P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Sikh body institutes Rs 4500 cr education fund
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Taking a historic decision at a meeting held today, the International Sikh Confederation, instituted an education fund of Rs 4,500 crore to impart the latest and the best quality education to the Sikh youth.

A resolution in this regard was moved by Dr S.S.Johl, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Punjabi University and eminent agro-economist. It was approved unanimously. Dr Johl has been made the Chairman of the Advisory Council for Economic, Education and Social Affairs. In fact, contributions to the fund has already begun.

Dr Gurbax Singh Shergill, former Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, announced Rs 1 lakh for the fund and Dr Kharak Singh also announced a similar amount. Mr Rup Singh announced Rs 51,000. There were many others who also declared to contribute.

Moving the resolution, Dr Johl said the education system had virtually collapsed. The standard of education had fallen to the extent that youths passing out from various technical and other institutions in the state were not getting jobs. The number of students in professional courses from the rural area had gone down tremendously. They were unable to compete with their counterparts in the urban areas. The teaching of English was rudimentary and science subjects were missing.

Giving an instance, Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, a former Vice-Chancellor of the PAU, Ludhiana, said his son wanted to recruit 60 youths for an American company. But he was unable to find a single employable boy from Punjab’s countryside. And then he had to select boys from Andhra Pradesh, he added.

Money from the fund would be utilised for scholarships, incentives and other necessary support to the Sikh youth to improve their education and make them fit for employment in national and international companies. “We want that the Sikh youth should be educated to became the best in the world. The institution of fund is a step in this direction. We appeal to the Sikh religious organisations, affluent Sikh corporate houses, family trusts and individuals to contribute liberally to this fund and thereby enable the confederation to launch this urgently needed project to empower the Sikh youth.”

The fund would be administered by a Trust consisting of 11 eminent Sikh personalities selected by consensus in the next general body meeting of the confederation.

The confederation formed an other important committee, which would be called Diaspora and Legal Affairs Committee. Justice Mota Singh from the United Kingdom was unanimously elected the Chairman of the committee. This committee would deal with legal and other issues such as of turban in France being faced by the Sikhs at international level. Justice Mota Singh would be advising on all legal matters to the confederation, the main objective of which is to share the ideology of Guru Granth Sahib with all humanity, to articulate short and long term goals of the Panth and to advance the Sikh cause at the national and international forums.


SAD prays for Sidhu’s prosperity
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 4
The district unit of the SAD, led by its senior vice-president, Mr Jaspal Singh, today organised a mass prayer meeting at Gurdwara Naveen Singh Sabha to pray for the prosperity of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is facing murder charges in the court.

Mr Jaspal Singh, while delivering a speech, lashed out at Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh saying that “it was the Punjab Chief Minister who is solely responsible for digging out a 18-year-old case which was as good as dead.”

He said the Chief Minister was fearing a threat to his Patiala seat in the forthcoming elections and that was the reason why he had settled scores with Navjot Sidhu, whom the BJP was all set to field from the Patiala segment in the coming elections.

He added that the SAD would not take Sidhu case lying down and would organise awareness campaigns in even rural areas to tell the masses the injustice done to Navjot Sidhu by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Prominent among others who were present on the occasion were the president of the Patiala unit of the SAD, Mr Inder Mohan Singh Bajaj, vice- president Surinder Singh Mata and office-bearers of the Patiala unit of the BJP.


Cong leaders perform ardas for family of Sidhu’s victim
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 4
After the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) which performed ardas for the high spirits of beleaguered cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu, senior leaders of the Congress, led by Mr S.R.S. Lali Majthia, district president (rural), today paid obeisance at Akal Takht and sought blessings of the Almighty for the well-being of the family of Gurnam Singh, who had died 18 years ago in the thrashing by Mr Sidhu.

However, the SGPC's task force objected to the 'performing of the prayer' at Akal Takht by Congress leaders and entered into a verbal duel with them. However, Mr Majithia asked the reasons for stopping them from performing ardas for the well-being of the victim's family.

