P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Farmers take pledge to fulfil martyrs’ dreams
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 23
Thousands of farmers from Narli, the ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, and nearly 150 other villages of Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts converged on the Jallianwala Bagh to take a pledge to continue the martyrs’ fight against the ills of society.

Carrying posters of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, the crowd patiently listened to leaders of the Kisan Sangarsh Committee, who expressed concern at the fact that Amritsar district was fast becoming a haven for drug pedlars and more and more youth were getting hooked on to drugs.

The atmosphere was electrifying with patriotic fever running high. The speeches by leaders from different villages were punctuated by the slogan “Jawani vi bachawange, kisani vi bachawange”

Talking to The Tribune, Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener of the committee, said the spate of suicides by farmers and rampant corruption was a proof of the fact that the objective of the sacrifice made by Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev had not been achieved.

“The three laid down their lives to free the country from imperialism and today’s generation has to continue the fight,” he said.

Farmers from nearly a dozen villages first reached Narli village this morning and took part in a programme organised in the village gurdwara. They then proceeded towards Jallianwala Bagh, along with farmers from nearly 100 other villages stacked in tractor-trailers.

“The spotlight is on Narli village as the great grandfather of Bhagat Singh, who lived at Narli, left his village in his youth for immersing the ashes of his family members in the Ganga at Hardwar. On his way back, he took shelter in a fortress belonging to a feudal chief (now Khatkal Kalan in Nawanshahr) and spent a night there. The young man eventually married the daughter of a feudal lord and settled there permanently,” said Pannu.

Some artistes from Amritsar have also decided to organise a show in the majestic haveli of Narli, frequently visited by Bhagat Singh, which now belongs to five brothers Heera Singh, Hari Singh, Dheera Singh, Darbara Singh and Hazara Singh, who lived in a joint family.

“More than 2,500 villagers reached Jallianwala Bagh to pay homage to Shaheed Bhagat Singh as part of the centenary celebrations of his birth anniversary,” said Sandeep Singh of Bhagwanpura.


Kiran Bedi gets Baba Farid award
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, September 23
Director-general of Bureau of Research and Development Kiran Bedi said today that empowerment of women was the need of the hour to create a better and strong society.

Kiran was addressing a function organised at Gurdwara Godri Sahib by the Godri Baba Farid Society to bestow the Baba Farid award for honesty upon her for her exemplary service record. Khwaja Rashid Faridi Sabri, the 25th descendant of Sufi saint Baba Sheikh Farid lineage, presented her with 
the award.

She was accompanied by her daughter. She said the best tool to lift the status of women in society was education. They should be imparted education so that they could carve a niche for themselves in every field, even in those fields which were considered male bastions only.

“Educated girls can prove to be good daughters, good daughters-in-law and good mothers. They can stand on their own feet in society,” she said, adding that in Punjab, the girls could grow in an independent manner provided their parents give them enough confidence to do something meaningful.

Kiran, who also shared her personal experiences with the gathering, said she could achieve certain goals in her life only due to the fact that she was given proper education. She was proud to be a daughter of Punjab.

She urged the people not to discriminate against female children.

Meanwhile, Bhagat Puran Singh award was given to Master Ajit Singh and his wife Sat Paul Kaur for their contribution in the field of social service. Baba Farid Service Award was given to Ashok Gupta, a local lecturer for his contribution in the field of education. All three awards carry cash prizes and a citation.

President of the Gurdwara Godri Sahib Baba Farid Society Inder Jit Singh Khalsa hosted a launch in the honour of Kiran at the local Baba Farid School.

Meanwhile, thousands of devotees from far-away places thronged the town to pay obeisance at Tilla Baba Farid Gurdwara on the occasion of Baba Farid Aagman Purb.

On the concluding day of the fair today, a nagar kirtan was taken out. Social 
organisations held community kitchens.


8 Punjab tribes found eligible for ST status
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 23
There is a ray of hope for the tribes of Punjab. A study conducted at the behest of the union government have found them to be having tribal characteristics that can make them eligible for reservation under the Scheduled Tribes category.

The said study on tribes of Punjab was conducted by the department of sociology and social anthropology of Punjabi University, Patiala.

Dr Barinder Pal Singh while taking to The Tribune said in the study a definition of tribe was provided to us under which different tribes of Punjab were to be evaluated for being declared fit for the tribal status.

It stated certain features as the indications of primitive traits, distinct culture, geographical isolation, shyness of contact with the community at large, and backwardness as the basic criteria for the consideration of community as a tribe.

In the original letter from the Punjab government the department was given a list of 14 communities but these were in fact only 12 as synonymous names of certain communities were also included in the list such as Nayak, Aheria and Naik. The field investigations revealed that these were actually one, that is, Naik. Gadariya/Pal are also one.

The communities that were studied were Bauria, Bazigar Banjara, Bangala, Barad, Gandhila, Nat, Sansi, Dhanak, Gadaria, Naik and Mirasi.

The study revealed that one very strong element that strengthened their characterisation as tribal was their nomadic and semi-nomadic nature. The binding of the said communities was temporary or need based with the rest of society.

The Bangalas even now were supplying various types of medicines for eyes, skin or joint ailments etc. to people for some thing in return. Earlier, it used to be some kind of grain, now they took money. Similarly, Barad used to supply kanghi for spinning purposes, which was their speciality. They excelled in its manufacture. They also supplied brooms and enu etc. Labana or the Bazigar Banjaras were salt traders, virtually at the all India level. At the local level Bazigars were still selling needles (suian/gadhuian). They also sold meat as they were voracious meat eaters. People preferred tokrewala meat to any other. Besides, the Bazigars and Nats even now performed acrobatic shows for the entertainment of people.

Dr Birender Pal said a perusal of the ethnographic details collected from each of the seven de-notified tribes viz. Bauria, Bazigar Banjara, Bangala, Barad, Gandhila, Nat and Sansi, showed that they definitely meet all the criteria for defining them as tribes. The standard definition of the Central government and those of the social anthropologists too had little to differ on this count.

Dhanak, Gadaria, Naik and Mirasi communities, however, did not meet the criteria of a tribe. These were well integrated not only with the village but performed such activities that make them an integral part of the larger community. The Naiks were usually engaged in construction work, Dhanaks were the traditional weavers, the Gadaria took the village cattle for grazing on the pastures and the Mirasis were the traditional messengers and mediators for marital alliances. They were given lag, that is fee or customary payment on auspicious occasions in the family.

The recommendations of study had been sent to the Punjab government that would further forward it to the union government for consideration. 


KVIC gives fillip to phulkari
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, September 23
With an aim to give a fresh lease of life to the dying art of ‘phulkari’, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has come up with a phulkari cluster in Thuha village, near here, under its scheme of fund for regeneration of traditional industries (SFURTI).

The cluster was today inaugurated by Santosh Bagrodia, MP and chairman of the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Industries, at an impressive ceremony hosted by the State Khadi Board. Speaking on the occasion, Bagrodia said the government was keen on promoting eco-friendly products of traditional industries. He said given the great potential for growth, these products could be showcased in the international market and could lead to prosperity of village industry and generate employment.

Under the said scheme clusters to promote traditional industries are being set up at 103 places across the nation. The one established at Thuha village is the fourth cluster which would promote ‘phulkari’ for the next five years. The cluster is likely to cover 12 villages of the Rajpura segment and would provide guidance to over 880 artisans.

Kumud Joshi, chairman of the KVIC, said these clusters would also ensure that the artisans get their due share of the money generated by selling the traditional products, which fetch a good price in the international market. She said the commission was also contemplating to set up a khadi plaza at Panipat and another in New York to provide the village artisans a platform to sell their products at market rates.

For the successful execution of the scheme, the KVIC is coordinating with other state government and semi government agencies engaged in rural development. Pardeep Kumar Dewan, district manager of the Khadi Board, said Patiala had been a hub of ‘phulkari’ since ages. He said though the local artisans were doing their bit to keep the traditional art alive, the new scheme would provide a much needed boost to restore the lost glory of ‘phulkari’.


Govt teachers not paid salary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 23
Teachers of state-run schools have not been paid salary for months together. Instead of ensuring payment of salary to teachers on time, the Punjab government has been inserting advertisements worth lakhs to highlight the achievement of award of ‘No. 1 state’, rued a teacher not paid salary.

The teachers not paid salary have been forced to borrow from contacts and relatives for routine liabilities.They have also been failing to deposit monthly instalments of the loan taken by them from different financial institutions.

Fed up with the apathetic attitude of the Punjab government, a section of teachers observed Teachers Day as ‘black day’ by wearing black badges. They are planning to launch a struggle against the authorities to get salary at the earliest.

Sources said the teachers working in the schools, drawing and disbursing officers (DDOs) of which had been working on planned posts, had been without salary for the past four months as the authorities had failed to entrust DEOs with drawing and disbursing powers.

A section of the employees of the Education Department, including teachers, had been paid salaries, who had been working against non-planned (permanent) and non-planned (temporary) posts as their DDOs were also from these categories of post.

Major Basant Kumar, a leader of the Democratic Teachers Front (DTF), Punjab, pointed out, “After having defaulted in the payment of instalments of loans raised by the teachers from different financial institutions,we have been finding it difficult to arrange money to meet the educational expenses of our wards,”

Major Kumar said the mess had been created as Punjab government first did not allocate the budget for the payment of salaries of the teachers, including non-teaching employees of senior secondary schools.

When the budget was allocated, the authorities concerned did not give sanction to these posts, which was required every year. Now when the authorities concerned had given sanction to these posts, there were no drawing and disbursement powers with the district education officers (DEOs). Hence, no payment of salary to the teachers.


15 hurt as bus, truck collide

Rupnagar, September 23
Fifteen persons were injured in an accident that took place late last night here. A truck (PB 23 5567) hit a PRTC bus bound from Chandigarh to Amritsar (PB 46 E 9908) head-on.

A passenger from Kalka had to be rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. The driver of the truck fled from the spot.

Other injured passengers were Kulwant Singh Rai from Nawanshahr, Jeetu Bhatia from Ahmedabad, Matli Devi and her husband Bali Ram from Chandigarh, bus conductor Harbans Singh from Beas, driver Kulwant Singh from Tarn Taran, Anirudh and his 13-year-old son Abhishek from Baddi, Nandu from Himachal Pradesh, Kuldeep from Kishanpur in Nawanshahr, Ram Kishan from Madhya Pradesh, Daljit Singh from Beant Singh Nagar, Jalandhar, and Rakesh Kumar from Balachaur, Nawanshahr.

Meanwhile, a major tragedy was averted when a bus (PB 10 BX 5435), bound from Manali to Ludhiana, was hit by a truck on the Ahmedgarh Bhakhra canal bridge. The bus smashed railings on the bridge of the canal and hung precariously in the air. However, all 50 passengers were evacuated. — TNS


Jallianwala Bagh Martyrs
Centre assures freedom fighter status to kin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 23
The union government has finally woken up to giving freedom fighter status to relatives of 464 listed martyrs who had died in the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

The Jallianwala Bagh Shaheed Parivar Samiti, an NGO formed with the aim to get due recognition from the government for their forefathers who fell victims to the indiscriminate firing by General Dyer on the fateful day of April 13, 1919, had taken up this issue with the government a number of times, but their efforts had failed to get any favourable response.

President of the samiti Bhushan Behl, talking to mediapersons, felt relieved after a meeting with the union home minister Shivraj Patil last week in New Delhi. Patil had assured the delegation that the government was seriously contemplating giving benefits to the families of freedom fighters. He said out of the 464 persons who had laid down their lives, many were Muslims, whose families had migrated to Pakistan. He said despite their efforts, the samiti had not been able to trace them.

Behl said their long struggle had finally borne results as the home minister also agreed to their proposal to give them representation on the managing committee of the Jallianwala Bagh National Trust and also to display the photographs of all those who had died in the carnage.


Baba Bedi quits sant samaj
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 23
Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi has resigned from the chairmanship of the Gurmit Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj and decided to remain aloof from Sikh politics for the time being. The samaj has failed to stand up to the pledge it took at Akal Takht to protect its supremacy and maintain the Sikh traditions set by the Gurus, said Baba Bedi while talking to this reporter on the phone from Una today.

Baba Bedi, who was the founder president of the samaj, had resigned from the presidentship a few months ago and Bhai Harnam Singh Dhumma, present head of Damdami Taksal, replaced him. However, Baba Bedi was appointed chairman of the samaj.

He maintained that the samaj was founded by Baba Thakar Singh of the taksal to protect the Sikh “pramparas” and “maryada” laid down by the Gurus. But, he regretted, there was denigration of the Sikh traditions.

Baba Bedi also felt sorry that Justice Kuldip Singh, as president of the World Sikh Council, had given a report to the SGPC giving details of the norms for the appointment of the Jathedar of the Takht and the jathedars of other Takhts. He had also recommended the establishment of a separate secretariat for the Takht. However, the SGPC dumped the recommendations, he alleged. He also charged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal with denigrating the Sikh institutions and reminded him that he had launched a dharam yudh morcha for the preservation of the Sikh traditions.


No FIR in Dalit immolation case
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Batala, September 23
Even after 24 hours of recording the statement of Sandeep Singh, alias Sonu, a Dalit boy, in the presence of a judicial magistrate, the police still has not registered any case against the suspects who forced him to set himself ablaze in Matholla village yesterday.

In his declaration, Sonu, who is struggling for life in Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Amritsar, has said his master Sawinder Singh, alias Kala, Rattan Singh, Bira Singh and certain others had been harassing him over the a missing 
mobile phone.

They charged him with stealing the phone and even threatened him.

Sucha Singh, father of the victim, alleged that Sonu took the extreme step following harassment and threats by village sarpanch Raghubir Singh and his master Sawinder Singh, alias Kala.

Batala SSP R.N. Dhoke said, “I have asked the area DSP to register an FIR against the persons who have been named by Sonu in his declaration after proper investigation”.


Tributes paid to Major Prasad
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 23
Col Gobind Kalwad, commanding officer of the 19 Maratha Light Infantry, and other ranks, paid tributes to Major Surinder Prasad VrC, who laid down his life while leading his battalion in a war against Pakistan in the Khemkaran sector on this day in 1965.

Colonel Kalwad gave an account of the achievements of the battalion, which was raised as the Kolhapur State Force. Major Prasad, only son of a former MLA Master Teg Ram, was assigned the task of recapturing two villages near the Gatti Jaimal Singh border post on September 22, 1965, when attacks by two other battalions had failed. The battalion had 207 names on its martyrs list. It was also decorated for its glorious performance in 1965, 1971 and later in J&K operations.

Among those who were present at the havan yagya were Nirmala Devi, sister of the martyr, along with other relatives. They appreciated the efforts made by the Fellows Club in developing a park at the samadhi of Major Prasad.

Others who paid tributes to the martyr were Hans Raj Arya, former MLA, Rajinder Singh Jakhar, director, Cooperative Bank, Vimal Thathai, councillor, principal Ajinder Singh, district scouting trainer Darshan Lal Chugh, social activist Gauri Shankar Khatri, Jagdish Juneja and Mohan Lal Thathai, president and secretary, respectively, of the club. 


Punjab to have model jails
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, September 23
The Punjab government has decided to shift all jails which are surrounded by residential areas in the state. The jails that will be shifted in the first phase include Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Faridkot, said minister for jails Hira Singh Gabria.

The minister was here to lay the foundation stone of a boys’ hostel at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Gurdaspur.

Gabria said model jails would be constructed in Kapurthala and Faridkot districts shortly, besides jails at Nabha and Ropar. These jails would have a capacity for 2,500 to 3,000 prisoners while those at Nabha and Ropar would have space for 1,200-1,500 prisoners.

Inmates of model jails at Kapurthala and Faridkot would be provided employment and the government had a proposal to rope in certain industrial houses like the rail coach factory, Kapurthala, for this. Half of the wages earned by a prisoner would be used for the development of his jail, the minister added.

Considering the plight of the prisoners who had spent more time than their terms, the minister said he had directed all jail authorities to submit a report of every prisoner awarded punishment of 10 years or more. He said the jail authorities had been asked to pursue their cases at least six months prior to the completion of their punishment period.

The government had also decided to sell surplus land with different jails. The surplus land with Faridkot, Amritsar and Gurdaspur jails was already on sale, he claimed. 


Auckland, Amritsar should bond for tourism promotion: Majithia
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 23
The heritage and tourism foundations of Auckland and Amritsar together can launch a major tourism link between the two key cities of the world, suggested Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for information and public relations, while addressing a joint meeting of tourism delegates from New Zealand and local travel agents and hoteliers here yesterday.

He said Punjab, particularly Amritsar, offered a rich fare of tourist attractions being a historical city. He added that if the twin-city concept was adopted it would generate a large flow of tourists between the two cities, besides providing employment to many youth.

Majithia said Punjab was emerging as a hot destination for a large population of Punjabi diaspora spread all over the world. He said the Amritsar International Airport, which had seen a complete makeover, had become a major hub for inbound and outbound passengers and would soon be a front-runner for exports of goods from this region.

The minister urged the New Zealanders to promote Punjab as a major destination and also exchange their cultural troupes with Punjab so that they could enjoy rich Punjabi traditions, state’s cuisines and the warmth of its people.

Leader of the delegation Harish Bajaj, who along with a nine-member group, offered to reciprocate the suggestion of the minister for the twin-city concept and said they would work out a strategy to send tourists 
to Punjab.


New labour clause to help seasonal workforce
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 23
The Punjab Government will add a new clause to the Industrial Employment Rules that will secure short-term employment on a legalised basis for the unemployed while at the same time giving a “flexible workforce” to the industry.

The Department of Labour wants that people employed by the industry to meet its seasonal demands are not deprived of various benefits that the regular workforce gets. The industry, especially in Punjab, is very season-specific or bulk-order-specific. This applies to manufacturers of woollens, hosiery industry, steel and ancillary units. If bulk orders are received there is a shortage of employable workforce and then comes the factor of employing people without showing this seasonal workforce on various records that deal with welfare of labour.

The opinion of the government is that this will not harm the interests of the workforce, rather it is bound to employ more people in a legalised manner whenever the industry has seasonal or bulk orders.

Officials said there would be no compromise with regard to labour welfare measures or in implementation of various labour laws. The seasonal workforce would be entitled to all benefits under different laws irrespective of the fact whether they meet the requirement of having worked for the specified minimum span.

Madhya Pradesh already has such a policy. At present, the industry that requires seasonal workforce recruits them as daily wage workers. The industry representatives in the past have conveyed to the government that they cannot sustain the additional workforce when their seasonal requirements end. By allowing short-term employment it will create more jobs, according to the opinion of the industry.


Left adopting double standard: RSS chief
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Khatkar Kalan, September 23
Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief K.C. Sudarshan lashed out at Left parties for allegedly adopting double standard. 

Sudarshan was addressing a public meeting at Khatkar Kalan in Nawanshahr district during at the inaugural function of Saheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh’s birth centenary celebrations. The year-long celebrations are being organised by the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Janamshatabdi Samaroh Samiti under the aegis of the RSS.

Without naming Singur, the RSS chief said while Left parties were making tall claims of protecting interests of farmers and common people, in reality their government in West Bengal did not hesitate to fire indiscriminately at them. 

Sudarshan said four forces, Islamic terrorism, foreign-based churches, Maoists and some capitalist countries, were trying to destroy our Indian culture and the countrymen would have to be vigilant against their motive. 

Foreign-bases churches were funding some channels being telecast in India and these channels were broadcasting the programmes, which were against our culture and the nuclear family system. Saheed Bhagat Singh’s dream was still unfulfilled even after about five decades of attaining freedom as farmers were committing suicides in different parts of the country due to unjust system.

President of the samiti Harmahendra Singh Bedi, Dean (languages) at GNDU university, said a number of programmes, seminars, discussions and plays would be held as part of the celebrations throughout the year across the state. 

Editor of the “Panchjanya” magazine Tarun Vijay also spoke.


BSP holds protest rally
Our Correspondent

Bassi Pathana, September 23
The local unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party today organised a protest rally to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Puna Pact, 1932, initiated by Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar to protect human rights, here today.

Party’s state chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri was the chief guest at the rally. In his address, he said Dr Ambedkar had succeeded in getting two voting rights for the Dalits from the British but Mahatma Gandhi went on a hunger strike and got one right withdrawn, thus betraying the Dalits.

Alleging atrocities on the Dalits, he alleged that non-Dalits were getting elected from reserved assembly and parliamentary seats and the rally had been organised to expose the Congress deception.

Similarly, the SAD-BJP government in the state had started fooling the Dalits as well as the common man. He said the alliance had backtracked on its promises made during the assembly elections.

“The needy were not getting the benefit of the ‘atta-dal’ scheme, the tariff of electricity had been increased and the fee in medical colleges had been hiked, resulting in vacancy in MBBS seats,” he rued.

He advocated the social engineering policy adopted by party supremo Mayawati by involving and giving representation to other casts both in the party as well as the government setup.

Former principal Karnail Singh, who organised the rally, also addressed the gathering. 


Dy director, swimming coach lock horns
SSP summons coach
Ravi Dhaliwal

Patiala, September 23
In an unprecedented incident, a deputy director-rank official of the National Institute of Sports (NIS) and a senior coach have locked horns with both filing police complaints alleging ‘misbehaviour’ on the part of each other.

Acting on the complaint by the deputy director, Joginder Lal was summoned to the office of the SSP today.

The incident, which has shocked many at the country's premier sports institute, comes at a time when NIS executive director L.S. Ranawat is on a study tour to London while his second-in-command director (administration) Radhika Sriman, too, is in New Delhi to attend a meeting called by the director general (DG) of the Sports Authority of India.

Senior swimming coach Joginder Lal, in his complaint to the Patiala SSP, has claimed that one of his senior officers, R.C. Trivedi, deputy director (finance), used abusive language when he met him on September 18 for the redress of a grievance. In his two-page complaint, Joginder Lal has alleged that the deputy director “asked him to get out of his room after pushing him around" and added that "officer fired insults at him based on his caste." Lal has also claimed that he was being victimised by the officer since "he belonged to a scheduled caste."

Earlier, on September 19, the deputy director had filed a complaint with the SSP in which he had claimed that Joginder Lal had misbehaved with him in his room in the presence of senior officials from the Punjab accountant general’s (AG) office and assistant director (accounts) Pritpal Singh. He has also claimed that the swimming coach "was being provoked by some disgruntled elements".

Trivedi has also demanded police protection from the SSP by saying "that he lived on the institute's campus with his family and he feared an attack by some disgruntled elements".

According to sources, Trivedi had also brought the incident to the notice of the SAI director general (DG) in New Delhi. “The atmosphere at the institute was deteriorating with every passing day and the present incident could not have come at a worse time since both executive director and director (administration) were not present at the institute to calm things down,” sources added.

They also cited the incident of a lady judo coach who bashed up an officer of assistant director rank in full public glare a few months ago on the institute's premises. This incident had become a slur on the reputation of the NIS widely perceived to be Asia's premier sports institute.


Trends in wireless communications discussed
Tribune News Service

Bhaddal, September 23
The department of electronics and communication engineering of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Bhaddal, organised a workshop on emerging trends on wireless communications on its campus yesterday.

Dr S.S. Patnaik of NITTTR, Chandigarh, inaugurated the workshop aimed at providing information on latest trends in wireless communication and networks.

Dr V.P. Singh, director, IET, said the institute had been regularly organising seminars and workshops to keep its students and faculty up to date on latest developments in the field of engineering. Dr Patnaik said wireless communication was the call of the day. Professionals looked to keep themselves up to date with the latest developments taking place in the field.

Others present included J. Vermani, workshop convener, Dr Brahmjit Singh of NIT Kurukshetra, Dr Rajesh Khanna of Thapar University, Patiala, Dr S.C. Rajvanshee, Dr J.K. Gupta, and Dr R.K. Gupta.


Surgeons for probe into suspension of medical college principal
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 23
The Association of Surgeons led by Dr Kuldip Singh today demanded a high -level probe into the suspension of Dr Jatinderpal Kaur Shergill, principal of Medical College, over the alleged removal of a kidney of a three-year-old girl.

Dr Kuldip Singh said after going through the documents relating to the treatment of the girl, the association concluded that the doctors had no option but to remove the kidney as it was cancerous. Further, he added that the kidney of the child could not be transplanted. Therefore, the question of the removal of the kidney for any other purpose did not arise. He said there seemed to be some vendetta behind her suspension arising out of departmental politics and professional rivalry as the action was taken on the complaint filed after one year of the operation. 

The association urged the Chief Minister to hold high-level probe and find out the facts and causes behind Dr Shergill’s suspension. 


The basmati bond between India, Pakistan
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 23
Grown on the banks the Ravi that flows through east Punjab and west Punjab (in Pakistan), there’s something about basmati that gives it a unique cultural flavour.

It is believed that Indian Army jawans brought the seed of basmati from Barki, near the Ichhogil canal (Lahore district) and Sialkot (opposite Gurdaspur district) when they captured a part of the Pakistani territory during the Indo-Pak war of 1965.

The world-famous pure basmati crop, which is sown and harvested late, will start arriving in the market by the end of October. The lookalike variety, sharbati, has already started arriving in grain markets of Amritsar and adjoining areas even as the official procurement is yet to start. Sharbati growers are getting remunerative price from private millers.

In the local Bhagtanwala grain market, which is the biggest in the border district, paddy growers always prefer selling the sharbati produce to private millers who offer much better price than the government agencies. It is sold between Rs 1,350 and Rs 1,500, depending upon the quality of the produce. However, basmati is expected to fetch a price between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,500 per quintal.

Basmati rice is a unique commodity, which grows only in certain specific areas of Pakistan and India, especially Lahore and Amritsar.

However, the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters Association here has undertaken a unique project to encourage basmati (386) cultivation by providing its seed to growers on subsidised rates in Amritsar and Tarn Taran areas, known for producing quality basmati in the world. The project led to additional 10,000 hectares under basmati cultivation. Since the crop needs less water compare to other varieties, it has saved on a lot of groundwater.

Once the most sought-after variety, basmati of Punjab is facing a serious crisis in the world market due to competition from look-alike varieties.

The border village of Kuhali, a few kilometres away from the Ravi, has become world-famous for producing the finest quality of basmati.

The other villages adjoining Kuhali where basmati is grown are Brar, Khyala, Chogawan, Bhullar, Chawinda and Chainpur.

The soil conditions required for the cultivation of basmati are available in a particular belt comprising Kalhar district from Shekhupura through Sialkot and Gujranwala and Lahore in Pakistan, and Amritsar and Gurdaspur in India.


Now, certificates with student’s photo
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 23
The Punjab State Board of Technical Education has started issuing certificates to students with their scanned photographs on it. The board is catering to over 10,000 students studying in various polytechnics in the state.

The certificates printed by the board contain other than the regular information regarding the course and marks, a scanned facsimile of the student’s photo. “This almost eliminates chances of forging of a certificate and its misuse,” said Yashivir Mahajan, board’s secretary.

He said, “The photographs of the students are clicked at the board complex using its own set up when these students come for admissions during counselling. The photos are then kept in record and when the students pass out the photos are used on the certificates.

Private candidates are told to supply the board with their photos, which are scanned and printed on the certificate.” “Besides our students in various polytechnics, we are issuing such certificates to our pharmacy and management students as well,” added Mahajan.

Board officials pointed out that in all probability no other university or board in the state was issuing certificates with pictures on it and the system was unique.

“A student pays only Rs 100 for the certificate at the time of admission and this amount takes care of the printing and postage charges accruing to the board,” said Mahajan.

Detailing other achievements of the board, Mahajan said they had introduced a scholarship scheme for students from this year. Students belonging to families with income less than Rs 1 lakh per year shall be awarded a scholarship of Rs 1,000 per month for the entire duration of the course.

The number of such scholarships was 50 and these would be given out to students on merit.

“Another 20 scholarships of full fee concession for the students coming from indigent families where the annual income is less than Rs 50,000 per annum would also be disbursed.

These scholarships would be given from this session and would be regular feature,” he added.


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