P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Diwali gift for aided schools
Govt to release 95 pc grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Giving a major relief to government-aided school staff, the Education Department has decided to release 95 per cent grant-in-aid to aided schools without any pre-audit for the first three quarters to avoid delay in disbursing salaries. Besides, the grant-in-aid release will now be regulated at the level of circle education officers instead of by the Directorate.

This was announced by Dr Upinderjit Kaur, education and languages minister, Punjab, in a meeting with delegations of Aided Schools Staff Associations here today.

The minister told officers that the delay in the disbursement of salaries to the aided schools would not be tolerated. She announced that the grant for the first three quarters would now be released without any pre-audit to avoid this delay and the fourth quarter grant during a financial year would only be released after auditing the grants of the first three quarters.

To regulate the grant-in-aid schemes efficiently, the minister ordered to decentralise the work at the level of circle education officers instead of at the Directorate level. Drm Upinderjit Kaur directed the district and block education officers (DEOs and BEOs) to inspect the government-aided schools periodically and submit a report to the government so that functioning of these privately managed schools could be streamlined.

The minister assured the delegation that the matter regarding withdrawal of cases registered by the Chandigarh Police on the aided school teachers during their agitation, would be discussed with the Chandigarh Administration and the police. She told the delegations that their demands regarding pensions and other allowances, including interim relief, would be considered sympathetically in a meeting with the finance minister at the earliest.

The education minister assured the associations that the ban on the recruitment in these schools, including conversion of posts, would also be considered by the department.


Offspring of Guru’s horse attract devotees
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Nanded (Hazur Sahib), October 27
One of the attractions during the tercentenary celebrations of Gurta Gaddi Diwas at Nanded has been the stable where the offspring of Dilbagh, the famous horse of Guru Gobind Singh, have been kept.

Hundreds of devotees visit the stable every day. Many of them are seen bowing their heads before these horses. They make offerings in the golak (money box) at the stable.

Guru Gobind Singh had also been famous for his blue horse, by which he used to be known as “Neele Ghorey Wale”.

There is a unique tradition of giving “Gaddi” (installation) of the offspring of Guru’s horse. At present, the Gaddi is held by Anmol, whose predecessor Pawan has grown old. There are at least three more horses in line for the Gaddi, including Gorkha and Hans. The ardas is performed at the Takht before the installation ceremony of these horses.

Interestingly, the Takht continues to get the offerings of horses from the devotees. These are also kept at this stable. In all, there are 46 horses, mostly donated by Sikhs from Punjab.

A family of non-Sikhs has been taking care of the stable for the past many generations. Sandeep, a youth, told The Tribune that he and his father Madhaw perform duties at the stable in shifts round the clock. He said earlier Pundlik and Jalvaji, his grandfather and great-grandfather used to take care of the stable.

An employee of the Sachkhand Hazur Sahib Management, S.N. Singh said while he could be transferred from the stable, Sadeep and his father would serve the offspring of Guru’s horse till their death.

These horses, bedecked in traditional style, form part of processions on Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Baisakhi and Gurpurbs.

The sixth Sikh master, Guru Hargobind, had instructed his followers to make offerings of arms and horses during the turbulent times. The Sikh sangat used to offer horses at Akal Takht. However, the tradition had been discontinued with the return of peace. However, Hazur Sahib is continuing with the tradition.


Symbol Row
Dhindsa meets Jaitley, Malhotra in Delhi
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 27
In connection with jointly contesting the Delhi Vidhan Sabha elections by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), SAD secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa today met BJP national general secretary Arun Jaitley and BJP MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra in New Delhi and held talks with them over the issue of allotment of seats to the SAD.

However, the SAD and BJP leaders will now meet again on October 29 in New Delhi where they will present proposals of their respective parties over the adjustment of seats, including names of the seats to be contested by the SAD and the seats to be left by the BJP for the SAD in the Delhi Assembly elections.

Whether the SAD candidates will contest the Delhi Assembly elections on their own party election symbol or on the BJP’s election symbol, it will be decided by the SAD top leadership.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone today, MP from Sangrur Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said he today met Jaitely and Malhotra in Delhi and held talks in connection with the Delhi elections. He said now they would meet again on October 29 and discuss proposals to be presented by leaders of both parties in connection with seats to be contested by the SAD.

Dhindsa said the SAD had contested four seats during the previous Delhi Assembly elections, but this time it was seeking only five seats from the BJP. He said he would press upon the BJP leaders to leave five seats to the SAD as the base of the SAD in Delhi had broadened during the past years.

Whether he would also hold talks with the BJP leaders in connection with contesting the Delhi Assembly elections by the SAD candidates on the SAD’s election symbol, Dhindsa said this issue would not be discussed at the October 29 meeting with the BJP leaders, as the SAD would take a decision on this issue on its own.


Monopoly in sale of sand, stone alleged, probe sought
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
“Certain people are said to have doubled the price of sand and crushed stone near Pathankot. Earlier truckers were free to load crushed stone, used to build bridges and buildings, from the crusher of their choice near Pathankot in Gurdaspur district. But now they are given slips with direction to load crushed stone from a particular crusher,” said Lohara Singh, president, All-India Motor Transport Congress.

He said earlier the price of crushed stone was Rs 450 to Rs 500 per 100 cubic feet. It was raised to Rs 700 per 100 cubic feet. Besides it, Rs 210 per 100 cubic was charged for a slip to the driver to load the truck from the crusher specified to him .

“Now truckers have to follow the person who issues the slip. They are not allowed to pick crushed stone from the crusher of their choice,” said Lohara. “Earlier there was no monopoly of a contractor and the sand and stone mafia in the state,” he added.

“Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should get it probed as to who has monopolised stone and sand business near Pathankot. Whether the money earned by them is going to the state treasury or in private pockets,” said Lohara.

Even the price of sand had been doubled, he said. Earlier, 300 cubic feet of sand used to be given for Rs 1,600, but now it is sold for up to Rs 2,900. Truckers lift sand from various sand mines along the Shivalik foothills and rivers such as the Ghaggar and Sutlej. In several areas gangs of sand and stone mafia, backed by politicians, had been operating in the state, he added.

Following the “loot” of state’s sand and stone was reported by The Tribune last year, the government had set up a committee to streamline the sand crushed and other stone trade in the state. The government had made provision to earn Rs 200 crore from it, whereas Rs 1,000 crore could be earned from it because Punjab had a good number of big rivers and rivulets flowing through it.

Its vast part touches the Shivalik foothills from where pebbles flow into the state in floods and rainy season. The Himalayan range along the Punjab boundary is full sand and stone.

However, sources said, though the committee had met, nothing worthwhile was achieved to streamline this trade and make auction of sand and stone mines transparent and competitive.


Hope of Dhariwal Woollen Mills’ revival
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Dhariwal (Gurdaspur), October 27
New Egerton Woollen Mills Limited, also known as the Dhariwal Woollen Mills, which was the first business venture of the British in North India, has been closed for the past about two years.

One of the few mills, which had been run by the British Corporation of India (BIC), it’s building still stands strong. Its production operations were closed by the management after it failed to get enough funds.

The mill has been borrowing money from the National Textile Corporation (NTC) and other financial institutions to make payments of salaries to its 1,050-odd employees, who have been idle for the past two years.

“We have been awaiting the sanction of the Centre for the revival of the mill. The revival of the mill has been cleared by Board for Industrial Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). About Rs 50 crore was needed to use the same as working capital for the mill,” said a senior functionary of the mill, adding that the economy of the town depended on the mill’s future.

He pointed out that the Centre was planning to create enough fund for revival of the local mill by selling the land of its ancillary situated in Kanpur.

At present, the mill is under the control of the ministry of textile and is the first mill in the North to have been equipped with composite unit machinery. It used to produce world-class tweed, blankets, lohi, worsted yarn and other woollen clothes. It had been a major exporter of these products to the international market. Interestingly, the mill still gets orders of lohi.

Residents said the town had been set up along with the mill by the British. The manager of the mill used to act as district magistrate of Gurdaspur district.

Though politicians made promises of the revival of the mill, nothing had been done actually.

Satish Mahindru, one of the senior functionaries of the mill, said only the Centre had sanctioned Rs 25 crore to the mill in the shape of a loan for the payment of wages to its employees.


Akali party invites PM to seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) today invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend an international seminar on minorities and the Jammu and Kashmir issue being organised by it in the second week of January in New Delhi.

In a statement here, AISAD president Jaswant Singh Mann said the seminar would be held in cooperation with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

The seminar is the culmination of the efforts of the AISAD to broker a peace formula in Jammu and Kashmir for which Mann undertook a weeklong visit to the troubled state.

Mann said a party delegation led by him had held discussions with the National Conference, PDP, Congress, BJP, Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti and other social groups and organisations.

He said the delegation also met leaders of the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, besides having a marathon debate with the High Court Bar Association.

The AISAD leader said the delegation gathered from this interaction that even in the event of hostility and the irritating presence of military and paramilitary forces and their role in curbing human rights, there was a scope for a grand reconciliation. Mann said this required statesmanship and not political squabbling and the AISAD had decided to create an congenial atmosphere for further talks in Delhi.



BJP in bind over user charges on water, sewerage
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
The BJP is clearly in a bind over initiating imposing of user charges on consumers who will be covered by the proposed Water Supply and Sewerage Schemes, work on a few of which has already started.

BJP senior leader and Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board chairman Baldev Raj Chawla, who announced on Wednesday that the first instalment of Rs 75 crore for rehabilitating sewerage supply in Amritsar and other projects had been released, chose to be silent on the issue of user charges.

The Union government has made it mandatory for the state government to impose charges for both water and sewerage connections being provided under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission by the Centre. Even those residing in houses of less than five marla, who were earlier exempted from these charges, will have to pay user fee now.

Chawla said the issue was pending with the Cabinet. He said the party would go by the decision of the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Chawla said a Rs 241-crore sewerage scheme for Ludhiana and Rs 36 crore for rehabilitation of sewerage system in Amritsar had been approved by the Centre and the first instalment of Rs 75 crore had been released.


Badal greets people on Diwali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today extended warm greetings to the people of Punjab on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. In a message on the occasion, Badal said Diwali was one of the most colourful and captivating festivals of India that provided us an occasion for rejoicing and merriment.

He appealed to the people to celebrate this festival with traditional fervour and gaiety rising above petty considerations of caste, creed and colour, thereby cementing the bonds of communal harmony, national integration and universal brotherhood.

He also greeted the people of Punjab on the eve of Vishwakarma Day.


Security up at Nanded
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Nanded, October 27
The town has virtually been converted into a police cantonment with the deployment of quick reaction force and Black Cat commandos, especially around Takht Hazur Sahib, following an attempt to hijack a bus in Mumbai by a youth, who was later shot dead. SP Ravinder Shingal said the police had been put on high alert.

The administration has put up barricades on all entry points to prevent vehicles from being taken close to near Takht Hazur Sahib.

Meanwhile, devotees have been facing a lot of inconvenience as they have to walk miles to reach the gurdwaras from the campsite, situated far away from the main gurdwara. Most of the tents set up by the Sachkhand Hazur Sahib Management Committee have remained vacant as devotees prefer to stay at the langar sites at the gurdwaras.

Doctors and paramedical staff have been brought from various districts of the state to meet an emergency call.


Stranded pilgrims provided coaches
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, October 27
The Railway authorities this morning attached six special coaches to Sri Sachkhand Sahib train for the 370 Pakistani pilgrims, who had been stranded here for want of reservations.

President of the Pakistan Sikh Prabandhak Committee Bishan Singh had lodged a protest with the government for the lack of proper arrangements for the Pakistani pilgrims who had come here take part in the Gurta Gaddi Diwas celebrations at Nanded Sahib.

Meanwhile, showing concern over the government’s lackadaisical attitude towards the tercentenary celebrations, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu said the Railways had failed to put on service additional trains and coaches for thousands of pilgrims.

Talking to The Tribune, Sidhu alleged that the government was trying to scuttle the historic celebrations.

Drawing a parallel to the Central government’s special scheme for lakhs of Muslim brethren going on Haj every year, he said the government must provide similar facilities to Sikh pilgrims travelling to Pakistan.


Shergill is VC of Faridkot varsity
Sarbjit Dhaliwall
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 27
An eminent orthopaedist, Dr Shavinder Singh Shergill, who was today appointed vice-chancellor of the Baba Farid Medical University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, said he would make every effort and take support from every corner to raise the level of medical education in Punjab.

“I am going to Faridkot with a positive mind and I am of the view that there was need to change the mindset not only with regard to medical education but also with regard to general education”.

It is a fact that owing to various reasons, Punjab had lagged behind in education during the past few decades. “We need to make up quickly in this sector”, he said. Nothing was wrong with our syllabus and academic curriculum. “Only need was to change the mindset and approach towards the education sector”, he added.

