P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



49 Tubewell Corporation engineers reverted
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Punjab Government has reverted one superintending engineer, seven divisional engineers-cum-executive engineers, 36 subdivisional engineers and five junior engineers besides two assistant research officers to their original posts in the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC).

Sources said the reversion orders had been issued on the directions of the Principal Secretary, Department of Irrigation. The orders were conveyed today to the officers concerned of the PSTC through fax messages. They were told to relieve the reverted persons from the posts held by them immediately.

These engineers were holding current-duty charge of the posts from which they have been reverted. Now that charge stands withdrawn.

The sources said the action was taken by the Principal Secretary following a submission made to him by the Vice- Chairman of the PSTC, Mr Ram Pal Dhaipi.

Mr Dhaipi, the sources said, had told the Principal Secretary that many irregularities had been committed while giving current-duty charge of a higher rank to certain engineers. The Principal Secretary was also informed that several of these engineers had been given such charge by allegedly adopting a pick-and-choose policy and by not following the proper procedure.

The standard practice in many state government departments and undertakings is that current-duty charge is given of the higher rank instead of ordering regular promotion to that rank. In most cases, that current-duty charge continues for years. Those empowered to give current-duty charge of the higher rank often resort to a pick-and-choose policy and ignore seniority, taking the plea it is not a regular promotion.

Two months ago, a controversy had arisen in the PSTC over the allotment of tenders for the bricklining of water courses. After cancellation, tenders worth Rs 11 crore had to be reallotted in the presence of a high-level committee set up by the government.

The Divisional Engineers who have been reverted are Mr Kulwant Singh, Mr A.P. Kapoor, Mr S.P. Singh, Mr Surjit Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr S.K. Bawa.

The Subdivisional Engineers reverted are Mr Inder Singh Matharoo, Mr Subash Chander Verma, Mr Chand Singh Brar, Mr Rohitash Sharma, Mr Sudesh Kumar Sharma, Mr D.K. Beri, Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Thakur Dass, Mr S.K. Sikka, Mr A.K. Ohri, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Ajay Kumar Sharma, Mr Manohar Lal, Mr Joginder Singh Bhullar, Mr Amar Nath, Mr V.K. Kapoor, Mr Sukhdev Chand, Mr Gurdev Singh Hans, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr P.K. Mehta, Mr P.K. Sharma, Mr Kuldip Singh Romana, Mr Ram Dayal, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Tarsem Chand, Mr Ramesh Chander, Mr Sham Lal, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr V.K. Bansal, Mr Hardeep Singh, Mr Anil Kumar, Mr Ramesh Gupta, Mr Vijay Kumar, Mr Charanjit Julka, Mr Neel Kumar and Mr Rajinder Kumar.

The Junior Engineers who have been reverted are Mr Sarup Lal, Mr Swaran Singh, Mr Dushyant Singh, Mr Parmod Kumar and Mr Ravinder Singh.

The Assistant Research Officers reverted are Mr Pritpal Singh and Mr Piara Singh.


Coal ash rain in Bathinda
Thermal plant units await renovation
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
It is virtually raining coal ash in the city these days, courtesy Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) whose three units had outlived their lifespan and are awaiting renovation.

The increase in the emission of the particulate matter beyond the permissible limits from the chimneys of thermal plant was posing a serious health hazard to the city residents. A doctors’ body, the Bathinda Opthalmological Society, shot off a missive to the Executive Engineer of the Punjab Pollution Control Board on November 17 stating that health hazard had reached “intolerable proportions”, as the plant’s units were spewing loads of coal particles in the air.

The society president, Mr Amrit Sethi, said either the ammonia plant was used sparingly or the electro-static precipitators had outlived their life. However, sources said the residents could heave a sigh of relief in the beginning of next year when the plant’s oldest unit, Unit I, would be shut for renovation and a refurbished Unit II with SPM level under permissible limits would be stabilised.

Sources said all four units of the thermal plant had clocked over 1.8 lakh running hours against the designed life of 1 lakh hours. Unit I was contributing the most to air pollution, as it had completed its lifespan six years ago. Unit II of the thermal plant had recently been made functional following its renovation, while ammonia plants had been installed in units III and IV to check the emission of fly ash.

However, the sources said ammonia plants were merely a stopgap arrangement and they could only check air pollution to some extent. Sources said a delay of about 10 months in the renovation of Unit II had also come as a setback to the renovation and modernization plans of the plant authorities. The plant had given a contract of Rs 183 crore for renovation of units I and II to NASL, New Delhi. The work also included the updating of electrostatic precipitators to bring down SPM (suspended particulate matter) level below 90mg/NM3 to reduce pollution in the area.

