|P U N J A B||
Tuesday, December 8, 1998
panel 'settling' property disputes
may adopt tough stance
site in Patiala
science exhibition opens
Day collection drive launched
staff hold dharna
staff strike on Dec 11
for action against private bus operators
'settling' property disputes
PHILLAUR, Dec 7 The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has been spending most of its time in settling property disputes in the state.
This revelation was made here today by Mr Justice V.K. Khanna, Chairman of the commission, while talking to TNS. The judge, who was here in connection with the inauguration of a three-day workshop on child protection organised by the British Council Division and the Punjab Human Rights Commission at the Punjab Police Academy, said of the nearly 1,000 cases referred to the commission so far, a majority related to the alleged police excesses and disputes over property. As many as about 500 cases had been disposed of by the commission so far.
Justice Khanna indicated that he was not very happy with the situation but under the circumstances, there was not much he could do about it. He, however, emphasised that the PSHRC would not like to compete or take over the functions of regular judicial courts.
The commission was set up in July, 1997, under an act of Parliament providing for the establishment of such a commission. Besides Punjab, only seven states had opted to create such commissions. These included Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Justice Khanna declined to comment on the role of the people's commission set up by certain organisations in Punjab to look into the alleged police excesses during the years of militancy in Punjab, pointing out that the matter was already before a court of law.
At present, the law prohibited the commission from taking up cases more than a year old. The National Human Rights Commission sought the comments of the PSHRC on a move to do away with this bar. "We have told them that the bar should be removed", he said.
He pointed out that under
Section 5 of Limitation Act, the delay in filing a case
could be condoned if there was a sufficient cause for it.
"This clause is missing in the Human Rights
Commission Act", he said, adding that the relevant
Act would have been amended by Parliament for this
in dire financial straits
LUDHIANA, Dec 7 A major financial crisis is threatening to overwhelm the Punjab Government and bring its functioning to a grinding halt.
The crisis is being attributed to "gross financial mismanagement and directionlessness in policies" of the Badal government which has brought Punjab to this pass in just 20 months of its rule.
The Punjab PCC chief, Captain Amarinder Singh, who made this charge here today, quoted an official document describing in detail the dire financial straits in which Punjab had landed itself. He also made known his party's intention to file a public interest litigation in this regard.
A recent note written by the Principal Secretary, Finance, Mr Rajan Kashyap, to the Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, talks about the "alarming situation" facing the state on the economic front. "I have been apprising the FM and the CM about the acute financial crisis in which we are placed", says the note. "Under orders from the CM, an action plan for discipline in expenditure and augmentation of resources is being finalised by a committee of secretaries and would be submitted next week. The crisis is so alarming right now that we are in overdraft of Rs 275 crore for six days. We cannot continue in overdraft beyond 10 working days.
"In order to tide over the crisis I have requested the Secretary, Expenditure, Government of India, to release loan to us due to the state government against the small savings deposits," Mr Kashyap has written.
"The situation is showing no signs of any improvement whatever. The major causes have been excess non-plan expenditure on salaries and allowances following the implementation of the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission and lower inflow of revenues. In a separate file, I had requested the FM may call a meeting of the CS, the FS and the Planning Secretary to prune the development plan to whatever extent possible. As a matter of fact, the pruning is practically already in operation since we are not allowing the release of heavy sanctions," the note goes on to say.
"The note is submitted to request the FM for an immediate meeting. Even if this amount of Rs 230 crore is granted to us by the Government of India, there would be a continuing overdraft of Rs 50 crore. For bridging this gap, following are the only possibilities:
(1) FCT collects some tax in advance.
(2) The state government borrows about Rs 100 crore from PSUs for a temporary period of about one month.
(3) All major releases of funds be stopped forthwith," Mr Kashyap has elaborated.
"It is for information of the FM that the following funds utilised by us have to be returned to the authorities concerned immediately:
(1) Amount taken as loan from the State Bank of India for purchase of food grains: Rs 330 crore.
(2) Amount taken in advance from the Government of India in the month of September-October 1998: Rs 126 crore. The GOI has written to us strongly to return this amount," the note says.
The PCC chief alleged most of the funds earmarked for development activities were being spent only in the Assembly constituencies of Gidderbaha and Lambi represented by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and a member of his family. "On the one hand, there was no money even for paying salaries and on the other whatever was being raised through borrowings was being spent on two constituencies, Captain Amarinder Singh said the government was planning to raise Rs 10,000 crore but how would it pay back such a huge amount, he wondered.
The Congress leader
described the minimum support price of Rs 550 per quintal
for wheat announced by the Centre as inadequate. He said
it should be at least Rs 670 per quintal. "This is
the price which the Akalis themselves have been demanding
in the past. I can't understand why they are silent now
that they are in power at the Centre also," he said.
may adopt tough stance
AMRITSAR, Dec 7 Since the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has already made its intentions clear that it will adopt a confrontationist attitude on the alleged rampage against Guru Ram Das Academy, Dehra Dun on December 2 at the behest of the local BJP leadership if no action is taken against the miscreants, the Shiromani Akali Dal chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will have to take a tough stand on Udham Singh Nagar for his political survival. A meeting in this regard is being held at Delhi on December 10.
The committee, headed by Mr George Fernandes, Union Defence Minister, failed to submit its report by November 30 on Udham Singh Nagar. There is a general feeling among the Sikh masses that Mr Badal has adopted a soft stand on Udham Singh Nagar so far under pressure from the BJP. The expansion of the Union Ministry by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee without taking into confidence its political ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal, has further aggravated the situation.
Mr Badal has admitted that his party was not taken into confidence before the expansion of the ministry. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, protege of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC chief, was a hot contender for a berth in the Union Cabinet. This is why Mr Chandumajra has given a statement saying that the SGPC should take up all construction work instead of any government agency at Anandpur Sahib to mark the tercentenary celebrations of the Khalsa Panth.
The central government had formed a three-member committee under the presidentship of Mr George Fernandes to sort out the Udham Singh Nagar issue by November 30. A section of Sikhs feel the committee was not going to favour the residents of Udham Singh Nagar as the elections to the state Assembly were already over. They are of the view that Mr Badal should have asked the central government to sort out the issue before the elections.
On the other hand, Mr Tohra and Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar of Akal Takht, have emerged stronger after the successful Khalsa Chetna March which concluded yesterday. If it was a show of strength, then Bhai Ranjit Singh and Mr Tohra have definitely emerged stronger.
What is more important is the Khalsa March organised by the Sant Samaj and the SGPC under the aegis of Akal Takht brought all the warring Jathedars on a single platform.
Though Bhai Ranjit Singh had banned the entry of Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh, Jathedars, Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively, both were present on the dais before launchning of the Khalsa March from Quila Anandpur Sahib (Anandpur Sahib). The Chief Minister was also present on the occasion. Earlier Bhai Ranjit Singh and the Sant Samaj had boycotted the Khalsa March organised by the state government on November 22.
Bhai Ranjit Singh had ridiculed the defeat of the Shiromani Akali Dal in the Adampur byelection at the hands of the Congress. He had said it was a matter of shame that the CPM had not allowed the Congress to win in West Bengal for more than two decades while SAD did the same in less than two and a half years of its rule.
On the other hand, supporters of Mr Tohra had been criticising Mr Badal for being too soft with the BJP. They said Mr Badal had failed to get any genuine demand of the Sikhs in particular and Punjabis in general conceded by the BJP-led central government.
Sources in the Shiromani
Akali Dal are of the view that if Mr Badal fails to take
a tough stand on Udham Singh Nagar he will be isolated
from the Sikh masses which will strengthen the hands of
Mr Tohra and his supporters.
site in Patiala
PATIALA: The bus stand-end of the railway overbridge here that leads to the Rajpura Colony traffic lights crossroads has become the most accident-prone site of the city.
With at least nine persons, including two children, having lost their lives and several suffering injuries at the spot in the past two years hardly a day passes without an accident at this spot.
According to police records, more than 20 major accidents have been reported from the site during this period. Besides loss of human life, it also caused damage to a number of vehicles. Sources in the police say the figures reflect only a small part of the story as most of the accidents go unreported.
Enquiries reveal that the cause of all the accidents is the railway overbridge that ends at the traffic lights.
The railway overbridge was constructed in 1993. It was aimed at removing the traffic jams at the railway crossing Nos 18 and 17 near the bus stand. While this objective was achieved to a large extent, eventually the occurrence of a high number of accidents at the bus stand-end of the overbridge prompted many residents' associations and societies to question the wisdom behind the design of the flyover that culminates strangely at a traffic lights chowk, requiring the speeding vehicles to stop immediately. These societies argue that as a general rule there should be no impediment in the way of vehicles speeding down from the bridge. The traffic lights block the smooth flow of traffic at this site.
Mr T.C. Gupta, former Deputy Commissioner, during whose tenure the railway overbridge was completed in record time, said that there was nothing wrong with the design of the bridge. But now as a number of colonies have come up around the earlier Rajpura Colony area, the traffic flow into the crossroads at the base of the bridge has increased manifold. He said the planners, who designed the bridge, could not foresee this problem. The government could not increase the length of the bridge beyond the traffic light chowk because of a huge expenditure involved. However, still there are many solutions to the problem like construction of a slip road from the Rajpura Colony side to the Patiala-Chandigarh highway and the construction of a road under bridge at the site.
