Saturday, October 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Magisterial probe ordered into Bhai Bakhtaur incident
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
Mr Anurag Aggarwal, District Magistrate, Bathinda, has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident pertaining to the death of a farmer, Gurdev Singh while sitting in dharna on the Bhai Bakhtaur level crossing on September 30 and the circumstances which led to the police lathi charge on the farmers on October 1 while they were trying to stage a dharna on that crossing.

Talking to TNS today, he said Mr Narinder Singh Bath, SDM, Talwandi Sabo, had started the probe and would submit his report shortly. He would find out who instigated the violence which forced the police to resort to the lathi charge.

More than 12 farmers were severely injured on October 1 in the lathi charge while they were trying to stage a dharna at the level crossing on Bathinda-Delhi rail section to lodge their protest against the refusal of the district administration to hand over the body of Gurdev Singh. An activist of the BKU, Ekta (Ugrahan) group, he died on September 30 after he along with others were hit by a goods train while they were trying to stop it during the rail and rasta roko agitation at Bhai Bakhtaur railway.

Eight policemen were also injured when they were allegedly attacked by activists of the BKU, Ekta (Ugrahan) group when they tried to stop them from sitting on the railway line. The activists also damaged the Gypsy of Mr S.P. Singh Bawa, AIG, General Railway Police (GRP).

The same day, in the Bathinda Civil Hospital, the president of the BKU (Ugrahan), Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Lok Morcha Punjab general secretary, Jagmail Singh, general secretary, of the Khet Mazdoor Union Laxman Singh and representatives of students’ union also faced the wrath of the police when they insisted that they should be handed over the body of Gurdev Singh for cremation. They were beaten up and bundled into various vehicles and taken to different police stations. However, some of them were released on October 2.

Two criminal cases, one in police station, Kotfatha, and the other in police station of General Railway Police were registered against farmers’ leaders, including Mr Sukhdev Singh Kokri Kalan, Mr Bhola Bugger, Mr Shingara Singh and many others.

A third criminal case was registered against Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan and others for creating hooliganism in Civil Hospital, Bathinda. About 20 activists of farmers’ organisation were arrested.

After the two incidents, the Bathinda administration authorities have been leaving no stone unturned to maintain law and order situation. It has reached a compromise with a section of farmers’ organisations and promised compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of farmer Gurdev Singh and Rs 50,000 each to those who were injured when the goods train hit them. Mr Aggarwal also ordered a magisterial probe into these incidents as per the compromise.

Meanwhile, activists of the BKU, Ekta (Ugrahan) today decided to burn the effigies of Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh from October 4 to 9 in all parts of the state. They also held a rally at Maur Charat Singhwala village to which deceased Gurdev Singh belonged.


CPI backs stir

The Punjab CPI today condemned the “repressive methods being adopted by the state government to crush the peaceful agitation of the peasants”. Punjab Secretary Joginder Dayal said the demand for Rs 30 per quintal as bonus on paddy, continuation of free power and water, were promised in the Congress manifesto. — TNS


No rules bent for sportspersons: Bhullar
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Mr Kanwaljit Singh, Parliamentary Secretary and president, Kabbadi Association, said that his association would also try to become party in the writ petition to defend the right of sportspersons. He said that if need be, special request would be made to the Chief Minister to protect the interest of sportspersons by making necessary amendments in the relevant rules. 

Chandigarh, October 3
Countering the hue and cry raised discreetly by a section of police officers regarding promotions of sportspersons in the Punjab Police, the former Director General of Police, Mr M.S. Bhullar, said today that neither any rule nor any procedure had been violated while making such promotions.

He said all those who were trying to project promotions as if a big scandal had taken place in the Punjab Police were doing so perhaps out of jealousy as they were unable to digest the achievements made by Police sportspersons at the national and international levels. India recently won the Asia Cup first time in the past 20 years because of the excellent contribution made by Gagan Ajit Singh, Baljit Singh Dhillon and Kamalpreet Singh. Unfortunately Jugraj Singh was not there. All these players were of the Punjab Police.

Those who say that rules had been violated while making promotions were not telling the truth to all concerned. Such people were trying to demoralise the sportspersons with excellent achievements for the nation as well as the state. Talking to The Tribune at his residence, Mr Bhullar said that he was prepared to explain every promotion made by him as head of the Punjab Police to the Council of Ministers (CoMs).

“In fact I would request the Council to call me for presenting the true picture which was being painted black by the anti-sports lobby, he added.

Promoted sportspersons could not be reverted. Reversion was considered as major penalty under rules and could only be ordered by serving a charge sheet and following it up further in case any major irregularity had been committed by any official or officer concerned. “Sportsperons have brought glory to the nation and state and for doing so they should not be charge-sheeted but only rewarded”, said Mr Bhullar.

A controversy has been raised in the Punjab Police following a writ petition with regard to the promotions of certain sportspersons especially in the Punjab Armed Police (PAP). “I have not gone beyond my legal jurisdiction while ordering promotions”, Mr Bhullar said.

Categorising the promotions made by him, Mr Bhullar said that three types of promotions were given by him. First, incentive based promotion were given to those who attained certain level of performance in a stipulated period; second, potential-based promotions were given on the basis of the capability to perform in a particular sport; and third, performance-based promotions were given on the basis of actual achievement of the sportspersons concerned in the national and international competitions.

Before ordering the promotions, individual record of each sportsperson was scrutinised. Certain promotions were made on the recommendation made by following the proper channel by top police officers concerned. He said that an ADGP cleared 20 promotions on the basis of merit.

A certain section of the police officials has found of 368 sportspersons, 65 not due for promotions. “These 65 sportspersons were deserving candidates. Otherwise, there was no question of ordering their promotions”, Mr Bhullar added. “Only one fact which was true that the promotions ordered were excess in number than my entitlement. But such promoted persons could be accommodated against the vacancies occurring in due course”, he added. “We have as many as six javelin throwers of international level but only three of them could represent the country. But the performance of the other three could not be ignored while making promotions”, Mr Bhullar asserted. Even no recruitment was made violating the rules, he added.


Fresh Vigilance directive to Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Following the failure of Akali leader Sukhbir Singh Badal to appear before the Punjab Vigilance Bureau in a corruption case, the bureau today issued fresh directions for his personal appearance before its Economic Offence Wing on October 6.

The case, alleging accumulation of assets disproportionate to known sources of income, was registered against Sukhbir Singh’s father — Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Probing the case, the Bureau had issued a notice to Sukhbir Singh asking him to appear before it for questioning today, but the Akali leader informed investigating agency’s officials that he would appear only on October 8, along with his father, sources said.

They added that the plea was not acceptable to the bureau officials as they were, perhaps, not in favour of carrying out a joint interrogation in the matter. The bureau, perhaps, planned to confront senior Badal with the statement made by Sukhbir Singh, they claimed.

Bureau’s official spokes-man said fresh summons had been issued following Mr Sukhbir Singh’s non-appearance despite the issuance of a notice on September 30. The same was sent at his official residence in New Delhi.


70 down with gastroenteritis
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 3
Nearly 70 persons were taken ill due to gastroenteritis at Samana, near here, today. Out of these, 35 were admitted to a private nursing home while 32 were taken to the Samana Civil Hospital. Three persons were admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital at Patiala. The SDM, Samana, Mr Gurpal Singh Chahal, and the Assistant Civil Surgeon, Dr S.C. Sharma, rushed to the spot from Patiala.

The Samana Nagar Council president, Mr Yash Pal Singla, immediately ordered the disconnecting of water supply to the affected areas which include Guru Nanak Nagar, Malkana Patti, Ghumani Patti, Jatana Patti and Majri Patti. The incident happened when the water supply pipe in the area burst and the water got mixed with the sewerage pipe and was contaminated.


VC stops salary of Pro-VC
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 3
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University Dr R.N. Paul today left for Chandigarh to meet Governor Justice O.P. Verma to apprise him of the VC stopping his salary for the past three months.

However, the outcome of Dr Paul’s meeting was not known as Dr Paul was not available for comments.

Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai allegedly took this step on the plea that the Pro VC did not take necessary permission before proceeding on leave. Rift between the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro Vice-Chancellor widened when the university suspended personal secretary to Dr Paul. The university management recently ordered to cancel the leave of one of the employees on the official staff of Dr Paul.

Sources said that the Pro-Vice-Chancellor held a constitutional post and had every right to send his leave application to the Chancellor direct. Mr Boparai apparently irked over this development stopped the salary of Dr Paul for July, August and September.

Sources said that this development took place following verbal instructions of the VC. Despite three reminders from the Pro VC the payment was not released.

A varsity spokesman Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu feigned ignorance over the issue and added that if the Pro Vice-Chancellor sought the intervention of the Chancellor on the issue, it was a matter of concern. He added that the authorities cannot stop the salary of Pro VC. “But there must be some discrepancy either in approval of leave or some bills, due to which the salary could have been stopped”, he said. The Vice-Chancellor and the Registrar could not be contacted for comments despite attempts.


30 dengue cases confirmed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 3
As many as 30 cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Punjab out of which 27 are in Batala and one each in Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Bathinda.

This was disclosed by Dr Devinder Pal Singh Sandhu, Director Health Services, Punjab, while addressing a press conference here today.

He said a fever survey was being conducted in Batala, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana and Bathinda to ascertain more suspected dengue cases there.

He said he had come to Hoshiarpur to review the precautionary measures being taken by the district health authorities to prevent the spread of dengue fever. In Hoshiarpur City, fever slides of 571 patients had been prepared. The examination of 347 slides revealed no case of suspected dengue fever or malaria. The situation was quite under control.

However, he has written to the Deputy Commissioner of Hoshiarpur to direct the local municipal authorities to arrange regular fogging during morning and evening hours and improve the sanitation in the city.

Dr Sandhu said a notification had been issued to check the breeding mosquitoes sites even in private houses. People should remove the water from old tyres lying in their houses, coolers and pots etc. If stagnate water was found in any house, its owner would have to pay a fine of Rs 500. This notification would remain in force till December 31.


Second dengue death in Ludhiana
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 3
Sudershan Kumar, a 60-year-old male patient from Batala, who was admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) with dengue-like symptoms, died on September 30. A resident of house No. 232, Tibba Bazar, Batala, Sudershan Lal was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition on September 30. With this, Dengue has claimed two lives so far.


India reigning flavour, says Gurinder Chadda
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 3
Speculation runs high about Aishwarya Rai shooting for “Bride and Prejudice” here. Director Gurinder Chadda says she cannot take a risk while producer Deepak Nayyar says, “Aishwarya is most likely to be here.” Most scenes would be difficult to shoot without her, he adds.

The budget of the Indo-British production is a “moving target”, is five times the budget of “Bend it Like Beckham”, says Nayyar.

Aluminus of Hindu College, New Delhi, he set out to be a producer in Los Angeles in 1979. The producer says a Bollywood film doing Rs 12 crore business is “pocket change” compared to billion dollar-business of global films. Bollywood needs to acknowledge public sensibilities and intelligence. The proof is in successes like “Lagaan”, and “Dil Chahta Hai”. “Rehashing masala movies is a drain. The new mantra is for Bollywood to wake up to solutions to the slump and emerge creatively”, he says.

Nayyar and Gurinder who emerged as a successful director-producer duo with “Bend it Like Beckham”, say “our Punjabi backgrounds clicked and our bonding through creative pursuits jelled.

Nayyar with his Oscar nomination documentary “Buena Vista” on Cuban musicians two years ago, brings to India ideas with his “ Take-1 Productions” ready to shoot the next production, “Christmas in India” in Rajasthan. “India is the reigning flavour” they chorus.

Why Amritsar? Paul Mayeda Berges, co-writer and husband of Gurinder says “it was a perfect choice. The holy city has the right mix of small-town look, people with attitude, and individualism, besides the Golden Temple where Gurinder shot last evening and lingered.”

Meanwhile, the crew is working hard to complete the week long schedule to be wound up on October 7. Nick Ellis, production designer, says he has his creative juices running as he has to design an almost “alien setting” of Bakshi family of Amritsar.

Santosh Sivan, renowned cinematographer, is being assisted by a creative team comprising Sagar Arya, Tarun Singhania of tele serial “Lipstick” and Shashi Kumar as assistant cameramen who had earlier worked for films like “Pardes”, “Asoka” and “Dil Se”.

Meanwhile, Hotel Royal Castle was rechristened DN International for the shooting of a hotel scene today. According to reports, the shooting locales would include a farm house and a colonial house. At least 70 per cent of the film is complete with the release scheduled for next year, Gurinder says.


Robbers attack doctor, family members, loot cash, jewellery

Moga, October 3
Suspected kale kachche-wale gang members attacked a veterinary doctor and his two family members in their house at Sant Nagar and decamped with cash and jewellery last night.

According to Superintendent of Police Harjit Singh Punnu, the robbers entered the house of veterinary doctor Hardeep Singh and attacked him, his wife, Gurdev Kaur, their married daughter Rupinder Kaur, with a blunt object. After all three family members fell unconscious, the gang members searched the house and fled with the jewellery and cash.

At around 2 am today, when the doctor regained consciousness he raised the alarm following which the neighbours informed the police which reached the scene and took the injured to hospital. All family members received head and facial injuries and at 9 am today, they all were referred to a Ludhiana hospital.

The robbery seems to be the handiwork of the kale kachchewale gang members. The police has registered a case. DIG Ferozepur Hardish Singh Randhawa reached Moga. He then reached the scene of the robbery accompanied by Moga SSP Anita Punj. Later, the DIG held a meeting with senior officers and ordered dispatch of two police reserves, including one commando, for “Operation Search” to nab the culprits. — UNI


Bhai Ranjit Singh for open debate with Badal
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 3
Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht yesterday said that he would not compromise on the age-old Sikh values for getting him installed as Akal Takht Jathedar. He said he would continue to safeguard the Sikh institutions.

Talking to the press, Bhai Ranjit Singh challenged Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the former Chief Minister to an open debate to establish who had close links with the Congress, he (Bhai Ranjit Singh) or Mr Badal? Bhai Ranjit Singh said Akal Takht should be made a sovereign institutions.


Jagmeet for poll pact with BSP
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 3
Mr Jagmeet Brar, a Congress, MP, has favoured coalition of the Congress with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Mr Brar was here to survey paddy procurement in the mandis and preparations by the various agencies as the Chairman of the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

He clarified that the Congress would benefit from the coalition as the BSP had a formidable votebank of Dalits.

Mr Brar said he was “itching to have” Mr Parkash Singh Badal as his opponent in “any election”.


No terror threat, says DGP
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 3
Mr A.A. Siddiqui, Director-General of Police, today said Punjab was not facing any terrorist threat at the moment.

Talking to mediapersons at the PAP complex here today, Mr Siddiqui said though there was no terrorist threat, the Punjab police was fully geared up to meet any challenge. “We have best of weapons and efficient manpower to tackle any such threat,” said Mr Siddiqui, adding that vigil was being kept on the law and order situation of the state. He also ruled out any threat to any political leader.

Mr Siddiqui indicated that the new Punjab Police Act was in the offing. He said the outline of the Act had been sent to the Punjab cabinet for approval. He also indicated that introduction of the commissionerate system in the state had been suggested in the proposal.

Referring to the kidney scam, Mr Siddiqui said the police had completed its probe in respect to scam at Amritsar, while investigations in about 400 other such cases has been entrusted to the DIGs.

About the demotion of sportspersons, Mr Siddiqui said the Punjab police would create 396 new posts for players and a proposal regarding this had been sent to the Punjab Cabinet. He said the interests of players would be protected and the sports activity promoted among the policemen in the state.


Arms training of cops ends
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 3
As many as 670 police personnel who were imparted training to use automatic and semi-automatic weapons at the PAP Training Centre, participated in the passing out parade here today.

They were also trained to tackle terrorist strikes, defuse explosives and deal with anti-social elements, apart from training in field tactics, mob control and policing.

Mr A.A. Siddiqui, DGP, took the salute and inspected the parade.


Chairpersons, Mayors may get more powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Chairpersons of government organisation appointed from among politicians by the Punjab Government will be given enough powers, a senior Punjab minister said today.

A meeting has been convened by the Chief Minister for October 6 to discuss the grant of powers to chairpersons and Mayors.

“It is the Chief Minister to decide what powers are to be given to chairpersons. Bureaucrats have no business to oppose such a move”, the minister asserted.

There are about 30 chairpersons appointed by Capt Amarinder Singh. Many of them are either MLAs of the Congress or important party leaders. They have been collectively and individually meeting the Chief Minister and senior ministers asking for more powers. “ We are just dummy Chairpersons and have no powers to run the organisations headed by us”, said a number of chairpersons.

“In our organisations, all powers were vested in Managing Directors- cum- Chief Executive Officers, who are IAS officers”, they added. One such chairperson lamented that ever since he took over charge a few months ago, no file had been shown to him by the Managing Director. Neither any approval was taken from me for ordering any transfer . I am being kept in the dark even about the policy decisions. My MD calls the shots, he added.

The Chairman of an important organisation said they could do nothing in the absence of powers. Even in board meetings, Chairpersons fail to get their items on agenda passed as most members were bureaucrats. They join hands against the chairpersons to sideline the proposals put up by them,” said the Chairman.

Another demand of Chairpersons is about the wages. “ Except the Chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, most other chairpersons were drawing a monthly salary of Rs 2250. It was perhaps fixed in 1956,” said the Chairman.


Work on development of villages to be speeded up
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 3
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, directed all development officials to work for the all-round development of the selected villages under the Consolidated Rural Development Programme.

He was addressing a rural gathering at Chunni Kalan village in Bassi Pathana subdivision today. Panchayats of seven villages which fall in the Kharar constituency but belong to Fatehgarh Sahib district were present to sort out their problems.

After hearing the problems of these villagers the Deputy Speaker directed the officers to complete all the pending development works of these villages within fixed time. He pointed out that Chunni Kalan and Chunni Khurd villages would be developed as one unit. Two tubewells and water supply schemes were working in the villages so that residents would not suffer from the scarcity of drinking water.

He also announced that the permanent arrangement of water for the Chunni Kalan grain market was being made and work would be completed within a week. He said Kajal Majra village in Bassi Pathana block and Khanpur, Khanpur Behlan and Sarkapda villages in Khera block would be covered under development schemes and all streets and phirnis would be completed with bricks in the coming months.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh informed all panchayats that at a state-level function Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Minister for Agriculture, Rural Development and Panchayat, Punjab, would lay down the foundation stones of various development projects sanctioned for Chunni Kalan and Chunni Khurd villages by the state government on October 13.

Mr R.S. Jangu, SDM, Bassi Pathana, JPS Cheema, DDPO, R.K. Verma, XEN, Panchayati Raj, Mr Paramjit Singh, BDPO, Bassi Pathana, Mr Gurnam Singh Bhaironpur, Political Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, and Sarpanches and panches of the area were also present.


Fountains of Nehru Park await replacement
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, October 3
The fountain network installed long back in the Nehru Park continues to be in a state of neglect, although the authorities keep on coming out with various statements regarding its renovation from time to time. Nearly six years have passed since the Municipal Corporation had promised to replace its badly corroded fixtures with a new musical fountain network, besides carrying out a total renovation of the park.

There are few parks and gardens in Patiala city. Its once princely Baradari Garden, famed for its collection of rare and exotic plants, which has over a period of time been cut away in large chunks to make way for residential and commercial buildings, is also fast losing its sheen.

According to senior citizens of the city, now it has become all the more imperative that the Nehru Park be maintained properly so as to be of real benefit to the populace living nearby as it has nowhere to turn to in the name of greenery. The fountain network in the park has been out of order since years and due to deep corrosion, its fixtures are now beyond repair. Not only does this mar the beauty of the park, but the stagnant water that accumulates in the fountain area, especially during the rainy season, gives rise to stench and mosquitoes, which further discourage any visitors to the park.

The park has now degenerated into a haven for card players with hardly any walkers around. Residents do not allow their children to go to the park as there have been reports about ungainly behaviour by anti-social elements, who mange to escape easily by jumping over the short grills encircling the compound after committing mischief.

The corporation had reiterated its intention of replacing the fountains and renovating the entire park in March this year. Under a complete overhaul, tiles were to laid in the tank around the replaced fountain to facilitate its cleaning, two waterfalls were to be created in two corners of the park and a boundary wall was to be constructed replacing the grills surrounding the park. However, work on the park was abruptly stopped after the construction of one side of the boundary wall and was never taken up again.

The Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mr Vishnu Sharma, when contacted on the issue, said the idea of installing a musical fountain in the park had been abandoned due to the noise emanating from the nearby residential areas. However, he said, the work order for the replacement of the fountain had been prepared and the work would start within a month.

