P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Sukhbir immature, ambitious, says CM
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 25
The Congress’s political conference on the occasion of Shaheedi Jor Mela here, Mr Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, declared that the Congress would assume power after Assembly elections as people had endorsed policies and programme of the government.

He criticised Mr Sukhbir Badal and termed him an immature and ambitious boy, who wanted to become the Chief Minister by bypassing his father. He alleged they (Badals) manipulated omission of their case from the Supreme Court record and now the Chief Justice of India was conducting an inquiry into it.

He said had Mr Parkash Singh Badal been sincere to Sikhism he would have participated in the palanquin procession in Nankana Sahib.

He said the economic condition had improved. He said that Punjab was the first state in the country, which had deposit of Rs 1000 crore in the Reserve Bank of India. He said when they took over the PSEB it had loss of Rs 1200 crore but now it is earning profit. The government was paying to the PSEB for providing free power to farmers. He said connections to one lakh tubewells had been given.

Later addressing mediapersons, the Chief Minister said that his recent visit to Dubai was successful as the state government had garnered investment of Rs 5000 crore in infrastructure by the Dubai-based company EMMAR Group. The company will develop need-based multi-storeyed housing complexes at Mohali, Ludhiana, Bathinda and Amritsar.

On Octroi, Mr Amarinder Singh said that the state government was finding alternative source of revenue to make local bodies self-sustaining and it would be abolished by the end of the current year. The state government had tied up with the Government of Abu Dhabi (UAE) to set up a mega power generation project in the state to augment power supply. He defended the implementation of 85th Constitution amendment.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president PPCC appreciated policies, programme and working of the government.

The Chief Minister earlier laid a foundation stone of Multi-speciality hospital at Peerjain, inaugurated an exhibition, distributed subsidy cheques and release a souvenir of the District Cultural society. He announced several projects for Sirhind, Bassi Pathana, Amloh and Khamano subdivisions of the district. Mrs Lakhbir Kaur Garcha OSD to the CM, Dr Harbans Lal, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Sadhu Singh, Parliamentary Secretary Brij Lal Goyal, Mr Jasbir Singh former MLA, Vaid Hari Krishan President DCC, Mr Vishnu Sharma Mayor, Patiala were among those present.


Manpreet better leader than Sukhbir: Bajwa
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur December 25
Mr Manpreet Badal was better person to head the SAD compared to Mr Prakash Singh Badal’s son Sukhbir Badal. Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, Punjab, stated this while talking to newspersons here today.

Mr Bajwa said the SAD was heading the Shiv Sena way. Like Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackery, the SAD president, Mr Prakash Singh Badal, was also ignoring his more capable nephew Manpreet Badal to put his son Sukhbir Badal at the helm of the affairs.

However, the SAD workers would not accept Sukhbir Badal as their leader. The party was likely to split as the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. Many of the prominent SAD leaders like Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta had raised the voice of dissent against the present SAD leadership, he said.

The statement of Mr Bajwa in favour of Mr Manpreet Badal assumes significance due to the fact that both had accompanied the Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on a trip to Dubai.

Mr Bajwa flayed the SAD for opposing the motion adopted for ousting the MPs involved in cash for-questions scam. He said the MPs of the SAD walked out of the House, along with the BJP members, in protest against the Parliament decision to oust the tainted members.

The recent move of the SAD and the BJP in Parliament had exposed them on the issue of corruption.

The combination of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had put Punjab on the road to development. The Punjab was in the process of receiving Rs 24,000 crore investment. The combination would help sweep the coming Assembly elections in the state, he said.

Mr Bajwa also attended the Christmas celebration organised by the local church at Dhariwal.


SAD to observe 2006 as anti-Congress year
Surinder Bhardwaj

Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal discusses a point with Capt Kanwaljit Singh during the Shaheedi Jor Mela political conference at Fatehgarh Sahib on Sunday.
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal discusses a point with Capt Kanwaljit Singh during the Shaheedi Jor Mela political conference at Fatehgarh Sahib on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 25
The SAD during its political conference held on the occasion of Sahidi Jor Mela here today adopted a resolution moved by a former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, in which it declared the party would launch an agitation in 2006 against the Congress to free the state from its clutches.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and SAD President, said the Congress governments, may be at the Centre or in the state, had always been anti-Punjab and had deceived the people. On the other hand, the SAD had safeguarded the interests of the people and fought for the cause of the State.

