Punjab Mail USA Punjabi Newspaper published from California distributed all over America. Chief Editor: Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa
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CM FOR RECASTING THE CONSTITUTION AS ENVISAGED BY DR AMBEDKAR

  • ASSAILS GOI FOR USURPING THE RIGHTS OF THE STATE
  • CENTRE HAS TAKEN OUT THE SPIRIT OF CONSTITUTION
    Ludhiana, JANUARY 26 (Charanjit Singh Saluja/Punjab Mail)- Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today called upon the Centre to recast the Indian Constitution to ensure the implementation of the spirit of federalism as envisaged by its founding fathers led by Baba Sahib Dr BR Ambedkar.
    Addressing the gathering after unfurling the national tri-colour here at Guru Nanak Stadium on the occasion of 65th Republic Day, the Chief Minister said that with the passage of time the Centre was gradually encroaching upon the rights of states as enshrined in the state list, like Agriculture, Health and Education, of Constitution thereby drifting away from the basic essence of Federalism to unitary character. He said, “It is pitiable condition of the states which are merely relegated to the position of subordinates to discharge trivial functions for instance transferring a District Agriculture Officer from Ludhiana to Jalandhar and vice versa whereas it has no control over the significant issues related to the welfare of farmers such as fixation of the rates of agriculture inputs and the corresponding MSP of the crops”.
    The Chief Minister bemoaned the very soul and spirit of the Indian constitution as infused by its architect Dr. Ambedkar has been taken out deliberately by the Centre to weaken the states on one hand and dilute its federal character on the other. Shaking the conscious of policy makers at the helms of affairs in national capital, he asked them to shun away the decades long practice of arbitrarily doling grants to its favorites at the cost of discriminating the others like Punjab adding he said, “It is the high time now to awake from deep slumber to sanction central grants liberally without any riders thereby respecting the very sanctity of Indian constitution”.
    The Chief Minister emphasized the need for thorough introspection to ascertain the correct position where the Centre has failed to implement the basic spirit of sacred constitution as enshrined in its preamble stipulating a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic, whereas in contravention to this dictum the Union government has failed on all fronts in terms of safeguarding the nation’s integrity from internal as well as external aggression adding that its inability to uphold the ethos of secularism, communal harmony and amity across the country. On the other hand he lauded the Punjabis for maintaining peace, communal harmony and brotherhood in the state despite stiff provocation from its hostile neighbor bordering Pakistan. Mr. Badal slammed the Centre for Punjab being constantly ignored and being targeted for Government of India’s (GoI’s) apathy best known to it. Centre’s discriminatory attitude has once again deprived Punjab of its due share of Industrial Concessions being extended for another term of five years to the neighboring states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand. He categorically said that we were not against giving these concessions to our neighbors but at the same time they were equally concerned for sanctioning these incentives to Punjab, where Industry was now its lifeline especially when our main stay agriculture has reached a plateau.
    The Chief Minister lamented that the state government has initiated efforts on its own to woo the country’s top business tycoons to invest in Punjab but this negativity on the part of Union would certainly derail our efforts to put Punjab on track of Industrialization. He said that by organizing the progressive Punjab Investor’s Summit recently the state government has garnered an investment worth Rs 65000 crore for Punjab but the Centre’s fatal move would adversely impact the investment sentiment in the state. Making a fervent appeal to the centre, Mr. Badal impressed upon the GoI to review its policy of sanctioning industrial incentives to hilly states by according a similar package to Punjab to strengthen its industrial base.
    The Chief Minister reminded the centre of enormous contribution of Punjabis’s in the national freedom struggle. Citing that above 80% people who were either martyred, exiled or imprisoned for life term were Punjabis, he said our brave Punjabi soldiers have ever safeguarded the integrity of country from external aggression and internal disturbances besides the hard working and resilient Punjabi farmers made the country self reliant in food production despite having just 2.5% of country’s total area. Mr. Badal said that Punjab was the land of Gurus, Saints and Seers and we the Punjabis have inherited an indomitable spirit of self sacrifice from our great gurus Sri Guru Arjun Dev, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Chief Minister said that Punjabis were all the more proud for this sacred land from where the pivotal movements of freedom struggle like Kuka, Pagri Sambhal, Ghadar, Gurudwara Reform, Babbar Akali and others were spearheaded. Mr. Badal said that despite Punjab’s outstanding track record in every field, it has been deliberately ignored from giving its due status and recognition for its rare feet, which was nothing but a sheer humiliation for the entire country
    The Chief Minister said that the state government was committed for the welfare of all sections of the society especially the poor and the disadvantaged ones. He said that the state government has come out with several pro-poor welfare schemes such as the widening the ambit of Atta-Dal scheme from existing 16 to 32 lakh beneficiary families, grant of Rs 2500 per month as scholarship to the poor and bright students under Dr Hargobind Khurana scheme, free bicycles to girl students under Mai Bhago Istri Vidya Scheme, Cashless cancer treatment scheme, Bhagat Puran Singh Sehat Bima Yojana and others. Mr. Badal said that despite of limited resources the state has performed extremely well in the core sectors of Health and Education where Punjab has been ranked number one and rated excellent in these fields respectively.
    Earlier, the Chief Minister took salute from an impressive parade comprising the contingents of Punjab Police, Home Guards, PAP, Police Band, NCC, Bharat Scouts and Guides led by DSPs Mr. Amandeep Singh and Mr. Jasbir Singh.
    The Chief Minister also gave away tricycles to the physically challenged and swing machines to the poor and needy women. A colorful variety program by the school children besides a mass PT show by the tiny tots regaled the audience. Later on the Chief Minister also flagged off a series of Tableaux depicting the overall development of the state especially the district administration. On the occasion, the Chief Minister honored ten renowned personalities in recognition to their outstanding performance in their respective fields.
    The Chief Minister was accompanied by his Advisor on National Affairs and Media Mr. Harcharan Bains, Advisor Mr. Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, Chairman District Planning Committee Mr. Hira Singh Gabria, his Special Principal Secretary Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh besides several eminent personalities from different walks of life and leaders and workers of SAD-BJP alliance.

  • KHANA-LALHERI ROB BUILT WITH THE COST OF 18 CRORE DEDICATED TO PUBLIC

    • RS 11 CRORE EACH CONSICHUOUSY WOULD BE GIVEN FOR UPGRADATIONS OF ROADS
    Ludhiana, JANUARY 26 (Charanjit Singh Saluja/Punjab Mail)- The Punjab Government has full filled the long pending demand of the four assembly constituency adjuring to Khanna with the up gradation of Khanna-Lalheri ROB today.
    The ROB which has been constructed with cost of Rs. 18 crore was inaugurated by Mr. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon PWD minister Punjab. He was a companied by Mr. Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker Punjab Assembly, Justice Nirmal Singh, MLA, Bassi Pathana constituency, Mr. Santa Singh Umaidpuri, Chairman, Mr. Ranjit Singh Talwandi, Ex MLA, Mr. Jagjeevanpal Singh Kheernian, Ex MLA.
    While addressing the public on this occasion Mr. Sharanjit Singh Dhillon said that construction of this ROB would provided much needed relief to the public of khanna and its adjuring areas. He said that this ROB would serve as connecting link between khanna and four other surrounding assembly constituency. He said that the construction of this ROB has been completed in the record time of 21 months without compromising with quality.
    He said that this two way ROB is of 666 meter length and depth of 8.50 meter. Diversing the detail of the development works undertaking by the Punjab Government he said that in the annual budget of 2013-14 Rs. 1700 crore has been earmarked for the up gradation of roads. He said that the Punjab Government has decided to distribute Rs. 11 crore to each assembly constituency for the up gradations of roads. He said that this 11 crore would be utilized in each constituency for the construction/repair of minimum 80 km long strech of roads.
    Prominent amongst those who were present on the occasion included Mr. Iqbal Singh, Mr. Sarabdeep Singh, Mr. Davinder Singh Khatra, Mr. Yadwinder Simngh Yaddu, Mr. Darshan Singh.

    MP VIJAY INDER SINGLA ON PGI CANCER HOSPITAL FOUNDATION & RAHUL GANDHI RALLY AT SANGRUR ON OCTOBER 10

    Sangrur, October 10 (PUNJAB MAIL)- A milestone achieved! A Promise fulfilled… said Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla after the Foundation Stone ceremony of PGI Cancer Hospital at Sangrur today. Addressing a huge gathering of more than One Lakh people he expressed satisfaction at efforts made by him and support given by Rahul Gandhi ji, Prime Minister and the Health Minister Azad Saheb for setting up this Hospital which will provide relief to thousands of Cancer patients in Malwa region of Punjab. Sangrur MP informed that this is just the beginning and War on cancer has to be fought on all fronts and efforts made to limit the causes which lead to Cancer. He observed that a Cancer Bio Bank should also be set up in Punjab to store diseased Cancer tissues for carrying out research and informed that he has written to the Prime Minister on the issue for support. Elaborating on the Cancer Hospital project he remarked that efforts are being made to start a OPD facility functional at the Hospital site at an early date.
    Lok Sabha MP observed that ‘Land’ on which the PGI Hospital is being set up at Village Ghabdan was lying idle since long (2003) and utilizing this Land for a noble public cause for a Hospital will be much better than proposals advocated by his Opposition friends involving commercial interest.
    2. Sangrur MP also remarked that what is important is to have a VISION (soch) and put in EFFORT (koshish) and exhorted all Youth not to get swayed by ills of drug and alcohol abuse. He also observed that Punjab is getting diseased on many fronts … Akali- BJP Govt is overburdened with debt and mortgaging its properties to raise money… and Sangrur MP remarked that excessive debt which cannot be serviced by the State will only bring doom. He also highlighted that under Akali leadership all sections are feeling stifled by its anti- people policies whether it is imposition of property tax or e-TRIP on trading community etc. Time has come for a change of guard in Punjab and the first bugle has been sounded by Rahul Gandhi ji today and exhorted all to vote for merit and development in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
    3. Sangrur MP also highlighted that, ever since he became MP, he has focused all his energies in seeking projects for developing the backward Sangrur belt – whether it was (to name a few) bringing new trains to Nanded Saheb, Sirsa & Ajmer and a daily Shatabdi Express; doubling railway track for speedier movement of trains, seeking Central funds for SC dominated villages, supporting ex-servicemen by getting a health clinic (ECHS) at Barnala; getting a synthetic athletic track sanctioned for War heroes Stadium at Sangrur, up-gradation of roads and highways, sewage treatment plants, railway over bridges etc. apart from development works undertaken from MPLAD funds.
    4. Sangrur MP also observed that setting up this Hospital in Sangrur will have spin-off effects and lead to all round development of Sangrur constituency and open up avenues for additional employment, trading opportunities etc. akin to what happened to Chandigarh when PGI was set up there about 50 years ago.
    5. Sangrur MP thanked Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi ji and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Saheb for standing behind the people of Malwa region in this fight on Cancer and sparing their valuable time and addressing a Congress rally here. He also thanked the AICC and PCC and all Congress MPs, MLAs, senior leaders, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress activists, NSUI, Congress Party workers and friends for their support and making the Rally a resounding success.

    Complaint No.569 by Suo-moto notice on the news-item published on 23.07.2013 & 28.07.2013

    CHANDIGARH, August 23 (PUNJAB MAIL)- File taken-up today in response to the news-items published on 13th/14th/15th August 2013, wherein there has been an indication that as per an estimate nearly 500 Punjabis have been murdered in 2012 in Philippines by way of contract killings and victims were financers; the local police is very corrupt; people are ruthless; guns & ammunitions are easy to procure in Philippines; police is not keen to register cases; when Punjabis approach the Court, they are killed during trial.
    This Commission has already taken a suo-motu notice on the news-item published earlier on 23/28.07.2013 relating to such incidents in Philippines and in the detailed order asked the State of Punjab to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs & Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs for the welfare and safety of Punjabi NRIs. The order was also sent to above referred Ministries for necessary action at their end.
    However, in continuation with the earlier order dated 01.08.2013 having perused the press reports as to the large numbers i.e. 500 Punjabis having been murdered in the year 2012 alone, the situation is grim & alarming. It seems there is no one to fight for their cause; no legal aid has been provided to those settled in Philippines to fight for their rights; there is no law for safety & security of the Indians working in Philippines; there is nobody to help them. In the case of Sikh farmers of Kutch area (Gujarat) the Punjab Govt. is supportting their cause. NRI Affairs is the priority of the Punjab Govt. This Commission also expects Punjab Govt. to extend help and support to Punjabis, who have settled in Philippines and
    2 - Comp. no.569
    to fight for their cause in terms of safety and security, legal and financial aid etc. Therefore, Punjab Govt. should act fast and to constitute a three member committee, in which one of the member should be a Senior IPS Officer, to monitor the cause of such murders and to extend support, possibly of all kinds, referred to above and to coordinate with the Central Ministries, referred to above and the Philippines Embassy in India. The Committee for above said purposes, if need be, must visit Philippines to have an interaction with the Punjabi Community, Indian Embassy and Govt. authorities to redress their grievances. Swift action in this matter will be appreciated. A copy of this order be immediately sent to Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab, Principal Secretary (Home) for their immediate action.
    List this case on the date already fixed i.e. 05.09.2013.

    Sehajdhari voting right issue to be listed on 4 Oct in S.C now. Makkar shall continue to enjoy SGPC Presidentship

    Amritsar, August 22 (PUNJAB MAIL)- The voting rights issue of Sehajdhari Sikhs in the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee elections was previously listed for 23 Aug but now it shall be taken up on 4 Oct, as per the latest status of the case. As the service to the respondents was not completed in the case on the last date so in the last order passed on 28 jan 2013 the bench of Hon’ble Justice R.M Lodha and Hon’ble Justice J. Chelameswar stated that “the Advocate-on-record for the petitioner SGPC shall take fresh steps for service on the above unserved respondents within six weeks Dasti, in addition to the ordinary process”. But unfortunately or knowingly service has not been completed to the respondents
    It is mentionable here that the case pertains to the voting rights of the lakhs of Sehajdhari Sikhs who were disfranchised of their voting rights in the SGPC elections by a notification issued on 8 oct 2003 by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The same was challenged by the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation in Punjab & Haryana High Court and the full bench of the High Court quashed the said impugned notification there by reinstating the voting right of the Sehajdhari Sikhs in the SGPC on 20Dec 2011. As a result the elections of the house held in Oct 2011 which were made subject to the writ petition were considered to be null and void after the High Court verdict.The SGPC filed an appeal before the Supreme Court and the executive committee of the old house headed by its President S.Avtar Singh Makkar was allowed to carry on its day to day functions till further orders.
    The future of the newly elected house of the SGPC hangs in the air as in the case of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation the entire election process was made subject to the outcome of the petition of the Sehajdharis in the High Court and the verdict of the High Court has already been in the favour of Sehajdharis and no stay has been granted by the Supreme Court to the SGPC against the High Court verdict.

    AISSF DEMANDS INQUIRY BY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

    New Delhi, August 16 (PUNJAB MAIL)- Condemning the August 15 violence against the Sikh population of Tilak Vihar and the attack on the family of US based plaintiff, All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) demanded inquiry by sitting Supreme Court Justice to investigate the role of police and political leaders. While Several Sikhs were injured as a result of police firing on the Sikhs, Mohinder Singh, the US based plaintiff’s family living in Tilak Vihar was especially targeted as their house was pelted with stones and their vehicles were burnt by the mob under the Delhi police watch.
    AISSF is demanding an Inquiry into the systematic attack on the Sikh community of Tilak Vihar from the Supreme Court Justice as the authorities are already trying to portray the August 15 incident as “communal violence” between the two communities while in fact police and the attackers only aimed the Sikh community.
    AISSF demanded that since the attackers were lead by local Congress leader Satya Narain and Pankaj and Deepak Tentwala, who incited the mob to attack Sikh community and burn down their property, an FIR should be filed for against these political activists for inciting violence against Sikhs.
    Since November 1984, there has been a trend of covering up the organized violence against religious minorities as “communal riots”. Just like in the case of November 1984, evidence and eye witness accounts clearly shows that on August 15 Tilak Vihar’s Sikh community was specifically targeted and attacked and it was not a random “communal violence”.
    According to Karnail Singh Peermohammad, President AISSF, a fair and impartial investigation by the Supreme Court Justice will reveal that the police and political leaders were involved in targeting the Sikh population of Tilak Vihar. The Sikh community is still fighting to get justice for the November 1984 killings and August 15 attack is yet another reminder of denial of justice to Sikhs, added Peermohammad.
    Mohinder Singh is plaintiff in a case pending before the US Federal Court in New York against the ruling Congress Party of India for its role in organizing and perpetrating violence against Sikhs during November 1984.

    ‘Pride of Britain’ awards for world’s oldest runner Fauja Singh & renowned charity & social worker Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon.

    MP Seema Malhotra (L) & MP Virendra Sharma (R) Presenting ‘Pride of Britain’ Awards to Fauja Singh & Charan Kanwal Sekhon at the UK Parliament House. Photo by : A Raza

    London, June 11 (PUNJAB MAIL)- In a special ceremony held at the UK Parliament House on 05 June 2013, world record holder British centenarian marathon runner of Indian descent Fauja Singh received ‘Pride of Britain’ award for his outstanding achievements in sports and his services to the country. Fauja Singh retired from all competitive running early this year but intends to continue running to support charity fundraising worldwide.
    Charan Kanwal Sekhon was announced winner of the second ‘Pride of Britain’ award of the evening for his outstanding charity & community services for the country. Born & brought in the village of Baroondi Punjab, Charan Kanwal has been playing a leading role in many national community projects and played a key role in raising over one

    ‘Pride of Britain’ Awards winners Fauja Singh & Charan Kanwal Sekhon receiving big cheers from MPs, senior members of Indian High Commission, London, charity & community leaders & other distinguished guests at the UK Parliament House. (Photo by : A Raza)

    million pounds for over 20 British charities in the last 15 years. Serving as a senior district officer for the British Govt. he played an instrumental role in controlling pollution from agricultural activities. Charan made a history by becoming the first British Asian to run London Marathon 2012 for Papworth Trust which is UK’s leading disability charity. Trust’s national manager also presented a ‘Special Recognition Award’ to Charan Kanwal for his exceptional services to the charity & the county.
    Fauja Singh’s coach Harmander Singh won the ‘coach of the year’ award. Harmander coached Fauja Singh for nearly 15 years during which he set many new records.

    MP Virendra Sharma & senior parliament member Patrick Hall congratulating ‘Pride of Britain’ Award winners at UK Parliament House. (Photo by : A Raza)

    The Awards ceremony was jointly organised by UK’s leading charities and sports & social welfare organisations in coordination with Parliament members.
    Minister of Coordination SS Sidhu from the Indian High Commission, London, a number of serving & former senior MPs including Virendra Sharma (MP for Southall & Ealing) Seems Malhorta (MP for Feltham and Heston), Patrick Hall (3 times MP Bedford) attended the event and presented the awards. Over 40 representatives of the key British charities & community leaders from different ethnic & religious backgrounds also attended the event that included Muslims, Christians, Hindus Sikhs and other communities.

    PUNJAB ALL SET FOR 4TH EDITION OF WORLD CUP KABADDI IN NOVEMBER-SUKHBIR

    * FOUR NATION HOCKEY TOURNAMENT PLANNED IN SEPTEMBER
    * 11 WORLD CLASS FLOODLIT SPORTS STADIUMS READY AT THE COST OF Rs. 96 CRORE
    * 9 MORE STADIUMS COSTING Rs. 46 CRORE TO BE COMPLETED BY DECEMBER
    * TWO OLYMPIC STANDARD SYNTHETIC TRACKS TO BE DEDICATED TO PEOPLE
    CHANDIGARH, JUNE 2 (PUNJAB MAIL)- Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab today cleared the decks for holding 4th edition of World Cup Kabaddi in the second half of November 2013, in which 25 nations would vie for record prize money in a fortnight long sports extravaganza. Both boys and Girls teams from 25 countries would participate in this World Cup.
    Reviewing the progress of ongoing sports complexes throughout the state and giving final touches to the Sports Calendar for the year 2013-14 in a meeting held here today, Mr. Badal said that strict NADA anti doping guidelines would be implemented in the tournament and Punjab would seek more participation of countries from Europe, Africa, USA, Australia and other non representative sub-continents to give Kabaddi world class status. He said that the Government was already taking up this issue with International Olympic Committee for making efforts to include this game in 2020 Olympics besides ensuring the continuation of traditional game wrestling also.
    Finalising the Sports Calendar, Mr. Badal asked Mr. Ashok Gupta, Secretary Sports to have consultation with Hockey India and International Hockey Federation to fix the itinerary of four nation hockey tournament as all the 20 stadiums including hockey stadiums would be inaugurated by this international hockey tournament.
    Emphasizing the need for world-class sports infrastructure Mr. Badal said that 11 World Class Stadiums have already been completed at the cost of Rs. 96 crore and 9 more stadiums would be dedicated to the nation by December this year. He said that 8 of these stadiums have been floodlit and Sports Stadium at Ghudda and village Badal would have synthetic track costing Rs. 5 crore for each stadium. It was informed in the meeting that 11 stadiums that are set to be completed included Bathinda, Sangrur, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Mohali, Faridkot, PAU Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Ghudda. Eight stadiums have floodlit facilities and most of the stadiums have Astroturf. The 9 stadiums that would be completed by December included Mansa, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, GNDU Amritsar, Hockey Stadium Bathinda, Hockey Stadium village Badal, Synthetic track at village Badal, multipurpose stadium at Jalalabad and at Fazilka. Mr. Badal said that SAD-BJP Government was laying special emphasis on Sports Infrastructure as during 2007-12, Rs. 200 Crore were spent on Sports infrastructure that included setting up 6 Astroturf stadiums, 7 Multipurpose stadiums and sports complex at Mohali. Mr. Badal said that to percolate the sports culture in the villages, the SAD-BJP Government distributed 5000 rural gyms and 9000 sports kits to village youth at the cost of Rs. 22 crore and Rs. 9.81 crore-prize money was distributed to players excelling in international events. He said that to make the sports attractive for Punjabi youth 3% Sports quota was introduced in the Government jobs and 10 eminent sports personality were given category A jobs.
    Promising to inculcate Sports Culture in the state, Mr. Badal said that a record provision of Rs. 91 crore has been made in the current budget and Rs. 13 crore has been set aside for developing play grounds in 1233 villages. He said that 2200 sportspersons would be graded and would get monthly scholarship of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 per month. He said that Punjab Government has already finalized the plan to establish Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Center of Excellence in Sports at Mohali with 4 regional campuses at Bathinda, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar at the cost of Rs. 100 crore, in which 2000 budding sportspersons would be selected for training.
    Prominent amongst those who participated in the meeting included Mr. Ashok Gupta, Secretary Sports, Mr. Manvesh Singh Sidhu, Mr. Ajay Mahajan and Mr. Ashwani Kumar Sharma, all Special Principal Secretaries to Deputy CM, Mr. Shiv Dular Singh, Director Sports and representatives of construction companies executing sports projects.

    Sikhs in Michigan are being invited to the Senate Invocation today

    Michigan, May 29 (PUNJAB MAIL)- This is the first time ever Sikhs in Michigan are being invited to the Senate Invocation today. The State Senate opened with Sikh Ardass conducted by Karnail singh and after that Darbara Singh Mangat delivered a speech in State Senate about who the SIKHS are with the company of Gurjinder Singh, Ladi Multani, Jarnail Singh, Kuldip Singh, Balbir Singh, Jaswant Singh, Gurdev Singh Jaboo.

    Covered California Announces Plans and Rates for 2014

    Consumers will have access to more than 80% of practicing physicians, 80% of acute care hospitals through 13 commercial health plans

    SACRAMENTO, MAY 23 (PUNJAB MAIL) – Covered California™ today announced 13 diverse health insurance plans that will offer in 2014, affordable, quality health care coverage to millions of Californians. The plans reflect a mix of large non-profit and commercial plan leaders, along with well-known Medi-Cal and regional plans.
    The tentative selection of health plans is subject to a rate review by state regulators. It is impossible to make a direct comparison of these rates to existing premiums in the commercial market because in 2014, there will be new standard benefit designs under the Affordable Care Act, and the actual change in an individual’s premium will depend on the person’s current insurance coverage. However, Covered California believes that a valuable frame of reference for its premiums, is comparing them to the small employer market in California. Both the small employer market and Covered California are competitive markets, and offer guaranteed issue- you cannot be denied for pre-existing condition.
    The rates submitted to Covered California for the 2014 individual market ranged from two percent above to 29 percent below the 2013 average premium for small employer plans in California’s most populous regions. This is impressive since the 2014 products include doctor visits, prescriptions, hospital stays and more essential benefits; protecting consumers from the “gimics and gotchas” of many insurance policies.
    “This is a home run for consumers in every region of California,” said Peter V. Lee, Executive Director of Covered California. “Our active negotiating will not only benefit potential enrollees to Covered California, but will benefit all Californians by making health care affordable,” he said.
    Additionally, there is financial protection like a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $6,350 which will dramatically reduce the chance of someone going bankrupt because of medical bills not covered by insurance.
    ¡§Californians should be proud of how not only health plans in this state, but doctors, medical groups and hospitals have stepped up¡V and creating a market that will allow millions of consumers to enroll in affordably priced products. Because of that, we will be able to deliver exceptional value, low rates, access to health care in every region of the state, and a solid platform to achieve the dream of providing quality health care for all Californians.¡¨
    Covered California¡¦s rigorous review and selection process resulted in a portfolio of plans that achieve three objectives: a robust choice of offerings throughout the state, affordable prices, and access to doctors and hospitals. The terms of Covered California¡¦s relationship with its partnering health plans means they will collaboratively work to promote care improvements, foster prevention, and seek to reduce costs by promoting better care.
    Once plan rates are approved by state regulators, Covered California looks forward to signing final contracts and begin the work of enrolling millions of Californians in the following health plans:
    * Alameda Alliance for Health
    * L.A. Care Health Plan
    * Anthem Blue Cross of California
    * Molina Healthcare
    * Blue Shield of California
    * Sharp HealthCare
    * Chinese Community Health Plan
    * Valley Health Plan
    * Contra Costa Health Services
    * Ventura County Health Care Plan
    * Health Net
    * Western Health Advantage
    * Kaiser Permanente

    “Covered California plans include the largest current plans in the individual market, as well as new entrants, regional plans and local Medi-Cal plans that want to be part of making history,” said Lee. On average, there will be five plans from which to choose.
    Even in rural areas where choice has been historically sparse, there will be two or three health plans. Throughout the state consumers will have a choice of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and Exclusive Provider Organizaitons (EPOs).
    To get prices at such competive points, winning health plans built their bids around the expectation of high enrollment, not high profit. Plans reduced profit margins down to two and three percent; embraced Affordable Care Act programs such as Accountable Care Organizations and Patient-Centered Medical Homes, that seek to improve care while lowering costs; found common ground with doctors, medical groups and hospitals on lower reimbursement rates to make care affordable.
    Virtually every health plan designed a custom network for Covered California. Negotiations included a detailed review of each plan’s rates, their mix of hospitals, physicians and other providers, and their contingency plans for expanding networks in the event more consumers sign up than expected.
    The current list of insurers is for individual policies only. Covered California will announce its options for small businesses to buy health insurance in June.

    About Covered California

    California was the first state to create a health benefit exchange following the passage of the federal health care law. Covered California is charged with creating a new insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to health insurance. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California will help individuals compare and choose a health plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Financial help will be available from the federal government to help lower costs for people who qualify on a sliding scale. Small businesses will be able to purchase competitively priced health plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits. Covered California is an independent part of state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and Legislature.

    For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.

    Chuck Hagel Comments……STORM IN A TEACUP ?

    Nebraska, March 16 (Jitamber Bedi)- Recently, former Nebraska Senator and current U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel made some statements on India raising the hackles of the Indian leadership and the media. Both crying foul and demanding explanations, and apologies, and withdrawal of the statement by the Secretary. The Secretary has allegedly made statements accusing India of indulging in covert espionage and proxy war using funds and means via Afghanistan.
    Of course, this did create the proverbial storm in a teacup with India protesting the Secretary’s words. Now here is something which people need to understand.
    Politicians often tend to, and are expected to make statements that are politically correct and do not raise hackles at the wrong places. But not Hagel.
    For instance, the Secretary has also been criticized for his views on Israel and Iran. Here is a man who seems to be inclined to be more realistic and pragmatic as opposed to being politically correct and patronizing.
    It is a known fact that international diplomacy and intelligence works in a cloak and dagger fashion. Diplomacy as the word suggests, is essentially stabbing each other with a smile whereas, intelligence operates in an entirely different environment. Intelligence is based on espionage and very often, we see it working in a tit for tat fashion. All countries do that and India is no exception.
    There are many examples of Israeli agents entering other countries to assassinate potential enemies including the alleged murders of Iranian nuclear scientists. The Iranian response has been seen in the form of material and financial support to anti-Israeli elements. Likewise, we all know about the traditional rivalry and spy vs. spy syndrome between the CIA and the KGB during the Cold War era.
    Now coming closer to home. Pakistan’s ISI has been accused of a number of incidents in India, and it is a known fact that it has a network of spies spanning the entire country. It is these spies who not only indulge in sabotage, but also send back sensitive information and encourage local anti-India outfits in kind and ideology. A lot of this is done by the spies within the country, whilst a lot of it is channeled across the borders from Nepal, Bangladesh, China, and Burma. There is of course the daily cross border activity by Pakistani ISI on the India Pakistan border……..and likewise perhaps the RAW incursions into Pakistan. Both armies violate the international border on scouting missions, a fact confirmed by ex Servicemen from both countries here in this country.
    It is a known fact that it was India, its army, and the intelligence agencies like RAW that were responsible for the creation of Bangladesh. This was not for any love of the Bangladeshis, but to sabotage and weaken Pakistan. Another factor could have been the economic repercussions of the vast refugee influx into India.There were political considerations too as well.
    Then not too recently, in the 80′s was the Indian debacle in Sri Lanka with the Indian government and the intelligence agencies doing a seesaw over the Tamil issue in that island nation.
    In this context, only the naive and the outwardly stupid would believe that India is not responding in kind to Pakistan in the present day scenario. Whilst the Pakistanis can do it with every means at their disposal, what is stopping India from returning the favor? People need to understand that concepts like the holy cow or Gandhism nonviolence, etc. look very attractive in textbooks, but the real bad world is a different story altogether.
    Kill or be killed is the name of the game and India cannot afford to let its guard down.

    Congresswoman Matsui Introduces Legislation to Support America’s Clean Energy Small Businesses

    Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act of 2013 will provide clean energy small businesses with greater access to capital
    WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13 (Punjab Mail USA)- Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced legislation which will help small businesses in the clean energy sector access financing. The Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act of 2013 will create a loan program within the Small Business Administration (SBA) that would guarantee loans to companies that manufacture clean energy technologies.
    “Even though our economy is recovering, small businesses continue to have a difficult time accessing the capital needed to keep operating and expanding. The clean energy sector is no exception,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “We must build on the recovery efforts that have been made and assist these small businesses with the support they need to bring our nation to the forefront of clean energy technologies. The clean energy economy now supports more jobs than the fossil fuel industry, and has the ability to continue to create jobs, strengthen our economy and ensure our energy independence. By providing assurances to financial institutions, we can open up capital and further unleash American innovation.”
    The SBA provides, on average, $13 billion annually for the 7(a) program. Only a small portion of these loans go to clean energy companies. The Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act would not authorize new funds for the clean energy sector, but instead allow the SBA to utilize its’ existing budget authority to address the needs of clean energy businesses. Furthermore, it is well-known that the SBA adheres to stringent underwriting standards, and this bill will continue to apply such standards for clean energy financing.
    Michael Hart, CEO of Sacramento’s Sierra Energy, said, “Sierra Energy is enthusiastic about Congresswoman Matsui’s Small Business Clean Energy Financing Act of 2013. There is a valley of death today when it comes to funds available for innovative green energy technologies. SBA financing would allow our company to grow more rapidly to meet the market demand, creating dozens of well-paying operating positions and many times that in construction jobs. In California alone, if we were to convert the waste we throw into landfills into clean energy, we could offset 34,000,000 barrels of imported diesel and create over 250,000 new jobs. Debt financing is necessary for the construction of these systems and Congresswoman Matsui’s bill is an essential step in the right direction.”
    Ken Oosting, Founder and CEO of Inspired Solar Technologies, remarked, “We have looked at SBA loans for our solar company, however the current conditions on the loans just do not work for the solar industry. While the loan quality can be there, outdated regulations that do not consider newer, clean energy industries, oftentimes prevents the loans from being made. Congresswoman Matsui’s legislation would open the door to loans for clean energy small businesses that offer significant value to the economy.”
    The legislation can be viewed here.

    Tradenext Launches New Education Programme for Punjabi Investors at the Macau iFXEXPO

    London, 6 February (PUNJAB MAIL) – Tradenext Limited a leading UK based financial services brokerage that specialises in providing access to global trading products is pleased to launch a dedicated education programme in Punjabi language. The financial broker launched the new education service at the iFXEXPO in Macau which took place at the prestigious Venetian Hotel on the 23rd and 24th of January 2013.
    Tradenext’s CEO and Co-founder Mr Jagjeet Singh has been committed to providing useful learning programmes for investors based in Punjab. The new initiative gives Punjabi speakers from across the globe access to advanced learning and educational services via online programmes.
    Tradenext Limited offers financial traders the ability to trade in currencies, stock indices, metals, energy and commodities online 24 hours a day. With the growth of internet usage investors can now access financial markets by the click of a button from the comfort of their home.
    The online Forex trading market has been growing at a 30% rate according to the Bank of International Settlements four yearly surveys. In 2010, the survey showed that daily trading volumes reached a record $4.3 trillion in daily trade volumes. Spot FX has become an alternativeinvestmentproduct as investors look beyond equities, real estate and traditional investments.
    Since the global recession unfolded in 2008 investors understanding of financial products has been questioned. Tradenext’ aim has always been to encourage investors to fully understand investment products before parting with their cash.
    “We intend to support the growth and development of Punjabi investors” said Jagjeet Singh. At the height of the global recession the world’s largest and most reputable banking organisations such as AIG and Lehman Brothers of the United States filed bankruptcy thus impacting the global economy.
    “Having correct, transparent and accurate information is paramount for investors when making investment decision” adds Mr Singh. He feels that incidents like the fall of Lehman Brothers put un-educated investors in difficult situations.
    Tradenext will be conducting online structured courses in Punjabi language covering topics such as; money management, what are financial markets and trading strategies. The firm also carries out classroom based seminars in their London office.
    Mr Jagjeet Singh is the first Indian based Sikh who was granted the BIPRU 730 license under the UK’s Financial Services Authority, hiscommitment to the development of local Punjabis and investors from across the globe has been paramount to his success.
    Tradenext invited over 100 of its franchises to Macau for the iFXEXPO.
    Photo right to left: seated on far right – Adil Siddiqui, Jagjeet Singh CEO & Co-Founder Tradenext Limited, Mohsin Jameel CEO & Co-Founder Tradenext Limited, Manjit Singh COO Tradenext Limited.
    Individual Jagjeet Singh photo.

    RTI facility on phone by Centre Govt. and Punjab Govt. demanded.

    Dr. Charanjit Gumtala

    Amritsar 24 August (Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala)- Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala patron of Amritsar Vikas Manch has demanded to provide RTI facility on phone by Centre Govt. and Punjab Govt. In a memorandum to the president Sh. Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister S. Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab Governor Sh.Shiv Raj Patil, the he stated that Bihar Govt. has started a scheme called Jaankari on 29 January 2007 by which any person can register his/ her application under RTI act 2005 on on phone. The objective of this scheme is to ensure transparency and to expand its reach to villages, where the literacy rate is low. It is a user friendly ICT (Information and Communications Technology) based facilitation centre to help citizens of Bihar in getting governance related information from public information officers (PIOs) under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI) within stipulated time frame. Use of ICT tools have been widely appreciated by the media and the people because of its user friendly format. It would be very useful for the rural people, who can get information without having to visit the office. Project Report on Jaankari can be down loaded from Bihar Govt. website on the link below:

    http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Articles/JAANKARI-pdf-26-03-07.pdf

    According to this project, Facilitation Centre “JAANKARI” was designated and authorized to receive phone calls from public at the pre arranged premium rate i.e. a call costing Rs. 10/per call (rupees ten per call) to take care of the prescribed application fee and generate RTI application on behalf of the caller. Arrangements were made by Belton to have PRI E-I lines of BSNL dial (155311) terminated at the Facilitation Centre. Besides premium rate call number, another five digit number dial (155310) for help line on normal tariff was also made available for general enquiry on RTI and application status etc. Both these numbers have been widely publicized for public knowledge and consumption.
    Procedures for filing “Request for Information” is given in detail on: http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Articles/JAANKARI-pdf-26-03-07.pdf Centre Govt. and Punjab Govt. should also set up the same system, Gumtala urged.

    SHIVRAJ V. PATIL GREETS PEOPLE DURING ‘AT HOME’ FUNCTION AT PUNJAB RAJ BHAVAN, CHANDIGARH

    Chandigarh (Sanjay Pahwa/Punjab Mail): The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, Mr. Shivraj V. Patil, was ‘At Home’ with
    distinguished citizens of Punjab and Chandigarh on the lush green lawns of Punjab Raj Bhawan.
    The invitees from different walks of life started converging on Punjab Raj Bhavan before the start of the ceremony to greet the
    Governor. The pathway of Punjab Raj Bhavan was tastefully decorated to receive the distinguished guests. Five special Golf Carts were put on
    service to ferry guests from the main gate of Punjab Raj Bhavan. The ‘At Home’ function began as the Punjab police band played the National
    Anthem.
    Punjab Chief Minister, S. Parkash Singh Badal was the first to greet the Punjab Governor followed by acting Chief Justice of Punjab
    and Haryana High Court, Justice Mr. Jasbir Singh, Justice TPS Mann, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister, S. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab Revenue
    Minister, Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, Tourism Minister, Mr. Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Chief Secretary, Mr. Rakesh Singh, Lt. Gen. Sanjiv
    Chachra, Goc-in-C, Mr. K.K. Sharma, Adviser to Administrator, Principal Secretary to Governor, Mr. M.P. Singh, Senior defence,
    Punjab DGP, Senior Journalists, Civil and Police officers of Punjab and Chandigarh Administration were present at the function. Office bearers of all the political parties also greeted the Governor on the occasion.

    Pranab Mukherjee elected India’s 13th President

    NEW DELHI (Punjab Mail USA) UPA presidential candidate and former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee got the magic figures (around 5.18 lakh worth of votes) to become new President of India. He got the required number during the ongoing counting of votes at Parliament House here on Sunday. The formal announcement to this effect will be made soon by the Election Commission of India after completion of the counting process.
    Mukherjee got the magic figure during the counting of votes of Maharashtra. Though counting of votes of 15 more states are still awaited, it will only have academic value.
    As expected, the UPA constituents and its key supporting parties like SP, BSP, RJD and others had supported Mukherjee. Besides, he also got the support of opposition parties like Shiv Sena and JD(U).
    Mukherjee defeated the BJP-backed presidential candidate P A Sangma. The former NCP leader Sangma got his votes mainly from the MPs belong to BJP, BJD, SAD and AIADMK. Among MLAs, he got votes mostly in BJP-ruled states like Goa, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Interestingly, the BJP-ruled Karnataka witnessed cross-voting during Presidential poll. Ongoing counting shows that over a dozen BJP MLAs might have voted in favour of Pranab Mukherjee who got 117 votes. Sangma got 103 votes in the state.
    Mukherjee got the overwhelming support of Parliamentarians (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs) in the President’s election securing a vote value of 3,73,116. He got the remaining vote value (1.36lakh) to reach the magic number (majority mark of 5.18) lakh) from the MLAs who cast their votes in his favour.
    Sangma, on the other hand, managed to get a vote value of only 1,45,848 in the counting of votes of MPs. His vote value increased to over 2.2 lakh when votes of MLAs of BJP-ruled states counted.
    A total of 748 MPs voted in the election on July 19. Of the total votes, Mukherjee got 527 votes while Sangma got 206. Fifteen votes including that of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were invalid.
    Counting of ballots began amidst tight security in Parliament House here in the presence of authorised representatives of both Mukherjee and Sangma at 11am. First trend came around 1pm after counting of votes of all MPs.
    Authorised representatives if both the Presidential candidates inspected the seals of the ballot boxes and the counting began after ascertaining that they were not tampered with.
    As many as 95 per cent of the 4,896 electors — 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs — had exercised their franchise on Thursday at the polling centres set up in Parliament House and 30 other states and Union territories with assemblies.
    All the ballot boxes from the states had reached Parliament House by Saturday and were kept in a strong room.
    The vote of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had been declared invalid by the Election Commission on the ground that he violated the code of secrecy by revealing his ballot. Yadav had initially voted for Sangma and then tore the ballot paper when he realised his mistake.

    SpiceJet unveils North India expansion plan To connect Chandigarh, Amritsar, Delhi & Srinagar Delhi to be 3rd base for newly acquired Bombardier Q-400 aircrafts Also connecting Delhi-Indore

    Chandigarh (Sanjay Pahwa), : SpiceJet, India’s preferred low fare airline, is further expanding its network in North India and today announced the launch of new flights connecting the cities of Chandigarh, Amritsar and Srinagar to Delhi.
    The airline has embarked on fast expansion plan and in its effort to reach more hinterland of northern part SpiceJet is connecting more Tier II and Tier III cities on its network. SpiceJet aims to be best networked airline in North India as well as at national level. With its expanded network, SpiceJet would be the only low-cost airline to have such a strong presence across India with 37 destination airports domestically.
    The company took delivery of 5 Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft in a single day late last month from Bombardier in Canada. SpiceJet is deploying these aircrafts in Delhi to serve the adjoining areas in by offering affordable air connectivity. New Delhi is its 3rd base, after Hyderabad and Chennai, for its new Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop fleet.
    In its first phase of North India expansion, the airline will connect to the cities of Amritsar, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Indore and Srinagar to Delhi among the existing cities along with more cities to be added on its network in coming days.
    The maiden flights for Amritsar, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Indore starts tomorrow, while flights between Delhi and Dehradun would kick-off next week.
    SpiceJet has been fast expanding its domestic footprint with the brand new fleet of the latest Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft from Bombardier. SpiceJet’s fleet expansion, with addition of these Q400 aircraft, aims to further enhance air connectivity to Tier-II & Tier-III cities.
    With the latest delivery, SpiceJet’s total fleet of Q400 aircraft now stands at 12. Each SpiceJet aircraft has been named after a particular spice. These 5 new aircraft will be christened as Dhaniya, Haldi, Javitri, Jaiphal and Laung and all are financed through Export Development Corporation (EDC) of Canada.
    “With the launch of these new flights, we are kicking-off our major expansion plan in North Indian. People would have better choice for connectivity and we are hopeful that they would prefer SpiceJet as their preferred airline on these new routes ,” SpiceJet Chief Executive Office Neil Mills said.
    The Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft can accommodate 78 passengers and is widely accepted as the best short-haul plane globally. SpiceJet is the only airline in India having a fleet of Q400 aircrafts. SpiceJet had placed an order for 15 such aircraft and have now taken delivery of the first 12 aircraft so far.
    In the first phase of the Q-400 operations, the airline connected to Aurangabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Calicut, Chennai, Goa, Hyderabad, Indore, Kochi, Madurai, Mangalore, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Trichy, Trivandrum, Tuticorin, Vijayawada, and
    Vizag.

    Famous Wrestler, Actor Dara Singh admitted in hospital in critical condition

    Mumbai, July 7 (Punjab Mail USA) Veteran Bollywood actor and Commonwealth wrestling champion Dara Singh is critical in a Mumbai hospital following a severe cardiac problem, a hospital official said Saturday.
    Dara Singh, 84, was rushed to the casualty ward of the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital around 5 p.m. Saturday by his family members as he could barely breathe, said the hospital’s executive director Ram Narain.
    “He is extremely critical and after reviving him, we have put him on ventilator and heavy medication. The next few hours are important and we are constantly monitoring his condition,” Narain told reporters.
    Dara Singh, who won the title of ‘Rustam-e-Hind’ for his wrestling prowess, appeared in various films and TV serials and is best known for his portrayals of Hanuman and Bhima.
    He has toured all Commonwealth countries and defeated Oriental Champion King Kong, George Gordienko (Canada), John Desilva (New Zealand) and numerous more. He became the Commonwealth Champion in 1959.[5]
    He has toured in most of the wrestling countries and fought their champions. He defeated Lou Thesz (America) and became Champion of the World on 29 May 1968. He again visited countries world-wide and defended title of The World Champion. Dara Singh retired from the wrestling arena in 1983, Undefeated.
    His top fights include Champion of Pakistan Mazid Akra, Shane Ali and Tariq Ali (Pakistan), prince Kumali (Champion of Africa), Japanese Great Rikidozan, European Champion Bill Robinson, Champion of England Patroch. David Taylor, Danny Lynch, Man Mountain Jack, Caswell Jack, George Burgers, Sky Hi, Lee and innumerable more. He is the only Professional who has defeated all his rival Champions in their home crowd.
    Dara Singh includes over 500 professional fights to his credit, all undefeated. Most of Former Indian Prime Ministers have visited his fights, including Shri JawaharLal Nehru ji, Chaudhary Charan Singh Ji, Shri Morarji Desai, Shri Chandrashekhar, Shri Rajiv Gandhi. President of India Shri Giani Zail Singh has also visited his fights. His series of fights with Lou Thesz, King Kong and others are still cherished today.

