P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM okays new private housing project rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today gave his nod to new rules to govern all private housing projects in the state. The rules would apply to all projects cleared till date.

Under new rules, all developers would have to keep a total of 10 per cent of the total area of these projects to construct houses for economically weaker sections. The government would decide the price of these houses, which would be allotted or sold.

Also no investor or developer would be allowed to sell the plots till the time he got the statutory approval of site plans from PUDA or the Chief Town Planner (CTP). The state government would also be issuing its own advertisements to inform members of the public which project had got approval of its site plans from the PUDA or the CTP.

Till now, major developers had been booking flats or plots and collecting huge sums of money. Recently a Dubai-based group had been given notices by PUDA for booking plots without sanction of plans.

All these decision were announced at a meeting of the empowered committee for industrial projects in the state held here today. In the meeting, developers were also informed that the state government was not allotting or providing any land for housing projects.

All investors and developers had been arranging the land themselves through private purchases. A spokesperson said the question of government giving land to any particular group or person at concessional rates did not arise.

The committee approved 27 new mega-projects to be set up in Punjab with an investment of Rs 10,481 crore, with employment generation potential of more than 50,750 jobs for the unemployed youth of the state.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the Punjab Government informed that the 18 housing projects with an investment of Rs 5295 crore were approved, including the projects of ELDECO Infrastructure & Properties for Ludhiana and Jalandhar, Unitech for Mohali and Silicon Constructor for Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana.

The committee also approved six projects of multiplexes and five of hotels in districts of Patiala, Pathankot, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Ropar and Bathinda involving an investment of Rs 2716 crore.


Rules to be framed to save positions of CPSs, PSs
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Congress-led government in Punjab is going to frame new rules and regulations to save its Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPSs) and Parliamentary Secretaries (PSs) from being removed from their posts.

The government will create new posts for these CPSs and PSs — all of whom are elected MLAs — to fit them within the framework of the government. Also, new rules will be framed to govern their appointment and functioning within the government. A memorandum in this regard will be put up before the Council of Ministers for approval. The council is scheduled to meet on January 30.

The matter to decide the fate of the CPSs and PSs is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that is hearing a petition filed by a former BJP MP from Chandigarh, Mr Satya Pal Jain, in this regard.

Sources in the government told The Tribune the CPSs and PSs would be considered as having been appointed to “administrative posts” and not ministerial posts. The relevant rules and the sanction of posts were required to classify CPSs and PSs as occupying “administrative posts”, said a senior functionary while confirming the move.

Legally, the state has to have a set of rules for all posts and rules to govern the functioning of any appointee to an “administrative post”, said the sources.

The government has already contended in court that these were administrative posts and could be “created” by the state government just like the chairmen of boards and corporations in the state. The petition by Mr Jain had contended that these appointments were wrong constitutionally.

In Himachal Pradesh, MLAs appointed to the post of CPS or PS were removed in August, 2005, following a ruling of the state High Court that said the appointments were illegal. Mr Jain had filed that plea also.


Punjab to introduce APMC Act to help farmers
Tribune News Service

Mahilpur (Hoshiarpur), January 27
To provide farmers genuine rates for their produce, the Punjab Government is likely to introduce Agriculture Produce Marketing Corporate (APMC) Act on the same pattern as its neighbour Haryana has implemented. The Act would soon be notified after its approval in the next session.

The government has thought of introducing this Act after the failure of crop diversification and contract farming in the state. Though a number of big multinational companies, including Reliance, Bharti and ITC, are keen to invest in agriculture in the state yet the contract farming and crop diversification are on an experimental stage as yet.

While talking to The Tribune, Mr Suresh Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, claimed that the government has almost finalised the Act and would soon implement it for the betterment of the Punjab farmer. He made it clear that contract farming, which was introduced in the state with much fanfare, failed to get the momentum as was expected. The contract farming could not catch up due to certain reasons.

