P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Rodrigues: poor marketing behind farmers’ debt
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jallowal (Jalandhar), May 27
Lauding Punjab farmers for their hard work and enterprising spirit, the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), expressed concern over their poor economic position, for which he blamed the deficiencies in the existing marketing system.

The Governor also called for a collective effort by various state agencies and the corporate sector, engaged in promotion of agriculture, to help farmers increase their income.

General Rodrigues, who visited the citrus nursery here along with his wife Jean, also stressed the need for a pro-active role of the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission, the Punjab Agriculture University and the Cooperative Department in the uplift of the economic position of farmers and for providing them with opportunities to participate in a well-regulated contract farming-based commercial agro-business.

The Governor said, “Our farmers are hardworking and enterprising, but they are under deep debt because of deficiencies in our marketing system and the non-availability of food processing facilities. There has been an encouraging response to the progressive policies and steps taken by the farmers’ commission and other agencies for promoting fruit cultivation, vegetables and the development of processing industries.”

Expressing concern over the fast depletion of groundwater in Punjab, he said the rotation of traditional wheat and paddy crops had resulted in a serious depletion of water table and there was need for giving an economically viable alternative to the farmers.

Emphasising the need for diversification of crops, General Rodrigues said contract farming undertaken by the state government was a useful and profitable venture and must be undertaken on a bigger scale. “We have also initiated revolutionary programmes for floriculture, cultivation of jatropha, soyabean, cereal and milk production, potato processing, organic vegetable and kinnow processing. A spirit of enterprise, confidence and trust must be inculcated among farmers to undertake these ventures as traditional agriculture has reached a saturation point,” he said.

Generating a ray of hope for Punjab farmers, the Governor said the Chandigarh Administration was planning to set up a modern terminal market, with an export hub for fruits and vegetables and it would serve northern states like J&K, Uttaranchal, Himachal, Punjab and Haryana.

“This will facilitate Punjab in exporting its produce and would also attract foreign direct investment,” he said.


End infighting, says Cong high command
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Eager to restore calm in the party’s top brass in Punjab, the Congress high command seems to have put all issues of party infighting, including one pertaining to Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, in the cold store.

Sources said the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had given a warning through the party general secretary, Mr Janaradhan Dwivedi, who is in charge of party affairs in Punjab, against raising any such issue. The high command has not liked the way senior party leaders made allegations and counter allegations and washed dirty linen in public a few days ago.

The party cannot afford any adverse publicity at this stage when Assembly elections in the state are only a few months away. The sources said the party high command was upset over the way certain senior leaders had behaved and exhibited lack of maturity.

The high command’s strategy with regard to problems in its Punjab unit is that let all controversies die a natural death and then call a meeting of all senior leaders to make them sink differences. It appears that no action will be taken against any leader and efforts would be to present a united face of the party in the days to come. They would be instructed to work together to make the party retain power for another term.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee, said today he had been in Delhi for the past few days to attend a meeting called by Ms Sonia Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. He said he met Mr Dwivedi at that meeting but held no other meeting with regard to party issues.

Meanwhile three of Mr Brar’s supporters, who were issued show-cause notices for creating alleged indiscipline in the party, have submitted their replies. The replies of show-cause notices, given to two Punjab ministers and one Chief Parliament Secretary on the indiscipline issue are still being awaited by the party.

Mr Dullo said he had not seen the replies. “ I was away to Delhi for a few days”, he added. He said that he would be leaving for Delhi on June 3 along with representatives of victims of terrorist in Punjab.

Asked about the reorganising the party set up, Mr Dullo said he would announce the team of office-bearers soon. He said that he had already discussed the list of office-bearers with Capt Amarinder Singh. “ After a nod from Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the list would be made public”, he added.


Split in IMA imminent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
A split in the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is imminent on the stand taken by certain leaders of the association against reservation.

Dr Baldev Singh Sahota, a member of the central body of the IMA, said today that a meeting of the like-minded executive members of the association would be held on June 1 to oppose the anti-reservation stand taken by a few dominating leaders of the IMA in the state. Dr Sahota said at the meeting a new neutral IMA leadership would be elected to form new district executive committees.

Dr Sahota said he along with Dr Bhupinder Singh, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the IMA, had appealed to members of the IMA that they should not respond to the “illegal anti-reservation stand taken by certain office-bearers”. He said the body should not side with any particular anti-reservation lobby in medical and other institutions.

Dr Sahota further said the government should not reduce seats for general category students and should come up with a solution acceptable to all sections of society.

He added that the stand taken by certain leaders of the IMA against reservation was politically motivated.

Dr Sahota said Dr Surinder Singh from Mohali, Dr Sandeep Singh from Ludhiana, Dr Sukhjinder Singh Gill from Bathinda, Dr Joginder Singh from Jalandhar, Dr Rupinder Kaur from Faridkot, Dr Tarwinder Singh from Hoshiarpur, Dr Sarabjit Kaur Banga from Patiala along with several other doctors, who were members of the IMA, had decided to oppose the anti-reservation stand taken by certain IMA leaders. He said they had sought resignation from IMA leaders who were supporting the anti-reservation agitation.


Pakistani children re-unite with mother
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 27
The ordeal of three Pakistani children ended with their release from the high-security Central Jail here today. They were re-united with their mother, Mumtaz, who was already released on bail.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court that came to the rescue of hapless Pakistani children. The sufferings of the Pakistani nationals unfolded like Hindi feature film. Earlier, eight-year-old Pakistani boy Suhail, and his two sisters Aisha (6) and Aamna (10) were sent separately to juvenile jail of Faridkot and nari niketan, Jalandhar, respectively, while their mother, Mumtaz, was lodged in Amritsar’s Central Jail. However, they were reunited with their mother who was lodged in Amritsar jail 24 days after the Punjab and Haryana High Court order.

Mumtaz, her fiancee, Gora, a Bihari Hindu migrant, Mr Sweet Kumar Gupta, who provided free legal aid to the children, and Puran Singh, a guarantor of Mumtaz received the children outside the jail. It is happy re-union, said Mumtaz who made all out efforts to secure the release of her children.

Mumtaz and her three children were arrested on January 23 for entering into India without valid passports and visa. Her husband Ibrahim, a Bangladesh national, allegedly deserted them and left for Dubai. Being a Pakistan national, Mumtaz came to India from Bangladesh in an effort to cross over to Pakistan. After their arrest at Amritsar, the police lodged the three in Faridkot, Jalandhar and Amritsar on the directives of a local court.

Mumtaz, originally hailing from Pakistan, married Ibrahim some years ago. Three children were born out of the wedlock. About one-and-a-half years ago, Ibrahim, took Mumtaz and his children to his native place in Bangladesh, only to desert them for another woman, with whom he left for Saudi Arabia. He also took along their passport and other documents.

While Mumtaz manipulated her release on bail, by hoodwinking the law enforcing agencies, her children continued to remain in jail.

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered release of 46 prisoners hailing from Pakistan, including three minor children. Out of 46 prisoners, 42 were languishing in various jails of Punjab despite their prison term having ended a long time ago. A PIL was filed by the World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal. Referring to the plight of the minor children of Mumtaz, who had been booked under various clauses, the High Court Bench, while ordering quashing of the FIRs registered against them, observed that no FIR should have been registered against the three minor children.

Interestingly, Ibrahim wrote from Saudi Arabia to the jail authorities, claiming that his Pakistani wife had left Bangladesh along with his three children without informing her in-laws, when he (Ibrahim) was away to Dubai in connection with a job.


Uma’s party to have state unit on June 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
Former BJP leader Uma Bharti's new political party, the Bhartia Jan Shakti Party, shall announce its Punjab unit on June 15, Mr Vishvanath, the Organising Secretary of the party for North Zone' said here today.

Work to recruit new members was on and the party would welcome not only former BJP members but people of all religions and all walks of life. The party has already appointed conveners at Jalandhar, Sangrur, Ropar, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepore and Gurdaspur in Punjab.

Mr Vishvanath said the question of how the basic ideology of "Hindutva" had been diluted in these years was a major plank for the new party.

The Chandigarh unit was formed on Thursday with Mr Des Raj Gupta being appointed its Convener.


No response from UP, Bihar
Verification of migrants
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Punjab police hopes of identifying the criminal elements coming in the garb of migrant labourers to the state have dashed to the ground with the Bihar and Uttar Pradesh police not responding to the enquiries made by the Punjab police.

More than 50,000 verification forms of migrant labourers were sent to the different police districts in the two states to ascertain the credentials of an individual working here but not a single enquiry has been answered.

Peeved DGP S.S. Virk told The Tribune that though the migrant labour could not be held responsible for most of the crimes taking place in the state, their proper identification and verification of addresses were a must.

The situation in Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar was the worst. Cops spent more than 20 days in a month looking for a migrant in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, who had allegedly run back home after committing some crime in Punjab.


RIL: Preneet bats for government
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 27
Putting up a defence in favour of the Punjab Government’s controversial proposal to offer free land to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Ms Preneet Kaur, Patiala MP and wife of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, today batted for the government, alleging that the issue had been politicised by the opposition for political gains.

“In criticising the government offer, the opposition has jumped the gun. Only the offer had been made and nothing concrete done by the Punjab Government”, Ms Preneet Kaur said here today.

Akali leaders were having second thoughts about criticising the project, aimed at bringing prosperity to farmers, she claimed.

Asked about the charge of sellout levelled by leaders of political parties, including the Congress, she said there was no question of compromising on the state’s interests.

Claiming that the Reliance offer was the best bet for Punjab, she said the company had decided to establish 52 hubs and 250 sub-centres in the state to help farmers in adopting diversification.

It would pump in Rs 6,000-crore investment in the state, directly benefitting residents, she added.

Saying the states was free to grant incentives for development, she claimed that the Reliance project would break the paddy-wheat crop circle and replace it with vegetable and fruit growing.

She said 161 mega projects of Rs 6,300 crore had been cleared, providing jobs to about 12 lakh youths.

She further said many housing projects had been coming up at Zirakpur and Dera Bassi.

Ms Preneet Kaur also laid the foundation stone of 100 per cent coverage of drinking water and sewerage projects for Zirakpur and Dera Bassi towns under the Municipal Development Fund and inaugurated the installation work of a tubewell.

Addressing the gathering, she said the total cost of these projects would be 17.35 crore, which included Rs 3.63 crore for water supply and Rs 13.72 crore for sewerage.

She said with the elevation of Mohali to a district, the importance of Zirakpur and Dera Bassi had increased.


Bhattal defends CM on Reliance deal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had taken the approval from the Cabinet for finalising the deal with the Reliance Industries. She defended the Chief Minister, saying he had a great vision for the development and it was because of his farsightedness that big companies like Reliance and Tatas were coming to Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here today, Ms Bhattal strongly defended the Reliance deal. She said the entire Cabinet stood behind the Chief Minister for finalising the deal. She pointed out, “you need to provide certain concessions to the industry so that it makes good investments”.

She remarked that recently the Communist government in West Bengal had given land to Tatas almost free of cost and so much hue and cry was being raised in Punjab when Reliance had been offered land on concessional rates.


Documentary on Maharaja Ranjit Singh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 27
“Maharaja Ranjit Singh — Lion of Punjab”, a documentary, was released here yesterday.

The Punjabi Theatre Academy (PTA), based in the UK, prepared the project on the life of the Maharaja, whose rule ended a turbulent political period in Punjab.

Mr T.P. Singh, Executive Director of the PTA, said his academy had prepared a 110-minute drama on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which had Asians and the British in the cast.

The role of the Maharaja was played by a British citizen of Pakistani origin, Pasha, whereas the role of Jindan, wife of the Maharaja, was enacted by Asha, he said.

The documentary has photographs of places, monuments and buildings related to the life of the Maharaja along with details.

Mr T.P. Singh said society and political circles in the UK were abuzz with talk of secularism. With this documentary, he wanted to draw the attention of the world towards the rule of the Maharaja, which was marked by secularism and liberty to practice one’s religion as per one’s will.


Tributes paid to Pandit Nehru
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 27
Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, vice-president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and a former minister, led the party workers today in offering floral tributes to Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru on his death anniversary.

Mr Jakhar said the first Prime Minister was the real architect of modern India. Though the country had scaled new heights in industrial development, much more needed to be done to develop it as one of the top five nations in the world.

Others who paid tributes included Mr Banwari Lal Nagpal, president, city Congress committee and a municipal president, Mr Tulsi Ram.


Dharna against police inaction in murder case
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 27
Hundreds of citizens, mostly women, sat on a dharna outside the Subdivisional complex here on Thursday against the city police blaming it for protecting influential culprits in the Manju Bala murder case.

Action committee members, while addressing a protest rally, were demanding the arrest of culprits. The minor girl, aged 14, was kidnapped on April 11 at 9 pm when she was on the way to her house in the Dharam Nagar locality.

Her body was found from a gorge the next morning. The police arrested two sons of a poor family. The police told newspersons that the minor girl had accompanied the culprits, they said. They suspected that more persons were responsible for the rape and murder but the police had not arrested them.


Govt sets up investment panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 27
The Punjab Government today set up an Investment Commission, which will be headed by Mr Suresh Neotia, Chairman of Gujarat Ambuja Cement Limited. Mr Sunil Munjal, managing director of Hero Corporate Services, and Mr Kewal Dhillon, chairman of Dhillon Group of Industries, will be its members. The Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, will be member Secretary of the commission.

The Commission’s term will be for three years. It will interact with investors and invite them to invest in the state. No perks and allowances will be admissible to the members. The commission will meet at least once in three months.


Patiala students excel in Class X exam
Tribune Reporters

Patiala, May 27
Students of various CBSE-affiliated schools in the district have excelled in the 10th class examination, the results of which were declared this morning.

As many as 31 students of Budha Dal Public school here have done the school proud by managing to get 90 per cent or more marks. The top 15 students of the school are Amitoz (96.8 per cent), Jasneet (96), Deepinder (95.8), Gursimrat Singh (95.8), Damandeep (95), Sindhya (94.8), Suvidah (94.8), Alamjot (94), Gursheet (93.2), Akash Bansal (93), Charru (92.8), Simranjeet (92.8), Khushbeen (92.6), Akshi (92.6) and Robin Rishi (92.6).

At least 14 students of DAV Public School who have got 90 per cent or more marks are: Anshul Malhotra (94 per cent), Arshia (93.8), Ankita Aggarwal (93.8), Ravineet (93.4), Simratjeet Kaur (93.4), Parul Chojer ( 92.6), Pratibha Bhatia 992.6), Geetanshu Bansal (92.4), Sanya (91.6), Sonali (91.2), Prabhjyot Kaur (90.8), Harshbir Singh (90.4), Diksha Gupta (90) and Somia (90).

Our Lady of Fatima Convent School achieved a 100 per cent results with as many as 22 students getting more than 90 per cent marks. Among the top 10 students are: Harsimrat Kaur (96.2 per cent), Nikita Singla (95), Chamandeep (94.6), Keshav Kaplush (94), Yuvraj (93.6), Swati (93.4), Aditya (93), Suvigya (92.8), Yuvnish (92.8) and Saloni (92.4).

Out of 102 students who have passed the examination, 101 students of the school have got first divisions. Eight students who have bagged 100 per cent marks in mathematics are Aditya Puri , Gaurav Saini, Harsimrat Kaur, Neha Chawla, Nitkita Singla, Sahil Singla, Yuvnish and Yuvraj.

Students of St Peter’s Academy have also done well with 12 of them securing more than 90 per cent marks in the total aggregate. Ankit Garg topped the school by securing 95 per cent marks and he was followed by Amanjot Saini (93) and Ritesh and Tarun Verma, both of whom got 92.8 marks.

Others who have bagged 90 per cent or more marks are: Sudhanshu, Vipul, Dolike, Vikas Mittal, Vishal Singla, Ankur Gupta, Sahil Singla and Ankit Gupta.

Students of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya also bagged honours with two of its students Preksha Bhardwaj and Gurdeep Singh scoring more than 90 per cent marks.

Private schools win laurels

Fatehgarh Sahib: Students belonging to private schools performed excellently in the 10th class CBSE results.

Most of the private schools claimed that their students performed excellently. As per a press note of Saffron City School, Kotla Bajwara the result of 10th class was 100 per cent and 11 students got first division, three students second divison and one third division. Ms Ravneet Kaur Chakkal was the topper of the school by getting 90 per cent marks, where as Amritveer Kaur remained second in school by getting 87 per cent marks.

Krishma Jindal got 92 per cent and Chahat Bansal got 87 per cent and most of the students got marks in eighties.

As per the press note of Divine Light International School, Sirhind, results were 100 per cent and majority of the students got first divisions.

Saikriti got 90 per cent in English and 90 per cent in Hindi, Randhir got 93 per cent in mathmatics, 91 per cent in science,87 per cent in English and 94 per cent in Punjabi. Rupali got 92 per cent in social science, 89 per cent in Punjabi.

Netaji School student bags honours

ROPAR: Anika Mittal of Netaji Model School scored first position in the Ropar city by securing 94.2 per cent in 10 class CBSE results.

While three students of Shivalik Public School scored more than 90 per cent marks.

Eicher School students excel

PARWANOO: Two students of Eicher School, Parwanoo, Bharti Verma and Karan Sood, scored 92.6 per cent and 90.2 per cent marks, respectively, in the matriculation examinations conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).


Award for VC

Amritsar, May 27
The India Vision Foundation, New Delhi, will honour Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, and Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, Central Jail, with “India Vision Puraskar-2006” on August 31 in New Delhi.

A Magsaysay Award winner and the first woman to become an IPS officer, Mrs Kiran Bedi, told this to mediapersons at a function held at Amritsar Central Jail today.

Mrs Bedi said Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh would be presented the award for bringing in jail reforms and his contribution to the welfare of jail inmates. — TNS

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