Friday, March 23, 2001,
Chandigarh, India

P U N J A B    S T O R I E S




Punjab House flays Bluestar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha today unanimously condemned Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple complex in 1984.

The resolution, the first on the issue in the State Assembly, was moved by Mr Gurdip Singh Bhullar and Mr Mantar Singh Brar of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, and saw the role of the Congress being criticised during debate on it.

Though most of the speakers attacked the Congress for the operation, the resolution did not mention a word about the party or its role in the operation.

The Assembly by another resolution also condemned the desecration of a mosque a Amritsar yesterday.

"The House condemns the senseless act of Operation Bluestar undertaken at Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar, in June, 1984 wherein innocent devotees were killed in the holy precincts which had a long and crushing effect on the psyche of the humanity as a whole," the resolution said.

Incidentally, when the same House passed a resolution condemning the 1984 riots earlier during the current session, the Chief Minister was not present in the House. Today when Operation Bluestar was condemned he was again not present in the House.

The Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, and the Education Minister, Mr Tota Singh, assailed the Congress for Operation Bluestar besides blaming the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, for the Army action at the Golden temple complex.

Mr Tota Singh hailed the action of those soldiers who left their barracks in protest against the Army action at Amritsar. He maintained that he had been assisting in the rehabilitation of all such “dharma faujis”. “It is our duty to take care of those dharma faujis whose sentiments had been hurt at that time,” he said.

Mr Mahesh Singh Grewal while welcoming the resolution said that it should have come up much earlier as the present SAD-BJP government has already completed four years in office. Further, he said that the name of the Congress should have been mentioned in the resolution. He said that it was unfortunate that all those police officers who opposed such an action were made to suffer while those who participated in the Operation were felicitated and honoured with national awards like Padma Shris. Besides, these very officers were given lucrative postings.

He said that it was good that the Bharatiya Janata party has realised that no political party could succeed in Punjab without the support of the Akalis. “Unfortunately, this realisation has come a little late,” he added.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, also a rebel Akali Dal legislator, also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was in the Opposition in 1984, and also the RSS for "lauding the defence forces for Operation Bluestar."

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, however, countered the criticism, maintaining that the BJP never hailed Operation Bluestar and said that Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta should not have gone out of context of the resolution to criticise BJP. Mr Mittal maintained that the BJP never supported Operation Bluestar.

In another resolution moved by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, the desecration of a mosque at Amritsar was condemned. Mr Mittal said that "certain elements for political gains are playing such game for disturbing the peaceful environment of the state".

The Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, and the Forest Minister, Master Mohan Lal, also condemned the incident.

The issue was earlier raised during zero hour by Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta who said that it was a blot on the name of the holy city of Amritsar. He was joined by Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal who wanted to know what action had been taken against the culprits after 24 hours of the incident. Mr Grewal said that sacrilege was a criminal and cognizable offence.

Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, seniormost in the Punjab Council of Ministers after the Chief Minister, assured the House that stringent action would be taken against the guilty.

Meanwhile, the House was informed that four persons have been arrested in connection with the sacrilege incident yesterday.


Punjab employees oppose privatisation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
Thousands of employees of the Punjab Government, semi government and public sector undertakings held a massive rally against privatisation of public sector and state services and also for the realisation of long-pending demands of the state employees at Matka Chowk here today.

A number of women employees also participated in the rally. Coming from different regions of Punjab in buses, trucks, Metadors and other vehicles, they carried multi-coloured banners.

After the rally, the leaders of various organisations also submitted a memorandum containing demands of employees to the Special Secretary to the Chief Minister who assured them an early meeting with Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The rally was held on the call of the Mulazam Action Committee, Punjab, led by Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari and Punjab and the UT Employees Joint Action Committee led by Mr Sajjan Singh. It was organised to pressurise the state government for accepting their demands such as immediate stoppage of privatisation of the electricity board and public sector undertakings and social services such as education, health, water supply and sewerage, time-bound promotional scale after 4, 9 and 14 years of service to all employees, bonus for the years 1997-1998, 1998-99 and 1999-2000 and equal HRA to all employees on the Chandigarh pattern.

The regularisation of the services of adhoc, work-charged, muster rolls and daily wage employees having 240 days services to their credit, pay-scales and allowances to aganwari employees according to their qualifications, regularisation of their services, filing of vacant posts and stopping of recruitment on contract basis, framing of rational transfer and promotional rules and scrapping of anti-employees articles of the constitution and C.R.S, were their other demands.

The rally was addressed by Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari, Convener Mulazam Action Committee, Punjab, Mr Sajjan Singh, Chairman of Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee, Mr Raghbir Singh Sandhu, Mr Bhagal Rana, Mr Ramesh Chandolia of UT Employees Union and several other leaders.

They warned the state government of an intensified struggle if their problems were not sorted out without delay.


Badal seeks Canadian Consulate
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 22
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today urged the Centre to facilitate the setting up of a Canadian Consulate office in Chandigarh.

In a meeting with the External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, he pointed out that the opening of a Consulate by the Government of Canada would help the large number of people of Indian origin living in Canada.

Mr Badal said the Canadian Government had already sent a proposal to the External Affairs Ministry in this regard.

Earlier, the Punjab Chief Minister met the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani and requested him to review the black-listed NRIs, who are willing to return to India, particularly to the northern states. He felt minor objections should be waived and these NRIs should be issued Indian visa permits.

Mr Badal also called on the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mrs Maneka Gandhi, the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar and the Rural Development Minister, Mr Venkaiah Naidu.


Tehelka Brigade to fight graft
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 22
Beware, if you belong to the corrupt lot of politicians and officials in Punjab, who are involved in shady deals. Members of the Tehelka Brigade”, a newly formed organisation, might be keeping a tab on your activities even though they might not be well-equipped with hi-tech cameras to capture the wrong doers.

The organisation has been launched by a group of freedom fighters, families of Kargil martyrs and a few Jalandhar-based politicians. The maiden congregation of the organisation, headed by the Congress MP Balbir Singh, took place at the local Nehru Garden, where the Tehelka Brigade members resolved to take on those who, they think, were responsible for the degeneration of the whole system and had corrupted it over the years.

Criticising the Central Government for the recent bribery case, which cast its shadow on former BJP President Bangaru Laxman and Defence Minister George Fernandes, Major Kartar Singh, father of Major Kamalpreet Singh, a Kargil martyr, said the murky defence deals had given a jolt to the faith of the soldiers and their families. He further said the families of martyrs were also apprehending bungling in the funds collected by the Central Government for the help of families of those, who had laid their lives at the alter of the unity and integrity of the country.

Mr Tejinder Bittu and Mr Sudesh Gulati, patron and president of the organisation, respectively, said, “We will not be roaming about in office with cameras concealed under our shirts, but we will be holding dharnas in front of residences and offices of corrupt ministers and officers. This will be the mainstay of our organisation.”

Other members of the organisation included Mr Ravi Dada, father of martyr Major Raman Dada, Mrs Satya Devi, mother of martyr Lakhbir, and Mr Kamaljit Singh, father of Major Harry, who died fighting insurgents, Dr Lekh Raj, veteran Congress leader, and Vaid Mansa Ram, a freedom fighter.


Punjabis, be ready for severe power cuts
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 22
Attention Punjabis — get ready for a severe power cut during April. All hydel projects, except the UBDC project of Joginder Nagar, as also the thermal units of Punjab will be closed for annual maintenance next month to ensure a smooth power supply for June to September.

Industrial units will also have to face drastic cuts on power supply.

The state is already facing a shortage of power with frequent cuts of power being imposed in the urban areas, ranging from half-an-hour to one hour as many as three to four times in a day.

Inquiries made by The Tribune show that Ranjit Sagar Dam which was dedicated to the nation on March 4 by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is also completely shut down and no power is being generated from there because of less than dry season in river Ravi.

The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has started undertaking annual maintenance of the power plants in order to ensure adequate power supply for paddy transplantation during the months of June, July and August.

Accordingly, one unit each of Ropar and Bathinda thermal plants have been closed for 15 days and these will go into stream in the first week or April. Another unit of the Ropar plant will be shut down in the last week of March which will go into generation in the middle of May. Similarly, two units of the Lehra Mohabbat Thermal plant in Bathinda district will be shut down for 15 days each.

The Mukerian hydel project will be closed for 20 days from April 1 because of a low level of water in the Pong reservoir and minimum releases of water. In addition, Anandpur Sahib hydel plant is also closed since the past few weeks.

Punjab will get only 4 lakh units of power from the UBDC hydel project daily, with all other major hydel projects will remaining shut.

According to sources close to the PSEB, the urban areas will be subjects to three to four hours power cut daily while drastic measures will be necessary to bring down industrial consumption in the state in April.

Inquiries further reveal that the water level in the Gobind Sagar reservoir was 1512.95 ft against 1535.46 ft last year on March 20 and in Pong Sagar reservoir 1298.48 ft against 1826.94 ft last year. The inflows in the two reservoirs are just nominal.

The minimum depletion level for power generation is 1470 ft. in the Bhakra reservoir and 1262 ft in the Pong Dam.

Power experts do not expect any relief in May as there was very little snowfall in the hills and less rainfall in the catchment area.

They expect some relief only with the onset of monsoon.

Officials claim that they are trying to conserve water for the lean period of June and July.

The national hydro-power corporation run plants are also facing water due to which the share of Punjab has fallen. Punjab got 4 lakh units of power from the Beirasuil project on March 20 against 7 lakh units last year. The Salal unit supplied 7 lakh units against 7.4 lakh units last year and the Chamera project gave 1.2 lakh units against 7.4 lakh units last year. The total consumption of power the Punjab yesterday was 602 lakh units out of which 133 lakh units were purchased from out-side sources.

The urban power consumption is likely to increase with a rise in the temperature from April. The tubewell load will also start increasing from May as farmers start sowing paddy early despite advice from the experts or Punjab Agricultural University that proper timing for it was mid-June.

The PSEB is also negotiating the power from Eastern Grid along with some other state electricity boards. But there is problem of transmission or the same to this part of the country.

Punjab will have to depend on its own sources for power generation from thermal units for most of the time in the next months.


Sehajdharis’ voting rights curtailed
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib (Ropar), March 22
The Sehajdharis who had the voting right according to the SGPC Act, 1925, will now not be allowed to vote in future SGPC election after an amendment to Sections 10, 10 (A) and 11 of the said Act. Now only those Sehajdharis who are eligible to vote under the DSGMC Act, 1971, Section (9), will be allowed to vote in the SGPC elections.

Even the voting right of these Sehajdharis will be subject to the condition that they do not take any drugs or narcotics, the President of the SGPC, Jathedar Jagdev Singh Talwandi, said after attending the crucial SGPC executive meeting that ended later in the evening here today.

Jathedar Talwandi said nobody would be allowed to alter the original shape of the Dasam Granth. Regarding the other holy or historical relics pertaining to the Sikh history, the decision would be taken by a committee of experts to be appointed by the Dharam Parchar Committee for the purpose.

Meanwhile, the SGPC executive authorised Jathedar Talwandi to take a decision regarding the fate of Giani Puran Singh, who once again did not attend the meeting along with the other High Priests. Jathedar Talwandi said a five-member committee headed by the Jathedar of Akal Takht would hold discussions with Giani Puran Singh before a final decision was taken on the issue at the general house meeting on March 30 in Amritsar.


Stock scam unearthed, broker absconding

Jalandhar, March 22
The Punjab police today claimed to have unearthed a stock scam following the disappearance of a local share broker Naresh Aggarwal.

M.F. Farooqi, SP (Hq) said here that the police had yesterday registered three FIRs on the complaint of 37 clients for the alleged fraud of Rs 47,55,500 against Paramount Financial Services’ owned by Naresh Aggarwal.

“Four bank accounts of the accused in HDFC bank, ICICI Bank, Bank of Punjab and Oriental Bank of Commerce have been seized and police parties have been despatched to Ludhiana and New Delhi to inquire about his actual quantum of transaction with the main brokers there,” Mr Farooqi said adding all airports and railway stations had been alerted about the accused.

Main brokers of the accused, Master Capital Services Limited, Century Finvest, and Abhipraya Investment Ltd, of New Delhi had been informed to maintain a status quo of Aggarwal’s share transactions, Mr Farooqi said.

Naresh Aggarwal was said to be running a share business in tandem with his son, Ashu Aggarwal, from his residence-cum-flat here and absconding since Sunday with the records and software of his computers, the police said.

The clients whose money was involved, yesterday, gathered in front of Aggarwal’s office and later submitted a written complaint with the police. PTI


Moga PPCC member expelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Capt. Amarinder Singh, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) has expelled Mr Tara Singh Sandhu, Member, PPCC, from Moga for breach of party discipline.

According to Mrs Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, general secretary, PPCC, Mr Tara Singh Sandhu was served a show-cause notice on March 5 to explain his position regarding his articles published in a section of press in violation of the party discipline and was again given an opportunity to apologise for breach of discipline by March 20, but he failed to do so.

He has been expelled from the primary membership of the party for six years.


Withdraw case against Joshi: BJP
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 22
Hundreds of BJP workers today marched to the local SDM’s office and presented him a memorandum against the registration of a case against party leader Anil Joshi under Section 307, IPC, at the city police station and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case.

The workers led by Mr Vijay Pal Chaudhry, municipal councillor, organised a rally and sought the registration of a case against Congressmen under Section 307, IPC, who allegedly beat Mr Joshi on Tuesday. Mr Kanwar Jagdeep Singh, president of the local unit of the BJP and Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, former MP, while talking to newspersons today condemned the role of the police in handling the situation and sought suspension of the SHO concerned.

According to information, Mr Joshi had shot at Congressmen on Tuesday when they were burning the effigies of Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Mr Bangaru Laxman. The agitated Congress workers beat up Mr Joshi in retaliation. His condition was stated to be serious.


Mosque desecration condemned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today condemned the incident of sacrilege at Amritsar yesterday and the attempt made at Patiala to disturb communal harmony and peace.

In a statement, Mr Badal said stern action would be taken against those found guilty of any sacrilege or hurting the religious sentiments of any section of the society. He appealed to the people to show calm and maturity to defeat the nefarious designs of anti-national and anti-social elements.

Meanwhile, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), has condemned the desecration of a mosque in Amritsar by a section of an organised group.

"It was a shameful act on the sacred soil of the holy city of Amritsar," he said maintaining that such incidents were a blot on the secular fabric of the state. Mr Mann demanded stringent and exemplary punishment to people responsible for the incident.

He said that his party organised rallies a various places, including Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib, to protest against this incident.

Meanwhile, Mr G.S. Grewal, former Advocate-General of Punjab, said that "the incident at Amritsar was a crude attempt to spoil the secular atmosphere of the state".

He said that an awakened section of the Indian society, irrespective of religion, should speak up against communalisation of social and political climate in the state.

"It is the need of the time that all secular forces in India, collectively and separately, should condemn both the brute act of Taliban and mischievous act in Amritsar," Mr Grewal said.


Badal condoles Bhandal’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has expressed grief over the demise of Major Jiwan Singh Bhandal, Member, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, who died today.

Describing Major Jiwan Singh as a devout Sikh and a dedicated Akali leader, Mr Badal said that Punjabi community has lost a distinguished social worker.


Problem of infanticide in Punjab serious: HR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
"The problem of female infanticide is serious in Punjab. We have asked the Institute for Development and Communication to conduct a thorough study of the problem in the state and submit us a report," says Mr A.P. Bhatnagar, Additional Director-General of Police, Punjab Human Rights Commission.

"We ourselves are not aware of the exact quantum of the problem. The Human Rights Commission, which is fully seized of this social evil, has also taken up several projects to educate and sensitise people about human rights , " claimed Mr Bhatnagar while speaking at the valedictory function of a five-day training module for police personnel on "Human rights investigations and interview skills" at the Sector 26 Institute for Correctional Administration here today.

Thirteen police officers from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan attended the programme which was conducted by Mr A. Chakrovorti, Senior Superintendent of Police , National Human Rights Commission. Mr H.P. Ghosh of West Bengal Human Rights Commission, Mr K.K. Arora and Mr Dinesh Deveshwar (Punjab Human Rights Commission) were the other trainers.

The National Human Rights Commission in collaboration with the British Council is conducting 10 participatory training modules in all five zones of Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kolkata, Bhopal and Chandigarh. It was second module in Chandigarh this month.

The Punjab Human Rights Commission, he said, has chosen 250 educational institutes throughout the state and organised awareness programmes there. "About 60 children from these institutions will spend some time with writers, playwrights, theatre artistes and others and develop their own programmes, plays and skits which will be subsequently taken to six chosen districts in the state. The idea is to spread the awareness about human rights.

"Besides, in the commission, we investigate complaints about human rights violations. And within three years of setting up this commission, there is a lot of awareness on the subject in the state now," he said, maintaining that a majority of the complaints were against policemen.

Brig B.K. Sood (retd) emphasised the need for strengthening of the institution of family, maintaining that degeneration of this institution was responsible for most of the problems, including growing incidence of domestic violence.

Mrs Santosh Singh, a social activist, wanted the police force to be sensitised while handling cases pertaining to crime against women.

Dr Upmeet Lalli, Deputy Director, Institute of Correctional Administration, said that holding of such participatory modules were very helpful in sharpening the skills of police officers investigating complaints of human rights violations.



Sugar mill staff to get pay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
All employees of Budhlada Sugar Mills would be paid their lawful dues, including salaries , for 54 months, after the mill is auctioned, the Punjab Cooperation Minister, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, announced in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today.

In reply to a question by Mr Makhan Singh and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Aulakh whether any employee of the Budhlada Sugar Mill had been declared surplus, Mr Brahmpura said that since the mill during its limited operations for three years did not even work 25 per cent of its capacity, there was no option but to close it because of huge losses. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered in 1998 that all employees of the mill should be paid their dues by selling off the mill.

He said that one of the employees, Mr Chamkaur Singh, had committed suicide much after he was declared surplus. His family would be paid all the arrears due to him. His widow may be considered for payment of ex gratia as proposed by the Punjab Finance Minister in his Budget speech that farmers committing suicide would be eligible for ex gratia of Rs 2.5 lakh. Some land belonging to Mr Chamkaur Singh had been acquired for the mill. Application for employment of his widow on compassionate grounds has also been received, the minister said.

The mill owes Rs 3.4 crore to its employees as their salary arrears for 54 months.

He said efforts had been made to sell the mill by inviting tenders on six occasions in the past, but in the absence of a remunerative bid, the mill could not be sold.

The Cooperation Minister was unable to answer a supplementary question from Mr Jagdish Sawhney whether the lockout in the mill was legal or not. Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla wanted that employees should be paid interest on their dues as they and their families had been made to suffer for no fault of theirs.

No sub-treasury at Patran: The Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, said that there was no immediate proposal to set up a Sub-Treasury at Patran. The Finance Minister said that there was no strong room available at Patran. But a sub-treasury clerk had been posted there.

Funds for TB: Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla and Mr Jagdish Sawhney, both of the BJP, were not satisfied with the answers given to them about grant-in-aid from the Union Health Ministry for the treatment of TB patients in the state. The Health Minister, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, said that a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the year 1997-98 has been released and no grants were released to the districts for the purchase of medicines for TB patients.

Dr Chawla, in response to another question, ruled out the demand that only women gynaecologists should conduct deliveries, saying that women doctors could be posted wherever required but it could not be left to a patient to decide whether a male or a female doctor should handle her case.

No market committee at Mehatpur: Mr Gurdev Singh Badal, Agriculture Minister, agreed to get a fresh report on the upgradation of Mehatpur sub-yard into a regular market committee. Responding to a demand by Mr Gurdip Singh Bhullar, he said that the Mehatpur sub-yard does not meet the requirements of an independent committee.

Roads in Bet area: The issue of repair of roads in the Bet area on a priority basis was raise by Mr Gurdip Singh Bhullar who wanted that some of the link roads on which focal points for procurement of agricultural produce were located needed to be repaired immediately.


42 hepatitis cases in 3 villages
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 22
As many as two cases of hepatitis-B and 40 cases of hepatitis-A have been detected in Tehna, Pakka and Moranwali villages of this district in the past two days.

Sources said hepatitis-A spread in these villages as people of this region used the raw water from canal for consumption. The district health authorities received information regarding the hepatitis cases in these villages on March 20.

The sources said after receiving the information, medical teams were despatched to survey the entire area.

The residents of these villages had been using the raw water of the canal by installing three pumps which have been closed now.

The water being supplied by through the waterworks has been doubly chlorinated and people have been given tips by medical specialists.

Dr Sukhjit Inder Singh, civil surgeon, said people had been urged to get their own syringes for vaccination. He said three quacks who had been operating in these villages had fled.

So far, nine samples of water, three of raw water, three from the water- works and three from handpumps had been taken and sent for chemical examination.

He said all pumps which were located near pit latrines had been covered. Other preventive measures were also being taken. Medical specialists had been camping in the villages.

Mr A. Venu Parsad, Deputy Commissioner, said hepatitis cases were due to the contamination of water source. He said all patients had been treated and hepatitis was under control.


Hospital being shifted despite protests
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 22
The work for shifting the general and children hospital located in the heart of city to the premises of the Civil Hospital has been started.

Official sources said all activities of the general and children hospital, which had been catering to the medical needs of more than one lakh persons, came to a complete halt about two days ago after the district health authorities received a letter from the Punjab Government to shift it.

The sources added that the decision to shift the hospital to the Civil Hospital and then to sell off the land subsequently to private persons to generate enough money to construct a modern office complex for the executive officials was taken at high-level meeting few months ago. Mr Parkash Singh Badal had given his nod to the project.

It appears that the authorities concerned before directing the district health authorities to shift the hospital had ignored the interest of the local people. A number of social and voluntary organisations had also met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, in this connection, but in vain.

The Vigilant Citizen Forum and Save Old Hospital Committee had urged the authorities concerned time and again not to take the step. Memorandums were also submitted to the district administration.

Mr Bagga Singh, president, Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR), said health services were already in bad shape and the shifting of the hospital would force the poor to get expensive treatment from private doctors.

He added that the association had demanded that a modern hospital equipped with all latest facilities should be set up at the site of general and children hospital so that the sick could get better treatment at cheap rates.

He pointed out that all like-minded people and associations had been urged to come on a single platform so that the move of the Punjab Government to shift the hospital could be opposed.

Mr Bhan Singh Bhora, MP, Mr Kewal Krishan Aggarwal and Mr Krishan Kumar Sharma (general secretaries of the DCC) have also condemned the anti-people step of the Punjab Government.

Mr Aggarwal pointed out that there were other methods by adopting which the state government could generate enough money to fund the district administrative complex (DAC) being built by PUDA at the cost of Rs 15 crore.

Dr Baba Ram Gupta, Civil Surgeon, when contacted, said the district health authorities had been implementing the orders of the state government. He added that the building of general and children hospital would be vacated by March 26.

Official sources said most of the 17 medical specialists deployed in the general and children hospital were being transferred to rural and urban dispensaries and health centres.


6 councillors boycott MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, March 22
As many as six municipal councillors, three belonging to the ruling BJP, today boycotted meeting of the municipal council when its president, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhullar, refused to record their protest against shifting of general and children hospital, located in the heart of city to premises of the Civil Hospital, in the proceeding book.

The six municipal councillors — Mrs Gurinderpal Kaur Mangat, Mr Krishan Kumar Garg, Mr Vasant Bhatia (all of BJP), Mr Jeet Mal, Mr Balwant Rai, junior vice-president of the council (all of the Congress) and Mr Shivji Ram boycotted the meeting when their efforts failed to get the house agreed on to discuss the issue of shifting of hospital.

Mr Krishan Kumar Garg and Mr Vasant Bhatia, while talking to TNS, alleged that it was purely dictatorship of Mr Bhullar as he did not allow them to discuss the shifting of hospital.

They added that their protest was not recorded in the proceeding book.

They alleged that municipal council authorities had been neglecting the interests of citizens as the shifting of general and children hospital to the Civil Hospital would make it difficult for all to get immediate medical care in case of emergencies.

Mr Bhullar, when contacted, said there was no item in connection with the shifting of hospital on the agenda of today’s meeting.

He added that when these municipal councillors urged him to record their protest, they were advised (as the meeting had already started that they could record their protest after it was over.

He said however, these municipal councillors insisted on their demand and boycotted the meeting.

He added that he did not refuse to record their protest in the proceeding book.

He said in today’s meeting, a resolution had been passed in connection with the construction of a sub-way, a ‘chowk’ near railway station and to widen the opening of Amrik Singh road.


Malerkotla bandh today
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 22
Various social, religious and political organisations have decided to observe a bandh in Malerkotla tomorrow in protest against the burning of the Quran Sharif at Amritsar yesterday.

This was decided at a meeting of the Peace Committee at Malerkotla today held under the presidentship of Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, Punjab minister. The meeting was attended by representative of various organisations. Mr Anirudh Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr Jatinder Singh Aulakh, SSP, Sangrur, also attended the meeting.

The meeting condemned the Amritsar incident, describing it as the “handiwork of anti-social elements and a crime against humanity”.

The Deputy Commissioner said all members of the committee belonging to various communities vowed to maintain communal harmony in Malerkotla.

He said there was no tension in the town of Malerkotla. However, additional security forces had been sent there to prevent any untoward incident.


MC beats up EO
Our Correspondent

Samana, March 22
Mr Sham Lal Garg, Municipal Councillor Nagar Council, Samana with his supporters entered the office of Mr T.R. Sharma, Executive Officer, Nagar Council, Samana today and beat him up. They also broke office furniture and Mr Sham Lal threw a chair on the head of the Executive Officer injuring him.

It is learnt that Mr Sham Lal approached the Local Bodies Minister, Punjab for the transfer of the EO to some other place last week alleging that the EO was unsuccessful in carrying out the Municipal work especially sanitary work as the sanitary conditions in the city were very bad. The EO was reportedly not paying any attention to the improvements.


Registration of case ordered against ASI
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 22
On a complaint lodged by Mr Bishamber Dass, resident of Dhaki road, the District Magistrate ordered registration of a case against ASI Baldev Singh under Sections 323, 342, 379 and 504 of the IPC.

According to sources, the District Magistrate held that ASI Baldev Singh had misused his official position while dealing with the complainant as he had illegally detained the complainant in police custody and beat him up.

The District Magistrate further held that Baldev Singh forcibly took Rs 6,515 from pocket of the complainant.

After receiving the report of the District Magistrate, authorities of the Sadar police station registered a case against the accused on March 19.


Urdu Mushaira on March 25
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 22
The Rotary Club, Phagwara South East would organise an All-India mushaira here on March 25.

A press note by Mr O.P. Uppal, club president, yesterday disclosed that noted Urdu poets like Dr Bashir Badr, Bhopal, Iftekhar Imam Siddiqui, Mumbai, Noor Jahan Sarwat, Delhi, Hena Taimoori, Agra, Azad Gulati, Gurgaon, Huma Parveen, Lucknow, Shams Tarrezi, Allahabad, Syeda Nasrin Naqash, Mumbai, Sohail Lucknavi, Firozabad, Sheen Kaif Nizam, Jodhpur would take part in the mushaira.


Foreign scribes visit RCF
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, March 22
A delegation of 19 foreign journalists from Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, the Maldives, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa and other countries visited the rail coach factory (RCF) yesterday. The group was led by Prof K.M. Shrivastava, Course Director, Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and railway board officials.

Mr K.R. Govindarajan, General Manager, RCF, said the factory had been awarded ISO-14001 certification for an environmental management system.

The journalists were also shown a lake and golf course in the RCF complex.


Son fulfils father’s wish
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 22
Mr Baldev Kumar Garg, an employee of Canara Bank, has fulfilled the wish of his father Mansa Ram who always wanted to donate his eyes after his death.

Mansa Ram, who died at the age of 82 on March 16, wanted to donate every part of his body after his death. Mr Garg, a resident of Veer Colony, feels proud of his father.

Mr Lal Singh (80) of Bhalaiana village in the district, expresses thanks to late Mansa Ram whose eye restored his vision. Mr Lal, who lost one eye six years ago due to cornea damage, is now able to see with both eyes. He also gives credit to the doctors who performed the operation.


Two farmers commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Barnala, March 22
Two farmers are reported to have committed suicide at Daangarh and Katoo villages of Barnala.

According to delayed reports, Jaswant Singh (40) of Daangarh village, 20 km from here, was under stress because of a loan. He committed suicide on March 19 by hanging himself.

Logarh from Kattoo village reportedly committed suicide by consuming some poisionous substance. Sources said he was a habitual drinker.


Banks “dishonour soiled currency”
Our Correspondent

Moga, March 22
Resentment prevails among local residents over the non-acceptance of soiled currency notes by even certain nationalised banks and large number of such currency notes in thousands are in circulation here due to unavailability of new currency notes. They said that the Reserve Bank of India has directed the nationalised banks all over the country to accept soiled currency notes but the rules of the Reserve Bank of India were being violated they said.


6 booked for attack on rice mill owner
Tribune News Service

Rampuraphul, March 22
As many as six industrialists, most of them rice mill owners, have been booked in a criminal case for allegedly attempting to murder Naresh Kumar, another rice mill owner, by attacking him with sharp-edged weapons in the city today.

The police sources said a case under Sections 307, 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC was registered against them on a complaint lodged by Naresh Kumar who had been undergoing treatment in the local Civil Hospital.

Those against whom the case was registered had been identified as Mohan Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Harwinder Singh, Pritam Singh, Inderjit Singh and one more person. All the accused were businessmen.

Sources said Naresh Kumar, owner of Jai Bhagwati Rice Mill, was attacked near the godowns owned by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) while he was going for some work on a scooter when he was attacked and suffered many injuries.

The Civil Hospital sources said the injured was out of danger and had been responding to treatment.

Mr Amrik Singh, DSP, when contacted, said a case had been registered on statement of the injured.

He added that the police has started investigations into the case. No arrests had been made so far.


Impersonator arrested
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, March 22
The police has arrested Jatinder Singh of Sarna near Pathankot for posing as a CID Inspector and forcibly taking Inderjit Kaur, a B.A.-II student, of Khanpur under Pathankot Sadar police station to her boy friend Kulbhushan of Kothe Nanwal under Shahpur Kandi police station.

His accomplice Rajesh Kumar, was also posing as a CID Inspector is still at large. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP said today that the accused reached the house of Inderjit Kaur on March 10 at 9 p.m. and asked her father Kanso to send her with him to get her married to her boy friend. If he opposed it in any way he would be sent to jail for five years at least.

Kanso reported the matter to the police and a case under Section 442/170/506, IPC, was registered.


Dismissed SPO arrested on smuggling charge
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 22
Pawan Kumar, who was dismissed from the post of Special Police Officer (SPO) in 1997 because of his involvement in smuggling and other criminal cases, has been arrested by the district police.

The police has recovered a .12 pistol and a catridge from Pawan Kumar of Paragura village in Sirsa district. He used to smuggle poppy husk and wine to different parts of the state and about five cases under Section 364/307, IPC, had been registered against him.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Jatinder Kumar Jain, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), said during interrogation Pawan Kumar had confessed to his crime.

He added that Dula Singh of Talwandi Saboo and Bagga Singh of Phoolowala had been arrested under the Excise Act. He said 12 ltr. of wine were recovered from them. 


Man stabbed to death
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, March 22
A local financier, Balwant Singh of the Shiv Shakti Finance Company was stabbed to death under mysterious circumstances. According to sources a blood-stained Maruti Zen belonging to the financier was recovered yesterday.

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