P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Direct seed plantation proves excellent for paddy
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Hawaas (Ludhiana), October 5 
Proving critics of direct seed plantation for paddy crop wrong, swaying crop, promising a bumper yield, is a clear indicator of the success story of an alternative, cheaper and water-saving technique for paddy cultivation used at many places across the state.

A visit to villages of this district, where farmers have discarded the traditional practice of paddy transplantation, shows excellent results on ground. The “ridge and furrow” technique, catching on slowly over the past few years, has been implemented on at least 10,000 acres across the state this year, said Dr S.S. Johl, eminent agro-economist and planner, during his visit to villages near Ludhiana today.

He said besides his first-hand experience, he had received reports about crops doing excellent using “ridge and furrow” technique at Virk near Phagwara, Mehsampur near Gurdaspur, Kakka near Ludhiana, a handful of villages near Dehlon and Rurka kalan near Jalandhar, besides several others.

Dr Johl said, “Most importantly, there are absolutely no reports about the yield being lesser, even by a small fraction, than the crop grown through transplantation”.

The success is a clarion call to farmers to come forward and employ a technique, which saves at least 50 per cent of water consumption and does away with unnecessary expenditure on expensive agricultural machinery, including seeding and drilling machines.

There is no need to create puddles, transplant and maintain a water level in the fields. A farmer uses ridger, which is a common implement. Dr Johl has supported the technique in his paper submitted to the planning commission, earlier.

Pointing out towards tall poplar trees in his crop of more than 10 acres in Kakka village, Daler Singh, a former agricultural officer, said: “Look at the growth of the trees. These could have never survived in the puddles.”

Mohinder Pal Singh Grewal, a local farmer, said: “I planted paddy on 15 acres using seeds directly in the fields. The crop has shown excellent results and the poplar trees are also benefited with regular water and fertiliser supply”.

Daler said: “It is surprising that the alternative paddy cultivation technique, which has been catching on with the farmers over the past few years, has not got any official nod, either from the government or the agricultural university”.

Daler said the results clearly indicated that the same crop could be harvested with half of the water, saving on already depleting water table in the state.

Dr Johl said: “Direct seed plantation is a technique, which employs rain-water harvesting. It increases worms activity, ultimately improving the quality of soil”.


Inclement Weather
Farmers worried, hosiery upbeat
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Continued inclement weather even after southwest monsoon’s withdrawal from the region may be worrying farmers, but at the indication of an early arrival of winter, the hosiery and winter garments industry are upbeat.

Overcast sky, drop in day and night temperatures and drizzle-to-moderate rain have been reported from various places in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

While meteorologists hold that the southwest monsoon was fairly good in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi, it was slightly below average in Himachal.

Punjab recorded 600 mm of rainfall between June 1 and September 30 this year against the normal rainfall of 502 mm. In case of Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, it was 538 mm against the average of 470 mm.

In Himachal, against an average rainfall of 774 mm, the hilly state recorded 739 mm, while in Jammu & Kashmir; it has been 525 mm this time while the average is 514 mm.

Though the Indian Meteorology Department holds that the southwest monsoon withdrew from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, J and K and Delhi on September 29, spells of inclement weather since then have been primarily because of western disturbances.

Continued inclement weather is affecting not only harvesting and marketing of paddy, but also other farming operations. Incidence of fungal infection in some vegetable and fruit crops also goes up because of an overcast sky, humidity and rain.

Procurement of paddy and cotton also gets affected because of increased moisture in the air. While procurement agencies insist on prescribed moisture content in paddy, farmers are finding it hard to meet the moisture content limits in produce being marketed by them.

While the farmers are worried, there is some cheer in the hosiery and winter garments industry that is hoping for an early winter. Inclement weather, overcast sky and drop in night temperatures are forcing people in some areas to switch off air-conditioners and fans and have light blankets.

The inclement weather is, however, worrying organisers of Ramlilas and Dussehra in the region because unprecedented rain late in the evenings and even during the days is affecting the staging of shows. Though meteorologists expect the current spell of inclement weather to end in 24 to 48 hours, yet further continuation may hit Dussehra celebrations in the region.


