P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Tough stand sought to protect agriculture
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
Economist Prof Sucha Singh Gill said the government should take a tough stand for protecting Indian agriculture in the ongoing ministerial-level meeting of the World Trade Organisation at Hong Kong where agriculture had come out as an important agenda.

He called upon the people to fight against the nefarious designs of WTO and imperialist countries who were trying to take advantage of the developing countries under the garb of open market and unrestricted trade.

Prof Gill said this while addressing a convention organised by five kisan organisations, Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), All India Kirti Kisan Sabha, Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, Punjab Kisan Sabha and Kheti Bari Kisan Vikas Front, here at Pawana Hall against the adverse impact of the policies of the WTO on the agricultural sector.

Speakers criticised the government for the 1994 agreement on agriculture without taking people into confidence. Now after 10 years, the consequences of the agreement had started surfacing as agriculture in developing countries was being challenged by unrestricted import of agricultural products from the developed countries.

The cost of production was low in the developed countries due to heavy subsidies amounting to $ 300 billion, given to farmers. In developing countries, the inputs were very high so their farmers would not be able to compete if their agriculture markets were opened.

The convention passed a resolution, calling for agriculture to be kept out of the ambit of the WTO, subsidies that had been withdrawn from agriculture inputs to be restored, reduction of subsidies to farmers by rich countries and the restoration of the right of developing countries to impose quantitative restrictions on agricultural inputs.

The convention also demanded that agricultural loans be made available at an interest of 4 per cent, sugarcane dues of Rs 63 crore be paid, minimum support price of wheat, sugarcane and cotton be hiked to Rs 850, Rs 135 and Rs 3,500 per quantal, reduction of the increasing gap between the costs of inputs and outputs, allocation of 40 per cent budget for agriculture and rural development and introduction of a crop insurance scheme.


Protest against WTO policies
Our Correspondent

Barnala, December17
Led by Sukhdev Singh Bari, Convener, Sangrur Marxist Communist Party of India United (MCPI), Tarsem Jodhan, ex-MLA and senior vice-president of the Punjab CTU, and Sher Singh Pharwahi, president of the Punjab Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, a large number of farmers, labourers, employees and women of Sangrur district staged a protest march and rally at Barnala today. They lodged protest against the WTO and sixth ministerial level conference being held at Hong Kong.

They assembled at the local market complex and held a procession passing through bazaars and concluding it at the Nehru Chowk. They were holding placards in their hands raising slogans against WTO policies and ministerial level conference.

Earlier addressing the rally, Bari flayed the USA for its imperialistic outlook. He expressed apprehensions that hardworking farmers and labourers would be affected by the WTO. Sounding a note of caution, he asserted that the CPM and the CPI were unable to oppose the imperialistic forces and only mass movement could wage a struggle against these forces.

Tarsem Jodhan, while addressing the rally, regretted that the UPA government was dancing to the tunes of imperialistic forces. Brij Bhushan and Manohar Lal Sharma, Government Teachers Union leaders of the Barnala region, too addressed the rally. 


Gift horse crosses border hurdle
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah, December 17
Surpassing all legal wranglings, “Sunny the Kid”, gifted by Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister, West Punjab, to his Indian counterpart, Capt Amarinder Singh, finally reached India by crossing the border on the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Had the horse come via Dubai, the cost would have been a whopping Rs 14 lakh while the custom duty through the Wagah land route has worked out to Rs 16,000 only. The total cost of the gifted horse is said to be more than Rs 3 lakh.

Earlier, “Sunny the Kid” was not allowed to cross over to India through Wagah by the Indian authorities on the grounds that India was a livestock disease-free country unlike Pakistan, which fell in the “disease-prone zone”. Initially the Indian authorities suspected that since the animal could be suffering from diseases like equine influenza, which could spread in India, the animal should not be allowed to enter the country by road.

The horse would be sent to the Police Academy, Phillaur, for imparting training to officials after a one-month quarantine in Delhi.