Upset over the 'behaviour' of the SGPC employees, Mr Majithia said if ardas for Mr Sidhu, who had been held guilty could be performed, how they could stop the same in favour of the victims? He said Akal Takht belonged to the entire Panth and not to the SAD (Badal) only.

Earlier , employees of Akal Takht refused to permit Congress leaders to perform ardas, unless directed by the Jathedar of the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs. On this, members of the District Congress Committee (Rural) performed the prayer themselves.


SAD (A)-Shiv Sena clash
10 more booked, admn for more force
Varinder Walia, Gurbaxpuri

Tarn Taran, December 4
The district administration has requisitioned more force including ‘riot control vehicles’ and ‘water canons’ to deal with the situation described as ‘tense but under control’, the Shiv Sena and the Sikh organisations have served an ultimatum on the administration to take action against those responsible for yesterday’s violence.

The police booked at least 15 persons — leaders and activists of the SAD (Amritsar) including Bhai Ram Singh and Mr Harbir Singh Sandhu, national general secretary and district president, respectively, in connection with the yesterday’s clash. Holding Mr Parveen Sinha, district police chief, responsible for failing to control the situation, senior leaders of various Sikh organisations demanded his suspension.

Leaders of various Sikh organisations, including Mr Kanwarpal Singh and Mr Gurjatinder Singh Bhikhiwind, general secretaries of the Dal Khalsa and the SAD(A) at a joint press conference held at Amritsar served an ultimatum on the district administration to withdraw cases against activists of the SAD(A) and other Sikh organisations otherwise an agitation would be started after December 6. A meeting of various Sikh organisations will be held here on December 7. They alleged the Shiv Sena had burnt an effigy of Mr Mann to take political mileage before the Assembly election. They claimed neither the ‘Fatehnama’, a monthly magazine that provoked the Shiv Sena belonged to the SAD(A), nor the article was written by Mr Mann. They said that burning of an effigy was against the ‘Maryada’ of Sikhs.

On the other hand a delegation of the Shiv Sena, comprising of Mr Ravinder Arora, Mr Pawan Parbhakar and Mr Jagdish Kataria, state president, senior vice president and a spokesman of the Shiv Sena met the SSP and demanded arrest of rest of the Sikh leaders who allegedly broke the police barricade to attack Mr Ashwani Kukku, district president of Shiv Sena. Mr Sinha said the police was raiding to arrest those, booked by the police. To a question, Mr Sinha said no Shiv Sainik was booked because they burnt an effigy as per ‘democratic norms’. He claimed all Shiv Sainiks were ‘peaceful’.

A spokesman of the Damdami Taksal, alleged Bhai Mohkam Singh, the Badal Akali Dal’s leader were also with the Shiv Sena when an effigy of Mr Mann was burnt.


Sukhbir Badal is manipulating facts, says JLPL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Janta Land Promoters Limited (JLPL) has refuted the charges levelled against the company by the general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, saying that Badal was manipulating the facts to mislead investors.

The company alleged that “Mr Badal was playing in the hands of cynical bureaucrats, its competitors and unreliable politicians”. The Managing Director of the company, Mr Kulwant Singh, today said the company had purchased 398 acres of land from the farmers at a price of Rs 172.75 crore since 2003 in which the leading banks and investors had invested their money.

He said the rate of this land at Rs 10 crore as claimed by Mr Sukhbir Badal was not only baseless and false, but had been intentionally done to defame the company. He said the Punjab Government passed the Industrial Policy in 2003 and the company promoted the Industrial Mega Project under this policy which was approved.

Several other companies had got benefits. Mr Kulwant Singh said it was clear in the Mega Industrial Project policy that 60 per cent land would be used for the industry, 30 per cent for housing and the rest 10 per cent for commercial purposes because when the land was to be purchased in the open market with high price, it created losses for the developer. As Mohali was a fully planned city, the government had directed a ratio of 60:30:10 for the Industrial Mega Project.

