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Illicit cotton seeds seized from Cong leader’s godown
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 8
Even before the onset of the cotton sowing season smuggling of illicit cotton seeds into the Malwa region has begin. The Rama Mandi police last night seized 28 quintals of illicit cotton seeds worth lakhs of rupees from the godown of a Congress leader’s firm, which sources say, might be tip of the iceberg.

According to sources, Mr Bikar Singh Buttar of Agricultural Department, and Mr Amritpal Sharma of the CIA staff, had raided the godown situated at Peerkhana Road and seized 28 quintals of illicit cotton seeds packed in 70 bags. Though the police has registered a case under Section 7 of the EC Act, it was yet to arrest anyone in this regard.

Protesting against the police’s approach, activists of the BKU (Ugraha) are now staging dharna demanding that a case be registered under Section 420 of the IPC against the firm and its owner be arrested.

Meanwhile, sources said illicit cotton seeds worth crores had made way to the cotton belt and some deceptive traders were ready to cash in on the farmers’ faith in Bt cotton. The sources said more and more farmers were now opting for Bt cotton owing to its good results in the last couple of years.

Sources said these traders bought a packet of Bt cotton from Gujarat at Rs 400 to Rs 500 and sell it at Rs 1,200 per packet to Punjab’s farmers. They said illicit cotton seeds were being smuggled into Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan from Gujarat.

The sources said a section of the farmers was heading to Gujarat for procuring seeds. They said this year the authorised companies could also decrease prices to save the farmers from the clutches of deceiving traders.

On the other hand, the Agriculture Department has asked its officials to be alert on this front. The department officials have been asked to form flying squad, besides seeking aid of the civil and police administration to check smuggling of illicit cotton seeds.

 

Fake IAS officer marries advocate’s daughter
Arrested along with father
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 8
Marriage celebrations of a senior advocate's daughter turned sour when the groom, who had projected himself as an IAS officer, turned out to be an impersonator here on Monday evening.

Though the wedding rituals had already taken place in the morning, the girl's parents brought her back from her in-laws' residence at Pathrala village last evening. The incident has shocked not only the dignitaries who attended the marriage but also the groom's village. Sources said the groom, Gurmit Singh Sra, got engaged to the advocate's daughter on December 11 last year and the marriage was fixed for March 6. Interestingly, nobody among those who attended the marriage had any inkling about the suspicious background of the groom. Following "Anand Karaj" and "Doli", the bride's father came to know that the groom was not an IAS officer and he had duped his family. He along with his wife rushed to Pathrala village and brought their daughter back.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said the groom had created an impression in his village and nearby areas that he had cleared IAS exam and was under training. He even managed to get himself felicitated at some village-level functions. Wedding invitations from both the sides also mentioned him as an IAS officer and top civil and police officials were invited to the marriage.

Later, the SSP and the DC got some tip-off about the groom's background and they enquired about him from the IAS training centre in Mussorie as well as Special Secretary (personnel), as the boy had stated that he had got the Punjab cadre. The investigations revealed that he was not an IAS officer.

Sources said he had done his B.Sc. from Rajindra College, Bathinda, and M.Sc (zoology) from Punjabi University, Patiala. The SSP said as per the complaint lodged, the groom's father and the mediator knew that he was merely impersonating as an IAS officer. The groom also claimed to have got selected for PCS prior to IAS and said he was posted as DTO Gurdaspur for sometime. On being confronted by the bride's family, he didn't accept his fraud initially, but later gave in and admitted that he perpetuated the fraud to make quick money. The police has arrested Gurmeet Singh, his father Dilbag Singh and mediator advocate Sukhchain Singh. A case has been registered against them under Sections 498-A, 420, 406, 171 and 34 of the IPC. The SSP said the process to recover dowry from the groom's family was also on. On the other hand, when The Tribune team visited Pathrala village, Gurmeet's home wore a deserted look.

The villagers were all praise for the groom and his family. They said the boy was studious and had been staying out of the village for the last few years.

They were shocked at the incident and still could not believe that Gurmeet had committed fraud.

Surprisingly, they had started calling him as "DC" and when the police came to his home last night to arrest him, they thought they would have come due to some "official work". They were clueless as to why Gurmeet impersonated as an IAS officer.

 

PSEB wastes crores on schemes for consumers
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur March 8
Crores of rupees have gone down the drain due to unimaginative planning on the part of Punjab State Electricity Board which introduced the pass book system four years ago.

Under this scheme, pass books were to be placed near electricity meters of consumers, in which meter readers were supposed to maintain a record of readings periodically. Although crores were spent on the scheme, it flopped. The scheme neither benefited the cash strapped Board nor the consumers in any way.

A visit to some premises revealed that proper record had not been maintained in most of the pass book. Many pass books were covered with thick layers of dust, which indicated that they had not been used since a long time. Not even a single entry had been made in some pass books. All this made it quite obvious that meter readers hardly bothered about making entries.

The PSEB’s “drop-in-box” scheme has also met the same fate .Consumers’ response has been lukewarm. Under the scheme, consumers were required to drop their cheques for electricity bill payments in boxes kept at PSEB offices. Since they had to drop the cheques only on the last date of payment, it was considered a risky proposition since any goof-up could mean shelling out the penalty.

When contacted, PSEB authorities while admitting that the scheme had flopped blamed consumers for lack of co-operation. Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the PSEB has initiated measures to install more bill payment machines at important offices. Sources revealed that Rs 114 crore was being spent in north zone under the accelerated power reforms and development programmes to strengthen power supply through improved distribution system.

 

Chohan held from Tanda
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, March 8
Taking serious note of the statements on the formation of ‘Khalistan’ by 2007, the Punjab police arrested Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, a proponent of Khalistan from his residence in Tanda town 32 km from here this morning. The police arrested Mr Chohan, even though the Punjab and Haryana High Court had passed an order staying his arrest.

Mr Chohan made statements on the formation of ‘Khalistan’, recently. The Amritsar police had earlier registered a case against him in this regard.

Mr Chohan claimed having completed all formalities at the international level for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.

A police party from Amritsar descended on his residence at 7.30 am and arrested him under various Sections of the IPC, sources in the police revealed. Police vehicles followed a Gypsy in which he was taken to Amritsar.

The police also searched the office of the Khalsa Raj Party in the premises of Chohan Charitable Hospital, run by him for the past couple of years. Flags of ‘Khalistan and Khalsa Raj’ fluttering atop the hospital building, however, failed to draw attention of the police.

Mr Chohan earlier had claimed, “My dream formation of Khalistan” is a continuation of the Khalsa Revolution that will come true with its formation by 2007 end. Formation of Khalistan is not a big job for us now. Our lobby throughout the ‘World favouring ‘Khalistan’ has completed all formalities for running a separate nation.” Mr Chohan also claimed to have currency notes, passports, postage stamps, flags and a blue print and other important documents pertaining to the nation of his dreams.

Mr Chohan claimed their lobby had published currency notes of Khalistan first in 1981 in Canada while passports and postal stamps were published in America and England. Various proponents of ‘Khalistan’ have already been working for the creation of a separate nation ‘Khalistan’ to be established between India and Pakistan, he added. He claimed being in touch with other ‘Khalistan’ ideologues all over the world to give final shape to their thought.

He also claimed to be in touch with certain other ‘terrorist outfits’ in Srinagar and Jammu and Kashmir for solving issues — Kashmir and Khalistan. He claimed that Khalistan would be formed by the end of next year but before that Independent Kashmir would be a separate nation.

Mr Chohan was arrested earlier also for hatching up a conspiracy for anti-national activities. He has been running Chohan Charitable Hospital, Tanda, for treating people. The Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier had stayed his arrest. The court had also directed the state for seeking permission on a seven-day notice before taking Mr Chohan in custody.

The ‘Khalistan’ ideologue denied moving court in self-defence besides filing any public interest litigation (PIL) plea and moving any application seeking release on bail.

Mr Paramjit Singh Gill, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Jalandhar Range, claimed a police party from Amritsar arrested Mr Jagjit Singh Chohan in an old case registered against him some time ago. He, however, claimed that legal action would be taken against Mr Chohan as he had put up flags of ‘Khalistan Raj Party’ atop the building of his hospital which falls within his jurisdiction.

 

Furore among Sikh bodies over TV programme
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, March 8
A programme on a television channel caused a furore among Sikh organisations today, with SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar terming its telecast as a conspiracy by the Congress against Sikhs and demanding legal action.

Several Sikh organisations reacted sharply to the alleged portrayal of Sikhs in bad light and the giving of weightage to Khalistan ideologues like Jagjit Singh Chauhan by Zee News in the programme ‘Desh droh’, telecast on March 6 and again the following day.

The SGPC chief said the telecast was aimed at creating hatred, suspicion and ill will for the community.

“It was an attempt to denigrate Sikhs and show them to be anti-national,” said former SGPC Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta.

He demanded an unconditional and public apology by the channel and threatened to file a defamation suit against it if it failed to do so.

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee President Harvinder Singh Sarna, in a communication to the Union Minister of State for Home, said the programme was a plan to show Sikhs in bad light.

Akali Dal (Delhi) President Paramjit Singh Sarna, in a press note, said it could represent the personal opinion of a few, but not the entire Sikh community.

He added that it was intended to create a fear psychosis and revive the spectre of terrorism.

Akali Dal (Amritsar) General Secretary Ram Singh alleged that the programme was a conspiracy by Hindutva elements to defame Sikhs.

Ropar: All-India Shiromani Akali Dal President Jaswant Singh said on Wednesday that the party would file a writ in the Supreme Court against the channel which had telecast a programme on terrorism in Punjab and shown interviews of various persons raising the demand for Khalistan.

The Home Ministry and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry would be made party in the case for allowing such programmes to be broadcast, he added.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the telecast of the programme had hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs in India and abroad.

 

Empowering women in rural Punjab
Prabhjot Singh

Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, March 8
A novel experiment in women empowerment has been successfully launched in Sangrur where 200 beneficiaries belonging to the weaker sections have been given loans to buy a buffalo each for sustaining their families.

This experiment, the first of its kind, followed identification and training of families who needed both help and support for their survival as the job market has been shrinking in rural Punjab with agriculture becoming unremunerative.

Recently, the Punjab Diary Development Board associated itself with Umeed, a non-government organisation (NGO), to reach out to women from weaker sections to impart training in diary farming to make them self-reliant.

The Umeed foundation identified villages in Sangrur district and the Dairy Development Department organised nine training camps in which 430 women from the Self-Help Groups (SHGs) from 45 villages were imparted training in latest techniques of diary farming. Loans worth Rs 40 lakh were arranged for the 200 women for purchase of one buffalo each. Now these women from the weaker sections, after their successful training, have been economically empowered.

Cheques were distributed by the Chairman’s mother, Mrs Nagindra Khanna, a philanthropist and a social worker, at a function held in Sangrur recently.

In the next phase another 400 women from the SHGs would be given dairy training. It is ominous that due to fragmentation of land holdings with each generation, many farmers would become marginalised and land would be unable to sustain the people. It is, therefore, imperative that alternate means of income should be explored and Umeed is showing the way to the people, says Ms Jasinder Sekhon, spokesperson of the organisation.

Umeed has also been a pioneer in the health at the doorstep programme for the rural poor in Punjab. Launched in March, 1998, there have been 34,083,59 patients examined and provided medicines free of cost by Umeed. The pilot project covered all 585 villages of Sangrur district.

Mr Arvind Khanna, Chairman, Umeed Foundation, has specifically focussed on the empowerment of women. Umeed has 322 self-help groups, with over 4,100 members. Vocational training has been given to the women as well as skill development projects sponsored by SOSVA such as bag making, candle making, soap and washing power making, food preservation, box and book binding and crochet work. 

POLITICS

SAD (Longowal) not to allow unloading of imported wheat
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 8
Members and activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) in association with various farmer organisations will not allow the unloading of wheat to be imported by the Government of India at the Mumbai port or other ports.

Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, president of the SAD (Longowal), who was here yesterday in connection with a protest dharna by his party’s youth wing in the district administrative complex, further said on the one hand the Central Government was importing wheat from other countries at the rate of Rs 900 per quintal while on the other it was not ready to give a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 750 per quintal to the Indian farmers.

He also demanded relief for Punjab farmers on the pattern of Haryana in the form of waiver of penal interest on loans and no strict action against farmers for recovering loans from them.

Prof Chandumajra also demanded a judicial probe into the firing by the Himachal Pradesh Police on the truckers a couple of days ago. He also sought compensation for the family of a Punjabi trucker, who had lost his life in the police firing.

The SAD (Longowal) president also criticised the Budget presented in the Assembly today saying it had been prepared with a view to luring the people. He said there were 40 lakh unemployed youths in Punjab, but the Amarinder Singh government had not given employment to any one so far.

Prof Chandumajra said the party would organise conferences on March 14 at Anandpur Sahib, March 16 at Cheema, March 24 at Nabha, March 27 at Tarn Taran and March 30 at Mansa to create awareness among the masses. He also said their party would form a third front after the conferences to contest the ensuing Assembly elections.

Besides Prof Chandumajra, the dharna was also addressed by Mr Baldev Singh Mann, secretary-general of the SAD (Longowal), Mr Randhir Singh Rakhra, national president of the youth wing of the party; Mr Sanmukh Singh Mokha, SGPC member, Mr Inder Mohan Singh Lakhmirwala, president of the cooperation wing of the party, and Mr Sukhwant Singh Dhanaula, general secretary of the party. A deputation of the party also submitted a memorandum of demands to the administration here.

COMMUNITY
 

6 more govt departments to be brought under Panchayati Raj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
To strengthen local self government institution and make it more effective in rural areas, six more government departments will be brought under the ambit of the Panchayati Raj.

Stating this here today, Mr J.R Kundal, Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Punjab, said departments included youth affairs, sports, animal husbandry, social forestry and minor irrigation.

He was giving a talk on the working of local government institutions in Punjab on the concluding day of the seminar on capacity building of local self government institutions, organised at the Center for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here (CRRID).

He also discussed the financial allocations for local government bodies announced in the state Budget yesterday. He said the process of implementing and strengthening the Panchayati Raj was irreversible and more funds would be made available for it.

Further, a committee comprising ministers and senior officers has also been set up by the state government to deal with various issues and problems concerning local governance, he added.

During the seminar, it was also brought out that financial allocations for local bodies need to be increased so that adequate civic amenities can be provided at the grassroots level.

Principal coordinator and honorary director, CRRID, Mr J.P. Gupta, delved upon the functioning of local self government institutions in Europe as well as India, while Prof Yuri Kazepov from the University of Urbino gave an overview of the working of local bodies in Italy.

Technical sessions were also held in which problems and prospects concerning the Panchayati Raj in selected states in India and management practices at the grassroots level were discussed by experts as well as delegates attending the seminar.

 

Night bus service resumed
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 8
The night bus service from the border areas of Ferozepore and Fazilka to Ludhiana and Chandigarh that was discontinued long time back during the days of insurgency in the state has been resumed.

In a function held at Cantonment Bus Stand here yesterday evening, Deputy Commissioner B.C. Thakur flagged off the inaugural run of the resumed night bus service on Fazilka-Ferozepur-Ludhiana-Chandigarh route.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Thakur said hundreds of daily passengers, including numerous government employees, were facing an ordeal on account of non-availability of night bus service between these places. He said the Punjab Roadways had started the service also because the passengers were being exploited by paying more by private transporters operating in these areas.

Mr Sukhbir Singh, General Manager, Punjab Roadways, said the inaugural bus service would be followed by another night bus service to New Delhi soon. He said the roadways had also started evening bus service from Ferozepore to Hussainiwala for the convenience of the people who want to pay obeisance at the National Martyrs Memorial.

 

Panel seeks action against maid’s employers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 8
Ms Neelam Sahota, member, SC/ST Commission, today visited Prabhjit Kaur at local Jallianwala Bagh Memorial Hospital where she was admitted after being allegedly beaten up by her employers on February 6.

Ms Sahota has asked the SHO, Civil Lines police station, to register a case against the accused person under SC/ST Act, besides other relevant Sections of the IPC. She also asked the Civil Hospital authorities to provide medical report to the police to help them register a case. Earlier, the hospital authorities had failed to provide the medical report even after two days of the incident due to which the police could not register a case.

The 11-year-old Prabhjit was allegedly beaten up by her employers on a minor issue of over baking the loaf (chapatti). The matter came to light when she was admitted to the Civil Hospital with multiple bruises all over the body. Her arms and legs were badly swollen.

The commission member also took details of the incident from the SHO who said the police had started the hunt to nab the accused.

 

Pak House to take up visa relaxation issue
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 8
The forthcoming session of the National Assembly of Pakistan will discuss the issue of relaxing the visa procedure to strengthen people-to-people contact further.

This was disclosed today by Mr Ishaq Khan Khakwani, Pakistan’s Minister for Railways, after crossing the Radcliffe Line at Wagah, about 28 km from here.

He came to India to participate in the five-day 55th Federation International Polo Ambassadors Cup, which began in Patiala today.

Mr Khakwani said the government was keen to make the rail journey between India and Pakistan comfortable.

 

Two drowned in canals
Our correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 8
Two persons were drowned in the Shah Nehar and the Kandi canal in Hoshiarpur district today. According to police sources, Sarwan Singh, a son of Bara Singh of Ralhan, fell into the Shah Nehar at Uchi Bassi and was drowned.

In another incident, Durga Ram of Rakri village fell into the Kandi canal when he had gone to answer the call of nature.

 

Bomb hoax at bus stand
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 8
Rumours of a bomb at the local bus stand resulted in panic and delay in departure of buses today. A dog squad was pressed into action, which checked the buses.

However, the authorities said it was routine checking and there was nothing to panic.

COURTS
 

High court
Dal activist submits list of witnesses
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) activist Harkirat Singh, who has challenged the election of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala Assembly constituency in the February 2002 elections, today submitted the list of witnesses that he intends to produce in support of his contentions. The list was submitted on the directions of the High Court.

Fresh hearing of the election petition has been ordered by the Supreme Court after a single Judge of the High Court dismissed the petition on the ground that all necessary material facts had not been disclosed by the petitioner.

The appeal filed by the petitioner in the Supreme Court against the orders of the High Court found favour and the Supreme Court remanded back the case for fresh hearing.

Mr Harkirat Singh, who lives in Patiala, has sought setting aside of the election of Capt Amarinder Singh on the ground that the electoral process had been vitiated due to use of undue influence by him. The petitioner has also accused the Chief Minister of having used government machinery to ensure his victory.

Mr Harkirat Singh has alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh won after using the resources of the government. He has cited the case of Mr B.I.S. Chahal, who was then employed with the Punjab Department of Public Relations.

CRIME
 

One held for murder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 8
After seven and a half years, the family of Naresh Mahajan who was murdered under mysterious circumstances on October 22, 1998, is now hopeful of getting justice. The CBI, which has been probing into the case, has arrested one of the main accused. The arrested person has been remanded in police custody for 10 days.

The family members of Naresh had written to the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and other prominent leaders, besides the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) for justice. Disappointed over the inaction of the police, the Mahajan family had knocked the doors of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1999, which entrusted the inquiry to the CBI in 2001.

The family members said they were now hopeful of getting justice.

Interestingly, as many as 10 investigating officers from the Punjab Police and four CBI officers, who were handling the case, had been transferred on one pretext or the other. Police investigations revealed that Naresh was involved in some kind of parallel banking operations and his associates in the business might have killed him to destroy the evidence of their dealings. The family had also named some persons as suspects.

 

Robbers decamp with Rs 95,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 8
An alleged gang of burglars from Moradabad struck again in broad daylight today when they broke the glove compartment of a factory employee’s vehicle and decamped with Rs 95,000 kept in it. The guts of the gangsters were too evident in the incident as they struck just at an arms length from the Division No 5 police station.

The alleged criminals known as the notorious Moradabadi gang have been giving sleepless nights to the city police. Sources said the police was trying hard to catch them but they had managed to elude arrest.

Today’s victim was Balraj Khanna, an employee of the Ravi Industries. He had withdrawn the money from HDFC Bank Mall Road. He had stopped to have a cold drink near the Division No 5 police station slip road. When he came out of the shop he was shocked to find the dicky broken and the money missing.

The Division No 5 police also did not show any alacrity towards the crime. The cops at the police station did not came out to check for finger prints. A red alert was sounded only after mediapersons pressed for it. The victim is the elder brother a city based journalist.

The police has registered a case.

 

Youth killed as car hits motorcycle
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 8
A 22-year-old resident of Brahaman Vasi village was killed and his friend injured when their motorcycle was hit by a speeding car coming from behind on the Kharar-pannua link road here today. The victim Gurmel Singh, alias Raju, was travelling with his friend Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Jandpur village from on a motorcycle Brahamanvasi to Kharar when the accident took place.

The car driver fled his vehicle following the accident.

The police was called to the spot and the boys were rushed to the Kharar Civil Hospital. However, Gurmel was declared brought dead.

The police has not been able to locate the car that caused the accident. However a case against an unknown person has been registered under Sections 279, 304A and 337 of the IPC.

CRITICALLY hurt: In another incident a car driver Jagroop Singh was seriously injured when his car was hit by a Haryana Roadways bus outside the Courts Complex in Kharar on Wednesday. He was rushed to the Kharar Civil Hospital and is said to be in a critical condition.

 

2 killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 8
Inder Raj (45), son of Mani Ram of Ganguwala Jatan village, and his brother-in-law Ranveer Singh (30), son of Prithvi Raj of Faquirwali village, were killed when their car was hit by an unidentified vehicle near Khialiwali village in the neighbouring Sriganganagar area yesterday.

According to the information, a team of the Sadar police on an information received on phone reached the spot and extracted the bodies by breaking windows of the mingled car.

Family sources said the victims were returning home after attending a marriage at Jogiwala village near Lalgarh Jatan.

 

Clerk caught taking bribe
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 8
Kulwinder Singh, a clerk of the local treasury office, was caught red-handed yesterday while taking bribe by a team of the Vigilance Bureau.

A case under Sections 17 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered, according to Mr Kashmir Singh, DSP.

Kulwinder Singh had taken a bribe of Rs 500 from Mr Waryam Singh, a peon of Government High School, Jamarai, for sanctioning an amount of Rs 5437 against medical re-imbursement.

EDUCATION

Printed word still sacred, says Kuldip Nayar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 8
“Loyalty to professional requirements should be the main objective of a journalist as people still deem the printed word as sacred” remarked veteran journalist Kuldip Nayar at the national seminar on “Society and Development Communication” held today in the Senate hall of Punjabi University here. The seminar was organised by the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Kuldip Nayar, who presided over the inaugural session of the seminar, favoured the setting up of a press commission in India, to regulate actions of journalists and make them notice actual meaning of freedom of expression and stressed upon the requirement of South Asian News Agency to serve as a native information news agency for Asia. He added it is tolerant nature of people which worked as glue in binding Indians together.

Mr B.K. Kuthiala, Professor in the Department of Mass Communication, Kurukshetra University, delivering the inaugural address stated at present it was the elite who controlled the media and it did not cater to the needs of the common man. He said newspapers no longer help frame views but have become a reflection of commercial ideology. He urged the gathering to consider some significant media-related questions like who was responsible for what was happening in media today and what is the pace and direction of the media.

Mr S.V. Kapil, Station Director, AIR, New Delhi, in his keynote address expressed the need for new communication models and conveyed his concerns over the issues of inter-state migration and multi cultures. Vijay Copra, Editor-in-Chief, Punjab Kesari group of publication was the guest of honour. He said media was going through a transitional phase and was like a coin and as such it had both — negative and positive aspects.

Mr S. Singh Boparai, Vice Chancellor, Punjabi university, in his presidential address laid emphasis on the fact that the university could become a tool for development communication, and bring a positive social change.

 

Women’s Day celebrated at IET, Bhaddal
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 8
Anu Neha from the College of Architecture, IET-Bhaddal, stood first in an inter-college paper-reading contest was organised to mark International Women’s Day at the Institute of Engineering and Technology here today. Students from various institutes participated in the contest.

While Mukat of the APJ Institute of Management, Jalandhar, bagged the second position, Raminder Mann of Baba Kuma Singh Engineering College, Amritsar, stood third and Satbir Singh of SGGS College of Pharmacy, Chandigarh, won consolation prize.

A blood donation camp was also organised on the occasion. A team of 16 members headed by Dr Usha Rao, Blood Transfusion Officer, PGI, collected 225 units of blood. The Chairperson, Ms Kulwinder Gurcharan Singh, also donated blood along with the faculty and staff of the IET. A face painting, mehndi and cartooning contests were also held.

Ms Neena Singh, Vice-President, HDFC Bank, Chandigarh, was the chief guest.

Certificates were given to 23 girls of neighbouring villages who had attended embroidery and tailoring courses run by the institute at Hirdapur village.

The District Forest Department also celebrated Women’s Day by spreading awareness about social evils like foeticide, dowry and AIDS. A self-help group of village women was formed to protect the forest in their areas.

A large number of women from the villages were called at Bharatgarh as for the first time a woman sarpanch was elected. “We chose this day to make the women of these self-reliant and make them aware of social evils”, said the Divisional Forest Officer, Mr S.S Bhati.

 

Call for elevating status of women
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 8
The Desh Bhagat Group of educational institutions today celebrated International Women’s Day on the campus of the Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Dr Ranjana Malik, wife of former Army Chief V.P. Malik was the chief guest. Various competitions like paper-reading contest, poem recitation, painting competition and collage making contests on various women-related issues were organised in which teams from different colleges all over the state participated.

Dr Malik advocated the cause of elevating the status of women by providing sufficient education and encouraging entrepreneurship. She urged the women to fight for their rights and not go for female foeticide.

Dr Zora Singh, Chairman, DBIMCS, stressed the need for stringent laws so as to provide safety and preserve the dignity of women.

He said the declining sex ratio was a matter of concern for all of us and it was only women who could control this menace. 

 

PTU meet from tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 8
The ninth annual athletics meet of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, will be organised at Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan Stadium of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College (BBSBEC), Fatehgarh Sahib, from March 10 to 12.

Dr D.S. Hira, Principal of the college, said the Vice-Chancellor of PTU , Dr S.K. Salwan, would inaugurate the meet, where as the Flying Sikh Milkha Singh would be the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony.

More than 1500 athletes of more than 60 colleges affiliated to PTU would participate and Principals and Directors of these colleges would also attend the meet.

On the closing ceremony Olympian and Dhyan Chand awardee Brig Labh Singh would be the chief guest.

 

CM urged to raise age limit for teachers’ recruitment
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 8
Supporting the demands of unemployed ETT teachers, members of the youth wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) yesterday handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner here to forward it to the CM.

In the memorandum, the youth wing asked the Chief Minister to increase the upper age limit for recruitment of ETT teachers from 33 years to 42 years and recruit the teachers through the state Education Department instead of zila parishads.

It urged the Chief Minister to remove flaws in the advertisement, which prevented many unemployed ETT teachers from applying for posts of teacher. It asked the Chief Minister to recruit unemployed ETT teachers on the 1998-2000 pattern.

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