P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Justice moves a step closer to people
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Talwara, October 2
The Punjab government launched the first mobile court to commemorate the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri here today.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal dedicated the court on wheels to the residents of Jandwal, Hazipur, Talwara and Kamahi Devi in an effort to provide speedy justice at their doorsteps.

Addressing a massive gathering, the Chief Minister said the mobile courts would be of great benefit for those who otherwise had to cover long distance in reaching Dasuya courts. The court would also have a provision to provide legal aid to the poor, he added.

Badal announced that two more mobile courts would shortly be launched in the state. The issue had already been taken up with Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain.

Jain said the inadequate judge-litigant ratio had adversely affected the pace of justice. “Justice can be late but not denied,” he said. With the launching of the mobile court, over 2,020 cases of 292 villages of Jandwal, Hazipur, Talwara and Kamahi Devi areas would be taken up.

The Chief Minister announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the construction of Talwara degree college, besides promising a notified area committee for Talwara. He also said the issue of demolishing houses in the BBMB township by the board would be taken up with the board management.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Punjab minister for law and justice Upinderjit Kaur, advocate-general H.S. Mattewal, chairman, mobile court committee, Justice K.S. Garewal, administrative judge, Hoshiarpur, sessions division, Justice Hemant Gupta, and Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, Charanjit Singh Atwal. 


Trucks back on road to Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 2
The resumption of truck movement at Attari under heavy police deployment has lighted up the faces of Indian exporters, who were disappointed following yesterday’s protest by porters.

As many as 19 Indian trucks laden with tomatoes and meat crossed the Radcliffe Line following failure of the tomato crop there. Deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu and district police chief Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh held a series of meetings with senior Customs officials and porters at Attari and assured the porters that their livelihood won’t be affected.

However, the truck movement from Pakistan might take another couple of days. The district administration is gearing up to make yet another historic event a great success. It will be for the first time since Independence that trucks carrying dry fruit from Afghanistan will cross over to India.

Meanwhile, a day after the incidents of violence, the police post, Kahangarh, has been upgraded as a functional police station and renamed as Attari police station. However, FIRs will be registered at the parent police station, Gharinda, till approval of the new police station from a competent authority.

Besides, the railway station and joint checkpost, Attari, the upgraded police station will have Roranwala Kalan, Roranwala Khurd, Rattan Kala, Rattan Khurd, Dhanoya Kalan, Dhanoya Khurd, Modhe, Attalgarh, Kahangarh, Pul Kanjari, Dande and Pacca Pind Nesta under its jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner said some miscreants had been arrested in connection with yesterday’s violence.


Farmers will benefit 

Attari, October 2
Indian households may enjoy the onion flavour from Pakistan as the current onion crop in Maharashtra has seen a decline due to heavy rain and the export (of onions) to Pakistan has come to a naught.

Onion prices have shot up in the country forcing Indian exporters to strike any deal with their Pakistani counterparts.

Rajdeep Uppal, a leading exporter, said it was a great opportunity for the Indian farmers, especially in the horticulture sector, to get remunerative prices for their produce in a neighbouring country. Uppal today made a strong plea with the Indian government to allow the export of other vegetables which are not grown in Pakistan. He said there was a huge potential for green vegetables in that country and the Punjab government must explore the possibility for creating new markets there.

According to export figures available here, there has been a quantum jump in the trade which opened through the land route in 2005-06. — OC


City Centre Scam
Sandhu’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 2
A city court today extended the police remand of former Additional Advocate General Harpreet Sandhu till October 4. The Vigilance Bureau had arrested him on the charge of acting middleman in ensuring the allotment of the City Centre project to Today Homes Company. He was also facing charges of allegedly accepting Rs 3 crore as bribe along with one Jalandhar-based lawyer in the City Centre project.

A team of Bureau officials, headed by Surjit Singh Garewal (SP), produced him before the court of duty magistrate Palwinderjit Kaur around 4.15 pm here today. Special public prosecutors M.L Solanki and Sukhchain Singh requested the court to extend the police remand of the accused for at least five days.

It was claimed by them that the accused had purchased several properties out of the bribe amount in Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Gurgaon. The accused made a disclosure statement that he concealed the documents pertaining to all these properties at Gurgaon, which were to be recovered, added the prosecutors.

The defence counsel strongly opposed the contentions raised by the prosecution. He submitted that one property mentioned by the prosecution was in the name of father of the accused.