Sources in the PWD said
the department, like the traffic police, is conscious of
the problem but due to paucity of funds nothing could be
done in this regard. It is suggested that if the bus
stand is shifted from the present site, a proposal
pending with the district administration for the past
five years, the problem of accidents could be solved to a
science exhibition opens
AMRITSAR, Dec 7 The 25th Jawaharlal Nehru National Science Exhibition for children was inaugurated by Mr Tota Singh Deedar Singhwala here today. This exhibition has been organised by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi in collaboration with the Punjab Government.
While welcoming the participating students and teachers from all states and union territories of the country, the Education Minister, Mr Swarna Ram, appreciated the pivotal role being played by the NCERT in encouraging scientific talent in children and popularising science in schools and in general public by organising such exhibitions.
He said the theme of the exhibition "Science and Technology in Information Age" was of topical interest.
He said the country was at the threshold of information age and therefore it was essential that people, especially young school children, were exposed to the technology of the future. He hoped the exhibition would provide an opportunity to exchange ideas and perceptions of science and technology among the participating students and teachers.
While appreciating the efforts of children, their creativity, team spirit and manual skill, he said behind every exhibit there was a creator the child, and the visitors should listen carefully to the creators of the exhibits and interact with them.
The Education Minister presided over the function.
Day collection drive launched
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 The Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen BKN Chhibber, today stressed upon the need for chalking out a comprehensive policy to rehabilitate the exservicemen who fought for safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Speaking after formally inaugurating the "Flag Day" collection drive at Punjab Raj Bhavan, the Governor said that this day was intended to honour the valiant and the dead, to salute the veterans and brave and to renew our solidarity with our armed forces personnel.
General Chhibber said that Punjabis had been taking a leading part in all the wars fought by our country from pre-independence days and their outstanding contribution in safeguarding the integrity and sovereignty of India was well-known to the entire nation.
Earlier Mrs Gurbinder
Chahal, Principal Secretary, Defence Services, pinned a
flag on the coat of the Governor, marking the beginning
of the Flag Day collection drive. In a separate function,
the Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, Mr R K Rao, also
pinned a flag on the coat of the Governor.
staff hold dharna
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 Members of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Ministerial and Class IV) Employees Union sat in dharna here today in protest against the proposed closure of the board by the Punjab Government.
Addressing the rally, various speakers held the management responsible for the present sorry state of affairs. The agitators were later joined by members of the Field and Workshop Union.
Urging the government to reconsider the decision, the speakers urged the government to recall Managing Director, T S Madan, as he had failed to implement the agreed demands.
A state-level rally will be held at the head office of the board here to press the government to bring the board on a sound footing by handing it over to the billing, collection and maintenance of the water and sewerage work in the state.
PATIALA: Employees of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board staged a dharna today to protest against the proposed move of the Punjab Government to disband the board.
Leaders of the Board Employees' Union addressed the employees. They condemned the proposed move and said the board was yet to achieve the objectives for which it was formed. Moreover by dissolving it, the future of over 2000 employees would become uncertain.
Mr Vinay Sharma, Senior Vice-President of the union, said the board's performance had been affected because of paucity of funds.
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 A special seminar on "Role of biopharmaceutical sciences in drug registration" will be held at the NIPER in SAS Nagar, near here, on December 16.
According to a press note
issued here today, a galaxy of international speakers,
including Dr Gordon Amidon, Dr Vinod Shah (both from the
USA), Prof Hans Junginger (Netherlands) and Dr K K Midha
(Canada) will highlight the current developments in
to Takht Jathedar
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 A former Advocate-General of Punjab, Mr G.S. Grewal, in a signed statement issued here today made a submission to the Akal Takht Jathedar to "agree to revive his hukamnama and avoid public confrontation" in the light of the "verdict" of the sangat in Canada with regard to controversial hukamnama about "langar" (community kitchen).
Mr Grewal said that the sangat is supreme. The overwhelming majority of Sikh sangat in Canada has declined to abide by the controversial hukamnama, regarding langar, issued by Bhai Ranjit Singh, Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, the supreme Sikh authority.
It may be mentioned here
that the group of Sikhs opposing the
"hukamnama" has won the gurdwara election with
overwhelming majority in Vancouver city of the British
Columbia. Among the winners are Mr Ranjit Singh Rode, Mr
Rajinder Singh Bhola and Mr Jarnail Singh Bhandal. This
group of moderate Sikhs led by Mr Bhandal had contested
election against "hawks" led by Mr Kundan Singh
Sajjan, according to reports available here.
stir enters 10th day
PATIALA, Dec 7 The strike started by students of various colleges affiliated to Punjabi University against the fee hike entered the 10th day here today.
Rallies and dharnas were organised in almost all colleges in the city as reports from some other towns pouring in informed the agitation had spread to parts of Sangrur district also.
Students of Government Mohindra College, Government Girls College, Modi College, Khalsa College, the State College of Education and Government College of Physical Education continued with their boycott of classes today. The students also raised anti-university and anti-government slogans in rallies.
Mr Rajinder Popi, a spokesman of the joint students action committee formed by various student organisations, reiterated its call to all colleges under Punjabi University to observe complete strike on December 9 against the "unjustified" fee hike. The students have also been urged to stage "peaceful" demonstrations demanding the withdrawal of fee hike. The statement said student organisations of colleges in seven districts coming under the university have supported the call for strike.
staff strike on Dec 11
JALANDHAR, Dec 7 More than one lakh employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board will observe strike on December 11.
Mr H.S. Minhas and Mr M.S. Sidhu, conveners of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, said in a joint press note here today that since the talks with Board officials on Wednesday had remained inconclusive, the struggle committee had decided to go ahead with the planned strike.
Mr Minhas said a legal
notice regarding the strike had already been served on
the Board management. The planned strike is in protest
against the new economic and industrial policy of the
central government and against the privatisation of the
power sector, he said.
Forces Flag Day observed
JALANDHAR, Dec 7 The District Sainik Board Jalandhar organised the Armed Forces Flag Day at the Punjab State War Memorial here today.
Lt-Gen Kamal Davar, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Corps, who was the chief guest at the function, recalled the sacrifices made by brave soldiers of Punjab who had laid down their lives in the service of nation.
General Davar presented a cheque of Rs 20,000 to the Sainik Board on behalf of the Vajra Corps.
for action against private bus operators
JALANDHAR, Dec 7 The Self-Employed Matador Taxi Union (SEMTU), Punjab, has alleged that nearly a dozen private buses are plying between Jalandhar and Delhi without valid permits in connivance with some high officials.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Raj Kumar Chadha, president of the union, and SEMTU members from Ludhiana and Phagwara gave details of the matter. They alleged that the illegal plying of these private buses on Delhi route had adversely affected the business of the matador taxi operators having valid permits from the state transport authorities.
to encroach park foiled
AMRITSAR, Dec 7 The situation is tense but under control in the Rani Ka Bagh locality in the Civil Lines area here, where residents of three colonies tried to construct a religious place in a public park. Interestingly, the foundation stone of the religious place was laid down yesterday by the Deputy Mayor of the Corporation, Mr Lakha Singh Gumtala.
In a swift action, officials of the Police Department, Municipal Corporation and District Administration took away the holy book and religious symbol in the midst of protests by the residents of the colony. The police arrested Mr Rajinder Singh Mehta, President of the Sikh Students Federation. He was, however, released later.
The residents protested against the act of the police and said that earlier the Mayor, Mr Subash Sharma, had given a disputed prime land to a religious trust and the administration did not object to it.
However, Mr S.S. Johal, SDM, said the administration would clear all encroachments by religious bodies on government land.
Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla,
General Secretary of the Sikh Students Federation, Mr
Kanwarpal Singh Bittu, General Secretary of Dal Khalsa
International strongly condemned the police action and
desecration of the holy book.
QADIAN, Dec 7 The final day of the annual International Ahmadiya Convention began with a recitation from the koran. The first speech of the first session was delivered by Maulana Hamid Ahmad Kausar, on the topic of the advent of Hazrat Imam Mehdi and promised Messiah according to the prophecies of the prophet Mohammad and other religious scriptures of the world.
Describing the rapid progress of the Ahmadiya Jamaat, Maulana Kausar said within a span of 300 years the Jamaat would spread all over the world and would become the most prominent jamaat.
Elaborating on the rights and status of women in Islam, Maulana Mohammad Karimuddin Shahid, principal of Missionary Training College, said, by amending and passing bills in the constitution of any country, no government could alter the status accorded to women in Islam as the religion alone had the authority to accord high status and rights to women in present times.
on refinery begins
MUKTSAR, Dec 7 The construction work of the Punjab refinery project started at Phulo-Khari village, 100 km from here today under the supervision of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC).
Mr R.K. Madaan, Chief General Manager of the Punjab refinery project, said HPCL would spend Rs 10,000 crore on the project which includes 25 per cent share of the PSIDC.
to give land to trust
CHANDIGARH, Dec 7 The Punjab Government has decided to allot a plot to Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Trust, Ludhiana, engaged in philanthropic activities for manufacturing artificial limbs.
This decision was taken in a meeting held by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today with the Trust President, Dr Lajpat Rai, and other members.
Dr Lajpat Rai said there
would be a rehabilitation center, a workshop for
manufacturing the limbs, a research and development wing
and technician training school for training persons for
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