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Sikh bodies seek removal of Josh from NCM
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Even as various Sikh organisations have sought the immediate removal of Mr Harcharan Singh Josh as a member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) for challenging the distinct identity of the Sikhs, he (Mr Josh) dared them saying “Let Akal Takht summon him”.

Talking to The Tribune from New Delhi on telephone today, Mr Josh said he would decide whether to appear or not before Akal Takht only after receiving summons to be issued by the Sikh clergy. He reiterated that the Sikhs were part of the Hindus as they still enjoyed common culture.

While spokesman for the Dal Khalsa Bhai Mohkam Singh urged Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti to summon Mr Josh at Akal Takht for his alleged ‘irresponsible utterances’ and ‘excommunicate’ him from the Panth, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Akali Dal, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and Mr Harinderpal Singh, both SGPC members, demanded his immediate removal as a member of the NCM. They said Mr Josh should either step down or the Central Government should remove him from the NCM. Mr Sarna said if Mr Josh wanted the ‘assimilation’ of the Sikhs into the majority community then he had no moral right to continue as a member of the NCM. Mr Calcutta, who is also the patron of the Chief Khalsa Diwan (CKD), deplored the nomination of Mr Josh to the NCM saying he did not know the basic tenets of the Sikhism. He also expressed concern over the honour bestowed by the CKD and other Sikh organisations on Mr Josh without knowing his credentials.

However, reiterating his utterances that “Sikhs are part of Hindus”, Mr Josh said there were many families where one brother was Hindu and another a Sikh. The Hindus and the Sikhs were inseparable, he said. He said marriages between the Hindus and the Sikhs were common, which was a symbol of common cultural ties between the two communities. However, to a pointed question, Mr Josh denied that he was ever deputed by the Congress to justify the Operation Bluestar in 1984 in the foreign countries.

However, the spokesman for the Dal Khalsa said the Sikhs hold the Hindus in high esteem like other faiths and communities but it was wrong to dub them as part of the Hindus. He threatened to mobilise Sikh masses to enforce the removal of Mr Josh if he failed to apologise.

 

Action against SGPC secy sought
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 19
Baba Gurpinder Singh of Gurusar Satlani in a press conference here today urged the government and the authorities concerned to take action against Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) secretary Raghbir Singh, who is also the receiver of the Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani, and other employees for allegedly attacking and injuring sevadar Gurmej Singh.

Baba Gurpinder alleged that Raghubir Singh was misguiding the SGPC President over the issue as the land belonged to Baba Gurpinder as per the revenue records. He alleged that in the name of religion, he was trying to grab the land.

Detailing the incident, he alleged on March 17, the SGPC secretary along with other employees were trying to grab the said land and when his sevadar Gurmej Singh tried to stop them, they attacked him with sharp-edged weapons and sticks. He said on the orders of the court, a medical report was sent to the police station. However, no action had been taken by the police against the accused.

Mr Avtar Singh, President of the SGPC in a press statement, had accused the police of failing to take action against sevadars of Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani. He said despite several seriously injured persons lying in hospital, the police had yet to take action against any accused in the case. He had alleged that sevadars of the Gurusar Satlani had attacked employees of the shiromani committee.

Baba Gurpinder said there were shops, sheds, residences and rice shellers on that land and as per the corporation and revenue records, the land belonged to him. These shops, residences and shellers had valid electricity connections. He said they would be forced to the legal path if the authorities failed to take action against the accused persons.

While Mr Raghubir Singh could not be contacted even after repeated attempts, Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary, said Mr Raghubir Singh could give the answer better as he was receiver in the case.

 

Conversions worry Sarna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee (DSGMC) president, Mr HS Sarna today expressed grave concern over the large scale conversion of people to Christianity in some Punjab districts like Gurdaspur. He also sought to blame the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), although not directly, by maintaining that it (the SGPC) had not performed its role well.

Talking to reporters here today, Mr Sarna observed that most of the SGPC members’ families were also not strictly subscribing to the Sikh maryada. “We have to blame ourselves also”, he remarked, while adding, the issue of Christian conversions in the border district of Gurdaspur and parts of Bathinda district needed to be taken seriously.

He said the DSGMC was prepared to offer fully cooperation to the SGPC in its religious activities like the Dharam Prachar. However, if it (the SGPC) failed in its responsibility, the Delhi committee will not hesitate to step in and fill the vacuum.

Mr Sarna asserted that the Delhi committee had no political interests in Punjab and its sole purpose was “dharam prachar”. The committee had formed a group of people who were moving from place to place for the dharam prachar.

The DSGMC president took strong exception to the presentation of ‘desh droh’ programme by the Zee TV. He said, the programme had presented a distorted picture of the Sikhs. He asked the media group to call in Sikh intellectuals who were the real representatives of people and ask them about their views. He asserted that the Sikhs had always been staunch nationalists and the Zee TV programme had hurt their feelings.

He also announced that the DSGMC would organise the 400 years of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev at the Indian Science Congress headquarters and hoped that the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh would preside over it.

 

CM selling interests of Punjabis, says Badal
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 19
An atrocities inquiry commission headed by a retired high court judge would be constituted to look into the cases of excesses being committed by the present Congress regime in the state once Akali Dal (Badal) is voted back to power, stated Former Chief Minister and President SAD, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal while talking to mediapersons at the residence of former Irrigation Minister, Mr. Janmeja Singh Sekhon here today.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, Mr. Sukhpal Singh BJP MLA, Mr. Paramjit Singh, ex-MLA and other Senior Akali Leaders were also present on the occasion.

Mr Badal said that the commission thus constituted would be on similar lines as Emergency Atrocities Commission formed by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Murarji Desai to look into the cases of atrocities committed by Indira Gandhi-led Congress Government during the Emergency.

Lashing out at the Chief Minister, Mr. Badal said that Akalis would give a fitting reply to the political vendetta unleashed by him. He said that there was nothing like democracy in Punjab today and the state was reeling under abject autocracy and repression and that the Chief Minister was dancing to the tunes of political masters in New Delhi and was selling the interest of Punjabis to aliens.

Mr Badal stated that today all the segments of the society were fed up from the policies of the Congress government which was pushing the state towards dark days. He said that huge claims of the Congress Government regarding colossal inflow of investments in the state were nothing but a farce. Mr. Badal said that only few henchmen of the Capt. Amarinder Singh which comprised liquor and land mafia were making quick buck whereas the common man had no say at any level of the government hierarchy.

Mr Badal said that it was worst-ever budget presented by any government which will prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the Congress regime.

Expressing concern over the plight of farmers, Mr. Badal stated that the current rise in inflation, if remained unchecked, will break the backbone of the common man, especially the farmers of the state who have no option left but to commit suicides, adding that there was dire need to enhance the MSP of various agricultural produce as the input costs were increasing every day.

About the possibility of any electoral alliance with BSP or any other party, Mr. Badal said that his party was open to any kind of alliance with like-minded and anti-Congress parties but it was too premature to decide on that.

Mr. Badal termed the recent clash between the two warring groups of Akali Dal in Samana yesterday as unfortunate stating that a three-member committee comprising senior party functionaries would look into the matter.

Mr Badal later attended a rally of Akali leaders and workers at the residence of Mr. Mohinder Singh Virk, former President, Youth Akali Dal. While addressing the workers, Mr Badal said that the functionaries of the state body of the Youth Akali Dal would be decided soon.

 

Liquor to flow freely in Punjab
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 19
Punjab was once known as the land where streams of milk flowed. Now from April 1, 2006 the state will acquire the new status of the land of liquor streams as the Capt Amarinder Singh's government has decided to make an unprecedented increase in the liquor quota for the consumption of people.

Unmindful of the slogan that 'consumption of liquor is injurious to health' the state congress government has decided to open more than 8000 vends in every nook and corner of Punjab in the next financial year to make liquor available to people at their doorsteps. In the current financial year the state government has been making liquor available to people through 5600 vends.

As per official information, the people of Punjab will have 9 crores proof litres liquor to consume in a year starting from April, 2006 to March, 2007. The people of the state are at present having 6.6 crores proof litres of liquor to consume from the period of ranging from April, 2005 to March, 2006.

As per the data collected by TNS, the state government has made a hike of more than 35 per cent in the quota of liquor to be sold to bacchus lovers from April 1. Not only this, it has decided to open about 2400 new vends to make liquor more freely available to tipplers.

Information revealed that the authorities concerned had made arrangements to sell about 24 crores bottles of both Indian Made Foreign liquor (IMFL) and country-made liquor in the next financial year against the sale of about 17 crores bottles in the current financial year.

A cross-section of officials of state Excise Department to whom TNS talked to justified the increase in the quota of liquor and number of vends. They reasoned that it would make liquor cheaper on the one hand while on the other it would also curb the practice of illicit distillation now going on rampantly in the countryside.

The officials explained that it would also demonopolise the liquor trade in the state and would give liberty to the tipplers to have a brand of their own choice, which had become nearly impossible in the past three years.

Apart from it, the new excise policy under which the license for running vends would be allotted to people by draw of lots procedure, would generate considerable employment opportunities.

However, they admitted that it would initiate more and more people towards alcohol because of the cheaper prices at which it would be sold. Cheaper prices of liquor would also wean away people from addiction of narcotics. The state excise authorities might face problems to recover installments of license fee and excise duty from the vendors due to unhealthy competition to be initiated among them by new excise policy.

Mr S.K Ralhan, Additional Commissioner, Excise and Taxation, Punjab, when contacted, said that the new excise policy would make a level playing field for all the vendors and would not allow anyone to monopolise the trade. The new excise policy had been getting huge response from the people and about 1500 application forms had been purchased by those who wanted to take licence to run liquor vends from the next financial year.

He said that minimum sale price of IMFL and Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) would be fixed by the department to discourage undercutting of prices by the vendors.

 

Cultivation of orchids: Punjab can follow Karnataka
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In an experiment that could show Punjab farmers a way of diversifying into profitable cultivation of orchids, a self-help society of Karnataka farmers-Kanflora- has undertaken cultivation of hybrid clones of orchids suitable to the locally available environment.

Relating the experiment’s success story at Panjab University here today Mr S.N. Hedge, an agro technologist who started Kanflora, said the experience of the Karnataka farmers could be repeated with equal success in this part of the country with different species of orchids suited to the local climate.

“It all started four years ago. Realising the importance of orchids in floriculture some progressive farmer friends of Uttar Kannada district near my home town Sirsi interacted with me about four years and organised themselves into a society to promote orchid cultivation.”

Initially in 2003, just seven farmers started the venture pooling in their own resources. All of them had their own farm land and were also willing to undertake the project. In the subsequent years based on the encouraging results more farmers opted and the second phase was launched with improved techniques of cultivation. Strict compliance to the methods involved in such experiments was ensured by all the farmers.

Kanflora introduced about 20 Dendrobium hybrid clones (tissue cultured) and in order to cope with the adverse weather conditions of heavy rains and winter cold suitable orchid houses and cultivation techniques were adopted.

“Dendrobium genus is important as it has contributed significantly in the growth of tropical cut flower trade in South-East Asia, specially Thailand and Singapore,” he said.

During the course of the projects banks came forward to fund the farmers and since the initial investment was of at least Rs 2.1 lakh per farmer, many other farmers joined in. By the end of the fourth phase, more farmers joined in totaling 22 units of 1000 plants each.

“After one year of vegetative growth the flower spikes appeared which were harvested with disinfected scissors. The stage of harvesting of the flower spikes depend on the market requirement either with a few bottom flowers open with few buds or all flowers open. The spikes harvested are marketed through the consultant in Bangalore, Goa and Mangalore after a proper market survey and demand patterns,” he added.

This experiment has proved to be good news for other farmers of Karnataka. “Commercial cultivation of ornamental hybrid orchids and vanilla was started by some companies in Bangalore. Few entrepreneurs in Dakshin Kannada and Udipi districts also ventured into cultivating tropical orchids but could not really take off in Karnataka despite favourable climatic conditions in coastal Western Ghat and Manad areas. However the present venture undertaken by these progressive farmers has instilled interest among the people of the region to take up similar projects,” he said.

 

With love to Pak kids from Indian students
Largest letter to be taken in padyatra to Lahore
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar March 19
Irrespective of differences that adults, governments and politicians of India and Pakistan may have shared, children rushed unhindered today to sign the world's largest love letter from students of India to students of Pakistan at the historic Jallianwala Bagh, here.

Hundreds of children from various schools, colleges besides those visiting Jallianwala Bagh with their parents clamoured to scribble their thoughts in words, pictures and signs to convey their love and need for friendship with children of the neighboring country.

Many children wrote separate letters for an "unknown" student across the border and red them out aloud at the function organised today ahead of the padyatra that will carry the love letter to Pakistan.

Some, indeed, touched the heart. Like Harsimran wrote: "I am a friend and your sister as well". Another wrote: "Can we unite back?" Still another admonished adults with his words: "Please make the grown-ups realise what they are doing to our future".

Spearheading this Indo-Pak great friendship movement, John Silliphant from the USA gathered a group of 12 members under the banner of "Friends Without Borders" and undertook the project of inviting letters from students all of over the country to be addressed to the children of Pakistan .

The movement started in mid-December at Bangalore with a largest original painting by eminent artist John Devraj. It is as large as a stadium - framed with large canvases dabbed with a signature campaign, pictures and messages of love and friendship from all over the nation, including parts of Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, southern states and Punjab Thousands of letters were received by Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad in response this call.

The largest love letter made of pieces of tarpaulin six by six feet were displayed at Jallianwala Bagh. These will be joined together through holes in its corners and form one large piece nearly 86400 square feet, explained Ms Yoo Mi Lee (USA) who is coordinating the project.

It would be pushed in a handcart till Wagah during the 'padyatra' that would be flagged off from the Martyrs' Memorial - the Jallianwala Bagh, a unifying symbol of freedom for both countries from British rule, informed Mr Mark Jacobs (US), Vandana (Pune) , Jayesh and Anar Patel (Ahmedabad) and Man Durana (Canada) who are part of the group.

The handwritten letters would be taken in trucks. The delegation would be received by Mr Qasim Khursheed on behalf of Pakistan Foreign Minister Mahmud Khursheed Kasuri and were expected to meet Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

 

Badal asks EC to disqualify Sonia also
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Supporting the stand taken by its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today asked the Election Commission of India to disqualify Congress President Sonia Gandhi for the same reasons it disqualified Samajwadi MP Jaya Bachchan.

Talking to reporters here today, the SAD president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, pointed out that like Ms Bachchan, Ms Gandhi was also holding a post of profit besides being the Member of the Lok Sabha.

He said the EC must show courage and set a precedent by ordering Ms Gandhi’s disqualification. He observed, nobody, including Ms Gandhi, should be above the law.

The former Chief Minister criticised the Punjab Government for “letting loose” a reign of terror in Punjab. He alleged that the state government was committing large-scale atrocities on the people. He announced that if his party came to the power, it would set up a commission which would look into the excesses committed by the government on the same pattern set up by the Janata Party government after the emergency.

Mr Badal appeared to be disturbed over the factionalism in the party in Ludhiana and other parts of the state.

 

Efforts on to unite rival Akali factions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Efforts are on to form an amalgamated Akali Dal that could be projected as formidable ‘third front’ against the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) before the Assembly elections, scheduled for February next year.

According to sources, leaders of various Akali factions are active these days to work out ‘acceptable’ merger. While the Dal Khalsa and the Shiromani Khalsa Dal have already decided to merge on the condition that Mr Daljit Singh Bittu would be the president of the Dal Khalsa, it has given an idea to rival Akali factions to forge a ‘principled alliance’.

It is learnt that certain senior leaders of different Akali factions are ready to accept Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) as leader provided he dilute his stand on Khalistan. They feel that no unified Akali Dal would be strong enough minus Mr Mann. In such a case the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal, led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann could also join such an umbrella of Akali factions.

Meanwhile, presidents of some Akali factions have approached Sant Ajit Singh Parivar Vichhora (Ropar) to head the proposed unified Akali Dal. Sant Parivar Vichhora once was nominated chairperson of the Parliamentary Board of the Akali Dal.

However, for the time being the Sant has refused to come forward to assume the command of different Akali factions.

It is believed that Mr Jaswant Singh Mann had ‘one-to-one-meeting’ with Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, in Chennai and some senior Akali leader of Mr Badal Akali faction. What transpired at the meeting could not be known.

 

Plan for development of fisheries in saline water
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
The Punjab Government has made a provision of Rs 61.25 lakh to launch a pilot project for the development of fisheries in saline/brackish water in the south-west districts — Faridkot, Ferozepore, Muktsar, Moga, Bathinda and Mansa — in the Tenth Plan.

This pilot project is being promoted on the recommendations of Punjab Agricultural University, which has been entrusted with the task of “utilisation of salt-affected and water-logged areas in the south-west Punjab through aquaculture.”

The final report of the Punjab Fisheries Department-sponsored scheme has been accepted by the government. The Principal Scientist, Dr Hardial Singh, did the spade work for this project making it feasible to promote fish culture in the south-west districts.

He is from Regional Research Centre of the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The pilot project profile has been included in the state’s annual plan 2006-07, though no outlay has been provided for this purpose in the next financial year. It is estimated that 1.25 lakh hectare area in the above mentioned districts is not fit for agricultural purposes due to saline and brackish water. This water, however, can be used for fish and prawn culture, as researched by PAU.

The annual report mentions that under the proposed pilot project, trial and demonstration ponds will be dug up and the Fisheries Department will bear the cost of their excavation and renovation.

For excavation, the department will pay up to Rs 1 lakh per hectare and for the latter Rs 50,000 per hectare. The report also mentions that since these will be trial-cum-demonstration units, the total cost of inputs and fish seed will also be borne by the department.

PAU researchers have submitted in their report that a micro-level survey of the affected area should be done to pinpoint suitable pockets for undertaking fresh water and brackish water aquaculture for fish and prawn species. As economic conditions of farmers in that belt are in shambles, they should be given special incentives by way of subsidies, bank loans and electricity connections on priority.

Dr Hardial Singh, during the course of feasibility study of the area, found that salinity ranged from as low as 0.5 ppt (parts per thousand) to as high as 43.8 ppt. Under the research scheme, at least four ponds were dug in the belt of Boora Gujjar village in Muktsar, Chhajarana village in Ferozepore, Kalalwala village in Bathinda and at Cotton Research Station of PAU, Goniana.

The PAU recommendation is that for low-salinity areas, freshwater prawn species macrobrachium rosenbergii and pearl spot, etroplus suratensis, can be undertaken. The species for low-water salinity are major carps (C.catla, rohita, C. mrigala) and exotic carps (C. idella, H.molitrix, C. carpio) and for medium to high-water salinity, tiger prawn (penaeus monodon).

One of the problems faced during the research project was that the fish were the victim of predatory birds and PAU has recommended that the department should also provide nets to farmers.

 

Need to revise Police Act
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, March 19
Need to revise the Police Act, check on political interference in the police working and curbing social evils were underlined at a seminar on the “Role of media in constructive policing” organised by the Muktsar police here today.

Addressing the seminar, the Head of Department of Journalism at Punjabi University, Dr P.S. Walia, said there was an urgent need to revise the Police Act dating back to British Raj and added that the police should lend top priority to redress people’s grievances.

Taking serious note of some cops and journalists blackmailing and exploiting people, he said strict action should be taken against those bringing bad name to both the professions.

The Head of Department of Psychology at Punjabi University, Dr B.S. Sandhu, said political intervention must stop to bring about a positive change in the police functioning.

The Editor of Nawan Zamana, Mr Jatinder Pannu, said the police should play a vital role in curbing the social evils like drug addiction, female foeticide and crime against women.

Highlighting the role of the media in improving functioning of the police, Mr L.K. Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police, said the media had a key contribution in upholding the constitutional and moral values. He said rising above self-interests media persons should use their pen for bringing justice to the aggrieved sections of society. He said the Press was the fourth pillar of democracy and it could help bring people’s problems to the police notice. He exhorted the police officials to give a patient hearing to the people approaching them at police stations with their complaints and act as per law.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were Prof Parminder Singh, Dr Naresh Purbi, Mr Gurkirpal Singh and Mr Satpal Singh Komal.

 

Amritsar being neglected: manch
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
Amritsar city was being deliberately neglected in the allocation of Central as well as the state government projects to other parts of Punjab by the state government”. This was stated by Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala, President Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) in a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, here today.

Dr Gumtala said Amritsar does not have even a single institute of national level despite being the second largest city of Punjab and its world famous importance. He said the proposed National Institutes of Law, Defense and Nano-technology were being established near Chandigarh, Mohali and Patiala. The Central government had announced the setting up of Indian Institute of Sciences in Punjab and the Punjab government has selected Jalandhar for the establishment of this institute, despite the fact that Jalandhar and its 20-km surrounding area had already five central institutes and industries. The Punjab government has also decided to recommend to the Central government to accord the status of AIIMS to the medical institute at Jalandhar, he added.

He said that the Punjab government had shifted the National Institute of Bio-Technology from Amritsar to Dera Bassi in the Patiala district which showed discriminative approach of the Punjab government towards holy city.

He further said that the Golden Temple of Amritsar is fifth among the top 10 tourist destinations of the world while the Taj is eighth, as per the survey conducted by the BBC. Amritsar receives more than 50-lakh domestic and foreign tourists annually, he added.

The AVM president urged the Prime Minister to immediately take up the matter with the Punjab government for setting up the Indian Institute of Sciences and National Institute of Bio-technology at Amritsar. The Punjab government must give due share to Amritsar in the allocation of Central institutes to be set up in Punjab.

 

Rise in TB cases in Sangrur district
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 19
There is a significant rise of more than 45 per cent in the cases of tuberculosis (TB), considering the calendar year 2003 as a baseline, in the Sangrur district when the revised national TB control programme (RNTCP) was implemented.

Hundreds of TB cases are still hidden, undetected or untreated. Such undetected or untreated TB patients are a big hurdle in checking further spread of the disease as one such case infects 10 to 15 healthy persons with TB every year”.

This was disclosed by Dr Surinder Singla, In charge, District TB Centre, Sangrur, while addressing a gathering at a camp on the topic “Importance of public awareness about TB and AIDS” at government dispensary at Bhindran village, about 8 km from here, yesterday.

Dr Singla said that during the calendar year 2005 as many as 2623 patients suffering from TB had been put on treatment in the district while the number of patients was 1786 in the calendar year 2003 and 2392 in 2004. As per the nationwide survey, about 257 TB cases occurred per lakh every year in northern states of the country.

About 5400 TB patients out of the total population of 21 lakh in the Sangrur district should be detected and put on treatment every year.

To encourage hidden TB patients to get themselves diagnosed, Dr Singla appealed to the gathering to popularise the fact that TB was fully curable disease.

 

‘Re-introduce martyrdom day in holiday list’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 19
In a memorandum to Capt Amrinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, through the Deputy Commissioner, Hoshiarpur, Mr Sukhwinderjit Singh Sangha, the grand nephew of Sardar Bhagat Singh, criticised him and the government for cancelling the martyrdom day from the state gazetted holiday list.

Mr Sukhwinderjit Singh Sangha is the grandson of late Sardar Rajinder Singh, brother of Sardar Bhagat Singh, and is a practising lawyer at Hoshiarpur. He alongwith his associates presented the aforesaid memorandum to Mr D. K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, in his office here this afternoon.

He stated that Capt Amrinder Singh and his government had not only insulted the martyrs of the country but had also hurt the sentiments of people who had great respect for them.

The new generation would completely became ignorant of martyrs and their sacrifices

He suggested that Capt Amrinder Singh re-announce gazetted holiday on the martyrdom day.

 

Pak win jubilee celebrations
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, March 19
The Fateh Shibji Jammu and Kashmir Rifles of the Indian Army which had repulsed the brigade sized Pakistani attack herein Hussainiwala on the night of 18/19 March,1956, organized an impressive function yesterday to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the victory over Pakistani forces, which is considered as a landmark achievement in the annals of the history of Indian Army.

The celebrations which started with a motor cycle rally followed by events like Pagal Gymkhana’, ‘Sainik Sammelan’, ‘Release of First Day Cover, White Water Rafting Expedition and Barakhana ended on an upbeat note with a special function organised to honour gallantry award winners of the regiment.

Lieutenant General Susheel Gupta, Colonel of the regiment, presided over the valedictory function. He was presented guard of honour by smartly dressed jawans of the regiment. Honorary Capt Sunder Singh Ashok Chakra, the first recipient of the medal in the post independence era who was also present and narrated the precious moments of glory regarding the historic win over Pakistan on March 18,1956.

 

Man’s bid to marry off minor daughters
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 19
Residents of Kala Tibba village, near here, stopped a widower from getting his minor daughters married to grooms aged between 40 and 45 years, sources said.

According to information, Mr Amar Singh Dhanak had migrated to the village from Raisinghnagar (Rajasthan) along with his five daughters after the death of his wife some time ago. His brother Hardwari Lal, who was working as chowkidar in the village, had been looking after his nieces. One of the daughters of Mr Amar Singh had been married off last year.

Mr Amar Singh allegedly forced by his abject poverty had struck a deal that he would marry off Rajni (6) and Kali (11) to two persons aged between 40 and 45 years. The prospective grooms were both residents of Rukanpura Khuikhera village in this sub-division.

Sources said Mr Hardwari Lal came to know about the deal on Thursday last. He sent a word to the families concerned telling them not to come to the village for the marriages.

However, 50 baratis and the grooms arrived two hours early than the time fixed by Mr Amar Singh. Some residents of the village reportedly gheraoed the baratis and told them categorically that the marriages would not be allowed.

The parents of the grooms tried to get support from a senior functionary of the ruling party here, but he too rejected the idea after seeing the girls. The baratis after staying in the village for over 14 hours returned last night.

 

Couple crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 19
A couple was crushed to death on Sunday by a passenger train as they tried to cross an unmanned level crossing near Sarupewala village in this district. According to information available with the GRP, Lakhbir Singh, a son of Munsha Singh of Dhaani Kamrewala, was going along with his wife, Piaro Bibi, on a motor cycle.

As they tried to pass through an unmanned level crossing between the railway station of Jeevanarai and Guruharsahai, a passenger train going from Fazilka to Jalandhar City, hit the two-wheeler, crushing the couple.

 

PTU to introduce seven courses
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 19
Punjab Technical University has decided to introduce seven professional courses from the coming session.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Academic Council chaired by Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor. Giving details of the meeting, he said regular courses in MSc (bio-informatics), MSc (medical laboratory technology), BSc (biotechnology), BSc (hotel Management and catering), BSc (bio-informatics), BSc (hospitality) and BSc (video technology and mass communication) had been proposed to be started from the coming session.

Dr Salwan said some of these courses in bio-informatics and hotel management, being run under distance education programme, would now be run on regular basis.

The council members also decided on conducting the CET in the third week of May. The VC said the date would be confirmed after a notification by the state government.

Dr G.S. Grewal, Registrar, said it had been decided by the council to levy a fee for migration which was earlier free of cost. He said Rs 1,000 would be charged for internal migration and Rs 2,000 for external migration. The council constituted a committee to review the fee structure of the M. Pharmacy course.

The Registrar said a decision had also been taken on revision of the eligibility criterion for M. Tech (IT). He said the candidates who had completed MCA, MSc (IT), MSc (computer science), MSc (mathematics) and MSc (statistics) would now be considered for admission to M. Tech (IT).

The council decided to allow writers to the students who had received some injuries on their right hand during examination days. It passed a proposal to award dual degree to students doing a course being run jointly by the PTU and a foreign university.

 

282 college students get degrees
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 19
The annual convocation of the Government Arts and Science College was held at Talwara, 80 km from here, yesterday.

Degrees were conferred on 282 post-graduates and graduates by Mr Romesh Chander Dogra, Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab. Rolls of honour were awarded to Svanti Sharma and Archna Devi who were adjudged excellent C cadets. Mr Dogra also gave away tracksuits to 60 blood donor students on this occasion.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Dogra said this was the only college in this backward belt of Kandi which was providing higher education to poor students. He said the number of girl students was more than boys in this college. The girl students had achieved distinctions in studies and sports activities. He emphasised the need for compulsory education to the girls.

He condemned the menace of female foeticide and said that this trend had skewed the sex ratio of the population. The number of females was decreasing which was posing a serious threat to society. He appealed to the students and staff of the college to jointly campaign against the crime.

He announced Rs 2 lakh and Re 1 lakh respectively for the development of the college and for setting up a canteen.

 

Academy students honoured
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 19
The strength of the Miri Piri Academy here will be doubled in the coming years and the stress will be on the all round development of the students.

Ms Sada Anand Kaur, Principal of the academy, stated this at the annual day function of the academy held here late last evening. She said the academy, which was founded in 1998, had already churned out a generation of young students who had learnt not only mathematics and science but also enriched themselves in spirituality and religion.

Students gave impressive performances in traditional kirtan in pure raga, sitar orchestration, tabla, jugalbandi, bhangra and gatka. Bibi Inderjit Kaur, wife of late Harbhajan Singh Yogi, presided over the function. She gave away prizes to meritorious students of the academy.

The parents of the students, who had come from various countries, including the USA, Germany, Italy, the UK, Mexico, Norway, France, Canada, and South Africa, also attended the function.

 

Conference on computer science concludes
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 19
A two-day national conference on computers, “NCCSIT-2006”, organised by the Department of Computer Science, Engineering and Information Technology, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, concluded here today.

The Principal of the college, Dr D.S. Hira, presided over the valedictory function while Mr Harsh Sadawarti, Vice-Principal, RIMT Engineering College, Mandi Gobindgarh, was the chairperson of the concluding session of the conference.

Dr Hira said the pace of new development was tremendous and the things, which were fictions a few year ago, were now proving realities. He appealed to the participants to develop technologies for special people like the blind and the deaf so that they could also reap benefits of computers and IT.

A paper on biological database by Mr Rana Hashmy, Senior Analyst, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, was highly appreciated. He has explained in the paper about biological database, which represents an extraordinarily diverse collection of biological data.

Mr Dhur Parasher of the GLBITM, Noida, presented a paper on the application of expert system in automobiles navigation, Sarvjot Kaur of the TIET, Patiala, on resource discovery in grid environment, and Mr Vaibhav Saini of the TIET presented a paper on achieving mutual exclusion in distributed computing.

Prof Gurpal Singh, convener of the conference, said 24 authors presented their papers on various topics. Prof Ajaypal Singh, Prof A.P.S. Sethi, and Prof Amritbir Singh and Prof R.S. Uppal also expressed their views at the valedictory function.

 

ETT members hold protest

Amritsar, March 19
ETT members, who have done their diploma from out of the state, held a protest against the Punjab government decision to debar them from applying for the forthcoming recruitment of teachers at Ram Bagh here today.

The agitating teachers said they completed the two-year diploma from out of the state after not getting seats here. They said it was strange that the state government was not recognising diplomas of education boards of other states without assigning any plausible reason.

A large number of students had done ETT course from Jammu and Kashmir. — OC

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