|P U N J A B||
Thursday, October 29, 1998
'issuing' backdated cheques
suspends officials for negligence
dental seats in Punjab likely
assurance on pesticide factory
Announcement on damaged
paddy leads to confusion
to set up
Commandant's plea to be made intervener
industrial policy for Punjab in a week
cotton mills close down
camp to save wildlife
tells students to face challenges
man held for murder
more farmer takes his life
demand for personal law 'anti-women'
party fails to rescue kids
lecturers seek uniformity in pay scales
railway ticket agents demanded
JALANDHAR, Oct 28 The CLP leader, Mr Jagjit Singh, alleged here today the SAD-BJP government was misusing the state machinery and had turned the office of the Deputy Director, Panchayats, and the circuit house here into election campaign headquarters with state ministers brazenly issuing backdated cheques for development projects in the Adampur constituency.
Briefing mediapersons here today, the CLP leader alleged the SAD-BJP government had virtually turned the constituency into its fiefdom. The block development officers were allegedly summoning sarpanches and coercing them to vote for the SAD-BJP candidate. The sarpanch of Kharil Kalan village, Mr Bishan Singh, who was from the Congress had till date not been allowed to take charge of his post, he alleged.
One minister of the SAD-BJP government was summoning anganwadi workers and instructing them to vote for the SAD-BJP candidate.
Answering a query about whether the state Congress was a divided house, he said the party was united. However, contrary to his claim senior Congress leaders Mr Umero Singh, Mr Balbir Singh, Mr Iqbal Singh, Dr Lekh Raj, Mr Darshan Singh, Mr Avtar Henry and Mr Anil Dutta did not attend the press conference even though they had been invited to the press conference.
Reliable party sources reveal they were holding a parallel meeting at the residence of a former MP. There is reportedly resentment regarding the choice of the party candidate and the delegation of duties.
"An outsider has been
made in-charge of the election campaign, ignoring the
leadership of this area, said a party source. The PPC
chief, Mr Amarinder Singh, is expected to reach here and
campaign from November 1.
CM suspends officials for negligence
KOTKAPURA, Oct 28 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today arrived in this town of Faridkot district where at least one dozen persons have died of diarrhoea due to the contamination of water. Soon after his arrival, he went to the bereaved families who had lost their kith and kin. He went from house to house and consoled and delivered cheques of Rs 50,000 to each of the families as grant by the state government.
The Chief Minister immediately ordered the suspension of the Senior Medical Officer, Civil Hospital, Kotkapura, for her alleged negligence and showing indifference to the situation.
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, and local leaders complained to the Chief Minister that the hospital authorities had not taken timely action and had showed utmost laxity in giving treatment to patients. They had also failed to monitor the situation to the Deputy Commissioner.
The Chief Minister also placed under suspension Mr N.S. Sidhu, Executive Engineer, Rural Water Supply, for deviation from duty and bad handling of the situation which had led to this unfortunate episode.
Mr Badal ordered a high-level probe to spot guilty officials of respective departments. To find out the reasons for the collapse of the sewerage system before time against its life of 30 years, he directed the Chief Engineer, Public Health, to conduct a thorough inquiry and fix up responsibility of erring officials. He further directed him to complete the probe within a fortnight.
In a separate inquiry entrusted to the Director Health Services, Punjab, the Chief Minister asked him to look into the negligence of the district health machinery for delayed action.
The Chief Minister ordered for an immediate release of Rs 173.17 lakh for the repair of the sewerage system and another sum of Rs 132.47 lakh for setting the water supply system in order, in the town. He directed the departments concerned to undertake the work on a war footing on both projects.
He further said Kotkapura had been kept in the priority list for the augmentation of water supply and sewerage in the recent plan finalised for five towns for which Rs 61 crore had been earmarked.
He was accompanied by Mr
N.K. Arora, Principal Secretary, Local Government, Mr
Rajesh Chhabra, Principal Secretary, Health Services,
Punjab, and Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, Additional Principal
Secretary to the Chief Minister, Punjab. He also held a
meeting with the nagar councillors and senior officers
and local Akali Dal and BJP leaders.
More dental seats in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 Panjab University is likely to allow Christian Dental College to increase the seats in first year from 20 to 40.
Also on the anvil is granting provisional affiliation to Adesh Institute of Medical Sciences, Muktsar, for starting a nursing course.The course will have an intake of 60 students.
The university is also considering granting provisional affiliation to Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute, Ludhiana, for starting a new course in dentistry. The institute will have an intake of 100 students in the first session.