He said that during Capt Amarinder Singh regime all the departments had faced setback and now he was talking of opening defence and law universities in the state.

Mr Badal said that except visiting different countries and staying in luxurious hotels in Delhi, Capt Amarinder Singh had nothing to do.

He had no time to meet even his ministers and MLAs, what to talk of general public. He claimed that many Congress MLAs were ready to join SAD but due to the anti-defection law, they were silent.

While talking about a survey got conducted by a private group by spending Rs 1 crore, Mr Badal said that this private company had concluded that the Congress could win a maximum of 34 seats and interestingly this company was part of same group which was being pleased by the Chief Minister. He further said the intelligence reports had made it clear that the Congress was not in a position to win more than 20 seats.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal said if the Chief Minister wanted to debate on development issues, he should come to any village of Punjab instead of the Assembly floor.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the only achievement of the Amarinder Singh government was that he had withdrawn all the facilities provided to various sections of the society.

Talking about his treatment of the Akalis, he said that Akalis knew how to live in jails, but it would be tough for Capt Amarinder Singh to be at such places.


Mann lashes out at Badal
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 25
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today announced that if his party came to power, he would give representation to all sections of society.

The loans of farmers, in the debt trap would be waived and they would be provided free water and electricity. Agro-based industries to generate employment for 30 lakh unemployed youths of the state would be set up. Facilities for the business community and employees would be improved, he said adding that the state and Central governments had ignored the interests of minorities.

Lashing out at Mr Badal, he said he had always used Sikh institutions for promoting self interests. He said the Hukumnama issued by the Jathedar of Akal Takht was politically motivated and the Jathedar should not play into the hands of selfish political leaders. He said the Jathedar of Akal Takht should maintain the ‘maryada’ of the Takht and he should be above party politics. He said apostasy among Sikhs increased only due to the misrule of Mr Badal and wrong policies of SGPC. He said Mr Badal was least bothered about the welfare of the state and the people. “He is only worried about promoting Bibi Surinder Kaur Badal and his son, Sukhbir,” he said.

He said if the state had to make progress, the Central Asia border should be opened so that traders could import and export their products. It would also benefit the farming community. He expressed concern over the nuclear weapons and technology coming to India from America. He said top officers were displaying lust for money.

Criticising the Chief Minister, he said he was interested only in leisure and had no time even for his ministers. He said the CM’s recent visits to Dubai should be probed.

Mr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, self-styled president of Khalistan, in his address appreciated the thinking of Mr Mann and said he had sacrificed all comfort for the cause of Sikhs and Khalsa rule. He said the aim of his organisation was to establish Khalsa rule.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara and Mr Satnam Singh Behru also addressed the gathering.


Chandumajra lashes out at Badal and Congress
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 25
All the speakers in their addresses from the stage of the SAD (Longowal) here today strongly condemned SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal for destroying the principles of Sikhism and using supreme religious, institutions of the Sikhs for his personnel interests.

They also lashed out at the Congress government and termed the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, as addicted to luxurious life, who had turned his back to the problems of the people as well as of the state.

They appealed to the people to reject both these parties, and promised to provide third alternative by forming a democratic front consisting of all leading Punjabis.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, President, SAD (L), assured the people to fight against every type of injustice, growing tendency of materialism and furthering the interests of family in religion and politics. He said the people would be mobilised to raise a voice against this menace.

He deplored the efforts of Mr Badal for using Akal Takht to avert his sure defeat in the election to the president of the DSGPC.

He appealed to the Jathedar Akal Takht not to become a tool in the hands of Mr Badal and to remain away from politics as Akal Takht belonged to all and was above party politics.

Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said that all those who wanted a clean, transparent and responsible government in the state must vote out the Congress and the SAD.

He alleged that Mr Badal had been using all the Sikh institutions for promoting his family.

Mr Baldev Singh Mann, Baba Gurdial Singh Bedi, Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, and Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli also addressed the gathering.


Heroin worth Rs 7 crore seized
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 25
The Special Narcotics Cell (SNC), on specific information from the Intelligence Bureau, has seized 7 kg of heroin worth about Rs 7 crore in the international market.

Besides, $ 33,500 were also recovered from two smugglers identified as Amolak Singh, a resident of Gali Satto Wali, and Gurpinder Singh of Kotla Gujran.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, SSP, SNC, said here today that the accused had been smuggling heroin across Indo-Pak border in the Ferozepore sector. The contraband packets had the stamps of Nazo Limited, Eagle, Lion, Snake and Pak Afghan Guzegah, which showed that it was produced in Afghanistan and reached India via Pakistan.

Amolak Singh had been in constant touch with smuggler Waris, a resident of Kasur district in Pakistan. They had concealed the contraband in a remouled gas cylinder.

Mr Sukhdev Singh said a naka was put up near the bus stand from where the accused were to board a bus to Delhi. They tried to flee after seeing the police, but were nabbed after a brief chase. Five of the packets were hidden in the cylinder and two were concealed in a briefcase.

A case under Sections 22/61/85, NDPS Act, and 411, 414, IPC, and 135, Customs Act, has been registered.

The smugglers preferred the payments for consignments in dollars as they were to make payments in the same currency to Waris for drug consignments.

Amolak told the police that that he had smuggled 12 consignments of heroin in past six months through his couriers. Each packet of the drug cost him Rs 3.5 lakh and he sold it for Rs 5.4 lakh to some smugglers in Delhi.


Woman’s paramour drowns 18-day-old child
Tribune News Service

Villagers at the well where the body of an 18-day-old child was found in Baroli village near Kharar on Sunday.
Villagers at the well where the body of an 18-day-old child was found in Baroli village near Kharar on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Kharar, December 25
In an incident that sent shock waves through the sleepy village of Baroli near here, a young woman allegedly used her paramour brother-in-law to drown to death her 18-day-old daughter. Having planned the murder, the accused, Paramjit, gave the child wrapped in her shawl to her brother-in-law Rajinder Singh last night who threw her in the village well nearby.

The dead body of the girl was recovered from the village well this morning when villagers saw the shawl floating on water. Initially thought to be the deed of the mother-in-law the villagers got together and publicly thrashed her even as she kept saying she had nothing to do with it.

“The mother-in-law was being taken to the police station when the police team reached the spot,” said DSP Kharar, Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu. Claiming to have solved the crime within hours of its coming to light, a police team led by the DSP arrested the mother who later also confessed to the crime.
Paramjit Kaur at the Kharar police station on Sunday.
Paramjit Kaur at the Kharar police station on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Relating the incident, Mr Sandhu said Paramjit had married Inderjit Singh in April this year. “Within days of her wedding she started having an affair with her brother-in-law who lived in the same house and was unmarried. She had given birth to a daughter on December 8 at the PGI but was not happy over the birth of a daughter,” said Mr Sandhu.

Paramjit apparently told Rajinder that she was not happy with the birth of her daughter. She told him that she herself was one among four sisters and could not tolerate the birth of another girl child.

“During this conversation which took place three days ago, Rajinder offered to kill the child and even tried to strangle the daughter. But Paramjit stopped him saying that she did not want her to be killed before her eyes. Then they planned to throw her in the well,” said Mr Sandhu.

Rajinder allegedly went into Paramjit’s room late in the night where she was sleeping with her daughter and husband and she wrapped the child in her shawl and gave the child to him.

Rajinder reportedly threw the child in the cold water of the village well.

“This morning Paramjit raised an alarm that her daughter was missing and a search was carried out. She alleged that her insane father-in-law had taken away the child. But when we asked her the details of the story, it could not be corroborated by the version given by the others. We got suspicious and told her that her brother-in-law had confessed to the crime. She thought her game was up and she came out with the entire truth,” said Mr Sandhu adding that by this time, however, Rajinder had fled the village.

A case had been registered under Section 302 against Paramjit and Rajinder Singh.


Road links missing, PWD clueless
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

The missing links of roads in Narot Jaimal Singh block of Gurdaspur district.
The missing links of roads in Narot Jaimal Singh block of Gurdaspur district. — Photo  by Jangi

Narot (Gurdaspur), December 25
The missing links in the roads of Narot Jaimal Singh block of the district are surprising. The well-laid roads in the block suddenly end and start again after a gap of about a kilometer. It seems that the portions of roads have been left unmetalled by the contractors of the Public Works Department.

The sources available here said taking advantage of the remoteness of the areas along the border, the contractors had left many portions of roads unmetalled. The officers concerned had also not checked the roads letting the contractors go scott free.

The Tribune team visited the road leading from Kathlore bridge to Tash Pattan. Many portions of about 20-km PWD road were missing. The locals alleged that the pre-mix material was never put by the contractors on the portions of roads that had been damaged.

The Executive Engineer, PWD, Mr Bansal, when contacted, also expressed surprise at the missing links in the roads of Narot Jaimal Singh block.

He said he had recently assumed the charge of the area and did not have knowledge about the works executed earlier. The portions of road might have been left unmetalled due to paucity of funds.

However, the entire area had now been taken under the new NABARD-financed schemes and all roads in the border area would be repaired very soon, he said.

The sources in the PWD, however, said that it was not possible that funds were not available for portions of road. The budget for roads was received as per their specifications and length. How was it possible that budget was available for the entire stretch of road and not for two to one km portions in between?

The Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamiyal are the most backward blocks of the Gurdaspur district. The people of the said blocks are cut off from the rest of the district by Ravi river. The government was now constructing the Kathlore bridge that would link the areas with the rest of the district.

Taking advantage of the remoteness of the area, generally substandard works are carried out by the contractors in connivance with lower officials. If an inquiry was held into the missing links in the PWD roads in the area, it could lead to misappropriations by the contractors in connivance with the department officials.


Dental College poised for 8.25 cr makeover
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, December 25
The half-a-century-old government-run Punjab Government Dental College and Hospital is now on the threshold of a new dawn as the state government has sanctioned Rs 8.25 crore project for construction of an ultra modern new clinical block, boys hostel and sports complex etc.

The work has already been initiated for the construction of three-storey ultramodern building of the new clinical block. Dr Amarjit Singh Gill, Principal of the college, talking to ‘The Tribune’ revealed that the new clinical block would have the facilities of an operation theatre, Indoor, X-ray, CT-scan, MRI etc, which did not exist earlier.

He said the need to establish hospital, new specialties, new requirements and necessities had arisen to meet the guidelines of Dental Council of India. He added that new block would help the college to assist the students to have specializations in various fields of dentistry.

The block would be constructed at the land worth crores of rupees situated on Shivala Bhian road and belonging to the hospital reclaimed by the hospital authorities after great efforts.

The land was earlier occupied by unauthorised persons who made an aborted bid to usurp the land, said Dr Gill.

He said the residents, surrounding the land praised the efforts of the management of the college for reclaiming the land, as unsocial elements used to indulge in hooliganism. Dr Gill said they now were planning to construct a student Centre, an auditorium, residential and sports complex for the students of the college.

He said it was imperative to add new specialisations for which the government had given a go ahead to set up ultramodern clinical laboratories with all the modern facilities and dental gadgetry.


Call to observe 75th death anniversary of Bhagat Singh in Lahore
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 25
Shaheed Bhagat Singh was just 23 years and three months old when he became a legendary martyr. He was hanged to death on March 23, 1931. It is 75th year of the supreme sacrifice made by him for the nation.

However, it is most shameful that his 75th death anniversary year, which should have been observed all over the country by organising functions, seminars etc, is almost over without holding any significant function in his memory. And in about 12 weeks from now, the 75th year of his martyrdom will come to an end. Whether or not the Union or the Punjab Government is aware of this fact is not known. But one can say with surety that nothing has been heard from both governments in this connection yet.

Prof Chaman Lal, who is editing in Hindi a complete set of documents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, says that he had written to the President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, heads of almost all national political parties to organise a big function on the coming March 23 to observe the 75th death anniversary of the Shaheed in a big way.

Prof Chaman Lal, who is teaching in the Centre of Indian Languages at JNU, Delhi, said in fact the Governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should hold a joint function in Lahore, where Shaheed Bhagat Singh was hanged to death. He said Lahore had a special place in the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, who lived there for a long time and organised youth to liberate the country from the British rule. Of course, along with Shaheed Bhagat Singh, other two martyrs, Rajguru and Sukhdev, should also be paid tributes. They fought many battles together for the freedom of the country. And they attained martyrdom together.

“As relations between India and Pakistan have improved significantly, Lahore would be the best place to remember Bhagat Singh,” Prof Chaman Lal said. He had urged all those who swear by the name of Shaheed Bhagat Singh that they should take up this issue with the authorities concerned.

Though Bhagat Singh became a martyr at such a young age, by the time he was sent to the gallows, he had entered the hearts and minds of all Indians, some of whom later became Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, Professor Lal said. Though certain forces, before, and after Independence, tried to ignore the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh, his image and the respect for him kept on growing and growing.

After going through the documents regarding Bhagat Singh, one can conclude that he was a brave patriot who became a symbol of patriotism for all the progressive forces in the country. And the year 2007 will be his birth centenary year. He was born on September 28, 1907.


BSP leaders, supporters join BJP
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 25
The BSP suffered a major set back when its leader Subhash Malhetia, who had contested the last Vidhan Sabha elections from Fazilka constituency on the BSP ticket, joined the BJP during a rally held at Waryamkhera village near here.

Many others, including Ms Asha Rani Kamboj of Dewankhera, Mr Kulwant Singh, Behak Khas and Mr Badri Ram, mandal secretary, too, quit BSP and joined the BJP, along with hundred of workers. Dr Mohan Singh Rawat, national president, Panchayati Raj cell of the BJP, Mr Khushwant Rai Giga, state president, Ms Gurcharan Kaur, MP and Prof B.L. Rinwa, member, National Discipline Committee, welcomed the defectors. The rally was held under the ‘gaon chalo abhiyan’ of the BJP to strengthen its rural base.

Ms Gurcharan Kaur, MP, said many active workers of the BSP had earlier quit the party to join BJP. This indicated that the BSP was losing credibility among Dalits and the downtrodden communities. The development had boosted the morale of the pioneers of the abhiyan. Only a year was left for the SAD BJP alliance to throw out the Congress from the state with electorate support.

Mr Rinwa said those who thought that the crowd amassed by misusing the administration at Lambi rally could be converted in to vote-bank lived in a fools’ paradise. All sections of the society were disillusioned with rampant corruption, malpractices in political and administrative fields and non-performance of the present Congress-led government in Punjab.

Dr Rawat said all dreams of Rajiv Gandhi on rural development and empowerment through Panchayati Raj system had been shattered by the present UPA government. Mr Aad Lal Jakhar, former INLD president in the state, also lambasted the Congress leaders. Hundreds of workers from different villages turned out at the rally despite thick fog.


Mandolin recital mesmerises Harballabh audience
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 25
Mandolin created history on the second day of the Harballabh Sangeet Sammelan as the instrument was played for the first time in the 130-year-old history of the festival. Sharing the pride place with the likes of Danish Aslam Khan on Sarod, and Haricharan Verma (vocal) was the younger artiste Sugato Bhaduri on his mandolin.

Playing the classical renditions on a western instrument, Sugato Bhaduri began his performance with rag nand kauns. The strings of mandolin were played by mixing makaus and jog in rag nand kauns by Bhaduri.

On the instrument, which is looked upon as a dry instrument making it difficult for playing classical renditions, Bhaduri exhibited his ease with his fingers. Tilak Raj accompanied him on the tabla.

Bhaduri played the alaap, jod jhala, and vilambit gatt and drutt gat in teen taal.

The rare treat of sarod delighted the audiences who stayed put braving the dense fog and cold outside. Danish Aslam Khan played the sarod. Khan played the rag kalyan playing mukhde in vilambit gatt adding his own new creativity in playing the traditional rag.

Next he played the ad, kuwad, bayad, and upaj chhand in char swar. He was accompanied on the tabla by his brother Akram Khan. He went on to play the ‘ulti spat’, exhibiting his mastery with the fast movement of his fingers on the instrument.

Classical singing tradition was once again brought alive with the singing of Hari Charan Verma who sang rag kalyan in ‘gayan’ style. He sang the words of his compositions taking the audiences to treat of the high and low pitch of his voice.

Presenting the badhat, laykari, taan, kept the listeners spellbound. ‘Gori ke gun’ in vilambit ek tal of rag kalyan clicked with the audiences who got chance to enjoy the beauty of the words based on classical ragas.

In madhya laya he also presented ‘hari ke aise hi sab khel’ in teen taal and ‘Ek ghari pal jiya manat nahi mora’ in dhrut. With his Bhajan he took the evening to a devotional high.


Awareness on TB stressed
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 25
Lack of awareness about tuberculosis (TB) among the masses has been creating many problems in the country. Not only on the health front but also on the social and economic fronts. In the light of this, educated youths and volunteers of the national service scheme (NSS) can play a vital role in creating awareness about the disease among the masses, especially in the rural and slum areas.

These views were expressed by Dr Surinder Singla, in charge, District TB Centre, Sangrur, while delivering a lecture on “TB control strategies” at the Civil Hospital here yesterday. The seminar was attended by the NSS volunteers of the local Government Ranbir College.

Dr Singla said the directly observed treatment short courses (DOTs) under the Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) had been a success in curing TB patients as these courses not only helped in reducing number of deaths due to the disease but also prevented further spread of disease.

He urged the NSS volunteers to tell the people that under the RNTCP diagnosis and treatment of the disease was done free of cost.

Among others who participated in the discussion were Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Gaurav Kumar, and Mr Jagroop Singh, senior treatment supervisor of the District TB Control Society, Sangrur.


‘Jyoti’ to be installed at Durgiana Mandir
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 25
Religious fervour is at its zenith in the holy city even as senior Congress leaders under the aegis of the Durgiana Temple Management and Tirath Seva Mandal have started carrying out “parbhat pheris” these days.

The step has been taken by the Congress-controlled temple management with a view to mobilising the devotees to participate in “Bhavani jyoti”, proposed to be brought from Mata Jawalaji . The “jyoti” would be installed for the first time in the sanctum sanctorum of Durgiana Mandir here on January 7. Mr Surinder Arjun, president, Durgiana Mandir Management, who is also a senior functionary of the Congress said most of the participants in “parbhat pheris” are from the Congress’ though a call was given to all political, social and religious organisations.

Mr Arjun said, the second phase of gold-plating of Durgiana Mandir would be launched shortly after the installation of the “jyoti”. He said in the first phase more than 10 kg of gold was used at a cost of about Rs 70 lakh while 40 kg of gold at a cost of about Rs 4 crore would be used in the second phase. The project will take approximately one year to complete.


Slum-dwellers get plots
Tribune News Service

Pathankot December 25
The Improvement Trust has allotted 2 marla plots to 32 landless families living in slums in the suburbs of the city. The papers of the plots were handed over to the families by the local MLA and Chairman of the PTDC, Mr Ashok Sharma.

While talking to mediapersons here yesterday, Mr Sharma said the slum- dwellers were living in highly unhygienic conditions. Many time their slums were destroyed in fire. The local improvement trust was urged to rehabilitate the slum dwellers.

The trust planned a colony for the slum-dwellers. The entire infrastructure of the colony will be developed by the trust. The plots are being given free of cost to the dwellers.

The trust will also gain out of the scheme as the land that will be vacated by the slum-dwellers would be put to commercial use.

He further said the improvement trust would soon start the construction of the mini secretariat in Pathankot.


Change in irrigation rules upsets farmers
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 25
Resentment prevails among marginal farmers of 215 villages of Hoshiarpur district against the government for making amendment to rules of utilisation of water for irrigation from canals. These villages fall on the right side of the kandi canal.

Previously farmers of this area had to pay Rs 80 per acre annually in two instalments for the area in which irrigation was done. According to the amendment, they will have to pay for the total command area falling under an outlet of water course.

Though the government recently started the construction of the second phase of the canal, it has failed in providing the required funds for the maintenance of the existing canal.

Mr Hakumat Rai and Master Balbir Singh, numberdars of Bassi Wazid and Bhanowal, respectively, and Capt Karan Singh (retd) of Mastiwal said if 100 acres fell under the outlet and irrigation water was made available only in 10 acres, the owner of 10 acres would have to pay 
the amount for the total area.

Mr Rachhpal Singh, Executive Engineer, Shah Nehar Extension Civil Division, Hoshiarpur, said Rs 4 crore was required for the repair of damaged water courses, but only Rs 3 lakh had been provided by the government for maintaining the canal against the required amount of Rs 1 crore during the current financial year.

He said bills for Rs 30 lakh had been issued to the farmers of the area for supply of water for irrigation, of which only Rs 14 lakh had been recovered so far.


Training camp for farm women held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 25
Participants in the farm-women training camp were not only educated in mushroom cultivation, dairy management, pickle, jam and jelly preparation, soft toys manufacturing but also given useful tips on skin care during winter season.

Mr Mukhtiar Singh, Joint Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, was the chief guest at the valedictory function of the four-day camp that concluded at Khuyiansarwer village near here yesterday.

He wondered that only the Indian Farmer Fertilizer Cooperatives Ltd (IFFCO) took such initiatives to change the life style of farmers’ families whereas other private houses too had been earning a lot by marketing their products in rural areas.

Mr N.S. Mavi, area manager and chief organiser of the camp, said IFFCO had decided to spend 3 per cent of the annual profit on such welfare activities. Mr R K Upveja, deputy field manager and Mr R.L. Sethi and Mr Naresh Bhatia, field officers elaborated on multifarious schemes undertaken by the world fertiliser giant in promoting rural sports, health care and widow welfare during the current financial year.

The experts, who trained farmwomen during the camp included Mr Atma Ram a leading mushroom grower and assistant Registrar, Cooperatives, Dr Mandeep Singh, Veterinary Surgeon, Dr Pardeep Sharma, Horticulturist, Ms Soma Rani, Ms Mangi Devi from the Central Institute of Post Harvest Engineering Technology (CIPHET), Ms Chandani a beautician from Kheowali, and Ms Meena Kohli from the Industrial Training Institute. 


Kidnapped person rescued
Our Correspondent

Batala, December 25
The police has rescued a person from the custody of his three kidnappers.

Dr Jatindra Jain, SSP, Batala, said here today that Ms Navneet Kaur, wife of Gurdial Singh of Hardo Jhande village, reported to the police on Thursday that her husband Gurdial Singh had left home in his jeep to get it repaired on Wednesday.

She received a telephonic message from Mumbai, where her parents-in-law reside, that Sukhjinder Singh and Manjinder Singh, sons of Darshan Singh of Khode Bait, had kidnapped Gurdial Singh and they had demanded Rs 25 lakh as ransom for his release.

A case under Section 364-A of the IPC was registered at the Kotli Surat Mallian police station.

The SSP said a police party raided a house in Jagdev Kalan village and rescued Gurdial Singh from the custody of Sukhjinder Singh, Manjinder Singh and Varyam Singh, son of Jawandh Singh, also a resident of Khode Bait village.

The three kidnappers were produced before mediapersons today.


5-year-old “baraati” crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 25
Gurpreet Singh, alias Garry, a five-year-old member of a marriage party, was crushed to death by a truck near the Shambu barrier on the Tepla road this morning.

Garry, along with the marriage party, was on his way from Ambala to Balongi (Mohali). The marriage party had stopped on Tepla road around 11 a.m. for a brief period when the accident occurred.

Following the accident, members of the marriage party gave a severe beating to the driver of the truck.

The body was handed over to the relatives after a post-mortem examination at AP Jain Civil Hospital here. A case has been registered and the truck impounded.


FLASHBACK 2005: Punjabi University
Varsity’s steps to promote teaching of Punjabi a success
Rubinder Gill
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 25
Barring a few hiccups, the year proved to be a productive one for Punjabi University, Patiala. After being in the news for wrong reasons the year before, the university experienced a progressively smoother time. The Vice-Chancellor, Mr Swaran Singh Boparai, secured another three-year term at the helm in August and extended his ‘control and authority’ over the university functioning and various unions.

To advance its agenda of promoting Punjabi language and culture, the university published 74 books during the year. The Advanced Centre for Technical Development of Punjabi Language, Literature and Culture launched a comprehensive website for online teaching and learning of the Punjabi language in November. Earlier in the year, the centre developed a new software named ‘Punjabi Morphological Analyser and Generator’.

Work on ‘Punjabi University Punjabi Mahakosh’ was started while the Punjab Government decided to set up a ‘Bhasa Language Laboratory’ on the campus with the help of Microsoft.

To boost rural education, the Golden Heart Scholarship Scheme was started for financially weak rural students of the Yadavindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo. Donations and financial assistance from non-resident Indians and panchayats swelled the kitty. Mr Boparai led from the front in efforts to generate funds. Two neighbourhood campus centres were set up at Rampoora Phul and Jhuneer in Mansa district while new job-oriented courses were started at the existing centres at Mohali and Malerkotla.

Academic functioning was disrupted in September as students of the Department of Law went on strike, asking for the scrapping of internal assessment, besides demands regarding hostels and library facilities. Students alleged that the internal assessment was used as a tool by the management to control students. The department was closed for a month. The university launched an inquiry against student leaders for indiscipline. Students alleged authoritarian behaviour as authorities expelled them. Armed with court orders, the management barred demonstrations on the university campus and its vicinity. Later, fearing violence, the university was closed for a day. The protest remained peaceful. After the initial success the agitation failed to gather momentum, with few students from other departments showing willingness to take up the issue.

Going beyond academics, the Departments of Physiotherapy and Theatre and TV made progress in their endeavour to reach out to people. The Department of Physiotherapy, organised a free two-day camp, besides starting an OPD for general patients. The department procured specialised, ultramodern equipment and made plans to update the latest developments, by adding new equipment, aids and techniques.

To address social issues and take good theatre to the public, the Repertory produced a play, ‘Mitti Rudn Kare’, to spread awareness against drugs and female foeticide. Shows were held in Bathinda, Abohar, Fazilka and Jalandhar districts. The Punjab Police sponsored the shows in villages of Bathinda.

The Department of Religious Studies got a sponsorship from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the Centre of Buddhist Studies for advanced research in Buddhist philosophy. Seminars, lectures, debates and workshops, besides cultural activities, were a regular feature of various departments through the year.

In sports, the university organised all- India inter-university tournaments in the disciplines of netball, fencing and korfball in both boys and girls sections. The university teams secured the titles in all these competitions.


Seminar on education at Mohindra College
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 25
Government Mohindra College, Patiala, and its Old Students Association jointly organised a seminar on ‘new dimensions of education’ on the college premises here yesterday.

The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, while inaugurating the seminar, grew nostalgic for a while remembering his old days spent at the college in the early 60s.

Talking about education, Mr Singla pointed out that revolutionary changes, which are now taking place in concepts, in pedagogical practices and even in the content of education. Responding to the growing needs of the college, Mr Singla announced a open-ended grant and support for the construction of the library building equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities and gadgets to facilitate the flow of information from diverse sources.

This, he felt, was the need of the hour, if Punjab was to keep pace with the latest developments of the world.

Earlier, Dr D.I.S. Brar, Principal of the college, welcomed the chief guest and presented a brief report of the college.

Dr Bhagat Sing, former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, presented the presidential remarks.

Dr Joginder Singh, president of the Mohindra College Old Students Association, also welcomed the chief guest.

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