P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Fissures in Cong to fore during Dullo’s visit
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, November 21
Fissures in the local Congress came to the fore once again during the visit of the PPCC president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, here today.

The factions of the Congress did not even come together to welcome the state Congress president. Instead, they vied with each to show off their strength with groups shouting slogans in favour of their respective leaders in presence of Mr Dullo.

Two groups were standing just about 15 metres apart at the entrance of Pathankot to welcome Mr Dullo.

The PPCC chief was first welcomed by a group of Congressmen led by local MLA Mr Ashok Sharma near Chaki bridge. Supporters of Mr Ashok Sharma included the members of the bloc Congress and office-bearers of the Pathankot Improvement Trust.

A little later, a group led by the member administration PSEB, Mr Raman Bhalla, welcomed Mr Dullo. Mr Raman Bhalla was accompanied by the ruling group municipal councilor and president of the Pathankot municipal council, Mr Sarwan Kumar.

The group led by the Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, waited for Mr Dullo at Sarna. The public relation staff displaying loyalty for the minister tried to sway mediapersons by telling them that Mr Dullo has reached Sarna.

However, the fact that was that he was still on his way to Pathankot. He was scheduled to first meet the groups waiting near Chaki before proceeding to the venue where the minister was waiting.

Another factor that bothered the leaders accompanying the Congress president was that there were more leaders than workers among those who had gathered to welcome him at Pathankot. The leaders who had mustered the workers to welcome Dullo attributed low strength to the busy schedule of the people. They said that real strength would be proved in functions to be addressed by the state congress president.

Mr Dullo, while addressed a worker rally at Sujanpur urged the party workers to set aside their differences for the sake of party.

While taking to newsmen, Mr Dullo said that the SAD president, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, has lost base among the masses. Therefore, he was trying to enter into poll arrangements with the BSP and the BJP. The SAD has lost the courage to fight elections at its own.

About the nuclear power plant in Punjab, Mr Dullo said despite Chief Minister's objections he was in favour of setting of the plant in Punjab.

The Chief Minister might be opposing the plant due to security considerations but he was ignoring the benefits in terms of cheap power that would be available to Punjab from the plant.

Admitting corruption in bureaucracy in Punjab, he said the Congress government was doing its best to curb the menace.


Malwa tops Cong list for poll campaign: Dullo
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Badal, November 21
Aiming to make inroads into Badals’ citadel, the Congress has decided to lend top priority to the Malwa belt in their campaign for the forthcoming Assembly elections, said the PPCC President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, while interacting with mediapersons at the residence of a Congress leader, Mr Maheshinder Singh Badal, here yesterday.

Mr Dullo said the party would kick off political activities in Malwa with a historic rally at Lambi on December 11.

The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, who is also in charge of party affairs in Punjab, and the AICC General Secretary, Ms Ambika Soni, would participate. He said there was full coordination between the state government and the state Congress for the rally.

When asked as to whether he would order probe into some MLAs’ outburst against the party leadership, he said the party was trying to find out reasons behind the same and notices were issued to them to maintain discipline in the party.

Earlier, local party workers expressed resentment before the PPCC chief, stating that the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was still “ruling the roost” in the area and their grievances were falling on deaf ears.

They complained that government employees appointed by the Akalis were yet to be shifted out of the area. They sought the removal of a BDO posted at Lambi, as he didn’t pay heed to problems of party workers.

Mr Maheshinder Singh Badal urged Mr Dullo to initiate concrete measures for the restart of lift pumps, which were shut following the high court orders.

He said this had adversely hit 70,000 farmers of the region and the party men were feeling disillusioned.


Bir Devinder fears threat to life
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 21
In a significant development, Congress MLA Bir Devinder Singh while categorically stating that he had been apprehending danger to his life from the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said he would meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, in this connection shortly.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, who has levelled allegations of corruption against the local Bodies Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, said that the way the Chief Minister had been reacting to exposure made by him (Mr Bir Devinder) and the way Capt Amarinder Singh had been making threatening statements in the media, he had started feeling that there was a danger to his life.

He said he would meet the Prime Minister and party’s national unit President in this connection. He added that he would respond to the show cause notice issued to him within few days.

The Congress MLA, who attended the function organised in connection with the death anniversary of Kartar Singh Dhaliwal, father of Akali MLA, Mr Surjeet Singh Rakhra, at Rakhra village, 10 km from here, while talking to mediapersons, said he would not stop himself from exposing corrupt practices being carried out by ruling politicians and he was ready to pay any price for it.

He said that it was unbecoming on the part of the Chief Minister to use threatening language. He should give due honour to MLAs as they were elected by the people.

“Criminal cases might be registered against me to gag my voice. I can be expelled from the party. I can be eliminated also. But all these things will not stop me from speaking the truth and exposing the colonisers-ministers’ nexus, corruption and other misdeeds of the ruling politicians,” he claimed adding that his commitment to the party and to the people of Punjab and to the party discipline had made him speak.

“The Chief Minister was not available to give MLAs a personal hearing. He was neither available on telephone. The Chief Minister had not called any meeting of MLAs for the past two years”, he pointed out.

Not only this, the Congress came to power in Punjab by promising corruption-free, transparent and able government. But those in the government, who had been claiming that they were fighting against corruption, had themselves become corrupt. The corruption prevailing in Punjab had been eating up the vitals of society and the government.

