P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cong talks of farmer-friendly acquisition policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
In an apparent “please all” manifesto released here today, the Congress has focused on the poor and the lower middle class by offering rice and wheat flour (atta) at Rs 2 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg for the poorest of the poor. For families below the poverty line, this will be available at Rs 4 per kg.

Two months back the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine had started the “atta price politics’, offering atta at Rs 4 per kg and pulses at Rs 20 per kg.

Besides the poor and the Dalits, the party has tried to address the needs of the trade and rural sectors. The manifesto deals with 25 major subjects. It was released by the general secretary of the AICC, Mr Janardhan Diwedi, in the presence of Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo here.

Apart from continuing with free power supply to the farm sector, the Congress promises to release tubewell connections to all small and marginal farmers within 12 months. After facing talk for its land acquisition policy, the Congress has promised to come out with a “farmer friendly” and market-price driven policy. This will also include the provision of taking landowners as partners on board any major project.

Continuation of minimum support price (MSP) has been assured by the party, which also promises to bring more foodgrain under the MSP scheme. The party promises to reform the co-operative sector and reduce the interest on farm loans to 5 per cent. It will streamline private lending by “arhtiyas” in the state to save farmers from exploitation.

The Congress has decided to persist with its mega projects policy. It will promote three new SEZs one each in Majha, Doaba and the Malwa regions. It says it will develop clusters of textile, wool and light engineering industry at Ludhiana, Bathinda, Amritsar, Gobindgarh, Jalandhar and Batala.

The party promises to abolish sales tax by 2010, to rework VAT and reduce the turnover tax on trade to 0.25 per cent. The manufacturing sector will get relief from stamp duty and electricity duty. Entertainment tax will be waived. The Congress promises to make Punjab a “power surplus” state by 2012.

On sharing of river waters the party says it will ensure equal distribution of water for irrigation to all parts of the state. However, the party has avoided talking about further amending the Punjab Termination of Water Agreement Act, 2004, by scrapping Section 5 of the Act.


Amarinder: We’ll win 75 seats
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 29
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today claimed that a perceptible wave was building up in favour of the Congress across the state and that the ruling party would win 75 seats.

The Chief Minister, who held a meeting of councillors at the residence of Patiala Mayor Vishnu Sharma, told mediapersons that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be visiting the state for two days and would address rallies in Jalandhar and Amritsar on February 5 and in Ludhiana and Patiala on February 6.

Party president Sonia Gandhi would also be touring the state and would address four rallies -- one each in Majha and Doaba and two in the Akali stronghold of Malwa.

The Chief Minister, who managed to pacify some disgruntled Congressmen and coaxed them into joining campaigning, said that within a day or so all rebel candidates would come out in support of the official nominees.

Meanwhile, Congress sources disclosed that on the instructions of Preneet Kaur, the Patiala segment has been divided into eight zones and each zone would be looked after by close relatives of the Chief Minister, including his daughter-in-law Rishma Kaur, daughter Jai Inder Kaur and son-in-law Gurpal Singh.


Mann speaks up for peasants, Dalits
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Dhaula, January 29
"Mann Sahib has left for Dhaula village. You can meet him there ", says a Simranjit Singh Mann supporter at his party office here. Mr Mann is contesting from the Dhanaula constituency against Mr Kuldeep Singh Bhattal, younger brother of Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

"You can see for yourself. This is the native village of Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, former Chief Minister. And the village of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, is at a short distance. Both have done nothing for the development of the area,” says Mr Mann. His stress is on local issues. For once, he does not dwell on global causes.

Soon people start gathering around him." Mine was the only party to take a firm stand against acquisition of land for Trident Group of Industries in this area. Two of my supporters- Jagtar Singh Dangarh and Major Singh-are still in jail for taking part in the struggle against acquisition of the land.”

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, local MP, and Mrs Bhattal betrayed the people here, he said. " The Capt Amarinder Singh government is an outfit of property dealers. It acquired farmers' land forcibly to benefit industrialists and colonisers.

"There is not a single school to impart quality education, no good hospital and other facilities," he tells people gathered around him.

“The income level of marginalised sections has come down to such a level that they are unable to buy flour to cook food," he adds.

"People are neck-deep in debt. The plight of Dalits is deplorable. No one realises that the situation in Punjab's countryside is desperate", he says.

“The entire political and administrative system has been corrupted by Mr Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal who are making false promises to garner votes,” he asserts.

He is interrupted by his personal assistant who tells him that people are waiting for him at another place. He rushes towards his jeep and moves ahead.

‘Mine was the only party to take a firm stand against acquisition of land for Trident Group of Industries in this area.


Do they trust the netas? No
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Frustration writ large on their faces, a section of educated unemployed youth see no hope for a better future , whosoever comes to power after the Assembly elections.

A cross-section of youths interviewed by The Tribune in the Malwa region expressed disenchantment with the system.

At Nadampur village on the Chandigarh-Bathinda national highway, a short distance from Patiala , a group of youngsters was seen engaged in an animated discussion over the acquisition of their village land for a thermal plant.

The fear of displacement bothers them the most.

Asked what they expected from political leaders of the state, their cynical reply is: "Nothing . They are all old faces, who have been fooling people for the past several decades." Says Kulwinder Singh, " with their money power, these politicians have hijacked the political system . For us, the educated youth, it is an era of frustration."

Says Sandeep Singh , a graduate from Government Mohindra College, Patiala , and his friend Hardip Singh who is M.Com from Punjabi University: " Our parents were illiterate. They gave us money to study but were unable to guide us. And for the past 40-50 years, the politicians who governed us, did nothing to guide us."

"Politicians have ruined the education system. We can neither speak nor write in English. Leaders cannot understand our problems.

They have never lived with limited means", says Sukhdev Singh. Until, a few years ago, as many as 40 boy students used to travel to Patiala. However, their number has come down to one or two.

And now only 10-12 girl students go from here ", adds Kulwinder Singh.

“ The youth today is like an LPG cylinder that can blast any time", says Gurtej Singh, a student from Sangrur. "We have lost faith in politicians. We do not trust them ", says Dharminder, another graduate from Patiala.


An ageing House
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Though Census figures state that 70 per cent of the electorate in Punjab is below 40, hardly any party has given the “growing youth power” its due share while distributing tickets for the Assembly elections.

In the 117-seat Assembly, the ruling Congress and the Opposition SAD-BJP alliance have fielded 105 members of the outgoing House.

Besides, the Congress has fielded a former member of the House, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, from Khanna.

An analysis of the profiles of candidates of the mainstream parties reveals that 90 per cent of them are aged above 40 while more than 80 per cent are above 50.

The new faces in the fray include a retired police officer, Mr Pritam Singh Bhinder of the Congress, and a retired bureaucrat, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of the SAD, both aged over 60.

A scrutiny of the list of candidates whose papers have been found in order makes for an interesting study. Less than 5 per cent of the over 1,400 candidates are aged below 40.

The members of the House who have “retired” because of old age include the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, and a former Education Minister, Mr Khushal Behl.


code uncode
Chandumajra, Bhattal fined

Sangrur, January 29
In a case of violation of the Model Code of Conduct, an amount of Rs 1,725 will be recovered by the administration from Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Congress candidate from the Lehra Assembly constituency.

This amount has been incurred by various government departments on the removal of objectionable election material related to the election campaign of the Congress candidate from public properties.

Likewise, the administration will also recover an amount of Rs 1,251 from Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, SAD candidate from Lehra, on similar grounds.

Besides these two, the administration will also recover Rs 400 from the BSP candidate and Rs 250 from an Independent.

Mr S.R. Ladhar, District Election Officer, Sangrur, said here today that he had instructed officers to remove objectionable election material from public properties. — TNS


1,034 left in the fray
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
A total of 1034 candidates have been left in the fray for the elections to 117 seats of the Punjab Assembly. Today, last day for withdrawal of nominations, saw 151 contestants bowing out of the race. The total number of candidates who had filed their nomination papers was 1664.

The number of candidates remaining in the fray represents an increase of 111 candidates over the 2002 Assembly elections in which 923 candidates had contested.

Prominent candidates whose electoral fate will now be decided by the voters are Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) president Parkash Singh Badal, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann, ministers Avtar Henry, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Jagjit Singh, Gurkanwal Kaur and former SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur.

Ludhiana, which has the highest number of voters in a district, is left to chose from among 132 nominees for the 13 seats. Sixteen candidates withdrew their nominations.

Jalandhar district is now poised to see clash between 99 nominees while Amritsar district is left with 87 nominees.

Muktsar has 44 candidates, Faridkot 27, Ferozepore 82, Ropar 25, Mansa 34, Nawanshahr 30, Tarn Taran 22, Fatehgarh Sahib 23, Bathinda 54, Gurdaspur 79, Hoshiarpur 51, Sangrur 64, Mohali 26, Patiala 78, Barnala 18, Kapurthala 31 and Moga 28.


Kharar seat: 12 candidates left in the fray
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 29
Only one candidate withdrew from the Kharar constituency here today in connection with the Punjab elections, leaving a total of 12 candidates in the fray.

According to information available from the office of Mr Sandeep Hans, SDM-cum- Returning Officer, Mr Parminder Singh withdrew his poll papers from the contest .

As many as 16 contestants, including three covering candidates, had filed the nomination papers. All nominations were found in order after scrutiny, leaving only 13 contestants in the constituency . Meanwhile, symbols were allotted to contestants today.


Cong buying voter cards from the poor: Badal
Tribune News Service

Babehali (Gurdaspur), January 29
The Congress is using cash to influence the electorate. Certain Congress leaders are buying voter identity cards from the poor whom they suspect will vote for against the party.

These allegations were made by Mr Prakash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said the SAD would take up the matter with the Election Commission.

Mr Badal along with the BJP nominee for the Amritsar parliamentary constituency, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, Gurdaspur MP and Bollywood star Vinod Khanna and state president of the BJP Avinash Rai Khanna was on a whirlwind tour of the district to give impetus to the party campaign.

Mr Badal held public rallies in Dinanagar, Gurdaspur and Kahnuwan constituencies . Mr Badal accused the Congress of politicising the bureaucracy. The party leaders seemed exalted at the impressive gathering at the rally Of Mr Gurbachan Singh Babehali, the SAD candidate from Gurdaspur.

The BJP leaders , including Mr Avinash Khanna, Mr Vinod Khanna and Mr Navjot Sidhu, accused the Congress of failing to check the spiralling prices of essential commodities. The minimum wages in the state was Rs 90 per day whereas the cost of 1 kg of pulse was over Rs 60 per kg.

Mr Sidhu, when asked about his spat with Mr Surinder Singla, his rival Congress candidate for the Amritsar parliamentary seat, said: “I was provoked. While I was concentrating on issues, Mr Surinder Singla turned personal and called me names.”


Chautala woos Gujjars for Kanwaljit
Congress steps up campaign
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, January 29
The election campaign for the Banur Assembly segment today picked up momentum with charges and counter-charges flying thick.

While the SAD-BJP candidate, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, roped in the former Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, to woo Gujjar voters, the Congress candidate, Mr Rakesh Sharma, stepped up his campaign by addressing a series of corner meetings in Dera Bassi of the constituency.

In fact, playing the "farmer card" to the hilt, Mr Chautala came down heavily on the Congress-led UPA government and the Capt Amarinder Singh government for their alleged raw deal to farmers and the lower strata of society at a rally in the Gujjar-dominated Mukandpur village near here. The area surrounding Mukandpur had sizable Gujjar presence and is considered to a traditional Congress stronghold.

"Under the guise of the setting up of the SEZs, the governments had been uprooting farmers and handing over their lands to the big industrial houses," Mr Chautala, speaking in chaste Punjabi, alleged.

Terming Mr Parkash Singh Badal as the messiah of the farming community, Mr Chautala called upon the electorate to vote for the SAD-BJP alliance as the election results would have a far-reaching impact on the next Lok Sabha elections.

Charging the Congress with launching a misinformation campaign to mislead the electorate ahead of the February 13 Assembly elections, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the farmers would be given remunerative prices of their produces.

On the allegations of the Congress that SAD's promise of Rs 4 atta and Rs 20 dal would have an adverse impact on the minimum support price to be the paid to the farmers, he claimed that the budget deficit on account of the subsidised items to the poor would be borne by the state government.

However, Mr Sharma hit back at the alliance claiming that the Congress was the real champion of the rights of the farming community as was evident from the scrapping of the SYL pact and the remunerative prices to the farmers during the last five years. He was addressing meetings at several villages, including Haripur, Devi Nagar, Rampur Sainian, Fatehpur, Kheri Gujran, Janet Pur and Issapur Jangi.

Without naming Mr Chautala, Mr Sharma alleged that Haryana politicians, who were campaigning for the alliance, eyed the SYL waters and had basic differences on the river waters issue with Punjab.


Cong, SAD expel rebels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal today expelled rebel candidates who failed to withdraw in favour of the official nominees.

