P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Man washed away; villagers shift to rail tracks, roads
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, August 17
Carrying household goods on their heads, people of the flood-hit areas are making a beeline for safer places as more than 50 villages have been marooned in the Makhu area. No help has so far come from the government yet.

It is after 16 years that residents of these villages have witnessed this level of flood fury. Many lives were lost in 1993.

Meanwhile, Bhur Singh drowned in the afternoon while he was carrying utensils and other articles from his home and trying to cross the floodwaters. Another person was rescued and was rushed to a nearby medical camp.

Womenfolk and children of more than 100 villages have taken refuge on the railway tracks where they are living without any tents since yesterday.

The affected people were critical of the government for not having come to their rescue for the past two days.

Gurcharan Singh of Kusuwali village said the government had failed to supply even a single tent or tarpaulin to them.

A large number of residents of the Kasuwala village have taken shelter on the railway track. They fear that the place might also get marooned if the flood water did not recede.

The road between Kasuwala in Ferozepur and Gidder Pindi at the tail end in Jalandhar district has virtually become a relief camp with people trying to protect their household articles.

Balwinder Singh of Chakian said people had started moving from his village fearing flooding by night.

More than 200 households have shifted to the roadside and the railway track from the Kusuwali village, 220 households from Wadakaliron, 180 households from village Malewala and nearly 100 from Chak Tarewal.

As one proceeds beyond Talwandi, widespread flood damage is visible on the right side of the road.

Karnail Singh said about 250 households of Lalewala village had taken refuge on the roadside and the embankment.

The railway line between Ferozepur and Jalandhar has got damaged at many places. There was nearly 100-foot-long missing track near the Giddar Pindi village.

Lakhwinder Singh said the embankment that had breached now was repaired only once after the floods in 1993.


Testing times for BSF
Anirudh Gupta

Indo-Pakistan border (Ferozepur), August 17
It’s testing times for the BSF, manning the 162-km border in this sector, with several of its nakas submerged in the Sutlej waters.

Seven BSF nakas in the 1.5-km riverine gap along the border outposts of Basti Ramlal and Tapu have been inundated.

DIG (sector headquarters) M.L. Wassan said, “The Sutlej zigzags along the border in this sector entering Pakistan nine times before finally flowing into Pakistan.

“There are nine riverine gaps in this sector, making it impossible to set up cobra
fencing here.

“These gaps are vulnerable to smuggling of drugs and narcotics. Since January this year, 52 kg of heroin has been recovered by the BSF in this sector”.

Commandant of 7 Battalion Vimal Satyarthy said the BSF had to take special steps to check intrusion and smuggling in situations like this.

Special motor boat nakas had been set up, besides mounted patrolling being intensified in the area.

Satyarthy said special night operations were also being carried out with the help of night vision devices.


22 trapped on Ravi ‘island’
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Makora Pattan (Gurdaspur), August 17
Though the Ravi has been flowing below danger mark, the increased flow of water into it has made the lives of villagers living across it miserable.

Twentytwo persons have been trapped on a newly created “island” near Gajju Jagir village located on the banks of the river.

The “island” was created due to heavy soil erosion by the river, which has been carrying more than 1.5 lakh cusecs of water.

Official sources said deputy commissioner Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, who along with Harpreet Singh, SP, visited various pockets, facing flood threat from the Ravi and Ujh rivers, had directed the BSF to arrange boats to rescue the trapped villagers. He said the trapped persons were safe. They grow vegetable on the riverbed.

Residents of Bharial, Toor, Chebe, Lassian, Kuker, Mammi Chak and Chubber villages had been facing flood threat with spurs on the bank having been caved in and soil erosion had set in a big way. These villages have a swollen Ujh river on the one side, and raging Ravi on other side.

Ferrying of people across the Ravi by boat is not allowed after sunset. Villagers said a swollen Ravi meant three-month holiday for schoolchildren and no timely medical care to those, who were victims of snakebites and pregnant women and other serious patients.

Shivbir Singh Rajan, a youth leader of the area, said a permanent bridge over the two rivers would prove a boon for them.


Villagers near Sutlej, Swan told to shift
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Anandpur Sahib, August 17
An alert has been sounded in all villages situated alongside the Sutlej and rivulets, including the Swan, for the next 72 hours.