Mr Kulwant Singh said there was no such condition or restriction laid down by the government on selling residential or the commercial plots. “According to the agreement, after selling 50 per cent area of the industrial sector, the development (not sale) of the residential and commercial areas could be done”. The company will give possession to its investors in December 2006.

He went on to add: “Sukhbir Badal claims that the company has sold 250 showrooms for Rs 1,000 crore. I give him the proposal to buy all these showrooms for Rs 400 crore because the Badal family has this capability and they can use the rest Rs 600 crore for the development of Punjab. This proposal is valid as the company has not sold a single showroom plot to anyone till date’’.

Mr Kulwant Singh also said the Group Housing area in Sectors 90-91 under this project was 2,20,000 sq yd and not 3,54, 000 sq yd as claimed by Mr Sukhbir Badal.

He said the total sale value was available with the Income Tax Department and the Punjab Government. The company had purchased total land by paying full registration fee and there was no concession in this. The concession given by the government is to the investors who had purchased plots from the company. He said his project was the first in the state which had fulfilled all conditions of the Environment Department.


Illegal constructions on rise around Quila Mubarak
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 4
In a blatant violation of norms, people residing around the historic Quila Mubarak here are erecting concrete structures right under the nose of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) authorities.

Some persons constructed a shop's roof, adjacent to the boundary wall of the fort on its left side last night. Sources said the ASI staff had come to know about the matter, but they didn't report the matter to the police to check the unauthorised construction. The Kotwali SHO confirmed that he didn't receive any formal complaint from the ASI staff in this regard.

Similarly, construction work is also going on right in front of the fort, where another floor has been raised over a shop. Sources said with the rapid commercialisation of the area around the fort, people residing in its vicinity were converting their homes into shops and were adding up floors on top of the houses for their accommodation.

According to the Ancient Monuments Act, no construction activity could be undertaken on the protected (where the monument exists) and prohibited (within 100 metres of the monument) area. Such activities in another 200 metres had to be regulated so as to protect the monument. Sources said only repair work was allowed in the existing buildings around the monument and that too after obtaining a no objection certificate (NOC) from the ASI.

Sources said in some cases the violators had exploited this condition and had added floors on their buildings after getting NOC for repair work. Sources said the ASI had served notices to violators, but they were of little consequence as the unauthorised structures had already come up.

Taking a serious notice of the illegal constructions, The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, has decided to take up the matter with the ASI's Chandigarh office. He said he had received letters from the local ASI office regarding unauthorised constructions around the fort in the past, but "it was too late" as the constructions were over by that time. "The need of the hour is to check these constructions at the starting point. We are ready to cooperate in any joint action by the MC and the ASI to check illegal constructions," he added.

On the other hand, the conservation assistant, Mr PD Shinde, was reluctant to talk to this correspondent over the issue and said only the higher ups could comment on the matter. The ASI staff at the Chandigarh office also failed to come out with any convincing reply on the illegal constructions.


Disqualify 37 Cong MLAs over offices of profit, demands SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
A high-level delegation of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), led by its secretary general, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, met the Election Commission (EC) in Delhi today and demanded the disqualification of all 37 Congress MLAs of Punjab holding offices of profit.

It also demanded that the model code of conduct be imposed in Punjab with immediate effect to stop the misuse of government machinery and public money by the Congress.

Mr Dhindsa was accompanied by party general secretary, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Mr Naresh Gujral, member PAC, Mr Zora Singh Mann, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Bibi Paramjit Kaur Gulshan and Mr Varinder Singh Bajwa, all Members of Parliament.

The delegation apprised the EC that the Shiromani Akali Dal had filed a petition before the Governor of Punjab on March 26, 2006, under clause 1 of article 192 of the Constitution, seeking the disqualification of 37 Congress MLAs holding offices of profit.

The same petition was referred by the Governor to the ECI.

