118 years of Trust P U N J A B Regional news
Saturday, August 1, 1998
weather n spotlight
today's calendar
Line Punjab NewsHaryana NewsJammu & KashmirHimachal Pradesh NewsNational NewsChandigarhEditorialBusinessSports NewsWorld NewsMailbag

PUCL blames cops for youth's death
BATHINDA, July 31 — People's Unions for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has alleged that Baljit Singh, a youth of Burj Dhillwan village died due to police torture in custody on the intervening night of July 21 and 22 and not in hospital due to intoxication as claimed by the police.

Thermal plant power production hit
BATHINDA, July 31 — The generation of electricity from the first unit of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) has come down by about 50 per cent in the past three days.

Punjab state map

More NRIs may be declared tankhaiya
AMRITSAR, July 31 — Some more NRI Sikh leaders are likely to be declared tankhaiya for allegedly defying the hukamnama on the institution of Guru-ka-langar if they fail to respond to the communication of Akal Takht by August 17.

50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence 50 years on indian independence
50 years on indian independence

3 sites under study for new city
CHANDIGARH, July 31 — Rapid urbanisation, mostly haphazard, around Chandigarh has made the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) finally sit up.

Badal to discuss Punjab issues with PM
SUNAM (Sangrur), July 31 — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he would take up the pending issues of Punjab with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee when he meets him on August 10.

Cotton crop in good shape
CHANDIGARH, July 31 — The mood is upbeat in Punjab's countryside and so is it in Haryana. Reason the healthy paddy and cotton crops coming up the way agriculture experts and farmers relish.

GNDU's concessions to students

High drama over MLA's arrest

Education Dept in a "mess"

Anti-sabotage teams constitutedTop



PUCL blames cops for youth's death
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, July 31 — People's Unions for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has alleged that Baljit Singh, a youth of Burj Dhillwan village died due to police torture in custody on the intervening night of July 21 and 22 and not in hospital due to intoxication as claimed by the police.

Releasing a three page report to mediapersons here today, Dr Vineeta Gupta, member of the national council of PUCL, said a two-member team which investigated the matter found that Baljit Singh was brought dead to the Civil Hospital, Maur from the police station.

The report alleged that Baljit Singh was picked up from the bus stand of Maur Mandi by policemen at about 5 p.m. on July 21. On July 22, at 5 a.m., Kewal Singh, a relative of the deceased, learnt that the condition of Baljit Singh, who was in police custody, was serious. When he reached the police station, he was told that Baljit Singh had been sent to the Civil Hospital. When family members of Baljit Singh went to the hospital they were taken to a room, which was locked, and shown the body of the deceased inside.

The same day the body of Baljit Singh was sent to the Civil Hospital, Bathinda. A case under Sections 302, 342 and 34 was registered against the Maur Mandi police station on the intervention of PUCL activists who were present in the hospital.

The report said that no ice slabs were placed on the body for 17 hours and papers required for the post-mortem were received by the doctors 26 hours after the body was seen by the relatives.

The report questioned if Baljit Singh was a drug addict, why was he not taken to the Civil Hospital for a medical examination and treatment. Why was Baljit Singh kept in illegal detention and his family members not Topinformed about his detention?

The report said Baljit Singh was first taken to a private clinic run by a quack after his condition deteriorated. An intravenous injection was administered to the deceased. This has been confirmed by the post-mortem report.

The report said the PUCL team suspected foul play.

The team also felt that the inordinate delay in the post-mortem was a deliberate attempt by the police and other authorities to obliterate the torture marks.

The authorities had succeeded to a large extent in destroying evidence of use of third-degree methods by allowing the body to decay.

The PUCL demanded that the guilty police officers as well as conniving government doctors at the Civil Hospital, Maur Mandi and Bathinda, including the quack, should be punished according to law.

Dr Vineeta Gupta said copies of the report had been sent to the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, PUCL head office, New Delhi, and Punjab Human Rights Commission, Chandigarh.Top


More NRIs may be declared tankhaiya
From H.S. Banwer
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, July 31 — Some more Canadian and American Sikh leaders are likely to be declared tankhaiya (guilty of religious misconduct) for allegedly defying the hukamnama on the institution of Guru-ka-langar (community kitchen) if they fail to respond to the communication of Akal Takht, supreme religious-cum-temporal seat of Sikhs, by August 17.

According to highly placed sources, the Akal Takht chief, Bhai Ranjit Singh, has taken a suo motu action on the reports appearing in a section of the Press that these leaders had been asking the NRI Sikhs not to obey the hukamnama on the institution of Guru-ka-langar and should continue to partake of langar on chairs and tables. They have also reportedly warned NRI Sikhs that whoever abided by the hukamnana pronounced by the Sikh clergy on April 20, would be descendants of Ahmed Shah Abdali, who had attacked and blew up the Golden Temple with an explosive substance in 1762. These leaders reportedly also criticised the Sikh clergy, in general, and Bhai Ranjit Singh, in particular, for issuing this hukamnama. The SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, and other authorities also came under sharp criticism for their alleged failure to restrain the Sikh clergy from issuing such a hukamnama.

Bhai Ranjit Singh reportedly today sought an explanation of six leaders on these reports and faxed them letters asking them to clarify their respective position by August 17, when the Sikh clergy is scheduled to meet at Akal Takht to discuss certain important Sikh affairs. These leaders are Mr Balbir Singh Jagiara and Mr Sandhu, both Akali workers in Canada, and four functionaries, including the president, secretary, treasurer and 'Granthi' of a gurdwara in the USA.

Bhai Ranjit Singh reportedly also asked the Canadian and American Sikhs to send audio or video cassettes containing speeches made by these leaders as well as those of some Akali and SGPC leaders, including a minister.

It may be added that six Canadian Sikh leaders have been excommunicated from the Sikh Panth on July 25 for allegedly defying the hukamnama.

Meanwhile, according to Akal Takht sources, Capt Amarinder Singh, PPCC president, in an interview with a radio network of Canada, pleaded that the Sikhs all over the world should abide by the hukamnama in letter. He had argued that there was no amendment in the tenets of Christianity and Islam, two important religion of world much older than Sikhism. The Sikhs should also follow the tenets and conventions initiated by the Sikh gurus themselves.Top


Thermal plant power production hit
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, July 31 — The generation of electricity from the first unit of Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant (GHTP) has come down by about 50 per cent in the past three days.

Official sources said that due to a defect in the fan installed in the boiler, the load of unit one came down from 210 MW to 100 MW today. The first unit produced 31 lakh units, 23 lakh units and 22.5 lakh units of electricity of July 28,29 and 30, respectively.

The unit which was running at full load and producing about 50 lakh units of electricity daily developed a fault on the night of July 27 and its production came down to less than half.

Mr Arun Arey, Regional Secretary, PSEB Engineers Association, in a press note issued here today claimed that the production had come due to the work-to-rule strike by the engineers in protest against not revoking the suspension of Mr V.Sharma, former chief engineer of the plant, by the PSEB management.

He claimed that the commissioning of the second unit for commercial generation scheduled for September would also get delayed due to the strike of engineers.

Mr T.L. Paika, Chief Engineer, GHTP, denied that work-to-rule strike by the engineers had affected the generation of the first unit. He pointed out that as the GHTP was not equipped with the spare parts for treating the fault in the fan installed in the boiler, so it could not be repaired immediately. He said that the fan would be replaced today. The unit would be put on full load after replacing the fan in the boiler and the production would go up to 50 lakh unit per day shortly.

Mr Paika claimed that the plant had complete staff for the operation and maintenance of both the two units and only eight officers were yet to be posted here. He said that these eight officers would be posted here by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the PSEB Engineers Association has threatened that its members would go on mass casual leave from next week if their demands were not met. The demands include the revival of the post of the Chief Engineer, Operation and Maintenance, filling of all vacant posts of engineer and other staff and payment of LODA at this plant.

Mr Paika, however, said that the association had not given any notice for their mass casual strike as required under the labour relations.Top


3 sites under study for new city
by P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 31 — Rapid urbanisation, mostly haphazard, around Chandigarh has made the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) finally sit up.

Rather than allow "unregulated" construction only to demolish it later, PUDA is thinking of allowing "regulated" development under a proper plan. This will ensure a "sustainable" environment and help accelerate economic activities.

"With this in mind, PUDA has commissioned consultants to study sites around Chandigarh for setting up a new city" to take care of future urbanisation and save the existing habitat from becoming an urban slum. Though still at a formative stage, the concept of a "new" city is being given shape.

To begin with the consultants have been asked to explore at least three sites: behind and beyond the PGI; towards Zirakpur and expansion and extension of Mohali towards Sohana. The size, layout, viability, financial involvement, pattern of involvement of the government (PUDA) and private property dealers and colonisers is to be decided upon later.

Informed sources told TNS tonight that what was proposed was not a "revival" of the old concept of a "new" Chandigarh, which had had clearly demarcated parameters and indicated specific villages and the geographical features of the land which to be acquired.

What PUDA now has in mind is a concept on the pattern of new Mumbai or Neva Shiva or even Gurgaon extension.Top

A presentation of the reports of the commissioned consultants on possible sites is expected to be made to PUDA sometime next week.

Besides the new city concept PUDA is engaged in identifying "prize" government land in major cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Patiala for "commercially viable" use. Such land located in the heart of the cities currently houses government offices.

A beginning has been made in the case of Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The chief administrator of PUDA, Mr S.C. Aggarwal, told TNS tonight that nearby 30 acres of land in Ludhiana and 15 acres in Jalandhar had so far been identified. While some of the land now available for commercial exploitation is in big chunks, some is scattered. Consultants have been asked to prepare viable plans for optimal use of such land. A study of Patiala has also been commissioned. How the land is to be used will first be decided and the plots later auctioned in open bidding.

Studies available with PUDA indicate that Punjab is the fifth most urbanised state in the country with an urban population of nearly 30 per cent of the total. The national average is 26.13. Ludhiana is the most "urbanised district", accounting for over 20 per cent of the state's urban population.

Mohali's galloping population and pollution is a cause of worry to PUDA. Another fact of concern to PUDA is that certain corridors are emerging as "nodal" centres for industrial activities and population concentration. Such nodal centres have been identified along the Amritsar-Jalandhar-Ludhiana-Rajpura (stretch of the G.T. Road); Ludhiana-Samrala-Chandigarh-Mohali-Kharar; Ropar-Balachaur-Banga-Nawanshahr; Ludhiana-Mullanpur-Jagraon-Moga; Chandigarh-Rajpura-Patiala-Bathinda; Chandigarh-Derabassi-Lalru (along national highway 21); Hoshiarpur-Tanda-Mukerian; and Ludhiana-Malerkotla-Sangrur-Patran-Khanauri as per available information at the present rate of growth in population Punjab will by 2001 have a population of 250 lakh. 85 per cent of the growth will be in urban areas. It is estimated that if half of this is absorbed in the existing housing stock, an additional three lakh units will have to be provided to meet housing needs of the rest.

This calls for supply of nearly 4,000 acres of development land, on an annual basis, till 2001. The provision of the Land Acquisition Act do not however, permit expeditious acquisition of large areas and are seen as unfair to the interest of land owners. PUDA has schemes to take care of this aspect as well.Top


Badal to discuss Punjab issues with PM
Tribune News Service

SUNAM (Sangrur), July 31 — Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said he would take up the pending issues of Punjab with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee when he meets him on August 10.

Addressing a public meeting on the 59th martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh at his native place here, Mr Badal said he would discuss the issue of sharing of river waters with Haryana, return of Punjabi speaking areas and the status of Chandigarh with the Prime Minister.

Mr Badal said he had also taken up the issue of advancing the procurement of paddy in the state with Union Food Minister Surjit Singh Barnala and was hopeful that a decision on the matter would be taken soon as paddy crop would be ripe for harvesting very soon. He said he had also taken up the matter of getting foodgrain stored in FCI godowns in the state shifted outside so as to make way for the coming crop which was expected to be 30 per cent more than last time. He urged the farmers not to get unripe harvest to the market as had happened last year.

The Chief Minister said the state government had requested the central government to build a national memorial to highlight the sacrifices made by the freedom fighters. "We have been always discriminated against during the Congress rule and if the central government does not take into account the sacrifices made by Punjabis for freedom and build a memorial in Punjab, we will feel we have again been discriminated against", he said. Mr Badal, however, said the state government would go ahead with the plan of building a memorial for freedom fighters, whether it got help from the central government in this regard or not.

The Chief Minister said the state could no longer rely on agriculture alone as in a few years, there would be no demand for wheat and paddy from other states because they would also become self-sufficient. He urged farmers to get out of the rut of successive planting of wheat and paddy only. They should go in for vegetable, fruit and flower production. The state government had also undertaken a massive scheme of rural employment which would be taken to all villages in a phased manner.

Mr Badal said the diminishing spirit of nationalism and patriotism was also a matter of serious concern as it was also a major factor for the tardy and slow progress in our country. The other nations moved faster in the matter of development because their people kept the national interest uppermost in their mind.

The Chief Minister impressed upon the people to contribute their might in the shape of voluntary effort and self help to complete various projects. Money saved in this manner could be used to fund more development. He handed over a cheque for Rs 50 lakh for undertaking work on the sewerage project in Sunam. More funds would be made available for this project which would cost about Rs. 2 crore. He also announced the installation of a statue of Shaheed Udham Singh at a suitable place in Patiala, besides honouring four family members of Shaheed Udham Singh.

President of the SGPC Gurcharan Singh Tohra said the present government had given many incentives to traders, farmers, industrialists, employees, Scheduled Castes and other weaker sections. The government had paid the highest scales to the employees in the country even above the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission with effect from January 1, 1996. He urged the people not to resort to dharnas and agitations and get issues settled by discussing with the government across the table.

Mrs Upinderjit Kaur, Minister of Technical Education, said the Udham Singh Trust had been set up in Mohali and that the birth centenary of Shaheed Udham Singh next year would be celebrated at the government level.

Mr Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Minister for Information and Public Relations, said that the government had already decided to celebrate the commemorative occasions connected with the lives of great saints of different faiths and heros of the freedom movement to propagate their legacy among the future generations.

Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, said that a modern hospital was being constructed at Sunam at a cost of Rs 2 crore as part of the chain of hospitals being set up by the Health System Corporation at a cost of Rs 126 crore.Top


Cotton crop in good shape
By Sarbjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 31 — The mood is upbeat in Punjab's countryside and so is it in Haryana. Reason the healthy paddy and cotton crops coming up the way agriculture experts and farmers relish.

Last year farmers in both states suffered a loss of about Rs 2000 crore as their paddy and cotton crops were extensively damaged. While the paddy crop was damaged due to heavy rain when its harvesting was in progress inclement weather and pest attack at the maturing stage ruined the cotton crop in major parts of teh cotton belt starting from Hisar in Haryana to Faridkot in Punjab. The cotton crop in Ganganagar district of Rajasthan was also affected.

Many families of farmers, unable to sustain the loss caused by damage to their crops in Punjab and Haryana, had shifted to urban areas to earn their livelihood by doing manual labour or other petty chores.

Investigations made by the TNS from agriculture experts and farmers have revealed that this time the attack of pests on cotton crop is well below the economic threshold level (ETL), a parameter used by agriculture experts to find out the level of pest attack.

Farmers say that the monsoon in the cotton belt was never so good earlier as it is this year. "Neither is it deficient nor is in it excess as far as the cotton belt is concerned." Due to this reason the pest attack is minimum this year and at only a few places farmers resorted to sprays of pesticides to "attack" the pests seen on cotton plants.

Capt A.S. Randhawa, Director, Agriculture, Punjab, agrees with what farmers say about the cotton crop. He say that thrice in a month, teams of experts from here visit the cotton belt to inspect the health of the crop and incidence of pest attack. He said that so far the cotton crop was coming up in a healthy way and pest attack was not visible anywhere.

Capt Randhawa said that as farmers suffered a big set back on the cotton front last year, the Agriculture Department was paying special attention this year to the cotton belt. As many as 11 villages were earmarked by the department in Lambi block to continuously measure the pest attack. For this purpose sex pheruman traps (SPT) have been installed in the earmarked villages.

Punjab is expecting about 15 lakh bales of cotton from the six lakh hectares of land covered under this crop. Last year production had touched an all-time low figure of seven lakh bales. In Muktsar, a large area which was waterlogged last year had been reclaimed and cotton had been sown.

Capt Randhawa said that he was praying that next month remained dry. It may be mentioned that American bollworm had emerged as the biggest enemy of the cotton crop for the past many years and synthetic groups of pesticides failed to control the attack of the bollworm. But this year the cotton fields were free from bollworm attack so far.Top


Concessions to students
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, July 31 — Guru Nanak Dev University has granted special concessions to its students.

Dr R.S. Bawa, Registrar, said here today that a candidate who had failed or remained absent in one subject would be allowed to appear in that subject in the next two consecutive examinations. If he passed in that subject in either of these examinations, he would be deemed to have passed the examination.

This concession would be for students of B.A./B.Sc., B.Com, B.A. (Hons School), B.Sc (Hons School in Economics) B.Lib., M.Lib, M.Com. MBA, M.Ed. LL.M and M.A./M.Sc.

He said the decision had been taken by the university on the recommendations of a joint meeting of officers of the university and Punjabi University, Patiala.

Dr Bawa said the university, in another important decision, had permitted re-evaluation where the evaluation of answerbooks was done by a single examiner, whether internal or external. However, this decision would not apply to students of medical and dental sciences/the Ayurvedic system.

The result of M.A., Punjabi (Part-II) of the Guru Nanak Dev University would be declared on August 3, Dr Bawa said.Top


High drama over MLA's arrest
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, July 31 — The Hoshiarpur police barged into a press conference to arrest Mr Shingara Ram, BSP MLA from Garhshankar, who was addressing mediapersons in the local Circuit House here today.

Turning into a high drama, the police cordoned of the entire Circuit House and entered the press conference room where the MLA along with the district president of the Hoshiarpur, BSP Mr Bhagwan Singh Chauhan, was alleging that he had been falsely implicated in the case by the Hoshiarpur police. Mr Chauhan accused the Akali-BJP government of harassing BSP workers and leaders in the state.

Incidentally, Mr Sarup Singh, Minister for Urban Development, and Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, were also present in the Circuit House. Answering a query, they said that the Akali-BJP government believed in the democratic process and nobody had the right to take law into their hands, whether he is an MLA or a minister. If Mr Shingara Ram is guilty, he should be arrested, they said.

However, the MLA was not arrested and around 6.30 PM, he left with his entourage saying that he would surrender in Garhshankar before August 7.

Reliable sources revealed that due to a large gathering of BSP workers and political ramifications, the police did not arrest Mr Shingara Ram.Top

Education Dept in a "mess"
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 31 — Mr Avtar Singh Brar, former Education Minister and general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress in a statement issued here today alleged that the Punjab Government had adopted a path of confrontation instead resolving the issues pertaining to teachers.

He said that due to indifferent attitude of the Punjab Government, the affairs of the Education Department were in a complete mess. He said that out of 30 posts of P.E.S. Class-I, nine were vacant. Besides, posts of District Education Officer at Amritsar, Patiala, Moga, Faridkot (primary wing) and 10 other places were vacant.

He further said that as many as 500 posts of school lecturers, 400 posts of principals of senior secondary schools and 350 posts of heads of high schools were vacant for the past two years. The scenario in primary schools was more dismal as out of 228 posts of Block Education Officer, 200 were vacant and more than 1000 primary schools were without centre head teachers. As many as 3000 posts of primary teachers were vacant although hundreds trained teachers were available for employment.Top


Anti-sabotage teams constituted
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, July 31— Director-General of Police PC Dogra has said that the interrogation of arrested terrorists had revealed the sinister designs of different groups to disturb peace in the state through acts of sabotage. Their questioning had also revealed that the terrorist outfits were planning to foment communal tension.

Mer Dogra talking to mediapersons here today, said the terrorists were planning to select soft targets like railway stations, bus stands and other public places

In view of the threat from different terrorist groups as many as 13 anti-sabotage teams had been constituted. Each team had been provided with sophisticated imported weapons purchased at a cost of Rs 2 crore.

Mr Dogra said the Punjab police was the first in the country to go hi-tech.

Three teams with well-equipped weapons would accompany Chief Minister P.S. Badal for foolproof security. Each team would get an imported non-linear junction detector, an explosive vapour detector, a deep-search metal detector, an inspection mirror, a prodder, a dragonlight and two hand metal detectors.

Mr Dogra said the Delhi bus blast was also the handiwork of terrorists as the most sophisticated explosive — RDX — was used in the crime in the capital for the first time.

To a question, Mr Dogra said the service of Inspectors-General of Railways were being taken for the anti-sabotage measures.Top

The Tribune Library Image Map
home | Nation | Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
Editorial | Business | Stocks | Sport |
Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |