P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Bumper crop: Agencies run short of space
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
There may be a worldwide shortage of foodgrains, but there is a problem of plenty in Punjab with procurement agencies stocking wheat in the open due to a bumper crop as well as a shortened procurement season.

All major procurement agencies, including Punjab Agro, Punsup, Warehousing Corporation and even the Food Corporation of India (FCI), are leasing out agricultural fields in the state to store wheat bags.

Some of these storage areas do not have proper plinths and almost everywhere the wheat bags are lying uncovered.

On the Fatehgarh Sahib-Patiala road at Saddomajra village, thousands of bags of wheat are lying in the open on makeshift plinths that are not raised to the required height.

Farmer and social worker R.S. Bhinder disclosed that the huge quantity of wheat stored in fields would not have access to pucca roads during the rainy season.

“Paddy will be planted in the entire area along the storage place, resulting in a different set of problems in a few months”, he said.

Bhinder said besides inaccessible roads during the monsoon season, there was bound to be losses due to the high moisture content in the area.

“Already, we have had two bouts of rainfall and in case there is more rain in the coming days, the losses will be greater”.

Sources disclosed that in the past, hundreds of tonnes of wheat was auctioned off as damaged crop at half the price due to problems of storage as well as procurement of substandard produce.

While this was auctioned off as cattle feed, a lot of the same wheat came back into the market and was also sold for human consumption.

Farmers seem to be benefiting from the lack of storage space. At Virk Farm on the Bassi Panthana-Khamanon road, a huge quantity of wheat has been stored in agricultural fields.

People in the area disclosed that this was a common practice and the procurement agencies were usually unable to lift the grain for more than a year at a time.

When contacted, senior regional manager, FCI, Sarabjit Singh said the movement of wheat was going on smoothly at present.

He said the glut earlier had been due to heavy arrival of stocks within a very short period. He said 4.50 lakh tonnes had been dispatched directly to other states from the various mandis.

He said around 15 to 16 lakh tonnes of wheat was still lying in various markets and this would be lifted within a week’s time.

Speaking about the open storage, Sarabjit Singh said there were problems earlier as wheat had been stored in the open for as much as five years in some cases.

“Also one year’s production was always in storage”, he said, adding the situation had improved since then and the FCI did not envision any damage due to open storage presently.


Remove re-employed chief engineers: PSEB staff
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Strongly opposing the re-employment of retired chief engineers and other officials as advisors in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), the PSEB Engineers’ Association has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to direct the board authorities to remove them immediately.

In a letter addressed to Badal and the chief secretary and the power secretary, association chief H.S. Bedi has stated that the matter was taken up with the board management several times in the recent past, but without any positive response.

He said there was a lot of resentment in the cadre, particularly at senior levels, because of the reappointment of retired engineers at important places in the board.

Talking to The Tribune, Bedi said the board was facing several functional and administrative problems because of the re-employment of retired chief engineers as advisors.

They were enjoying all powers of chief engineers without any accountability since the decision on important policy matters were being taken by these advisors, but chief engineers were made to sign the papers, asserted Bedi.

The top management of the board was also directly dealing with the advisors, bypassing incumbent chief engineers, thus, making the office of various heads of departments ineffective.

Moreover, over a period of time, the advisors had developed a vested interest in keeping the official hierarchy ignorant about important official matters since their continuation at such a post depended on their capability to keep the official machinery dependant on them for routine official matters.

“We demand that all these advisors employed by the board be removed immediately as they are performing routine jobs of the chief engineers for which sufficient number of talented engineers are available,” Bedi said.

Upset over the increasing tendency of the PSEB management to re-employ retired officers as advisors, the association said the re-employed chief engineers were, in fact, performing most of the day-to-day functions of chief engineers.

It was affecting the well-established administrative hierarchy and accountability in the organisation.

This tendency was creeping in the working of some serving chief engineers also who were near superannuation and aspirants for re-employment.

They were not interested to train their sub-ordinates which was the prime duty of a superior officer.

Above all, these officers were being re-employed on pick-and-choose basis and againstthe established service rules, Bedi stated.


Politics Punjab Style
Victory matters, whatever the means
Countryside goes to the polls today
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
As the State Election Commission (EC) readies itself for restoring democracy at the grass-roots level, candidates and rival political parties are preparing themselves for the battle of ballot tomorrow.

Unlike the EC objective of ensuring a fair poll, rival politicians have only one objective in mind and that is to win by whatever means.

Punjab style politics that believes in pampering the ruling party and oppression of the Opposition parties is once again openly visible.

There is hardly any opposition party that has not complained to the EC and again there is hardly any complaint that has evoked a decisive response.

Intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has, however, led to the postponement of the polls in some areas.

Since elevation as a member of the village panchayat amount to an instant elevation in social hierarchy, candidates and their organisers are using all means to ensure a favourable verdict in tomorrow’s 141 Panchayat Samiti and 20 Zila Parishad polls.

Over 1.51 crore voters are expected to cast vote. However, polling for forming 12,698 Panchayats will be held on May 26.

Though, officially electioneering has came to an end, but there is no stopping from door-to-door campaign and late night “booze” parties.

A round of the villages in Punjab revealed that the party spirit in almost every village has given vent to the earlier reported indifferences among the villagers.

“Once my father is elected, there will be no dearth of marriage proposals for my sister,” feels Sukhminder Singh, son of an Akali candidate.

Similarly, Surjit Kaur of Hedon village in Samrala tehsil feels that victory in the elections will not only give the elected contestants an opportunity in governance, but it will “overnight catapult the status of the families into a higher orbit”.

To achieve this candidates and their supporters are going all out to cajole, coerce or even bribe voters in cash and kind.

The trend is almost similar in every village, except where rejections of large-scale nominations have led to a boycott.

With the Punjab and Haryana High Court coming to the aid of some aggrieved persons, the elections to Panchayat Samitis Sri Hargobindpur Zone No. 11 Dakkha in district Gurdaspur, and Chola Sahib Zone No. 11 Dhathal, Naushera Pannuan Zone No. 7 Warana, Chola Sahib Zone No. 14 Varia Nawein and Naushera Pannuan No. 9 Rakh Sheron all in Tarn Taran district have been postponed to May 26.

According to village elders, there has been a marked change in the panchayat elections over the years.

Hakam Singh of Kotli village says: “Earlier, elderly in the village had a strong influence over selection of members of a panchayat and even the Sarpanch was elected by a voice vote. But, today the entire scene has been politicised, even the poll is fought on party symbols making people vote for ‘election symbols’ rather than for individuals.”

For tomorrow’s polls, which will see 88,700 employees in 17,700 polling booths being supervised by 29 observers and manned by 49,000 police personnel, the SAD-BJP alliance is leaving nothing to chance to allow Congress candidates bounce back after the results.

But, even the entire rural Punjab parties there is hardly anyone talking about development, supply of clean water, power, etc.


Remove commissioner: Cong
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 11
President of the PPCC Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has asked the Election Commissioner of India to order the transfer the Amritsar municipal commissioner D.P.S. Kharbanda forthwith for helping the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the Amritsar (South) bypoll.

Bhattal has alleged that Kharbanda was biased against the Congress and was extending undue favour to ruling party candidate Inderbir Singh Buloria in the election campaign. The constituency will go to polls on May 22.

Bhattal alleged that Amritsar was the hometown of Kharbanda besides him being a classmate of sitting city BJP Mayor Shawet Malik.

She said that all developmental works were on full swing in this constituency to lure the voters.

Bhattal said Congress representatives Surinder Singla and Munish Tiwari would meet the Chief Election Commission tomorrow in New Delhi with proof against Kharbanda. The party would stress for immediate transfer of Kharbanda from Amritsar.

She said police officer Makhan Singh, at the behest of the ruling party, was allegedly terrorising Congress activists and creating hurdles in their election campaign.

AMRITSAR: Expressing concern over the SGPC grant of Rs 40 lakh to the SAD for using it in the elections, she said they would also file a petition in the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission against the committee for misuse of the Guru Ki Golak.

She said even employees of the committee were being allegedly put on poll duty in violation of the Gurdwara Act.


AICC secy: Arjun’s outburst political opportunism
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 11
According to Iqbal Singh, MP and secretary, All-India Congress Committee (AICC), the recent outburst of Arjun Singh, human resource development (HRD) minister, against the Congress president was nothing but political opportunism.

He expressed these views to The Tribune, here today. He said Arjun Singh had a reputation of creating controversies and had, once again, issued statements to create strife in the party.

He should have restrained himself from issuing such a statement since he was a senior Cabinet minister, a member of the core committee and of the Congress Working Committee.

While talking to The Tribune, Iqbal Singh, who is in the city to campaign for the Congress candidate Navdeep Singh Goldy for the Amritsar South constituency, said he had been in the AICC for the past 12 years holding important posts in the committee.

He did not know on what basis the HRD minister had made the statement of there being disarray in the decision-making process in the party. Earlier too, Arjun Singh had been attacking the party leadership without any reason.


Khasa women show the way
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, May 11
Though spouses and other members of a majority of women candidates’ families in the Khasa Zila Parishad zone, reserved for women, have been campaigning for them, several women contestants have themselves been doing canvassing vigorously.

Communist party candidate Satwinder Kaur, who is fighting the election from this zone, is campaigning door to door. She said she was contesting only to serve the people, especially women and the downtrodden.

Her father-in-law and staunch comrade Bur Singh, who took part in the freedom struggle, was the inspiration behind her decision to contest the election.

Gurmit Kaur, BJP candidate, said she visited 38 villages and appealed to the women folk to use their voting right to raise the issues concerning women in society. She wanted to work for women at a larger level.

When this correspondent tried to meet SAD contestant Jaswinder Kaur, her husband insisted that he would talk on behalf of her. Similarly, Baljinder Singh, son of Congress contestant Amarjit Kaur, who was campaigning for her mother, maintained he was ready to answer all queries as his mother would not be able to answer those.


Traders reiterate support to SAD
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 11
The SAD today got a shot in the arm with the local trade and industry associations reiterating their support to party’s candidate Inderbir Singh Bularia in the Amritsar (South) constituency elections.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal assured the traders, who participated in a programme organised by the Amritsar Trade and Industry Association in collaboration with the Board of Trade and Industry of Punjab, that the government would look into their grievances.

He admitted that there were some anomalies in the VAT system which would be looked into.

He said the government would take legal course if the Central government failed to provide subsidies to the Punjab industry on a par with the industry in the neighbouring states.


Preneet tours Samana, Patran
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
On the eve of the Zila Parishad and Block Samiti elections, Patiala MP Preneet Kaur lashed out at the state government.

Preneet was speaking at Marori village, near here, after touring the subdivisions of Samana and Patran.

She said people were disgusted with the policies of the SAD-BJP combine and were sore about the unfinished development works.

On the other hand, former MP and general secretary of the SAD Prem Singh Chandumajra said going by a massive response the party had been getting from people in villages of Sangrur and Patiala districts, the SAD was all set to grab power in the elections.

Meanwhile, the observer for the Block Samiti, Panchyat and Zila Parishad elections for Patran and Samana subdivisions and director-cum-principal secretary V.K. Janjua chaired a meeting of officials.


Gosain fears rigging by SAD workers
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 11
The BJP-SAD rift over Panchayat elections in Punjab reached a high point today when Punjab Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker and senior BJP leader Satpal Gosain complained to the state Election Commission that he apprehended booth-capturing and poll-rigging by SAD workers tomorrow.

The deputy speaker, who is in charge of Ludhiana and Moga constituencies for the BJP, alleged that the local administration at Ludhiana was openly helping SAD candidates.

He demanded the removal of SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Kanwarjit Singh and SHO Balbir Singh who, he alleged, were helping the SAD candidate at the Bodelwal seat of the Zila Parishad.

The deputy speaker met the commissioner in his office in Sector 34, Chandigarh, this evening. Talking to TNS later, Gosain said he apprehended that SAD workers would indulge in unfair practices across Punjab.

“I have travelled to some parts and it is sad that at many places BJP workers are being threatened either directly by the SAD candidate or by the local administration,” he added.

Gosain has also called all BJP workers who had “suffered” at the hands of SAD workers in these elections for a meeting on May 16.

“The next course of action will be decided once we have the total picture before us,” he said.

In the written complaint to the election commissioner, the deputy speaker has alleged that the Bodewal Zone of the Zila Parishad in Ludhiana is very sensitive where BJP and SAD contestants are in the fray.

“Local MLA Darshan Singh Shivalik, SSP Kanwarjit Singh and SHO, Mullanpur Dhaka, Balbir Singh, who is also residing in the area, are working for the SAD candidates.

“In South City Ayali Khurd, the MLA and administration are getting construction work done in people’s houses in violation of the model code of conduct,” he alleged, adding, “High-level booth- capturing will be done in Badowal in Ludhiana.”

In response to the complaint, the secretary, state Election Commission, Yashvir Mahajan has ordered the DIG, Ludhiana Range, to make arrangements for extra security in the zone and ensure that the elector exercised their franchise freely and without any element of fear.


Crores spent on plane without giving it a fly
Aircraft lying idle for past 17 years
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
Punjab government-owned Beechcraft King Air C-90-A aircraft has been gathering dust without flying any VIP or VVIP, causing loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer for past more than 17 years.

Interestingly, though the aircraft has not performed any flight duty all these years, it has allegedly been repaired and maintained at a whopping annual expenditure involving crores of rupees.

The Civil Aviation Department has been keeping the aircraft “off flight” on the plea that guidelines stipulate that no aircraft which is more than 20 years old can be put on any VIP flight duty.

Now, the question here is if the flying machine could not be utilised, why was it being maintained at such a high cost and that too for so long?

Civil aviation sources reveal that the aircraft was being repaired and maintained at an annual expenditure of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.

Hence, the total maintenance cost worked out to be around Rs 5.2 crore since 1982, when the aircraft was purchased by the government for the then Chief Minister at an estimated price of about Rs 4 crore.

Huge money has been spent on procuring the plane’s spares. Presently, the price of a similar new machine, as per the sources, could be between Rs 13 crore and Rs 15 crore, while the government-owned aircraft is said to be worth about Rs 3 crore at the moment.

Highly placed sources reveal that the plane might have been 25-26 years old, but its condition is “just like new” as it has logged just about 4,500 hours of flying.

The six-seater aircraft was largely used by then Chief Minister Darbara Singh after its purchase in 1982.

The small twin-turboprop business aircraft remained operational till the death of then civil aviation adviser Capt Kamindra Singh in the early ’90s.

Thereafter, the plane remained “abandoned” as it logged just about 100 flying hours and remained parked in the hanger at the Delhi airport where it was maintained for next about 13-14 years.

It was only three-four months back that the aircraft was sent to the Mumbai airport where it is being maintained by a private company.

The department might not have been able to operate the civil utility type aircraft for various reasons, including the guidelines prohibiting the use of any aircraft which was more than 20 years for flight duty, but the sources say it could have been put to use due to its lending to a state-run training institute.

The aircraft, the sources say, could also be given to the Patiala Flying Club, which was devoid of any twin-engine aircraft for training purposes till date even as the Rai Barielly-based Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy boasts of possessing two similar aircrafts given to it by the Centre.

“This could also solve the problem of shortage of pilots for VIP planes in the state,” the sources add.

The otherwise versatile Beechcraft plane, produced by the Beech Aircraft Corporation, now Beechcraft division of Hawker Beechcraft, was perhaps the only aircraft in the world which has been in continous production since 1964, and it had reportedly outsold all of its turboprop competitors.

It was a different matter that the aircraft now faced stiff competition from Beechcraft Premier 1 and Cessna Citation Mustang.


Co. fires employee despite appraisals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
A factory employee, who received good ratings in two successive appraisals in 2005 and 2006, was sacked in October 2007 by the new management of Federal Mogul Goetze in Patiala without assigning any reason.

Vijay Kumar Gupta, manager, tool room at the Mogul, was sacked with the company citing Clause (3) of his appointment letter, which allows instant removal with one-month salary being paid in lieu of the notice period.

Gupta had passed muster in performance ratings for 2004-05 and 2005-06. During 2004-05 the company had upgraded his grade and gavin him an increment, while appreciating his “achievements”.

The next year, he received an increment of Rs 500, besides an increase in his ad-hoc allowance from Rs 1,250 to Rs 2,300.

The employee said he was shocked when he was informed on October 5, 2007, that he had been dismissed with immediate effect. He said after 22 years of service, he was sacked without assigning any reason.

“I was not served any show-cause notice nor was any inquiry initiated against me,” he said. Gupta was not the only person to face the axe, said another manager of the company.

The employee claimed that he was a victim of the new management that was following faulty policies.

Other engineers and managers, who had been asked to leave the company earlier, were offered the benefits of the VRS.

He said the company had extended other financial benefits to such employees under the scope of the same appointment letter that was applicable to him.

But factory plant manager Sunit Kapoor said the change in the factory management had no adverse effect on employee relations.

He said Gupta was not performing well and his performance appraisals for the past two years was not up to the mark.

He added that the company’s human resources department could shed more light on the exact reasons for the dismissal of the employees.


N-plants answer to power crisis: Scientist
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 11
Several North Indian states, including Punjab and Haryana, have been facing acute power shortage.

Installation of nuclear power plants in these states may minimise power shortage, according to Dr S.R. Gowarikar, Head, Technical Physics Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai.

He said nuclear power plants should be set up in Punjab and Haryana to reduce power shortage. He was the chief guest at the National Technology Day function at Pushpa Gujral Science City here today.

Former director of CSIO, Chandigarh, Gowarikar said if there were proper sites for installing power plants in Punjab and Haryana, these should be set up.

He said a nuclear power plant could not have been installed in Punjab so far due to safety reasons, as it had remained a disturbed state for several years.

“Since it is a border state, the threat of a missile attack by the enemy on the nuclear power plant is always there,” he said, adding that was why most plants were located in the interior of the country.

“Anti-missile devices can be installed at the plant to minimise the security threat,” he added.

Gowarikar was of the view that even if nuclear power plants were not set up in Punjab and Haryana for whatever reason, power generated from nuclear power plants in other states might be distributed to them through the national grid.

Answering a query, he admitted that there would be a huge distribution loss in supplying power from one state to another. To minimise it, an efficient high-voltage grid system was being installed.

Gowarikar said as much as 5,920 MW electricity was being generated in 24 operative nuclear power plants that had been set up in different states under the aegis of the Nuclear Power Corporation.

The NPC has set a target of generating 22,000 MW power, he said. Two power plants of 700 MW each would be set up shortly to achieve the target.

While the designs of the two proposed power plants were already prepared, the sites were yet to be finalised, he added.

At present, 22 nuclear power plants with 220-MW capacity each, and two power plants with 540-MW capacity each, are generating power in different states, including Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Only one nuclear power plant has been set up in North India so far and that is at Naroda, Uttar Pradesh, he added.

While replying to a question, Gowarikar said India had a clean record of radioactivity accident as every possible effort was being made to minimise possible radiation in nuclear power plants.

He said India usually used natural uranium to generate power, while enriched uranium was being used for the same purpose in western countries.


Foundation stone of judicial complex laid
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo (Bathinda), May 11
Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Jain laid the foundation stone of a double-storey air-conditioned judicial complex in Courts Complex here today.

Chief Justice Jain was accorded a guard of honour by a Punjab Police contingent. Justice Mahesh Grover, Justice K.C. Puri and Justice Sabina were welcomed by Kuldip Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda.

Addressing advocates, prominent citizens and senior officials of the subdivision, Chief Justice Jain said the judicial system was an integral part of the democratic structure and a strong judiciary was a must for a robust democracy.

He wanted judges as well as the Bar (advocates) to be equal partners in this onerous task of strengthening the judiciary vis-à-vis the democratic set-up, particularly in Punjab.

He said subordinate judicial officers could perform miscellaneous tasks, including identification of issues, attempt to limit disputes arising out of pleadings and actively participating in the alternative dispute resolution system.

