Friday, January 26, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Lobbying begins for Majitha poll
Tribune News Service

MAJITHA, Jan 25 — The aspirants for the Congress and Akali Dal ticket for the forthcoming Majitha byelection, have rushed to New Delhi and Chandigarh, respectively, along with their supporters.

Mr Amarinder Singh, President Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), has already said that the decision for allocating the party ticket will be taken by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the party.

Though the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to finalise its candidate in the meeting of political affairs committee to be held at Amritsar on January 27, yet the aspirants for the ticket have rushed to Chandigarh for lobbying.

Senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress are of the opinion that it will be a difficult task for both parties to decide a suitable candidate for this crucial byelection as its result will directly affect the forthcoming general Assembly elections, due in February next year. Any wrong decision about the selection of the candidate will adversely affect the result of the general elections.

Though Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, a Rajya Sabha member, is considered a ‘suitable’ candidate for Askli ticket, yet allocation of the ticket would ‘annoy’ the family of Mr Parkash Singh Majitha, a former minister, the death of whom necessitated the byelection.

Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha and Mr Simerjit Singh Majitha, a son of the former minister, have announced that they will honour the directive of the party so far as contesting the byelection is concerned. The other two aspirants for the Akali ticket include Dr Manjit Singh Bhoma, Deputy Chairman, Punjab Khadi Board and president, All-India Sikh Students Federation (Bhoma group) and Mr Manjinder Singh Kang, Chairman, Forest Corporation, who is also a relative of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. Both of them belong to the Majitha Assembly constituency.

The aspirants for Congress ticket include Mr Surinder Singh Kathu Nangal, who had unsuccessfully contested the previous election as a ‘rebel Akali’ and Mr Ranjit Singh Waryam Nangal, a former MLA. Though Mr Kathu Nangal had joined the Congress on the condition of getting the Assembly ticket, yet his choice can disappoint the old Congress leaders, especially Mr Waryam Nangal who had won the seat during the boycott of Akalis in 1992.

The Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal will also announce its election strategy on January 27 after the political affairs committee to be held in Ludhiana district.


Code being ‘violated’ in Majitha
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

MAJITHA, Jan 25 — The patch work on the Amritsar-Majitha road is going on a war footing in gross violation of the election code of conduct.

The administration seems to have wakened from slumber to “mitigate” the problems of the residents of Majitha immediately after the announcement of the byelection. The officials of various departments are in constant touch with the voters now.

The sleepy town of Majitha, which remained a hot bed of terrorism, has been neglected by successive governments in the past. Hardly any project, big or small was given to the town. Majitha is still a block despite the demand for allevating it to a sub-tehsil.

Though Majitha was carved out as a separate police district during the terrorism era, yet the district chief’s office was opened in Amritsar, which is 18 km from here. The office of the DSP was opened about a year ago.

This is perhaps the first assembly constituency where no industrial training institute or college was established.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal has paid only one official visit, that too after coming to power. Before becoming Chief Minister, Mr Badal had addressed a rally near Kathu Nangal in December, 1996, where he had promised to develop Majitha town after becoming a chief minister. However, he failed to fulfil any promise made with the voters of Majitha.

The roads in the town are in bad shape. The condition of schools and government buildings is no better.

After becoming a Cabinet minister, Mr Parkash Singh Majitha, could not nurture his constituency due to his bad health. Mr Majitha hardly laid any foundation stone after becoming a minister. However, the only consolation for the residents of Majitha was that the Akali member of Parliament, Mr Rajmohinder Singh Majitha, allocated major share of his development funds to the area.

Though Parkash Singh Majitha was close to the Chief Minister yet he (Mr Badal) could not mitigate the grievances of the voters of the constituency. Moreover, on one came to the rescue of the farmers of Majitha constituency, who made a distress sale of paddy and potatoes.


Amarinder meets ECs
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 25 — A delegation of the Punjab Congress led by its President Mr Amarinder Singh, today met-Election Commission officials here to convey their fears and apprehensions regarding misuse of official machinery in the Majitha byelection.

Mr Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by Mr Surinder Singla and Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, met the Election Commissioners, Mr B.B. Lyngodh and Mr T.S. Krishnamurthy, for over an hour. They also conveyed their apprehension regarding misuse of the electronic voting machines.

Talking to TNS, Mr Amarinder Singh said the Election Commissioners took note of the points raised and assured that the concerns of the party would be taken into account. The Commission was likely to send an officer to Majitha soon in connection with the byelection.

He also met the Congress President Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the party’s preparations for the byelection were discussed. The PCC chief said name of the party’s candidate had not yet been finalised and four aspirants had been shortlisted. Mr Amarinder Singh and Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, would visit Amritsar shortly after which name of the candidate would be finalised.

PPCC chief convenes meeting on Jan 29
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Capt Amarinder Singh, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee ( PPCC), has convened a meeting of all members of the Pradesh Congress Committee, MPs, MLAs, former MPs and MLAs, Presidents of all district units and members of AICC from Punjab at the office of the District Congress Committee( Rural), Amritsar on January 29 to chalk out the party’s strategy vis-a-vis Majitha byelection according to a party press note.

Meanwhile, Capt Amarinder Singh has cancelled all his public meetings and functions which were to be held between January 26 and February 10.


IPS officer ‘shifted’ for slapping BJP man
From Gurpreet Singh
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 25 — The IPS officer, who had allegedly slapped a BJP leader here on January 23, has been transferred to Patiala.

The ASP, Mr Kanwar Vijay Partap Singh, had reportedly slapped Mr Charan Dass Handa, a district BJP executive committee member, and detained his colleague Mr Hari Dass Chauhan in his office, following an argument over a small matter.

Confirming his transfer to Patiala here today, the Superintendent of Police (Headquarters), Mr N.P.S. Sidhu, said orders to this effect were received here last night. He, however, said it was a routine transfer as one more ASP had also been shifted from Barnala to Patiala.

The local BJP leaders, who were gunning for the ASP, however, claimed that the transfer was the result of their efforts. Several BJP leaders claimed in the morning that the ASP’s transfer was confirmed by the BJP Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal. The local leaders had earlier approached Mr Mittal to take the matter to its logical end. Yesterday, BJP activists had staged a demonstration at Zira town, where traders owing allegiance to the party had downed their shutters in protest.

The district BJP president, Mr D.P. Chandan, announced that the party would not pocket the insult meted out to their colleague by an IPS officer and sought a high-level inquiry into the incident.

While the ASP denied having roughed up anyone, the BJP alleged that Mr Handa was slapped by the officer. The incident occurred when Mr Handa approached the ASP to know the fate of an inquiry into a charge of bribery against an Assistant Sub Inspector.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against Mr Handa, his party colleagues, Mr Hari Dass Chauhan and seven others at the cantonment police station on the statement of an Assistant Sub Inspector, Satnam Singh. Satnam Singh had accused them of tearing off his uniform and obstructing him from performing duty.


Pak national killed near Wagah
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, Jan 25 — A Pakistani national was killed near Wagah border while ensuring “safe passage” to ISI-sponsored terrorists on the eve of Republic Day.

According to sources, the Pakistani national was working as a ‘guide’ for a group of at least seven terrorists who wanted to cross over to India to target ‘VVIPs’ and disrupt Republic Day functions. It may be mentioned here that the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will unfurl the National Flag at Gurdaspur tomorrow.

This is the seventh ISI-sponsored terrorist who was killed by the Border Security Force while crossing the border during this month.

The sources said while the terrorist (aged 20) was killed at Kakkar BOP, his associates succeeded in fleeing back to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the District Magistrate has clamped a dusk-to-dawn curfew within the 500-metre area on the Indo-Pak belt to prevent the movement of “anti-national elements” who wanted to disrupt the peace and tranquility of the country. However, this order will not be enforceable on the GT road, running from the border barrier to Amritsar.


PSEB to regularise ‘‘illegal’’ connections
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to regularise the ‘‘illegal’’ power load of domestic, industrial and other consumers without charging any penalty till February 28.

There are several thousand power connection holders who have excess power load than officially approved in their case by the board. Such persons have been provided one more opportunity to get the excess load sanctioned from the authorities concerned in their respective areas.

The board has decided to continue the ‘‘self-financed’’ tubewell power connection scheme till March 31 this year. Under this scheme, those seeking power connection for tubewell have to bear all the expenditure incurred on providing power connection to the tubewell. Beside, one has to deposit Rs 5,000 per horse power (HP) to the PSEB. The connection is provided on a top priority basis under the scheme.

The board has also decided to regularise the 15,000 temporary power connection of tubewells which were released during the last paddy season. The holders of such a connection will have to deposit Rs 6,000 per HP to the PSEB for getting the connection regularised. Earlier these charges were Rs 10,000 per HP.

The board has also released demand notices to 80,000 applicants who had sought power connection for tubewells. The Power Minister, Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, told TNS here today that those who had applied by March 31, 1990, had been issued demand notice. It may be mentioned that lakhs of applications are pending with the board with regard to power connection for tubewells.

Mr Maluka said the board had resumed 24-hour power supply to villages in the state. The panchayats interested in getting 24-hour power supply to their respective villages could deposit money with the board. Villages with a population up to 1,000 have to deposit Rs 10,000 for seeking this facility and those having population up to 3,000 have to pay Rs 25,000 to the board.

The board has decided to issue pass books to power connection holders for paying the bills.

When asked about extension to Mr N.S. Vasant, Adviser, Energy, to the board, Mr Maluka said that there would be no further extension to Mr Vasant. He said the board was not in a position to bear the expenditure incurred on retaining Mr Vasant as Adviser. He said Mr Vasant would complete his present term on February 28 this year. 


Gurdwara head challaned
Tribune News Service

FEROZEPORE, Jan 25 — The Wildlife Department is learnt to have challaned the head of the Nanaksar Ishardham Gurdwara at Harike near here for allegedly trespassing into the bird sanctuary and destroying a natural habitat of migratory birds.

The department has already prepared a challan report and will lodge it at a Zira court for further proceedings. Sources revealed that followers of Baba Madho Singh, head of the gurdwara, had allegedly destroyed a natural bird habitat by filling it up with sand to turn it into a parking lot.

The gurdwara inmates are also being accused of expanding the area under its rightful control. Earlier, the forest and wildlife officials had an argument with Baba Madho Singh when they prevented his followers from destroying the habitat that is located near the gurdwara.

Confirming these developments to The Tribune, Divisional Forest Officer Jagdeep Singh said they had asked for the police help to pitch pillars for demarcating the boundary of the sanctuary to prevent the gurdwara authorities from expanding its area any further.

On being contacted, Baba Madho Singh expressed his ignorance about having been challaned. He, however, claimed that the controversial habitat patch was a part of the 104 kanal and 18 marlas of land the government had allowed the gurdwara to retain.

He asked the Wildlife and Revenue departments to demarcate the boundary to end any confusion pertaining to the area in gurdwara’s possession.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Zira, Mr Bakhtawar Singh, who has now intervened into the matter, assured that the Revenue officials would make a fresh demarcation of the disputed territory to end the controversy.


Canal water theft to be probed
Tribune News Service

ABOHAR, Jan 25 — Farmers of the tail-end villages of the district continue to allege large-scale theft of canal water by certain influential landlords close to ruling Akali Dal legislators.

Farmers of Shergarh village are the worst hit. They have not been getting enough water to irrigate their fields on this count. Yesterday, a delegation of farmers from Shergarh led by a firebrand BJP leader, Mrs Vijay Laxmi Bhadu, descended on the residence of the Sub-divisional Magistrate to press for legal action against those involved in the water theft.

She charged landlords of the Balluana area with illegally drawing canal water with pipes and thus affecting irrigation in tail-end villages. A former Congress Sarpanch of Shergarh, Mr Ved Parkash Bhadu, alleged that the theft continues with impunity at the behest of the Akali legislator of the Balluana Assembly segment “repeated pleas to the administration have fallen on deaf ears due to the involvement of ruling Akali Dal leaders”, he alleged.

Farmers said that landlords of Doda, Kular and Patti villages continue to draw excessive water from the Lambi minor canal with the connivance of the Irrigation Department. They accused department employees of accepting gratification from these landlords to allow them to use pipes.

The SDM, Mr Darshan Singh Grewal, went to the alleged theft spots to verify the facts of these complaints and disclosed that he would shortly call a meeting with irrigation officials to resolve the problem.

He assured that all the theft cases would be sternly dealt with.

Mr Grewal disclosed that the problem of canal water shortage persists in the tail-end villages of the sub-division and the shortage of canal water and preference for irrigation was the cause of the theft. He said that the administration had ordered police patrolling along the canals to check the menace.

On being contacted, the SDO Irrigation, Mr Gulshan Rai Nagpal, said that they frequently register cases against those stealing water.

Denying the charge of connivance between irrigation officials and landlords, he assured to look into the matter if any case was brought to the department’s knowledge.


PTDC seals tourist complex
From Surinder Bhardwaj

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 25 — Uncertainty prevails over the future of the tourist complex Aam Khas Bagh at district headquarters here due to a dispute between the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and a private contractor. The PTDC officials today sealed the complex and took charge of the complex. The contractor has protested the decision.

With the closer of this complex not only the tourists, the visiting dignitaries, and the residents of the area will suffer, but the future of the 35 employees of this complex is also in dark. The officials of PTDC have locked the entire complex, which was constructed at the cost of about Rs 1 crore. The employees have been sitting outside the complex waiting for the contractor to clear their three months salaries.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Jagjit Singh, contractor, said he had taken the complex on lease for five years from the PTDC at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per month. He had also deposited Rs 12 lakh as security with the department. He said he had renovated the entire complex and had spent more than Rs 56 lakh on construction of an approaching road, landscaping, construction of parking facilities, developing of lawns, renovation of rooms and complex, kitchen equipment and other required items. He said according to the agreement between him and the PTDC, most of these items were to be provided by the PTDC and even the construction work, particularly of woodwork, done by the PTDC, had started getting damaged.

He said inspite of repeated reminders the department did not care to provide any facility. He said nor the money spent by them on behalf of the PTDC was adjusted in their monthly rent. He said the PTDC had destroyed their goodwill by looking the complex.

Mr Sawhney, General Manager of the complex said according to clause 21 of the agreement “in event of any dispute arising between the licencer and licencees the same shall be referred to the Secretary, Tourism Department, whose decision/award will be final and binding on both the parties. He said the PTDC had not taken any prior permission from the Secretary, nor given any notice from taking this action. He said we would approach the higher officials for justice.

On the other hand, Mr T.B. Singla, SDO, PTDC, who has taken over the charge of the complex along with his staff told The Tribune that the contractor had not paid the Rs 43 lakh licence fees to the PTDC. Notices were served to them from time to time, but they had failed to clear the dues. They had given two cheques to the department which bounced, he added.

He said on the direction of the Managing Director (MD), they had taken over the charge of the complex. He said the further running of this complex would depend upon the decision of the higher officials. He said before taking on lease the contractor had inspected the building and whatever was promised by the PTDC was provided.

Meanwhile, 35 employees of the complex who were sitting outside the complex were worried about their future. The employees, mostly from Garhwal and Himachal Pradesh, said they had not received their salaries for the last three months.


Fund shortage holds up project
From Anirudh Gupta

FEROZEPORE: Work on the Rs 1.20 crore Circuit House project here has virtually come to a standstill reportedly due to the shortage of funds.

The project, which was sanctioned way back in April, 1995, was supposed to have been executed within a stipulated period of 10 months. However, even after more than five years, the complex, located at the entrance of the border town, has not been completed.

Enquiries reveal that the project estimate was revised in 1998, raising the figure to Rs 1.59 crore. Till date, Rs 92.57 lakh has been spent on the project.

Under the plan, the complex will comprise two VVIP suites, 11 VIP rooms, dormitories for subordinate staff, four rooms measuring 600 sq ft, six rooms measuring 400 sq ft and a generator room.

According to sources, despite an allocation in the Budget for the project, no funds have been released for a long time. Although the basic structure is almost complete, work on the facade and other parts of the building and roads remains far from complete. Wooden door and window frames have already started decaying.

This unfinished structure has over a period of time become a haven for anti-social elements.

According to reports, bills of contractors for several lakhs of rupees have not been paid. The department concerned is not in a position to pay these bills due to the unavailability of funds.

It is reported that at least Rs 40 lakh is required to complete the project.

Mr Subhash Chander, who has been given the contract for the construction of the Circuit House, complains that as his long-pending bills have not been paid, he has been unable to carry on with the work.


Patiala callers miss Amritsar by a whisker
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 25 — A distance of three kilometres has proven unlucky for the residents of Patiala who will have to pay STD rates for dialling Amritsar under the new scheme, being launched from tomorrow, which has put all of Punjab and Chandigarh, except for Amritsar and Gurdaspur on local dialling for city residents.

Even as the residents of the city are happy about the facility which will come their way on Republic day, the district unit of the Punjab STD and PCO Holders Association has decided to observe the day as a ‘black day’ alleging that the scheme was a blow to their business.

As regards the people of the city, only Amritsar and Gurdaspur will be beyond local dialling. Amritsar will remain beyond reach as the facility has been extended up to 200 km only and Amritsar is at a distance of 203 km. Gurdaspur is a little further away.


Bathinda as old as Harappa
From Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA: Bathinda has been in existence since the ancient period of history. Certain sites explored in the erstwhile Mansa subdivision of Bathinda district link it with the Indus Valley civilisation or the Harappan culture. In the pre-divided Bathinda district, the sites can be classified as those belonging to the pre-Harappan period, Harappan period and the late Harappan period.

About 22 such sites which have been explored now fall in Mansa. The Aryans who appeared on the Punjab soil around 1500 B.C. wiped out the Harappan culture.

During the Rigvedic Aryan period, Bathinda seems to have been part of the Saptasindhu (seven waters) which came to be known as Panchanada (five rivers) in the Mahabharata time.

Before the Rigvedic period, the region witnessed a massive inflow of invaders from the North-West in several successive waves between 1500 B.C. and 800 B.C. Perhaps for the first time, the region witnessed a series of fierce wars for several centuries. The repeated wars between the invading Aryans and the placid natives of the land resulted in the victory of Aryans over the non-Aryans.

After the Rigvedic Aryan period, Bathinda became part of the Maurya and Gupta regimes.

It is believed that Rao Bhatti established the modern town of Bathinda and Bhatner in the Lakhi jungle area in the third century and it was captured from him by the Barars. After that, the main turning point in the history of Bathinda came in 1004 AD when Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort which was located on the route from the North. West into the rich Ganga valley.

The second major development took place in 1189 when Mohammad Ghori attacked the fort of Bathinda and occupied it. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the illustrious ruler of this region, managed to recover the posssesion of the fort 13 months later after a fierce battle in 1191.

The other historical development was when the Raziya Sultan, the first woman ruler of India, was put in prison in April, 1240, a time when Altunia was the Governor. She was released in August 1240 with the efforts of Altunia. Both Altunia and Riziya who got married were killed by some robbers near Kaithal on October 13,1240.

The Sidhu-Barars were thrown out of Bathinda during the Lodhi’s rule. The Sidhu-Barars were given the area of Lakhi jungle back by Babar.

A few years later Rup Chand, a staunch devotee of Guru Gobind Singh, came on the scene in Punjab history. Phul, the second son of Rup Chand, started the practice of langar (community kitchen) for the people in the Lakhi jungle area and also built a fort around 1654.

Ala Singh, son of Rama, another devotee of Guru Gobind Singh, attacked Bathinda when it was in possession of Sardar Jodh Singh Saboke and a major area of Bathinda came under the rule of Ala Singh of the Phul dynasty.

Ala Singh, who died in August 1765 at Patiala, was succeeded by Amar Singh, his grandson. In 1770, Amar Singh sent a big force to capture the fort of Bathinda from Sukhchen Singh Sabo. The fort was required in 1771. Raja Amar died in 1781 at the age of 35.

After the death of Amar Singh, Raja Sahib Singh, who was six, was made the Chief of Patiala. However, the affairs of the state were managed by Diwan Nanun Mal. Raja Sahib Singh died on March 26, 1813, and he was succeeded by his son Karam Singh.

During the first Anglo-Sikh war in 1845-46, Maharaja Karam Singh of Patiala fought on the side of the British. He died during the war and his son Maharaja Narinder Singh, who succeeded him, also helped the British Government, Mahindra Singh, son of Raja Narinder Singh, succeeded him and then came his son Rajinder Singh and then his son Bhupinder Singh. Bhupinder Singh was succeeded by his son Yadavindera Singh 1938.

With the formation of the Patiala and East Punjab State Union (PEPSU) on May 5, 1948, Bathinda district came into existence on 20 August, 1948. Its headquarters was at Faridkot which was shifted to Bathinda in 1953.

After 1953, many changes were effected in the geographical boundaries of Bathinda district.


Rallies for and against Kanjhla held
Tribune News Service

SANGRUR, Jan 25 — Two employees’ organisations Adhiapak Dal, Punjab, and the Rashtriya Mulazam Dal, both associated with SAD, today organised separate rallies against and in favour of Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, a Punjab minister, at the SDM’s office complex and Khalsa school ground near the main bus stand here.

The Adhiapak Dal organised the rally and held a dharna at the SDM’s office complex and later took out a march in the town against the alleged use of derogatory remarks by Mr Kanjhla against Mr Jahangir.

The Rashtriya Mulazam Dal organised a parallel rally at the Khalsa school ground in support of Mr Kanjhla. They stated that Mr Jahangir was misleading teachers for his personal political interests. It may be mentioned here that Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla is a patron of the Rashtriya Mulazam Dal.

The Adhiapak Dal adopted four resolutions at its rally, which included the dismissal of Mr Kanjhla from the Cabinet for levelling false allegations and using derogatory remarks against Mr Jahangir. The rally criticised Mr Kanjhla for allegedly insulting leaders of different employees’ organisations. The rally also pledged to continue its peaceful struggle against Mr Kanjhla till he changed his behaviour towards employees’ leaders and the employees.

On the other hand, the Rashtriya Mulazam Dal also passed some resolutions at its rally. In its resolutions the rally criticised Mr Jahangir for exploiting teachers’ interests for his political interests. It also pledged to work for the interests of all employees. The rally also expressed faith in the leadership of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. The rally also adopted resolutions to end the copying menace in the examinations and the starting of stipends for SC students.

Among others who addressed the rally of the Adhiapak Dal were Mr Chand Singh Chopra, ex-MLA of the CPM, Mr Raj Singh Kherri, an ex-MLA of the BSP from Sherpur, Mr Rattan Kumar, Sarpanch of Kanjhla village, and Mr Baljit Singh Bagga, a leader of the Unemployed ETT Teachers Union.

Mr Rajinder Singh Kanjhla, a member of the working committee of SAD, said the Rashtriya Mulazam Dal did not oppose any employees’ organisation, but it opposed the use of employees organisation’s platform for personal interests.

Charges framed against minister
From Our Correspondent

FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 25 — The court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Fatehgarh Sahib, today framed charges against a minister in Badal government, editors and a reporter of Punjabi dailies of Patiala and issued notice for February 12 for further trial, in a case filed by Mr Mohan Singh, patwari, in his court.

In his orders, Mr H.S. Grewal, Judicial Magistrate, stated that Mr Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur, PWD State Minister, Jagjit Singh Dardi, Chief Editor, Chardi Kala, Kamaljit Malhotra, reporter, and Gurucharan Singh, Chief Editor, Ranjit, Patiala, had committed an offence punishable under Section 500 of the IPC.

He stated that it was alleged against these that they had got published in Chardikala, Ranjit and some other newspapers an imputation against Mohan Singh patwari, halka Pola, that Mohan Singh was doing cultivation on the land of Balwant Singh and was having an illicit relationship with Jal Kaur, wife of Balwant Singh.


HC transfers drugs case to Jalandhar
From Our Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Mr Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today transferred the case of German national, Hoffmann Andreas booked under the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances ) Act, from the Special Judge, Amritsar, to his counterpart in Jalandhar. Andreas was arrested by the Customs officials at Attari border while carrying drugs.

Andreas has petitioned the High Court under Section 407 of the Cr.P.C. seeking transfer of his case pending in Amritsar court to any other court of competent jurisdiction either in Punjab or Chandigarh.

Mr Justice Nijjar while allowing the transfer observed: “The petition is allowed, the case is transferred to the Special Judge, Jalandhar, who will decide the matter from the stage it has already reached and all other orders passed in the case shall form the part of the proceedings before him.”

The petitioner said his advocate had died and he hired a new advocate who submitted an application before trial court for resummoning three witnesses for cross-examination but Amritsar’s Special Judge, Mr A.S. Katari, dismissed his plea and convicted him. He filed an appeal in the High Court here which was also dismissed.


Punjab to honour Lieut Johal
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — On the eve of Republic Day, the Punjab Government has decided to honour Lt Nachhatar Singh Johal, who won the coveted Sword of Honour for being adjudged the best all-round cadet of the 108th regular course, which passed out from the Indian Military Academy last month.

The newly commissioned officer, who hails from Punjab, will be honoured by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at the state-level celebrations being organised at Gurdaspur. Commissioned into the 64 Assault Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Johal had won the Bronze Medal for standing third in overall merit in his course. He had entered the IMA through the National Defence Academy where he had been adjudged the best army cadet.

Belonging to Jandiala village near Jalandhar, Lieutenant Johal’s father, Mr Harbans Singh, is serving with the state roadways as a bus conductor. A former Lance Naik in the Regiment of Artillery, he had to quit the Army in 1979 on medical grounds.

Missing boy found after 17 days
From Our Correspondent

FARIDKOT, Jan 25 — A five-year-old boy, Bawa, who was missing for the past 17 days from here was found from Nurpur Sethan village in Ferozepore district yesterday. He was abducted by two motorcycle-borne youths on January 8.

According to Mr Pawan Mittal, maternal uncle of the boy, they received a telephone call from some villagers of Nurpur Sethan last evening that the boy was with them. Mr Mittal, accompanied by senior district police officers, went to the village to collect the boy.

When contacted, Dr Arun Kumar Araon, SSP, Faridkot, said the police had already detained three persons in this connection.


BKU seeks aid for farmers
From Our Correspondent

MOGA, Jan 25 — Former president of the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Kuldeep Singh Sandhu yesterday urged Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to provide financial aid to the farmers who had suffered heavy losses due to the distress sale of paddy during procurement last year.

He said the Chief Minister had received Rs 350 crore for this purpose from the Centre. Former state minister for health and General Secretary, PPCC, Dr Malti Thapar and organising secretary Vijay Sathi alleged that the money had been misappropriated and urged the Punjab Chief Minister to give an account of the money.


Transporters stopped train facility: Billa
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 25 — Alleging that the Amritsar-Hardwar 349 up/ 359 down passenger train had been stopped at the behest of local transporters. Mr Surinder Kumar Billa, president, All-India Hindu Shiv Sena, said that the step had put lakhs of pilgrims, passengers and traders to inconvenience and hurt the sentiments of Hindus as this month was auspicious for a dip in the Ganga.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he alleged that the Minister for Railways, Ms Mamata Banerjee, was neglecting the railways instead of improving train services to cities of religious importance.

The train lacked basic facilities in addition to being run on coal engines and had numerous halts.

He demanded an inquiry and corrective action immediately.


Passengers ‘allowed’ on rooftop
From Our Correspondent

BATHINDA, Jan 25 — Although no major railway mishap has been reported so far but the danger lurks over the passengers constantly. In a recent example the railway authorities in Bathinda “allowed” the passengers to sit on the roof of the Rewari-bound passenger train although it was not only packed to the maximum.

Mr Pawan Kumar, one of the passengers, said the heavy rush was actually due to a religious function to be held at Sirsa today. The coach was packed about four times the capacity. “Our only motive is to attend the ceremony, whatever may be the obstacles”, he said. The railways should have provided an additional train for the occasion, but they did not make adequate arrangements, he lamented.

The rush of passengers was such that they were sitting on each other’s laps.

The rush of the passengers was so huge that they did not bother to buying tickets just to secure a seat in the train.

Due to winters and dense fog the passengers would have to face rough weather in the evening”, said one police officer, who was on duty at the platform.

One of the senior official of the Bathinda junction said that no passenger would be allowed to sit on the roof of the railway coaches. Four additional coaches would be provided, he added. Adequate security arrangements for passengers have been made, he asserted. 


Pensioners lectured on sex determination
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 25 — The Social Security, Women and Child Development Ministry organised a seminar on women empowerment at the Central Library here recently to propagate its views on sex determination tests. The audience consisted of old-age pensioners who had been called to collect cheques or for completion of formalities under the scheme.

One Child Development Officer said, “We have ensured that there is a big gathering on the occasion by calling all old-age pensioners in the area to the function.” Old-age pensioners filled the auditorium in the library and the adjoining verandah and lawns. They had no inkling that they were being used as audience by a department which was launching a state-level seminar on women empowerment.


Naib Tehsildar fabricated obscene film case: court
From Our Correspondent

MANSA, Jan 25 — Following criminal challan filed on May 26,1999, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sukhdev Singh, has ordered that proceedings be initiated under Section 340, Cr PC, against Sandhura Singh, Naib Tehsildar, Mansa, and Makhan Singh, Junior Assistant in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mansa.

In the case registered on April 1,1999, under the Punjab Cinema Regulation Act, 1952, the Magistrate acquitted Mohan Lal of the charges and ordered proceedings against Sandhura Singh, complainant in the case.

During a check of Goyal Video Parlour on April 1,1999, the Naib Tehsildar found an obscene film being played. He took into possession two video cassettes and sealed them.

The Magistrate called for the cassette from the police malkhana and viewed the two cassettes itself in the presence of APP and the defence counsel on November 23, 2000, and found that there were no obscene scenes in the films.

The court held that Sandhura Singh had either fabricated a false case against accused or caused fabrication of evidence.


Lok Adalat to be held on Jan 28
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Jan 25 — A state level Lok Adalat for bank loan cases will be held in the District Court Complex on January 28 here with the co-operation of the District Administration and the District Bar Association.

Hundreds of cases at the pre-litigative stage as well as pending in various courts in Patiala district will be taken up at the Lok Adalat. The bank functionaries who are competent to relax the quantum of outstanding amount against the borrowers will attend the Lok Adalats to extend concession to them.

According to an official release here 25 Lok Adalat benches have been constituted and each bench will be presided over by a Judicial Officer who in turn will be assisted by one senior lawyer and a social worker. The Judicial Officers of Samana, Rajpura and Nabha will also constitute Lok Adalat Benches here the same day. Inquiry counters will also be opened to help the public. 1,513 applications have been received from different banks at pre-litigative stage while 200 cases pending in the courts will be placed before the adalats for compromise.

Pre- Lok Adalats have been held on January 6, 13 and 20 and the last pre-Lok Adalat will be held on January 27. Justice H.S.Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court-cum-Executive Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority and Justice K.S. Kumaran, Inspecting Judge of the Patiala Sessions Division would also be present on the occasion. 


Cancel transfer of DSP: residents
From Our Correspondent

PHAGWARA, Jan 25 — Members of various political, social, religious and voluntary organisations, including senior leaders of ruling SAD-BJP, combine yesterday sent a representation to Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, demanding the cancellation of transfer of Mr Satinder Singh, DSP Phagwara.

The representation highlighted that DSP Satinder Singh was an honest, upright and people-friendly officer. He had controlled crime, corruption in political, public spheres and encroachments of public properties by land mafia.


Kinetic dealer to refund cost of scooter
From Our Correspondent

PATIALA, Jan 25 — The District Consumer Court has asked a local Kinetic dealer to refund the value of a Kinetic SX scooter, which had manufacturing defects, to its owner after deducting a nominal sum of Rs 2,500 in lieu of one year use of the vehicle by the consumer .

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum gave these Ex parte decisions following a complaint to by Mr Tarlochan Singh Oberoi. The opposite parties — Ruchi Autos and Kinetic Engineering — have been directed to collect the vehicle from the premesis of the complainant at their own expenses within 15 days of the receipt of the copy of the order. They added that an amount of Rs 23,000 and the costs should be paid back to the complainant at the time of collecting the vehicle.

the complainant had purchased a Kinetic SX scooter from Ruchi Auto on October 26,1999. within a few months of the purchase the vehicle started giving problems like leakage of petrol, separation of petrol neck, defective engine and kick and self starting problems.

The complainant went to the workshop of the dealer in April 2000 and brought the defects to their notice. repairs were carried out but these were only temporary. The complainant went to the party a number of times but the defects could not be rectified. Last time he collected the scooter on June 12, 2000.

The only document produced by the complainant in the court was a copy of bill dated October 26, 1999, apart from an affidavit on the lines of allegations made in the complaint. The absence of the dealers in the court during the proceedings constrained the forum to hold that the vehicle had manufacturing defects and that the opposite parties were guilty of unfair trade practices and poor service. 


PUDA to develop 4 new urban estates
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — Four major schemes of Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) for setting up of Urban Estates were reviewed here by the Housing and Urban Development Minister, Dr Upinderjit Kaur.

Dr Upinderjit Kaur who is also the chairpersons of PUDA, closely monitored progress in respect of the proposed Urban Estate at Amritsar, Jalandhar (Wariana), Anandpur Sahib and Sultanpur Lodhi.

Giving details an official spokesman said it was decided in principle to go ahead with a compact Urban Estate at Sultanpur Lodhi spread over 67 acres. Statutory notification under section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act has already been issued and objections sent to the government under Section 5A were duly considered and it was decided to go ahead with the publication of a final notification under Section 6. The spokesman further revealed that the Punjab Government had already forwarded a case to the Union Ministry of Urban Development for the integrated urban development of this town which was closely associated with the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak Dev. It was also decided to build an all weather bridge over Bein Nadi to connect the proposed Urban Estate with the town, independently.

The Minister also formally approved the issue of statutory notification under Section 4 for setting up of the new Amritsar scheme on the GT Road, near the Upper Bari Doab (UBD) Canal. However, the Minister decided that she would hold a meeting at Amritsar with the elected representatives of the people as well as the land owners before issue of the notification. This would facilitate exemption of factories and built up structures at the initial state it elf from acquisition.

The meeting decided to consider issuing notification under Section 4 for acquisition 100 acres of land at Anandpur Sahib to set up a new urban estate. This project had been announced during the tercentenary celebrations by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and a demand survey conducted earlier evoked an overwhelming response with 684 applications received for 500 sq yd plots and 79 applications for 1000 sq yd plots an earnest money Rs 43 lakh was garnered. The site currently is on Nangal Road near village Mangewal close to Anandpur Sahib Town. However, before finally deciding the site other competing claims shall also be taken into account.

The meeting also approved the re-issue of Section 4 notification in respect of Wariana, Jalandhar on the Kapurthala Road. The spokesman said proposals for urban estates at Ferozepore, Kartarpur and Tanda Urmur were also considered at the meeting.

Prominent among those present were K.B.S. Sidhu, IAS, Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr H.S. Bhogal, Chief Town Planner, and other senior officers of the technical and administrative wings of PUDA.

Street lighting to be privatised
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — The Coordination Committee of the Power Department and the Local Bodies Department here today decided to privatise street lighting in the municipal committees and corporations in the state.

Besides, senior officials, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Local Bodies Minister and Mr Sikander Singh Maluka, Power Minister, attended the meeting held in this connection. The Power Minister agreed with the proposal of the Local Bodies Department for undertaking the maintenance work of the street lights.

The PSEB will ensure the installation of correct meters within three months for street lighting.

Punjab sets up promotion panel
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 25 — The Punjab Government has constituted a departmental promotion committee to consider and recommend promotions of Group A and group B officers of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Principal Secretary, Department of Parliamentary Affairs, would be the chairman of the committee other members would be Principal Secretary, Department of Welfare or his /her nominee, Secretary of the Department of Personnel or his/her nominee and the Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Administrative Department shall work out the number of anticipated vacancies in the next calendar year and a meeting of the committee shall be convened by the Administrative Secretary to consider promotions.

Mr Lachhman Singh, Deputy Secretary, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, welcoming the constitution of the DPC, said all employees of the Vidhan Sabha had heaved a sigh of relief.


More women take to crime
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, Jan 25 — Even as most of the time women have been the victims in this district, the number of women involved in criminal activities have also witnessed an unprecedented jump.

In the past three decades, the crime scene has been changed fast as more and more women are getting involved in criminal activities like murder, dacoity, smuggling of narcotics, cheating etc.

Official sources said that 17 cases of rape were reported in the district in 2000 as against seven cases of rape in 1999. Similarly, the murder of cases relating to dowry deaths and dowry demand has also gone up in 2000 as compared to the number of cases of same nature in 1999.

Sources added that in 2000, the district police had arrested 39 women, including three women for their involvement in murder, two for their involvement in kidnapping and abduction, six women for involvement in dowry deaths and 28 women for their involvement in harassment cases due to inadequate dowry.

Interestingly, three women were arrested for their involvement in rape cases and 13 women were arrested for smuggling narcotics. Apart from it, nine women were arrested for their involvement in the illicit distillation of liquor.

According to figures gathered by TNS, the women had also been indulging in the crimes like gambling, assault on public servants, thefts, cheating, burglary and criminal hurts, out of total 2,788 persons arrested in various crimes in this district, 137 were women.

Sources said that earlier in this district crime against women was rarely reported as the literacy rate and awareness among people was very low. With the increase of literacy rate and awareness about their rights, more and more women had been reporting their grievances to the police.

The women earlier were confined only in criminal acts, including theft, cheating, hurt, burglary, criminal breach of trust and illicit distillation of liquor about some years ago, but for the past three years, more and more women had been jumping into smuggling of narcotics.

Police sources said in 1998, seven women were arrested for their involvement in smuggling of narcotics, while six women were arrested for same crime in 1999. In 2000, the district police had arrested 13 such women. Most of these women had come into this profession when their husbands had been arrested for similar crimes.


Four die as car, truck collide
From Our Correspondent

BARNALA, Jan 25 — Four persons were killed in a road mishap at Handiaya Kanchain, 3 km from here, today.

According to reports reaching here, a Tata Indica car coming from Bathinda collided with a truck coming from the Sangrur side.

In this mishap, two persons sustained serious injuries.

Those killed in the accident belonged to Bathinda.

Karnail Singh, who was injured seriously, was referred to a Ludhiana hospital.

Phool Kumar, who was coming on his scooter to Barnala from Dhaula was also injured in this mishap.

BATHINDA (TNS): A pall of gloom descended here after the news of the four residents of this town reached

Police sources said that five occupants of a car, who were contractors, were going to Pathankot, to start construction work there. There was a head-on collision of the car in which they were travelling with a truck.

Out of five occupants of the car, four who had been identified as Shivji Bansal, his son Rajiv, Vinod Kumar Jain and Kalu were killed while the driver of the car had been admitted to a hospital in Ludhiana in a critical condition.

According to one of the relatives of the deceased, the mortal remains of Rajiv Bansal and Vinod Kumar Jain had been consigned to flames while the body of Kalu had been taken to Raman Mandi, the native place of the deceased. The body of Shivji Bansal was yet to come from Ludhiana.

In another accident, six occupants of a jeep were injured when the vehicle overturned near Gurthri village on the Bathinda-Dabwali road after its tyre got burst.

All the six occupants of the jeep which overturned had been admitted to the local Civil Hospital where they were undergoing treatment. All of them were out of danger.


Mathematicians seek council
From Our Correspondent

AMRITSAR, Jan 25 — The mathematicians from India and abroad today unanimously appealed to the government for the creation of a council of mathematical sciences, which was essential for the proper growth and development of mathematics. The teaching of mathematics should be based on real world problems and appropriate steps be taken to attract brilliant students to the discipline as it was the foundation of all modern technologies.

The International Mathematics conference was jointly organised by the Indian Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Mathematics, Guru Nanak Dev University.

The Mathematicians further recommended that popular articles highlighting the importance and relevance of mathematics be published and due weightage be given to the writer of such a writing.

Prof A.H. Siddiqi of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia, demonstrated through simple examples the wavelet image compression method, which was the backbone of information technology. Prof S. Kesavan of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, emphasised the concept of homogenisation essential for the creation of new materials and for proper understanding of the fairly large number of industrial processes.

Dr Pammy Manchanda, organising secretary of the conference, said the next congress would be held in Sydney from July 7 to 11, 2003.


Dr Bedi for USA as Visiting Professor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 24 — Dr Harinder Singh Bedi Chief Cardiac Surgeon and Chairman Cardiac Surgery of the Tagore Heart Care, Jalandhar, has been invited on the faculty of the Ohio State University, Clevelend, USA, as a Visiting Professor. This prestigious post has been offered to Dr Bedi in recognition of his contribution to the field of minimally invasive cardiac surgery. Dr Bedi will be participating in robotic heart surgery and in teaching his innovative techniques in the university.

Dr Bedi is the first Indian to have been invited for this distinguished post. With this experience he will be the first person in Asia to start robotic techniques which are already being practised in five centres in the USA and in Europe. With these techniques major open heart surgery will be possible via tiny keyhole incisions with a resultant reduction in morbidity. After a triple bypass such a patient can go home on the second day after surgery.


Singhal loses management studies post
Tribune News Service

PATIALA, Jan 25 — The Punjabi University Syndicate today removed Dr K.C. Singhal, who had earlier been a dissenter against the Vice-Chancellor, from the post of the head of the University School of Management Studies and decided to get an FIR registered against him for alleged irregularities committed by him in organising an alumni meet of the department held in October 1999.

The university Syndicate claimed that a committee, consisting of Dean, Academics, Registrar, Dean, Students, Director, Research and Development, Prof Satpal Nalwa of the Law Department and the Finance Officer of the university, had also recommended that a vigilance inquiry be conducted into the matter. An official release said the team had been constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to probe into the acts of omission and commission regarding raising of funds from outside quarters and expenditure on the alumni meet. It claimed that Dr Singhal had been removed from the post to ensure objective and unhampered investigation by the police.

Reacting to the move, Dr Singhal claimed that the action was politically motivated and was aimed at entangling him in a baseless case to stifle dissent on the campus. He alleged that the action had been taken against him as he had been questioning the style of functioning of the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, at Syndicate meetings, the membership of which he relinquished recently. He alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had taken umbrage to his statements.

Dr Singhal said the committee which had recommended action against him had not asked him to explain his stand on the matter and did not formally meet even on one occasion. He clarified that there were no irregularities in the holding of the alumni meet and that all the funds had been accounted for. He claimed that the committee had proceeded against him despite submission of some documents demanded from him.

According to information available, the university had informed the Principal Secretary, Vigilance Department, that the case was being forwarded to him following the recommendation of the Departmental Inquiry Committee. It said the recommendations of the committee had been accepted by the Vice-Chancellor and a probe should be begun by the Vigilance Department to unearth the suspected illegalities.

The letter alleged that Dr Singhal collected funds from various firms, including some for advertisements, for publication in the souvenir and that an expenditure of Rs 1.52 lakh was involved. It claimed that cash receipts had been issued to outside firms in some cases though no amount was accounted for and entered in the records. It also stated that Dr Singhal did not get the formation of the purchase committee approved by the competent authority and that the expenditure was got audited from a private firm without taking any approval. Objections were also raised over the manner in which quotations were taken and approved.

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