State to have another airport
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Punjab will have yet another airport. To be set up initially as a domestic airport, it will have the capability of being expanded into an international one. MP from Faridkot and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, who lobbied hard for this project, has managed to secure a “go-ahead” from the union ministry of civil aviation for the same. The Air Headquarters too is expected to issue a “no-objection soon”.

The airport will not be a stand-alone airport, but will be built to have a small township around it. The need for an airport near Ludhiana was felt after the IAF refused to clear the civil airport project at Sahnewal.

“The matter is now before the ministry of defence, which has raised certain queries. All these have been addressed to their satisfaction and we are likely to get the clearance very soon”, a senior official of the government disclosed to The Tribune.

Sukhbir, who also secured a clearance from the Prime Minister’s Office for the project, told Delhi that Punjab proposed to set up the airport between Payal and Sahnewal on about 5,000 acres of green field. The township around the airport would be set up in an area of 12,000 to 13,000 acres.

Initially, the airport will be built for domestic operations, but all clearances are being taken with a view to upgrade it in the future to an international level, making this to be the third international airport after Amritsar and Mohali in the state.

Though in principal, the defence ministry does not allow setting up of a new airport unless it is over 250 km away from an existing airport. But, this new airport, proposed to be set up somewhere on the border of Fathegarh Sahib and Ludhiana district, will be only 70 km from the Mohali airport.

The Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, had taken up the matter pertaining to the extension of the civil airport at Sahnewal with the Airport Authority of India and the ministry of defence through the Air Headquarters. But, the IAF had certain reservations as the firing ranges at Halwara and Sidwan Khas could prove to be dangerous for aircraft like Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.

After deliberations, the Air Headquarters has accorded permission to start domestic flights from Sahnewal’s existing runway for VFR operations for ATR type of aircraft. Since, this was not acceptable to the Punjab government, Sukhbir made it clear to the Centre that the Punjab government would like to seek all clearance that might subsequently help in turning the proposed airport into an international one.

The government will notify the acquisition of land only after it receives a final clearance from the Air Headquarters.


Govt to approach Tatas: Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 5
The state government will soon approach chief of Tatas Ratan Tata for shifting the Nano project to Punjab.

Disclosing this at a press conference here this afternoon, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said before setting up the project at Singur in West Bengal, the management of Tatas had approached the previous Congress government for its installation in Punjab. The Amarinder regime, however, discouraged the management from setting up the project in the state, Badal alleged.

The Chief Minister claimed that all persons and farmers, whose land had been acquired for various projects, were satisfied as they had been given 30 per cent above the market rates. Besides, they were given Rs 2 lakh for each acre and a maximum of Rs 3 lakh extra as mazara allowance. They were also exempted from the stamp duty in case of purchasing new land in lieu of their acquired plot, he added.

Referring to the shortage of power, Badal said the state was already facing 30 per cent deficit of its total power requirement. To meet the present requirement, two thermal plants in Bathinda district and one each at Goindwal and Rajpura would soon be set up to generate 7,000 MW of power.

He said skill centres would be opened at all block headquarters where job-oriented training of three or six months would be imparted to youths.

Replying to a question, Badal said he had not given any harsh statement to counter his nephew and finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal’s stand on the issue of power and subsidies. However, he said free power supply to agriculture and subsidies in various other sectors would continue.



Gabria plain-speak stuns audience
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
Cultural affairs minister Hira Singh Gabria has done some plain-speaking about the growing trend of organising fashion shows by schools and colleges in the state, saying that we are promoting the Western culture at the cost of ours.

Such was his anger that Gabria immediately walked off the dais without even distributing prizes to students and left the venue.

The occasion was the annual Lavanya-2008 show organised by the PRJ College of Fine Arts and he was the chief guest. As a dumbfounded audience and participants listened and the organisers visibly squirmed at the diatribe of the minister, he went on to admonish that he would have been pleased if the students had sported our traditional attire.

“I would have loved it had the participants portrayed Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Rani Lakshmi Bai. What can we gain by blindly aping the West and adopting their values and sartorial style ?” he remarked.

“As cultural affairs minister, it is my duty to promote Indian culture and ethos and I cannot be a part of any event that shows our ancient culture in a poor light,” he pointed out.

Unable to resist a dig at SAD district chief Gurcharan Singh Channi, who had asked him to be the chief guest, he said the latter had chosen the wrong person for the function since his views on such issues were known to him (Channi).

He also appealed to the students to remain truthful to their own culture and ethos since they were the future of the country.

Senior officials present on the occasion too were surprised at the turn of the events. A section of the audience could be seen debating whether the minister could have been more diplomatic in expressing his view since the students had put in a lot of effort in staging the show.

Moreover, the students had to pander to the demands of the people who were more interested in donning Western outfits. Where is the market for traditional attires, some of the participants questioned.


Cong to grill govt on neglect of Majha, Doaba
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
Congress leaders from this area have started preparing to grill senior SAD-BJP ministers from the Majha-Doaba region on the development issue, which has the potential to become a major plank in the coming Lok Sabha elections in this belt.

Senior Congress leaders of the region feel Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is spending huge funds on various development projects in the Bathinda region, where he and his family are politically rooted, at the expense of other regions.

“From Badal’s announcements during the past few weeks, one intends to conclude that the entire state exchequer is being spent on the Bathinda region, leaving other parts, especially the Majha-Doaba region, high and dry”, said Partap Singh Bajwa, former Congress minister, who has already opened a front against Vinod Khanna, BJP MP from Gurdaspur, on this issue.

Senior ministers, including Manoranjan Kalia, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, Master Mohan Lal, Ajit Singh Kohar and Sucha Singh Langah, who hail from this region, are in Badal’s Cabinet. “We are preparing to grill them on the issue of development projects”, said Bajwa.

“We will be happy to know the name of any major project, which SAD-BJP ministers belonging to this region have got sanctioned for the Majha or Doaba area,” said Bajwa. There was a proposal to set up an IIT in the area falling between Kartarpur and Beas on the Jalandhar-Amritsar road, but the SAD-BJP government had preferred to set up it at the Birla farm, near Ropar, he said.

Various universities are already functional in the Malwa region. Besides, the proposal to set up a knowledge city in the region has been cleared apart from World Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib. But no such major educational institution has been planned for the Gurdaspur-Hoshiarpur belt. Neither is there a proposal to set up such an institution in the Tarn Taran-Patti-Sarhali belt.There is no proposal to set up any good institution in the Ferozepur area, said Bajwa.

He said Badal should tell how many Adarsh schools his government had planned to set up in the Majha and Doaba regions, especially in the border belt. Almost all thermal plants had either been set up or proposed to be set up in the Malwa region. One planned at Goindwal Sahib in the Majha-Doaba belt has remained a non-starter. “We are not against the development of the Bathinda region, but we want that other regions should also be given due attention and a sort of equality should be maintained,” he said.

Some parts of the Doaba region were hit by floods this monsoon because of the non-release of funds to strengthen river banks, he added.


Safety of minorities a major concern: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 5
Senior Akali leader and SAD secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa today expressed concern over the serious law and order problem being created in the country by fanatics as far as the safety of the minorities were concerned.

Speaking at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Mohali Press Club here, the Akali leader said be it the Delhi riots, Godhra violence, or violence against minorities in Orissa, the confidence of the hardliners had increased as no timely action was taken by the concerned states. The situation could worsen if such elements, owing allegiance to rightwing parties, were not dealt with stern hand.

On his party stand against such violence, he said it was a very wrong trend that was raising its head in every corner of the country. The party had been opposing it at every forum. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who is the president of the Punjab Olympics Association, said results of the Beijing Olympics had shown that India needed to focus on individual events along with its traditional sports.

The government was paying the funds required for creating infrastructure and promotion of sports. He listed various steps being taken by the state government to promote sports.

About the unused space of the Sports Department lying near the PCA stadium in Mohali, he said various sports related infrastructure had been planned on the plot. The PIDB had been engaged to do the planning for sports-related infrastructure in the city.

Regarding the forthcoming Parliament elections, he said the developmental works initiated in the last one-and-a-half year would be the poll plank of the party. While denying rumours about Anandpur Sahib seat being given to the BJP, its alliance partner, the leaders said no decision had been taken so far. “We would be announcing our candidates soon, he added


BJP to seek four seats from Akalis
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 5
The Punjab unit of the BJP will seek four Lok Sabha (LS) seats from the SAD in the light of the formula adopted by the alliance regarding posts in the Punjab Cabinet, appointments of chief parliamentary secretaries and chairpersons of boards and corporations.

Following this formula, the BJP has got a share of power from the SAD on the basis of its MLAs and SAD MLAs in the Punjab Assembly. In view of its proposal to contest third and fourth LS seat in Punjab, the BJP is concentrating on Ferozepur, Anandpur Sahib, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur seats. It has already declared candidates for Amritsar and Gurdaspur seats for the Lok Sabha elections.

Following the delimitation of LS constituencies as no discussion has been held between the SAD and the BJP on Anandpur Sahib, Hoshiarpur or any other seat by the BJP as third seat, the BJP’s state leadership is avoiding to name the third seat to be contested by its candidate in the LS elections.

Chairman of the BJP’s state election campaign committee Balramji Dass Tandon, who was in the town today, said the BJP was concentrating on six LS seats - Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Anandpur Sahib, Ferozepur, Ludhiana - to contest three or four seats. He said as per prevailing formula of power sharing between the SAD and the BJP, the BJP’s share (as per ratio of MLAs) emerged as 3.9 seats (four seats) so the BJP would ask the SAD to leave four LS seats for it.

However, Tandon said it was to be decided between the SAD-BJP alliance how many seats would be contested by the SAD or the BJP.

To a question which seat would be sought by the BJP from the SAD as third seat, Tandon said a decision on this was yet to be taken by the BJP high command.


Factionalism in party to the fore 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 5
Factionalism and infightings have come to the fore in the district unit of the BJP here. If this continues, it can have major ramifications in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna has been an MP three times consecutively from here.

What is worrying the party and workers is the fact that despite having suffered a major setback in the municipal council elections at Pathankot, the party leadership has not elected president and vice-president of the Batala Municipal Council (MC) where it has a comfortable majority with 19 out of total 33 municipal councillors in its kitty.

Similarly, the party leadership has failed to elect office-bearers of the Sujanpur MC where the BJP and the Congress have six members each and the BJP MLA has got a casting vote.

Ashwani Kumar, organisational general secretary, BJP, Punjab, admitted that results of Pathankot MC elections had given a major shock to the party. He added that an election of the Sujanpur MC was held recently and its office-bearers would be elected in due course.

Though three meetings of municipal councillors have been held in the past two months to elect president and vice-president of the MC, all meetings were cancelled at the 11th hour for reasons best known to the state leadership and other authorities concerned.

There is resentment in the Batala cadre and workers and though they have given nod to elect particular persons as president and vice-president of the Batala MC, the state leadership of the party has ignored their choice every time.

A large section of party workers said when Ambika Khanna, a BJP councillor and daughter of Jagdish Sahni, chief parliamentary secretary, was unanimously elected president of the MC in all three meetings held so far, where was the need to cancel these meetings.

They alleged that a section of the party leadership tried to cut Sahni to size despite the fact that he was a third-time MLA and had played a pivotal role for the revival of the party during the days of terrorism.


Mann assails Badal on Punjabi language
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann has said there is no reason for the Badal government to indulge in self-praise on the issue of enforcing Punjabi as the official language in schools and offices in the state.

Mann said the government should first count the major failures in enforcing the use of Punjabi in the state even after passing two Bills in the recently concluded session of the 
state Assembly.

He said the Chief Minister had failed to implement Punjabi in his own ministry of excise and taxation. For recruitment of inspectors in the Excise and Taxation Department, there would be one paper of general English, but no paper of general Punjabi.

“I believe that Badal did not think it proper that inspectors to be recruited in his own department should be proficient in Punjabi,” said Mann, adding, “ If Badal is unable to enforce Punjabi in his own ministry, how will he urge others to make use of the language in the official dealings?”

He said if education minister Dr Upinderjit Kaur, who had piloted the Bills in the Punjab Assembly to enforce the use of Punjabi, had the requisite resolve to implement the language in the state, she should direct the officers concerned to take action against department officials.

Mann said Dr Upinderjit Kaur should ask the department why it had given preference to hold a paper in general English and not in Punjabi and should take action against them under the provisions of the new Act. 


Appoint panel to probe terror attacks: AISAD
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) today demanded the appointment of an independent public-spirited commission to look into terror attacks.

Talking to The Tribune here today, AISAD president Jaswant Singh Mann claimed that only anti-national elements like the Pakistani ISI agency or fanatic elements in Indian polity had any reason to indulge in acts of violence to throw the law and order situation into disarray.

Mann said along with acts of violence, there was a disturbing trend to brand minorities, especially the Muslim community, as being responsible for all acts of terror. He claimed this was part of a deep-rooted conspiracy under which Sikhs were earlier branded as terrorists in the country. He said every single organised or unorganised act of terror was being ascribed to the Muslim community. The situation had become such that in case three or four friends from a place like Azamgarh indulged in a terrorist activity, the entire district was branded as a terrorist-breeding ground.

The AISAD leader said the commission, which must include personalities known for their neutrality, should also look into the grievances of the minorities and ascertain whether they were indulging in national breaking.

Mann also claimed that the Congress-led UPA government did not stand to gain in any manner by the present derailment of the law the order situation through repeated acts of violence.

He also announced that the AISAD would hold a minority convention in Chandigarh next month in which the Hurriyat Conference, Jamat-i-Islami, Muslim League, prominent Christian and other minority organisations would be invited. He also announced that the AISAD was taking a peace delegation to Srinagar on October 17 and would meet Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra to present its views on the current situation in the state.


453 TB cases detected in Sangrur zone 
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 5
In Sangrur zone comprising Longowal, Bhawanigarh, Dhuri, Cheema and Sangrur, the district TB authorities have detected 453 tuberculosis (TB) patients under the revised national TB control programme (RNTCP) in the first nine months of this year.

However, more than 800 TB patients are yet to be detected in Sangrur zone in the remaining three months in view of the target of about 1,300 patients allotted to the zone in the light of annual risk of TB infection (ARTI) survey. As per the ARTI survey, 257 patients per lakh per year should be detected in Sangrur zone in a year in the light of its population of about 5 lakh.

Talking to The Tribune here today, district TB officer (DTO) Dr Surinder Singla said out 453 TB patients, detected in Sangrur zone in nine months, 216 had been detected in Sangrur, 74 in Bhawanigarh, 48 in Longowal, 23 in Cheema and 92 in Dhuri. He said among the 453 TB patients, put on directly observed treatment short course (DOTS) under the RNTCP, 173 were found suffering from highly infectious TB (new sputum positive cases), while the remaining patients had been suffering from other types of TB, including TB of bones and joints, lymph nodes and intestine.

To achieve the allotted targets of detection of TB cases in Sangrur district a meeting of the District TB Control Society was held under the presidentship of civil surgeon Dalip Kumar at the district TB centre here last evening.

On the occasion Dr Dalip Kumar directed all doctors and para-medical staff to strictly follow the RNTCP guidelines while diagnosing suspected TB patients and treating diagnosed TB patients. He said as under the RNTCP the entire medicine was provided free of cost to TB patients, so no doctor should prescribe TB medicine to purchase the same from the market.


This dairyman leads by example
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Here’s an answer to the perennial question as to what ‘jattan de munde’ can do in changing agricultural scenario in Punjab and you don’t have to see “Mera Pind - My Home” to get inspiration.

In Morinda, a Jat family of five brothers is not only serving as a beacon for a community which is increasingly giving up on farm work, but is also leading by example to transform the village into ‘Mecca’ for upcoming dairy farmers.

