P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Making music for the world
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 29
Pt Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is among the few Indian instrumentalists who have played extensively with western musicians. Known for the flexibility of his rendition, he created history by winning the Grammy when he teamed up with the American guitarist Ry Cooder for the fusion album “A Meeting by the River”.

And unlike many had presumed, he did not bask in his past glory. Instead, he went several steps further from the Grammy and did what a handful of world’s musicians get to do — make music for Hollywood and record for the best music companies in the world. In many ways then, Pt Bhatt took Indian music to the globe in a very measurable sort of manner.

He used his grounding in classical music and his experiments with the mohan veena to create new music that found as much resonance in the west as in India. His background melodies in three famous Hollywood flicks — “Dead Man Walking”, “Two Days in the Valley” and very recently “Meet the Fockers” – catapulted him further into another league.

In Kapurthala on the occasion of Baba Jassa Singh Festival being organised by Kapurthala Heritage Trust, Indian National Trust for Art and Culture (INTACH) and the Punjab Government, Pt Bhatt unveiled his latest plans and the secrets behind his truly global appeal.

“I have never been part of the “purity” debate nor have I ever believed in casting music into moulds. My instrument is a classical one, which imbibes the best elements of sitar, sarod, sarangi and veena, but my music is not classical if you understand classical only in terms of purity. Classical, in my opinion, is what classical does. It must appeal to people irrespective of cultural backdrops. It must be interesting. And to that extent, a musician must change if he has to,” Pt Bhatt says.

In fact, he has just returned from a 45-concert tour of Canada where he played extempore with some of the best western musicians. At ease with improvisations, he says, “Unlike westerners who rehearse their music, we make our music instantly, which is why we can comfortably adapt to western styles. Our speed is double than theirs, our power to improvise is greater. That’s because we are Indian classical musicians. Speed is inherent in our system, so is splendour.”

Charmed by the nuances of Pt Bhatt’s mohan veena and its power to sustain notes, Sense World Records, a UK-based company, has just recorded a special album of his called “Desert Slide”, this one features Pt Bhatt in concert with the folk musicians of Rajasthan – the Langas and the Manganiyars. “My recorders wanted something new and nostalgic. I couldn’t think of anything better than fusion between mohan veena and Rajasthani folk instruments and vocals.

The mix of these two is incredibly earthy,” explain Pt Bhatt, who has, until now, cut 15 albums with western artistes.

In “Desert Slide”, however, he has handpicked 10 folk artistes from Rajasthan to create something that has managed to grab five-star reviews all over the UK.


Need to curb militancy firmly: Shinde
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 29
Praising the people of Punjab for their supportive role in ending militancy in the state, Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde stressed on the need to curb militancy firmly in other states of the country.

Speaking at a function organised by the Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers here today, Mr Shinde said people of other states also learn from Punjab and get themselves united in the fight against militancy.

Mr Shinde, who was chief guest at the function, further said bullets alone could not end militancy and efforts should be made to motive people for their participation in curbing militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

In his address, J&K Governor Lt Gen. (retd) S.K. Sinha said elected government of Jammu and Kashmir was doing sincere efforts to win the confidence of people its fight against militancy. A peace march was organised in the severely militancy-hit Baramulla in which as many as 5,000 Kashmiris participated, he added.

Financial assistance to the tune of Rs 19.95 lakh was provided to 133 militancy hit J&K families during today's function.

A former Union Minister, Mr Shanta Kumar, and the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, were also present on the occasion.

Amritsar: The Union Power Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, today predicted that Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and his team would win the forthcoming Assembly elections to be held in February next year with a thumping majority.

Addressing party workers at Verka, near here yesterday, he hoped that the voters would give yet another chance to the Congress government to serve them for another term of five years. He appreciated the projects initiated by the state government to uplift the state economy.

Dr Raj Kumar, Parliamentary Secretary (Education), Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, MLA, Mr Sunil Dutti, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Inderjit Singh Baserke, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, and Ms Ratna, senior Congress leader, were present on the occasion.

Mr Shinde also inspected the Power Grid at Verowal.


Police releases posters of kidnapped woman
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 29
After failing to crack the kidnapping case of Kuldeep Kaur, a newly married woman, which took place near Chibrawali village on the night of October 12, the police now has resorted to coloured posters having her picture, a brief matter on how she was abducted and contact numbers of police officials.

Sources said the police had been working on various theories for the past fortnight, but were yet to achieve any breakthrough. The police was silent on the matter, but there was a buzz that money could not be the motive of the kidnapping. Sources said at the time of her kidnapping bags containing cash and valuables were lying in the car, but the kidnappers left these untouched.

On the other hand, Kuldeep’s parents pointed finger of suspicion towards her husband Gurdas Singh and his cousin Sukhwant Singh, who were accompanying her at the time of the incident. However, they had failed to produce any evidence to substantiate the charge.

Kuldeep was kidnapped when she was on her way back to Bhagsar village, where she was married, after attending the marriage of her brother. Sources said the police now was interrogating the woman’s kin to solve the case. The police has intimated the police stations of neighbouring districts about the case and was collecting information from them on daily basis.

It had also held a meeting of sarpanches of nearby villages of Chibrawali and Gadadobe, where the abducted woman belonged to.


Mehli village in shock over daughter’s death
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, October 29
Mehli village is mourning the death of Manjit Kaur (32), whose decomposed body was found near a canal in Canada on Thursday.

According to her uncles Pritam Singh and Darshan Singh, their niece had been missing under mysterious circumstances since October 18.

She was married to Mukhtiar Singh of nearby Jagatpur Jattan village around 12 years back and had good relations with her in-laws.

They said both husband and wife were working as teachers in North Ridge Elementary School at Sari village, near Vancouver.

They had gone to the school for yoga classes on October 18 but failed to return home.

They said Manjit was born in Canada and her father Resham Singh was a Canadian citizen.

Manjit Kaur was the mother of a three-year-old daughter and was four months pregnant, they added.

It was learned that Manjit had developed strained relations with her brother-in-law Sukhwinder and that she wanted to live separately from her in-laws.

The Canadian police has announced a reward of $ 50,000 for anyone who gives clue into the killing.


Kang lays stone of gateway to Punjab
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 29
Punjab Cabinet Minister Jagmohan Singh Kang laid the foundation stone of a gateway to Punjab on the outskirts of Chandigarh yesterday. He laid the foundation stone at Sukhna Enclave. He was accompanied by the Administrator of the newly formed notified area committee of Naya Gaon, Mr Darshan Singh Sandhu.

Addressing a gathering of residents, Mr Kang said he had sought a grant of Rs 5 crore for taking up development projects for the newly formed Naya Gaon nagar panchayat.

He said certain vested interests had delayed the formation of the NAC by raising non-existent technical issues. He said the formation of the NAC would lead to the areas integrated development since it was located close to Chandigarh’s northern sectors.


Father donates son’s eyes, body
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 29
Hundreds of men and women today attended the last prayer meeting and expressed sympathies with District Scouts and Guides trainer Darshan Lal Chugh who lost his only son Raghav (8) recently.

Mr Jaskiran Singh, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Malerkotla, joined Mr Madan Lal Bhalotia, chief of Shri Ramsharnam centre, and Mr Parveen Chawla, president of the Bharat Vikas Parishad, in honouring the Chugh family for donating eyes of the child for two needy persons and the rest of the body to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, Faridkot.

This was unprecedented in the region, the mourners said.

Mr Chugh announced an annual scholarship of Rs 600 in Raghav’s memory for brilliant but economically poor students and donated shoes to 20 needy children after the prayer meeting.

Dr Harbans Singh Chahal, District Education Officer, Muktsar, was among scores of the educationists who attended the prayers.


State-level protest rally by doctors
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 29
Members of the Rural Medical Service Provider Association (Punjab) organised a state-level rally here today in protest against the non-regularisation of their jobs by the state government.

Doctors working in the rural areas and their parents participated in the rally. they also blocked traffic before proceeding to the CM’s residence to register their protest.

In a press note here today, Dr Aslam Parvez, state president of the association, said all district units of Punjab participated. The protest march began from the Baradari garden.

He alleged that qualified doctors were being discriminated against. The association’s main demands included regularisation of jobs, maternity leave for women doctors and stopping interference by local politicians, sarpanches, panches and zila parishad authorities.

He said the contract system was responsible for conflict between doctors and villagers.

Dr Ravi Kant, vice-president of the association, alleged that dispensaries were handed over to a non-technical department which was unable to understand the problems of the doctors. He said they could not enjoy the benefits of post graduate quota, under the contract system.


Undertrial on indefinite fast
Tribune News Service

Ropar, October 29
Alleging that he was falsely implicated in a case by the Punjab Police on behalf of the land mafia and influential politician, a 50-year-old undertrial, Swaran Singh, has been on an indefinite fast since October 20 at the district jail, Ropar, here.

In his complaint the undertrial alleged that on February 8, 2002 senior police officials had cooked him in a false case under Sections 323, 427, 452, 506 and 34, IPC. Thereafter, he was declared a proclaimed offender and had been lodged in the jail since June.

The DSP, district jail, Mr G.S. Saroya, said he had forwarded the complaint of the undertrial to the SSP, Deputy Commissioner and ADGP(Jail). He further said that the condition of the undertrial was stable.


Rs 5.42 cr for Hussaniwala development
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 29
In order to promote national martyrs memorial Hussaniwala as a major centre of tourist attraction, the state government will spend a sum of Rs 5.42 crore on the development and beautification of the site. This was revealed by the Commissioner, Mr Surinderjit Singh, while presiding over a meeting of district officials.


2 held with 3.5 kg smack
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 29
The naka party of Hoshiarpur police led by Mr Tarlochan Singh Manhas, DSP (R), yesterday arrested Devo, wife of Darshan Singh of Bhungarni, and Mohinder Pal, son of Bachana Ram of Kharkili PS Rajaund, Kaithal district, presently resident in the same village, while they were trying to flee on the bridge of a canal near their village.

During the search, the police seized 3.5 kg smack from them. The international market value of the seized contraband is stated to be about Rs 4 crore.

A case has been registered.

During interrogation, they revealed that they had purchased the contraband from Suresh, resident of Shahadra (New Delhi), and were returning to their village by bus.

They used to supply smack in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar districts.


“Education, not gurdwaras need of the hour”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The former Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Mr Tarlochan Singh, has called upon “kar sewa babas” to build educational institutions rather than gurdwaras so that the Sikh community was able to take its rightful place in society.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, who is a Rajya Sabha member from Haryana, was speaking at various places during his three-day tour of the state, which concluded yesterday.

He said enough gurdwaras had been constructed and now money should be spent on building institutions, which could impart quality education. He regretted that while students of the Sikh institutions did not fare well, those who studied in schools run by Christian missionaries occupied top positions in society. It was necessary to teach the English language and impart quality education to the students of the institutions run by Sikh organisations.

Mr Tarlochan Singh said it was strange that while on the one hand there was great religious fervour among the Sikhs and on the other evils like use of intoxicants was widespread in the community. Sikh organisations should come forward for eradication of such evils. He said every Sikh should decide to persuade at least two “patit” Sikhs to support long hair.

The Rajya Sabha MP urged the Haryana Sikhs to unite to save their “existence.” He said the Haryana Sikhs should be prepared for making sacrifices for protecting the state’s interests, including construction of the SYL canal. Having a dig at certain Sikh leaders, he said before the elections these leaders had claimed that the Sikhs were a force to reckon with in 32 Assembly and three Lok Sabha constituencies. But only one Sikh MLA could be elected.

Mr Tarlochan Singh announced grants worth about Rs 30 lakh to various institutions out of the development fund at his disposal.

He also expressed thanks to the INLD supremo, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, while addressing a rally in Mr Chautala’s Assembly constituency of Rori in Sirsa district for helping him in his election to the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Tarlochan Singh’s tour was organised by a prominent youth Sikh leader of the state, Mr Harpal Singh.


Syndicate nod for introduction of 2 new courses
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Panjab University syndicate members today gave the nod to the introduction of the first set of inter institutional courses to be offered jointly by PU and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh.

The two courses- MSc in Nuclear Medicine and M.Sc in Medical Physics- will be offered to students from the next session. To begin with there will be only 10 seats each in the two courses. These two courses are the first of their kind to be offered by PU following collaborations between the Departments of Biophysics and Physics in PU and Departments of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy at the PGI.

The issue will now be taken to the Senate for clearance and once a go-ahead is given by the senators, admission will be done next year through an entrance test conducted by PU. Both courses will be of two years’ duration divided into four semesters and the degrees will be given by PU.

M.Sc in Nuclear Physics will be offered jointly by the Department of Biophysics, PU, and the Department of Nuclear Medicine, PGI, while the M.Sc in Medical Physics will be offered by the Department of Physics, PU, and the Department of Radiotherapy, PGI. Minimum qualification for admission to M.Sc in Nuclear Physics will be B.Sc from a recognised university with Physics and Chemistry or Chemistry and Biology as core subjects. Candidates with a B.Sc in Biophysics, Biotechnology, Pharmacy, Radio Diagnosis, Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine are also eligible. Minimum qualification for admission to M.Sc in Medical Physics will be B.Sc from a recognised university with Physics as the core subject. Candidates with a B.Sc in Biophysics, Radio Diagnosis, Radiotherapy and Medical Physics are also eligible.

During the meeting, syndicate members, however, did not take a final decision regarding the implementation of the stringent schedule for granting of affiliation to colleges. It was felt since the affiliation process had already started for the forthcoming session, implementing a new schedule at this stage was not possible. The new schedule had proposed that applications for grant of affiliation to new colleges will not be entertained by the university after October 1 and for existing colleges, the applications for grant of affiliation with normal affiliation fee should reach the university by November 1 and with 50 per cent additional fee by November 15. Prof N.P. Manocha, syndicate member who had come up with the new plan offered to prepare a similar plan again keeping it within the guidelines laid down in the university calendar which can be implemented for colleges applying for affiliations next year for session 2008-2009.

A resolution that affiliated colleges be allowed to run new courses on the basis of the no-objection certificate issued by Panjab University only was withdrawn by Principal Suresh Tendon and Principal Satinder Dhillon. The resolution was in line with a practice being followed by Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University. Affiliated colleges of these universities do not have to take an NOC from the state government to start new courses. However, it was felt during the meeting today that the Punjab Government would lose all interest in the university in case it is stripped off the authority to issue NOCs for new courses.


Two-day convention at engg college ends
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 29
The two-day ISTE’s student’s convention concluded at the local Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College. Member secretary of the college trust Kirpal Singh Libra was the chief guest while member trust, Didar Singh Bhatti was the guest of honour at the valedictory function. Dr D.S. Hira, Principal, said in the convention more than 300 students of 36 engineering colleges participated.

Prof J.S. Oberoi, Coordinator of the convention, said the students competed in paper prevention, debate, web designing, group discussion, online gaming, project display and in many cultural events.

He said in paper presentation of ECE section Apurv and Sahajdeep of GNE, Ludhiana, stood first while Simeanjeet Singh and Ravdeep Singh of BBSBEC FGS came second. In paper presentation of CSE section Inderjeet Singh and Amanjot Kaur BBSBEC stood first and students of CIET, Jhausla, second. In web designing students of Chitkara Institute of Engg and Technology scored first and second positions and students of Ambala College of Engg and Tech third.

In the CAD juncture section of Chitkara College came third. The robotic car made by Satwant Singh and Satyender Singh of BBSBEC won the first prize and the project of NIT Jalandhar, won the second prize. in online gaming (Need for Speed-Most Wanted) students of BBSBEC won first, second third positions while in QUAKE-IV Akashdeep and Sharanjit Singh of BBSBEC scored first and second positions, respectively, and Preetpal Singh of YCOE, Talwandi Sabo, third.

Later, giddha, Bhangra and folk songs were performed by students.


Punjabi University team wins overall trophy
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 29
The Punjabi University campus team won the overall trophy in the Punjabi University Patiala zone youth festival which concluded at Nabha, 25 km from here, late last evening. The team won overall individual trophies in music, theatre and dance while it finished overall second in library and fine arts categories. The Government College for Girls, Patiala and host Government Ripudaman College, Nabha, finished overall second and third, respectively.

The campus team was adjudged best in classical vocal, semi-classical group song, folk orchestra, light vocal classical dance, instrumental music. Bhangra, western group song, western solo, rangoli, clay modelling, quiz, elocution, skit, mimicry, cartooning, college making and installation items. it got second position in giddha, on the spot painting, one act play and group shabad event.


PCCTU puts off rally to Nov 8
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has postponed its rally scheduled for October 31 to November 8. According to Mr Jagwant Singh, general secretary, this decision was taken during a meeting of the executive at Banga today.

College teachers working in more than 160 non-government colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh are protesting against the “failure” of the Punjab Government to implement the pension gratuity scheme, lift ban on recruitment, implement the decision on rural HRA and give relaxation on refresher courses.

The PCCTU members had planned a rally at Matka Chowk on October 31, where the state executive committee members were to court arrest. But the change in the plan was necessitated following a government decision to ban rallies at Matka Chowk.


UK teachers savour Punjabi folk culture
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 29
An 11-member British delegation of teachers was greatly impressed by the rich Indian folk culture. The delegations was visiting the local Shri Ram Ashram Public School under the “Indo-British Teachers Exchange Programme-2006”.

Talking to newsmen, the leader of the delegation, Mr Michael Connel, said this kind of cultural activity helped shape up the complete persona of the individual.


Dairy sector hikes milk procurement prices
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 29
Apprehension over Reliance capturing a major portion of dairy retail market once it enters Punjab in a big way has forced private dairy industry and state milk cooperative, Milkfed, to hike the procurement prices of milk to retain their supply chain.

The lower milk production this year has also led to the dairy farmers getting the highest-ever price for their yield.

The dairy farmers in the state are being paid anything between Rs 200 and Rs 210 per kg fat- which is the highest ever price that has been paid in the state.

The procurement price offered to dairy farmers in Punjab last year was Rs 170- Rs 175 per kg fat. The average bulk price of milk has increased from Rs 165-170 in 2005 to Rs 185-187 this year. Generally, the procurement prices of milk are reduced immediately after Divali.

But this year, the organised dairy sector has so far decided not to reduce the prices. This means that the retail prices of milk, which were hiked by the dairy industry in September this year, will not be reduced.

On September 11, all milk companies had increased the prices by Rs 1 per litre, which meant that milk prices vary between Rs 14 and Rs 21 per litre, depending on the fat content.

The procurement rates were increased twice in the past two months when the state was facing a severe shortage of milk.

But even as the milk procurement has gone up manifold during the past fortnight, Milkfed or the private dairy industry are unwilling to bring down the procurement prices. "The milk procurement was just five lakh litres a day during the past two months, because of heat stress in milch animals. Post-Divali, this has increased to 7.70 lakh litres. But dairy sector being a fluid market in Punjab, we cannot just reduce the price being paid to farmers, and allow our suppliers to tie up with big corporates, who are all set to launch their operations in the state," said an official in Milkfed.

Rough estimates by dairy experts put the average daily procurement of milk to 210 lakh litres per day. Of this 55 per cent of milk is retained by the farmers for self consumption, and 20 per cent is sold to unorganised sector - halwais, milkmen et al.

Only 25 per cent or about 51 lakh litres a day is available to the private as well as Milkfed milk plants.

Though Milkfed has the major portion of supply through its strong cooperatives, closely followed by Nestle, the organised sector is now feeling threatened by the entry of corporates.

The private dairy sector, too, has decided not to reduce the procurement prices of milk, with Milkfed, the biggest player in organized dairy sector, not reducing the prices.

"It is not just the apprehension over big corporates entering the dairy market. This year, with milk production remaining at least 15 per cent lower than last year, the prices have not been reduced," said Mr M. M. Verma, President of the Punjab Milk Plant Association and Associate Vice-President of Wockhardt, Lalru. However, it will be seen with interest how the dairy sector reacts once Reliance actually makes its entry in Punjab.

It is also true that there is big demand for milk in Punjab and acute shortage of milk is felt during the festival season.


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 |