At present posted as Professor and head of the Orthopaedics Department, PGI, from where he did his postgraduation (MS) after passing MBBS from Rohtak Medical College, Dr Shergill said the education was a continuous process. For instance, first standard could not be delinked from graduation.

The Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), who is the Chancellor of the university, okayed the name of Dr Shergill for appointment as vice-chancellor this morning. The post had been vacant since the retirement of Dr Ravinder Singh on October 23.

I would join my new assignment in the next three four days. “I have put in my papers to the union health ministry. Immediately after the acceptance of my resignation, I will take charge as vice-chancellor”, said Dr Shergill, who had his initial education at Ranbir College, Sangrur. He belonged to Dangarh village, near Dhanaula, Barnala district. He is an expert in general administration and education management.


Bhattal condemns lathicharge on teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Punjab Congress legislature party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today condemned the lathicharge on protesting computer teachers at Kheowali village in Muktsar yesterday.

In a statement here, Bhattal said it was disgusting that teachers, who were protesting in a democratic way for their rights, were brutally beaten up near the house of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. She said in their over enthusiasm to demonstrate faithfulness to their political bosses, the police did not spare even journalists.

Bhattal claimed that the SAD was reneging on tall promises it had made to the electorate before the Assembly elections. She demanded an immediate inquiry into the entire incident.


Health officers told to visit dengue-hit dists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Senior officers of the Health Department have been directed to visit dengue-hit districts in the state immediately.

Vijay Kain, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, held a meeting of senior health officials here today. Kain directed the officials to pay immediate attention to the prevention and control of dengue and treatment of dengue patients. Dr S.P.S. Sohal, director, Health Services, and other senior doctors were also present.

Various key issues related to the control of dengue were discussed and it was decided that senior officers of the department would immediately visit the different districts where more number of cases had been reported and would hold a meeting with administrative officials of local bodies and water supply and sanitation departments to review the actions taken for the prevention, control and treatment of dengue cases.

Issuing an advisory in this regard, health officials said people should not to allow collection of stagnant water in and around houses, dry their coolers and cleaning overhead tanks once in a week. People had also been advised to take measures for self-protection from mosquitoes using anti-mosquito creams, repellants etc.


Reality shows do not promote classical music, says Ustad
P.K. Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 27
The younger generation should come, adopt and learn classical singing and music. It’s not as difficult as people think, but they have started pursuing shortcuts to gain prominence, says Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar, young scion who represents the 20th unbroken generation of dhrupad singers in the Dagar family.

He said the reality shows being telecast on various TV channels were being considered a sure shot way to success.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the four-day Zonal Youth Festival of Guru Nanak Dev University here on Friday, he said “crash courses” just gave introduction to students so that they could focus and work on it. However, it should not be taken as a mantra to success.

The Dagar family is one of the only three major schools of dhrupad, a form of classical singing, while the other two are the Mishras of Bettiah and the Mallicks of Darbhanga. The Dagar family is the oldest that has kept this tradition alive for the past 20 generations.

“Reality shows promote individuals and not classical singing and music,” he lamented and added that he was dismayed that TV channels only promoted themselves and real talent got lost in the advertising blitz projected by them. Castigating the channels for making a mockery of contest, he added that the verdict should be left to the judges rather than the public through SMS, which was not the true manifestation of talent.

When asked about the future of Drupad style of classical singing, he said the young generation was showing a lot of promise and was flocking to attend the concert, which was very positive sign.


Tributes paid to infantry martyrs
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, October 27
Infantry Day was observed with solemnity and grandeur at the Mamun Cantonment here today.

At an impressive function at the Infantry Memorial here, GOC, Gurj Division, along with senior serving and retired infantry officers, junior commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and other ranks paid homage to infantrymen who had laid down their lives in the service of the motherland.

Gurj Division at present has the distinction of having three Bravest of the Brave Infantry battalions, officers and men of which have won the highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra.

Senior Army officers, who attended the function, said, "This is a momentous day in the annals of the Indian Army. It was on this historic day 61 years ago that the first gallant Infantryman set foot on the hallowed soil of the Kashmir valley and successfully repulsed Pakistan-aided Razakars from the vicinity of Srinagar Air Field, thus defeating the nefarious designs of Pakistan to capture Kashmir."

"This was the first glorious action fought by the Indian Army in the post-Independence era in which a small infantry force was airlifted to the Kashmir valley to repulse the Pakistani incursion," they pointed out and said, "It is to commemorate this glorious action fought by the infantrymen of the Indian Army that we celebrate Infantry Day on October 27."


Moonak drain breached
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 27
Due to non-cleaning of a drain, an 18-ft-long breach today occurred in Lad Banjara drain near Bhullan village in the Moonak area. Due to the breach, water entered the fields in nearby areas. However, the breach was plugged this evening.

Moonak SDM R.P. S. Walia said he today had visited the breached site and taken stock of the situation. He said no loss had been reported from the area as there was no crop in the fields. He claimed that water entered only 10 to 15 acres.


Surplus Staff Adjustment
HC: Recruitment in apex societies after NOC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
In a judgment benefiting “surplus” employees of cooperative societies, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab registrar of cooperative societies “to ensure control over recruitment and permit the same only after the issuance of a no objection certificate (NOC)”.

The directions by the Division Bench of Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Rakesh Kumar Garg follow a petition filed by the “surplus staff of Goindwal Cooperative Spinning Mills Limited in Amritsar district”.

The petitioners had sought the quashing of an order dated June 11, 2003, passed by the mill for retrenching the “surplus” staff. The petitioners had also sought directions to the State of Punjab and other respondents to adjust them against vacant posts, even in the other cooperative institutes or government departments.

Counsel for the petitioners, B.S. Sidhu, contended the memorandum dated November 25, 1997, was still in operation. Giving details of the memorandum, he contended the registrar, Cooperative Societies, had addressed a communication to all apex cooperative institutions of the state, indicating that some cooperative spinning mills had come under liquidation and the staff had been declared surplus. As such, they were requested to adjust the surplus staff at the time of making the appointments in the departments “by giving them priority according to their qualification”. The list of the surplus staff, along with their qualification, was required to be sent directly to the apex cooperative institution, where the vacancies were available.

After going through the documents and hearing rival contentions in the matter, the Bench ruled: “The list of surplus staff, including the petitioners furnished by the mill, be sent by the registrar to all apex societies. The registrar is to ensure control over recruitment and permit the same only after the issuance of no objection certificate”.

Before parting with the orders, the Bench added: “If the vacancies are available, the case of the petitioners for adjustment/absorption shall be considered in terms of the memorandum dated November 25, 1997.

“In case the petitioners come across any recruitment process being undertaken by any of the apex societies, the same may be brought to the notice of the registrar, Cooperative Societies, Punjab, for taking further appropriate action”.


Weapon holders want curbs to go
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Weapon holders in Punjab claim they are suffering because their state is the only one in the country to have a union territory as its capital. This means, they have to apply for an all-India license in case they wish to carry their weapon into Chandigarh.

This application, which used to be submitted before the concerned deputy commissioner during the pre-terrorism days, now has to be routed to the state home secretary here.

Weapon holders feel the Punjab government should initiate the process of rectifying this ‘anomaly’ to allow them to travel unhindered into the union territory. They said since travel to Chandigarh was commonplace for such weapon holders, the rules could be amended to allow deputy commissioners to add Chandigarh while issuing licenses for Punjab state.

“People should not be made to acquire an additional license to enter their state capital,” says Gurkirat Singh Dhillon, a Patiala resident Dhillon said besides difficulty in getting a Chandigarh entry stamped into the licenses, weapon holders had to cope with archaic rules while submitting applications for all-India licenses.

Punjab home secretary Dr B.C. Gupta, when contacted, said the present procedure was according to the Union government policies. He said an additional secretary- level officer, who acted upon the recommendations of the concerned deputy commissioner, scrutinised all applications for all-India licenses. He said in case of prohibitive bores, the application was forwarded to the Union home ministry, which decided the case on its merit.


Forgery Case
‘Punjab fails to present challan’
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
If allegations in a petition are to be believed, the State of Punjab and its officials failed to present challan in a cheating and forgery case registered way back in 1995, even though “a fraud has been committed on the state, causing a loss to the tune of crores to the exchequer”.

In his petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Inder Singh of Ropar district has alleged that in September 1983, a resident of Beli village in Ropar district posed as a bogus allottee and got over 65 kanals registered for as less as Rs 15,000.

Counsel for the petitioner Padamkant Dwivedi added the land belonged to the Central government and was worth crores. He added the petitioner and another resident, being responsible citizens, brought the entire matter to the local deputy commissioner’s notice vide complaint dated September 2, 1993. Appropriate action as per law was sought against the accused.

Acting on the complaint, the deputy commissioner asked an executive magistrate to look into the matter and prepare a report. Subsequently, the opinion of the District Attorney was sought. He was of the view that a case under Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471, 474, 109 and 120-B of the IPC was made out against the accused.

The SSP concerned was asked to register a case, following which FIR number 63, dated June 9, 1995, was registered against the accused.

The counsel added “non-filing of the challan in the FIR clearly smells of a conspiracy”. As such, directions be issued to the SSP and another respondent to present the challan. Or, in alternative, the case may be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probe.

Taking up a petition, Justice Mohinder Pal of the High Court disposed of the matter with direction to the State of Punjab and other respondents to look into the case. The respondents have also been asked to dispose of the matter as expeditiously as law permits.


Majithia asks Amarinder to take up farmers’ cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 27
Bikram Singh Majithia, patron, Youth Akali Dal, has asked former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to join the struggle of Punjab farmers against the Union government to get MSP of paddy raised to Rs 1,300 and bonus enhanced to Rs 300 rather than expressing a hollow concern for farmers by stating that the MSP for paddy was "admittedly low".

Referring to Amarinder's flying visits to selected mandis of the state, the YAD patron said on Thursday this whole drama of fixing the MSP of paddy below the CCAP's recommended price of Rs 1,000 and then granting a meagre bonus to farmers had exposed the “anti- farmers and anti-Punjab” face of the Congress.

Majithia said the earlier debt-waiver scheme was custom-made to keep a majority of Punjab farmers out of it. Now the FCI that used to procure over 40 per cent of the produce has procured only 1.3 per cent of procured paddy till date on the express directions of the Congress leadership. To further penalise the Punjab farmers, the Union government was creating the shortage of DAP to sabotage the sowing operations.

He said the PPCC president's demand of the MSP at Rs 950 had fully exposed the anti-farmer face of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.


Two held for setting afire woman, son
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 27
The postmortem report has revealed that the woman and her son, who were burnt alive at their house in the Gobind Bagh locality here yesterday, were first stabbed to death.

More than 10 wounds, caused by a sharp-edged weapon, led to the death of Hemant Kumar. However, the cause of death of Teertha Devi, mother of Hemant Kumar, could not be ascertained as the body was completely charred and the postmortem examination could only reveal that it was a skull of a woman.

Doctors said it was a brutal murder, indicating the involvement of more than one person.


Land Scam
Bail granted to Chaudhary Jagjit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 27
In connection with the vigilance case of exempting 32.10 acres of land acquired by the Improvement Trust, a local court today granted anticipatory bail to Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, a former local bodies minister, Jugal Kishore, a former chairman of the improvement trust, Amritsar, and Subash Chander and Vicky Sharma, promoters of Vir Enclave.

The orders were passed after the court concluded arguments stretching over several hearings.

While granting the bail, the court directed the applicants to appear before the vigilance when required.

A case under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the IPC and Section 7 and Sections 13 (1), (c), (d) read with 13 (2) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998, had been registered against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and six others by name on the directions of the Vidhan Sabha.


Shaukat Ali of Pakistan to perform at heritage festival
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 27
Ghazal, Punjabi folk and Sufi singer Ustad Shaukat Ali of Pakistan will be the main attraction at the three-day Kapurthala heritage festival being held against the backdrop of spectacular Jagatjit Palace from November 2.

Deputy commissioner J.M. Balamurugan said Ali would enthral the audience with his melodious voice on the concluding day on November 9 of the 7th Baba Jassa Singh Kapurthala heritage festival. He will present an array of his most popular ghazals, Punjabi folk songs and Sufi music.

Renowned Sufi singers Wadali brothers will regale the audience with their renditions on the inaugural day. Famous Sufi singers Padmashri Puranchand Wadali and Pyarelal Wadali will weave mystical magic through their soulful renditions of Sufiana kalam.

Bhai Nirmal Singh will present shabad kirtan at the beginning of the festival on the November 2 evening. Hazoori raagi at Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, Bhai Nirmal Singh will render the shabad kirtan.

Following which, the legendary classical vocalist Pt Ajay Pohankar will present some of the finest “khayal” and “thumris” in his golden voice on the first day, Balamurugan added.

Grammy award nominee and ace drummer Pt Sandeep Das and disciple and grandson of Pt Kishan Maharaj Shubh Maharaj will perform an enthralling tabla duet titled “Divine beats of Varanasi” on November 8.


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