P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Embarrassment for Badal at SAD rally
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Tohra (Patiala), March 5
The rally organised by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in connection with the second death anniversary of SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra at his native village here today failed to have any impact as on the one hand his widow, Mata Joginder Kaur, was conspicuous by her absence and on the other the party leadership, including its President Mr Parkash Singh Badal, faced criticism from senior Akali leader Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and former SGPC President Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi.

Not only this, the number of people who attended the rally today was less as compared to the crowd mobilised at the rally organised by SAD (Badal) here last year on the occasion of the first death anniversary of Jathedar Tohra.

Mata Joginder Kaur, who was persuaded to come to the pandal by a section of Akali leaders hours after the rally started, did not go to the dais and kept on sitting in her car parked outside the venue.

When asked why she did not attend the rally, she said as senior Akali leaders had stayed away from the bhog ceremony organised by her at her residence yesterday, so she kept herself away from today’s proceedings.

Mr Badal faced embarrassing moments again when Mr Calcutta expressed displeasure over the manner in which Mr Badal had been running the affairs of the party. He also alleged that most of the decisions, including the decision to nominate Mr Avtar Singh as the President of the SGPC, had been taken by Mr Badal in an arbitrary manner. Mr Talwandi also expressed concern over the fact that the party was drifting away from Panthic principles and norms.

While speaking on the occasion Mr Badal said the demise of Jathedar Tohra, who fought against the misdeeds and anti-Sikh policies of the Congress throughout his life, was a personal loss to him.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Union Minister, while criticising the present government for its anti-people policies said the days of the Congress regime were numbered. He added that the policies pursued by Tohra would serve as a guiding force for the Akalis in the next Assembly elections.

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary, SAD, exhorted the workers to prepare themselves to give a crushing defeat to the Congress Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who had become an ‘‘enemy of humanity.’’

The SGPC chief Mr Avtar Singh said the SGPC would contribute its mite to build a memorial of Tohra.

Bhai Tirlochan Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Bhai Mohan Singh, head granthi, Darbar Sahib, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former SGPC chief, Mr Harmel Singh Tohra, Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, Mr Surjit Singh Kolhi, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, Raja Narinder Singh (all former ministers), Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, Ms Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal, former MP, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, Mr S.S Rakhra and Mr Gagandeep Singh Barnala (MLAs), Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, former Chairman PSSSB and Mr Satwinder Singh Tohra, member, SGPC and Sarpanch of this village were among those who attended the function.


Punjab offers aid to NRIs, investors to set up projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Enormous opportunities are now available for non-resident Indians, investors, entrepreneurs and developers to get actively involved in a host of ongoing development projects in Punjab.

Stating this here today Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister for NRI Affairs in the Punjab Government said the state government was offering all possible assistance to prospective investors to set up projects in the state.

He was addressing delegates at the International Summit on Infrastructure, Housing and Real Estate, organised by the International Punjabi Chamber for Service Industry (IPCSI )in collaboration with Punjab 's Department for NRI Affairs.

The minister said infrastructure was the base for all development and it encompassed a number of activities ranging from housing, developing real estate, roads and bridges, transport systems, airports, schools and colleges.

He cited the example of developed economies like Japan, the USA, and European countries, which had first developed their infrastructure to lay a firm foundation for progress in all spheres of their economic development. Closer home, he added, China and some South--Asian countries had followed the same path.

The aim of the summit, he said, was to bring investment in key segments of infrastructure from the Indian diaspora, particularly of Punjabi origin, foreign direct investment and from domestic resources for giving an impetus to the state's economy and to generate employment. Another aim, he added, was to synergise public-private partnership in developing infrastructure- related projects.

Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Punjab, said there were enormous opportunities for NRIs and others to develop housing colonies and other projects in Punjab. Opportunities, he added, also existed for joint partnerships for developing infrastructure.

Highlighting the investment scenario and "conducive" atmosphere in Punjab, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD Minister, appealed for investments from NRIs and domestic entrepreneurs. He invited the private sector to invest in the development of roads, bridges, water supply and power. He said the aim was to generate employment opportunities for the people.

According to Dr Gulshan Sharma, IPCSI General Secretary, Punjab needs to build new infrastructure and overhaul the existing facilities so that the state is left in good order for future generations. A massive $ 13 billion worth of investment can transform cities and change the image of the agrarian state to that of a commercial hub, he added.

Mr Samra and Mr Bajwa released a copy of the backgrounder on the summit, prepared by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends, Chandigarh. They also unveiled the Think India -- Think Punjab Agenda 2006. The document outlines what Punjab needs to do and suggests ways and means to go about it.

As many as 14 delegates from the United Kingdom and five from Thailand attended the delegates besides those from the Netherlands, the USA as well as a large number of local investors, entrepreneurs, builders and businessmen. Presentations on infrastructure- related subjects were made by experts on the occasion.


Chaos at Congress’ pension camp
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 4
The ruling party’s bid to woo electorate prior to the Assembly elections boomeranged today when a pension camp organised by the local Congress leaders led to harassment of not only hundreds of elderly and disabled but also of students of the school where it was held.

When The Tribune team visited Government Elementary School on the Mall Road utter chaos prevailed at the pension camp.

Gurdev Kaur, a cancer patient in her late 70s who had come along with her mother Kartar Kaur said: “We are here since 10 in the morning and for the past couple of hours we are looking for someone who can guide us about the exact procedure,” they lamented.

Gurdev’s daughter said her three brothers had parted ways and her father couldn’t work. “My mother and grandmother have come with high hopes, but I don’t know whether things will work our way,” she said.

A septuagenarian, Niranjan Singh, walked almost 5 km for the camp, but after three hours of harassment he was disillusioned and ready to return home. It wasn’t easy for literate people either to locate officials for getting their job done.

Jasvir Singh, who had come along with his mother, said he could not locate patwari and doctor at the camp. The situation of the handicapped was equally bad. While Ram Lakhan Chand

was helplessly moving around on his tricycle looking for a form, Om Prakash didn’t know how to fill it.

Meanwhile, a majority of the students of the school where the camp was organised returned after seeing so much rush on its premises in the morning. Only a couple of girls were present when this correspondent visited the school. School Principal Surinderpal Kaur said she came to know about the camp at 4 pm yesterday and therefore the students could not be informed about it.

On the other hand, city Congress president Mr Anil Bhola, arrived at the camp at 12.15 pm along with other party leaders and assured people to set things in order shortly.

“People aged 70 or 80 years have come to the camp, as they are never attended to properly in government offices,” he added.


Banerjee panel has no legal standing: Jaitley
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 4
Reacting sharply to the interim findings of the Justice U.C. Banerjee Committee report on the Godhra carnage, Mr Arun Jaitley, national general secretary of the BJP, today claimed that the commission had no legal standing.

He said the judiciary had not yet released any of the 80 accused on bail in the Sabarmati Express case in which 59 persons, majority of them kar-sevaks, were charred to death.

Talking to newspersons after addressing BJP party workers, Mr Jaitley slammed the UPA government for trying to derail the process of justice by setting up a committee by the Railway Ministry.

He said till date the irrefutable evidence with the judiciary had stated otherwise that the carnage was pre-planned and executed in the most heinous manner.

Mr Jaitley said there was no justification in appointing another commission when the judiciary was fully seized of the matter.

Referring to the visit of US President George W. Bush , the former Union Law Minister said the BJP had welcomed the visit and pointed out that Mr Bush had come at the invitation of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure.

Asked to comment on the high-profile Indo-American nuclear agreement, Mr Jaitley said the party would refrain from making a statement at this juncture as it was awaiting the formal statement of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in Parliament.

Expressing his party’s disillusionment with the Union Budget presented by Mr P. Chidambaram, Minister for Finance, Mr Jaitley pointed out that it lacked vision and was merely a revenue-generating exercise.

He said the Finance Minister had failed to take bold initiative and made only small attempts to tinker with taxation structure.

Coming down heavily on the present Congress government of the state, he said it had unleashed oppressive reign not only against the opposition parties, but also its own party activists. He proclaimed that the BJP-SAD combine would storm back into power in the elections to be held next year in the state.

Earlier, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, while welcoming Mr Jaitley, said the BJP-SAD combine would trounce the Congress government in the state in election.


Golden rice rich in vitamin A soon
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Soon the country will have rice with a golden look and rich in vitamin A that will be a boon to the poor and other marginalised people. The International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines in collaboration with Indian rice breeders has been working for some years to develop such a variety of the rice suitable for the country.

“It will be a genetically modified variety”, says Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, Joint Director of the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology. Three genes had been transferred in certain Indian rice varieties and their suitability to Indian conditions was being tested, she added. To prepare the golden rice variety, two genes had been drawn from the daffodil, a plant that is loved for its vivid yellow flowers, and one gene from a particular bacteria. As rice is the staple diet of the poor in most of the states in the country, it will help tackle the problem of early blindness among them.

Meanwhile, the area under genetically modified crops in India is increasing rapidly. In 2002, the area under such crops, which are also called transgenic crops, was only 1 lakh acres. During, 2005, the area was of 35 lakh acres.

Dr R.P. Sharma, member of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee of the Union Government, said today that hybrid Bt cotton, which was also a transgenic crop, had quickly found favour with farmers across the country. He said all issues, including environmental, health, social and ethical, were examined while giving approval to the introduction of any GM crop in the country. He said there was a rigorous system in place for trials before giving approval to the sowing of any GM crop. Mr Sharma was here to speak at an awareness workshop organised on agri-biotechnology and biosafety issues by the council in collaboration with the South Asia Biosafety Programme, an NGO.

Mr Sharma said the production of cotton had increased by 20 to 30 per cent in cotton growing states because of the release of Bt cotton hybrid seeds. In all 20 such cotton seeds had been released in the country. However, certain issues required to be addressed with regard to GM crops. There was need to prepare a schedule of farm practices for these crops.

He said the authorities were regularly monitoring the resistance level of pests found in Bt cotton fields. There was no report of any pest developing resistance. Toxicity in Bt cotton plants starts receding after 120 days and one or two sprays on the cotton crop after that could be useful.


Amla sweets for German market
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
Punjab’s herbal sweets are set to enter the European market. Sweets prepared from amla have found a niche in Germany. Amla grows in substantial quantity in the kandi belt, including Ropar, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts. However, the concentration of amla trees is heavy in villages around Talwara.

The Punjab State Council of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Department of Biotechnology of the Union Government has played a significant role in the cultivation and processing of amla in the kandi belt. It has set up a plant to provide post-harvest processing facilities and value addition to bio-resources at Talwara.

The council has been promoting the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants also in those areas. Dr S.S. Marwaha, Director (Biotechnology) of the council, told The Tribune that the council had tied up with Sunstar Overseas Limited, a Delhi-based company, to market sweets and other products prepared from amla in the Indian market and abroad. Recently, the council had marketed 3,000 kg of sweets and other stuff, including muraba, pickle, ladoo, burfi, candies, jam, chutney, powder, juice and squash prepared from amla in the markets of Chandigarh and Panchkula on an experimental basis. The response from people in this regard was overwhelming.

Mr Sumit Aggarwal, Director, Sunstar Overseas, said his organisation had signed an agreement with the council to market 60 tonnes of products made from amla in India and abroad. “We have already got an order from Germany for the supply of products made from amla. The target is to increase it to 250 tonnes next year”, he added.

The plant set up at Talwara by the council has started the production of items in which amla is used as raw material. Dr N.S. Tiwana, Executive Director of the council, said the project had been conceptualised with the objective of increasing the income of farmers in the kandi belt.

The Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, launched amla products for marketing at a function organised by the council here today.

Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, Joint Director of the council, said Sunstar Overseas had also signed contracts with farmers through the council for the cultivation and export of basmati rice.


Coop bank poll sparks row in Cong
Tribune News Service

Lambi, March 4
Close on the heels of internal bickering in the Congress over cooperative bank poll in Kapurthala, Mr Gurbaj Singh Wanwala, former general secretary of the Punjab Youth Congress, has decided to approach the PPCC president Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo to lodge a complaint against a Congress minister whose alleged phone call tilted the balance of power towards the Akalis in cooperative agricultural development bank elections here yesterday.

Six candidates from both parties were in the electoral fray for the post of bank’s office-bearers. Though the poll was scheduled for March 7, the cancellation of nominations of two Congress candidates, Mr Iqbal Singh from Kuttiawali and Mr Rajbeer Singh from Abulkhurana, led to the unopposed election of their SAD rivals. Their nominations were cancelled, as their bank accounts were inactive for long.

Sources said the nomination of an Akali candidate, Mr Ravinderpal Singh from Sikhwala, was also cancelled on the same pretext, but was soon restored. Protesting against the reinstatement of his nomination, his Congress rival from zone 5, Mr Gurbaj Singh Wanwala, alleged that the step was taken following a phone call from a Congress minister.

He said - “Injustice has been done to the Congress workers and leaders of the area despite having the party’s regime in the state.”

He wondered that if the papers of the Congress candidate could be rejected owing to inactive accounts then why not of an Akali candidate. He claimed that his objection on Mr Ravinderpal Singh’s candidature was found to be true in the probe conducted by the returning officer, but still his name figured in the list of candidates.

He said when he asked the RO about it he said that the manager had given him a certificate in this regard. “When I questioned the manager on the anomaly he said he gave the clean chit under pressure from a Congress minister who called him up,” he added.

Mr Wanwala said he would lead a delegation to the PPCC president and raise the matter before him.

Later, both parties settled down for two candidates each for the remaining four seats, which gave the SAD a clear majority. The Akali candidates who got elected were - Mr Dalraj Singh, Mr Narinder Singh, Mr Jagjiwan Singh and Mr Ravinderpal Singh, while Mr Balraj Singh and Mr Jagwinder Singh were from the Congress.


Pak Govt to restore occupied land to dera
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 4
In yet another goodwill gesture Mr Pervez Elahi, Chief Minister, West Punjab province in Pakistan, has asked the revenue officials to get agriculture land measuring 992 murabbas (nearly 2350 acre) restored to Dera Baba Bhumman Shah near Haveli Lakheki in Sulemanki sector.

Mr Alamgir Kamboj, father of the Lahore-Nazim, told visiting pilgrims from this region that 45 murabbas had already been got vacated and restored to the dera.

The dera management had resolved to utilise the income for the development of the area. The management had requested the Pakistan Government to grant visa to 1,000 Indians to visit the dera during the annual fair, Mr Kamboj said.

Some persons had illegally occupied the land belonging to the dera after hundreds of Kamboj families migrated to India at the time of Partition in August 1947. Following improvement in bilateral relations the Government of Pakistan had, last year, allowed a delegation of the community to visit the dera. The visitors, included Mr Hans Raj Josan, Minister of State for Forests, who represented Jalalabad West Assembly constituency and chief of the dera in India. Such deras are also located in Jalalabad (west) and Sirsa.

Mr Rakesh Nagpal, president of the Shri Ramayani Prachar Sabha, who returned from pilgrimage to Katasraj today, expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made for the jatha members this year. Mr Nagpal and other members of the sabha said senior officials of the Pakistan Punjab Evacuee Property Trust Board, including Lieut. Gen. Zulfikar Khan (retd.) chairman, Mr Izhat-ul-Hassan, Principal Secretary, Khawaja Shahid Nazar, Administrator and Mr Yahia Khan Zoda, Sub Divisional Magistrate of Choa Saidan Shah, were present at the reception and valedictory functions during the visit of the jatha to Katasraj.

He said floodlights were temporarily installed around the shrines and the sacred ‘Amrit Kund’ for the convenience of pilgrims taking bath after the sunset and before sunrise.


Calendar on Hindu gods released in Pak
Rashmi Talwar

Wagah (Amritsar), March 4
Members of the Hindu jatha, who returned to India from Katasraj on Thursday, brought calendars with pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses with them. The calendars had been released in Pakistan for the first time by Davender Kumar Ghai and Munawar Chand, founding president and secretary, respectively of the Krishna Temple Trust, Lahore, on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri. The calendars had pictures of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha.

The calendar, jointly sponsored by the Anglo Asian Friendship Society, mentions dates of important Hindu festivals. Mr Surinder Arjun, president of the Durgiana Temple Management Committee, welcomed the release of the calendar.

The 176-member Hindu jatha, including 20 women, was led by Mr Inder Mohan Goswami of Sanatam Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha.

The jatha returned after a week-long pilgrimage to Katasraj temples. The jatha head presented a memorandum to the Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), Gen Zulfikar Ali Khan (retd), to be forwarded to the Government of Pakistan for early commencement of bus service from Amritsar to Katasraj in Chakwal district on the pattern of Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service.

Besides this the pilgrims demanded early start of the project of preservation and restoration of historical shrines that was inaugurated by Mr L.K Advani last year. A marble plaque bearing the name of Mr Advani was also installed at the Katasraj site that time.


Save Pak gurdwara from demolition: AVM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 4
The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) in a letter addressed to the various high authorities, including the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, has urged the protection of the single gurdwara of Karachi (Pakistan), Rattan Talla, which was established in 1932, from demolition.

President of the SGPC Avtar Singh and Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, have also been sent the letter.

He said the Education Department of Sindh (Pakistan) had issued the orders of demolition ostensibly to provide more accommodation for classes being run there by Nabi Bakhsh Government College, constructed illegally on the land of gurdwara in 1984.


Bhagwant Singh on Asia Pacific dental panel
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Dr Bhagwant Singh, a senior city-based dentist, was elected vice-president of the Asia Pacific Dental Federation/Asia Pacific Regional Organisation at the Asia Pacific Dental Congress held in Karachi, Pakistan, recently.

Dr Bhagwant Singh is the only dentist from north India and second from India to get elected to the coveted post. Asia Pacific Dental Federation has 20 countries as its members. Dr Bhagwant Singh who was also the President of the Indian Dental Association last year, started his career in Kanpur 35 years ago. He came to the city after the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Ludhiana hosted the National Dental Conference under the presidentship of Dr Bhagwant Singh in January this year.


Snake hisses out of tea pack
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 4
In a shocking incident, a live snake hissed out of a 1 kg tea pack at Mandi Gobindgarh town today.

The purchaser reported the matter to Deputy Commissioner Jaspreet Talwar, who directed Amloh SDM Sandeep Hans to look into the matter.

The SDM got a video footage made of the tea pack, which was reported to be of Taj Mahal brand and packaged in December, 2005.

According to Sandeep Hans, industrialist Chanan Singh Matharu had sent his servant to buy a pack of tea from the market.

On opening the pack, a one-foot-long snake was found inside it. The family members covered it with a sheet and informed the authorities.

The SDM said they had taken up the matter with Hindustan Lever, the manufacturer of the brand.


Belgian delegation calls on CS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
A 15-member parliamentary delegation of the Walloon region of Belgium led by its Vice-President, Mr Michel Lebrun, today called on the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, and evinced interest in strengthening the ties between the two states keeping in view the large scope for business in the near future.

Mr Lakhanpal gave a brief account of the development activities initiated by the Amarinder Singh government during the past four years.

Mr N.S. Kalsi, Secretary, Information Technology, made a brief presentation of economic growth besides highlighting the key areas for investment.


Hike in water rates opposed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 4
Hundreds of inhabitants of various localities of the city led by Capt Tirath Ram (retd.) staged a demonstration in front of Municipal office here yesterday in protest against the enhancement of water and sewerage rates.

They raised slogans against the state government and municipal authorities for this enhancement.

Mr Tikshan Sud, BJP MLA, said the enhanced water supply and sewerage rates directly hit the budget of a common man.


Sarpanch held for selling government wheat
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 4
The Sadar police here arrested Romesh Kumar, sarpanch of Manan village, for allegedly selling government wheat in the market on Thursday evening.

According to police sources, Mr Harminder Singh, tehsildar, Hoshiarpur, got information about the sale of wheat meant for Food-for-Work Programme of the government. The tehsildar informed the police, which caught red handed the sarpanch and seized 40 bags of wheat from his possession.

In another case, the police has booked Vijay Kumar of Banglore under Section 420 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr L.C. Sood.

The complainant had alleged that he deposited Rs 18,000 in the account of the accused following an advertisement in newspaper for purchasing a mobile phone, but he neither sent any phone to him nor returned his money.


Cop nabbed at Golden Temple

Amritsar, March 4
The SGPC task force today caught a Punjab police constable Satnam Singh working under Majitha police district for a theft in the Golden Temple complex. He was later handed over to the Galliara police.

According to the press release, the SGPC said the accused had admitted to committing such thefts earlier too. — OC


XANSA — 2006 concludes
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 4
A three-day management fest XANSA- 2006 organised by the Department of Commerce and Business Management of the Guru Nanak Dev University concluded here today.

Mr Asish Manan, Regional Manager, Spice, presided over the valedictory function and said these fests provided students a platform for exploring their hidden talent and skill. He said it also helped in the overall development of youth. He also gave away the prizes to the winners.

A personality development workshop was also organised and the Indiabulls, an Indian multinational arranged the open placements for the students.

Final results were:

Action song: Physiotherapy Department, GND varsity 1, Commerce and Business Department 2 and Hindu Kanya College, Kapurthala 3.

Weastern dance: BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar 1,

Extempore: Aseem Sharma GND varsity 1, Shubhdeep GND varsity 2, and Mohit Arora, DAV Public School, Amritsar 3.

Ad-mad show: Team B - Nikhil Verma of DAV College, Amritsar1, Team A - Bharti, Neeyati, Kavita Misha BBK DAV College, Amritsar.

Interview seeking: APJ College of Jalandhar 1, DAV College, Amritsar 2, and GND varsity3.

Case study team: Team A-DAV College, Amritsar 1. Team B-DAV Public School, Amritsar.

Solo song: Harpreet DAV College, Amritsar1, Vikas APJ College of Jalandhar 2 and Anjali DAV College, Amritsar.

Story competition: BBK DAV College, Amritsar 1, DAV College, Amritsar 2.

Big fight: DAV Public School, Amritsar 1.

Sketch your creativity: DAV Public School, Amritsar and DAV College, Amritsar 2.

Young manager contest: APJ College Jalandhar 1, Khalsa College Amritsar 2.


PhD degrees conferred on 92 students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 4
The Governor of Punjab and Chancellor, Punjabi University, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), conferred degrees on students at the 30th convocation of the university that held at the Convocation Hall here today.

The Deputy Chief Minister and the Minister of Education, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who was the chief guest on the occasion, delivered the convocation address.

As many as 92 degrees of Doctor of Philosophy in eight different faculties were awarded by General Rodrigues and 119 degrees and medals were given to the toppers of M.A. & M.Sc. courses by Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai.

The Chancellor gave away medal for achievement in cultural activities to Mickey Verma for 2003 while Mansi Saxsena bagged the 2004 honour. Among other notable awardees was Lt-Gen D.D.S. Sandhu, who was awarded PhD degree in Defence and Management Studies.

The Chancellor’s Medal of Excellence for 2003 was awarded to MSc student Gagandeep Kaur Saini of the Department of Microbiology and Food Technology and the medal for 2004 was given to Sarika, B.Tech (Computer Science & Engineering).

The Tarlok Singh Chitrakar Award for the toppers of Fine Arts students went to Kavita Singh and Harleen Sandhu and Amanpreet Singh and Neha Gupta bagged the Diwan K.S. Puri Award in Science.

In her address, Ms Bhattal described the purpose of the establishment of university 44 years back and lauded the efforts of the university for its work for the extension of Punjabi language, literature and culture.

She expressed hope that the awardees would diligently work for the collective interest of the state to better the fate of the region. 


India facing acute cultural crisis: expert
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 4
Expressing concern over the visible value collapse, eminent scholar Prof Kapil Kapoor from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said there was lack of peace, increasing conflicts and culture of violence in thoughts, words and deeds prevailing all around in the country.

Prof Kapoor made these remarks while delivering “Sardarni Balbir Kaur Brar Memorial Lecture” on cultural crisis at Guru Nanak Dev University. The lecture was arranged by the School of Punjabi Studies of the university. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, welcomed Prof Kapoor, while distinguished linguist Dr Harjit Singh Gill presided over.

Prof Kapoor said dynamic cultures and societies were constantly changing and such changes came faster during the periods of cultural contacts. He said Indian life and mind had started getting restructured in the name of modernisation and progress.

Expressing concern over the denigration of the value system, Prof Kapoor said modernity had altered the modes of thinking of the educated Indians. The ontological man-centered world view and the imperative of progress had shifted for us, as they did for the West, the focus of individual life and socio-political theory to the promotion of comfort and material well-being.

He said the most damaging cultural change in recent times had affected the institution of family. The breakdown of the joint family system has had deleterious effect on our relatively stable social framework and had reduced that much the quantum of human happiness in the society.

He said different civilisations such as Greeks and Confucian Chinese focused on the mind and conduct, respectively, while ancient Indian focused on the self.


396 get degrees at centennial convocation of
Khalsa College

Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 4
Appreciating an increase in the number of women joining the judicial services, Justice H.S Bedi, Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, said, ‘‘It is heartening to note that women are equipping themselves even more efficiently than their male counterparts in the legal profession.’’

Mr Bedi expressed these views while speaking on the occasion of the 100th convocation of the historic Khalsa College, here today. As many as 396 students, a majority of them women, were awarded degrees at the convocation.

Justice Bedi further revealed that the eligibility criteria for judicial services had been reasonably relaxed to attract more students. ‘‘This move has found favour with a large number of girl students’’, he contended.

Exhorting the youth to shun shortcuts the he cautioned, ‘‘these (shortcuts) can be very dangerous. A gradual rise, in consonance with an honest assessment of one’s physical and mental prowess, is a saner option.’’

Those awarded degrees today included 315 postgraduates and 581 under-graduates in various disciplines.

Mr Satyajit S Majithia, president, Governing Council, welcomed the guests.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal of the college, read the annual report.


Exam Superintendent removed for poor management
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Superintendent, who was deputed to conduct annual examinations of class plus II at Government High School, Dera Bassi, was on Thursday removed because of poor management at the examination hall.

Mr Baldev Raja, Deputy Director, Education Department, who was incharge of the flying squad set up to check copying during the examinations, said he had inspected the examination centre at the school today. “Arrangements made at the centre were not to my satisfaction and I ordered the removal of the Superintendent,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Education Department has deputed senior IAS and other officers to check the menace of copying in exams in various parts of the state. Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Special Secretary, Education Department, had been allocated Ludhiana district for this purpose. Mr R. Venkat Ratnan, another Special Secretary, has been given Jalandhar district.

Mr S. S. Randhawa, DPI Schools (Secondary), and Mr Jagtar Singh Khatra, DPI (Elementary Education), have been given Patiala and Gurdaspur districts, respectively. Mrs Harcharan Kaur Brar and Mr Bant Singh, both senior officers, have been allocated Ropar and Amritsar districts, respectively. Mr Ajmer Singh and Mr M. L. Sharma have been given Hoshiarpur and Nawanshahr and Muktsar districts, respectively. Mr Karnail Singh and Mr Baldev Raj, both Deputy Directors, have been given the responsibility of Ferozepore and Fatehgarh Sahib districts.

Mr H.S. Sandhu and Mrs Surjeet Kaur have been deputed in Bathinda-Mansa and Sangrur districts, respectively. Mr Satwant Singh has been allocated Moga and Faridkot and Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu, a Deputy Director has been made incharge of Kapurthala district.

These officers have been asked to tie-up with the local police. They have been given full powers to take disciplinary action against any erring invigilator during the examinations. They have been authorised to order suspension on the spot of any member of staff found wanting in his or her duty at the examination centre. 


Media gurus to share views at seminar

Patiala, March 4
The Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, will organise a two-day international seminar on “Society and Development Communication” at the Senate Hall from March 8.

A galaxy of academics, scholars and mediapersons will share their knowledge in the seminar, which will aims at exploring comprehensive and scholarly interpretation of development communication with respect to Indian socio-cultural fabric.

These interpretation and suggestion will be finally edited and published in a book form, which will be adopted by media professionals for various purposes.

Media guru Prof B.K. Kuthiala will inaugurate the seminar, while Mr S.S. Boparai, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, will preside over the seminar on March 8.

Veteran Journalism Kuldip Nayyar will be the chief guest, while Editor in Chief, Punjab Kesri Group of Newspapers, Vijay Chopra will be the guest of honour. AIR Station Director, New Delhi, K.V. Kapil will present the keynote address.

The valedictory function on March 9 will be attended by Associate Editor, The Tribune, A.J. Philip and Editor, Indian Express, Chandigarh, Vipin Pubby. TNS


Convocation of GND varsity organised
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 4
The convocation of the Law Department of Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) was held here today.

Mr R.S. Cheema, Advocate-General, Punjab, was the chief guest. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, presided over the convocation. Mr Cheema conferred degrees on 300 law graduates.

Dr M.D. Singh, coordinator, gave a detailed information about the various law courses and academic achievements of the Law Department.

Mr Cheema gave away trophies to Ramaneet Kaur, Usha Rani, Vimal, Amanpreet Singh, Amandeep Kaur and Geetika Sood.


Moot court contest at Rayat College
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 4
Former Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court R.S Mongia inaugurated a two-day moot court competition at Rayat College of Law here today. Students from more than 32 law schools across the country are participating in the competition.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Mongia said, “Our young lawyers are talented, but they just look for fast results. They should put the basics of the advocacy straight and simple and must understand the importance of the strategies involved in the argument of the cases”.

He said the moot courts were an opportunity for the students to learn more and test their skills.


Khadi board to hold exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board, in collaboration with the Khadi and Village Industries Commission, will organise an exhibition on March 15 at Anandpur Sahib.

The Board has also decided to hold awareness camps in all blocks and small towns to motivate entrepreneurs to set up village industries under the margin money scheme being implemented by the board and the KVIC.

Subsidy cheques for Rs 2 crore will also be given to borrowers who have set up village industries under this scheme, according to Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Chairman of the board.

Mr Walia said a campaign had been started for giving loans and employment generation for the rural unemployed.

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