He alleged that Chaudhary Jagjit Singh in connivance with certain colonisers had been interfering in the development of the assembly segment represented by him (Mr Bir Devinder), to promote his vested interest. He said he had taken up the matter with the Chief Minister number of times but without any result. He said it was very surprising that Capt Amarinder Singh gave Chaudhary Jagjit Singh a clean chit in all allegations which he had levelled against him, without carrying out any probe.


Seeks 15 days more for reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Outspoken MLA from Kharar Bir Devinder Singh today sought an extension of 15 days in replying to a show-cause notice served upon him by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr S.S. Dullo.

Originally, today was the last day to send his reply. Mr Dullo had issued a show-cause notice to Mr Bir Devinder Singh for speaking against the party.

Speaking to The Tribune he denied that he might accept a compromise formula to bail the party out of the present embarrassing situation, saying: “There can be no compromise on corruption.”

He confirmed that his request for extension had been sent to the PPCC chief with the promise that evidence was being collected against Mr Jagjit Singh, Minister for Local Bodies, and would be submitted. Mr Bir Devinder said: “I will make a request to Mr Dullo to also share the evidence with the party high command.”

He said several of the seats won by the Congress were in the urban areas and any wrong done in the Local Bodies Department could jeopardise development and along with it the electoral prospects of the party. He added that he had only sought an inquiry into the functioning of the Local Bodies Department.


12,000 schoolteachers to be recruited
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab Government today announced its decision to recruit 12,000 teachers in the state out of which 10,000 would be recruited for primary and 2,000 for upper primary schools.

This will be the first major recruitment drive since the Congress came to power.

Panchayati raj institutions would recruit the teachers with the assistance of the Education Department. The recruitment would be at the block level, confirmed officials. This is being done as primary education has been handed over to the panchayats for effective monitoring.

Disclosing this a spokesperson of the government said a decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting held here. The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, presided over the meeting.

It was also decided to complete the modalities for the recruitment process and present these at the next meeting of Council of Ministers for approval.

A decision on whether to keep these teachers on a contract or regular basis would be taken by the Cabinet. The Finance Department has suggested that the teachers should be offered a renewable contract. However, this may not go down well with the electorate.

The state government would provide additional funds of Rs 50 crore for the effective implementation of the midday meal scheme. The Chief Minister also impressed upon the Government of India to immediately release an additional Rs 27 crore for the requisite infrastructure under the scheme.

He said the teachers of primary schools would not be required to cook meals. The requisite arrangements for this would be made with the participation of communities at the village level. 


73 SGPC members are under-matric: book
Varinder Walia

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 21
The first ‘who’s who’ of the SGPC members, published on expensive glazed paper on the eve of annual election of the Shiromani Committee revealed that 73 members were not even matriculate.

The ‘Who’ is who’ says that though it is general belief that the SGPC members are illiterate or semi-literate, but the fact remains majority of the members are well educated and have been occupying good posts. As many as 31 members are post-graduates and 23 graduates 56 are matriculates or passed higher secondary examination.

The Publicity wing of the SGPC deliberately skipped the fact that rest of the members are still under matric who represent the Sikh Panth in the SGPC, called ‘Mini Parliament’ of the Sikhs.

For the first time in its 80 years’ history, the SGPC has published a 212-pages book containing biographical sketches of all 185 members, who were elected during the gurdwara general elections in July 2004 and six high priests who are members of this body by virtue of their office along with their coloured photographs on art-paper. The book is edited by Mr Simarjit Singh and Mr Surinder Singh Nimana, editor and assistant editor of monthly under Gurmat Parkash the guidance of Prof. Harbans Singh Bolina and Mr Harbir Singh Bhanwer, Media Adviser. It also contains a list of the presidents with their tenure of occupying this august office.

The media wing of the SGPC has conducted survey of all members. Two members have expired. Three members are below 30, 21 members are in the age group of 30-40, 61 in the age group of 40-50 while others are in sixties or seventies.

Mr Harpreet Singh Gracha (Qila Raipur) is the youngest (April 1979 born) among man members while Bibi Ravinder Kaur elected from Kurukshetra is youngest (October 1978 born) among women members. Bibi Balwant Kaur Tera (Ajnala) is the oldest member among all 183 members.

Compared to men, women female members are more educated. Four members, including Bibi Jagir Kaur, president, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Sewa Singh Sekhwan, and Sucha Singh Langah had been ministers in the Akali government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The SGPC came into existence under the Gurdwara Act-1925 after prolonged struggle and supreme sacrifices made by the Sikhs.

There is hardly any Sikh family which had not participated in this struggle by one way or the other to liberate Sikh shrines from of mahants who enjoyed patronage of British imperialism.

That is why the religious sentiments of common Sikhs are attached with this body of the Sikhs.


