P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


LS Polls
Only PPCC can suggest candidates: Kaypee
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The race for supremacy in the Punjab Congress has intensified with Pradesh Congress Committee president Mohinder Singh Kaypee today claiming that the PPCC Election Committee and not the Campaign Committee headed by Capt Amarinder Singh would recommend candidates for the coming parliamentary elections.

Even as Kaypee made this statement, Amarinder said he had not submitted any list to the Congress high command. He, however, maintained that he would give his recommendations to the Congress president as well as discuss them at a meeting of the State Election Committee.

The issue has taken a serious turn because of an anti-Amarinder outburst by former legislator Raj Kumar, who is a confidant of the PPCC president. Raj Kumar has maintained that Amarinder does not have any right to make or recommend any candidate as his role is confined to heading the Campaign Committee only.

However, Amarinder maintains that his role cannot be limited to making speeches alone. “It is also my job to see who is the best candidate and I will make my recommendations to both the All-India Congress Committee as well as the Congress president in due course”, he said. Apparently others in the party also feel the same, including legislator Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who said heading the Campaign Committee also meant overall responsibility of conducting the parliament elections in Punjab.

The former Chief Minister is not stopping at this. He said he had sent a list of the Campaign Committee finalised by him. He said the new committee would now have state-level as well as district-level committees. “While the state-level committee will work as the overall think-tank of the party, the other will coordinate with the respective district Congress committees as well as the party candidate”. He said the Campaign Committee proposed by him could act as a model for other states also as the party had only appointed chairmen and conveners of the campaign committees in other states.

The PPCC president said Amarinder had already denied that he had sent any list to the high command and that he would not like to react on this “as we believe him”. He, however, made it clear that it was the PPCC that recommended candidates. “We have a uniform system under which Observers have already toured all constituencies. When the elections are announced the PPCC Election Committee will meet and recommend prospective party candidates to the high command”, he added.

Kaypee disclosed that he had formed a sub-committee under his chairmanship, which would finalise the party manifesto with regard to Punjab.


Principal’s transfer takes political colour 
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Fathegarh Churian (Gurdaspur), November 21
The transfer of Sukhdev Singh Kahlon, principal of the local Government Senior Secondary School for Girls, to Ludhiana has taken political colour.

Nirmal Singh Kahlon, Speaker of the Vidhan Sabha, has alleged that though the transfer of Kahlon was done on the basis of a complaint lodged against him by certain residents, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, former Congress MLA, and Sukhdev had been politicising the issue.

On the other hand, Randhawa alleged that the Speaker had got the principal transferred with the motive of ultimately shifting the students of the school to another school being run by him (Nirmal) located about 10 km from this town.

The students of the school have been agitating for the past many days against the transfer of Sukhdev.

Meanwhile, a large section of councillors and president of the local municipal council, sarpanches and panchayat members of various villages of this Assembly segment alleged that Sukhdev had misappropriated the PTA fund, facilitated illegal possession of a piece of land belong to the school, indulged in bogus admissions and various other acts of omission and commission.

They alleged Sukhdev had instigated the students to launch the agitation to save himself from an inquiry instituted against him by the government.

The Speaker told The Tribune that if Sukhdev was found not guilty, he (Nirmal) would recommend the cancellation of his transfer. He said he was not running any school in his private capacity. He was president of the school located at Dera Baba Nanak and it was being run by the SGPC. The school was about 20 km from this town, hence how he could make the students shift to that school. He had asked the education minister to get the complaint lodged against the principal looked into by an agency, he added.

Meanwhile, Sukhdev said all allegations levelled against him were a bundle of lies. Why such allegations did not surface when he was heading the school, he asked.

Randhawa said he favoured an independent inquiry into the allegations levelled against Sukhdev.


27 coops to merge with Markfed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 21
Markfed has formulated a proposal to take over 27 Cooperative Marketing Societies across Punjab. It has proposed to amalgamate these societies under the provisions of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act 1961.

The Registrar of Societies has sent copies of the proposal to these societies. It states that the Registrar, Cooperative Societies, is satisfied that it will be in the interest of the cooperative societies and also Markfed. The Registrar has invited objections from the said 27 societies, their members and their creditors against the amalgamation.

Viswajit Khanna, Registrar, Cooperative Societies, told The Tribune yesterday that Markfed was short of staff and the staff with the societies would come on the rolls of Markfed, once the amalgamation was through.

He said it was proposed that the staff from the societies would be assigned seniority from the date of joining Markfed. The pay scale and post would be protected in their existing pay scales. Their entire service in the cooperative societies would be counted for their retirement benefits in Markfed.

Khanna further said that the assets and liabilities of the societies would be taken over by Markfed. He clarified that the individual member would not be issued any share certificate.

The 27 affected societies include: The Patran Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Patiala, the Garhshanker Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Hoshiarpur, the Bhiki Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Mansa, the Dhuri Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Sangrur, the Jalalabad Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Ferozepur, the Sangat Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Bathinda, the Bathinda Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Bahinda, the Mour Mandi Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Bathinda, the Bahia Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Bathinda and the Rama Co-op Marketing-cum-Processing Societies Ltd Bathinda, among others.



AISAD open to tie-up
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 21
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) will not only contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, it is ready to have an alliance with any political party accepting its agenda for 104 seats across the country having considerable Sikh influence.

The party will not be reluctant to ally with either the Congress or its arch rival BJP, provided the two parties ‘broadly agreed’ to its political programme and poll plank based on the acceptance of 1973 Anandpur resolution, All-India Gurdwara Act, enhancement of Sikh representation in the Army from 2 per cent to 1947 level of 27 per cent and representation to Sikhs in the all-India services in proportionate to their population, said AISAD chief Jaswant Singh Maan.

The AISAD’s focus, party sources said, would be to go beyond Punjab as its leadership felt that it could bank upon Sikhs of central India who were allegedly ignored hitherto by other parties. “The Sikhs of these states had almost got alienated from the Sikh mainstream for the wrong policies of other political parties. So, the AISAD was making an effort to make their present felt in the coming elections,” said AISAD media adviser Sham Singh.

Dr Gurbax Singh has been made chief of the Central India unit of the party. “Shamsher Singh Maloya would be our candidate from Chandigarh,” said Maan.


Sehajdharis may be debarred from ‘Sikh quota’
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 21
The general house of the SGPC, scheduled to meet here tomorrow to elect the new president and other office- bearers, is likely to pass a resolution to debar Sehajdharis from securing admission under the ‘Sikh quota’ in the SGPC-run educational institutes, including medical and engineering colleges.

The SGPC’s research board has reportedly prepared a draft, mentioning the definitions of a Sehajdhari, patit (apostate) and a Gursikh (baptised Sikh), which are likely to be put up in the general house here tomorrow. Since the SAD, led by Sukhbir Singh Badal, has absolute majority in the house, the resolution is likely to be passed by a voice vote.

The SGPC’s draft reads, “Whereas the terms, Sikh , Sehajdhari and patit are explained in detail in the oldest Rehatnamas (Code of Conduct), and have been highlighted by the Sikh and non-Sikh scholars in historical and philosophic perspectives, yet some motivated elements have tried to distort and misinterpret these terms for seeking admission in SGPC-run schools and colleges . Such Sikhs have been identified by Bhai Daya Singh in his Rehatnamas as Dhande Di Sikhi (those who become Sikhs for commercial motives) and Bhekh Di Sikhi (those who accept Sikhism formally to imitate Sikhs for material gains and to exploit Sikhism for their ignoble ends).

Earlier, holding that a Sikh is a person who believes in the 10 Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation had urged the SGPC not to divide the minority community by disallowing the Sehajdharis from voting. In an open letter to the SGPC, federation chief Dr P S Ranu said that "Sehajdhari Sikhs are an integral part of Sikhism."

Ranu appealed to the SGPC to take an appropriate decision regarding Sehajdhari Sikhs in the annual general meeting of the religious body to be held here tomorrow.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had recently asked the SGPC to define Sehajdhari Sikh and file an affidavit in this regard in the court.


‘Rahul’s remarks poll stunt’
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 21
Dubbing Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on 1984 anti-Sikh riots as a mere political stunt, Punjab minister for cooperation and senior SAD leader Kanwaljit Singh has advised the former to make the Congress present a resolution maing an apology to Sikhs in the coming winter session of Parliament if the party was serious to mend fences with Sikhs.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh was here to inaugurate a free eye check-up camp organised by the Sangharsh Sewa Society.

The minister said Rahul’s Punjab visits would not be sufficient to resurrect the “battered” party setup in the state. “People of Punjab were well aware of their wolf-like approach towards them. So, they are not going to fall prey to the pep talk of Congress leaders.

There is no existence of the Congress in Punjab and the Congress leadership should realise it,” said the minister.


Coop Week concludes
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, November 21
A state-level function was organised on the concluding day of the 55th Cooperative Week here yesterday. The cooperation minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, called upon farmers to adopt professional approach in agriculture.

The minister said the farmers should adopt dairy farming and vegetable cultivation at a large scale.

He said the Cooperative Department, through Milkfed, would provide loans for dairy farming whereas Markfed would launch a special company, which would perform advisory and administrative role for vegetable cultivation. A Rs 58-crore vegetable processing plant at Ludhiana would be commissioned by 2009-end.

He said cooperative societies had started collecting electricity bills for which they would get Rs 9 per bill out of which Rs 5 would be contributed by the consumer and Rs 4 by the PSEB.

Earlier, the minister laid the foundation stone of Rs 6.5-crore basmati processing plant here. He also inaugurated a Kisan Khushali Kendra at Anaj Mandi.


Food basket full, thanks to Punjab & Haryana
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 21
At a time when other sectors of the Indian economy like industry, real estate, transport, etc are facing the heat of the worldwide economic crisis, the agriculture sector has withstood the pressures of the economic downturn.

Thanks to the farmers of states like Punjab, and also to some extent of Haryana, the country will not face any crisis on the food front for at least two years. “India, secure on the food front, will be in a better position to face the crisis confronting the world economy. If you can ensure availability of food to your people, you automatically win a major part of the battle,” says an economist.

“The Punjab farmers have not only made the country secure on the food front but have also contributed in keeping the food prices in the international market on the lower side,” said Balwinder Singh Sidhu, director, Agriculture, Punjab. “As India will not be importing wheat and rice, instead it will be exporting some high-quality rice, there is no possibility of any abrupt increase in the prices of food items in the international market,” added Sidhu. “Obviously, it will be a big relief to the countries facing a deficit in foodgrains,” he asserted.

While the sowing of the new wheat crop has already started in Punjab and Haryana, already about 92 lakh tonnes of wheat is lying in the government godowns in Punjab. There will a be huge contribution, about 88 lakh tonnes, of rice to the 
central pool from Punjab this time.

In fact, officials of the Punjab Warehousing Corporation and Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been holding brainstorming sessions to make arrangements for the storage of fresh wheat crop that will be due for harvesting in about four months from now. Additional space will be required to stack 30 to 40 lakh tonnes of fresh wheat in Punjab alone.

Owing to negligible demand of wheat in states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the movement of wheat is slowest from Punjab to these states. In the next four months, movement of wheat from Punjab is expected in the range of 20 to 30 lakh tonnes from the existing stock of 92 lakh tonnes. Despite this, additional space will be required to stack about 40 lakh tonnes of fresh wheat.

The area under the wheat crop is expected to go up further this year as the Union Government is likely to further increase the minimum support price of wheat by Rs 85 per quintal. A substantial stock of wheat is lying in Haryana.


Seven Pak nationals may be freed today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 21
While uncertainty continues to dog the release of Pakistan national Mukhtiar Ahmed, who had completed his sentence eight years ago, seven other Pakistan nationals were likely to return to their native country tomorrow.

The district administration and the jail authorities are awaiting nod from the ministry of home affairs to release these Pakistan nationals, six from the Amritsar Central Jail and the one from the Faridkot jail.

Zoban Bai, wife of Roshan, Mussa, son of Farid, Amna Sultan and her husband Sultan Mandher and Iqbal Shah, who had completed their sentence, were on the list of the inmates to be released tomorrow.

Sources said Mukhtiar, who had been in the jail for the past 16 years, might be freed soon as the government was processing his petition.


PTU to start online counselling
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 21
Punjab Technical University (PTU) is starting online counselling from the coming session so as to help save time and effort of the students.

The varsity is also introducing two new papers in the subjects of cell biology and molecular biology for the BSc Biotech course. There will be a choice for students in the final semester to take up research project or two optional papers along with three compulsory papers, said Dr V.K. Arora, dean, Academics, PTU.

He was at the Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Landran, to attend a meeting of board of studies for Biotechnology and Bio Medical Engineering. The meeting was presided over by Dr Daman Saluja, director, Dr B.R. Ambedkar Institute of Biotechnology and Research, New Delhi.


Sikh body calls for transparency in SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 21
The Sikh National Organisation today deplored the lack of conscience debate and transparency in the election process of the SGPC, which is scheduled to elect its president at its general house meeting in Amritsar tomorrow.

The body expressed, what it said was the deep concern of “global Sikh diaspora”, over marked decline of this premier Sikh institution and urged upon Sikh sangat, Sikh religious and political organisations and the SAD leadership to cleanse and revamp the premier Sikh body in the Panthic interest.

Organisation’s president Manjit Singh Randhawa said it was painful to observe that “mismanagement and corruption” in the SGPC had eroded its trust among most of its functionaries had done irreparable damage to the institution.


NRI Sabha polls
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 21
Elections of seven district presidents of the NRI Sabha will be held between December 16-28.

Divisional commissioner-cum-chairman of the sabha S.R. Ladhar has said the elections will be held for Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (December 16), Jalandhar (December 18), Kapurthala (December 22), Hoshiarpur (December 24), Ludhiana (December 26), Moga (December 27) and Mohali (December 28).

The returning officers will decide the venue and time for the elections. 


Badminton champ held for smuggling heroin
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 21
Pankaj Dutta, a national-level badminton champion along with another youth was arrested today for their alleged involvement in smuggling narcotics. The police seized 670 gm of heroin from them.

Lok Nath Angra, SSP, said Dutta was a national-level player of badminton and had won a silver medal in the 1996-97 national school-level championship.

Interestingly, both the father, Bhagwan Pandey, and mother, Madhu Pandey, of Deepak Pandey, the other accused, are working as head constables with the Punjab police. Deepak Pandey, however, was staying in a separate house while the father stays in the local police lines.

The SSP said that market value of the narcotics seized from both the accused was around Rs 3 crore. He added that Dutta was working in Jammu for the past seven to eight years and had shifted to his native place, Gurdaspur, about five months back.

He came into contact with some drug smugglers while he was at Jammu and started procuring drugs for sale in Gurdaspur.

Dutta contacted his old associate Deepak Pandey and pooled money to buy narcotics and sell these off in retail to their permanent customers. The accused got the consignment of narcotics a few days ago.

A case has been registered under various sections of the NDPS Act at the Sadar police station.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |