MEHRF for CBI probe into fake encounters in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Punjab infamous extra judicial killings of innocent youth during the haydays of the militancy by the security agencies should be probed thoroughly by CBI or sitting Judge of the High Court in order to come out with the truth.

Stating this to the media Col G.S. Sandhu (retd.), chairman Majha Ex-Servicemen Human Rights Front (MEHRF), said though the state government had ordered probe into the fake killings by the police itself but enquiry by any Police commission would not be transparent but a mere be eyewash.

He said such a commission would spare no efforts to shield guilty police personnel as most of Punjab police officers have reaped a rich harvest by claiming huge prize money and promotions for extra judicial killings.

He said that over 2,000 victims of these fake killings were cremated as unidentified in two cremation grounds of Tarn Taran and Amritsar besides the other face encounter killings in other parts of the state.

Col Sandhu said that these killings were sanctified and had the approval of the state government which has resulted in the political-mafia-police nexus leading to criminalisation and communalization of the police force. He said that they would soon ask for the photographs and inquest reports from the concerned district police chiefs of the state under the RTI Act.

He said that during the stage managed encounters the police had declared Ajait Singh Sandhu and former militants Gurnam singh Bandala, Gurcharan Singh, Jaspal Singh Bhatti and Sukhminder Singh as dead in police files.

Instead they had killed innocent people to claim the prize money on their heads which too were declared by the police bigwigs themselves.

He said once the identity of the innocent persons was established the front would pursue their cases and get suitable compensation for their families.

Introducing the family members of victim Sukhpal Singh of Kala Afgana who was killed by police cat Avtar Singh Tari in a fake encounter on August 13, 1994 the MEHRF Chairman said that even after the mother of the deceased had made the payment to the accused for purchasing a car besides Rs one lakh in cash, the victim was not spared. He said the father of the victim was holding just two Kanals of agricultural land as he had to dispose off most of his agriculture land to arrange for the payment to save his son.

Demanding the scrapping of the Armed forces Special Powers Act, since most of the extra-judicial killings were being carried out under its garb, Col Sandhu said the country was fast heading towards becoming a banana republic as was witnessed in South Africa where Nelson Mandela spent major portion of his life in prison fighting for the fundamental rights of the people. 



Students not allowed to appear in exams
Pay hefty damage for lecture shortage 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
A high pitched drama was witnessed at the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) when the students protested against the university authorities for not allowing them to appear in final exams of five year integrated course of the MBA/ MCA.

University is harassing as we had participated in the strike held last year.
— Students 

There was scuffle between the students and the security staff of the university as the students requested the other students to show solidarity with them by not appearing in the mathematics paper of the MCA and MBA held today.

But after the authorities urged the students holding roll numbers to appear in the exams as the paper had already started at other two centers including Jalandhar and Gurdaspur, these students dispersed from the site and appeared in the exams.

Raising slogans against the vice-chancellor and the respective heads of the departments the students alleged that while they had not been issued roll numbers certain various influential students who were also short of lectures were allowed to appear to appear in the first paper conducted today.

The students further alleged that the university was harassing them as they had participated in the strike held last year.

However, when contacted Dr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, head of the department, said that the students were leveling baseless charges as they had not favored any student.

He said in the previous semester too the students had appeared in the exams after assuring the vice chancellor that they would attend the lectures regularly in future and had even submitted affidavits in this regard.

He said the department had even informed the parents of these students but he was surprised at the behavior of the parents too as no one had come to meet them in this regard.

However, the protesting students later dispersed after Sidhu asked them to meet him after the exam was over.University authorities had detained 21 students of MBA, nine students of MCA and five students of B. Tech electronics and not allotted the roll numbers for failing to attend required number of lectures.

Kiranpreet Singh Manu, SOI Akali Dal talking to the media said that the university authorities should have taken a lenient view in this regard and allowed the students to appear in the exams so that their precious one year could be saved.



Rs 325 for Rs 25 gown; students allege foul play
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
The old students of the 115-year-old Khalsa College have alleged that the principal raked in moolah during the annual convocation ceremony held recently. They allege that they were charged Rs 325 per gown instead of mere Rs 25 paid by the college to the gown vendor.

In a missive to Dr Jai Rup Singh, vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, students alleged that they were made to pay a sum of Rs 325 per student in advance for the gown on the occasion of the convocation while only Rs 25 were paid by the college management to the vendor for providing these gowns.

The students alleged that the rest of the amount was pocketed by the principal through his henchmen. Urging the VC for a thorough probe to bring out the truth as it will go a long way in saving the students from exploitation and loot.

Students further alleged that college management charged exorbitant fee for mercy chance for clearing the eligibility test last academic session while earlier the students were charged nominal fee only.

The management and the principal provided contradictory explanation to the whole issue. While the honorary secretary, Rajinder Mohan Singh Chinna, said the gown fee includes hiring charges of the gown besides lunch and other expenses for welfare of the students while the principal, Dr Daljit Singh, pointed out that these were the minimum charges uniformly collected by all the colleges.

On the issue of heavy fines for low attendance and providing mercy eligibility test chance, Chinna said the charges were being taken to prevent students from remaining absent so as to improve the college results.

Singh said the decision had been taken by the appropriate authority of the college. He alleged there was a nexus of a particular group of people who were out to defame the college and its management.

The students further alleged that even those students who were short of lectures below the required numbers permissible by the university were made to pay the money running in thousand of rupees to allow them to appear in the university examination, which was a breach of the university rules.



Injured student gets GNDU’s financial relief
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) would bear all the expenditure of hospitalisation of Shagufta Nayyar, a student of Master of Journalism and Mass Communication studying at the University Regional Campus, Jalandhar.

Expressing sympathy with the injured student the vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Jai Rup Singh has sanctioned an interim financial assistance of Rs 25,000 as part payment of her treatment out of Students' Welfare Fund.

It is pertinent to mention here that Shagufta had suddenly slipped and sustained internal injuries and fracture on the Jalandhar Railway platform during the 14-member educational tour to Delhi. She was immediately rushed to a private hospital at Jalandhar where she had undergone a major operation.

Considering that the financial condition of Shagufta was not sound, the VC has ordered to reimburse her total expenditure involved in the hospitalization and has sanctioned Rs 25,000.



Spring Dale Society adopts Maqboolpura school
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
In its endeavor to work for the underprivileged the Spring Dale Education Society has adopted, citizens forum Vidya Mandir, a school with a strength of 400 students located in Maqboolpura, Amritsar.

Manveen Sandhu, principal, Spring Dale Senior School visited the school to review and analyse, the kind of changes required in the structure of the school. She promised to work upon the salaries of the teachers, to equip the computer room with the best of facilities and to provide chicks, curtains, hanging blackboards, notice boards and desks for the class rooms. The society which has been providing monthly aid to Citizens Forum Vidya Mandir to pay their teachers’ salary also holds academic interaction sessions and teacher training workshops from time to time to improve the level of teaching techniques to the teachers of the school which provides education to the drug victims of the area. The school also holds regular workshops for the students at the Davinder Pal Centre for Creative Arts.

She also promised to send a group of 30 students from Vidya Mandir, for the personality development camp to be held at Nurpur. She also interacted with the children, listening to  their needs and other problems and was impressed by the children’s zeal for acquiring knowledge through learning.



GNDU upgrades BTech course 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Keeping in view the high demand of B.Tech graduates in sugar and alcohol industry of the country, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) has upgraded its four-year course in sugar technology to B.Tech sugar and alcohol technology duly approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Announcing this Dr Satinder Kaur, professor and former head of the department, said B.Tech sugar and alcohol course was the first of its kind in India and the university would train the graduates of this course to handle the sugar complex in total.

She said the graduates of this course were in great demand in Indian industry to meet the growing need of ethanol as a bio-fuel.

Due to this very reason, the students trained in this discipline are very much in demand with 100 per cent placement before the completion of their formal studies, she added.

Giving details about this course, the distinguished sugar and alcohol technologists said this course has been providing technical education, training and research in chemistry, sugar chemistry, sugar engineering and manufacturing technology.

It also deals with sugar byproducts, programming in C, waste management and with emphasis on chemical engineering.

She further said that to promote alcohol technology, additional courses on fermentation, microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology and fuels have been added in the theory with special emphasis on practicals.

She said the students also have to undertake an eight months of on-season and off-season training of which two months in a distillery was compulsory. Besides, they also undertake a three-week educational trip to sugar industry all over India and carry out a research project for one year, she added. 



Seminar on child labour

Amritsar, May 11
A seminar on issues pertaining to child labour and bonded labour was organised at the office of assistant Labour Commissioner by Free Legal Services Authority.

Speaking on the occasion, Varinder Aggarwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, said the problem of child labour and bonded labour continue due to poverty and ignorance. He said child labour is preferred in bidi, cracker, match box and carpet industries. Assistant Labour Commissioner Amarjit Singh said those employing children are liable to be fined Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. — TNS



Tempt your taste buds with ‘chatti di lassi’
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Despite the onslaught of colas, city residents still prefer beating the heat with a large glass of chilled lassi.

And for those finding the traditional lassi too heavy to qualify as fun drink, there is an alternative -- chati di lassi. It is a special sour treat for those who want to savour the familiar taste of home-made lassi, which is made from pasturised milk.

The fat-free lassi comes with a dash of salt and pepper, without the thick capping of milk cream as in case of traditional lassi. This lassi is rich in proteins and minerals, is anti-acidic and good for digestion. It got its name from ‘chatti’ (earthen pot), in which rural women churned the ‘lassi’ and got butter. The remaining thin lassi proved to be nectar for thirsty farmers.

Ranjit Singh owner of Sukhmani Chati Di Lassi on court road says, ‘Chati di Lassi is also known to cure many diseases and many customers come here for the medicinal value of the lassi. This lassi has its own clientele and nobody can doubt its quality as there is no scope of adulteration to increase the fat content. It is used to wash down the stale chappatis that farmers have for breakfast. Women folk find it useful in making ‘kadi’.

At his dairy farm, milk is pasteurised for hours in clay containers and after segregating ghee, the residue is collected to be sold as lassi. “We make no claims that the lassi has high fat content. In fact, this deficiency is its biggest advantage and people relish it because it is easy to digest,” he says.

“My brother is a fodder inspector and it was he who came up with the idea of pasteurising milk to make lassi. There are hardly any outlets where one can get chate di lassi and we are finding it difficult to cope up with the demand. Another reason is that it is a very slow process to pasturise milk and dhaba owners would rather make a quick buck,” he adds.

The nominal price of Rs 5 per glass of chate di lassi is makes it an affordable drink which can be relished several times a day.

On the other hand, there is also no dearth of takers for the traditional lassi. Long queues can be seen at lassi shops in the Hall Bazar Market. Loaded with fats, each glass of lassi comes with a think layer of milk cream and customers don’t mind shelling Rs 14 per glass.

The shops of Gian Halwai and Ahuja Lassi Wala are the favourite haunts of lassi lovers in Amritsar. The fashion might change to the autumn-winter mode but lassi drinking continues to be vogue in the walled city area.

“In olden times, farmers from adjoining villages used to bring chati di lassi in three wheelers and motorbikes and used to sell it passers-by on the busy city roads. I remember buying 2-3 liters of this lassi everyday,” says Prakash Singh, an old timer, resident of Hall Gate area.

But selling this lassi is not considered a financially viable proposition and the trend did not last long. This lassi is also considered good for making kadi. Rainy reason is the only time when lassi is not considered good for health. Otherwise, Punjabi have always preferred having lassi over the bottled drinks, be it colas or juices,” he adds.



Pritam’s dream ‘Rangan Di Barsaat’ comes alive 
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
The tough job of giving shape to iron at his lathe workshop has not affected Parwinder Pritam and his craft of translating his sentiments into poetry.

Seethed in down to earth reality, his poetry strikes an instant rapport with his readers as Pritam retains the true aroma of soil of the Punjab in his poems.

It’s going to be a big day for him on Sunday when his compilation of poems ‘Rangan Di Barsat’ would be released.

Parwinder Pritam, a household name in Amritsar is held in high esteem in intellectual circles, having written scores of poems over three decades.

Even though Pritam had little formal education, he made up for it by reading a lot of Punjabi and Urdu literature.

“My poems reflect the experiences I’ve had in all these years. I believe in going with the flow and take life as it comes,” he said.

“Even though I started writing at the age of 14, it was Dr Kulbir Singth Kaang, former secretary of the Lok Likhari Sabha, who encouraged me to recite my poems and couplets at public platforms.

Even though my popularity spread by word of mouth, I was not ambitious enough to get a book printed,” he said.

This, despite his work being printed with the likes of Amrita Pritam and Prof Mohan Singh in a compilation of poems by old and new poets about two decades back.

The 66-year-old poet, who boasts of many friends in the Guru Nanak Dev University, has won many awards and even spread his popularity out of Amritsar by getting the first position for three consecutive years at “mushairas” organized by a society in Pathankot.

He still remembers how he took up the challenge thrown by his wife soon after marriage to win a “ghazal darbar” organized by a teacher of Giani, G.S.Puri in Hussainpura.

“I won the first prize carrying award money of Rs 1,100 and presented all of it to my wife, who was more than impressed with my creativity,” he said.

He has made half-a-dozen trips to Pakistan, where he has taken part in ‘mushairas’ and ‘kavi sammelans’.

“But there is one grouse my wife and children still have. I often go into a trance and pass-by ignorantly on roads without recognizing them.

Besides, my wife is particularly upset with my scribbling poems on newspapers lying in the living room,” he smiled.

“My daughter is settled in Korea and son is working for a telecom company.

They insist that I should close down my workshop but I was to continue giving shape to iron and write about religion, politics and spirituality to rejuvenate my senses,” he said. “What satisfies me the most is when win a heart with a single couplet. I have also tried to use poetry to condemn ills of society like superstition,” he said.



Small Scale Woes 
Printing packaging industries facing shortage of skilled labour 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
About 250 small scale industrial units which started flourishing immediately after independence supplying machines throughout the country and abroad are now facing shortage of skilled labour and power shortage.

Pritam Singh Kalsi, president printing packaging and allied industries association, in a memorandum to the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal have stated that as the industry was providing direct employment directly or indirectly to nearly 20,000 people in the border belt there was need to uplift the sick industries in the border belt.

Kalsi demanded that the government should provide short term training courses for operating machines like lathe-machine, milling machine, shaper machine to the youth of the border district in various government institutes situated in Amritsar and Batala as there was unemployment in the state.

The association also urged the government to keep a low fees for providing training besides establishing placement wing which could help the candidates for getting employment.

The association demanded that the state government should provide special facilities to SSI units in the border district to promote the sick industries.

He said the government should provide subsidies and special tax concessions to the industries as was provided by the neighboring states like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

The memorandum urged the government that it should help the SSI units by giving interest free loans so that these units could be modernized by installing hi-tech machines by replacing the old ones.

It further urged the government for allotting them 60-70 acres of land for setting up a special zone for their industry in which infrastructure as per the needs of the industry could be developed by the government with active participation of the association as was being done by the China which had established various industrial complexes.

As the industry was facing frequent and unscheduled power cuts in the summer season due to power shortage in the state, the association urged the state government to set up thermal plants in the border belt to provide uninterrupted power supply.

He said this would boost the production of the industrial units in the state besides generating more employment in the border district.



‘One man worker’ inspires one and all
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
Popularly known as one man worker Dr Sushil Gupta, a child specialist and an alumni of Amritsar Medical College delivered an enlightening talk at Spring Dale Senior School today, which was about his experience as a doctor and also a call to the students, to take up the onus for a clean and healthy environment and also create awareness among the poor sections of the society.

Dr Gupta stands apart from the materialistic society of the modern world as he religiously denotes his day, working 24 hours of the day. His work schedule as eight hours for the nation, eight hours for profession and eight hours for family, impressed everyone.

He shared his experience on his splendid motto to make the holy city, Amritsar ‘Gugu Ki Nagri’ a unique and beneficial place.

The child specialist is presently working with a force of people and many defence personnel, senior citizen women and students of various institutions who have joined hands with him in making his dream come true.

His motivational talk on working for the poor, backward sections, clean and green environment and giving medical support to children was quite inspiring. A promising note of giving a free medical aid to poverty stricken children speaks volumes about his magnetic personality.



Restore ex-gratia grant to farmers, PM urged
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May11
A delegation of office bearers of District Congress Committee, Amritsar (rural) led by its president Sukhjinder Raj Singh (Lalli) Majithia and PPCC vice-president Lakhmir Singh Randhawa met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

They requested him to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), with representatives from all national political parties to keep a watch on the atrocities and excesses being committed by Akali activists on SC/ST workers of Congress party in rural areas on behest of MLAs and ministers with the help of local police.

The delegation urged the Prime Minister to restore the ex-gratia grant with an increase of at least Rs 1,000 per acre to farmers of border districts, having their agricultural income across the barbed wire. The delegation pointed out that earlier, a sum of Rs 2,500 per acre was being paid to them by the central government since 1998, which was abruptly stopped in 2002 without any valid reason.

A package on the lies on Vidharba was demanded for Punjab to bail out small and marginal farm labourers out of their debt. The delegation sought relaxation of credit norms for landless labourers, poor farmers, rehriwalas and rickshawpullers, who were illiterate and not familiar with the complexities of different government schemes of credit facilities floated by the central government through the nationalised banks.

The Congress leaders demanded grant of tax-benefits to small industries in the state, especially to the units located in the border districts, like the way it is being down in the adjoining states of Himachal Pradesh, J & K and Uttranchal.

The delegation included Babu Ramesh Sharma, secretary PPCC, Harjinder singh Sangna, vice president DCCA (R), Mukesh Nanda, chairman Veopar cell, Dilbagh Singh, Chairman Kissan Cell and Swinder Singh Randhawa.



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