When contacted, the GNDTP GM, Mr Baldev Singh, admitted that the SPM level was on the higher side, but at the same time hoped that the scenario would soon change for better, as they planned to carry out the renovation of the remaining three units in the next couple of years. He said the Unit II had been running under trial since October 5 and after its stabilisation Unit I will be handed ever for renovation in January 2006.

He said tenders for renovation work of units 3 and 4 had already been floated. The tentative cost of the project was Rs 290 crore and likely commissioning date was March 31, 2007. Denying that ammonia plants were used sparingly, he said there was some technical problem in one of them and it would soon be made functional.


Newly acquired aqueduct develops cracks
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, November 26
The Mukerian hydel project is in a controversy once again. An aqueduct (RCC structure for passing a canal over a rivulet) in newly constructed pucca portion of the canal has developed cracks soon after the water in it was released for the first time.

The RCC roof of the aqueduct, constructed over the Kali Bein rivulet, developed cracks and water started seeping through it after the water was released. Sources said due to seepage the authorities there had to immediately stop water to prevent further damage to the canal. Three cracks in the middle portion of the aqueduct had spread across the entire thickness of the slab

When The Tribune team visited the spot, the contractors were grouting the cracked portions. The officials present at the spot, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the samples of the concrete from the area had been sent to the Design Department for analysis. Nobody was sure about the reason for cracks in the canal portion as yet.

The Chief Engineer, Civil Design and Construction, PSEB, Mr B.S. Sabharwal, when contacted, said the cracks in the middle portion of the aqueduct might had been caused due to excess rubber strength joining the three portions. The cracks on the upper surface had been repaired.

However, the cracks going through the entire slab would be repaired after stopping water in the Kali Bein.

Terming the cracks as normal, he ruled out the possibility of any kind of design or construction fault behind the cracks in the aqueduct.

However, the sources said the cracks passing through the entire slab were serious in nature. They could either have been caused due to poor compaction of the sub soil or the poor construction material. The cracks passing through the entire slab could be repaired only by epoxy grouting.

Earlier, the work on the 18 MW hydel power project of the PSEB had come to a standstill due to water eruption at the proposed foundation of the powerhouses.

The water eruption delayed the work on the project by at least one year.

The authorities ultimately had to change the proposed site of the powerhouses by a few metres to tackle the problem. Due to the shifting of the site the PSEB had to spend lakhs of extra rupees.

The Chief Engineer said the excavation at the new sight would take about a week more. After that the construction work for the foundation of the powerhouses would be started.


Industrial waste a threat to wetlands
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 26
The discharge of industrial waste into the Sutlej is posing a serious risk to the survival of the Ropar wetland area, which is home to migratory birds, besides various forms of flora and fauna. The fish population in some of the high pollution zones has declined sharply and population of some of the local birds also continues to decline. The decrease in the number of migratory birds was also seen in the past few years, pointed out experts.

The wetland area spread over 1,365 hectares has been facing a major threat from toxic waste released by the industrial units, including the thermal plant, a cement factory in Ropar and industrial units in Nangal. Besides, soil erosion from the Shivalik hills during rainy season and agriculture pollution due to use of pesticides are also threatening it.

It’s irony that though the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology has highlighted industrial waste as the major threat to the wetland area, waste is being continuously dumped into the Sutlej. The council has pointed out that the industrial units in Ropar and Nangal are contaminating water of the Sutlej that feeds the wetland area. The major cause of the dreadful conditions is the strong chemical effluents being released into the river and the use of pesticides in fields.

A visit to the area revealed that ash released from the thermal plant and industrial units in Nangal was poisoning environment here. Though the authorities concerned claimed that water released into the Sutlej after treatment was pollution free, adverse effects could be seen in the villages situated in its surrounding areas.

The locals revealed that due to high level pollution, the river water could not be used for drinking purpose and even animals had stopped consuming it. In addition to it, a large quantity of ash had already been released into the Sutlej due to three breaches in the ash dumping grounds of the thermal plant in the past few years. The threat of breach in the ash dumping grounds is constant as these are not of concrete.

Soil erosion from the Shivalik hills is another problem as every year hundreds of tonnes of silt flows into the wetland area during rainy season. The high use of pesticides for agriculture along the Sutlej is also polluting the river.

An ornithologist, Mr Jaspreet Singh, said due to the release of toxic wastes into the Sutlej the population of fish and birds continued to decline in the wetland area. These birds included Small Blue Kingfisher, Puprule, Moorhen, Shag, Bittern, Rivertern, Riverchat, Berditer, Flycatcher, and Trushes, he added.

The District Forest Officer, Mr R.S. Bhatti, said saplings were being planted in the Shivalik ranges to stop soil erosion.

A senior functionary of the thermal plant, Ropar, said we were making efforts to reduce water pollution due to ash. Much of the ash was being supplied to a nearby cement manufacturing unit. Besides, a Himachal Pardesh-based cement unit had recently agreed to use ash of the plant.


Punjab should have positive attitude, says Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 26
The Khara MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, yesterday said the Punjab Government should have a nurturing and positive attitude if it really wants to compete for investment in the state.

In a press note he said: “red tape should be seen as a thing of the past and government officials should change their mindset to respond to the need of the hour and work towards speedy, healthy growth and prosperity of the State of Punjab.”

Taking up the case of Emaar- MGF, he said, “As I understand the company has signed MOU with Punjab Government and invested more than Rs 600 crore in buying land and are in the process of getting their project implemented. It is in the interest of the development of the state that officials should protect the interest of the investors and give permissions/clearances as soon as possible under single window system in order to keep the momentum of growth intact. Negative signals should not be allowed to hamper the growth and confidence of the investors,” he said.


Punjabi writers meet fans
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, November 26
Short-story writers, who normally feel neglected by the government and fail to get due recognition, got a chance to interact with readers and admirers at the Heritage Festival here today.

Stalwarts in the field of short-story writing read out their stories to the rapt attention of a mostly student and intellectual audience.

Prem Parkash, a Sahit Akademy award winner in Punjabi and editor of a literary magazine, lakir, received criticism as well as barbs for his story "Anusthans" (religious rituals) dealing with a woman's tryst with sex amidst a ritualistic setting.

The identity of the main character, "a mystery woman", became a subject of much speculation and laughter amongst the audience. To this he said the writers' mind was junk box of experiences, incidents, observations and characters that fit into a jig-saw after a period of time and added, "Relationships are relative to a situation and truth is merely a viewpoint," amidst much laughter.

Prof Ganga Prasad Vimal, who retired as the Head of the Hindi Department of JNU, Delhi, narrated "Dharti Ka Pet", touching on society's collective responsibility. Bringing out the true essence of the fiction in Hindi, he said our languages describe emotions in their rawest form, derived as they were form the soil and earth.

Amidst the seriousness, Prof Shravan Kumar Verma's vividly descriptive tale "Naafa" in Urdu about a teenage boy's pranks to irritate his father and his rendezvous, breathing life into his animated surroundings was especially engrossing and found due praise from the audience.

Famed writer Dilip Kaur Tiwana, who presided over the hearty interaction, exhorted Punjabi writers to strike right balance between tradition and modern to give Punjabi a literary image. She rued that Punjabi and its literature had been reduced to fun-evoking episodes, especially in the active mass media of cinema and television.


Fusion moves ahead with Nusrat kin
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
Fusion music has added a new flavour to the pop which appeals to the younger generation. The exponents of the classical music have blended the new style compositions bringing about the qualitative changes for the ears of the generation next.

These views were expressed by Sher Miandad Khan Faridi, Pakistani sufi singer and nephew of legendary qawwal late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Sher Miandad blended the classical qawwali and pop music with Norway's pop group Transjoek and the experience is a big hit. Expressing happiness over the chance to perform in the Holy City, he said sufi singing had been the lifeline of Punjabi culture, adding that heritage festivals should be held regularly as they help to keep the ancient practice alive in the modern world.

Accompanied by his uncle, Akram Hafir and younger brother Ali Raza, the sufi singer mesmerised the crowd with extraordinary rendition of old and the new blending to churn out some of the finest pop qawwalis much to the amusement of the audience. He rendered the compositions of Bule Shah, Shah Hussain and Baba Farid.

A resident of Pakpattan Sharif, Sher Miandad said sufi singing was in his blood as his family had been singing the sufi compositions in the form of qawwali. He said he belonged to the Jalandhari gharana as his grandfather had been a resident of Jalandhar and used to sang the compositions of Baba Farid.

He said he had brought out a new cassette "Bewafa" and had 30 albums to his credit.


Parveen Sultana sings bhajan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
Parveen Sultana gave a performance at Khalsa College here late last evening.

