P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Encroachments in fruit market an eyesore
Manish Kumar Singal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The mushrooming of encroachments in the old fruit and vegetable market outside Hall Gate has become a major eyesore for the public and the corporation authorities.

The building mafia is flourishing in Moti Lal Nehru Fruit Market outside Hall Bazaar. The area that was allotted to migrants in 1950 and later turned into the fruit and vegetable market is the hub of illegal constructions.

Sources said in 1950, around 300 built-up structures of 25 sq yards each were allotted to the migrants. With the passage of time, the entire area got converted into a fruit and vegetable market. But the people had extended the houses and establishments up to 10 feet more towards the roads from both sides.

Besides, the connecting roads of the colony had also been encroached upon and sold on fake documents to other people.

Moreover, the owners were now making illegal basement structures without their site plans being approved by the corporation. These basements had been extended to the encroached area also, i.e 10 feet towards the road.

When local traders were contacted, they said, “No one comes here to check our activities. So we have extended our houses.”

According to a local resident, the main roundabout inside the colony was wide enough to allow an easy passage to a truck. But now even a small car cannot enter the street.

Some of the families which continue living in the most unhygienic conditions there said the area had turned into the domain of rehriwallas. While there was no sewage system and public toilet facilities, the rehriwallas create nuisance and urinate in the open on the streets.

When the municipal authorities were contacted, officials said keeping in mind the nuisance, they had already shifted the vegetable market to Valla village, around 7 km from here.

“We have not received any complaint from any of the resident regarding this so far. In case such activities are taking place in the area, action will be taken against the lawbreakers,” said an official.

The Commissioner of the corporation, Mr K.S. Kang, said, “This is in my knowledge and we have initiated action into the matter. We have also brought the matter into the knowledge of the Improvement Trust, which is the real owner of the area.”

Mr Kang said stringent action would be taken against the encroachers.

On the contrary, the residents alleged that the Improvement Trust had nothing to do with the market as they pay house tax directly to the corporation.


Central nod to Amritsar project
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
The Centre has given the go ahead to Rs 240-crore Guru Ram Das Integrated Development Project Scheme, which would provide much-needed facelift to civic amenities in the holy city.

The Union Ministry of Urban Development, which held a meeting with the representatives of the Municipal Corporation last night, approved the financial viability report of the project.

Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, said the project would cover 100 per cent population for potable water and sewerage. It would be executed under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Commission Scheme of the Centre to improve infrastructure and provide better civic amenities in various cities.

Mr Kang said the project envisaged setting up of three high-tech water treatment plants and sinking of 28 tubewells in 17 colonies. This would augment potable water and sewerage facilities in the 29 other residential colonies besides the backward colonies.

The Centre would fund 50 per cent of the cost of the project while 20 per cent expenditure would be born by the state government. The balance 30 per cent cost would be born by the corporation. The first instalment of the Central contribution, amounting to Rs 49 crore, would be received by next week, he added.

The project would be launched by the first week of October. The city would be covered under a comprehensive city development plan at a cost of Rs 3,150 crore to provide fillip to the existing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Mayor of the city, Mr Sunil Datti, thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for taking “personal interest” in getting the project cleared.


Resentment prevails among doctors
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
Resentment prevails among the doctors working in the Punjab government both in the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) cadre and medical colleges for non-fulfilment of some of their long pending demands.

In a joint press statement issued here yesterday, the IMA state president, Dr G. S. Gill, and the chairman of the in-service wing of the state branch of the India Medical Association, Dr D. S. Bhullar, urged the Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, and the Health Minister Mr Surinder Singla, to call a meeting of various doctors associations and fulfil their demands.

The major demands included payment of NPA on dearness pay on the central pattern, filling of the vacant posts of medical teachers in the state medical colleges, withdrawal of the direct quota posts of medical teachers from the Punjab Public Service Commission, clearance of the probation and placement cases of medical officers, enhancing their promotional avenues, regularisation of the services of the newly appointed service providers with change of their designation to medical officers, appointment of new doctors on regular basis and supply of sufficient medicines and other equipment in rural dispensaries and sub centers. 


Cong workers as health facilitators
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
The District Congress Committee Amritsar, (DCCA) Rural would assume the role of facilitator, coordinator and catalyst in implementation of government health programmes for the betterment of the people.

Mr Sukhjinder Singh (Lalli) Majitha, President DCCA, (R), stated this while interacting with newly appointed Service Provider (doctors) here yesterday.

To start with, the cadres of the party would move along with the common man in the border area of this district to improve awareness about health. He stressed upon the need of creating awareness among the poor and needy people regarding the health facilities being provided at the village level.

Mr Lalli said that 145 Service Providers in the medical field have been appointed in Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts under the National Rural Health Mission programme launched by the Central government.

The Congress committee would mobilize the rural folks to avail of the services of Service Providers and also provide them the basic infrastructure like building, toilets, and electricity. 


Kanwaljit for free trade on Indo-Pak border
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
A former Finance Minister of Punjab, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today demanded that the opening of the Indo-Pak border to free trade should be one of the main items on the agenda for the coming bilateral talks between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who has also written to the Prime Minister on the subject, said: “Punjab is at a disadvantageous position due to trade restrictions and the border with Pakistan provided the easiest and quickest possible route to the Middle East”.

He said he was concerned at the “worsening economic scenario of Punjab.”

Stagnation in growth was among the other reasons. Punjab’s economy was growing at less than half the national rate. Consequently, Punjab was lagging behind other states in economic growth and overall development.

He said the opening of the Indo-Pak border for trade would provide free market access to countries like Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and nations of the erstwhile Soviet Union.


8 injured as van, truck collide
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 20
Eight persons, including a women, were injured when the TATA Sumo van (HP-37-0284) in which they were travelling collided head on with a truck (PB-11-AP-7329) near Khakha village (Tanda), 35 km from here, today. All the injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Tanda, from where Balwinder Kaur, wife of Baldev Singh, and Amarjit Singh, a son of Mohinder Singh were referred to Jalandhar hospital under critical condition.

According to police sources, the other injured persons were identified as Des Raj, Piara Singh, Amanpreet Singh, Baldev Singh, Nasib Singh and Ravinder Singh, all residents of Chack Khela village. Des Raj, along with his other family members, was going to Hazoor Sahib for paying their obeisance there. While overtaking a tractor-trailer, the driver of the van lost control and collided with the truck coming from the opposite direction.


Ropar to be compensated: Rana
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 20
The people of the district who have been feeling neglected after Mohali became another district would be compensated shortly as the Re-organisation Committee, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, will soon submit its report recommending the addition of more areas in the district, said Parliamentary Secretary Industry and Commerce, and local MLA, K.P.S Rana.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Rana said the Chief Minister had stated that all promises made to the people would be fulfilled soon. 

Only after his assurance to the Zila Bachao Sangharsh Committee the latter had withdrawn a long agitation against the state government a few months ago. 


Surya Kirans create diamond, heart midair
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Halwara, September 20
Diamonds are created in mines, but when it comes to the daredevils of the Indian Air Force, a diamond can be created in the air, that too at a speed of 500 kmph.

The diamond formation was just the beginning of their art work in the sky in the form of a splendid air show at Halwara today. Soon followed the delta, the columbia, the viggen and other formations with inverted aircraft, which had one’s heart in one’s mouth in awe and wonder.

When one of the pilots of the indigenous Surya Kiran fleet came flying low at a high speed from the left and suddenly crossed an equally speeding aircraft from the right just 10 metres away, spectators were wonderstruck.

The last item on display was the making of a heart midair. Called Heart Loop and Cupid, it virtually symbolised how the show had taken away the heart of the onlookers.

No matter how difficult or scary it appeared to the onlookers, the Commanding Officer of the nine pilots who took part in the show termed the manoeuvre as an old one, “No big shot! It is just like crossing a truck on a single-lane highway.”

The Surya Kiran air show is no routine matter. The IAF is at the top in the field with only the Royal Air Force of the UK and the Canada Air Force using nine aircraft in such art work. Others are content with eight or six aircraft.

Inverted aircraft flying and head- on crossing at different heights by Surya Kirans displayed the accuracy and timing of pilots. Different formations in the air by different colours were cheered by the viewers.

Commanding Officer Sandeep Bansal, who has been commanding the fleet for the past one year, says it takes over 1,400 hours of flying and several years to become an expert in the field. His personal favourite and a challenging one is the Nine Aircraft Bomb Burst Loop. In this aircraft coming in tandem disintegrate in all directions spreading different colours like a bomb explosion.

Air Commodore P.M. Katti told mediapersons that the show was part of the platinum jubilee celebration air show by Surya Kirans. It was a show of microsecond precision requiring courage and wisdom.

After the show, viewers witnessed a static display of fighter planes. School students took keen interest in knowing armament load capacity of different planes.


Donations by tobacco firms: PIL withdrawn
Let political parties decide on the issue, says HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 20
A PIL filed by an advocate, seeking a restrain on political parties receiving donations from tobacco firms, came up for preliminary hearing before a Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today.

The petitioner, advocate H.C. Arora, who appeared in person, had prayed for directions to the Government of India, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and other respondents to impose a ban on recognised political parties from accepting donations from tobacco manufacturers.

Referring to reports in the media, which said that a number of political parties had received donations from tobacco giant ITC, Mr Arora pointed to the fact that every year over 8 lakh people died of tobacco-related ailments in India. He also pointed to the fact that the Union Health Ministry had already showed its resolve to check smoking and chewing of tobacco by banning smoking in public places.

He said acceptance of donations by political parties weakened the collective will of the political system in fighting the menace of smoking and tobacco chewing.

However, the Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Ranjit Singh observed that it was for political parties to decide whether they should take donations from such companies or not. The petitioner then prayed that he be allowed to withdraw his petition to make a representation to the respondents. The court allowed him to do so.

It may be recalled that the issue of acceptance of donations by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) from ITC has snowballed into a major controversy, with many Akali factions asking Akal Takht Jathedar to initiate action against SAD president Parkash Singh Badal.


Farmers told to experiment with new crops, technology
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Rauni (Patiala), September 20
Mr Avtar Singh Dhindsa, a successful farmer of Punjab and known as ‘king of flower cultivation of state’ today said’, unless Punjab farmers took marketing in their own hands, they could not have a secure future in farming.

Mr Dhindsa was talking to farmers after inaugurating a one-day regional level Kisan Mela held at this village. The Kisan Mela was organised by the Directorate of Extension Education, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, to educate farmers of Patiala region about the latest techniques of cultivation of rabi crops. Mr Dhindsa is also a member of PAU’s Board of Management. 

Sharing his secrets of success with farmers Mr Dhindsa said proper planning was the ‘mantra’ for successful farming. He added that before sowing a crop a farmer must know what to sow, where to sell and what would be the returns. Success lay in answers to these questions, he said.

Giving tips on better farming, he told that every farmer should experiment with new crops and new technologies. “Failure of another farmer’s crop should not deter you to abandon your experiments.” He urged farmers to keep at least 1/10th of their area for experimenting with new crops and new technologies. This would spark the much needed diversification campaign and would bring prosperity to the state.

Speaking on this occasion Ms Supinder Kaur Cheema, member, Board of Management, PAU, called upon farm women to participate in Kisan Melas as farming was no more a man’s domain. Women could contribute a lot by taking care of seed storage, dairy, child health etc. Without women’s contribution, farmers could not achieve overall rural development, she remarked. Stressing on the need of education of women, she said education only could make the difference. 

Speaking on this occasion, Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, Director of Extension Education, PAU, said that since water resources of the state were depleting fast, the university had started a campaign to educate farmers on efficient use of water. The theme for this year, ‘Kisan Mela Save Water-Save Punjab’ — had been specifically chosen to highlight the water problems faced by Punjab state, he said.

Dr Gill said that modern farming demanded precision. Different areas had their own specific problems and to address these problems, the university had set up farm advisory centres throughout the state.

The Additional Director of Research Dr G.S. Hira, said that the decreasing underground water resources in Punjab were forcing the state towards a major water crisis, which needed to be checked in time. He said that by diverting some area under rice to other kharif crops, farmers would not only benefit themselves but would contribute towards the prosperity of the state too.

Those who emerged winners in various home science competitions were awarded prizes by the chief guest, Mr Avtar Singh Dhindsa.


DC seeks support on voter lists
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 20
Ms Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, today held a meeting with the representatives of diffrent political parties and appealed to them to co-operate with the administration for the finalisation of voter lists and photo identity cards for the coming Assembly elections. 

She said their support would help in preparing genuine voter lists. She also said the process of preparing voter identity cards would begin from September 21 for 78-Amloh and from September 25 for 79-Sirhind constituencies. 


State govt officer in Vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
An Under-Secretary of the Punjab Government, Hira Lal,working in the Department of Higher Education, was nabbed red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 by a team of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau tonight.

He was arrested from his office at the Mini-Secretariat in Sector 9 here.

A team of the Vigilance Bureau laid a trap wherein Hira Lal was handed over Rs 50,000 by the person from whom Lal had sought the alleged bribe.

Lal was seeking the alleged bribe to clear some files. Incidentally, he was dealing with cases of colleges offering B.Ed courses. The colleges were seeking to have another counselling session to fill the vacant seats.

The team also recovered some more cash from the pocket of Lal. This was later counted and found to be Rs 47,580. 


PSEB engineer held on graft charge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, September 20
Manjit Singh, a junior engineer (JE) posted at Sarhali sub-station of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) was nabbed by a team of the Vigilance Bureau (VB) while taking a bribe of Rs 4,500 from a consumer, Bhupinder Singh of Sarhali today.

Mr R.P.S. Bajwa, SSP, VB, informed newsmen here that Bhupinder Singh had applied for a commercial power connection for which the JE had demanded a bribe of Rs 4,500 from him. Bhupinder Singh contacted the Vigilance Bureau. The bureau team, headed by Mr Onkar Singh, DSP, nabbed Manjit Singh while taking bribe red-handed.


Two held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 20
The CIA staff here has arrested Suman Rani and Kulwant Singh, both residents of Patrewala village, under Sections 420, 342, 382, 506 and 120-B of the IPC for cheating people by offering gold at 50 percent of the market rate.

SSP Arpit Shukla said Kashmir Singh, a resident of Sher Mohammed village in Jalalabad (west) subdivision, had said in his complaint that his niece was married to Gurcharan Singh at Dharmo Wala village. Their neighbour, Suman, and her aunt, Vidho Bai, laid the trap by claiming that their relatives at Patrewala village were selling gold at 50 per cent of the market rate.

The complainant reportedly paid Rs 70,000 to them. They were invited to Patrewala and locked inside a room where digging was in progress to extract gold. After a few minutes, the culprits shouted that the police had reached there.


Impersonator arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
The presence of mind shown by the sarpanch of Lolla village, near Jandiala Guru, yesterday led to the arrest of an impersonator, Ajaib Singh, who posed himself to be the Deputy Director of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat.

According to information, Ms Paramjit Kaur, sarpanch of Lolla village, called respected persons of the village when Ajaib Singh told her that he wanted to check the records or documents pertaining to the funds dispersed for the development of the village.

Ajaib Singh came in an hired Indica car with red light atop, which could only be put up by senior police officials of at least SSP rank and MLAs, and window glasses with black film.

The sarpanch called Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) of Tarsikka block Kashmira Singh Sandhu.

Meanwhile, Ajaib Singh, who also claimed to be the state president of the Atta Chakki Association, got her signatures on a fake pro forma and several other documents.

He then asked her to call the Lambardar, but himself forged the signature of the Lambardar. Meanwhile, the BDPO reached the spot and revealed that Ajaib Singh was not the Deputy Director of their department.

Ms Paramjit Kaur in her complaint alleged that Ajaib Singh had come earlier too on September 11. However, she got suspicious of his identity and asked him to come again later.

Mr Kuldip Sharma, DSP, Jandiala, when contacted, confirmed the incident. He said a case under had been registered against Ajaib Singh and the driver of the car, Karamjit Singh, resident of Gahri village.


College boys attack fellow student
Our Correspondent 

Kharar, September 20 
A student of GGS College of Modern Technology was injured after he was allegedly attacked by some boys of the college here today. 

According to information available, Amaninder Singh, a second year student pursuing mechanical engineering, was taken to a hospital in Mohali where he is undergoing treatment. He had sustained a head injury. 

Mrs Satwinder Kaur, mother of the injured who works as a steno in the office of the Municipal Council, Mohali, said Amaninder had to be given 10 stitches. 

She said the police was investigating the matter but could not record the statement of her son till the evening as he was not in a state to do so. 


Computer courses for poor students
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
As part of the drive to help the needy and poor, the Creative Computing Society of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology has started various courses for different sections of society.

Mr Deepak Garg, president of the society, while inaugurating the courses today, said the courses would be helpful for geting computer jobs for the jobless youth who could not pursuer higher studies.

Students of the institute were finding some time out of their studies to teach these students various computer courses.


“Journalists should deepen roots”
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
"Journalists must learn to deepen their roots and broaden their vision," said Dr D. S. Yadav, former Chairman, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, while addressing the students of journalism and mass communication, Punjabi University, Patiala, in the 'Meet the Student Journalist' programme organised by the department here today. 

Prof. B. K. Kuthiala, Head of the Journalism Department, Kurukshetra University, was also present.

While giving tips on communication and communication research, Mr Yadav emphasised that communication was the basis of every development. He added that a student of journalism must keep it in mind that media not only served the purpose of entertainment but also meant to educate the reader. 

Talking about the field of communication research, he pointed out that every research was conducted with a view to satisfy ones inquisitiveness and do things in a better way. With the help of research we could understand the process of communication better.

Prof Kuthiala said media was all powerful as it held out a mirror to the society. But, at times it tried to take undue advantage of its freedom, which was not right. The communication process needed to be learnt in its totality instead of in parts. He suggested that students try to explore newer things by going beyond academic learning.

Dr H. P. S. Walia, HOD, made it clear that communication was not a new phenomenon but started centuries ago. He quoted Guru Nanak Dev Ji as one of the foremost and finest communicators. Communication in India had its origin in religion itself. 

Navjit Singh Johal, reader in the department, presented the vote of thanks.


Protest by ITI staff, students
Our Correspondent

Barnala, September 20
Led by Mr Harvinder Kumar Bhardwaj, secretary, Punjab State Industrial Training Institutes Employees Union, staff and employees of the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) staged a march today passing through bazaar and markets of Barnala to lodge their protest against the Punjab Government’s move to privatise the ITIs.

Addressing a rally in the ITI complex, Mr Bhardwaj flayed the government move to privatise the ITIs. He said the move was aimed at depriving the poor and middle class students of their right to attain skills through the medium of technical education.

The protesters submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister to the SDM.


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