P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


6 parties form third front
Tribune News Service

Longowal, August 20
Reiterating their resolve to uprooting “exploitative, self and pelf seeking political outfits like the Congress and the SAD from Punjab politics”, the SAD (Longowal), the SAD (1920), the Lok Bhalai Party, the CPI, the CPM and the Jan Morcha today joined hands to form a third front ahead of Assembly elections in the state.

They joined hands at the 21st death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal here.

Interestingly, architect of SAD-BJP alliance in the state Madan Lal Khurana also shared the dais with leaders of these political parties.

In a resolution passed at the conference organised by the SAD (Longowal), the outfits said they would jointly contest Assembly poll with an electoral understanding with other parties to keep the Congress and the SAD out of power.

They said the proposed third front would provide a pro-people, honest, clean and responsive government committed to bringing peace, good governance and development to the state.

They alleged that the Congress had pushed the state to the edge of an economic, social and cultural disaster.

“Basic amenities like education, public health, electricity, water supply and roads are in a shambles. All employment avenues are blocked and debt-ridden farmers are committing suicides. Punjab is being handed over to big industrial houses on a platter, while exodus of industry continues in the wake of extension of fiscal concessions to Himachal Pradesh.”

Taking a dig at the SAD (Badal), they alleged that it had become a stooge of the BJP with which Badal had joined hands to “promote his family and narrow interests”.

Addressing a gathering, SAD (Longowal) president Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, said the seat-sharing arrangement and manifesto of the third front would be worked out soon, while their efforts to rope in other like-minded parties would continue.

He alleged that the Congress and the SAD (Badal) were averse to pursuing Punjab’s demands and safeguarding its interests.

He alleged that both parties had been practising “vote bank” politics and people were fed up with them.

He accused the successive Congress governments at the Centre as well as the BJP-led NDA government of pursuing “anti-Punjab and anti-Sikh” policies.

Expressing concern over erosion of Sikh traditions and values, he said gurdwaras had been converted into “centres for furtherance of vested interests of Mr Badal”.

Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said: “Badal is a threat to Sikhism. He has violated ‘maryada’ on many occasions and has exploited the SGPC to the hilt for self-interest.”

Former DSGMC president Paramjeet Singh Sarna said the forthcoming elections would be crucial for the future of Sikhism in Punjab.

Mr Khurana also exhorted people to vote for the third front.

CPI general secretary Sampooran Singh, state Jan Morcha president Gyan Chand, and SAD (1920) leaders Darshan Singh and Ranjeet Singh were also present.


Third Front a Congress body: Badal
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal (Sangrur), August 20
Terming the third front formed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) as the “Congress front”, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), today gave a call to the people of the state to vote for the SAD-BJP alliance in the ensuing Assembly elections and end the rule of the Congress.

Paying rich tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal on his 21st death anniversary at a conference, organised by SAD in memory of Sant Longowal in the Shaheed Bhai Dayala Ji Public School complex here today, Mr Badal said Sant Longowal should be considered as a “national hero” because he sacrificed his life for peace and prosperity of Punjab.

Mr Badal alleged that the third front by the SAD (Longowal) was formed just to help the Congress in the elections. He alleged that SAD (Longowal) leaders had neither any devotion towards Sant Ji nor towards Khalsa panth. He said leaders of the SAD (Longowal) were stabbing the SAD in the back as their main aim was creating hurdles in the formation of the SAD government. He termed the SAD (Ravi Inder) as an “agent of the Congress”.

Mr Badal also promised to the gathering that if they voted the SAD-BJP alliance to power, the SAD-BJP government would establish a separate department to provide employment to the unemployment youths and raise a fund worth Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore for helping the poor on health and education fronts.

Mr Badal also asked the Union Government to link the MSP of the crops with the price index. He said after coming to power, the SAD-BJP alliance would form a commission, which would probe “excesses on the people by the civil and police official.”

Mr Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, Mr Arun Jaitley, General Secretary of the BJP and in charge of the Punjab BJP affairs, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Balram ji Dass Tandon and Capt Kanwaljit Singh also paid tributes to Sant Longowal.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, said he was fully hopeful that the next Chief Minister of Punjab would be Mr Parkash Singh Badal. He said in the first week of September, SAD and the BJP would hold a meeting to work out the seats to be contested by both parties in Punjab.


Longowal’s death anniversary: poor show by Cong 
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Sant Longowal’s sister Sham Kaur and Revenue Minister Jasjeet Singh Randhawa pay tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal at Longowal village on Sunday.
Sant Longowal’s sister Sham Kaur and Revenue Minister Jasjeet Singh Randhawa pay tributes to Sant Harchand Singh Longowal at Longowal village on Sunday. — Photo Kulbir Beera

Longowal, August 20
The death anniversary of Sant Harchand Singh Longowal once again appeared to be a formality for the Congress, as only Revenue Minister Jasjeet Singh Randhawa turned up to lend the state-level touch to the programme here today. The party’s sincerity towards the event could be gauged from the fact that no party MLA from Sangrur attended the programme.

Addressing a gathering, the minister termed Sant Longowal as a man with secular mindset who made great effort to restore peace in terrorism-hit Punjab.

He announced that a drinking water project worth Rs 35 lakh would come up at Gidaryani, the native village of Sant Longowal. He said the road from Longowal to Ubhawal would also be widened. Blowing his government’s trumpet, he said the Congress regime would not only put the state’s economy back on rails but also ensure all-round development of the state. Later, talking to the mediapersons, he said the government had given jobs to six members of Sant Longowal’s family as per their qualifications. He said his sister Sham Kaur was given a financial aid of Rs 2 lakh, apart from a pension of Rs 1,500 per month. He denied that there was any difference of opinion among the party leaders on observing the death anniversary of Sant Longowal.

He said total computerization of revenue records of the state was on and it would be over by March 31.

On corruption in his department, he said the ministry would curtail difference between collector rates and market rates, wherever necessary, as it was a major cause of corruption. He said strict action would be taken against revenue officials caught doing registries after office hours.

Ex-minister Jasbir Singh, the Sant’s sister Sham Kaur and District Congress president Surinderpal Singh Siwian were also present on the occasion.


Shiromani Khalsa Dal honours
killers of Sant Longowal

Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 20
Radical Sikh organisation, Shiromani Khalsa Dal, today honoured Halminder Singh Leel (posthumously) and Gian Singh Leel for their role in killing Sant Harchand Singh Longowal. A function was organised early morning at Leel village near Pakhowal in this district which coincided with the death anniversary of Sant Longowal.

While Halminder Singh Leel had died at the spot along with Sant Longowal, Gian Singh was released after serving life term for the assassination. The Dal Khalsa declared Halminder Singh Leel as the ‘Qomi Shaheed’, while Gian Singh was declared as ‘Panthinc Heera’. Halminder Singh’s award was presented to his brother Baljinder Singh.

The Dal Khalsa leaders, including the president, Jagdish Singh Malhi and the general secretary Swaran Singh Khalsa justified honouring Sant Longowal’s killers. They claimed that they (the killers) had acted “in the interest of the panth and Punjab”. They accused Sant Longowal of betraying the panth and Punjab by signing the Rajiv-Longowal accord.

They said: ‘dharamyudh morcha’ was launched against the construction of the Satluj Yamuna Link Canal as it would have jeoparadised the interests of the state. By signing the accord, they alleged, “Mr Longowal had betrayed the Sikh panth”, which had led to a lot of resentment among the Sikhs and Punjabis.

The Dal Khalsa also announced that the two ‘Sikh heroes’ will be presented with gold medal during a convention being jointly organised by the Shiromani Dal Khalsa, Damdami Taksal and the Dal Khalsa, USA. The date for the convention would be announced later.

They alleged that the grievances of the Sikhs were still not being properly addressed.

They claimed that the discontentment was still prevailing among the people and the ‘heroes’ like Halminder Singh and Gian Singh were still held in respect.

They accused the political parties who were organising functions on the death anniversary of Sant Longowal of trying to do it for their vested interests only.


Writer of controversial book fails to appear at Takht
Vedanti authorised to decide on Dasam Granth
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 20
Even as the author of controversial book, Mr Jaswinder Singh, who had challenged the authenticity of Dasam Granth had failed to turn up for open debate at Akal Takht, today, the Sikh conclave, held here said that the writer did not deserve further time to clarify his position and hence stern action be taken against him as per Sikh ‘Maryada’.

With the result, the representatives of various Sikh organisations authorised Jathedar Akal Takht to take final decision to clear the doubts about the authenticity of Dasam Granth for times to come.

The mood of the Sikh conclave was to take stern action against the author for his alleged ‘blasphemous book’ since he had published the same despite personal intervention by Jathedar Akal Takht. There was consensus that Akal Takht should sternly implement the directive under which discussion on Dasam Granth was banned. With this, the section of Sikh scholars who had been raising doubts on the authenticity of Dasam Granth might take a back seat in the coming days.

Earlier, the author of the controversial book had offered Rs 1 crore to anyone who would prove that Guru Gobind Singh had authored Dasam Granth.

In a hard-hitting speech, Jathedar Vedanti said that Dasam Granth comprises Bani which had been part of daily prayer of the Sikhs and ‘Amrit Sanchar’ and hence its authenticity could not be questioned. Quoting from the Sikh history, Jathedar Vedanti said that any objections to such ‘Bani’ could not be tolerated. He said the hymns composed by Guru Gobind Singh had been an entry gate into Sikhism and certain forces wanted to demolish the same that needed to be curbed.

Setting in motion another controversy, Giani Gurbachan Singh, head granthi Harmandar Sahib said that the Bani of Dasam Granth used to be recited from Darbar Sahib, Muktsar when he was posted Granthi there. He said it needed to be probed under what circumstances it was discontinued.

Meanwhile, Jathedars Hazoor Sahib and Patna Sahib in their written messages said that they would endorse any decision taken by Jathedar Akal Takht on this issue. Jathedar Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, however, said that the Bani of Dasam Granth was being recited at both Takhts outside Punjab and hence they could not tolerate raising of any doubts on its authenticity.

Sikh scholar, G.S. Lamba, a editor of ‘Sant Sipahi’ said that as per Sikh Rehat Maryada decision about the compilation of Dasam Granth and its authenticity could not be questioned by any individual or group since it had to be taken by the Sikh Panth only . He alleged that some so called scholars of Sikhism had been indulging in ‘anti-Sikh’ activities. He suggested that such pseudo-scholars should not be called at Akal Takht.

Earlier too, those who had questioned the authenticity of Dasam Granth were sternly dealt with as per Sikh traditions. So much so such scholars were declared “Tankhahiya”.

On the other hand, the representatives of various Nihang and other Panthic organisations have sought registration of criminal case against Mr Mohinder Singh Josh for using derogatory language against the ‘Bani’ which is part of ‘Rehras’ (daily evening prayer of the Sikhs). In a memorandum they asked the Home Ministry through the Deputy Commissioner to register a case under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code for hurting religious sentiments of a community . 


Punjab to train students for BPO industry
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 20
Government colleges in Punjab will now churn out students ready for jobs in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The state has launched the Punjab Training on Soft Skills (PTOSS) programme for government colleges which would be implemented simultaneously in 40 colleges across the state in the first phase.

With a view to making these students job ready the moment they are out of college, third year students would undergo a five month rigorous training in communication skills, accent training, personality development, grammar in English other than of course the basics in computers. Punjab Infotech has designed the entire programme and the Department of Higher Education would be paying for the project in the beginning.

Talking to The Tribune, Col Rajesh Dua, General Manager (IT and e-governance) Punjab Infotech, today said training to the first set of students should begin within the next two months. “The syllabus and the various curriculum modules have been prepared. The training partners who would be providing the teachers have been shortlisted and are being finalised. In the first phase the Punjab Government would be paying for the hardware that would be set up in the colleges.” he said.

Meanwhile, the DPI Colleges, Punjab, Mr Kanwarjit Singh, has shortlisted about 25 colleges out of the 56 government colleges where the programme would be launched first. “We intend to focus on rural colleges since they need such a programme more. Principals have been asked to use any additional space available for setting up the computer lab and also reschedule the time table to include these classes,” he said adding that the Punjab Government would be spending over Rs 1.5 crore in the first phase.

Each of the selected college would have a server to which 20 desktop machines would be connected. There would be additional multimedia projectors etc to make teaching easy. Students would be trained for two hours a day and have to complete 160 hours of training within five months. “The whole idea is to ensure that these students are skilled enough to be picked up in the BPO industry when they are out of college. Later as they work in the BPOs they can move forward to knowledge processing depending on the subject they specialise in,” said Col Dua. 


Power cuts cripple industry
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 20
The unprecedented power crisis in the state has crippled industrial production and the wheel of the machine has almost come to a standstill. The industry is getting power supply only for six hours, allege industrialists.

The Punjab State Electricity Board has already ordered the shutdown of induction furnaces and steel re-rolling mills for an indefinite period (till furthers orders). Two compulsory weekly offs are also being observed by the industry in the state.

According to Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, president, and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, power cuts start at 7.30 am in the morning and continue till 11.30 am. Again peak load restrictions are imposed from 7.30 pm to 4.30 am daily. In a way, they said, the industry is getting only six hours power supply. No worker will come to the factory at five in the morning nor would the employer go to the factory to run the unit for two hours.

The production of industrial units has been hit very badly as a result of the power cut and same has come down to one third only. According to Mr Avtar Singh, export of engineering goods has been hit badly. There is fall in the export of engineering goods to the tune of Rs 500 crore, he assessed.

Because of the fall in production, the financial position of industrial units has become precarious. As a matter of fact, the economy of the industrial units has been shaken badly, said Mr Avtar Singh. The labour is also becoming restive due to fall in the wages.

The power restrictions on the induction furnaces have resulted in the rise in the prices of steel. There has been an increase of Rs 1000 per metric tonne in the price of MS rounds. The same was being sold for Rs 25,000 per metric tonne. Hr coil and Cr coil were quoted at Rs 31,500 and Rs 38,000 per metric tonne respectively.

Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr Avtar Singh also allege that the state Excise and Taxation Department is harassing industrialists over the refund of VAT arrears. Frivolous objections are made while clearing the VAT refund.

They also disclosed that the C forms were not being made available by the business men of Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat as a result of which, there was delay in filing the VAT returns.


Mill boiler blast leaves 1 dead, 10 injured
Our Correspondent

Verka (Amritsar), August 20
One migrant labourer was killed and 10 others were injured, a few of them seriously, in an explosion in a textile processing unit early this morning here today.

The explosion caused by bursting of a boiler was so strong that parts of chemical drums, which caught fire, spread in about 1-km area of the factory. The high tension wire over the factory were snapped and fell across the nearby rail lines.

The deceased was identified as Joginder, a migrant labourer from Bihar. The injured are Arun Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Chhotu, Garib Nath, Ajit, Dharampal, Guddu, Vinay Mehta, Gurrinder and Arun. The condition of Vinay Mehta was stated to be serious.

Eyewitnesses revealed that the fire allegedly caused due to leakage of oil pipe spread to drums full of chemicals, which exploded after catching fire.

Meanwhile, members of labour unions, gathered outside the factory to protest against the incident, were lathicharged by the police, alleged Mr R.C. Yadav, president, and Mr Sugreev, senior vice-president, Uttar Pradesh Kalyan Parishad.


‘Fake letter’ creates confusion
in university corridors

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 20
The circulation of a “fake notification” on the letterhead of Guru Nanak Dev University to the heads of all affiliated centers of the university (outside Punjab), directing them not to go in for further admissions for the new academic session, created confusion today.

There are at least 10 colleges in New Delhi (three of them belong to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee), affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University. The circulation of this letter had come as great shock to the managements of such institutions which had spent several crores to create infrastructure.

However, Dr Jairup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, while talking to The Tribune, expressed surprise over the “contents” of the letter. He said no such letter had ever been issued on his behalf.

The letter, written under “forged signatures” of the Registrar on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, reads: “I am directed to inform you that the executive council of the university headed by Dr Jairup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, at its meeting has constituted a high-powered committee to consider the proposal for closure of all colleges/institutions affiliated with Guru Nanak Dev University outside the state jurisdiction (Punjab).”

Normally such letters are issued by the Dean (Colleges).


Dullo hints at poll alliance
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 20
The Punjab Congress can form an alliance with like-minded parties to fight the next Assembly elections, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, indicated here today.

Talking to news persons after a tree plantation programme organised by the Youth Congress, Mr Dullo said the Congress could form alliance with the CPI and the CPM to contest the Assembly poll. He said that all the secular parties would support the Congress to defeat the communal forces in the next elections in the state.

Earlier Mr Dullo was of the view that the Congress would alone contest the next Assembly elections.

When asked about the appointment of the Chief Vigilance Commissioner for six years as proposed in the Punjab State Vigilance Commission Bill, Mr Dullo expressed his ignorance about the Bill.


Factionalism in Youth Congress
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, August 20
Factionalism in the District Youth Congress (DYC) came to the fore today when three functions were organised here to pay homage to Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary. The PPCC president attended two of the functions.

One function was organised at a primary school in Sukhrampura by Congress member Ramesh Goyal. His son is staking claim to the post of the DYC president.

Another function was organised at the Congress Bhavan under the leadership of DCC chief Ramesh Dutt Sharma who is believed to be supporting Mr Desh Raj for the post of DYC president.

The third function was organised at Bela Chowk.

The PPCC president denied groupism in the Youth Congress and said the youths were enthusiastic and held functions at different places.

Mohali: The Punjab Congress chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today said that he would be looking into the statements by Mr Jagmeet Brar on the grant of land to Reliance and, if required, initiate action against him.

He was in Mohali this morning to pay tributes to Rajiv Gandhi. He planted saplings on the occasions.


Dal Khalsa rejects Vedanti as Jathedar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 20
On the fifth day of the Gurdwara Reform Movement, the Dal Khalsa today refused to submit a memorandum to Jathedar Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti on the plea that he had lost credibility in the Sikh Panth.

Instead, the organisation released a letter, addressed to the Sikh sangat, urging them to strive for the appointment of Sikh clergy on merit.

A group of 101 activists of the Dal Khalsa, led by its senior leader Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, performed Ardas at Akal Takht and pledged to cleanse Sikh institutions from all wrongdoing.

Mr Dhami was accompanied by Kanwar Pal Singh, Sarbjit Singh Ghuman, Baldev Singh Ajnala, Gurdip Singh Kalkat, Ranbir Singh and others.

Addressing a gathering at Akal Takht, Mr Dhami called upon the Sikhs to strive for the appointment of a legitimate Akal Takht Jathedar who was acceptable to all sections of the Sikhs.

He also asked the Sikhs to realise their duties towards the community and hand over the reigns of Sikh institutions in “safe hands”.

Lashing out at the electorate, he said the voters could not escape the responsibility of the denigration of the Sikh institutions, as it was they who elected the SGPC. Targeting SAD for its alliance with the BJP, the Dal Khalsa urged voters not to allow the handing over of political power to those who surrendered their ideology to “anti-community” forces.


PCCTU for implementation of pension scheme soon
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 20
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), which held a “Poll manifesto reminder march” from Barnala to this town on Friday, urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to implement the pension-gratuity scheme from September 5, 2005.

Teachers of different colleges from various districts of Punjab, who are members of PCCTU, while thanking the Chief Minister for promising to implement the pension-gratuity scheme in his Independence Day speech, said Punjab was the only state where this scheme had not been implemented so far while teachers of aided colleges in almost all other states of the country had been enjoying that facility.

Dr H. S. Walia, President, PCCTU, while addressing a rally of teachers organised here on Friday, said though the Chief Minister had promised to implement the pension-gratuity scheme, he should ask the authorities concerned to make the process time bound so that the teachers could know when they would start getting this facility.

He said the state executive committee of teachers would meet at Jalandhar on August 27 to take stock of the development on this count and to draw up the future course of action.

Dr Jagwant Singh, general secretary, PCCTU, said apart from implementing the pension-gratuity scheme, the state government should lift the ban on recruitment, absorb staff, which had been affected due to the shifting of plus two classes and give justice to DPEs and librarians.

Mr P. K. Sharma, Secretary, PCCTU, said certain decisions, which had been taken by the Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, in connection with the demands of teachers were not being implemented by a particular official, who had been creating obstacles due to vested interests. He said he was apprehending that some elements would also try to slow down the process of implementation of the pension-gratuity scheme.

Later, the teachers submitted a memorandum to the official concerned in the New Moti Bagh Palace, the private residence of the Chief Minister.


Sidhu leads rally against poor law, order
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
The SAD-BJP combine carried out a protest rally against deteriorating law and order situation in the holy city.

Headed by Mr Navjot Singh, the rally began from Hall Gate and concluded at Town Hall. He said a government which was incapable of protecting dignity of women had no moral right to remain in power.

He announced an award of Rs 50,000 to Bhai Isher Singh, who, risking his life, rescued a young girl from the clutches of six youths on August 17. Mr Sidhu said that as it was not enough, another attempt by some anti-social elements to kidnap a woman from near Kotwali police station was made on August 19.

He said that if it was the fate of the city which is receiving a large number of foreign tourists in the state, then what would be the condition of towns and villages. He said the police was not able to enforce law and order as it remained busy guarding politicians, leaders and bureaucrats. He feared that it could discourage the tourists from visiting the city.


BBMB rock garden a major tourist attraction
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Talwara (Hoshiarpur), August 20
The rock garden of the BBMB here has proved to be a major tourist attraction. According to the authorities of the BBMB, about 1 lakh tourists from the surrounding areas have visited the park.

The second phase of the BBMB rock garden at Talwara was opened to the public recently by Member (Irrigation) Anil Arora.

The rock garden at Talwara that has been brought up by the BBMB under the aegis of Nek Chand was opened to the public last year. The authorities here said that during the last year, many additions have been made in the garden. The major addition has been landscaping in the park. Mr S.K. Mittal, SE township and in charge of the rock garden development, while talking to The Tribune, said the landscaping in the front portion of the park had been completed. It included development of park and lawns.

The landscaping in the rear portion would take another three to four months. Many additions have also been made in the rear portion of the park. These include “Dandi Yatra” of Mahatma Gandhi, geographical maps, showing evolution and separation of continents, bitumen mixing plant and sculptures made from drift wood.

Mr N.K. Jasrai, Chief Engineer, Talwara, said the garden was being developed using waste material of the dam. Recently, designer bricks were dug from the basement of the old kiln of the dam and used for constructing benches in the park of the garden. The workers of the BBMB who received training from Nek Chand have been instrumental in most of the art works in the rock garden.

Nek Chand, who was also present on the occasion, lauded the efforts of the BBMB in bringing up the rock garden at a remote place like Talwara.

Mr Anil Arora assured all help to the local management for carrying on with the project. The BBMB was also thinking of bring up other such projects in its townships, he said.

The rock garden of the BBMB has been brought up in 65 acres of wasteland. The park also consists of about 10000 trees and orchards of lichis and mangoes.


GMC doctor’s herbal cure to
reduce side effects of TB drugs

Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, August 20
Dr Jaswant Rai, Prof and Head of Department of Pharmacology, Government Medical College, here has revealed in his research that Liquorice (mulathi) helps to overcome side-effects which emerge after the use of anti-tuberculosis (TB) drug therapy.

The research paper has been selected as one of the 20-award winning abstract for 2006 Chest Foundation Young Investigators award by American College of chest physicians. Dr Rai said Dr Inderpal Singh Grover, a junior resident had been invited by the college of physicians to present the research paper at 72nd international conference to be held from October 21 in the USA.

Dr Rai told The Tribune that TB drugs had its own side-effects, which render patients non-adherence to prescribed therapy.

He said he along with Dr N C Kajal, Prof and Head of Department, Chest and TB of the GMC and Dr Inderpal Singh Grover, junior resident in his department had been working to mitigate side-effects of the TB medicine. He said role Liquorice as adjuvant with drug therapy in patients suffering from TB proved very useful.

He said mulathi was used as a common herbal medicine since ancient times for fever, cough, gastritis etc and was utilized for this research. Dr Rai who is also a member on the Board of Studies in Banaras Hindu University and adviser of the State Drug Advisory Committee of the IMA said that inclusion of the research work in the award-winning list was a matter of pride for the college. 


Marble dealers allege trespassing
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Manawala (Amritsar), August 20
Marble dealers and industrialists are agitated over trespassing by the workers of a Hyderabad-based company into their business establishments and houses for marking the area to set up toll plaza on the GT road here today.

Talking to the TNS, Mr Kuljit Kitty, a spokesman for the marble dealers and industrialists, alleged that the workers of the Hyderabad-based company engaged by the state government for four-laning of the Jalandhar-Amritsar road, trespassed into their premises without giving any notice. They would write to the Chief Minister in this regard. Moreover, setting up the toll plaza near the school endanger lives of the young students.

Mr Kitty said that they were also contemplating to move the court against the notification of the state government for acquiring the land for setting up the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). He alleged that the state government was uprooting them for obliging the DLF Universal Limited by providing them 2000 ft opening to SEZ while the opening to the New Amritsar was barely 100 feet. The state government had notified for the acquisition of land for setting up SEZ in Manawala, Rakhjeeta, Mehma, Pandore, Jheeta Kalan, Jheeta Khurd and Bhaghapurana villages published in various newspapers on August 17.

Mr Rajinder Jain of Woolen Processors Private Limited said that they had set up their industrial unit at Focal Point adjoining New Amritsar a few years ago. The extra land meant for the expansion for the unit was acquired by the Amritsar Improvement Trust. He said after that he had purchased land in Focal Point in Manawala for shifting their processing unit keeping in mind that they would not have to shift from there for at least 25 years, but that too was being acquired by the state government.


PPCC pays tributes to Rajiv Gandhi

Chandigarh, August 20
Congress party workers paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 62nd birth anniversary that was observed at the Punjab Congress Bhavan here this morning.

The president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, led the PPCC in paying homage to the late Prime Minister.

Mr Dullo said the progressive thinking and futuristic perception combined with a modern approach of the former Prime Minister had steered India into the 21st century. The policies drawn out by Rajiv Gandhi were bearing fruit now and India was a leader in computers and IT industry, he added. — TNS


Two dead in separate incidents
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 20
Two persons died in separate incidents in different parts of the district during the past 24 hours.

According to information, Gurmel Singh of Sanghera village reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance. He was reportedly unhappy over his unsuccessful married life.

In another incident, Kuldip Singh of Ghal Kalan village reportedly died while inhaling the pesticides. He was taken to a private hospital in Moga where he was declared dead.


Ginners boycott purchase of cotton
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 20
The Punjab Cotton Ginners Association yesterday decided to stop buying cotton with immediate effect.

Mr Suresh Bansal, a member of the executive committee of the association, said the step was taken to express resentment against the arbitrary decision of the Punjab Government on recovering infrastructure development fund from the traders on sale of cotton with effect from April 1, 2005. The government had stated that this would help in meeting the losses incurred due to abolition of octroi.

Surprisingly the octroi is to be abolished with effect from September 1 for which the government was yet to finalise the modalities, but the cotton traders were being taxed for the deals undertaken during the preceding year. Such kind of dictatorial decisions would not be tolerated, the association warned.

The association said the purchases since April, 2005, run into crores of rupees. Some of the traders would be burdened with additional taxes ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 30 lakh under the infrastructure development fund. It appeared that the state government was determined to hit at the backbone of the cotton industry which had already suffered much due to an enhancement in the minimum electricity charges, besides long power cuts.

An immediate impact of the decision taken by the association was that traders from other states had started buying cotton at Rs 1,800, whereas the rate should be Rs 2,000 keeping in view the cotton and cotton-seed market.

Thus, not only the farmers but the government was going to suffer with the decision of the association. Mr Bansal said the boycott would be continued till change was made in the date for recovering the fund by the government.


18-year-old girl gang-raped
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 20
An 18-year-old girl, student of Class X and resident of Bassi Jaura village in this district, has been gang-raped by two youths and their uncle, all of the same village. The Sadar police registered a case under Sections 363, 366, 376, 342, 506 and 120-B of the IPC last evening.

According to police sources, Daljit Singh, alias Laddi, a son of Darshan Lal, Shri, a son of Jagar Ram, and an uncle of Daljit Singh allegedly abducted 18-year-old daughter of Surinder Kumar (name changed) when she was going to ease herself on August 16 morning. They took her to a room and gang-raped her for two days.

Later, they dropped her at the bus stand, Hoshiarpur, and threatened not to narrate the incident to anyone, failing which she had to face dire consequences.


Buffalo thief dead as Canter falls into canal
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 20
A buffalo thief was killed and his three accomplices were arrested as their Canter fell into a canal near Rataul village this morning. However, the fifth buffalo thief managed to flee.

According to the information, the five thieves stole Niranjan Singh’s three buffaloes from Umraina village. When the villagers gathered on learning about the theft, the thieves fled in their Canter.

However, the Canter fell into the canal while fleeing. An FIR has been lodged.


One dies in mishap

Kharar, August 20
One person was killed in a road accident at Kharar when his motorcycle was hit by a car near Sahoran village near here yesterday.

A case under Sections 279, 304-A, 337, 427 of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Balwinder Singh against the driver of car (CH-02-T-1882). The accused, while driving negligently, hit the motorcycle of Jaswant Singh of Sambhalki village who later died in a Kharar hospital. TNS


GND university ‘overlooked’ rules
for NRI MBA admissions
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 20
The candidates seeking admission in NRI or NRI -sponsored MBA seats alleged that Guru Nanak Dev University did not hold entrance test against the claim made in the prospectus.

The varsity issued separate prospectus at a cost of Rs 350 each for admission in MBA course for the NRI candidates. The fourth clause of page number 13 of prospectus reads “Foreign/Foreign sponsored/NRI/NRI-sponsored candidates will be admitted on the basis of merit in the entrance test (for NRI candidates) to be conducted by the co-ordinator/Head of the department. However, for MBA, selection will be made on the basis of merit in the written test. Group discussion and interview in case of vacant seat in this category, admission will be based on the merit in the eligibility.”

They said that entrance test was to be conducted on June 4 and the interview on July 27.

The candidates questioned the utility of separate prospectus and detailing the guidelines when it was not to be followed. They said that their meeting with various higher officials of the varsity yielded unsatisfactory response.

When contacted, Dr G.D Narang, Dean Academic Affairs, Guru Nanak Dev University, said that he was not aware of the fact that whether test and interview were taken or not as he was appointed recently.


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