Set in Raga Jog Sultana sang Meera’ “Main to holi Govind ki mala, Koi kahe ghora, koi kahe kala” in the khayal style.

Mahmud Haripuri accompanied her on the harmonium and Mithlesh on the tabla. This was followed by a ‘Tarana’ in Raga Humsukhdani.

However, the soulful number from film ‘Kudrat’ “Humein tumse pyar kitna, ye hum nahin jante, magar jee nahin sakte tumhare bina” brought tears to many an eye.


Pakistani play ‘Naquab’ to be staged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
A Pakistani play ‘Naquab’ (the veil) will be presented by Raabta Foundation, a Pune-based Urdu theatre group, at Punjab Naatshala here on November 28.

Punarjyot, Centre for Preservation and Promotion of the Heritage of Punjab, is organising the play.

The play by the late Rafi Prrezada is a love story at the time of atomic bombings of Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The play, in a way, is a joint effort by Indians and Pakistanis to spread the message of peace and brotherhood.

The play was part of the second Amritsar-Lahore Festival (Saanjh) which was to be held in November. However, owing to the earthquake, the festival has been postponed to March, 2006.


Plagiarism alleged in book released by INTACH
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 26
The book, "Amritsar The City of Spirituality and Valour", released by the Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) today came in for a widespread criticism for alleged plagiarism.

The writer of the book, Vikram Kalra of New Delhi, had allegedly done a cut and paste job without caring to give credit to the people from whose articles and websites he had picked up a large text compiled in the book.

According to several city-based NGOs, the book had nothing new or informative details to offer on the 500-year old historic town. Mr Brij Bedi, a social worker who had rendered considerable services for the restoration of the art of the city, said Vikram had picked up the opening introduction peace from a website from Amritsar, webindia123.com, city guide Amritsar. He added that the majority of his texts lacked credibility and provided least information about the Holy City.

He said on one page on the city, the entire text was picked from an article written under the caption "Eat, Drink and be Amritsari" published in Amritsar Plus earlier this year. Mr Bedi pointed out that he also missed out on a large portion of the Sikh history during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh about the walled city, Gobindgarh Fort and many other monuments dotting the periphery of the best planned cities during the rein of legendary Maharaja.

He said the writer should have given credit to the organisations and the persons from whose writings he had picked up the part of the text.


Heed Mastan’s advice, Badal urged
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 26
Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana, president of the World Sikh Mission, in a press note issued here today, has urged the SAD president to consider the advice of Mr Mastan Singh, president of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, in which he has urged all Sikh organisations to sink their differences and get united for the welfare of “Sikh Quam”.

He said Mr Badal must take initiative in this regard as he had all resources and if this goal was achieved, the Sikh community would find solution to all their problems immediately.

He said Mr Mastan Singh had advised leaders of the Sikh community not to issue statements making allegations and counter-allegations and terming each other as traitors of the Sikh Panth as it would lead to division among the Sikhs and cause a loss to the entire community.

He alleged Mr Badal had committed a blunder by ignoring the advice of Mr Mastan Singh and it had led to NRI Sikh organisations and Sikh leaders starting recognising and funding Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

He said if Mr Badal and his company wanted, they could have united the world Sikh leaders on one platform, but the sympathy of Mr Badal towards the BJP became a hindrance in the unity.

“Now that Mr Mastan Singh has again made an appeal to the Sikh leadership in India to take steps in this regard, Mr Badal should not waste the chance again and in the interest of Sikh Community should make efforts for unity,” he said.


It’s wedding time for politicians’ families
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
It is the season of high-profile weddings in Punjab. For VIPs, next week will be packed with engagements inviting them to such functions.

Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, is busy with pre-marriage ceremonies of her only son, Mr Rahul Inder Singh, who will be marrying Neha, daughter of Mr Niranjan Singh Chauhan of Shimla, on November 27. Neha is also from a family of seasoned politicians. The couple will be blessed by family friends and acquaintances on November 28 at a reception to be held at Rajindra Park, near the Punjab Civil Secretariat.

Mr Bikramjit Inder Singh Chahal, son of Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, Adviser to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, is to marry Ms Kamaljit Kaur on December 3. Kamaljit belongs a Grewal family of Ludhiana. Her grandfather, Mr Kartar Singh Grewal, and father, Mr Jagdish Singh Grewal, are high-profile landlords of the area.