The gifted horse is being described as a symbol of friendship and goodwill between the peoples of India and Pakistan. An official of the state government said the crossover of “Sunny the Kid” would usher in an era of sunshine between the two countries, which shared a common heritage.

Earlier, a three-member team of the Punjab Government, headed by Mr Dhanvir Singh Bains, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, had gone to Pakistan through the Wagah joint check-post to make arrangements for bringing the horse.

Interestingly, “Sultan” was gifted by Mr Elahi to Capt Amarinder Singh during his visit to Lahore in January 2004. However, the “precious gift” could not reach here for want of requisite clearance and subsequently the animal developed medical complications. Mr Elahi replaced it with another horse — “Son of a Gun” — which later got maimed. It was then replaced with another 4-year-old horse “Sunny the Kid”.

Finally, the PMO gave nod to the Agricultural Ministry and, in turn, the ministry allowed the Punjab Government to import the horse through road.


Directorate for NRIs likely, says CM
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his deputy Rajinder Kaur Bhattal during the stone-laying ceremony of a trauma centre in Patiala on Saturday.
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his deputy Rajinder Kaur Bhattal during the stone-laying ceremony of a trauma centre in Patiala on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Patiala, December 17
While the Chief Minister Capt, Amarinder Singh, has said that a move has been initiated to set up a separate department for Punjabi non-resident Indian (NRI), the Deputy Chief Minister Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has accused the bureaucracy of discouraging them (Punjabi NRI’s) from investing in various welfare and other activities in Punjab.

Both Capt Amarinder Singh and Ms Bhattal were here today to lay the foundation stone of a Rs 50- crore Advance Trauma Care Centre (ATCC) being set up on the premises of the local Rajindra Medical College by the Patiala Health Foundation and the Gomco, Alumini Association. The land for the centre has been allotted by the state government. An MoU has already been signed by these two non-governmental organisations with the government.

The Chief Minister said the role of Punjabi NRI’s in the development of Punjab and the welfare of its people was important.

Ms Bhattal said though Punjabi NRI’s were willing to contribute financially for carrying out welfare activities in Punjab, a section of the bureaucracy had been delaying their plans. She admitted that official works were executed with considerable delay.

The Chief Minister, while addressing a function, said the government was planning to set up a separate directorate for Punjabi NRI’s so that they did not face any problem regarding investing in Punjab in any sector.

He said the government had set up a high-powered committee to work out the modalities to expand medical education in Punjab. He added that to equip all medical colleges and hospitals being run by the government with latest machines, the government had released Rs 35 crore in the recent past.

Announcing a grant of Rs 1 crore from the Chief Minister Discretionary fund for the ATCC, the Chief Minister said that previous government failed to provide good health facilities to the people. He said the ATCC would serve the people of Punjab and the neighbouring states.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who has been facing repeated attacks from his political opponents for giving “shelter to former Union External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh in his private residence”, lashed out at the Akalis, saying that they always tried to make an issue out of a non-issue. He added that on the one hand, the Akalis led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, did not participate in the nagar kirtan taken out by the Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC), on the other, they were trying to malign the image of its president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, on flimsy grounds.

Dr Ravinder Singh, Vice- Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences and president, Gomco Alumini Association, said the ATCC would be ready within two years.


News Analysis
Cong eyes Akali bastion
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Lambi, December 17
The Congress flashed its trump card to kick-start its election campaign in the state today. The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and the Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, astutely linked “development, darr (fear) and dharma (religion)” to mobilise the crowd on the home turf of Akalis.

All fears of terrorism raised by the Chief Minister and Mr Dullo expectedly had one central character — Mr Parkash Singh Badal — and the target was the large chunk of votes in this Akali-dominated pocket of the Malwa region.

