P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Patna priests reject Akal Takht Gurmatta
Impeach Vedanti, 4 other high priests
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 10
The Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib today impeached Jathedars of all three Takhts of Punjab (Akal Takht, Takht Damdama Sahib and Takht Kesgarh Sahib), besides the Head Granthi and Granthi of the Golden Temple, debarring them from taking part in any panthic activities.

Takht Patna Sahib has also rejected the Gurmatta passed by Sikh high priests at Akal Takht on June 6. The action of the Takht has created chaos in the panthic circles. Earlier, Takht Patna Sahib had excommunicated Prof Darshan Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht. His excommunication was rejected through the Gurmatta passed by Akal Takht on June 6.

The Patna Sikh clergy took serious view of the humiliation of Giani Iqbal Singh, who was roughed up and not allowed to attend the Akal Takht meeting held here to mark Ghallughara Divas.

Declaring them “mahan doshi” (guilty of religious misconduct) for rejecting the directives of the Sikh clergy of Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Patna Sahib, and other four high priests resolved that the high priests of Punjab had tried to denigrate Takht Patna Sahib.

The Gurmatta of Takht Patna Sahib reiterates that the Takht is the temporal authority of the Sikhs since it is related to the birth of the Tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh.

The Gurmatta further states that Prof Darshan Singh was declared Tankhaya and was cleared of serious charges by Akal Takht under a “deep-rooted” conspiracy.


CM to seek package for border areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , June 10
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will meet union home minister Shivraj Patil and seek special package for better education, health and roads, besides sewerage, water supply and power in areas bordering Pakistan.

Harcharan Bains, media adviser to the CM, said a report on development ventures for the border blocks, would be submitted to the Centre. Badal would also press for compensation to farmers whose land was being used by the BSF or other security forces for defence purposes.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister today approved a Rs 151.64-crore plan for Valtoha block in Amritsar district at a meeting held in this connection.

The Chief Minister has also asked the deputy commissioners of the border districts to prepare a plan for the rehabilitation of border area people. This will include bestowing ownership rights on farmers and tillers of the government land they have been cultivating over the years. 


‘Making cancer registry mandatory a positive step’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
Making cancer registry mandatory in Punjab will not only help cancer patients get access to treatment, but will also enable government in identifying the actual number of people suffering from this disease, said Vivek Trikha, head, diagnostic Onquest laboratories, during a press conference here.

Interacting with the mediapersons, he said the registration aims at collecting and classifying information on all cancer cases to produce statistics on the occurrence of the disease. Patients registered will also be directed to the relevant treatment.

As per the data available, almost 25,000 cancer patients are registered in India. However, the number is four times more than actual figure available, said officials of Onquest laboratory. With the non-existent health infrastructure in the rural areas, it is the implementation of cancer registry rather than just its notification that is going to be government’s main challenge, he added.

OncQuest Laboratories Limited (formerly Dabur OncQuest) that has formally become an independent entity, moving away from being a part of Dabur Pharma Limited, will now foray into molecular diagnostics for global research companies. The objective of this venture is to provide world class, yet cost-effective, molecular diagnostic services in India. This product was developed keeping in mind the enormous cost and time involved in undergoing numerous treatments.

Commenting about the activities of OncQuest, Vivek said it also runs a socio-economic project for poor blood cancer patients. A patient initially had to undergo a test available at varying costs. These tests need to be done in four regular intervals. Under the socio-economic project, the customers will get the premium testing technique, which is available at Rs 6,000 per test. Moreover, two among the required four tests will be free.


Pak college expels medicos of Ahmadiyya sect
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 10
The Pakistan government has expelled 23 medicos, belonging to the Ahmadiyya community, from the Punjab Medical College, Faislabad. Press secretary of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya in India Munir Ahmad Khadim said a majority of the medicos were near the completion of their MBBS degree courses. The college was forced to expel the students following pressures from of the Islami-Jamiat-e-Tulaba, a hardliner outfit of Pakistan, Khadim alleged.

The principal of the college confirmed the expulsion of the medicos through a notice two days ago. Khadim said the justification for the expulsion of the medicos was baseless. “Recently the National Assembly of Pakistan has made a submission to the UN Human Rights Council reiterating its commitment to providing education to its citizens besides safeguarding the rights of all minority groups. In less than one month of the submission, this violation of basic human rights has come to light,” he added.

The community was declared non-Muslim in Pakistan in 1973.



‘CM running business, not govt’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 10
President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) Simranjit Singh Mann said today that the Congress, main opposition party in the state, was not playing the role of an effective opposition. Such a situation posed danger for democracy, he added.

Mann, along with party general secretary Jeet Singh Allorakh, was here today to appear in a court in connection with a case registered against him and 51 others under Section 188, IPC, on December 14 last year. The court fixed October 29 next date of hearing in the case.

Mann said the Congress party, led by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was indulging in wearing black gowns or boycotting the Assembly.

Mann also criticised Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal saying the Chief Minister was busy doing transport business, rather than running the government. He also claimed that the Badal family was soon adding 60 buses in its fleet due to which small transporters would suffer loss.

Mann alleged that excesses had been committed by the SAD, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, in the recently held elections to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. 


MC Polls
Eunuch hopes for hat-trick
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 10
Eunuch leader of the Malwa belt Santosh Kumari Mahant, a SAD candidate for the local municipal corporation polls, is hopeful of making a hat-trick this time. Santosh was among the 37 candidates who filed nominations for the 50-member MC today.

She has twice remained member of the municipal committee of the nearby Bhuchho town in 1992 and 1998 and has been vice-president of the committee in 1998.

As the local municipal committee has been upgraded to municipal corporation, the SAD has handpicked her for ward number 32.

Santosh told The Tribune that her priority would be to improve water supply to the town and also the sewerage.

The pubic had supported her in the past two elections and she hoped the same response this time as well. Eunuchs of Punjab would campaign for her.

Santosh said she shifted from Bhuchho as mahant of the Bathinda-based main eunuch dera following death of Kuldeep Mahant. She had initiated several measures to improve living conditions in the town.


Voters 1,500, but Sangat Kalan has neither panchayat nor is part of MC
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Sangat Kalan (Bathinda), June 10
Sangat Kalan,a village with 1,500 voters in Bathinda subdivision, finds itself in a predicament. The village has neither a gram panchayat nor does it come under a Municipal Council.

After receiving a letter from the Local Bodies Department, the district electoral office (DEO) put de-limitation of the Sangat Mandi Municipal Council into effect. Following this, the number of wards here decreased from 11 to nine. As per new demarcation of wards, the DEO has initiated the amendment of list of voters from May 30. The process will continue till June 10.

But whole exercise has put at stake the right to vote of around 1,500 voters as they are neither under a gram panchayat nor in municipal council.

Voters of Sangat Kalan village have been demanding the constitution of the new gram panchayat quoting provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, Section 10 (1), which states that wherever the population is more than 200, a gram panchayat can be formed.

Earlier, the ADEO, Bathinda, had recommended to the state Election Commission that whole of Sangat Kalan be included in the Sangat Mandi Municipal Council which 
was rejected.

The voters left out of the newly formed wards earlier were of the view that they should not be included in the municipal council thinking that in the council various taxes were being levied.

According to information, considering the seriousness of the issue, the ADEO has recommended to the director, Local Bodies, and other authorities concerned to constitute a gram panchayat at Sangat Kalan village. Permission has also been sought for holding elections along with the other gram panchayats where elections had been postponed.

Confirming the facts, ADC(D)-cum-ADEO, Bathinda, Vijay Zade said, “We have sent the case to higher authorities and they are to decide it.”


Ward number 12 goes to BJP
SAD, BJP reach consensus
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur , June 10
Deadlock between the SAD and the BJP over the ward No. 12 seat of this town, today ended when the BJP leadership reportedly prevailed on SAD leadership in its favour at a meeting, at the residence of secretary general of the SAD Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa here. Now out of total 21 seats of the local municipal council (MC), 11 seats will be contested by the SAD and the remaining 10 by the BJP in the MC elections.

From ward No. 12 Amarjit Singh Titu wanted SAD ticket to contest the MC election, while the BJP was in favour of Mohinder Baba from ward No.12. In place of ward No. 12, the SAD was reportedly offering ward No. 18 (stronghold of outgoing Congress councillor Parvinder Bajaj) to the BJP, which was not acceptable to the BJP. Due to this, the SAD and the BJP had not reached a consensus on these two seats before today.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, area in charge of Sangrur Assembly segment Parkash Chand Garg, district president Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, all from the SAD, and vice- president of the Small Traders Board Punjab D.P. Chandan, farmers’ leader Satwant Singh Punia and district president Jatinder Kalra, all from the BJP attended today’s meeting.

Jatinder Kalra said in Sangrur town the BJP would contest ward Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19 while the SAD would contest ward Nos. 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21.

Kalra said in the Bhawanigarh MC the SAD would contest 10 seats and the BJP three, in Lehra MC the SAD eight and the BJP five, in Ahmedgarh MC the BJP eight and the SAD six, in Sunam MC the SAD 12 and the BJP seven. Seat sharing for Dhuri and Malerkotla MCs, would be decided tomorrow, he said. 


Remaining panchayat polls on June 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The state Election Commission has announced the holding of elections on June 22 to all such remaining Gram Panchayats where the polls were earlier postponed or countermanded.

Disclosing this here, a spokesman for the Commission said the elections to Gram Panchayats in the state were held on May 26. However, the elections to some Gram Panchayats were countermanded or postponed due to various reasons.

The filing of nominations for polls to be held on June 22 would commence on June 9 and close on June 12. Scrutiny would take place the following day and withdrawals would be on June 14.


Malkit Singh honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The Punjab government will involve top Punjabi artistes, writers, critics and connoisseurs while framing the state’s cultural policy, said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. He was speaking at a function to honour Punjabi singer Malkit Singh for being the first crooner from Asia to be bestowed the status of a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace last month.

The singer, whose chart-busting "Tootak-tootak..." number was the first to catapult Punjabi singing on to the global stage, called on Badal this morning to “receive blessings after being decorated in foreign lands”.

He said he would be available for any input that the Chief Minister might seek in promoting Punjabi culture both at home and abroad.

“I place the affection showered on me by Badal as head of government in my home state even above the honour bestowed on me by the Queen because Badal’s gesture symbolises the love and affection of the people of my state,” a visibly moved Malkit said while interacting with newsmen on the occasion.

He also requested the Chief Minister to initiate steps to check piracy of and vulgarity in Punjabi songs.


Health staff protest at minister’s house
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 10
Members of the coordination committee of paramedical and health employees today organised a rally in front of the house of state health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla for anti-worker stand and succumbing to pressure from officials of the Health Department.

Addressing the rally, senior leaders of the paramedics Lal Singh Dhanaula and Virender Luthra alleged that Chawla had centralised all powers which encouraged corruption in the department. They said no senior officer of the department could take decisions independently which created chaos in the department.

The previous government had transferred the control of 1,193 dispensaries in rural belt to Zila Parishads from the Health Department which affected the working of the dispensaries, alleged the protesters. The leaders said Chawla had accepted their demands at a meeting on July 7 last year, but no steps had been taken to fulfil promises made by her.

They alleged that due to the faulty policies pursued by government employees, including 800 pharmacists and 1,400 Class IV employees, had been rendered surplus. They said instead of adjusting these surplus employees, the government was outsourcing jobs, putting burden on the exchequer.

They said the department had also stopped promotion of 42 nurses and added that the schemes under the National Rural Health Mission and safe motherhood had been a failure in the state. 


ESI hospital staff resent transfers
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 10
Piqued over the complaints made by the vigilance committee of the ESI hospital here to the health minister, the medical superintendent has allegedly transferred some of the senior doctors and other staff without assigning any reason to them.

The affected doctors and staff today alleged that they had been victims of whimsical decisions of the superintendent, who did not pay any heed to their pleas.

Earlier, the committee had complained to health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla against the medical superintendent for serious lapses and many cases of omission and commission.

The committee members had alleged that the operation theatre of the hospital was closed on the orders of the superintendent without making any alternative arrangements. Industrial workers were being referred to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital for surgeries, putting them to a lot of inconvenience.

However, Chawla said the allegations levelled by the committee members were false as the operation theatre was under renovation. A number of steps had been taken to improve the functioning of the hospital.


Land Acquisition
BKU (U) joins residents’ dharna
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 10
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ugrahan) today joined the residents’ agitation against the acquisition of their land by the local Improvement Trust.

The trust acquired about 17 acres for its Mansahia Nagar Scheme near the truck union complex on the Sangrur-Sunam road last month, against the wishes of 20 families who have built houses on the land.

At least 150 activists of the union, led by its state president Joginder Singh Ugrahan, joined the dharna being staged by the affected residents and assured them that the union would not let the administration evict them from their houses.

Ugrahan said the union was against “snatching of farmers’ land” by the state government. 


Dhariwal bandh over boy’s death
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dhariwal (Gurdaspur), June 10
Residents of the town today observed a bandh for about one hour to lodge a protest against the failure of the authorities concerned to solve the mystery behind the disappearance and subsequent death of seven-year-old Munish Kumar, son of a local businessman.

To prevent any untoward incident, the district police made elaborate security arrangements in and around the town. Surjeet Singh, SP (HQs), and Charan Dev Singh Mann, assistant commissioner (Complaints), camped in the town till the situation became normal.

The residents had given an ultimatum yesterday that if the authorities failed to nab the culprit involved in the “murder”, they would block traffic apart from observing a bandh.

