|P U N J A B||
Wednesday, September 30, 1998
|No let-up in sales tax
LUDHIANA, Sept 29 There will be no let-up in the present statewide drive to maximise sales tax collections which has led to protests from trade and industry in several parts of Punjab.
Hundreds of poor encroachers ousted
jam report submitted
2500 crore for development
on People's Commission allowed
plea to disband WSC
writes to Chhibber on Lok Pal issue
camps for farmers
|Palace owner denied bail||73 cases settled in Lok Adalat|
No let-up in sales tax drive:
LUDHIANA, Sept 29 There will be no let-up in the present statewide drive to maximise sales tax collections which has led to protests from trade and industry in several parts of Punjab.
An indication to this effect was given here today by the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. In an interview with Tribune News Service he said that according to official estimates sales tax evasion was of the order of Rs 1,000 crore a year. "The government is determined to plug this leakage."
The government, he said, was not getting the expected growth in sales tax revenue. It was minus 1 per cent in 1995-96. The growth was just 3 per cent in 1996-97. In the last financial year, the increase was 9.6 per cent. "This is much below what we want," said Capt Kanwaljit Singh. "In the adjoining states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, the growth in the sales tax varies between 13 and 16 per cent. There is no reason why it should not be on a par with those states. This is the main financial resource of the state."
The sales tax collections in Punjab were just Rs 1,000 crore. In the neighbouring Haryana, which was much smaller in size and did not have such a big concentration of trade and industry as Punjab, the sales tax collection was of the order of Rs 1400 crore. "Therefore, we should have a collection of at least Rs 2,000 crore."
Not long ago, sales tax and excise used to be the main contributor to the state's total revenue collection. Now small savings had become number one in this respect with a collection of Rs 1400 crore. He recalled that when he announced rationalisation of sales tax on about a dozen items in the annual budget, he had stated that he expected the trade and industry to cooperate and maximise sales tax returns. As a matter of fact, he offered to withdraw all sales tax staff if the trade and industry promised a 15 per cent increase in the sales tax collections this year. There was no response. This was what had forced the government to order the drive for maximising sales tax collections.
Capt Kanwaljit Singh said that he had, however, asked the sales tax officers to undertake regular tours of the districts, tone up administration of the department and listen to the grievances of trade and industry. He was at pains to stress that a lower sales tax collection would mean a slowdown in the developmental activities of the state, which the government was not in a mood to brook.
Meanwhile, Mr P.D. Sharma,
president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry of
Punjab, said that the sales tax revenue in the state had
declined not so much because of leakage as due to severe
recession in trade and industry. "The Punjab
Government has not controlled its expenditure in the face
of this reality and instead asked its sales tax officials
to squeeze the genuine tax payers on flimsy grounds.
"Section 14-B of the Sales Tax Act gave sweeping
powers to the sales tax officials and these were being
freely used. Goods carriers are intercepted on very
flimsy grounds. Excise and Taxation Officer has been
given targets of revenue collections and they are
adopting all means to achieve them." The government
should come to the rescue of the recession-hit trade and
industry instead of doing everything possible to further
deepen the crisis.
Hundreds of poor encroachers ousted
DIRBA (Sangrur),Sept 29 The illegal nature of their stay caught up with about 350 poor Scheduled Caste and labourer families 15 years after they occupied 12 acres of prime land worth Rs 40 crore in the local grain market last week.
The residents were ousted from their pucca dwellings in a swift action which started at 6 a.m. on September 23 amid torrential rain after being given a 12-hour warning the previous evening. The operation continued for 17 hours, with the entire area being bulldozed completely.
The residents were left with no roof above their head in pouring rain but had to leave due to their illegal status as well as the animosity of the arhtias of the mandi.
Even in adversity, the affected people are busy carting away the bricks of their houses as well as other construction material. The district administration is also moving fast with tractors working to level chunks of land where kiosks did brisk business a short while ago.
The move, which is described by the district administration as a major success considering the commercial value of the land and that the entire operation was conducted without any law and order problem, has also been welcomed by arhtias of the grain market who say that it is a good riddance from encroachers who besides spreading filth and squalor were also indulging in anti-social and immoral activities.
Talking to TNS while carting away bricks, Ram Partap said, "We were told to vacate the premises on the evening of September 22 and the operation started the next morning. How could we clear our belongings at night, specially in view of the inclement weather? We have not been touched for more than 15 years. What was the need to vacate us in the night?"
Another resident, Mal Singh, said the authorities turned a deaf ear to their pleas for grant of a two-day grace period to pack their belongings. Claiming that they were residents of the area before the mandi was even developed, the oustees said they had valid ration cards and were registered voters.
There have been even cases of houses which were built recently being razed to the ground. Sunil Kumar claimed he had built his dwelling last week itself and spent Rs 50,000 on its construction.
However, the arhtias hail the district administration for taking a decisive action in the matter. Their president, Mr Sham Lal, said the encroachers had thrown the mandi electricity supply out of gear by using illegal kundis. He said the mandi yard had been turned into an open latrine and breeding of pigs by the encroachers had made the entire area unhygienic.
The arhtias also claimed that the Notified Area Committee had offered to allot a site to the encroachers, but they had refused to shift to the new place as they were demanding that the site be officially registered in their name. They also said the encroachers had their own houses in nearby villages. However, both these facts were hotly denied by the oustees.
Deputy Commissioner Anirudh Tewari said the entire operation had been done after giving due notice to the encroachers and that no alternative site could be allotted to them as they had dwellings in nearby villages.
Sub-Divisional Magistrate Parneet Bhardwaj disclosed that the entire operation had been conducted peacefully with even tractors being arranged for the encroachers to remove their belongings.
Meanwhile, the Pradesh
Congress president, Capt Amarinder Singh, today said the
Congress would set up a committee to fight this issue as
well as others in which poor people were
"suppressed" by the present government.
Two sisters raped,
AJNALA (Amritsar), Sept 29 Post militancy, this is perhaps the first case in this border belt when a minor girl, aged 15, and her elder sister (22) have been raped while their sister-in-law was stripped naked at Mukam village in this subdivision by the three accused who are in their early twenties.
Before committing the heinous crime the three youths incapacitated their brother and father by seriously injuring them.
According to Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, district police chief, Majitha, the three culprits knew the rape victims personally. That is why one of the victims identified all the three in the presence of the police.
The incident occurred at midnight when the victims were sleeping. After entering their house, they allegedly attacked the brother and father of the girls. Their sister-in-law was stripped naked so that she would not seek help from the villagers.
Mr Sidhu further said that though one of the victims who lodged the FIR did not mention the names of the culprits, her sister (another rape victim) identified them in the presence of the police.
The assailants also injured the girls before fleeing.
The three were arrested as blood spots of human beings were seen on their clothes.
The three accused have been identified as Baljinder Singh alias Balla, Baldev Singh alias Raju and Rawel Singh, all residents of Kamalpura village, which is only about 2 km from Mukam, the site of the crime.
Dogra case: Punjab reply sought
in a week
CHANDIGARH, Sept 29 The local Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal today directed the Union and the Punjab Governments to file a reply within seven days to an application moved jointly by three Additional Directors-General of Punjab Police assailing the second six month extension in service granted to Mr P.C. Dogra, Director-General of Police.
The three ADGPs are Mr Sarabjit Singh, Mr Jarnail Singh Chahal and Mr Mehal Singh Bhullar.
Justice R.K. Nehru and Mr S.C. Vaish, vice chairman and administrative member of the tribunal, who delivered this order, adjourned the case to October 16. While Mr Mehant Gupta, Additional Advocate-General, received notice for the Punjab Government, Mr Surya Kant Sharma accepted the notice on Mr Dogra's behalf.
The applicants stated that all of them were in the rank of ADGPs and were within the zone of consideration for promotion to the post of DGP.
They added that earlier Mr Dogra had moved an application in the tribunal for the change of his date of birth at the fag end of his career. The tribunal had dismissed this application with the observation: "Finding that the service career was coming to end, he started the construction of an edifice for seeking a change in the date of birth in his record. We have examined his service record and we, with a heavy heart, bring it on record that the stand taken by the applicant through his counsel is not only factually incorrect but a deliberate act of misrepresentation...."
The applicants stated that when Mr Dogra failed to get his date of birth changed, the Punjab Government granted him an extension in service for six months from April 1, 1998. Even before Mr Dogra retired, the Punjab Government moved a proposal to the Union Government for a further extension beyond September 30. This proposal was rejected by the Centre.
They told the court that notwithstanding the Centre's rejection of the proposal the Punjab Government moved another application for the grant of an extension in service to Mr Dogra beyond September 30.
They claimed that in the
meantime, the Union Government amended the all-India
service rules which laid down that an officer shall
retire with effect from the afternoon of the last day of
the month in which he attains the age of 60 years. The
rules further laid down that a member of the service
"dealing with Budget work or working as a full-time
member of a committee which is to be wound up within a
short period may be given extension in service for a
period not exceeding three months in public interest,
with the prior approval of the Central Government".
Pollution studies unutilised
PATIALA, Sept 29 The majority of studies conducted over the years by the Punjab Pollution Control Board here have either become or are on the verge of becoming obsolete.
Instead of being utilised as a basic source material for the prevention and control of pollution in a systematic manner in the state, the studies have merely become show pieces decorating the library and offices of the board on the Nabha road here.
Sources in the board reveal that in the absence of any action taken on these studies by the departments concerned, like the municipality, transport, drainage and sewerage departments and negligible follow-up, the studies have been rendered outdated and the money spent on them gone waste.
The lack of action taken by the departments is also evident from an official press note of the board regarding a recent meeting of the municipalities, sewerage boards and medical institutions. It says that according to the board analysis, 70 per cent of water pollution is caused not by the industries but by the municipal sewage, still, except Naya Nangal, no other municipal council or corporation has provided pollution control system.
Mr F. Lal Kansal, Chairman, PPCB, defended the board by stating that the prime objective of the PPCB is to educate the masses and government departments about the level of pollution in their respective area and suggest the possible methods of overcoming it. He added that the Pollution Control Board can only take action against the industries as the rules do not provide the board enough teeth to take stern action against the non-implementation of its recommendations by the other departments.
The PPCB study on the status of river waters of Punjab done in 1989 states that the river waters can only be classified in the C category, which means that the water would become fit for use only after treatment and disinfection. To attain this objective, it is desired that the municipalities and the Sewerage Board install treatment plants at the sewerage drains flowing effluents in the rivers. Even the industries were also asked to install the treatment plants.
The city sewage has not only affected the river waters but also damaged the soil quality in the state. A study on soil quality reveals that the city sewage contains many toxic compounds. Most of the municipalities collect sewage through sewer systems and allow it to flow into a drain or river body used for irrigation purposes.
Mr Kansal said that the board has been writing letters to the departments but their hands are in turn, tied due to lack of funds. However, the Punjab Government has planned to auction land of the municipalities to generate sources for such pollution control drives.
The studies about air pollution, mainly conducted in Ludhiana city, also reveal an increase in air pollution. They state that more than 90 per cent of the vehicles do not comply with the pollution standards. The main culprits are the autorickshaws. The study recommends that the Transport Department should ban vehicles plying without a valid pollution under check certificate.
Mr Kansal said the 70 per cent of pollution control exercises are to be adopted by other departments while the board primarily takes action against the industries only. Stressing his point, he cited another study conducted in 1997 by the board about the achievements of the board in controlling industrial pollution in Ludhiana.
He said that out of 26 large-scale units, 18 have been provided with effluent treatment facilities. Of the 80 medium-scale units, nearly 60 have installed industrial treatment plants and about 300 small-scale units out of total 647 have also been provided with treatment plants.
Turbine jam report submitted
LEHRA MOHABAT, Sept 29 A high-level committee constituted for probing the turbine jamming incident of the first unit of the Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) has reportedly held human failure and equipment failure responsible for the mishap.
Official sources said that the report submitted to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities by the committee comprising the Chief Engineer (Enforcement), Chief Engineer (Thermal Design) and a senior representative of BHEL, revealed that persons deployed on the turbine chamber for its maintenance and equipments installed for its protection failed to act in the moment of crisis and it led to turbine jamming.
According to the information gathered by this correspondent, the committee has ruled out any sabotage in the turbine jamming incident due to which the GHTP was suffering a loss of crores of rupees daily.
The turbine of the first unit of the GHTP jammed on the morning of August 14 after a major fault developed in it. The total loss to turbine is yet to be assessed and it has been sent to the BHEL, Hardwar, for the necessary repairs. The GHTP authorities also took the help of the police to investigate whether 12 persons of a private company who had been given the turbine maintenance contract were responsible for any negligence.
Mr S.P. Sharma, Member Generation, PSEB, and Mr T.L. Paika, Chief Engineer, GHTP, refused to reveal the details, saying that it was a confidential report and had been submitted directly to the PSEB authorities.
However, it is learnt that the committee has also found that there was great shortage of skilled operation staff. The committee said that inadequate skilled operation staff was also one of the factors of the jamming.
PSEB sources said that following the recommendations of the committee, it had started a training programme for its engineers and other technical staff in operating the thermal plants. About 30 engineers of the operation wing are undergoing training in the operation, maintenance and protection of various components of the thermal plant by coaches of National Power Training Institute, Faridabad.
The sources said that all the operation wing staff would be trained in all aspects of thermal operation in phases. The duration of one training capsule would be five weeks. The engineers and the technical staff would undergo a test after the completion of training and if any person's performance was found falling short of the prescribed standard, he would have to undergo training again.
Mr S.P. Sharma said the staff would also be trained in crisis management.
Rs 2500 crore for development
LUDHIANA, Sept 29 An amount of Rs 2500 crore would be spent to carry out developmental projects in the rural and urban areas of Punjab during the current financial year which is being observed as "development year" in the state.
This was announced by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister of Punjab, while addressing the monthly meeting of the District Planning and Development Board, here today. The Finance Minister said that the state government was committed to improving the infrastructural facilities and a new infrastructural development board was being set up very soon, for which, funds amounting to Rs 500 crore were being arranged from financial institutions.
The stagnating water in all villages was posing a very serious problem of environment and the state government had chalked out a plan costing Rs 55 crore for cleaning the ponds in the villages.
The Finance Minister asked members of the planning board and officers to make comprehensive checking in all grain markets to ensure the proper procurement of paddy and assured that in case of any irregularity in any Mandi, the SDM concerned would be held responsible.
Later, presiding over the
meeting of the district-level grievances committee, the
minister directed the officers to redress the grievances
of the public on a priority basis and strictly follow the
directions of Chief Minister in this regard.
Pleas on People's Commission
CHANDIGARH, Sept 29 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed the applications moved by Mr S.S. Sood, a Jalandhar-based advocate, and Mr Justice Ajit Singh Bains and Mr R.N. Kumar, Chairman and Convener of the Committee for Coordination on Disappearance in Punjab, respectively, for becoming interveners in a public interest petition filed by Mr Sudershan Goel contesting the constitution of the People's Commission.
This order was delivered by Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Iqbal Singh before whom the petition came up for hearing. The Bench adjourned the case to October 28. The adjournment was given because service of the notice was not effected on the respondents.
The People's Commission was constituted by Justice Kuldip Singh, a former Supreme Court Judge, with Justice D.S. Tewatia, a former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, as Chairman.
The petitioner stated that the People's Commission sat in judgements passed by courts of competent jurisdiction in cases of alleged atrocities during the militancy. This was an attempt to set up a parallel judicial system which might subvert the judicial process as well as cause a serious threat to the country's survival.
He added that the state of
Punjab remained a terrorist affected area for more than a
decade and the commission's actions in summoning police
officials and other state officials and holding them
guilty would have a demoralising effect not only on such
officials but also on society at large.
AISSF plea to disband WSC
CHANDIGARH, Sept 29 The All-India Sikh Students Federation today sought disbanding of the controversial World Sikh Council.
Addressing a press conference here today Mr Harminder Singh Gill, president of the federation, said the council had caused more harm than serving the cause of the Sikh Panth.
He said the SGPC was capable of fulfilling all responsibilities with regard to the Khalsa Panth and that there was no need for a new setup. He also appealed to Mr G.S. Tohra, SGPC chief, to resolve the ongoing row among the three Sikh head priests.
Amarinder writes to Chhibber on Lok
CHANDIGARH, Sept 29 Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, in a letter sent to the Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen B.K.N, Chhibber, has urged him to ask the Punjab Government to change the present Lok Pal, Mr Harbans Singh Rai.
He said if the Punjab Government did not change him, the Congress Party would have to ask its members defending themselves in the present Lok Pal's court to boycott its proceedings.
He said his party was fully prepared to defend its members if a Lok Pal was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court from one of his retired colleagues.
He said Mr Justice Rai had been a close confidant of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, for the past four decades. Mr Badal appointed Mr Rai's son, Mr Randeep Singh, as Additional Advocate-General. His another close relation was an important functionary in Mr Badal's office.
In such circumstances,
Capt Amarinder Singh said his party could not expect
justice from the present Lok Pal. He said his party was
intending to file cases against Mr Badal but it would be
difficult to get proper hearing in the court of present
Lok Pal due to above given reasons.
Training camps for farmers
PHILLAUR, Sept 29 The Punjab Government will organise village-level training camps for farmers in which experts from Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, will participate.
This was stated here by Punjab Food and Supplies Minister Madan Mohan Mittal today after his return from New Delhi where he met Union Food and Supplies Minister Surjit Singh Barnala in connection with problems of farmers and rice millers.
Mr Mittal said the union government had decided to conduct tests on the out-turn ratio by the Central Food Technology and Research Institute, Mysore, and that it would be applicable from October 1.
He said the union government had also agreed to provide exemption on the imposition of levy till October 10. He said the rates of rice raw had been increased from Rs 786 per quintal to Rs 830 per quintal and rice parboil from Rs 788 per quintal to Rs 840 per quintal.
The custom billing rate had also been raised from Rs 12 per quintal to Rs 13-20 per quintal.
Mr Mittal claimed that the government machinery had been activated to purchase paddy from mandis. He appealed to the farmers to bring paddy in the mandis and assured them that the paddy would be purchased.
Palace owner denied bail
LUDHIANA, Sept 29 Mr Lakhbir Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, has rejected the anticipatory bail application of Bhupinder Singh, proprietor of Malhar Palace, and Romila Raikhy, his accomplice.
According to a certified copy of the court order received today, the two had filed an application in the district court following apprehension that they could be arrested in a case relating to fraud and cheating.
Singh had offered to sell his land measuring 1350 sq yards to Mr Mohan Jain and Mr Chamanlal Chatley of Tulsi Constructions for Rs 1 crore and had also promised to demolish the building after receiving the payment. The complainants alleged that Singh and Raikhy had hidden the fact that the land was under mortgage.
73 cases settled in Lok
BATHINDA, Sept 29 As many as 73 cases were settled in the state-level Lok Adalat which was held at Mansa by the District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla.
According to a press note issued here today, the adalat took up 104 cases for settlement and 73 were settled on the spot.
Apart from that, six cases of family disputes were also settled. In 67 criminal and civil cases, Rs 66,400 was given to the deserving parties as award.
Earlier, in the state-level Lok Adalat held at the district courts here on September 19, 24 cases of family disputes, 15 civil cases and six cases of motor accidents were settled on the spot. Mr Bhalla said Rs 12.9 lakh was given as compensation to different parties in motor accident cases.
State not to recognise DAV board
MALERKOTLA, Sept 29 The Punjab School Education Board has decided not to recognise the DAV Education Board on the plea that it has not been established under law and has not been recognised by any government.
In a letter circulated to heads of high and higher secondary school affiliated to the Punjab School Board, it has directed principals not to give admission to students who had passed the middle standard examination from DAV schools in Punjab.
But it is not clear whether the board recognises the DAV schools which are affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
Murder convict escapes
GURDASPUR, Sept 29 Dilbag Singh, alias Baga, of Dabanwali village under Sadar police station, Batala, who was undergoing life imprisonment in a murder case and was brought to the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge as witness in another case yesterday, escaped from the court after giving his witness.
The convict was without handcuffs and allegedly on permission from Mr Harjit Singh, ASI, who had along with a police party brought him to the court, gone to visit his house.
According to official sources, Mr Harjit Singh was under influence of liquor and conceded his plea.
Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent of Police, has suspended Sub-Inspector Sham Singh, Line Officer, Police Lines, Batala. Harjit Singh, ASI, and Balraj Singh, Karnail Singh Bikramjit Singh and Manjit Kaur, all constables, for dereliction of duty.
A case under Sections 224, 225 and 120B, IPC, has been registered with the city police station here.
Govt extends last date of
CHANDIGARH, Sept 29 The Punjab Government has decided to extend the last date of admission for post-graduate classes in medical colleges to November 30. Earlier it was September 30.
One of the reasons for doing so was the creation of eight new seats at the PG level in Government Medical College, Faridkot in surgery, ophthalmology and skin and veneral diseases.
This was stated by the Principal Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, while talking to TNS.
Counselling for PG courses
has already taken place. PCMS doctors who have been
selected for admission into different disciplines at the
PG level are required to get a "no objection
certificate" from the Directorate of Health and
Family Welfare. Some of the candidates said they were
facing difficulty, though, lists had been sent to the
directorate by the Director, Medical Education and
District status for Malerkotla
MALERKOTLA, Sept 29 The Malerkotla Public Peace and Welfare Committee in a letter to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has sought the status of a district for the town.
According to Mr Hans Raj Gupta, president of the committee, they have pointed out that Malerkotla is the only town in Sangrur district which has large, and small-scale industries. It is also the supply point of vegetables for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Uniform re-employment policy
PATIALA, Sept 29 The Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) yesterday urged the Vice-Chancellor to adopt a uniform policy for re-employment of teachers in the university.
In a press note here, the PUTA President, Mr SS Khaira, and the Secretary, Dr NS Atri, requested the Vice-Chancellor to process the cases of teachers who had submitted their projects so that the retiring teachers could be re-employed without much delay and they could start work on their projects.
The leaders also urged the
authorities to give the scheme a new look. They also
impressed upon the Vice-Chancellor to reconstitute the
grievances committee so that the genuine problems of the
teachers were looked into expeditiously.
Five caught taking bribe
PATIALA, Sept 29 The Vigilance Bureau, Patiala, has booked five persons of three districts, including a block primary education officer and a deputy district attorney, under the anti-corruption Act.
According to an official press note of the bureau, the five were caught redhanded while accepting graft in separate raids carried out recently.
The note states that a block primary education officer, Raj Updesh, and senior clerk Rattan Lal of Mansa were caught while accepting Rs 1500 from a school master as bribe.
Deputy district attorney Tirth Ram Sharma and a steno, Kulwinder Singh, of Bathinda were caught taking bribe of Rs 2,000 for recording a statement.
The note also said that a veterinary doctor posted at Fatehgarh Sahib was also caught redhanded while accepting money for attesting the death of a head of cattle.
Youth festival results
PATIALA, Sept 29 The local Khalsa College, S.D. College, Barnala and Government Rajindra College, Bathinda, were awarded the first, second and third prizes, respectively, in the Punjabi University inter-zonal youth festival at a function organised here today.
Immediate purchase of paddy ordered
PATIALA, Sept 29 Patiala Deputy Commissioner Viswajit Khanna has directed procurement agencies and district officials to purchase paddy arriving in mandis in the district immediately.
In a statement yesterday,
Mr Khanna said instructions had also been given to the
District Food and Supply Controller to ensure that
farmers were not harassed in the mandis. He also appealed
to the farmers to bring to the mandis only that paddy
which had moisture content less than 18 per cent.
Punjab drivers threaten stir
AMRITSAR, Sept 29 The Punjab Government Drivers and Technical Employees Union has threatened to resort to a statewide traffic blockade if their "genuine" demands are not accepted at the earliest.
In a written statement issued here yesterday Mr Sham Singh, general secretary of the union, said the government should immediately regularise all ad hoc drivers and technical workers who had completed 249 days in service.
From Ravinder Sud
Woes of cinema-goers
HOSHIARPUR: Cinema is the only main source of entertainment for the local residents. There are four cinema houses in the city out of which three are functioning. Friends Theatre having 410 seating capacity has been closed for a long time.
Laxmi and Swaran cinema houses having 670 and 660 seating capacity, respectively, are situated just opposite the general bus stand. Their owners claim that their theatres are air-conditioned. But the air-conditioning plants of these halls seldom work.
There are no proper facilities for cinema-goers. There is no arrangement even for drinking water on the premises of these houses. Seats of almost all cinema houses require immediate heavy repairs. The sanitary conditions there are so poor that the stink coming from the urinal and toilet blocks is unbearable. Toilets and urinals seem to be quite insufficient for cinema-goers who frequently dirty the boundary walls on the premises.
Besides, there are no proper arrangements for the cleaning of the cinema halls and rats run about freely during the shows creating panic among cinema-goers.
On the premiere of new films, cinema-goers are stuffed like sardines in the halls. The owners of Laxmi Theatre have constructed shops in front of the cinema hall and set up a marketing centre in the compound. The entire complex has thus become very congested.
* * * *
The District Road Committee has cleared the fourth phase of the construction project on the Ring Road around the city. The 5.25 km-long link road will be constructed to connect Hoshiarpur-Una and Hoshiarpur-Bharwain roads for which Rs 9.97 crore will be spent. The three phases of the Ring Road connecting the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road with Hoshiarpur-Una road, Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road with the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road and the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road with the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road had already been completed.
Though two-third portion of the Ring Road has been long completed, but due to lack of coordination between the district administration and the police, the heavy vehicular traffic of all aforesaid roads still passes through the city regularly. This creates a lot of traffic trouble especially at the Court Road, Sutehri Road, Government College Chowk and Parbhat Chowk.
* * * *
Organisers of the Bhai Ghanayia Mission are determined to establish Hoshiarpur as a city of blood donors. The mission is engaged mainly in social work. It recently organised several blood donation camps to achieve the aforesaid target.
The organisers visit educational institutions, government offices, banks and industries for motivation and performing blood grouping so that a list of voluntary donors can be prepared. A blood donors directory is also under preparation by the mission with names, addresses and blood groups of voluntary donors of the city and its surrounding areas. To provide blood during emergency, a blood bank named Bhai Ghanayia Charitable Blood Bank will shortly be opened by the mission.
* * * *
As many as 1,177
anganwaris are functioning in all 10 blocks in the
district where 30,235 beneficiaries are being provided a
nutritious diet. A sum of Rs 22.31 lakh had been spent
for the purpose. A sum of Rs 2 lakh had been disbursed
among 400 beneficiaries under the girl child scheme in
the district. Free bus passes have been issued to 34,996
women above the age of 60 years.
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