A vociferous crowd at a rally here lapped it up as the Congress launched the first of three major rallies planned in the state. The crowd, nearly 20,000 in number, had been gathered in trucks and buses from all over Punjab. The Chief Minister told them how roads in Punjab were being upgraded, how additional power-generation capacity was being added and how huge industrial houses were now turning to invest in Punjab. “All this had happened during our time,” the Chief Minister said as he sounded the war cry for the elections.

On development, the Chief Minister incisively linked it with terrorism. Saying that 15 years of Punjab had been lost due to terrorism, the Chief Minister went on to repeat the same set of allegations he levelled against the Akalis in the Vidhan Sabha during the debate on terrorism in October.

By holding the rally at Lambi, Mr Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency, the Congress sent out a message that it wanted people of Mr Badal’s area to know what the Congress had done and wanted to show the Akali supremo in poor light in front of his own people. It may be another matter that the number of people from Lambi or Gidderbaha the constituency of Mr Manpreet Badal, was small.

By listing out the properties of the Badal family in the state and adjoining Haryana, the Chief Minister tried to convince people that Badal was wrong and questioned how he (Mr Badal) accumulated his huge wealth.

Mr Dullo scored another point when he said drug addiction had gone up during the Akali regime.

In another crucial reference to religion, the Chief Minister harped on the bus service between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib as one of his achievements in improving relations with Pakistan. Earlier, the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, questioned the role of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), thus hitting out at another Akali-dominated bastion.

The rallies in the future will most likely be a repeat of today’s trump card flashed by the Congress. 


MP: land Act has hit development in 470 villages
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) has been impeding development in 470 villages in the kandi belt of the state for several decades. This issue has been raised in the Lok Sabha by Mr Avinash Khanna, BJP MP.

Highlighting the problems faced by farmers and others because of the wrong enforcement of the Act, Mr Khanna stated in the Lok Sabha that farmers could not cultivate their own land.

He said the Act was passed about 105 years ago to stop the erosion of land in the kandi belt. However, during that period Punjab’s topographical character had changed drastically, almost eliminating the chances of erosion of soil even in semi-hilly areas. Most of the rivers and rivulets had been tamed. Moreover, the Act was to be enforced temporarily where required. However, the government authorities had been enforcing it in perpetuity even without following the proper procedure.

Mr Khanna told The Tribune today that he informed the Lok Sabha that there were several thousand farmers who had been unable to construct houses in their villages or sow any crop because of the Act. Farmers were challaned for violating the Act by Forest Department officials, who had been given powers to enforce this law.

Mr Khanna, who is also the president of the state unit of the BJP, said that besides raising this issue in the Lok Sabha, he had also discussed the matter with his party’s senior office-bearers in the kandi belt. By and large, people of Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Gurdaspur and Ropar districts had been affected by this Act. Whereas the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency is represented by the BJP leader, Mr Venod Khanna, the Hoshiarpur seat is represented by Mr Khanna himself.


Governor calls upon Punjabis to achieve self-reliance
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Impressing upon the International Punjabi Society the need to broadbase its charter of objectives with focus on bringing about major qualitative change in the socio-economic scene of Punjab, the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), made an appeal to its members to help the State to achieve the goal of self-reliance in all fields.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the 32md convention of the International Punjabi Society at Hotel Mountview today. General Rodrigues said there was scope for participation in the developmental process by NRIs by fresh innovative initiatives and by making investments in different fields of economy. The Governor said agriculture, which is the backbone of our economy with 70 per cent of our population dependent on it, was at the crossroads today. He said the land holdings were diminishing and the alarming decline in ground water table had posed a serious threat to our agriculture economy.

He said various initiatives in the public and private sectors had been taken but it needed special emphasis by non-resident Punjabis, by making investments in agri-related professions and in setting up food processing units. Such major initiatives will help in employment-generating ventures and supplementing the income of the farming class. Lauding the role of the society, General Rodrigues said conferences of this nature were of great help in sharing experiences, perceptions and ideas for promoting mutual understanding besides reminding the Punjabis of their roots and cultural heritage.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Member, Rajya Sabha and Chairman, National Minorities Commission, while speaking on the occasion reminded the non-resident Punjabis of their rich cultural heritage and appealed to them to preserve and promote it. He stressed for the unity of Punjabiat and said that this would further help in glorifying Punjab on the global map.

