R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri


4 kg heroin seized: The local police seized 4 kg heroin from the Central Jail here on Sunday. SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said the police had arrested Talwinder Singh and Mukhtiar Singh two days ago and seized 1 kg heroin and fake currency notes from them. During investigation the duo revealed that they had links with smugglers Jarnail Singh and Narinder Singh, who were lodged in the Central Jail under the NDPS Act. The two smugglers were interrogated and during investigation 4 kg heroin was recovered from them. 

Unbundling of PSEB: The Punjab government has sought another extension from the Union Power Ministry for the unbundling of the PSEB. Perhaps, it is the eighth extension sought in this regard. Sources said the state government had written to the Union power minister seeking an extension of one year up to May 31 next year for the unbundling of the PSEB. It has pleaded that it could not unbundle the PSEB because of elections of Zila Parishads and Block Samitis.

200 nominations rejected: Two hundred nomination papers filed for panchayat elections were cancelled on Sunday. As many as 6,537 candidates field their nomination papers from 444 villages in Fatehgarh Sahib. The voting for panchayat elections would be held on May 26. All villages of the district have been divided into 31 clusters and 31 returning officers would be appointed for the same. Meanwhile, 55 nomination papers were cancelled in Khanna.

Award for five: The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS), Patiala, conferred Annual Karam Yogi Birji Award-2008 on five social workers on the occasion of the 108th birth anniversary celebrations of social activist Dasodhi Ram Birji on Sunday. NTAS director Pran Sabharwal presented citations to the awardees including R.K. Singla, retired food and supply officer and R.S. Manrao, retired deputy secretary of PSEB, K.C. Khanna, Shyam Lal Gupta and B.S. Saini, president of the Jan Hit Samiti, Patiala.

Medical camp held: In collaboration with the local unit of the Beopar Mandal, Amandeep Hospital, Amritsar, organised a one-day free check-up camp for cleft lip and palate patients here on Saturday.More than a 1,000 patients were examined by the team of expert doctors. Harjinder Singh Goraya, project chairman, said in India around 35,000 children born every year with the disease.

Rampura (Sangrur)
Woman’s bluff exposed: Members of the Ek Noor Khalsa Fauj, led by Baba Kuldip Singh from Damdama Sahib,on Thursday evening exposed the bluff of Sarbjit Kaur (40), wife of Satnam Singh, who reportedly went to “sach khand” (realm of truth) on Monday for four days by way of going into coma-like situation. Sangrur DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said the woman admitted that being poor, she and her family thought that people would start worshipping her and also offer them money.



Cricket trials: Trials to select cricketers for various age groups, including 8 to 12 years, 12 to 16 years and 16 to 19 years for Bharti Vij's Saint Soldier Cricket Academy will be held on May 21 at the school grounds in Sector 28 here at 3.30 pm. 

Elected: A general body meeting of the Punjab Pensioners’ Association, Chandigarh, was held on Saturday. Jagdev Singh Sandhu was elected the president of the association. Other office-bearers: Senior vice-president - S.K. Khosla, vice-president -Jarnail Singh, general secretary-K.S. Naga, finance secretary-Bodh Raj, joint secretary-Jagmohan Sharda and organising secretary-Shiv Dyal Sharma.

1 killed: A motorcyclist was killed while another one was seriously injured when an unidentified vehicle knocked down the two-wheeler on Sunday evening. According to the police, the mishap took place near Azad Colony in Sector 21 around 8 pm. The victims were rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital from where they were referred to the PGI. One of the victims was declared brought dead while the other was stated to be in a critical condition.

Blood donation camp: A total of 312 units of blood were collected at a blood donation camp organised at Sant Nirankari Satsang Bhawan, Sector 9, on Sunday. The camp was inaugurated by Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria. All arrangements were made by Sant Nirankari Sewa Dal.

Elected: Sqn Ldr (retd) Rachhpal Singh was elected president of Jal Vayu Vihar Awas Kalyan Samiti at the general body meeting on Sunday. Others who were elected include Lt Cdr (retd) Ramesh Kumar - vice-president; Ram Kumar Saini - secretary; M.S. Alam - treasurer and Ajay Kumar Sharma, Sqn Ldr (retd) R.C. Pathania, Lt Cdr (retd) S.N. Shama, Harphool Singh and Gagan Anand as members.



Couple commits suicide: A couple committed suicide by consuming poison in Town Park here on Sunday. They have been identified as Suman (20) of Palwas village and Seh Mohan (25) of Devsar village. Both the villages are in Bhiwani district. The couple was noticed by visitors, who took them to the local General Hospital, where both of them died after some time. 