Parents stage dharna in front of SGPC-run medical college
Pawan Kumar

Parents of 36 students of the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das College of Medical Sciences and Research lodge their protest in front of the college for non-issuance of roll numbers to their wards, at Vallah in Amritsar on Monday.
Parents of 36 students of the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das College of Medical Sciences and Research lodge their protest in front of the college for non-issuance of roll numbers to their wards, at Vallah in Amritsar on Monday. — Tribune photo by Rajiv Sharma

Vallah (Amritsar), November 21
Anguished parents of 36 students of the second professional under the PMT and the Sikh Minority quota in the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Sciences today sat on a peaceful dharna as the authorities failed to issue roll numbers to their wards. The examination will commence tomorrow afternoon.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had already granted a stay and asked the medical college to allow the students to appear in the examination. The parents were distressed over the unsavoury development that may jeopardise the career of their wards.

Meanwhile, Dr U S Dhaliwal, principal of the college, today went on leave.

The parents alleged that the college authorities had also asked the students to leave the hostel in case they failed to deposit the fee as prescribed by the college. They said they would continue their protest till they get the roll numbers. They alleged that they were not even allowed to enter the college by the security guards for talking to the authorities.

The college had issued a “final notice” on November 3, ordering the students to deposit the fee as per the prospectus or as prescribed earlier, by November 16 failing which action would be taken by stopping their classes and not permitting them to appear in university examinations.

The parents alleged that the institution was deliberately ignoring the directions of the court, which had given clear-cut guidelines to the state fee structure committee to fix the fee according to the infrastructure of the professional medical and dental colleges. The committee had recommended the fee structure to be implemented by the SGRD, which is not being accepting the fee structure and demanding excess amount from the students.

Dr U S Dhaliwal was not available on his mobile phone for comments.


SGPC chief: Badal consults PAC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, here today held consultations on a one-to-one basis with members of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party with regard to the election of the President of the SGPC for the next one year.

The election of the President will be held on November 23 in Amritsar. Mr Badal will hold consultations with members of the SGPC tomorrow in Amritsar. Among the contenders for the important office of President are the incumbent President, Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former SGPC chief, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, and a former minister, Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan. Sources said the one-to- one meetings were held after certain members of the PAC suggested that as some of the candidates for the office of President were present at the meeting, it was not advisable to express their opinion in their presence.

The sources said that at the meeting, the dice was loaded against Bibi Jagir Kaur. Most of the members of the PAC told Mr Badal that she should be given some responsibility in the party keeping in view the coming Assembly elections and in her place any other senior leader should be elected President of the SGPC. Bibi Jagir Kaur is not only facing opposition from within the party but also from other Akali factions.

The sources said that it would depend on Mr Badal how he tackles the situation. Mr Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, were in favour of giving her another year as President. “The senior Badal’s approach is clear. He would like to nominate such a leader for the office of President who should not be in a position to challenge the leadership of his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh,” a senior Akali leader said.

Mr Badal will tomorrow seek the opinion of SGPC members, who are to actually elect the President of the SGPC.


Patiala lad is Mr Singh International
Sanjay Bumbroo and Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, November 21
Harpreet Singh from Patiala was crowned Mr Singh International at a contest held late last night at the backdrop of majestic Khalsa College building here.

He was selected from the 44 finalists, who were shortlisted after the zonal contests held in Pune, Karnal, Kanpur, Jamshedpur, Bhopal, Jammu, Chandigarh, Malaysia, London and New York.

The Akaal Purkh ki Fauj organised the dazzling programme in which participants glided on the ramp and showcased their mantle. The first runner-up was Inderdeep Singh, who hails from Ambala and the second runner-up was Inderjit Singh from Barnala.

Famous Hindi cinestar Raj Babbar, addressing the audience, said the Sikhs were competent to face all challenges arising from emerging modern world. He announced that he would try to give a chance to the participants in his forthcoming serial on Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

He was one of the members of the jury, which included, Yash Chopra, a renowned film director, Dolly Guleria, Punjabi folk singer, and Mr Jaspal Singh Sehgal, former Grasim Mr India.

Mr Charanjit Singh Chadha, President, Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), announced that they would sponsor a free trip to Malaysia for five days to Mr Singh International and two-day trip to Shimla to the first runner up.

Yash Chopra announced to give a chance to the winner of the contest as ‘Sabat Surat Sikh’ (unshorn hair), in his forthcoming film.

The contest was organised by the Akal Purkh ki Fauj (APKF), headed by young SGPC member, Mr Jaswinder Singh Advocate.

The APKF will give seven life-time awards to Sikhs who had excelled in different fields, including five to youths.

The contest was divided in three rounds and most of the contestants walked the ramp or faced the audience for the first time. The first round was based on ramp walk and laid stress on over-all physique of the participants. The second round, Gurmat gyan Sikh da maan (Knowledge of Sikhism is a Sikh’s pride)” had participants handled a volley of questions on Sikhism.

While the third round “Meri dastar meri shaan, meri pehchan" (My turban-my pride, my identity)” was judged on the basis of how a turban was tied. The talent round made contestants dance to the beats of dhol or sing lines from “Bulla ki janaa” by Rabbi Shergill.


Choreography embarrasses
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 21
The Shiromani Akali Dal supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, faced a piquant situation at the Mr Singh International contest held here last evening, when an emotional choreography, presented by the Akal Purkh ki Fauj, organiser of the function, criticised the present Sikh leadership for the denigration of Sikh institutes and the use of liquor and drugs during the Gurdwara elections.

The choreography, authored by noted Punjabi novelist, Jaswant Singh Kanwal, mentioned that the gurdwara elections are being contested with “free distribution of liquor” these days, which has eroded age-old traditions of the community.

It was embarrassing for the Sikh leaders, including Mr Badal, who were present on the occasion when an artiste who enacted the role of a gurdwara president stated that he had never paid his obeisance in the Sikh shrine for the last 15 years. The head of the family, who persuade his wards to follow the Sikh tenets, was shown helpless.

The choreography assumes significance when the annual election of the office-bearers of the shiromani committee is round the corner. The Akal Purkh ki Fauj is headed by Mr Jaswinder Singh, a young SGPC member.


Forward Bloc office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 21
The state unit of the All-India Forward Bloc decided to launch a protest against contract farming and the proposed dismantling of the PSEB into different companies in a resolution passed here today. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Mr Subrat Bose, an MP, said Mr V.P. Saini, general secretary, All-India Forward Bloc.

The following were elected office-bearers of the state unit at the meeting.

Chairman — Mr Mahavir Sharma; Vice-chairman — Mr Bachiter Singh; and treasurer — Mr Varender Bhatti.


Baba Chicago to file defamation case
Denies charge of being with a woman

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 21
Baba Daljit Singh Chicago is contemplating to file defamation cases against all those tabloids and newspapers, which had published news that he was caught from a motel in the USA with a woman.

Talking to TNS from the USA yesterday, Baba Chicago said there were some ‘forces’ which were out to defame him due to his popularity in India and foreign countries, especially after the distribution of relief among victims of earthquake-hit areas.

However, Mr Yadvinder Singh, President, American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (AGPC), who is here these days, alleged that he had got “first-hand information” from the USA that Baba Chicago was found in the company of a woman in a motel. He said Mr Kulwant Singh Hundal, an executive member of the committee had sent him (Mr Yadvinder Singh) a report from America that the matter had acquired a serious proportion. However, Baba Chicago alleged that Mr Hundal had animosity against him and therefore he had started ‘concocting’ stories against him. He described the pictures, published in a tabloid as ‘doctored’ and added that he would get them verified through laboratories.

However, Mr Prithipal Singh Sandhu, personal assistant to the Jathedar, Akal Takht, and Baba Sukha claimed that the it was nothing more than concocted story as Baba Chicago was busy at a religious function arranged at Gurdwara Gurjot Parkash these days.

A US-based tabloid, Panthic Weekly, reportedly carried a page one news today, alleging that: “On the night of November 17 at 11.20 p.m., a member of the Chicago Sikh Sangat received a phone call that the van of Sant Baba Daljit Singh was at a local motel and he was in the company of a woman. Upon receiving this information, members of the sangat reached the motel location. After a long wait, the police finally managed to get the door opened and members of the sangat saw with their very own eyes Sant Daljit Singh with a woman”.


Ramoowalia highlights travel agents’ loot
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar November 21
A huge amount of more than Rs 1500 crore has been “looted” from nearly 50,000 gullible families of Punjab by unscrupulous travel agents on the pretext of sending job seekers abroad, primarily because of the failure of the Punjab Government to check them.

This revelation has been made by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, chief of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP), who has advised the state government to book these “travel dacoits” on the charge of robbery. They should be treated like bank and other robbers.

He has also demanded that those “travel agents-cum-self-styled immigration advisors” should be treated for treason against India, as they were “looting the gullible by coaxing them to seek political asylum in the UK, Germany and other countries.

Meanwhile, the party has also alleged that officials at the Indian Embassy in Spain were not issuing travel papers, including passports, to nearly 8000 Punjabis settled there illegally despite the fact that December 31, the last date fixed by the Spain government for legalising the stay of illegal settlers, was nearing. On the other hand, missions and embassies of 12 other countries, whose nearly 7 lakh citizens had been staying illegally in Spain, were issuing papers to their people.

Mr Ramoowalia has also drawn the attention of the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairperson Ms Sonia Gandhi towards the plight of 8000 Punjabis, who were making attempts to get issued papers from the Indian Embassy in Spain, by writing letters to the two leaders.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Ramoowalia, who was accompanied by Mr Avtaar Singh Mullanpuri, Mr Amrik Singh Varpal and Mr Ramanjit Singh Bharowal, alleged that the Punjab Government had been mere a mute spectator to such “large-scale day robberies.”

“If a reward of Rs 2 lakh can be announced for the Jalandhar robbery accused, who had taken away a few lakhs of rupees, then why not book those on a similar charge, who have robbed about 50,000 families of Punjab of over Rs 1500 crore. Our study shows that each of such families have paid an amount ranging between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 7 lakh for sending at least one of their members abroad,” said Mr Ramoowalia.

To draw the attention of the people towards this state of affairs, we are organising rallies at all district headquarters on December 5 and a state-level shakti pradarshan rally at Moga on February 15,” informed Mr Ramoowalia.


SAD, Cong encouraging corruption: Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, November 21
The All-India Lok Bhalai Party will contest the next Assembly polls in Punjab to developing on the issues of socio-economic and political system which had lost grounds badly in the recent past in the state.

Announcing the party agenda in a brief at a press conference here on Saturday, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of the party and member of the National Commission for Minorities for Educational Institutions, while flaying the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for encouraging nepotism and corruption, said they had only one-point agenda to level serious charges against each other.

The law and order situation had deteriorated, educational and health services had become worse and nearly 45 lakh unemployed youths were without jobs, he stated.

Mr Ramoowalia, who was here to preside over a function organised by the district unit of the party to honour some of his state and district party leaders for doing a commendable job for the welfare of the society, lambasted at the senior leaders of both parties failing to improve plight of hundreds of Punjabi boys and girls who were being duped by fake travel agents.

He disclosed that he had taken up the matter with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the UPA Chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, regarding the betterment of 8,000 Punjabis who were facing shabby treatment at Athens (Greece). He assailed the senior representatives of the SAD for getting arrested over 9 lakh Punjabis under various morchas since 1965 to achieve their political gains.

He underlined the need of a strong third front at the earliest to protect the interests of the people of the state.

Denying forging of an alliance with the Congress, he disclosed that he was already in touch with the other political parties like CPI, CPM, SAD (Longowal) and Akali Dal of Ravi Inder Singh to form a joint front to give a crushing defeat to the SAD and the Congress in the Assembly elections in the interest of the state.

Several national and state party leaders of Lok Bhalai Party were also present on this occasion.


Mann attributes youths’ arrest to his PIL against DGP
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 21
Flaying the arrests of Punjabi youths in the state, SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann today alleged that all this was being done, as he had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against the appointment of Punjab DGP S.S. Virk.

In a press statement released here today, Mr Mann alleged that the state government went ahead with Mr Virk’s appointment despite the Union Government raising doubt on his integrity in a chargesheet. He alleged that the state government wrote to the Centre that Mr Virk was so sick that he couldn’t get out of bed, and in such a scenario how it could send him back to his Maharashtra cadre. He accused SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and Captain Amarinder Singh of backing Mr Virk for the DGP’s post despite the Centre’s chargesheet and his being “bed-ridden”.

He termed the arrest of three youths in Jagraon as part of a conspiracy to revive terrorism in the state. “The police said these youths had RDX since 2000. So what were they doing with it for the past five years?” he said. He also raised questions on the arrest of two persons in Bathinda for their alleged links with terrorists. He alleged that the police had illegally confined them before “falsely booking” them on the charge of sedition.

Mr Mann said his party would expose the police excesses being carried out in the state and added that they would not allow anyone to “implicate innocent youths in false cases” and raise the bogey of terrorism for political gains.


PEDA to install 700 solar tubewells by March 31
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 21
The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) will install 700 solar tubewells by March 31 in the state, of which about 150 solar tubewells will be installed by the end of December.

This was stated by Mr Vijay Inder Singla, Chairman of PEDA, while talking to newspersons at PWD Rest House here yesterday. Earlier in the day, he inaugurated a micro hydel project, having a capacity of 2 MW power generation, installed at a cost of Rs 15 crore at Chakbhai village, about 27 km from Barnala, on the Bathinda branch canal.

Mr Singla said for installing 700 solar tubewells, the Central and state governments had deposited subsidy with PEDA. He said a solar tubewell was installed at a cost of Rs 3.10 lakh. The Central and state governments provided Rs 1.80 lakh and Rs 50,000, respectively, as subsidy to PEDA for the installation of a solar tubewell, while the farmer spent only Rs 80,000 from his pocket. He said that about 1,700 solar tubewells were already working in the state.

With regard to installation of micro hydel projects, having a capacity of up to 2 MW power generation, Mr Singla said PEDA had identified 135 sites in the state, of which at eight sites PEDA had already commissioned micro hydel projects, four each on the Bathinda and Abohar branch canals with total power generation of 9.8 MW. He further said PEDA had also allocated 45 sites to the private developers for setting up micro hydel projects, of which eight had already started power generation.

Mr Singla stated that an advertisement for allocation of 42 sites for setting up micro hydel projects had been issued in the newspapers. After the completion of 135 micro hydel projects, about 150 MW of electricity would be generated, he said.

The PEDA Chairman stated that PEDA had advertised 19 power projects based on agriculture waste like rice husk, paddy straw and wheat straw, which would be able to generate 170 MW of electricity. He said these projects would be allocated to the private parties by January 15. He said Punjab was facing a shortage of 2500 MW of power nowadays while PEDA had the capacity to generate 1500 MW of power with its gobar gas, solar and micro hydel power projects.


BJP-SAD rally for SEZ
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
The BJP-SAD combine today held a rally over the issue of Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Addressing the rally, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP lashed out at the non-implementation of SEZ, which was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his last visit to his hometown. He alleged the government seemed to have ulterior motive behind the delay in clearing this project, aimed at boosting the morale of the business community of this region.

Mr Sidhu urged that the industrial association that they must keep pressing the government for total implementation of the multi-product and multi-sectoral SEZ, which the PM had promised.

He pointed out that the government had earmarked 14,000 acres for SEZ as per the master plan approved by the Chief town planner of the state government after deliberations last year but the government had changed mind at the last minute to help some large real estate multinational and conglomerates to develop private colonies at the cost of SEZ. He said it was unfortunate that the government was depriving the state of huge investment for the development of infrastructure.

He said SEZ within an investment of Rs 1700 crore on 2500 acres would create more than 70,000 jobs in this region act as a catalyst to boost to economy of this border region. He said he would take up the issue with the PM for the development of SEZ and even raise the issue during the zero hour in the Lok Sabha.

SAD leader Bikramjit Singh Majithia also advocated the cause of the Amritsar district and said the government should not shy away from establishing SEZ, for the overall development of this region. He said that people of Majitha were for SEZ as more than 3000 people have joined the rally.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA and Parliamentary Secretary Dr Rajkumar and Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, chairman, Improvement Trust said that Mr Sidhu was misleading the business community over the efforts by the state government. He said the Punjab government had already shorlisted leading developers for setting up SEZ in the vicinity of the city and said that the work on the project was under consideration.

Earlier, representatives of trading and industrial associations addressed the rally and exhorted the Prime Minister to intervene and direct the Punjab government to implement the SEZ.


Travails of Hindu pilgrims to Pak
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 21
Even after the easing of tension between India and Pakistan, pilgrims visiting Hindu temples in Pakistan continue to have a hard time.

A group of 154 Hindu pilgrims detained in Lahore for two days were not provided with proper food or allowed to move out, as per five local pilgrims who returned home after six days’ visit to temples in Katas Raj in Pakistan.

“We faced a lot of inconvenience due to the rude behaviour of security personnel there. But local people gave us a warm reception wherever we went,” said Mahinder Jain, one of the pilgrims.

“Our agony started right after we crossed over the border, where we remained stranded at the security check-up for the whole day due lack of arrangement of vehicles to carry us,” he added.

“Finally at 8 pm, Pakistani securitymen took us to Lahore. But there was no arrangement of meal there and we were not allowed to move out of the place where we stayed,” he said.

“Even on the second day, we were told by the securitymen that we had to stay there as no arrangement had been made to continue their visit. We protested this by raising slogans,” he said.

“We got a relief after a friend of mine came to know about our visit. He was a journalist there and had visited India to witness an India-Pakistan cricket match earlier this year. He took us to his place and we participated in a local marriage there,” said Raj Kumar Sika, another pilgrim.

“The rest of the four days of our visit to temples of Lord Shiva at Katas (10th century AD) and Mahatma Buddha was not much exciting either as most of the temples had been destroyed and those remaining were in pitiable condition due to lack of repair.”

“The archeological survey department there has displayed a notice in front of each structure declaring these as protected monuments. But there is no plan to rebuilt or protect the structures,” said another pilgrim, Usha.


Jor Mela arrangements reviewed
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 21
Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, today held the meeting of all officers of the district administration at Bachat Bhavan to make necessary arrangements for the smooth conduct of annual Saheedi Jor Mela starting from December 24 at Fatehgarh Sahib.

She said the Saheedi Jor Mela would be commemorated purely in religious spirit as per the sentiments of the devotees and no gambling, live dances and other obscene stalls would be allowed during the mela as per the tradition. No speakers would be allowed to display during the mela even in langar stalls. She said after identifying the exact time of their bricking alive, the district administration would arrange siren, which would be played on that exact time, so that the devotees may pay homage by standing at that exact time. Lakhs of devotees are expected to visit Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib from all over the world to pay obeisance to Sahibjadas. Special decoration would be done at all the four entry gates of the district constructed last year in memory of martyrs.

The Deputy Commissioner said all wine shops would remain close during the mela and it would be ensured that no intoxicant was sold at the mela. For the convenient of the devotees special parking sites had been earmarked and to control the flow of traffic service roads would be utilised and the repair work of all the roads was in progress.


Punjabi Tribune holds milan samaroh
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 21
Punjabi Tribune today organised “Punjabi Tribune reader’s milan samaroh” at Bachat Bhavan today. Mr Shingara Singh Bhullar, Editor, Punjabi Tribune and Mr Sham Singh, News Editor presided over the function.

Hundreds of Punjabi Tribune readers, employees of various organisations, lawyers along with Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary and Mr Sadhu Singh Parliamentary Secretary participated in the milan samaroh.

Addressing the gathering Mr Bhullar, briefed the gathering about the aims and objectives of organising the function. He urged the speakers not to talk about politics but put forward expectations, suggestions and views for the betterment of the newspaper and how to make it paper of the masses.

Mr Sham Singh, News Editor, said efforts were on to make it a quality newspaper.

He gave detailed information about the working and stages the paper had to pass and their helplessness sometimes for not publishing the news items due to lack of space.

Mr Sadhu Singh, Parliamentary Secretary termed Punjabi Tribune as voice of the people and appreciated its policies during terrorism.


Anganwari workers’ demand accepted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Conceding a major demand of anganwari workers, who had been sitting in dharna here for the past two months, the Punjab Government today said that no nursery school would be opened where balbaris (creches) were being run by anganwari workers.

Children up to six years of age would be kept in creches being run by anganwari workers. The decision of the state government to open nursery schools in all villages had been opposed by them.

The government took this decision after consulting an Additional Secretary-level officer, Ms Kumud Bansal, of the Union Government. She informed the Punjab Government that under the rules, no other creche could be set up by the government where the anganwari scheme had been implemented. The money to run anganwaris is given by the Union Government.

Meanwhile, the state government has sought a grant of Rs 27 crore from the Centre to set up infrastructure in all primary schools to provide the midday meal to students. The state government will also contribute Rs 4 crore per month to provide better meals. The Union Government pays Re 1 per day per student under the scheme.


AMIE engineers prefer old rules of promotion
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 21
The AMIE Engineers Association demanded promotions as per the old rules. In a press release issued here today, the general secretary of the association, Mr Surinder Singh Kler, said that as per the old rules of the Irrigation Department only the degree-holder engineers were to be promoted to the post of subdivisional officer. There were about 50 qualified AMIE engineers in the Irrigation Department against 100 vacant posts of SDO.

The department amended the rules and made the diploma engineers eligible for promotion.

The AMIE engineers are demanding that the government should first promote them against the vacant posts that were available before the amendment of rules. As per law they were eligible for promotion before the amendment of rules.

So, the new rule was harming their interest despite the fact they acquired higher qualifications and passed the departmental examinations, he said.

The AMIE Engineers Association also submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Secretary, Irrigation, Mr Kler said..


Rs 10,000 for each health sub-centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
As part of its health mission, the Punjab Government has distributed Rs 10,000 to each health sub-centre in the state. This amount has been deposited in the joint account of the village Sarpanch and the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) to meet petty expenses of the sub-centre.

In total there are 2,858 health sub-centres in the state. Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab, said the Government of India had approved Rs 29 crore under the National Rural Health Mission, out of which Rs 18 crore had already been received by the Health Mission, Punjab.

Mr Dogra said a district health mission and district health societies would be shortly constituted, which would work under the state Health Mission.

Under this scheme, mother and child health services, immunisation, family planning and rural health infrastructure would be improved to provide better services.


CPM dharna against govt policies
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 21
A dharna was staged by the state unit of the CPM outside the office of the SDM here today against the wrong policies of the government.

Prof Balwant Singh, general secretary of the unit, said that the dharna was a part of the week-long protest programme. Similar protests would also be held at other subdivisional headquarters in the state till November 26. He said the party had drawn up a plan to hold agitations against the state government and this was the first phase of the plan.

The protesters said that their main demands included the revival of sick units, drought compensation to farm labourers, cheap education and health facilities, effective steps to check atrocities on women and adequate stress on rapid industrialisation.


Newsman, daughters hurt in mishap

Kharar, November 21
The local bureau chief of a daily vernacular newspaper and his two daughters were injured in an accident here today.

According to information available, while Mr Amarjit Singh sustained injury on his leg, arms and hands, his two daughters got minor injuries. Mr Amarjit Singh was coming on a scooter from Morinda to Kharar when he was allegedly hit by a car from behind.

The injured persons were taken to the local Civil Hospital. The two girls were discharged after some time while Mr Amarjit was admitted in the hospital. OC


Pardon to cops: HC summons records
Our High Court  Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 21
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today summoned the entire records pertaining to the grant of pardon by the Punjab Government to two police officials convicted of abducting and murdering two persons.

The two officials, DSP Jaspal Singh and former DSP Sawaran Dass, both of whom had been convicted of the crime and sentenced to imprisonment, had been granted pardon by the Governor, Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), on the recommendation of the Home Department.

The petitioner, the Lawyers for Human Rights International, through its president Amar Singh Chahal, has questioned the pardon to Jaspal Singh and Sawaran Dass.

Jaspal Singh, who was on bail when the pardon was granted, had been sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for kidnapping and causing the death of Amrik Singh.

As for Sawaran Dass, he was given life imprisonment after being found guilty of abducting and murdering a brother of an alleged terrorist. At the time of the incident, Dass was posted as Inspector with the CIA staff, Hoshiarpur.

The Bench of Chief Justice D.K. Jain and Mr Justice Hemant Gupta adjourned the matter to December 16.


Moga to have new SSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
Mr Pavan Kumar Rai will be the new SSP, Moga, replacing Ms V. Neerja, who has been shifted as SP, Special Staff Crime. Orders to this effect were issued here today.

Five other officials were also given new assignments.

Mr Sukhmohinder Singh, Deputy Director (General), Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, and Mr Devinder Singh Garcha, Commandant 2nd India Reserve Battalion, Ladha Kothi, Sangrur, will swap places.

Mr Neelabh Kishore is the new SP, City-II, Ludhiana. Mr Kaustabh Sharma will be SP, City-I, Amritsar, and Mr Pritam Singh SP, Headquarters, Ludhiana.


Petrol pump sealed

Batala, November 21
Sources from the office of the DFSC revealed that a petrol pump situated on the Fatehgarh Churian-Majitha road was sealed by Naib Tehsildar Arvind Salwan on the complaint of residents of Khehra Sultan and Bhallowali villages allegedly for selling petrol less in quantity. The owner, however, denied the allegation. — OC


Truck union clash: police foils rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 21
The police today foiled holding of a rally in the DC office complex here against alleged police “failure” to arrest seven persons, booked by the Lehragaga police for killing two persons.

Jarnail Singh Ballran, a member of block panchayat samiti, and Mithoo Singh, a truck operator, were killed in a clash between two groups of the Lehragaga Truck Union in its office at Lehragaga on September 20.

The protesters were today led by Mr Sukhdev Singh Barri, convener of the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations, Punjab, and Mr Tarsem Jodhan, a former MLA. As the protesters “failed” to organise the rally in the complex, they held a demonstration and rally in Kaula Park Market here and raised slogans against the police, and demanded the arrest of the alleged accused.

The protesters were addressed by Mr Barri, Mr Jodhan, Mr Achhra Singh, ex-MLA; Bhim Singh Alampur, a member of Lehragaga Katal Kand Jabar Virodhi Action Committee, and Mr Mehma Singh, district secretary of the CPI. The speakers demanded the arrest of “killers” of Jarnail Sing and Mithoo Singh.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Barri said on September 20 Jarnail Singh and Mithoo Singh were killed at Lehragaga and an FIR had been registered against nine persons on the same day in this case, but till date the police had arrested only two persons while the remaining were at large. He alleged that the police also rounded up some activists of this movement the previous day to foil the rally. He also alleged that the police stopped their supporters today at several places in the district, to thwart rally.


Man with fake visa held
Our Correspondent

Rajasansi (Amritsar), November 21
The ground staff of Air-India yesterday nabbed Jagdip Singh (22), a resident of Bhalath, Kapurthala, while trying to sneak out of the country on a fake Canadian visa.

Airport manager of Air-India Ashwani Arora, who was himself managing the counter, said Jagdip was found carrying forged Canadian visa papers. He was to board the Toronto-bound Air-India flight.

On investigation, the accused admitted that he had got this visa from Nairobi through a conman whom he had paid 55,000 Kenyan shillings during his visit to Nairobi last month.


TIET organises entrepreneurship camp

Patiala, November 21
A one day entrepreneurship awareness camp was organised by the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park in collaboration with the School of Management and Social Sciences at the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology here on Saturday.

The prime motive of the programme was to expose participants to various financial schemes floated by financial institutions for initiating business.

Dr S.C Saxena, Director of TIET, in his inaugural address focused on how entrepreneurs could change the society by citing examples of eminent industrialists like Dhirubhai Ambani and Kiran Majumdar Shaw both of whom took calculated risks at the right time.

Mr J.P.S. Bindra, AGM, National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, gave a detailed information about various schemes floated by the NABARD and also spoke about on the importance of shifting regulated markets to open markets with focus on e-trading to succeed in today’s competitive world.

The camp, which was attended by 60 participants, was conducted by Dr Dinesh Goyal, Executive Director STEP-TIET and Dr (Ms) Ravi Kiran, Assistant Professor. — TNS


Jalandhar college lifts festival trophy
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
The APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, lifted the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) overall championship trophy in the inter-zonal final youth festival concluded here today. Principal Suchreta Sharma of the college received the trophy.

They also won music, folk, fine art and theatre trophies. The literary trophy went to HMV, Jalandhar. The fine art, theatre and music runners-up trophies were won by the BBK DAV College for women, Amritsar. The literary runners-up trophy went to GNDU Regional Campus, Jalandhar, while folk runners-up trophy went to GNDU Campus, Amritsar.

APJ College emerged winners in painting (landscape), painting (still life), rangoli, clay modelling, mimicry, Skit, mime, classical vocal, shabad/bhajan, geet/ghazal, group shabad/bhajan, group song (Indian), Western vocal and vaar singing. The BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, was runners-up and HMV college, Jalandhar, stood third in this festival.

In giddha, GNDU Campus, Amritsar, was declared winner, while the SR (Govt.) College for women, Amritsar, finished runners-up and the BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, stood third. Similarly, in bhangra dance, DAV College, Jalandhar, emerged victorious.


Army School bags trophy

Abohar, November 21
The local Army School bagged the 10 Corps Zone Inter Army school cultural competition trophy during cultural competitions which concluded today. Eleven Army schools took part in the cultural competition.

The competition was held in four disciplines — solo song, solo instrumental, solo dance and group dance. Army School, Abohar, stood first in solo dance and in group dance, securing second position in solo song. The youngest participants of Army School, Abohar, proved to be formidable rivals to the other teams. — TNS


New move to run colleges criticised
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
The Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association (PSMDTA), here today criticised the move of the state government to grant academic, administrative and financial autonomy to medical, dental and ayurvedic colleges.

Dr B.S. Dhillon, General Secretary, PSMDTA, stated in a press release here today that the move was an attempt by the government to run away from its responsibility.

He said the association felt that autonomy of medical institutions was the need of the hour and the academic, administrative and financial powers should be decentralised to the Director-Principal of the institution concerned. However, the committee, as suggested by the government, appeared to be more centralised as its members were the same who were at present responsible for running these institutions, he added.


PCCTU to hold dharna on Dec 7
Our Correspondent

Barnala, November 21
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), a representative body of college teachers serving in government aided but privately managed colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh, has decided to intensify its struggle by staging a dharna at Matka Chowk at Chandigarh on December 7. It will also hold a “Punjab education bandh” in private colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh on December 21 at Chandigarh to express resentment of thousands of private college teachers against the “stepmotherly” treatment of the Punjab Government towards their demands.

Disclosing this here today, Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary state, PCCTU, said the decision to intensify the agitation was taken at a meeting of the PCCTU state executive committee held under the chairmanship of Prof R.S. Brar, President, PCCTU, in Sant Baba Attar Singh Khalsa College, Sandaur on November 20.

The teachers’ demands include 50 per cent DA merger in the basic pay, continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges of Punjab and grant of HRA.

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