Prominent among others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Jaspal Singh Kandhari, chairman, organising committee, Mr P.S. Bedi, honorary general secretary, Mr Munish Tiwari, Mr Tarsem Singh, Member of the House of Lords, UK and Mr Amarjit Singh Sethi, organising secretary.

The most important, however, was the formal announcement by Surender Singh Dhall, general secretary (New York) and Dr R.S. Upall, president of the New York Chapter to start a mobile hospital in the city. Mr Dhall pledged $ 1 million also for the cause. General Rodrigues immediately announced that all support would be rendered for the same.

Later at the IPS working meeting the issue was supported by all. The agenda of NRIs coming to India and marrying and later duping their spouses was also discussed at length and it was decided that the society would give all support and help to the victims in such cases.


District status sought for Pathankot
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, December 17
Demand for district status for Pathankot has resurfaced the Pathankot Bar Association along with other political and social organisations have been demanding carving out Pathankot district from Gurdaspur district. The issue was raised five years ago President of the Pathankot Bar Association (PBA) Surjit Singh said here that Pathankot being one of the seven biggest urban centres in Punjab had been neglected.

Had Pathankot been given the status of a district headquarter there would have been more funds for infrastructure and development. Now Pathankot is the biggest city in the district, and the funds made available for the development of Gurdaspur district, hardly reach here.

He said, though Gurdaspur and Batala had less population, availability of funds for these towns had been liberal but Pathankot remains without civic amenities.

Mr Surjit Singh at a meeting of the Bar Association this morning said political leadership of Pathankot is to blame that the city had not been accorded the status of district headquarter. It should have been made a district headquarter along with Moga, Nawanshahr and Mansa, but the leadership did not pursue the case during the Akali government’s tenure. Pathankot Shiv Sena (Bal Thackeray) president Sunil Kanotra said, if the Amarinder government did not accord Pathankot the status of a district, his party would launch a stir and hold dharnas at the SDM’s court.

Demand for Pathankot as a headquarter was launched in 1986 by the Zila Banao Sangharsh Samiti comprising various religious and social organisations. Former Punjab Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar had given an assurance to agitators that the demand would be considered on priority. But then the Congress was voted out of power in elections and the promise remained unfulfilled.

During the SAD-BJP government led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the demand of district status to Pathankot again picked momentum under the leadership of Mr Ashok Prashar, president of the Zila Sangarsh Samiti and now president of the district BJP and Mr Ashok Sharma, sitting Congress MLA from Pathankot.


Pathankot-Dalhousie road in bad shape
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, December 17
The 80-km Pathankot-Dalhousie road is vital for defence and tourism purposes. It links the plains with two famous tourist spots, Dalhousie and Khajjiar, besides providing link to some Army outposts. Due to these reasons, its maintenance was handed over to the Border Road Organisation (BRO).

However, for the past about four years, it has been endangering the lives of motorists.

The 10-km stretch between Dhar and Donera is in the worst shape. It has been about a year when the BRO laid the base for the road. However, bitumen has not been put over the portion so far.

Travelling over this portion of the road has become a nightmare for the people. Many tourists, including VIPs, making use of this road stretch had complained about its poor condition, but to no avail.

The local people have held several protests demanding proper laying of the road. Complaints had also been sent to the President and the Defence Minister demanding an inquiry into the laying of road.

The BRO put bitumen on a portion of the road about a month before the monsoon, but it got washed away in the first showers. The BRO authorities had maintained that the road got damaged due to early monsoon. They had also said that fresh bitumen would be put on the damaged portion after the monsoon.