All these proposals will find place in the coming Syndicate meeting of the university.
The Adesh Institute will have 15 members on the management committee, including the principal and two teacher representatives. The society has informed the university that it has acquired approximately 32 acres of land where it proposes to construct the institute within a year. The infrastructure to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 75 lakh will have to conform to the Indian Nursing Council's norms.
The institute will offer a four-year B.Sc Nursing course. It is now offering a three-year course in general nursing and midwifery.
The Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Ludhiana, has already been approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the session 1998-99. There will be an intake of 100 students in the first session.
In case of Christian Dental College, the Dental Council of India has already approved the 40 seats. The college also has an eligibility certificate from the Punjab Government. The Vice-Chancellor of PU, Prof M M Puri, in April, 1998, had allowed the increase in the seats.
Sources indicate that the issue of seats in Christian Dental College may come up for a detailed discussion. After the VC allowed the increase in seats a committee was constituted in May. It inspected the college on June 8.
Announcement on damaged
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 The announcement of the Union Food Minister, Mr Surjeet Singh Barnala, regarding relief for Punjab and Haryana farmers by allowing procurement of paddy with 8 per cent damage has brought confusion among the State Government officials.
It is not yet clear whether the relief would be effected in the same manner in which the officials were doing earlier. The relaxed specifications mention only the word paddy and not rice.
While the Haryana Government has yet to receive the written order from the Union Food Ministry, the Punjab Government has received the same today. The order as such cannot be implemented because it does not specify the form of relief to be given to the farmers.
Already, the farmers were being allowed 2 per cent damage and 3 per cent discolouration of paddy besides 18 per cent moisture. The Haryana Government has urged the Centre to relax the specifications for damage, discolouration and moisture.
The announcement by Mr Barnala mentions the word damage to paddy which, if not clarified, will include damage discolouration and sprouting besides any other damage, which may reduce its edibility in general. Thus the farmers are already getting a relief of nearly 6 per cent by way of damage which has now been raised to 8 per cent by the Central Government.
Perhaps, the officials in the Food Ministry did not want to precipitate matters by giving the break-up of the damage to be allowed as relief to the farmers which had been demanded by both the state governments in view of the damaged caused to the paddy crop.
The Centre had then sent a survey team to the two states to assess the extent of damage caused. In fact , under the Pure Food Act maximum damage caused to the paddy crop perhaps cannot be allowed by more than 5 per cent after which the commodity will become unfit for consumption.
However, the confusion caused by the Central Government's announcement gives more time to the Centre to procure paddy as per specifications of 2 per cent damage, and 3 per cent discolouration. As such the Haryana Government officials are unable to make purchases under the revised specifications, even if the order is received in the form sent to Punjab. Already, more than one third of the expected paddy crop has been purchased by millers and various agencies.
The Government hopes to receive nearly 25 lakh tonnes of paddy including seven lakh tonnes of basmati this season as against 30 lakh tonnes of paddy, including eight lakh tonnes of basmati, last year.
Out of the present arrival
of 8.56 lakh tonnes which included 83,000 tonnes of
basmati and the rest non-leviable paddy, the
millers/dealers have purchased 8.17 lakh tonnes of paddy
besides 4,140 tonnes of paddy purchased by the Food and
Supplies Department of Haryana, 11,225 tonnes by Hafed,
20,016 by FCI, 1384 tonnes by Haryana Agro Industries
Corporation, 2,023 tonnes by the Haryana Warehousing
Corporation and 358 tonnes by Confed.
24 officials suspended
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 Apart from suspending the licences of 148 arhtiyas (commission agents), the Punjab Government has suspended 24 officials of various state procurement agencies following reports of irregularities and malpractices in the procurement of paddy in the State.
Mr Charnaji Lal Garg, State Minister for Food Supplies told TNS here today that the licences had been suspended following complaints against the commission agents made by farmers and preliminary inquiry held by the officials concerned in this connection.
Like-wise the officials of the state procurement agencies had been suspended on the basis of complaints received either by the Ministers, who were deputed to supervise the procurement of paddy, or by the senior officials of the agencies concerned.
He said that he was awaiting the "action taken report" from Fatehgarh Sahib", Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Ludhiana and Nawanshahr districts. The officials suspended pertained to the remaining districts of Punjab.
It was reported that certain commission agents collaborated with the millers to force the farmers to opt for distress sale of paddy and later either the commission agents sold the same paddy at the minimum support price or the millers minted money by resorting to such unfair means.