The board outside the land holding of Karnail Singh’s Mann breeding and dairy farm in Morali Kalan village in Ropar district village says it all. It proudly declares the government’s recognition he has received as the best dairy farmer in the state, which says a lot for a family whose economic status twenty years back was worse than farm labourer.

“We were five brothers and one sister with six acre of land when we shifted here in 1985,” said Karnail. The family did not even have a house of its own. Karnail said he was fond of keeping buffaloes and once when he bought a cow and got it artificially inseminated, he was surprised by the milk yield. “I got 18 litres of milk on the first day and fell in love with cows,” said the dairyman.

Along the way, Karnail partook dairy entrepreneurship training in 1998 and established his own modern shed in 2000. There has been no looking back since then. The family now keeps Holstein-Friesian cows with their ‘top cow’ having recently won a competition by giving 55 litres of milk.

The family has even bridged the rural-urban divide. Gurinderjit has shifted to Chandigarh and is running a shop in Sector 41-D. Karnail has former dairy development board director Anil Kaura, who is now a consultant (dairy) with the state farmers commission, to thank to. “It was he who coaxed us to open a shop in Chandigarh,” he said, adding the family was now able to sell half of its milk produce of 4.5 quintals at Rs 20 per litre, besides also selling yogurt and ‘paneer pakoras’ to the ‘shehris’.

Meanwhile, back in their village, the family has become a legend. Encouraged by their example, 10 more dairies have opened up and 80-85 quintals of milk collected from the village everyday. The upcoming dairies are able to take feedback from Karnail’s dairy, besides much needed practical guidance. “It was difficult but we have got our boys working,” said Karnail with unmistakable pride in his voice.


Paddy procurement is 14 lakh tonnes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
Paddy procurement by six official agencies and millers in Punjab today touched 14 lakh tonnes mark with agencies procuring 87 per cent paddy in the state.

According to an official spokesman, out of a total of 13.60 lakh tonnes of paddy procured till yesterday, Pungrain procured 2.9 lakh tonnes (25.3 per cent), Markfed 2.8 lakh tonnes (24.3 pc), Punsup 2.7 lakh tonnes (23.1 pc), Punjab State Warehousing Corporation 1.6 lakh tonnes (13.9 pc) and Punjab Agro 1.42 lakh tonnes (12 pc). The Central Government Agency FCI procured only 17,540 tonnes (1.5 pc) and millers 1,72,971 tonnes of paddy (12.7 pc).

Mandis in Amritsar division recorded 5.5 lakh tonnes of paddy with Tarn Taran recording maximum paddy to the tune of 1.7 lakh tonnes till Saturday last. The mandis of Ferozepur division recorded 7,36,422 tonnes of paddy.

The Punjab Food Supply had set up 1,622 procurement centres throughout the state to ensure the smooth procurement of paddy. 


Coop societies to sell DAP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 5
The total demand of DAP in the state is 5,50,000 MT for sowing of rabi, out of which 3,10,000 MT will be supplied by cooperative societies. This was disclosed by cooperative minister Kanwaljit Singh while reviewing the arrangement for the DAP fertiliser at a high-level meeting.

The minister said out of 3,10,000 MT of the fertiliser a major quantity, 2,60,000 MT, would be supplied by Markfed and IFFCO directly to the nodal point societies. Markfed has received 1,33,000 MT of DAP up to October 3 and another 75,000 MT is reaching shortly. 


Edusat for Punjab schools 
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 5
More than 250 government schools of Punjab have got the Edusat connections with the help of which students would be able to get knowledge from experts of various subjects through the satellite.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government was in the process of imparting public administration training to its officials in different phases so as to make them people-friendly in more than one ways.

“Not only the government officials, but elected representatives like panches, sarpanches and MLAs need to be imparted world-level latest knowledge. To achieve this objective, the government officials would get training at regional level in the first phase,” disclosed Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary, Punjab, who also inaugurated the first regional centre of the Mahatama Gandhi Institute of Public Administration here on Friday.

He said Edusat would prove to be a boon for students of Punjab as a large number of them would be able to get knowledge from subject experts simultaneously via satellite. “Students would get armed with latest know-how and developments in the fields of medical, engineering and other subjects,” said the chief secretary.

Referring to the improvements being done in the Revenue Department, Ramesh Inder Singh said entire land records of the state were being computerised and that this would bring transparency in the working of the department. “Once this process is completed, farmers and others would be able to get copies of their land records with the help of Internet,” he said, adding the Punjab government was also in the process of registering vehicles at sale points so as to save buyers from doing rounds of district transport offices.


Kapurthala heritage classical fest 
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
The 7th annual Kapurthala Heritage Classical Music Festival will be held from November 7-9. This was stated by deputy commissioner J.M. Balamurugan.

The festival will be held at Jagatjit Palace. They include Ustad Shaukat Ali of Pakistan who will render ghazals and Punjabi folk music, while Shovana Narayan will perform kathak. Purbayan Chatterjee will play the sitar and Pt Ajay Pohankar give a vocal classical performance. Pt Sandeep Das and Shubh Maharaj will perform a tabla duet.

The Wadali brothers will present Sufiana kalam and Bhai Nirmal Singh the shabad kirtan.


Lokpal can’t take cognisance of complaint against public servant: HC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that the Punjab Lokpal can’t take cognisance of a complaint against a public servant.

Delivering a judgment in a petition filed by Sukhdeep Kaur, a double bench comprising Mr Justice Hemant Gupta and Mr Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia has averred: “Baldev Raj, a member of the committee, is a public servant as he was working as a deputy director (establishment) in the office of director, public instructions (elementary education), Punjab, and not as public man as defined in Section 2(k) of the Punjab Lokpal Act-1996.

Sukhdeep had filed a petition in the High Court praying that direction be issued to respondents to treat her as a successful candidate for admission in ETT course in the light of reports given by the Punjab Lokpal on May 25 and August 10 in 2007.

In a complaint submitted to the Lokpal, Sukhdeep had alleged that available vacant seat in the course was wrongly given to a man candidate, who had lesser marks than hers. However, the Education Department authorities had held that the available vacant seat was to be filled with the man candidate on the basis of the laid-down norms. Doubting the conduct of the committee, constituted by the state government for admission in the ETT course, Sukhdeep had also complained to the Lokpal against Baldev Raj, member of the committee, who was then posted as deputy director in the office of DPI (elementary education).

Holding that Baldev is fully covered within the ambit of “public man” under the Act, the Lokpal had recommended that Baldev should not be given any assignment that involves selection of candidates. Disciplinary action was also recommended against him by the Lokpal.

However, the High Court has held that Baldev is not a public man but a public servant. Under Section 9 of the Lokpal Act, the Lokpal may enquire into any matter involved in, or arising from, or connected with any allegation of misconduct against a public man made in the complaint. 


Woman burnt to death, husband booked
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 5
The devil of dowry today claimed another life when one Baljit Kaur of Beant Nagar in Ajnala was allegedly burnt to death by her husband Satnam Singh and sister-in-law Harjinder Kaur.

The police has registered a case under Sections 30-B, 498-A and 34, IPC.

Balkar Singh, father of the victim and a resident of Bhalla Colony, Chheharta, in his complaint lodged with the police alleged that after a few days of marriage her husband starting quarrelling and rebuking her for bringing less dowry. He said to pacify them he started giving him financial help.

He said in the morning somebody told him that his daughter was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ajnala, with serious burn injuries. He said she was brought to a local private hospital in a serious condition where she die.


18 NGOs held for graft

Chandigarh, October 5
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) arrested three gazzetted officers and 18 non-gazzetted officers (NGOs) in 16 different cases during September. At the same time the VB has been able to secure the conviction of 10 accused in 11 different vigilance cases.

Disclosing this here recently, Harcharn Singh Bhullar, SSP-cum-joint director (Administrtaion), said the VB had put up its best efforts to eradicate corruption amongst public servants and others in every sphere. Vigilance officers had registered trap cases, disproportionate assets cases and criminal cases and ensured that the suspect did not escape judicial punishment in various courts in the state. — TNS


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