However, it has been doing only patchwork on the damaged portion of the road since then. Moreover, the progress of work has been very slow.

Following complaints by some VIPs, the Punjab Government had requested the BRO to hand over the road to its Public Works Department (PWD).

Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had personally requested the Defence Minister to hand over the road to the state. However, the request was declined.

Sources alleged if an inquiry was held into the amount spent on the road, it could turn out to be another scam in the Army.


Black Arrow remembers ’71 war heroes
Our Correspondent

Pathankot December 17
“Black Arrow Brigade” of Western Command organised a remembrance parade for the heroes of the 1971 war at the Basantar War Memorial to commemorate the famous victory in the Battle of Basantar.

The event was attended by a large number of senior serving and retired Army officers, war veterans and war widows. The war memorial was specifically renovated for the occasion under the guidance of the General Officer Commanding, 2 Corps, who laid the wreath on the behalf of the Corps.

Other prominent dignitaries who laid the wreath were retired officers, JCOs and other ranks who actually took part in the Battle of Basantar and brought glory to the nation.

The Commander of the Brigade and Commanding Officers of all units that had participated in the Battle of Basantar were present on the occasion.

During the battle, 1 Param Veer Chakra, 5 Mahavir Chakras, 12 Vir Chakras, 27 Sena Medals, 2 Vashist Seva Medals and 32 Mention-in-Despatches were awarded to the Brigade making it the most decorated formation of the 1971 operations.


Pensioners hold protest rally
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, December 17
The Punjab State Pensioners and Senior Citizen Welfare Association held a protest rally in support of their demands here today.

Mr Avtar Singh Afat, president of the association, said the Punjab Government had failed to fulfil its promise regarding pensioners made in its manifesto 
during the 2002 Assembly elections.

No pensioners’ organisations would pursue their cases through any MLA or MP and seek meeting of the Advisory Committee to be headed by the Chief Minister to resolve their cases, he added.

Mr Afat said the Sanjha Morcha of Pensioners, comprising three state-level associations, would be set up soon and within the next 10 days it would decide further course of action to get their demands fulfilled.

SANGRUR: Observing “pensioners day” at a function here, the local Government Pensioners Welfare Association asked the Punjab Government to enhance the monthly medical allowance of the government pensioners from Rs 250 to Rs 500 and give them house maintenance allowance.

The function was presided over by Mr Bhagwan Singh Sidhu, former ADC, while Ms Balwinder Kaur Bhattal, chairperson of the Market Committee, Dhanaula, was the chief guest.

The association also asked the government to extend travelling allowance facility to the family pensioners. It also urged the government to give 15 per cent old-age allowance to the pensioners who are above 80.

Twelve pensioners above 80 years of age were honoured at the function.


42 bonded labourers freed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 17
The Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA) managed to free 42 bonded labourers including family members working at a brick kiln at Punia village, near here, today. The brick kiln was jointly owned by Pargat Singh, Bakhshish Singh and Buta Singh.

Baljinder Singh, a former bonded labourer, filed the case, besides three owners, against accountant Jernail Singh of Punia village, District Magistrate, Amritsar, and the state of Punjab in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Following this, the High Court appointed a warrant officer to liberate his other fellow labourers working at the kiln.

He stated in the petition that 42 labourers had been working at the kiln since September 16 and living near it under appalling conditions.

He claimed that the owners had not been paying them any wages. He alleged that they were working in it against their wishes and not allowed to leave their jobs. Thus, he said the labourers were held illegally. Musclemen of the owners beat up the labourers who tried to escape from the kiln. He said fortuitously he managed to escape and wanted to liberate his friends as well.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, Project Coordinator, DDVA, along with the warrant officer and some policemen of Patti police station went to the kiln and liberated the labourers.


Thermal plant staff block highway
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 17
General category employees federation thermal plant, here on Friday staged protest rally and blocked the national highway- 21 at Ghanauli for an hour against the state government decision to implement the 85th amendment. More than 330 employees and engineers participated in the dharna and burnt the copy of notification of 85th amendment.

The federation flayed the congress government for implementing the amendment without waiting for verdict of the Supreme Court on the matter. Mr Ghansham Goyal, president of the General Category Employees Federation said that the reservation in promotions is no way going to benefits the poor dalits but it would benefit only the elite dalits.

The government took this decision in view of the next assembly elections, he added..

The press secretary of the federation, Mr V.K Gupta, said the federation would intensify the agitation in the state if the government did not withdraw the notification.


Cops issue list of do’s and dont’s
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
The winter season brings with it various problems including the rise in crime, if the record of previous years is any indication and with a view to check this menace the police has taken numerous steps to prevent crime.

Fog always acts as an incentive to thieves on the prowl as its gives them a thick misty sheet to hide their nefarious activities. The police has taken steps and has issued do’s and dont’s to shopkeepers and residents in order to prevent crime.

The cops have asked the authorities concerned to put up streetlights and proper lighting outside every commercial establishment at night so that any activity during that time is clearly visible.

The police has also asked all the commercial units to install a central lock on the shutters as that could reduce the risk of a break-in. “We have asked the residents to increase the current streghth of the area chowkidars from one to three and are also following the policy of neighbourhood watch scheme in which every neighbour guards the property of the other in their absence”, the SP (City), Mr Mandeep Singh said.

“We have also asked the residents not to allow strangers inside the house for cleaning their jewellery or for any other motive that could ultimately lead to burglary,” he added.

The cops have also given special instructions to the elderly people residing in the area not to trust anyone who assures them of free pension.

“Usually these are rogues and the elderly end up being cheated. Moreover we have urged the public to dial 100 or inform the cops at the nearest police station chowki in case of any incident they asserted.” added the SP (City).

Besides the cops have appealed to the general public to provide a photograph and antecedents of all of their employees, including domestic help for police verification. “ In a number of crimes th police are helpless in absence of employee record” reasoned Mr Mandeep Singh.


Mann against sale of coop sugar mills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The President of the Shiormani Akali Dal (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has urged the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to get the state government’s proposal regarding the sale of cooperative sugar mills examined by experts.

Opposing the sale of these sugar mills, Mr Mann said a decision in this connection should be taken by the next elected government in the state. He said that in this election year any decision by the government to sell the mills would invariably draw a lot of criticism. “To ascertain the financial health of these mills, we feel the government should engage an independent chartered accountant instead of leaving the decision to the joint registrar, who works under political guidance and control.”

Governments in the past did not pay due attention to the running of the cooperative mills. Mills were not modernised and this affected the recovery of sugar from sugarcane. Losses worth several hundred crores of rupees were caused to the mills by the state government by allocating molasses, a byproduct at such mills, at very low controlled rates to distilleries.

He said if the state government was working for the welfare of the cane growers and employees, it should avail itself of the Rs 524 crore package announced by the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development for the expansion and modernisation of cooperative sugar mills.


Wakf Board working to be revamped
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 17
A three-member committee has been constituted to look into the reasons behind the mounting losses, increasing encroachments on Punjab Wakf Board’s land and poor standard of teaching at the board-run schools in the state. The members of the committee are Mr T.N. Falahi, Mr Shahid Ali and Mr Daneshwar Ali.

At a meeting chaired by chairperson of the board and Parliamentary Secretary Razia Sultana at Malerkotla today, it was also decided that the gazetted shrines like the Hazrat Sheikh Dargah and another shrine in Ferozepore would also be taken over by the board so that the affairs of both religious places could be conducted in a transparent manner. The huge collections from devotees would be used to improve the facilities at the shrines.

Taking a serious view of the poor educational state of the board-run schools, she scrapped the managing committees of such schools. New committees would be formed on the three-member committee’s report.

The scrapped committees did not have technocrats as members, she added. Eminent Muslim educationists would find place on the new panels, which would guide the day-to-day functioning of the schools.

The chairperson also expressed her concern at the poor financial health of the board despite owning prime estate and properties across the state.


CM lays stone for water project
Tribune News Service

Malout, December 17
The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, laid the foundation stone of a Rs 991-crore drinking water and sewerage project meant for 133 towns of the state at Malout.

The Chief Minister said in the first phase work for providing 100 per cent water supply to 119 towns had been taken up. He announced that in 39 towns of the state, where sewerage works were being executed with HUDCO loan and municipal councils concerned were not in a position to return the instalments, the work would be completed on priority under the Municipal Development Fund.

The PPCC chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, also spoke on the occasion. The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, assured that required instalments of money for these works shall be released to the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board every month.


Bedi chief of PSEB engineers’ body
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
A meeting of the Executive Committee of PSEB Engineers Association was held here today and Mr H.S. Bedi was elected as president while Mr Rajinder Sarao was elected as the general secretary.

The other office-bearers are: vice-presidents — Mr S.C. Chabbra; organising secretary — Mr Baldev Singh; and secretary (Finance) — Mr Rakesh Gupta.

The committee resolved to continue its fight against disintegration of power sector in the name of reforms. The association demanded the introduction of real reforms in the power sector to bring efficiency and accountability to improve public service. The executive also expressed concern over the increasing tendency in the government to marginalise professionals.


Ultrasound machine sealed
Our Correspondent

Nabha, December 17
The local health authorities have raided Sharda Nursing Home for the violation of the PNDT Act and sealed the record and an ultrasound machine.

Dr Purshotam Goel, SMO, Nabha, said a number of discrepancies in the maintenance of the records which were mandatory under the PNDT Act were found. Form-F, which must be filled by the hospital before doing ultrasound of any female patient, was not filled completely in many cases. He said the addresses and number and sex of previous children of many patients had not been filled. Signatures were not made in many forms.

Dr Mohi, Civil Surgeon, Patiala, confirmed the raid and said he and his staff had raided four nursing homes in Patiala district during the past 15 days. 


6-yr-old boy becomes victim of unnatural act
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 17
A six-year-old boy of Gopalpur village was allegedly made to do unnatural act by six minor boys of the same village on Sunday last.

The incident came to light when the parents of the boy admitted him to AP Jain Civil Hospital here today. The boy informed that he was lured by the boys, all in the eight-13 year age group, to a house and sexually abused. The statement of the victim was recorded by Naib Tehsildar, Jaspal Singh today. A case has been registered.


Science exhibition at DAV school
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 17
An inter and intra-school scientific model making competition was organised by the science department of DAV Senior Seconder Public School, Patiala, in collaboration with the Punjab Academy of Science here today.

Students from 15 local and outstation schools took part in the science exhibition in which various exhibits on latest topics were displayed.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Mr Gain Singh, DEO, (retd.) and the prizes were distributed by Prof R.K. Sehgal, Dean (Academic Affairs), Punjabi University, Patiala.

Results: Intra-school (senior group): Geetika and Vishal- first; Nivi Kansal, Gurjinder Pal and Abha — second; Piyush Sharma — third; Intra-school (junior group): Anshika Garg — first; Tanvi — second; Vineet — third; Inter-school: A.R.K. Sabha Senior Secondary School; Patiala — first; DAV Senior secondary school; Bhupindra Road — second; Police DAV Public School, Jallandhar — third. 


SAS Academy students shine

Anandpur Sahib, December 17
Achit, a VIII standard student of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy, secured the second position in the state-level bal sahitya competition organised by the Language Department, Punjab, in Jalandhar while Gurmeet Kaur of class XII secured the first position in poetry competition held at Punjabi Bhavan in Ludhiana, according to the Chief Administrator of the academy, Mr Mohan Singh. TNS

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