|P U N J A B||
Friday, December 31, 1999
officials face action
Director ignored crash landing
Tohra flays move to expand
Badal has secret deal
Birdevinder flays Amarinder's
Dry spell affects milk yield
Patient forced out of operating
Vigilance bureau to probe Malta
Dont harm hostages, says
Librarians for pay parity with
28 proclaimed offenders held
Celebrations during state
Prof K.B.S. Sodhi
CHANDIGARH, Dec 30 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has ordered action against as many as 65 officials of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation in connection with the wooden crates scandal worth Rs 1 crore.
While the Chief Minister has ordered the suspension of 13 employees, he has directed the authorities concerned to serve a show-cause notice to nine District Managers of the corporation. Departmental proceedings had also been ordered against 65 other officials of the corporation, according to a Punjab Governments press note here today.
Besides this the Chief Minister has called for an explanation of the former Managing Director of the corporation, Mr Gurnihal Singh Pirzada, an IAS officer, for showing laxity in the procurement of crates for kharif 1999 and not taking steps well in advance for the purchase when it was known that it was likely to be a bumper crop of paddy and there was every possibility of the corporation making more purchase of paddy.
Those who have been placed under suspension include Mr Yashpal, Manager (Stores, head office), Mr Roop Lal, Mr Jaswinder Pal Singh, Mr Vishnu Dutt, Mr Gurbachan Singh, Mr Anil Kumar, Mr Harinder Singh, Mr Manjit Singh (Ludhiana), Mr Manjit Singh (Sangrur) and Mr J.P. Kakria, all technical officers; and Mr Anil Kumar, Mr S.S. Sharda and Mr S.S. Gosal, all Assistant Storage and Technical Officers.
The show-cause notice for major penalty has been issued to Mr N.C. Rana, Mr S.K. Trehan, Mr O.P. Sharma, Mr Dharam Pal, Mr Kewal Krishan, Mr S.K. Goel, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Kartar Singh and Mr S.S. Dhillon, all District Managers.
The departmental proceedings has been ordered against Mr M.M. Thathai, Mr R.K. Manchanda, Mr Kirpal Singh, Mr Jaswinder Singh (Ferozepore), Mr O.P. Goyal, Mr H.S. Brar, Mr Tirlochan Singh and Mr S.C. Jain (Faridkot), Mr M.S. Rana and Mr Lakhwinder Singh (Hoshiarpur), Mr Surender Kumar, Mr Kulwinder Singh, Mr Channa Ram, Mr Chuhar Singh and Mr Nartoam Singh (Jalandhar), Mr Gurmit Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Buta Singh, Mr Tej Ram Sharma (Mansa) Mr Gurinder Kumar, Mr Inderjit Singh, Mr Randhir Singh, Mr R.N. Dhir and Mr Vainder Kumar (Moga), Mr Malkiat Singh, Mr H.S. Brar and Mr Tirlochan Singh (Muktsar).
Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Mohan Singh, Mr Sewa Singh, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Prem Singh (Patiala), Mr Shingara Singh (Ludhiana), Mr C.G. Dhawan, Mr Bawa Singh, Mr S.P. Singh and Mr Paramvir Singh (Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib), Mr Harvinder Singh, Mr P.K. Mittal, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr O.P. Sharma and Mr Divya Kumar (Sangrur) also face action.
The story with regard to scandal was broken by The Tribune. As the Chief Minister had gone through The Tribunes report, he immediately called his officers and handed over the enquiry to Mr Y.S. Ratra, Financial Commissioner, Development, who found that the purchase of the substandard crates has been masterminded in such a way that it was deliberately made at the nick of the time when paddy had already started arriving in the market.
Obviously, this was done to avoid any fruitful and worthwhile inspection of quality according to the government statement.
The Chairman of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Mr S.S. Cheema, objected to the delayed submission of proposals and expressed the fear that within the time available no manufacturer would be able to supply crates according to the prescribed specifications. The chairman also accused officers of creating artificial emergency to have their own way.
Mr Ratra in his report has concluded that besides other quality deficiencies, as much as up to 29 per cent less wood than what was prescribed was used by the suppliers, and the crates supplied to the corporation were much below the specifications.
It appears, according to the government statement, that government departments and public sector undertakings, who offered to supply wooden crates of the desired quality were rebuffed with malafide intention, and purchase orders were placed in favour of private suppliers.
indicated that crates worth Rs 7 crore or so were also
procured in December-January last by the corporation.
These were supplied almost by the same suppliers (firms).
Even a top functionary of the corporation had recorded on
the file that it had come to his notice that substandard
crates were being purchased and an enquiry required to be
held. However, no enquiry was held.
Director ignored crash landing
CHANDIGARH, Dec 30 The last word on the handling of the situation in Amritsar after the hijacked Indian Airlines plane landed there on December 24 is yet to be said and heard.
The happenings of that fateful day remain a subject of doubt and debate, despite the "mystery" call of J. Lal, claiming to be from the Home Ministry, who ordered refuelling; and the release of transcript of conversation between the pilot and the Air Traffic Controller in Amritsar.
Consequently, the Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr Sarbjit Singh, has had a follow up review with the officers involved in handling that crisis situation. The meeting held here has come up with an "action plan".
Talking to TNS, Mr Sarbjit Singh said today following were the action plan components: need to have police wireless communication facilities at the ATC, Amritsar, for contact with the local police; crisis management drill, including crash landing drill, requires to be held periodically; hotline facilities with the Amritsar district administration on the one hand and with Chandigarh and New Delhi on the other from the ATC required to be established; display of detailed telephone numbers of the Delhi-based crisis management group in the ATC; permanent deployment of either a contingent of the NSG commandos or a Punjab Police team trained unit by the National Security Guards in Amritsar; a provision for tape-recording of conversation with aircraft and other radio telephone communication from ATC; in the absence of instructions from the crisis management group in New Delhi then local authorities need to be named from whom instructions are to be obtained/issued and accepted by all agencies; appreciate role of local administration and the police in the intervening period when a word is awaited from the crisis management group or arrival of NSG; need to specify as to who all would enter the ATC as a lot of commotion was seen at the ATC on December 24.
The meeting was attended, among others, by the Inspector-General of Police and the DIG, Border Range, Mr Bakshi Ram and Mr Jasminder Singh, respectively, the IG Commando, Mr J.P. Birdi, IG Intelligence, Mr M.P.S. Aulakh and officers of the security wing.
Amritsar needs a separate "operations room" with parallel communication facilities linked with the ATC. Though the focus at present is on Kandahar negotiations, nevertheless, Amritsar has been a "favoured" stop for the hijackers in the past.
Sources told TNS that even if instructions to "storm" the aircraft were passed on December 24, the Punjab police would not have carried out the orders for two reasons: it has neither trained commandos in anti-hijack operations nor the requisite equipment. A special kind of explosive is required to blow up the door and also ladders to reach the belly. The police has also found "absurd" certain comments on the role of the state administration made by a former DGP, who said that Mr Sarbjit Singh or other senior officers should have "rushed" to Amritsar.
TNS while browsing through the "contingency plan" to deal with hijacking and other acts of unlawful interference with civil aviation, found that primarily it was for the airport authority in New Delhi and Amritsar to deal with a crisis situation. The operational manual of the Ministry of Civil Aviation circulated on August 31, 1995, is signed by the Commissioner of Security, Mr Sharda Prasad.
Piecing together information gathered from those who handled the situation in Amritsar reveal that on December 24, the Director, Airport, did not follow crash landing drill, which is supposed to be otherwise followed in such a situation. In fact no instruction reached Amritsar even from Delhi's crisis management group in time. The airport authorities sought no instruction from the local crisis management group.
Punjab is taking up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs as regards strategic preparedness. In fact some suggestions were made even when Mr K.P.S. Gill was the DGP.
The operational manuals seems to have been given a go-by in Amritsar. The contingency plan clearly delineates the functions and responsibilities of the three-tier management system evolved for such exigencies. The three are: the crisis management group, the central committee and the aerodrome committee.
The first is the apex body. The central committee is the executive authority responsible for dealing with contingency hijacking, and the third is established at every airport, which gets activated on the occurrence of an emergency at the affected airport.
CHANDIGARH, Dec 30 A political leader's visit to the Golden Temple should only mean an effort to pay obeisance at a holy shrine. But Mrs Sonia Gandhi's much-awaited and much-postponed visit has a clear political message. Her well-thought out statement drafted with the help of a former Finance Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is a clear effort to atone for the sins. Mrs Gandhi neither referred directly to Operation Bluestar nor she spoke about any responsibility, but her anguish over the events of June 1984, and her prayer that such events should not take place goes beyond the realm of daily politics. She has clearly tried to seek forgiveness and bury the past and begin a new chapter with the Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular. It is true that the late Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi, who ordered Operation Bluestar and played some murky politics, had always spoken very high of the Sikhs and the Punjabis about their bravery and their contribution to the well-being of the country as protectors of the borders and growers of food. Mrs Sonia Gandhi must have pondered, and then made that crucial statement.
It is also true the feelings of hurt which the Punjabis and the Sikhs had felt in June 1984, and the reaction of the collective Sikh psyche is no longer the same. Much water has passed and later events have helped the people understand the role of political parties and leaders. Even the Akalis are not interested any more in holding a high judicial probe and are not keen on holding political leaders and officers responsible for the tragedy that struck Punjab for over a decade in which many lives were lost. In fact, that collective psyche no longer exists in that angry form, as admitted by one senior Akali leader.
There is no doubt Mrs Sonia Gandhi's visit would have a bearing on the state politics. Congressmen are very happy that one of the hurdles to cross over and meet the Sikh demands that the Gandhi family must apologise for the events of 1984, has been removed. It is not that all Sikhs were not happy with the Congress or did not support it during the elections, but most of them had shifted their loyalties to the Akalis and these include the present Punjab Congress President, Capt Amarinder Singh, and a host of others. This should help Congress gain a foothold in the Sikh peasantry.
But Congressmen with their unending internecine quarrels and hardened ambitious attitude are known to waste endless opportunities. Right now, three major groups have been attacking each other and complaining endlessly to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the party president. The way Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, a former Chief Minister and state unit president, has been sidelined has only added to the chasm that was already plaguing the party. Bickerings are there at all levels and the central leadership is aware of the malaise. But hardly any action has been initiated to unite the Congressmen. Perhaps action will be there when elections are close as it happened in the case of the Haryana Congress.
But it is more interesting to watch the Akalis. At one level they seem to have wasted the opportunity which the people of Punjab so enthusiastically gave them by sheer bad governance and populism. At another level, there is a strong feeling among the ruling party leaders that the changes of their coming back to power in February, 2002, when the Assembly elections come up. The drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha poll and the increased infighting add to the disenchantment of the rank and file. "We seem to have already abandoned", was one wry comment of an Akali leader. "By the time of elections, our graph will be still lower and infighting level high" was another comment.
But Mr Parkash Singh Badal is not known to have left the arena like this. Ever since the loss of face in the Lok Sabha poll, he has been trying hard to give a facelift to his governance. He has been crusading against corruption and trying hard to get out of the fiscal mess. So far he has not had much luck. But even if he is 50 per cent successful, the Akalis cannot be just written off. But his major headache, as he admitted the other day, is fragmentation of the Akali Dal as such.
Power, clearly, would
not come on a platter to Congressmen and those who wish
to organise and lead the campaign cannot afford to be
just "absentee landlords". Right now the
Congress attack lacks the sting the one that could
bite and hurt. Capt Amarinder Singh's facts about the
current serious fiscal crisis in Punjab are old. He does
not seem not to be updating himself. The Congress machine
is not well oiled as yet. This way the party may lose the
gain which Mrs Sonia Gandhi's visit to the Golden Temple
may have provided.
Birdevinder flays Amarinder's demand
PATIALA, Dec 30 Punjab Pradesh Congress General Secretary Birdevinder Singh today said the demand for imposing financial emergency in Punjab raised by the PPCC President, Capt Amarinder Singh, was an ill-conceived, ill-advised and irrational move.
Addressing a press conference here, Mr Birdevinder Singh said the demand would have dangerous consequences for the people of Punjab as it would create a situation in which the Congress would be held responsible for the failures of the SAD-BJP government. He said he would meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi shortly regarding this.
The Congress General Secretary said the PPCC chief had probably not thought of the ramifications of the demand and thought that it would result in the fall of the state government. He said contrary to this the fundamental rights would be denied to them if financial emergency was imposed in the state.
Quoting from the Constitution, he said a financial emergency could result in reduction of salaries and allowances of all employees, including judges. He said besides this in such a situation the government was free to compulsorily acquire property at rates fixed by it against which there was no appeal.
"Is the Congress going to support this. We stand for the guarantee of the rights to the people and not for their abrogation", he remarked. The Congress leader said the people of the state should not be made to suffer for the follies of the SAD-BJP government. He said the Congress, instead of making such a demand, could have undertaken a series of dharnas to highlight the fiscal mismanagement of the government. He said a demand for a special session of the state assembly to discuss the crisis could also be made.
Mr Birdevinder Singh also had information that the state government was in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with the Centre under which a cess of 50 paise would be realised for power connections to farmers. He said the Congress was, however, giving the SAD a chance to lay the blame of withdrawing free power facility on the Congress.
The Congress leader said while the Emergency of 1977 had disastrous ramifications for the Congress at the national level, a financial emergency imposed in Punjab on the recommendation of the Congress would rout the party in the state.
"Why does Capt Amarinder want this to happen", he asked and demanded that a meeting of the state Congress executive should be convened immediately to discuss the issue.
The Congress leader,
when asked why he was bringing the matter in the Press
when he could have raised the issue in the appropriate
party forum, said: "I had requested for a review in
the beginning but nothing happened". He added that
no meeting of the party had taken place to discuss this
issue in detail.
Punjab ministry expansion today
CHANDIGARH, Dec 30 The Punjab Council of Ministers will be expanded tomorrow.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place at Raj Bhavan at 11 a.m.
There is a lot of speculation on who will get a berth. Mr Parkash Singh Badal has to accommodate even BJP MLAs besides of course, his own party MLAs.
Reliable sources say there is not likely to be any elevation of any of the present Ministers of State. However, among those likely to take the oath tomorrow, Cabinet rank ministers are likely to be two or three, while the remaining will be Ministers of State.
The present strength of the ministry is 26 of whom 15 are of Cabinet rank and 10 Ministers of State. The SAD strength in the Vidhan Sabha is 74 and that of the BJP 18. While the Congress has 15 MLAs, the CPI has two both the BSP and the SAD (Mann) have one each. The Independents are five in number. There is one vacant seat, that of Nawanshahr.
This is the first expansion since February 1997. It has long been awaited.
In view of the state
mourning due to the death of a former President Dr
Shankar Dayal Sharma, who was also the Governor of
Punjab, the sentence "kindly stay for tea" has
been deleted in the invitation cards.
Dry spell affects milk yield
FEROZEPORE, Dec 30 The dry spell has badly affected the milk yield in the region, according to reports reaching the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
As the fodder cultivation is severely hit by the fog and delayed rain the cattle is not being adequately fed, thus affecting the milk yield, it is learnt. The worst hit are marginal farmers, who mainly rely on dairy business for a living.
While those with big land holdings are using pumps to draw water for irrigation, the marginal dairy farmers are forced to buy the water. This is a matter of worry for the farm scientists, who are repeatedly recommending the judicious use of underground water. "The commercialisation of underground water is certainly harmful", one expert at the kendra warned.
A scientist at the kendra cautioned against low milk yield and the shortage of green fodder, if the dry spell prolonged on account of poor rainfall. The Assistant Professor in Animal Sciences at the kendra, Mr Sukhpal Singh Sandhu said each head of the milk yielding cattle needs 40 kg of green fodder.
As the desperate farmers are forced to underfeed their cattle, the calves too are suffering as the milk is being denied to them on account of the low yield.
"This has resulted in fatal ailments among the calves," he lamented.
There is a positive co-relation between the dry winters and high mortality rate among the underfed calves, Mr Sandhu observed.
Admn to computerise records
FATEHGARH SAHIB: Fatehgarh Sahib has become the first district in Punjab for which the Union Government sanctioned a Rs 63-lakh project for digitisation of cadastral maps, known as "musavis"in common parlance.
According to Mr V.K.Janjua, Deputy Commissioner, the work on this project has already started and it would be finished in four months. A major benefit of computerisation would be freedom of land owning peasantry from dependence on revenue patwaris.
Instead of running around patwaris, the public can obtain a computerised copy of the record of rights (jamabandi) from the tehsil headquarters. Availability of land records on the computer will make the land records tamper-proof, which, in turn, will reduce the menace of litigation and social conflicts associated with land disputes Inconsistencies, inaccuracies and discrepancies in data would thus be eliminated.The data obtained by computerisation can be used by various government departments for planning and information sharing. It will facilitate detailed planning for infrastructure development as well as environment development.
Mr Janjua said geographical information system (GIS) software technology will be used to develop a digital cadastral information system (DCIS) which will convert the maps on cloth available with patwaris into digital maps. The survey map of village is generally divided into several sub-maps in the digitisation process. The first sub-maps would be scanned to get a roster image and it would be vectorised to generate vector digital data. These digitised musavis will then be integrated to generate a map of the village using map info software. Later on, the digital, maps of different villages of tehsil will be merged together through this info software technology to construct the map of tehsil. Similarly, the digital maps of tehsils would be merged together to form a map of the district.
He said the ultimate object of the project is to have land information system using GIS software. This linkage of data of land records with digital maps will create land information system which would be a geographical information system. Then with a click on any land parcel on the digital map, one can know the name of owner, mortgager, lessor, area of parcel, kind of land, etc. Any kind of information on land records can be obtained by just a click on digital map. It will also facilitate the supply of accurate digital maps of the public.
He further said the
district had become the first district in state to have
land records of one tehsil computerised. The entire
revenue record (jamabandis) of Fatehgarh Sahib has been
computerised and shortly the copy of rights (jamabandis)
would be given to the public through print-outs obtained
from computers. A data base has been created by feeding
the copies of record of rights into the computer using
Oracle RDBMS software. All this has been done in close
coordination with National Informatic Centre (NIC) under
a land records computerisation scheme sponsored and
funded by the central government.
Tohra flays move to expand
LUDHIANA, Dec 30 Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the (SHSAD), here today charged Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal with "political corruption" for seeking to expand his ministry in a bid to contain dissidence in his party.
"I dont think he will succeed in it", said Mr Tohra. "There are so many wanting to be accommodated. Obviously, everybody cannot be given a ministerial berth. And those who finally make it, may not be satisfied because of their failure to get a plum ministerial portfolio or a proper status in the Council of Ministers."
As many as 35 MLAs would still be without a ministerial berth. Where would they go, he wondered.
Mr Tohra stated this while talking to newsmen after attending the annual bhog ceremony of late Avtar Singh Grewal, father of former Punjab Minister, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, at his residence in Model Town. The ceremony was attended by several of Mr Tohras associates, including Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Sucha Singh Chhottepur, Mr Heera Singh Gabria, Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa and many others.
The former SGPC chief pointed out that Punjab was in the midst of a financial crisis. By expanding the ministry, the Badal government would add to the financial burden of the state. "Each minister costs Rs 5 lakh to the state exchequer. An addition of 15 ministers would mean a rise in expenditure by Rs 75 lakh. Add to it the annual expenditure of Rs 90 lakh on the Chief Ministers plane. Cant this expenditure be avoided?" he asked.
Mr Tohra recalled that when the then Congress Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, expanded his ministry to over 40, Mr Badal was prompt in terming it as a "Alibaba and 40 thieves". Would the same epithet not apply to Mr Badal now?, he wondered.
He also condemned the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar and said the Vajpayee government was handling the crisis well. He dismissed the suggestion by former Punjab police chief, K.P.S. Gill that the plane should not have been allowed to get away after it landed at Amritsar.
Mr Tohra also criticised
Mr Badal for his alleged failure to ensure the exclusion
of Udham Singh Nagar district from the proposed state of
Uttaranchal. Although a committee had been set up last
year to go into the question, it had not met even once so
far. "I would like to know what Mr Badal and Mr
Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa have done about it. The assurance
about the protection of the land holdings of Punjabis in
Udham Singh Nagar district is meaningless because any
state government can alter the pattern of land holding in
Patient forced out of operating
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Dec 30 Though the local Civil Hospital here had been brought under the Punjab Health System Corporations control to provide better health services to the patients, but the recent incident of sending a patient out of the operating theatre in the operation dress allegedly by an SMO had created sensation.
Mrs Ranjana Sahi, a social worker who had complained against the SMO to the Health Minister said she brought Kuldeep Kaur, wife of Teja Singh, for a family planning operation to the hospital. A woman Dr Nirmal had admitted her to the hospital and took her to the operating theatre after completing the necessary paper work. She alleged that as soon as she wore the operation gown, the SMO came to operating theatre and started arguing with the doctor and asked her why she was conducting the operation. As the doctor tried to convince him, the SMO got angry and himself forced the patient out of the operating theatre. The patient pleaded for clothes and requested for the operation, but the SMO said this hospital was not for this purpose and that they should go to any private nursing home. The social worker said she was forced go take the patient in that state to a private nursing home where she was operated upon. She demanded immediate action against the SMO.
When contacted Dr Nirmal said she had brought the matter to the notice of the Assistant Civil Surgeon (ACS) as the Civil Surgeon was not available on that day. He (ACS) also tried to convince the SMO but the SMO remained adamant. Dr Nirmal said she had lodged a complaint with Civil Surgeon.
When contacted the Civil Surgeon said he marked an inquiry and after getting the report appropriate action would be taken. The ACS has also confirmed the incident.
Vigilance bureau to probe Malta
HOSHIARPUR Dec, 30 The Central Vigilance Bureau will soon send a team to Egypt, turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta to make further inquiries and collect evidences in Malta boat tragedy incident in which 289 Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan youths were killed on December 25, 1996. This was disclosed by Mr R.K.Raghvan, Bureau Chief of the Central Vigilance, to a deputation of the Malta Tragedy Probe Mission at Delhi on December 27, 1999.
The Chairman of the mission, Mr Balwant singh Khera, said in a press note here yesterday that he had forwarded a detailed report to the Chief of the Central Vigilance Bureau. In it he had complained about the slow progress of inquiry being conducted in India and abroad, continuing human trafficking by the travel agents and tardy progress of CBI cases with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi.
He alleged that Joga Singh main accused in this case was still at large and the CBI had failed to bring him back to India.
He also criticised the CBI for not coordinating with the prosecution going on presently in other countries.
Dont harm hostages, says ex-hijacker
AMRITSAR, Dec 30 (UNI) The hijacker on board the Indian Airlines Airbus grounded at the Kandahar airport should not harm any of the hostages on board and if their demands are not accepted they should surrender to the Taliban authorities.
Expressing these views, Satnam Singh, vice-president of the Dal Khalsa, who was amongst the five hijackers who commandered a New Delhi-Srinagar Indian Airlines flight to Lahore on September 29,1981 said here today that if the hijackers indulged in violence then the very motive behind the hijacking was defeated. The agony of the hostages at Kandahar should not be prolonged any further and the hijackers should surrender, he opined while condemning the killing of Rupin Katyal by the hijackers.
Narrating his own experience as a hijacker, Satnam Singh, who returned to India in July this year after serving a jail sentence of 13 years said that "when we hijacked the Indian Airlines flight we did not even harm a single hostage as it never was our intention". Recalling how the Pakistani commandos overpowered them the next morning, he said had not the commando action taken place he and his colleagues which included the Dal Khalsa chief, Gajinder Singh, would have prolonged the stay of the hostages on board the plane at Lahore but would have ultimately surrendered even if their demands were not fulfilled.
Satnam Singh said sitting here he could feel the ordeal of the hostages in Kandahar. "I still remember that when we took control of the plane in 1981 there was chaos and panic amongst the 117 passengers including crew members on board", he remarked.
Satnam Singh revealed that 10 days prior to their hijacking mission he along with Gajinder Singh, who is currently in Pakistan, conducted a dry run on board a flight from the Rajasansi airport here to Srinagar. "We found that small weapons cannot be taken on board the plane without the help of airport security personnel so we decided to hijack the plane with our kirpans and even kirpans created panic amongst the passengers", he recalled.
Asked about the handling of the situation at Rajasansi airport, Satnam Singh opined that if the Indian authorities had tried to obstruct the take off of the plane on the Friday night from here, the hijackers would definitely have taken the extreme step of killing of number of hostages. The manner in which they took over the plane and the manner in which they were acting now showed their desperation, he remarked.
Satnam Singh recalled
that issuing threats by hijackers was a normal practice
and they too had done this through their intention right
from the beginning was not to harm the passengers,
besides releasing the women and children at Lahore soon
after landing. "We even allowed certain passengers
to go out and smoke", he added.
Librarians for pay parity with
PATIALA, Dec 30 The Punjab College Librarians Association has demanded immediate implementation of the agreement reached between the Union Human Resources Development Ministry, UGC and the AIFUCTO.
In a memorandum addressed to the Union Education Secretary, the association has pointed out that the benefit of career advancement and the fixation of pay on completion of five years of service at the minimum pay of Rs 14,940 to the selection-grade college librarians had been denied in the revised pay scales of January 1, 1996, notwithstanding the provisions made in this regard in the UGC notification of December 24, 1998 and the HRD Ministry notification of July 22, 1988.
The general secretary of
the association, Mr B.S. Dhiman, said this step had put
the career of librarians at a stake irrespective of the
fact that college librarians were completely on a par
with lecturers in the unrevised pay scales of January 1,
1986 with regards to the entry, senior and selection
scales, length of service, incentive and increments for
M.Phil and Ph.D.
28 proclaimed offenders
KAPURTHALA, Dec 30 In a campaign against proclaimed offenders, the police has arrested 28 offenders this year.
Mr Iqbal Singh, SSP, said this while talking to mediapersons here today. He claimed that the crime graph in the district had declined this year. He said during this year 16 cases of murders were registered which were less in the past five years.
He said 633 cases were registered this year under the Excise Act as compared to 470 cases during last year. As many as 58 cases were registered under the NDPS Act and 53 cases under the Arms Act. He said 17 foreign-made pistols were recovered from an inter-state gang.
In order to improve the police-public relations, he said meetings and seminars were organised in the district.
3 Muslim bodies condemn hijacking
HOSHIARPUR, Dec 30 (UNI) Three Muslim organisations today condemned the hijacking of Indian Airlines plane by describing it an "unislamic act in the holy month of Ramadan".
After a meeting held at the local Jama Masjid, Muslim National Fronts district resident Maulvi Sayeed Azhar Hassan, Punjab State Muslim Welfare Committee president Mohammad Sharief and National Muslim Movement leader Anwar Ali said the hijacking has shocked the Muslim community because no true Muslim would commit such a crime in the holy month of Ramadan. The terrorists by commiting such an act in this month has proved they have no religion of their own.
The Muslim leaders said the hijacking was not a problem of passengers alone but has become a national problem and was a matter of concern for every Indian.
Celebrations during state mourning?
LUDHIANA, Dec 30 Can an officers club host a function to mark New Year eve celebrations during the state mourning? No, says Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, a former Punjab Minister. Talking to newsmen here today, Mr Grewal said that the Satluj Club was an officers club, whose managing committee was headed by the Deputy Commissioner.
A seven-day state mourning had been declared because of the death of the former President, Dr Shankar Dyal Sharma. The country was also facing a serious crisis on account of the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane. Even the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, cancelled his birthday celebrations because of the hijacking incident.
2 minor girls abducted
KAPURTHALA, Dec 30 The Kotwali police has registered a case against four persons on a charge of abducting two minors girls and their brother on December 26.
According to a report lodged with the police, Mr Shukat Ali, father, alleged that Jit, a resident of Mohalla Jatpura, along with three relatives kidnapped them and they had been missing since then.
2 die in mishap
FAZILKA, Dec 30 Two persons were killed in head-on collision between a car and a truck on the Fazilka - Ferozepore road today due to thick fog near Lamochar village 20 km from here.
SGPC plea on mobile phones
AMRITSAR, Dec 30 The SGPC has appealed to the Sikhs not to make use of the mobile phones while attending Sikh congregations in gurdwaras and other Sikh places.
The SGPC general
secretary, Mr Hardalbir Singh Shah, in an appeal, today
asked the Sikhs to switch off their mobile phones, while
'Ardas' was being performed or "Mukh Wak" was
being read from Guru Granth Sahib so that devotees are
Prof Bhalla elected IEA chief
AMRITSAR, Dec 30 Prof G.S. Bhalla, Professor Emeritus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and former Chairman of the Agriculture Prices Commission, was elected president of Indian Economic Association for the year 2000. The election was held at the general body meeting of the association here last evening.
SAD (A) expels S.S. Sandhu
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Dec 30 The disciplinary committee of the SAD (A) has expelled Mr Swarn Singh Sandh from the primary membership of the party for anti-party activities with immediate effect.
In a press release
issued here today, Dr Asha Singh Badali, chairman,
disciplinary committee, said the decision was takne
unanimously at a meeting as Mr Sandhu continued to
involve in anti-party activities, in spite of the
repeated warnings and he had earlier tendered an apology
for the same.
Prof K.B.S. Sodhi
LUDHIANA, Dec 30 Prof K.B.S. Sodhi, a senior lecturer from G.G.N. Khalsa College here has been elected unanimously to represent the north zone comprising of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir on the Indian Association of English Studies for the year 2000.
He was elected at the 44th annual All-India English Teachers Conference held at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, last week as executive committee member for the north zone.
Taking to mediapersons, Prof Sodhi said that the conference attended by nearly 500 delegates comprising of English teachers from all over the country felt deeply concerned at the deteriorating standards of English and a large number of failures on account of which thousands of students were compelled to discontinue their studies.
The association decided
to approach the H.R.D. Ministry, the UGC and the British
Council to provide funds and infrastructure for running
additional and remedial classes in educational
institutions for weak students.
Badal has secret
deal with Cong
PATIALA, Dec 30Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary, SHSAD, alleged yesterday that Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, had a secret deal with the Congress.
In a press statement, Mr Chandumajra said due to the secret understanding between the two, the state government was not exposing corruption done by the earlier Congress regime. He reminded Mr Badal of his promise that if voted to power he would retrieve all money gobbled up by corrupt ministers or officials, however, till date no money had been recovered.
AMRITSAR, Dec 30 Balihar Singh, a jawan of the 18th Punjab Regiment, was cremated today at his native village, Kanoke, on the Indo-Pakistan border with full military honours.
Balihar Singh was killed in the Dras sector of Jammu and Kashmir during the intervening night of December 24 and 25 in indiscriminate firing by the Pakistan Army. His body arrived at his village today.
He was a bachelor, aged 21. He is survived by his widowed mother and two sisters.
A contingent of the Army reversed their arms to salute the deceased soldier. Wreaths were placed on the body on behalf of the Army, the police, the administration and the Sainik Welfare Association.
Those present at the
cremation included Brig Sunil Arora of the 69th Brigade,
Col D.K. Rai of the 6th Muhar Regiment, Major Ravi
Narain, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar, Mr
Baljit Singh and the DSP, Mr SS Mann.
RCF staff refuse incentive
JALANDHAR, Dec 30 To protest against the indifferent attitude of the Railway Board towards demands of employees of the Rail Coach Factory Kapurthala, the staff refused to accept the payment of incentive arrears today.
In a press note issued
here today, Mr Brij Mohan Sanduja, press secretary of the
coordination committee of the RCF employees, said the
staff did not take the incentive amount even as some
accounts officials tried to convince them but to no
avail. He urged the Railway Minister to intervene into
the matter and resolve the matter amicably.
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