P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Two Bheora aides held, RDX seized
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 25
The Ropar police today arrested two close aides of Paramjit Singh Bheora and recovered 250gm of RDX and a pistol from two different places here. The members of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) include Avtar Singh of Kurali, who was arrested from Chaparchiri, while Karamjit Singh of Patiala was arrested from Gharuna here.

The two BKI members had been providing shelter to Bheora, an accused in the Beant Singh assassination case, during his absconding period from Burail Jail. The two also kept arms and ammunition of Bheora and supplied these to his other contacts.

Bheora had stayed at the residence of Avtar Singh in Ward 6, Kurali, several times during night and also gave him currency notes. Karamjit Singh of Banur in Patiala district provided shelter to Bheora many times at night.

Giving details at a press conference here this evening, SSP, Surinder Pal Singh Virk said a team headed by CIA in charge Gurdeep Singh arrested Avtar Singh and Karamjit Singh after getting details about their activities. A case under the Arms and Explosive Act and providing shelter to Bheora was registered against the two at the Kharar police station.


CM writes to Sonia against Jagmeet
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has written to All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Ms Sonia Gandhi against Mr Jagmeet Brar for his alleged involvement in levelling allegations of corruption against the state government publically.

“I have taken up the matter with the Congress party President. I have written to her and said that Mr Jagmeet Brar has no business to speak against the Punjab government,” pointed out Capt Amarinder when asked about his comment over the allegation levelled against his government by Mr Brar, who is a senior leader of the party and special invitee to Congress Working Committee (CWC).

When asked that whether he wanted that disciplinary action should be taken against Mr Brar, he said,” Ms Gandhi is to decide in this connection”.

The Chief Minister, while talking to mediapersons here today, said that Congress MPs belonging to Punjab and its MLAs and ministers had also taken up the matter of payment of bonus by the Centre government on the wheat crop to the farmers with the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.

He added all these Congress leaders had urged the Prime Minister to review the decision of not giving any bonus to the farmers on their wheat crop, which was due to arrive in markets within a few days.

To a question, the chief minister said that Punjab would not allow its water to flow to Rajasthan as fields in the state were being still irrigated, adding that he would not do so even if he was asked to do so by the Prime Minister. He asked how Punjab could give water to Rajasthan by keeping its own fields starved?

Asked about his comments over the statement of Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, that those Congress MLAs, who were working as chairmen of different boards and corporations, should quit their posts by following the path shown by party President Ms Gandhi, he said that perhaps Mr Dullo, he was not aware of the fact that Punjab MLAs could be chairmen of boards and corporations as per the law enacted in the state in 1962.

When asked about his reaction over the agitation launched by doctors and para-medics working in government hospitals and dispensaries over the state government’s move to set up societies to run its medical colleges and hospitals, the Chief Minister said that medical colleges were being given independence by setting up the societies under the over-all control of Punjab government. He said that private colleges were neither being privatised nor being handed over into private hands.

The Chief Minister said that Prince Charles of England would visit Punjab to promote organic agriculture. He said that Punjab would be the first state in India where Prince Charles would initiate his project of promoting organic farming.


CM’s ‘organic date’ with Charles raises eyebrows
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Punjab CM’s double act is being noticed. As he prepares to extend a grand “organic welcome” to the royal guest from the UK, environment activists from the region are keenly watching over the interesting setting where a supporter of GM crops (read the CM) will raise a toast to the staunch critic of the same (read Prince Charles). The Prince may sure get to savour some fine organic meals, but farmers and environmentalists of Punjab can’t help having a bad taste.

Consider the paradox - Capt Amarinder Singh hails the release of Bt Cotton, a GM crop as one of his government’s finest achievements while Prince Charles favours a ban on GM crops. The Prince has been reiterating his dislike for genetically modified produce, besides questioning its long term damages on health and ecology. CM Punjab, on the other hand, has been using public funds to promote the cultivation of Bt Cotton.

It is, however, interesting to see the state government organising some “organic” events that might find favour with the Prince of Wales. Never mind the neglect of biosafety rules in GM crop research in some locations of Punjab and the way some untested GM products are routinely contaminating the supply chain, the government is now rushing to go organic. The best organic farmers of the region have been summoned to exhibit their produce at Patiala where Prince Charles will interact with some. He will then visit some organic farms near Patiala.

While the government works to impress its guest, NGOs that have been campaigning against GM technology, are feeling the pinch. In an open letter to Punjab CM, Umendra Dutt, Executive Director of Kheti Virasat Mission, questions: “If the Prince wants to know what the results of organic agriculture in Punjab are and what the government is doing to support its potential, will the CM have satisfactory answers? Can he say he has laid down regulations related to the spread of GM agriculture and implemented them to protect organic farmers’ interests? Can the government say it is aware of the need for bio-safety during research and trials?

It is significant that several recent government advertisements have been carrying CM’s photographs to promote Bt cotton. In this context, his “organic” date with Prince Charles seems ironical given the latter’s passion for organic farming. Prince Charles has even been questioning the need for GM agriculture.

Small wonder then that environmentalists have signed an open letter to the CM and told him, “”We want to tell the Prince that Punjab is reeling under the adverse effects of the Green Revolution while paying a heavy cost in the form of suicides, cancer and debts. We want to point out that the similarities of GM technologies with pesticides are uncanny and understandable.

But we must not forget that DDT which won Paul Muller a Nobel Prize in 1939 is a banned chemical today. We hope when the CM shows glimpses of rural Punjab to Prince Charles, he will do so with faith in the potential of organic agriculture.”

Safe food, after all, is as much a prerogative of masses as of “maharajas.”


Warm welcome awaits Charles, Camilla
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, March 25
The Punjab Government and the SGPC are all set to give a warm welcome to Prince Charles and his wife Camilla during their visit here to pay obeisance at the historical Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib gurdwara on March 28.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, along with cabinet ministers will receive Prince Charles here. While the Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Tarlochan Singh, will present siropa to Prince Charles and also give him literature about Sikh history, the SGPC president Avatar Singh Makkar will also welcome him there.

According to information, Prince Charles, along with his team, will land at the helipad near the PSEB guest house in a helicopter at about 11 am and stay for about one hour in the town.

Nihang Singhs of Baba Nihal Singh Haryanawala group and students of the Miri Piri academy would perform martial arts for Prince Charles after his visit to the gurdwara, said Tarlochan Singh.


Finish road project soon, CM tells officials
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh showed complete devotion, patiently listening to the hymns, the “Mukhwak” and the ardas at Harmander Sahib yesterday. He was the first PM to have spent so much time at any religious place.

He is, also perhaps, the first Prime Minister to have used the word ‘Panth’, in his speech. Observers say that this would go a long way in wooing back the Sikhs and improving the image of the Congress among the Sikh masses.

It is learnt that the PM had asked the Chief Minister to ensure the construction of the elevated road project, estimated at Rs 210 crore, to ease traffic to Darbar Sahib. Capt Amarinder Singh directed the officials concerned to complete the project even before the deadline. The elevated road from Maqboolpura to Bhandari bridge and the four-laned single-pillar elevated road with three ramps and one exit and two entry points was announced by the PM yesterday before flagging off the Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus service.

A feasibility report for a portion of the project has already been assigned to the Punjab Infrastructural Development Board (PIDB)

The elevated road project from the local Maboolpura crossing towards the Bhandari Bridge in addition to the elevated road towards the Golden Temple is aimed at easing traffic coming from the Wagah border or New Delhi/Chandigarh to the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh.

Multi-approaches on the dual carriageway would help ease traffic snarls and bottlenecks in the highly congested area.


SAD, BJP to petition Governor against CM, 33 MLAs
Offices of profit
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
At a luncheon meeting here today hosted by the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, top leaders of the SAD and the BJP drew up a strategy to launch an offensive legally and politically against the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and his party’s 33 MLAs, who are allegedly holding offices of profit, and build up a campaign for the coming Assembly elections.

Two former Union Ministers of the BJP, Mr Arun Jaitley and Mr Vijay Goel, were also present at the meeting which was kept out of bounds for mediapersons. The meeting was held at the Sector 9 private residence of Mr Badal. At the three-hour meeting besides Mr Badal, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Mr Tota Singh, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal represented the SAD while Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit, Mr Vijay Sampla, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mr Harjit Singh Grewal represented the BJP.

Mr Jaitley, a top Supreme Court lawyer, briefed the leaders on how to go about legally against the MLAs whose names had been shortlisted for “holding offices of profit”. A senior leader of the SAD told The Tribune that after studying various laws and related rules and procedures, the SAD and BJP leaders reached the conclusion at today’s meeting that Capt Amarinder Singh was holding at least three offices of profit. One of these was the office of Chairman of the Punjab State Land Use and Wasteland Development Board. The Congress has levelled an allegation of holding an office of profit against the BJP Chief Minister of Jharkhand. “We will petition the Governor tomorrow or the day after against the 33 Congress MLAs and the Chief Minister for holding offices of profit”, said the Akali leader. As a part of the strategy, the BJP had been asked to submit the petition separately against the Congress MLAs, said the SAD leader.


Congress, BJP leaders trade charges
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur March 25
The Congress and BJP leaders have locked horns over the issue of holding offices of profit by elected representatives in the state. Congress workers today burned effigies of former BJP president L.K.Advani at various places in the district. These included Sarna, Gurdaspur and Batala. They also raised slogans against the BJP leaders who were giving statements against Ms Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress leaders, including the Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Mr Ashok Sharma, Mr Khushal Behl and Mr Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa praised Ms Sonia Gandhi for setting standards of morality in politics.

Mr Ashwani Kumar, Union Minister of State for Industries, said the Opposition leaders who were upping the ante against Ms Sonia Gandhi were now finding it hard to follow her act. No Opposition leader was willing to leave the office of profit or resign as elected member as Ms Gandhi has done. He also accused the BJP of trying to attack Ms Sonia Gandhi on non issues. Earlier they had do turn red faced when the Congress president rejected the post of the Prime Minister, he said.

On the other hand, BJP leaders in the district have termed the resignation of Ms Sonia Gandhi as a stunt for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state. Mr Mohan Lal, former minister of BJP, while talking to newsmen, said if the Congress was so serious about morality in political life, it should also tell all its ministers and MLAs holding offices of profit to resign.

In Gurdaspur district alone, three Congress leaders, including Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, Mr Ashok Sharma and Ms Aruna Chowdhary, were holding offices of profit in violation of the rules. Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri was also the Chairman of PUDA. Mr Ashok Sharma is the president of the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and Ms Aruna Chowdhary is chairman of PUNSUP.

All these leaders have been enjoying financial benefits from offices of profit they are holding. If the Congress was serious about morality in public life, it should ask the said leaders to resign from the offices.

The BJP would launch a statewide agitation to expose the Congress on the issue of holding offices of profit by its leaders, he said.


Cop on ‘marriage spree’ for dowry
Our Correspondent

Asha, deserted wife of a constable who allegedly married number of times for the sake of dowry, narrates her story at Dhaani Shafi village
Asha, deserted wife of a constable who allegedly married number of times for the sake of dowry, narrates her story at Dhaani Shafi village on Saturday.

Abohar, March 25
A police constable has so far deserted at least three wives without legally divorcing them, according to a complaint lodged before the Sub Divisional Peace Committee here today. Despite serving with a notice, the constable did not appear to clarify his position. Preliminary inquiries indicated he had been shifted to the district police lines four times due to different reasons.

Asha, who appeared before the committee along with her child, parents and sarpanch of Dhaani Shafi village near here, claimed that she was the last wife of the constable in the present series. They alleged that the constable had so far married six girls none was legally divorced.

According to Puran Singh Raisikh, Asha’s father and a daily wage earner, Asha was married to the constable during his posting at the police station at Fazilka. He said though the expectations of the constable were very high but he could manage Rs 70,000 besides other dowry items. But three days after the marriage the constable brought a woman with her two children to his house. He introduced her as widow of his brother, but after a week the constable started sleeping with the woman in a separate room. Puran said when Asha protested she was kicked out of house allegedly for not bringing enough dowry.

The affected family later learnt that the constable had married a divorced woman of Sukhera village near Jalalabad, 50 km from here, for dowry. However, that wife also severed relations with him on knowing the truth.

The constable again approached Puran and accepted Rs 7,000 and brought back Asha to his house. But last year when she became pregnant the constable reiterated the demand for money and when Puran refused to oblige Asha was again kicked out.

Interestingly, Charanjit Kaur and Gurmeet Kaur, sister and wife of the younger brother of the constable, respectively, today said before the committee that they too were unhappy over his conduct. He perhaps married five or six women for the sake of dowry, they reportedly said.

The DSP has summoned the constable to appear in the next meeting to be held on April 1.


Rath yatra renamed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
With the objective of adding political punch to the proposed Advani-Rajnath Singh rath yatra, the BJP's think tank has changed its name to "Bharat suraksha yatra" , linking it to the security of the country and the safety of its people.

Earlier, Mr L.K. Advani, top BJP leader, who was the first to make an announcement a few weeks ago to hold such a yatra, had named it the " national integration yatra". The yatra is to begin on April 6.

The concept of national integration was popularised by the Congress in the 70s when terrorism dug its roots in north-eastern states and Punjab. The concept is linked to the names of Congress leaders, the late Indira Gandhi and the late Rajiv Gandhi.

The national secretary of the BJP, Mr Vijay Goel, said here today that the yatra had been renamed after a discussion among top leaders of the party."The country is not secure in the hands of the UPA government because of its soft and flexible policies as far as dealing with terrorism and Naxalism is concerned. The UPA government should go," said Mr Goel, who is in charge of the rath yatra to held by the BJP President, Mr Rajnath Singh, beginning from Orissa and concluding in Delhi on May 10 after passing through UP, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Mr Goel said the UPA government had done away with POTA and TADA and was resorting to a policy of appeasement instead of striking hard against the elements who were killing innocent persons in the country. "During the rath yatra we will make people aware of how the country's security has been compromised by the UPA government and how the base of terrorism and Naxalism is expanding, " said Mr Goel. When pointed out that during the tenure of the previous BJP- led NDA government the country faced terrorist attacks on Parliament, a well-known temple in Gujarat and elsewhere, Mr Goel said that was a matter of the past.

Justifying the yatra, which has been branded a "danga"( riots) yatra by the Congress, Mr Goel said that even Mahatma Gandhi used to hold yatras to feel the pulse of the people on various issues. Young persons would be involved in the yatra in a big way.

The issue of an ordinance, which was to be brought by the Congress to save Mrs Sonia Gandhi from disqualification from the Lok Sabha, would also be highlighted during the yatra. The Congress was planning to play a fraud on the Constitution by issuing the ordinance bypassing Parliament.

Mr Rajnath Singh, riding a rath equipped with modern gadgets and facilities, will begin the yatra on April 6 after paying obeisance at the temple of Bhagwan Jagannath in Puri and arrive on May 10 in Delhi. His yatra would join Mr Advani's yatra, which would be arriving there through a different route.

Mr Goel said the yatra in Punjab would arrive on May 4 and pass through Amritsar, Batala,Mukerian, Dasuya and Tanda to reach Ludhiana late that evening. The next day it would pass through Jagraon, Moga and Abohar to enter Rajasthan. In Punjab, the BJP has carefully selected the route of the yatra which will pass mainly through those areas where it has influence and its candidates had won the Assembly elections in 1997.


Makkar gives political hue to Baluana clash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 25
Lending a political colour to the recent clash between the SGPC task force and Baluana village residents, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar today accused Finance Minister Surinder Singla of “masterminding the recent attack” on Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh.

He was addressing a meeting of religious bodies at Talwandi Sabo.

However, no decision was taken at today’s meeting and the matter was left to another meeting scheduled to be held at Sri Akal Takht on March 29. The sole point made at the meeting was on the withdrawal of criminal case against Jathedar Nandgarh.

Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti also justified the action of the SGPC task force. Interestingly, Akali leaders with proximity to the Badal family kept away. They included district SAD president Sikander Singh Malooka, ex-minister Chiranji Lal Garg, Bathinda MP Paramjeet Kaur Gulshan, MLAs Gura Singh Tungwali and Jagdeep Singh Nakai and SGPC member from Baluana Balwant Singh Bir Behman.

This is being seen as trouble in the making for Jathedar Nandgarh. Sources said a section of SAD leaders were unhappy with the jathedar’s style of functioning.

Meanwhile, SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann will visit Baluana village on Monday and discuss the matter with the villagers.


DSGMC ready to bear bus expenses
Tribune News Service

Wagah, March 25
The Indian passengers of the inaugural Amritsar-Nankana Sahib bus returned here today with ‘eternal and undying’ memories of the reception given to them in Pakistan amidst drum beats marking the fourth road-link between Pakistan and India.

Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, Khalsa College, who returned with the delegation of ministers, said that a large number of schoolchildren carrying the national flags of Pakistan and India in their hands, greeted the Indian guests in the most memorable way. The passengers were garlanded and showered with rose petals.

However, Mr Bishan Singh, President, Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC), rued that the service of Amritsar-Lahore and Amritsar-Nankana Sahib buses were unlikely to be used by the Pakistani Sikhs due to strict visa restrictions. He told the Indian passengers that the ‘Ardas’ could be completed in true sense when Pakistani Sikhs would also be able to have ‘khulley darshan didar’ (free access) of Harmander Sahib and other Sikh shrines in India.

Meanwhile, Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, President, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), today offered to bear all the expenses to run regular bus between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib and Amritsar-Lahore bus service. He said that it was wish of the DSGMC to provide ‘free bus travel’ to a common Sikh to undertake pilgrimage of Gurdwaras in Pakistan. He has sent a communication to Punjab Chief Minister to hand over the bus service to the DSGMC. He alleged that Shiromani Akali Dal led by Mr Parkash Singh Badal had failed to launch bus service to Lahore and Nankana Sahib when his party was partner in the NDA government.


Kharar MC passes Rs 13.49 cr budget
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 25
The municipal council cleared a budget of over Rs 13.49 crore for 2006-07 at a special meeting held here today.

There has been an increase of 107 per cent in the yearly budget this year against that of last year which had stood at Rs 5.5 crore. Mr Charanjit Singh, president of the municipal council, claimed that the increase in the budget of the local civic body was the highest in the state.

According to various income provisions, the council expects to earn a revenue of Rs 5.5 crore by clearing building plans, a sum of Rs 3.75 crore from its property and another Rs 3.16 crore from octroi.

The income earned by clearing building plans has become the main source of revenue for the civic body. Till last year the main revenue of the council came from octroi. The council president said the civic body had extended the municipal limits which would help in earning more income. Multi-storeyed flats had been planned by colonisers in the adjoining areas of the town and as such the civic body was able to earn more revenue by clearing building plans of those areas.

Mr Charanjit Singh said the House cleared Rs 1 crore which would be spent on constructing two community centres. A sum of Rs 60 lakh had been proposed for sinking five tubewells. In the coming two years, the town would be provided with proper water supply, sewerage and streetlights.


Seminar on right to information held
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, March 25
The Indian Right of Information Act is more comprehensive than USA’s Right of Information. The Indian democracy has matured. Therefore, it had become imperative to change the colonial Act of right to information. The right of information is an instrument through which justice can be dispensed fast.

This statement was made by the Chief Information Commissioner, Mr Rajan Kashyap, while delivering the presidential address at a seminar on the “Right of Information and Journalists” organised by the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists here, today.

He added that the Act would enhance public participation both in the government and governance.

Highlighting certain Clauses of the Act, Mr Kashyap said it empowers every person to seek information from two days to a month. An official concerned could be prosecuted under Sections 18 and 20 on denial of the required information to the seeker.

While seeking information, a journalist should be specific, said Mr Vinod Kohli, state president of the union. He also appealed the journalists and non-government organisations (NGOs) to educate the common man about the Act.

Mr DK Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, said the Act would work as a deterrent against the wrong and biased decision makers.

Later, Mr Baljinder Pal Singh, president of Hoshiarpur unit of the union gave a vote of thanks.


Opening Durgiana temple’s safe invites criticism
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25
Various Hindu organisations are up in arms following breaking of the locks of historic toshakhana of the ancient Durgiana temple, which contained jewellery worth crores, without taking opponent party into confidence.

The Durgiana Sangarsh Committee (DSC) today alleged that the locks were broken on March 23, and jewellery and documents worth several crores were taken away by the present Durgiana Committee.

Mr Ramesh Sharma, president of the DSC, said Mr Surinder Arjun, president, and other members of the Durgiana Committee, had broken the locks and taken away jewellery, including gold jewellery worth Rs 3 crore, gold biscuits worth Rs 35 lakh that were purchased through SBI, silver ornaments weighing about 100 kg and Rs 3 lakh.

Mr Sharma said they had written to the SSP for registering a case against Mr Arjun and other members involved in this. The DSC claimed that the Executive Magistrate had put an extra lock on the existing locks on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Mr Arjun, however, said it was the internal matter of the Durgiana Committee and it had the power to use the money and jewellery for the development of the temple and its surroundings. He said the interim order regarding the locking of toshakhana had already been dismissed by the High Court.


Salman pays obeisance at Golden Temple
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 25
Famous Bollywood star Salman Khan along with his actor-producer brother Sohail Khan and his family today paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. He was here for the shooting of his film, “London Dreams”.

Clad in a white kurta pyjama, Salman paid obeisance at the sanctum sanctorum and listened to hymns. The police had a difficult time in controlling his young fans who had come to Darbar Sahib to pay obeisance. They jostled with one another to have a glimpse of their favourite actor.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Inderpjit Singh, a member of the film unit, said the film was being directed by Raj Kumar Santoshi and produced by Parminderjit Singh of Head Start Productions.

He said 40 per cent of the film was being expected to be shot in Punjab.

Salman was accompanied by his mother, two sisters, Sohail his wife and their son. Mediapersons were disappointed as the actor avoided talking to them.


Orders to check lawlessness
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 25
To prevent any untoward incident by anti-social elements in the district, Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, through an order issued under Section 144, today made it mandatory for all landlords to furnish complete information about their tenants to the nearest police station.

In another order, the district Magistrate banned the open sale of 106 medicines without the prescription of a registered medical practitioner and made it compulsory to register the sale of same by chemists shops so that the menace of drug abuse could be controlled.

She warned that any one found violating the orders would not be spared.

To check road accidents during night, she also banned plying of rickshaws, trolleys, tractors, cycles and other vehicles without reflectors during night.

Taking precautionary measures in view of incidents of loot, theft and burglary in the surrounding areas, she issued orders of night patrolling by village defence committees to guard towers, transmission lines, substations, transformers, railway lines and govt buildings. These orders would remain effective till May 24.

The District Magistrate also conferred powers to all the SDMs to impose and implement these orders.

To control the menace of noise pollution, a ban has been imposed on the use of loudspeakers by religious entities, marriage palaces, and orchestra owners from 9pm to 6am.

Mrs Talwar banned the movement of vehicles along the banks of Bhakra main canal, passing through the district, using the service lanes of canal for picnic purposes and swimming in the canal.

The orders in this regard under Section 144 were issued today keeping in view an increase in number of accidents and deaths due to drowning in the canal.

These orders would also remain in force till May 24.


Doctors hold protest rally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
A protest rally was organised by doctors and employees of the local Rajindera Hospital at the Government Medical College, here against the decision of the Punjab Government to hand over all medical colleges to medical societies under the garb of structural reforms.

Students and employees of medical, nursing and ayurvedic colleges participated. Various speakers said the motive of the move was to privatise medical education and health services.

Prominent among those who spoke were Navdeep Bansal of the Nursing Students Union, Puneet Singh of Medical Students Union and Gagandeep Sharma of Ayurvedic Students Union. They gave an ultimatum to the government to take back the "anti-student" and "anti-people" decision. They added that if the government did not withdraw its decision they would be forced to intensify their agitation.

The PCMS Association (Punjab) also launched a "save medical service" stir today by constituting a Doctor-Public Joint Action Committee to build pressure on the government to withdraw its decision to privatise medical services in referral state medical colleges hospitals and in rural dispensaries by hiring private doctors as service providers on a contract basis through zila parishads.

The PCMSA also gave a call for statewide joint public protests by the public along with the doctors and health employees on March 29.

Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, patron, president and general secretary, respectively, of the association said the government was custodian and not owner of public property raised through the public exchequer.

The association described the government's move as "a shady deal to transfer highly priced commercial property into corporate hands under the pretext of upgradation of facilities."

Dr B.S. Sohal, secretary and Mr Sohan Lal Bansal, co-convenor, respectively, of the coordination committee of the Government Medical, Dental, Ayurvedic colleges, said the government did not care about medical care for the poor.

Meanwhile, Mr Nirmal Dass Malhotra, president of the Patiala Beopar Mandal, was the first to join the action committee. He said the government had actually signed the "death warrant" of poor people " who will be left to die without any treatment in a welfare state and in a free and democratic country."


Illegal tower installation stopped
Our correspondent

Batala, March 25
Taking cognisance of the news item published in The Tribune dated March 22 regarding the illegal installation of a mobile phone tower the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Batala, Mr Parneet Bhardwaj, deputed the Executive Magistrate, Mr Manjit Singh, to visit the spot and stall the installation of the tower being raised without the no-objection certificate from the municipal and pollution control authorities.

The Executive Magistrate after visiting the spot submitted his report that the tower was being raised illegally. Accordingly, the SDM of Batala directed the Municipal Council to stop the installation. He also deputed Mr Manjit Singh as the Duty Magistrate for this job.

The municipal authorities stopped the illegal construction immediately on Friday.


Wine shops allotted
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 25
Wine shops were allotted through lottery system here today. About 116 out of 120 wine shops were allotted and only four wine shops situated in remote rural areas had no application.

The Excise and Taxation Department earned approximately Rs 38 crore from the allotment. Heavy rush was witnessed at the allotment site and the police had made adequate security arrangements.

Prominent citizens, politicians, journalists and social personalities were present on the occasion. Mr L.A. Khan, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, took out draw.

The allotees were asked to deposit 5 per cent share on the spot.

Mr Khan said 116 out of 120 licensing units, including rural and urban wine shops, had been allotted and the rest four would be allotted on March 28. He said the Excise and Taxation Department had earned approximately Rs 38 crore. Beer could be sold by any shopkeeper by taking a license from the department by paying license fee.

He said rates of the lager beer had been fixed Rs 40, where as of strong beer Rs 45. Mrs Swadesh Gupta, AETC, Mr Ravinder Kumar, SDM, Khamano, supervised the allotment process. 


Work on link roads initiated
Our Correspondent

Kharar, March 25
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, today formally initiated the work on the construction of link roads in 23 villages of Morinda, Majri and Kharar blocks of his constituency.

The minister said these roads and phirnis were being constructed by the Punjab Mandi Board under the Rural Development Fund Scheme at an approximate cost of Rs 225 lakh.

The roads which were being constructed included Baroudi to Gunomajra, Andheri to Shekhpura, Kansal to UT boundary, Majri-Khizrabad to Sialba, Tira to Chaharmajra, Bhupnagar to Chatauli-Khizrabad, phirni of Jhingran Kalan, Ghandauli to Saini Majra, and phirni of Hoshiarpur, Lakhnaur to Dhakoran Khurd.


MC governing body elected unanimously
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 25
Despite the postponement of the meeting of the local Municipal Council (MC) — called for today to elect the president, senior vice-president and the junior vice-president of the council — by the administration, as many as 13 Municipal Councillors (MCs) out of 21 MCs, unanimously elected Ms Simrat Rana Punia (independent) as the president, Mr Moti Lal (Congress) and Mr Sajjan Ram (Shiromani Akali Dal) as senior and junior vice-presidents, respectively, of the council.

These 13 MCs are either independents or belong to the Congress, the BJP and the SAD. Out of the 13 MCs, four belong to the Congress and two are independents, who were supporting the ruling Congress in the council before today.

After the postponement of the meeting today, these 13 MCs held a meeting and elected Mr Jatinder Kalra, a BJP MC, as chairman to conduct the proceedings of the election meeting.

After the elections for the three posts, Mr Jatinder Kalra termed the postponement of the elections by the administration as “murder of democracy”.


Escape plan thwarted
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 25
A head constable’s escape plan from police custody, just before being produced in the court of Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, was thwarted by the police team here today.

Sukhwinder Singh, head constable, resident of Dasuwal village, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of links with terrorists outfits.

According to the police, the head constable had tried to mislead security agencies by divorcing his wife and getting her married to his brother-in-law to get her a passport with ‘new’ details.

The head constable was believed to be having links with dreaded terrorist outfit Babbar Khalsa International (BKI). However, to circumvent the suspicion, he tried to get his wife a passport with different details in order to make her flee to USA.


Punjabi varsity passes annual budget
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
The Syndicate of Punjabi University, Patiala, which met here today, passed the budget plan of the university for the year 2006-07.

The estimated expenditure proposed on different accounts has been pegged at Rs 104.25 crores while the estimated income is expected to be 81.62 crores on account of income which includes a grant of 24.25 crores given by the Punjab Government for the university. The rest of the amount will be generated by the University from its own resources.

The contribution of the state government towards university budget is less than 50 per cent of the annual budget of salaries of the staff which comes to about Rs 66 crores.

Earlier, during 1993-94 the government’s share in the university budget used to be 76.84 per cent which now has come down to 28 per cent. It is pertinent to mention that 58.6 per cent of the university budget is spent on promoting teaching, research, correspondence courses, development of Punjabi language and university library. The amount to be spent on miscellaneous accounts which includes the maintaining of university dispensary, university school, press, maintenance and horticulture wing is 24.5 per cent.

The amount to be spent on the general administration this year has been reduced by 1.6 per cent as compared to the last year while budget towards the promotion of education has been increased by 7 per cent as compared to the figures of the last year.

In another decision, the syndicate has approved certain amendments proposed by the regulation committee in the statutes relating to finances and from now onwards quotations and tenders will be required for expenditure exceeding Rs 2000. This has been done in view of increased prices of even small items of daily use required by various departments of the university. In yet another decision university employees after leaving university service will be able to get the benefit of interest at par with the regular employees.

The syndicate has also extended the contract of appointments of Dr B.N. Goswami as visiting professor in the Department of Fine Arts and Dr Devinder Kaur as Librarian of Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha Library for another term of one year.


Students given college colour
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 25
The annual prize distribution function of Government Mohindra College Patiala was organised on the college premises here today.

Rajinder Singh, Amandeep Kaur, Kiranjit Kaur and Shelly Khanna were given the roll of honour for excelling in academics while in sports the honours went to Saurabh Kapoor, Paneet Sharma, Navjot Singh, Taranpreet Singh, Harjinder Singh, Damanpreet Dhaliwal, Saroj Yadav, Paramjit Kumar, Karanveer Singh, Sameet Joshi and Gurwinder Pal Singh.

Neha Sood and Khushdeep Singh were awarded prizes for excelling in NCC activities. Those who were given college colour in academics were Bindu Dhawan, Neha Kapur, Money Manchanda, Rakesh Kumar, Monika Rani, Geetu Gupta, Narinder Kumar, Shruti Sharma, Namrata Wadhera, Jyoti, Rajni Arora, manpreet Singh, Amanpreet Kaur, Sunita, Hardeep Kaur and Kamal Sharma.

The college colour for NSS were given to Rajinder Singh, Shingara Singh and Raj Kumar while the best social worker prize was bagged by Palwinder Singh.

While speaking on the occasion, the chief guest, Mr Bakshi Ram, Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission, congratulated the achievers and called upon them to face the challenges of life with a positive attitude.


Emotional intelligence must for teachers, say experts
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, March 25
Over 100 delegates attended a national conference on "Emotional Intelligence: The Changing Perspective in Teacher Education" held at the Chitkara College of Education for Women, near here, today.

The keynote speaker, Dr Vidhu Mohan, a former Chairperson of the Department of Psychology, Panjab University, wondered if teachers were not fully in control of their own emotions, how could they act as role models or counsellors.

The emotional quotient (EQ) needed to be developed to be a truly effective teacher, she added.

The chief guest, Prof J.N. Joshi, a member of the governing body of the Institute for Development and Communication, in his inaugural speech, said with the advent of technology and recent globalisation, the complexities of life had increased manifold.

These environmental pressures required an apt combination of intellectual and emotional wealth, he opined.

Dr Madhu Chitkara, Principal, said the conference was an effort to bring the concept of emotional intelligence into the limelight and realise its significance in the field of teacher education.

"We aim to set new standards in teacher education by seeking practical solutions and giving suggestions for achieving optimum utilization of human resources," she added.

More than 35 delegates presented papers on various sub-themes . All speakers emphasised on the importance of EQ at length and felt it was imperative especially for the teachers as they wielded the power to mould the future.

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