P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


State needs N-plant: Jairam
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lehra Mohabbat (Bathinda), August 3
Union minister of state for power Jairam Ramesh said today that the claim of Punjab and Haryana about nuclear power stations was justified as those states had to fetch coal for their thermal stations from a distance of 2,000 km.
Jairam Ramesh, union minister of state for power, speaks to the staff on the premises of the GHTP at Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda
Jairam Ramesh, union minister of state for power, speaks to the staff on the premises of the GHTP at Lehra Mohabbat in Bathinda on Sunday. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Ramesh, who visited the thermal power station here this morning to assess the cause behind 15-month delay in commissioning of its two units, said Haryana too had sought a nuclear power station for it. Chairman of the PSEB Y.S. Ratra, who accompanied the minister, said Punjab was also sending a similar request.

The minister said Punjab and Haryana could play an important role in producing electricity through nuclear energy to meet the power shortage in the country.

He said 20,000 MW of power would be produced through nuclear energy by 2020 in the country.

He would discuss with the four northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan the idea of floating a joint company to tap the 150 MW potential on the three rivers that had not been tapped by the BBMB.

He said the NTPC could set up a thermal power plant here in a joint venture with Punjab. The corporation already had joint ventures in Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The promise of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide 1,500 MW to Punjab from the Lara thermal power project in Chhattisgarh would be implemented and he had taken up the matter with that state. He, however, asked Punjab to take steps to reduce the power losses from the existing 24 per cent to 15 percent.

He held the BHEL responsible for the delay in commissioning of two units of the thermal station here and assured that the third and fourth units of 210 MW each would start generation by the end of the current month and next month, respectively.

The minister said it was satisfying that the two units of stage 1 of the thermal station were 37 per cent efficient against the national average of 33 per cent.

The misconception that the private sector power projects could remove electricity shortage in the country has now been removed. During the 7th plan between 1985 and 1990, 4,500 MW was added every year in the country and it fell down to 4,000 MW each year during the 8th and 9th Plans. The target was to add 77,000 MW during the 11th Plan, he added.


Attari Check Post
Centre yet to release Rs 34 crore
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
Even as the Central government has failed to release even a single penny out of total Rs 33.15 crore, the future of Integrated Check-Post (ICP) at Attari border hangs in the balance.

SDM Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, who has completed the process for acquiring the 120-acre land, said the ambitious project could be shelved if the farmers were not given compensation by May next year. As per law, the farmers have to be given compensation within two years i.e.  May, 2009.

DC Kahan Singh Pannu said the Central government had not released the money despite reminders.

In a missive to the joint secretary, Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, the DC has sought an additional Rs 1 crore as compensation to the farmers whose land was being acquired for the proposed ICP. The letter of DC further read: “Rs 33.15 cr was calculated as compensation payable to owners of the land to be acquired at the Attari check-post. This calculation was done up to May 16, 2008, as the amount has not been received as the owners will have to be paid an additional compensation at the rate of 12 pc per annum for the period from May 17, 2008, till the payment is made to the owners”. The DC asked the Home Ministry to release Rs 1 cr in addition to the earlier demand  of Rs 33.15 cr.

However, a senior official of the Customs Department said the government had released Rs 12 cr as first installment. However, he failed to give details about where the money had gone.

SDM Chhatwal said Delhi-based RITES company had already submitted a blueprint of the proposed ICP at the Attari border. He said the work for installing truck scanners, godowns and creation of required infrastructure for smooth import and export with Pakistan would be started after getting compensation from the  Central government.


Road to be named after Ishmeet
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today attended the bhog ceremony of singer Ishmeet Singh.

Badal said the young star would be remembered for years to come. He said they would not allow memory of Ishmeet to fade and the road from Gill Road to Dana Mandi would be named after him. A board announcing the name of the road as “Ishmeet Singh Marg” would be put up on the road tomorrow.

He also announced a memorial in his memory in the shape of a music academy would be set up at Ludhiana.

