P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


BKU (U) accuses govt of lingering Trident issue
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 3
The BKU (Ugrahan) announced today that it was desperate to protest against the non-implementation of an agreement reached between the Trident Group and farmers’ unions with regard to giving 70 per cent above acquisition price to the farmers of Dhaula, Sangherra and Fatehgarh Chhanna villages (near Barnala), whose 376 acre had been acquired by the state government for the Trident Group.

Talking to The Tribune today BKU (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, said the modalities for taking such a step would be chalked out at a meeting to be held in the second week of this month for taking the agitation to its logical conclusion. The state government will be compelled to implement the agreement, he added.

Kokri Kalan said they had decided to take action in the second week of October, as Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary would be organised by a committee under the leadership of playwright Gursharan Singh on September 28 at Barnala. The BKU (Ugrahan) was also a part of the committee, he added.

Regarding the response of the Badal government towards the implementation of the agreement, Kokri Kalan said it seemed to be a mixed one.

However, he said it was clear that the state government wanted to linger the issue. Why government wanted to do so, he could not explain?

He said the state government had also failed to implement other clauses of the agreement in letter and spirit. The government had given compensation to only 34 injured farmers while 36 others, who had lost his life in the jail, were yet to get it. He said the state government had also not withdrawn cases registered against farmers during the agitations.

He also disclosed that the state home secretary had issued a circular on August 27, which stated that the state government would withdraw the cases registered against farmers.

He said earlier the home secretary in two circulars, issued on July 31 and August 20, had mentioned that cases registered against all farmers would be withdrawn.

He flayed the August 27 circular, demanding withdrawal of cases registered against all farmers.

Farmers block railway traffic
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 3
Activists of the Kirti Kisan Union stopped railway traffic on the Ferozepur-Ludhiana route by squatting on railway track at Ghal Kalan village near here today.

The Ferozepur-Ludhiana passenger train was halted at a station near Dagru. The agitators raised slogans against government and the Electricity Department. Nirbhay Singh, state president of the union, said the SAD had failed to fulfil its pre-poll promise of 10-hr power supply.

The union’s decision of keeping the venue of the protest a secret kept the police and intelligence department on tenterhooks. 


Janmashtami CM greets people
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
“We should strengthen the bonds of communal harmony and universal brotherhood and defeat the nefarious designs of those forces who were out to disturb the communal harmony in the state,” said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a shobha yatra organised by Sri Gopal Krishan Sewa Society on the eve of Janmashtami here today.

Extending his greetings to the people, Badal said Lord Krishana had advocated the philosophy of “Karma”. He further exhorted the people to opt for “karmayog” as an ultimate path that leads to the Almighty. He appealed to the people to celebrate this sacred day by rising above petty considerations of caste, creed and religion.

Health and family welfare minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla said that the scriptures had not recorded any life more full, intense, sublime and grand than the life of Lord Krishna.

On the occasion the Chief Minister was honoured by Chawla and members of the Society by presenting a portrait of Lord Krishna. Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, Anil Joshi, Manjinder Singh Kang, both MLAs, Baldev Raj Chawla, former minister, Punjab, were among those present.


Nawanshahr to be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
Nawanshahr would be named after Shaheed Bhagat Singh to mark his birth centenary. The district has produced many patriots and includes Khatkal Kalan village which has a national museum in the name of the martyr.

This was stated by Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, while interacting with mediapersons here today. Appreciating the decision of the government of Pakistan to celebrate the birth centenary of the martyr, Badal said that he would definitely visit Pakistan if invited.

The Chief Minister has also convened a meeting of all deputy commissioners next week to finalise the modalities for the functions to be held on September 27 and 28. He said that his government would bring the sacred soil from the birthplace of Shaheed Bhagat Singh in Lyallpur district in Pakistan, where on September 27 a huge function was being organised.

Answering a question, Badal said that he had already asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to name a central or defence university to be allotted to the state after Shaheed Bhagat Singh. He also gave a call to all political parties, eminent citizens, intellectuals, educationists, students to observe the martyr’s centenary as a mass movement to reawaken the spirit of nationalism.

According to a decision taken at the committee meeting, marches would begin from the places associated with national martyrs in the state and converge at Jallianwala Bagh on September 27. A contingent would also start from Wagah carrying a torch towards Jallianwala Bagh.

When asked about the non-inclusion of the name of local BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu in the Amritsar Development Authority, he claimed that there were some technical problems to include his name.


New collector rates to hit poor:YC chief
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, Sepember 3
Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) president Vijay Inder Singla said today by hiking collector rates of landed property across the state, the SAD-BJP government had dealt a fatal blow to the poor sections of society.

Singla, who was here in connection with membership drive of the organisation, told mediapersons in the evening that unprecedented hike in collector rates of landed property, would deprive the poor of opportunity of purchasing plots for houses.

Singla was accompanied by Kultaj Singh, returning officer for the membership drive.

He pointed out that this ‘unjustified’ action of the government would also hit collection of revenue on account of sale/purchase of landed property as most of those, who had been dealing in real estate would avoid registration of transfer of land by paying huge amount in the shape of registration fee. Instead the real estate businessmen would carry out dealings only on the basis of power of attorney and agreement to sell.

He said the membership drive had been launched in Barnala, Mansa and Bathinda districts today. Four districts, including Muktsar, Faridkot, Ferozepur and Moga, would be covered tomorrow. 


Mann accepts resignations of office-bearers
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathanan, September 3
Simranjit Singh Mann president, SAD(A), has accepted the resignations of all party workers and office-bearers belonging to Muktsar, Faridkot and Khanna, who had resigned in protest against the removal of Daljit Singh Bittu from the party.

In a press note here today Mann said these party leaders and workers had been misguided by those, who had deserted the ideology of ‘Khalistan’ and shook hands with Badal secretly. He clarified those who had sent their resignations from Nabha jail only Harpal Singh was the vice- president of party, whereas others were not even members of the party.

Meanwhile, Iqbal Singh Tiwana, president, World Sikh Mission has resigned from the presidentship of the organisation and decided to join the SAD(A).


Badal has played fraud on poll panel: Khera
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Shiromani Akali Dal has played a fraud on the Election Commission of India by submitting to it a doctored constitution of the party to project itself as a secular party, said Balwant Singh Khera, member of the national executive of the Janata Dal (Secular).

Addressing a press conference here today, Khera, who has filed a petition against the SAD on this issue before the election commission, said the SAD had submitted a different constitution to the Gurdwara Election Commission. “ We detected the fraud played by the party by getting a copy of the SAD’s constitution, which is the original one, from the gurdwara commission under the right to information act”, said Khera.

“We plan to complain to the police with regard to the fraud”, he said. 


Punjab Vs Others: Water wars to hot up
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The next two weeks will possibly set a fresh agenda on the long- standing water disputes between Punjab and its neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan. Three politically important cases, including the presidential reference on the Punjab termination of agreements act, 2004, will come for hearing in the Supreme Court during this period.

The political stakes being high, each word spoken in the court will be heard with great interest across north India. Punjab has already challenged sections 78 and 79 of the reorganisation of states act, 1966. The origin of water-sharing agreements involving Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan lies in this act.

A constitution bench of the apex court will hear the matter on the PTAA, 2004, on September 18. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha had passed the act in July, 2004. It had created a furore with Punjab claiming that the act was not aimed at overcoming the apex court ruling on the SYL canal. Punjab had scrapped all water accords with neighbouring states from 1981 onwards. Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam had made a four-point reference to the Supreme Court about the validity of the act. The outcome of the case will have a huge impact. Even the central government knows how the issue of sharing river waters provided a catalyst to militancy in the state in the 1980s. Punjab, in March this year, had agreed that it will not move to scrap section 5 of the PTAA. This section provides that the existing flow and quantum of water to Haryana or Rajasthan will not be disturbed.

Another other important case is coming up on September 5.The Supreme Court will again hear the matter of allowing Haryana to puncture the Bhakra main line (BML) canal. Last month, the apex court had granted an interim stay on the puncturing of the canal till further hearing on September 5. Punjab had petitioned for an interim order.

Rajasthan has also joined Punjab in challenging the Haryana government’s action to dig the 20 km-long feeder canal. Both states have alleged that Haryana is doing it in violation of the Bhakra-Nangal agreement, 1959. Haryana and the central government are to submit their replies.

The third important case (September 17) is the claim of Rajasthan that three water regulatory headworks of the Bhakra and Beas projects be taken out of Punjab’s control and handed over to the Bhakra Beas management board (BBMB) .The Supreme Court, in 2005, had stayed the order of the Rajasthan high court directing Punjab to hand over the management of the Ropar, Harike and Ferozepore headworks to the BBMB.

Important cases

  • Presidential reference on PTAA, 2004 --- Sept 18
  • Hansi-Butana canal hearing on interim stay --- Sept 5
  • lControl of water headworks in Punjab area --- Sept 17 


SGPC chief to meet CM today
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
SGPC chief Avtar Singh will hold a close-door meeting with Chief Minister at his official residence in Chandigarh tomorrow.

He is likely to discuss the problems being faced by him regarding appointment of granthis due to opposition by Jathedar, Akal Takht, Joginder Singh Vedanti. Of the seven granthis as many as four of the Golden Temple are on extension.

The SGPC has been receiving complaints that most of the time Guru Granth Sahib in the sanctum sanctorum remains unattended because Jathedar Vedanti and some other granthis are on foreign tours most of the time.

Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO), has asked Giani Gurbax Singh Gulshan (one of the candidates for the post of granthi), to come to Akal Takht if he had any grievance against the IHRO in this regard.


200 acres flooded

Bathinda, September 3
Paddy and cotton crops on about 200 acres of Amargarh village of this district were damaged after water entered the fields due to a 55-foot breach in the Kot Bhai distributary late last night.

Rahul Tiwari, deputy commissioner, who along with senior officials of the Irrigation Department visited the spot, said the tehsildar, Bathinda, had been asked to assess the loss. He said the tehsildar would submit the report on September 5.

Though a large number of residents of Amargarh village and officials of the Irrigation Department reached the spot immediately, it could not be plugged till late evening today. Irrigation officials said the flow of water had been reduced. — TNS 


Lack of amenities at juvenile home
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 3
The observation home here for juvenile undertrials from six districts, which is also used for lodging international offenders, is woefully short of basic amenities, ideal environment and opportunities to help them to start a meaningful life.

At least 36 inmates, whose number sometimes goes up to 50, are cramped in a three-room and a hall. Throughout the day they have nothing substantial to do. But they are taken out of the cells in small groups to play in the ground. Interestingly, there is just one cook to feed so many mouths.

There are numerous instances when juvenile offenders managed to slip away from the home right under the nose of the cops. The main reason behind this is a fact that the home, meant for child offenders between six and 18, are housed in a residential building in violation of safety norms.

Successive governments have failed to address the issue despite the fact that the home was shifted here from Amritsar in 1992. Citizens are of the view that governments have been ignoring these victims of circumstances. They are sore over the government attitude for not trying to help them turn into responsible citizens.

Though Rs 1.67 crore was passed, the government was yet to accord its approval. This could be gauged from the fact that in contradiction to the rules the home does not even have a full-time superintendent.

Interestingly, the district social security officer (DSSO), Faridkot, who also holds the same charge at Muktsar, has been given additional charge of this home. It receives juvenile undertrials from Muktsar, Moga, Mansa, Bathinda and Ferozepur, besides from this district. It is also used to accommodate Pakistani children.

Each inmate has a unique reason and circumstance to land up here. Ajit, 10, is the youngest of the inmates and is undergoing trial for stealing wires along with his four accomplices. Currently, nine of the inmates are undergoing trial for rape and seven for murder.

Although a teacher regularly comes to take classes, weekly counselling sessions and yoga are organised but are not adequate to channelise energies of the inmates. Besides, there is no provision to teach them like in regular schools. Education is merely imparted to keep them busy.

For guards deployed at the home the main task is to stop infighting among inmates. Juvenile criminals in their teens beat up juniors for fun and pranks. However, due to the space shortage they could not be segregated and it remains a nuisance for guards and children.

Besides, bullies among the inmates organize their groups and direct others to follow their diktats sometime resulting in infighting.


Beating the Retreat timings changed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
The timings of Beating the Retreat ceremony at Wagah check-post have been changed with effect from September 4. It will now commence at 6 pm onwards, instead of 6.30 pm.

The 25-minute-long ceremony attracts a large number of tourists from India and abroad. The ceremony is carried out with soldiers from India and Pakistan performing a flag march and marching in a perfect drill. There is excitement in the air and playing of patriotic songs on both sides, which adds to the atmosphere.


Indian peacekeepers reap goodwill
Manish Anand

Khartoum (Sudan), September 2
In the southern town of Malakal, dormant animosity between north and south Sudan can erupt into bloody violence any time. And when it does, it’s the Indian peacekeeping troops that douse the fire and ensure that the oil-rich region does not plunge into chaos.

Lieut-Gen Jasbir Singh Lidder, force commander of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and a tall, handsome Indian Sikh officer at that, does not like to give a nationalistic flavour to the multinational peacekeeping mission he is heading in a country that has been embroiled in a civil war between the Arab-dominated north and black-dominated south over the last four decades.

In fact, Lidder makes it a point to emphasise that he is force commander of the entire UNMIS, which has over 10,000 troops in Africa’s largest country, and not just of India.

But the 58-year-old Lidder, who earlier served as additional director-general, military operations, at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi, can’t help showering praise on the good work Indian troops have been doing in a critical and rugged sector in Sudan.

“In November, 2006, full-fledged conflict broke out in Malakal town, with artillery, tanks and heavy weapons being used. In this flare-up, Indian commanders and troops played a proactive role in defusing the crisis, which was commended by the UN and the international community,” Lidder told a visiting IANS correspondent at the UNMIS headquarters here.

“Located in Upper Nile, this is the region which borders Line 1/1/56 in the north and has maximum oilfields and other armed groups. We have been experiencing maximum violence and clashes in this sector,” he explained.

“Besides the Upper Nile Sector, the IAF Helicopter Contingent, the Force Reserve Battalion, the Transport Company and the Force Signal Company have been performing admirably,” he added.

India, with its 2,597 troops, is the largest contributing nation to the peacekeeping mission that has been operating for the last two years to maintain the fragile peace that came about after the Sudanese government signed an agreement with the Sudan Liberation People’s Army (SPLA), former rebels who have been pressing for an independent state, in January 2005.

Being the force commander, Lidder has an insight into what makes Indian troops effective in conflict situations, especially in Africa.

“The bulk of our troops hail from a similar rural culture and, therefore, can sustain the rigours of peace keeping, with pride and smile,” Lidder said.

“Besides, traditionally, India has a history of close ties with Africa. Indian troops are well experienced in low intensity conflict and are appreciated for their sheer professionalism, humane and down-to-earth approach.”

Indian troops have also carved a special place for themselves in the minds and hearts of Africans for their enthusiastic involvement in community-related projects. “The Indian peacekeepers have been especially active in providing medical and veterinary support, besides engaging in other community development schemes,” Lidder said.

“When the violent clashes took place in Malakal in November, 2006, Indian troops came out in a big way to assist in humanitarian related activities, especially treating the wounded,” he added.

Besides, Indian troops, like the other contingents, are engaged in Civil-Military Coordination (CIMIC) programmes and the implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QUIPS), to support the local population, Lidder said.

Is he optimistic about peace and stability returning to Sudan after decades of north-south civil war? “The DDR process, that is demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration, is well behind schedule,” admitted Lidder, a winner of many gallantry awards.

But Lidder is not new to peacekeeping - he served as chief of staff of the UN mission in Mozambique over a decade ago - and prefers to be an eternal optimist. — IANS


Marches in memory of martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chief Minister today decided to commemorate the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh along with Rajguru and Sukhdev by organising marches that commence from various places associated with martyrs of the state and converge at Jallianwala Bagh on September 27.

The places from the marches would start are Dhudike - associated with Lala Lajpat Rai; Khatkar Kalan- Bhagat Singh; Ludhiana- Sukhdev; Sunam - Udham Singh and Sarabha - Kartar Singh Sarabha. A member of every marching contingent would carry a torch to be consecrated at Jallianwala Bagh martyr’s flame.

Badal has also urged the Prime Minister to name a Central university to be allotted to Punjab after Bhagat Singh.

Drive against corrupt

The state vigilance bureau in a major drive against corrupt officers arrested five gazetted officers and 19 non-gazetted officers in 17 cases last month. Four non-gazetted were also booked during two raids. The bureau has been able to secure the conviction of four corrupt officials so far.

During this period, the bureau has registered four vigilance inquiries and 355 fresh complaints and ordered probe into the allegations.

Committee on road map

PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa today constituted a sub-committee comprising eminent Sikh historians, academicians, religious personalities and civil engineers to draw up the tentative road map of Guru Gobind Singh Marg. The road is proposed to be constructed from Anandpur Sahib and Takht Damdama Sahib located at Nanded Sahib in Maharashtra.

Dhindsa said the members of the sub-committee should personally travel on the proposed road and finalise a tentative road map keeping in view the historical importance of the route. The suggested road map put up by the sub-committee would then be submitted to SGPC. Once approved by it , the PWD would submit it to the Chief Minister.

Rs 31.25-crore subsidy

The state government today sanctioned Rs 31.25-crore subsidy for disbursing kanak-dal among 14 lakh blue card beneficiaries at subsidised rate for August. The state government has already set aside Rs 362.0 7 crore for providing subsidy for this ambitious welfare scheme for current financial year.


Bittu arrested again
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur, September 3
Tension over the proposed religious congregation at Sant Bhurriwala dera on September 5 grew further today when the local police arrested five leaders, including Daljit Singh Bittu, under preventive custody, accusing them of planning to disturb the religious function.

Bittu along with Jarnail Singh Khalsa of Tatt Khalsa, Kirtinder Pal Singh Singhpura and Dal Khalsa leaders Surjit Singh and Devinder Singh were arrested near Mullanpur Dakha when they were on way to Talwandi Khurd.


Model of Ghaggar bundh referred to institute
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Punjab government has referred the model of the controversial project with regard to the construction of a kutcha bundh on either side of the Ghaggar river from Khanuri to Karail village, about 30 km, in Sangrur district to the Amritsar-based irrigation research institute.

Sources said the model had been referred to find out whether the implementation of the project was tenable and would be useful to the people 
of the area concerned in the long run.

Several questions have been raised with regard to the project worth Rs 90 crore. A section of the engineers in the irrigation department, Punjab, had raised questions regarding the usefulness of the project. Money for the project is to be advanced by NABARD on interest to the state government.

A few days ago The Tribune had reported regarding the questions raised by certain quarters over the usefulness of this project. They had stated that the implementation of the project would be a waste of money. They had argued that the building of a dam on the Ghaggar near Panchkula would be the proper solution to the problem of the flooding of downstream areas by the river. Raising the bundh at a far-away place downstream would provide no solution, they added.

“ If the experts find any fault with the model, the project will be scrapped”, said a senior officer of the irrigation department.

Meanwhile, officials of the panchayat department at the lower level have also questioned the government’s new policy to give panchayat land to people whose land would be acquired to raise the kutcha bundh and related works included in the project.

The government has decided that 50 per cent of the total land owned by a panchayat in the village concerned could be given to the farmers in lieu of their land acquired for the Ghaggar project.

The officials of the panchayat department say the government had come out with a policy which would create a lot of trouble in the villages concerned. Panchayat land belonged to the entire village and could not be given to a small section of the farmers whose land would be acquired for raising the bundh. Obviously, such a decision would fuel factionalism in the villages, leading to litigation.


Delhi doc starts first MRI centre in Afghanistan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Former national polo player and Delhi-based doctor P.D.S. Kohli has been credited with starting Afghanistan’s first magnetic resonance imaging centre in Kabul yesterday.

The centre, which was inaugurated byAfghanistan’s health minister Mohammed Amin Fatime, has the latest equipment.

India’s ambassador to Afghanistan Rakesh Sood said the Indian embassy used to get a large number of visa requests from patients for travelling to India to get MRI done. Dr Kohli, son of Tarlochan Singh, MP, and former chairman of the minorities commission, took the initiative to get the centre started with facilities for radiology, pathology, echo cardiology and related super-specialties.


Make ‘Chak De India’ tax-free
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 3
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) general secretary Parminder Singh has urged the state government to exempt “Chak De India” from entertainment tax as the movie not only encourages sportsmen, but the sportsmanship depicted in it could also drive youths away from the menace of drug addiction.

“The movie is so inspirational that it is going to help kids of the state in understanding the true spirit of sportsmanship. This is the need of the hour. Our kids are being gripped by vices like drug addiction and they need to be drifted from it and motivated to participate in sports activities. A disciplined childhood would also lead to social security in the long run. Since the movie is being proved to be of tremendous help in this connection, the state government shall exempt it from the tax immediately,” said Parminder Singh.

He said wrestlers like Dalip Singh, who attained international repute despite his humble past, could also prove to be role models for the youth.


Doctors claims medical feat
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 3
Doctors of a heart institute here today claimed saving the life of a heart patient by surgery, which they termed as ‘Amritsar operation’.The surgery was done a year ago, but the hospital waited to monitor the progress of the patient.

The successful operation of 61-year-old Hardeep Singh, a famer, has “surprised” the medical fraternity in India and abroad, said Dr H.S. Pannu, chief cardiac surgeon, and Dr Puneet Verma, chief cardiologist at the institute, who headed the surgeons team.

At a press conference, the two specialists said the patient had massive heart attack, which damaged the left and right heart chambers. This was aggravated by rupture of “septum” (main partition of the major chamber of heart) causing mixing of impure and pure blood, a life-threatening condition.

The patient also suffered from multiple organ failure, including liver, lungs and both kidneys, due to which chances of survival were nil, said the doctors.

“The case has been invited for presentation in the national and international scientific forums, including the Cardiology Survey of India in Hyderabad and the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgeons in Boston. 


Act of sacrilege
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 3
Some miscreants desecrated a holy book at Gurdwara Ravidass at Dhamian Kalan village last evening. The Bulhowal police station of this district has registered an FIR under Sections 295 and 120-B of the IPC in this connection.

According to police sources, miscreants ripped some pages of the holy book, set ablaze a carpet and some other articles.

Cashier of the village gurdwara managing committee Natha Singh informed the police about this. He stated that he went to the gurdwara in the evening and saw smoke coming out of a room. He opened the door and found some articles burning. He called some villagers and with thir help doused the flames. 


Chetna march marks Baba Jiwan Singh’s birth anniversary
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 3
A two-day chetna march was organised by the Shaheed Baba Jiwan Singh Vidyak and Bhalai Trust in coordination with the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to mark the birth anniversary of Sikh martyr Baba Jiwan Singh.

The march led by Panj Piaras (five beloved ones) commenced from Akal Takht here today and will culminate at Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, on September 5 after passing through Tarn Taran, Khadoor Sahib, Goindwal Sahib and Sultanpur Lodhi.

Students of schools with bands, gatka parties and a large number of devotees from all over the state participated in the march.

The march will halt at Gurdwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi,Kapurthala district, where an exhibition, ‘Guru ke Bete,’ on the life and sacrifices of Baba Jiwan Singh, who had brought the severed head of the ninth Sikh Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur, from Chandni Chowk in Delhi to Anandpur Sahib.

Important aspects of martyrdom of the ninth Guru and deeds of Baba Jiwan Singh would be exhibited at Sultanpur Lodhi.


Rly employees for single forum

Amritsar, September 3
Railway employees having allegiance to various trade unions are trying for consensus to unite on single platform to take up issues of their colleagues forcefully with the government.

The Northern Railwaymen’s Union has launched a campaign for a referendum among the members of the Railway unions, which had harmed the interests of their members by their narrow political gains. Addressing the gathering Ashok Yadav, divisional general secretary today issued an appeal to all different factions of Railway employees to forge unity among the Railway men and vote for the All- India Railwaymen Federation.

Executive committee members Kirpal Singh, Gurdip Singh, Satinder Singh, Krishan Pahalwan, Surinder Kumar, K.S. Bajwa, Subash Chander were present at the meeting. — OC


Govt teachers to protest on Teachers’ Day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
Teachers of government colleges of Punjab will observe Teachers’ Day as black day and wear black badges on September 5. The Punjab Government College Teachers Association decided this in a meeting held here today.

Dr Hardeep Singh, general secretary of the association, said the decision was taken against the discriminatory attitude of the Punjab government toward government college teachers. He further said the government had denied 5 per cent interim relief to the college teachers on the plea that such a benefit was to be given by the UGC and denied the benefit of raising the retirement age to 62 years, which the UGC had decided on the plea that we were Punjab government employees.

He said the creation of posts of readers and professors in colleges was being denied to us and this the UGC had notified as a mandatory requirement. Past service was to be counted for the grant of the senior scale as per UGC letter of November 27, 1998, December 25, 1998 and December 27, 1998, but the government had adopted the UGC letter of December 25, 1998, only and had given benefit to only one teacher.

The association had demanded the implementation the decision of other two letter of the UGC.

The association also decided in its meeting to hold protest rallies at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala and Faridkot. It also gave an ultimatum to the government that if its demands were they would intensify the struggle. 


Functions to mark Giani Ditt Singh’s death anniversary
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 3
The Giani Ditt Singh Memorial Society has planned to commemorate the 106th death anniversary of famous Punjabi literary personality Giani Ditt Singh by holding a series of functions in the district on September 6.

General secretary of the society Surinder Singh said a free eye-checkup camp would be held in the morning. This would be followed by a `Kirtan Dabar' in the native village of Giani Ditt Singh, where former union minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa would inaugurate a library built as a tribute to the educationist.

Surinder added that Parminder Singh Dhindsa, chief guest of the function, would then lay the foundation stone of a 66kV grid sub-station.

Giani, who was born in 1851 to a poor family in Nandpur Kalaur village, had transformed himself into a great religious preacher, scholar, poet and a journalist. Giani was also the founder member of the Singh Sabha movement that was started in Lahore.

As an educationist, he not only helped in the setting up of Khalsa College at Amritsar, but also wrote textbooks for the students of the college. He also authored 50 books, and was the editor of `Khalsa Akhbar', a prominent Punjabi newspaper of the time.


Meanwhile, loo battle rages in Rajpura village
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 3 
The razing of Dalit toilets in Uksi Jattan village, near here, allegedly by the village panchayat has provoked unrest among the Dalits, who plan to move the court against the panchayat’s`biased' action. 

The Dalits say the toilets were constructed last year under the Rajiv Gandhi Public Welfare Scheme.These had now been razed on the plea that the land on which they stood was used as a common passage.

Village sarpanch Nasib Singh says only three toilets had been razed as these stood on land used as common passage. The construction had not been completed and the toilets were not being used by the Dalits. 

The Dalits, however, contend that as no orders had  been given by the local administration to pull down the toilets, the action taken by the panchayat is biased.

Nasib Singh admitted that no orders to this effect had been given by the administration.

Block development officer Roop Singh says there has been no permission to the village panchayat to pull down the toilets.The department has sought a report from the sarpanch, who only recently had been told to complete the construction of these toilets.

The BDOP said after a report form the sarpanch, appropriate action would be initiated


25 bottles of liquor seized
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
A police party headed by ASI Lakhwant Singh of Kotwali police station arrested Lakhwinder Singh and seized 25 bottles of Indian made foreign liquor from his Accent car today.

According to police sources, the party intercepted a car carrying the consignment meant for sale in Chandigarh and was being smuggled into Punjab.

The police also impounded the car and arrested Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Old Subzi Mandi, Patiala.

A case has been registered.


6-year-old raped
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
A six-year-old girl, belonging to a family from Rajasthan’s Gujjar community, was allegedly raped by an unidentified person, near Sanaur, 10 km from here, today.

According to sources, the girl’s family had pitched a tent on the Noorkheri road near Sanaur. The culprit allegedly took the girl away with him to the adjoining fields on some pretext and raped her.

In the morning the girl’s family went desperate and found the sobbing child soaked in blood in the nearby fields.

She was immediately rushed to the Government Rajindra Hospital, where the girl disclosed that she was taken away on a bicycle by a man.

A case has been registered at Sadar police station.


Copper, nickel worth Rs 45 lakh seized
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 3
The excise and taxation department has impounded a truck laden with copper wire and nickel plates worth Rs 45 lakh from near Kharar here today.

The truck was coming from New Delhi and was bound for Ludhiana. It was moving through village link roads after allegedly taking the consignment from New Delhi and had taken the route through Haryana reportedly to evade the excise duty.

The driver was found to be possessing fake documents pertaining to the purchase of both copper and nickel. An excise and taxation department source disclosed that the department was likely to impose a penalty of Rs 24 lakh in the case.

The entire operation was planned by ETO R.K. Malhotra with Chaman Lal Singla, Inspector, posted in the mobile wing of the department at Bathinda.


Teachers’ Day to be observed as ‘black day’
Govt’s ‘failure’ to streamline college education
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The scrapping of 157 posts of college lecturer by the Parkash Singh Badal government and its failure to streamline college education and remove the mess in the education system have made the Punjab government college teachers’ association raise the banner of protest against the state government.

The association has decided to observe teachers day as a “black day” by wearing black badges.

The association says the government has also allowed the conversion of 111 posts from one subject to another.

For instance, where the post of Hindi lecturer is not needed, it has been converted into the post of political science lecturer, if that is required.

For several months, the state government has been sitting on the file with regard to a proposal moved by the higher education department to fill 265 vacant posts of lecturer.

Most of the colleges are being run with guest faculty or ad hoc lecturers. However, the government has decided to give appointments to 88 lecturers who were selected by the Punjab public service commission.

As many as 28 lecturers, whose names have been cleared for appointment, were selected during the tenure Ravi Sidhu, it is learnt.

While scrapping the posts of college cadre lecturer under the garb of rationalisation of such posts, the government has violated the norms laid down by the UGC and the universities concerned, said Jaipal Singh, president of the association.

Talking to The Tribune, Jaipal Singh said higher education was facing problems because of the violation of the norms laid down by the UGC with regard to college education and the student-teacher ratio by the state government. Taking the plea that plus two classes had been shifted to schools from colleges, the government had abolished 157 posts of college lecturer.

As of now, there were 1,873 posts of college lecture in all government colleges.

Against these posts, 1,100 lecturers were working on a regular basis. Besides, 338 lecturers were working on an ad hoc basis.

Jaipal Singh said the state government had also denied 5 per cent interim relief to college lecturers on the plea that such a benefit was to be given by the UGC and the central government.

However, on the other hand, the state government had denied benefits approved by the UGC for college lecturers.

The UGC had enhanced the age of superannuation in the case of lecturers to 62 years.

However, the same had been denied to the college lecturers taking the plea that “we are state government employees”, said Jaipal Singh.

The UGC had notified the creation of posts of reader and professor in colleges, but this benefit had also been denied in Punjab. So far, the benefit of the senior scale had been given to only one teacher.


Applications invited for course not offered by polytechnic
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 3
Two lecturers of government polytechnic here have invited applications for admission to the three- year diploma course in electrical engineering from the polytechnic premises though no such course has been started by the authorities concerned.

The lecturers, who circulated pamphlets in various newspapers in connection with the admission in electrical engineering, also assured that diploma holders in electrical engineering trade, would get jobs in thermal plants of Bathinda district and one new thermal plant proposed to be set up near Talwandi Sabo and oil refinery.

Taking a serious view of the action of the lecturers of electrical trade, principal of the college Balkar Singh Sandhu has decided to take up the matter with higher authorities concerned for action against them.

The lecturers were identified as Mangat Ram and Jasbir Singh Gill. They said they had inserted the pamphlets to make the people aware of the fact that a diploma course in electrical engineering was going to start in the polytechnic.

Gill, however, urged this correspondent not to publish any news item in connection with the insertion of pamphlets in the newspapers.


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