P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Family of 7 rescued from J and K
Were kept as bonded labourers in brick kiln
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 17
If terrorism and fake encounters were not enough, the Jammu and Kashmir Government now faces incidence of illegal recruitment of minor children from backward states like Chhatisgarh. Women agents recruited these 
children who were kept as bonded labourers.

After six-month long struggle, a Phillaur-based Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan, an NGO, has managed to rescue a family of seven bonded labourers, including four children, from an over two-year-long illegal bondage at a brick kiln in Jammu and later at Raimor in Kashmir.

Dev Lal, his wife Savitri, daughters-Nandani (13), Rajni (10) and sons- Kishan (6), Krishna (4) and Kanahiya (2) are among those who have been rescued by the NGO.

Mr Jai Singh, NGO’s national coordinator of the NGO, told The Tribune that the National Human Rights Commission, Chattisgarh Government and the Director General (Welfare), Union Labour Department, had also issued notices to the accused brick kiln owner and the Jammu -Kashmir Government for rescuing the family.

He said Indira, a woman agent, had recruited the family along with a few other labourers from Jhangri Chappa district of Chattisgarh on the pretext of providing an adequate weekly payment as labourers in the brick kiln in Jammu.

However, they were not paid any money for two years. Later, the owner allegedly demanded Rs 60,000 from the family for releasing their five children.

The NGO with the help of the Jammu-Kashmir Police raided the brick kiln and rescued the children.

The brick kiln owner, however, maintained that the family was not kept in bondage but was working as agent and had already taken money from him.


Hail Badal or Captain? Babudom in a quandary
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Government officials and politicians are in a quandary in Punjab.

Dilemma faced by the officialdom is whether to congratulate the Capt Amarinder Singh or his opponent, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, with regard to the victory in the Assembly 

As most of the officers are not sure about which party of the two main parties, the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine, will form the government in the state, they have so far avoided congratulating any of the two leaders, Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

"As most of the officers, like mediapersons and politicians, are confused about the outcome of the polling, the result of which is to be declared on February 27, they have not taken the risk of calling on any of the two leaders", said a retired bureaucrat familiar with the ‘what’s going-on’ in the state's officialdom.

Like other states, officialdom, by and large, in Punjab is also famed for changing its colours fast. However, at the moment it is in the state of confusion because it is not sure that who is going to be next Chief Minister of the state.

Otherwise, officials waste not even a single minute to call on the leader of the party if they are convinced that he or she will definitely form the government.

However, the confusion is not limited to officialdom. Even politicians, who waste no time in claiming that they are masters in the art of feeling the pulse of the people, have no clarity at all as to whether the Congress or the SAD-BJP combine would form the government in the state.

While Akali leaders have been claiming that their party would form the government, with same zeal similar claims are being made by the Congress.

As most of the politicians consider mediapersons as expert on elections, many of them call on them on the phone twice or thrice a day to ask that that who is going to be next Chief Minister of the state.

It is a fact that there is a lot of restlessness among politicians these days. They keep on ringing journalists, officials of intelligence agencies and others concerned to ask what will be outcome of the election.

And same is almost true in case of mediapersons. Whenever they come together, they discuss the issue of elections and its outcome.

However, no one of them appears to be dead sure with regard to the party that will form the government in the state. No one among them gives a straight reply. It can be anybody's game is a usual reply given by media persons.

In absence of any clarity, there is one group of journalists that claims that the SAD-BJP will form the government while other group claims that Congress will be in power again.

Such a confusion among officialdom, politicians and journalists has never been seen before. Like politicians, officials as well as journalists are appearing restless.

One thing is clear that to read the voters's mind has become very difficult for all concerned. Voter has become so wise that he never gives an inkling as to what is going on his mind. 


SHO suspended for torturing NRI
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 17
SHO Manjit Singh posted at Sadar police station has been suspended for allegedly torturing an NRI and son of former international wrestler Joginder Singh Tiger, and taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from Tiger’s second son, also a wrestler.

The action was initiated only after the SAD took up the matter and staged a dharna under the leadership of former minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura in front of the police station today.

According to former president of the SGPC Alwinder Pal Singh Pakhoke, the SHO first registered a false case against Amrik Singh and Sukhwant Singh, both sons of the late wrestler Tiger, and to hush up the case he took Rs 1 lakh from Amrik and beaten up Sukhwant, who had got his arrest stay from a court.

SSP Pavan Kumar Rai said as the irregularity being committed by the SHO had been detected prima facie, the services of the SHO had been suspended with immediate effect.


Gurdaspur bypass or dumping ground?
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 17
The Gurdaspur bypass road has been converted into solid waste dumping ground by the local Municipal Council. The vehicles of the council dump tonnes of solid waste collected daily from the city on both sides of the road.

Due to the dumping of rotten solid waste a strong stench has started emerging from the area that has made life difficult for the people residing in the surrounding areas.

The residents allege that despite making repeated requests to the authorities, the officials continue dumping along the bypass. A large number of scavenger birds gather on the road, making driving difficult for the commuters.

The solid waste is also posing a serious threat to the plantations of the Forest Department along the road.

The sources here say the authorities are saving money by dumping the waste in the vicinity of the city. As per the directions of the Supreme Court, all local bodies have to select a site for dumping solid waste away from the human habitations. Arrangements are to the made for scientific management of the solid waste at that place. The court has fixed 2008 as the deadline for all municipal councils to complete the arrangements.

However, most of the municipal councils in the district, including Gurdaspur, are yet to identify the place for dumping solid waste.

At Pathankot, the authorities are dumping the waste along the Khadi rivulet despite a court order. The sewerage of the town is being released directly into the UBD canal system. At Sujanpur and Dhariwal, the entire solid waste and sewerage is being dumped into the UBD canal, despite the fact that in villages its water is used for drinking and bathing.

The authorities when asked just assure that action would be taken to stop the dumping near residential colonies. However, hardly any action is taken.


Reprimand Cong for using religion as
election bait: BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has sought action against those Congress candidates who sought votes from followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda at their religious places in various towns and cities.

Mr Paramjit Singh Kainth, secretary of the BSP, today urged the Election Commission to initiate action against those Congress candidates who visited the religious places of the Dera in Sangrur, Patiala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Barnala, Muktsar and Moga districts.

He said the visiting of the religious place of any community to seek votes was a violation of the Peoples' Representative Act and a candidate could be disqualified for violating its provisions.

"It was a known fact that the Congress candidates went to religious places of the Dera to introduce themselves to the followers and seek their votes", he added.

Mr Kainth, who contested the Assembly election from Shaturana this time, said the Congress had been exposed during the elections. “It has been claiming to be a secular party, but the way it used religion in the elections was highly objectionable", said Mr Kainth.

He said that the Dera should not have supported any party and should have given the freedom to its followers to use their right to vote.

"By issuing the directions to support a particular party, the Dera's political wing has tried to destroy democracy in the state", he added.

He said if the Dera wanted to be active in politics, it should have announced its political agenda well before the elections and should have contested the elections by putting up its own candidates or allying with a political party.


BSF, Rangers discuss border issues
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 17
Bilateral issues such as inadvertent crossing from either side of the border, illegal trafficking of narcotics and re-construction of missing boundary pillars were discussed during the bi-annual meeting between the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers which concluded here today.

They resolved to build mutual trust and understanding to dispassionately analyse different cross border problems and to evolve workable solutions for ensuring peace and tranquility along the Indo-Pak border.

Inadvertent crossing from either Pakistan or from the Indian side also figured as an important issue and both the sides assured to facilitate sorting out of issues at the field commander level so that population on the border felt safe.

The BSF and Rangers felt the need of more efforts for the smooth management of the international borders.



Pak rangers visit Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 17
A delegation of the Pakistan Rangers, led by Mr Javed Zia, Director-General, Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, today visited the Golden Temple before returning to their native country. The delegation was in the state to attend a biannual meeting at Jalandhar.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Zia said the delegation discussed a number of issues pertaining to the Indo-Pak border with their Indian counterpart.

The issues discussed included repatriation of prisoners who crossed the border ignorantly, repairing of pillars, adjustment of searchlights, infiltrations and smuggling.


Need to check misuse of water, power: Expert
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 17
The misuse of water and power will land the country in a crisis and it was high time that people wake up to the impending threat and behave accordingly, stated Maj-Gen R.K Kaushal (retd), Specialist, Policy and Plans, National Disaster Management Authority, while addressing a meeting here today.

Maj Gen Kaushal said India was a big country and irrespective of their states, people should help each other during natural disasters. He said he was posted in the city in the past and was aware of its needs. He asked the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, to chalk out development plans of the city keeping in mind its requirements in the next 50 years.

He also suggested that possible natural disasters should also be taken into account while making these plans. He expressed concern over the indiscriminate use of fertilisers, pesticides and water and stressed the need to promote organic farming. He advocated kitchen gardening for growing chemical-free vegetables by urban population.


Dog show from Feb 18
Tribune News Service

Patiala , February 17
The Patiala Kennel Club is reviving the old tradition of the city.

The club is holding its 28th and 29th all breed championship dog shows on February 18 under the banner of “the Patiala Heritage Society” at Raja Bhalendra Singh Stadium (Polo Ground).

According to a press note more than 300 dogs from all over the country are expected to participate in these shows.

There will be no entry fee for spectators.


Chief Justice visits courts
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, February 17
Mr Justice V.K. Jain, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, accompanied by Justice Kiran Anand Lal and Justice Rajeev Bhalla, visited the local court complex today.

Mr Sanjay Gulati, president of the Bar Association, welcomed the judges. He submitted them a charter of demands, including the shifting of the sub-jail from the court complex to make space for lawyers.

The Chief Justice assured the association of early solution to their problems.


Research may improve health of dairy animals
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
A young veterinary scientist from Amritsar has embarked upon a significant research that will go a long way in improving the health of dairy animals, thereby preventing economic losses to farmers and the state.

After consistent study and experimentation, he has established a critical correlation between pyometra and mastitis -- the two most economically-significant diseases among dairy animals. For this research conducted over the past year, Dr Tejbir Singh Sandhu, currently posted as veterinary officer at Naushehra Pannuan, has also been awarded Young Scientist of the Year Award.

The premise of Dr Sandhu’s research is that there is a direct correlation between pyometra (inflammation of uterus) and mastitis (inflammation of mammary glands) in the freshly calved dairy animals (those that give birth to calves). In an interview with The Tribune today, Dr Sandhu explained: “I have concluded that every incidence of pyometra in a dairy animal is followed by an incidence of mastitis - a correlation that proves devastating for the health of the dairy animal. When an animal is struck by pyometra, its fertility rate decreases which means there is increase in the inter-calving period.”

Simply put, pyometra leads to delayed birth of calves, which in turn causes economic losses to the farmer who must feed the animal longer. And because pyometra is always followed by mastitis, the quantum of combined economic loss increases manifold. “Mastitis causes drastic fall in milk production. An animal suffering from mastitis will give 80 per cent less milk than before. The cumulative effect of pyometra and mastitis on a dairy animal is killing both in health as well as economic terms,” Dr Sandhu said.

The significance of his research lies in the fact that now the veterinarians treating dairy animals for pyometra can anticipate mastitis and include anti-mastitis drugs in their treatment. This will reduce further loss of time in treating the animals. Also, the cost of treatment will reduce, says Dr Sandhu, who works at the Civil Veterinary Hospital in Naushehra Pannuan, Tarn Taran.

Besides showing the linkage between these diseases, Dr Sandhu has suggested scientists working in the area to further investigate factors that fuel the correlation. His paper will be published in the Journal of Punjab Academy of Sciences. As for the award, it was presented to him earlier during the month on the occasion of the 10th Punjab Science Congress, held at Jalandhar. He won the award in the category of medical sciences, ayurveda and veterinary science.


1 killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, February 17
One person was killed on the spot, while four others sustained serious injuries when a man who was driving a car lost control over the vehicle which collided with a scooter on the Phillaur-Noormahal road last night. All injured have been admitted to a local Civil Hospital. The police has registered a case.


Folk festival begins on musical note
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 17
Punjabi University has been playing an instrumental role in facilitating quality education to students from rural areas and it has opened nine campuses for them in the recent years, stated its Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai while inaugurating a folk festival at Baba Farid Institute of Higher and Foreign Studies here.

He said the university had spread at a rapid pace and now had 140 colleges affiliated to it. It was contributing the maximum in rural areas and its 9 per cent students came from villages as against 3 per cent of GNDU, Amritsar and 4.3 per cent of PAU, Ludhiana.

He said the Knowledge Commission of India had recommended 1,500 universities for the country and taking initiative in this direction, Punjabi university had come out with neighbourhood campuses.

He revealed that the Central Planning Commission had released Rs 10 crore for their rural university campus.

Earlier, Mr Boparai was accorded a warm welcome at the festival with a "phulkari".

The festival took off on a musical note with 30 teams participating in a folk song contest.

The institute's Managing Director, Mr G.S. Dhaliwal, announced Rs 51,000 for the university's work to impart education to rural students.


Institute for IIT aspirants opened
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 17
Promising quality education, the Adesh Group of Institutions has opened an institute of competitive examinations on the Mall Road here.

The institute will impart coaching to aspirants of IIT-JEE, AIIMS, CBSE medical and other entrance exams.


13 selected in campus interview
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 17
"India Infoline Securities, Mumbai, a reputed company of the country, today organised a campus recruitment programme and selected 13 MBA, M.Com and B.Com students of Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, Principal, while welcoming the team of the company said Mata Gujri College was the only college in the area which had no profit motive and was governed by values and ethics which was the requirement of today.

Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, Professor and Head of the Department of Management Studies, said a large number of companies were approaching the college for campus placements and in the days to come the college was going to organise a mega job fair on the campus.

Ms Priya, Senior HR Manager of the company, who had come from Mumbai, said she had been to Fatehgarh Sahib for the first time and was pleased to see the performance of the students. She said India Infoline was an integrated provider of financial services in the domain of capital market from comprehensive equity research to brokerage services and managing HNI.

Mr Nitin Kapoor, Area Manager of the company, while sharing his experiences said he was really delighted to see that the college was having the best kind of infra-structure and facilities and he even complimented the college by saying that it was better than most of the business schools of Mumbai.

The team members included Ms Chitra, HR manager, Delhi area, Ms Sujan Naruna, Manager HR, Mumbai area, Mr Sunil Aggarwal, Area Manager, and Mr Abhishek and they had an intensive interview session with the students.

Prof Jagdeep Singh (Placement Officer) said the recruitment team held test for about 80 final year students MBA, M.Com. And B.Com, After which 43 qualifying students were interviewed by different executives of India Infoline Securities. Eight Students from MBA, four students from B.Com and one student from M.Com have been selected for the post of management trainee, and executive trainees respectively.


‘No merger likely with SBI’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 17
Mr A.C. Chandraprashad, General Secretary of the Associate Banks Officers' Association, representing all associate banks of the State Bank of India, visited Patiala on his way to attend the triennial conference of the State Bank of India Officers Association at Chandigarh.

A warm welcome was given to him by the leadership of the State Bank of Patiala unit of the Associate Banks Officers' Association. While discussing various issues with local leaders. He stated that the association was opposed to any move of merger with the State Bank of India as associate banks were doing well.

He further stated that the associate banks were established through a process of historic necessity and recommendations of various committees and the associate banks were the first to migrate to core banking solution and all branches were interlinked now.


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