Badal assured that he would write to the Prime Minister and home minister of India to take up the issue of a high-level inquiry to ascertain the cause of death of Ishmeet with the Maldives government.

He had brought honour to the family and the Sikh community, state and the country, said Badal as he summed up the sentiments of people gathered to pay tributes to Ishmeet.

He said the state government would accord respect to the family of Ishmeet. He also offered a suitable job to any member of the family, if they desired.

The CM presented two paintings of Ishmeet painted by Rajinder Venus and Ashok of Ramgarhia Girls College to his father.

Avtar Singh, president, SGPC, said the death of Ishmeet was an irreparable loss to Punjab and particularly to the Sikhs. He announced an annual music award of Rs 1.51 lakh in his memory. He also announced an institution to impart training of music in the state.

Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, paying tributes, announced an institution of annual award of Rs 1 lakh in his name.

Charanjit Singh Atwal, deputy speaker, Lok Sabha, Jagmeet Singh Brar, senior Congress leader, Jathedar Harnam Singh Dhuma of the Damdami Taksal, Prof Manjit Singh, former Jathedar, Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib, and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP, too paid tributes. 

Family given assistance

l Badal announces aid of Rs 11 lakh for Ishmeet's family.

l The SGPC also gives Rs 11 lakh.

l The DSGMC gives Rs 5 lakh.

l Dukhniwaran Sahib Gurdwara, Ludhiana, gives Rs 1.51 lakh.

l Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Model Town Extension, gives Rs 51,000.

l Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Model Town, Rs 51,000.


MP power co assures PSEB 24 lakh units daily
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
Lakhs of power consumers of Punjab coping with longest-ever power cuts may no longer be forced to bear the summer heat without electricity in August as the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been assured by the Madhya Pradesh Power Trading Company that it would be supplying 24 lakh units of power daily to Punjab Monday onwards.

Apparently, feeling the heat generated by immense public pressure in the wake of unprecedented power crisis gripping Punjab despite heavy rains in Punjab and the catchment areas of hydel projects, the PSEB has arranged for 10,021 lakh units of power for August under the purchase and banking process based on inter-regional cooperation of power boards. This step is a face-saver for the PSEB that has been facing flak from industry, domestic consumers, traders and farmers.

PSEB chairman Y.S Ratra has taken up the issue of power crisis with Madhya Pradesh Power Trading Company’s managing director Vaish. “The company MD has assured supply of 24 lakh units of power from Monday onwards to Punjab. He has also promised to further increase power supplies as and when the power situation improves in Madhya Pradesh. Consumers should bear with such exigencies as the situation will improve with normal rainfall in August. They will get relief from longer power cuts,” said Ratra. He also urged the consumers to minimise the use of ACs, which were a major cause of increased demand during summers. “We are also appealing to farmers to keep their shunt capacitors in working order and use CFLs on their tubewell ‘kothas’. Domestic consumers should also switch to use of CFLs and help PSEB to reduce its peak load,” said Ratra.

The PSEB was not banking on the assurances of the MP Power Trading Company alone as the PSEB authorities have also exhorted Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Tamil Nadu to increase or restore supplies to Punjab. “The BBMB is also not relasing full capacity of water from the Pong Dam, thereby, affecting power generation to the tune of around 20 lakh units from the Mukerian hydel project. The PSEB had made arrangements for ensuring a daily eight-hour uninterrupted power supply to farmers,” said Ratra. 


I Spied
The spies who have been left in the cold
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
While former spies of Dadwan village in Gurdaspur are in the process of approaching courts now, their peers in the same profession from as far back as 1974 have gone through this grind and are realising that there is a slim chance of getting relief with little proof in hand.

This despite the fact that these former spies were charged with espionage in contrast to the Dadwan spies all of who claimed to be smugglers when caught. These spies worked for the country during the crucial period before and after the 1971 conflict and in the 1980s.

The men, scattered over Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Gurdaspur districts, have been fighting court cases for the past few years. A few of them like Gulzar Masih, who was awarded a 12-year term, but was repatriated under the Simla Agreement in 1974, Chanan Masih, who spent 15 years in Pakistan jails after being arrested in 1983, and Karamat Rahi, who spent 18 years in Pakistan prisons after being arrested in 1988, have seen their cases being disposed of by the Punjab and Haryana High Court with a request to the Punjab DGP to look into their representation for salary and compensation. The Punjab Police, after due consideration, has maintained that since they were never on the rolls of the force, it could not entertain such a request.

All these spies have filed cases again in the High Court through noted human rights lawyer Ranjan Lakhanpal. The rights activist, who has taken on the cases as a welfare measure, says, “In all cases there is total denial.

However, the ground reality is that all these persons were convicted under the Official Secrets Act. They spent time in these cases and had apparently gone to Pakistan for espionage purposes. I understand no government gives an appointment letter to a person to act as a spy, but no government disowns its spies. It is a blatant breach of trust”.

The denial in some cases can be very stark, leaving no ground for manoeuvre. Take the case of Kishori Lal Sharma, a former automobile diploma holder who has even written a book about his days as a spy and was awarded a 12-year sentence after being caught trying to survey the T-54 tank in Kasur. Kishori Lal claims he joined the Military Intelligence on April 15, 1965, at Jalandhar Cantonment and was recruited by Lt Col H.K. Bhatti of the AHQ Liaison Office, XI Corps.

The Assistant Solicitor-General says: “The petitioner may be put to strict proof by way of adducing some evidence in support of his alleged appointment with any intelligence agency”. It further says that the service of the individual could not be utilised by the units mentioned by him as they came into being in 1979 and did not exist at the time of his supposed enrolment in 1965.

In such a situation all that former spies are left with are figures from memory like in the case of Chanan Masih who claims his service number was 1126 (also AHQ, Liaison Office, Jalandhar) or scraps of paper like one written by the DTE, General Resettlement (Ministry of Defence) of April 1976 which refers to Kishori Lal and Gulzar Masih as well as five others as “ex-servicemen” in a letter to the Ludhiana Soldier Board asking it to look into their grievances. But then, these are anomalies in the lives of the spies, which can be contested, leaving them out in the cold again.



Case registered against Cong panches who approached HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Congress panches from the border village of Kakar in Mumdot block of Ferozepur district today alleged that a returning officer, who had been directed to hold a fair poll for the post of sarpanch of their village by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, had a case registered against them.

The panches had earlier filed a writ in the High Court claiming that even though they were three in number against the two Akali panches of the village, the administration was hell-bent upon nominating an Akali to the post of sarpanch of the village.

The court, while deciding the case, had directed that their security be assured and had ordered a responsible officer to conduct the poll. The panches, Chanchal Singh, Jagir Singh and Kulwinder Kaur, alleged that the returning officer Mahinder Singh did not conduct the poll on the due date saying the secretary was not present on the occasion. They said yesterday they came to know through the Block Development and Panchayat Officer that one of the Akali candidates had been nominated as sarpanch of the village.

They approached the returning officer and remonstrated against the injustice following which the latter got a case registered against them at the City Police station, Ferozepur. 


PPCC wants PM to fight LS polls from state
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 3
The PPCC has invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home state.

General secretary of the PPCC Vijay Sathi, who led a deputation of the party that met the Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi early this week, told him that he would win the elections with a margin of more than one lakh votes keeping in view of the present political situation in the state.

Sathi said he discussed the political scenario in the state, particularly the developments after the panchayat elections. He told Dr Singh that the SAD-BJP government was losing ground in the state and there were possible chances of the Congress to win all 13 Lok Sabha seats.

The Congress leader said he had explained to the Prime Minister the “gundagardi” unleashed by SAD president Sukhbir Badal and his party workers during the panchayat elections. He demanded that the union government should interfere to maintain law and order as post-poll violence was still continuing.