The said property was purchased before 2002, when the accused was practising as an advocate at Ludhiana and not working on any government post.


3 sites shortlisted for Central university
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Three sites have been shortlisted in Punjab for setting up a central university. Sources said sites selected were located at Bathinda, Ropar and Kapurthala districts.

Sources said soon a union government team from the Human Resource Development Ministry would visit all three sites shortlisted by the state government and finalise one, it is learnt.

The union government has planned to set up 30 universities in various parts of the country before the beginning of the next academic session. The Centre has sought details of sites shortlisted by state governments. The purpose is to increase access of students to higher education and enlarge the academic canvas.

"We have informed the union government with regard to the sites selected by us," said a senior government functionary. We have shortlisted Bathinda because it is suited to Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Barnala and Ferozepur districts.

Similarly, Kapurthala is also a place which is suited to surrounding areas. There is no government sector university at Jalandhar, Nawanshahr and Hoshiarpur districts. However, there is a regional centre of Guru Nanak Dev University near Jalandhar besides a private university. Ropar has also been shortlisted because of its locational advantage to set up such a university.


Bapu remembered
Tribune Reporters

Comedian Sudesh Lehri performs in Amritsar Central Jail on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in Amritsar on Tuesday.
Comedian Sudesh Lehri performs in Amritsar Central Jail on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in Amritsar on Tuesday.— Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, October 2
Comedian Sudesh Lehri was the highlight of a cultural programme organised at the Amritsar Central Jail on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti here today. His mimicry of Punjabi singers and Bollywood artistes was well received by the inmates.

Minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria was the chief guest on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the district administration organised a special function to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The function was presided over by deputy commissioner K.S Pannu while District and Session judge K.C Puri, SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, SSP, Amritsar rural, Iqbal Singh, SSP, Vigilance, Sukhdev Singh, besides various NGOs, teachers and youth participated and pledged to follow the ideology and principles of Mahatma Gandhi.

Meanwhile, the District Congress Committee (Rural) also celebrated the day and paid rich tributes to the Father of the Nation.

The police department headed by IG border zone Rajpal Meena also organised an oath-taking function at Police Lines to mark the occasion.

ABOHAR: With a pledge to perform duty with devotion, integrity and fairness, government employees celebrated Gandhi Jayanti. Hundreds of students participated in the ‘saksharta rally’ organised to mark the day. Led by Bindu Arora, principal, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, students from various schools along with their teachers carried banners spreading the message of the importance of women literacy.

The city Congress committee at a meeting remembered Gandhiji.

MOGA: Arvinder Singh, deputy commissioner, flagged off the female foeticide awakening rally comprising students from various schools to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In a district-level function, officials took pledge for fulfilling India of Mahatma’s dream. V.K Meena, deputy commissioner, Faridkot, held a similar function at Ashok Chakra Hall in Mini Secretariat.

GURDASPUR: Rich tributes were paid to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister of the country Lal Bahadur Shastri on their birth anniversaries at various functions organised in the district.

Raman Bahl, secretary, Punjab Congress Committee, said the dream of Mahatma Gandhi has come true with the UPA government introducing the national rural employment guarantee scheme in all districts of the country.

BATHINDA: The district health department held a rally to spread awareness among the public about the declining female sex ratio in the society.

Holding banners and boards, delivering a message of “stop female foeticide”, a large number of girls took out a march throughout the city. Dr Maninderjit Singh, local Civil Surgeon, flagged off the rally. The staff of Multi-purpose Training School, Punjab Nursing School para-medical employees and district-level health officer participated.

BARNALA: “Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of a country free from all caste systems in which all poor, Dalits, farmers and labourers have an equal opportunity to life. So we must make earnest efforts to achieve this equality,” said municipal committee president Makhan Sharma at a function organised to observe the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi . Emphasising the need for spreading non-violence to achieve global peace, Sharma said ‘ahimsa’ is the need of hour.

SANGRUR: Deputy Commissioner V.K. Ohri administered a pledge of peace and communal harmony to the participants for the implementation of ideals of Mahatama Gandhi at a function organised at the district administrative complex here. Later, he flagged off a peace and communal harmony rally. The participants of the rally carried placards in their hands against female foeticide and drugs. 


Oath taking marks Gandhi Jayanti
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 2
A number of officials of district administration today gathered at mini-secretariat to take oath of following the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, which was observed as International Day of Non-Violence. In a brief but impressive function that was presided over by deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal the officials took an oath administered by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh through a satellite link. 

The officers pledged to follow the path of non-violence and to maintain the secular character of the nation. Similar, functions were also organised at Bassi Pathana and Khamanu sub-divisions. The Punjab Youth Congress also organised a function at the district headquarters to observe Gandhi Jayanti. 


Police working for SAD, says Congress MLA
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, October 2
Avtar Singh Brar, local Congress MLA, alleged here today at the behest of Shiromani Akali Dal leaders two Faridkot Nagar Council members were picked up by the police before its scheduled election on October 3.

He alleged that Jagir Singh went missing last evening and Gurcharan Singh was picked up by a police party from his house October 1 night. He alleged that the police ,under the influence of the ruling Akali party, was intimidating Congress members, who are in a majority in the council, to prevent them from participating in the election process freely.

In the 22-member council, 16 members belong to the Congress while the SAD has managed five independents to raise its number to six.

Brar said both missing members had filed petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for conducting the council elections soon. Following directions of the court the election was to be held on September 25. However, the election observer postponed it to October 3 following objections by Akali members.

The post of president of the council has been vacant since January 10 while of the vice-president from June 4.


Bhattal warns govt against vendetta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2 
On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi today, Punjab Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal asked the government to desist from victimisation of political opponents or be prepared to face consequences.

“The present regime in Punjab is taking the route of violence to settle political scores,” she told a gathering before commencing her padyatra to mark Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

She said a committee comprising senior leaders of the party had been constituted to study the cases registered against Congress leaders and workers in Punjab.Bhattal, accompanied by several senior party leaders, including former Punjab Congress chief Santokh Singh Randhawa, and Mahinder Singh Gill, admitted that the party was facing indiscipline.

Meets Beant’s widow

Designated president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee(PPCC) and leader of Opposition, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, today called on Jaswant Kaur, widow of the late Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Political issues were discussed at the meeting in which senior leaders Jagmohan Singh Kang and Malkiat Singh Dakha were also present. 


Amarinder ready to appear before HC
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 2
“I am ready to present myself before the Punjab and High Court if the charges levelled against me by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau are endorsed by the biggest industrialists of the country”.This was stated by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to The Tribune here yesterday.

He said the Vigilance officials claimed before the media at Ludhiana that I had taken kickbacks from the Emmer group, the GVK group that had been allotted the work for the Talwandi Sabo thermal plant and the Gujarat Ambuja group.The Emmer group is owned by a Sheikh of Saudi Arabia while Ambuja and GVK groups are owned the biggest entrepreneurs of the country, the Reddys and Nautias.

If any of the said entrepreneurs comes on record that “I had taken money from them” in clearing any project, I would present myself before the Punjab and Haryana High Court and accept the sentence without pleading my case.

The Vigilance is levelling flimsy charges against me because of the next hearing of my case before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. They are trying to influence the court in a childish manner.


Punjabi women obese, anaemic: Survey
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Contrary to the perception that Punjabi women are healthy and beautiful, a national health survey finds them obese and anaemic. Both obesity and anaemic level in them is much higher than their male counterparts. Irrespective of the diminishing ratio of the girl child to a male child, Punjabi women, however, continue to share with their spouses’ a strong desire for a son.

These are some of the findings of the National Family Health Survey tabulated by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

Obesity is more prevalent among women. Distinctly higher in urban areas, it has been on the rise by 1 per cent point every year since 1998-99 and may be because of emerging lifestyle. The survey revealed that 38 per cent women and 30 per cent men in Punjab are obese.

Also worrying is the problem of anaemia, both among women and children. Eighty per cent of the children in the age group of six months to three years are suffering from anaemia. Among the women who are between 15 and 49 years of age, incidence of anaemia is as high as 38 per cent. For the men of the same age group, it is 13 per cent. Again incidence is more in urban areas than in rural areas.

A sharp decline has also been observed in children below three years who have undergone treatment for diarrhoea or ARI since the last National Health Survey. There is, however, an impressive increase in the percentage of children who are breastfed within one hour of birth. Only half of the infants in Punjab are exclusively breastfed, and about 50 per cent of six-month-olds are fed with supplementary food.

The fall in percentage of immunisation of children is another area of concern. Decline in polio and DPT vaccines and a very small proportion of children getting Vitamin A supplementary have emerged as the primary reasons. Along with child healthcare, certain issues in maternal health also need immediate corrective intervention. Only one out of two women delivered their babies in health institutions in Punjab.

Equally critical is the decline in IUD among spacing methods and male sterilisation among the terminal methods. Awareness about HIV/AIDS and the use of condoms as a preventive measure is fairly widespread, but not to the desired degree. One-third of the rural women in Punjab have not heard about HIV/AIDS.

The state has attained the replacement fertility level of two children a woman. The comparable figure of the first survey in 1992-93 was three. This fall in total fertility rate is attributed primarily to the rise in adoption rate of family planning services.

The use of condom and pill is on the upswing. The share of condom users went up from 9 to 16 per cent during 1992-2006. Likewise rise in the share of pill users from 2 to 3 per cent has also been recorded.

There has been a sharp decline in the infant mortality rate from 54 to 42 per thousand during 1992-2006. A fall of approximately one point every year is represented.

Along with this, the percentage of underweight under-three children has also recorded a steep fall from 46 to 27 per cent during 1992-2006. The percentage of children, too thin for their height, also has come down from 21 to nine. Similarly, the percentage of stunted children decreased from 38 to 28 during this period. 


Integrated Checkpost
Farmers demand better price for acquired land
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 2
Twelve families of Attari, whose 120 acres are being acquired by the Central government for setting up an integrated check post, have demanded better price for their land.

Addressing a press conference, representatives of the families said the price being offered to them was much lower than the market rate.

“The SAD in its election manifesto had promised that the land would not be acquired against the wishes of the farmers. We are not ready to hand over our land at the present rate,” said Rajinder Singh, who owns 11 acres.

The land has been divided into three categories and Rs 45 lakh per acres has been fixed for land on the main road, Rs 24 lakh per acre for land on the link road and Rs 20 lakh for the remaining chunk.

Since the land would be used for commercial purposes, we demand that at least the price given to farmers whose land was acquired in Rajasansi for an international airport should be offered to us and the same rate be applicable for the whole of 120 acres.

Gian Singh, who owns 10 acres, said the land identified for acquisition also includes orchards and tubewells.

“The district administration wants us to uproot the trees and equipment, but this is not feasible,” he said and added that 30 acres of the identified land was close to the zero line.

The land owners threatened to launch an agitation in case the government acquired the land without giving them their due. The integrated check post would be located close to the Neem Chameli Tourist Complex.


Grant for Hoshiarpur

Chandigarh, October 2
The Union government has chosen Hoshiarpur district for providing assistance from the Backward Region Grant Fund.

The district will get about Rs 16 crore as a special grant from the fund. The grant is given on the basis of area and population of the district. Money will be spent through panchayats. The panchayats will be free to spend the money as they want. — TNS


Closing of case against Tytler criticised

Amritsar, October 2
Reacting strongly to the closing of the case against Jagdish Tytler, former Central minister and the alleged accused of 1984 anti-Sikh riots by the CBI, Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, termed it as unfortunate in a press statement issued today. He said it had hurt the sentiments of Sikhs all over the country.

Meanwhile, All-India Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) also criticised the CBI for closing the case. — TNS


Discussions on probes against officers
PCS association to meet today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
In what could send the administrative machinery in Punjab in a tizzy, the PCS officers association has convened a special meeting of its executive body to discuss names of the PCS officers being taken under the purview of investigation launched against Amarinder Singh by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in the Ludhiana city centre issue.

Separately, a section of Punjab cadre IPS officers have taken umbrage at the manner in which the names IPS officers are being tossed-around by quoting documents that have been purportedly seized from arrested DGP S.S. Virk. The latest flare-up has been caused by the manner in which the name of former Ludhiana SSP A.S. Rai is being quoted for getting Amarinder’s Singh son Raninder Singh, bailed out from the “intranet scam”. Rai’s names cropped up in the media reports two days ago. He has already joined the Intelligence Bureau on deputation at Delhi. 

Already, the names of a DGP, A.P. Pandey, along with IG-level officials, R.P. Singh, S.K. Sharma and Rajinder Singh, have been quoted in the media. This has caused unrest among the IPS lobby, which believes that the Vigilance Bureau was breaching limits in tossing up names of IPS officers. Incidentally, all these officers were seen as “close” to Amarinder Singh. A few seniors officers believe that the Vigilance Bureau should either table the record, if any, or stop using media to tarnish the image of anybody.

Meanwhile, today a PCS officer contacted the association and sought their support. Though nobody wished to be quoted, the officers bearers of the association confirmed that a meeting has been convened tomorrow. In case the PCS officer is innocent, the association will back him fully. “We are waiting for the evidence, if any, and seek the same before deciding the future course of action,” said a senior functionary. The meeting will discuss how the name of M.P. Singh, a PCS officer, has been announced in the media by the VB levelling serious allegations against him. 

Officers are of the opinion that the matter should be brought to the notice of the Chief Minister. Since PCS officers form the backbone of the government and all are deployed at the cutting-edge level, the matter seems to be assuming serious proportions.


Suicide Attempt
Police yet to take notice of charge against SI
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 2
The police authorities of this district seem to follow different set of rules for different persons.

This fact has come to light from the way the police authorities concerned are handling the case. Police officials concerned did not waste a moment in registering a case against Gurjant Singh, his wife and three daughters after they allegedly set themselves on fire.

On the other hand, the police authorities concerned are yet to take notice of the allegations levelled by Raman Pal Kaur, daughter of Gurjant, that the police official ( Amritpal Singh) who headed the raiding party which dragged her father after catching him from his hair. She levelled these allegations in front of SDM Anil Garg.

When Nau Nihal Singh Aulakh, SSP, was asked why Amritpal Singh, who was working as reader of SSP, was sent to Police Lines only when Ghai was placed under suspension, he said this was because Raman Pal had made contradictory statements in connection with the incident.

Amrit Pal Singh, SI, said whatever happened on that night was within a few seconds and all five members of the family were in flames before they could react. However, he preferred to keep mum when asked why they did not try to save them. He said all allegations were false.


CM warned on ‘divide’ in police ranks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 2
All-India Shiromani Akali Dal president Jaswant Singh Mann today cautioned Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal against ‘divide’ in police ranks. He said this could have harmful repercussions on the law and order in the border state.

Mann, who was here today, said similar situation had developed in 1979 when the police had gone on strike. He said at that time it was attributed to the growing influence of the Leftists in the police. He pointed out that this was followed by the dark days in Punjab.

Mann observed that the dissension within the police ranks, that too in a border state like Punjab, could always be exploited by enemy forces. He said Badal should personally ensure that the police ranks were not divided.


Bhakra canal not to be closed

Chandigarh, October 2
The Bhakra mainline canal will not be closed on October 10. A notification issued in this regard by the state government has been withdrawn. Official sources yesterday said the canal was to be closed from October 10 to 20 for carrying out repairs on railway bridges at certain places.

However, now the engineering wing of the Railways has informed the state government that it will not be possible to complete the repair work in 10 days. — TNS


JPC on Wakfs in UT today

Chandigarh, October 2
Members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakfs will visit Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh from October 3 to 7.

A spokesman of the Punjab government said the committee had fixed a meeting with a cross-section of people from Punjab on October 4 in Hotel Mountview, Chandigarh.

The people of Punjab are requested to meet the committee in connection with the affairs of the Punjab Wakf Board.

Oath taken

About 100 senior officers of the Punjab government today assembled at Punjab Bhawan here and took oath to rededicate themselves to the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi.

The officers took the pledge to make India a classless, colourless and casteless country.

In a message on the occasion R.I. Singh Chief Secretary, Punjab said that the nation owed a great debt to Mahatma Gandhi. — TNS


Free medical camp for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Over 500 ex-servicemen, serving personnel, civilians and their family members attended a medical camp, which was organised by the General Hospital (Territorial Army) at Mithumajra village, near Patiala, today.

Organised as part of celebrations to commemorate the 59th Territorial Army (TA) Day, the camp was inaugurated by Brig J. S. Thind, Commander, Western Command TA Group, according to a statement issued here today.

The panchayat of Mithumajra village, played an active role in conducting the camp, while medicines were provided free of cost by Wockhardt India Limited, a pharmaceutical firm. In addition to laboratory facilities for conducting various tests, ECG and ultrasonography, specialists from the departments of obstetrics, pediatrics, gynaecology and dental were also present during the camp. Medicines to needy patients were also issued free of cost.


40 detained for raising slogans

Talwara (Hoshiarpur), October 2
Up in arms against the government, members of the unemployed teachers union from Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Dina Nagar, Dhaliwal, Hoshiarpur, Mukerian and Talwara, who had assembled at a venue, raised slogans as the Chief Minister took his position at the dais. While the SAD-BJP workers raised slogans like "Parkash Singh Badal zindabad", irate unemployed youth said, "Parkash Singh Badal murdabad" and raised chairs in the air.

A high drama was witnessed at the venue for almost 15 minutes. The police pulled together nearly 40 protesters, including women.

The protesters were bundled into a truck and detained at the Hazipur police station. Cases under Sections 7 and 51 were registered against 24 protesters at the Talwara police station. They were later produced before the sub-divisional magistrate, Mukerian.

Tight security for the CM’s arrival in the BBMB township created difficulty for many. Nakas put at every entry and exit point in the colony was like a curfew for over four hours in the area. — TNS


Rs 5 lakh stolen from scooter 
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 2
A resident of Mullanpur today alleged that the Mohali police failed to register a case of theft of Rs 5 lakh from the dickey (storage area) of his scooter on Monday.In a press release Rajinder Singh stated that he had withdrawn Rs 5 lakh from Punjab National Bank, Mullanpur Garibdas branch. He put the money in the dickey of his scooter (PB-65B-0513) and went to the office of PS Land Development Company where his son works. 

The father and son were to go and fix a land deal. He added that when he came out of the office of PS Land Development Company he saw that the lock of the dickey of his scooter was broken and the money had been stolen. 

He then claimed to have approached Mullanpur police for registration of case but no case had been registered so far.

Meanwhile, when contacted the SHO Simranjeet Singh Bal said that the police is investigating the case. 


Need for separate Sikh identity expressed

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 2
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) has reiterated its demand for a separate identity for the Sikh community. In a statement here today, senior vice-president Bhai Dhian Singh Mand and media advisor Iqbal Singh Tiwana stated that it was an important issue for the Sikh community to have a separate identity. 

They said that highlighting of the Sikh community as a part of the Hindu community has affected the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. Both the leaders said that corrective measures should be initiated at an appropriate level soon. 

They stated that deliberate attempts were being made to mount pressure on Punjabi scholars, who in the recent past had tried to rationalise the claims being made by the Sikh community for a separate identity. — TNS


ABVP for POTA to counter terrorism

Bathinda, October 2
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leadership while claiming that the Central government was having no plans to deal with terrorism, Naxalites alleged that anti-India forces were trying to severe the eastern part from the country.

Addressing a press conference here today, national secretary, ABVP, Shri Nivas said anti-India forces, which had been trying to bring division in the country, included countries like China and Bangladesh. He added that a particular religion had also been playing an active role to destablise India.

Shri Nivas was here today to preside over the concluding function of the 37th three-day delegates’ conference of the ABVP in the Punjab region. Senior functionaries of the organisation accompanied him. He said the situation in the country had reached a point where laws like POTA should be made to deal with the same. — TNS


‘Step-motherly’ treatment to khadi in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 2
The nation remembers Mahatma Gandhi on his birth anniversary today. However, his pet project, the khadi, is under neglect, especially in Punjab. Products by Punjabi artisans which are sold in the state through the khadi board are becoming unviable. There is hardly any buyer for these products due to their high costs.

Sources in the Punjab Khadi Board revealed that many states in the country subsidise khadi products to make them viable vis-à-vis powerloom or other industry products. The union government provides a subsidy of 10 per cent on khadi products. An additional subsidy of 10 per cent is provided by the state governments.

However, the Punjab government is not giving subsidy on khadi products making these unviable in the market.

Khadi board officials said durries, hand-made quilts, Punjabi shoes and wooden articles were generally made by traditional artisans in select pockets of the states. The board was promoting and protecting these artisans to continue with their trade. They are provided tradition machines and their product is bought back at various retail outlets of the board.

For this soft loans are also given to artisans.These loans are also subsidised by the union government. However, the Punjab government has not been giving matching grants due which many loanees have not received the subsidies.

Even after all this the artisans are able to earn just about Rs 100 per day.

Already many artisans are preferring labour instead of practising their traditional art. If the government does not provide them financial support in the form of subsidy on their products, the next generations will prefer other professions.

This would mean the end of many traditional art forms being practised by traditional weavers and other artisans of the state.


Agents of small saving scheme sore over govt decision
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 2
The future of about 16, 000 agents working in the state is likely to be hampered as the state government has scrapped the scheme to pay incentives and gift items to agents with effect from October 1.

President of the Small Saving Agents Association Amrit Pal Sharma, in a press statement issued here today, said firstly the banks had raised the rate of interest by 2 per cent vis-à-vis small saving schemes of the state, and secondly, the state government stopped incentives of 30 to 40 paise and also decided to stop the gift and lucky coupon schemes.

He said the scheme was launched in 1992 with post offices where the government mobilised Rs 282 crore in a financial year through the help of a lucky coupon scheme. This amount swelled to Rs 3, 654 crore in 2004-05, which was used as 100 per cent grant for development works of the state by the ministry of finance. 


Confusion over bonus on paddy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Confusion regarding bonus on paddy is bothering farmers. Though the Union Government had promised to give them bonus, no announcement has been made in this regard so far. 

Recently, the Union Government had announced Rs 675 per quintal as minimum support price of paddy. Over and above this, bonus is to be given to farmers.Earlier, there were reports that Rs 40 would be paid as bonus on paddy. However, the government procurement agencies were not making any reference in this regard in the bills being prepared to make payment to farmers.

Official procurement of paddy began on September 26. About 20 lakh paddy has arrived in various markets of Punjab. In the absence of announcement of bonus, farmers are confused as to whether they should sell the paddy to government agencies or to private traders offering price much above the MSP. Farmers want the government to clarify in this regard.

Sources said the Union Agriculture Ministry had recommended Rs 100 per quintal as bonus on paddy. The issue had also figured at the two recent meetings of the Union Cabinet. But no decision was taken, it is learnt.

Various farmers’ organisation have sought Rs 1,260 per quintal as the minimum support price of paddy. BKU leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said they were planning to launch an agitation to press the government to enhance the MSP of paddy. 


18 on Punjabi University Senate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
The Punjab Governor, who is also chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, has nominated 18 persons, including politicians, academicians and journalists, on the Senate of the university.

They are Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Surjit Singh Rakhra, Sukhdip Singh Bhinder, Dr Jaspal Singh, Paramjit Kaur Gulshan, Satnam Singh Manak, Avinash Chopra, Jarnail Singh Wahid, Dr Sukhwinder Singh Randhawa, Dr Gurmohan Walia, Jagtar Singh Sidhu, Jagbir Singh Brar, Dr Pawan Singla, Baljinder Singh, Dr S.M. Sehgal, Dr Varinder Singh, Prof Ashok Gupta and Prof Suresh Singla.

Their term is up to July 29, 2009.


Industrialists seek IT exemption for setting up adarsh schools
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Industrialists approached by the Punjab government to help it set up adarsh schools have sought income tax exemption on the funds to be invested by them in such schools.

Sources said the state government would approach the Income Tax Department to get such an exemption for them. It remains to be seen whether such an exemption will be granted when the Union Government is charging 12.5 per cent service tax from private institutions engaged in the coaching of students for competitive examinations like CET, PMET, IIT-JEE, AIEEE etc.

Sources said the cost on setting up such schools would be shared in the proportion of 70:30 by the government and industrialists, respectively.

For each school , 25 acres of land will be required. Land is likely to be provided by the panchayats keen to have adarsh schools in their villages. However, land will be first transferred to the Punjab Education Department and later to the Punjab Education Development Board headed by the Chief Minister. The board will give land on lease to the parties interested in setting up the schools, it is learnt.

The board will also have eminent academicians and qualified management persons in its ranks. The government will soon issue an ordinance to frame a legal policy framework for these schools.

Meanwhile, the state government has released Rs 12 crore for setting up four adarsh schools in the border districts of Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur.

These funds have been released from Rs 137 crore provided by the Prime Minister as a special grant for the development of the border belt. Each adarsh school in the border belt will get Rs 3 crore from this grant. Of this, Rs 2.5 crore will be spent on raising the building and Rs 50,000 on laboratories etc. There is a plan to set up these schools at Kalanaur, Bhikhiwind, Chogawan and Jalalabad.

From the remaining Rs 125 crore, Rs 110 crore has been earmarked for 18 blocks of the border districts. The first installment has already been released from Rs 110 crore to various border blocks. The money is to be spent only on improving the health and education infrastructure and not any other work.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |