P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


We don’t believe in violence: Babbar chief
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
Deviating from their earlier stand, militant leaders of the Babbar Khalsa, UK-based Babbar Khalsa International and Dal Khalsa today severely condemned the recent bomb blast in Ludhiana, saying, “We don’t believe in violence.”

The significant statement came from these militant leaders after the needle of suspicion in the recent bomb blast in a cinema hall of Ludhiana pointed towards the Babbar Khalsa International and other militant organisations based in various foreign countries.

Wadhawa Singh Babbar, chief of Babbar Khalsa International, talking to The Tribune on phone said, “We are the Sikhs of Gurus and we feel pained whenever any innocent life is lost in violence anywhere in the world.”

He said the recent attack was a dastardly act and the guilty should be punished as per the law of the land. He said the solution to any political or social problem should be found through democratic means, adding, “We don’t believe in violent activities.”

Echoing similar views, Avtar Singh Sanghera and Manmohan Singh Khalsa, UK-based militant leaders of the Babbar Khalsa International and Dal Khalsa, respectively, said the bomb attack in the cinema hall of Ludhiana was shameful and should be condemned equivocally. The Sikh religion does not allow the killing of any innocent person, they added.

These militant leaders are allegedly involved in the killing of hundreds of innocent persons during the two-decade turmoil in the state. They have sought political asylum in Pakistan, the UK and other western countries.

Expressing sympathy with the bereaved families, they said the government should leave no stone unturned in apprehending the culprits responsible for the heinous crime. They said the government should pay compensation to the families of those killed in the blast.


Takht should call Sarna: SGPC chief
Transporting Guru Granth Sahib saroops in Canter
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
Akal Takht should summon Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) president Parmjit Singh Sarna for hurting the sentiments of the Sikh community by sending the 100 “saroops” of Guru Granth Sahib from Mumbai to a foreign country in a Canter.

Stating this in a press release here today, Avtar Singh Makkar, president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, lashed out at Sarna for sending the saroops of holy book in a Canter like a ordinary commodity, thus violating the Sikh maryada.

He said the SGPC had constituted a committee to probe into the charges. The committee comprised Tarsem Singh Khalsa, in charge of the Sikh Mission Delhi, Jathedar Avtar Singh Hit, Bhupinder Singh Anand, Kuldeep Singh Bhogal and senior secretary of the SGPC Ajaib Singh.

Lashing out at Sarna for misleading the Sikh community by issuing statements with regard to the books on Sikh history published by the SGPC, Makkar said the DSGMC president should have verified the facts before giving any statement.

He said a committee of intellectuals was investigating the case and the SGPC had decided to reproduce the book on Sikh history after research.

Makkar urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht to summon Sarna and others responsible for their irresponsible actions so that the facts were brought before the Sikhs.


Project wilts under finance hammer
PFC sells equipment for just Rs 6 lakh
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 17
Diversification of agriculture in the state received a major setback when equipment for a high-tech floriculture project worth several crores was auctioned for about Rs 6 lakh by the Punjab Financial Corporation (PFC). The PFC had acquired the project last year.

The aggrieved promoters of the project, Roses Floriculture Limited, here sent a representation to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal yesterday seeking his personal intervention to prevail upon the PFC not to destroy the project in his bid to recover its liabilities.

Chairman of the company Narinder Kumar Jain pointed out that the PFC had acquired the unit last year without having the requisite knowledge to handle the delicate rose plants, which had been planted at a cost of crores of rupees. He mentioned that this lack of knowledge about the equipment led to the project becoming unsustainable.

He said the Punjab government had helped in rehabilitating a similar project run by Phulwari Biotech Limited, Dera Bassi, by offering several concessions for its revival. He asked the government to take a similar stance and provide the project with financial help.

He stated in the presentation that the machinery had been bought under advance licence with an express clause that the flowers from the project will be exported or the equipment would attract customs duty of same amount.

He said this mess had been caused due to the rigid attitude of the PFC.


Paddy prices crash after ban on basmati export
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 17
The recent notification issued by the Central government to ban export of basmati has hit the prices, which crashed by Rs 300-350 per quintal for long grain, a new variety of basmati.

According to a survey conducted by the Punjab Rice Millers Exporters Association, the farmers are likely to loose Rs 300-Rs 350 crore for “sharbati” and PUSA 1121 varieties. The abrupt ban imposed by the Union government has made the markets grimace, resulting in an initial drop of Rs 100 to 200 per quintal and after today’s development the market has lost another Rs 100.

The PUSA 1121 variety, which was getting an excellent price of Rs 2,100- Rs 2,150, was now being sold at Rs 1,800 per quintal as their seemed to be a long-drawn battle with the government, which had taken this decision to meet the growing requirements under the public distribution system and other welfare schemes. The government in a hasty decision on October 10 on the recommendation of the Cabinet committee on economic affairs had taken the decision.

President of the All-India Rice Exporters Association Vijay Setia has sought the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana governments for taking up the matter with the Central government for withdrawal of this notification. He said a large number of rice consignments were in the transit The stoppage of the operation would lead to a catastrophic situation, he added.


6 applicants found with fake ETT degrees
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
Half a dozen applicants for the posts of primary teacher in the Bathinda region have been found to possess fake ETT (Elementary Teachers Training) degrees.

The zila parishad here had published an advertisement in the last week of September this year, for filling the vacancies of 41 ETT qualified teachers. Responding to the advertisement, 1,868 applicants submitted their documents, of which only 22 had an ETT degree. Out of these 22, two had taken back their applications.

None of the applicants had an ETT degree from Punjab. As many as 1,848 candidates had done their B.Ed. According to sources, the authorities here are finding it difficult to find qualified candidates: those who have acquired their ETT degree from Punjab.

In the list of applicants, about a dozen candidates are those who have acquired the degree from Haryana and Delhi. A major number of applicants is of those who have acquired the degree from Kanpur, Jammu and Chandigarh.

The parishad has declared that six candidates who had applied had a fake ETT degree. Chairman of the parishad Bikramjit Singh Bikka said, “Six of the candidates were found with fake degrees. We will take legal action against them.”

Sources in the parishad said these candidates had qualified from institutes in Kanpur and Delhi, which have been declared fake.

A senior official of the parishad, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, “There are ETT academies in Bathinda district which have links with Jammu-based academies. There are also agents who take the responsibility for qualifying the students.”

Meanwhile, the parishad is learnt to be preparing the list of selected teachers. It is expected to be published by tomorrow.


Badal addresses waterlogging woes
Prabhjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammuana (Muktsar), October 17
As Chief Minister in 1997, Parkash Singh Badal had vowed to resolve the problem of waterlogging in not only this village but in thousands of acres of over 60 villages. And today, he sat again among farmers as CM, assuring them of an end to ‘sem’ (waterlogging in their fields) soon.

Accompanied by three scientists from the Delhi-based Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), the Chief Minister was seen studying maps of the sem-affected villages and instructing the officials concerned to take measures for the farmers’ benefit.

Jammuana, Thandewal, Lakhmireana, Rattan Khera, Tarkhanwala, Midda and Boddiwala are the seven villages in Muktsar district which Badal visited along with irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon and senior officials.

“Take as much money as you want, but this region should be cleared of sem on a priority basis,” Badal told the officers as men folk of Jammuana and adjacent villages briefed him on the chocked drains which had been dug some eight to 10 years back to drain out the saline water.

The CGWB men had surveyed this area in September last as well. The team, which has been coming to these villages time and again since 1997, has identified 17 central points, covering 63 villages of Muktsar district, where the micro-projects to drain out the saline water from the fields were to be set up with the help of the central government.

Though the girdawari (survey) was done to compensate the farmers, they cry that they were not being compensated adequately.

Some farmers also claimed that they were being ignored by the administration as the government was being “vindictive” to them because of the victory of a Congress candidate from the Muktsar Assembly constituency in the Assembly poll.


5-star hotel for Amritsar
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Amritsar, which has emerged as a new international air travel hub, is all set to have a new five-star hotel, Courtyard by Marriot.

Of late, the city which returned to the international air map, is now directly connected to London, Birmingham, Dubai, Singapore, Toronto, New York and other destinations. It, however, has been handicapped in the absence of five-star hotel facilities.

The new hotel, which will cater to niche target group, is being promoted by Emaar MGF Land Limited, a joint venture between one of the world’s leading real estate companies Emaar Properties PJSC of Dubai, and a leading domestic real estate developer, MGF Development Limited of India. The group has lined up ambitious mega plans for strengthening the hospitality infrastructure in the country across value chain.

The group has entered into an operating agreement and a MoU with global hospitality giant Marriott group to develop a 150 keys “Courtyard By Marriot” in Amritsar. It will be a brand for “business travellers designed by business travellers”. This will be the first Marriot for the city of Amritsar. It is expected to be commissioned by 2010.

The group is planning to come up with a 250 keys JW Marriot property in Kolkata, also the first for Kolkata. This will bring to Kolkata, one of the premier hospitality brands offering a deluxe level of comfort The Emarr MGF had earlier signed a MoU with the Punjab Government to develop 5000 acres of land in different parts of the state, including Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar. The company is also developing a 3000-acre integrated master planned community in Mohali, called the Mohali Hills.


No further clues to Ludhiana blast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Investigators looking into the Ludhiana blast today continued to work on new theories even as the nature of the additive mixed with RDX was still not established.

Yesterday, forensic experts had informed the Punjab Police that traces of RDX were found but there seemed to have something mixed with it which could not be established.

Normally RDX contains about 10 per cent composition of oil. With just “traces” of RDX having been found, investigation agencies of the state and other central agencies have decided to go in for deeper probe and had started tests to establish if any other component was added.

Tests were conducted to find if ammonia or urea was added to increase its potency. Results will be known anytime now, said a senior police official

Meanwhile, one of the theories being studied was to check out the link of Bangladeshi migrants to the blast. The needle of suspicion continues to point across the border as the agencies continued to pour through phone records of calls made to Pakistan on the day before the blast.

Tabs are being kept on certain dormant Punjab militants. Known sympathisers of the “Bhindrawale Tiger Force of Khalistan” were checked out today for any suspicious movements.


‘IG usurped land’

Kharar, October 17
Kuldip Singh of Nayagaon has alleged that IG Sanjeev Gupta had forcibly taken over 10 acres owned by him.

In a representation to the Governor, the VB and the DGP, Kuldip Singh has sought action against Gupta for taking over his land in connivance with Jasbir Singh Sandhu, a resident for Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Addressing mediapersons, he alleged that land revenue records showed transactions of 90 acres adjacent to his land in the name of Sanjeev Gupta's son and his brother-in-law.

"He( officer) wants to take over my land forcibly and has been using various ways for the same. An inquiry by a retired high court judge should be conducted into the matter and assets of Gupta scrutinised," he said.

He sought police protection for himself and his family. Gupta could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. — TNS


Ordinance on Guru Granth Sahib opposed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
The Sikh Students Federation today opposed the ordinance passed by the state government on the publication of Guru Granth Sahib by private publishers as it would damage dominance of the Panth.

In a memorandum to Jathedar Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti the federation demanded the problems should be solved per Panthic traditions by constituting a committee to frame norms to be followed for the publication of the holy book. It added the SGPC should be directed by Akal Takht to restrain the state government from making any laws on the issue as it would amount to dominance of the state government rather than of the Panth.

Kamaljit Singh national press secretary of the federation said the issue was religious one and only the Panth had the rights to take any decision. He said government should not be allowed to form any law on the Panthic issues.


Land Grab Bid
Chowkidar’s hut burnt
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 17
Some car-borne miscreants have made a bid to grab a prime piece of land here by burning the hut of the chowkidar, sources said.

Gurmeet Singh, son of Gurdeep Singh of Alamgarh village, located near the city bypass, had purchased 22 kanals of prime land on the Abohar-Malout road (National Highway 10) within municipal limits here some months back. He had a tough time in dispossessing the old occupants of the land that was considered worth crores of rupees following development of new residential colonies in the periphery.

Atma Singh was deployed there as caretaker and a hut made for him.

He said some persons reached there late last night. Smelling foul play, Atma Singh escaped, taking advantage of the darkness and took shelter in the neighboring shrubs. The miscreants put the hut on fire and fled, hurling abuses and threats, he said.

The police is investigating. Fingers are being pointed at persons who had been displaced by the present owner of the land, sources said. 