    Remembering Shaheed Cpl Gurpreet Singh on Memorial Day.

    Remembering Shaheed Cpl Gurpreet Singh on Memorial Day.
    Cpl. Gurpreet Singh, 21, only son of Nirmal Singh of Antelope, California who was killed in the Sangin region of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, long a Taliban stronghold. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, based at Camp Pendleton.
    CPL Gurpreet Singh, born on September 28, 1989 in Punjab India migrated to the USA when he was just 11 years old. After graduating from Oakmont High School Roseville California in 2007, Gurpreet joined 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton, California USA.
    We are proud of cpl Gurpreet Singh.

    MANPREET SINGH BADAL ANNOUNCES HIS PARTY SET-UP · Birdavinder appointed Chief Spokesman · Bhagwant Mann will be YPP President

    Chandigarh (Punjab Mail USA) People’s Party of Punjab president S. Manpreet Singh Badal has today announced his Party’s set-up. At the State level S.Birdavinder Singh Ex-Deputy Speaker Punjab has been appointed Chief spokesman , Sh. Bhagwant Maan has been appointed President of the YPP ( Youth People’s Party) while S. Yadwinder Singh Bhutter and S.Davinderjit Singh Dhose will be Vice-President of YPP. Ex Senior additional advocate general Sh. S.S.Bhinder will head Legal Wing and Sh. Kuldeedp Singh Dhose will be President of the Kissan Wing. Mrs. Ranjit Kaur Bhatti will head the Women Wing of the Party.

    In a press statement issued today by the Party’s Press Secretary S. Arunjot Singh Sodhi, Dr. Navjot Singh Dahiya has been made President of the Medico Wing and S. Nirmaljeet Singh Nimma, Ex-MLA is the head of SC/ST Wing. Sh. Sitar Bhatti will head Minorities’ Wing and Col. Surjeet Singh Firochechi will be President of Ex-Servicemen Wing. S. Amanpreet Singh Chhina will head NRI Wing and Sh. Vibhor Garg will be the President of the Parwassi Mazdoor Wing. Sh. Satpal Adampur, IRS (Retd.) will be the President of Retired Officers &Employees Wing of the Party.

    According to press statement S. Manmohan Singh Gumtala will be District president of Shri Amritsar Sahib , Kulwant Singh Lohgarh Barnala, Sukhdev Singh Chahal Bathinda, Pardeep Singh Sibiya Faridhkot, Jagmeet Singh Sahota ‘Bawa’ Fatehgarh Sahib,Sukhpreet Singh Randhawa Fazilka, Jai Jeet Singh Johal Ferozpur, Hardyal Singh Gajnipur Gurdaspur, Bhupinder Singh Pappu Azrram Hoshiarpur,Dr Navjot Singh Dahiya Jallandhar Urban, Baba Rajinder Singh Johal Jallandhar Rural,Kuldeep Singh Cheema Kapurthala, Er. Jagdeep Singh Jagraon Ludhiana Rural, Munish Gupta Ludhiana Urban, Dr Ranider Singh Bhana Moga,Jagjit Singh Honey Fattanwala Mukatsar, Dr Jaspal Singh Bhinder Pathankot, Avtar Singh Harpalpur Patiala Rural, Joga Singh Chaparr Patiala Urban, Balwant Singh Gill Ropar, Harmanjit Singh Dicky Sangrur and Vijaypal Chaudhary will be district president of Shri Tarn Taran Sahib.District presidents of Mohali , Mansa & SBS Nagar will be announced later. First meeting of all State and District presidents will be on 10th May at Chandigarh said Sodhi.

    Deported from Germany gets His passport after 14 years!

    JALANDHAR, April 29 (PUNJAB MAIL)- A man from a Jalandhar village was deported from Germany way back in 1997 but got his passport last week, that too after he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna.
    He sought a political asylum in Germany but his request was denied. As a consequence he was deported to India and barred for five years from seeking a fresh passport.
    This is not an isolated case in this Doaba belt where foreign-crazy men, and women, fly abroad every month to seek a better living for themselves and their families back home. At the same time foreign countries also deport scores of Indian nationals every month for serious and not-so-serious crimes, ranging from overstaying in their countries on visitor visas to working without work-permits. With a majority of them having clean records in their home country, a major chunk of Indians is just a victim of circumstances.
    It goes without saying that many Indian youth are languishing in foreign jails thanks to unscrupulous manpower agents in Punjab and elsewhere in the country. Some of the youth are even deported as soon as they set foot on foreign land, for inappropriate travel documents. Worse still, some are arrested and imprisoned for indefinite periods.
    Indian youth go abroad in search of greener pastures and try every means to get a permanent status in a foreign land. In order to fulfil their dollar-dream they even risk their lives. But surely they do send back valuable foreign exchange. In the process some are caught working illegally and put in jails abroad.
    Deportees’ tale of woes start the very moment they land in their country of birth. Since most of them come home on Emergency Certificates (travel documents) in the absence of valid passports, they become easy fodder for corrupt immigration officials at major international airports in India.
    Pitiably, they are already a harassed and haggard lot after spending months in foreign jails. To add insult to their injury, they are detained and harassed at the airport. Some of them are even threatened with ‘dire consequences’ by immigration authorities if they fail of grease their palms.
    Agreed they break immigration laws of a foreign land and should be punished. But the question is as to why are they harassed by Indian Government officials when they haven’t broken any Indian law? There are hundreds of Indian youth who are rotting in Indian jails for no fault of theirs.
    Once they are home and join their families, getting a fresh passport to travel abroad and joining their other loved ones living overseas become a distant dream for them. They face lot many problems in getting police clearance. Getting a passport for a deportee is simply next to impossible at Regional Passport Offices (RPOs) in India. Most of the time they have to seek the help of agents who exploit them to the hilt by demanding hefty sums of money on the plea that they (agents) have to grease the palms of officials in concerned RPO.
    The Ministry of External Affairs should look into the matter. Clear guidelines should be issued to Indian immigration and police authorities so that innocents are not harassed.

    Passenger plane crashes near Islamabad: 127 Killed

    Rawalpindi (Punjab Mail USA), An airplane with 127 people on board crashed while trying to land during bad weather near Islamabad.
    A passenger plane crashed while trying to land during bad weather near Islamabad.
    The Bhoja airline flight from Karachi came down outside Islamabad airport. Emergency teams were on their way to the site.
    Plane crashes are relatively rare in Pakistan, where inter-city travel is most efficient by air.

    31 IPS OFFICERS TRANSFERRED IN PUNJAB

    Chandigarh, March 23 (Sanjay Pahwa): The Punjab Government today ordered the posting and transfer orders of 31 IPS officers with immediate effect. According to an Official spokesman Mr. Rajinder Singh has been now posted as ADGP Welfare, Mr.S. K Sharma as ADGP Human Resources Development , Director MRS,PPA Phillour with additional charge ADGP Law & Order, Mr. Narinder Sharma as ADGP Internal Vigilance Cell and Human Rights, Mr. Mohd. Mustafa as ADGP Policies and Rules, Mr. Hardeep Singh Dhillon as ADGP Intelligence and Security, Mr. Sidharth Chatopadhyaya as Member NRI Commission Punjab, Mr. C. Sita Rami Reddy as ADGP Modernisation& Provisioning ,Mr. M K Tiwari as ADGP Administration, Mr. Rajpal Meena as ADGP Railways Punjab at Patiala, Mr.V K Bhawra as ADGP Crime, Mr. Rohit Chaudhry as IG Counter Intelligence Punjab at Chandigarh, Mr.Sanjiv Kalra as IG Security With additional charge of Director SSG, Mr. Paramjit Singh Gill as IGP Zonal 1 Patiala, Mr.B.K. Garg as IG Policy And Welfare, Mr. Ishwar Chander as IG cum Director PPA Phillaur, Mr.Parampal Singh Sidhu as IG Special Narcotics Cell stationed At Pathankot, Mr.Sham Lal as IG Legal Affairs Punjab, Mr. S S Chauhan as IG Crime Punjab, Mr. Kuldeep Singh as IG Headquarters Punjab, Mrs Gurpreet Kaur Deo as IG Zonal II Jalandhar, Mr.Ishwar Singh as IGP-cum Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, Mr. Paramjit Singh Grewal as IG PAP Jalandhar, Mr. Pramod Ban as DIG Bhatinda Range, Mr. Paramraj Singh as DIG Ferozepur Range, Mr. Lok Nath as DIG Jalandhar Range, Mr. Gautam Cheema as DIG Administration , IRB Battalion At Patiala, Mr. Surinder Singh as DIG Counter Intelligence at Amritsar, Mr. Dinesh Pratap Singh as AIG Provisioning, Mr. Pradeep Kumar Yadav as SP, Telecommunications, Mrs Dhanpreet Kaur as SP Crime Punjab and Mr. Inderbir Singh as SP Personnel 1 CPO.

    Asian Cricket Cup: India won by 6 wickets

    NEW DELHI (Punjab Mail USA) Led by Virat Kohli’s magnificent 183, India stayed in contention of the Asia Cup final berth as they crushed arch-rivals Pakistan by six wickets at Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur on Sunday.

    Kohli’s magnificent 183 came off 148 balls and was studded with a six and 22 fours. Kohli fell when he edged a Umar Gul delivery high up in the air for Mohammad Hafeez to take the catch at point.

    Rohit Sharma hit a six and 5 fours in his 83-ball 68 before Umar Gul had him caught by Shahid Afridi at deep mid-wicket.

    Rohit added 172 runs with Kohli for the third wicket.

    Kohli reached his maiden score of 150 off 131 balls.

    Rohit’s 62-ball fifty came with the help of a six and 3 fours.

    Kohli reached his century off 97 balls.

    Kohli’s 11th century, his first against Pakistan, was studded with 11 hits to the fence.

    Sachin Tendulkar hit a 48-ball 52 before Saeed Ajmal had him caught by Younis Khan at first slip.

    Tendulkar reached his 96th ODI fifty off 45 balls with the help of a six and five fours.

    Tendulkar and Kohli put up a 100-run stand off 92 balls after the early dismissal of Gautam Gambhir.

    The Indian run chase got off to a bad start as Mohammad Hafeez trapped Gambhir plumb in front of the wicket on the second ball.

    Earlier, centuries by openers Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez and a 34-ball 52 by Younis Khan powered Pakistan to 329/6.

    Younis hit a 34-ball 52 before Suresh Raina took an amazing one-handed catch at short extra cover to dismiss him off Praveen Kumar.

    Some brisk hitting by Younis brought up the Pakistan 300 in the 47th over.

    Shahid Afridi managed to score 9 runs before Irfan Pathan had him caught by Virat Kohli at deep mid-wicket.

    Praveen Kumar gave India the third breakthrough when he had Umar Akmal caught by Gautam Gambhir at short fine leg.

    Akmal hit 2 fours in his 24-ball 28 before falling to Praveen.

    Pakistan openers Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez hit brilliant centuries before falling in successive overs.

    R Ashwin broke Pakistan’s 224-run opening stand when he had Nasir Jamshed caught by Irfan Pathan at short third man.

    Jamshed, who raced to his maiden ODI century off 98 balls, hit 112 runs off 104 balls and his knock was studded with a six and 10 fours.

    Ashok Dinda then struck in the next over when he trapped Hafeez plumb in front of the wicket off a slower delivery.

    Hafeez’s 105 came off 113 balls with the help of a six and 9 fours.

    Hafeez’s fourth century, his first against India, came off 103 balls.

    Hafeez and Jamshed brought up the Pakistan 200 in the 33rd over and the 100-run stand came in the 18th over.

    So listless was the Indian bowling that captain MS Dhoni had used seven bowlers in 17 overs, without any success.

    The stand came after Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and chose to bat.

    India made one change in their playing eleven, replacing injured Ravindra Jadeja with Yusuf Pathan, while Pakistan brought Wahab Riaz in place of Sarfraz Ahmed.

    Teams:

    India: Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Yusuf Pathan, Irfan Pathan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Ashok Dinda.

    Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Umar Akmal (wk), Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema, Wahab Riaz

    The Consulate General of India in San Francisco launched revised Web site

    SAN FRANCISCO March 14 (Punjab Mail USA) The Consulate General of India in San Francisco launched a newly designed user-friendly website today to facilitate a large number of persons accessing the Consulate’s website everyday seeking visa passport, OCI, PIO and other consular services. The website was launched by the longest serving employee of the Consulate, Mr. Ariel Quintos.
    During the past few months, the Consulate has taken various measures to improve the delivery of services provided at the Consulate and through the TRAVISA Outsourcing Agency. The Consulate has also undertaken pro-active outreach activities wherein the Consul General and other senior officers of the Consulate have interacted with a large number of community associations, participated at various functions, and provided clarifications on various issues of interest to the community.
    Within the Consulate itself, not only delivery of services have improved, the Consulate now serves all applicants with a smile.
    The new website is not only aesthetically appealing and easy to navigate, but also provides information actually needed by the applicants. All the information required for a specific service is provided at one particular place, which is easier to access. The website also provides helpful tips and easy guidance in unambiguous terms to help those seeking various services.
    Specific e-mail contacts are provided for specific service needs and all e-mails are being answered in time by the Consulate. More importantly, apart from providing a response, the Consulate already takes action to provide the services sought by the applicants. In addition, during specific timings on working days, an official from the Consulate would be available in person to answer the queries over telephone. The Consulate would nonetheless encourage people to use e-mails so that they can get timely responses.
    New Updated Website : www.cgisf.org

    PUNJAB GOVERNOR DISSOLVES 13TH PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA

    Chandigarh, March 6 (Sanjay Pahwa) : Punjab Governor His Excellency Shivraj .V . Patil today in the afternoon dissolved 13thPunjab Vidhan Sabha under Sub Clause (B) of Clause (II) of Article 174 of Constitution of India. This was disclosed media by an Official Spokesman.

    Gold down 5%, biggest one-day drop in 3 years

    Sacramento, March 1 (Punjab Mail USA) Gold fell 5% to below USD 1,690 an ounce on Wednesday for its biggest one-day drop in more than three years, as speculation that central banks might be done with easy monetary policies led funds to exit the bullion trade.

    Gold fell nearly USD 100 and silver was down USD 3 from session highs. Losses started to snowball at 10 am EST (1500 GMT) after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not mention another round of monetary easing was imminent.

    Trading volume exploded when speculation about an unusually large sell-order ran rampant. Option traders said funds were heavy buyers of puts to protect against further losses.

    Gold’s losses dwarfed those in the euro and other commodities as bullion fell through key support after it failed to sustain gains around USD 1,790 an ounce, above Monday’s high.

    Market talk about erroneous trades in the US Treasury bond futures market also hit sentiment.

    Most analysts viewed the sudden decline as an aberration rather than the start of a long-term decline.

    “There is no hint from Bernanke’s speech that there will be a QE3 type program which people have been hoping for,” said Jeffrey Sherman, commodities portfolio manager of DoubleLine Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment manager with $28 billion in assets.

    “It’s just a pullback, it doesn’t feel like it would be the start of a bear market,” Sherman said.

    Spot gold was down 5% for the day at USD 1,695.39 an ounce by 4:10 p.m., after hitting a one-month low at USD 1,687.99.

    Wednesday’s sell-off wiped out gold’s gains from earlier in February, and the metal ended the month with a 2.5% loss for its second decline in three months.

    Earlier in the session, bullion touched a 3-1/2 month high at USD 1,790.30 after the European Central Bank completed offering cheap loans worth over half a trillion euros to banks.

    The ECB move reinforced some notions among gold investors that central banks might be finished with their monetary easing.

    Spot gold fell below its 150-day moving average for the first time in a month.

    Analysts said the next important resistance level is USD 1,650 an ounce, where the metal found support during its last sell-off in late January.

    Funds were heavy buyers of December USD 1,500 put options as some looked to profit and others tried to protect further downside risks in futures, said Jonathan Jossen, a COMEX gold options floor trader.

    Internal TSA Study Concludes Racial Profiling Audit Possible

    New York, Feb 2 (Punjab Mail USA)– An internal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) memorandum concluded that the agency can successfully audit its screening practices to guard against racial profiling. The memorandum, released today by the Sikh Coalition, was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
    The internal memorandum, written over 2 years ago in response to concerns from the Sikh American community, discussed eight “strategic options” that the TSA could implement to “address racial profiling concerns” and “improve internal business controls as they relate to secondary screening procedures.”
    The TSA memorandum lists data collection on screening practices, independent observational studies, enhancing camera systems to review screening, and “operational screening audits” as options the agency could enact to prevent profiling.  The memorandum also discusses proposals from the Rand Corporation, Vera Institute for Justice, and two professors at the University of California at Berkeley to audit TSA screening practices.
    Since 2007, Sikh travelers have reported that they are routinely selected for secondary screening at some American airports, even after clearing advanced imaging technology machines without incident.  In response to these concerns, members of the U.S. Congress, led by Rep. Judy Chu (CA), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), wrote to TSA officials in January 2011 to request a briefing about internal controls against profiling.  In December 2011, a diverse coalition of 38 civil rights organizations, led by the Sikh Coalition, renewed its call for an audit of TSA screening practices in response to reports that TSA personnel intentionally targeted Mexican and Dominican travelers for extra scrutiny through its Screening Passengers by Observational Techniques (SPOT) program at airports in Hawaii and New Jersey.
    “I am very concerned that reports of civil rights violations by TSA screeners are instances of a larger pattern,” said Rep. Judy Chu.  “Auditing the SPOT program alone is not sufficient in determining if racial or religious profiling is a systemic problem.  Only an independent, publicly-reported audit can reveal the full extent to which TSA officers are violating civil rights and liberties.”
    Because the TSA’s memorandum was partly redacted upon release, the Sikh Coalition is in the process of filing a FOIA appeal to secure full disclosure from the agency.
    “The TSA’s own consultant found that audits to guard against profiling are viable,” said Amardeep Singh, Program Director, Sikh Coalition. “The TSA needs to take its consultant’s plan off a dusty shelf and implement it on the ground.  If the TSA truly believes racial profiling is ineffective, it needs to adopt stronger internal controls to stop it and focus its resources on identifying actual criminal behavior.”

    Polling began in Punjab

    Ludhiana, 30 January (Punjab Mail) Including two Chief Ministerial aspirants Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh, in fray for 117 assembly seats in Punjab where polling began this morning. Around 1.76 crore voters are expected to cast their franchise on Monday to choose representative from among 1078 candidates.

    Indian-origin woman jailed in UK drug scam

    London 27 January (Punjab Mail) An Indian origin woman, who pleaded guilty to being a courier of heroin worth 50,000 pounds in Britain, has been jailed for three years. Dipika Umratia, 24, reportedly carried the drugs in cereal box during trips from Birmingham to Leicester Forest East, where she met co-accused Steffan Simon and Ezrah Quailey, according to the case hearing in the Leicester Crown Court.

    The three then took the drugs to a flat in Earl Shilton, where they were “cut” with paracetamol and caffeine before being sold, reports from Leicester said. Simon denied the offence but was found guilty and was yesterday sentenced to 10 years. Quailey pleaded guilty and was given six years, while Umratia, who pleaded guilty, was given three years. During sentencing, Leicester Crown Court was told that on May 26 last year the police arrested the gang after watching Umratia hand over a cereal box of heroin to Simon and Quailey.

    The two were arrested as they pulled up outside the flat in Earl Shilton. James Thomas, prosecuting lawyer, said: “Quailey sprinted from the vehicle carrying the bag with the box in it. As he ran, he tried unsuccessfully to throw the bag over a fence”. The box contained 500g of heroin. Umratia was arrested at a city hotel. The police also arrested Quailey’s girlfriend, Theresa Harty, who lived at the Earl Shilton flat. Simon, Quailey and Umratia were charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

    Punjab Polls: parties woo NRI voters

    Ludhiana 27 January  (Punjab Mail) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced registration of overseas voters under the Representation of People’s Act (1950) during the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in Jaipur, many candidates in Punjab Assembly polls find the NRIs’ support as a big factor in the January 30 election.

    Punjabi NRIs wield considerable influence in the state. They have a strong rural support base, thanks to the generous dollar contributions. How many would actually line up to vote would be known only after the voting.

    Famous Punjabi writer Kartar Singh Duggal passes away

    Delhi 26 January (Punjab Mail USA) Famous Punjabi writer and Ex-member of Raj Sabha Kartar Singh Duggal passed away at his Delhi residence. He was 95 years old. His body will be consigned to flames in the afternoon at Lodhi Road cremation ground.
    Born in 1917, in Dhamal, Rawalpindi District, Pakistan, Mr. Duggal wrote with equal ease in Panjabi, Urdu, Hindi, and English. His works have been translated into several Indian and foreign languages. During his life-time, he won many honors and award.

    Suspect Stole Car Before Killing Va. Tech Officer

    * Suspect Not Student At University, Officials Say

    BLACKSBURG, December 9 (Punjab Mail)– A 22-year-old Virginia man stole a Mercedes SUV at gunpoint the day before he shot dead a Virginia Tech police officer and then took his own life, police said Friday.
    Virginia State Police on Friday identified Ross Truett Ashley, 22, as the man who killed Virginia Tech Police Officer Deriek Crouse and then himself about 30 minutes later.
    A part-time student at Radford University, 15 miles southwest of Blacksburg, Ashley had no connection to or contact with Crouse before Thursday’s shooting, according to a news release from state police.
    “State police investigators are continuing their work to establish a motive in the killing and to re-create Ashley’s movements in the days and hours leading up to the murder-suicide,” police said.
    Ashley entered a real estate office in Radford with a handgun Wednesday and demanded the keys to a white 2011 Mercedes SUV, according to police. He drove off in the car, which was found the next day on the Virginia Tech campus.
    That’s where and when Ashley and Crouse were found dead, about a quarter mile away from each other.
    Ballistics evidence shows that both were fatally shot with the same gun, state police said Friday. Police have said they believe Ashley matches the description of the man who shot the officer.
    Thursday’s double shooting conjured memories from April 16, 2007, when student Seung-Hui Cho killed 33 people at Virginia Tech in a mass shooting.
    “Once again, the campus and the community that we love so well have been visited by senseless violence and tragic loss,” Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger said in a statement. “Tragedy again struck Virginia Tech in a wanton act of violence where our police officer, Deriek Crouse, was murdered during a routine traffic stop.”
    The scale and facts of Thursday’s shooting differ significantly from the incident four years ago. Still, it served as a test of the policies the school has implemented since that tragedy.
    The latest incident began about 12:15 p.m. Thursday, when Crouse, who had been a Virginia Tech officer for four years, pulled over someone during a routine traffic stop in the Cassell Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall.
    Cassell Coliseum houses athletic facilities. McComas Hall houses exercise facilities.
    Shortly before 12:30 p.m., police received their first call from a person who said he’d seen the suspect — not the driver of the car that had been pulled over — approach the officer’s vehicle and open fire.
    The shooter ran from the area. Police said Ashley changed out of his wool cap and pullover at the Virginia Tech greenhouses and put them in a backpack.
    A Montgomery County deputy sheriff who was on-site because of the first shooting eventually spotted a man who was walking toward the on-campus “Cage” parking lot. The deputy sheriff temporarily lost sight of this man as he drove toward him, according to the state police chronicle of events released Friday.
    “When the deputy finally reached the subject, the man was on the ground and deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” police said.
    This person didn’t have any identification on him and was wearing clothing different from that worn by the person who had shot Crouse, police added. But that clothing was recovered later Thursday in the backpack Ashley had left behind.
    Maj. Rick Jenkins of the Virginia State Police said a video camera mounted inside the slain officer’s car captured footage of a man with a weapon who matched the description of the man they’d found dead.
    In addition to the law enforcement activity, Virginia Tech’s updated communications efforts — which received criticism in 2007, for not letting students know quickly or extensively enough what was happening then — were also put in focus during Thursday’s incident.
    Campus officials put out six alerts to students and faculty about the shooting.
    On Thursday, law enforcement and school officials said the alert system put in place in recent years worked well, from technological and communications standpoints.
    Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose daughter attends Virginia Tech, lauded the communications effort. McDonnell said his daughter was confined to a basement classroom during the four-hour episode.
    “Like so many parents who had children on the Virginia Tech campus, I felt a lot of that angst and uncertainty,” he said. “Again, I want to express my gratitude to law enforcement for making sure that they kept the faculty (and) parents regularly informed.”
    Crouse, 39, joined the Virginia Tech police force six months after the 2007 mass shooting, according to a release on the school’s website. A U.S. Army veteran who had worked at the New River Valley jail and with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, the Christiansburg resident is survived by his wife, as well as five children and stepchildren.
    The man who killed Crouse is from Partlow, a town about 45 miles north of Richmond in Virginia’s Spotsylvania County.
    Radford University said Friday in a statement that Ashley was a business management major at the school. Citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the university said “no additional information on Mr. Ashley can be provided.”
    Radford President Penny Kyle said counseling would be made available to that university’s students, akin to services offered at Virginia Tech.
    Already, members of the Virginia Tech community have come together since the shootings. For instance, scores of people came together on the Blacksburg campus for a candlelight vigil on Thursday night, one day after a similar, smaller event was held.
    A student-organized group that calls itself Hokies for Crouse said at 9:40 p.m. Friday on its website that it had raised more than $31,734 for the slain officer’s family.

    Local Solider Killed By IED

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif, Dec 8 (Punjab Mail)- Three Fort Bliss Soldiers supporting Operation Enduring Freedom died Dec. 3, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.
    Sgt. First Class Clark A. Corley, Jr., Spc. Ryan M. Lumley, and Spc. Thomas J. Mayberry wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device. All were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
    “1st Armored Division and Team Bliss lost three outstanding Soldiers on Dec. 3 in eastern Afghanistan. We are keeping their wives, children, families and friends in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” stated Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss. “Our three Soldiers gave the last full measure of devotion for what they believed in and fought for every single one of us. Freedom is definitely not free,” he added.
    Corley, 35 of Oxnard, Calif., was an Infantryman (MOS 11B) who entered the Army December 1995. He was previously stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Irwin, Calif., Fort Lee, Va., Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Camp Hovey, Korea, and Fort Hood, Texas. His military education includes Hazardous Materials Certification, Radiological Safety, Action Officer Development Course and Sling Load Inspection Certification. Corley’s awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal-Fourth Award, National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Expert Infantryman Badge. He is survived by his spouse and one child.
    Lumley, 21 of Lakeland, Fla., was an Infantryman (MOS 11B) who entered the Army from Tampa, Fla., March 2009. He was previously stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. Lumley’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. He is survived by his spouse.
    Mayberry, 21, of Springville, Calif., was an Infantryman (MOS 11B) who entered the Army from Oakland, Calif., January 2009. His previous assignments include Fort Benning, Ga. and Camp Casey, Korea. Mayberry’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with a Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. Mayberry was posthumously promoted to the rank of Specialist. He is survived by his spouse.
    A memorial ceremony in honor of these fallen Soldiers will be coordinated and announced at a later date.
    Soldiers from the 3-1 BCT deployed to Southwest Asia in September and October 2011, to provide stability and security operations.

    Virginia Tech shooting leaves two dead

    WASHINGTON Dec 8 (Punjab mail) – Terror returned today to Virginia Tech, the site of America’s worst campus massacre, as a university policeman was shot dead and students were subjected to a four-hour lockdown.
    The officer, who has not been named, was killed by a man believed to have walked up to his patrol car at about 12.15, as he carried out a routine traffic stop on a vehicle at the site in Blacksburg, Virginia.
    The shooter then walked away. Law enforcement officials said last night that a second body, found with a gun 45 minutes later in a car park a quarter of a mile away, was believed to be the gunman’s. He is thought to have turned the gun on himself as officers approached.
    Charles Steager, the university’s president, described the shooting as a “wanton act of violence”. “Today tragedy again struck Virginia Tech,” he told a press conference. “Our hearts are broken again”.
    Throughout the afternoon university officials indicated that the second victim might have been someone other than the gunman, causing intense concern that he was still at large.
    Armed FBI, police and anti-firearms officers quickly descended to hunt a suspect described as a white man wearing grey jogging trousers, a grey hat with a neon green brim and a maroon hoodie.Students were moved by university officials into a secure room in an academic building onsite, under plans developed after an April 2007 massacre at the campus that left 32 students and staff dead.
    “People were getting more tense and things were on edge,” Tauhid Chappell, a 21-year-old senior studying journalism told that before he and fellow students were released at about 4.30pm.
    The shootings came as senior university police officers and officials were 270 miles away in Washington, appealing against a $55,000 (£35,181) fine from the US government for their alleged failure to provide a “timely warning” about the 2007 shootings.
    The US Education Department said the university violated the law by waiting more than two hours after the shootings of two students in their dormitory before sending an email warning, by which time 30 more students had been slain.
    This time the university’s 30,000 students promptly received email and text message alerts warning them about the gunman. The university website and Twitter account swiftly alerted the outside world to developments onsite.
    Witnesses said the campus was not as busy as usual because yesterday was the last day of term before final exams, meaning regular lectures and classes had not been scheduled.
    Josh Parcell, a student due to graduate next year, said on Twitter: “Thank God this was reading day. Can’t imagine how much worse this could have been on a normal class day.”
    Local public transport was suspended shortly after the shootings, while public schools were also locked down, in an effort to limit the potential fallout.
    The events prompted comparisons to April 16 2007, when Cho Seung-Hui, a Korean-born student, killed 32 students and staff and then himself, in America’s largest ever campus massacre.
    He sent pictures and video of himself and a “manifesto” to a local television station before the massacre, in which he paid tribute to “martyrs” like like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers who murdered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado, in 1999.
    Having killed his first two victims early in the morning, he killed another 30 more than two hours later, after entering a separate part of the university at the Norris Hall complex and locking the doors.
    The killed officer was described by Sgt. Bob Carpentieri as a “four-year veteran” of the 80-strong university force. “We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family,” said Mr Steager.
    Mr Chappell said: “The feeling here was ‘not again’. This is not something Virginia Tech needs, it is not who we are. It puts us in a bad light and makes people think ‘oh, Virginia Tech – dangerous’.”

    Civility and sagacity demand that CM should appologise for the ugly incident of slapping the womenn teachers by the Akali Sarpanch in Mukatsar : Bir Devinder Singh

    Patiala, December 5, (PUNJAB MAIL)- It’s appalling that a Sarpanch of the Akali party in the Mukatsar District of Punjab has slapped and physically manhandled one of the female teachers who all had gone there to submit a memorandum to the C.M Punjab S. Parkash Singh Badal. The shameful incident is repeatedly being highlighted by the National electronic media today since morning, showing the visual of the horrendous incident whereby some female teachers are being repeatedly slapped by the Sarpanch, reportedly to be a close ally of the Chief Minister’s family.
    This shameful incident has brought shame to the entire state. Such an barbaric act of a naked brutality against women teachers in Punjab by an Akali Sarpanch deserve to be condemned by all. To organize protest against the government or the chief Minister or the MP of the area is a democratic right of the agitating teachers who are fighting for their legitimate demands for quite some time. The erring Sarpanch should be arrested forthwith under the relevant provisions of the law. If the Chief Minister’s conscious has still retained some grains of civility and sagacity he should immediately tender an apology to the aggrieved women teachers and also order a flawless strict punitive action against the erring Sarpanch, failing which all political parties in Punjab should take up this issue at an appropriate level in a befitting manner so that the erring sarpanch is brought to justice as early as possible.

    Legandery Bollywood actor Dev Anand passed away at the age of 88

    London (Punjab Mail) Today Bollywood actor Dev Anand has passed away at the age of 88 here in London. He act in lot of hindi movies for more than 60 years.

    US House approves faster green cards for Indian IT workers

    Washington, Dec 1 (Punjab Mail) In a move that may allow more highly skilled immigrants from India and China to obtain the so-called green cards faster, the US House of Representatives has passed a bill modifying the visa system.
    The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigration Act (H.R. 3012), eliminating per-country caps on employment-based visas and instituting a first come, first served system, drew broad, bipartisan support, passing the House with a vote of 389-15 Tuesday.
    The bill is expected to move swiftly through the Senate.
    Currently, immigration law limits employment-based green cards allowing permanent residence for citizens from any one country to no more than seven percent of the total green cards approved by the State Department in any particular year.
    The rule makes it easier to obtain a green card for applicants from smaller countries that don’t generate a significant amount of applications, but makes it tougher for workers from big countries that provide most of the foreign tech workers sought by companies.
    Individuals from India, the source of most tech industry immigrants to the US, often have to wait up to 10 years for a green card due to the per-country cap.
    The High-Skilled Immigration Act, which was introduced to Congress in September by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, aims to correct such imbalances by switching to a first come, first served system for the roughly 140,000 employment-based green cards awarded each year.
    ‘Per country limits make no sense in the context of employment-based visas. Companies view all highly skilled immigrants as the same regardless of where they are from–be it India or Brazil,’ Chaffetz said in a statement.
    In addition to eliminating numerical caps on employment-based green cards, the Act would also raise the per-country cap for 226,000 family-related green cards from seven percent of the total to 15 percent.
    The bill’s bipartisan support owes much to the fact that it does nothing to increase the total number of green cards awarded, it simply evens out the process for those looking to emigrate to the US.
    American technology companies have been clamouring for Congress to offer more green cards for their foreign employees, arguing that the United States was losing out in global competition by forcing those immigrants to leave.

    Sachin Tendulkar misses 100th international century

    Sachin misses much-awaited 100th international ton

    Sachin misses much-awaited 100th international ton
    MUMBAI: (Punjab Mail) Sachin Tendulkar fell six runs short of becoming the first batsman to score an unprecedented 100 international centuries during the third and final Test against the West Indies.

    Tendulkar, who resumed on 67 at his home ground of
    Wankhede stadium on Friday, was dismissed for 94 when he slashed at a delivery from pace bowler Ravi Rampaul and was caught by Darren Sammy at second slip early on the fourth day.

    Tendulkar faced 20 deliveries in the morning session and smashed a total of eight fours and two sixes in a 153-ball knock.

    This is the tenth time that Tendulkar has got out in the nineties equalling the record of Steve Waugh and Rahul Dravid.

    The 100th century has been tensely anticipated since he notched two 100s during this year’s World Cup to reach a total of 99. He has scored 51 Test centuries and 48 in one-day internationals.

    Sharad Pawar slapped over price rise; political parties rally behind him

    Youth slaps Sharad Pawar over price rise

    Youth slaps Sharad Pawar over price rise

    NEW DELHI (Punjab Mail) Breaking into a group of officials and journalists, a youth today attacked agriculture minister Sharad Pawar after a public event shouting slogans against corruption and price rise, an action that was roundly condemned by political parties.

    71-year-old Pawar, who went to a literary function at a public auditorium on Parliament Street, was caught unawares when he was slapped by Harvinder Singh, a local transporter in his thirties who had assaulted former telecom minister Sukhram outside a court on Saturday after he was sentenced in a corruption case.

    The NCP veteran, who has very little security, lost his balance for a moment but regained composure after the assault, moved towards the exit of the auditorium and got into his waiting car.

    Private security guards immediately overpowered the youth who was shouting “he is corrupt” and an official landed some blows on Singh.

    “I came planned to the event to slap the minister,” Singh told reporters who had gone to cover the literary function. “All of them are corrupt,” he shouted when he was removed from security and policemen.

    Wielding a small kirpan, the youth said things could have been worse but for the observance of martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur today.

    Pawar himself sought to play down the incident saying he was not sure of what the intentions of the attacker could be and left it to police to handle the issue.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pawar after the incident and condemned the attack. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also said that the attack on Pawar was “totally condemnable”.

    Political parties rally behind him

    Cutting across the political divide, political parties Thursday unanimously condemned the attack on union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar here.

    The Congress party termed the attack as “condemnable” and alleged that BJP leader Yashwant Sinha’s statement on price rise incited the attacker to resort to violence. However, the BJP said it has never supported violence and condemns the act.

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Pawar and condemned the assault.

    “The act is unfortunate and condemnable and these things should not happen in a democracy. We think it is because of Yashwant Sinha’s statement, because of which the youth resorted to violence,” said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

    Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “We condemn the attack but the Congress’ statement on BJP is irresponsible. In fact, there is pain among the people on price rise which the government should feel.”

    “The prime minister and finance minister have nothing to offer to the people of this country,” he added.

    Pawar was Thursday slapped by a turbaned Sikh man, Harvinder Singh, who had also attacked former telecommunications minister Sukh Ram outside a court here four days ago.

    Singh whipped out his kirpan (small knife, a Sikh religious symbol) when security guards tried to overpower him. He was detained by the police.

    BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said: “The party has never supported violence. The differences should be told in a non-violent way. Sharad Pawar is a non-violent and a good human being.”

    Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh also called the act condemnable and said “the guilty must be punished”.

    BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “These jokers, who seek publicity by these acts, must be taught a lesson.”

    Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule, the daughter of Pawar, urged party members not to react and forget the incident.

    Minister of science and technology and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said: “People may have anger but this is not the way to express anger. The act is highly condemnable and should be investigated thoroughly. Sharad Pawar is such a tall leader.”

    Attack on Sharad Pawar, an act of utter madness: Bir Devinder

    Chandigarh, November 24;(Punjab Mail) Physical attack on Mr. Sharad Pawar Union Agricultur Minister and President NCP today, by a Sikh youth namely Harvinder Singh, in Delhi today is nothing but an act of utter madness, which should be unequivocally condemned by all. Such insanity should not be eulogized by anybody to score a political point. The act of an individual should also not be attributed to the Sikh community. Unfortunately such silly acts of unprovoked violence against Leaders had become a fashion of the day to garner cheap popularity in the Media. Irresponsible and uncanny statements of Mr. Anna Hazare and other activist of the civil society movement against corruption should not provoke people preach violence even inadvertently. This new form of Gandhian protest may culminate in to a worst form of violence. This ugly incident, if misunderstood by the followers of the Leader like Shart Pawar, has the potentials of a serious back lash in Maharashtra. I would appeal to all the leaders of the Sikh community in Delhi and Punjab to come out openly to condemn vehemently, this act of madness.

    I thank Mr. Sharad Pawar and his Daughter Ms. Supriya Sule MP for maintaining cool and also for appealing people in Maharashtra, not to resort to violence and maintain peace and tranquility under all circumstances despite such an ugly provocation.

    RUPEE HITS LOW OF 52.72 TO THE DOLLAR

    RUPEE HITS LOW OF 52.72 TO THE DOLLAR

    Indian Americans grow to 3.2m, top in income

    Indian Americans grow to 3.2m, top in income

    WASHINGTON (Punjab Mail) Some 3.2 million Indian Americans, including Asian Indians of mixed race, lived in the United States in 2010 as South Asians led all Asian groups in population growth in the last decade. They led all Asian American households with highest media household income.

    At 3,183,063, Indian American made up 18 percent of the Asian American population in 2010, up from 16 percent in 2000, according to a new compilation of 2010 census data.

    According to 2007 to 2009 data, Indian Americans led all Asian American groups in the country in median household income at $86,660. The next highest total was $77,596 for Taiwanese households.

    Taiwanese and Indians also led in per capita income among Asian American groups, with $38,312 and $36,533, respectively, followed by Malaysians ($33,264) and Sri Lankans ($32,480).

    Bangladeshi Americans had the biggest percentage increase over the decade, skyrocketing 157 percent, according to the study, “A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States, 2011,” by the Asian Pacific American Legal Centre and the Asian American Justice Centre.

    The Pakistani population had the second highest population bump with a 100 percent rise. The Sri Lankan and Indian American populations increased 85 percent and 68 percent, respectively.

    Among the South Asian groups, Pakistanis had the highest rate of naturalization at 57 percent, while just 50 percent of Bangladeshi Americans, 47 percent of Indian Americans and 43 percent of Sri Lankan Americans were naturalised.

    About 200,000 Indian legal permanent residents were eligible to become citizens in 2008.

    The leading six Asian countries for immigrant visas issued from 2001-2010 were: Philippines, 350,694; China, 286,008; India, 267,403; Vietnam, 193,049; Bangladesh, 84,643; Pakistan, 69,202.

    The report estimated that in 2010 there were about one million undocumented immigrants from Asia in the US About 280,000 were from the Philippines, 200,000 from India, 170,000 from Korea and 130,000 from China. India’s total was down from an estimate of over 275,000 in 2005.

    From 2005-09, Hindi speakers in the US were estimated at 527,481. Numbers of speakers of other South Asian languages were: Urdu, 326,310; Gujarati, 304,102; Punjabi, 209,835; Bengali, 188,452; Telugu, 171,015; Tamil, 132,573; Malayalam, 116,486; Marathi, 53,436; Kannada, 37,377; Nepali, 37,240; and Sinhalese, 22,336.

    Only 22 percent of Indian Americans five years of age and older from 2007-09 were limited English proficient, compared to 46 percent for Bangladeshis and 28 percent for Pakistanis.

    Taiwanese and Indian Americans led all Asian groups in higher educational attainment, with 73 percent to 68 percent, respectively, having a bachelor’s degree or higher.

    The percentage of Indian Americans living in poverty was 8 percent in the 2007-09 time period.

    Both Indians and Pakistanis in the US had 9 percent of the seniors ages 64 or above living in poverty. In the Bangladeshi community that figure was 16 percent.

    16 dead, 50 injured in major Delhi fire

    NEW DELHI (Punjab Mail)  At least 16 people feared dead and 50 injured when a major fire broke out during congregation of eunuch at a community centre in east Delhi on Sunday, fire officials said.

    The incident took place at around 6.30pm at the centre in Nand Nagri area.

    “Around 20 fire vehicles have reached the spot and are trying to douse the flames,” a fire official said.

    KABADDI JUMPS OUT OF ASIAN ARENA AS CANADA TO CLASH WITH INDIA IN WORLD CUP KABADDI FINAL

    · CANADA’S SURPRISE WIN UPSETS PAKISTAN IN NECK TO NECK SEMIFINAL AS IT WON 44-39

    · INDIA TROUNCES ITALYWHILE CANADA CRUSHED PAKISTAN

    · INDIAN EVES DEFEAT AMERICA EVES IN LAST LEAGUE MATCH OF WOMEN KABADDI

    BATHINDA, NOVEMBER 18 (Gurinderjit Singh Peerjain) : The kabaddi today crossed the frontiers of Asian sub continent as Canada today upset Pakistan in a keenly fought semifinal of Pool B and defeated it 44-39 to enter in final to clash with the host India. Earlier India in a virtually one sided match trounced Italy 74-15.

    In a fiercely fought match Canada and Pakistan were neck to neck through out the match, fighting for each and every point, threatening to walk out for every single point seeking replays and ultimately making the Kabaddi game win. It was battle of bits between Pakistan and Canada but the aggression of Canada demoralized the Pakistani team. The fiercty of the match and see-saw battle could be gauged from the score, which was 10-10, 12-12 and 20-20 at the interval, 23-23 each then Canada started dominating the match.

    The hope of Pakistan raider Lala and stopper Musharaff disappointed their fans as Canada dominating the proceedings. It was intensly fought match keeping the organizers, technical team on toes and tense through out the match. The Canadian raiders Kuldeep Kipa scored 14 points and Captain Jasjeet Singh scored 12 points while the main stopper Baljit Saidoke made 8 stops. From Pakistan side raider and Captain Sadiq Batt scored 11 and Imtiaz Aalam scored 7 points while stoppers Kasif Khan and Munsha Gujjar made 3 stops each.

    Earlier India made thumping entry into the finals by trouncing Italy 74-15 in the semifinals of pool A held in newly constructed floodlit multipurpose stadium of Bathinda.

    In the first semifinal of Pool A the Indian Kabaddi team was in its full form from the very word go and maintained its dominance throughout the match. Indian raiders including Sandeep Dirba scored 11, Gagandeep Khiranwali 10, Captain Sukhbir Singh Sarawan 8 whereas Indian stoppers Ekam Hathoor scored 9, Mangat Singh Mangi 6 and Gurwinder Kahlwan 6 points helped India to prove its supremacy over Italy.

    In the Italy team raider Dharminder Singh Bhindi scored 7 points and Baljinder Khiranwali scored 6 points. The single stop of Major Dhandowal to Sukhbir Sarawan was the only saving grace for Italy.

    Earlier in the last league match of Women section, the Indian eves overcoming the trauma of yesterday’s unfortunate accident crushed USA 57-07. Interestingly, finals of Women Kabaddi would also be between India and USA women Kabaddi teams on November 20th. It is pertinent to mention here, in the first session of World Cup Kabaddi India and Pakistan had won their semifinals in Bathinda.

    Indian raiders Priyanka Devi and Rajwinder Raju scored 10 points each whereas stopper Jatinder, Jasbir and Manpreet scored 9,7 and 6 points respectively. USA raider Guramrit Hari Khalsa, Triana and Retuta scored 2 points each whereas stopper Gursurya Khalsa scored one point.

    Addressing the audience Chief MinisterPunjab, Mr. Parkash Singh Badal expressed happiness for the fact that Kabaddi has reached its pinnacle of glory and assured total support of Punjab Government to give impetus to the games in the state. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Canadian Minister for Democratic Affairs Mr. Tim Uppal and Youth Akali Dal President Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia enjoyed the nail biting matche.

    Rupee opens near 32-month low at 51.26 against dollar

    MUMBAI (Punjab Mail) The rupee fell past 51 per dollar on Friday for the first time in nearly 32 months as worries Europe’s debt crisis may spill over into the global economy boosted dollar demand.

    The rupee has slumped 14.2 percent from its highest point in 2011 hit late July and is the worst performer among major Asian currencies this year.

    At 9:09 am, the partially convertible rupee was at 51.04/05 after hitting 51.12, its weakest since March 30, 2009. It had ended down 0.3 percent on Thursday at 50.905/915.

    At 0241 GMT, the MSCI index of Asian shares ex-Japan was down 1.41 percent and the Nifty India stock futures traded in Singapore were down 0.72 percent, suggesting a weak start to the local market.

    The US dollar held firm in Asia, while the euro was surprisingly resilient with European banks seen repatriating funds back home as signs of funding stress grew amid a deepening euro zone debt crisis.

    The index of the dollar index was at 78.103 points from 78.166 points at end of rupee trade on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of India on Thursday declared it may be hard to shore up a falling rupee, suggesting that any attempt to do so was akin to catching a falling knife and fraught with great risks.

    As the rupee’s slide continued to slide, RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn bluntly reminded those calling on the central bank to use its foreign currency reserves that the Indian unit was a floating currency and hedging options were available to prevent losses.

    “Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there is a global dynamic here. And to try and resist or try and do something for which we do not have a capacity, we may run out of capacity, in a situation global forces are pushing it along, is also a risky strategy,” Gokarn said in a TV interview.

    The rupee, the worst performer among major Asian currencies this year and whose relentless fall has triggered worries that it is worsening corporate and national books already battered by high interest rates and inflation, closed at 50.90 per US dollar on Thursday. It is just about 2% shy of its record low of 52.18 in March 2009, and a survey of currency strategists has predicted further fall to a new all-time low as the central bank holds back from arresting the decline by selling dollars.

    Industry is complaining that the rupee depreciation has pushed up cost of inputs and raw materials in an already difficult business environment. ”

    While industry has sought the RBI’s intervention in the current markets, economists concur with the central bank’s stance, saying any intervention when the European sovereign crisis keeps currency markets violent may well be meaningless and weakening the foreign exchange reserves position.

    Points Tally of World Cup Kabbadi-2011 (Till 14th November)

    Men Section:

    POOL-A

    India: Match -5, Won- 5, Loss -0, Points- 15

    Canada: Match- 5, Won- 4, Loss- 1, Points- 12

    UK: Match- 5, Won- 3, Loss – 2, Points- 9

    Germany: Match -5, Won- 2, Loss -3, Points -6

    Afghanistan: Match -6, Won- 2, Loss- 4, Points- 6

    Australia: Match- 6, Won- 2, Loss -4, Points – 6

    Nepal: Match- 5, Won- 0, Loss- 5, Points -0

    Men Section

    POOL-B

    USA: Match – 6, Won – 6, Loss – 0, Points - 18

    Pakistan : Match -  5, Won – 4, Loss – 1, Points - 12

    Norway: Match – 5, Won-  4, Loss – 1, Points -  9

    Italy : Match – 5, Won – 3, Loss – 2, Points - 9

    Spain: Match- 5, Won -  2, Loss – 3, Points – 6

    Argentina : Match -  6, Won – 1, Loss – 5, Points -  3

    Sri Lanka: Match - 5, Won – 0, Loss – 5, Points -  0

    Women Section:

    India: Match – 2, Won -  2, Loss - 0, Points -  6

    USA : Match - 1, Won – 1, Loss – 0, Points -  3

    UK: Match – 1, Won - 0, Loss - 1, Points -  0

    Turkmenistan: Match -  2, Won – 0, Loss – 2, Points -  0

    Provided by: Gurinderjit Singh Peerjen

    US PLAYERS REFUSE TO GIVE THE SAMPLES FOR THE DOPE TEST

    Hoshiarpur,14 November (Gurinderjit S Peerjen): US Players today refused to give samples for the dope test during World Cup Kabbadi-2011 matches held at Hoshiarpur. The Official Spokesman said that when the members of dope control committee and NADA served notification to US kabbadi team for getting samples for dope test the US players refused to give sample for Dope test.

    Stop outsourcing visa-related work: MEA to missions

    Stop outsourcing visa-related work: MEA to missions
    Foreign minister S M Krishna has written to all Indian ambassadors and high commissioners, warning them of disciplinary action if they fail to ensure transparency in all financial transactions.
    NEW DELHI: November 14  (Punjab Mail) The foreign ministry’s experiment with outsourcing has not taken off. Stung by complaints from NRIs and others seeking Indian visas, the ministry last week issued a circular to all Indian missions asking them not to outsource any visa and passport related work to foreign firms.

    While WTO regulations prevented the ministry from banning foreign companies altogether, it said in the circular that outsourcing contracts should only be awarded to Indian companies “with or without foreign partners”.

    The circular comes close on the heels of foreign minister S M Krishna’s letter, dated October 20, to all Indian envoys warning them of disciplinary action if they failed to ensure transparency in procurement and visa outsourcing.

    Officials said the decision to issue the circular was taken because of growing number of complaints against foreign firms, including Travisa in the US, which are handling such work on behalf of Indian missions. The ministry surprised many in 2007 when it allowed Indian missions to outsource visa and passport processing to private companies saying that because of the shortage of staff, it was no longer possible to handle a rapidly growing number of visa applications for tourism and trade purposes.

    Immediately after this, the Indian embassy in the US outsourced all visa and passport processing work to Travisa which became the face of the Indian mission for those seeking travel documents as it exclusively handled all such work. Four years later though, things seem to have worsened. In fact, during his last visit to the US in September, Krishna held a meeting with Indian ambassador Nirupama Rao to find out why complaints from Indians were piling up. Apparently, there were not enough staff well versed with Indian languages in all the centres.

    “The existing contracts will remain for now but from now on, no new contract will be given to any foreign firm which does not have any Indian partner. In any case, why should we outsource to foreign firms when other countries are not outsourcing the same work to Indian firms,” said an official.

    Former active member of Bhindrawala Tiger Force Arrested

    Ambala, November 12 (Sanjay Pahwa)- A former active member of  Bhindrawala Tiger Force  namely  Gurbaj alias  Baja  and another criminal Rupinder alias Bittu were arrested near Neola by Ambala Police  while planning to commit a dacoity.The police recovered two loaded country made pistols, two cartridges and a car from their possession. They have been sent on six days Police remand.

    Flight makes emergency landing at the Amritsar Airport

    Amritsar, August 29 (Punjab Mail USA) A Jet Airways flight from Milan to New Delhi made an emergency landing at the Amritsar International Airport to provide medical assistance to an ailing three-year-old girl aboard, but the effort went in vain as the child was declared brought dead, officials said.
    Jasmeet Kaur, her father Gurmit Singh, mother Jaspreet Kaur and elder brother, all residents of Pehowa in Haryana, were flying to New Delhi from Milan as the child she was facing difficulty in walking.
    Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport officiating Director G Venugopal said the medical team stationed at the airport was rushed to provide immediate aid to Jasmeet as soon as she de-planed, but she was declared brought dead at the doctor who attended on her at the airport. He

    Obama: Iraq War Will Be Over By Year’s End; Troops Coming Home

    Washington, October 23 (Punjab Mail) — President Barack Obama announced that virtually all U.S. troops will come home from Iraq by the end of the year — at which point he can declare an end to America’s long and costly war in that Middle Eastern nation.
    “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” Obama said. “The coming months will be a season of homecomings. Our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays.”
    Of the 39,000 troops in Iraq, about 150, a negligible force, will remain to assist in arms sales, a U.S. The rest will be out of Iraq by December 31.
    The president said he was making good on his 2008 campaign pledge to end a war that has divided the nation since it began in 2003 and claimed more than 4,400 American lives.The announcement also came after talks that might have allowed a continued major military presence broke down amid disputes about whether U.S. troops would be immune to prosecution by Iraqi authorities.
    Obama spoke with Iraqi President Nuri al-Maliki in a video conference Friday, after which he said both nations were comfortable with the decision on how to move forward.
    The new partnership with Iraq will be “strong and enduring,” Obama said.
    “The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their head held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops,” Obama said.
    According to a statement from the Iraqi prime minister’s office, al-Maliki and Obama “shared the same point of view on the need to start a new phase of strategic relations.” That includes agreeing to a high-level meeting within two weeks.
    Beyond the human cost, the price tag for U.S. military activity in Iraq has been steep as well.
    A report from the non-partisan, government-funded Congressional Research Service found that the Defense Department spent nearly $757 billion for military operations in Iraq over the past decade, $50 billion higher than the estimate released by the Pentagon. Another $41 billion for Iraq was spent on State Department and USAID initiatives, plus $6 billion for troops’ health expenses, the CRS report stated.
    While Democrats largely applauded Friday’s announcement, some Republicans disagreed with the president. Sen. John McCain called it a “consequential failure” for the Obama administration, which he said wasn’t focused on succeeding in Iraq, and Iraq’s government.
    Another U.S. official — who is not authorized to speak for attribution — acknowledged that “the Iranians have been trying to gain influence in Iraq for some time,” but stressed that “Iranian influence in Iraq has limits.” The official said the Iraq “will not roll over” to Iran, with whom it has a long history of border disputes including a bloody eight-year war in the 1980s.
    The current Status of Force Agreement had called for U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011. But lengthy negotiations in recent months had led some to expect that American troops — roughly 40,000 of which are in Iraq — would remain there into next year.
    The negotiations were strained following WikiLeaks’ release of a diplomatic cable that alleged Iraqi civilians, including children, were killed in a 2006 raid by American troops rather than in an airstrike as the U.S. military initially reported.
    U.S. troops have already started the drawdown. For instance, a brigade from Fort Bliss, Texas, that was originally scheduled to be among the last to leave Iraq was being pulled out of the country months ahead of its planned departure, military officials told last week.
    Besides withdrawing more units, others will not head overseas as planned. That includes about 775 Georgia-based soldiers from the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, which announced Friday it will not deploy to Iraq in December as previously scheduled.
    Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, has said that Iraq wouldn’t be able to defend its borders if U.S. troops pulled out and also questioned Iraqi forces ability to defend its airspace. But Panetta, en route to Indonesia, said history shows that Iraq will be ready.
    “We’ve taken out now about 100,000 troops and yet the level of violence has remained relatively low,” the defense secretary said. “And I think that’s a reflection of the fact that the Iraqis have developed a very important capability here to be able to respond to security threats within their own country.”
    Regardless, officials insisted that the drastic pullback of troops does not mean an end to the U.S. government’s presence in Iraq.
    State Department spokesman Mark Toner described Friday’s development as the start of “a new chapter in our relationship” with Iraq — while acknowledging the challenges of the change.
    Toner also noted substantial improvements in the capabilities of the Iraqis, even as he admitted the continued importance of addressing “security needs” of the hundreds of nonmilitary U.S. personnel who will remain there.
    That includes about 1,700 diplomats, law enforcement officers and various economic, agriculture and other professionals and experts who will be in Iraq into 2012, according to the State Department. In addition, 5,000 security contractors will protect the U.S. diplomats and another 4,500 contractors will serve other roles, such as helping provide food and medical services, until they can be done locally.

    Nod for lending USD 2 lakh to NRIs, PIOs in rupee terms

    MUMBAI, Sep 20 (Punjab Mail)- The Reserve Bank of India allowed Indians to lend up to USD 2 lakh in rupee in a fiscal to NRIs and PIOs, who are their close relatives, for personal purpose or business activities other than agriculture, real estate or relending business.
    “The extant position has been reviewed and it has been decided to permit a resident individual to lend to a Non- Resident Indian (NRI)/Person of Indian Origin ( PIO) close relative…,” the central bank said in a notification.
    It said residents can avail of the new rules, subject to the condition that “the loan amount should be within the overall limit under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme of USD 200,000 per financial year available for a resident individual.”
    Besides, the loan should be free of interest and with a minimum maturity of one year.
    In addition, the loan should be utilised for meeting the borrower’s personal requirements or for his own business purposes in India.
    “The loan shall not be utilised, either singularly or in association with other person, for any of the activities in which investment by persons resident outside India is prohibited,” the notification said.
    The prohibited areas include the chit fund business, agricultural or plantation activities, real estate business, or construction of farm houses and trading in Transferable Development Rights (TDRs).
    “For the purpose… real estate business shall not include development of townships, construction of residential /commercial premises, roads or bridges,” it added.
    According to the notification, the loan amount is not allowed to be remitted outside India.
    In another notification, the apex bank allowed resident individuals to gift up to USD 200,000 per fiscal in rupees to their NRI close relatives.
    The central bank’s latest move comes a day after it liberalised the foreign exchange rules and allowed NRIs to hold joint account with Indian residents.

    AISSF DEMANDS FOR SPECIAL SESSION OF PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA TO PASS RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF BHULLAR

    Amritsar, 10 September (Punjab Mail)- AISSF and SFJ demanded that SAD (Badal), the ruling party in Punjab should call a “Special Session of Punjab Vidhan Sabha” to pass a resolution demanding Central Government to commute Professor Devenderpal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence respecting the sentiments and demand of Sikhs.
    Recently, Tamil Nadu assembly has passed a resolution moved by Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa urging the President of India to commute the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, who have been convicted for assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in view of the sentiments of Tamil people. J & K CM Omar Abdullah has also announced to support the resolution in J&K Assembly seeking the commutation of Afzal Guru’s death sentence.
    According to Karnail Singh Peermohammad, President AISSF, it is unfortunate that despite of holding majority, CM Badal has failed to bring resolution in Punjab Vidhan Sabha to save Professor Bhullar from gallows. If Afzal Guru and Murugan have the support of their state assemblies in commuting their death sentence, why not Professor Bhullar, asked Peermohammad. It shows that every other state in India respects the sentiments and wishes of its constituents and acts accordingly except SAD (Badal) headed Punjab Government, added Peermohammad.
    SAD (Badal) has always won the elections in Punjab on the issue of seeking justice for Sikhs, however, SAD (Badal) has betrayed its constituents every time by going against its own election manifesto, added Peermohammad.
    Instead of passing a resolution on the issue of Professor Bhullar in Punjab Vidhan Sabha where SAD (Badal) is in majority, CM Badal is again deceiving Sikhs by approaching PM Manmohan Singh who has no constitutional power in commuting death sentence of Prof. Bhullar.
    Peermohammad announced that if elected to SGPC, it will bring a resolution in favor of Prof. Bhullar in SGPC and will start a public campaign to push Punjab Government to hold a special session to pass resolution demanding commutation of Bhullar’s sentence.

    Khangura Slams NRI Cell’s Problem Solving via Video-Conferencing as a Joke

    Ludhiana, 9 September (Punjab Mail)- Qila Raipur MLA, Jassi Khangura, today slammed the Punjab Police’s NRI cell for their tokenistic approach to genuinely addressing the issues faced by NRIs.  He said “throwing a high tech approach at NRIs problems won’t solve them unless the foundations are there too, and the intent to correctly pursue each case to closure.”
    Citing the 1 hour per week window of opportunity for problem redressal, Khangura said “the Punjab Government is living in a dream world.  Do the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister really think that 1 hour a week can be sufficient when there are thousands of complaints out there? This is tokenism.  A complete joke.  I feel sorry for the Police team tasked with actioning this.”
    Khangura also said that bearing in mind the 4pm-5pm timing on one day a week this service would be of very limited use to NRIs almost anywhere apart from the UK as they would be asleep due to their time zones.  He said “any scheme will only work if it’s accessible and useable otherwise it’s eyewash.  Sadly this is the latter. It could only work through an effective appointment system where the NRI knows in advance the time of the call and to whom he or she will be speaking.”
    Questioning how to actually utilise this service, Khangura asked “how does an NRI actually use it?  For all the media coverage of this announcement, it’s almost impossible to find out just how one is to actually use the facility.”  He added that he had visited the site and see what was being offered and commended the simplicity of the idea, which turned out to be an email based live chat rather than video conferencing, whilst questioning the chance of it being a success.
    Khangura said that reportedly 715 complaints has been received by the NRI cell during its lifetime, and that “most” are re land grabs and marital disputes.  He therefore raised the question “according to given figures 379 of 715 cases fall into these two categories… what are the other issues and how many of these cases have been successfully resolved to date?”  He continued “any system is only as good as it’s follow up.  Adding more complaints to the list, without properly investigating and bringing them to closure is futile and will not assist NRIs in any way.  I would hope for much more from the Punjab Government in this arena, but know better than to expect it.”

    PUNJAB’S POPULATION TOUCHES 27,704,236

    Chandigarh, August 28 (Sanjay Pahwa)- The population of Punjab has been recorded as 27,704,236 out of which 17,316,800 are rural and 10,387,436 are urban according to Provisional Population Totals of Census 2011. As such, 62.51% of the population in the State is residing in rural areas and 37.49% in urban areas.

    Releasing district level provisional totals on rural-urban distribution of population of Punjab for Census 2011, Mrs. Seema Jain, , Director Census Operations, Punjab said that the share of urban population has increased to 37.49 per cent in 2011 as compared to 33.92 per cent in 2001. During 2001-2011, urban population in the State has recorded a growth rate of 25.72 per cent which is more than three times that of the rural growth rate of 7.58%. Of all the districts in the State, Ludhiana (59.14%), SAS Nagar(55.17%), Amritsar (53.64%) and Jalandhar (53.18%) are predominantly urban having more than one-half of their population living in urban areas. Every fifth (19.86%) urban dweller in Punjab is residing in Ludhiana district. SAS Nagar (55.17) is the second most urbanized district in the State.
    The literacy rate in the state has increased from 69.65 per cent in 2001 to 76.68 in 2011. Rural literacy for males has increased from 71.05 per cent in 2001 to 77.92 per cent in 2011 which is an increase of 6.87 per cent and literacy rate for females has increased from 57.72 per cent in 2001 to 66.47 in 2011. Similarly, urban literacy for males has increased from 83.05 per cent in 2001 to 87.28 per cent in 2011 registering an increase of 4.23 per cent and that of females has increased from 74.49 per cent in 2001 and 79.62 in 2011 recording an increase of 5.13 per cent during this decade.
    Highlights
    ·        Out of 217 towns in Punjab, 143 have statutory status and 74 non statutory ( Census Towns).
    ·        37.49% of the population in Punjab is urban by residence.
    ·        Ludhiana ( 59.14%) , Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar ( 55.17%) , Amritsar ( 53.64%) and Jalandhar (53.18%) are predominantly urban.
    ·        One – half ( 49.12%) of the urban population of Punjab is concentrated in four districts namely , Ludhiana, Amritsar , Jalandhar and Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar.
    ·        Ludhiana ( 59.14%) is the most urbanized district in Punjab. Every fifth ( 19.86%) urban dweller in Punjab is residing in Ludhiana district.
    ·        Ludhiana and Amritsar Districts account for one – third ( 32.72%) of the total urban population of the state.
    ·        Newly created district of SAS Nagar ( 55.17%) is the 2nd most urbanized district in Punjab.
    ·        Taran Taran ( 12.63%) is the least urbanized district in the State.
    ·        During 2001-11, urban population of Punjab has increased by 25.72 % which is nearly twice that of the over all growth rate ( 13.73%) and more than three times that of the rural ( 7.58%) growth rate.
    ·        During this decade, the urban population in SAS Nagar district has nearly doubled ( 90.03%). It has improved its rank from 10th in 2001 to 7th in 2011 in terms of percentage of urban population in total population.
    ·        In Punjab, the rural sex ratio has increased by 16 points while the corresponding increase in urban sex ration is of 23 points during 2001-11.
    ·        The child sex ratio in age group 0-6 years in rural areas of Punjab has increased by 44 points while the corresponding increase in urban areas is of 55 points during this decade.
    ·        Increase in rural literacy rate for males and females during this decade is more than their urban counterpart signifying a further reduction in the male – female literacy gap, both in rural and urban areas.

    GURUDWARA ELECTION COMMISSION ISSUES LIST OF IDENTITY PROOFS FOR VOTING IN SGPC ELECTIONS

    Chandigarh, August 28 (Sanjay Pahwa)- The Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Elections has issued orders directing the voters to establish their identity at the Polling stations at the time of poll for the SGPC Election to be held on 18 September, 2011 by producing the identity cards  issued them under the authority of Election Commission of India.
    He said that  where such an identity card had not been issued or is not available for whatsoever reason the voters can established their identity by producing any of the following alternative documents like  Driving  Licences,  PAN card, Bank/Post office passbooks, Ration card, Arms Licences, SC/ST/OBC Certificates issued by competent authority, Pension documents such as Ex-servicemen book/Pension  Payment order, Ex-servicemen widow/dependent certificates, old age pension order, widow pension order, Railway Identification Card, Freedom Fighter Identity Card, Certificate of Physical Handicap by the competent authority, Kissan Passbook, Service  Identity Card, Photo duly attested by Gazetted Officer, Passport.
    The Chief Commissioner also clarified that any documents as enumerated above, which is available only for the head of the family shall be allowed for purpose of identification of the other members of the family and similarly any documents  in the name of any member of the family could also be used for identification of other members of the family, provided that the other member can be identified on the basis of such document.
    The Chief Commissioner further directs that the Presiding Officers appointed  on the polling  stations for the election of the SGPC shall ensure that only the Keshadhari voters are allowed to cast votes and the persons are below the age of 21 years also shall not be allowed to cast their votes.

    Indian jailed in US for abusing co-passenger on flight

    NEW YORK, (Punjab Mail) A 65-year-old Indian has been sentenced to 12 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for sexually abusing a woman on board a Continental flight in 2010.
    Ramesh Advani of New Jersey had previously pleaded guilty to a charge of abusive sexual contact, US Attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement.
    Advani sexually abused his co-passenger on the Hong Kong-Newark flight while she was sleeping.
    According to court documents, Advani was seated next to the woman on the overnight flight on May 21, 2010. While the plane was over international waters, the woman fell asleep in her seat, covered with a blanket.
    While she was asleep, Advani reached his hand under the blanket and sexually abused her. When the woman awoke, she realised what was happening and got up from her seat to inform the flight’s crew members, the statement added.

    C.M. Punjab should call all party meeting to discuss the imminent catastrophic impact Hansi-Butana canal in Punjab: Bir Devinder Singh

    Patiala, July 1 (Punjab Mail) While appreciating the concerns expressed by the CM Punjab S. Parkash Singh Badal and Punjab irrigation Minister S. Janmeja Singh Sekhon, on the construction of 3.75 -km concrete wall along the Hansi-Butana canal by the Government of Haryana, I would urge the C.M. Punjab to call all party meeting to discuss the imminent catastrophic impact of the construction of concrete wall along the Hansi-Butana canal.  This canal and the concrete wall would be the cause of imminent flash floods in District Patiala, because of the obstruction to the heavy flow of water. The capacity of its ill designed siphon on the canal at village Hassanpur in District Patiala, where River Ghaggar is made to pass, is hopelessly insufficient to control the flow of the water when the river is furiously in spate causing flash floods in the catchment area. This would mean complete devastation for at least 35 villages of Punjab and the standing crops in the area of more than 30,000 acres would be submerged in the flood water.
    I am of the view that, this is not the time to enjoy the luxury of blame game, as to whose negligence is responsible for the construction of the Hansi-Butana canal at the first place and subsequent construction of the concrete wall along the Hansi-Butana canal. But the fact remains that somebody at the helm of the affairs of the state of Punjab, was certainly in deep slumber at that point of time, when canal in question was being constructed and the vital interests of the Punjab were bartered away.
    Chief Minister Punjab S. Parkash Singh Badal Should immediately call the meeting of the all recognized political parties of Punjab on a mutually agreed date, time and place, including all Members of Parliament from Punjab to discuss the grave situation arising out of the menace of impending threat of flash floods. This meeting should evolve a common strategy to jointly approach the Prime Minister and Central Water commission, to save the situation and bail out Punjab out of this terrible mess.
    The PCC president Capt. Amarinder Singh, Leader of the opposition Mrs. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Mrs. Parneet Kaur Minister of State for External affairs, Govt. of India, must unequivocally respond to the clarion call provided such an initiative, emanate out of the wisdom of the Chief Minister. I am sure that keeping the political protocol in tune the Chief Minister would extend formal invitation to the leaders of the opposition, without further loss of time,

    England will tour India in October 2011

    Chandigarh, June 30  (Sanjay Pahwa)- England will tour India in October 2011, to play five ODIs and a solitary T20 International.
    Chandigarh (Sanjay Pahwa) :The match-schedule will be as follows:
    4 October England arrive in Hyderabad
    8 October 50-over warm-up match Hyderabad (Gymkhana)
    11 October 50-over warm-up match Hyderabad (Gymkhana)
    14 October 1st ODI (D/N) Hyderabad (RGI Stadium, Uppal)
    17 October 2nd ODI (D/N) Delhi (Ferozeshah Kotla Grounds)
    20 October 3rd ODI (D/N) Mohali (PCA Stadium)
    23 October 4th ODI (D/N) Mumbai (Wankhede Stadium)
    26 October 5th ODI (D/N) Kolkata (Eden Gardens)
    29 October T20 International (D/N) Kolkata (Eden Gardens)

    Marriott International opens its first JW Marriott Hotel in North India

    - Chandigarh welcomes its first luxury hotel, and the second JW Marriott Hotel in India-
    CHANDIGARH, INDIA, June 30- SANJAY PAHWA  - Having created a landmark of its JW Marriott brand at Juhu in Mumbai, the business capital of India, Marriott International Inc., a global lodging leader, today repeats this extraordinary achievement in the city of Chandigarh with the launch of its JW Marriott Chandigarh – the first JW Marriott hotel in North India and the second in the country.
    This luxury 5-star hotel is designed with an aesthetic reflective of the JW Marriott brand and the unique lifestyle of “The City Beautiful” and is conceptualized on the basis of the five elements of nature and is the epitome of magnificence. Designers Wilson Associates from Singapore and Karen Kim collaborated to create a masterpiece which is both contemporary and yet bears the signs of aesthetic North Indian architecture, giving it a wonderful cultural reference and significance and a true sense of place.
    Speaking at the opening of the JW Marriott Chandigarh, Rajeev Menon, Marriott International’s Area Vice-President India, Australia, Malaysia and Maldives, said: “The opening of a JW Marriott Hotel in Chandigarh is a great milestone for us as Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India with architecture which is world renowned and a quality of life, which is unparalleled.
    “As the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory, Chandigarh is an extremely prestigious city. We are extremely honoured to be presenting the pride of our luxury portfolio – JW Marriott – to the discerning guests of Chandigarh. Marriott is recognized the world over for its outstanding service and high levels of commitment to guests and this reflection in the JW Marriott Chandigarh will redefine hospitality in the city making it the preferred destination among locals and visitors alike.”
    Deepak Manocha, General Manager, JW Marriott Chandigarh added: “With the immense growth and development seen in this dynamic city, our hotel will exceed our guest’s requirement whether they are staying with us for leisure or business.  With the JW Marriott Chandigarh, we intend to change the very definition of luxury hospitality in the region with our personalized services, unique dining options and luxurious amenities, thereby creating a lasting impression for our guests.”
    The JW Marriott Chandigarh offers an exciting array of fine dining options offering guests authentic cuisines from around the world. Saffron is a fine dining Indian restaurant, while The Café@JW will host a buffet featuring world cuisine, and Oregano will enchant guests with authentic Italian delicacies. Chandigarh Baking Co (Deli and Patisserie) is an adaptation of a classic pastry shop with an attractive array of food and beverages.
    The lobby reinvented is an integration of the Lobby and Lobby Lounge known simply as The Lounge. It is divided into clearly defined zones where guests can work or relax. The hotel boasts a fine balance of wellness and indulgence with its offering of world-class fitness facilities – the renowned signature Quan Spa and JW Fitness Centre will be the destination for rejuvenation and relaxation.
    Featuring the most spacious accommodation, the 165 guest rooms, 4 suites and 1 presidential are equipped with a host of luxurious features. The state-of-the-art banqueting facilities in the hotel offer a magnanimous 16,500 sq ft of indoor and outdoor space. The Grand Ballroom with a majestic ceiling height of more than 6 meters, stylish design and grandeur will be the venue for the royal and elegant weddings in Punjab. The unobtrusive hospitality and outstanding luxury services of the JW Marriott Chandigarh will soon make it the new luxury address in this progressive and vibrant city.

    Mayor fails to appear before DC for his cross-examination

    Chandigarh, June 26 (Sanjay Pahwa) Mr. Ravinder Pal Singh Palli, Mayor of Chandigarh did not turn up in the court of Deputy Commissioner Chandigarh today for his cross-examination as his own witness in the Election Petition which has been filed by Sh. Jagjit Singh Kang, challenging the validity of the election of Mr. Palli as Mayor of Municipal Corporation Chandigarh. The court fixed 29 June, 2011 as the next date for his appearance and his  cross-examination by the other side.
    It may be mentioned here that Mr. J.S. Kang has challenged the election of Mr. Palli as Mayor on the ground that at the time of polling Mr. P.K. Bansal, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister in violation of the ruling of the presiding officer, asked the Congress (I) councilors to take their mobile phones with them at the time of casting their vote, click the photo of the ballot paper after casting it in favour of the congress and later show it to him, which violated the principal of secrecy.
    As soon as the case came up for hearing today, Mr. Jagjit Singh Kang was present with his lawyers Senior Advocate Sh. Satya Pal Jain, Sh. Dheeraj Jain & Sh. Davesh Moudgil, Advocates for the cross-examination of Sh. Palli, but, neither Mr. Palli nor his counsel came present. However, an application was moved by Sh. Kashmira Singh, Advocate on behalf of Mrs. Anu Chatrath, Advocate seeking adjournment of the case on the ground that her mother-in-law was not well and that, because of this, she could not inform Mr. Palli about today’s date.
    Opposing the same, Mr. Satya Pal Jain, Senior Advocate said that in case the lawyer could not come because of the illness of her mother-in-law, there is no reason as to why the Mayor did not come. He said that his absence shows the respect that he has for the court. He also pointed out that on June 2, 2011 the court had directed Mr. Palli to file the affidavit of his other witness Mr. Pardeep Chhabra before the next date of hearing but even that has also not been done. He said that it seems that the respondent wants to prolong the case, as much as he can, by adopting delaying tactics.
    After hearing both the parties, the court directed the respondent to come present in the court on 29 June, 2011 at 11:00 AM for his cross-examination by the counsel for the petitioner and also directed him to file the affidavit of Sh. Pardeep Chhabra before the next date of hearing by giving an advance copy of the same to the petitioner’s counsel.

    Osama bin Laden is dead, Obama to announce

    Washington, May1 (Punjab Mail)- Osama bin Laden is dead, and the United States is in possession of his body, President Barack Obama is expected to announce shortly. The death of the Al Qaeda mastermind came about as the result of an as yet unspecified U.S. military action.
    News networks were notified around 10pm that Obama planned to give a highly unusual address to the nation on an unspecified national security matter at approximately 11pm from the White House East Room.
    Bin Laden’s body is no longer in Afghanistan. A full autopsy will be performed to confirm the body belongs to bin Laden, whose DNA the U.S. has been in possession of.

    Australia Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee comes into existence

    SYDNEY (Australia), April 21, 2011- In a major setback to Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhnadak Committee(SGPC)-an apex Sikh shrines management body in India- the Sikhs in Australia have decided to set up separate Australian Sikh Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee(ASGPC) on pattern of American Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee (AGPC).
    Finding SGPC inept in its duties, the Sikhs in Canada and Germany have already set up separate Gurdwara Management Committees to protect the rights of the community. Many other countries are expected to follow the suit.
    Dr.Pritpal Singh coordinator of American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee who is in Australia to mop up support for cause of Sikh community said that 20 leading Sikh Gurdwara Management Committees in Australia have decided to form Australian Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee during a meeting held at Gurdwara Rivesby on Saturday. He informed that an adhoc committee has been set up to finalise the constitution and frame of the new Sikh body. The committee will prepare the draft of the constitution within three months for approval by the 20 Gurdwara Managements.
    Sr.Mohinder Singh President of Rivesby Gurdwara has been appointed President of the adhoc committee, Sr.Parshotam Singh President of Gurdwara of South Wales was made Vice President and Sr.Gurbux Singh from Malbourne Gurdwara will be General Secretary of the adhoc committee.
    Dr.Pritpal Singh said that the Sikhs in foreign countries were unhappy with the present Sikh leadership in India which is holding control over SGPC.
    He said that Sikhs living abroad had high hopes from the Sikh leaders but corruption and nepotism in the Sikh body is not serving the purpose of community. He said that SGPC was playing to the political tunes of its masters and hardly making any efforts for religious service. He said new generation of Sikhs in Punjab, India was inclined towards drugs and social evils only because of lack of awareness on sacrifices made by Sikh Gurus.
    He said that the prosperous Sikh community in abroad would try to provide alternative leadership to community so that the  Sikh religion be promoted world wide.

    NRI Front USA Successfully organized the Seminar on Problems and solutions of Non Resident Indians

    Sacramento, (C.A. USA), April 1 (Punjab Mail)- A one day seminar on Problems and solutions of Non Resident Indians was successfully organized by NRI Front USA.
    The seminar was attended by about 300 delegates consisting of various community leaders crossing all party lines and social groups. Seminar was presided  by Jassi Khangura  a noted congress leader from Punjab.
    Chairman of NRI Front Mr Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa presented a four point memorandum of demands. Mr. Randhawa said Sikhs are facing lot of problems. Recent shooting of Elk Grove California in which two elderly Sikh men were targeted in which one Sikh was killed and one is still under critical condition.
    Various local leaders spoke on the occasion and lauded the problems being faced by the Indian Community in General and Sikh Community in particular. It was demanded that Indian Government must take initiative through a mass Media campaign for creating awareness about Sikh identity.
    Other major demands were related with visiting NRI’s in India. The problems of property acquisition by UN scrupulous element.  Non cooperation by local police and administration etc. Next topic was regarding issue of Visas and Passports to Non resident Indians, who took Political asylum in USA. In this regard it was suggested by Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa and Front adviser Jatinder Pal Singh that we must pursue Indian Government to grant general Amnesty to all such people by fixing a cut of date. As majority of those who took political asylum in USA are hard working and peace loving people. Vote of thanks was presented by Sukhi Ghumman.  Mr. Jassi Khangura assured of his full support to all these demands.

    Naveen Garewal was elected President of Chandigarh Press club

    Chandigarh, March 29 (Sanjay Pahwa) Naveen Garewal of The Tribune Publications was elected President and Nalin Acharya of Him Prabha – Naya Lokyug was elected General Secretary of Chandigarh Press club on 27th March,2011. The Garewal panel won eight out of nine seats. The only reserved post for women of Vice President -1 was won by Nanki Hans panel Nirupma Dutt. In total 413 votes were polled out of 501 votes.  Naveen defeated Nanki with a very close margin of 5 votes. Sukhbir Bajwa defeated Vinay Malik for the post of Senior Vice President with a highest margin of 89 votes .
    President - Naveen  Garewal, Senior Vice President – Sukhbir Bajwa, Vice President 1- Nirupma Dutt, Vice President II- Manvir Saini, Secretary General- Nalin Acharya, Secretary- Avtar singh, Joint secretary- Khushal Lali, Joint Secretary II-Vikrant Parmar, Treasurer- Jaswant Rana

    Lungren Decries The Tragedy And Irony Of Sikh Shootings In Elk Grove

    Gold River, CA, March 13 (Punjab Mail) – Congressman Dan Lungren today issued a statement about the senseless shooting last week in Elk Grove of Surinder Singh, 67, who was killed, and Gurrmej Atwal, 78, who was critically wounded.
    “There is great tragedy and irony in the fact that two Sikh gentleman could be gunned down while peacefully walking the streets of Elk Grove. I know the Sikh community well in the Sacramento area, and I know they came to California generations ago to bask in the freedom and opportunity this country affords. To walk peacefully and participate robustly in our American Dream has been their way of life.
    “Having met, dined with and befriended many Sikhs at temples in Rio Linda, in South Sacramento and in West Sacramento, I shudder at the thought that anyone would single them out as targets because that would be a sad manifestation of ignorance and prejudice.  I have spoken out against those who have mischaracterized the Sikh community in the past and I will continue to so in the future.  I know the Sikhs as good and decent Americans whose culture is different, but whose patriotic contributions are uncommon and unquestionable. I offer my condolences to the Singh family and my prayers for the full recovery of Mr. Atwal. I wish the best for the Sikhs of California and I will do everything in my power to assist in any federal investigation efforts.”

    Reward in Elk Grove Sikh’s homicide rises to $42,000

    Sacramento, March 11 (Punjab Mail)- The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting two turbaned Sikh men on their afternoon stroll through Elk Grove on Friday is now more than $42,000.
    The Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region and area synagogues have raised more than $10,000 to add to the reward, said Rabbi Mona Alfi of Congregation B’nai Israel.
    The Jewish community remembers how Sikhs and Sacramentans of diverse faiths stood with them after the firebombing of three Sacramento area synagogues, including B’nai Israel, in 1999, Alfi said.
    An interfaith prayer vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, at the intersection of East Stockon Boulevard and Geneva Pointe Drive, where Surinder Singh, 65, was shot to death and Gurmej Atwal, 78, was critically wounded. His condition was upgraded from critical to serious, a hospital spokeswoman said.
    Singh’s funeral will be held at North Sacramento Funeral Home, 725 El Camino Ave., at 10 a.m. Saturday and is open to the public, said Amar Shergill, of the South Asian Culture & Community Political Action Committee. Others who would like to contribute to the reward can contact amar@shergilllawfirm.com.
    Anyone who has seen or heard anything that might pertain to the case should call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357 or the Elk Grove Police Department at (916) 714-5115.
    The Elk Grove Police Department set up a checkpoint on East Stockton Boulevard on Tuesday to try to jar commuters’ memories in case they were driving by at the time of the shooting around 4:25 p.m. Friday. “We got some limited information, nothing ground-shaking,” said police spokesman Chris Trim.
    John Boisa, a spokesman for Sacramento’s Jewish community, said “our prayers and sympathies are with the families of Mr. Singh and Mr. Atwal, and the entire Sikh community during this time of grieving and loss.
    “While it may be the case that the perpetrators imagined their victims to be Muslims,” Boisa said, “we must denounce all hate crimes in the strongest terms, no matter who the intended victims are.”

    Sikh Council of Central California Request for News Coverage

    Sikhs all over the world are celebrating March 14th as Sikh Environment Day. This important day marks the New Year in the Nanakshahi calendar ( the Sikh Calendar) and the Gurgaddi Diwas (succession day) of our Seventh Guru, Sri Guru Har Rai Ji, who is remembered in Sikh history for his deep sensitivity to nature and its preservation.
    The Sikh Council of Central California is celebrating this occasion on March 13th,   2011, Sunday at 2.00 P.M. at Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) Guru Nanak Prqaklash, 4250 E. Lincoln Ave. Fresno, CA 93725.
    You are requested to please cover the function for your News. We shall be highly grateful.
    The Sikh Temple is visible on right hand side from Freeway 99 after you cross American Avenue exit going south from Fresno. You need to take Clovis Ave exit and make right turn on E. Clayton Ave., another right turn on Minnewava which becomes Lincoln Ave after a left turn and the Grudwara is on your right.
    For any further information Please Dr. Ranjit Singh Rajpal, General Secretary on his cell phone 559-706-8395, Dr. Sharanjit Purewal at 559-322-7870 or Dr. Boota Singh Chahil at 559-834-4780.

    US housing society sued for discriminatingagainst Indians

    BOSTON, March 10- (Punjab Mail) A Seattle-based housing society will pay over USD 100,000 to settle a US Justice Department lawsuit that alleged the society discriminated against Indians and African-Americans seeking to rent apartments in the complex.
    According to the lawsuit, owners and operators of Summerhill Place Apartments, a 268 apartment complex in Renton near Seattle, “steered Indian tenants away from the Summerhill buildings and treated tenants from India less favourably than other tenants.”
    The owners also discriminated against African-Americans, Hispanic Americans and families with children, the Justice Department said.
    “Working families already face enough challenges finding affordable housing,” Assistant Attorney General for the department’s Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said.
    “Unlawful discrimination because of their race, their national origin, or because they have children, should not be one of them.”
    Summerhill owners will pay USD 110,000 in damages and civil penalties to settle the lawsuit.
    Under the terms of the settlement, USD 85,000 would go to tenants and prospective tenants who were harmed by the discriminatory practices and USD 25,000 to the government as a civil penalty.
    The lawsuit was filed in July 2010 against owner of the apartments, Summerhill Place LLC , management company Gran Inc and a former onsite manager.

    Police celebrated International Woman Day

    Chandigarh, (SANJAY PAHWA)Police celebrated International Woman Day at RTC, Police Lines, Sector-26 Chandigarh. The Chief Guest of function Sh. P.K. Srivastava, IPS, IGP, UT, Chandigarh, was inaugurated the Function. Sh. Alok Kumar, IPS, DIG/Hqrs., Sh. R.S. Ghuman, IPS, SP/Operations and lady officials were present in the function.

    Jewish response to the Elk Grove shooting of two Sikh men

    Sacramento, CA, (Punjab Mail)- Jews of the Sacramento region reacted with concern and alarm today to the shooting of two members of Elk Grove’s Sikh community. According to the Sacramento Bee, the shooting left Surinder Singh, 67, dead and his 78-year-old friend, Gurmej Atwal, in critical but stable condition. While an investigation into the shooting continues, it is feared that these two elderly grandfathers may be the victims of a hate crime.
    “Our prayers and sympathies are with the families of Mr. Singh and Mr. Atwal, and the entire Sikh community, during this time of grieving and loss”, stated John Boisa, Director of the Sacramento Region’s Jewish Community Relations Council. “While it may be the case that the perpetrators imagined their victims to be Muslims”, Boisa added, “We must denounce all hate crimes in the strongest terms, no matter who the intended victims are.”
    Barry Broad, Chair of the JCRC and board member of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, called leaders of the Sikh community today to express Jewish support and solidarity with them. “In the wake of this shooting”, said Broad, “the Sikhs should know that they are a part of our larger community, and that we are with them.”
    The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, located in California’s capital for 150 years, supports philanthropic causes, educational programs for young children, teens, and young adults, and cultural programs for an estimated 30,000 Jews across an eight-county area throughout Northern California. The region is home to 21 regional synagogues that serve Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and non-denominational members.
    The Jewish Community Relations Council is the education and advocacy arm of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region. The JCRC fights anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism and informs the non-Jewish community about Jewish issues, builds support for the Jewish state, battles discrimination in all its forms, and pursues justice and repairs a broken world through political advocacy.

    Sikh Community Announces Reward For Arrest And Apprehension Of Elk Grove Shooting Suspect(s)

    WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (Punjab Mail)- Sikh Temples from Yuba City to Stockton have joined together with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Neighborhood Market Association and the Elk Grove Police Department to offer a total reward of $26,000 for the arrest and apprehension of suspect(s) in the 3/4/11 shooting of two Sikh-Americans in Elk Grove, California.
    On Friday, March 4, 2011, two elderly Sikh-American men were shot while walking in Elk Grove, California. Surinder Singh, 65, died at the scene while Gurmej Atwal, 78, is in critical but stable condition. Both gentlemen wore turbans as an indication of their faith. The community is concerned that the unknown assailants may have targeted the victims because of their appearance, ethnicity or religion.
    “In racial attacks, Sikh-Americans with turbans and full beards are often mistaken for Muslims,” explained Darshan Mundy, Public Relations Officer for the Sacramento Sikh Temple. “We are very disturbed by recent violent attacks in our community.” The Elk Grove shooting follows the November 28, 2010 brutal assault of cab driver Harbhajan Singh in West Sacramento. The assailants in the latter attack were prosecuted under hate crime statutes due to their use of racial epithets throughout the assault.
    The Sikh-American community is thankful for the support and active investigation by local and federal authorities, including the Elk Grove Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). There has been an outpouring of support from well-wisher across the country. However, the Sikh-American community will not be satisfied until these criminals have been captured and incarcerated. We stand by our Muslim-American brothers and sisters as well as those of all faiths, ethnicities and cultures in fighting against the evil that motivates these attacks.
    All Americans are urged to immediately report any incidents of harassment, bullying or assault to the local authorities. If you or someone you know has been a victim of any racially motivated crime, please contact the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) directly toll free at 1.877.91SIKHS or via their website at www.saldef.org.
    The Sacramento Sikh Temple invites all community members to join them on April 9, 2011 for a Sikh Awareness Seminar designed to answer all your questions regarding the Sikh faith and practice.

    Assailant Admits To Hate Crime

    In Brutal Attack Of Sikh-American Cab Driver
    WOODLAND, CA , Punjab Mail- On 3/7/11, Pedro Antonio Ramirez, 41, and Johnny Morales, 33, appeared in court with their attorneys to enter a plea agreement regarding their vicious attack on cab driver, Harbhajan Singh. The plea agreement includes admission to a Hate Crime by Mr. Ramirez. Mr. Morales will be sentenced to up to a year in jail while Mr. Ramirez will be sentenced to 13 years. With the agreement, both criminals avoid a jury trial which was to start later the same day.
    “Mr. Singh is pleased that his assailants have admitted their crimes and will serve an appropriate sentence,” said Amar Shergill, attorney for Harbhajan Singh. “He continues to have physical and mental symptoms related to the assault, however, he looks forward to returning to work and supporting his family. In light of the recent shooting of two elderly Sikh men in Elk Grove, the Sikh community takes some solace in the fact that law enforcement authorities aggressively prosecute these crimes and that the greater community has been sosupportive.”
    Throughout the attack on 11/28/10, Ramirez repeatedly threatened to kill Mr. Singh and used racial epithets. The attack left Mr. Singh with facial fractures, multiple facial lacerations requiring stitches, eye injuries and bruising along his rib cage. It was only through the intervention of the wife of Mr. Ramirez that Mr. Singh, a Sikh-American, was able to escape the attack.
    Harbhajan Singh and his family join with the Sacramento Sikh Temple and the South Asian Community & Culture Political Action Committee (SACC-PAC) to commend the prosecution efforts of Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven and District Attorney Jeff Reisig. The compassion and diligence of the District Attorney’s office helped to ease the family’s stress during this very difficult time. All Americans are urged to immediately report any incidents of harassment, bullying or assault to the local authorities. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of a racially motivated crime, please contact the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) toll free at 1.877.91SIKHS or via their website at www.saldef.org.

    CM MOURNS THE TRAGIC DEMISE OF TOI PHOTOGRAPHER AND PRAYS FOR RECOVERY OF OTHER THREE JOURNALISTS HURT IN ROAD ACCIDENT

    CHANDIGARH, March 7 (Sanjay Pahwa)- Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today expressed profound grief and sorrow over the tragic and untimely death of the Ludhiana based Times of India News Photographer Mr. Aditya Jaitley son of Ludhiana Bureau Chief Ajit Mr. Ashwani Jaitly who was killed in a fatal road accident near Kharar today in the wee hours.
    It may be recalled that Mr. Aditya Jaitley was traveling in a car along with Mr V. Venkat, Mr. Naveen Kalia and Mr. Sandeep Dua, all the Ludhiana based  correspondents of Times of India who were seriously injured in a car-truck head on collision near Khanpur.
    In a condolence message Mr. Badal described that Mr. Aditya Jaitley as a professionally committed news photographer whose promising career has come to an abrupt end due to this tragic mishap. The Chief Minister also prayed for speedy recovery of Mr. V. Venkat, Mr. Naveen Kalia and Mr. Sandeep Dua.
    The Chief Minister also shared his heartfelt sympathies with the members of the bereaved family and prayed to the Almighty to give strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss and grant peace to the departed soul.

    Hate crime: Two Sikhs attacked in US, one dead

    WASHINGTON, March 7-(PUNJAB MAIL) Two elderly Sikhs were shot at by unidentified assailants in Sacramento in US, leaving one dead and the other in critical condition, triggering panic in the neighbourhood having a sizeable Sikh population.
    Surinder Singh, 68, and Gurmej Atwal, 78, residents of Elk Grove in Sacramento, California– were shot at by unidentified miscreants on Friday evening, when the two went out for their daily evening walk, police said.
    Singh, who worked as a truck driver in India and Libya before moving to the US, five years ago, died on the spot.
    He is originally from Pandori Ganga Singh village in Hoshiarpur District of Punjab. His funeral has been scheduled for March 12.
    Atwal, hailing from Farallah village in Nawanshahr district of Punjab, who moved to the US in 2001, continues to be in critical condition.
    Police have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime, but there is no such concrete evidence as yet.
    “At present, we have no evidence to indicate there was a hate or bias motivation for this crime; however, the obvious Sikh appearance of the men, including the traditional Dastar headwear and lack of any other apparent motive, increasingly raise that possibility,” Elk Grove Police Chief Robert M Lehner said.
    Elk Grove Police has made preliminary notification to the local FBI office because bias motivated crimes are a violation of Federal as well as State Law, Lehner said. A number of Sikhs living in the city, are in a state of panic and have alleged this to be hate crime. No arrests have been made so far. More than a dozen odd local Gurudrawas at a meeting yesterday announced an award of USD 20,000 to anyone who provides a clue towards the arrest of those responsible for the incident.
    They have also appealed to the Sikh community members to try and not wear traditional ethnic ‘kurta’ and ‘payjama’ while going for walks or any public appearance, said Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa, chief editor of Punjab Mail USA. Both Singh and Atwal were in their traditional Sikh dress during their evening walk when they were shot at.

    Controversy on Prof.Darshan Singh’s Visit in Fresno

    Fresno (Gurtej Singh Cheema) On March 4,2011 Prof.Darshan Singh visted Gurdwara Singh Sabha on Dakota and Fresno av. Large number of Sikh devotees came to Gurdwara sahib to listen to Shabad Kirtan and pay respect to Guru Granth Sahib ji Due to ongoing controversy in Sikhs about Prof.Darshan Singh ,there were some sikhs who protested against his visit to Fresno. As soon as the Kirtan started by Prof.Darshan Singh there reach some sikhs who have megaphones/speakers in their hands.They were shouting Anti-slogans against Professor.They were holding banners in their hands.On talking with some of the protesting Sikhs they said that as Prof.Darshan Singh was ex-communicated from Sikh Panth by Akal Takht Jathedar Sahib,so he should not be allowed to participate in any Sikh Gurudwara.
    On other hand when some of the large number of Sikhs sitting inside the Gurudwara Sahib were asked they said that Prof.Darshan Singh ji was not doing or saying anything wrong but was doing shabad kirtan of Gurbani,so it was not good to protest when kirtan was going on.Such matters do bring disrespect for whole community because people from other communities do not know what actual situation is.They may think that its Sikhs protesting against sikhs.On an Interview with Gurpreet S Maan on Awaz-e-Watan tv Prof.Darshan Singh was asked to clear his situation.He very clearly mentioned that when he recieved the letter from Jathedar AKAL TAKHT SAHIB to reach infront of Akal Takht and clarify his stand,he went to Akal Takht Sahib in presence of hundreds of thousand sikhs.He keep on waiting for almost more than an hour but no jathedar came to meet him or hear him.Prof.said in interview that Jathedar’s want him to meet in a closed room which was not accepted to him.This whole news was covered and shown exclusively on a prominent tv channel too.Even Police was seen on the site/scene to intervene which is not a good sign for whole sikh community.We should all sit together and solve our community issues.Everyone should be given equal oppourtunity to express his /her views but in a peaceful way.

    “NAGINON KO KHATAM KAR DO- YEH SAPOLON KO HI JANAM DENGI”

    ANOTHER LIVING PARADIGM OF SIKH GENOCIDE UNCOVERED AT PATAUDI, HARYANA- 17 SIKHS KILLED ON NOVEMBER 2, 1984
    PATAUDI(Gurgaon) March 6 (Punjab Mail)- Two teenage daughters of Gian Singh, Harmeet Kaur, 16, and Karamjeet Kaur, 19 were stripped naked, abused….., urinated on faces and then burnt alive on November 2, 1984 at Pataudi, Haryana. According to an eyewitness, the mob dragged them out into the street, stripped them naked, beat them, abused…them, urinated on their faces and burnt them alive. The attackers raised slogans that “Sardaron ke bache hai, to maro” (They are children of sardars, so kill them)”, “Naginon ko khatam kar do- yeh sapolon ko hi janam dengi”( Kill these snakes, they are going to give birth to snakes only).
    After uncovering the mass Grave of Sikhs killed in village Hondh-Chillar, District Rewari, Haryana in which 32 Sikhs were killed on November 2, 1984, All India Sikh Students Federation and Sikhs For Justice have now uncovered another systematic, organized and well planned attack on Sikhs at Pataudi, Haryana in which 17 Sikhs were killed by a mob lead by local congress leaders.
    Pataudi, District Gurgaon, Haryana is another living paradigm of Sikh Genocide wherein 17 Sikhs were brutally killed on November 2, 1984 by a strong mob lead by local congress leaders. In November 1984 there were 30 Sikh families living in Pataudi.  On November 1, 1984, the local Gurudwara was set on fire and the Sikh families ran away to save their lives. While one group ran to the safety of the village, another chose to stay in the local Hari Mandar Ashram. On November 2, 1984, while a group of Sikhs returned to their respective houses, they were attacked by armed mobs led by congress leaders and 17 Sikhs were brutally killed that day. The attackers surrounded the Sikh houses and started throwing petrol bombs into their houses. Men and children were beaten and thrown into the burning houses and women were first raped and then thrown into the fire.
    AISSF President Karnail Singh Peermohammad stated that it is shocking and unbearable to hear about the Sikh Genocide of Pataudi and raises a question as to what was the extent of loss of life of Sikhs during the organized and planned attacks in November 1984. If there are two grave incidents of violence in Haryana within few miles, it is quite possible that there will be hundreds of such sites throughout India where Sikhs were subject to Genocidal attacks, added Peermohammad (recently a mass grave of Sikhs was discovered a few miles away in the village Hondh Chiilar, District Rewari, Haryana).
    The witness who survived the attack remembers that mob was raising slogans “Jab Tak Suraj Chand Rahe ga Indira Tere Naam Rehega” , “Indira Gandhi Amar Rehe” and “Sikh Gadaar Hain, Inhe Mar Daloo” (Sikhs are traitors, kill them). The mob was carrying swords, petrol, white powder and lathis, and they ransacked the Sikh houses, burnt Sikhs alive and looted their property. The witnesses’ house was also attacked and burnt down but he along with his family were rescued by their neighbors.
    The witness still has ruins of his house intact so that he can show the world how Sikhs were hunted, houses burnt and looted during November 1984.
    AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammad told that witnesses stated that Gurudwara Sri Singh Sabha was attacked, but Granthi of the Gurudwara was able to retrieve Sri Guru Granth Sahib and ran towards the Village Bhore Kalan where he was overpowered by the attackers led by Jhandu Saini, Zamindar, and was chopped into pieces, and the same mob also killed Gurbaksh Singh s/o Gian Singh, whose daughters were raped before being burnt alive.
    As per attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun Legal Advisor to Sikhs For Justice, who interviewed the victims and survivors over the phone stated that discovery of Pataudi massacre of Sikhs is another living paradigm of Sikh Genocide and a constant reminder that justice has been denied and eluded the victims of November 1984 Sikh Genocide. The Pataudi massacre of Sikhs is an identical pattern throughout India in which armed groups lead by Congress Leaders would cordon the Sikh neighborhood, rape the women and burn the men and children alive.
    An FIR number 282-83 was registered at Pataudi Police Station on November 12, 1984 and it has more than fifteen names of the accused who were involved in the killing of Sikhs on November 2, 1984.  There is a list of 24 witnesses but on April 26, 1986, the then Session Judge VM Jain acquitted all the accused because of lack of evidence.
    AISSF and Sikhs For Justice have released the following list of those killed at Pataudi, District Gurgaon, Haryana on November 2, 1984:
    Kishan Singh husband of Geevni Bai
    Kapur Singh son of Geevni Bai
    Kuldip Singh son of Geevni Bai
    Harbahajan Singh son of Geevni Bai
    Harnam Singh husband of Isri Bai
    Avtar Singh son of Isri Bai
    Harmeet Kaur daughter of Gian Singh
    Karamjeet Kaur daughter of Gian Singh
    Gurbaksh Singh son of Gian Singh
    Amrik Singh husband of Amrit Kaur
    Fateh Singh son of Kirpal Singh
    Arjun Singh son of Mohinder Singh
    Bhagat Singh son of Mohinder Singh
    Gopal Singh son of Inder Singh
    Surjit Singh
    Kamaljeet Kaur
    Granthi of Gurudwara

    Rise above mutual blame game and work for the betterment and uplift of Punjab:Gumtala

    Amritsar, March 2 (Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala) - Amritsar Vikas Manch has appealed to Akali and Congress leadership to rise above mutual blame game and work for the betterment and uplift of Punjab. In a letter written to SAD president Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab State Congress President Capt. Amrinder Singh, Youth Akali Dal Patron Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia and Punjab Minister for Local Government Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Dr. Charanjit Singh Gumtala Manch Patron has recalled that Punjab used to be the number one state in the country on per capital income but doing to lack of vision and judicious leadership, it has slipped to an unenviable status on almost all parameters of development.

    Education, Healthcare and Law and Order are state subjects. World over, police functions so efficiently in its duties that in moment of crisis, it is never found wanting or napping. Throughout the world, education is the responsibility of the government and 99% Kids study in government run schools and free of any fee or funds. But in India, particularly Punjab the scenario is totally different. The government is shying away from its duty and government schools are being put up on for Sale to private players.

    In health too, Amritsar is one of the dirtiest cities of the country. One wonders why, if Surat is now the third cleanest city of India (after the plague episode of the 1980’s), why can’t Amritsar be made the most livable city of Punjab? Are its leaders waiting for some natural or manmade calamity strike the sacred city? The government hospitals are in a miserable condition and private hospitals have mushroomed to make healthcare beyond the reach of the common man. The Manch leader blamed successive government, including the present one, for not being interested in the common man’s problems except their own publicity over sham foundation stones. It is time the leaders, young and old provided effective leadership and learn from the experience of adjoining states like Himachal Pradesh and Haryana which are non for ahead in education, healthcare and transport.

    Harnoor Gill honoured with Junior Citizen

    Georgetown, Feb 23 (Punjab Mail) Harnoor Gill, 12, of Georgetown was recently recognized with an Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award which he received from Independent & Free Press managing editor John McGhie.
    Gill, a Grade 7 student at Stewarttown Middle School was one of 105 youngsters from across Ontario to receive the award for outstanding contributions to their community.
    Apart from various school groups, Gill is involved in numerous community groups including the Mayor’s Youth Action Committee, Willow Park Ecology Centre, Air Cadets and is a member of It’s Bollywood dance studio in Brampton where he lends his dance talents to numerous fundraising events.
    Gill, who posts tops marks in school, also has volunteered for several environmental causes and fundraisers in Halton, Peel and the GTA.
    The Junior Citizen Award is a program of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association and is sponsored by TD Canada Trust and Direct Energy.

    Swiss NRI fights for justice

    AMRITSAR, Feb 23 (Punjab Mail) He created a business empire on foreign shores and, in fact, contributed in building the first gurdwara in Europe made according to Sikh architecture, but is now fighting to get justice. Ever since a Swiss TV channel aired the success story of NRI Sikh Ranjit Singh Masuta in 2006, he became a target of jealousy (Hate Crime) and conspiracies and as a result was arrested on suspicion of fraud and money laundering. The charges had to be dropped for want of any evidence against him, thus restoring his reputation, but at the cost of his empire, which he had built from scratch.
    Hailing from Bhungrani village near Hoshiarpur, Masuta started from a small calls shop in Basel, Switzerland, and managed to set up a telecommunication company in 1995. Talking from Switzerland over phone, he said he had to undergo eight-and-half-months of imprisonment after police framed him in fake cases. During that period, Masuta said, his companies were made to go bankrupt, his reputation suffered massive damage and his name was dragged in media as a fraudster and criminal.
    “Till date police have not been able to gather any evidence against me and have instead dropped the charges, but my heart aches due to mental trauma my family had to face,” he said. On January 5, 2011, the same TV channel aired another story as to how he was fighting for justice for something which he had never done, he said. Masuta, whose family is the largest donor for Gurdwara Sahib, Langenthal, said he had donated land for the building of the first gurdwara in Switzerland made according to Sikh architecture in Europe. “Our all social and religious projects have been stalled ever since police froze Masuta’s accounts,” said Sikh Foundation President Karan Singh.

    NRIs Demand Right to Purchase Agriculture Land and Contest Election

    Amritsar, Feb 21 (Punjab Mail)- Delegation of NRIs from USA met Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal and requested him to insert special provision in their manifesto to protect their agriculture, residential and commercial properties in India. Delegation also requested Manpreet that Indian citizens living abroad (NRIs) must be allowed to purchase agriculture land in Punjab so that they can invest in agriculture sector to boost Punjab’s agriculture industry.  Mr. Manpreet Badal assured the delegation that he will critically analyse the current situation and encourage NRIs’ demand to allow them to invest in agriculture sector, which will in turn help Punjab’s agro business to expand at national and international level. He said that we are determined to provide special provisions to protect NRIs social, political and economic interests in the state. He further assured that he will also advocate NRIs demand to contest elections in India. Amanpreet Singh Chhina and Manmohan Singh Gumtala associates of Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal, said that as per the current laws an NRI who resides more than six months in a year outside India cannot purchase agriculture land or plantation property or farm house in India. However, an NRI can purchase residential and commercial property in India. In respect to their demand on contesting elections, Mr. Chhina said that NRIs can now vote in all elections in India, if he/she has not acquired the citizenship of any other country during their stay abroad. To vote in any local, state or national elections, their physical presence on the day of election in India is mandatory. The current amendment in the legislation is however silent on the eligibility of NRIs to contest elections. Ordinarily, a candidate has to be on the voter list to stand for elections. According to Article 102 (1) of the Indian Constitution, a person shall be disqualified from being chosen and being member of either house if he is not a citizen of India, or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of foreign state, or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to the foreign state. Article 102(1) clarifies that after getting a foreign country’s citizenship a person cannot contest an election in India, but it is not clear that whether an NRI who is an Indian citizen and holds a Green Card or Permanent Residence Card or Work Permit can contest elections in India. We will write to Central Government and Election Commission of India to give clear directions and allow NRIs to contest elections in India. Mr. Manmohan Singh Gumtala and Mr. Ram Sharanpaul led the USA delegation which includes Mr. Rana R.S. Khalon, Commissioner, Consumer Affairs Commission, Alameda County, Darshan Singh Khalon, Dalvinder Singh, Karanbaljit Singh, Roopinder Singh and Manjit Singh Sandhu.

    NRIs will not be able to cast their vote

    New Delhi, Feb 20 (Punjab Mail)- This time also the NRIs will not be able to cast their vote in the coming Assembly elections in the state as the Election Commission of India has decided against giving them the voting rights for shortage of time to prepare their electoral rolls.
    Chief Electoral Officer Sunil K Kumar Gupta had on Tuesday said the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2010 is going to implemented for the first time during the Bengal Assembly elections. According to the Act, any Indian citizen settled abroad would be able to cast his vote in the country, provided he is physically present during the time of the elections and has a permanent address in the country.

    METRO CASH & CARRY ANNOUNCES ITS MARKET ENTRY IN LUDHIANA

    CM ASKS MD METRO CASH & CARRY TO OPEN TRAINING FACILITY FOR YOUTH IN RETAILING

    Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal with Managing Director of Metro Cash & Carry India Ltd calls on the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal at Chief Ministers' Residence .

    Chandigarh, Feb 20-(Sanjay Pahwa) – METRO Cash & Carry, the international leader in business-to-business wholesale today formally announced the market entry with its first wholesale Centre at Ludhiana in Punjab. An announcement to this effect was made by the Managing Director of METRO Cash & Carry India Mr. Rajeev Bakshi who led a team of senior officials from METRO to apprise the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Prakash Singh Badal of the market entry at Ludhiana, marking the beginning of METRO’s activities in Punjab in a meeting here at Chief Minister’s residence this afternoon.

    Managing Director of Metro Cash & Carry India Ltd Mr. Rajeev Bakshi presenting a memento to Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal at Chief Ministers' Residence .

    Mr. Bakshi informed the Chief Minister that the first wholesale center of METRO Cash & Carry India in Punjab was slated to be operational at Ludhiana during the latter half of 2011. This would be the company’s fifth city and seventh wholesale center in India. This is also in continuation to the MoU signed by the Company with the Punjab Government in 2008. He also said that the company had already planned to open such wholesale centres at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Zirakpur and Patiala in a phased manner. He also pointed out that the company was seriously contemplating to open another  wholesale centre at Bathinda to source the local produce of farmers especially the Kinnow fruit and a sub centre at Malerkotla for vegetables. The company currently operates a total of six wholesale centres including two each in Bangalore and Hyderabad and one each in Mumbai and Kolkata. Taking part in the deliberations the Chief Minister asked Mr. Bakshi to open a facility for imparting training for our youth in retailing and logistics and assured him of fulsome support and cooperation for the purpose. He also impressed upon Mr. Bakshi to start training programme for the farmers to motivate them to produce the best quality fruits & vegetables meeting their marketing norms for which he agreed to launch such training programme for the benefit of the farming community. Mr. Badal also asked the METRO Group to open its wholesale sub-centres at Hoshiarpur and Moga in vicinity of its upcoming wholesale centres in Jalandhar and Ludhiana to boost the trading & commercial activity in the region.

    Responding to the demand for opening sub-centres and the training centres for imparting training to the youth and farmers, Mr. Bakshi said that he would explore the possibility after working out the detailed modalities so that these proposals put forth by Mr. Badal could be materialised.
    Mr. Bakshi further said that Punjab was characterized by a rapidly growing economy, progressive outlook and modern infrastructure. “We are convinced that our unique business-to-business wholesale concept will be well-accepted by our business customers here and will be beneficial to the local producers and the overall economy of the State.” said Rajeev Bakshi. “We are extremely appreciative of the Government of Punjab for supporting our business initiatives in the state. METRO will make an investment of over Rs. 60 crores per wholesale center in the State of Punjab”, he added. METRO Cash & Carry provides job opportunities for the youth and also creates direct linkages with the farmers for sourcing local produce. With this, METRO re-iterates its commitment in the growth and progress of Punjab.
    METRO Cash & Carry entered the Indian market in 2003. It caters exclusively to professional business customers like hotels, restaurants, small retailers like kirana stores and offices. The assortment and services are tailored to meet the special needs of these target groups.
    The company also works closely with local producers, suppliers, small and medium enterprises, co-operatives and self-help groups to source its products, as it sources a large part of its products locally. Moreover, each wholesale center creates 250 direct and 100 indirect job opportunities for the local citizens. Prominent amongst others who were present in the meeting included the Chief Secretary Mr. S.C. Aggarwal, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. D.S. Guru, Principal Secretary Industries Mr. S.S. Channy, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister & Housing and Urban Development Mr. S.S. Sandhu, Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. Gaggandip Singh Brar besides Head Corporate Relations India Mr. Vishal Sehgal and Manager Corporate Relation North India Mr. Naveen Sharma Of METRO Cash & Carry India Ltd.

    Indian jailed in New Zealand for murders

    New Zealand , Feb 18 (Punjab Mail) -An Indian fruit packer was on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by a New Zealand court for killing a woman and her two-year-old daughter. Deepak Nagpal, 24, who pleaded guilty to both the murders last year, was given life sentence with at least 20 years in jail by Justice Brewer of the Rotura Hi

    gh Court, the New Zealand Herald reported.On June 4, 2010, Nagpal killed Ravneet Sangha by stabbing her more than hundred times and her daughter Anna several times, before putting the toddler’s body in a washing machine in their home in Tauranga city.

    Ravneet’s body was found two days latter while Anna’s body was undiscovered for 20 more hours, despite an intensive search by police.

    After Friday’s sentencing, Dev Sangha – the husband of Ravneet – burst out of the public gallery and ran up to Nagpal in the dock. He yelled in Punjabi: “I’ll see you in 20 years.” He had to be restrained by court staff. Nagpal had previously lived with the Sangha family and was an associate of Dev. Dev, 37, who was in India on a business trip at the time of the killings, earlier said he believed money was the motive behind the murder.

    Ravneet worked as a fruit packer at Seeka Kiwifruit Industries in Katikati town, 40 km from Tauranga.

    Magma Fincorp holds Painters’ Workshop in Chandigarh

    Chandigarh, Feb 17 (Sanjay Pahwa) – Punjab has given birth to many a talent in the fields of literature art and culture. To promote and encourage art and upcoming talented artistes of Punjab, Magma Fincorp Limited, India’s leading retail asset finance company is holding a two day Painter’s workshop in the City.
    The Magma Painters’ Workshop, which began today, has 10 promising city artists colouring the canvas with their unique imagination. The workshop was graced by Mr Naunihal Singh, IPS Senior Superitendent of Police, Chandigarh.
    “ Magma has always encourage and nurtured talents in the field of art. We are holding Magma Painters’ Workshop for the past few years in Kolkata and decided to take this activity on a national level. Kochi, Bhubaneswar & Pune, beyond Kolkata, were the places we held such workshops in this financial year”, said Mr Sanjeev Chandhok, General Manager, Magma Fincorp Limited.
    “ We plan to take the workshop to other part of the country too in the coming year to provide a platform to the young artists a chance to showcase their talent, “ said Mr. Bhisham Dhamija, General Manager, Magma Fincorp Limited.
    The participating artists are Manju Negi, Kanika Kakkar, Kamaljeet Kaur, Sapna Sharma, Monami Bhattacharya, Ritika Singh, Jagseer Singh, Narinder Singh, Sonica Gupta & Varinder Singh – all bright amateur artists of the city.

    HARKAWALJIT ELECTED PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA PRESS GALLERY CHIEF

    Chandigarh, Feb 17 (Sanjay Pahwa)- Mr. Harkawaljit Singh, Bureau Chief Daily Ajit, Chandigarh elected Punjab Vidhan Sabha Press Gallery Chief today in a meeting held at Punjab Vidhan Sabha in the presence of Secretary Punjab Vidhan Sabha Mr. Ved Parkash. Mrs. Ramaninder Kaur Bhatia of Times of India and Mr. J.S. Randhawa of AIR has been elected as Senior Vice President and General Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Press  gallery respectively.

    Chandigarh – Punjab Union of Journalists Always in the Forefront

    Chandigarh, Feb 15 (Sanjay Pahwa) – The Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) today emerged as the biggest representative body of newspersons in the region with an effective strength of over 1000 Journalists from even very small towns of Punjab and Union Territory Chandigarh. The Union takes care of the interests of  Print & Electronic Media persons. Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Ambika Soni & Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal inaugurated The CPUJ meet 2011 with enlighten the Lamp. They Released The CPUJ 2011 Souvenir & Launched  The Insurance Policy for the CPUJ Members.

    The Union has not restricted itself to Trade Union activities. The Union has initiated several social welfare schemes besides promoting the cause of Journalism as a profession. Fighting for the interests of journalists. The CPUJ is the only organization of its kind which has initiated social security schemes like group insurance for its members. Doctor’s cell to take care of the medical requirements of journalists and their families. Union organize seminars of on various burning issues. The most successful seminar was held at Fortis, Mohali, on the “Role of the Press, Police and Politicians”. Union also organized seminars of emerging issues like female foeticide, right to information and drug addiction in rural Punjab. The Union has also taken up the issue of drug abuse in the region in a big way. In this regard, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (Retd), PVSM, VSM, Former Governer of Punjab and Administrator of Chandigarh released a CD of a short film “War Against Narcotic Terrorism” in September 2009. The Union is working to create awareness against drug abuse among the masses. The union has also raised its voice against the managements of several newspapers in Chandigarh and Punjab for carrying “Paid News” during the Lok Sabha elections.

    The CPUJ is affiliated to the Indian Union of Journalists (IJU)  which is further affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). Recognising the enormous clout of the CPUJ, its parent body, Indian Journalists Union (IJU) nominated its State Union President Vinod Kohli as a member of Central Press Accreditation Committee of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. Govt. of India in the year 2005. This is not a small achievement if we look at the important role that the Accreditation Committee plays.

    The Punjab Government had not constituted the State Press Accreditation Committee for a long time. Following efforts of the CPUJ, the State government has announced to constitute the panel with the CPUJ getting due representation in it.

    It is a matter of pride for every CPUJ member that the union has been approached by the Pakistan’s Punjab Union of Journalists to form a common front to fight for the rights of journalists in both countries. A journalist association in Afghanistan wants the CPUJ to train newspersons from that country. We are ready to help our Afghan brothers and sisters whenever they come to Chandigarh for the purpose.

    The Union has also started the culture exchange programme. As per programme, a delegation of any state unit of the Indian Journalists Union can visit Punjab and Chandigarh. Similarly, members of CPUJ can also visit any of state units affiliated to IJU.

    Recently, the CPUJ’s parent body, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), entrusted it with the responsibility of preparing a national-level memorandum for the Wage Board for journalists. Being the Convener of the IJU Wage Board Committee, CPUJ President Vinod Kohli presented the memorandum before Justice G.R. Majithia wage Board.

    The CPUJ stands committed to the welfare of member journalists, their families besides safeguarding the Fourth Estate from various threats that it faces today.

    Punjab Public Service Commission be dissolved immediately, following serious indictment by the vigilance probe: Bir Devinder Singh

    Chandigarh, February 14 (Punjab Mail)  The vigilance inquiry into the recruitment of 312 doctors by the Punjab Public Service Commission Patiala has laid bare the extent of corruption that has crept into the state under the alternating regimes of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal. This has established beyond doubt the steep decline of morality among the people who hold constitutional positions in the institutions of exalted eminence such as Punjab Public Service Commission.
    Since PPSC members appointed by both the political parties in the state have been indicted by the vigilance, it is only in the order of things that these two parties should now ask their appointed members to resign from the commission on their own accord. Simultaneously the vigilance bureau should take all necessary steps to arrest all such members of the PPSC against whom a clear criminal offences are made out as per law.
    The Government of Punjab should also take all such measure to immediately dissolve PPSC which has assumed the dubious distinction to be known as the den of corruption in the mean while the entire process of selection and idiotic observations made by certain members of the PPSC, against the toppers who topped in the academic merit, should be quashed so that it does not have bearing on the future career of the meritorious doctors.
    The new selection process should set in motion afresh under the strict surveillance of the Hon’ble High Court based on a fair and transparent entrance test system. This will ensure that thousands of students who had appeared for these selections and failed to make it because of the tainted selections are given another chance to be selected. Jaago Punjab is now with these doctors and would take every step necessary to ensure that justice is meted out to them.
    The real credit of the unearthing of the scam into the PPSC lies with the media. It was a newspaper which had last year first highlighted the scam through a series of stories following which the Chief Minister had marked an inquiry to the vigilance bureau. It is a matter of pride for the media that despite the presence of state vigilance agencies it is they who are able to investigate and bring out glaring instances of corruption.
    The unspeakable statement issued by Capt. Amarinder Singh President Punjab Congress, shielding the corrupt members of the PPSC, most of them nominated by him as Chief Minister is shocking and highly deplorable. Paradoxically it has unfolded his future intended agenda for ‘corruption free good governance’ which he is promising to the people of Punjab almost every day, It gives explicit indications so loudly that if at all,  erroneously he is returned to power once again, institutionalised corruption would flourish like anything.

    Sham university aided in taking spouses to US

    Sacramento, Feb 6 (Punjab Mail)- The fake Tri-Valley University helped spawn an immigration racket and many immigrants used it to get their spouses to the US for a prolonged stay, a report says.  The report, prepared by the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) cell at the secretariat, was submitted to the chief minister on Wednesday. It shows how many from Andhra Pradesh who went to Tri-Valley had a spouse living in the US, either working or studying in one of the many universities.
    It is difficult for spouses of non-citizen immigrants to get visas from the US. Yet, several immigrants got their spouses admitted at Tri-Valley. This helped them get an extended stay of up to eight years with student work permits, the report says.
    How Tri-Valley came in handy for these people to join their spouses is somewhat convoluted but immigrants worked their way around rather easily. The US immigration laws say that only spouses of US citizens are eligible for long-term F2A, V and K3 visas.
    The F2A visa is meant for the spouse or minor child of a student. The V visa is temporary and meant for the spouse or child of an immigrant. K3 is non-immigrant visa for a spouse.  Yet, many married men and women immigrants got their spouses on dependent H4 visas. These are issued to spouse and children of H1B visa holders.
    After landing in the US, they secured admission in accredited universities and got F1 student visas. Later, they shifted to Tri-Valley, the lure being the opportunity to work from day one that the university offered. Many Tri-Valley students used the same arrangement to fly their spouses to the US. ”Many of the spouses now facing deportation and federal charges had taken admission in Tri-Valley within just three to four days of landing in the US with the help of agents in the US,” a source says.

    2ND PHASE OF CENSUS IN PUNJAB FROM FEB 9

    Chandigarh, Feb 4 (Sanjay Pahwa) Second Phase of the Census 2011 is being started in Punjab w.e.f February 9. Stating this here today spokesman of the Census operation, Punjab said that the second phase would continue till March, 5. In this phase work of population Enumeration would be done besides listing of collecting information of old age homes, welfare homes etc. A Performa contained 29 question would be filled of each person, he added.
    He further said all arrangements for this purpose have already been completed. About 48000 Enumerators and 7500 supervisors have been deployed for this task. Distribution of material and training to the staff had already been completed, he added.

    PRESS CLUB CHD ORGANISES NEWSCAPES-2 EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY PHOTOJOURNALISTS OF CHANDIGARH TRICITY

    Chandigarh, Feb 3 (Sanjay Pahwa)- The Chandigarh Press Club Started Newscapes Photo exhibition last year as a Tribute to eminent photo journalist, the late Mr.Yog Joy. This year Newscapes turned two and Dr. Upinderjit Kaur, Finance Minister Punjab inaugrated the “Newscapes-2″ exhibition of works by Photojournalists of Tricity at Punjab Kala Bhawan,Sec.16,Chd . Newscapes not only provides an opportunity to the photo journalists of the region to bring out and exhibit their best shots, but at the same time frame history on film. In the future Chandigarh Press Club is working on plans to make these photographs available on demand by bringing out theme based coffee table books. A visual depiction can reveal what sometimes words can’t. The advancement of technology has thrown new challenges in photography and the series of photographs displayed in the exhibition show how wonderfully the participants have used technology to enhance their work. Around 44 photo journalists from Chandigarh Tricity have taken part in this exhibition , which will be on for public view till 6th Feb,2011 .

    Chandigarh Administration is promoting Chandigarh as a hub of tourism

    Chandigarh, Feb 3 (Sanjay Pahwa) The Chandigarh Administration is promoting Sector 42 in Southern end of Chandigarh as a hub of tourism with the development of Garden of Palms at a cost of Rs 311 lac adjacent to the lake which is already attracting a lot of visitors .A special cycling track is being laid on on an adventurous terrain including mound and undulated areas is being laid to promote bi cycle tourism. Another added attraction shall be a tourist Reception Centre in a saucer’s shape which shall be constructed in the Garden of Palms for the convenience of tourists blending with the green environs. Two artistic bridges over the N choe shall be constructed for linking the Garden of Palms with the Sector 42 lake area.
    Tourist facilities would include Palms shaped tourist huts for seating area demarcated for the tourists within the Garden of Palms. The visitors can come to this tourist spots during the evening hours as he garden and the walk ways shall be illuminated with special light effects. Opposite to Garden of Palms, another theme based Garden namely Garden of Springs is being set up in Sector 53 with the financial support of Ministry of Tourism. In a specially carved section of the garden, various colourful tourism multi play systems shall be installed to meet the needs of youngsters/children accompanied by visitors / tourists.More than 50 varied species of palms have already been planted in the Palm Garden which shall make this garden a special attraction for tourists going to adjoin states on the Vikas Marg linking both the garden of Palms and Garden of Spring.
    According to the Secretary Tourism, Sh.Ram Niwas, Chandigarh  Administration is also planning to create a new infrastructure within the Beant Singh memorial adjacent to the Lake in Sector 42. A large convention hall is also being planned in this area to promote M.I.C.E. tourism so that large national and international conferences and exhibitions can be held in Chandigarh is becoming a major business hub of North Western Region.

    Threats cannot dither me from my illustrious commitment to National Integration : Bir Devinder Singh

    Patiala, Jan 30 (Punjab Mail)- It’s for the police and intelligence agencies of the State and central governments to verify the veracity of the genuineness of the ‘Threatening Electronic Mail’ sent through the select group of the correspondents. Intelligence agencies and the police have the adequate equipment to lay their hands on the origin of the e-mail and the forces behind the mischief could be identified very easily. If the contents of the mail are to be believed as genuine as it certainly indicates towards the regrouping of the militants and fresh recruitment to their ranks in Punjab. It should serve as a wakeup call and must be taken seriously by both the Governments.
    One wonder as to why the Punjab Government has withdrawn the security cover of the threatened person like me. What is the motive behind such a sinister move? If In the wake of the current developments emanating out of the threatening mail, any harm is caused to me or to my family, than Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal Deputy Chief Minister is to be held responsible for the peril. Because it’s he, who is unnecessarily intrusive with my security cover, reason may be best known to him. Notwithstanding the threat perception my views on the National integration stands as firm as earlier and no amount of threats can dither me from my acclaimed position on the issue.

    Golden Gate Bridge toll booths shutting down

    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 29 (Punjab Mail)- Golden Gate Bridge toll booths may be on their way out.The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s finance committee voted 8-3 on Thursday to recommend replacing the toll booths and 32 toll collectors with an electronic system next year. The district’s board considers the recommendation Friday.The toll booths have been in operation since the bridge opened in 1937.The San Francisco Chronicle says an all-electronic toll collection system will help the district close a projected $89 million budget shortfall over the next five years.

    R—Day gift for village from Canada varsity


    WINNIPEG UNIVERSITY VICE—CHANCELLOR TO INAUGURATE Rs. 1.3-CR PROJECT BUILDING ON R—DAY, STUDIES BEGIN COMING SESSIONS


    Bhanohar ( Ludhiana), January 28 (Punjab Mail)- For the inhabitants of the 500 –odd houses in this village on the Ludhiana Ferozepur highway, republic day has special attains a special meaning this time. Redefined as ‘Indo-Canadian Friendship day ‘, January 26 will see a galaxy of Canadian dignitaries, includes former foreign affairs minister and now wise chancellor of the universities of Winnipeg  (UOW) , Dr Lloyd Axworthy Inaugurating UOW’s first Indian learning center and an all women gymnasium. The whole project, worth over rs. 1.3 crore – funded by the university  and a Canada-based builder cliff penner, who donated $70,000 US –The project would provide you undergraduate village girls the opportunity to pursue their further studies in Canada. The study operations begin next session.

    Sarabjeet singh president of Mata Gujri Memorial Library, a society responsible for running the project, credited Kuljeet Singh Bhathal, anon resident Indian ( NRI ) belonging to the village, with having the facilitated the coinciding of the inauguration and republic day celebrations. “This time, we will give true meaning to republic day, not restricting it to hollow patriotism. We are celebrating social empowerment,” said sarpanch Raminder Singh.

    Dr Axworthy, who arrived here with his delegation on Monday, said he was excited to have the project implemented in rural Punjab. “ We hope this concept inspires other villages in Punjab to build similar educational facilities, he said.

    The project’s idea struck Bhathal, who migrated to Canada 17 years ago, last year, in one of his informal interactions with university officials. It was Bhathal who roped in penner, his former employer, and then made the university agree to sponsoring two girl students from his native village to pursue their higher studies at the Winnipeg university.

    “The learning center is natural progression of the whole idea”, said Bhathal.

    “The exchange programme is a boon for our daughters, and this learning center will be of further help”, said sukhchain Singh, whose daughter Jasmeet Kaur has benefitted fro the sponsorship programme.

    An obituary for Sh. Prem Gupta Former Minister, Punjab, who unfortunately expired today.


    Patiala, January 28, (Bir Devinder Singh)- Sh. Prem Gupta was a senior politician of Punjab. In his passing away Punjab has lost a gentleman politician and the trade union movement in Punjab has lost an untiring crusader. He was Member of Legislative Council (MLC) of Punjab representing the teacher constituency, till the time of its abolition, way back in the year 1969, when Punjab decided to switch over to the unicameral system of legislature. He was also Congress MLA from Patiala from 1972 to 1977. Thereafter he was elected MLA from Rajpura on the Akali Ticket in 1985 and also served as Minister of State in the Government led By S. Surjit Singh Barnala.

    He was a highly educated person having done MA. B Ed. LLB. He lived his life in a very simple and humble manner without any fanfare. All through his life, he remained actively associated with the trade union movement and worked tirelessly to champion the cause of the employees particularly the teaching fraternity. It’s a great personal loss to me. I express my deep condolences to the bereaved family.

    Visiting Punjabi NRIs give zero, Gujaratis shower $450 billion

    CHANDIGARH, Jan 20 (Punjab Mail) All that Punjab has been getting from its visiting NRIs is talk, demands and suggestions. In stark contrast, Gujarat has been able to garner $450 billion of investment intent during the annual Vibrant Gujarat convention for NRIs this year, while Punjab government failed to attract even a penny worth of investment offer during its version of convention held at Jalandhar.
    Though the government officially denied calling it an investment meet, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal made a power point presentation aimed at attracting investments.
    When asked about the quantum of commitments for investment by NRIs, the deputy chief minister claimed that the function was not organized for attracting investments but only to strengthen bonds with NRIs.
    Meanwhile, an interaction with various NRIs revealed that they were not yet convinced by the government’s claims of having created a congenial atmosphere for investment in Punjab. Sarabjit Deol, who is active in Liberal Party in Canada, said though similar announcements and promises had been made three years ago, there was no visible difference on the ground.
    In fact, the Punjabi version of the conference also did not see NRIs of profiles that have surplus money for investments. One of the NRI leaders Satnam Singh Chahal, who could not attend the meet due to a last minute invite, said that the government seems to be targeting NRIs as such, whether poor or rich as they are potential voters rather than investors.
    In fact, this convention has come after a gap of three years indicating it was more for political reasons than for investments that are anyway drying up in Punjab because of the state government’s inability to offer concessions that other states are giving. Even the early advantage of good infrastructure is no more there with major components in an economic activity – land and labour — being quite costly in the state.
    Giving it a political twist, NRI cell chief of Akali Dal, Surjeet Singh Rakhra said NRIs are still haunted by memories of violence and 1984 riots. He said there is hope now that NRIs will invest in their villages with the government announcing a scheme to contribute 75% from its coffers in rural infrastructure if NRIs chip in with 25%.

    Scientists warn California could be struck by winter ‘superstorm’

    California, Jan 19 (Punjab Mail)- A group of more than 100 scientists and experts say in a new report that California faces the risk of a massive “superstorm” that could flood a quarter of the state’s homes and cause $300 billion to $400 billion in damage. Researchers point out that the potential scale of destruction in this storm scenario is four or five times the amount of damage that could be wrought by a major earthquake.
    It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic action movie, but scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey warned federal and state emergency officials that California’s geological history shows such “superstorms” have happened in the past, and should be added to the long list of natural disasters to worry about in the Golden State.
    The threat of a cataclysmic California storm has been dormant for the past 150 years. Geological Survey director Marcia K. McNutt told the New York Times that a 300-mile stretch of the Central Valley was inundated from 1861-62. The floods were so bad that the state capital had to be moved to San Francisco, and Governor Leland Stanford had to take a rowboat to his own inauguration, the report notes. Even larger storms happened in past centuries, over the dates 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605, according to geological evidence.
    The risk is gathering momentum now, scientists say, due to rising temperatures in the atmosphere, which has generally made weather patterns more volatile.
    The scientists built a model that showed a storm could last for more than 40 days and dump 10 feet of water on the state. The storm would be goaded on by an “atmospheric river” that would move water “at the same rate as 50 Mississippis discharging water into the Gulf of Mexico,” according to the AP. Winds could reach 125 miles per hour, and landslides could compound the damage, the report notes.
    Such a superstorm is hypothetical but not improbable, climate researchers warn. “We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes,” Geological Survey scientist Lucy Jones said in a press release.
    Federal and state emergency management officials convened a conference about emergency preparations for possible superstorms last week. You can read the whole report here.

    BUDGET SESSION OF PUNJAB VIDHAN SABHA FROM MARCH 4 TO 25, 2011

    CHANDIGARH, Jan 19 (Sanjay Pahwa) The 11th Session (Budget) of the 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha has been tentatively convened from 4th to 25th March, 2011.
    Disclosing this here today a spokesperson of the Chief Minister’s Office said that Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal cleared the file to this effect last evening for the approval of Cabinet before sending for the final nod by the Punjab Governor for summoning the 11th Budget Session of the 13th Punjab Vidhan Sabha.