He said the corporation was committed to develop more parks in the city. The newly developed parks would be given on lease to private parties that could use designated space inside these parks for commercial purposes, he said. These would include parks in Model Town, Anardana Chowk, Tripuri and Arna Barna Chowk areas.


Scheme to help disabled
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 3
Under its various welfare schemes. The National Trust a constituent of the Central Government has introduced the Supported Guardianship scheme for people with four types of disablilities in Faridkot district.

Under the scheme Rs 500 will be given in cash to the guardians. Initially as many as 10 guardians will be chosen and given a grant of Rs 500 per month for three years to monitor the plan said Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, here.

To identify the deserving guardians and their wards a campaign already been launched in the district. A four-member committee of senior officers headed by the Deputy Commissioner has been formed to verify the genuineness of deserving persons in this connection. The scheme is likely to be implemented by the end of this month. Main aim of the trust is to provide financial security to disabled persons.


8.54 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
As much as 8.54 lakh metric tonnes (MTs) of paddy was procured during the first two days of procurement against last years’ 5.80 lakh MTs

Dispelling the fears of the agitating farmers’ unions, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, said he had issued detailed instructions to the Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and all procuring agencies not to cause any inconvenience to the farmers on the pretext of moisture content in paddy.

The Chief Minister said 1459 purchase centres had been allocated amongst the six procuring agencies, including FCI.

Committees for the redressal of grievances of farmers had already been constituted by Deputy Commissioners for each mandi purchase centre.


Paddy procurement starts
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
Procurement of paddy started in the district on October 1 and various state agencies has purchased 44737 metric tonnes of paddy.

Sources said that farmers have started bringing paddy to grain markets of the region. At Goniana Mandi a banner was put up advising farmers not to pay anything to the commission agents (Arhitiyas) and report to the Deputy Commissioner if anyone demanded bribe.

The banner had also lists telephone numbers of the senior officials of the Food and Supplies Department and the Deputy Commissioner.

Mr Satpal Satti, president, Arhitiya Association, said that the association had resolved to accept all produce by filling the mandatory ‘J’ form and all produce would be purchased after cleaning only. He said that arhitiyas would arrange tarpaulin covers, lighting arrangements and power cleaners.

Mr Satti said that farmers would be urged not to pay anything to purchase agencies. He said that the agents had resolved that the produce of the farmers would be sold after following the due procedures and no produce of the farmers of other villages would be sold at Goniana centre.

Mr K C Kajal, DFSO, said that no complaint of any kind had been reported relating to paddy purchase. He said that arrangements for the procurement and lifting of the paddy had been made and senior officials had been touring purchase centres to check the purchase.

Mr Anurag Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, said that 47945 metric tonnes of paddy was purchased till last evening. He said that out of this purchase by millers was only 3208 metric tonnes and the Markfed purchased 14532 MTs of paddy. He said special attention was being paid to early lifting of paddy. He claimed that at some centres nearly 50 per cent of the procured paddy had been lifted. He urged the farmers to bring only clean and dry produce in the markets for early procurement, lifting and non-clogging of the grain markets.

FEROZEPORE: More than 1.07 lakh tonnes of paddy has been purchased by various government agencies and the private mill owners from 142 purchase centres of border district of Ferozepore. Mr Vikas Pratap, Deputy Commissioner, stated this to reporters after tour of purchase centre.

He said that entire paddy would be purchased in 10 days and the payments made in 72 hours of the purchasing. Mr Vikas Pratap visited grain markets of Ferozepore like Ratta Khear, Ferozshah, Jhoke Harihar, Shakoor, Kulgari, Khosadal Singh, Sandhe Hasham, Hardasa and others. He said moisture content the paddy was not more than 13, 14 per cent.


Area under wheat to be reduced
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 3
The Punjab government has decided to reduce the area under wheat crop in the coming Rabi season by two lakh hectares to 31.75 lakh hectares from 33.75 lakh hectares.

However, the Punjab government has decided to increase the target of production of wheat to 144.78 lakh tonnes from 31.75 lakh hectares. Last year only 141.75 lakh tonnes of wheat could be produced from the 33.75 lakh hectares. The decision to reduce the area under wheat has been taken because the demand of Punjab wheat has been decreasing in other states.

Dr Gurdial Singh Dhillon, Joint Director, Department of Agriculture, Punjab at a farmers’ training camp here said that for increasing production of wheat from less area, farmers would be given 82000 quintals of certified seed of same at subsidised rate of Rs 200 per quintal. The state government had earmarked Rs 1.80 crore for this task.

He pointed out that under the National Pulses Development Programme, 11000 Rabi kits of pulses would be distributed to farmers and similarly 19500 oil seeds kits would be distributed. He said that so far 25 samples of fertiliser out of total 1500 samples, 199 samples of pesticides out of 1700 and 90 samples of seed out of 8787 samples, taken by the department till August 15, 2003 were found below specifications. Action was being taken in the matter.


Twenty Executive Engineers promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Punjab Government today ordered the promotion of 20 Executive Engineers as Superintending Engineers.

They are Mr Ram Krishan Chaudhary, Mr M.M. S. Gill, Mr B.S. Sidhu, Mr Radhey Sham Bansal, Mr Baldev Singh Bhullar, Mr G.S. Bath, Mr D.S. Malhotra, Mr Gurdip Singh Bansal, Mr Amrik Lal Chawla, Mr Ranjit Singh, Mr Kuljit Singh, Mr Ashok Malhotra, Mr V.K. Sharma, Mr S.S. Wassan, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh, Mr Gurdip Singh, Mr R.S. Gill and Mr Gurdev Singh.

Meanwhile, the Class I Officers Association of the Irrigation Department thanked the Irrigation Minister, Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, and Secretary Irrigation, Ms Kusumjit Sidhu, for ordering the promotions.


Oil tanker rams into vehicles, 1 dead
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 3
One person was killed and eight others were seriously injured when an oil tanker rammed into vehicles at the busy Samrala road traffic light point late this evening. Several vehicles were damaged in the accident.

Eyewitnesses said at about 7 pm a tanker, (PB 10 M 9581), which was coming from the Delhi side tried to cross the lights at the busy intersection. The driver increased the speed of the vehicle when he saw the light changing from green to yellow but could not pull through by the time the light had changed to amber.

Meanwhile, traffic from the other side had started moving. Seeing that he could not get through without ramming into the vehicles coming from the other side, he apparently got panicky and tried to stop the vehicle by swerving to the left and in the process ran over several slow moving rickshaws, a motor-cycle, some cars before coming to a halt.

The speed was such that inspite of applying breaks the tanker ran over several rickshaws and the motor-cycle crushing them completely. While some of the rickshawpullers had a miraculous escape Mohammad Sikander, the motorcyclist, was not so fortunate and succumbed to injuries in a local hospital. The occupants of several cars suffered injuries and had to be rushed for first aid.

A case has been registered against the driver of the truck who has been taken into custody.

This accident has once again focussed on the need for proper traffic management in the city which is fast becoming a commuters nightmare.

This crossing is especially accidents prone. The problem gets compounded as fast moving traffic passes thorough this stretch of national highway towards Jalandhar and vice versa. Being the intersection on the busy Ludhiana - Chandigarh highway also, this particular place is a trying spot for commuters.


Satta racket unearthed, two arrested
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 3
A team of the Punjab Lotteries Department today unearthed a satta racket run by the state lottery sellers here.

Sources said a five-member team of the department, led by Deputy Director Dhanna Singh, sent some fake customers to collect factual evidence from authorised lottery ticket sellers in the local Rani Jhansi market.

After getting the satta number slips, the team, accompanied by policemen from Chandigarh and local police personnel, raided the lottery shops. The main dealer, Satish Goyal, alias, Hansa, tried to escape.

A police party chased him. Hansa rammed into a passing vehicle, fell down and fractured his leg. The police took him to the Civil Hospital and deputed two constables there.

The raiding party also nabbed Jagdev Singh, alias Jagga, of Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan, red-handed. Some incriminating documents and cash were seized from his possession.

The city police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC and the Lotteries Act on the complaint of the department. Preliminary queries revealed that Jagdev Singh was a Head Constable with the Rajasthan Police.

The market, developed by the Improvement Trust in 1977, has become a nerve centre of many unlawful activities.

It is known as one of the biggest centres for marketing of spurious VCDs, CDs and audio-cassettes, besides x-rated films. All footpaths of the market have been encroached upon by shopkeepers. 


Foster father held for rape
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 3
The police today arrested Des Raj, alias Ghuggi, a panch of Kishanpur village for allegedly raping his foster daughter, Des Raj’s wife Rani, his relative Balbir Kaur and nurse Parmel Kaur, alias Pappi, under Sections 376, 313, 506 and 34, IPC, on charges of rape, abortion without woman’s consent and criminal intimidation.

A press note issued by SP Harmanbir Singh Gill this evening said the SMO, Civil Hospital, had been asked to get the medical examination of the girl done by a board of doctors. The male child, after abortion, was thrown into a canal, said the press note.

The SP informed that Vijay Kumar of Khera village had eight daughters and one son. He was very poor. One of his schoolgoing minor daughters was adopted by Des Raj Ghuggi two years ago. When he went to meet his 15-year-old daughter four days ago, she told him that her foster father had been raping her for long and beating her.


Five of ‘Cobra’ gang arrested
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 3
The police has arrested five members of the dreaded “Cobra” gang and four other thieves. A revolver has also been seized.

Mr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, in a press conference today said the gang members had been identified as Nirmal Singh of Fatehabad village, Sukha Singh, Lal Bahadur Singh, Kulwinder Singh, and Gurdeep Singh of Goindwal area from whose possession stolen goods worth Rs 1 lakh had been recovered.

The police also nabbed two accomplices of Nirmal Singh identified as Sukhchain Singh and Sukha Singh of Kallah village and recovered nine rickshaws and three rickshaw rehris.

The SSP said the police had also arrested Jasbir Singh of Mallhia and Gurmeet Singh of Patti and recovered five motor cycles and three scooters from their possession. Cases had been registered.

The Bhikhiwind police seized a revolver from the possession of Kundan Lal. A case under Sections 25, 54, and 59 of the Arms Act had been registered.


Man held with fake notes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 3
The local police has unearthed a fake currency racket with the arrest of a person along with fake currency notes.

The accused, Sukhdev of Uday Nagar locality, was allegedly working for a Delhi-based kingpin of the fake currency racket and was arrested in the Tilak Nagar area. He was carrying a bag containing fake currency notes of Rs 40,000 of Rs 100 denomination.

Sukhdev had reportedly started peddling fake currency notes about a month ago through Des Ram, who had allegedly fixed a deal between Sukhdev and the Delhi-based kingpin of the gang.

A case has been registered under sections 489-A, and 489 of the IPC in this regard.


Policemen abscond
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 3
The Majitha police today recorded the statements of the woman who allegedly was raped by three cops of Udoke police post falling under Mehta police station in presence of Mr Dilbagh Singh, SP (D) Majitha.

According to police sources, she alleged that she was raped by head constable, Amarjit Singh, constable Partap Singh and SPO Jasbir Singh posted at Udoke police post when she approached them on September 24 to clarify her position regarding the case registered against her on the complaint of her husband. She alleged that the accused raped and illegally detained her for hours.

Meanwhile, the Majitha police was still clueless on the whereabouts of absconding policemen. Mr Dilbagh said police parties were raiding on the various other places to nab the culprits.


2 held with smack, poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 3
To check the sale of smack and poppy husk in the Budhlada area of the district, the CIA has arrested Devinder Singh, alias Honey, and Ganga Singh, notorious smugglers, both residents of Budhlada. According to a press note, a huge quantity of smack has been seized from Devinder Singh and from Ganga Singh in a Maruti car along with 20 kg of poppy husk.


GND varsity youth festival
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 3
Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister of Higher Education and Languages, Punjab, will inaugurate the three-day zonal youth festival (A-zone) for men of the Guru Nanak Dev University on October 9, on the university premises here.

Mr Baljit Singh Sekhon, Director, Youth Welfare of University in a press release stated that Mr Gurchet Singh Bhullar, Minister, would preside over the veledictory function on October 11. More than 2500 student- artistes from GND University affiliated colleges of ‘A’ zone are likely to participate in the festival.

Mr Sekhon said the zonal youth festival for women of ‘A’ zone would be organised from October 13 to 16 here and Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Punjab, would inaugurate the festival. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha would preside over the concluding function.

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