Rana Inder Partap Singh, who belongs to the family of leading industrialist and Congress MP Rana Gurjit Singh, will marry Manminder on December 11. Rana Gurjit Singh's sister-in-law, Mrs Sukhjinder Kaur, is the Congress MLA from Kapurthala. Rana Inder Partap Singh will be married into the Gill family of Mr Amrit Pal Singh, another high-profile family of the state.

The marriage of Namrata, daughter of Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, Cooperation Minister, Punjab, will take place on December 4. She will be married to Karan.

A few days ago, the wedding of a grandson of Mr Harkishan Singh Surjeet was in focus in the media. His grandson, Sandeep, was married to Raveena, daughter of a senior officer of the Indian Revenue Service. Top political leaders in Delhi and also from the state were present to bless the couple at a reception hosted by Comrade Surjeet in Delhi on November 18.

Interestingly, the families of Mrs Bhattal, Mr Chahal and Rana Gurjit Singh have special liking for the word ‘‘Inder’’, the rain god, also associated with good things in life.‘‘Inder’’ figures in the names of their scions.


Bazigars seek quota in govt jobs
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, PWD B&R, Punjab, and president of the All-India Bazigar Banjara Sabha, yesterday sought two per cent reservation in government jobs from the Punjab Government for the educated members of the Bazigar community. He also sought free education in the professional institutions for the children of the Bazigar community.

He asked the SGPC to pay special attention towards the poor students to provide them free education.

Mr Dharamsot was talking to mediapersons at the PWD Rest House here today. He was here in connection with a meeting of the members of the Bazigar community, held to mobilise the community members to take part in the state-level rally of the Bazigar community on December 13 at Patiala.

Capt Amarinder Singh, Punjab Chief Minister, will be the chief-guest at the rally while Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Congress, will preside over the rally.

Mr Dharamsot further said the Bazigar community would construct a ‘Bazigar Bhavan’ at Patiala, for which it would ask the Punjab Chief Minister to provide a grant of Rs 2 crore. He said after the construction of the Bhavan, a state-level meeting of the community would be held there every three months to settle the disputes of the community members. He claimed that in most of the cases, members of the Bazigar community did not prefer to approach the courts, and they settled their disputes at the panchayats of the community.

Mr Dharamsot also urged the state government to allot the government land, now in the possession of the community for the past several decades, to them on a permanent basis. He said though they had their houses on the government land for the past several decades, yet they faced difficulties in contesting the elections on the ground of unauthorised occupation of the government land by them.


Kainth for White Paper on development
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 26
Bahujan Samaj Morcha national president and former MP Satnam Singh Kainth has urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to release a White Paper on development works and the performance of the Congress-led government during the four-year Congress rule.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Kainth supported the announcement of the government for a debate on development in the Assembly, but said this alone would not do and a White Paper was needed to provide the people of the state with vital information about development.

The state government’s repeated announcement regarding implementation of the 85th Amendment of the Constitution, he said though the Cabinet had approved the same, a notification in this regard had not been issued till date due to “political reasons”.

He alleged that no poll promise had been honoured by the Congress and all sections, including teachers, traders, industrialists, farmers, employees and the common man, were facing hard times.


Open sale of medicines banned
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 26
To prevent any untoward incident by anti-social elements in the district, Ms Jaspreet Talwar, District Magistrate, issued an order today under Section 144 making it mandatory for all landlords to give list of their tenants along with addresses to the nearest police station.

In another order, the District Magistrate has banned the open sale of 106 types of medicine without the prescription of a registered medical practitioner to control the menace of drug abuse.

To check accidents on roads during night, the District Magistrate has banned the plying of rickshaws, trolleys, tractors, cycles and other vehicles without reflectors during night. All these orders will remain in force till January 29 next year.

To check thefts, orders have been issued for night patrolling by village defence committees to guard towers, transmission lines, sub-stations, transformers, railway lines, government buildings, foodgrain storage complexes etc. in their respective areas.


Police clarifies on militancy-related cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Punjab Police today categorically stated that it would only provide the "necessary support" to those police personnel who had fought against militancy and were being tried in cases pertaining to the terrorism period.

Clarifying a statement attributed to Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP) S.S. Virk and published in a section of the media recently, a police spokesman said that these personnel had fought against militancy for the peace and integrity of the country. The DGP had clearly stated that the Police Department would not provide any support to police personnel who indulged in corrupt practices and had brought a bad name to the department and the state, the spokesman added.

Referring to a news item published on November 22, he clarified that the DGP did not make any comments regarding the police personnel convicted in the Khalra disappearance case. The DGP had categorically refused to make any comments, saying that as it was a judicial verdict and no response could be given on the subject, the spokesman said.


War widows felicitated
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
Continuing with its annual ritual of holding Veer Nari Meet, aimed at nurturing and taking care of war widows, Chetak Corps yesterday felicitated them and sensitised them on different welfare schemes.

Ms Kiran Nandrajog, president, Chetak AWWA, briefed the war widows attending the meet about various amenities especially earmarked for them.

She educated them about the ECHS offering free medical cover to its members, besides Chetak Sahara Yojana, which had been launched to empower war widows and wives of ex-servicemen so as to facilitate an avenue to work with dignity. She interacted with the war widows.


Knitting contest for soldiers’ families
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 26
A hand-knitting skills contest “Aao bune hum ek behtar kal” was organised here yesterday by Flaming Arrow Brigade, AWWA, in which 350 families of soldiers took part. The contest was sponsored by Vardhman Spinning and General Mills.

Mrs Seema Mehta, President, AWWA, said the idea to hold the contest was conceived by Mr V.K. Goel, Chief Executive of Vardhman mill.

She said the main aim of the contest was to revive the age-old craft of hand knitting. Giving details of the contest, she said that contestants were required to hand-knit a simple pattern, small booties, mufflers, caps, scarves, sweeter or any one creative pattern of their choice in two hours. Mr Maninder Singh, sales officer, Vardhman, gave away the prizes to the winners.


Folk music festival
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 26
Punjabi University and the USA-based Punjab Heritage Foundation (USA) jointly organised a Punjabi folk music festival here today. Philanthropist Dr Rachhpal Singh Aujla, Ms Charlotte Aujla, Dr Sukhdev Singh Sidhu, Major-Gen Tarlochan Singh Aujla (retd), Dr H.S. Wealthy and Dr. P.P.S. Koonar were present on the occasion.

A number of artistes performed on the occasion. In the evening, a mushaira was organised in the auditorium of Kala Bhavan in which renowned poets Dr Sardar Anjum, S. Panchhi, Aziz Parihar, Mohammad Rafi, Taript Bhatti, Sarabjit Sandhawalia, Khalit Tifaith took part. Folk singer Sardool Sikandar also gave a performance.


14,886 cases settled at Lok Adalat
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 26
The concept of Lok Adalats is gaining momentum, particularly in Punjab. More and more people are coming forward to settle their disputes through Lok Adalats, claimed Justice Viney Mittal, a Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court here today.

Mr Mittal said that over 3,400 Lok Adalats were organised in the state to settle various type of cases. As many as 4,83,583 cases were taken up out of which 2,75,040 cases were settled by way of mediation and conciliation. An amount of Rs 7,34,03,97,406 was awarded on motor accident claim and other cases.

Justice Mittal was here to inaugurate state level Lok Adalat held for disposing of the criminal compoundable cases. As many as 14,886 cases were settled today out of the 16,836 placed before 52 benches of Lok Adalat. The Lok Adalat was held under the supervision of Mr Harbans Lal, District and Sessions Judge, Ludhiana.

Special Lok Adalats have evoked good response. Till now through 52 special Lok Adalats 22,418 cases of bank loans involving an amount of Rs 79,47,32,942 were settled. Four Lok Adalats held exclusively pertaining to labour cases succeeded in settling 12,873 cases. Compensation worth Rs 4,67,65,552 was provided to the labourers, revealed Mr Mittal.

To reduce huge pendency of matrimonial disputes, 8,271 cases were resolved providing relief to aggrieved families. Apart from this, 1,879 cases pertaining to disputes between farmers and commission agents and 31,493 criminal compoundable cases were settled.


Judicial remand for SHO
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 26
A local court yesterday remanded the SHO booked by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in 14 days’ judicial remand. The SHO, Shahkot, was arrested on graft charges and was presented before the court following the end of his one-day police remand.


Sangrur tops in paddy procurement
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
The current paddy procurement season is almost over and the district has topped the paddy procurement in the state this year. It has procured 24,40,726 metric tonnes (MTs) of paddy till November 22 while Ludhiana with 16,85,936 MTs and Patiala with 14,82,226 MTs were placed number two and three, respectively, till November 22.

Last year, the district had topped by procuring 26,28,068 MTs of paddy, while it has fixed a target of procuring 26,29,657 MTs of paddy this year. However, it procured 24,40,726 MTs of paddy till November 22 as compared to 25,88,473 MTs during the corresponding period last year.

Reduction in the paddy procurement in the district this year is being attributed to damage caused to paddy due to rain and excessive farming of cotton.

According to an information, 1,37,20,383 MTs of paddy has been procured in Punjab till November 22 as compared to 1,38,91,026 MTs during the corresponding period last year.

Paddy procurement in other districts till November 22 is as follows: Ferozepore 12,89,915 MTs, Moga 11,37,881 MTs, Amritsar 7,68,766 MTs, Jalandhar 7,01,001 MTs, Bathinda 6,01,014 MTs, Kapurthala 5,25,926 MTs, Muktsar 5,00,399 MTs, Fatehgarh Sahib 4,96,816 MTs, Gurdaspur 4,92,138 MTs, Faridkot 4,44,986 MTs, Mansa 4,39,983 MTs, Nawanshahar 2,57,417 MTs, Ropar 2,49,536 MTs and Hoshiarpur 2,05,717 MTs.


Agriculture society for pricing of water
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 26
The Indian Society of Agricultural Economics today recommended pricing of water and the withdrawal of MSP on early transplanted paddy and controlled supply of electricity to ensure its rational use. For efficient use of resources, the society recommended “controlled and targetted subsidy” only. The conference strongly opposed giving free power to every one as it only encouraged its misuse.

The president of the society, Dr S.S. Johl, told The Tribune that the conference felt that the subsidy should be investment oriented and not input oriented. He stated that farmers should get subsidy for investment which have long-term utility. The society was also not in favour of giving indiscriminate free power to everyone. He said, “it must be targetted only”. Explaining, he said there is fun in giving free power to a farmer having 200 acres of land.

Export policy on rice and wheat must also be reviewed as it led to virtual “export” of water. The states must give subsidy on water-saving irrigation investments like drip and sprinkler irrigation. Greater social awareness in farmers about the “cost” of depletion of water resources must also be created.

The society recommended mapping national profile of ground water status, correcting regional imbalances in agricultural credit flow and enacting laws to grant land rights to daughters in the property of their in-laws, which they inherit rather than in the share of their parents.

The society recommended that for reduction in cost of cultivation, increasing resource use efficiency and better water management were crucial factors. Response of key inputs like fertilizers was decreasing and there was deceleration in the growth of ‘total factor productivity’ of irrigated agriculture. The decrease in fertilizer response was due to inefficient management of soil moisture.

The conference felt mere withdrawal of subsidy on electricity duty may not shift incentive in favour of diversification in cropping systems for better water use. It would require other measures including legislation for effective and direct control on use of water, participation of farmers in water management and educating them through information blitzkerg on sustainable use of water resources.


Administrative, judicial complexes approved
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
The Punjab Government has approved administrative and judicial complexes for Dhuri and Malerkotla. It is expected that the work of the construction of the complexes at both places will start by the end of December.

This was disclosed by Mr Husan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a “Lok Suvidha Camp” at Ghanauri Kalan village, near Dhuri, yesterday. The camp was organised for the convenience of residents of 22 villages of the area so that they could get their works done at the camp. Dr Rishi Pal, SDM, Dhuri, and other officers of the Dhuri area were also present.

He said the administration would also demand funds for the construction of the complexes from the government.

On behalf of the Market Committee, Sherpur, the Deputy Commissioner gave three cheques, worth about Rs 1 lakh, to three handicapped persons.

He checked 72 mutations of land, which had been prepared by revenue officials on the spot.


Monsanto official, distributor booked
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, November 26
Following the complaint of a Gidderbaha-based dealer, a business manager of Monsanto India and one of its distributors have been booked for allegedly misleading the Agricultural Department and duping farmers.

Sources said in a plea written to the Deputy Commissioner, the complainant, Mr Pradeep Kumar of Punjab Beej Bhandar, Gidderbaha, had stated that Monsanto India, Mumbai, got an advertisement published in a vernacular daily on June 12 to "malign the image" of his firm. The ad stated that his firm was not an authorised dealer of the company despite the fact that he had all required documents to prove it wrong, he claimed.

According to him, the company further stated that his firm was not issued a letter of consent for exhibiting or selling its products. On the other hand, he said he was buying Monsanto's products with proper billing from its authorised distributor, which clearly indicated their intent to "tarnish his company's image and cause financial loss to it".

He said Monsanto had also cautioned the farmers that the quality of their products sold by his firm was not guaranteed. He alleged that way the company had raised a question mark on the quality of its own products.

Acting on his complaint, the District Magistrate, Mr Dalip Kumar, had asked the Chief Agricultural Officer (CAO) to probe into the matter and submit a report to him. In his report, the CAO stated that by terming the documents issued by them as false and doubting the quality of products sold by them, the company and its distributor Om Sales Corporation had misled the Agriculture Department and cheated farmers. The DM then recommended to the SSP that a police case be registered against Monsanto's Business Manager P.N. Chauhan and Om Sales Corporation.

A case was thus registered against them under Sections 420, 468, 471 and 34 of the IPC at the Gidderbaha police station on Thursday.


Abducted woman returns with severed leg
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
Sukhwinder Kaur, who was abducted on November 21 from a post office in the cantonment area, was found on the rail tracks in Panipat with a severed leg and a foot finger of the other leg. She is recuperating at the Civil Hospital here.

Her parents are accusing their son-in-law and his family of having brought Sukhwinder to such a pass. The family has filed a case against her in-laws in Jalandhar Cantonment police station. Holding her husband’s hands the 24-year-old woman holds back her tears said that a person with short hair, with masked face had abducted her.

Sukhwinder’s family, however, alleged that it was the handiwork of Sukhwinder’s husband, who had returned to India on October 10 and had been accusing Sukhwinder of wayward behaviour. The family has filed a complaint against the husband, Chandpal, sister-in-law, Mithu, Vipan, Udho and even the grandmother of Chandpal Preeto, his aunt Darshan — all residents of Alipur village — for being involved in the crime against Sukhwinder.

Sukhwinder said she had gone to draw money from Uco Bank’s Cantonment area branch, and from there she had gone to the post office to get some postal tickets. Her sister-in-law Mithu accompanied her. Mithu had sent Sukhwinder to get something. As she was getting downstairs to get her pen, which fell down, and some person abducted her, as she lost her senses after inhaling something.

Sukhwinder said she did not know anything at all about what happened to her afterwards and got to know about the loss of her limbs only when she got back to her senses in the hospital.

Her mother Rajkumari said her daughter was married to Chandpal two years ago and had barely lived with him till he came back in October.

Chandpal, who went to Italy six years ago, said that their relationship was normal.


Punsup Inspector held
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 26
The Patiala Vigilance Bureau here yesterday nabbed an Amargarh-based Punsup Inspector while he was taking a bribe from a Nabha-based commission agent.

Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar , SSP (Vigilance), said the inspector, Sarjeevan Kumar Sharma, was caught when he was accepting a bribe of Rs 4,000 from Harpal Singh, a commission agent at the Punsup’s Amargarh office.

The Punsup Inspector, who was trapped by DSP Jaspal Singh, was demanding the bribe for clearing bills worth Rs 32,000. Mr Bhullar added that apart from the bribe money, another amount of Rs 7,500 was also found in possession of the Punsup Inspector. Mr Bhullar said the Vigilance sleuths were verifying whether the amount of Rs 7,500 was also bribe amount taken from some other party.


3 arrested for firing incident
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 26
The district police has rounded up Iqbal Kaur, wife of Manjit Singh of Harsi Pind, Sarabjit Singh of Ralhan village and Inderjit Singh of Kurala in connection with the firing at Adda Talhi, near Dholbaha, where four persons were shot dead and another was injured on the night of November 23.

According to police sources, there was strain relations between Iqbal Kaur and her deceased husband Manjit Singh who was killed in the firing.


Punjab showcases growth in power at trade fair
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 26
Showcasing its strides in the field of power and communications along with its traditional strengths in areas of food and agro-processing, Punjab pavillion at this year’s India International Trade Fair has been attracting potential investors and casual shoppers.

The pavillion shows the steps taken by the state to increase the generation of hydel and thermal power. The moves towards the production of bio gas and increasing the yield of medicinal plants are also highlighted.

The pavillion lists progress in communications, including infrastructure in villages, and investment from some of the top companies including Dell and Quark.

The results of the survey by a weekly magazine, which ranked Punjab on top in some development indicators, have been highlighted.

While there are small sections devoted to industry and the spread of higher education, a Punjabi Bazar has been created showing specialties of the state. Markfed and Milkfed show the progress made in the cooperative sector.

A brief glimpse into the state’s vibrant culture is visible at the entrance where artists perform every evening.

The famed food of the state, including ‘Saag and Makki ki Roti’ is available at the canteen, appropriately named ‘Rasoi.’

Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla was the chief guest at the Punjab Day function last evening where noted artist Jasbir Jassi enthralled the audience with his pulsating numbers.

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