Missing youth: police laxity alleged

Bathinda, October 16
The family of Sukhmander Singh of Blahad Mahima village in the district, who has been missing for the past two months, has now decided to knock at the doors of the judiciary.

Family members of Sukhmander, 35, said they would complain against the dilly-dallying by the police. They alleged that despite repeated pleas to the police officials, no breakthrough had taken place.

Sukhpal, brother of the missing boy, said, “I petitioned the Goniana police, I also appeared at the sangat darshan thrice in this regard, but no one has taken it seriously.”

“The police has registered a case on the basis of the statement of my father. We had informed the police that one Kulwinder Singh had taken my brother along with him. Kulwinder was arrested, but released a few days later.”

Jagga Singh, father of Sukhmander, said, “I took along panchayat members of the village to request the police to keep an eye on Kulwinder. But the police is showing laxity in the case.” — TNS


EPF Scam: Tainted contractor’s return raises eyebrows
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
The re-induction of a contractor, accused in the EPF scam, into the PSEB has raised many eyebrows in the organisation. Contractor R.S. Sodhi, working in the Ropar thermal plant, was accused of embezzling about Rs 50 lakh from EPF accounts of contractual labourers working under him.

When the matter came to the fore, he deposited back the embezzled amount. However, former DGP of the PSEB vigilance Lalit Bhatia said regardless of the returning of the amount, the contractor could not be exonerated as the crime had been committed. Therefore, he went ahead and registered a case against him. Twenty senior officials of the plant were allegedly involved in the embezzlement with the contractor.

Bhatia told The Tribune that another case of EPF embezzlement at the Lehra thermal plant had been registered against the contractor.

After the case, the PSEB vigilance recommended the blacklisting of the contractor.

However, in a controversial decision, the Punjab Police withdrew the case against the contractor in court. This evoked protests from the PSEB vigilance.

Now, the return of the contractor to the plant has raised hackles at the PSEB.

He has been given four registrations in a short time-span in departments where, allegedly, he has little experience.

The general manager of the Ropar thermal plant said he did not have much knowledge about the said registrations. He said officers concerned generally forwarded the registrations. The member, generation, PSEB, was not available for comments.

Sources here indicated that there was political pressure on the authorities to re-induct the contractor. It has been alleged that the companies are pooling and contracts are going at a very high cost. So the authorities facilitated the entry of a tainted contractor to lower the rates and create competition.


Surprise checking in Sangrur
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
The local police today conducted surprise checking at several places in the town. Besides checking, nakas were also laid at various places to strengthen the security. About 100 policemen, including 50 from the local Police Lines, were deployed in the town today.

The DSP told The Tribune here this evening that he, along with SHO Harwinder Singh, city in charge Bharpur Singh and some policemen checked Mata Sri Kali Devi Mandir, Moti cinema, bus stand and railway station here. An anti-sabotage team, comprising bomb squad and dog squad, searched the temple, cinema hall and other places. During checking, they found no objectionable article from anywhere, the DSP added.


Rs 5,000-cr plan for tubewell consumers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board Y.S. Ratra stated here today that in order to provide quality power to agricultural consumers, the board had finalised a plan to convert all existing 9.5 lakh tubewell consumers, who are presently being served through low voltage distribution system, to high voltage distribution system.

Ratra said under this plan about 5.25 lakh tube well consumers would be covered by March 2009 and the remaining 4.25 lakh by March 2010.

The project cost of about Rs 5,000 crore shall be recovered by way of reduction in transmission and distribution losses within five to six years, he claimed.


13 girls married off
Tribune News Service

Chural Kalan (Moonak), October 17
At a mass marriage ceremony, 13 girls, who were daughters of marginal farmers and farm labourers who had committed suicide under the burden of debt in the past some years in Moonak subdivision of Sangrur district, were today married off at the residence of Inderjit Singh Jeji. He had been taking up the cause of farmers and farm labourers at the state and national levels.

The entire expenditure (about Rs 13 lakh) was done by Bhai Balwinder Singh Rangila’s Chandigarh-based Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji Gurmat Sangeet Academy. Every girl was given domestic goods and some gold ornaments.

Of the 13 girls, three were from Jat Sikh families and one from a Muslim family. Fathers of three Jat Sikh girls were marginal farmers while the fathers of remaining 10 girls were farm labourers.

