|P U N J A B||
Thursday, May 13, 1999
crisis time in Punjab
|Power crisis in Ludhiana
LUDHIANA, May 11 Contrary to the tall claims made by the Punjab State Electricity Board about adequate power supply for the summer season, the city is already reeling under the impact of unscheduled and lengthy power cuts even as the season has not reached its peak yet.
Secretariat to meet on May 19
alleges discrimination in promotion
on for baptism
suspended for carrying marriage party
workers go on strike
(Amritsar) to contest all seats
blamed for loss of wheat crop
50,000 for kin of drowned
time in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, May 12 Punjab today is in a welter of crisis political, administrative and financial.
The present state of inertia if allowed to persist is likely to do irreparable damage to the system of governance.
In spite of the best of intentions of the political, executive and the bureaucracy things just do not seem to be going right: blame it either on absence of political will or latent bureaucratic apathy. It is again a crisis-situation where there is neither a direction nor any determination. A vacuum is building up. Who should be apportioned the blame for this?
The ruling SAD is on the verge of a split. Religio-political issues are coming to the fore. Unwanted, though not unexpected the Lok Sabha elections are at the door. In weeks ahead there will be more politics less governance. Administrative decisions, in terms of postings and transfers or diverting scarce financial resources to selected districts/constituencies will be influenced by political exigencies. The financial situation is far from satisfactory. Yet some "tax relief" has already been announced, which is tantamount to a rollback under political pressure from the BJP, which has an eye on the urban constituents.
The Council of Ministers at its recent meeting was shy of even taking up the agenda on mopping up resources. The agenda was prepared based on the feedback from 'earning" departments and steps initiated by the Department of Finance, which engages in doing only accountancy job, unable to do anything to improve the inflow of money. Those agenda proposals were to fetch Rs 400 crore (approximately). The same has been put on the backburner.
The recently hiked rent of rooms and suites in government guest houses, including Punjab Bhavan in New Delhi, has been stayed following protest by those who could afford but would not pay. Neither non-plan expenditure (67%) nor payment of interest on loans (34%) can be ignored.
This disturbing scenario emerges from what transpired at a meeting of the administrative secretaries with the Chief Secretary held here on Monday. The agenda items remained untouched. Those items pertained to "papers" submitted by certain secretaries who had been asked to propose ways and means to raise resources. The only discussion, sources told TNS, revolved round "Action plan" already circulated by the Department of Finance on April 20.
Several secretaries TNS
spoke to were unable to say what exactly was decided at
the end of over two-hour meeting. "How can you
expect concrete result to emerge at such a large meeting?
It was vacuous discussion which has only compounded the
confusion and chaos which is already prevailing",
quipped a Principal Secretary. Asked if any one raised
the question on the outcome of the meeting, he said"
Those senior to him (Chief Secretary) do not ask such
questions so as not to embarrass him. The juniors know it
is better to keep quite.
Will Puar get extension ?
PATIALA, May 12 With only three days left for Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Joginder Singh Puar's tenure to end, an intense speculation has arisen whether he will be able to manage another extension or not.
Dr Puar, who had been appointed Vice-Chancellor during the Chief Ministership of Mr Beant Singh in 1993, had been able to get another three-year extension during the tenure of Mr Harcharan Singh Brar.
Highly placed sources disclosed that Dr Puar was likely to get a one-year extension. Earlier also in 1996 a one-year extension had been offered to Dr Puar but he had refused the offer and managed to get a full term.
It is to be seen what kind of extension Dr Puar gets this time as a vigilance inquiry was ordered against him and its report had been submitted to the government recently but not made public. The report is regarding allegations that funds were misappropriated during the hosting of the Indian Science Congress in 1996.
Supporters of the Vice-Chancellor say the inquiry will not come in the way of another one-year extension for as he has not been implicated in it.
The Vice-Chancellor is tightlipped on the issue. When contacted by The Tribune, he said it was up to the government to grant the extension. "All I know is that my term comes to an end on March 15."
Among the other contenders for the top post are Prof Darshan Singh of the Department of Guru Nanak Dev Studies at Panjab University, Dr Kehar Singh of the Political Science Department of Punjabi University, Dr Maheep Singh, former senior lecturer at Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College at Delhi, Dr Nirmal Singh, brother of SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur and a Professor of Physics at Punjab University and Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board.
Sources said Dr Darshan Singh and Prof Kehar Singh had emerged the strongest contenders in case Dr Puar did not get an extension. Dr Darshan Singh is perceived to be close to Mr Brajinder Singh of the Ajit group of newspapers. Dr Kehar Singh who is a vocal critic of the Vice-Chancellor and heads the United Teachers Forum in Punjabi University, is being supported by prominent Non Resident Indians besides Takth Keshgarh Jathedar Manjit Singh. Earlier perceived to be a supporter of former SGPC chief G.S. Tohra, he has now openly aligned with the Badal camp and criticised Mr Tohra.
Talking to TNS, Dr Kehar Singh, who had played a prominent role during the unity moves prior to the elections which returned Mr Badal to power said, he did not know whether his NRI friends were lobbying for him.
Among the other contenders for the post, Mr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia may not be in the running anymore as the age limit for serving as Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board is being done away with by an ordinance being promulgated in this regard. Earlier a chairman could not be above 65 years old and Mr Ahluwalia is going to be 65 soon. Mr Ahluwalia when contacted by TNS said he was not in the race for Vice-Chancellorship of Punjabi University and that he was involved in his activities as Chairman of the education board and holding the charge of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.
The issue may be decided
on the penultimate or the last day itself. There is a
possibility of a dark horse also emerging as the Chief
Minister has kept his cards close to his chest and not
given clear cut indications.
Secretariat to meet on May 19
AMRITSAR, May 12 The CPI Secretariat would meet on May 19 at Chandigarh to work out its poll strategies in the light of the recommendations of the party's national executive held at Delhi recently.
The CPI Secretariat would also explore the possibilities of poll alliances with Left, secular and like-minded parties so that the " communal combination" of SAD-BJP could be defeated in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Talking to TNS here today, Mr Hardev Arshi, leader of the CPI in the Punjab Assembly and member of the party Secretariat, said party leaders would analyse the poll strategies at the forthcoming meeting. The CPI Secretariat has nine member including Mr Joginder Dayal, state chief of the party, Mr Hardev Arshi, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, Mr Jagroop Singh, Mr Beant Singh Brar, Mr Piara Singh Dayosi, Mr Kamal and Mr Kartar Singh.
The recommendations of the party Secretariat would be analysed by the CPI's state council.
Since 1971, the CPI has been reaching poll alliances with the SAD and Congress for Lok Sabha and assembly elections. In the 1971 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress had left two seats Bathinda and Sangrur for the CPI, which had won both. In the 1973 assembly elections, the Congress party had given 13 seats to the CPI, which had won 10 of the seats. However, after Emergency, the CPI did not enter into an alliance with any party during the 1977 poll.
In 1980, the CPI had a poll alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal. The CPI had also supported the SAD candidate, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, in the June, 1995, Gidderbaha byelection. Again the Congress and the CPI reached a seat adjustment for the 1997 assembly elections. Though the Congress had left 13 seats for the CPI, but only two candidates of the party had won. They were Mr Hardev Arshi from Budhlada and Mr Ajaib Singh Raunta from Nihalsinghwala. Next year, the Congress had left the Bathinda Lok Sabha seat for Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, a CPI candidate from Bathinda, who lost the election.
Power crisis in Ludhiana
LUDHIANA, May 11 Contrary to the tall claims made by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) about adequate power supply for the summer season, the city is already reeling under the impact of unscheduled and lengthy power cuts even as the season has not reached its peak yet.
In various localities at the city's periphery as well as centrally located areas and the industrial hub at Focal Point, Industrial Area A and B, the electric power is in short supply and residents have to face unscheduled power cuts, often extending upto three to four hours. Residents of Salem Tabri, Rahon Road, Shivpuri, Janak Puri, parts of Civil Lines, Model Town and Sarabha Nagar have complained of power shortage and cuts.
This is, perhaps, for the first time that the city has witnessed power shortage beginning right from the second week of April as power cuts are usually witnessed just before the onset of the monsoons in June-end. Officials at the PSEB say, this was due to capital maintenance at the 100 MVA Lalton sub-station, which finished only two days back. They claim that with this sub-station, finally being operational, would help tide over the problem of power shortage.
For 27 lakh people and 3.25 lakh consumers (domestic, commercial and industrial), the city has five sub-stations of 220/66 KV for the transmission of 800 mega watts of electricity. There is a 100 MVA sub-station at Humbran, 200 MVA sub-station at Lalton, 300 MVA sub-station at Dhandarikalan, 100 MVA sub-station at Sahnewal, and 300 MVA sub-station of the Bhakra Beas Management Board at Jamalpur. In addition, the city also has 20 sub-stations of 66/11KV to feed electricity in different areas of the city.
The city residents also complain of frequent voltage fluctuations and in some of the localities, the voltage is as low as 170-180 V. The Chief Engineer, Central, Er Kirpal Singh, say that during the summer months the entire Northern Grid gets overloaded and the transmission voltage generally go down from 220 KV to 180 KV, because of the reactive load caused mainly due to large scale irrigation for the farming operations. Though the electricity board has made the use of capacitors mandatory for the consumers to help up the voltage, these are rarely being used.
Mr Kirpal Singh also attributes 2 per cent loss of power to the "kundi" menace especially at Focal Point and jamalpur. He also regrets that the police is not of much help in getting cases registered against such defaulters.
Officials at the electricity board complain that most of the consumers (both domestic and industrial), use more electricity than their sanctioned load. "Even the imposition of heavy penalties on such defaulters fail to act as a deterrent for other such defaulters. If the consumers feel that their requirement is more than the sanctioned load, they should apply and get their load increased, which is done in a maximum time period of three months", says the Chief Engineer.
However, Er Kirpal Singh
assures that the city does not face the threat of an
acute power shortage, provided the monsoons arrive on
time. The board has released 2000 new industrial and
20,000 domestic and commercial connections during this
year. In addition, a new 100 MVA transformer at
Dhandariklan has just been started. Two new 20 MVA
sub-stations, one a Ayali Kalan and another at Amaltas,
are expected to become operational by June-end. The PSEB
also plans to build another sub-station at the Focal
Point Phase 8, which will ensure a cool summer for the
Badal-Tohra tussle affects
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 12 Office of Principal, Mata Gujri College, here has become a bone of contention between the Tohra and the Badal factions of the Akali Dal. Principal's office remained locked for the second day today and the police is keeping watch on the situation. Students have been suffering due to the unavailability of record. The non-teaching staff are also in a dilemma.
According to information Dr Gurmohan Walia, who was Principal of the college was on deputation. The secretary SGPC vide his letter No 20301 of April 24, 99 relieved him on April 24 and asked him to join duty at government Mohindra College Patiala, where he was a lecturer. Meanwhile Prof P.S. Logani was given the charge and made current duty Principal. Prof Walia got stay orders from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The court directed that the petitioner shall retain the post of Principal, Mata Gujri college, but shall not be entitled to take decisions involving finances of the institution.
Dr Walia told The Tribune on the college campus that as per high court's orders he came to resume the duty after availing medical leave on May 11. He found the office of the Principal and the important documents and record locked even today the office is locked and Prof P.S. Logani did not come to the college. The office and record remain under his lock. He alleged that court's decision has been violated. He said even the police came to enquire and he handed to it a copy of judgement. He said the official car of the Principal was also not available in the college. Tension was affecting academic atmosphere in the college he added. Students are not getting official documents and certificates and are the worst-hit.
Prof P.S. Logani was not available in the college for comments.
Sources revealed that
the faction led by Mr Badal in the district was behind Dr
Walia's ouster who has been termed a Tohra loyalist.
Earlier the Manager of Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib was also
transferred on the same ground. Majority of the staff of
the college has welcomed the decision. The SSP said that
when got an information that there was tension in the
college campus. He deputed a DSP there and Dr Walia
handed over the copy of judgement. He withdrew the
Teacher alleges discrimination
AMRITSAR, May 13 In a complaint to the Governor-cum- Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, a seniormost Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Dr Amrik Singh Mangat has urged for a high-level probe into the alleged 'illegal' promotions in the teaching departments. He alleged that at least 20 teachers of the university who were junior to him were promoted by ignoring his merit and length of service from time to time.
The complaint said due to alleged violation of rules, his own student who had joined as lecturer six years after his joining became senior to him.
Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch Vice-Chancellor, when contacted said he had already sought legal opinion regarding the promotion of Prof Mangat. He, however, hastened to add that since the representation had already been made to the Chancellor he would like to seek the direction of His Excellency in this regard. However, when asked how a student of Prof Mangat could be senior to him, Dr Soch in a lighter vein said, "Dr Mangat, should be proud of his student if he grows and flourishes in life."
On the other hand, the
UGC in its latest letter has clarified that "on the
basis of legal opinion sought on the two merit promotion
schemes, universities could grant two promotions if the
candidates were eligible for that".
Preparations on for baptism
ANANDPUR SAHIB, May 12 While the religious fervour that marked the tercentenary celebrations during Baisakhi last month still reverberates here, preparations are afoot for another significant event the mass baptism of Akali leadership and rank and file on May 14.
On April 29, Giani Puran Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, had directed Akali leaders and workers to get themselves baptised at the earliest possible. Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, had then announced that Akali leaders and workers would turn up here on May 14 to become amritdharis.
Those to be baptised will include the SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, several Akali Ministers, MLAs and other senior leaders. Whether members of Mr Badal's family will also become amritdharis' is not yet known, Giani Puran Singh had announced at Ludhiana yesterday that Mr Badal's family would also be baptised.
Mr Balkar Singh, Manager of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, told TNS here today that four big halls had been kept ready for the baptism ceremony. "We are expecting a big turnout of Akali leaders and activists here on May 14 and have prepared accordingly", he said. One hall had been prepared for the ceremony at Takht Kesgarh Sahib, another at the dewan building and two halls adjacent to the main 'serais'.
In each hall, about 500 persons could be baptised by turn.
Meanwhile devotees, including non-Sikhs, continue to throng the town to pay obeisance.
Though the illumination of the entire holy city and the light and sound programme during night appears to be the main attractions for devotees, they throng the place even during daytime. "Especially on Saturdays and Sundays, people come in thousands, giving the impression that the tercentenary celebrations, started on April 8, continue to be in progress", said Mr Jagir Singh, Deputy Manager of the Takht.
As many as 150 persons remain on duty round the clock to prepare langar for the devotees. On Saturdays and Sundays, about 40 bagsful of wheat flour and 20 bagsful of rice are released for the community kitchen.
There is big demand abroad for video cassettes of the event. "We received several telephone calls daily from Sikhs settled abroad asking to send video cassettes", said Mr Balkar Singh. Devotees from Madhya Pradesh, Gujrat and other states would start arriving here in the last week of May. They had started getting their rooms booked here, he added.
Meanwhile, the going has
never been so good for local shopkeepers. They have made
a fortune out of the celebrations. "I did not sleep
for about seven nights continuously during
Baisakhi", said Manohar Singh, who sells
"karas, kanghas, sri sahibs',etc. Ashwni says that
he had sold dry "parshad" worth about Rs 4.5
lakhs. Cold drink sellers made sales worth Rs 25 lakh
from April 8 to 14.
Factory workers go on strike
AMRITSAR, May 12 More than 20,000 local industrial workers went on a two-day strike today on a call given by all Central trade unions functioning in the district, including AITUC, INTUC, the BMS, HMS and PMD in support of the demands of the 2500 striking workers of OCM Woollen Mills, Chheharta.
After striking work, the workers marched to the camp of the striking workers in Chheharta, where a huge rally was held.
The rally was addressed by Mr Hardev Singh Arshi, MLA, Mr Satyapal Dang, former MLA, Mr Vijay Mishra, Senior Vice-President of CITU, Mr Buta Ram, General Secretary, PMD, Mr Amarjit Asal of the CPI, and Mr Jai Karan Pathania, President of the Textile Mazdoor Ekta Union.
The speakers condemned this 'vindictive' and 'adamant' attitude of the mill management. They demanded that the state government should use all its powers to get the dispute settled immediately so that the mills could resume functioning.
suspended for carrying marriage party
ZIRAKPUR, May 12 The Punjab State Transport (PST) authorities have suspended three employees of the Ropar depot of the Punjab Roadways for plying bus on wrong route and causing a loss of nearly Rs 6,700 to the department by carrying a marriage party without booking the bus.
According to sources, driver Baldev Singh and conductor Dilbag Singh did not take the Ropar-Tohana route and stopped the bus at Buta Singhwala village near Banur to carry the marriage party of the son of Balak Ram, also an employee of Transport Department.
After receiving the information, the Director of State Transport, Punjab, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, directed Mr Amarjit Singh, Deputy Director of Punjab Transport, and Mr Jarnail Singh, Assistant Divisional Manager of Punjab Roadways, to lay an ambush and catch the defaulters.
The bus (PB-12-B-9901) which was on its way to Mani Majra, was stopped near Zirakpur at about 11 am. It was found that the driver and conductor had picked the marriage party. The conductor had given tickets worth Rs 800 to the members of the party. They have cheated and caused a loss to the department, said Mr Amarjit Singh.
Mr Sidhu said that he
Baldev Singh, Dilbag Singh and Balak Ram have been
suspended and an inquiry has been started against them.
The Transport Department would launch a drive to check
such irregularities and other frauds within the
department, he said.
Dal (Amritsar) to contest all seats
FATEHGARH SAHIB, May 12 (UNI) Akali Dal (Amritsar) President Simranjeet Singh Mann said that his party would contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab.
Talking to UNI here last evening, he said that his party was, however, ready to have an alliance with like minded parties, except the BJP and the Congress for coming Lok Sabha poll.
Predicting a hung-parliament again after the September-October Lok Sabha poll, he said neither the BJP nor the Congress would be able to get a majority and again regional parties would play an important role in the formation of the government at the Centre.
He said his party was deadly against a two party system government in the country, as minorities would be completely ignored in it.
He alleged that the BJP had been trying to establish a "Hindu rashtra".
He said that formation of the gurdwara committee in Pakistan to manage Sikh shrines there was a positive step to free it from the clutches of intelligence agencies.
Mr Mann assailed Punjab
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief Bibi
Jagir Kaur for their statements that pilgrims would not
be sent to Pakistan in protest against the formation of
the gurdwara committee in that country.
PSEB blamed for loss of wheat
JALANDHAR, May 12 The Punjab Kisan Sabha has held the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) responsible for the loss of wheat crop of farmers due to "fires" caused by loose electricity wires.
The general secretary of the sabha, Mr Lebhar Singh Taggar, said that the sabha in its meeting had passed a resolution that over 3,000 farmers, who had lost their crops to the fires, would hold a demonstration at the head office of the PSEB at Patiala on June 2, and demand a compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre.
The sabha will also demand immediate release of the pending tubewell connections, 24-hour power supply to the farmers and that the Thein Dam power plant be made functional.
The sabha, he said, was against the privatisation of the PSEB in the state.
for kin of drowned
FEROZEPORE, May 12 The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, has announced a relief of Rs 50,000 each to family members of those who were drowned in the Sutlej on Tuesday. A boat carrying them had overturned.
Giving this information here today, the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Mr D.P.S. Kharbanda, said the body of a minor child Amrik Singh, a resident of Mahalam village, was located in the river on Wednesday evening.
He added that another person Darshan Singh, also a resident of Mahalam village, was still missing. Efforts were on to locate his body. The remaining eight persons travelling in the boat were safe, he said.
The villagers had gone to participate in a religious mela held at Rattoke village in Patti tehsil.
He added that the
villagers were also carrying nearly five two-wheelers
which belonged to block Valtoha in Amritsar district. The
incident took place in the river Sutlej, about 8 km away
from Kamalwala village, he said.
Plea to popularise home
LUDHIANA, May 12 Dr (Mrs) S.K. Mann, Dean, College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University, said here yesterday that for the uplift of rural families of Punjab, all efforts would be made to take home science education to villages.
She was talking to mediapersons here and explained that previously B.Sc (home science) was a five-year degree course after matric and now it has been made four years' course after 10+2.
Dr Mann said that the
students doing B.Sc course were taught courses like foods
and nutrition, home decoration, flower arrangement, home
management, care of children, clothing and textiles. She
said Punjab Agricultural University was running two home
science colleges-one at Ludhiana and the other at Kaoni
in Muktsar district.
2 killed as boat capsizes
FEROZEPORE, May 12 (PTI) Two persons, including a minor child, were killed when a boat carrying 10 persons capsized in the Sutlaej, about 8 km from Kamalwala village in the district, yesterday, the police said today.
Villagers belonging to Kamalwala and Mahalam were returning after participating in a religious mela at Rattoke village in Patti tehsil when the boat capsized due to overloading, the police said.
The dead have been identified as Amrik Singh, a minor child, and Darshan Singh, both of Mahalam village.
The rest eight persons swam to safety, the police added.
Villagers gherao Tohra
DHAKKI SAHIB (LUDHIANA), May 12 Residents of Dhakki Sahib, Maqsoodaran village today gheraoed the former SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and raised slogans against him, when he came this morning to assess the situation arising out of Baba Darshan Singh's arrest and clashes between the police and the Baba's supporters.
into rape case
BATHINDA, May 12 Mr Jasmel Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (SC and ST cell) and Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon, Vice-President, Lawyers for Human Rights, Punjab, have demanded a CBI probe into the booking of Mr Balbir Singh Parmar a reporter of a Punjabi daily from Sardulgarh, for rape by the Mansa district police.
In a joint press note issued here today, they alleged that from a preliminary inquiry it was found that Mr Parmar had been booked by the police on the 'diktats' of a senior leader of the ruling Akali Dal.
They pointed out that Mr Gurjit Singh, SHO, Sardulgarh police station, who had registered the case against Mr Parmar, could not be believed as he himself was facing two murder cases registered against him on the orders of the Supreme Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
They added that the
Punjab Government had posted Mr Gurjit Singh as SHO
though he had been booked in two murder cases. They
alleged that the ruling Akali leaders had made Punjab
police their "puppet".
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