It was also reported and found true by the government officials concerned that at certain places officials of the procurement agencies allowed rice millers a free run in the grain markets by deliberately staying away from procurement.
Mr Garg said that fresh instructions had been sent today to Deputy Commissioners to depute senior officials working under them to make surprise inspection of procurement operations in various grain markets. The Deputy Commissioners had been told to deal strictly if anybody was found wanting as for as paddy procurement was concerned.
He was hopeful that paddy
procurement would become a smooth affair within a day or
so as the Central Government had relaxed certain
specifications. He said that already the arrival of paddy
in the state markets had crossed the mark of 71 lakh
tonnes till date and the government was expecting another
25 lakh tonne of additional paddy to arrive in state
markets within the next fortnight.
CM's assurance on pesticide factory
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has assured a deputation of citizens from Sangrur that the pesticide factory there would be shifted to some other place if it was found releasing toxic gases.
Mr Badal said that he was awaiting the report of forensic experts in this connection and action would be taken immediately if the report went against the factory. Citizens, who met under the banner of Anti-Pollution Committee, Sangrur, told Mr Badal that accidental release of gases from the factory recently affected a large number of residents of Sangrur.
Mr Badal said that though the factory was owned by his close relations but he would not hesitate to act, keeping in view the sentiments expressed by citizens against the factory. The deputation was led by Dr Tejwant Mann, Mr Pawan Kumar, Mr Kiranjit Singh Sekhon and Mr Avinash Sharma.
The deputationists informed Mr Badal that the factory was installed near populated areas, including the cantonment and a number of schools, by submitting manipulated documents. It was shown in the documents that the factory was 8 km away from the town but actually it was only 700 metres away from Raj Higher Secondary School which was established by the erstwhile Raja of Jind State several decades ago.
They said that the project report of the factory should be examined by experts and from the project report it could be established what kind of chemicals were being used by the factory management to manufacture insecticides. They also alleged that the name of the factory was changed just to cover up that it was not engaged in the task of manufacturing insecticides.
Punjab to set up panel on power
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 The Punjab Council of Ministers at its meeting held here today agreed in principle to constitute a Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission in consonance with the State Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, passed by the Lok Sabha on June 9,1998.
The formation of the commission will fix electricity tariff as an independent authority after hearing views of the Punjab State Electricity Board and people concerned. This will bring transparency in the process of tariff fixation.
The Council of Ministers also constituted a cabinet sub-committee with Captain Kanwaljit Singh, Mr Madan Mohan Mittal, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, and Mr C.L Garg, as members to work out the modalities of its constitution and the powers of the state electricity regulatory commission.
The council decided to realise the import fee on beer at the rate of Rs 4.60 per bulk litre w.e.f 1.04.97. The fee will be utilised for development works. It was decided in principle to amend the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1949, for making the provision of ST-XXII/'H' form as proof of export. This has been done on the representation of trade and industry.
The council also agreed on the framing of Punjab State Lottery Rules, 1998, for starting weekly lottery scheme in accordance with the law.
The Council of Ministers decided to the amendment in the Punjab Government House (General Pool) Allotment Rules, 1983, where in when a government employee in occupation of government accommodation is transferred, the same residence may be transferred in the name of his spouse subject to the condition that the spouse working in an eligible office he/she is entitled to the same type of accommodation.
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 Mr Madanjit Singh, a Punjab Police officer holding the post of Deputy Commandant, India Reserve Battalion, today moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for becoming an intervener in the case filed by Mr Sudershan Goel, a local advocate, questioning the functioning of the People's Commission.
Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice Iqbal Singh, who constituted the Bench, adjourned this application to November 11 for arguments.
In his application Mr Madanjit Singh stated that the Committee on Disappearances in Punjab headed by Justice Kuldip Singh, a former Judge of the Supreme Court, has members like D.S. Rajput, a local advocate, and Jasbir Singh Dhillon, both of whom had been arrested by the Chandigarh Police in connection with the Burail Jail blow-up conspiracy case. They were lodged at the Burail Jail after interrogation. He alleged that these persons were supported by foreign organisations and they were funded from abroad.
The applicant placed on record a letter emanating from U.N. Human Rights Commission, Geneva, in favour of Dhillon addressed to the Director-General of Police, Mr P.C. Dogra, demanding that physical and mental integrity of the detainee be maintained in the interest of human rights declaration.
He also placed on record another letter purported to have been written from Mr John Gary, a member of UK's House of Commons. It was addressed to the Ministry of External Affairs demanding safety for Dhillon on the ground that he was a human rights activist.
Mr Madanjit Singh alleged that members of the committee were promoting terrorism. He stated in the application that he had received summons both from judicial courts and the People's Commission for the same cause of action. His rights were vitally affected by the summons issued by the People's Commission without any authority of law.
The Judges directed that if any person wanted to bring any material on record he should give that material to the petitioner's counsel for placing it on record in support of the petition.
Ms Indira Jaisingh appeared on behalf of the committee. Justice D.S. Tewatia had been served dasti summons. She said for all practical purposes she represented the People's Commission. He told the court that members of the commission would not like to be drawn into any controversy as they were former judges.
New industrial policy for Punjab in a
SAS NAGAR, Oct 28 A new industrial policy for Punjab will be announced in about a week.
Stating this here this evening after inaugurating the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) Club House at MIA Bhavan, Mr Sucha Singh, Langah, Minister of State for Industries, said his government was making all efforts to increase power output.
Making a novel suggestion, he said all industrial associations in Punjab should get together and through a "mass movement" involving lakhs of their employees meet Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and present the problems of industry. At the gathering, he said, Mr Badal should be "compelled" to make significant announcements in favour of the industrial sector.
The MIA general secretary, Mr Jagjit Singh, said there were 33 large and medium units and 1,235 small-scale units in the town. Despite octroi payment of about Rs 10.50 crore out of the total of Rs 12.50 crore collected by the Municipal Council industrial managements felt harassed under the present octroi system. In this regard, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, MIA president, favoured a cess on octroi or a lumpsum tax as in certain other states.
Mr Sachdeva also sought the setting up of a trade information centre here, scrapping of truck operators' unions which were enforcing their own rules and the framing of a new policy on industrial plot allotment. Under this policy, he said, the plot should be transferred on the entrepreneur's name only if he succeeded in running the unit within a fixed time.
Mr Jagjit Singh said for further growth Punjab, with its obvious limitations of a landlocked area, needed an "industrial revolution", in which small-scale industry could be a catalyst.
To begin the process, what was needed was the availability of finance and the creation of a cell in the Directorate of Industries to tackle all issues related to the SSI Sector, including the modernisation and upgradation of technology, availability of raw material at internationally competitive rates and exemption from various labour laws and prohibitive provisions of administrative laws.
The MIA general secretary demanded the constitution of a grievance committee for bankwise appraisal of the problems of industrial customers. Besides, the PFC and the PSTDC should be empowered to collect deposits and provide normal banking services. The MIA further called for the setting up of an experts' committee to reappraise all sick units and also the creation of an institution on the lines of the BIFR by the state government for the rehabilitation of such units. He criticised banks for making big investments outside Punjab.
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 Quizzing the Punjab Advocate-General, Mr Justice Swatantar Kumar, a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, asked this afternoon: "What is my jurisdiction (to deal with the investigation report filed by the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr Gurdarshan Singh) into the sale of three sugar mills at Dasuya, Patran and Amloh?
And pat came the reply. This court should not express any opinion as it would prejudice the trial court. The report should be referred to the state government for necessary action.
"Do I have no jurisdiction, except to nominate an authority in the state for analysing the report?" asked the Judge again.
The Advocate-General replied: "These (the investigation report filed by the AIG and the separate dissenting report filed by the IG) were only inquiry reports. There was no finding on the merits."
But it was an investigation after the registration of cases?" remarked the Judge.
Replied the Advocate-General: "These officers have not sat across the table to discuss the matter for whatever be the reason. They must sit together to sort out the matter. In the event of any dispute the matter should be referred to the state government."
"It means, I have no jurisdiction (to deal with the report except to send it to the state government)" again asked the Judge.
At this stage counsel for Piccadily Sugar Mill interjected. He told the court that the AIG who was entrusted with investigation of the case, submitted three reports. The first report was tentative and filed before the court on July 3. It was not supported by documents. The second was the fact-finding report completed on August 27. And the last report was submitted on October 3.
The first report of the Investigating Officer was superseded by his third report. In his first report he indicted four Punjab Ministers, including Chief Minister Beant Singh, and Mr Karam Singh Gill, both of whom are deceased. The two other former ministers are Dr Kewal Krishan and Mr Sajjan Singh. In the final report he gave clean chit to them also.
Counsel brought to the court's notice that the Investigating Officer indicted private collaborators in his findings. While senior officers held the view that money should be recovered from them, but they could not be prosecuted.
He told the court that the I.O. did not mention anywhere that some gratification was given to any officer. He also contended that private collaborators had not been given an opportunity to explain their side of the story. They had been condemned unheard. It was true that the I.G. recorded the version of the officers.
