Saturday, September 21, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Centre to review decision on paddy MSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Punjab Food Minister, Mr Lal Singh, said today the Centre was having second thoughts on its decision regarding the pricing of paddy which it had conveyed as the “Minimum support price (MSP) plus 4 per cent purchase tax on it and all state taxes and levies beyond that would be contained within the MSP”.

Punjab today heaved a small sigh of relief on hearing that the Centre was to ‘’review’’ its decision on the paddy procurement price. This news was conveyed to the minister by Mr B.R. Bajaj, Principal Secretary, Food.

Mr Lal Singh said: “It indicates that our stand in the interest of the state and farmers has been vindicated. It has had the desired impact on New Delhi”. Such a retrograde decision, he continued was blatantly against Punjab’s economic interests as it would have dried up about Rs 500 crore that accrued by way of additional 7.5 per cent levies that were spent on development of rural infrastructure.

“We will wait for the formal orders in this regard from New Delhi, which is yet to respond to our request to commence procurement from tomorrow and not October 1,” the minister said. The MSP, he said, was likely to be approved and announced after the Union Cabinet meeting scheduled for Monday.

The decision on pricing paddy was conveyed to Punjab in the minutes of a meeting that the Union Secretary, Food, had with state secretaries concerned in New Delhi on August 20. Punjab had vehemently protested against the decision and represented to the Centre.

Mr Lal Singh said though no formal letter was received except the minutes of the meeting of the Union Food Secretary, Capt. Amarinder Singh wrote to the Prime Minister suggesting the convening of a meeting of the Chief Ministers concerned. Besides, he took up the issue with the Union Minister of Food.

The ruling Congress has threatened to hold protests in New Delhi if farmers were given a raw deal. Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra and Mr Ashwani Sekhri (all ministers) today launched a tirade against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, charging him with hatching a “conspiracy” with the NDA Government to delay the announcement of the MSP for paddy, as also the date for its procurement with the sole aim of “defaming” the government.

Meanwhile, the two crucial meetings — one on implementation of the tariff order on billing agriculture power to pumpsets and the second on evolving a strategy to deal with the delayed announcement of the MSP for paddy and the date for procurement of paddy — scheduled for today at Patiala, were postponed at the last minute at the request of Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, who is convalescing after angioplasty at his Moti Bagh Palace.

Mr Lal Singh said these meetings were now scheduled to be held tomorrow.


Kanwaljit for Rs 750 as paddy MSP
Our Correspondent

Former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh
Former Finance Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh (right) addresses a Press conference in Amritsar on Friday. — photo Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, September 20
Blaming the Congress government for the misfortunes of Punjab farmers, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, former Finance Minister of the state, in a press conference at Gurdwara Palah Sahib near here today, demanded Rs 750 as MSP for paddy.

He said the paddy procurement should begin lest it is destroyed in the grain markets due to the delay.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said for the betterment of farmers, the SAD was ready to help the ruling party.


All set for paddy purchase in Ropar
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 20
All arrangements have been completed by the district administration for the procurement of paddy in Ropar district during the current paddy procurement season. About 1,97,811 lakh metric tonnes (MTs) of paddy is expected to be procured this season against 1,79,828 MTs procured last year.

Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, here today presided over a meeting held to review the arrangements made for the procurement of the paddy. Representatives of various government procurement agencies, associations of the arhtiyas and kisan unions attended the meeting.

Mrs Jain said 25 procurement centres had been set up in the district to procure the paddy. The SDMs of the four subdivisions have been made nodel officers to ensure uninterrupted procurement of paddy. Committee’s comprising representatives of market committees, procurement agencies, arhtiyas’ associations and kisan unions have also been formed to solve the problems during procurement on the spot.

The administration has made arrangements of gunny bags, electricity, drinking water, tarpaulins and transportation of the procured paddy.

The Deputy Commissioner also ordered that combine operators would harvest paddy between 9 am and 6 pm daily. She said whosoever would violate this order, legal action would be taken against him.

She appealed to the panchayats of villages and farmers to help the administration in the implementation of this order.


Hail brings despair
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Nathana, September 20
Farmers are on the verge of despair. Not only have widespread hailstorms in the region over the past two days taken their toll but heavy attacks by pests have also been reported in this area.

According to farmers, paddy sown around early July has been seriously affected. The crop is ready for reaping by September-end or early October. The harvest of paddy sown in the beginning of the season is underway.

Following heavy moisture content in the air due to the rains, reports of heavy pest attacks over the past three to four days have started to come in. Leading agricultural experts warn that if the attacks are not controlled, the situation may take a worst turn. Farmers claim that they have little left to deal with the situation. Some appear to be unsure of themselves.

Farmers estimate a 40 per cent loss of yield due to the hailstorms. Now they are battling attacks by the “leaf-curling” worms, which affect the leaves and the “hopper” worms, which eat into the shoots and stems.

Among the villages reported to be seriously battling the pest menace are Phoola, Bhucho Kalan, Gobindpura, Khialiwala, Dyalpura Mirza and Dansinghwala. “The hopper worm does not allow the crop to flower. It decays the stem, as a result of which the plant falls over,” explained Amarjit Singh, a farmer in Phoola village.

Agricultural experts have also warned against the “stem-borer” worm, which starts feeding on the crop before it ripens. As a result, the cobs become pulpy and eventually the plant dries up. They have advised that farmers spray pesticides as recommended by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) to counter the menace.

Apart from areas around Nathana, Bajwana, Mari, Bhaini and Mehraj are among villages where the hailstorm has adversely hit the standing crop. “Hail has swept away the paddy cobs which were just flowering, while large tracts have been flattened by the rain and wind,” lamented Jagroop Singh, a farmer in Nathana.

Meanwhile, activists of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta) have demanded that pesticides, as recommended by the PAU, be made available to the farmers through the Agricultural Department at a subsidy of 50 per cent. Besides holding a girdawari and compensating farmers for the loss, they have also demanded that agricultural experts visit affected areas to advise the farmers.


Sow only PAU varieties, farmers advised
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The two-day kisan mela at Punjab Agricultural University concluded with the distribution of prizes to farmers in produce and home craft competitions.

Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, gave away the prizes. He said in order to save the produce of farmers and to check their exploitation by middlemen, more agro-based industries need to be established. He said unless the government ensured minimum support price for alternative crops and their procurement, there could be no significant achievement in the diversification plan.

Dr J.S. Kolar, Director, of the extension education of the university, advised the farmers to adopt subsidiary occupations like bee-keeping, dairy farming and poultry farming. He asked the farmers to participate in the training programmes organised by the university.

Dr Govinder Singh Nanda, Director, Research, advised the farmers to sow only those varieties of crops which had been recommended by the PAU. He said the research priorities of the university had changed from maximising yields to evolving technologies for improving the quality of the produce.

The results of different cultivation competitions are:

Okra: Gurbachan Singh, Masitan, Moga (1), and Gurjeet Singh, Mianpur, Ropar (2); Bitter gourd: Ajit Singh, Bhalwan Sangrur (1) and Gurpreet Singh, Nathalpur, Ropar (2); Pumpkin: Parampal Singh, Nawanshahr;

Chilli: Sukhdev Singh Bains, Shadipur, Jalandhar (1); and Manjit Singh, Nagra, Sangrur (2); Ram tori : Geetinder Singh, Ghuman Kalan, Bathinda (1) and Dosanjh agricultural farm, Jagatpur, Nawanshahr (2); Brinjal : Harbans Singh, Gumati Kalan, Bathinda (1) and Jasvir Singh, Lambran Kangri, Hoshiarpur (2).

Cauliflower: Devinder Kumar, Bajwara, Hoshiarpur (1) and Rattan Chand of the same village (2); Guava: Karam Chand, Fatehgarh Rajputtan, Patiala (1) and Paramjit Singh, Jalberi Gehlan, Fatehgarh Sahib (2); Marigold: Ramandeep Singh, Lambra Kangri (1) and Gurwinder Singh, Lambra Kangri (2); Gladiolus: Jasvir Singh, Lambran Kangri, Hoshiarpur (1); Rose: Dosanjh agricultural farm, Jagatpur (1); Sugarcane: Jasjeet Singh, Pandori Khatrian, Ferozepore, Maize: Gurdev Singh, Cheema Kalan, Jalandhar.

In competitions organised by College of Home Science, following are the winners: Maize shelling: Surinder Kaur, Bulara (1); Embroidery: Sukhdev Kaur, Katani Kalan (1); Recipe (Green leafy vegetables): Paramjit Kaur, Barsal (1) Potato peeling: Labh Singh, Sarabha (1) and Uses of neem: Paramjit Kaur Grewal (1).

On this occasion, Dr G.S. Momi, Head, Department of Extension Education, was given special honour by the Vice-Chancellor for his services to the farming community.

The winners of different stalls are: Media links (SonalikaTractors), Dashmesh Mechanical Works, Indo-German Kirloskar, Apollo Tyres, Kribhco, Syngenta, Stalvey Machine Tools, and Modern Kheti.


Indian Missions’ attitude decried
Italy’s amnesty scheme
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
“An indifferent and lackadaisical attitude of some functionaries of the Indian Missions in Rome and Milan may deny an opportunity to thousands of expatriate Indians to benefit from general amnesty announced by the Government of Italy for all its illegal immigrants doing “petty and irregular jobs” there.

“In case immediate steps are not taken to provide Consular services to these expatriate Indians, a ‘satyagraha’ in Gandhian way may be started by them to worsen the situation. It is not one billion persons but a handful of officials who will thus bring a bad name to the country. It is ,therefore, requested that urgent steps be taken to resolve the crisis and help our own people to benefit from the general amnesty scheme,” reads a letter written by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, MP, and delivered to the Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Digvijay Singh, today.

By a special decree on September 9 the Italy Government decided to grant the status of landed immigrants to all those who had been living there “illegally” by doing “petty and irregular jobs”. The decree would benefit thousands of “illegal immigrants” from third world countries. They include about 15,000 expatiate Indians of which nearly 13,000 are Punjabis. Most of them are working in circuses as labourers or as waiters, cooks and cleaners in restaurants and hotels. The Italy Government has decided to “regularise” their jobs and status as legal residents of the country on condition that they must provide a piece of identity from the countries of their original domicile.

Since “passports and other travel documents” are taken away from them by human smugglers in the guise of travel agents on the pretext of getting them settled in western countries, many of them have no document to prove their credentials”. As such, there have been reportedly big queues outside Indian Consular offices, both in Rome and Milan, to get either a duplicate passport or any other proof of identity which is acceptable by the local authorities concerned. The deadline for furnishing the proof of identity is October 8 after which the process of “regularisation” would start.

“There is so much of resentment that expatriate Indians settled in neighbouring European countries, including Germany, France, Holland and Belgim, have also decided to come out openly in support of their co-nationals in Italy,” adds Mr Ramoowalia.

Mr Ramoowalia also informed Mr Digvijay Singh that latest information received by him from his contacts in Rome and Milan did not show any improvement. At one place, he alleged, a restaurant owner was acting as a conduit and only those who were cleared by him were being issued duplicate passports or proof of identity of being Indian national by the Indian Consul in Milan. Efforts to contact Indian Consul offices in Rome and Milan were futile as e-mails sent to them evoked no response.

In fact, many expatriate Indians have got in touch with their relatives and friends back home to seek any proof of identity, including a driving licence, voters’ photo identity card, old passport or any travel document or even photo-carrying ration card for submission to the Italian authorities.

“I have been receiving calls and letters from worried parents, relatives and friends of these expatriate Indians asking me to intervene,” says Mr Ramoowalia maintaining that the main issue at the public rallies addressed by him in Punjab recently has been the “fate of our boys in Italy”.

“I was there early this month. Keeping in view the seriousness of the situation, I am going back to Italy on September 25 and will be joined by Lok Bhalai Party chiefs — Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill (England), Mr Jagtar Singh Bitta (France), Mr Hardeep Singh Grewal (Holland) and Mr Surjit Singh (Belgium). I will go straight to the Indian Embassy in Rome and if the situation so warrants, we may be forced to start a peaceful satyagraha,’ he says, maintaining that he would meet the Chief Vigilance Commissioner on September 24 about the specific complaints he has received.

“After October 9, we would first bring to the notice of the Indian Ambassador to Italy all complaints received from expatriate Indians before taking them to the CVC,” Mr Ramoowalia added.


DIET students block traffic
Tribune Reporters & Agencies

Workers of the ETT and DIET Students' Welfare Association block the traffic
Workers of the ETT and DIET Students' Welfare Association block the traffic at the Bhandari bridge in Amritsar on Friday. — Photo Rajiv Sharma

Ropar, September 20
A large number of students of the local District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) today blocked traffic for about an hour at the Sirhind canal bridge near the main bus stand on the Ropar-Nawanshahr road here in support of their demands, including scrapping of the new Education Policy-2002. This led to long queues of vehicles on both sides of the bridge.

The protesting students also held a rally at the canal bridge which was addressed among others by Mr Balwinder Singh, state general secretary of the DIET Students Welfare Association.

Addressing the rally, all speakers condemned the New Education Policy, terming it to be “anti-students” policy and demanded that the same be scrapped immediately. They urged the government not to lower the age limit to 32 years from the existing 42 years for getting an ETT job. They also asked the government not to impose two years internship on the DIET students.

Later, the students also took out a protest march from the local DIET to the Sirhind canal bridge, raising slogans against the Punjab Government.

BATHINDA: Students of DIET jammed traffic on the Bathinda-Malout road near the Thermal Plant for more than an hour on Friday as part of their ongoing agitation against the proposals of the new education policy.

Sources said that although the representatives of the ETT students were assured by the government that some of the proposals of the new education policy would be withdrawn, but students were adamant that implementation of the policy as a whole should be stopped.

Mr Swarnjeet Singh Bhagta, state treasurer of the association of the ETT students, said they would not end the agitation until all proposals of the new policy were withdrawn. He threatened to intensify the agitation.

The students of the DIET at Deon in the district later held a rally near the canal bridge on the outskirts of the city.

Mr Jagmail Singh of Lok Morcha, Punjab, while addressing the students said the education policy was a step towards privatisation of education. The main aim of the policy was to make education costlier, he added.

Mr Balbir Kammando press secretary of the ETT union, said they had been boycotting classes since August 26 as they had to sit for dharnas and rallies everyday. They had also boycotted the teaching practice which was a part of their course. He said that they would not attend classes or teaching practice till their demands were accepted.

MOGA: Hundreds of ETT students blocked traffic for about an hour on Friday and took out a procession in support of their demands. They fixed Sunday for the intensification of their agitation if their demands were not accepted.

AMRITSAR: Workers of ETT and DIET Students Welfare Association (Punjab) burnt the effigy of Minister for Education, Mr Khushhal Behal, and blocked traffic for over an hour on Friday. They also held a dharna in protest against the new education policy of the state government and the Punjab Police lathi charge on the ETT and DIET students recently.

On a call given by the Students Welfare Association, a state-level protest rally was organised which started from the Company Bagh and ended at the Bhandari Bridge where they blocked traffic for over an hour. Speaking on the occasion Mr Mejor Singh, President DIET also threatened to intensify their agitation.

Meanwhile, the District Magistrate, Mr Sawinder Singh Puri, has ordered an inquiry into the incident of police lathi-charge on the ETT students on September 16. The inquiry has been entrusted to Mr Harbhupinder Singh Nanda, additional Deputy Commissioner.

KAPURTHALA: Students of Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) of Kapurthala and Jalandhar districts blocked traffic on the Jalandhar-Amritsar National Highway near Subhanpur chowk for more than two hours on Friday in protest against the reported lathi charge on the students in Amritsar on September 16.

They staged a dharna in the middle of the road which resulted in traffic jams on the Kapurthala-Amritsar, Tanda and Jalandhar section and long queues of buses and other vehicles could be seen on either side of road.

The students leaders Jagmohan Singh and Gurmukh Singh threatened to intensify their agitation if the government did not accept their genuine demands.

The police, however, diverted vehicular traffic from Kartarpur and Dhilwan to avoid long queues of traffic jams.

HOSHIARPUR: Students of DIET led by Mr Romesh Kumar, president Diet Students Welfare Association marched to the Tanda bye-pass here on Friday and staged a dharna in protest against the implementation of the education policy. They disrupted vehicular traffic going towards Himachal Pradesh, Pathankot, Talwara, Dasuya, Mukerian and Tanda for more than two hours. They also staged demonstrations and shouted slogans against the Punjab government.

FEROZEPORE: More than 300 students of the ETT on Friday blocked traffic for more than two hours on the Ludhiana-Abohar national highway at the entrance of the city from the Moga side.

Hundreds of commuters either got stranded or had to divert their route. The students asked the state government to accept their demands within two days else they would be forced to intensify their stir from Monday.

The agitation got boost when Mr Avtar Singh, President of the Punjab Government Teachers Union, and local Leftist leader Mr Amb Singh addressed the agitating students.


700 appointed in violation of rules
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 20
A woman from Nangal, has been appointed in Government Primary School, Nangal, to work under the centrally-sponsored Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Scheme. In the appointment letter issued to her by the District Education Officer (Primary), Ropar, it has been stated that she has been appointed as she has volunteered to work under the scheme without salary. Interestingly, she has passed class X whereas the candidate, as per the scheme guidelines, must possess a minimum qualification of plus II.

The appointment letter neither speaks of her designation in the school, nature of her duty, nor the duration of her service.

The District Education Officer and the Block Primary Education Officer, Anandpur Sahib, have allegedly issued similar appointment letters to as many as 700 candidates. These candidates have started working in government primary schools in the Nangal and Anandpur areas.

Asked why they have agreed to work without salaries, a few candidates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told this correspondent that they had been assured by the officers concerned that after three-month free service they would be initially given Rs 2,000 per month and later their services would be regularised in the due course of time.

Asked about the recruitments made in the district, the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, however, expressed ignorance about it. She said to the best of her knowledge there was no government scheme under which candidates were recruited to work without wages and later their services were regularised.

Asked about the appointment letters allegedly issued to 700 candidates, she said the matter would be investigated.

Sources said unemployed candidates were being exploited by certain officials of the Education Department by offering recruitment under the scheme.

They said the centrally-sponsored scheme had been designed for imparting primary education to the school dropouts from poor families in the rural areas. To launch the scheme in the districts, district education development committees had been formed under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners. As the block level, block education development committees, and at the village level, village development committees, were to implement the schemes.

The village-level development committee was to identify school dropouts in their areas. Wherever 15 such students were identified the committee had to appoint a teacher for them. As per the guidelines of the scheme, the teacher must belong to the same village and possess a minimum qualification of plus II. The recruited teacher was also to be paid an honorarium of Rs 2,000 per month till the project lasted.

The sources said in this district till date no village-level development committees had been constituted. For the past five months even no meeting of the district education development committee had been held.

However, despite all guidelines many class 10th pass candidates had been issued the appointment letters.

Meanwhile, several voluntary organisations of the area had demanded a high-level inquiry into the recruitment of the candidates.


Venkaiah Naidu coming on Sept 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, who presided over a meeting of party officer-bearers here today, directed them to ensure participation of all party activists in a “gaon chalo, fir Delhi chalo” campaign to be launched on September 25 all over the country.

Mr Rinwa said as the Punjab Government had failed to do anything worth mentioning for farmer, traders and dalits in the state, the burden had fell on the shoulders parties like the BJP to protect the interest of these sections. He said the Congress Government led by Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to deliver goods.

Meanwhile, Mr Avinash Jaiswal, General Secretary of the party said, the National President of the BJP, Mr Venkaiah Naidu would visit Punjab on September 27. He would come at Khanna to launch “gaon chalo” campaign. Chalked out a programme to set up its unit in over 12,000 villages in the state.

The party has set up its committee to deal with delimitation process for various constituencies set in motion by the Union Government. Mr Narotam Dev Ratti has been made chairman of the committee and Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, Mr Tikshan Sud, Mr Jagpal Singh Chahal, Mr Sukhpal Singh, Mr Lachman Dass Sewak and Mr Vineet Josh are its members.


Cong to expose Badal: Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader R.L. Bhatia while alleging that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had forced the centre to discriminate against Punjab regarding paddy procurement and announcement of minimum support price, said the Congress would launch a movement to expose his (Mr Badal’s) anti-farmer policies. Mr Bhatia, while talking to mediapersons here, said he would meet Capt Amarinder Singh soon in this regard.

Mr Badal is leaving no stone unturned to create problems for the state government, he added.

Regarding the issue of trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir floated by Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Union Minister Sushma Swaraj he said it was an old game of Pakistan and some western countries to divide India.

“The idea is disastrous. This is a move of the RSS, which is being promoted by some ministers. If India does it will fall prey to Pakistan’s design. The BJP is trying to communalise all things, including Kashmir, said Mr Bhatia.


Mela declines into vulgarity
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Chhapar, September 20
Whither Chhapar Mela? The event is today a pale shadow of its glorious past which boasted of the best in terms of the culture and ethos of a vibrant Punjab.

It is still a big draw with crowds flocking in thousands to pay obeisance at the Gugga Marhi, a shrine dedicated to the Nag Devta. What one comes across today is the cacophony of hundreds of loudspeakers blaring from early morning to well past midnight of shopkeepers hawking dubious goods and miraculous cures to innocent rural folk.

A group of teenagers from Moga quipped “Baiji, assi tan mauj karan aaye haan ate sare naach vekh ke javaange. Hor aithe ki haiga.” Understandably, the organisers of numerous dance shows are earning big bucks as all shows are a sellout.

A group of old timers, apparently put off by the crass commercialisation of the religious event, resting under a tree said,” Those were the good days. There would be dadhi durbars and the politicians had not yet taken over. It was a family event where people from far-off places would sometimes stay for many days.”

“How can one visit this place where all one gets to see is dancing girls and quacks peddling eternal youths. Gone are the times when an entire village turned up together at the mela and competed with other villagers in having fun. Now people come only to see the vulgar shows or attend the political rallies. Earlier, women came in large numbers, but now village women seldom come here,” they sighed.

Another old timer recalled, “It has become a thing of the past when people used to throng the place dressed in traditional attire. They even entered the festival dancing and played folk tunes on folk instruments. Then there used to be ‘akharas’ where bhangra and gidha were performed. Others tested their might in kabbadi and tug of war games. Nothing of this sort happens now.”

In sharp contrast, youngsters now were more concerned about their looks and appearance, while in the past the there did not seem to be any effort to effect any sartorial changes for going to a mela. Many arrived with lots of enthusiasm in everyday clothes with just a ‘safa ’ tied carelessly around the head, while others appeared directly from their places of work. Traditional dresses seemed to have passed into oblivion.

Nevertheless, the village folk form a majority of the crowd. With the paddy ripening in the fields and the non-announcement of the MSP, they do not have much work on their hands and seemed to be having a good time.

For every visitor, the first thing is to pay respects at the shrine and it is mandatory to dig out sand from a scheduled place to ward away evil and seek the blessings of the deity.

Then it is time for fun and apart from the usual games like shooting, joyrides, train, boat, and even aeroplane rides and a trip on the giant wheel, the biggest attractions nowadays are the live dances. These dances which run all through the night have a total male audience.

Mr M.S. Chhina, SSP, Jagraon, who is camping here to supervise the arrangements, said an elaborate security apparatus was in place and no untoward incident had been reported in the past two days. As compared to the previous years, the police has banned the entry of vehicles in the mela and visitors will now have to walk to the shrine.


IPS officers resent PPS men as dist heads
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 20
Despite claims of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s of being a different administrator vis-a-vis Mr Prakash Singh Badal functioning of various departments here changed much. In the Police Department criteria to appoint Senior Superintendents of Police in districts has been the same.

Many police officials, especially belonging to the Punjab Police Service have become favourites of the ruling Congress politicians and the patronage to PPS officers has put them in confrontation with senior IPS officers.

According to sources in the police, loyalty to the family of Captain Amarinder Singh is the sole criterion of getting plum posts in the state for PPS and IPS officers and ‘non-pliant’ officers are sidelined creating an anarchy in the administration.

The resentment prevails among IPS officers. A senior IPS officer said at a party last week, “if assistant sub-inspectors are going to be promoted to the IPS cadre, then what is the use of recruiting IPS officer? It is better to abolish the IPS cadre so that the PPS officers could be adjusted to plum posts on ‘loyalty’ or ‘royalty’ basis”.

Another senior police official after a few drinks revealed that rot had set in the way it was in the regime of the previous government with middlemen helping influential officials to get or stay put to plum posts, PPS officers find it easy to carry out bids as they are used to the ‘culture’ of Punjab and the local politicians.

He cited facts to prove existence of several facts a clear nexus between senior police officials and ruling politicians. So far, the state government has transferred SSPs on three occasions in less than eight months of its rule as a result of which as many as six SSPs out of 23 police districts belong to the PPS cadre, four have been posted against rules and three are from among the promoted PPS officers to the IPS cadre.

According to rules of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Personnel, district heads of the police should be appointed from among the State cadre IPS officers. As per these rules, PPS officers cannot hold the post of SSP for more than 90 days. However, this rule has been flouted by the respective governments in the state for the past many years.

Mr KPS Gill, started the practice of appointing SSPs to head districts from among officials of the lower rank during his tenure as DGP Punjab.

According to details available, Mr Major Singh Dhillon SSP of Muktsar district and Mr Shiv Kumar SSP of Moga district joined the police as ASI and presently are in PPS cadre. Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, (1990 batch) SSP of Barnala, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar (1991 batch) SSP of Ropar, Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chinna (1990 batch) SSP of Jagraon and Mr Narinder Bhargav (1993 batch) SSP of Tarn Taran are other PPS officers appointed to ‘plum’ posts of SSPs by the Congress government.

It is surprising that so far the Department of Finance Punjab has not sanctioned the posts of SSPs in Moga, Mansa, Muktsar and Fatehgarh Sahib.

The government has not tried to get out of this legal hassle in the past eight years. Surprisingly, the SSPs of these new districts draw salary from their parent establishments in the PAP headquarters or the commando battalions.

In fact, over the past few years the PPS officers have become all powerful and some close to top politicians compared to middle ranking IPS officers awaiting field posting. The IPS officers association has raised this issue many times in the recent few years for discussion but there seems to be no let-up in dominance by PPS officers.

Political observers feel that personal loyalties are being given weightage in chain of command in the state government while “honest and efficient” officers are being ignored.


HC allows pleas for engg course admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Allowing 34 petitions filed by over 160 candidates declared ineligible for admission to engineering courses in institutes affiliated to the Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have held that the action of Punjab state and another respondent in creating a distinction between aspirants from recognised schools and contestants from private or unrecognised schools was “wholly artificial”. The Judges directed the authorities concerned to admit the students “in order of merit as determined on the basis of the Joint Entrance Test for all seats”.

Delivering the verdict, the Judges ruled: “Admittedly, the petitioners had qualified for admission after matriculation, like other candidates from the Punjab School Education Board. Thus, they were subjected to, and were assessed by, the same standard as students from the so-called recognised schools. Still further, all candidates, irrespective of the schools they had studied in, were subjected to a common entrance test. Their merit inter se was not being determined on the basis of the marks secured in the examinations conducted by different bodies, but solely on the basis of a common test.

“Once all the candidates, irrespective of their ‘birthmark’ had been subjected to a common qualifying examination by the school board and a joint test by the Punjab State Board for Technical Education and Industrial Training, there was no justification or basis for treating them differently.... The action in ignoring inter-se merit is arbitrary and unfair”.

In their detailed order, the Judges further ruled: “It is clear that at the time of admission to the entrance test, no distinction was made between the students from private institutes and others who had studied in recognised schools. It was subsequently introduced at the second stage of admission after the entrance tests had been held. Why? There is no answer. Surely if the respondents were convinced that the private schools were “shops” and the students unfit for higher studies, there was no point in allowing them to appear for the entrance test. Having considered the petitioners eligible at the initial stage, there was no reason for change in the condition of eligibility. Under the circumstances, this distinction has no nexus with the object of selecting the best candidate for admission to engineering courses”.

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Gupta asserted: “The action of the government must conform to the test of reasonableness. The classification of the candidates as eligible and ineligible must have a reasonable relationship with the object of selecting the most suitable persons for admission to the institutes.... The petitioners and others like them were eligible for admission in 15 per cent quota of seats to be filled on an all-India basis. Thus, there is no basis lack of qualification which may warrant a whole scale exclusion of the students like the petitioners. They were eligible for admission 15 per cent seats on all-India basis, therefore, they fulfil condition of eligibility and cannot be excluded from consideration against 85 per cent seats.

“Still further, by a notice published on August 17, candidates like the petitioners were called for counselling. This is a clear recognition of their eligibility In fact, it is the admitted position that a large number of seats were available. The respondents are offering these to persons described as ‘ineligible’. However, the complaint of the petitioners is that the institutes and specialities are not as good as those which have already been filled. This complaint is well founded”.

Directing the authorities to admit the students in order of merit as determined on the basis of the JET in respect of all the seats, Mr Justice Gupta concluded: “In case the respondents do not wish to disturb the position of persons already admitted, they would offer to candidates higher in merit the same options and benefits as given to candidates admitted after first counselling. If for the purpose of carrying out the directions, the respondents have to create extra seats, they would be entitled to do so”.


Govt can act against FCI manager
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Staying the operation of orders passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal restraining the Union Government from taking further disciplinary action against IAS officer Sarvesh Kaushal, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion to the respondents for November 25.

In its petition, taken up by a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, the Union Government, through the Secretary in the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, had alleged that Mr Kaushal, while working as Senior Regional Manager with Punjab FCI, had failed to maintain absolute devotion towards duty. Even after clear directions from the government, Mr Kaushal did not lodge first information reports in certain cases or this was done after a lapse of one or two years.

Union Government counsel submitted that employer could take action against a government employee even if he had been exonerated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, as per law.

Pesticide dealer’s plea dismissed

Finding no merit, Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a Muktsar-based insecticide dealer seeking the quashing of a complaint under the Insecticides Act.

Delivering the verdict, the Judge observed: “The position which emerges is that the petitioner, from whom the sample was taken, can surely avail protection provided under Section 30 (3) of the Insecticides Act, if he proves the facts mentioned therein by leading evidence in the trial court. He cannot get the complaint quashed simply by mentioning in the petition that the grounds enumerated in Section 30 (3) of the Act, in fact, did exist”.


Rural water supply scheme inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 20
To provide potable water to the nearly 3,000 residents of the Kanjla, Bangian, Kalaran and Boothgarh villages, near Morinda, a new rural water supply scheme was inaugurated at Kanjla village last evening by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development, Punjab. This scheme has been completed at a cost of Rs 29 lakh against an estimated cost of Rs 32.78 lakh.

Mr Kang said during the past six months, he had got started seven new rural water supply schemes in his Assembly constituency of Morinda for providing potable water to the villagers. He appealed to the people not to misutilise the water as water table in the region was going down.

Mr R.L. Kauldhar, Executive Engineer of the Public Health Department, said under this scheme, the department had laid 16,341 metres pipes, besides installing a 150-ft deep tubewell. He said the department had also constructed a water tank of 50,000 litre capacity to provide water with full pressure to the villagers. Besides, it had installed water taps at 21 public places, he added.

Mr Kang heard the complaints and grievances of residents of about 40 villages at Khizrabad village yesterday which were aired by them especially to draw the attention of the minister towards development works in their respective areas. Mr Kang stated the state government would make the requisite arrangements soon for the redress of all problems of the people. Mr Kang also distributed cheques to the panchayats of eight villages of Majri block for the repair and maintenance of ponds of villages. Mr Kang said under the Employment Assurance Scheme, an amount of Rs 17.50 lakh, besides 1,800 quintals of wheat under food for work scheme, had been kept in Ropar district for the repair and maintenance of ponds in villages.


Vernacular journalism ‘lagging behind’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
Editors of vernacular dailies and veteran journalists attended the Punjabi Media Conference-2002 organised by the Punjab Media Academy chief, Mr Baljit Singh Brar, today.

Mr Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, Editor of Punjabi Tribune, said most of the problems faced by the regional media were due to lack of proper training and hesitation among the youth to take up vernacular journalism as a profession. “Education plays a big role in shaping a journalist and if he is not well educated he cannot be trained to be a perfect journalist,” he said, adding that lack of resources was another problem for vernacular newspapers.

Mr Vijay Chopra, Editor of Punjab Kesri group of newspapers, said the biggest hurdle before the regional media was the non-availability of quality journalists and most of them were not well-versed with new technologies. Mr Chander Mohan, Editor of Vir Partap, rued the increasing vulgarity and commercialisation of vernacular newspapers.

Mr Kamlesh Singh Duggal, Head of Department of Journalism at the local Regional Centre of Guru Nanak Dev University, who presided over the function read a message sent by Mr Vijay Sehgal, Editor of Dainik Tribune. He suggested that the regional media should keep focus on downtrodden people and highlight their plight to get them justice.

Others who spoke included Mr Sham Singh from Punjabi Tribune, Mr Jagjit Singh Dardi, Editor of Chardhi Kala, Mr Jatinder Pannu, Assistant Editor of Nawan Zamana and Mr Shital Vij.


Implement 85th Amendment: BSP
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, September 20
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has asked the Congress government to implement the 85th constitutional Amendment with regard to reservation in promotions for government employees belonging to reserved categories.

In a press note issued here today, the secretary of the state BSP, Mr Satish Kumar Bharti, said the state government had been delaying the implementation of the Amendment on one pretext or the other for the past five months.

Mr Bharti said though the Supreme Court, in its Ajit Singh Janjua case judgement, explained that the state governments were at their will whether to abolish the roaster system pertaining to the reservation in promotions for the reserved category government employees or not, but the state government had failed to revoke the orders passed by the previous SAD-BJP regime, which had notified to ban the reservation in promotions.

He said though the Lok Sabha had passed the 85th Amendment to the Constitution and the same was notified on January 21 this year, but the state government had done nothing to restore the roaster system so far.

The BSP threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the government did not accede to its demand.


Disabled duped on promise of government job
Sukant Deepak

Patiala, September 20
A handicapped person residing in Tripuri area has accused an employee of the Punjab Pollution Control Board of duping him and taking away his house in lieu of getting him a government job.

Surinder Kumar, who is 70 per cent handicapped has alleged that an employee of the Punjab Pollution Board, who was known to him had promised that he would make sure that he got a job as a Field Assistant in the board and asked for Rs 1 lakh, which the complainant said he could not afford and offered his house, the present value of which is more than lakh in lieu of cash. “I and my wife are handicapped and unemployed, the house was our only possession but now we do not have even that,” he said.

The complainant said he had filled the application for the post of Field Assistant and had received an interview call for the same but the accused started demanding more money and said he had to grease the palms of others in his department in order to ensure that the complainant got the job. However , Surinder says that he was in no position to pay more money and when he was rejected for the job, the accused assured him that his name was first in the waiting list and that he would get him the job in six months time. However, after six months the accused not only failed to secure the promised job but also refused to give back the complainant’s house. The complainant further alleged that the accused had threatened him with dire consequences if he contacted the police.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr P.S. Umranangal, has ordered an inquiry into the matter. It will be conducted by an officer of the rank of a DSP and a case against the accused has also been registered.


Lokpal’s office faces shortage of staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
While the number of complaints has been rapidly going up in the Punjab Lokpal office, its functioning has been hampered by a shortage of staff required to hold investigations at the preliminary stage against important persons. Funds is another major problem. There are no adequate funds even to buy stationery.

Official sources in the Lokpal’s office said today that the number of complaints had touched a figure of 308. The Punjab Government has not provided even the sanctioned staff to the Lokpal’s office. At the moment, it has one I.G., one DIG, two SPs, one DSP, two Sub-Inspectors, 25 head constables and a few head constables. Two vacancies of DSP, four of Inspector, two of Sub-Inspector and 10 of constable remained unfilled.

“Almost all available investigating staff are overworked. It is not possible to follow up all complaints with such meagre staff. The Government has been told that the Lokpal office requires more staff in the light of an increasing number of complaints, but there is no response yet”, said an officer posted in the Lokpal office.

The Lokpal receives complaints mostly against VIPs. At this stage one minister and five former ministers are under investigation, besides a number of chairpersons of recruitment committees. It is not a routine job to hold investigations against such important and influential persons. Investigations against them need intelligent, experienced and honest officers at the middle level in the Lokpal’s office.

All complainants wanted quick disposal of their complaints which was not possible because of the inadequate staff. “We are trying our best for early disposal of complaints of serious nature involving issues of urgent public importance such as bungling in appointments etc. with whatever resources are at our command. But to quicken the disposal system we require more staff,” said that officer.

Earlier, only 25 complaints were received by the Lokpal’s office during four years. As the Lokpal’s office remained non-functional for quite some time during the SAD-BJP rule because of certain legal wrangles, the vacancies, which were to be filled by posting staff from the police and other departments on deputation remained unfilled. In fact, a number of vacant posts were abolished from the sanctioned strength. However, the situation had completely changed in recent months. After the taking over of Justice D.V. Sehgal as the Lokpal, 308 complaints had been received, most of these against VIPs.

The officer said the staff had no conveyance facility to verify the facts in the field. “Our officials go either by bus or use their own modes of conveyance. They have to go to far-off places such as Dera Baba Nanak, Abohar and Fazilka and it is a difficult task to perform without any vehicle”, added the officer. Two cars, two gypsies and four motor cycles had been demanded from the state government.


Don’t treat Granth as ‘juristic person’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, today demanded that the Guru Granth Sahib should not be treated as a ‘‘ juristic person ’’ thus bringing the Guru to the level of an ordinary person.

In the forthcoming all-India Sikh gurdwaras Bill which is presently under formulation at the Centre the clause to treat the Guru Granth Sahib as a “juristic person” should be done away with. Explaining this he said several properties were registered in records in the name of the Guru Granth Sahib. Actually the local gurdwara parbandhak committees should be parties in all legal disputes and not the granth, he added.

The clause should be deleted and the Act should make a provision that all properties vested or registered in the name of the Guru Granth Sahib should be automatically be transferred in the names of the local management committees in the mutation records.

Recently the Supreme Court while deciding a case of dispute dating back to 1928 declared the Guru Granth Sahib as a juristic person who can be a party to any case. Dr Ahluwalia said strangely was jubilation among certain Sikh circles for whom what mattered most was the property aspect and not the spiritual aspects of the granth. The decision of the court was right where properties of high value were concerned and the fear that they might fall in private hands was not wrongly placed. The moot point is should the Guru be subjected to the jurisdiction of courts. It was in a bad taste to see property suits being filed against the granth which in the language of the Supreme Court is an ‘‘artificially created person’’. The Vedas, Sri Bhagwadgita, The Bible or the Quran are not deemed as juristic persons, he argued.

The proposed bill should contain a clause that notwithstanding any judgement of the court the Guru Granth Sahib shall not be deemed to be a “juristic person”. Where property disputes are involved the local management committee should be a party and not the granth, Dr Ahluwalia suggested.


Proposal to privatise octroi rejected
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The general house of the Municipal Corporation in a significant decision today shot down the proposal to privatise octroi collection in the city, besides demanding that Rs 1.03 crore owed by people living in slum areas on account of water and sewerage charges be waived off.

The meeting shot down the proposal to privatise octroi collection with most of the corporators rejecting the proposal. The corporators gave the example of the privatisation experiment done in 2000 when the corporation had to bear a loss and the matter was still under dispute.

The corporators said the trading community had also been harassed during this period. They said the corporation was blamed for the bad behaviour of the private businessmen who operated the octroi collection. The corporators said a target of Rs 12.5 crore collection had already been fixed and the corporation should work towards realising this instead of going in for privatisation of the system.

Meanwhile, the move to collect Rs 1.20 crore from people of as many as 12 slum colonies in the city was opposed by Senior Deputy Mayor Kabir Das. He argued that the bills were pending since a long time and that the people could not be burdened for the laxity on the part of the authorities earlier in collecting the bills. After the issue was discussed it was decided to form a committee to discuss the issue and take a decision. Mayor Vishnu Sharma disclosed that the committee would submit its recommendations to the government as could not waive off the bills on its own.

Sources said a number of corporators were against making the people of the colonies pay their dues because of political reasons. These colonies form a major vote bank of the Congress in the city and it is felt forcing them to pay their dues would bomberang on the party in the Lok Sabha elections, which are a little more than a year away.

The corporation, however, passed a resolution which proposed shifting all butchering shops outside the city. The resolution proposes that butchers would only be allowed to sell frozen meat in their shops in the city and that butchering would not be allowed.


Probe begins into land sale
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 20
The Vigilance Bureau has begun an inquiry into the purchase of about 3.25 acres in the open market by the local municipal council at Ramdite Wala village. The bureau has asked for the records pertaining to the purchase of land by the council.

Sources said the funds meant for the Integrated Development Medium and Small Town Scheme had been used to purchase the land but the funds were deposited by the council in the account of the scheme. The sources said the rate of the adjoining land was about Rs 1.4 lakh per acre while the council purchased it for Rs 4 lakh per acre.

Mr Pawan Kumar Matti, Municipal Council President, said the funds from the scheme were utilised on the written orders of the Deputy Commissioner as the existing land meant for dumping garbage would be converted into a rose garden.

He said people generally undervalued sale deeds for the purpose of registration to save stamp duty and registration fee.

It is leant that the owners of land near the land purchased by the council have given affidavits to the Vigilance Bureau, saying that they are ready to sell their land at the rate of Rs 1.5 lakh per acre.


Dr Vohra Prosthetic Adviser to Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
Dr V. J. S. Vohra, Chairman and Managing Director, Nevedac Prosthetic Centre, Zirakpur, has been appointed Honorary Prosthetic Adviser to Punjab government.

Dr Vohra, will advise the government on all matters concerning supply and fitting of prosthetic aids and rehabilitation of the physically challenged persons. With Dr Vohra, being appointed Honorary Prosthetic Secretary by governments of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh administration, his centre also stands recognised.

Dr Vohra’s centre also has the recognition of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

Rural funds spent on town
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 20
Due to bureaucratic ineptness more than Rs 18 lakh has been over spent on a programme.

Even eight years after the state government made changes and classified Talwandi Sabo near here as a urban area, the district administration went ahead and launched a water supply scheme in the township under a programme for rural areas.

An official audit report criticised the authorities concerned and stated, “As Talwandi Sabo falls under an urban area, the expenditure on water supply of this town was not a legitimate charge on this programme.”

According to the report, the Executive Engineer Public Health (Rural Water Supply), Bathinda Division, had prepared an estimate of Rs 3.87 crore for the augmentation of the water supply scheme at Talwandi Sabo. The Secretary, Public Health, Punjab approved the proposal under the Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) though Talwandi Sabo had been upgraded as a tehsil headquarters.

Thereafter the District Development and Planning Board, Bathinda released Rs 1.50 crore for this scheme. Out of this the Executive Engineer spent Rs 18.46 lakh till the time the audit was conducted.

The report also states that the scheme had left out a large number of villages.

Sources cite inadequate planning, poor maintenance and non-existence of control mechanisms to monitor the supply of water among reasons for the overspending.


Sidhu bail plea hearing on Sept 23
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal today put the bail application filed by former PPSC Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu for consideration for September 23 even as anticipatory bail applications filed by “tainted” candidates will be heard next week.

The Sessions Judge also adjourned the application for dropping of proceedings against the former PPCC Chairman to October 3.

Copies of the sanction received from the President to prosecute Sidhu were supplied to him.

Meanwhile, the anticipatory bail applications filed by “tainted” candidates will be heard next month. A local court put up the case for hearing the applications filed by Mandeep Kaur, Navdeep Singh, Preetwinder Singh, Rajinder Singh Sidhu, Ram Saran and Anil Kumar Jindal for October 3. The court will hear the anticipatory bail applications filed by Parvinderpal Singh and Balraj Kaur on October 4.


Fresh warrant issued against Kang
Tribune News Service

Ropar, September 20
Mr Ravinder Singh, Chief Judicial Magistrate, today issued fresh non-bailable arrest warrant for October 3 against Kiranbir Singh Kang, Youth Akali leader, in connection with the Siau murder case in which the bodies of two children were found floating in a pond at Siau village, near Kharar, on June 22 last year.

The court issued fresh warrant against Kang today as the court had received the earlier warrant as unserved.

Kang had filed an anticipatory bail application in the Sessions Court. The court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr A.S. Kathuria, had issued notices yesterday to the state and Dhani Ram, complainant for September 25.


Vigilance raids on houses of SGPC members
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 20
In a surprise development, senior officials of the Vigilance Department today visited the houses of some SGPC members belonging to the SAD and sought details of their moveable and immoveable assets.

According to Mr Kashmir Singh Gandiwind, a member from Jhabal Kalan, his house was visited by the SP, Vigilance, from Chandigarh this afternoon. He said he was at Chandigarh when a vigilance team visited his house. Family members of Mr Gandiwind were directed to send details of the assets at Chandigarh with in three days.

According to sources, houses of at least two more members were visited by the vigilance team.

Mr Gandiwind described the visit of the vigilance team as “direct interference” in the religious affairs as the SGPC members were not government employees.


PSSF to bring out white paper on govt policies
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, September 20
The Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) and Trade Union Council organised a convention here today at the local Bahawalpurlian Dharamshala.

Mr Ranbir Dhillon, general secretary, PSSF decried the government claim of poor financial health and said the PSSF would soon bring out a white paper on the wrong policies of the government. He said the size of the council of ministers should be reduced to 10 as per the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission. Mr Rajinder Pal Soni, acting president of the PSSF, referred to large-scale bunglings in the PWD and Irrigation Department. Through a resolution moved by Mr Ranbir Dhillon the convention demanded that the government should sanction 3 per cent dearness allowance instalment from July and implement bonus and other election promises before Dasehra.


Labour Commission ‘anti-worker’
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
The proposals of the second Labour Commission, which submitted its report on June 22, will increase unemployement, stop development and is against the Indian democracy and spirit of Constitution.

The allegations were levelled by Mr Chander Shekhar, general secretary of the Punjab unit of the Centre Industrial Trade Unions (CITU) while addressing members of the association today at an awareness campaign. He said the proposal of the commission would be a severe blow to the labourers.

He said the proposals of the commission, showed that the interests of industriaists were being protected at the cost of the labourers.

He alleged that fearing resentment by labour unions the government did not make the report public.

While saying that the recommendations of the commission were against the norms of the International Labour Organisation, he alleged that the Central Government due to pressure from certain quarters was willing to accept the recommendations.

He alleged that various working groups formed by the commission included industrialists and no representative of labourers was a part of the groups. He said it should be called ‘industrialists commission’ instead of Labour Commission.

He said as per the proposals of the commission the owners of industries where less than 300 labourers were working could fire them without the government approval. He added that this would lead to insecurity among labourers.

Mr Shekhar said the awareness campaign would continue till October 31.


CM to attend martyr’s bhog
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, September 20
Mr Surinder Singla, local MLA and Chairman of the high powered Finance Committee today said that efforts would be made to get the brother of Jarnail Singh, appointed as an Assistant Sub-Inspector in the Punjab Police. Jarnail, a Commando of Punjab Armed Police had sacrificed his life while fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Singla said Capt Amarinder Singh would attend the bhog of Jarnail Singh to be held at the local grain market on September 27. Many other prominent persons are also likely to attend the bhog. He claimed that a chowk near the residence of Jarnail Singh would be named after him and his statue would be erected there.


Rickshaw-pullers hold procession

Moga, September 20
Rickshaw-pullers today adopted a novel way of protest when about 800 rickshaw-pullers took out a silent procession, organised by the Rickshaw Mazdoor Sangh affiliated to INTUC and led by INTUC president Vijay Dhir.

The Rickshaw-pullers were protesting against the failure of the Moga Municipal Council to repair the dilapidated roads which were causing considerable loss to their rickshaws, besides inconvenience to the passengers. They were also critical of the council’s decision to enhance the annual rickshaw licence fee from Rs 50 to Rs 100 and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the enhanced fee. Besides, the rickshaw-pullers were also demanding the repair of the existing rickshaw stands and the construction of new sheds in view of increased number of rickshaws in the town.

The procession after passing through the main streets of the town culminated in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office complex and submitted a charter of demands to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr H.L. Kumar. UNI


Labourer dies in mishap

Hoshiarpur, September 20
A migrant labourer was killed after his head was chopped off while working on a marble cutter at Paharigate under the Hariana police station last evening.

According to police sources, the labourer, identified as Nand Kishore, was working on the marble cutting machine at the house of Raman Kumar. His foot slipped and he fell on the machine. His head got chopped off with the blade of the cutter.

The police have registered a case under Section 174 of the IPC on the statement of the victim’s brother, Jagdev Sahni, who was also present at the site when the accident happened. UNI


Accountant-Gen bans Punjabi
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 20
In a communication by the Accountant-General, Punjab, all departments of the state have asked to communicate with his office in English or Hindi. It has been made clear that any communication addressed in Punjabi will not be entertained.


Eating establishments fined
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 20
The Municipal Corporation today fined various hotel, restaurant and dhaba owners sums ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 for not maintaining hygienic conditions on their premises during a check conducted by it recently.

The Mayor, Mr Vishnu Sharma, said the maximum fine of Rs 5,000 had been levied upon Lakshmi Industries situated in Mathura Colony.

He said the firm had been found making ‘petha’ and biscuits under unhygienic conditions. He said while the firm had been fined Rs 4,000 for maintaining unhygienic conditions at its ‘petha’-making unit, it had been fined Rs 1,000 for the same at his biscuit-making unit.

Giving details about the hotel, restaurant and dhaba owners who had paid various fines, the Health Officer said Garden Resort Hotel had been charged a penalty of Rs 2,000.

He said the establishments which had been fined Rs 1,000 were Harpawittar International Hotel Red Dragon, Fifth Avenue, Khansama and Zaika restaurants, Shivam dhaba, Sheetal dhaba, Chawla Chicken, Arjun Fastfood, Moonlight and Rainbow dhabas.

He said establishments which had been fined Rs 500 were: Aggarwal Sweets, Tandoor restaurant and Zaika restaurant. He said all owners of the establishments who had come to present their cases today had been asked to improve their general cleanliness standards within two weeks following which checks could be conducted again. He said the establishments had also been told that the penalty amounts could increase in the future if the same violations were detected.

Meanwhile, it was a day of hectic activity at the corporation’s office today with many owners of various eating establishments using their clout with various corporators to ensure they were not fined heavily.

Eating establishments which had been found encroaching upon government land, including Chawla Chicken, Khansama and Sheetal dhaba, besides others, had been asked to remove the encroachment in the fixed time frame.


3 get 10-yr RI in dowry death case
Tribune News Service

Moga, September 20
The District and Sessions Court here on Thursday sentenced three members of a family to 10-years’ rigorous imprisonment each in a dowry death case.

According to the details available, an FIR under various section of the IPC was registered against Gurpreet Singh (husband), Joginder Singh (father-in-law) and Ranjit Kaur (mother-in-law) of Dina village on March 16, 2000, for allegedly burning Sukhjit Kaur to death for not bringing Rs 1 lakh in dowry.

The FIR was lodged on the statement of Gurdev Kaur, of Dhadda village in Bathinda district, mother of the deceased.

Mr Jagmohan Singh Chawla Additional Sessions Judge, in his judgement also fined them Rs 11,000 each, failing which they would have to undergo an additional imprisonment of two years each.


63 illegal immigrants arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 20
Nearly 63 youths from Punjab have been arrested in Moscow and Ukraine for allegedly entering the countries without valid travel documents.

As many as 31 persons who entered Belarus in Russia were arrested in Minsk while 32 Punjabis were arrested by the police in Keiv, said the Regional Passport Office authorities.

Records pertaining to their passports were being verified. After verification, parents and family members of those detained would be asked to deposit the amount required for deportation.

A communication by embassies suggested that the travel documents and return tickets of the victims had been taken away by their travel agents who had disappeared after their arrests.

The verification process by the RPO authorities is likely to be completed by Monday.


7 held in fake currency racket

Amritsar, September 20
The police today claimed having busted a fake currency racket with the arrest of seven persons in fake currency racket.

The S.P. (City), Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh claimed that fake currency worth Rs 5000 besides toy pistols, two mobile phones and police uniforms, were seized from the arrested. The alleged accused used to sell fake currency at one third of its denomination, the SP said adding such deals were carried out in hotels of the city.

In certain cases, accomplices of these persons in police uniform, hiding nearby and holding toy pistol used in snatch the fake currency from the buyer after the sale, he said. PTI


Seven hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 20
Panic gripped Chogawan village after two groups fired at each other during a clash that left seven injured. The clash took place between a group led by former sarpanch Balkar Singh and the Rajinder Singh group.

According to Ms Shashi Prabha, SSP, Majitha, the clash took place late last night. Ten persons have been booked in this regard. Those injured are Rajinder Singh, Jatinder Singh, Major Singh, Hardeep Singh, Chanchal Singh, Pragat Singh and Jaswinder Singh.

The shots were fired from two .12 bore rifles, according to the police.

A case has been registered under various sections of the IPC and Arms Act. Those booked include Balkar Singh, Hardev Singh, Gulzar Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Pappu, Partap Singh, Hardeep Singh, Surjeet Singh, Dharma Singh and Santokh Singh.


Change exam system: law students
Our Correspondent

Patiala, September 20
Students of the Department of Law, Punjabi University, have demanded a change in the existing examination system in reappear cases on the lines of Panjab University, failing which they have threatened to boycott classes indefinitely and organise dharnas on the campus.

They are protesting against the present system wherein examinations are held after every six months but in case of reappear in the first semester the student can take the exam in the third semester only. On the other hand in Panjab University, reappear exams can be given in any semester .The law students of reappear cases of Punjabi University are also given less chances as compared to their counterparts in Panjab University . The students said like in Panjab University, reappear examinations should also be held separately as reappear examinations along with regular examinations puts extra burden on them.

The students have submitted a memorandum to the Head of the Law Department and the Dean (Academic Affairs) urging them to take necessary action in this regard as this year eight students of the department, who have passed the examinations of the fourth semester have not been given admission in the fifth semester as they had reappears in their third semester. Due to this rule, some students were disallowed by the university to sit in the examinations last year also and they had to approach the high court, after which they were allowed to appear in the examinations.

Threatening to intensify their agitation, various student leaders, including Gurnam Singh Virk, Jaspal Singh Manjipur and Gurtej Singh Teji, alleged that the university authorities had turned a deaf ear to their demands for a long time and the department even lacked basic facilities like classrooms for LLM (Masters in LAW) students and a proper updated library.

The Head of the department, Mr Paramjit Singh, when contacted, declined to answer any query regarding the demands of the students.

The Dean, Academic Affairs, Dr U.C. Singh, said he had directed the Head of the department to look into the demands of the students.


Implement pay scales: librarians
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 20
The Government School Librarians’ Union, Punjab, has urged the State Government to do justice with them. In a statement issued here today, a spokesman for the union, alleged that injustice had been done with librarians posted in schools by giving a pay scale even less than the JBT teachers.

He said the Fourth Pay Commission gave librarians a meagre pay scale of Rs 4020-6200. Earlier, school librarians were getting pay scale on a par with language teachers. The union had given representation before the anomalies removal committee which recommended the scale of Rs 4550-7200 for librarians but it had not been implemented yet. Also there are no promotions avenues for them.


Convention on tech education
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, September 20
The two-day annual convention of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE) (student chapter) of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh began here today on the premises of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology.

Prof H.P. Sinha executive Secretary-cum-Programme Director of the ISTE, New Delhi, inaugurated the convention.

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