The SAD leaders demanded that since the EC had asked the respondents to file their reply before December 8,2006, it should not delay it further as general election to the Punjab Assembly were due in February 2006.

The delegation also brought to the notice of the EC, that the ruling Indian National Congress was brazenly misusing government machinery as well as taxpayer’s money.

It objected to the distribution of cheques of rupees for various development works in the state by Mr Ran Inder Singh (the son of Chief Minister of Amarinder Singh), which were otherwise supposed to be given by the elected representatives of the people.

The delegation also brought it to the notice of the EC that on the orders of the Chief Minister, the transport authorities were threatening the transporters not to provide buses for the SAD-BJP rally on December 8.

The delegation also urged the EC to take strict action against the Punjab Government for violating commission guidelines while doing large-scale transfers of district revenue Officers, tehsildars and naib tehsildars. 


Rice millers submit memo
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 4
Rice millers and labourers under the banner of FCI District Faridkot Rice Millers Association today staged a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office in support of their demands.

They submitted a memorandum addressed to Punjab Food and Supply Minister to the Deputy Commissioner. The protesting rice millers said there was no rice stock in the FCI godowns at Muktsar and Nihal Singh Wala centres.

They alleged that the "unjustified approach" of the FCI had led to the closure of both the centres. The step will cause financial damage to the state treasury in the form of transportation, etc. They demanded that they be allowed to deliver rice at FCI godowns in Muktsar and Nihal Singh Wala.

They pleaded that they had always tried their best to produce rice as per specifications announced by the union government. However, it was not possible for them to produce rice within specifications regarding damage/discolour.

In order to expedite the milling process and delivery of raw as well as boiled rice, they urged the government to increase damage percentage to 4.5 and discolour percentage to 8 in raw and parboiled rice.

They said an immediate action on this front will save paddy from further deterioration and will help milling of paddy in time. The association's president, Mr Bharat Bhushan Binta, led the protest.


Japuji Sahib in interpretative verse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
For the first time, an interpretative verse of the Japuji Sahib, published in simple Punjabi for the uninitiated, was released by the SGPC president, Jathedar Avtar Singh, at Kalgidhar Nivas here yesterday. The SGPC chief said the book, a scholarly work, would be circulated all over the world.

The book," Anmol Khazana", has been written by late Kundan Lal Nirmal Pathankoti. After the partition of the country, Kundan Lal migrated to Pathankot from Pakistan. Initially, he had a tough time at Pathankot and even did manual work to survive. However, his love for the Gurbani remained intact.

The book has been published by his Toronto-based son, Mr Ranbir Chauhan, producer of Asian Connections, a radio programme on Toronto FM.

Speaking on the occasion, a former Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr H.S. Mattewal, said the Japji Sahib was first translated into Urdu by Khawaja Dil Mohammad, much before Partition. But Kundan Lal's effort was the first of its kind in Punjabi language. He said the book would help the common man to come closer to the Sikh thought.

Mr Chauhan disclosed that his father had a great desire to get the book released by the SGPC president, but he died last month after completing the script. " It was my earnest desire to fulfil my father's mission’', he said. The foreward of the book has been written by Dr Gursharanjit Singh, senior lecturer, Department of Guru Nanak Studies, GND University, Amritsar.


Two get Het Ram Sharma award
Our Correspondent

Abohar, December 4
Mr Darshan Lal Chugh, district scouts and guides trainer, who had donated the body of his only son after death due to cardiac arrest to a medical college, and Mr Chander Parkash Narang, a veteran educationist, were honoured with the Het Ram Sharma Memorial Award-2006 by Mr Sunil Jakhar, Parliamentary Secretary at GD Senior Secondary School here last night.

Mr Jakhar had completed his school education in the school founded by late Het Ram Sharma and the recipients of the awards had also been students of the same educationist. Dr Ravi Kant Sharma, administrator, and Principal Parveen Bhardwaj read the citation and expressed pride over association of such stalwarts with the institution.

The students enthralled hundreds of citizens with Punjabi and Haryanvi folk dances for more than three hours.

Mr Jakhar stressed on inculcating rich moral values, besides love for physical labour and extracurricular activities among the students to keep them away from drugs and other evils.


Beating up of photographer: probe begins
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 4
The magisterial inquiry into the beating up and manhandling of the senior photographer of The Hindustan Times, Samuel N. Dass, by the police in Kharar began here today. The CM had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the case after taking cognizance of media reports.

The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh, recorded the statement of Samuel. The SDM would submit the report within a week.


Govt guidelines for cable operators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Taking an exception to the objectionable programmes being telecast by local cable operators in the state, the Punjab Government has issued directions to the District Public Relations Officers (DPROs) to monitor the contents of such programmes. A weekly report regarding this will be sent to the government by the DPROs.

A spokesman of the government said the government had already launched a campaign to check the gross violation of the terms and conditions of the licences by cable operators at various places.

Several cable operators, who were telecasting objectionable contents, pirated movies and news programmes, which were strictly prohibited, would face penal action and the cancellation of their licences would be recommended to the Union Government. 


Death of intern: magisterial probe ordered
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 4
The District Magistrate here today ordered a magisterial inquiry into the death of medical intern, Dr Shashi Bhushan, whose decomposed body was found from a gutter of medical college here on November 28, reportedly six days after his death.

Dr Shashi was caught allegedly by examiners while trying to provide ‘outside help’ to the son of Principal Medical College on November 22. He had been missing since November 22 when he gave a ‘dodge’ to the examiners on the fateful day.

The magisterial inquiry has been ordered on the written direction of Secretary Health, J.R. Kundal. According to Mr Baljit Singh, Additional District Magistrate, Mr Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, SDM, had been deputed to inquire into the incident.

In the preliminary inquiry, the police found many weak points in the versions of doctors concerned and officials of the medical college.

The police has also found that the deceased, who was good friend of Arun Dalal, son of the Principal, Medical College, was also facing certain cases in Faridkot on charges of impersonation and leakage of the MBBS paper. He was the only brother of six sisters and belonged to Nalanda in Bihar state. Many MLAs from Bihar have been demanding a CBI inquiry into the death of Shashi Bhushan.

Meanwhile, the Coordination Committee of Para Medical and Health Employees Union Punjab unit, protested here to seek a CBI inquiry into the death of Shashi Bhushan. They believe death of Dr Shashi was neither accidental nor a suicide.


S.M. Sharma is ADGP, Crime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The Punjab Government today posted Mr S.M. Sharma as Additional DGP, Crime, replacing Mr Anil Kaushik, who has been sent to the Punjab Police Housing Corporation. The post had fallen vacant on the retirement of Mr P. Lal on November 30.

Mr Sharma will continue to hold charge of his present assignment as ADGP, Communication and Wireless.

Water Supply Board MD

The Punjab Government has appointed Mr Pardeep Chaudhri, Chief Engineer, Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board, as the new Managing Director (MD) of the Board. Mr Chaudhri replaces Mr H.G.Arora, who has superannuated.


Man kills wife, minor daughter

Sangrur, December 4
Suspecting her wife of moral turpitude, a husband murdered her and his minor daughter in this district, the police said today.

The police recovered the body of the woman along with her one-and-half-year-old daughter from the Kakarwal-Rajomajra drain last night.

The mother was identified as Rajwinder Kaur and daughter as Nisha, who were found murdered with sharp-edged weapons, the police said.

The preliminary investigations revealed that Rajwinder and her daughter were murdered by her husband, Surjit Singh. — PTI


Travel agent dupes 4 youth of 14 lakh
Tribune News Service

Moga, December 4
The Moga Police has booked a Ludhiana-based travel agent on charges of duping four youths of Rs 14 lakh on the pretext of sending them abroad.

According to the police, Manjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Bikar Singh and Kuldip Singh, all residents of Samadh Bhai village in the district, alleged that Shervinder Singh, a Ludhiana-based travel agent, had duped them of Rs 14 lakh. They alleged that the accused had assured them that he would get American visas and jobs for them, for which he had demanded Rs 40 lakh. These youth paid Rs 14 lakh in advance and the rest was to be paid after receiving the visas.

After receiving the complaint the police registered a case against Shervinder Singh, who was absconding.


Father held for killing kids
Tribune News Service

Kharar, December 4
Mohan Bahadur, who had murdered his two children and later drowned their bodies in a mini dam, was today arrested after nine months by the police. The accused, who was working in the cowshed in Gochar village in Kurali, had stranguled his son Raju (7) and daughter Rinki (11) following a fight with his wife on February 21. Later he drowned their bodies in a mini dam at Mirjapur village in Kharar and went missing.

The police initially suspected that he was also drowned.

The police had registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the accused on February 22.

The accused told the police that he had estranged relations with his wife as a result he killed his two children.

The SHO (Kurali), Parminder Singh Dhillon, said, Mohan Bahadur would be produced in the court tomorrow.


2 merchants robbed
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 4
Two gold merchants, Jagdipak Singh and his brother-in-law, were allegedly kidnapped by car-borne assailants, robbed of their belongings near Rajpura here last night and dumped.

According to sources, the gold merchants were on the way from Delhi to Rajpura. As they crossed Kurukshetra, a Cielo overtook their Ford Fiesta and allegedly kidnapped the duo.

Later, one of the six assailants also drove their car to Rajpura.

At the Shambhu barrier, the gold merchants were robbed of their valuables, including two diamond rings, one ‘kara’ and a gold chain, besides cash.

Jagdipak Singh has a jewellery shop at Dhakoli (Zirakpur) and his brother-in-law owns business in Amritsar.

The gold merchants, who got injured in the incident, were admitted to the local AP Jain Civil Hospital. Meanwhile, on the statements of the injured businessmen, a case has been registered by Kurukshetra police.


Rural students have good chance to be engineers, claims NGO
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, December 4
Engineering degree is not the preserve of the elite and students from rural areas can be as good engineers as their urban counterparts. These are the revelations of an NGO-Sanjivani-which is on a unique mission of ensuring that the engineering degree was within the reach of the common man from rural India.

Currently, the NGO is on an awareness campaign to educate the rural students in Chandigarh's periphery, particularly in the Rajpura-Banur belt of Punjab, about the wide range of engineering courses available in the engineering colleges.

Mr Manmohan Garg, president of the NGO, informed The Tribune here today that during a survey it was found that rural students were at the receiving end of a virtual "misinformation campaign" from various quarters, including the parents and teachers.

During the survey it was found that the students were at their wits' end after passing the 10+2 examination regarding the choice for higher studies. It was found that the rural students were under the impression that the engineering courses were only for the elite and students living in the urban areas.

Even the parents and teachers were ill-informed about the engineering courses available. In a majority of the cases, the students pursued the degree courses wasting precious time and resources. And to top it all, the degree courses did not have any value in the professional world, Mr Garg said.

And after graduation and postgraduation, the students entered the already-overcrowded job market leading to frustration. Ultimately these unemployed youth served as a recruiting ground for agitationists and anti-social elements creating severe law and order problems, Mr Anshu Kataria of the NGO added.

Observers felt that the engineering courses would be in great demand with the setting of the IT parks in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and Zirakpur. With major Indian companies and MNCs setting up operations in the region, there was 100 per cent placement for the engineering graduates, adds Mr Garg.

In fact, financing education was no longer a problem with all nationalised and private banks offering educational loans for the professionals courses. The students availing the loans would have to refund it only after six months of getting a job, he added.

To dispel myths about the engineering courses, the NGO, Mr Garg informed, was planning a major campaign for the students, parents and teachers in Chandigarh's periphery. Any student having a 10+2 degree in a non-medical stream could pursue an engineering or allied course, he added.


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