The Congress said all rebel candidates stood expelled for six years. “As per the AICC decision, all rebels in the fray stand expelled,” Congress general secretary and in charge of Punjab Janardhan Diwedi said.

Meanwhile, the secretary of the SAD, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, said the party had expelled Mr Jagjivan Pal Singh Gill from Payal, Giani Niranjan Singh Bhutal from Lehragaga, Bhai Har Nirpal Singh Kuku from Muktsar, Mr Iqbal Singh Jhoonda from Dhuri and Mr Anmol Singh Vaid from Mahilpur.

Meanwhile, a report from Sangrur said the district administration today burnt the posters and flags, etc, seized from four printing press units, which had been sealed for violating the provisions of the People’s Representation Act 1951.


Phoney affair: Dogra leaves no stone unturned
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Dasuya, January 29
The Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, has been accused of going all out on a foundation stone-laying spree in the Dasuya Assembly segment where he is locked in a direct contest with the BJP-SAD candidate, Mr Amarjit Singh Sahi.

Political rivals of Mr Dogra say the minister has managed to pre-date the foundation stones so that violation of the Model Code of Conduct is not detected.

Mr Dogra’s campaign managers strongly refute the allegations, saying that the foundation stones were actually laid on the dates mentioned on these. “There are several documents available to prove that Mr Dogra was in the constituency on the day these functions took place,” says the office in charge looking after Mr Dogra’s campaign. Though allegations and counter-allegations of misuse of money and muscle power from both sides abound, BJP-SAD candidate Sahi has said several complaints lodged against Mr Dogra are pending with the Returning Officer, who has not acted on any of these. “These complaints pertain to ongoing work of cementing streets, distributing of back-dated cheques during January 2007 and laying of foundation stones in at least six places in and around Dasuya town.”

This correspondent found several foundation stones laid on freshly constructed brick walls bearing fresh coats of red paint at several places. However, all foundation stones bear dates December 27 and December 28, a day prior to the announcement of the poll when the Model Code of Conduct came into force. However, people living or working in the vicinity, said on condition of anonymity that these were laid at a later date.

“I am certain the foundation stone was laid on January 1, 2007, though the date on it reads December 28, 2006,” says a person who runs a shop close to the Cinema Chowk where a foundation stone was reportedly laid for reconstructing a road on January 1.

Another foundation stone was laid barely 10 km away for the Dasuya-Hajipur-Randhawa Mohalla road. Similarly, another foundation stone across the road was laid for the construction of a new link road between Chohana and Ghallian. The road is already in existence for long..


CPI candidate dies in mishap

Amritsar, January 29
The CPI candidate from the Valtoha Assembly constituency, Mr Balwinder Singh (42), succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital here today.

He was injured in a head-on collision between his car and a minibus yesterday near Boparai village while campaigning.

A report regarding his death has been sent to the EC, which will ask the CPI to name a new candidate within seven days, failing which the EC will take appropriate action, which could also mean countermanding the poll. — OC


Dal Khalsa to contest 2 seats
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 29
The Dal Khalsa has decided to contest two seats and support the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar).

Announcing the party decision here today, party general secretary Kanwarpal Singh and senior leader H. S. Dhami said SGPC member Karnail Singh Panjoli and Gurdeep Singh Kalkat would be the Dal Khalsa candidates for the Rajpura and Garhshankar constituencies respectively.

Extending their support to all those who are in the fray against the BJP candidates, they said the BJP had betrayed the interests of the state.

The Dal Khalsa would campaign for Mr Honey Randhawa (Ajnala), Mr Jagteshwar Singh (Majitha), Prof Jagmohan Singh (Ludhiana West), Kirpal Singh Sandhu (Ludhiana Rural), Emaan Singh Mann (Sirhind) and Simranjeet Singh Mann (Dhanaula).

Both the leaders criticised the Congress and the SAD for allegedly distributing drugs and liquor to lure the voters.


Direct clash between alliance, Cong nominees
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 29
Out of the three Assembly segments in Ropar district, the Nangal and Anandpur Sahib Assembly segments are all set to witness a direct clash between stalwarts of the Congress and SAD-BJP alliance in the coming Assembly elections. Sitting Congress MLA, K.P.S. Rana is pitted against the former BJP minister, Madan Mohan Mittal in Nangal, while sitting Congress MLA Ramesh Dutt Sharma is contesting against the SAD patron Sant Ajit Singh in Anandpur Sahib.

Total 25 candidates are left in the fray in the three Assembly constituencies which include 8 in Nangal, 8 in Chamkaur Sahib and 9 in Anandpur Sahib after the date of withdrawal of nominations papers today.

Considered to be an Akali citadel in Chamkaur Sahib, the main contest is expected to take place among the sitting Akali MLA Satwant Kaur Sandhu and Mr Manmohan Singh of the ruling Congress and a rebel Congress candidate, Mr Charanjit Singh, who had jumped into the electoral fray as an Independent candidate.

What could add to the woes of the Congress candidates in Anandpur Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib is the presence of Congress rebels who have jumped into the fray as Independent candidates. The situation is somewhat similar for SAD in Anandpur Sahib.

Having tried his luck on four occasions from this seat earlier, the BJP leader, Mr Mittal, emerged victorious thrice. However, the Congress candidate, Mr Rana, was able to wrest the seat from him in the last Assembly poll.

The presence of a rebel Congress candidate, the former district president of the Congress, Mr Amarjit Singh Saini in the Anandpur Assembly, segment might queer the pitch in urban areas for the Congress nominee Ramesh Dutt Sharma. Having contested from this seat on three occasions, Mr Sharma was able to win it twice. The other two prominent candidates from Anandpur Sahib in the race are Mr V.P Saini of the All India Forward Bloc and Mr Tarlochan Singh of the BSP.

For SAD the situation is somewhat similar to the Congress in Anandpur Sahib as it fielded the Sant, being the religious heavyweight in the region. The denial of the party ticket to the former Akali minister, Mr Tara Singh Ladal, has made the going tough for Sant. However, Ladal, had withdrawn his decision to contest as Independent candidate at the behest of the SAD general secretary Sukhbir Badal. But a sizeable chunk of supporters of Ladal, who had won election twice from here, could cause harm to the Sant here.

In Chamkaur Sahib Akali nominee Satwant Kaur Sandhu had won four times election from here. This time Congress had to contend with a rebel candidate. Another task at hand for the Congress nominee is to win the support of two former Congress MLAs, Mr Bhag Singh and Mr Shamsher Singh Rai, who, too, were denied ticket from Chamkaur Sahib.


Wipe out SAD: Sarna

Patiala, January 29
The former president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Mr P.S. Sarna , has urged voters to wipe out the SAD-BJP combine in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Mr Sarna was addressing a rally at Bahadurgarh township, near here, in favour of the Panthic Morcha candidate, Mr Gursew Singh Harpalpur. — TNS


Giving new directions to farm economy
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
"Obviously, I am happy as the Union Government has for the second time recognised my work in the field of agriculture", says Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Chairman of the Punjab Farmers Commission, on receiving the news that he has been awarded Padma Bhushan.

"I have received a letter from the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil. He has informed me about the awarding of the Padma Bhusan to me", said Dr Kalkat. Born on June 17, 1926, Dr Kalkat has served as Director, Agriculture, Punjab, Agriculture Commissioner of India, Senior Agriculturist, World Bank, Washington DC, Vice- Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and on several other important positions.

After doing B.Sc. (Agriculture) from Punjab Agricultural College, Lyallpur, in 1947, he passed M.Sc from the then Panjab University, Solan, in 1956. He did Ph.D from Ohio State University, USA, in 1958. At Ohio State University, he was given the distinguished International Student Award.

Recognising his services to the country earlier in 1981, the Union Government had awarded him the Padma Shri. As a Director, Agriculture, Punjab, he strengthened the engineering and hydrological wings of the department for assistance and advice to farmers regarding the introduction and use of modern technology in agriculture in the early ’70s. He set the system of coordination with agricultural institutions such as PAU and the Indian Council of Agriculture Research.

At the World Bank, he worked mainly on agriculture and rural development plans of Nigeria, Ghana and Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In Nigeria, he introduced the tubewell irrigation system in central and northern states.

Now, he is engaged in giving new directions to Punjab's agricultural economy that is facing various sorts of crises. The problem of rural indebtedness is one of the biggest problems. For small and marginal farmers, agriculture has become non-viable. Dr Kalkat has been given the responsibility by the state government to deal with these issues.

He has suggested diversification in agriculture. His objective is twofold. The first is to bring down the input cost in the agriculture sector and the second is to raise the level of the income of small and marginal farmers.

He has analysed the problems of agriculture and submitted a report to the state government in this regard. He has been meeting farmers, holding discussions on various farm issues with experts to improve the agricultural economy.

He has suggested various policy actions to the state government. The awarding of the Padma Bhushan to him has enhanced his responsibility to bring out the state from agricultural crisis.


Dept of Posts offers to disburse pension
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Department of Posts, Punjab Circle, has asked the Punjab Government to utilise the vast network of post offices in the state for disbursal of pensions.

Senior officials in the Department of Posts informed TNS that the department had held discussions with top officials of the Punjab Government to disburse old-age pensions under their pan-India programme “National Social Assistance Programme - Old Age Pensions by state governments”. “Since we are already disbursing pensions for the Railways ad BSNL, our expertise in pension disbursement would come in handy for the job,” said the official.

Till a few years ago, the old-age pension was disbursed through the post offices. But the Punjab Government changed its policy and shifted the work of disbursal of old-age pension to the banks. In the process, the pensioner now has to go to the bank to claim his pension, rather than it being delivered at his door step by the post office in the form of money orders.

However, because of the elections in Punjab scheduled for February 13, no decision could be taken in this regard. “The matter was discussed at the Chief Secretary level, but with the elections having been announced, no decision could be taken,” informed a senior official in Department of Social Welfare, Punjab.

The Department of Posts, Punjab Circle, comprises 3960 post offices, 87 per cent of which are located in the rural areas. Even the smallest of these post offices handle financial transactions in terms of money transmission, banking and insurance. These outlets have the option of delivering money both at the door step through their own delivery mechanism in the form of Money Orders or through Saving Accounts.

“Other than pension disbursement, we are also collecting bills on behalf of the Punjab State Electricity Board and BSNL, besides doing verification of addresses for telecom companies. We are already selling UPSC and AFMC forms, passport applications and sale of pre-paid cards for BSNL.

The large network of the department is a convenient option for all purposes for the public and private sector.

The close at hand availability of post offices will also help us provide various retail services like the sale of admission forms for universities and colleges in the near future,” said the Department of Posts officer.


Charitable dispensary opened
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 29
With a view to resurrecting the therapies of ayurveda and to spread it in villages, the Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College & Hospital, a unit of Desh Bhagat Group, opened a charitable dispensary at Badali Aala Singh village in collaboration with Punjab National Bank.

Dr Zora Singh and Principal of Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College, Dr Loveleen Kaur Ahuja jointly inaugurated the dispensary. GM of South zone PNB I.D. Singh was the chief guest.

Dr Zora Singh, Chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, said the group aimed to provide medical services at convenient places.

All modern facilities are available in this dispensary. A children park, jointly maintained by the Desh Bhagat Group and Punjab National Bank, was also opened for local residents.

A free medical check up camp was also organised at Bhmarsi Zer village. The camp was inaugurated by Mrs Jaspreet Kaur Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib.


Restructure educational system: Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 29
Dr A.R. Kidwai, Haryana Governor, said today that the country was in need of restructuring the national education system and legislation should be enacted to simplify the process of privatization of the education.

Earlier, while inaugurating the new administrative block of Babe Ke Ayurvedic Medical College and Hospital at Daudhar village, near here, the Governor appreciated the efforts being made by the college management and spiritual Guru Baba Nahar Singh in providing quality education.

He also honoured those who had excelled in the university examinations. Dr Vijay Verma, principal of the collage, read out the achievements of the college in academics as well as in sports.


Students in a fix over exam dates

Patiala, January 29
The clash of dates of Plus Two (medical and non-medical streams) examination with those of the CBSE PMT and IIT tests put the students in a difficult situation.

As per the datesheet announced by the Punjab School Education Board, the final examination of Plus Two of both the streams (medical and non-medical) will be held from March 9 to April 7 and the papers of the PMT and IIT are slated for April 1 and April 8. Students cannot prepare and appear in these examinations simultaneously. They have requested the Chairman of the Board for a change of date of the school papers. — TNS


Self-evaluation must: don
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 29
Dr D.N. Jauhar, Senior Professor and an Academician from the Department of Laws, Panjab University, Chandigarh, while delivering a lecture on “Career Opportunities for Law, graduates” at Lincoln College of Law Sirhind, stressed upon the need of self evaluation while taking up law as academics and as a profession. On account of changes pressed by the shift from socialism to capitalism, globalisation, changing nature of crime from traditional to modern crimes like white collared crimes, cyber crimes and technology related crimes, the whole scenario of litigation has been changed and this change has opened up new and vibrant avenues for law graduates.


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