People have been asked to move to safer places. This has been done in view of incessant rain, which might increase the level in Bhakra Dam reservoir.

The level in the reservoir was 1669.41 ft, just 11 ft short of the maximum permissible limit. In case, water exceeds the level of 1,680 ft, there will be further discharge from the dam.

The inflow of water in dam was 55,852 cusecs and outflow was 37,000 cusecs. The Swan and Sirsa rivulets are brimming with 10,000 or 15, 000 cusecs of water flowing into them continuously.

Water release from the Bhakra Dam is maintained in such a way that the reservoir reaches its peak at the end of filling season, which is September 20.

To attain a water level of 1,681 ft on September 10, water release is restricted to 32,000 cusecs for a dependable year and 38,000 cusecs for a mean year.

Meanwhile, not many villagers were keen to leave their cattle and property behind. “We will manage the situation when it arises. As of now, we don’t want to leave our village,” said Jatinder Singh from Agampur.


Ghaggar still dangerous
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 17
Residents of several villages of flood-prone Khanauri and Moonak areas of this district feared that flood water might enter their villages and fields tonight as there were reports that the Ghaggar river might have more water in it during the night.

The Ghaggar flow was touching the gauge this evening at 749.6-ft mark, just two-and-a-half-feet below the danger mark (752 ft) at the RD-460 at Khanauri village, about 55 km from here.

The level had touched the gauge at 750-ft mark on Saturday evening. Moonak SDM R.P.S. Walia said there were reports that more water might flowed into the Ghaggar river tonight from the Cheekah area side.

He said there were no reports of any breach in the river so far. He said the administration had distributed more than 20,000 sandbags among the villagers to strengthen the bundhs.

On the other hand, villagers said they were strengthening the bundhs on their
own. Villagers of some villages, including Mandvi, Andana, Chandu, Banarasi and Therri, claimed that they had plugged or repaired breaches at two or three places in the past 24 hours.

Area in charge of the SAD for the Lehragaga Assembly constituency Prem Singh Chandumajra said he had talked to the Sangrur deputy commissioner to initiate talks with the Haryana government immediately as the Haryana today opened the gates of its Mustafapur lake.


Breaches unplugged
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 17
About 150-foot breach in the Sutlej river at Mundikalu village could not be plugged today as the authorities kept on waiting for the water to recede.

The Army and civil authorities continued rescue operations even as more villages in Jalandhar and Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision of Kapurthala district got submerged.

Punjab irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon said no breach in the sated could be plugged today as the authorities were waiting for the water to recede.

The plugging would be started by tomorrow and it would be completed within four days, he added.

In the meantime, he along with education minister Bibi Upinderjeet Kaur, visited flooded villages in the Mand area of Sultanpur Lodhi subdivision.

Sekhon confirmed that there was no report of any loss. Over 150-foot breach in the Sutlej in Lohian, under Shahkot subdivision, inundated nearly 40 villages yesterday.

Meanwhile, member, distribution, of the PSEB H.S. Brar said power supply to 60 villages of the four flooded districts was disconnected as a precautionary measure.

Several relief camps have been established at public places, including education institutions and dharamashalas.


Water in Harike headworks recedes
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 17
The administration today heaved a sigh of relief after the water level in the Harike headworks decreased today.

It had increased to 81,250 cqs yesterday above to the existing capacity of the headworks . And now the situation was quite satisfactory in the area.

DC Khushi Ram in a written press statement here today said the water level had been recorded to 70, 103 cqs.

The DC further said in Harike the rainfall had been recorded to 46 mm, but on August 14 it was recorded 80 mm.

The DC supervised the situation and visited a number of villages today along with
other officials.


BBMB tells state to be ready for evacuation steps
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) has informed the Punjab government to be ready to undertake evacuation measures in case the situation turns critical in the coming days, with widespread rainfall in Himachal Pradesh pushing the Bhakra Dam level above 1,669 ft today.

Though the danger mark of 1,680 ft is still nearly 11 ft away, the BBMB authorities have started monitoring the situation round the clock as rain is still being reported throughout Himachal Pradesh.

“We are trying our best to control the situation as Punjab is already reeling under floods due to heavy rainfall, but if the situation turns critical, we will have no option but to release water to save the dam”, BBMB chairman U.C. Mishra told TNS.

“They (Punjab authorities) understand the bigger problem,” he said, adding that the release, however, would occur only in consultation with the state government.

“It is Punjab which has to take flood-control measures, including evacuation of people, if needed and we are in constant touch with the government on this issue,” he added.

The BBMB chairman said no water had been discharged from the dam till now. He said the floodgates of the dam had been checked yesterday as a cautionary measure only and were hardly open for more than 15 to 20 minutes.

“More water is discharged by way of power generation than that released due to the checking of the gates yesterday,” he said.

The BBMB authorities are hoping that the current spell of heavy rain in the catchment areas of the Beas and Sutlej willstop in the coming days.

Mishra said the meteorological department had predicted heavy rainfall till August 15. “We are hoping this activity will reduce in the coming days which will ease pressure on the dam.”

Meanwhile, sources said the water level in the Bhakra dam was only 1,640 ft on the same day last year.

Similarly, they said against an inflow of 48,122 cusecs on this date last year, the dam reported an inflow of 65,260 cusecs today.

Correspondingly the discharge was slightly more presently, with 27,498 cusecs being discharged today against 20,499 cusecs during the corresponding period last year.

The sources said the figures indicated that heavy rainfall had resulted in the dam filling up ahead of schedule.

They said since monsoon activity would continue for another fortnight or so, the dam authorities might have to take a call on releasing water in the next week.


10 Army columns rescue flood-hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Army has mobilised 10 columns to carry out flood-relief operations in Punjab. Four columns have been deployed at Sunghera village in Moga district while three at Bhagewala village in Ferozepur district.

Two columns have been deployed n Mandhala village, near Jalandhar, while another is carrying out relief work at Mandandrisa near Kapurthala.

There have been a number of breaches in anti-flood bundhs on the Sutlej in Jalandhar, Moga and Ferozepur districts.

The Army columns from Vajra Corps located at Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Kapurthala were immediately dispatched to the affected areas.

Armymen have been helping the civil authorities in rescue operations. Motorised boats of the Army have been pressed into service. Villagers and their cattle have been shifted to high grounds.


Badal asks Centre for help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked the Union government to provide liberal assistance to the state in providing immediate relief due to torrential rains, besides revising the norms of compensation to provide adequate relief from the calamity relief fund (CRF).

In separate letters to union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, home minister Shivraj Patil and minister for water resources Saif-u-Din Soz, the Chief Minister said the rains had caused substantial damages in eight districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur, Kapurthala, Moga, Jalandhar, Ferozepur and Ropar.

He said a large number of villages were marooned, while standing crop had been
badly affected.

Badal said one of the major reasons for the floods had also been inadequate rehabilitation and strengthening of water resources.

In a telephonic conversation with Shivraj Patil, the Chief Minister urged him to revise the norms of the CRF and announce a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation package for the affected population of Punjab.

He has also requested to send a team of senior officers of the ministry for an on-the-spot study of the situation.

‘River waters receding’

Level in the state rivers has begun to receding and if there was no major renewed rain in the region, the situation could be brought under control very soon.

Stating this, Mr Harcharan Bains, media adviser to Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal, said here this evening that the Army and civil authorities had made a headway in plugging breaches in rivers in Jalandhar and Moga districts.

“Although we are faced with a problem of rehabilitation and rescue, there is no cause for panic,” he said.


Situation under control: Govt
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Present flood situation, which has been described by the state government as “under control”, may go out of hand if catchments areas in Himachal Pradesh receive heavy rain tonight.

The three main reservoirs in Punjab are almost brimming, with monitoring agencies keeping their options open to release more water in case of heavy rain tonight.

Irrigation secretary Suresh Kumar said: “As of now the situation is under control, but we are closely monitoring it”.

He confirmed that 13 persons had lost their lives after half a dozen houses collapsed in Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur districts due to incessant rain since August 11.

The Army was assisting the civil administration in plugging major breeches in Ferozepur and Jalandhar districts.

Officials said the situation was particularly grim in the areas close to the Sutlej. The Ravi and Beas were well below danger level.

The authorities confirmed that water in the Ghaggar river in Patiala district was a mere six inches below the danger level.

This has forced the administration to sound an alert in the villages falling in Patran and Samana sub division.

Suresh Kumar said the Bhakra Dam is currently at 1,670 feet, with its maximum capacity being 1,680 feet.

The Ranjit Sagar Dam had recorded the water level at 521 feet as against its maximum capacity of 524 feet and at the Pong Dam water stood at 568 feet as against its maximum capacity of 580 feet.

“In case of heavy rain, water will have to be released into rivers”, he added. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has ordered a special girdawri for the damaged crop.



New SAD dist presidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
SAD president and MP Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced a list of district presidents of the party.

As per the list, the districts of Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, Barnala, Moga, Mohali and Patiala (Rural) will have new presidents.

The rest of the districts will have the same presidents. The presidents for the Amirtsar (City) and Kapurthala will be announced later.

Giving details, party general secretary Daljit Cheema gave the names as this: Amritsar (Rural)- Rattan Singh Ajnala; Bathinda - Sikander Singh Maluka, Barnala Balbir Singh Ghunus; Fatehgarh Sahib - Jagdeep Singh Cheema; Faridkot - Mantar Singh Brar, Ferozepur - Janmeza Singh Sekhon, Gurdaspur - Sucha Singh Langah, Hoshiarpur - Surinder Singh Thekedar, Jalandhar (Rural)- Ajit Singh Kohar, Jalandhar (City)- Gurcharan Singh Channi, Ludhiana (Rural)- Santa Singh Umaidpur, Ludhiana (City)- Hira Singh Gabria, Mansa - Harbant Singh Datewas, Moga - Tirath Singh Mahla, Mohali - Jathedar Ujjagar Singh Wadali; Muktsar -Manjit Singh Barkandi; Nawanshahr - Mohinder Singh Hussainpur; Nawanshahr (City)- Harash Sareen; Patiala (Rural)- Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur; Patiala (City)- Indermohan Singh Bajaj; Ropar - Master Tara Singh Ladal; Sangrur - Giani Raghbir Singh; and Tarn Taran - Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke.


Capt’s state of mind worrying: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Shiromani Akali Dal supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal today advised "psychiatric treatment for Capt Amarinder Singh” who, he said, appeared again to be haunted with the spectre of Akalis trying to finish him off.

“The Captain's state of mind is worrying and he is not a normal person at this stage. He definitely needs treatment and I will consider requesting Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to arrange that at government expense, as the ‘Raja’ was once an Akali and is now a former Chief Minister," said Sukhbir in a statement here.

Referring to the nature of Captain’s “mental ailment”, Sukhbir said,"He is definitely a man haunted by nightmares and hallucinations. He must be exorcised of these abnormal apparitions, which he sees even during daytime."

He said it was not a laughing matter and had to be taken seriously, as the “once-upon-a-time” Chief Minister was seeing enemies both within his party and in the government and even within his family.

He said the Captain's pitiable plight, both within the Congress party and in the state politics, might be responsible for this sorry plight of his mind.

"It is clear even to a schoolchild that the poor Captain is now at the mercy of
those second-rung leaders within the Congress who he had once treated as scum
of the earth.

"It is pathetic to see him scampering from one house to another to win support
from little-known Congressmen whom he used to refuse to meet when he was the
Chief Minister.

"The man who was the most inaccessible person as Chief Minister was now
begging each and everyone to shake his hand. I can only sympathise with him,"
said the SAD chief.

Amarinder was paying the price of his five-year-long tyranny towards common Punjabis, his “leisure and pleasure culture”, his neglect of the basic needs of Punjabis and his distaste for mixing with common people.

Referring to Amarinder's “boast” that he would lead the Congress to victory in all 13 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Sukhbir said this again was symptomatic of the abnormal state of mind of the former Chief Minister.

"He seems to have forgotten that even when he had the full backing of the state machinery at his disposal, we had thrashed him soundly, winning 11 out of 13 seats", Sukhbir said.


Federal crime agency to check terrorism
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 17
Minister of state for home affairs Shakeel Ahmed asserted that the Union government was making an effort to curb the menace of terrorism in the country.

Ahmed was speaking after attending a function organised at the Central State Library here last evening.

Ahmed said the Centre would shortly set up a federal crime agency to combat terrorism as was also mooted by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh recently.

Talking to The Tribune, he added that the Central government all by itself could not uproot the evil of terrorism and for this he urged the state governments to come forward with their support to check terrorism.

Talking about the Amarnath land controversy, he urged all political parties to come together and solve the sensitive issue.

However, he added that some anti-social elements were playing nefarious role due to which the Amarnath imbroglio could not be settled till date. Ahmed also said the Lok Sabha elections would be held on schedule.



CM cautions Centre against separate SGPC
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Rajla (Patiala), August 17
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today dubbed the Congress-led Haryana government’s encouragement to the move on the formation of a separate Sikh gurdwara management committee as a “direct interference” in the religious affairs of the Sikhs.

He cautioned the Central government that Sikhs would never accept any such “division” and they were capable of repulsing any attack against their religious beliefs and unity.

Badal asserted that though the Haryana government might have been trying to form a separate gurdwara management committee, it should take it into account that the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) Act had acquired its present form after numerous sacrifices made by the Sikh Panth.

Even Mahatma Gandhi had described the formation of the Act as a prelude to the freedom of the country. Under a pact inked between Jawahar Lal Nehru and the first SGPC chief, late Master Tara Singh, no government could change the Act or could interfere in Sikhs’ religious matters.

“The failure of the Central government in preventing the Haryana government from interfering in the religious affairs could lead to a difficult situation. The Sikhs are not going to be mute spectators to the tinkering of their religion.

“The country could face a tough time in case Haryana is not stopped by the Centre, which, has already failed to contain religious flare-ups in Jammu and Kashmir and other states of the country,” he said.

“The SGPC Act is a historical Act and the SGPC was known as Sikh parliament. It is a testing time for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and we are to see whether he, as a Sikh also, could prevent high-handedness against the Sikhs or not.

“To discuss the issue, the core committee of the SAD would hold its meeting in Chandigarh on August 19 and we are also going to take NDA’s help in defusing the situation,” said Badal.

He was here to participate in a programme organised in connection with the 18th death anniversary of former Samana MLA Hardyal Singh Rajla. Badal remembered Rajla as a “true soldier” of the SAD and he had sacrificed his life for the party.


Central aid for stampede victims
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 17
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had approved relief for the victims of the stampede at the Naina Devi shrine a few days ago.

Ashwani Sekhri, convener, Congress Campaign Committee, Punjab, today said the Prime Minister had approved that kin of the deceased would be given Rs 1 lakh.

The injured would get Rs 50,000 each. He claimed taking up the matter of relief with the Prime Minister.


Two boys feared drowned in drain
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 17
Malkiat Singh (14) and Danny (13) of Kalodi village were feared drowned in the village drain (near Bhawanigarh) this afternoon when they were bathing.

DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said five boys of Kalodi village had gone to the drain for bathing today. Two boys were feared drowned while the remaining Gurpreet Singh, Baljinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh, all 13-14 years’ old, had been saved by villagers, he added.

The bodies were not recovered till evening. The DSP said the mishap occurred due to the sudden increase of water in the drain.


Bid to revive militancy in Punjab: Badal
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 17
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said here that some forces were trying to revive militancy in the state.

He was speaking at a rally at Red Cross Bhavan after launching city bus service and laying the foundation stone of a railway over-bridge at the Khalsa College crossing on Sunday.

Without naming any force, Badal said there was need for everyone to be wary of attempts to revive militancy.

Interestingly, several SAD councillors boycotted the function in protest against the advertisement by the local bodies department that appeared in several dailies in which SAD chief Sukhbir Badal’s photo was not carried.

However, SAD district chief Gurcharan Singh Channi and SAD MLA Jagbir Brar were present at the function.

Speaking about the boycott, Badal said the SAD-BJP alliance was like a family and disputes in families were common.

He asked local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia and mayor Rakesh Rathour to solve the issue amicably after calling a meeting of all councillors.

Talking to The Tribune, senior deputy mayor Kanwaljeet Singh Bhatia said SAD councillors boycotted the function, as photos of in charge of Punjab BJP affairs Balbir Punj and state BJP chief Prof Rajinder Bhadnari were carried in the advertisement, but that of SAD chief were not published.

Bhatia went on to claim that chief parliamentary secretary and SAD MLA Avinash Chander and some BJP MLAs, including K.D. Bhandari, also boycotted the function on the same issue.

However,when contacted, Bhandari said he had not boycotted the function. He said he could not attend the function due to some personal work.

At the same time, he said he had attended both programmes of launching of city bus service and stone-laying ceremony of the ROB.

Speaking on the occasion, Kalia thanked Badal for providing a cheque for Rs 101 crore for various development works in Jalandhar.

Counting several future plans of development of the city, he said the medical institute would soon be made functional.

Balbir Punj, Rajinder Bhandari, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, mayor Rakesh Rathour also spoke on the occasion.


Bureaucrat turns director
Swaran Singh’s debut film ‘Lakh Pardesi Hoiye’
gets rave reviews
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Dr Swaran Singh, a senior Punjab bureaucrat, has donned the director's cap in his unique mission to promote Punjab's rich cultural heritage through the most-effective medium--the films.

The "artistic bureaucrat", whose debut film "Lakh Pardesi Hoiye" is getting rave reviews and creating ripples, wants to bring the Punjabi cinema at par with Bollywood films.

And he is not far behind if the quality of his big-budget directorial venture boasting of Bollywood stars, including Gracy Singh, Rajat Bedi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Avtar Singh, is any indication.

"This is a trend-setting film weaved around the lives of the NRIs in the UK and addresses contemporary issues of linking Indians with bomb blasts, racial discrimination and trauma of the NRI brides," Dr Swaran told The Tribune here today.

In fact, artistic pursuits have always been at the back of the mind of this doctor-turned-bureaucrat (1982 batch IAS officer), who dabbled in painting and sculptor making besides being associated with the performing arts.

However, it was his stint as the divisional commissioner, Jalandhar, which brought him face-to-face with the rich Punjabi cultural heritage and the who’s who of the music industry.

"The highpoint of my posting was the musical bonanza ‘Saanjh dillan di’ featuring top Indian and Pakistani singers at Jalandhar in 2003 which ignited my latent talent for film making," he said with a sense of pride.

There was no looking back as "Eh tera apmaan", a telefilm scripted by his soul
mate Amarjit Kaur and produced by him for DD Jalandhar, went on to bag the
best telefilm award.

However, it was his stint as the NRI commissioner which gave him an insight into the lives of the NRIs.

"While I and my wife provided the creative inputs, the operational and financial aspects were taken care of my old friend Prem Gandhi, who did not compromise on any aspect of film making," the director asserted.

Dr Swaran Singh, who is also the principal secretary, cultural affairs, claimed that with setting up of the film city and the international airport in Chandigarh, Punjabi cinema was set to get a boost.

This, coupled with the exemption of the entertainment tax on films in Punjab by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, would prove to be a shot in the arm for already-established Punjab film industry to make the state a favourite cinematic tourism destination, Dr Swaran added.


Gurdaspur ITI selected for upgradation
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, August 17
The Central government has initiated the process to upgrade Pawan Kumar Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) here by selecting it under its centre of excellence scheme.

Under the scheme, the Central government will equip the ITI with facilities to make it a world-level institute to produce highly skilled persons.

Harish Mohan, principal, ITI, here said the ITI had been selected in electronic sector by the Central government. He added the institute would be able to take 1,000 students a year in near future.

He added that the ITI had also been running six-month leather goods manufacturing trade course, the second in Punjab after Jalandhar.

The course, started with the help of the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), would produce technical hands, employable in multinational companies.

The ITI would provide free education to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates from poor sections.


Rs 10 lakh fake notes seized
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 17
The Border Security Force (BSF) recovered fake Indian currency of Rs 10 lakh, smuggled from the Pakistan side, and arrested a smuggler along with his two aides.

The currency, in the denomination of Rs 500, was packed in four polythene bags having imprint of NFJ Shopping Mall of Lahore.

It was concealed in a stitched plastic bag containing pears. The contraband was smuggled from the border village of Narli in the Khemkaran sector of Tarn Taran district last evening.

Giving details of the seizure to the media here today, Mohammad Aquil, DIG, BSF, said during the preliminary investigation, two labourers, Bikar Singh and Gainda Singh, had revealed that they were working at a pear farm owned by Col Gurbir Singh Sandhu (retd), which was spread across the fence.

They had concealed the consignment, which had arrived about eight days ago,
under a bush.

Aquil said the two, under pressure from Harjit Singh, a notorious smuggler, packed the consignment in a bag containing pears and stitched it and loaded it in a trolley without getting it checked from the BSF jawans.

However, a vigilant jawan saw the bag and recovered the fake currency. Jawans also arrested Harjit, who immediately arrived on the scene on a motor cycle (PB 46F 2405) to take the consignment.


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