He disclosed that despite addressing delay in justice at innumerable stages, nearly 5,91,000 cases were pending in court.

He called for immediate checking this trend otherwise the pendency rate was likely to go up further in the context of rising population.

Showing deep concern over the ever-mounting pendency of the cases in the judiciary as well as in executive, Chief Justice Jain delved in devising ways and means to cope up with peculiar situation efficaciously.

He further disclosed that 100 judicial officers had been inducted in the court for speedy disposal of cases and 400 more judicial officers under training would join the court soon.

He appealed to the public to mediate between the litigants to settle their
cases out of court.

Earlier, Chief Justice Jain paid obeisance at Takht Shri Damdama Sahib. He was also presented with a ‘siropa’ by the management of the gurdwara.

Speaking on the occasion, Kuldip Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Bathinda, said with the completion of the judicial complex, which was likely to be completed in a year’s time at a cost of around Rs 795 lakh, the working environment of the judges and lawyers would substantially improve.

All judicial officers of Talwandi Sabo, including Jitendra Jain, DIG, Faridkot range, Rahul Tewari, DC, Bathinda and Naunihal Singh, SSP, Bathinda, were also present.


Santa Singh’s ashes immersed
Tribune News Service

Kiratpur Sahib, May 11
The 13th chief of Shiromani Panth Akali Budha Dal (Panjwan Takht), Baba Santa Singh's ashes were immersed in the waters of Gurdwara Patalpuri Sahib here today.

Baba’s successor, the 14th chief Baba Balbir Singh, immersed the ashes. Baba Santa Singh’s sister Kishan Kaur also accompanied a large group of people, including hundreds of Nihangs.

Two police parties, headed by the DSP, led the procession from Patiala to Kiratpur Sahib. Punjab police personnel were deputed to maintain law and order in the area during the ceremony.


Doc on mission to check foeticide
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Even as the credibility of the NGOs comes under a cloud for their various acts of omission and commission, Dr Gurmel Chahal’s “one-man army” is on a unique mission to create awareness about female foeticide in Punjab.

The state has the dubious distinction of having one of the poorest sex ratios in the country. In fact, Dr Chahal’s efforts were recently rewarded when he was given the “UNFPA-Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity-2007” for his telefilm “Dheeyan maro na” in recognition of his initiative to address the issue of sex selection.

“The telefilm gives a strong message that the son you produce may not be the kuldeepak that you may expect him to be and the daughters can also prove to be assets if one invests in them. He has widely disseminated the film through TV channels and in schools and colleges,” the citation of the awards says.

Laadli--a girl child campaign by Population First, a Mumbai-based organisation, addresses an important social issue--the bias against the girl child which makes her unwelcome in many families.

The organisation recently constituted the awards to highlight, acknowledge and celebrate the commendable efforts by various media in providing gender-just perspectives, portrayals and analysis.


Research on ‘Gian Manjari’ complete
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, May 11
A research work on the 400-year-old rare 237-page manuscript in ‘Gurmukhi’ titled ‘Gian Manjari’, a rich vedantic philosophy, was assigned to young litterateur Dr Lakhvir Singh, way back in 1998 and the work commenced in 2000.

It is now complete. The manuscript had been lying in the archives of the Department of Languages,Punjab.

Lakhvir, not only accomplished the job but also explored many new dimensions i.e. its mystical, historical and cultural relevance.

His work ‘Manohar Dass Niranjani Granthawali’ in Devnagari script is now awaiting publication. Sharing his eight years extensive research with the Tribune Lakhvir came out with many enlightening facts.

On perusal he observed that Gian Manjari was authored by Manohar Dass Niranjani and not Bhagwan Singh, as believed earlier, who had only generated its copies (utaara).

Besides, the manuscript in fact comprised of five un-probed collection of rare works scribed in Gurumukhi script on Advait-Vedanta.

Based on his research Lakhvir claimed that Niranajni belonged to the ‘Naath cult’ comprising devout migrants form Orissa, Bihar and UP

The dominant use of ‘Braj bhasha’ and Sadhukhari dialect by Niranjani is a testimony of his non-Punjabi origin.

Since the cumbersome phrases in Sanskrit were not within the conceptual grasp of the common man he had sculpted ‘Gianmanajari’ in comparatively subtle and lucid language in 1656.

Lauding the efforts of Lakhvir acclaimed literary luminary Dr Harnam Singh Shan opined that Lakhvir had immortalised Niranjani and his other four works.

He had enlivened the content linking up the references quoted by Niranjani, lending authentication to his work.

A President’s award winning Sanskrit scholar, Dr Mathura Dutt Pandey, hailed Lakhvir’s work as a pioneering venture and as a befitting tribute to the intuitive wisdom of Niranjani.


Disregard to Panchayat Poll Duty
120 cops to face music
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 11
More than 120 Punjab police officials are going to face the music for not reporting on poll duty in spite of several notices served on them.

Initially, action was initiated by the Punjab police authorities against 288 officials of the Patiala police of the rank of head constables and constables, but, as a number of them have reported on duty after several reminders, the police authorities were contemplating suspension of nearly 120 officials who had not resumed their duties.

Interestingly, whereabouts of these 288 officials were not known for a long time to the Patiala police, which, however, kept issuing reminders to such “derelict” officials every off and on.

Most of these officials, it was learnt, were attached as PSOs (personal security officers) with certain politicians and bureaucrats.

The situation, sources said, could have gone like this for a longer period had there been no Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls around.

But, as the polls were announced by the Election Commission, the police authorities were forced to resort to a “headcount”, which, eventually revealed that as 288 police officials were not present on their duty.

Ironically, the Patiala police authorities had issued three reminders to each of the “absent” constables and head constables.

But, hardly any of them cared to respond to the notice. The commission guidelines, it was learnt, specified that absent officials could be arrested in case they failed to report on poll duty.

As the police authorities adopted a tough posture and initiated suspension proceedings against absentees, 168 of police officials reported on duty, police sources revealed.

“Since poll duty is treated as an emergency duty, we are going to suspend absent officials. The suspension is imminent as we have got a list of the absentees,” said DSP (headquarters) Ashish Kapur.


Indo-Pak Trade
Pak scores on infrastructure
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, May 11
The Pakistani authorities have moved on a faster pace to build a modern infrastructure to handle international cargo on their side of the border by constructing modern godowns, hi-tech material-handling equipment, offices, sheds, ramps and other required facilities after the opening of truck services across the Radcliffe Line in October 2007.

A senior officer of the Customs, on the condition of anonymity, revealed that during a joint Indo-Pak Customs meeting held three months ago, the Pakistani counterparts showed them a multi-media presentation about the modern joint check-post on their side.

However, India has lagged behind in building the modern system as the Punjab government had failed to acquire the 120-acre land for developing the ultra system for hastening trade across the border.

The Centrre, trying to create a better infrastructure, has planned a high-tech joint check-post at the Attari-Wagah road and requested the state to allocate 120 acres to build the infrastructure estimated at cost Rs 360 crore which would include installation of trucks scanners, six-lane cargo designated points, godowns, etc.

The RITES Consultancy Forum has already submitted its project report to the Central government for early execution, but its implementation has been hanging due to lack of initiative by different stake holders.

The Customs authorities revealed that the modern cargo handling the project would have the capacity to cater to 1,000 trucks for the export and import of trade at any given time.

The administration refused to comment on the acquisition of 120 acres of land for the purpose of the hi-tech cargo handling station. However, no date has been fixed for the acquisition of land.

The exporters dealing with Pakistan for the supply of perishable goods have demanded that the time period for the clearance of goods should be extended.

Rajdeep Uppal, a leading businessman, said during the summer months the gates should open at 7 am and close around 3.30 pm and later allow the road for Beating the Retreat ceremony.

He said the Customs authorities should allow large trucks to carry more cargo across the border which would help to increase the volume of trade.

The exporters chamber here has urged the government to take up the construction of modern cargo complex on a war-footing to double the trade with Pakistan in the coming years as the infrastructure bottlenecks was a major hurdle for the faster movement of cargo.

(To be concluded)


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