Jeji, who is also chairman of the Movement Against State Repression, said they had been facing problems in convincing the Jat Sikh families to get their girls married at the mass marriage ceremony.

Langar was organised on the occasion. Shaguns were also given to the couples after the marriage ceremony.


Mystery shrouds girl’s disappearance
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 17
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl, with the police and parents of the girl contradicting each other’s statements regarding the girl’s missing status. While the parents allege that their daughter has eloped with her brother’s friend, the police claimed the girl could have committed suicide.

The girl, a resident of Abdanpur village, has been missing from her home since September 8 this year. Her mother after returning from work had discovered that the girl was missing.

After inquiring about her from the neighbours and relatives, the parents concluded that she had fled with one Rajbir Singh alias Raju, a resident of Baurd village, who worked with the girl’s brother and used to frequently visit their house.

The matter was reported to the police, following which a case was registered.

On September 15, the local police took the parents of the girl to a canal near Rauni village, where they showed them the slippers of their daughter and a scooter that belonged to Rajbir Singh. After the parents identified the slippers to be of their daughter, the police concluded that the duo committed suicide by jumping into the canal.

However, the parents told the police that the slippers and the scooter had deliberately been left there to mislead them. They told the police that one of the friends of Rajbir Singh had complete information about his whereabouts.

Though, initially the police did not considered the hue and cries raised by the parents, an inquiry was ordered when the matter was reported to the SSP.

SSP, Nilabh Kishore, said so far the bodies of the two had not been recovered, which suggested that they were still alive. He said it appeared that the duo had tried to mislead the police by leaving the slippers and the scooter along the canal.

He said the matter was being looked into, but so far no clues had been found that could help the police in tracing the girl.


Cotton farmers allege harassment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (Sidhupur), in a protest rally held in front of the Cotton Corporation of India office here today, alleged that the central government was giving a stepmotherly treatment to Punjab farmers.

The protesting farmers also alleged that government agencies had not started cotton procurement in Punjab mandis, which had resulted in the harassment of farmers at the hands of private traders.

In the rally, BKU (Sidhupur) president Pishaura Singh Sidhupur said, “The MSP of cotton in Punjab is fixed at Rs 1950 per quintal, while in the southern parts of the country, it is Rs 2070 per quintal. The quality of cotton is the same,’’ he said.

The central government plans its procurement agenda around January, when cotton crop arrives in mandis in south India. This clearly is a stepmotherly treatment towards Punjab farmers,’’ he added.


3.5 lakh tonnes of paddy procured

Pathankot, October 17
Around 3.5 lakh tonnes paddy has been procured by purchase agencies in Gurdaspur district till today. After taking stock of the procurement of paddy proceedings in the grain markets of Kanwa and Sarna, J. R. Kundal, principal secretary of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Punjab, said this year 8, 268 MT paddy had been purchased excess in comparison to the last year’s purchase.

He said arrangements had been made to ensure payment of crops to the farmers in 24 hours. — OC


Heavy rain, hailstorm damage paddy
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 17
Unexpected heavy rain, that lashed the region yesterday, has resulted in apprehensions among the paddy farmers who were expecting a good harvest this season.

About 50 per cent of the total paddy crop, which is yet to be harvested, is believed to have suffered damage during the rain and hailstorm. Uncovered paddy lying at various grains markets also suffered damage due to the rains.

Besides, the rain is also likely to increase the moisture content in the reaped paddy, thus bringing down its market price.

Narinder Singh of Alampur village said the farmers are likely to suffer financial losses of more than 30 per cent due to the rains.

In some areas, water logging has led to the destruction of the crops.

The rains also exposed the officials’ failure in ensuring adequate number of covered sheds for the agriculture produce.

Officials of the market committee said the weather over the last several days had been quite pleasant and the sudden downpour was most unexpected.


Anaesthesia Day celebrated

Patiala, October 17
The department of anaesthesia and intensive care, Government Medical College, Patiala with association of the State Bank of Patiala, organised World Anaesthesia Day here today.

Dr Baljit Singh, ex DRME Punjab, and former principal of Government Medical College, Patiala was the chief guest on the occasion.

Celebrated with the purpose of spreading awareness among the general masses regarding the importance of anaesthesia, Dr. T S Punia, professor and head, department of anaesthesiology and intensive care, Rajindra Hospital, highlighted the precautionery steps which need to be taken by anaesthesiologists during and after a surgery.

Dr Punia further said no operation is possible in a safe manner without the services of an anaesthesiologist. — TNS


Health officers give memo to DC over salary
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
Rural health officers (service providers) of the district today submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner in connection with the arbitrary decision of the state government regarding fixing Rs 5,000 as monthly salary of a pharmacist even as a case was pending in the court in this regard.

Secretary, rural development and panchayats, in its orders on October 1 had fixed Rs 5,000 as salary of a pharmacist working either in a dispensary or a veterinary hospital as it felt that the they were paid much less.

Talking to the media, rural health officers said the government should not have taken the decision in view of the civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The next date of hearing had been fixed for November 1 in which the fate of the 178 petitioners was likely to be decided, they added. 


High Court
Case against Badals
Details of witnesses sought

Chandigarh, October 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked for the details of witnesses proposed to be examined in the disproportionate assets case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others.

Taking up a petition filed by the state of Punjab for allowing the public prosecutor to examine the investigating officer before the remaining witnesses in the case, Justice Surya Kant also fixed November 14 as the next date of hearing in the matter. Senior advocate-cum-former advocate-general G.S. Grewal was also appointed as amicus curiae in the case.

The judge also dismissed an application filed by a Jalandhar-based journalist seeking permission to be impleaded as intervener in the case and verbally observed in the open court that no one could be allowed to use the courts as platform to achieve publicity or popularity.

The state had earlier moved the plea for setting aside the order of Ropar Special Judge vide which he had rejected the public prosecutor’s application for examining the investigating officer of the case.

The petition, impleading Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Badal, son Sukhbir Badal and seven others, stated that the Special Judge’s order dated August 20 was against the provisions of law.


Opium case
Police remand for six

Faridkot, October 17
The local court pronounced two-day police remand to the six accused, including vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Veena Sharma, held with 2 kg opium and Rs 45,000 in cash, here today.

The accused, apart from Veena, were her husband Suba Ram and her son Simranjit Sharma, Narain Das, his wife Bindiya and Rajpal.

Veena, while talking to scribes, alleged that she and her family was framed in the case at the behest of the state government. — TNS


‘Punjab facing cultural crisis’
P. K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, October 17
Writers, through literature, should play a realistic and vital role rather than a cosmetic one as there is an urgent need of revolutionary ideology for bringing in change in society plagued with economical and cultural crisis.

This was stated by Jnanpith award winner and Padma Shri Prof Gurdial Singh while talking to The Tribune. He was here to deliver a lecture during the valedictory function of the four-week general orientation course organised by Academic Staff College of Guru Nanak Dev University which concluded here today. Dr Dharam Singh, Professor, School of Punjabi Studies, was the chief guest.

Professor Gurdial, who has contributed about four dozen books of poetry, novels, stories and translation depicting the agony of the people of not only of Punjab but also of the whole country, said Punjab was facing a virtual economical and cultural crisis.

Expressing his concern over the decline in the standards of education, he said only 3 per cent children attain higher education. Until the government gave priority to education, the condition of society would remain unchanged.

About the role of teachers, Professor Gurdial said they should remain attentive to the problems faced by the country as only they could bring the change by making the society aware. He said people should be made aware of the problems faced by our society so that they could think and come on a common platform to build pressure on the government to solve these problems.

He said the financial and social conditions of our country had shown a decline and there was an urgent need to make the people aware of improving this situation and teachers could play a vital role in this.


SD College wins overall trophy
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
SD College, Barnala, has won the overall trophy at the Punjabi University Zonal Youth Festival (Mansa zone) held at University College, Rampura Phul, today. University College was declared the first runner-up while Guru Nanak College, Budhlada, was the second runner-up.

The winners of the events are Guru Nanak College, Budhlada (mime), Lal Bahadur Shastri Arya Mahila College, Barnala (skit and theatre), University College, Rampura Phul (overall trophy in fine arts), Guru Nanak College, Budhlada (giddha and folk arts) and Guru Gobind Singh College, Sanghera (bhangra).


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