P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal for more autonomy to states
Survey for providing subsidised atta, dal soon
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Apsal, (Muktsar), March 18
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said today he had convened a meeting of all Deputy Commissioners tomorrow at Chandigarh to thrash out modalities of a fresh survey to identify beneficiaries of atta-dal at subsidised rates.

He said the government was committed to provide this facility only to the section of society, which deserved it, hence identification of beneficiaries was must. He added though it might take some time to identify the beneficiaries, the government was trying to launch it from Baisakhi. The government would provide this facility to all deserving people respective of caste or religion.

He said he had been convening a meeting of senior officials of the government to check the sale of spurious Bt cotton seed in markets and the officials concerned had been told to ensure the supply of certified cotton-seed, adequate water and regular power supply during sowing season. He underlined the need of change in the mindset of the bureaucracy to get desired impact of development schemes.

Talking to reporters here, Badal pleaded more financial autonomy to the states and urged the Union government to review the Centre state relations in the changed scenario and asked regional parties to play a role for more financial powers for because ruling parties at the centre normally ignored the interests of the states hampering development and growth.

Badal said there were few taxes which were meaningless because the state government had to use more resources for their collection than the actual revenue realised through them like ‘Abiana on canal water and added “our government had decided to abolish it.” He said he was in the favour of those taxes that were remunerative and beneficial to the state.

On media reports on Mr Amarinder Singh’s fleeing from the country, Badal said Mr Amarinder’s action spoke about his guilty conscience. He said if any person has done nothing wrong then why he is afraid of anybody.

On power scenario in Punjab he said Congress government did not add a single unit to the generation capacity during their tenures from 1992-97 and 2002-07. He said “the power sector was developed only during our regime when we launched the projects like Ranjit Sagar Dam, GHTB Lehra Mohabbat (Phased I and II) and now we were in the process of setting up a 600 MWs thermal plant at Goindwal Sahib and Shahpur Kandi dam project.” He hoped Punjab would be a surplus power state in the next three years and also referred to the feasibility of generating power from the bio-mass and nuclear sources.

The government was committed to set up a separate department of NRI affairs under the control of an administrative secretary to explore potential of NRI’s investment in the state for industrialisation. Another department for the youth would be soon set up to provide employment opportunities in the country as well as abroad.

Listening to grievances of people at the sangat darshan in villages, Badal impressed upon the administration at the district as well as block level to be responsive to need of people.

Badal directed the drainage wing of the Irrigation Department and the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation to prepare jointly an action plan to eradicate water logging ignored by the previous government and people of the area were suffering on this account. 


Eliminate crime from Abohar: Badal
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 18
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has asked the police to eliminate “SS” i.e. smack and satta from Abohar. DGP N.P.S Aulakh accordingly, issued crystal clear instructions to the cops.

Given the challenging task DSP Parampal Singh held a close door meeting with the police officials of all the stations in this sub-division and discussed various measures to come to the expectations of the CM, who was deeply concerned over the drug menace and satta network in his neighbouring constituency.

Badal while addressing his maiden election rally here on February 10 blamed the Congress leaders for making Abohar smack and satta city during the last five years. He had promised to free the region of all these evils, as hundreds of youth and low-income families had been ruined. Even girls had become addicts in this sub-division, Badal regretted. DSP Parampal Singh while talking to mediapersons sought to give a 48-hour ultimatum to the drug peddlers and the satta operators to “pack off”.

Neither any political affiliation nor nexus with men in uniform could save such elements, he warned. The culprits would now be booked not only under the Gambling Act but also under section 420 of the IPC and various sections of the Punjab Lottery Act.

The policemen found helping the culprits will also face actions under the same Act besides the Anti Corruption Act, he added.

The DSP gave seven days time to those, who considered blank registration number plates and pressure horn as their status symbol. Violation of traffic rules would be sternly punished and no recommendation from any quarter would be attended, he said.

Eve teasers would be punished from Monday onwards during police patrolling outside the educational institutions.

The sub-divisional police today also decided to launch a beat system for urban and rural areas with each contingent to be headed by an ASI.

Each police station would have a duty officer round the clock to immediately redress grievances of the common man.


‘We would seek Capt’s extradition’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 18
Leader of the BJP, the legislative party and the minister for local bodies, Industry and Commerce, Manoranjan Kalia today said, his government would seek the extradition of the former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh from Britain if the situation demanded so.

During an interaction with mediapersons at the Circuit House here today, Kalia said, there would not be any vindictiveness against anybody. But if somebody is found guilty and he runs away, the government would have all the right to get him extradited.

However, he clarified that as on now there was no case against the former Chief Minister and it was his discretion to go wherever he wanted. He said, in case the investigations at any stage find his involvement in any shady deal, the state government would seek his extradition from Britain as India has an extradition treaty with it.


Students suffer as B-Pharma degrees not recognised
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 18
Students and B-Pharma degree holders from five government polytechnics in Punjab are facing problems.

Their degrees are not being registered by the Pharmacy Council of Punjab. The degrees are not being registered as the Pharmacy Council of India is yet to give recognition to the courses being run in these polytechnics.

The students who want to go abroad, run chemist shops or manufacture drugs need to get their degrees compulsorily registered with the Pharmacy Council of Punjab. Without registration, they cannot practice the profession.

Students of B-Pharma from Government Polytechnic, Patiala, while talking to The Tribune on the condition of anonymity said almost two batches of students had passed out from their college. However, their degree is still to be recognised by the Pharmacy Council of India.

The B-Pharma courses were introduced in government polytechnics in 2002. At that time, the Pharmacy Council of India decided to phase out the diploma course in pharmacy. On the directives of the Pharmacy Council of India, the Department of Technical Education upgraded the diploma courses in all polytechnics to B-Pharma courses.

However, the facilities and faculty in all these college remained the same. As a result, the Pharmacy Council of India did not recognise the B-Pharma degrees in most government polytechnic colleges.

The government has not recruited pharmacy lecturers since 1996. So, there is an acute shortage of staff. In the Patiala polytechnic, there are just four pharmacy lecturers which is half of the strength required as per the norms of the council.

Sources here said more than 40 posts of pharmacy lecturers were lying vacant in various government polytechnics across the state.

Recently, the team of the Pharmacy Council of India visited various colleges of pharmacy in the state. The team has threatened to stop admissions in the colleges if the minimum requirements for staff and other facilities are not fulfilled.

The students alleged that if the council is not recognising their degree, the government polytechnics should not be allowed to carry out the admissions in B-Pharma courses. They have spent lakhs of rupees on the degrees. They are also not eligible for government jobs till their degree is recognised by the council.

The government lecturers alleged that the decision of the government to stop the diploma course in pharmacy was premature. While the government has stopped the course, the private colleges are still running it. More students want to opt for the diploma in pharmacy course as they practice the profession by opening a chemist shop just after the two-year course. In this the government polytechnics are the losers.


DFOs to be grilled for poaching, tree-felling
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, March 18
Tightening the noose around Forest and Wildlife officials, the Punjab government has decided to grill the officials for illegal felling of trees and poaching in their respective areas.

Employees of the Forest Department, including divisional forest officers (DFOs), would be dealt with negligence in duty in the same way as for violating the Forest and the Wildlife Act. Stringent action would be taken against the foresters if illegal tree-felling and poaching of wild animals and birds came to light in their respective areas, warned Punjab Forest Minister Tikshan Sood.

In an interview with The Tribune, the minister claimed that the government had been chalking out plans for allowing felling of dry wood by the villagers.

Advocating amendments in the Punjab Land Preservation Act, Sood claimed the amendments would benefit the villagers. The dry wood otherwise decayed unutilised in forests, he added.

He also added that cases of the wild animal-human confrontation had multiplied in the past couple of years. Farmers killed scores of mute wild animals for damaging their crops every year.

The mortality rate of wild animals could be curtailed only if the farmers were paid compensation by declaring the "damage to crops by wild animals", a natural calamity.

"I have been raising the issue in the Assembly for a long time. Allowing hunting of wild bore and blue bull is not a foolproof solution," he claimed.

The vacant posts in the Forest and Wildlife Department would be filled, he added.

More programmes would be introduced to increase the forest cover in the state that at present is 6.3 per cent of the total land of the state against 13 per cent in the country.


Banks draw plans for financial inclusion of the underprivileged
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

No frills account

Banks like the Bank of Maharashtra, Corporation Bank, the United Bank of India, Vijaya Bank, Bharat Overseas Bank and HDFC Bank have not opened a single ‘no frills account’. Similarly, none of the private banks and public sector banks like the Bank of Maharashtra, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, the United Bank of India and Vijaya Bank, have issued a single general credit card in Punjab.

Chandigarh, March 18
The controlling heads of all banks operating in rural areas of Punjab have been requested to bring the underserved section of rural households to the bank’s fold by opening no frills accounts and/or issuing of general credit cards.

The decision was taken during the State Level Bankers’ Committee meeting for Punjab, held here last week. It was decided that considering the slow reach of banks to the rural poor population, more emphasis be given towards the financial inclusion of the underprivileged sections, into the banking net. According to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) an astounding 34.60 per cent farmers in the state remain financially excluded, and over 37 per cent of these financially excluded farmers are small and marginal farmers.

The policy makers are of the opinion that bringing financial inclusion means bringing growth of small/unorganized sector, cutting across all sectors of agriculture (secondary and tertiary), which together contribute to 40 per cent of GDP and 80 per cent of population. Since financial inclusion will lead to access to banking; access to affordable credit; and, access to face-to-face money advise/ financial literacy, its initiation in Punjab becomes all the more important, because of the high rural indebtedness (an average of over Rs 41,500 per person) in the state.

While two districts in Punjab - Mansa and Gurdaspur- have now achieved 100 per cent financial inclusion, banks have now been asked to replicate the progress achieved in these two districts, across the state. It has been decided that villages in all districts will be allocated to various banks for responsibility of 100 per cent financial inclusion. A sub group of banks will be formulated for the implementation of the scheme, which will get a village wise data from the Block Development and Panchayat Offices, to be used for monitoring if the targets for 100 per cent financial inclusion have been achieved.

Financial inclusion is being achieved by opening of ‘no frills accounts’ (zero balance accounts) and issuing of General Credit Cards. The social inclusion of the underprivileged is being achieved through opening of no frills accounts, while the economic inclusion dimension is being achieved through assisting either normal lending and/ or General Credit Cards scheme, which will provide an ignition for getting into some economic activity. Figures available with The Tribune show that banks in the state have opened 1, 17, 189 ‘no frill accounts’, amounting to Rs 12. 42 crore, while 4964 general credit cards have been issued , amounting to Rs 11. 82 crore.


Polluted Sutlej water poses threat to life, crops
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Moga, March 18
Due to contamination of Sutlej waters with industrial pollutants from Ludhiana and sewerage from several cities, people in four southern districts of Punjab and the adjoining Rajasthan are facing not only serious health hazard but also stand to lose fertile soil to the accumulation of industrial chemicals in the soil.

Untreated industrial waste and sewerage from Ludhiana are discharged into the Sutlej which is carried to Harike barrage where it muddles clean water from Beas. From here the Sirhind feeder canal carries the polluted water to Ferozepore, Faridkot and Muktsar districts and some minor canals supply this water to numerous households in Moga. The Rajasthan feeder canal carries the same water to the adjoining state.

With underground water in most parts of these four districts already declared unfit for consumption or irrigation due to high salt content, the feeder canal is the only source of water for drinking and irrigation. However, at Harike stench and colour of the water make one wonder if the water is really fit for human consumption or irrigation.

Last year when the matter was taken up in the state’s Assembly, then Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had ordered that water treatment plants be made mandatory in all industrial units in Ludhiana in two months. However, till date majority of units continue to release the chemical waste directly into Sutlej.

The contaminated water is causing serious health problems for many in the four districts, which at times go unreported. This water when used for irrigation results in the accumulation of chemicals in the soil which affects not only crop yield but also has far reaching consequences on the fertility of the soil.

Though senior officials in the state Irrigation and Agriculture Departments are aware of this problem but they expressed helplessness in doing anything in this regard. The problem however, is assuming alarming proportions with each passing day. Senior officials in the Punjab Pollution Control Board choose to deny the fact that the water was contaminated. However, gloomy apprehensions have started causing scare among farmers. Many feared if the problem was not checked at the earliest it might affect thousands of acres in the state.

Mr Jaswinder Singh of Ghall Khurd village, who has to use the feeder canal water to irrigate fields told the Tribune that he was noticing 10 per cent to 15 per cent fall in yield of the crop every year. He said this was because of chemicals that come in polluted water.

Rajbir Singh, another farmer from Holan Wali village said recently he got his soil tested and was shocked when experts warned him against the use of contaminated water which might leave his land completely baren in years to come. But if I do not use the feeder canal water what am I supposed to do, “lamented Rajbir.

Even environmentalists have expressed concern at the use of impure water. Contamination of water has also affected aquatic life as dead fish can be spotted in the water, supplied to people without any treatment to make it fit for use.

Sources in the Pollution Control Board on condition of anonymity confided that in the name of checking contamination, more water was released into the feeders after which the water appears to be cleaner, but virtually nothing is done in this regard.


Tussle between SAD leaders intensifies
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 18
The tug-of-war between Rajan Garg and Sikander Singh Maluka, presidents of the SAD (Badal) urban and rural district units, respectively, has intensified with the former demanding the resignation of the latter on the plea that under the leadership of Maluka the party candidates lost all five assembly seats in the assembly elections in the state. Not only this, Garg, who called a meeting of office-bearers and others of the urban district unit of the SAD (Badal), also urged Maluka by a resolution to tender resignation from the post of presidentship of the district rural unit as he (Maluka) had been defeated by the same candidate in two assembly elections.

He also alleged Maluka was also responsible for eroding the base of the party in Bathinda district. Challenging the authority of Maluka, Garg in another resolution passed at the meeting also announced the five-member committee set up by Maluka for overseeing the development of the city and preparation for the Municipal Corporation elections had also been dissolved.

Through another resolution, the workers urged acting party president Sukhbir Singh Badal to take disciplinary action against Maluka for levelling false allegations against Garg and his father Chiranji Lal Garg.

Garg, addressing the gathering, suggested to Maluka that instead of thrusting himself upon others in an attempt to remain president of the rural unit, he should become president of a truck union where such-type of culture was prevalent.

While claiming he had set up no committee to look after the development of the city, Maluka said he had been performing only those duties which had been assigned to him by party chief.


Dal Khalsa praises Baghel Singh’s role
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, March 18
A function to pay tributes to Sikh warrior Bhai Baghel Singh was organised by the Dal Khalsa at Hariana village, 15 km from here, today.

Continuing its tradition of honouring Sikh historical personalities, the Dal Khalsa held the well-attended convention at the village gurdwara built in memory of the Sikh general, who is credited with the unfurling of the Nishan Sahib atop the historic Red Fort in 1783. The convention warned the Haryana government against attempts to set up a separate gurdwara panel for the state. It also crticised Parkash Singh Badal for prevaricating on the issue of annulment of Clause 5 of the Punjab Water Agreement Termination Act.

It was on this day 224 years ago that Bhai Baghel Singh unfurled the Nishan Sahib at the Red Fort in Delhi and established the rule of the Sikhs there. Recalling the historic occasion, leaders of the Dal Khalsa extolled the military and political qualities of Bhai Baghel Singh.

In a paper read out on the occasion, the Dal Khalsa mentioned that apart from being a brave warrior, Bhai Baghel Singh was a strategist and statesman who was able to force the then Delhi rulers into submission in the battle at Ghanaur, near Patiala in 1778. As a result of this victory, one lakh Mughal forces surrendered before the Khalsa Panth.

Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib, president of the Dal Khalsa, delivering the keynote address said the present political leadership in Punjab did not offer any role models and therefore it was the need of the hour to honour Sikh generals of yesteryear. He said the Dal Khalsa would continue to honour Sikh stalwarts like Nawab Kapur Singh, Sham Singh Attari and others. Referring to the appointment of Ramesh Inder Singh as chief secretary of Punjab, Satnam Singh said on the one hand, images of the destroyed Akal Takht were splashed by the Badal camp to emotionally arouse the Sikhs against the Congress and in a sinister turnaround, this officer who had inked his signature on the final document to launch the attack on Darbar Sahib in June 1984 in his capacity as Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, was installed on the coveted post.

Senior leader of Dal Khalsa, Harcharanjit Singh Dhami, told the gathering that there was a lot to learn from the life and achievements of Bhai Baghel Singh. He apprised the meeting that all the gurdwaras in Delhi were built under the stewardship of Bhai Baghel Singh. He told the audience that the interests of Sikhs and Punjab was the sole concern of Bhai Baghel Singh, while today the present Sikh leadership was blissfully unaware of the deeds and achievements of our heroes.

Kanwarpal Singh, general secretary of the party, said instead of playing the blame game, the SGPC should introspect and identify the reasons for alienation of Sikh representatives from the state of Haryana. The parochialism of the SGPC and rampant corruption in the handling of funds were the prime reasons for the present stalemate. He appealed to the government of Haryana not to stoke the fires by tampering with the basic structure of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act, 1925.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), while speaking on the occasion urged the Sikh youth to follow the ideals of Bhai Baghel Singh. He also said all Punjabis and all political parties - SAD(Badal), BJP and Congress - were unanimous about abolition of Clause 5 of the Punjab Waters Agreement Termination Act, 2004. In the first place the SAD should not have approved this provision. Dr Manjinder Singh, Gurdeep Singh Kalkat and Baldev Singh Ajnala also spoke on the occasion.


Loans to farmers Kanwaljit’s priority
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, March 18
Seven functions were organised to honour Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister for cooperation, during his visit to the district today. People turned up in large numbers to have a glimpse of Capt Kanwaljit Singh and his son Jasjeet Singh Banni at his native village Salana, Amloh town, Nulakha, Bagrian, Tarkhan Majra and Chunni villages.

The minister said his priority would be to sanction loans in a time frame, provide fertilisers and other equipment to farmers.

The farming community, which was the backbone of the state economy, was directly related to the cooperative department. He has decided to revamp the department to make it farmer friendly and transparent.

He said he would form a cooperative advisory committee and two members for the committee would be selected from each district. It would suggest ways to improve the working of the department.

At present we had only 5,200 MW of electricity against the demand of 9,000 MW, he added.

Member of parliament Sukhdev Singh Khalsa, district president the Youth Akali Dal Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, SAD in charge of the Amloh constituency Bibi Satwinder Kaur Dhaliwal and former minister R.S. Cheema also addressed the functions.


Hindu jatha crosses over to Pak

Amritsar, March 18
A 36-member delegation of Hindus from various areas such as Uttar Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, led by Sai Shish Lal, crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah joint checkpost today.

Lal said this was for the first time that a Hindu jatha had been allowed to visit Pakistan to celebrate Navratras and Holi at the Asa Ram Masuda Ram Temple in Sakhar district of Sindh province of Pakistan. He said they had been given 30-day visa for visiting various shrines in Pakistan.

The jatha also took with it a statue of Amar Shaheed Sant Kanwar Ram which would be installed in the temple complex. — TNS


SGPC executive meeting in Thanesar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 18
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee would hold an executive meeting to discuss the issue of setting up of a separate Haryana Sikh gurdwara prabandhak committee at Kurukshetra.

SGPC deputy secretary Daljit Singh Bedi said that Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar had decided to hold a meeting at Gurdwara Chhati Patshahi in Thanesar, near Kurukshetra, on March 20. Agitated over the move of the Haryana Government to set up a separate committee for the management of the gurdwaras in the neighbouring state, SGPC chief Avtar Singh had decided to call an emergency meeting of its executive body to discuss the next course of action.

He said after deciding the matter in the proposed executive meeting, the resolution would be passed in the general Budget session, proposed to be held on March 30 at Teja Singh Samundari Hall here .



‘Naturopathy has cure for cancer’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 18
Director of the National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune, Babu Joseph, yesterday asserted that dreaded diseases like cancer could be treated through naturopathy.

Stating this while addressing a programme on naturopathy organised here by the Punjab unit of the international naturopathy organisation and the local Aryan society for research in yoga and naturopathy, Joseph said naturopathy was effective in curing many diseases and the status of naturopaths could not be undermined in comparison to professional doctors.

President of the society Harpreet Singh Bhandhari said yoga and naturopathy were useful for those who were tired of allopathic medicines.

He also said with naturopathy, many problems related to loss of hair, pain in joints, blood pressure etc could be solved easily.

BJP councillor Jatinder Kalra while sharing his experiences, said naturopathy had given him a new life. A former CMO, Dr Gurmail Singh Virk, former Punjab minister Jasbir Singh and a retired college teacher Charanjit Singh Udari also expressed their views.


50 quintals of rice sent as relief
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 18
Several religious and social organisations in association with the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal sent 50 quintals of rice, vegetable ghee and other eatables here today as relief package for Kashmiri terrorist affected Brahmin families camping at Shastri Park New Delhi.

This is the seven consecutive year that Barnala people have sent relief material to affected families. Mr Ram Niwas Sharma, District Brahmin Sabha president and Mr Anil Bansal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, collected the relief material.


Zakhmi acting head of Punjab Khatri Sabha
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 18
Daljit Singh Zakhmi was appointed acting president of the Punjab Khatri Sabha at a meeting of the sabha here today. The meeting was presided over by state president of the sabha Chaudhary Shiv Lal. Representatives of the sabha from Bathinda, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Mandi Gobindgarh, Patiala, Jagraon, Sunam and Malerkotla took part in the meeting.


Child artiste

Patiala, March 18
Five-year-old artiste of the local National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) Nemat Sabharwal recently presented a classical dance at the three-day inter-state music dance festival in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. — TNS


Banker’s murder case: Family files fresh petition
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 18
A fresh petition was filed in the CBI Court in the murder case of Naresh Mahajan, young bank manager of the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Putlighar branch, who was found murdered on October 23, 1998.

The case will come up for hearing in the CBI court at Patiala on March 19 on the petition filed by wife of the victim, Suman Bala and his nephew Puneet Mahajan.

The petitioners had alleged there were flaws in the investigations done by the CBI as it did not try to establish the place of occurrence nor did try to recover the articles missing from the car of the deceased. They further alleged no effort was made to conduct NarcoAnalysis test on the four accused named in the FIR who were declared medically unfit.

Banarsi Das, father of the victim, died waiting for justice. The investigation changed many hands. Even the CBI, which was entrusted with the case in 2001 on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court failed to yield results. Investigations by the police revealed it to be related to parallel banking operation. It was found certain persons working in liaison with the deceased for running this operation could have been involved in eliminating him to destroy evidence of their dealings. As many as 10 investigating officers from the Punjab police and four CBI officers, who were handling the case, had been transferred on one pretext or the other.

Mr Satish C. Mahajan, a brother of the deceased, said the high court had, at the time of handing over the inquiry to the CBI had clearly instructed the investigation be carried out by an officer of the SP rank but every time a junior official came to investigate the case. He added the CBI did not conduct the search of textile mill of one of the accused as some fibres were found from the body, which were handed to the then SP ( City) by Puneet Mahajan which allegedly were destroyed later to save the culprits.

The petitioners alleged the accused, in connivance with the police, tried to sabotage the case by showing it natural death and filing the complaint on statement of a bogus complainant. They alleged the CBI was not justified in believing the medical certificate produced by the then police official to save the accused.


7-year jail for rape

Moga, March 18
A court here has sentenced a person to seven years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) in a rape committed two years back.

Additional District and Sessions Judge H.P. Singh on Saturday also directed Harjinder Singh alias Raju of basti Kewal Singh in this district to further undergo an imprisonment of one year if he failed to pay a fine of Rs 25,000 which was also imposed upon him.

Raju on October 13, 2005 came to the house of the victim in the absence of her parents and committed the crime, according to the prosecution. — PTI


Only free economy can boost milk production: Expert
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The recent ban on export of milk by the Central Government has sent the Punjab Government in a tizzy. Alarmed at the serious consequences of the decision for the dairy farmers, the Punjab Government is all set to take up the issue of the review of the "anti-farmer" decision with the Centre.

"It is unfortunate that the Punjab Government had not been consulted before the imposition of the ban. The government would formally write to the Central Government to review the decision in the interest of the farmers," DS Bains, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, told The Tribune during a seminar on "dairy animal nutrition, reproduction and marketing" organised by the Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust here today.

Saying that the ban sent a wrong signal to the world market, Bains claimed that only free economy could boost the milk production in the country, particularly in the milk-surplus states like Punjab.

Anil Kaura, Director and Additional CEO of the Dairy Development Department, Punjab, while highlighting various steps to boost milk production in the state, said earlier also the Progressive Dairy Farmers Association had represented to the Central Government against the milk export ban.

Meanwhile, addressing the seminar, RS Chhillar, Head of the Central for Agriculture, Technology Assessment and Transfer, Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi, advocated the setting up of "Bull Mother Farms" for better quality buffaloes for increase in the milk yield.

Highlighting the activities of the trust, Jagdeep Singh Cheema, chairman, said the main aim of the seminar was to bring the government, the private sector and dairy farmers on one platform to work out strategies for better milk yield and marketing.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included MS Sarang, General Manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, Ye Tun Win, Assistant Director, Dairy Department of Myanmar, JP Sehgal, National Dairy Research Institute, and Parkash Singh Brar and MS Pannu, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana.


Inside Babudom
Badal govt reposes faith in young officers
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Sequel to change of political guards in the state governance is the administrative reshuffles. The new Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janta Party 
(SAD-BJP) government in Punjab has already brought up several changes both in the civil administration as well as the police department.

Besides the new Chief Secretary (Ramesh Inder Singh) and the new police chief (NPS Aulakh), the new dispensation has ordered changes, including shifting of deputy commissioners and district police chiefs.

There is a visible continuity in continuation of faith in young officers belonging to the central civil service. Posting of Sumer Singh Gujjar, for example, as deputy commissioner of Ludhiana, is a step in that direction.

Sumer had been Additional Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana before and new assignment comes to him at a time when the SAD-BJP government is about to launch some of its populist schemes, including supply of atta and dal at Rs 4 and Rs 20 a kg from Baisakhi Day. Ludhiana, one of the most populated districts of the state, has a substantial population of migrants and industrial workers, many of whom would be beneficiary of the new largesse of the SAD-BJP government.

Similarly, the government has placed its faith in 1998-batch K.S. Pannu as deputy commissioner of Amritsar. Pannu, who comes from the Cooperation Department, was Additional Registrar Cooperatives before his appointment to the IAS. He has been the first member-secretary of the Farmers’ Commission.

Pannu is also credited for his contribution in the launching of Sanjivani, the healthcare insurance scheme for farmers and their families. The name of the scheme has been changed to the Bah Ghanaian Health Scheme.

Pannu, a product of Punjab Agricultural University, is also the founder secretary of the Chandigarh-based PAU Alumni Association.

Education, healthcare, rural development and panchayats and infrastructure development, especially roads, bridges and flyovers are the areas which will again want government to look for officers who can not only sustain the pace of development set by the last government but also accelerate it.

A couple of administrative reshuffles may follow before the new regime finds itself firmly in the saddle before the regular Budget session in June/July this year.


‘Crime bureau chief’ booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 18
The police has booked “international crime bureau chief” Baldev Singh Rathore, a private organisation, for allegedly cheating three persons, Swarn Singh of Akash Avenue, Navjot Kaur Gill and Hardish Sandhu of the Putlighar area here.

A complaint was lodged after an inquiry conducted by DSP (City-I) Amarjeet Singh Bajwa.

The victims stated that the accused took a huge sum of rupees on the pretext of providing jobs to unemployed persons. They alleged the accused made them members of his organisation. They said the accused neither provided them jobs nor returned their money.

The police authorities said that the case was registered after investigations conducted by the DSP. However, the accused has absconded after registration of the case.


One killed in post-poll feud
Our Correspondent

Batala, March 18
Akali Dal workers allegedly killed one person and injured two persons in an attack on three Dalit members of a family last evening for their support to the Congress during the recent assembly elections.

Sukhbir Singh later on succumbed to his injuries while the other two were referred to the SGTB hospital, Amritsar.

A couple of days earlier, Akali workers had attacked Sukhbir Singh and Jaspreet Singh at their home in Parowal village of Qadian.

At first, the police refused to register the complaint but subsequently an FIR for causing injuries was recorded which was subsequently converted into a murder case after the death of Sukhbir Singh.

Dilbag Singh, DSP, said six persons had been identified in this case.


GND varsity emeritus fellowships for Dhir, Dr Sharma
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 18
Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to confer emeritus fellowships on two eminent Punjabi writers Santokh Singh Dhir and Dr T.R. Sharma, for their contribution to Punjabi literature.

Dr Jai Rup Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said here yesterday Santokh Singh Dhir had been honoured for his contribution to Punjabi language and literature.

Similarly educationist, Dr T.R. Sharma has been awarded emeritus fellowship for his services in the field of teaching of Punjabi language, research on education, psychology and its development.

The Vice-Chancellor said the university would pay them Rs 10,000 each per month for life as honorarium. In addition, they will also get Rs 20,000 per year as contingency. He announced the two men would be conferred fellowships at a special function to be organised by the university shortly. He hoped students and the faculty of the university would benefit from their long academic experience.

Dhir (86) is a Punjabi writer who has been freelancing all his life. He has 12 books of poetry, nine story books, six novels, one translation and 14 other books to his credit. He has been president of the Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Jalandhar. He had also been honoured with several awards and fellowships in Punjab and abroad as well.

He had been awarded Soviet Desh Nehru Award (1980), Bharti Sahit Akademi Puraskar (1996), Punjab Languages Department Awards (1980, 1994)), International Punjabi Literary Trust Canada Puraskar (1983), UK Punjabi Sahit Akademy (1991), Shiromani Punjabi Sahitkar Award of Punjabi Sahit Akademi, Ludhiana (1999, 2002) and Puraskar of Panjabi Kala Parishad, Chandigarh (1979). Earlier, he was given life fellowship by Punjabi University, Patiala, and Punjabi Sahit Sabha, Delhi.

Eminent educationist Dr T.R. Sharma (81) has been associated with teaching and development of Punjabi language throughout his life. He started his career in 1946 as a school teacher. He remained college lecturer (1955-1961), Assistant Director, Education Department (1961-65) and served Punjabi University, Patiala, as Professor and Dean, Faculty of Education. He was also Director of the IAS Coaching Centre.

Dr Sharma produced 16 Ph.Ds and 153 M.Phil/ M.Ed and MA students relating to education psychology, education management, education system and teaching of Punjabi language. He has published 42 books, eight translations and one edited book in Punjabi. In English, he has eight original books, one edited and three books in Hindi. He has published 30 research papers in various national and international journals.


Degrees conferred on 700 students
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 18
As many as 700 graduates and postgraduates of Hindu College were awarded degrees at annual convocation here yesterday.

Mr Joginder Pall, member Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, was the chief guest while Mr V P Lumba, principal of the college conferred the degrees on the students.

He said students were the future of the country and they should come forward to build a healthy society and nation building after acquiring knowledge and education. He said that they should fight for social causes.

Mr Lumba highlighted the achievements of the 83-year old college which was established in 1924 in education, sports and extra-curricular activities. He said with the funds and aid provided by old students of the college and the government a modern chemistry laboratory, electronic laboratory in the computer department, a multimedia gallery, beautification of college campus and renovation of girls common room etc had been done.


Growth has ‘bypassed’ villages
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 18
Growth in India has bypassed the rural sector and in Punjab this sector has been hit hard due to uneconomic holdings to Suggesting farmers with uneconomic farm holdings take to non-farm activities, Dr G.S. Kalkat, Chairman, Punjab Farmers Commission, favoured training of farmers with the help of industry.

Chairman of the Punjab State Farmers Commission, Dr Kalkat was here to inaugurate a two-day seminar on Rural Employment in Punjab: Challenges and Strategies organised by the Punjab School of Economics of Guru Nanak Dev University under special assistance programme of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Dr Kalkat said the Green Revolution succeeded with the active support of the government. Now it had reached a plateau. He emphasized on horticulture, dairy and poultry-oriented new technologies rather than crop-oriented ones to launch another green revolution.

He also suggested initiating programme to encourage two lakh farm families to grow vegetables under controlled conditions, throughout year and involving private sector in sorting, grading and selling in other states and countries. This would help increase farm income. He also suggested adopting commercial dairy farming. However, it requires investment up to Rs 10-15 lakh per farm. Success of this activity depended on the setting up of milk plants and veterinary help.

Dr Kalkat also released University publication “Globalisation and Punjab Economy” edited by R.S. Bawa, Dr P.S. Raikhy and Dr Paramjeet Kaur Dhindsa.

Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice-chancellor, said the university had already established a Punjabi language laboratory in the School of Punjabi Studies and another one was being set up shortly on the university campus to improve communication skill of students.


College holds contests on women empowerment
Tribune News Service

Kharar, March 18
The Sachdeva College of Education, Gharuan, organised several inter-college competitions on the theme ‘Women Empowerment’. Former principal of University College of Education, Kurukshetra University, Dr Usha Agarwal, presided over the competitions which included, poetry recitation, mono acting, slogan writing, art and craft, black board writing, etc. Prof Shakuntla Nagpal, NCERT, New Delhi, presided over the prize distribution function and Dr Suman Gupta, reader, department of law, KUK, was the key speaker.

The principal, Sachdeva College of Education, Dr Swatantra Jain, welcomed the guests. The students of Sachdeva College of Education bagged maximum prizes followed by Rayat and Bahra College of Education (Kurali), Mukut College of Education (Rajpura), Indo Global College of Education (Abhipur), Akal College of Education (Samana), Chandigarh College of Education (Landhra), and Nancy College of Education (Sangrur).


‘Realise Kalam’s dream’

Banur, March 18
A seminar was organised by the Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology here today.

Swami Parthasarathy, chairman of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda International Foundation, called upon the audience to work with dedication to realise the dream of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to make India a developed nation by 2020. — TNS


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