P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


4 years on, Guru Granth Sahib centre in limbo
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
More than four years after former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam laid the foundation stone of Guru Granth Sahib Centre in Amritsar, the union ministry of human resource development and the UGC are still undecided whether to rename it as an institute or not.

Intriguingly, a day after Kalam laid the foundation stone of the centre on the Guru Nanak Dev University campus as an autonomous institution, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had promised full support to the project. The foundation stone and subsequent visit of the Prime Minister to Amritsar on August 31 and September 1, 2004, were part of the 400th celebrations of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at the Golden Temple.

Now, when the Sikhs are celebrating the tercentenary of Gurta Gaddi Diwas of Guru Granth Sahib, the virtually forgotten proposed centre stands a mute witness to the apathy the Union government towards commitments it had been making to the state of Punjab and its people.

During the just adjourned Monsoon session of Parliament, Rajya Sabha member Tarlochan Singh had raised a couple of questions about the present position and probable date of the centre becoming operational.

Union minister of state for human resource development D. Purandeswari had admitted that the proposal of GND University for setting up of a National Institute of Studies in Guru Granth Sahib, Amritsar, as an autonomous body was approved by the University Grants Commission during the 10th Plan. “It was also decided by the UGC that the expert committee constituted by it shall act as the governing body-cum-advisory committee to guide the affairs of the proposed institute till the time a regular governing body was constituted. The expert committee also recommended that the proposed institute was to be funded entirely by the UGC and the ministry. An amount of Rs 1 crore was also sanctioned through the UGC as seed money to the university, which provided the land for the centre free of cost,” said the minister.

Subsequently it was decided that instead of a new autonomous body, a Centre of Research on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies would be set up as part of the university itself and shall be fully funded by the UGC and the ministry. Accordingly, a fresh proposal has been submitted by the university that has been evaluated by the expert committee of the UGC. The expert committee, however, has recommended setting up of a National Institute of Studies of Guru Granth Sahib. Now, discussions have been scheduled in the matter with the representatives of the university and the state government, she had said in her written statement. Tarlochan Singh, in a letter to D. Prandeswari, had expressed his apprehensions that the issue would remain unattended and would carry an impression with the minority Sikh community that the only project announced by the Prime Minister could not be implemented.


Border range cops to be shifted
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
An employee-strapped Punjab Police is set to use constables recruited during the period of militancy in the border range to offset the severe shortage in other parts of the state.

In the first step in this direction, the force has written to the Finance Department to transfer constables from the border range to police stations in Jagraon, Khanna, Fatehgarh Sahib, Muktsar, Moga, Nawanshahr, Mansa and Barnala.

State DGP N.P.S. Aulakh disclosed that this request had been made following an internal review done to ensure optimum use of manpower. He said though recruitments were made during the phase of militancy to man newly created police districts, other districts which came up afterwards did not get the same attention. The gap between the border range and other parts of the state had widened in recent years necessitating the transfers from border areas, he added.

Aulakh said the proposal to recruit 2,000 constables was still pending. He said it would be sent to the group of ministers before being presented to the Cabinet for clearance. He said these constables would also be used to fill vacancies in police stations.

Even as the Punjab Police is in the process of getting the nod to recruit 2,000 constables, more new vacancies are arising. When the request for recruiting 2,000 constables was made, there were 3,000 vacancies in the force. Now the figure has gone up to 4,000.

Besides ensuring even distribution of police personnel, the Punjab Police is also on way to assigning clear-cut duties to its personnel by creating two different wings at the police station level itself. The DGP disclosed that there was a provision for this in the Police Act and that the force proposed to separate investigation from law and order duties.

Aulakh said it was felt that investigation suffered in many cases due to staff shortage as well as frequent posting of staff for law and order maintenance duties.

He said a separate wing for investigation would also ensure speedy completion of trials in various courts. It was proposed to create these separate wings in all big cities in the state in the first step and an assessment was underway to find out how many personnel were needed for these two wings, he added. 



CM’s communal credentials revealed: Cong
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 25
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has made known his communal credentials by deciding not to observe the Sankalp Diwas relating to the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Centre had issued directions to all states to observe the day in for the sake of national integration and communal harmony in the country.

DCC (urban) chief Arun Walia said while the government had earlier asked all DCs to do the needful in this context, the orders were reversed yesterday creating a needless controversy. He also questioned the stand of the Akali - BJP alliance.

He said the sacrifice made by Indira Gandhi for the sake of the national integration had been acknowledged by everyone and the decision of the government not to observe the day amounted to promoting communalism and right wing sentiments.

Badal has taken this stand in view of his failure to come up to the expectations of the voters. He knows the ruling alliance woul not win in view of its non- performance in all sectors, he alleged.

In fact the government was trying to divert attention of the people from core issues by running down Indira Gandhi as enemy of the Sikhs, thereby, driving a wedge between Hindu - Sikh solidarity, he added.

Does the BJP acknowledge that Indira was a martyr? If yes, the BJP ministers should tender resignations to show the people they valued national integration and secularism and would not side with a person who was openly promoting communalism, he said.


MLA rakes up kidney case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 25
A tussle between local BJP MLA Anil Joshi and a senior police officer took a new twist today with the former questioning the wisdom of the administration in withdrawing approval for kidney transplant to former ADC Kirpal Singh.

Kirpal Singh died of renal failure last week at a private hospital at Mohali.

Joshi, in a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, has raised many questions about the case.

He has claimed that the role of certain police officers was not in consonance with reality and he alleged that they pressurised the family of the donor to change their statement.

The government must order an independent probe into the case besides framing a policy for organ transplant.


India to be second largest economy by 2050: RBI expert
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 25
Currently at the fourth place, India will be the world’s second largest economy by the year 2050.

While India by 2050 will manage to over take Japan, China will edge out the USA in the financial sector.

Making this observation, the regional director of the Reserve Bank of India, Dr J. Sadakkudulla, said while the continuation of worsening global financial crisis had virtually crippled the world economy, India had been able to weather the storm to a great extent only due its time-tested, conservative and “semi-closed” economic principles.

Dr J. Sadakkudulla was speaking at the 5th International conference on “Indian Capital Market — The Way Ahead”, organised jointly by Punjabi University’s Punjab School of Management Studies and the Punjab Commerce and Management Association here today.

Sadakkudulla said since mid-September 2008, various segments of the domestic financial markets had been witnessing heightened volatility, reflecting uncertain global situation.

“Strains in the global financial markets exacerbated further in September 2008 by large-scale bankruptcy, sell-out and restructuring of some of the world’s largest financial institutions, resulting in severe disruptions of international money markets and sharp declines in stock markets across the globe,” he added.

Sadakkudulla said corporate earnings and credit quality had eroded with the increase in input costs and slump in demand in an environment of high inflation and lower growth.

Referring to the slump in the Indian stock markets, the RBI expert said the sensex around 10,000 was optimum for the Indian economy, as higher value than this was “good only for the greedy and not for the needy”.

The Reserve Bank and the Central government, he said, were all set to take preemptive measures to contain excess volatility and alleviate the recent transient pressures on the domestic financial markets to increase capital inflows to improve liquidity conditions to ensure domestic financial stability.

Vice-chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh said the turmoil in global financial markets had put a question mark on the wisdom of the forecasters in the financial world.

Elaborating his perception, he said while the investors had to live with some degree of volatility, the Indian financial managers had to upgrade the risk management system and strengthen the regulatory frameworks to save small investors from the shock.

The vice-chancellor further said there was a dire need to expand the investor base by strengthening the credibility measures and by adhering to international best practices relating to capital market activities. “The government also needs to meet the twin objectives of protecting the interests of the investors and fostering of securities markets,” he added.


Special plan to revive Kanjli wetland
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 25
The Punjab government has made a special plan to revive Kanjli wetland in an attempt to attract tourists to the district.

Launching of leisure boating soon from Subhanpur to Kanjli will be one of the different steps for developing Kanjli as tourist spot. A new Weir Bridge will be built at Kanjli to raise the level of water upstream to facilitate boating as the old bridge gave way several months back.

DC J.M. Balamurugan said the new bridge would be constructed at the cost of Rs 7 crore for which work was likely to be started in November. The construction of the bridge would be completed by June next year, he added.

Similarly, 500 cusecs fresh water would be released into the holy Kali Bein daily from the Mukerain Hydel channel from March 2009 to ensure adequate water into it, especially from Subhanpur to Kanjli.

Earlier 120 cusecs fresh water had been released into the Bein from the channel, which was temporarily stopped due to ongoing repair work there, the DC added.

In the same way, a 12-km-long approach road from Subhanpur to Kanjli along the Bein will be constructed to facilitate tourists to reach Kanjli in a pleasant way from Subhanpur, located on the Delhi-Amritsar national highway No. 1.

In the same way restaurant, landscaping, camping facilities, eco-tourism nature trail, watchtowers, water sports activities and camping adventure activities will be started at Kanjli.

Proper parking and adequate toilets would also be made at Kanjli to meet the requirements of the tourists, the DC added.


A nagar kirtan from Pak
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Attari, October 25
Amid chanting of religious hymns, first-ever nagar kirtan with 13 “sarups” of Guru Granth Sahib today arrived here from Pakistan at the Wagah joint check post to participate in the Gurta Gaddi Diwas celebrations in Nanded.
Nihangs perform martial arts during a procession organised on the occasion of Shiromani Bhagat Baba Namdev birth anniversary in Bathinda
Nihangs perform martial arts during a procession organised on the occasion of Shiromani Bhagat Baba Namdev birth anniversary in Bathinda on Saturday. Tribune photo: Kulbir Beera

As soon as the nagar kirtan entered the Indian territory, the Punjab police band played devotional compositions. Officials of the district administration, led by deputy commissioner Kahan Singh Pannu, welcomed the nagar kirtan.

The 10 sarups, out of 13 carried by the Sikh devotees on their heads, were placed in a special coach provided by the SGPC to bring those birs to the Golden Temple.

About 370-member Sikh jatha, a majority of them Peshawaris, led by Bishan Singh, president of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, were accorded a warm welcome by Gulzar Singh Ranike, minister for sports and animal husbandry, and Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the SGPC. A large number of local Sikh devotees showered flower petals on the Sikh sangat.

Bishan Singh said Pakistani Muslims had offered greetings on the occasion of the tercentenary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib.

He said the Pakistani government had also organised special functions at Nankana Sahib from where the nagar kirtan started at 6.30 am this morning.

The PSGPC president said the special bus arranged by Lucky Dhillon of Canada from the funds of the Sikh devotees there was not allowed to cross into the Indian territory as she had failed to get the required approval from the Pakistan surface ministry and the immigration authorities. He announced that the nominations for the PSGPC elections would be finalised by November.

The SGPC has arranged for the stay of the jatha members, including 60 women, at the SGPC complex. They would leave for Takht Hazur Sahib by a special train tomorrow morning.


Patna Sahib Jathedar, SGPC chief patch up
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Hazur Sahib, October 25
Akal Takht and the SGPC, which have already celebrated the tercentenary of Gurta Gaddi Diwas as per the new Nanakshahi calendar, today joined hands with the Takht Hazur Sahib Management, which is organising the mega event here on October 30 as per the traditional Bikrami calendar.

Jathedar of Akal Takht Gurbachan Singh, and SGPC president Avtar Singh participated in the seminar on Guru Granth Sahib organised by the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta), giving a clear signal that they did not want to create hurdles in the way of the celebrations despite their differences on the Nanakshahi calendar.

Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee president Parmjit Singh Sarna, who had announced to stay away from the celebrations over the calendar issue, however, has criticised the SGPC for participating the celebrations at Hazur Sahib.

Both Takht Hazur Sahib and Patna Sahib have rejected the Nanakshahi calendar.

In yet another significant development, the SGPC President and Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar, Patna Sahib, decided in principle to bury the hatchet. They embraced each other in the presence of Bhai Satpal Singh, chairman of the Guru Ram Das Sikh Mission and Dr Balkar Singh, a Sikh scholar from Aurangabad.

This has raised hopes that the undeclared ban imposed on the entry of Giani Iqbal Singh from attending the meetings of Akal Takht may be withdrawn soon.

The Jathedars of the five Takhts are likely to participate in a seminar being organised by the mission here tomorrow.

The Jathedar of Patna Sahib and SGPC president had been harbouring differences since the former had not been included in the sub-committee of the SGPC, constituted for the selection of granthis for the Golden Temple.


Rights panel not to reduce members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission’s (PSHRC) five posts will not be reduced to three. This was revealed by advocate general (AG) H.S. Mattewal while arguing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate H.C. Arora wherein he had sought for issuance of directions to the Punjab government to fill the three vacant posts in the PSHRC.

The AG assured the Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh that strength of the members of the commission shall remain as five and that there is no proposal to reduce the strength of the Panel from five members to three.

Explaining the incorrect information given to the Bench during previous hearing, Mattewal told the Bench that Additional Advocate General Amol Rattan Singh’s statement was given due to some communication gap. He further assured that these two appointments would be finalised within 15 days, and that would increase the strength of the members of the commission to four. 


Calender on Patiala’s heritage released
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 25
A comprehensive calender, ‘Shahi Patiala-2009’, showcasing Patiala’s rich heritage, was released by division commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia at his Baradari residence here today in presence of the State Bank of Patiala’s chief manager J.K. Sareen and other eminent citizens.

The calendar not only provides information about all historical buildings of this erstwhile royal city, but also dishes out almost entire information about Patiala, including its routes and directions of various important buildings.

“This is my third calendar on Patiala. I had already developed two calendars in 2004 and 2006. This time my effort is to give as much information to people at one place as is possible,” said Manvinderjit Singh of Multi Images Graphics and Publications and the man behind the project.


612 women recruited in BSF

Hoshiarpur, October 25
Around 612 regular women constables have been recruited in the BSF of which regular training to 300 will be imparted in the first phase at the Subsidiary Training Centre (STC), Kharkan.

This was stated by deputy director-general, Punjab Frontier, BSF, K.G.S. Cheema at Kharkan yesterday. — OC


Notify member’s name in 6 weeks: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Punjab’s failure to nominate College Tribunal member has not gone down well with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Expressing strong disapproval over the state’s conduct, a Division Bench of the High Court has asked it to notify the member’s name within six weeks of receiving the order’s copy.

The directions have been issued by the Bench of Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Jora Singh on a petition filed by Pathankot-based SMDRSD College Society and another petitioner.

Coming down heavily on the state, the Bench ruled: Before parting, we express our disapproval about the conduct adopted by the State of Punjab as no member has been nominated to man the Tribunal by issuing appropriate notification for hearing of appeals under Section 4 (4) of the Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service of Employees) Act, 1974.

The Bench further ruled: “Accordingly, we issue direction to the respondent state to notify the member of the Tribunal within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order, and the notification shall be placed before this Court on or before December 22”.

In its detailed 19-page judgment, the Bench observed the society had approached the court for quashing an order passed by Punjab Director, Public Instruction (Colleges).

The Director had held that lecturer Ravinder Kumar was deemed to be confirmed with effect from January 2005 on completion of one year probation.

Taking up the matter, the Bench observed: “At the outset, it needs to be mentioned that against the impugned order passed by the Director, a further appeal has been provided under Section 4 (4) of the Act.

“However, on account of non-functioning of the College Tribunal, Punjab, we have entertained the petition. It is appropriate to mention that when the matter came up for consideration before this court on September 3, while issuing notice of motion, a specific direction was issued to the state counsel to find out as to whether the Tribunal was functioning or not.

“On September 11, Suvir Sehgal, state counsel, could only make one statement that the file had been sent to the competent authority for nomination of the member of the Tribunal, which was likely to be notified.

“On our query, the state counsel was not able to specify as to how much time would be taken by the state government to nominate the member of the Tribunal. Accordingly, we entertained the petition and proceeded to hear the arguments.

The Bench, after hearing the parties and perusing the record, added: “We are of the considered view that this petition deserves to succeed and the impugned order, dated February 12, passed by the Director, is liable to be set aside”.


Bid to Loot Cash Van
Officer’s gunman among 5 held
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 25
The Ferozepur police, in a joint operation with the Moga police, reportedly detained five youths, including a gunman of a senior IAS officer, in connection with the attempt to loot a cash van of the ICICI bank near Talwandi Mange village of Ferozepur district on October 8. A gunman of the bank had been killed while two others were injured.

Police sources said three youths were picked up from a bus on the Moga-Ludhiana national highway this afternoon. The police had to fire in the air to warn one of the youths, who tried to escape. Two suspects were detained a few days ago, who named these three youths.

However, Dinesh Pratap Singh, SSP, Ferozepur, denied any arrest had been made. One of the youths had high political connections.


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