Mehra report criticised: The Haryana Pradesh Chamar Sangharsh Samiti has condemned the recommendations of the Justice Usha Mehra Commission regarding the A and B block classification of the members of Scheduled Castes. A state-level meeting of Scheduled Castes members was held under the chairmanship of samiti president Gaje Singh Muwal here on Sunday. The meeting alleged that the Mehra commission report was far from reality and its implementation would be against the larger interest of country and society. 

Witness goes missing: A victim-turned-witness in the case of rape against controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh went missing in the wee hours on Sunday. According to police sources, the witness went for morning walk with her husband but did not return. When her security guards got ready to accompany her, she asked them to stay there, saying that she will return soon. When SP Vikas Arora was approached for confirmation, he declined to comment, saying that the CBI is handling the case.



3 students missing
: Three school students from Kusumpati and Mehli localities have been reported missing since Thursday. According to the FIR lodged by the parents, Bittu a student of class VIII in Government Senior Secondary School, Kusumpati, Babloo (class VII) and Sonu (class VI), both of Government Middle School, Mehli, did not return home since May 14. The police have flashed their photographs and other details to all police stations to help trace them.

50 donate blood : A special blood donation camp was organised for the thalassaemic children for the first time in the state here on Sunday. The aim was to motivate people to help such patients who have to undergo blood transfusion at regular intervals. The initiative was taken by the YUVA-Himachal, a newly formed voluntary organisation. The camp was organised in collaboration with the state chapter of the Society for Disability And Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS) and the State AIDS Control Society. Fifty persons, including some tourists, donated blood on the occasion. A poster-making competition was also organised in which some six thalassaemic children also participated. 



Khawab Paara: “Khawab Paara”, a collection of poetic works of Khalid Bashir Ahmad was released here by eminent critic, poet and writer, Prof Hamidi Kashmiri. It is for the first time that former Kashmir University vice-chancellor Dr Hamidi Kashmiri participated in a literary function. Dr Hamidi said literary works of poets and writers were an indication of the future which lied in Urdu and Kashmiri. Dr Hamidi has many books, including one on the Jehlum, to his credit. 

13 shops sealed: The state Drug and Food Control Organisation (DFCO) has launched a week-long drive against unlicensed drugs sale establishments in the Kashmir valley. A spokesman said the DFCO had sealed 13 shops, suspended the licences of seven shops and closed down a shop for three days. The DFCO officials conducted special raids in Srinagar, Baramulla and Kupwara districts to ensure implementation of provisions of Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940.

Bapu’s autobiography : The autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, “My experiments with Truth”, has been translated into Gojri, the language of the Gurjar community of Jammu and Kashmir. The translation titled ‘Main Azmayoo Sach’, was done by Choudhary Hussan Parawaz. Comprising over 1,005 pages, the translation was done with the active support of the Gojri wing of the state academy, a spokesman of the academy said on Sunday. 

Courses for rural artisans: The Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) has launched a number of measures in the state. For regeneration of traditional industries, 10,000 artisans in each cluster had been covered under a common facility centre for skill upgradation courses, an official spokesperson said. He said many rural industries suffered due to lack of skilled labour and availability of trained manpower. He said the government had set Rs 15,000 crore for such trainings in the 5th Five Year Plan. 

Cantonment board polls: Election to the seven-member cantonment board in Srinagar was held on Sunday after a gap of 23 years due to militancy. A large number of voters residing in areas coming under the cantonment board, included Sonawar, Palapora, Indira Nagar, Shivpora, Batwara, Pandraithan and Athwajan participated in the election with women outnumbering men at some polling booths. A large number of CRPF and state police personnel were deployed around the polling booths. About 400 out of 1,330 voters cast their ballot.


Regional potpourri
He stands out, courtesy turban

Baba Balwant Singh Baba Balwant Singh of Machhrouli village gurdwara in Yamunanagar district of Haryana is a well- known personality. Curious eyes follow him, whenever he moves around. People turn or stop cars for a look at him. They don’t find it easy to take their eyes off his colourful personality.

The 45-year-old Nihang Sikh wears a massive, meticulously tied turban, weighing 34 kg. He weighs less than 60 kg. The turban is 300-metre long and he embellishes it with religious symbols (metallic) like kirpans.

One wonders how he manages to support such a heavy turban but he does not appear to feel its weight on his head. To him the turban feels like a rose on the head. He is a devout Sikh who serves the religion and people who visit the gurdwara.

Unlike other Sikhs, Nihang Sikhs wear comparatively long turbans. But this Nihang Sikh and a few more are different.

Till three years ago, Baba Balwant Singh’s turban used to be 127-metre long. Gradually he started increasing the length of his turban and took it to 300 metres.

Baba Major Singh of Jalandhar is known for wearing the heaviest and longest turban. As per Baba Balwant Singh, the Jalandhar Nihang wears a turban, which is 375 metres long (as per information on the Internet, Baba Major’s turban is 400-metre long). This Nihang from Yamunanagar has plans to wear a larger turban and add another 100 metres to his 300 metre long turban. He is a true Sikh and he has been propagating Sikhism. Turban is an article of faith and he just wears his faith.

Honour for Jalandhar boy

Dr. Sachit K. VermaJalandhar boy Dr. Sachit K. Verma, MD has been awarded residency in radiology executive council award 2008. The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) selected him and two persons from the USA Ethan A. Smith, MD and Joanna N. Tewfik, DO for these awards.

Hailing from Urban Estate, Phase I here, Dr Verma was honoured with the award at a function held at Washington, in USA on April 14. The award carries a trophy and $ 1000 for carrying research on radiography (MRI) Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Dr Verma at present has been working at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia, PA in the USA since January 2006. He received the award for his paper ‘Submucosal Fibroids becoming Endocavitary following Uterine Artery Embolization: Risk Assessment by MRI.’

Joy of Dr Verma’s father Surendra Pal Verma, a former chief engineer retired from the Punjab Irrigation department, and his wife Indu Verma knew no bounds after their son got a prestigious award.

Surendra Pal Verma said his son had done his schooling from Apeejay School, Jalandhar. Following this, he did his MBBS from Government Medical College, Amritsar, MD in Radiology from KG hospital and post graduation in Medical Instituted Residency, Coimbatore.

Subsequently he worked as research scholar at All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi before leaving for Philadelphia. He is expected to return to India in January, 2009 after completing research work.

Surendra Pal Verma with pride in his eyes said one of his two daughters Shipra Verma was also a doctor. After doing MBBS at CMC Ludhiana, she has now been working in a hospitalin Australia. Verma’s second daughter Sakshi Verma is B Tech student.

Empowering rural women

In 1955, six women started the ‘Women League, Yamunanagar’ with a view to provide opportunities to women to learn skills to enable them to raise income.

Fiftythree years down the line, the women league, a unit of the Smt Kamla Puri charitable Foundation, has trained thousands of rural women to stand on their own feet or supplement their income. A large number of them now are working at senior posts in reputed organisations and government organisations, including the governor house. The league, a non-profit-making NGO, was founded by Kamla Puri, Santosh Bhalla, Krishna Bhalla, Iqbal Sawhney, Saroj Rattan and Kulwant Kalre.

On all working days between 9 am and 5 pm rural women, including married ones, can be seen learning cutting and tailoring, embroidery, English stenography and computers. With the passage of time the league earned a reputation for itself and it also started drawing girls from the urban areas. After the completion of the courses, ITI awards diplomas. The league recently started a course in fashion technology.

“After graduation I wanted to do a teachers training course and joined the league because of its excellent track record and professional environment,” says Anjana, daughter of a local businessman. Like her, Savita Rani, daughter of a railway employee, too chose the league over other institutions. Till a few years ago all the courses used to be free. But now the institute charges Rs 50 per month from students (amount collected from students is given as stipend to poor students). “We started charging a nominal fee so that the students could become more serious,” says P.S. Kohli, administrator of the league, adding, “we are a non-profit-making organisation. Whatever we collect from students is given back to them as stipend.”

Kanchan Bhalla, in-charge of the handicraft centre of the league, said there were 150 women associated with the centre. The league provides them with raw material and women make items like pillow covers and bedsheets. “The women are paid for their work and they earn between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 a month,” informed Bhalla. The goods are sold at a nominal price and the proceeds are re-invested in the institution and students. Preet Pal, Sudesh Sharma, Suchita and Gurpreet, all instructors at the league, claimed their students were doing good in life. Tanu Priya Puri, a trustee of the foundation, said the foundation had started the league to empower rural women and it was moving in the right direction. He informed there was a production house in the centre where the students get employment by stitching uniforms for several organisations.

Contributed by Nishikant Dwivedi and Dharminder Joshi

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 |