

Mr Kashyap, a former Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government, has been appointed as the State Chief Information Commissioner under the Right to Information Act. He has had a distinguished career as a civil servant. A Master of Philosophy in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge, Mr Kashyap joined the IAS in 1965 and retired as Chief Secretary, Government of Punjab in 2003.

During his long tenure, he had held various important assignments in different departments of the State Government. Apart from government service, he has been active in various social spheres and is at present Honorary Chairman, Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, a sports organisation working for the development of tennis; and Honorary Administrator and Chairman, Managing Committee, Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre, Chandigarh, a non-government body for providing safe blood to medical institutions.


Move on nurses’ council draws flak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 18
The reported move of the Punjab Government to reorganise the Punjab Nurses’ Registration Council (PNRC) by carrying out amendment in the PNRC Act, 1932, seems to have stirred a hornet’s nest with the functionaries of the Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI) claiming that it was aimed at undermining the profession of nurses.

Addressing a news conference here today, Dr Kanwaljit Gill, president, and Dr Jasbir Kaur, general secretary of the Punjab State branch of the TNAI, said the changes proposed by the Medical Education and Research Department and approved by Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Medical Education, Punjab, were tantamount to handing over the PNRC to the powerful lobby of doctors on a platter.

While agreeing that the obsolete PNRC Act needed to be suitably amended in consultation with representatives of qualified nurses, the TNAI functionaries described the inclusion of presidents of the Punjab Medical Council, the Punjab Dental Council and the Principal of Government Medical College in the restructured PNRC as ridiculous. “When the medical and dental councils do not have any representatives of nurses, what will be the justification of having medical and dental professionals in the PNRC,” they asked.

Dr Gill and Dr Jasbir Kaur also objected to the ambiguity in the prescribed qualification for the post of the Registrar of the PNRC. “The proposed change will provide that a group-A government officer with a postgraduate degree will be appointed to the post whereas the council, being a body of nurses, ought to have a Registrar who should be a nurse with a PG degree and adequate administrative experience,” they said.

The TNAI further stressed that the reorganised PNRC must have its president and vice-president from amongst the nurses as was being done in Delhi, West Bengal and many other states. The government must do away with the present practice of nominating a doctor as the president of the PNRC, which was also violative of the PNRC Act under which the council was constituted.


ETO denies encounter report
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, October 18
Taking a serious note of the encounter in which two car occupants were chased to death by a team of the Excise Department while allegedly smuggling liquor, Mr Simaranjit Singh Mann, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) chief, today condemned the incident and demanded a judicial probe into it.

Talking to The Tribune on phone, he said the law and order situation had deteriorated in the state. He said the killing of two Dalits in an encounter was gross violation of Section 21 of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Mr R.S. Cheema, Excise and Taxation Officer, Hoshiarpur, clarified that there was no encounter between the Excise Department men and the alleged smugglers. He said the car occupants were neither chased nor any shot was fired at them. He said the smugglers, after noticing a team of the Excise Department, tried to sped away with the liquor and met with an accident when a tyre of their car burst.

He said Mr Harish Kumar, Superintendent of Police (Detective), reached the spot minutes after the accidents. The injured were extricated from the damaged car in his presence.

The police had also found two swords in the vehicle. He also denied that any Indica car had chased them to death as was stated by one of the victims.

The police had registered a case of rash and negligent driving against the car occupants, he added.


NCF for rainwater harvesting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
A four-member delegation led by Prof M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman of the National Commission of Farmers (NCF), today said rainwater harvesting and recharge of the aquifiers should be made mandatory in Punjab.

The delegation also emphasised the need for a research backup for successful and result-oriented implementation of the crop diversification programme. Taking part in the deliberations with senior Punjab Government officials at a meeting held here, Prof Swaminathan asserted that diversification would succeed only if there were linkages with research and with the market.

He also suggested that only those crops should be promoted under the crop diversification scheme that had enormous potential of an assured market.

He also urged Punjab Agricultural University to go in for extensive trials of the best available hybrids of BT cotton and rice and recommend suitable hybrids for each agro-ecological zone along with the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system.


Mohan Singh mela starts
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 18
The 27th Prof Mohan Singh memorial cultural festival dedicated to Indo-Pakistan friendship started here today.

The festival was inaugurated by former Minister, Balmukand Sharma, saw participation of Pakistani MNA’s Khalid Iqbal Memom, Tahira Asif, Shakeela Khanum Rashida and Shameena Khalid Khurki who specially came here for the function.

Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Chairman, Prof Mohan Singh Foundation said the function was organised every year in the memory of noted poet Prof Mohan Singh for his contribution to Punjabi poetry.

Eminent personalities like Mr Pargat Singh Grewal, President, Mr Kulwant Singh Lehri, Secretary of the Prof Mohan Singh Foundation, Mr Ratinder Singh Saiyanwala, Mr Sarbjit Singh Chabbra, Mr Harbhinder Singh Changali spoke on the contribution of Prof Mohan Singh to Punjabi cultural heritage and poetry.


British surgeon to visit Ludhiana

Chandigarh, October 18
A consultant surgeon from the Royal College of Surgeons, London, Dr R.C.G. Russell, will visit Ludhiana from October 21 to 24 to participate in the national meeting of the Indian Medical Association called ACADIMA 2005. A chairman of the British journal Surgery, a journal of surgical fraternity all over the world, Dr Russell will deliver an oration on ‘There is no room for the gifted amateur in medicine’. — TNS


Suicide: bail pleas of students rejected

Jalandhar, October 18
The District and Session Judge, Jalandhar, Mr Jagroop Singh Mahal, today rejected the anticipatory bail applications of the students named in the suicide note allegedly left behind by Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology (NIT) student Amit Kumar who ended his life by jumping before a train after he was ragged by the senior students of the college.

These students had moved the court to seek anticipatory bail after fearing arrest by the Government Railway Police for their alleged involvement in the ragging of Amit that forced him to take the extreme step. — PTI


Rape case: jurisdiction of court challenged
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 18
Three accused in the infamous Nayagaon rape case today moved an application in the Ropar court challenging the jurisdiction of the special court wherein the challan against accused in the case was filed by the SIT.

The three, Kesar Singh, Gurdhian Singh and Avtar Singh said since the rape was alleged to be committed in Chandigarh as per the FIR the trial of the case should also be held in a Chandigarh court. The Special Court, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.K Goel, has issued notice to the state for October 25 to file reply on the accuse application.


Corporation to develop citrus orchards on farmers’ behalf
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
For the first time in the region, the Punjab Agri Export Corporation (PAGREXCO) today announced that it would develop citrus orchards in the state on behalf of farmers. With this, the farmers in Punjab will get the benefit of PAGREXCO’s expertise in setting up hi-tech citrus farms and also have the option of getting guaranteed leasing money, thus opening a new era of prosperity for them.

The corporation is presently conducting a survey to find out if farmers were willing to join hands in developing citrus orchards of 15 to 20 acres each or larger areas. The interested farmers have to send their replies by November 5 giving details of location of their land, size of plot and source of irrigation.

Outlining the options being offered to farmers for development of their farms of 15-20 acres each into citrus orchards, Mr. S. S. Kathunangal, Chairman, PAGREXCO, stated “We are giving two options to the farmers. In the first option, PAGREXCO will develop the orchard on behalf of the farmer and the cost/expenses will be borne by the owners of the land for four years, after which the orchard shall be handed back to the owner. However, PAGREXCO will continue to provide free extension services.

Talking about the second option, Mr Kathunangal said, “In this option, the orchard will be set up with necessary infrastructure and will be developed and maintained by PAGREXCO for 15 years and all expenses will be borne by PAGREXCO. Lease money will be paid by PAGREXCO for the first six years. From the seventh year onwards, the net profit shall be shared by PAGREXCO and the landowner on 50-50 basis.

According to Mr Himmat Singh, Managing Director, PAGREXCO “ The initiative is meant to help those farmers who do not have the time or the skills to manage citrus orchards on their own. Such farmers will now have a choice in terms of either availing of a loan through PAGREXCO and reaping the benefits of scientific management with no service charge. Alternatively land owners can part with a share of the eventual revenues after seven years and get a guaranteed lease / rent till then.”

Beginning this season, these orchards are being developed on a profit-sharing basis to study the result of imported varieties in block plantation and larger orchards to compare their performance under Punjab conditions.

Meanwhile, PAGREXCO is increasing the capacity of nursery production to 10,00,000 plants annually, offering planting out capability of up to 8,000 acres annually in Punjab which will further be increased to 45,00,000 plants with planting out capacity up to approximately 36,000 acres annually.


Farmers turn to Haryana market
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bhaini Bagha (Mansa), October 18
A fortnight after Gurdev Singh hanged himself to death at Nadala due to non-procurement of paddy the farmers, who are awaiting paddy’s purchase here for the past 20 days, had to block road to bring the government agencies to the market. Farmers from border areas of the district were also taking their produce to the neighbouring state of Haryana. Talking to The Tribune, Labh Singh, a farmer, said he had come to the market on September 28, but government agencies’ “reluctance” forced him to take part of his produce to Sheikhpura village where it was procured quickly.

Gurcharan Singh, another farmer, who had been waiting for his paddy’s purchase for the past 18 days, said even though quality of their paddy was good, officials reject it on account of moisture content. “When we dry it under the sun they would again reject it quoting their specifications on discoloured paddy.” Gurlal Singh said they were waiting for so long owing to their old association with some commission agents. He rued that even if purchase takes place sacks were not provided to them. Avtar Singh of the same village said they took three months to sow and reap crop, but now the government could not even purchase it in a month. “It’s a do or die battle for us now. “We would either gherao inspectors of government agencies or end our lives,” he thundered. Farmers at the market said: “Our arhtiyas have stopped providing us pesticides, as they know any distressed farmer can consume it to commit suicide.” The farmers here blocked traffic on the Bathinda-Mansa road for five and a half hours yesterday demanding purchase of paddy.

Meanwhile, sources said that arhtiyas from Haryana were procuring paddy from the Punjab’s farmers through tractors and selling it in Rori, Ratia, Fatehabad, Sikandarpura, Bhaniari, and Sirsa markets of the state. Scores of farmers from Kushla, Jatana, Mirpur Kalan and Fatta Maloka villages have sold their paddy in Haryana after getting disappointed in local markets.

He said the government agencies, especially the FCI, were rejecting even good quality paddy. When contacted, Deputy Commissioner, Raj Kamal Chaudhuri, said a substantial amount of paddy was below specification at Bhaini Bagha, but the BKU leaders were insisting for total purchase of paddy. He denied that good quality paddy was being rejected. Regarding the sale of paddy in Haryana, he said it was a misnomer.


Farmers resent delay in procurement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 18
Many farmers have reportedly been waiting for the procurement of their paddy by government agencies for the past 10 to 15 days in various grain markets and procurement centres of the district. Due to non-procurement some are thinking to sell the produce even lower than the MSP.This was stated by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A), who visited procurement centres at Longowal, Namol, Cheema, Chhajli and Chhahar villages in the Sunam area today. He was accompanied by Mr Nirmal Singh Gharachon, a member of the SGPC, Mr Harjit Singh Sajuma, senior vice-president of the district unit of the party, Mr Satgur Singh Namol, general secretary of the youth wing of the party, Mr Bikar Singh, president of the Dirba circle of the party, and Mr Surjit Singh Dulat, president of the Longowal circle of the party.

He said during their visit to the Longowal grain market they found 19 farmers who had been waiting for the sale of their produce for the past many days. There were 14 farmers at the Chhajli procurement centre who had been waiting for the sale of the produce for the past 12 days.

He said as the government agencies were not ready to procure their paddy, the farmers were thinking of selling their produce ranging between Rs 550 per quintal and Rs 580 per quintal.

He said the farmers were being “exploited” at the procurement centres.


CPM seeks bonus for paddy growers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 18
The Punjab unit of the CPM today asked the Punjab Government to announce a bonus to the tune of Rs 50 per quintal for those farmers who had suffered losses due to damage to their paddy crop this season.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Prof Balwant Singh, state secretary of the CPM, said as per reports, farmers had suffered about 20 per cent losses to the paddy crop due to the rain recently. He also held the union and state governments responsible for distress sale of paddy.

Prof Balwant Singh, who was here in connection with a meeting of the district unit of the party, alleged that Congress and Akali leaders had provided hideouts to militants during the militancy era in the state. He said the Akalis had given the militants an ideological base while the Congress had promoted militancy.


8 nominated on legal services authority
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 18
Governor of Punjab S.F. Rodrigues has nominated eight persons to the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) for two years.

The nominated members are: Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge Ludhiana, Ms Sabina, District and Sessions Judge Fatehgarh Sahib, Dr Veer Singh, Director General-Army Institute of Law, Mohali, Mr Kulwant Singh Gill, Head of Law Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Prof T.N. Johar from Law Department, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Social worker- Mrs Papoo Abinash Singh of Ludhiana, Dr Satpal Kaur Nalwa and Ms Amar Kulwant Singh of Chandigarh.


Four killed in accident

Amritsar, October 18
Four persons, including a woman, were killed and seven others injured when the autorickshaw they were travelling in was hit by a private bus near Jehangir village on the Amritsar-Pathankot highway today.

A police report here said the bus which was moving at high speed hit the auto and then dragged it for 70 metres. The dead were identified as driver Gurdev Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Mohan Singh and Amar Kaur.

The seven injured, including three children, were admitted to the government Medical College hospital here. The police has impounded the bus and registered a case against the driver and conductor both of whom have been arrested. — UNI


Suicide by youth
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, October 18
A seventeen-year-old youth yesterday committed suicide by jumping before a train near Paras Ram Nagar railway line here.

The deceased, identified as Monu, was a scooter mechanic. The body was shifted to the civil hospital here for a post-mortem examination.

In another incident, an unidentified old woman today died at civil hospital here after she was shifted from local Malgodam road, where she was lying unconsciousness, to the hospital by Sahara Jan Sewa volunteers.


Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 18
The police today busted a gang of robbers involved in eight criminal activities and seized firearms and sharp-edged weapons from their possession. Those arrested were identified as Jaswinder Singh, Balvir Singh, Mandeep Singh and Rimpy. Police sources said the robbers were arrested when they were planning a robbery at a dhaba in Bughipura area. The gang was involved in robbing people of two-wheelers. A case has been registered against them under Sections 399 and 402 of the IPC and Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act.


Valuables worth Rs 2 lakh stolen
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 18
Valuables worth rupees two lakh were stolen today from official residence of Mr S.R. Goel, Production Manager, Wahid-Sandhars Sugars, in the Sugar Mill Staff Colony near Maal Godaam road here. Burglars decamped with Rs 1.50 lakh and eight tola jewellery.

Mr Goel was on duty and his wife had gone out to get medicine.

Mr Goel disclosed that he had kept the cash in house as he was to buy a car tomorrow.


Excise hawaldar held for graft
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 18
The Vigilance Department nabbed Harjit Singh, a hawaldar of the Excise Department, while he was demanding Rs 2,000 from Ranbir Singh of Abdal village. A case has been registered.

Ranbir had complained to the department that the accused had been demanding Rs 5,000 from him for releasing his scooter, which he had taken into his custody saying it was a stolen vehicle. Ranbir alleged that he had given him Rs 1,600 on the spot when his scooter was impounded.


Punjabi varsity students to hold protest
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 18
Students organisations and other unions have decided to hold a state-level protest rally here on October 27 in support of the demands of students of Punjabi University, Patiala. This information was provided by Gurpal Singh Dhaliwal and Rajinder Singh of the Punjabi University Students Confederation. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held here today, which was attended by 13 students, farmers’ and other workers unions.

The rallyists would protest against the university Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai and seek government’s intervention regarding the demands of students, including the abolition of internal assessment in the Law Department, hostel and library facilities besides taking back the expelled students. The university authorities, right from the beginning, have maintained outside interference of other unions and departments in the students and university affairs.

Today’s meeting was attended by Swaranjit Singh Daleo (Students Federation of India), Gurmukh Singh Mann (Punjab Students Union), Gurbakhshish Singh (Internationalist Democratic Students Front), Nikka Singh Samao (All-India Students Association), Manpreet Singh (Punjab Students Union, Shaheed Randhawa), Hardev Singh Sandhu (All-India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha), Dharampal Sheel (Punjab Kisan Sabha), Narinder Kaur Sohal (All-India Students Federation), Kashmir Gaddiya, Sukhwinder Singh Bajwa (All India Naujawan Sabha), Sucha Singh, Bhagwant Kanganwal (PRTC Motor Mazdoor Union), Gurdarshan Singh Khatra, Jagpal Singh (Kisan Vikas Front), Ram Chand, Gurcharan Singh (Technical Service Union) and Vidhu Sekhar Bhardwaj.


PU zonal youth fest ends
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 18
The five-day Panjab University Zonal Youth Festival concluded at Khalsa College, Mahilpur, 24 km from here, this afternoon.

Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, member Rajya Sabha, gave away prizes to the winners. She also announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh out of her MPLAD Fund for the college library.


NFL may switch over to natural gas
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 18
Riding high on its last fiscal year’s impressive profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 35.72 crore and aiming to make its plant energy efficient, National Fertilisers Limited, Bathinda, is toying with the idea of switching over to natural gas in the coming years. The plant is now based on low sulphur high stock (LSHS).

Talking to The Tribune here on Sunday, the Chief General Manager of the NFL, Bathinda, Mr V.K. Sharma, said they were willing to go in for natural gas, but two factors — availability of natural gas and its pricing — would play a vital role in their decision. He said it would take about Rs 300-500 crore for the conversion. He said they would also see the economic viability of the gas being made available to them before reaching any conclusion. He said they might drop their plan if the price of natural gas was over $5.5 per million British thermal units.

He expressed his inability to spell out any particular deadline for the work.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |