P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Blast in brewery, excise inspector killed
Tribune News Service

Chani Beli, April 17
Excise inspector of the Himachal Government Shakti Chand Rana was killed and peon Pyar Chand was injured seriously when an explosion took place in a fermentation chamber at a liquor factory they were checking.

Sources on the spot said the accident took place at about 10.30 am today when the excise inspector, along with the peon of the department, was on the premises of Bindal Associates, a brewery on Pathankot-Jalandhar road, about 10 km from Pathankot, to check samples.

As soon as the inspector took a sample to check the alcohol content in under-preparation whisky, the blast had taken place. The inspector died on the spot due to almost 100 per cent burn injuries. The peon also received burn injuries.

Villagers from the surrounding areas said the sound of blast was heard in at least one kilometer area around the brewery. The blast also destroyed a portion of the roof in which the fermentation chambers were housed.

The villagers rescued the peon and admitted him to a hospital. Fire tenders were called from the adjoining army stations.

Managing director of brewery Vinod Kumar alleged that peon of the excise department might have lighted a "biri" when the fermentation chamber was opened by the inspector for taking samples. Alcohal in the chamber caught fire and the blast took place. Fortunately the fire was doused in time due to which other chambers were saved, he said.

The peon, however, denied that he light a "biri" that caused the accident. He said the blast took place as soon as they opened the fermentation chamber for taking samples.

At the time of accident 12 labourers were working in the unit. They were busy in the bottling operations.

The deceased inspector was a resident of Nagrota Surian town in Kangra district of Himachal. He had joined his duty at the place just a month ago.

The Himachal Police has registered a case. 


Sofats told to refund money, pay compensation
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 17
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sangrur, has directed Dr Sumeet Sofat and Dr (Ms) Sumita Sofat of the Sofat Infertility and Women Care Centre, Ludhiana, to refund Rs 2.25 lakh charged by them from a couple for undergoing treatment for infertility along with nine per cent interest from August 20, 2003, till the date of the payment.

The forum also directed the centre to pay to the complainants Rs 1 lakh for unfair trade practice, Rs 50,000 as compensation for mental torture and agony and Rs 2,000 as litigation expenses.

The decision came following a complaint by Mr Des Raj and his wife, Ms Devinder Kaur, residents of local Guru Nanak Colony.

It was a majority decision of the forum. While two members delivered this order, the president of the forum dismissed the complaint leaving it open to the complainants to seek appropriate remedy in a civil court or a tribunal etc.

Being issueless, Mr Des Raj and his wife were lured by an advertisement of the Sofat Infertility and Women Care Centre. They approached Dr Sumeet Sofat and Dr Sumita Sofat for getting a child with their promised 100 per cent treatment.

Mr Des Raj and his wife were examined by Dr Sumeet Sofat and Dr Sumita Sofat at Ludhiana. Later, both husband and wife were treated from July 9, 2002, to July 9, 2003.

An amount of Rs 500 was charged on the first day as consultation fee. Later, Rs 10,000 to 15,000 was charged from them on every visit. The aggregate came to Rs 2.25 lakh.

On July 9, 2003, Devinder Kaur was told that she was pregnant. She underwent a pregnancy test on August 20, 2003, at Goel’s Diagnostic Laboratory, Sangrur, but the test report was negative.

The couple felt cheated and filed a complaint in the forum. The complainants claimed refund of Rs 2.25 lakh paid to the centre, Rs 50,000 that they spent as transportation on their visits to Ludhiana, Rs 1.50 lakh as compensation for mental agony and harassment and Rs 11,000 as litigation expenses, along with 12 per cent per annum interest.


Mega projects will not benefit poor, says Dullo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The much-hyped mega projects cleared by the Punjab Government came under a veiled attack today from Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

At a function organised by the Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board here, Mr Dullo said that the mega projects would not benefit the poor in the state in any manner. These would also not create jobs for Punjabis.

He said that those who were setting up IT units in Punjab were employing youth mostly from outside as qualified youth were not available at the local level.

He said the Punjab Government should focus on the poor. Whenever the Congress had ignored the poor, it had faced problems in retaining power, he said. And whenever the party had stood by the poor, it had come to power without facing any hardship, he added.

Mr Dullo urged the Chairman of the board, Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, to send his directors to disburse loans among poor farmers and other downtrodden sections of society in the countryside so that they could start self-employment ventures.

The PPCC president said the board was not meant to serve the rich as it had been doing. Its real task was to go to the villages to identify beneficiaries to given loans and not to hold functions in cities like Chandigarh.

Earlier, Union Minister Oscar Fernandes distributed cheques among loanees selected by the board to set up industries at the village level.

He said the board could play a significant role in providing employment opportunities in the rural areas. He said farmers should become innovative and start diversifying in new areas.

Mr Fernandes also visited Punjab Congress Bhavan here. He said the Punjab unit of the Congress would be reorganised in two weeks. He appreciated the efforts made by Mr Dullo with regard to modernising the Congress office and consolidating the party at the grassroots level.


Maharaja’s samadh in Pakistan vandalised
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
The samadhs of Maharaja Sher Singh, his wife Maharani Randhawi, Dharam Kaur and Rani Partab Kaur, located in Lahore have been vandalised by local people there, oblivious of its great heritage value.

This was stated by descendants of the maharaja who recently visited the samadhs, while talking to The Tribune here today.

Kanwar Karnvir Singh, Kanwar Devinder Paul Singh Attari, Kanwar Karwinder Paul Singh and Kanwar Meet Singh — all descendants of the maharaja — said the Indian Government should take up the matter with the Pakistan Government so that the samadhs could be restored.

Maharaja Sher Singh, who ruled Punjab from January, 1841 until his death in September, 1843, was the son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

He was born on December 4, 1807 to Mahitab Kaur, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s first wife.

They alleged that the samadhs had been vandalised after the demolition of Babri Masjid, mistaking them (samadhs) for a Hindu shrine.

The descendants visited the samadhs recently and saw these in dilapidated condition.

They brought the matter to the notice of the then Pakistan Evacuee Trust Property Board president Lieut-Gen Javed Nasir.

However, the Pakistan Government did nothing to restore the samadhs.

The samadhs are located in southern Lahore, where the Ravi once flowed. The baradari of Shah Bilawal is also located by the river.

Maharaja Sher Singh came here to inspect the troops on September 15, 1843. His general, Sardar Ajit Singh Sandhanwalia, presented him with a gun. But he pulled its trigger while handing it over to the maharaja. He died on the spot. Sandhanwalia also killed his seven-year-old son, Kunwar Partab Singh. The two were cremated at this place and their samadhs were built later.

The samadh of the maharani is on the eastern side of Maharaja Sher Singh’s samadh, whereas one on the western side is that of Rani Partab Kaur. Though the baradari of Shah Balawal and samadhs are still present, these face the threat of total destruction.

Maharaja Sher Singh took part in many campaigns undertaken by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh for the expansion of his kingdom.

From 1831 to 1834, he acted as governor of the province of Kashmir.

He was one of the army commanders who led forces in 1834 to Peshawar and seized the city from the Afghans.

In the political vacuum created by the deaths of Maharaja Kharak Singh and his son Kanvar Nau Nihal in November, 1840, Sher Singh staked his claim to the throne of Punjab.


Amarinder to meet PM on farmers’ issues
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
Rattled by the agitations launched by various farmers' organisations, including the various factions of the Bharti Kisan Union( BKU), the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has decided to meet the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to redress grievances of farmers.

Informed sources said today that the Chief Minister, accompanied by senior officers, would meet the Prime Minister either on the evening of April 20 or next day.

Before Capt Amarinder Singh leaves for Delhi on April 20, he will hold a meeting of his Council of Ministers in the morning to discuss the issues of suicides by farmers and rural indebtedness.

Already, the state government has sent an advance report to the Union Government, including to the Prime Minister on rural indebtedness and its apparent consequences such as suicides and increasing use of drugs among farmers. The state government has conveyed to the Union Government that the debt burden on farmers in the state is to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore. There is a need to give relief to farmers in this regard. And only with the help of the Union Government , relief can be provided.

In its latest recommendations, the National Farmers' Commission headed by Mr M.S.Swaminathan, has also recommended to the Union Government to free farmers from the burden of loans.

As many as three major factions- led by Pishora Singh Sidhupur, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Balbir Singh Rajewal- of the BKU are agitating against the Centre and state government for not increasing the minimum support price ( MSP) and for placing the order to import wheat.

Today was the first day of the boycott of various grains markets by farmers for which the call was given by these three farmer organisations and supported by the SAD and the BJP.

Mr Rajewal and other leaders today made it clear to the Chief Minister that extending support to their demand regarding the increase in MSP would not serve the purpose. “We want that the Chief Minister should ensure the increase in the MSP”, said Mr Rajewal today.

On the other hand, eight farmers' organisations in Barnala are agitating against the government for acquiring lands of farmers for an industrialist. Also farmers feel that the Union Government had not a clear picture regarding the buffer stock of wheat when it ordered the import of wheat.

They say the buffer stock was to the tune of 21 lakh tonnes with the Union Government at the end of March when new wheat crop started arriving in various markets of Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and certain parts of Gujarat. “ There was no need to place the order for import of wheat in the light of existing buffer stock of wheat”, said Mr Rajewal. 


Farmers boycott grain markets
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, April 17
Farmer bodies today boycotted grain markets by setting up nakas to register their protest against the import of wheat and the silence of the Union Government on their demand to increase the minimum support price of wheat.

The call had been given by the BKU (Lakhowal), the BKU (Rajewal) and the BKU (Ekta-Sidhupur).

They ensured that wheat reaching purchase centres was negligible as compared to the normal days.

According to sources, the farmer unions set up nakas at around 12 points in the district.

However, some farmers who were unaware of the boycott call dumped their produce at some mandis.

The farmer leaders sent back around 70 trailers of wheat during the day. There are 133 purchase centres in the district.

Sources said the procurement agencies purchased only that wheat which was already dumped at the market. The agencies and traders purchased 36,573 metric tonnes of wheat.

The local grain market witnessed negligible arrival of wheat as compared to its daily figure of 5,000 tonnes.

Sangrur: Farmers of the district also boycotted grain markets at various places. Activists protested at three places near Dhuri.

They also gathered outside the grain market at Sunam to prevent other farmers from bringing in wheat.

The farmers also put up tents at the two gates of the local grain market.

As per information, a farmer today entered the Sangrur’s grain market on a tractor-trailer laden with wheat. This provoked activists of the BKU, which led to a standoff between the two sides.

Farmers boycotted procurement in some areas of the Barnala subdivision’s Mehal Kalan and Sehna villages also.

At Lehragaga, activists of the three BKU factions avoided bringing their wheat to the market.

BKU (Rajewal) district president Gurjant Singh Mangwal claimed that the activists boycotted grain markets in the areas of Bhawanigarh and Sulargharat.

District Mandi Officer, Sangrur, Satwant Singh Virk, however, claimed that there was no major impact of the boycott call as farmers brought their wheat to the markets in all parts of the district.


Move on airport near Ludhiana against AAI guidelines, says MP
Ashok Sethi

Rajasansi (Amritsar), April 17
The international airport proposed to be built at Ludhiana announced by the state government was in violation of the guidelines of the Airports Authority of India.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, made these remarks while addressing reporters at the airport and said that the state government was misleading people as no greenfield airport could be allowed within nautical distance of 100 km (180km) of an existing international airport. He alleged that the government was deliberately eroding importance of Amritsar international airport by playing into the hands of land mafia.

The airport lacks basic infrastructure and could not be labelled as international airport. Mr Sidhu who made an inspection of the airport said that it was devoid of passenger-friendly facility besides provision for more parking etc. He said only 30 per cent of the infrastructure of Rs 140 crore project had been constructed as yet.

Mr Sidhu said the growth of the country could be gauged from the connectivity and the infrastructure of the airports. He said the growth of GDP of England was directly in proportion to the development of its airports. And the similar growth was possible in the holy city provided the government offered to improve the infrastructure by infusing fresh capital investment of around Rs 1,000 crore for making it an international airport, he added. He pointed out the airport represents country’s window to the world especially for the city of the Golden Temple.

Coming down on the mushrooming of commercial and residential activities in the close vicinity of the airport he said it could prove to be operationally hazardous besides it could impede the growth which was likely to grow at a rate of 20 per cent annually. The state government must stop all building activities in and around the airport. To support the contention of Mr Sidhu, the director Airport V.S. Mulekar, said that all building plans had to be referred to the Airports Authority before giving approval. Expressing alarm he said the government was bypassing all rules and regulations and allowing construction in violation of the guidelines.

Seeking world standard facilities at the airport Mr Sidhu said more than 40 per cent of the international air passenger traffic using the Palam airport emanates from Punjab. He said it was indeed very significant fresh priorities might be worked out to revamp besides adding more infrastructure at the airport including acquisition of approximately 1,000 acres of land to meet traffic growth from this airport. He said at present more than 4 lakh passengers annually used this airport and the coming years would see an annual growth of around 20 per cent. Mr Sidhu said there was need to improve road connectivity by construction of bridges connecting airport with the bypass.

He appreciated the move of the Airports Authority to offer alternative operational site to the Indian Air Force on the eastern and western sides. This he felt could provide additional land for extending the parking lot and other passenger facilities.

On the issue of cargo potential Mr Sidhu said the central government was delaying the crucial matter of custodianship to give a go-ahead for the cargo terminal to become operational. He said for the past three years the cargo facilities had remained unutilised due to lack of permissions. Although a special cold chain facilities have recently been constructed for the export of perishable commodities including farm fresh vegetables and fruits exported to Europe and the West Asia. Mr Mulekar said that it would become operational by the end of this month and it could handle 100 tonnes of perishable items.


No hike in power tariff rates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
There will be no increase in the power tariff rates in Punjab. This is clear from the stance taken by the state government at a meeting held with the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Informed official sources today confirmed that the state government had conveyed to the commission not to order any increase in the power tariff for any category of consumers. The state government has assured the commission that it will meet the revenue requirement, if their will be any, of the Punjab State Electricity Board ( PSEB).

Earlier also there were reports that there will be no increase in the power tariff as the state government is opposed to it. The commission will announce its verdict on tariff before the end of this month.

Sources said the commission wanted to increase 5 per cent tariff for certain categories of power consumers. However, after discussion, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, informed the power department officials concerned to convey to the commission that the state government did not want any increase in tariff and will compensate the PSEB accordingly.


43 power substations to be set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 17
The Punjab Government today announced its programme to commission 43 new grid substations till January, 2007 in a phased manner to facilitate better quality of power supply.

A spokesperson for the government said new substations would avoid transmission and distribution losses of power and would also control voltage fluctuations and tripping to ensure stabilised power supply. The ones scheduled for commissioning this month are a 220 kv substation at Tibber (Gurdaspur) and five substations of 66 kv each at Matti (Mansa), Jodhpur (Talwandi Sabo), Golden Temple, Amritsar (North Amritsar), Zaula Khurd (Banur) and Lang (Samana).

In May, the state government targets one substation of 132 kv at Jadla ( Nawanshahr), and six sub-stations of 66 kv each at Lakhna (Valtoha), Rangar Nangal (Quadian), Chowke (Joga), Ashahoor (Philaur), Kalyan Sukha (Nathana) and Old Jail Road, Ludhiana (Ludhiana-East).

In June, substations of 66 kv each will be commissioned at Rajguru Nagar (Ludhiana-rural), Ballianwali (Joga), Panchhata (Phagwara), Agwar Lopon (Jagraon) and Loh Simbli (Ghanaur).

The government claims that July will see the following substations commissioned: Chak Ali Sher (Budhlada), Bagga Kalan (Ajnala), Fidde Khurd (Faridkot), Bhangi Nihal Singh Wala (Pacca Kalan), Kiratpur Sahib (Ropar), BehakGujran (Zira), Kachehri Chowk (Amritsar-West), Mandi Gobindgarh (Amloh), Balloki (Dakha), Patiala (Ghanaur), Bhattian Jattan (Mukerian).

In August, the schedule is opening of substations at Khusropur (Kapurthala), Haidon Bet (Klum Kalan), Nandpur Rare (Pathan Kot), Kheri Naudh Singh (Khanna), Gol Digi (Bathinda). This will be followed by substations at Janjla (Sherpur), Manewal-Barna-(Dhuri), Taragarh (Nirot Mehra), Paras Ram Nagar (Bathinda) in September.

In October, substations will be commissioned at Tasjpur Road, Ludhiana (Ludhiana-Rural), Kassoana (Zira), and Gharuan (Kharar). Separately, 220 kv sub-stations are to be opened at Mohali-II (Kharar) and Pakhowal (Nabha) in December 2006 and January 2007, respectively.


Children’s festival from today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 17
About 1,000 children (10 to 15 years) from all over India and also from South Asian countries were expected to participate in the six-day Sixth National Children’s Festival from April 18 at Government Senior Secondary School, Chheharta.

The festival would be hosted by the local Recognised and Affiliated Schools Association (RASA) under the aegis of the National Youth Project, New Delhi.

Festival Coordinator Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu said that delegates from South Asian countries would include Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He said the festival would help in cementing national integration among children as children drawn from different cultural and linguistic background would stay as guests with the local host children and enjoy Punjabi hospitality.


Denial of increments to clerks decried

Hoshiarpur, April 17
A meeting held here today under the presidentship of Mr Om Parkash, circle president, Ministerial Staff Services Union of the PSEB, strongly condemned the board’s management for withholding the annual increments of lower division clerks for not fulfilling the clause of type test.

In a press release, Mr Jagjit Singh, circle secretary of the union, said the board had instructed vide its memo dated March 3 to the officers of the PSEB that after preparing the panel lists of these clerks at the divisional, circle and Chief Engineer levels, obtain their computer training certificates from the known computer training institutes, their annual increments would be released. But nothing had been done in this connection so far. — OC


Multi-speciality camp held
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
A multi-speciality camp was organised at Brain Hospital here today. A team of doctors from Satguru Pratap Singh Apollo Hospital , Ludhiana, comprising Dr K.C.Mukerjee (heart surgeon ), Dr Chetan Sharma (cardiologist), Dr S.K.Somani (gastroenterologist), Dr Harpreet Singh Gill (orthopaedics ), Dr Rahul Kohli (nephrology ), Dr Gurpreet Singh (endocrinology), Dr Dinesh Goyal ( pulmanology), gave consultation to patients free of cost.

Dr Satwant Sachdeva of Brain Hospital examined patients having problems of neurology. The camp was organised with the help of the Rotary Club, Patiala, Midtown. More than 200 patients were given consultations.

Mr Harchand Singh Barsat, Political Secretary to the Chief Minister of Punjab, was the chief guest. He appreciated efforts of the Rotary Club and Brain Hospital for providing specialised treatment to patients of neurology, neuro surgery, trauma and neuro psychiatry. 


PCMS docs meet Health Minister
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
A delegation of PCMS doctors led by its District President Dr Harish Malhotra and Dr D.S Bhullar, who is also the Chairman, service wing of IMA, met the Health Minister Mr R.C Dogra and the Health Secretary, Mr D.S Guru, during their visit here yesterday. They apprised the Health Minister of resentment among PCMS doctors due to the handing over of dispensaries to Zila Parishads.

Mr Dogra, on his part, assured them of sympathetic consideration and assured that maximum people would be adjusted within the district.

About the regularisation of 98-99 batch of PCMS doctors, Mr Dogra said the government had already given a favourable opinion but the case was subjudice and status quo would continue for a few days. However, he added that they would all get benefits, including their due arrears , and there was no reason to panic.


Inderpreet tops list of successful doctors
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
Inderpreet Kaur Dardi has topped the list of successful doctors in the district. They had been contracted by the Punjab Government for three years through zila parishads to be employed in rural dispensaries across the state.

Inderpreet has secured 75.65 per cent marks, Shaifali Gupta 73.27 per cent and Angel Rajan Singh 71.51 per cent.

They have been placed first, second and third, respectively. The other candidates who have been placed among the top 10 are Rajni Madan with 71.14, Rajdeep Kaur 70, Ritika Singla 66.90, Sonal Dogra 66.69, Tarundeep Kaur 65.54, Shweta Goyal 65.35 and Shivani Goyal 65.06 per cent, respectively.


Homoeopaths take oath
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
The 251st birth anniversary celebrations of the founder of homoeopathy, Dr Samuel Hehnemann, were organised at the Rose Garden here by members of the homoeopathic Education and Research Foundation.

The meeting was presided over by Dr Swami Weetrag under the Chairmanship of Dr K.C Batish. The well attended function concluded with the members taking oath to serve humanity and needy patients.

The foundation takes up the cases of chronic patients for their effective and beneficial treatment with the idea to serve the needy and those belonging to the economically weaker sections of society.


high court
Provisional selection of ETT teachers allowed
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed the Punjab Government to make provisional selections for filling posts of primary or elementary trained school teacher, also known as ETT teachers.

With this, the decks have been cleared for making fully functional nearly 4,000 primary schools in the rural areas of Punjab, the control of which rests with the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab.

Some time ago, the High Court had stayed the selection process.

At present, there are over 10,000 vacancies of primary school teachers in these schools.

Disposing of a bunch of petitions filed by aspirants for the posts, the Division Bench headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar asked the petitioners to file their objections against the process to the department within the period stipulated in the draft rules. The department has been directed to pass a speaking order on the objections and frame rules relating to the selections. The petitioners had challenged the selection process initiated by the government on the grounds of unfair and lopsided criteria.

While the present selection process initiated by the government has been allowed to continue, the Bench directed that fresh selections would be made after the objections had been dealt with and the rules framed.

The Bench also directed that the government would issue a fresh advertisement and complete the selection process within two months from the last date for filing applications.

Many petitions had been filed by, among others, Ms Kanchan Bala of Gurdaspur and others, the aspirants, challenging the criteria fixed by the government.

Among the major grouses of the petitioners is the fact that the draft rules had brought down the maximum age for eligibility for recruitment to 37 years from the earlier 42 years. This, the petitioners had claimed, was irregular as the recruitment was being made after a gap of over four years and many aspirants had crossed the age of 37 years.

The petitioners had also challenged the clause which said that no person would be appointed ETT teacher unless he possessed a diploma in the elementary teacher training course from Panjab University or an institution recognised by the Punjab Government or the Chandigarh Administration.

In its reply to the petitions filed through Sarvjit Singh, Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, the government stated that in order to make recruitments, the government had already framed the draft rules called the Punjab Panchayati Raj Primary Teachers (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Draft Rules, 2006.

The government also claimed that adequate safeguards had been made to ensure that the selections were fair. Counsel for the government also requested the court to allow the process to be completed as over seven lakh students in the schools were awaiting the start of classes.

In its order, the Bench directed that the government would deal with all objections within four weeks of the last date of filing objections, which was May 12.

Thereafter, an advertisement would be issued within one week inviting fresh applications for making selections, which would have to be completed within two weeks from the last date of receiving the applications.


Farmers advised to adopt Eri-culture to raise income
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, April 17
Small farmers of hilly areas of the state now can have alternative source of income. The Department of Horticulture has introduced Eri-Culture in the district.

A seminar to educate farmers on “Eri-culture” for additional source of income was held in the Dhar areas today.

Experts told small farmers can produce silk by using wildly-growing castor plant. The department has procured worms from the northern eastern states that produce silk cocoons consuming castor plant’s leaves. The worms successfully produced cocoons in controlled conditions at the state government’s silk farming promotion centre at Sujanpur in the district. Farmers were advised to procure worms producing silk from castor plant from the centre. Cost of once ounce castor worms was Rs 350. An ounce of worms can generate income of Rs 5000 for farmers. The castor grows wildly in the Kandi areas of the state. In these areas farmers have marginal holdings. They can rear silk worms in a shed in house.

The worms are to be fed leaves of castor plant that is available in abundance in the area. By adopting eri-culture small farmers can generate an average income Rs 5000 per cropping season.

Farmers in the Dhar area of the district have adopted silk farming. However, they face the problem of marketing. The silk farmers of other states are given subsidy of Rs 100 per kg by the Central Silk Board. However, in Punjab the subsidy was not being paid. The sources told that the subsidy was not being paid as the state government was not paying the matching grant for the purpose. There was no state support for procuring the produce of the farmers.

Due to this farmers are left on the mercy of the traders, who generally give meager price to farmers. This year the silk farmers for the area were paid just Rs 250 per kg for cocoons where as in other states the prices was Rs 350 per kg cocoons.

The sources said the farmers can get better returns in case the silk thread was sold instead of cocoons. The Department of Silk Farming promotion has its own thread production unit at Pathankot. However, the unit was not functioning due to the government apathy.


Minor gangraped, killed
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 17
A minor girl was gangraped and killed brutally here late last night.

According to information, 13-year-old daughter of a daily wage earner residing in Dharam Nagari went to a grocery shop at around 9 pm yesterday to request her father to come home. He asked her to go back but found her missing when returned to the house after 15 minutes. A search to locate the girl, studying in Class VIII, proved futile.

Some persons noticed half-naked body of the girl today morning lying in a gorge near the historic Panjpeer mazars. Preliminary investigation showed that she was gangraped and then beaten to death with bricks. Injury marks were found on her head. It appeared that the body was dragged and thrown in to the gorge.

Mr Arpit Shukla, who had taken over as SSP at Ferozepore on Sunday, today asked Mr Kashmira Singh Gill SP (D) to monitor investigation in the heinous crime.

The incident has evoked widespread condemnation by social, educational and religious organisations. Representatives of such organisations said the police set-up in the sub-division needed a complete reshuffle. The city police said a case was registered.


Robber held
Our Correspondent

Batala, April 17
Four armed robbers entered the house of the Balwinder Kaur, in Kaluwal village and after tying the inmates, decamped with Rs 5,000 and gold ornaments yesterday.

They snatched gold earrings from women and threatened to kill them if they did not part with Rs 2 lakh.

One of them Dhram Singh of Sarupwali was apprehended while the remaining three — Balraj of Bharatwal, Prem Singh of Sarupwali and an unidentified person — managed to escape. The robber was handed over to the police. A case was registered. The accused was produced in court here on Sunday which remanded him in police custody. 


Four held for assaulting coloniser
Our Correspondent

Abohar, April 17
The police has arrested four persons in connection with an assault on coloniser Ravi Sethi and former Bar Association chief Satish Narang. Sethi’s driver Jagdish had succumbed to his injuries after the assault early this month. Mr Sethi and Mr Narang were under treatment in New Delhi and Amritsar hospitals.

Sources said the city police today produced Balkar Singh, Sukhjinder Singh Billa, Bachittar Singh and Subhash Sumra in a court here where they were remanded in judicial custody. Sumra, an ex-serviceman, had been working as a coach at a swimming pool at a resorts located on the College road.

Some persons, who had a land dispute with the victims, hired them, the police said, adding that Baljit Singh, a brother of NRI Balkaran Singh Bhullar, was also responsible for the assault but he was still absconding. 


Nervous vehicle thief claims two lives

Bathinda, April 17
A vehicle thief fleeing with a jeep found himself in soup when he hit a motorcycle near Jeeda village that led to the death of a brother-sister duo today.

Sources said the accused, Angrej Singh, had driven away the jeep, which was hired by a Rampura-based bank, in the afternoon. Sources said he was nervous after making theft as a result of which he rammed the stolen vehicle into a motorcycle. The impact of collision was so strong that the bodies of both the victims were found at a quite a distance form the mishap site.

The deceased were identified as Nirmal Singh, who was a panchayat member at Kotheguru, and his sister Guddi. Meanwhile, Angrej Singh too suffered injuries and was admitted in a hospital after being taken in police custody.


Three cops, woman arrested
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
Three policemen, Kulbir Singh and Surinderpal Singh (both head constables) and Ashok Kumar, a constable, along with a woman were arrested by the Civil Lines police last evening.

They were arrested from a white Maruti car in an objectionable situation. The accused, who were produced in the court of Mr Gurwaryam Singh, SDM, were released on bail against Rs 20,000 personal bond each.

The accused cops are likely to be placed under suspension. The next date for hearing in this case has been fixed as April 24. s


Computer parts stolen from school
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, April 17
Expensive computer parts, including processors, CD-ROMs and hard discs, were stolen from the local Patel Public School by an unidentified person here last evening.

According to sources, the thief told Gurdev Singh, the watchman, on duty, that he had come to meet the school Principal. He also offered Gurdev Singh a bottle of cold drink following which the watchman fell unconscious. Then the thief entered the computer room and took away parts from about 23 computers, police sources said.

The theft came to light when the another watchman joined duty last night. A dog squad pressed into service by the police, however, failed to find any clue.

A case has been registered, in this regard.


College students flee with answersheets
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
As many as 32 students of BA (final) of Khalsa College, including national players, allegedly fled with answersheets and question papers when they were not allowed “mass copying.”

Following an SOS by Principal Daljit Singh, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, immediately sent two flying squads headed by the Dean Students Welfare, Dr M. D. Singh, and Dr Lekh Raj Sharma, Head of the Sanskrit Department of the university.

Dr S.P. Singh said cases of UMC had been framed against the students who might be debarred from appearing in the examination for three years. Sources said the paper of the centre might be cancelled by the university.

However, the students alleged that they were not allowed to enter the examination centre by the Principal and staff members.

The Teachers Association of Khalsa College, expressing solidarity with the Principal, condemned the alleged mass copying attempt by the students.

The police was also called to prevent any untoward situation. 


‘Filmi’ notebooks
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 17
Students in border areas are being supplied notebooks carrying scenes from films and titles of popular songs on the cover.

These “sub-standard” notebooks come without any print line and the shopkeepers have been selling these at high margins to the students. The covers of these notebooks are designed in a way to promote the sale of CDs or audio cassettes.

With the education set-up in the district already in doldrums, these notebooks are making students wean away from studies. Sale of such notebooks is indicative of the pitiable condition of education in state-run schools. Students can be seen singing ‘songs’ from “advertised” albums or discussing actors or actresses shown on the covers of these notebooks.

Various bodies of teachers and parents, including the Amritsar Vikas Manch, have sought a probe into the publication of such notebooks.

They maintain that the students should be educated about the significance of our rich heritage. Instead of titles of “cheap popular songs”, the printers and publishers should help promote endangered heritage buildings so that the students could be motivated to save these, they add.


Benefits of BE-MBA programme discussed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 17
The School of Business Management organised a workshop on ‘‘BE-MBA —Advantage’’ here today in the main auditorium of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET).

The workshop was organised specially to discuss relevant issues of career opportunities for the students who decide to pursue this programme that blends technology with management.

Prof S.C.Vaidya from UBS dwelt singularly on its value addition aspect. In his opinion this programme offers an opportunity to the students to hone their managerial skills by making knowledge a basic platform for advancing their career. ‘‘Today business is riding piggyback on technology and a clear grasp of technology and management elements is essential,’’ he added.

Mr Yash Yadav, Group Vice-President, Human Resources, pointed out the ubiquitous nature of management to be successful in future. He emphasised that the corporate world today needs techno savvy managers and not engineers.

Mr Chetan Kapur from BILT also laid stress on the rationale of integrating management education with technology as this helped the students to expand the horizon of their thought by broadening their analytical skill and reinforcing their communication base to observe the events and search for solutions in real life.

Dr Ravi Kiran compered the programme and Dr T.P Singh offered the vote of thanks to the guests. The School of Business Management starts this BE- MBA programme for the 2006-07 academic session for which it has sought applications from the students completing their second year in TIET, Patiala. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |