P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


CM, SAD ministers skip inauguration by Ansari
Varinder Walia and PK Jaiswar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 12
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his cabinet colleagues who were in the city to receive Vice- President Dr Mohammad Hamid Ansari, here today, were not at the 14th National Youth Festival, organised in Punjab for the first time.

Advertisements in newspapers by the Minister of Youth Affairs & Sports, government of India had said Badal will inaugurate the festival while Gulzar Singh Ranike, Sports Minister Punjab will preside over the event. However, Badal and his Cabinet colleagues missed the festival on he pretext of attending Animal Fair at Muktsar on the eve of Maghi Mela.

However, Amardip Singh Cheema, vice- chairman , the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan alleged the Chief Minister “deliberately” skipped the visit of thev Vice- President of India who paid his maiden visit to his state (Punjab).

Earlier, Balbir Punj senior BJP leader and in charge, Punjab Affairs had asked Punjab government to boycott the National Youth Festival for showing disrespect to Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP.

The Youth Festival was inaugurated at Guru Nanak Dev University here by Dr Ansari who sai th country was facing multiple challenges in areas of education, employment, health and gender equality besides confronting terrorism, which was hampering the development of the country. He pointed out none of these issues could be handled without cooperation of youth of the country.

Dr M S Gill, Minister of State for Youth affairs and Sports who was instrumental in bringing the 14th National Youth Festival in Amritsar said vocational training programme specially for girls had been started from this year. Also some grant for th purchase of sports equipment would be provided. The minister said Rs 1500 crore had been earmarked for this scheme out of which Rs 125 crore had been released this year. He said special sanction of Rs 12.50 crore had been given to Punjab for providing sports programme in 1233 village Panchayats and 14 block panchayats.

Amardeep Singh Cheema, vice-chairman, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan said he festival would provide opportunity to know about India.

Meanwhile, Dr Ansari honoured 25 national youth awardees besides two voluntary organisations.

The city turned into a mini India with 4000 participants from various parts of the country are participating the youth festival. During the inaugural they presented a splendid cultural programme and march past in their cultural costumes representing the traditional dress of their respective states.

Dr MS Gill, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, said he had taken an initiative to almost double the prize money of national youth awardees from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 and from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh to the voluntary youth organisations. The ministry had taken steps for the development of youth and promotion of sports with increasing the honorarium of national service volunteers from Rs 1,000 per month to Rs 2,500.


Paddy Bonus
Cheque trouble for farmers
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Sirhind/ Bassi Pathana, January 12
The paddy bonus cheques issued by Punjab government, have mistakes and have become a nightmare for farmers.

The Centre had announced bonus of Rs 50 per quintal for all farmers. The Centre released this payment to the state government, which handed these payments by cheques to the farmers.

"Two days ago I got 101 cheques and 31 of these have mistakes. Total amount of faulty cheques is Rs 86, 351. Farmers are unable to get these cheques cleared", said Narinderpal Singh, a commission agent at Sirhind grain market. He said the government has released these cheques to commission agents. The agents will hand these to farmers who have sold produce to various government agencies.

The state government agencies Pungrain and Punsup have released 18,000 cheques in Fatehgarh Sahib district.

Most of the cheques carry wrong names, addresses, fathers’ names and other information is also wrongly mentioned. Also the cheques are not payable at par and certain amount is deducted during transaction.

Farmers alleged now they have to get the mistakes rectified. ‘Officials of the agencies who purchased our produce, directed us to contact the local officials who said it is not their cup of tea and the Chandigarh office should be contacted", said Prem Singh of Kharora village. He rued Punjab government had released faulty cheques and used these cheques for its achievement ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

Photographs of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon are printed on the backside of these cheques with message of development and achievements. The commission agents rued the farmers would hold dharnas in this connection if government failed to rectify the faulty cheques at the earliest.

"Government prepared lists of farmers on the basis of information collected from commission agents. The list of beneficiaries that we gave to Punjab government is not at all wrong. It is the government officials who have committed glaring mistakes," added another commission agent.

DFSC Rakesh Singla said payment worth Rs 60 lakh, which is equivalent to 1100 cheques, has already been disbursed. "We will soon rectify the faulty cheques," he assured.


SGPC seeks books taken during Op Bluestar
Varinder Walia and Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 12
The SGPC in a memorandum to Vice- President of India Dr Mohammad Hamid Ansari during his visit to the Golden Temple, here today, urged him to prevail upon the central government to return rare books and manuscripts ,taken by Army or the CBI during Operation Bluestar in June 1984.

The memorandum also has demand of turban issue in France and amendments to the Sikh Gurdwara Act 1925. e Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also accompanied Dr Ansari during his visit to the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh.

The SGPC honoured Ansari with a “Siropa” (robe of honour). Tight security in and outside the Golden Temple received flak from the Sikh leaders. Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann and Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar Akal Takht criticised the SGPC and the Shiromani Akali Dal for heavy security to mark the visit of the Vice- President of India and the Chief Minister to the Golden Temple.

They said the four gates of he Golden Temple were open for everybody except security persons.

The memorandum says the library material, which was burnt and whisked away, could not pose any real danger to the security forces.

The memorandum urged Ansari to amend the Sikh Gurdwara Act-1925 to provide for co-option of 10 NRI members as in five decades many Sikhs migrated to all parts of the world. It also sought increasing of the term of th SGPC chief and other office- bearers from one year to two and a half years . The general house of the Shiromani Committee had unanimously approved it .

Earlier Dr Ansari, accompanied by wife Salma Ansari listened to verses of Guru Granth Sahib.

Penning his feelings in the visitors’ book, Ansari remarked “It is my good fortune to have this opportunity to visit this holiest of holy shrine of great religion”.

Amidst tight security, the Vice- President reached the Golden Temple in the morning and went to pay obeisance in the sanctum sanctorum.


Ludhiana dominates livestock championship
Participants cry foul

Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Students of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, showcashing acts of dare-devilry during the concluding day of animal fair in Muktsar on Monday. Tribune photographs: Malkiat Singh

Muktsar, January 12
Amid objections and allegations, the Punjab State Livestock Championship-2009 concluded here today with a total of 2,465 head of cattle of various breeds and species participating in the event.

Though the department of animal husbandry had assured all participants that they would get travelling expenses and all required facilities, the maximum number of participants was recorded from the host district Muktsar itself. A total of 652 animals were showcased at the fair.

Ludhiana won the maximum number of prizes (79), including 22 first prizes. Muktsar district stood second grabbing 72 prizes out of the total 476 prizes distributed at the championship. Nawanshahr was the district from where only 27 animals had participated and it had to remain content with just two prizes.

The total sum of prize money has been mentioned as Rs 59,51,300 out of which Ludhiana got prizes worth Rs 11,32,900 while Muktsar won prizes worth Rs 8,26,800.

The details states that in the championship, 670 animals in the horse/mare category and 541 in buffalo/calf category participated.

A senior official of the department said that the Taj horse breeder farm located at Badal village, which belongs to the ruling Badal family, got five prizes in the horse/mare category, winning a handsome amount as prize money. The prizes were distributed by SAD (B) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal. Minister for Animal Fusbandry Gulzar Singh Ranike was also present.

State Livestock C’ship ends

Altogether 2465 animals of various breeds and species participated in the event. Muktsar stood second grabbing 72 prizes out of the total 476 prizes distributed. Nawanshaher was the district from where only 27 animals participated and it had to remain content with just two prizes.

There were some discordant notes as well with Jatinder Pal Singh of Jalandhar claiming that his dog deserved the first prize, while the prize actually was awarded to a dog belonging to a veterinary doctor. He accused the jury of being hand in glove with some of the participants.

Kulwinder Singh of Badeen Pur in Fatehgarh Sahib alleged that his sheep bearing number 77 (Khadu Himalyan breed) was a rare variety but he got just a consolation prize of Rs 1,000.

“I have spent a lot of money as travelling expenses. But, the department has neither given the prize nor the expenditure incurred on transportation of the cattle,” he alleged.

Sukhbir and Sidhu refuted the allegations. They said: “We have tried to make it fair as we want to promote livestock business throughout the state.” At the concluding ceremony, Nihangs belonging to Baba Budha Dal, jawans of Punjab police and youth of Kirpal Sagar Academy presented various acts of daredevilry.

The Department of Animal Husbandry is soon going to introduce five state-of-the-art animal markets in the state.

This was stated by SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was here in place of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to attend the prize-distribution ceremony at the five-day Punjab State Livestock Championship-2009. The CM, reportedly, due to some other engagement, could not make it.

Sukhbir said these markets would be opened in five districts, where land is immediately available, namely, Amritsar, Muktsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bathinda.


Five hi-tech livestock markets to come up soon: Sukhbir
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 12
The department of animal husbandry is soon going to introduce five state-of-the-art animal markets in the state, where all modern facilities would be made available to facilitate every purchaser or buyer of livestock.

This was stated by SAD (B) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, who was here in place of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, to attend the prize distribution ceremony at the five-day Punjab State Livestock Championship-2009. The CM, reportedly, due to some other engagement, could not make it.

While talking to TNS, Sukhbir said that these markets would be opened in five districts, where land is immediately available, namely, Amritsar, Muktsar, Ludhiana, Patiala and Bathinda. He said after analysing the experience of this first phase, the state government would try to set up these markets all over the state.

Hailing the initiative of holding the livestock fair and championship, he said it achieved two purposes. First, it motivated the cattle breeders and secondly, it provided an alternative business to farmers.

“We have been distributing prizes worth Rs one crore, which we, with our efforts, got it sanctioned from the Government of India. All states were called upon to take such initiatives, but Punjab is the first state to have availed of the facility.” “After seeing the response of the participants, I assure that the next time, the prize money would be doubled and the championship would be of a national level,” he added.

Gulzar Singh Ranike, Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry, who was also present on the occasion, said, “We have been trying our best to fill up the vacancies of veterinary doctors in the state vet hospitals and dispensaries. As per the new strategy, the state would be divided in zones and all villages would be provided with facilities for vet doctors.”

Giving details of the expenditure incurred over the function, Baljeet Singh Sidhu, director, animal husbandry said, “To motivate livestock holders, we have been distributing prizes worth Rs 70 lakh, while eight lakh was spent on publicity and the rest of the amount had been spent on making arrangements including fodder, tents and transportation.”



Bringing up orphans with love
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, January 12
Sharing love and compassion with those less fortunate, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sanctioned a special gift of Rs 40 lakh from his discretionary quota on the eve of Lohri to 125 orphans being brought up here at Arya Anathalaya, one of the oldest orphanages of the country.

Hoping for better living conditions, it was a moment of joy for these destitute children, when Parminder Singh “Pinki”, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, better recognised as a social worker in the area, handed over a cheque for Rs 10 lakh as the first instalment of PM’s gift to Santosh PD Chowdhry, manager of the orphanage, at a simple function organised on the premises of the orphanage here today.

Chowdhry, an octogenarian woman, has dedicated her life to the cause of orphans to provide them shelter, food and education. These children have come here from various parts of the country, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh.

Her husband PD Chowdhry, after retiring from the post of principal of the local DAV College in 1981, started offering his services to the orphanage as a volunteer, but after his death in 1990 his wife took up the challenge of running the orphanage by collecting donations. Although, the orphanage has 21 acres of land the most part of which has been leased out every year for cultivation, the money earned can hardly meet the day-to-day expenses of the orphanage.

Talking to The Tribune, Chowdhry revealed that the day-to-day expenses on these children go up to at least Rs 1 lakh per month apart from the maintenance of building.

The orphanage was set up here with the blessings of Swami Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj, on October 26, 1877. The Swami was invited here by Rai Sahib Mathra Das, an engineer, to lay its foundation stone.

Lala Lajpat Rai had visited this orphanage many a times and called it “The pride of the nation”. Lord CR Attlee, a member of the Simon Commission, who visited the institute on August 17, 1928, observed: “I was most favourably impressed by the excellent work done by this orphanage which is an honour to society”.

Lala Lajpat Rai, a leading moderate in the Arya Samaj, announced that the samaj would shelter any orphan sent to them. In February, 1897, he began to collect funds for this orphanage.


India to tide over meltdown, feel bankers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 12
India with robust economic fundamental would be able to tide over global economic meltdown and its fallout would be minimal said chairman and managing director (CMD), PNB, KC Chakrabarty here today during the State-level Bankers’ Committee meet.

Addressing bankers and industrialists, CMD said the Reserve Bank of India at the direction of Government of India had injected Rs 1.60 lakh crore as liquidity into the Indian market to tide over the financial crunch faced by the business fraternity. He said the RBI had taken serious steps, including reduction in the repo rate, reducing the CRR from nine per cent to 5.5 per cent.

The CMD said a series of fiscal and economic boosters would propel the country to achieve the annual GDP growth of around seven to eight per cent, a couple of notches better than several developing nations.

He said the RBI had issued new guidelines to restructure several advances in view of their below average performance in the current slowdown. He said the bankers had been advised to be more liberal and can offer more concessions on account of their immediate needs.

Later, deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India Usha Thorat while assessing the demands of various industrial and trading associations, who made powerful presentation seeking more concessions said it would look into all aspects and would take a pragmatic view to resolve all issues. She said banks were showing excellent results in the business growth of the state and said advances to the industrial houses have been doubled during the past three years which is a very healthy and progressive sign. She said at present banks have advanced over Rs 76,000 crore.


SPVs to improve focal point infrastructure
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
In a sneak peek into the much-awaited Punjab state industrial policy-2009, the state government today revealed the enactment of an Industrial Estate Maintenance Act to meet the long standing demand of the industry for better infrastructure in the focal points.

Principal Secretary (Industries) SS Channy said today that the act would be part of the new policy and facilitate the creation of “special purpose vehicles (SPVs)” to look after the industrial focal points. The SPVs would be levying a cost of maintenance from member industries and would be responsible for the upkeep of the industrial focal points.

Channy said the new policy provided for incentives to “cluster” industries. “We intend to promote cluster industry, all sorts of research and development units and common facility centres. The common facility centre in Ludhiana has been a huge success and it is high time that the industry realises that it is better to work together by sharing information than as being in individual islands.”

Channy added that the new policy would also promote “cooperative buying of land by industries”. Since land comes at a premium in the state, the concept of cooperative land buying by industrial units is being encouraged. The state would offer to acquire 10 or 20 per cent of the land for the cooperative industries, he said.

The new policy provides for a revised one-time-settlement (OTS) scheme for the ‘sick’ industrial units. “But, unlike other schemes where the government is generally asked to bear losses, the new OTS policy would be a win-win situation for both parties. The OTS would be offered category wise though not case-to-case basis,” he said.

Each industry would be evaluated on the basis of its assets and divided into categories. “The OTS scheme is not one-size-fits-all model. It would be for those who find it beneficial and want to take it,” said Channy.

Shifting from its role of a provider to the role of a facilitator, the state would be making capital venture available from private companies to entrepreneurs as part of the new policy. “We would be involving private players to provide the venture capital and manage it.”

Channy said the state would offer itself for the setting up of an automobile anchor unit. He added that the new policy would also have a special package for the ancillary units set up around the Bathinda refinery. The secretary further alluded to the abolitoin of the shops and commercial act.


Setting up of dharamshalas a priority: Preneet
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, Janaury 12
Setting up of dharmshalas for people belonging to different sections of the society in each of about 1,150 villages falling in the Patiala Lok Sabha constituency figures as the top priority for Patiala MP Preneet Kaur.

At the same time, Preneet said she had no time or will for levelling allegations and counter-allegations or to involve herself in political mud-slinging.

Preneet has reportedly spent an amount of Rs 2.94 crore on setting up dharamshalas in villages falling in her constituency.

“Though most of villages have got dharamshalas but, still, there are a number of villages which are deprived of this facility. My priority will be to focus on such villages. I will strive to build dharamshalas as per actual requirement of people,” said Preneet.

She said health was another priority area for her. “Creation of proper health facilities in villages is the need of the hour as people there are forced to run to cities to get treatment. My effort would be to get maximum possible resources for improvement of health infrastructure in these villages,” she said.

When asked about her political course of action in the wake of the forthcoming parliamentary polls, Preneet said, “My sole objective is to serve people. I am not into the blame game or mud-slinging. I would prefere to work for people more than levelling allegations against my political opponents.”


Class V test must for all students
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 12
The office of the Director-General (School Education) said today that the class V examination is a must for every student studying in government, aided, unaided and private schools. Students of all schools affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board will also have to take the examination.

If any of the private and affiliated school have any doubt with regard to the exam, the head of that school could contact the District Education Officer (Secondary) in their respective districts while the heads of affiliated schools can contact the heads of the government secondary or high schools located close to their schools.

District education officers have been told to identify all primary schools students of which will take the examination and also the Government Senior and High Schools where the examination will be conducted.

Like the government schools, private and affiliated schools have been exempted from getting photo of their students affixed on the examination form. However, students of unrecognised private schools will have to affix their photo on the form. The examination fee to be charged from students of general category of all schools will be Rs 20 and for SC students Rs 5.

Heads of schools can contact the project director on control room phone number 95172-6541673 to seek further information regarding the test or call up Avtar Singh, Deputy State Project Director, on number 9316073902.

The result will be declared on March 31 and certificates to all pass students will be issued by April 10.


Amarinder to miss Maghi Mela
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The first major conference, which was to herald a united show of strength in the Punjab Congress at Muktsar on the occasion of Maghi Mela tomorrow, will miss the party’s campaign committee chairman Amarinder Singh, who is recuperating after a foot injury in Delhi.

Amarinder has also postponed the second leg of his election campaign, which was to start after Lohri, and now this will happen only after January 20.

However, this has not deterred the Punjab Pradesh Congress from charting out its own poll campaign. PPCC president Mohinder Singh Kaypee said the party would be holding public rallies as part of its pre-poll campaign at Takthupura in Moga district on January 14 and at Taran Tarn on January 16.

The PPCC has also given the charge of both Maghi Mela as well as the public rally at Takthupura to staunch loyalists of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. While Faridkot legislator Avtar Singh Brar has been made in charge of the mela, Baghapurana legislator Darshan Singh Brar will be in charge of the rally.

Kaypee also disclosed that general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Mohsina Kidwai as well as secretary in charge for Punjab - Ram Chander Khuntia would attend the public conference at the mela tomorrow.


Planning board members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
The Punjab government today nominated 15 members of the District Level Planning Committees of Ludhiana, Kapurthala, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Moga and Ropar.

Santa Singh Umaidpur, Jagdev Singh Gohalwaria, Jagjit Singh Talwandi, Harpreet Singh Garcha and Jiwan Dhawan have been appointed members of the Ludhiana committee while Harbajhan Singh has been appointed member of the Kapurthala committee.

Meanwhile, Paramjit Singh, Hari Singh Zira and Brij Lal Kherva have been appointed members of the Ferozepur committee, Bhagwant Singh Hardothla, Surinder Singh Bulowal Rathan and Avtar Singh Kapur that of the Hoshiarpur committee. Deep Singh Rode has been appointed member of the Moga committee and Bibi Satwant Kaur Sandhu and Jathedar Pritam Singh Salomajra have been made members of the Ropar committee.


Industrial policy in 2 months: Kalia
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 12
The government is likely to declare its industrial policy within the next two months. It would be prepared after going through a report of the United National Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said Minister for Industries and Commerce Manoranjan Kalia here today. The minister was in the city for the unveiling ceremony of the statue of Swami Vivekanand situated at Rose Garden.

Talking to The Tribune, the minister said UNIDO had submitted a report on the scope of industrial growth in Punjab. The government would adopt a consultative approach to frame and implement a policy for the promotion of industry and trade. Three development boards had already been constituted for the development of large, medium and small-scale industries.


Taksal chief holds meeting on turban ban
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 12
Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa has met Sikh Nation Organisation president Manjit Singh Randhawa to draw up programme on the issue of the ban on turban in France. The United Nations has recommended to the French government to review the law banning the use of turban in schools.

A confidant of the Taksal chief from Punjabi University here reportedly arranged the meeting at Rattan Nagar here. The Taksal chief was here to attend a religious congregation l on Saturday night at Nanaksar Kutia Tripuri town.


High Court
Costs imposed on Punjab education secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 12
Punjab education secretary has to pay Rs 2,000 from his pocket for his failure to appear before the high court during the hearing of a contempt petition alleging non-compliance of an order on appointment. His failure to put in an appearance was also deprecated.

Taking up the matter, Justice TPS Mann observed the court had directed on August 1, last year, that previous order on appointment be complied with within four weeks, or else the respondents should appear.

Justice Mann observed the secretary was not present in the court on the previous date and was allowed exemption for the day. But even today neither the order was complied with, nor was the secretary present.

Justice Mann accepted the unqualified apology tendered by state counsel on his behalf, but added the practice of not putting in appearance was deprecated. His appearance was exempted for the day, subject to payment of Rs 2,000.


75 teachers remanded in judicial custody
Tribune Reporters

Malerkotla, January 12
The Malerkotla police today arrested 75 ETT teachers on the charges of creating hindrance in the duty of police officials and damaging public property.

The teachers had protested against the Badal government at CM’s Vikas Rally organised here yesterday. Out of these total 79 booked teachers the police has arrested 75.

The arrested teachers were produced before the local court. The court sent them for 12-days judicial remand.

Sangrur: Talking to The Tribune today, district president of ETT Adhyapak Union Sukhvir Singh said state cashier of the union Kulwinder Singh Jahangir, state vice-president Jagdip Sharma, Malwa Zone president Buta Singh Sapal, Barnala district president Mohinder Pal Singh and Patiala district president Jagpal Singh were among the 75 arrested teachers.

State president of ETT Adhyapak Union Jaswinder Singh Sidhu said no arrested teacher would get bail, as the union was ready to make any sacrifice to get its demand fulfilled.


Charges framed against MLA’s son
Tribune News Service

Moga, January 12
The court of District and Sessions judge here has framed charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Sections 304, 304-A, IPC, against Akshit Jain, son of Congress MLA Joginder Pal Jain, in an accident case here yesterday.

KK Mittal, deputy district attorney, said the court concurring with prosecution arguments had framed these charges against the MLA’s son, which if proved would attract punishment of up to 10 years jail with fine.

A case under Sections 304, 304-A and 279, IPC, was registered against Akshit on October 10, 2007. Jarnail Singh of nearby Saleena village, who was driving a scooter, succumbed to injuries received in collision with Akshit’s car. The accident occurred on the Moga-Ferozepur road at Duneke village.


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 |