Thursday, February 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India

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Heavy damage to crops
Chandigarh, February 19
Heavy damage has been caused to various rabi crops especially wheat and mustard. Three factors — heavy showers, violent winds and hailstorms — are responsible for the misery that has hit various sections of the populace in the countryside.

Index page: Squall leaves fourteen dead in Punjab
Ludhiana page: Waterless, powerless for 24 hours

A farmer drains out rain water from a hailstorm-hit wheat field at Boothgarh village near Samrala on Wednesday. — A Tribune photograph

1 more MLA in Gujarat scandal
Amritsar, February 19
The figuring of the name of another Congress leader and MLA from Punjab close to the Chief Minister in the Gujarat call girl racket has further complicated the problems of Capt Amarinder Singh.




Vedanti fails to end confusion over ‘seva’
Amritsar, February 19
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Akal Takht failed to resolve the issue of whether baptised Sikh women should be allowed to perform ‘seva’ inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple, though gender discrimination is not permitted in Sikhism.

Badal okays Justice Jain’s name
Chandigarh, February 19
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has reportedly given his consent to the appointment of Justice N.C. Jain, retired Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court, as Chairman of the Punjab Human Rights Commission. The position has been lying vacant ever since the retirement of Justice A.K. Khanna.

Corridor plan: building bylaws may be amended
Amritsar, February 19
The Punjab Government has expressed commitment to implementing the proposals for beautifying the surroundings of the Golden Temple, according to the dossier presented to the Union Government for submitting it to UNICEF for declaring it a world heritage site.

Canal water cess collection biannual
Chandigarh, February 19
The process of realisation of charges for the use of canal water for irrigation has begun. The revenue from ‘’abiana’’, as canal water cess is called in revenue parlance, will be of the order of Rs 60 crore per annum. It is to be collected bi-annually on May 31 and September 30.


Capt has no proof against me: Badal
Ropar, February 19
Capt Amarinder Singh has no proof against me. He just used the rhetoric by levelling baseless charges of corruption against me during the Punjab Assembly elections to befool people.

Postpone MC poll, says Ramoowalia
Bhucho Mandi (Bathinda), February 19
Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president of the Lok Bhalai Party, said today that the election to various municipal councils scheduled for March 2 and 9 should be postponed keeping in view the annual examinations.

Rally seeks CM’s resignation
Gurdaspur, February 19
Party workers of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP gathered at Gurdwara Singh Sabha on the Jail Road here today and held a rally to demand the immediate resignation of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues in view of the alleged involvement of two Punjab ministers identified as Partap Singh Bajwa and A.S. Samra in the Gujarat sex scandal.

Admn ‘sabotaged’ parishad poll
Mansa, February 19
SAD members alleged that no official, including the Additional Deputy Commissioner or the District Development and Panchayats Officer, Mansa, turned up to conduct elections for the post of Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Zila Parishad here which were scheduled to be held today.


Army meeting on February 27
Gurdaspur, February 19
Mr KAP Sinha, Deputy Commissioner said here today that the Union Ministry of Defence was concerned at village constructions within a radius of 1000 feet of the ammunition depot at Pathankot. A meeting of Defence officials to discuss the issue is being held at Jammu on February 27. The DC has also been invited to the meeting.

Punjab asked to file inquiry report
Chandigarh, February 19
Taking up a petition filed by a dera head initially seeking the registration of a first information report against police officials and an Akali leader, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the state of Punjab to file inquiry report in the matter. The case will now come up for further hearing on February 27.

Blood shortage in Punjab
Jalandhar, February 19
Even as the Punjab based patients need about two lakh units of blood annually, the total availability of blood from various sources not more than 1 lakh units.”

MC blamed for cracks in houses
Phagwara, February 19
Two houses in local Tambakoo Kuttan mohalla caved in recently. The civic authorities yesterday declared them unsafe, advising inmates to move out. Due to caving in of two houses some other surrounding houses had inclined forward and had developed cracks.

10,000 birds die in poultry farm building cave-in
Sangrur, February 19
More than 10,000 birds (hens) were reportedly killed today morning when a double-storeyed building of a poultry farm collapsed at Barnala, 40 km from here. More than 10,000 hens were buried alive under the debris of the building of Seharash Poultry Farm on the Khudi Kalan road at Barnala.

End contract system for loading work: union
Faridkot, February 19
A state-level rally was held by the All Food and Allied Loading and Unloading Mazdoor Union here today for getting the contract system regarding the loading and unloading work undertaken by various state government agencies and the FCI abolished for protecting the interests of the labour class.

IMA conference on medical ethics
Sangrur February 19
The Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association will organise its 57th state-level conference on March 16 at Mansa. The theme of the conference will be “Promoting medical ethics”.


Cane growers get remaining dues
Patiala, February 19
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today announced that the remaining dues of Rs 47 crore to sugarcane planters of the state were being released today even as he alleged that the Centre was discriminating against the state by not giving permission for sale of Rs 550 crore worth of sugar in stock with the 14 sugar mills of the state.

Cane arrears: dharna by farmers
Amritsar, February 19
Wearing black clothes farmers, protesting against the non-release of the remaining payment of the cane crop, staged a dharna under the aegis of the Kisan wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) at Ajnala village.


Admn gears up for MC poll
Faridkot, February 19
On the directions of the Punjab Election Commission the district administration has formulated a plan to ensure free and fair poll of the Faridkot, Jaito and Kotkapura municipal councils in this district on March 9. Under the plan the nomination papers will be accepted for four days starting February 24.

Additional charge


Doctor held on fraud charge
Phagwara, February 19
A senior doctor of the local Civil Hospital, Dr Yashpal Mitra, was arrested yesterday on charges of fraud, criminal breach of trust and conspiracy by floating a company with his wife Anu Mitra as its director and cheating people to the tune of about Rs 13.5 lakh under a false promise of doubling the amount after four and seven years respectively.

Judicial remand for girl in extortion case
Sangrur, February 19
Mr Varinder Aggarwal, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur, today remanded Gurmeet Kaur, alias Happy, in judicial custody for 14 days after the expiry of her one-day police remand today. Ms Happy was arrested by the local police on February 17 in a case of extortion and intimidation registered on February 14 against six persons, including her and three policemen.

Cricket match: 6 bookies held
Bathinda, February 19
In a crackdown second time against those indulging in speculation on Cricket World Cup, the police has booked six bookies. Cases were registered against them last night on the eve of the India-Zimbabwe match.

Rape victim fears danger to life
Hoshiarpur, February 19
A woman who was raped at Sidh Jandi Ashram of Mahilpur along with her husband has alleged that there was danger to their life from Swami Alkhanand, who had threatened to kill them. She was talking to mediapersons at Mahilpur, 25 km from here today.


Bhag Singh elected PGTCA president
Ludhiana, February 19
The elections to the posts of president and general secretary of the Punjab Government College Teachers’ Association were held in all government colleges of the state.

BA, B.Com, B.Sc exams from March 29
Amritsar, February 19
Annual theory examinations of BA/B.Sc and B.Com of Guru Nanak Dev University would start from March 29. The examinations of BA/B.Sc (part I, III) and B.Com (part-II) would also start from March 29.


Chemists evading sales tax
Bathinda, February 19
Even as a small section of chemists in the region have allegedly been evading sales tax on the stock being purchased by them from outside Punjab, the authorities concerned have so far failed to curb the menace.

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