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Badal contradicts government claim on loan waiver
Chandigarh, December 29
The Shiromani Akali Dal president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today described as “a sickening lie and a cheap election stunt” the Punjab Government’s claim that the special term loan incurred by the state during the days of militancy was waived off only yesterday and not by a former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral.

February poll a jolt for Congress
Chandigarh, December 29
The announcement for holding the general elections of the Punjab Assembly on February 13 has come as a bolt from the blue for the ruling Congress in the state. The Election Commission announced the poll schedule for Punjab, Manipur and Uttaranchal this afternoon.

Looking Ahead
First 2 months will decide political future of Punjab
Chandigarh, December 29
A series of show-of-strength rallies and yatras by both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) alliance during the past few months are set to catapult political activities to a decisive stage in the first quarter of the New Year.


Fatehgarh Sahib


  Strength of parties

A rundown of earlier elections
Chandigarh, December 29
Since the re-organisation of states on November 1, 1966, the political fate of the state has seen as many as six rounds of President’s rule. Some were forced on political grounds while others on administrative grounds during the period of militancy.


SAD youth general secretary Jasjeet Singh and senior leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh twirl their mustaches at a rally in Rajpura on Friday. Rajpura seat becomes bone of contention between SAD, BJP
Rajpura, December 29
Even as Punjab got into the election mode today with the announcement of the elections for February 13, the Rajpura Assembly seat seemed to be becoming a bone of contention between the alliance partners-the SAD and the BJP.

READY FOR POLL: SAD youth general secretary Jasjeet Singh and senior leader Capt Kanwaljit Singh twirl their mustaches at a rally in Rajpura on Friday. — Photo by J.S. Virdi

Poll code comes into force
Chandigarh, December 29
The model code of conduct that came into force in Punjab today means several appointments, promises of transfer and promotions for employees, besides new schemes in villages. The construction of roads or other infrastructure, that are in the pipeline, will have to be put on hold.


Endangered fish being poached
Gurdaspur December 29
Endangered golden mahasher fish was being poached illegally in the Ravi and Beas rivers in the district. The government has banned catching of mahasher variety of fish below the size of one feet. However, poachers are freely killing small- sized mahasher fish that further endangers their existence.

Salaries of border area project workers released
Amritsar, December 29
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Central Social Welfare Board have decided to release the salary arrears of 93 employees under the border area project schemes with immediate effect. Besides, they were being taken on the pay roll of the state social welfare board.

Thamburaj is Bombay Sappers’ Col Cmdt
Chandigarh, December 29
General Officer Commanding, 11 Corps, Jalandhar, Lt Gen Noble Thamburaj has been appointed as the Colonel Commandant of the Bombay Sappers. The Colonel Commandant’s Baton was handed over to him by the outgoing Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen S. Pattabhiraman, at New Delhi today.

Munir Niazi: complete poet of our times
Munir Niazi A baby boy born in the obscure village of Khanpur near Hoshiarpur on April 9, 1928, had to migrate to the promised land of Pakistan when he was still 19 and his family settled down in Sahiwal. The trauma of displacement, in the mass migration from and the struggle to start afresh imprinted itself on his sensitive soul. The pain, however, was channelled into poetry and he was to be acknowledged as one of the greatest poets of the classical tradition, equally proficient in Urdu and his mother tongue, Punjabi.

Befitting honour for Gursharan Singh
Chandigarh, December 29
Gursharan Singh Gursharan Singh personifies simplicity. Venerated as the king of Punjabi theatre, he has been selected for Sangeet Natak Akademi Rattan award. An institution in himself, he won the Sangeet Natak Award in 1993 and the prestigious national Kalidas Samman in 2003. An author of 13 books, 132 short and six-full-length plays with over 8,500 stage performances to his credit, this chemical engineer stood tall in the toughest of times as a messiah of the under privileged.


Strike forces farmers to sell cotton
Gurcharan Singh, a farmer from Kot Shamir village, awaits procurement of his cotton in Bathinda on Friday. Bathinda, December 29
With the cotton ginners’ strike entering second day, the markets here didn’t witness any fresh arrival today. The farmers of the state were now heading toward Haryana and Rajasthan for selling their produce. Thus, the resulting outflow of cotton is causing a huge revenue loss to the state government.

Gurcharan Singh, a farmer from Kot Shamir village, awaits procurement of his cotton in Bathinda on Friday. — Tribune photo by Kulbir Beera

Farmers rue urea shortage
Gurdaspur December 29
Farmers of the district are facing acute shortage of urea fertilizer. Talking to The Tribune, several farmers said that they had deposited the advance payments with the agencies and wholesale dealers for buying urea last month. However, till date they had not got any supplies.


Wadhera PUNSUP Vice-Chairman
Patiala, December 29
The Punjab Government has appointed Mr Ashok Kumar Wadhera as the Vice-Chairman of PUNSUP.


Bhatia is Academic Staff College Director
Amritsar, December 29
Noted Punjabi critic Dr Harbhajan Singh Bhatia, a professor of School of Punjabi Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, has been appointed as Director of Academic Staff College of the university with immediate effect.


Banks urged to disburse loans
Fatehgarh Sahib, December 29
Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Thind, ADC (D), while presiding over the meeting of the standing committee, organised by the State Bank of Patiala here today, urged the banks to disburse the loans sanctioned under various government-sponsored schemes within two weeks.

Punjab to have mega food parks: Sahay
Amritsar, December 29
The Union Minister of State for Food and Processing Industries, Mr Subodh Kant Sahay, has said that the Central Government plans to open mega food parks in Punjab.


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