When counsel was still on his legs, the court adjourned the arguments till tomorrow.
Councillor's removal stayed
The High Court stayed the operation of the Punjab Government order removing Ms Pushpa Devi from the office of Municipal Councillor, Maur Mandi in Bathinda district.
Mr Justice J.L. Gupta and Mr Justice N.C. Khichi, who delivered this order, also issued notice of motion to the respondents for January 4.
It was alleged that Mr Jeet Mohinder Singh, who had contested the last Assembly election from Talwandi Sabo constituency as an Akali candidate, had created factionalism in the Municipal Council. He was incensed by his defeat. The order for the petitioner's removal had been passed by the Principal Secretary (Local Govt), at his instance as he had used his influence on the present Akali regime.
Colony hideout for criminals
BATHINDA, Oct 28 With the authorities concerned remaining indifferent to the problem, the residential colony of the local Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant seems to have become a safe hideout for criminals.
As no survey for detecting subletting of houses by employees of the plant to outsiders has been carried out for the past two years by the authorities concerned a number of criminal elements have reportedly made this colony the base for their activities.
The arrest of Ranjit Kaur, alias Preet, who had allegedly murdered a Canadian citizen on September 19 from a rented house in the colony on October 25 and the recovery of a dead body from another house on October 26 is reportedly only the tip of the ice- berg.
Official sources say in the days of militancy this colony was a hideout for extremists. They had killed a DSP and a security guard in the colony then. The police in those days also arrested a number of persons who had links with militants.
Mr Harnek Singh Sran, SSP, when contacted said he would take up the matter with the thermal plant authorities and would make it sure that no outsider lived there.
Official sources say a number of employees has sublet their official accommodation to supplement their income without verifying the antecedents of their tenants.
Mr R.L. Garge, SE (Civil) and Chairman of the House Allotment Committee, when contacted said about seven months ago more than 10 houses which were rented out to outsiders by the plant employees had been vacated. He said he had no knowledge about Ranjit Kaur living in a rented house in the colony.
Mr N.S. Chohan, SE
(Headquarters), when contacted said after these two
incidents the thermal plant authorities were planning to
carry out a survey of the colony with the help of the
police to trace cases of subletting.
More cotton mills close down
BATHINDA, Oct 28 Finding it difficult to get raw cotton in the required quantity, about 50 cotton ginning and pressing mills in Punjab have closed down in this season.
Last year about 120 cotton ginning and pressing mills were closed down due to the repeated failure of cotton crop in the state.
Cotton industry sources said out of a total of 115 mills that carried out operation last year, about 65 mills had started ginning and pressing the raw cotton so far. About 45 cotton ginning and pressing mill owners had not applied to the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) power connection.
Mill owners were keeping their fingers crossed as the production estimates of cotton crop in Punjab were coming in day by day. The mill owners, who generally started their mills in September, had not applied for power connection so far due to the fear that they would not get enough raw cotton to run their unit profitably.
Mr Fateh Chand Sharma, vice-president, Northern India Cotton Association Limited, while talking to TNS said only 12 mills were running against the 17 last year in Abohar, six against 12 in Malout, five against 12 in Muktsar, seven against 14 in Kotkapura, 12 against 23 in Mansa and six against 10 in Fazilka.
He said there were about 235 ginning and pressing mills in Punjab and 120 mills out of 253 had closed down their operation last year. About 50 mills had closed down this season.
The sources said traders were not coming in the markets to purchase raw cotton as the prices were high and the quality was affected due to rain. Moreover, the arrival of cotton was very slow.
Mr Ashok Kapur, another vice-president of the association said as per the conservative estimates the cotton production in the state would be not more than 5.5 lakh bales which was about 1.5 lakh less as compared to that of last year.
He said apart from the shortage of raw material, the mill owners were closing their units as they were suffering heavy losses due to the vast fluctuation in cotton price.
Cotton mill owners were not starting their units for another reason too. Against the ginning capacity of 40 lakh bales, the state had produced very less cotton. Expecting that the prices of cotton would rule high in the coming days, they would not be able to earn enough to meet their overhead expenses.
Interestingly, Markfed Asia's biggest cooperative sector had also closed down its two cotton and ginning mills out of a total of seven in Punjab this year and it had started the process of converting its cotton mills into rice shellers.
Mr Joginder Singh, owner of J.R. Cotton Mills and member of the Cotton Dispute Settlement Committee, Malout, while talking to TNS said cotton ginning mill owners were repeatedly pleading with the PSEB authorities to charge the actual power bill from them instead of the minimum 24,000 per 100 kilowatt under the present arrangements as they were facing severe production crises.
He said at present the PSEB was charging minimum Rs 24,000 per 100 kW for four and half months from the cotton mills and this had become a big deterrent for the mill owners who had not started their units this season.
He said Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had promised them to reduce the period of minimum charges from four and half months to three months, but the cotton mill owners were willing to pay the actual power bill.
Mr Kapur said the state government should make sincere and concerted efforts to keep the cotton ginning and pressing industry surviving. If the trend of the closing of mills continued, it would be a big loss of the revenue to the state government, he added.
The sources said a number
of cotton traders of Bombay and other cities, who had
been running their offices in this town, had reduced
their staff strengthen due to the drastic reduction in
the business turnover.
Awareness camp to save wildlife
GURDASPUR, Oct 28 The district branch of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals held an awareness camp today at Miani, 5 km from here on the Magarmudhian shamb, to protect wildlife. Prominent villagers, including sarpanches and panches belonging to nearby villages Dala, Keshopur, Zafalpur, Barnala, Alechak, Sadhu Chack, Babowal and Magarmudhian, participated.
The shamb is stretched in an area of more than 1,000 acres belonging to Miani and the surrounding villages. According to revenue records, 149 acres 5 kanals 10 marlas of land of Dala village, 148 acres 7 kanals 12 marlas of land of Keshopur, 403 acres 5 kanals and 7 marlas of land of Miani and 250 acres of land of Magarmudhian fall in this shamb which is a resting place for animals.
All families of ducks and cranes migrate to this shamb from Siberia. There are other local birds which include roots, starks, kivi families snipes and some others.
The shamb is ages old and Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to come here for shooting ducks. The signs of machan of the Maharaja are still traceale in the shamb.
The speakers, which included Mr S.K. Sandhu, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Gambhir Inder Singh, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, and Mr Jagdish Singh Dhillon, vice-president, SPCA, said the camp had been organised to prevent the use of chemicals, netting, shooting for killing the birds. They warned that the shooting of birds was banned and the defaulters would have to face legal punishment which amounted to imprisonment.
Mr Sandhu directed the Inspector, Wild Animals, to post security guards round the clock to protect birds from unscrupulous elements. He said he was in contact with the Punjab govt to develop the area as a tourist attraction for bird lovers. The SPCA was being affiliated to the Animal Welfare Board of India in Madras for getting financial aid to develop shamb.
Mr Sandhu said the Animal Welfare Club had been constituted at Miani village to create awareness among people against cruelty to animals in view of maintaining ecological balance. Other villages too would soon have such clubs.
Mr Sandhu said he was in touch with the Punjab Government to get this shamb declared as a wet land. The World Bank had proposed to choose three shambs of the state for declaration as wet lands in Punjab. These wet lands would be developed on model lines for tourists and the finances would be provided by the World Bank.
Mr Sandhu sought the cooperation of the residents of the surrounding villages to help the SPCA to protect wildlife in the shamb. He invited the villagers to attend the proposed five-day training course being organised by the Animal Welfare Board of India in the near future in this regard.
Prof Raj Kumar said the shamb was more than 250 years old and extended to the Kahnuwan shamb area more than 20 km from Dala-Keshopur shamb. He said the fish farm which had developed in the area should not be disturbed as they also provided food to the birds.
Dhumal tells students to face
JALANDHAR, Oct 28 The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal, has stressed the need for bringing qualitative improvement in the educational system and exhorted students to imbibe the spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
He was delivering a convocation address at Doaba College here today.
The Chief Minister said the country was passing through a critical period and the responsibility to face the challenges posed by the present system lay with the youth to a great extent. The world was moving very fast and there was an urgent need to prepare ourselves to meet the challenges emerging from rapid globalisation, liberalisation and a strong competitive world market. It could be possible only by acquiring perfection in knowledge.
He expressed happiness that this college had developed so much. He recalled his memories of the college where he had been a student and teacher before joining active politics.
The Chief Minister presented degrees to 250 post-graduate and graduate students of the college.
Earlier, he also visited the site of an auditorium to be named as Virendra Sabhagar being constructed at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore.
Mr Chander Mohan, Editor, Vir Pratap and chairman of the College Management Committee, said the college was proud that one of its students, Professor Dhumal, was the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.
Mr Ashwani Sharma, Principal of the college, welcoming the Chief Minister spoke about the achievements of the college.
man held for murder
AMRITSAR, Oct 28 The Majitha police has solved an eight-year-old murder case by arresting an ex-member of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).
According to a press release issued by Mr H.S. Sidhu, district police chief Majitha, the ex-KLF man and his two associates had burnt to death one Baldev Singh in 1991 by pouring kerosene on him. The case was, however, filed as a blind murder as nobody was arrested in connection with the killing.
Mr Sidhu said Baldev Singh
was kidnapped by three unidentified persons from his
house on the pretext that the former was involved in a
dacoity. However, members of family of Baldev were told
the next day that Baldev had been burnt to death by three
terrorists. The district police chief said that on a
tip-off, the police arrested Harwinder Singh, an
accomplice of hard-core terrorist Gulzar Singh Bahoru,
and Tejinder Singh who had confessed their crime.
farmer takes his life
BATHINDA, Oct 28 Baldev Singh, alias Deba, of Chethewala village ended his life on October 18 when he found his paddy crop was not enough to offset his debt.
Family sources said Baldev Singh who owed about Rs 1.5 lakh to commission agents ended his life by taking poison after finding the yield of paddy crop not according to his expectations.
Family sources said Baldev who along with his two brothers owned 20 acres waited for about seven days at the Chethewala purchase centre for selling off his paddy produce to the government agency. As no official of any government agency turned up, he decided to shift his produce to the grain market here.
However, instead of taking his produce to the grain market here he went home on the morning of October 18 and took poison.
Police sources said no case had been registered in this regard and no post-mortem examination had been done.
This is the sixth suicide
by a farmer in this region in the past 30 days. Earlier,
five farmers in Mansa and this district had committed
suicide as their paddy and cotton crop had been damaged
by the untimely rains.
SGPC demand for personal law
AMRITSAR, Oct 28 The Punjab Istri Sabha has described the demand of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee for personal law for Sikhs as anti-women.
In a press note issued by Ms Vimla Dang, former MLA and patron of the sabha, said it was a matter of grave concern that the SGPC had demanded separate personal law for Sikhs which was not in the interest of Sikh women. She said the demand was not as per the tenets of Sikh Gurus who preached equality for women.
She appealed to the Sikh
women to oppose the move. She said, "The demand for
a separate personal law to undermine the spirit of the
Hindu Succession Act have not been made for the first
time. In Punjab, the Akalis, the Jan Sangh, and a section
of the congress repeatedly demanded amendments opposing
the right of daughters with regard to paternal property.
These were firmly rejected by the Indian Government
headed by Pandit Nehru and other leaders, Mrs Dang said.
Raiding party fails to rescue kids
JALANDHAR, Oct 28 More than 40 minor children employed with Doaba Coach Builders were not rescued, even though the Labour Officer and two labour inspectors raided the factory on a formal complaint lodged by an NGO, the Peoples Vigilance Committee on Bonded Child and Migrant Labourers.
The chairman of the NGO, Mr Jai Singh, alleged the Labour Officer, Mr Ramesh Behal, along with the tehsildar helped the Doaba Coach Builders instead of the minor children who should have been rescued.
The NGO secretary, Ms Nirmal Sharma, alleged, "When I started taking pictures of the children the officers stopped me".
While the NGO was able to take down the names of 15 children, the rest were ordered to run away from the factory premises, alleges the NGO.
Unfortunately, the apathy of the bureaucracy does not just stop here. The 15 children were not rescued as the tehsildar said he was ordered to conduct a raid and not rescue the children.
When contacted by TNS the Deputy Commissioner, Me Som Prakash, admitted he was aware of the raid and had asked the NGO to write a formal application against the raiding party, which would be forwarded to the SSP here.
School lecturers seek uniformity
in pay scales
ROPAR, Oct 28 The Government School Lecturers Union, Punjab, has urged the state government to grant pay scale of Rs 7880-13,500 to school lecturers for bringing uniformity in the pay scales of school lecturers and non-technical lecturers of Polytechnics. The school lecturers have been given pay scale of Rs 6400-10,640 with class-III status by the pay commission from January 1996.
Mr Harpritinder Singh, president of the union, said the pay commission had granted pay scale of Rs 7880-13500 with class-I status to the non-technical lecturers of the polytechnics from January 1996 though their educational qualifications were lower than those of a school lecturer. He said educational qualifications needed for a school lecturer were postgraduation plus B.Ed., while only postgraduation was required for a non-technical lecturer of a polytechnic.
The President of the union
also said the pay commission had also given separated
grades of Rs 6400-10640 and Rs 7000-10980 to the school
lecturers and headmasters, respectively, though school
lecturers had higher qualifications than the headmasters.
Both got the next promotion of Principal with equal pay
scale and class-I status. In view of this, the state
government should also grant pay scale of Rs 7860-13500
and class-II status to headmasters and school lecturers,
Mr Harpritinder Singh urged.
case suspect arrested
LUDHIANA, Oct 28 The local police has finally tracked down and arrested Anil Sehgal, a key figure in a case of fraud in which a sum of Rs 13 lakh belonging to Hardy's World on the outskirts of Ludhiana was withdrawn.
The local police said today that action was taken on a complaint from Mr Gursharan Aggarwal, chairman-cum-managing director of the amusement park, a unit of Sutlej Fun Resort Limited against Subhash Khullar and his brother, Mukesh Khullar and their brother-in-law, Anil Sehgal.
Mr Aggarwal started his new project Sutlej Fun Resort and obtained a loan of Rs 18 lakh from Escort Finance Limited, New Delhi on October 13, 1995. The company received the loan amount through two cheques. Anil Sehgal impersonated as Anuj Sayal c/o Hindustan Amusement Machine and opened an account in Bank of Rajasthan in connivance with the other suspects. All of them drew the various amounts from the bank and used it for their personal benefit. The investigation of this case is being made by the economic offences wing under the supervision of Mr Varinder Kumar, SP (HQ).
teachers a worried lot
PATIALA, Oct 28 The all-Punjab District Institute of Education Training Teachers (DIET) Welfare Association has urged the state government to make its position regarding appointment of new teachers clear following a recent statement by Education Minister Tota Singh that posts of primary teachers would be filled up by recruiting teachers with higher qualifications than those required.
In a statement here yesterday, association president Sukhwinder Singh Chahal said though the association had been assured a number of times by the Education Minister and the Chief Minister that only the Elementary Teacher Training (ETT) cadre would be considered for these posts, the recent announcement to the contrary by the former had put the future of the ETT cadre under a cloud of fear.
Mr Chahal said ignoring the ETT cadre would prove to be a wrong step and contrary to the recommendations of the Kothari Commission as well as the directives of the NCERT. He said approximately 2,000 ETT teachers all over the state were ready to be appointed.
PATIALA, Oct 28 Mr Amarjit Singh, Chairman, Road Safety Programme Implementation Committee, Union Ministry of Surface Transport, and former Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), died last night of cardiac arrest at Punjab Bhavan, New Delhi.
He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter. The cremation will take place here tomorrow at 10.30 a.m.
Mr Singh had been serving
as Chairman of the Road Safety Programme Implementation
Committee since 1995. In 1994, he was appointed member of
the National Shipping Board, a statutory body of the
Government of India. In 1990, he was appointed Chairman
of the PPSC.
railway ticket agents demanded
LUDHIANA, Oct 28 Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar continue to receive step-motherly treatment from the railway authorities regarding the appointment of railway ticket service agents. (RTSAs).
Ludhiana which has a population of nearly 30 lakh; has only two RTSAs whereas according to the norms laid down by the railways, the number should not be less than 25. According to leaders of the Ludhiana-based Rashtriya Anti-Corruption Council, infighting among certain railway officials at Ferozepur and Ludhiana is the main reason for the failure of the railway authorities to select more RTSAs at the three stations.
Letters from Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, MP and President of the state unit of the BJP, Mr Satpal Gosain, a local BJP MLA to the Railway Minister have failed to move the authorities.
In December, 1996, and
February, 1997, applications for the appointment of RTSAs
were invited for stations in Ferozepur division. A
screening and inspection committee, however, cancelled
the proposal in March with out assigning any reasons.
in memory of Navtej Puadhi
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 A literary function in memory of noted Punjabi short story writer, Navtej Puadhi, will be held at Government College, Ropar, on November 14.
Mr Gurnam Singh and Mr
Shinder Pal Singh, president and general secretary of the
Navtej Puadhi Memorial Trust International said here
today that a kahani and kavi durbar will be the
highlights of the function in which renowned poets and
story writers will take part.
CHANDIGARH, Oct 28 The Punjab Government will observe a dental health fortnight in the state from November 2 to 16 next, according to Mr Manoranjan Kalia, Health and Family Welfare Minister.
In all 56 special dental
camps would be held in all the districts and
sub-divisions. About two lakh people would be treated
during this fortnight. Mr Kalia said more than 2,000 sets
of dentures, worth Rs 60 lakh, would be distributed free
of cost to the poor and old people with the active
involvement of NGOs.
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