Mr Kumar pointed out that majority of the Punjab farmers were uneducated and the companies, involved in the contract farming, did not discuss the terms and condition of the contract farming with the farmers in detail.

To introduce contract farming completely, educating the farmer at grassroot level was necessary. “In contract farming, a farmer is free to sell his produce in the open market if he gets higher prices for his produce without abiding by the agreement signed by him with some company. But in majority of cases, this does not happen,” claimed Mr Kumar.

There is a need to educate and inform the farmers at village level to make the crops diversification and contract farming a success, he felt.

Mr Kumar was here for the inauguration of a storage-cum-community centre, constructed by the Indian Farmers Fertilizer and Co-operation Limited (IFFCO), at a cost of Rs 4 lakh Dihana village, about 25 km from here.

Mr P.S. Sidhu, Zonal Manager, IFFCO, claimed that the company had been distributing majority of its fertilizes (nitrogenic and phosphatic) to the co-operative societies in the country. He claimed that the Co-operative Society of Dihana village, adopted by the IFFCO in 2001, has been converted into a nodal point and would now cater to four other villages — Kokowal, Bham, Thakarwal and Mojomajara — too. The community centre has been constructed with a view to organise training and educational programmes for the farmers of the area.


‘Harassed’ journalist attempts self-immolation
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 27
On the heels of self-immolation by a rehri owner in Patiala, Krishan Kumar Mida, a Malout-based reporter of a vernacular daily made a similar attempt in front of Cabinet Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang at the Republic Day function here yesterday.

Unlike Patiala, the police swiftly caught hold of him and foiled his bid.

The incident took place when tableaux were being displayed after the inspection of parade by the minister. However, the police nabbed him as soon as he started running towards the dais to immolate himself.

Later, talking to the mediapersons, Mida said he was working with a Hindi daily in Malout. He said he had published a news report as to how a police official helped an individual in taking illegal possession of a shop belonging to his friend Pawan Kumar. He alleged that the tenant was a close relative of the police official and was not vacating the shop even after expiry of the agreement. Though the tenant was booked and arrested, he was soon released. Later, the shopkeeper allegedly lodged a “false complaint” against him, following which the police official started harassing him, he alleged.

Fed up with the harassment, Mida and Pawan had faxed a four-page letter to the CM, DGP, DIG (Ferozepur Range), Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the SSP regarding their decision to immolate themselves on January 25. They had also stated that the shop’s tenant and the police official would be responsible for their death.

The police has arrested Mida and Pawan from the Republic Day function venue. A case has also been registered against them under Sections 309, 188, 153A and 120B of the IPC.

Both were produced in the court of CJM Bhajan Ram today where Mida’s lawyer Babu Singh Sidhu told the court that the police had beaten up his client in their custody last night.

He stated that earlier the case was registered against his client under Sections 309, and 188, which were bailable, the police added Sections 153A and 120B at a later stage to make it non-bailable. He also submitted a plea before the court for medical examination of his client. The court had sent them in judicial custody till February 9. Mediapersons of the district have sought justice in the matter from the state government.

On the other hand, SSP L.K. Yadav said a probe had been ordered into the entire episode to find out any abetment or harassment of Mr Mida by the police officials. He said he would personally monitor the investigation. He said nothing was found to substantiate the allegations leveled by the shopkeeper in his complaint against the journalist and the former was booked for giving false affidavit. Denying Mida’s custodial torture, he said he hit himself to the wall and injured himself.


Man tries to set himself ablaze
Our Correspondent

Kharar, January 27
A resident of Hoshiarpur village made an attempt to set himself ablaze here today. He was arrested by the police.

Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, said that Major Khan had a dispute over a piece of land with someone. Revenue officials had done the demarcation of the area earlier on his request but Major Khan requested the officials for a fresh demarcation.

The DSP said the demarcation was done again today which failed to satisfy Major Khan. As a result, he became desperate and poured kerosene on himself and made an attempt to put himself on fire in the presence of the village panchayat. The police reached the site soon after and arrested him. A case under Section 309 of the IPC was registered against him.


Penchant for remaining in news cost Gopal Krishan Kashyap dear
Chander Parkash and Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 27
The president of the Rajiv Gandhi Parontha Rehri Market, Gopal Krishan Kashyap, who died after committing self immolation on Wednesday, had been in the news in this town for all the wrong reasons for the past two years.

Earlier too, last year, he had thought of attempting committing suicide but when all was set for the ‘drama’ to unfold, Kashyap went on stage and announced that he was calling off his attempt on the “explicit wishes of Congress president Sonia Gandhi”.

A man who wanted to hog the limelight all the time, Kashyap had also filed his papers as a candidate from some obscure political party during the 1992 Assembly elections and was pitted against political bigwigs like Congress candidate Brahm Mohindra. On an earlier occasion too, the political bug had bitten him when he had filed his papers for the Patiala parliamentary seats but expectedly he had lost his security deposit as no one took his candidature seriously.

Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, said that the deceased had submitted an affidavit in the court on March 25 last year that he along with 15 other rehriwalas were in physical possession of the sheds built by the MC authorities for their rehabilitation after they were uprooted from their business premises on the eve of the Indo-Pak Games-2004. Mr Sharma added that as the deceased was running his business smoothly he tried to make an issue out of a non-issue on January 24 by immolating himself as he was having no dispute with the MC authorities in connection with the allotment of the sheds.

According to insiders, this time Kashyap, his kin and others of his ilk from the parontha market, located near the railway station, were informed well in advance of his self-immolation attempt. He had even gone personally to newspaper offices and had distributed press notes intimating all and sundry of his intentions. However, as ill luck would have it, despite the fact that some of his kin were ready to douse the flames with blankets, the leaping flames proved to be too strong to be brought down. A mild attempt by a local cop, who has since been placed under suspension, too proved futile, sending the residents and the district administration officials alike in a state of shock. The Punjab Chief Minister’s statement today of giving him Rs 10 lakh apart from providing a job to his teenaged son, who too was there when Kashyap committed self-immolation, might have brought some succour to the bereaved family but then life cannot be always compared with monetary benefits.

When the news filtered of the CM’s benevolance, a visibly upset relative told TNS, “Our loss is total. Rs 10 lakh is just not enough for the life my uncle ‘sacrificed’ for the benefit of others.”

An ardent admirer of Phoolan Devi, Kashyap had even invited the ‘bandit queen’ to his residence in 1997.

The taking point among the residents was why did nobody, barring a couple of passersby, come forward to douse the flames. In fact, according to a relative, the flames rose more than expected and this proved fatal for the man who had endeared himself to his rehri market colleagues who always looked upto him in times of distress. Now there will be no Gopal Krishan Kashyap to whom they can come to with their problems.


Chahal responsible for Gopal’s death: Jagmeet
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 27
In a significant statement which could have far reaching political consequences, Mr Jagmeet Brar, special invitee, Congress Working Committee (CWC), today alleged that Gopal Krishan Kashyap, a Congress worker and president, Rajiv Gandhi Parontha Rehri Union, Patiala, committed suicide after he was harassed by a section of members of “close circle” of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Making this disclosure while addressing the mediapersons after visiting the house of the bereaved family today afternoon, Mr Brar said he would apprise the party president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the facts, which led Kashyap to self-immolate and which were told to him by his family.

Mr Brar said he was told by the Congress workers and others that Kashyap had levelled allegations against Mr Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media adviser to the Chief Minister, and Mr Vishnu Sharma, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Patiala, and held them responsible for his death just before he set himself on fire in full public view. He added that if it was true then criminal proceedings should be launched against them as per law.

Jalandhar: Criticising the “inhuman” attitude of Punjab Government officials towards Gopal Kashyap, the Bharatiya Janata Party Beopar and Udyog Cell has demanded complete screening of all bureaucrats, mayors and political leaders, who have no concern for the common people.


Kashyap’s family refuses cheque from SAD chief
Chander Parkash and Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, January 27
SAD president, Parkash Singh Badal, visited the house of Gopal Krishan Kashyap yesterday and said his party would file a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking registration of cases against Mayor Vishnu Sharma and Chief Minister’s media adviser Bharat Inder Singh Chahal. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has urged the President to impose President’s Rule in the state.

The BSP leaders visited the house of deceased today and demanded a CBI probe into the incident.

Addressing reporters at the circuit house here yesterday, Mr Badal said as per statements given to the media by Mr Kashyap, before his death, action should be taken against both the Mayor and the CM’s adviser. The SAD chief wondered why official of the district administration and the police remained mute spectators to the incident. They too should be held responsible.

The family of Kashyap refused to take the cheque for Rs 1 lakh presented by Mr Badal on behalf of the SGPC. The family members refusing the cheque said at this stage they did not need any monetary compensation. They needed justice to prevail. All this happened in the presence of Mr K.K Sharma, chairman of the local improvement trust here said to be close to the Patiala MP.


Republic Day celebrated
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, January 27
Stressing upon the need for a large-scale efforts for further accelerating the economic growth in the state, Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), said it could be achieved with focus on increasing agriculture productivity by giving a new push to diversification plan, adopting new technology, good quality seeds and high-yielding varieties after unfurling the National Flag at the state-level Republic Day function held at Nehru Stadium here yesterday.

Appreciating the recently implemented Right to Information Act, the Governor said this was a great step towards increasing transparency, accountability and responsiveness in the systems engaged in the implementation of various public-interest programmes.

Lauding the role of non-resident Punjabis, the Governor said they had renewed their resolve to help their home state and come forward in a big way for making investments in different fields.

General Rodrigues presented awards and trophies to various persons for their excellent performance in different fields. Two children of the district Pawan Kumar and Ramandeep Singh of Jhinjri village were given a bravery award, Jeevan Raksha Padak, and Rs 30,000 for saving the life of their schoolmate Rohit Rana. The two children had saved the life of Rohit when he accidentally fell into the Nangal hydel canal on August 13, 2003. The Governor honoured 35 freedom fighters and 16 widows of Army personnel, who laid down their lives for the country.

Schoolchildren presented a colourful cultural programme depicting glorious heritage of Punjab. A motorcycle show by jawans of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, was the other attraction of the function.

SANGRUR: Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, unfurled the national flag at the Republic Day function at the War Heroes Stadium here yesterday. She also inspected the parade and took the salute from the march past, comprising contingents of the Punjab Police, the Punjab Home Guards, the NCC and Scouts etc. She paid tributes to freedom fighters and martyrs.

Ms Bhattal also gave away sewing machines and tricycles to the needy persons. She also honoured freedom fighters, social workers, sports persons and government officials etc for their contribution in different fields. Tableaux depicting development activities of various government departments, were also taken out. Children presented a PT show and cultural programme.

BATHINDA: Finance Minister Surinder Singla unfurled Tricolour at the Republic Day function here yesterday.

The minister’s address had a political tinge, as he indulged in “Badal bashing” and drew comparison between the previous SAD-BJP regime and the Congress rule. He remembered neither martyrs nor makers of the Constitution. He termed ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the “biggest enemy” of Punjab, as his NDA government extended fiscal concessions to its neighbouring states. He alleged that former CM, Parkash Singh Badal, didn’t work in the interest of trade and industry during his tenure and was now shedding crocodile tears on their woes.


Johar kicks off celebrations
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 27
Republic Day was celebrated with enthusiasm in all town and subdivision of the district. The district-level function was organised at MG College, here. Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Education, unfurled the National Flag and took salute from the contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guards and NCC cadets. Various government departments displayed tableaux showing their achievements.

In his address he recounted the sacrifices made by leaders for Independence. He urged the people to follow the path of love, brotherhood and communal harmony. He also highlighted the achievements of the government.

He distributed sewing machines to widows and tricycles to handicapped donated by District Red Cross Society and announced a grant of Rs 50,000 for schoolchildren. He also honoured outstanding personalities of the district.

On the occasion schoolchildren presented a cultural show.

Republic Day was also celebrated at Government Senior Secondary School, Bassi Pathana, where Ms Manisha Trighatia, SDM, Bassi Pathana, unfurled the National Flag and took salute from police contingents.

An impressive cultural programme was also organised. Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM, Amloh, unfurled the National Flag at Amloh and Mr Ravinder Kumar, SDM, Khamano at Khamano subdivision.


CBI arrests two Customs officials
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, January 27
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Assistant Commissioner and an Appraiser of the Customs and Central Excise Department, Ludhiana, on the charges of cheating and misappropriation. During the raids conducted at several places, including office and residences of the accused, the sleuths recovered Rs 38 lakh and several other incriminating documents.

The CBI is also quizzing superiors of the accused in connection with this case. Mr Amit Goel, the Joint Commissioner of the customs office, Dandhari Kalan, has also been interrogated by the CBI as both the accused had given names of several other persons involved in the case.

Giving details the sources in the CBI said acting on information gathered through the CBI sources, raids were conducted at several places in Ludhiana and Jalandhar, including Customs Office, Dandhari Kalan, in Ludhiana. The sleuths arrested Assistant Commissioner, Varinder Prabhakar, an Indian Revenue Services Officer, and Jagdish Kalra, an Appraiser from their office premises on January 25.

The sources said in continuation with the raids the sleuths today carried out search operations at the offices as well as residential premises of several other persons, including both officers. During the search, CBI teams found Rs 38 lakh (cash) along with more than 100 share certificates, FDR’s valuing Rs 5 lakh, land records, locker keys and other financial investment instruments at the residence of Varinder Prabhakar at Model Town, Jalandhar.

The CBI has registered a case of forgery, cheating and misappropriation of property against a superintendent of the custom office, T.R. Kaushal, two consultant firms of Ludhiana and several other persons, including the officials, for cheating the Customs Department by forging Duty Entitled Pass Book (DEPB) licenses and certificates.


Cong fooling poor with slogans, says Rinwa
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 27
Prof BL Rinwa, who has been re-appointed member of the National Discipline Committee of the BJP, said that the Congress had been fooling the poor with populist slogans.

Addressing a rally of workers today Prof Rinwa said self-immolation by a migrant at Patiala after failure in getting response from the party president and other senior leaders exposed the Congress rhetoric of care for the poor.

Workers from 18 villages attended the rally held under the Gaon Chalo Abhiyan. Many BSP workers joined the BJP on this occasion.


Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus trial run
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 27
The trial run of Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus, combining both holy cities of the Sikhs, was conducted here today. The bus, first since Partition, started from local International Bus Terminal (Youth Hostel) crossed the Radcliff line at Wagah joint check post.

The State Transport Secretary, Mr A.R.Talwar, said with the plying of the Amritsar- Nankana Sahib bus, the long-cherished demand of the general public had been fulfilled.

He said the bus service had been started with the joint efforts of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. He said as per the accord between the two countries, the bus service would be started within one month.

He, however, added that Pakistan would also conduct a trial run for starting Nankana Sahib-Amritsar bus service shortly.

Mr Iqbal Singh Sidhu, State Transport Commissioner, said that the bus service to Katasraj, a famous Hindu shrine, might be started in the near future.


Work begins on Goindwal Sahib-Tarn Taran rail link
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Railway Ministry has started work on laying a railway line between Goindwal Sahib and Tarn Taran. This was stated here today by Mr Manohar Singh Gill, Member of the Rajya Sabha from Punjab.

Mr Gill, who hails from the Tarn Taran area, told The Tribune that to lay the railway line between the towns, the Railways had acquired land required for the purpose. Already, payment of Rs 10 crore had been made to the farmers whose land had been acquired. The remaining payment of Rs 1 crore would be cleared in due course.

The total project is worth Rs 38 crore. Mr Gill said the General Manager (Northern Railway) has informed him in writing that the process to float tenders had also been set in motion for the rail link.

With the establishing of this rail link, Goindwal Sahib will also be linked to Amritsar via Tarn Taran. In fact, all four holy towns — Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Beas and Goindwal Sahib — will be linked once the project between Goindwal Sahib and Tarn Taran is completed.


4 road projects cleared
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 27
The Punjab Infrastructure Development Board today cleared four major road projects in the state. These are: Hoshiarpur-Phagwara (Rs 32.53 crore); Sirhind-Morinda-Ropar (Rs 55.63 crore); Bhawanigarh-Nabha-Gobindgarh (Rs 70.25 crore); and Dakha-Raikot-Barnala (Rs 78.66 crore).

All these roads will be constructed on a build, operate and transfer basis.

A spokesperson of the government said the PWD had been asked to accelerate the construction work on 19 railway over bridges at various places.


SAD (A) for special girdawari for damaged potato crop
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 27
The Shiromani Akali Dal’s (Amritsar) Sangrur district unit and kisan wing of the party today demanded special girdawari for the potato crop, damaged due to fog in the district. The SAD (A) also sought compensation of Rs 30,000 per acre for the affected farmers for damaged potato crop.

A memorandum in this regard was submitted to Deputy Commissioner, Husan Lal, here today by a deputation of the SAD (A), led by Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the party, and Mr Avtar Singh, district president of the Kisan wing of the party.

Mr Alloarkh said members of the Kisan wing of the party visited various villages in Malerkotla, Amargarh, Dhuri, Sunam and other blocks of the district had found that fog had damaged potato crop on 1,000 acres. The SAD (A) wanted that the potato growers should be given compensation of Rs 30,000 per acre after a special girdawari.

The Chief Minister should issue written orders to the district authorities to conduct special girdawari and assess loss to damaged potato crop, he added.

The SAD (A) also demanded the creation of the Natural Calamities Fund to provide help to affected farmers in the wake of damage to crops due to a natural calamity. The state government should also ask the authorities of the Punjab State Electricity Board not to collect bills of tubewell motors from farmers as the same had been waived by the government.


4 rob bank of Rs 30,000
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 27
Four armed robbers today struck at a Punjab and Sind Bank branch at Nathuwala Jadeed village in broad daylight and decamped with Rs 30,000.

According to sources, the four robbers arrived at the bank on two scooters at 1.40 pm and applied for a demand draft, but the bank staff said they didn’t have a branch at the place for which they were seeking the draft. Soon three of them brought out pistols and took the gunman and the cashier to a corner.

They asked the cashier, Mr Mela Ram, to hand them over the money. The gunman, Mr Daljeet Singh, resisted their attempt and had a scuffle with them, in which he got injured. The robbers succeeded in fleeing away with Rs 30,000.


3 held for stealing oil tanker
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 27
The police today arrested three persons on the charge of theft. They have been identified as Balbir Singh, Kuldip Kumar and Harpreet Singh, all residents of Nihal Singh Wala in Moga District. The police signalled a tanker, coming from the Himachal side to stop the accused tried to flee but the police arrested three of the accused while one of the accused escaped.

A case under Sections 379-411 of the IPC was registered in this connection.


Man held for stabbing girl
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, January 27
The police yesterday arrested Rajiv Kumar, a resident of Jaggi Colony here, and his two accomplices on the charges of stabbing Gurpreet Kaur.

According to the DSP, Mr Manmohan Sharma, Rajiv was arrested on the complaint of Gurpreet’s mother, Ms Balbir Kaur. The trio had attacked Gurpreet with a 14-inch long dagger on January 22 and also assaulted her husband.

The police said Rajiv had developed a liking for the girl and was reportedly offended by her marriage recently to another boy.

A case has been registered.


Couple dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 27
A motorcycle borne couple was crushed to death when a truck (RJ-13G-6689) them near Talwandi Rai Dadu village hit in Ajnala near here today. The deceased were identified as Sucha Singh and Kulwinder Kaur.

They were going from Ajnala to Khanwal village. The police has registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC at Ajnala police station.


Scholars worried over threat to environment
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 27
A two-day national conference on “Impact of science and technology on nature (ISTNEM) -2006” organised by the Department of Applied Sciences of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC) was inaugurated by the college Principal, Dr D.S. Hira, at the college seminar room today.

At least 36 scholars from across the country presented their papers. The conference is being sponsored by the India Society for Technical Education.

Issues related to “environment care” for better health were discussed and papers on ozone layer depletion, solid waste pollution, organic farming, genetically altered food, and pollution were presented.

In his inaugural address, Dr Hira said society had become overly dependent on technology for its need that included housing, heating, lighting, clothing, food, etc. but was not aware of its adverse effects on environment.

He said ozone depletion in the stratosphere was a serious threat to living organism.

He appealed NGOs and education institutes to forward and educate the masses about the adverse effects of technology on the environment and save it from further degradation.

Prof Amritbir Singh, chairman, organising committee of the conference, in his paper on organic farming said increasing consciousness about conservation of environment as well as of health hazards caused by agrochemicals had brought major shift in consumer preference toward food quality.

He said organic farming must be adopted in the country as it could deliver agronomic and environmental benefits.

Prof H.S. Bhatti said there was an urgent need for strengthening and orienting scientific and technological infrastructure. He said waste disposal should be done in a safe manner.

The coordinator of the conference, Prof Sumeet Kaur, highlighted the devastating effects of pollution on the very existence of the human race.

The organising secretary, Prof Jasmine Kaur, in her paper said solid waste management should be done in an environmentally friendly manner.

Prof Lakhwinder Singh, Prof Gurpal Singh, Prof A.P.S. Sethi, Prof Munish Gogna, Prof Kanwardeepak, Prof N.P. Singh, Prof J.S. Oberoi, Prof Gurjot Singh, Prof Simranpreet Kaur, Prof Harpreet Kaur Uppal also expressed their views.


Rally by unemployed B.Ed teachers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 27
Members of the Berozgar B.Ed. Adhyapak Front, Punjab, led by Mr Bikarjit Singh Sadhuwala, a state committee member of the front, held a rally on the Republic Day near the main bus stand here yesterday. They also raised slogans against the Punjab government.

A deputation of the front submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Chief Minister at the PWD Rest House and urged her to fulfil demands of the unemployed B.Ed. teachers. The front has urged the state government to fill 35,000 posts of teacher, vacant in the state.


NRI donates Rs 7 lakh

Patiala, January 27
Mr Jay S. Sidhu, Chairman of a bank in Pennsylvania, USA, has donated Rs 7.20 lakh ($ 16,000) and pledged $ 40,000 to the Golden Heart Scholarship Programme for rural students of Yadavindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo.

The VC, Mr Swarn Singh Boparai, said the university had decided to institute 10 Sant Singh and Chanan Devi Memorial Scholarships. TNS


Jakhar elected coop bank MD
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 27
The Congress recaptured power in the management of the Fazilka Central Cooperative Bank, having its headquarters here, after a gap of five years. Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar, a progressive farmer of Panjkosi village and leading cooperator, was unanimously elected Managing Director of the bank. Mr Rajinder Singh Brar was elected Chairman.

Mr Jakhar, who also held the office of Chairman of world fertilizer giant IFFCO, has been elected MD of the bank for the fourth term.

The sons of Mr Balram Jakhar, Governor, Madhya Pradesh, had been holding this office since 1974 when Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar was elected MD.

Later when Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar was elected to the state assembly from Abohar following election of Mr Balram Jakhar to Lok Sabha, his younger brother Mr Surinder Kumar Jakhar joined the cooperative movement and occupied the chair held by his brother.

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