The residents alleged that members of the Gujjar community putting up in the huts near the canal in the town were involved in the murder of the boy. They have also held out a threat that they would set the huts of Gujjars on fire if the police did not arrest them.

The body of Munish was found floating in the Uppar Bari Doab Canal by some boys on Sunday. The boy had gone out to play on June 5, and then didn’t return home.

Surjeet Singh said residents started opening the shutters of their business establishments when they were promised that the police would bring out the truth in the case. The residents have been assured that if the boy has been murdered, the police would arrest the culprit.

Lok Nath Angra, SSP, said the parents of the victim had not lodged any complaint with the police. He added that whenever a complaint was lodged by the parents, the police would investigate the matter. 


Body of panch’s son recovered
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 10
The Sarhali police today morning recovered the body of the missing minor son of a Dalit panch of Rahal Chahal village, 20 km from here, from the canal.

Identified as Lovepreet Singh (6), the missing boy had last been seen in the village on Sunday morning. Dilbag Singh, Dalit panch and father of the boy, in his complaint to the police had suspected that the two panches pressurising him into casting vote in the favour of their group for the post of sarpanch to be elected soon. However, Dilbag had declined their request.

Dilbag has alleged that four persons, including a newly elected panch and a woman of his family, are behind the murder of his son. 


Patwari held for bribery
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 10
Revenue patwari Balaur Singh posted at Dikkh village was caught by the Vigilance Bureau here today for demanding Rs 8,000 from a farmer for mutation of land.

Mukhtiar Singh Dahiya, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, said, “Balaur demanded Rs 2,000 per acre from Ranjit, a farmer, for mutation for 8 acres. But later a deal was fixed at Rs 1,000 per acre (total Rs 8,000). After the deal was fixed, Ranjit complained to the Vigilance Bureau against the patwari and we laid trap to catch him”.


High Court
Civic Body Poll
Plea of Samana residents allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 10
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a petition filed by Samana residents, challenging a notification issued by the state of Punjab vide which certain wards were reserved for women in municipal council polls.

Pronouncing the orders on a petition filed by the residents, the Bench, comprising Justice Permod Kohli and Justice Rakesh Kumar Garg, also directed the principal secretary, the local government, to issue fresh notification declaring ward number 12 of Samana to be a general ward; and reserve ward number 11 for women. The state was represented by senior deputy advocate-general Parveen Chander Goel.

In the petition filed through counsel S.C. Pathela, Satish Kumar Singla of Samana had sought the quashing of the notification dated May 27 issued by the state. The petitioner had contended that the same was in violation of “determination of the number of elected members, and reservation of offices of presidents of municipalities’ rules, 1994”.

The rules, Pathela had contended, required every third ward to be allotted to women. Going into the background of the matter, the petitioner had stated the state had altered the earlier notification dated May 23 and issued a fresh notification dated May 27, vide which the reservation of ward for women had been altered; and ward number 12 had been declared reserved for women. The residents had termed it as “illegal” alteration of wards.

The Bench, meanwhile, adjourned till Wednesday the hearing on two other petitions related to civic body polls.

In their petition against MLA Raj Khurana and others, Jagdish Kumar and two more petitioners of Rajpura had also sought the quashing of notification dated May 27, vide which the reservation of municipal council wards were “illegally altered without any reason”.

Elaborating, the petitioner contended vide it the number of wards reserved for women in the Rajpura Municipal Council was reduced from eight to seven. Moreover, ward number 21 and 12, which were general wards as per the earlier notification, were declared reserved for women.


Fear of the language makes them drop science after Class X
English an Achilles’ heel for students 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Queen's English continues to be an Achilles’ heel for students across the state considering the results of Class XII examination for open schools organised by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). According to the results declared yesterday, out of 18,509 students who appeared for the examination, 8,305 students failed to clear the English examination.

The below-average result speaks volumes about the state of education especially in the open schools. The weakness in English forces students to opt for humanities group and stay away from science subjects.

Jasvir Singh, acting principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Hassanpur, said: "As science subjects are taught in English medium, students of villages who have so far studied in Punjabi medium desist from taking up science subjects after matriculation.”

District science supervisor Pardeep Kapoor agrees that poor understanding of the English language is a major reason for the poor show of science students. He said science subjects were taught in English, and students from villages who had their schooling in Punjabi or Hindi medium found it difficult to cope.

Echoing his views, Amanpreet Singh and Rajinder Singh, students of Bhupal village in Mansa district, say they are having second thoughts of doing BSc agriculture from PAU. The thought of studying that subject in English is giving them the jitters.


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