The deputation urged the Prime Minister to ask Congress president Sonia Gandhi to nominate a young and dynamic leader as PPCC president.

He appealed to Dr Singh to sanction a nuclear power plant for this state.


Udham Singh Trial 
Demand to de-classify over 3,000 documents
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Over 68 years after revolutionary Shaheed Udham Singh avenged the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy by shooting former Punjab Governor Michael O'Dwyer at the Caxton Hall in London, the demand to get back over 3,000 documents relating to his trial is gaining ground.

The demand again found echo at a function organised by the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Bhawan Society to commemorate the death anniversary of the great martyr here today. The UK government should be urged to get the 100-year moratorium for making the documents public lifted, society president Amarjit Singh Thind demanded.

The martyr, also known as Ram Mohammad Singh Azad, was hanged on July 31, 1940, at the Pentonville prison. Earlier, in 1974, the remains of the martyr were exhumed and handed over to the Indian government which were later cremated at his native place at Sunam in Punjab.

Meanwhile, a fervent appeal to install the portraits of Shaheed Udham Singh at Parliament and state assemblies in Punjab and Haryana was made to perpetuate his memory.

Through a resolution, the function demanded that the upcoming Central government university in Punjab should be named after the martyr. Similarly, all major universities in the region should have Chairs in the name of Shaheed Udham Singh to instill patriotism among the younger generations.

President of the Kamboj Organisations of India Harjit Singh regretted that the Shaheed Udham Singh Bhavan here was yet to be completed even after several years after its construction got underway. The society demanded that a grant of Rs 8 lakh be announced by union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal for the construction of the bhavan.

Urging a cross section of society to pitch in for the bhavan project for its early completion, various speakers also urged the Punjab and Haryana government to release funds for the building.


Rural health staff to intensify stir
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 3
The state unit of the Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA) has protested the alleged implication of Dr Aslam Parvez and Dr Rishi Bhardwaj, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, in false cases by the Jalandhar police.

Dr Rajesh Sharma, spokesman for the association, said the cases were politically motivated and it was an attempt to gag the medical community.

He said health staff under zila parishads (rural doctors and paramedical staff) had held a joint convention on a call of the Rural Medical Services Association, Rural Health Pharmacists Association, and the Rural Health Paramedical Association.

They had gathered at Desh Bhagat Yadgari Hall, Jalandhar, and held a dharna at the BMC chowk. Dr Sharma said they were agitating peacefully in support of their demand for putting contractual rural doctors and other staff on the regular rolls. The next morning, the doctor leaders were informed that they had been implicated in cases.

Dr J.P. Narula, adviser to the state committee of RMSA, demanded the cases should be immediately withdrawn or they would paralyse the rural health system. The government must fulfil its poll promises and put rural doctors and other staff under zila parishads, who had been working on contract for more than two years, on regular rolls on the pattern of Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

Meanwhile, state president of the PCMSA Hardeep Singh expressed solidarity with the rural doctors and criticised the government for the alleged false cases against the RMSA leaders. He stated that the injustice against the doctors’ body would not be tolerated, and demanded the withdrawal of the cases.


Database of land use in state goes digital
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 3
The Punjab Remote Sensing Centre here has generated a digital database on “Land Use and Land Cover Status in Punjab” which may help development planners. The report, a first since Independence, has underlined “disastrous consequences of intensive resource exploitation without long-term sustainability”.

Dr P.K.Sharma, director of the centre, said the land-use maps and data, compiled in four years from different parts of the state, divided broadly into Upper Bari and Bist Doab plain, Sutlej and Ghaggar (Malwa) plain and the South-West Zone, have shown 87 per cent land of the state under agriculture use while built-up structures occupied 6 per cent area. The database can be of immense help, particularly for a planned growth of built-up structures which gains importance in the wake of ongoing unregulated growth all over the state, particularly along the main roads.

Much lower than expected, forests constituted approximately 3 per cent of the total area, while water bodies occupied only 2 per cent area. Sharma said the forests had not been mapped satisfactorily under the existing map resolution facilities and a new report using enhanced imaging resolution would be employed in the near future to have an updated report.

Among 20 districts in the state, the districts with maximum built-up areas under urban, industrial and rural categories included SAS Nagar(11.56 pc), Ludhiana (10.51 pc), Jalandhar (9.5 pc), Patiala (8.9 pc) and Amritsar (8.4 pc). The least built-up structures have been recorded in Hoshiarpur (2.9 pc), Faridkot(3.7), Muktsar(3.7) and Mansa (3.7) districts.

The districts recording the biggest share for agricultural land included Sangrur (93.4 pc), Barnala(92.26 pc), Muktsar (93.18 pc), Ferozepur (93 pc) and Moga (92.4). The South-West Zone has the maximum share of agricultural land at 92.18 pc. Rupnagar has the least share in the agricultural land at 54 pc.

The important forest areas in the state included Hoshiarpur (20 pc), Rupnagar(19.8 pc) and SAS Nagar (10.8 pc). The least forested districts included Amritsar, Fatehgarh Sahib and and Muktsar districts with mere 0.01 per cent land share for forests. The major wastelands of the state were located in Rupnagar (10 pc), SAS Nagar (6.9 pc) and Mansa (5.01 pc) districts.

“Our development efforts stressing intensive resource use had led to disastrous consequences of large-scale erosion, floods, waterlogging, salinisation and deforestation,” Dr Sharma said.

The report has said: “Increasing population and rapidly changing lifestyle are leading to an increased demand for food, fodder and firewood, hence, huge pressure on land, water and forest resources. The solution for ensuring food security for millions without upsetting the ecological balance lies in sustainable development through integrated resource management”.


Row over piece of land
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 3
The bulldozing of the four walls and gate of a 250-yard piece of land situated in Partap Avenue and belonging to Davinder Singh, a Dalti patwari, has kicked off a controversy.

While Davinder alleged that walls were destroyed by police constable Yashpal and ruling party councillor of the area Shamsher Singh Shera in connivance with the Municipal Town Planning Department authorities here to grab his land, the opposite party refuted the allegations, adding that the piece of land was part of government street as per the revenue records.

Earlier, the SDM, in an inquiry conducted on the orders of the then deputy commissioner, had pointed out that there were discrepancies in the registry and “mukhtarnama” of the piece of land shown by Yaspal, the head constable in 2006. The report was later submitted to the member secretary, Punjab State SC/ST Commission, who had sought the report.

The complainant had also alleged that the department was not approving his map even as he had given a number of representations to it.

However, Yashpal and Shera said the court had granted a stay in the case.

Meanwhile, the MC commissioner feigned ignorance in the case and said a probe would be held into the matter. The SSP said an inquiry was being held in this regard.


Eye Camp ‘Botch-up’
Magisterial probe kicks off
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, August 3
Assistant commissioner (grievances) M.S. Jaggi today visited Bhinder village, near here, along with Dr Rajesh Puri, an eye specialist of the district hospital, and recorded statements of a few patients, who had complained of post-surgery problems, and members of their families. They were operated upon during a free medical camp conducted by the Guru Ram Dass Charitable Trust on July 16 here.

Jaggi has been entrusted the inquiry into the incident by district magistrate Satwant Singh Johal. Talking to The Tribune, Jaggi said it was not possible to disclose the development in the probe at this moment. But, he confirmed that the statements of a few patients and members of their families were recorded this morning. “I have also recorded the statement of Dr Tejinder Gupta with regard to the probe conducted by him in the incident earlier”, he said.

Jaggi also visited the eye hospital of the trust in the town. It remained locked for the third consecutive day after the incident came to light.

Jaggi said he had gone through the records of the eye hospital available with the health department to look into the facilities available in the operation theatre and credentials of the doctors who conducted the surgeries during the camp.

“I have asked the trust authorities and the doctors, who conducted the surgeries, to come over to my office on Monday morning along with certain records to ascertain whether they possess the required permission as per the norms of the Medical Council of India to conduct surgeries and run the hospital and operation theatre”, he added.

The AC (G) said he would also look into whether an anaesthetist was present during the surgeries as it was mandatory according to the MCI guidelines.

Meanwhile, some patients, who were taken along by the doctors of the hospital after the newsreports about the incident, were still admitted in a private hospital at Ganganagar.

The health department had suspended the permission granted to the hospital to conduct surgeries till the investigation was completed. The department had also written to the police for necessary action in the incident.


Bhagat Puran Singh remembered
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
The All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society organised an artificial limbs and physiotherapy camp to mark the 16th death anniversary of its founder Bhagat Puran Singh here today.

Inaugurating the camp, additional deputy commissioner Paramjit Singh lauded the role of the society, saying that special children needed help to lead a normal life. It would be a real tribute to Bhagatji, he added.

The ADC distributed 20 tricycles among physically challenged children, besides providing hearing aids to hearing impaired children, who had come to the camp from various parts of this border district. A check-up camp was organised for elderly persons suffering from knee or joint pain. Those attending the camp were sensitised on the artificial limbs available.

Bhagat Puran Singh, a writer, publisher, environmentalist, philanthropist and, above all, a messiah for the sick and the needy, had made great efforts to mobilise donations to set up the institution. The idea of forming the society dawned upon him when he started taking care of a spastic child before Partition.

Earlier, giving the details of the three-day event, Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of Pingalwara, said a seminar-cum-workshop on “Environmental and agricultural issues” would be organised at Guru Nanak Dev University in which eminent national environmentalist were likely to participate. She said a blood donation camp would be organised besides a cultural programme by inmates of the society. An exhibition of various items made by them would also be held.

Mukhtar Singh, honorary secretary of the society, Dr Jagdeepak Singh, Rajbeer Singh, Kuljeet Kaur, Darshan Singh Bawa, Harbhajan Singh Bajwa and Surjit Singh were also present.


Land to Shrine Board
Shiv sainiks detain trains
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, August 3
Activists of the Shiv Sena detained the Swaraj Express (Jammu to Jamnagar) and the Ahmedabad Express (Ahmedabad to Jammu) trains at the Chakki railway station on the Jalandhar-Jammu section here today in protest against the withdrawal of allotment of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.

More than 200 Sena activists brandished naked swords and other sharp-edged weapons, climbed on both trains which were in stationary on the platform of the railway station at 1.15 pm to 1.35 pm. Due to this, the trains were delayed by 20 minutes.They raised slogans against the government and demanded restoration of the land to the Shrine Board.


Devoted to preserving folklore of Majha 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 3
Septuagenarian Punjabi writer Kulwant Singh Aulakh has done pioneering work on the folklore of Majha, the border districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur, and Lahore and Kasur districts in Pakistan.

After retirement from Guru Nanak Dev University’s press section a decade ago, Aulakh has continued research which could be the envy of young Ph.D scholar of any university.

Although the Punjabi spoken in Majha (called Majhi) is considered to be “Taksali” (standard Punjabi), yet little research has been done on the folkore of this region by the universities.

The work of Aulakh has depicted eating habits, hobbies, culture and agriculture patterns of the Majha region. Going through his research work, it becomes clear that Punjabi folksongs are an autobiography of its people.

Aulakh's name is associated with the preservation of Punjabi folklore. According to him, "Heritage and traditions of a community are the umbilical cord that joins the old generation with the new." Regretting the neglect of rich folklore of the Majha region, he said the Punjabis were losing their roots without even knowing it.

Born at Uggar Aulakh village in the Majha region in 1938, he has written four books, “Majhe De Lokgeet”, “Dharmi Babal Da Desh,” “Lok Geetan Dian Sarian” and Majhe De Lok Te Lok Sahit,” being the latest one. Though Punjabi critics have already taken note of the rare research work of Aulakh, yet the state government has not given him due recognition.

“Majhe De Lok Geet” placed him in the category of original researchers in the world of Punjabi folklore. Various lok geets presented in his books have become invaluable treasure of the Punjabi folklore. Aulakh has also made efforts to preserve the typical Majha Punjabi language which is disappearing from our social life.

Punjabi critic Tejwant Singh Gill writes: “ ‘Majhe De Lok te Lok-Sahit’ dealt with the land falling between the Beas and the Ravi, the rivers perennially flowing on its either side. This land is usually excluded from historical studies, the marauders’ land. So its inhabitants were believed to be rugged, blunt, brusque and intransigent by nature”.

He said Aulakh in his books gives details of domestic chores in which housewives busy themselves with devotion, the ways they dress themselves, particularly on festive occasions, the ornaments they relish to decorate themselves with.

The changes taking place from cropping to industrialising, from staying at home to emigrating abroad, are also recorded with minute care in this work of Aulakh. The dangers lurking over the landscape and demography are also traced, though with reluctance. “The book is a fine example of decoding folklore, the writer deserves accolades for the labour put in with diligence”, writes Tejwant Gill. 


Umeed Foundation to set up hospital for women, children
Tribune News Service

Sangrur , August 3
Arvind Khanna, former Congress MLA and chairman of the Umeed Foundation, an NGO, today announced the setting up a 10-bed eye hospital and a 20-bed woman and child hospital here. The foundation stones of the two hospitals would be laid next month, he added.

After inaugurating a multi-specialty medical camp at Ghabdan village,10 km from here, today that he was talking to reporters. The camp was organised by the Umeed Foundation where 953 patients of heart, blood pressure, sugar, bones and eyes were examined. Medicines were given free of cost.

Khanna said thehospitals would be constructed by spending Rs 4 crore and start functioning in January or February next. He said these hospitals would provide free service to the needy and poor while others would get treatment by paying 50 per cent charges.

Khanna said if he was offered ticket by the Congress for the Lok Sabha election from Sangrur he would contest it. He also admitted absence from Sangrur saying he could not come here due to his family and business engagements. He promised to remain in touch with the town.


Adhyapak Dal leader claims majority
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 3
The Adhyapak Dal, led by its state president Hardev Singh Jawandha, today held a state-level convention here. Delegates and leaders of the body from various districts of the state expressed faith in the leadership of Jawandha.

Jawandha said certain leaders of the party, under the leadership of patron of the body Nachhatar Singh Jahangir, had removed him from the post of president by adopting a resolution at Ludhiana while the state president could only be removed by two-thirds majority of the delegates. So, his removal was illegal, he added.

Jawandha said today’s convention had been called to take verdict from the delegates and tell the people that the Adhyapak Dal, led by him, was the genuine body. 


Woman threatens immolation
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 3
The mother of a plus I student has levelled allegations against the management of the Akal Academy at Cheema that her son was not being allowed to study in the academy because he was not wearing a turban. 

She has threatened to immolate herself on August 5 if her son was not allowed in the academy without wearing a turban. The academy has said the boy was not a student of the academy. After passing matriculation, he had collected all documents on July 21 last.


Removal of fencing on Army land causes damage to crops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Farmers of Fattuwala village in Ferozepur district today claimed that their standing crops were being destroyed due to the removal of iron fencing along the land owned by the Army in the area.

In a letter to the Army headquarters, Ferozepur, as well as the defence minister, the farmers alleged that some villagers in connivance with Army officials had removed the iron fencing around the land owned by the Army. They alleged that this had been done to allow the grazing of domesticated milch animals of people of nearby villages on Army land. They said the buffalos and cows, who were let into the area at night, also destroyed their standing crops.

Gurdeep Singh, Balbir Singh and Baldev Singh, all from Fattuwala, claimed that they had approached the local Army authorities to re-fence the area or take other measures to ensure that standing crops alongside Army land were not destroyed but it did not have any effect. They urged that action should be taken against those guilty of inaction in the matter. 


Dealer awaits diesel supply for past 5 days 
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 3
On the one pretext or the other, diesel supply is not being made since July 29 to a petrol station situated at Dhaula village on national highway (NH) 64 (Barnala-Bathinda road), despite the submission of indent to the HPCL depot, Sangrur, along with a demand draft for Rs 3.95 lakh for obtaining supply of 12,000 litres of diesel.

This was stated here today by Harmanjit Singh Deol on behalf of his wife Ramanjit Kaur, who is owner of the HPCL petrol station at the village. He further said he had contacted company officials several times to supply diesel, but to no avail. He termed it harassment to the dealer on the part of the company.

Deol also said during June last, their petrol station had got 93,000 litres of diesel and petrol whereas in July they had got only 59,000 litres of diesel and petrol. In this way, they had suffered a loss of thousands of rupees in July. Deol said he also visited the office of the chief regional manager, HPCL at Chandigarh on July 31 to register a complaint, but all went in vain as no company official met him there. He said he had to look after the business of his wife as she was bringing up their two small children below three years.


ISI prefers techno-savvy youth: SSP
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, August 3
Just a year after Pakistani youth Abdul Hanan Rashid, alias Rajveer Ranwat, a masters in business management, was held in Ludhiana for spying, the Jagraon police has caught Shahid Iqbal Bhatti, a masters in computer applications, on the charge of espionage.

The Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) brief to both spies was to send photographs, information on vital installations. But Iqbal of Patto Ke, Hala Road, Kasur, could have proved to be the best in the field.

“The growing IT culture in India provides better ground for techno-savvy spies to establish,” said Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, Ludhiana Rural (Jagraon), adding, “that’s why qualified Pakistani youths are being sent to India for espionage”.

He said the spy was on the way to getting contract for annual maintenance of Army computers which would have provided him access to important information. Iqbal ran Punjab Online, an office for maintaining computers, and websites, in Surya Complex Leela Bhawan, Patiala.

His office was under the office of Akali MLA Surjit Singh Rakhra. He could have access to VIP visitors like CM Parkash Singh Badal and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Iqbal was arrested on August 1 night at Kular canal bridge. A search of his office at Patiala led to the recovery of 36 photographs of various Army installations, 46 other photographs, two albums, one passport of an Indian friend, one forged birth certificate issued from Saharanpur, five bank accounts, two cheque books, a map of Punjab and a PAN card.

Bhullar revealed that Iqbal was living at Haqiqat Nagar, Saharanpur, UP. The ISI had taught him reading and speaking Hindi, Indian customs, festivals, familiarity with Indian cities and geography.

He entered India via Kathmandu and destroyed his Pakistani passport. Earlier, he had come to India as a cricket fan to have a feel of the country.

During interrogation he confessed that he was given special training in befriending people. The police has registered a case under Section 3, Official Secret Act, 1923, Section 14, Foreigners Act, 1946, Section 12, Passport Act, 1967, Section 3, Passport Entry into India Act, 1920, at Jagraon police station.


BBMB machines continue to generate power
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Nangal, August 3
Despite having outlived their useful lives, machines at BBMB continue to generate more power than targeted by Central Electricity Authority (CEA). BBMB officials told the Union minister of state for power and commerce, Jairam Ramesh, this during his visit to the Bhakra Nangal project yesterday.

Jairam reviewed the present position of reservoirs and power availability from the BBMB hydro plants. He expressed satisfaction regarding the water and power during the coming year as status of water inflow is comfortable.

As on today, the reservoir level of the Bhakra Dam is 1646 ft EL, which is 37 ft higher than last year’s level.

The official spokesperson said with innovative renovation and maintenance practices being adopted, the BBMB had not only been able to achieve the life extension of machines, but over the years had also exceeded targets of power generation fixed by the CEA.

He added that BBMB had been able to achieve optimal reservoir management, water regulation and running of power houses in most efficient and optimum manner. 


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