P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cong veterans ready to hand over reins to sons
Khushal Behl, Kewal Krishan plan to retire from politics
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 20
Veteran Congress leaders of the area Mr Khushal Behl, former education minister and Mr Kewal Krishan Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, are ready to hand over the baton of political career to their sons. They have made up their mind against contesting the Assembly elections next year.

Mr Kewal Krishan while talking to The Tribune said, ‘‘I am 83 and have played my innings in politics. I do not want to continue till 90. Now the time has come for the younger generation to take the reins from Mukerian.’’

When asked if he would lobby for one of his sons as Congress candidate from the area, Mr Kewal Krishan said, ‘‘I would try for him. However, it is for the party to decide over the matter. Being a disciplined Congressman I would accept any candidate put forward by the party’’.

He has two sons, one of them is a doctor and is running a nursing home in Pathankot and the second one is serving as an ETO in Punjab Excise and Taxation Department.

Mr Kewal Krishan further stated that he was fully satisfied with his political career. ‘‘The construction of 1,100 crore Mukerian hydel and Shah canal projects in the area are my biggest achievements. I contested Assembly elections from the area eight times from 1969 to 2002 and lost just once in 1997’’.

‘‘When I started contesting elections Mukerian was a small sub tehsil with hardly any infrastructure. Now Mukerian is a sub-division and has a 100-bed hospital and all basic amenities. All villages in my constituency have been connected with roads and have power connections. Only the drainage system needs to be improved. Now my last effort for the constituency is to secure sub-tehsil level status for Hajipur town’’, he said.

Mr Kewal Krishan rated the present Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, as the best Congress CM of the state.

Mr Khushal Behl who is an octogenarian also said he had no intention to contest Assembly elections next year. ‘‘Last time also I wanted to quit, however, the party forced me to contest’’, he said. He would be lobbying for his son Mr Raman Behl who is presently the president of Gurdaspur Municipal Council.

Meanwhile hoardings with photographs of Raman Behl can already be seen around Gurdaspur.

Mr Behl, while talking to The Tribune, said he belonged to a family of freedom fighters. His father was a staunch Congressman. He, however, remained a member of the Communist Party during his college days. Later under the influence of his father he joined the Congress.

He contested Assembly elections on Congress ticket for the first time in 1972. He contested Assembly elections from Gurdaspur constituency five times and won four times losing only in 1997.

Mr Behl considers bringing educational institutions to the area as his biggest achievement. ‘‘I have brought the regional centre of Guru Nanak Dev University, an ITI for girl students, regional research centre of Punjab Agriculture University, a milk plant and cooperative sugar mill to the area.

Mr Behl feels that terrorism has adversely affected the social and economic stability of the Gurdaspur district. The population of Gurdaspur has remained stagnant as lots of people have migrated from the area when terrorism was at its peak.

‘‘The government should give a special package for social and economic uplift of Gurdaspur district’’, he feels.

He also is satisfied with his political career and feels that the Congress was still the best party.


Ranjit Sagar dam to be developed into wetland
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 20
The Union Government was identifying areas to develop wetlands along the Ranjit Sagar dam lake. A high-level meeting of officials from the Union Ministry of Forests and states of Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh was held at the Ranjit Sagar dam today.

The meeting was chaired by the Director-General Forest, Government of India, Mr S.K. Pandey.

The sources said the meeting of the state forest authorities was held to identify the areas along the Dam lake for the development of wetlands. The main aim of the wetlands would be to preserve wildlife and promote tourism.

After the areas were identified the state Forest Department would forward cases for development of wetlands before the Ministry of environment. The project for development of wetlands would be financed by the Union government. A budget of about Rs 500 crore had been kept aside for the development of wetlands in the country.

The Ranjit Sagar lake is spread across 7,000 acres lying in three states, including Punjab, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir. Some of the areas in lake that have lesser depth of water can be preserved as wetland. The government reserve forest exists in many areas along the lake that can also be declared as a sanctuary.

Presently, the lake was under the control of the dam authorities. Due to security reasons fishing was not allowed in the lake.

Though fishing was banned it still continued illegally. The Jammu and Kashmir Government had given licenses for fishing to locals in its areas.

Recently, the PTDC had also mooted a proposal to develop the lake as a tourist resort.

Though the government was considering the proposals of developing new wetlands, the state of existing wetlands were in a poor state. The two famous wetlands of Punjab are based at Ropar and Harieke. Wild life in both the wetlands had been adversely affected due to pollution in the Sutlej.

The proposal of declaring the Nangal dam lake as a wetland was also pending before the state government.


High Court
Mohali industry land for multiplex: PIL filed
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 20
A Chandigarh resident has filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the decision of the Punjab Government to allot land acquired from villagers for industrial purposes to colonisers for setting up multiplexes, shopping malls and hotels.

The petitioner, Mr Vinod Kumar Aggarwal of Sector 37-C, has also prayed for setting aside of the policy dated February 5, 2004, by which the government had decided against allowing use of land meant of industrial purposes for residential purposes.

Stating that being a public spirited person, he wants to fight against the anti-people decisions of the government, the petitioner has added that he has no self interest in the filing of the writ.

Stating that the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) acquired land at Mohali over one decade ago for setting up an industrial focal point, the petitioner has added that later, on December 26, 2001, the government allowed PSIEC to earmark 20-30 per cent of the land in each industrial focal point for residential purposes.

Mr Aggarwal has pointed out that a scheme was announced for the allotment of 280 residential plots at Industrial Focal Point, Mohali. Much after the draw of lots had been conducted, the government restrained the PSIEC from allotting land for residential purposes, claiming that in view of the limited availability of land, the available land should be utilised for industrial purposes and not anything else.

Following the government directive, the PSIEC cancelled the entire allotment process. On the petition of the successful allotees, challenging the cancellation of the allotment, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while setting aside the decision to cancel the scheme, observed that the government decision seemed aimed at facilitating allotment of the same land to Ponty Chadha-owned AB Motions Private Limited for a multiplex complex.However, the Bench did not give any further relief to the petitioners.

Now, in his PIL, Mr Aggarwal has asserted that the government and the PSIEC can not change land use by allotting the same land for the setting up of multiplexes, shopping malls and hotels, etc. The same, he has asserted, is against public interest as it would destroy the very purpose for which land had been originally acquired.

He has also stated that despite the High Court order, the government and the PSIEC went ahead with the auction of two sites at the Industrial Focal Point, Mohali, for the setting up of multiplexes, shopping malls and hotels. The two successful bidders were Mr Pardeep Jain of Paravas Nath Development, New Delhi, and Mr R.K. Aggarwal of Shalimar Estates, Chandigarh.

Saying that he has come to know that the PSIEC is going ahead with the issuance of allotment letters to the two successful bidders, the petitioner has claimed that the same would be illegal, arbitrary, against public policy and amount to cheating the public.

Alleging that the action of the respondents in changing the use of the land in question is an example of mala fide, legal malice and based on extraneous considerations and amounts to colourable exercise of power, the petitioner has urged the High Court to direct the respondents not to change land use.

Today, during preliminary hearing, the Bench of the Chief Justice, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, and Mr Justice Surya Kant asked the counsel for the petitioner to place on record the statutory provisions that are alleged to have been violated by the authorities. After that, the Bench adjourned the hearing to February 10.


Minor girl booked for suicide bid
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 20
The 14-year-old Rajvinder Kaur, who attempted suicide on January 18, was today booked by the police. Various political and farmer bodies have criticised the police action, stating that strict action should have been taken against the erring cops.

Though doctors at the Civil Hospital here declared Rajvinder Kaur unfit to make a statement yesterday, the police registered a case of attempt to suicide against her last evening. The police was yet to take any action against the cops who allegedly had threatened her of eliminating her brother. SSP Kapil Dev stated that though prima facie her allegations were not found true, he had asked the DSP to probe the matter. Condemning the police’s “partial act”, district president of the SAD (Amritsar) Parminder Singh said the cops who forced her to attempt suicide should have been put behind bars, but by booking the minor girl the police had exposed its “inhuman face”.

BKU (Ugraha) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri warned that if the cops involved in the incident were not arrested his union would start an agitation. Meanwhile, Rajvinder in her statement today accused some cops of threatening her and two persons from the opposite party of misbehaving with her, which forced her to attempt suicide. 


Vigilance seeks PSEB help for probe in forest scam
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur January 20
The local wing of the Vigilance Bureau has sought the help of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to inquire into the forest scam. In a letter written to the Pathankot-based PSEB officials the vigilance officials have demanded that two SDOs and two JEs should be put at the bureau’s disposal to carry out the inquiry.

The PSEB authorities have, however, declined the request on the plea that the board officials were already overloaded with work.

According to sources the Vigilance Bureau was seeking PSEB help as officials of the department travel in thick forest areas in order to maintain the power lines.

The bureau had started inquiry into the Japanese bank-aided project works executed in Gurdaspur division after a news report in this regard was carried in these columns. Though it has been a month since the bureau started its inquiry, not much progress has been made in the case.

Meanwhile, villagers and residents of the Donera area have provided The Tribune with additional information regarding misappropriations in the marking of trees for felling. They told that in the recent past the Department of Forests had directed the locals, by issuing notices, to get their land demarked from the Revenue Department and had erected pillars on the boundaries. The move was aimed at easily distinguishing the government land from private land.

While the department can allow the felling of trees on private land as per the working plan approved by the Centre and in accordance with the felling rules, no felling can be allowed on government land. The government land also includes the village common land.

Since there was no demarcation of land in the areas opened for felling, many trees in government or village common lands had also been marked for felling by vested interests, they alleged.

The local forest officials, however, declined to comment on queries in this regard on the plea that their higher officials had directed them against responding to media queries.

The people of the area also told that Donera was once famous for mango production. Mango trees dominated the forests in the area and ‘amb papad’ making was a profitable cottage industry for residents of the area. 


Churning in Sikh politics
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, January 20
It appears that churning has started in the Sikh community as a whole. Since 1984, the Sikh politicians had been operating in a state of disillusionment. The traditional leadership of the Sikhs stood condemned for the happenings during Operation Bluestar. This helped the pro-Bhindranwale group to organise themselves and in the process Mr Simranjit Singh Mann appeared on the scene. His long detention became a symbol of his sacrifice for the cause of the Panth. While still in jail he was elected to the Lok Sabha along with eight of his partymen. But he lost the opportunity to occupy the centrestage.

Within the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra continued to be at loggerheads — sometimes on the issue of ideology and at other times on personal matters. Somehow, they were able to retain their standing among the Sikh masses. Assassination of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala’s action of sending the police into the Golden Temple helped Mr Badal to consolidate his position. But this did not mean that the Sikh masses wholeheartedly supported the Badal-Tohra duo. Jathedar Tohra remained the central figure in the Panthic affairs. But he was able to sense that people wanted relief for the excesses during President’s rule which could be provided only by installation of an Akali government. In the process Mr Badal was able to come to power in 1997. However, the death of Jathedar Tohra left vacuum which so far has not been filled.

Sikhs have not been able to throw up a personality which could handle with competence the top heavy administration of the SGPC. The educational sector of the SGPC has grown and nothing has been done to run it effectively. Controversies about professional colleges, particularly the Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences are damaging the image of the SGPC. The people feel that the SGPC is being used as a source of power of patronage to counterpoise the welfare activities of the state government and their patronage. The neglect of the religious activities within the SGPC has made the Sikh masses restive.


CM making false promises, says Kanwaljit
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 20
SAD General Secretary and former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is misleading people on the issue of waiving of agricultural loans of the farmers.

Addressing a press conference here today, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the Chief Minister and other ministers of his government were misleading people by making false promises almost everyday in view of the Assembly election in the state which were due early next year. He said that Capt Amarinder Singh had announced the waiver on loans of farmers at the rally of Congress held in Lambi but till yet nothing concrete had been done in this regard.

Capt Singh announced that SAD would abolish octroi after coming to power in the state. He said that during the regime of the earlier SAD-BJP government the government had abolished octroi but the CM implemented it after assuming power.

Indulging in Captain bashing, the SAD leader said that people of the state were fed up with the present government. He added that gatherings at SAD rallies held earlier in Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Muktsar were a clear indication that the people needed a change of guard in the state. He added that while on the one hand Mr Amarinder Singh was saying that Octroi would be abolished, on the other hand Finance Minister is saying that people would be consulted first before abolishing octroi.

Ruling out possibility of early elections in the state, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that party candidates would be decided by Political Affairs Committee of SAD and the party president at an appropriate time.


State to get 24 hi-tech publicity vehicles
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 20
With a view to carrying out propaganda in the rural areas on the eve of elections in the state, the Public Relations Department of the Punjab Government is getting a fleet of 24 vehicles equipped with modern means of publicity. These vehicles will screen the achievements of the government in rural areas where most of the private television news channels cannot reach.

Disclosing this here today, the Adviser to the Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr B.I.S. Chahal, said the Department of Public Relations was being revamped for launching an extensive publicity drive to take the substantial achievements of the government to each and every corner of the state. Under this plan, 24 new high-tech vehicles fitted with modern means of publicity would be inducted in the department soon.

Mr Chahal was interacting with mediapersons after inaugurating a showroom on the Ghumar Mandi Road here today.

Mr Chahal informed that at least one fully equipped publicity vehicle would be made available in each district of the state, which would be used to apprise the people of the achievements, development and welfare programmes of the government to each village and mohalla in the district. He informed that vacancies for field officers were also being filled on a regular basis, which would help improve the functioning of the department.

The Adviser claimed the environment in the state was fully conducive for the flow of large-scale investments.

Projects of multinational companies from all over the world with an investment of Rs 43,265 crore had already been sanctioned. In the next meeting of the State-Level Investment Committee scheduled for January 28, eight more projects were likely to be cleared. He informed that out of the 95 projects, 17 projects costing Rs 4,342 crore had been sanctioned for the district alone.


Tributes paid to Thikriwala
Tribune News Service

Thikriwala (Barnala), January 20
After paying tributes to Sewa Singh Thikriwala, a Praja Mandal leader and freedom fighter who sacrificed his life in a Patiala jail 71 years ago, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), said Mr Amarinder Singh had rubbed salt into the wounds of residents of this area by offering tributes to the martyr here on Thursday as Thikriwala had sacrificed his life in a Patiala jail during the rule of grandfather of Amarinder Singh.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the SAD (Amritsar), also termed Mr Amarinder Singh an opportunist.

Mr Badal and Mr Mann were here today to pay respects to Thikriwala on the concluding day of the three-day death anniversary function of Thikriwala here. The main purpose of these leaders was to woo the masses for Assembly elections.

On the allegations by Mr Amarinder Singh against Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP from Sangrur, that Mr Dhindsa’s close relative had close links with the underworld Don, Dawood Ibrahim, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal retorted that Mr Amarinder Singh should introspect himself.

He said Mr Dhindsa had only asked Mr Amarinder Singh to tender an apology for the martyrdom of Thikriwala in a Patiala jail during the rule of his grandfather, but the Chief Minister had declined to do so by saying that the incident took place 10 years before his birth, so he was not responsible for the same. By saying this, Capt Amarinder Singh had rubbed the salt into the wounds of the residents of this area, he added.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal called upon the people to end the rule of Capt Amarinder Singh during the ensuing Assembly elections by casting votes in favour of the SAD.

Among others who paid tributes to the martyr were Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Mr Malkeet Singh Keetu, Mr Gaganjit Singh Barnala, all MLAs; Sant Tek Singh Dhanaula, executive member of the SGPC; Mr Baldev Singh Chungan, SGPC member; Mr Maghar Singh Kulrian, state president of the Khetiwarri and Kisan Vikas Front; Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the BKU (Lakhowal); Mr Nirmal Singh Nimma, an SAD (Longowal) leader; and Mr Jatinder Jimmi, national general secretary of the youth wing of the Lok Bhalai Party.


Dogma haunts Pakistani sculptors
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, January 20
“The artists who sculpt human form, especially that of women, have to face religious ‘dogmatism’ for their display and sale”, disclosed Pakistani artists Dabir Ahmed and his wife Talat Ahmed, here yesterday.

Dabir a former head of Ceramics cum associate professor of Design, National College of Arts, Lahore and an expert in ‘Ceramic Relief’ in architecture while Talat Ahmed is head of department ‘Sculptorine’ in National college . both were part of seven faculty members in the 37-member Pakistan artists’ delegation.

The couple told The Tribune yesterday that religious fanatics in Pakistan often create issues of sculptors by — “assigning meanings to their contours and shapes to instigate innocent commoners against their display in the name of Islam”.

The artist couple who own art kilns in Lahore, however, said that one simple sculpture of a woman made by Mrs Talat faced strong objection from the ‘Alhamra Arts council’ Lahore — equivalent to Indian academy of fine Arts be on Amritsar — but it continues to the display on for the past 20 years despite protests from many quarters.

Blaming religious dogmatism and fanaticism they said it culminated during the reign of President Zia-ul -Haq and was the darkest period in the history of Pak istan’s are of all discipline.

Dabir who is into calligraphic ceramic art and collaging varied hues of architecture of range of periods in history said that “realistic sculptours” were often interpreted as “idol-making” that was misinterpreted as ‘un-Islamic’ by fundamentalists to create stir.

Appreciating the atmosphere of freedom in India to pursue art, the artist couple whose many works adorn the walls of the Pakistan’s parliament house and foreign galleries like in Cairo and Arabian countries, said an artist could breathe easy and bring out his best only if his mind was concentrated on his creation.

The artist’s delegation led by Mrs Shahnaz Malhi also includes prominent artists Mehmood-Ul-Hassan Jafri and Peerzada Nazam-Ul-Hassan who were treated to a cultural gala by The Arts Academy and felicitated by Mr Rajinder Mohan Chinna, general secretary, of the Academy. 


Probe into bungling in Punjab Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Punjab Hospitality Department has ordered inquiry into alleged bungling of materials in the Punjab Bhavan here.

According to sources, the bungling took place at the time of renovation of its premises. One of the employees of the Hospitality Department allegedly involved in the bunglings had been transferred to some other department.

When contacted, Mr C.S.Talwar, Director, Hospitality Department, said he was looking into the matter. The sources said the department had set up a three member-committee to probe into the allegations.

There were electric gadgets worth several lakhs which were removed from the Punjab Bhavan when renovation work started. Most of the gadgets had not been accounted for yet. 


SDM to probe Sept 21 encounter
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 20
Mr Amarjit Pal, SDM, Pathankot, will probe the September 21 encounter in which two “kidnappers” belonging to Kathua were shot dead near Madhopur. Though relatives of the killed and the SAD(A) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Maan, had demanded a CBI probe, the government had ordered a magisterial inquiry.

A local contractor, Raman Mahajan, was allegedly kidnapped by his former employee Bodh Raj along with others. The kidnappers allegedly demanded Rs 30 lakh as ransom.

The police laid the trap and killed two kidnappers. It also arrested another kidnapper, Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Kathua.

Bodh Raj, who was the leader of the gang, allegedly hatched the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the SDM has summoned family members of the deceased in support of their complaint.


Tension at Vridh Ashram
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 20
Timely action and intervention by the district administration and the police defused tension and averted a clash between two factions at Vridh Ashram (old-age home) of Baba Sunder Singh Saini at Hariana town, 15 km from here today.

According to police sources, a faction led by Mr Balbir Singh claimed that Baba Sunder Singh Saini, founder of the ashram, had nominated Mr Balbir Singh as his successor before his death about three years ago. Since then he had been holding the charge of the ashram.

On the other hand, the members of the other faction claimed that Mr Mohinder Singh was the real nominee of the late Baba.

Members of the faction led by Mr Mohinder Singh started akhand path on the ashram premises today and some of them allegedly burnt photographs of Mr Balbir Singh’s coronation as head of the ashram. This provoked the members of the Balbir Singh faction.

After getting information, Mr Pritam Singh, SDM, Hoshiarpur along with a heavy police force rushed to the site and pacified members of both the factions.

Mr Pritam Singh said both the factions were claiming that their leaders were the real nominee of Baba Sunder Singh. He advised both the factions to appear in his court with their documents to prove their claims on January 24.


No passenger for Lahore

Amritsar, January 20
There will be no Indian passenger on board the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) luxury coach on its return journey to Lahore tomorrow.

Only the 13 Pak officials, mediapersons and two PTDC drivers, who arrived on the inaugural Lahore-Amritsar bus service today, would return home in the same coach. The 64-km return journey would commence from the international bus terminal here at 9 a.m. — UNI


Mini bus operators to protest in Chandigarh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 20
The Mini Bus Operators Association will burn a mini bus at Matka Chowk in Chandigarh on February 1 to protest against the apathetic attitude of the state government towards their demands.

This was stated during a protest rally organised by the association at the local bus stand here today. A large number of mini bus operators from all over the state took part in the rally. A bus was prepared for this protest and anti-government slogans were painted on it. Association members held an ‘‘ardaas’’ at Golden Temple before commencing their journey to Chandigarh.

Mr Harinder Sharma, president and Mr Jarnail Singh Gardiwal, executive member of the association and district president of Jalandhar unit of the association, alleged that they had written to the state government about their demands several times during the past four years, but in vain.

Their demands include fixing Rs 5 as the minimum fare from one stop to another, exemption of adda fees, reduction of taxes and forming a uniform policy for issuing permits etc. Leaders of the association said mini bus service for villages had been started to provide jobs to riot victims, ex-servicemen and other needy persons. They said about 6,000 buses were plying all over the state.

Mr Sharma said as per the programme of sangharsh committee of the association, such rallies would be organised at Jalandhar, Ferozepore and Patiala. He said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had invited them for a discussion on the issue on February 1. 


Former PR Dept official cremated

Chandigarh, January 20
Piara Singh Bhopal, a former Additional Director of the Department of Information and Public Relations, Punjab, was cremated here today. He died following a massive heart attack last night. He was 68 and is survived by his wife and a son. — TNS


Agri technocrats seek filling of vacant posts
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 20
The Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee of Punjab (AGTAC) has demanded that the vacant posts in the agriculture and animal husbandry departments should filled at the earliest. In a press note issued here yesterday, the committee members alleged that the work in agriculture and animal husbandry departments had been hit due to a large number of vacant posts.

The work in many offices of the both departments was being handled by the lower staff as the government had not recruited technocrats for long. The Green Revolution in the country was made possible with the active cooperation of the agriculture technocrats and farmers. Now need for another revolution was being felt. A lot was being talked and discussed about the diversification of crops. However, the diversification was not possible without the active role of the agriculture technocrats, the committee said.

It demanded that the appointment of Director (Agriculture) should be made according to the Punjab Agriculture Services rules as prevailing in 1974. The professional pay parity for the agriculture technocrats that was abolished by the previous government should be restored.

Agriculture officers should be provided conveyance facilities for visiting the fields in surrounding areas. Agriculture offices should be established at the focal point-level so that the farmers will have easy access to them. At many places the agriculture officers did not have the office facility. They were allowed meagre amounts for renting out premises for office. Nobody was willing to give private building on rents offered by the Agriculture Department. The government should revise the rents so that the agriculture officers, working in the field, could avail the services of experts.

They also demanded that in view of the changed times, new rules of Punjab Agriculture services should be formulated.

If the government was serious about diversification of crops in the state, it should create marketing facilities for such crops through the mandi board and provide minimum support price for new crops. Diversification could not be achieved just by giving advertisements in the media.

The out-of-turn promotions given to deputy supervisors as agriculture development officers should be withdrawn, they demanded.


Man commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 20
A resident of Gobind Colony allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his house here last evening.

It is alleged that the deceased, Kulvir Singh, was a drug addict and used to beat his mother and wife. The family had made a complaint to the police in this regard some days ago. The police yesterday warned him against doing so and he apologised in the presence of his father.

It is reported that the deceased went to his room last evening and did not come out for quite some time. When his wife went to look for him she saw his body hanging.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc in this regard.

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