|Monday, March 27, 2000,
scheme hangs fire
Budget different in many ways
investment in Punjab nosedives
city centre for Ludhiana
regrets Advanis attitude
Khalsa to hold political conference
|Sena men hold protest rally
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 26 Despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 imposed, by the district administration Shiv Sena activists succeeded in organising a protest rally against the celebration of the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale by the Mann and Tohra factions today.
Plea to withdraw free water, power
medicine meet ends
sore over delay in appointments
condemns Sikh carnage
sewers Malerkotlas bane
in Rent Act resented
against LPG price hike
Dept to set up control room
fires in air, rescues woman
held on rape charge
held under Excise Act
University to honour Dosanjh
university exam schedule
yield on the decline
Ghaggar scheme hangs fire
KHANAURI (Patiala), March 26 People living in villages around this town on the banks of the Ghaggar as well as those across it in Sangrur district seem to have been literally reared on empty promises ever since they made the area their home after Partition.
One such promise was made last year only. A high-powered committee consisting of senior officers deputed by the Chief Minister to review the flood situation in Patiala and Sangrur districts in July announced that the Ghaggar would be canalised downstream from Khanauri to Moonak to tackle the problem of frequent floods during the rainy season.
The committee, which included the Financial Commissioner, Revenue, and Principal Secretary, Irrigation, announced at a press conference in Patiala after touring the flood-affected area that the Ghaggar would be dug up from Khanauri to Moonak to increase its capacity to 40,000 cusecs. It also said bundhs would be made on its embankments by acquiring land to canalise the river. Actual work on the scheme was to have started in October last year.
The committee had stated that the scheme, which had been formulated the year before last also, could not take off earlier as a Rs 25 crore loan for the purpose had not been received from NABARD.
Today the Ghaggar still meanders through the area uncanalised as the scheme could not be implemented. Villagers of both Patiala and Sangrur do not have much hope of the project being implemented due to the attendant problems, including the effect the scheme will have on Mansa district and in neighbouring Haryana.
We are resigned to our fate, says Pritam Singh of Kangthala district of Patiala. Every government has asked for votes promising canalisation of the Ghaggar, but none has delivered till now. We have learned to live with the floods.
The people of Kangthala and others, including Chhicherwal, Tejpur and Gurunanakpura, want that a traditional channel called the Batisdara, which used to take water from the Ghaggar before it crossed the Bhakra Mainline syphon at RD 460 and rejoined the river downstream, should be used to lessen pressure on the syphon where a bottleneck is created which results in the flooding of the area. However, the villagers of Sangrur do not want the Batisdara to become functional saying water would head up in many villages of Sangrur.
Though this is a point of contention between villages of both districts, there are other places, specially in Sangrur, which are prone to flooding due to breaches in the Ghaggar in the monsoons. Last year agricultural land in Mandvi and Banga districts of Sangrur was flooded due to a breach in the river. Villagers of both villages say they invariably face floods every year. The Ghaggar becomes a vast uncontrolled sheet of water during the monsoons and only a pucca bundh can put a leash on it , says a villager.
Drainage Department officials are not in favour of canalising the river from Khanauri to Moonak saying it could result in devastation of Mansa district as well as parts of Haryana as the Chandpur dam in Haryana could not take the pressure of water heading into it. They feel a scheme envisaging simultaneous canalisation of the river from Khanauri to Rajasthan would alone solve the problem. But this can only be passed by the Central Water Committee.
The officials while
talking of the NABARD loan said 10 per cent of the Rs 25
crore loan was to be released soon. They said this money
would be used to pay contractors for the money spent in
works, including the 4-km embankment on both sides of the
Sagra para, a seasonal drain, and removing a bottleneck
at Khanauri. They said these works had been very
beneficial for flood-prone villages of Patiala. They said
the money would also be spent on the scattered work
saying the canalisation project was not likely to take
Punjab Budget different
in many ways
CHANDIGARH, March 26 There is more to innocuous looking word Budget than meets the eye. It is not just a simple statement of annual estimates of revenue and expenditure or personal or household expenses.
Therefore, reading the Budget documents is an art. One has to have the skill to understand the body language of facts and figures and the way these are presented. Often unforeseen developments, deliberate or inadvertent, upset many a budget, may these be of the state , an individual or a family.
Something similar has happened already. Even before the exact impact of the Union Budget could sink in and the people of Punjab comprehend the state Budgets import, housewives are already paying more for an LPG cylinder.
Take the Punjab Budget, presented in the Vidhan Sabha by Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, on March 22. The discussion begins on Monday afternoon. In terms of economic planning or socio-economic philosophy to which the SAD seemingly adheres to, as mentioned in the Budget speech, the Budget for the year 2000-01, mirrors the seriousness of the government to improve financial housekeeping and restore the states fiscal health.Yet the Budget documents do give enough indication how Punjab will get pushed deeper into the debt trap. The figures speak for themselves.
A careful scrutiny of the Budget speech as well a look at the Budget at a glance document shows that though next years budget is different in ways more than one from the Budget of 1999-2000, still it is not fully free of being a dream budget like the one for the current year. Here is a close look at what exactly Capt Kanwaljit Singh has talked about on 2000-01 Budget:
Going by the summary of the annual financial statement recorded on page 68 of the speech, the following position emerges : (figure in crore)
Opening balance : (-) 385.52
Revenue expenditure : 13071.56
Capital expenditure : 1218.17
Retiring of public debt : 7104.45
Loans and advances : 228.33
Total requirements : 22008.03
Besides meeting the shortfall of opening balance of Rs (-) 385.52 crore, Punjab Budget proposes an expenditure of Rs 21622.5 crore. As such the government will need Rs 22008.03 crore.
The government proposes to meet this expenditure from the following heads : (figure in crore)
Revenue receipts : 10585.18
( Tax and non-tax revenue)
Raising loan : 9563.42
Recovery of loans : 158.64
Public Account (Net) : 1202.44
(small savings, GPF, GIS,Calamity Relief Fund, Civil deposits, etc)
Closing Balance : (-) 498.35
Total : 22008.03
A close look at the tables shows that while the government will be retiring only Rs 7104.45 crore of the total debt, it will be raising Rs 9563.42 crore as new loans, as such increasing the debt burden of the state by Rs 2258.97 crore.
The Public Account Net of Rs 1202.44 crore is also a sort of debt. It will be raising fresh loans to retire past loans, to meet capital expenditure and even to meet revenue expenditure. It is Debt Trap. The SGDP for 2000-01 is estimated at Rs 51177.16 crore in Punjab Budget at a glance document 2000-01 the debt figure is likely to touch Rs 30,000 crore approximately by the end of next financial year. Such a highs SGDP-Debt ratio has rather dangerous implications.
A scrutiny of the proposed receipt statement reveals that manipulative skills have again been used to tally the figures. This seemingly has been done to inflate the receipts and deflate the expenditure. For example, the tax revenue has been projected to rise from Rs 4456.50 crore to Rs 5654.30 crore in 1999-2000; an improvement of 25.76 per cent. This seems to be contrary to the past track record, when the increase in tax revenue revolved round 10 per cent from 1994-95 to 1999-2000 .
In the non-tax revenue, the improvement projected in the Budget is expected to go up from Rs 2540.84 crore to Rs 3636 crore; an increase at the rate of 43.93 per cent. The past record however, again shows otherwise; it ranged from around 4.5 per cent (1994-95 to 1999-2000).
Similarly, jugglery is visible on the expenditure side mentioned in the speech. For example,the affect or effect of the recommendations of the Anomalies Committee report has not been taken care of in the Budget. The recommendations were available to the Finance department well in time. Their import is close to Rs 100 crore in 2000-01. Why this omission ?
If we take the general increase of 10 per cent of the tax and non-tax receipts in the next financial year, which is more than past performance, then the tax receipts would be around Rs 4900 crore and non-tax Rs 2800 crore, approximately, and the deficit will increase by about Rs 1500 crore. It is worth mentioning that TNS commented on 1999-2000 Budget on the same pattern under the heading Dream Budget in March, 1999. It was then pointed out that deficit will be much higher than shown.
Even the Finance Ministers speech has admitted that the increase in revenue deficit during the current financial was mainly on account of enhanced salary and pension bills and interest payments. To quote him the payments on these accounts were higher by about Rs 1700 crore as compared to the Budget estimates for 1999-2000 (page 69-70 of the speech). The statement speaks volumes about the fudging of figures.
What the Finance Minister has not admitted, may be due to political compulsions, that even the increased deficit of Rs 1,700 crore has failed to fund the Plan pegged at Rs 2680 crore (1999-2000). It may reach somewhere around Rs 2,100 crore.
This years Budget also gives similar signals. In fact financial manipulations do not work or serve any purpose. These only add layers of cosmetic touches without successfully hiding the facts. Thus the government in the next financial year also will have to either raise additional loans to the tune of Rs 1500 crore or will have to cut the size of the Plan. Both ways are unpleasant and pose a potential threat to the overall health of the state finances.This will affect much-hyped development agenda.
Central investment in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, March 26 Public sector investment by the Central Government in Punjab has nosedived to 0.78 per cent.
This has been revealed in the Economic Survey published by the Economic Adviser to the Government of Punjab.
Punjab enjoyed a share of 1.98 per cent in total Central Government public sector investment in 1978-79 but this fell to 0.78 per cent in 1997-98, according to the Economic Survey released by the Punjab Finance Minister this week.
In response to industrial entrepreneurs memorandum (IEM) applications for investment amounting to Rs 21,415 crore, which could provide jobs to 424,841 persons, only 123 proposals have been received in the state in the period August, 1991to-1998-99 which constitute a mere 3.49 per cent of the total proposals in the country.
It is evident from the survey that the Punjab is far from the priority list of investors as far industries is concerned. The trend is towards South India, especially Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Even the credit-deposit ratio of commercial banks has found skewed in comparison with that of the all-India level. In the calendar year of 1998, it was 37.9 per cent against the 53.9 per cent of the all-India level. As compared to the credit deposit ratio of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with that of Punjab, it has been found to be much higher at 90,69.5,69.1 and 64.9 per cent, respectively.
Although Punjab is an agriculturally advanced state and has an impressive small units base, but banks have failed to enhance the credit ratio in Punjab. Most banks preferred to advance loans in states like Maharashtra while collecting huge deposits from Punjab.
Unemployment continues to be a serious problem although the number of registered job seekers, both educated and uneducated, has declined from 6.16 lakhs on March 31, 1994, to 5.67 lakhs on March 31, 1999. The number of educated job-seekers constituted 66.9 per cent of the total job seekers registered with employment exchanges. The survey says that as it demands effective attention, the state government should plan the industrialisation of the state in such a way that it should create adequate jobs and provide self-employment opportunities.
The financial morass in which state government is found at present is the cumulative effect of the fiscal decline started 15 years ago. Punjab became a revenue-deficit state from a revenue surplus in 1984-85. At the end of 1996-97 the revenue deficit was Rs 1357.06 crore as compared to Rs 9835 at the end of 1984-85. This is a single largest contributor to the structural imbalance in the states fiscal scenario. The revenue deficit has risen at the end of 1998-99 and stood at Rs 2628.32 crore.
In the present scenario the economy of Punjab continues to have a tilt in favour of the agriculture sector. The latest sectorwise data for the year 1998-99 on the composition of the state income shows that the relative share of agriculture, including livestock sector, in the gross state domestic product at constant price (1980-81) prices is 39.85 per cent as compared to the 29.44 per cent of secondary and 30.07 per cent of tertiary sector. The farm sector has developed optimally. Almost 84 per cent of the total area is being cultivated in the state.
However, the survey says that after a remarkable increase in agricultural production in the seventies and in the early eighties the production levels have changed. The production of rice, cotton, sugarcane, sunflower, pulses and maize is either fluctuating from year to year or on the decline. Soil and water resources are getting overstrained. There is a serious build-up of pests, diseases and weeds.
There is little scope for further expansion of the area under cultivation and an increase in the cropping intensity. Fragmentation of holdings has made agriculture uneconomical. According to Punjab Agriculture University experts, the cost of production of wheat has risen by six times, cotton seven times and rice 10 times in the past three decades. This trend has resulted in the indebtedness of the farming community, by and large.
Wheat-rice rotation, which is practised almost in the entire state, has led to a serious degradation in the soil health. Punjab soils are primarily light textured, poor in organic carbon and nutrient resources. The nutrient reserves of soils are being exploited at a much faster rate than its replenishment due to high cropping intensity and extensive adoption of the rice-wheat rotation.
Revealing a very important but disturbing aspect, the survey says it has been estimated that 59 lakh tonnes of organic waste containing 2.6 lakh tonnes of nutrients are burnt with paddy straw every season by farmers. Micro-nutrients deficiency on a large scale is affecting crop and animal health.
Presenting an overall scenario, the survey says that the states economy has bounced back mainly due to the agriculture sector, which still plays a dominant role. The states gross domestic product has risen to Rs 12364 crore from Rs 11,633 crore in 1997-98, showing a growth rate of 6.28 per cent in 1998-99 as compared to 2.68 per cent in the previous year.
The GSDP from the
secondary sector, which covers manufacturing,
construction and the power sector, has also increased
from Rs 3368 crore in 1997-98 to Rs 3640 crore in
1998-99, showing a growth of 8.06 per cent at constant
Modern city centre for Ludhiana
LUDHIANA, March 26 A world-class city centre has been planned for Ludhiana, signalling a first major step in recent years towards planned development of the city otherwise known more for its haphazard and uncontrolled growth.
The Rs 120-crore city centre, to be set up by the Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana over an area of 20 acre, will be better than Chandigarhs City Centre in Sector 17 and rival world famous centres like Down Town City Centre, Fresno, California, the Torg CBD, Stockholm, Sweden and Nehru Place District Centre, New Delhi.
We hope to have everything in place shortly and start the execution of the project within the next three months, says Dr S.S. Sandhu, Municipal Commissioner. If everything goes well, we will complete the project in two years.
The design of the city centre, which is based on the concept of five, was approved through an all-India open competition in which architects from all over the country were invited to participate. The winner was given a prize of Rs 1 lakh.
Called Bhagat Singh City Centre, it consists of five elements namely a) the Mall, including a shopping arcade, showrooms and offices, b) the Health Centre providing first aid, O.P.D., emergency services, hospital with rooms with special features like morgue and helipad, c) the Podium composed of a hotel site, financial institutes, banks, post office, a revolving restaurant and a roof top swimming pool, d) the Square including department stores, exhibition halls, trade centre and hotel and e) the Forum composed of auditorium and art galleries, food plaza, cinema complex, library-books and Internet, museum with special features of an open air theatre, water body and tensile structure. An IT tower with in-built cables has also been provided.
The design of the centre is based on the latest trends in the world. It has been observed the world over that the traditional main street shopping has suffered severe setbacks. One of the most common factor with the pedestrian shopping is the thriving business of luxury and speciality stores. The inclusion of recreational facilities such as theatres, restaurants, movie houses extends the use beyond day time and realises maximum economic potential of the city centres. It will be a landmark for the city of Ludhiana with modern space concepts, different entrances have been highlighted by objects of art such as water fountains, clock tower and statues.
municipal corporation has hit upon a new scheme to
implement the costly project. According to Dr Sandhu, it
will be a joint venture. Our contribution amounting
to 50 per cent of the total cost will be in the form of
the land which is worth Rs 60 crore. We will retain 26
per cent of the equity while the private builder will pay
back, in instalment, the remaining 24 per cent to us. He
will mobilise the remaining 50 per cent of the cost from
the market through the sales of showrooms, SCOs, hotel
sites etc ....
Jakhar regrets Advanis
ABOHAR, March 26 It is regrettable that the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, preferred to join celebrations on the completion of his partys two-year rule in Himachal Pradesh than to visit Chatti Singhpora in Anantnag district where 35 Sikhs were gunned down by the Pak-supported militants.
Stating this Mr Bal Ram Jakhar, former Lok Sabha Speaker, said the residents of the unfortunate village were sore at the failure of two of the state ministers in the Home Department to visit them. Even Mr Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir, could spare only 15 minutes to spend at Chatti Singhpora.
Mr Jakhar, a member of the Congress delegation, who visited the village under instructions from the party President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, told newspersons at Maujgarh village near here today that the minority community was convinced that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir had increased many folds after the fall of the Congress-led government in the past 10 years. The present government had never thought of providing any kind of security to the Sikh community. The remarks of a senior police official that the government had not thought of providing security cover to the Sikhs because the Sikhs protected themselves spoke volumes of the poor functioning of the law and order set up there.
The former Union Agriculture Minister regretted that the Vajpayee government had not bothered to discuss any issue relating to agriculture with US President, Bill Clinton during his five-day stay in India. If meetings with industrialists could be arranged for the US President, why agriculturists were ignored. Seventyfour per cent Indians were involved in agriculture but the government had completely ignored them.
Mr Jakhar, one of the founders of the Bharat Krishan Samaj, expressed concern over the economic crisis faced by the farmers and said not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Punjab and Haryana the farmers had been compelled to commit suicide due to burden of debts. The Union Government had increased the burden on farmers of Punjab by 1800 crore with fresh Budget proposals. He was not averse to the demand put forward by the former Deputy Prime Minister Mr Devi Lal, that some way to give debt relief to the farmers be adopted. He blamed the agriculture policies of the government for the sad state of farmers. A convention of the Bharat Krishak Samaj would be held at New Delhi on April 18 to discuss these issues, he said.
Dal Khalsa to hold political
AMRITSAR, March 26 The Dal Khalsa will hold a political conference to deliberate on the religio-cultural identity of the Sikhs challenges and solutions on March 29 at a local hall.
In a press statement Dal Khalsa chief spokesperson Kanwar Pal Singh said, his organisation felt that some vested interests were propagating against the basic tenets and philosophy of the distinct identity of the Khalsa. The proposed gathering would correct all such notions.
He said besides others
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President Akali Dal (Amritsar)
and member of Parliament, Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra,
President of the AISAD, Mr Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib,
Vice-President of the Dal Khalsa, Prof Jagmohan Singh,
Prof Jagdish Singh, human rights activist Jaspal Singh
Dhillon and Youth Akali leader Karnail Singh Panjoli
would address the gathering.
Sena men hold protest rally
FATEHGARH SAHIB, March 26 Despite prohibitory orders under Section 144 imposed, by the district administration Shiv Sena activists succeeded in organising a protest rally against the celebration of the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale by the Mann and Tohra factions today. However, they were not allowed to proceed towards the house of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann to burn the effigies of the two leaders they burnt Pakistans effigy instead.
The timely intervention by the district administration saved the situation and averted, a clash between activists of the Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal (A) and the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal. The police rounded up 31 workers of the SHSAD outside gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, when they tried to proceed towards the rally site, of the Shiv Sena activists. Similarly 161 activists of the Shiv Sena, including Mr Pawan Kumar Gupta, state president were also rounded up. As many as 30 workers of the SAD (A) were also arrested.
Addressing Shiv Sena activists, Mr Pawan Kumar Gupta, state president alleged that the police had stopped Shiv Sena activists from coming to Sirhind by putting up Nakas. He said the Shiv Sena did not want to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the state, but they are protesting against the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was responsible for terrorism and bloodshed in the state.
Meanwhile, Mr Iqbal Singh Tiwana, official spokesperson of the SAD (A), told The Tribune, at the residence of Mr Mann, that they had celebrated the birth anniversary of Bhindranwale.
SHSAD activists led by
Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, state president SHSAD,
organised a meeting at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib and
alleged that Shiv Sena was trying to disturb the peaceful
atmosphere of the state creating rift between the Hindus
and the Sikhs.
Plea to withdraw free water,
LUDHIANA, March 26 A senior Congress leader and member of Parliament, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, has said that the state government should withdraw free water and power supply to farmers as this political gimmick by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was proving to be bad economics for the state.
Mr Brar was addressing a press conference here today, while on a visit to the city in order to participate in a string of functions organised by Congress workers today.
The convener of the Congress group of members of Parliament from Punjab was answering a question whether he favoured this sop given to the farmers of the state. He, however, added that this withdrawal of free electricity and water should be conditional to the governments ability to provide a regular power supply instead of a free but erratic power supply to farmers as of date.
Mr Brar also said if the government was to bring about major reforms in the power sector, this withdrawal was inevitable.
At the moment the PSEB is facing a loss of Rs 950 crore. What needs to be done is to improve the transmission system and provide adequate and regular power, he said.
Answering queries about why the Congress now disfavoured withdrawal of subsidies when, in fact, it was the Congress that had initiated this process, Mr Brar replied that the Congress still favoured withdrawal of subsidies but in a phased manner and not by making such huge cuts.
In answer to another question about the long-standing demand of Punjab regarding sharing of its river waters with Haryana and Rajasthan, the Congress MP replied that the Congress party had a clear stand on the issue that only surplus river waters be shared with other states.
Talking about budget proposals of the state government, Mr Brar said that no effort had been made to tide away the financial crisis nor were any programmes amounted for curbing the growing unemployment.
Mr Brar said that the Congress MPs from Punjab had decided to oppose the hike in prices of kerosene and LPG as these were anti-poor. He also announced that the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee would launch a state-level and district-level agitational programme from April 2.
The Vice-President of PPCC also said that the challenge before the PPCC was to review its organisational structure and strengthen itself in order to gear up to fight the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Alternative medicine meet ends
ANANDPUR SAHIB, March 26 The three-day international conference on alternative systems of medicine today concluded with the formation of World Society of Alternative Medicines at the Sri Guru Har Rai Institute of Alternative Systems of Medicine here.
The society with its headquarter at Anandpur Sahib will encourage and educate farmers for the cultivation of medicinal plants, to provide forum for the exchange of ideas among scientists on the use of alternative medicines, to establish an independent educational institute of ayurveda at Anandpur Sahib, and to promote the alternative systems in medicine to increase awareness among the scientists and individuals of the potential values of the alternative medicines.
Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib and Chairman of Gurmat Sagar Trust, has been made patron of the society. Besides, a 15-member committee to run the society has also been constituted. The name of the committee members are Mr Jambal Knatan Baatar (Mangolia), Mrs (Dr) Santokh Sahi (England), Dr Y.P. Singh (Hardwar), Dr R.P. Maudgil (Chennai), Dr P.S. Bedi (Bareilly), Dr V.K. Agnihotri (Hardwar), Dr Jagdip Singh (Punjab), Dr K.D. Saxena (Delhi), Dr D.B. Kapoor (Punjab), Dr Sudarshan Reddy (Hyderabad), Dr P.K. Gupta (UP), Dr V.K. Vijjan (UP), Dr N.K. Sharma (Punjab), Dr B.K. Diwedi (Bareilly) and Dr R.M.S. Bajwa (Punjab).
At the concluding ;session Dr D.B. Kapoor, organising secretary of the international conference, demanded from the Union Government to release immediately the report of the committee of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the recognition of medical practitioners of alternative systems of medicine.
Mr Barjinder Singh, Chief Editor, Daily Ajit, appreciated the conference describing it as first of its kind in the region. He said the conference would prove beneficial in the years to come in spreading alternative systems of medicine.
Prof Manjit Singh addressing the gathering thanked all delegates for taking part in the conference. He expressed the hope that ;discussions held during the conference would prove fruitful for the scientists.
He gave away mementoes to the delegates and thanked all those doctors who had offered their services for the Sri Guru Har Rai Institute of Alternative Systems of Medicine here.
Earlier in the day, a
scientific session on antibiotics, yoga,
reflexochairotherapy and Reiki therapy was held. Speaking
during the session Dr G.S Preet, Director, Health
Services, Punjab, said the scientists should pool all
systems of medicines to provide better medicare to the
Candidates sore over delay in
PATIALA, March 26 There is widespread resentment amongst candidates whose names were recommended by the Punjab Public Service Commission for appointment as subdivisional engineers in the Public Works (B and R) Department in August 1999 but have not been appointed till now.
A number of candidates in a statement here yesterday said files relating to their appointment were shuttling between various departments in the Punjab Civil Secretariat.
The candidates claimed that their selection had been made purely on merit. They alleged that there seemed to be a deep-rooted conspiracy to deny them appointments for more than six months.
They expressed apprehension that vested interests were out to damage their service prospects by manipulation to get the recommendation annulled and thereafter getting the posts re-advertised so as to manage the selections of their kith and kin.
They urged the Punjab Chief Minister and the Public Works Minister to intervene in the matter and get their appointment letters issued on the same analogy as was being adopted for PCS candidates who were also selected along with them in September, 1999.
Maulvi condemns Sikh carnage
AMRITSAR, March 26 At the bhog ceremony held by the Sikh Vikas Sanstha for those slain at Anantnag, Maulvi Haroon Raza Risvi, President, Musalamaan Janta Welfare Action Committee, said no religion allowed killing of innocent persons.
Jathedar Satbir Singh Bajaj condemned the mindless killing of Sikhs. He demanded an inquiry by an independent agency into the incident.
Mr Daljit Singh Khalsa, President of the Sanstha, condemning the massacre, sought the harshest punishment to those who had perpetuated the crime.
MALERKOTLA: A meeting of Muslim intellectuals was held here to condemn the inhuman massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chatti Singhpora village.
Dr Mohmmad Iqbal, Dr Manjoor Hassan, Prof Abdul Rashid, Dr Zeenatuallah Javed, Dr Hohmad Jameel, Mrs Rasheda Zaidi, Dr Allah Rang Chaudhry, Dr Jashed Ali Khan, Prof Sattar Mohmad and Mr Abdul Wahid called the act as an attack on secularism.
They appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to make necessary arrangements for the protection of its inhabitants.
Several Sikh organisations have decided to take out a protest march on March 31.
Choked sewers Malerkotlas
MALERKOTLA: Choked sewers in Al-Falah Colony and Thandi Sadak have made life hell for at least 10,000 residents. The residents rue that their complaints and requests have so far fallen on deaf ears. Though the problem of chronic sewer blockage has been persisting for the past five years, the situation has now taken a turn for the worse. Lanes in the colony are flooded with drainage water which has entered a few houses. The residents are worried that the situation will worsen during the monsoon.
If this is the situation now, what will we do during the monsoon, asks Mohd Shakil, a resident of Al-Falah Colony. Mr Mani Ram, another resident, says they have been living with this problem for the past few years. The MC authorities have never bothered to take up desiltation of the sewerage, Mr Ram Dev, another resident, says the problem has aggravated due to the alleged neglect and callousness of the Municipal Committee.
The sewerage has got blocked because of the accumulation of silt. The MC authorities surprisingly are not doing anything to alleviate their suffering. This sewerage is not enough to carry the entire load of drainage.
The residents apprehend that the insanitary conditions may lead to the outbreak of an epidemic in the area.
Changes in Rent Act resented
AMRITSAR, March 26 Mr Ripuduman Singh, convener, Punjab, and Mr Sat Pal Narang, secretary of the Amritsar Kiraidar Union, Uttam Chand Chawla, patron, have, in a joint statement expressed resentment against the proposed amendments to the Rent Restriction Act, 1949, which favour landlords.
Referring to the formula regarding increase in rent by 20 per cent to 30 per cent every five years with effect from 1950, they said this would affect tenants who had suffered during militancy.
They were of the option that the new clause, which provides for eviction in case the rent was not paid for two consecutive months, would give a convenient handle to the landlords to start the eviction proceedings. It would increase litigation and jeopardise the interests of the tenants.
In 1995, the tenants had to launch a statewide struggle to secure the annulment of the then proposed anti-tenant Act and the Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, had to ensure that any amendment was made only after consultations with the representatives of the tenants.
Procession against LPG price hike
PATHANKOT, March 26 The city Congress Committee, Pathankot, on Saturday took out a procession which started from the Congress Bhawan to the S.D.M. courts here against the recent price hike in the LPG and kerosene.
About 1000 workers and leaders participated in the procession. The procession was led by Mr Raman Bhalla, a former minister of Punjab, Mr Sham Behal, president of the City Congress Committee (I), and Mr Brij Mohan Puri, joint secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.
Health Dept to set up control
PHILLAUR, March 26 The Punjab Health Department has decided to set up a state-level control room in Chandigarh from April 1 to redress public grievances.
This was announced here by the Health Minister, Dr Baldev Chawla, today. He said people could fax their complaints to the control room, which would be redressed within 48 hours.
Man fires in air, rescues woman
PHAGWARA, March 26 A man from Ludhiana, Gurnam Singh opened fire in the air and rescued a woman from the clutches of three unidentified youths, who were trying to physically assault her in a Jalandhar-bound Maruti Esteem car, near here, last night. The youths threw her from the car on the G.T. Road, near the local Rest House, and sped away towards Jalandhar side.
Later, the story took a new turn when the rescued woman, Babli, was described as a sex worker. She herself admitted before the police that she had taken Rs 700 from two local customers for a night through a woman pimp, popularly known as Madam. But instead of two, five customers wanted to spend the night with her on the same charges. At this she refused and asked them to go with her to the Madam or leave her at Phagwara. The youths began to harass her in the car. This was noticed by Gurnam Singh who rescued her.
Quack held on rape charge
LUDHIANA, March 26 A quack has been accused by a 19-year-old of raping her under the pretext of doing her medical examination. She had gone to the quack for cure of her infertility.
The police today arrested Balbir Singh of Kotwewal village, near Goraya under Section 366, 376, 342 and 506 of the IPC on charges of raping the complainant on March 23.
According to the FIR registered at police station focal point yesterday, the complainant, a resident of Kot Mangal Singh, has alleged that she had been visiting Balbir Singh for the past one month to get a cure for her infertility.
The victim has alleged that she had met him twice before March 23. Balbir Singh made a telephone call at a neighbours house and asked her to come and meet him near the railway crossing near Dhandarikalan.
The complainant has stated that when she reached there with her father, the accused said that he had forgotten her medicine at his place and asked her to accompany him on his motor cycle.
The girl has further
alleged that when she went to his place, Balbir Singh
raped her and threatened with dire consequences to her
family, if she were to complain to anyone about the
incident. She, however, registered an FIR with the police
on March 25.
One held under Excise Act
PHAGWARA, March 26 The police has arrested Shangaram under the Excise Act and seized nine bottles of liquor from him. He was arrested near Chachoki village, the police said on Friday.
In another incident, the
police has seized 220 kg of poppy from two persons. Five
sacks, containing 40 kg poppy each, were seized from
Gurdial, alias Dala of Kirpal Nagar here while 20 kg was
seized from a Bihari, Sanjay Kumar, near the Khati
GND University to honour Dosanjh
AMRITSAR, March 26 Guru Nanak Dev University will honour Mr Ujjal Dosanjh, premier of British Columbia, with doctor of law (honoris causa degree for commendable contribution in the field of law. The degree will be conferred upon Mr Dosanjh under the faculty of law. The decision was taken by the Syndicate of the university which held a meeting here last evening.
Dr H.S. Soch, Vice-Chancellor, presided while Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, presented the agenda.
Giving details of the decision, Dr Soch said the university would award the LL.D degree to Mr Dosanjh when the latter visits India at a special convocation.
Dr Soch said the
university would shortly sign a MoU with Hampshire Hotels
and Resorts, London-New York. Under this MoU, he said an
institute of hotel management with hostel and a hotel
would be established on the campus to train Punjabi youth
in the hotel management. For the project he said the
university would provide 5 acres of land and faculty for
the institute and the planning and construction of the
complex would be undertaken by Hampshire Hotels and
Resorts India Limited.
Punjabi university exam schedule
PATIALA, March 26 Punjabi University has released the schedule of annual examinations for various courses run on the university campus, in its affiliated colleges and through correspondence courses.
Giving this information Mr Paramjit Singh Khaira, Controller of Examinations, has said that the examinations for all parts of B.A., B.Sc., B.Com., M.A., M.Sc. and M.Com. will commence of April 19.
The examinations for
courses such as D.P.Ed. B.P.Ed and M.P.Ed. will start on
April 25, whereas the examinations for B.Ed., MEd.,
Diploma in Library Science, Diploma in Divinity and
Diploma in Gurmat Sangeet will commence on April 29. The
MIL examinations such as Gyani, Prabhakar and Punjab
Praveshika will start on May 3, Mr Khaira added that the
practicals for regular, private and correspondence course
students will be conducted after the completion of
examination in theory papers.
Cotton yield on the decline
BATHINDA: The state of Punjab figures at the bottom of the list of cotton-producing states of the country due to repeated lower yield of cotton for the past six years.
Punjab which produced record 26.58 lakh bales of cotton in 1989-90 has been trying hard to regaining the pride of place on the cotton yield map of India.
Over the years, sale of spurious insecticides repeated attack by American bollworm, unseasonal rains and shortage of certified seed of cotton, seem to have given rise to aversion among farmers for the cultivation of cotton.
Farmers of the cotton belt of Punjab comprising Ferozepore, Muktsar, Mansa, Faridkot, Bathinda, Sangrur and Moga districts, who suffered heavy losses in the past five to six years due to manifold increase in the cost of cultivation while the yield decreased considerably, started switching towards paddy and the trend is still continuing.
Last year, the farmers sowed cotton in five lakh hectares of state and produced 4.87 lakh bales of cotton. In 1997-98, the farmers produced 7.15 lakh bales from over six lakh hectares. The falling production of cotton every year affected economy of the farmers and they came under heavy debt.
In 1999-2000, area under cotton crop touched record low as the farmers sowed the cotton crop only in 4.65 lakh hectares. The area left by the cotton crop was covered by paddy crop. Concerned over the fact that farmers have been giving up cultivation of cotton every year and the area under cotton crop decreasing considerably, the state Agriculture Department has made plans to boost cotton production in Punjab which once was surplus cotton producing state of the country.
The state Agriculture Department has fixed a target to bring cotton cultivation in six lakh hectares in 2000-2001 to produce 15 lakh bales. The state Agriculture Department will also ensure adequate supply of certified seed hybrid and others, standard pesticides and insecticides and fertiliser to the farmers to achieve the target of production of 15 lakh bales.
Mr Deep Singh Sahota, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, who toured this part of the cotton belt recently disclosed that if weather conditions remained favourable, target of 15 lakh bales of cotton would be achieved. He added that farmers were being made aware about the latest know-how on cotton cultivation and integrated pest management programme (IPM) was being intensified.
He said that every year, the area under cotton cultivation would be increased to produce more so that farmers could get handsome returns from farmers.
Punjab used to produce 20 per cent of the total cotton produced in the country from eight per cent of the total area under cotton in the country. For the second consecutive year, Punjab, produced less cotton than produced in Rajasthan and Haryana in the post-green revolution era.
Falling cotton production in the state has also hit the cotton ginning industry and trade. In the past two years more than 200 cotton ginning and pressing mills closed for want of raw material. On the other hand, a number of persons in the cotton trade also had to shut up shop.
Poor of low production of cotton has also deterred away customers from Mumbai and South India from coming to Punjab market to buy their requirements. They have shifted their operations to other states.
Mr Ashok Kapur,
Director, Export Panel, North India Cotton Association
(NICA) pointed out that cotton production in Punjab could
not be increased till authorities the concerned ensured
remunerative prices to farmers and checked the sale of
spurious fertiliser and insecticides in the markets. He
added the Union Government would have to formulate a
cotton policy for the country to boost production.
PATIALA, March 26 Dedicated Brothers group today launched a new medicare project under which timely medicare will be provided to unknown accident victims who are brought to the emergency ward of the Rajindra Hospital here.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |