|P U N J A B||
Tuesday, September 8, 1998
points finger at govt
open to coalition with Congress
plan' only on papers
accused of negligence
Commission not needed: Badal
enacts war scene today
students block traffic
sangat urged to boycott Ajit
service fined for delay
on loan repayment demanded
Protest rallies by Left, BSP
AMRITSAR, Sept 7 A joint protest rally, organised by the BSP, CPI and CPM held here today demanded immediate withdrawal of "fabricated" cases registered against BSP leaders, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri (general secretary) and Mr Shingara Ram Sahungra, BSP MLA. They said that both leaders were booked at the instance of the state government on political grounds.
The leaders of the BSP, CPI and CPM strongly condemned the inflation which had broken the backbone of marginal farmers and workers. They also highlighted the issue of rise in suicides by farmers as the result of ill-framed policies.
Among those who addressed the rally were Mr Sardul Singh Nona, district president (rural) BSP, Mr Vijaymishra general secretary, CPM and Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, general secretary CPI.
LUDHIANA: To protest against the rise in prices of essential commodities, increase in bus fare and electricity tariff and deteriorating economic and law and order situation. The CPI, CPM and BSP started a 24-hour hunger strike here today in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana.
Various speakers criticised the Badal government for increasing bus fares to please rich transporters and electricity tariff to fulfil the gap created by providing free electricity to rich farmers.
Essential commodities like onions and tomatoes had gone out of reach of the common man, they said.
JALANDHAR: The BSP, CPI and CPM today announced that they would put up a joint candidate for the Adampur assembly bye-election and urged the Congress not to contest the seat if it wanted to defeat the SAD-BJP alliance.
The Congress has no business to put up its candidate as it would only help the SAD-BJP alliance. It should rather support the BSP-CPI-CPM candidate and help consolidate secular forces, CPI state secretary Dr Joginder Dayal told reporters here.
While Dr Dayal was not clear about which of the three parties would be actually contesting the seat which has fallen vacant due to the death of Sarup Singh, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, state president of the BSP C D Kamboj categorically declared that his party would be putting up a candidate.
State chiefs and senior leaders of the three parties along with hundreds of workers today resorted to a day-long hunger strike in all districts to protest what they called "anti-people" policies of the SAD-BJP regime in the state.
Brar points finger at
GURUSAR (Muktsar), Sept 7 The Punjab Congress will approach the state Lok Pal shortly against corruption by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his ministerial colleagues.
Announcing this at a rally organised in protest against the misdeeds of the SAD-BJP combine government of Punjab, PPCC, Vice-President, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar said that his party was gathering evidence against Mr Badal and others ministers of Punjab.
He said that the date for filing of the suit in, would be finalised on September 15, when the state-level meeting of PPCC would be held at Chandigarh.
Mr Brar said so far the Congress had gathered information regarding large scale bungling in use of funds combatting water-logging in Muktsar district and in grant of bus routes. Senior leaders had also taken large commissions from the big industrial houses for allowing them to set up units in the state, he alleged. He said hundreds of Congress leaders and workers had been implicated in false criminal cases.
The vice-president announced that the Congress would continue dharnas throughout the state till Mr Badal's government was ousted from power.
He alleged that to divert the attention of public from its failure on all fronts, the Punjab Government had introduced the "Kala Kachchewala" gangs.
Mr Brar demanded a CBI probe into the activities of "Kala Kachchewala" gangs to unmask the forces behind the gangs.
He said Mr Badal's government had increased bus fares only to benefit 20 families of Punjab and promised that whenever the Congress party came to power all the hikes in bus fare, electricity and property registration fee would be withdrawn.
Mr Brar said that the SAD-BJP government in the state was fast loosing its popularity with leaders of both parties openly criticising each other. He said the BJP and Congress had both demanded a ban on the People's Commission formed by Justice Kuldip Singh but the SAD had so far not clarified its position.
Regarding Udham Singh Nagar, he said that the state Congress leadership as well as the Centre was opposing the merger of Udham Singh Nagar into the proposed Uttranchal state.
He said Mr Badal was making propaganda about the previous Congress government being most corrupt but had failed to institute a single case against any Congress minister.
to crackdown on hoarders
LUDHIANA, Sept 7 The Punjab Government has pleaded with the Central government to make certain changes in their policies and to implement them strictly to reverse the steep rise in the prices of essential commodities.
This was disclosed by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab, and general secretary, SAD, while addressing a meeting of party workers here today.
The Finance Minister said that the rise in prices was the handiwork of the middlemen and hoarders out to make a fast buck. He said that the state government would initiate firm steps to expose and punish these anti-social hoarders and profiteers. The Centre has also been requested to make sufficient imports in case of shortages.
The Finance Minister reiterated his governments' stand in getting long-pending demands of the state accepted. He said that now the SAD-BJP governments was in power both at the state and the Centre, the issues of sharing of river waters, Chandigarh and other Punjabi speaking areas of the state would be settled amicably.
Referring to the issue of
more financial powers to the state, the Finance Minister
said that in the last meeting of the 11th Financial
Commission, he had demanded for the enhancement of the
state's share in the taxes upto 50 per cent and to
reschedule the Centre, State and Concurrent lists on
financial matters and give residual powers to the state.
On the states financial position he said with the
curtailing of unnecessary expenditure, there was no
shortage of funds for developmental schemes.
Mulayam open to coalition with
AMRITSAR, Sept 7 Ruling out the possibility of mid-term elections Rashtriya Loktantrik Morcha (RLM) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav has said that it would endeavour to form a coalition government with the support of like-minded parties if the Vajpayee government "collapsed under its own weight".
Addressing a crowded press conference here today, Mr Yadav said the Vajpayee government had lost the faith of the electorate and had no moral right to stay in power.
Replying a question, Mr Yadav said that RLM would consider forming a coalition with the Congress if it "dislodged" the Vajpayee government.
He, however, criticised the three-day brainstorming session of the Indian National Congress at Pachmarhi which emphasised more on "finishing" Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh than suggesting ways and means to dislodge the Vajpayee government which had spread 'communalism' in the country. The minorities were feeling insecure under this government, he alleged.
Mr Amar Singh, chief spokesman of the RLM, said that while the BJP was a "great evil", the Congress was a "lesser evil" for the morcha. "We have not forgotten the demolition of the Babri masjid and Operation Bluestar".
Mr Yadav called upon the Shiromani Akali Dal to immediately withdraw support from the Vajpayee government as it never remained sincere towards Punjab and Punjabis. Apart from the Congress, the BJP too contributed towards worsening of the Punjab situation which claimed hundreds of innocent lives in the past, he said.
Ridiculing the stand of SAD of withdrawing support from the Vajpayee government on the issue of exclusion of Udham Singh Nagar from the proposed Uttaranchal state, Mr Yadav said that Mr Badal was unlikely to take a firm stand on the matter despite the party's ultimatum served on the central government. He, however, said that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra would stick to the stand of withdrawing the support from the Vajpayee government if the Bill on Udham Singh Nagar was tabled in Parliament.
He said that it was a matter of concern that the BJP was supporting the school of though that Udham Singh Nagar should be included in Uttaranchal even though 95 per cent panchayats of the district had passed resolutions against it. He said the Rashtriya Janata Party and the RLM would continue to fight for the exclusion of Udham Singh Nagar and Hardwar from the proposed hill state.
Replying to a question, Mr Yadav did not rule out the possibility of forming a third front in Punjab. He said that Mr Kuldip Singh Wadala, former senior vice-president of the SAD, had accorded him a warm welcome at Jalandhar railway station and hence talks could be initiated with him for forming such a forum. Mr Yadav said that he could form an alliance with the SAD provided it withdrew support from the Vajpayee-led coalition at the Centre.
He appealed to the Punjabis to oust the BJP from Punjab and the Centre as well as the BJP was out to "divide" the countrymen on the basis of caste and religion. He alleged that the BJP was firm on constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya on the disputed land which would be opposed by RLM tooth and nail.
The RLM president supported Chief Election Commissioner M.S. Gill on the issue that all chief ministers should resign before elections for a free and fair poll. He said that Mr Gill had initiated a very healthy debate by raising this issue.
Mr Yadav said that during Mr Vajpayee's rule, the Kashmir issue was internationalised by Mr Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa.
Mr Yadav criticised the BJP government in Maharashtra for not implementing the Srikrishna report on the Mumbai riots. He said that Srikrishna was the sitting Judge of the high court and incidentally belonged to the Hindu community, which was being dubbed as "anti-Hindu" and "pro-Muslim". He said that if the report of commission was not implemented in toto, it would be harmful for the democracy.
Mr Yadav, Mr Amar Singh and Mr K.S. Tyagi, Member of Parliament, paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht here.
They were honoured with a siropa at the Information Centre by Mr Surjit Singh, Secretary, SGPC.
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 Punjab is yet to operationalise the mechanism for effective and responsive administration in the light of an "action plan" prepared at the national level, involving all states.
The "action plan" is based on the recommendations of a conference of all Chief Secretaries held in New Delhi in November, 1996. As a follow-up on that all the Chief Ministers had met on May 24, 1997, and framed certain recommendations which states were to implement. Recently, on August 17, representatives from the states again met at New Delhi to "review" the "public grievances and administrative reforms" sought to be introduced as a sequel to the two conferences.
Nothing tangible has been achieved either at the Centre or in the states, at least this holds good for Punjab. The entire exercise was aimed at changing the present "negative" perception of public services as "apathetic, insensitive, dilatory, corrupt and discriminatory". The blame for this is to be shared by both, the political executive and the bureaucracy. One important aspect was that none of the three elements of governance and administration, legislature, executive and judiciary, should overstep its respective jurisdictions.
In the speech delivered by Mr Parkash Singh Badal at the conference of Chief Ministers, presided over by the Prime Minister, on May 24, 1997, he had made several significant observations and claims. Even after over one year of that conference, nothing concrete has happened, partly because some issues could be handled only after New Delhi had acted upon. These primarily relate to Parliament, including a legislation for freedom of information, and amendments to the relevant provisions of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, and the Indian Evidence Act. But even what states could have done is still pending, including simplification of systems for quick dispensation of justice.
Mr Parkash Singh had endorsed all legislations and promised "greater transparency" in the government and public bodies. He had also said employees conduct rules would be amended as soon as the same were amended by the government in the central code of conduct rules. No progress had been made on these issues.
The grievance committees at the district level have been reconstituted. But their functioning is far from satisfactory. The state is yet to appoint officers with a "clean" record as "nodal officers" to attend to public grievances and to monitor their disposal.
The promised "computerised" grievances monitoring system in the districts, which he said would be implemented, has remained on paper. Likewise, under the "courtnic project" all district courts were to be computerised and linked with the High Court and the Supreme Court under that project. From the district court one could access information on "judis" data base which gives information about the cases of the last 40 years. Action is still awaited.
There are no visible signs of decentralisation of the delivery system of services, despite amendments to the Constitution regarding devolution of administrative and financial powers to the panchayats and municipalities. In fact, the local self-government has been reduced to a department of "grants" for survival, while petty political squabbles eclipse panchayats whose grants are orchestered correspondingly.
The idea behind the two conferences and the ideals listed in the recommendations, if implemented and enforced in letter and spirit, can change the face of administration in a democracy, admit powers that be. But where is the political will and the spirit of sacrifice in the bureaucracy? The conferences represented the culmination of a national debate on effective and responsive administration, which agreed that immediate "corrective steps" should be taken to restore the faith of the people in the "fairness" integrity and responsiveness of the administration.
There was to be a system regarding promotions, postings and transfers at all levels. For higher administrative echelons constitution of a high-powered "services board" was suggested. This board was to look to the service concerning senior officers, including Chief Secretary, Director-General of Police etc.
There was also to be a "civil service code" and "charter of ethics" for cleansing public services and political executive and understanding their relationship. Nothing has happened.
A cross-section of Deputy
Commissioners contacted by TNS admit that "the
impact" is somehow missing. They feel concentration
is required in some areas like "old age
pension", posting of teachers/doctors (there are
thousands of vacancies), second look at waste of sources
and resources at "focal points" and working of
departments like Revenue, PWD, Public Health, Transport
error led to mishap
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 The Guru Hargobind thermal plant (GHTP) at Lehra Mohabbat, the first unit of which has been shut for about three months following a mishap in its turbine wing, has remained embroiled in one controversy or the other right from the word go.
Although an inquiry has been ordered to find out the cause of the mishap, informed sources in the plant told TNS that there was no need of an inquiry as it was a plain case of human failure.
Sources said that as the turbine was not getting oil supply for lubrication, its temperature started shooting up and it jammed instantly. Although one of the officials on duty had noted that the temperature of the turbine was rising rapidly he was unable to react quickly to rectify the fault.
Sources said that a Class IV employee was asked to clean a valve fitted in the unit supplying oil to the turbine. He fitted the valve after cleaning it but forgot to link up the pipe supplying fresh oil with the oil supplying unit. This ultimately led to the jamming of the unit.
But what was puzzling all concerned was why the turbine did not trip automatically following constant rise in the temperature. Informed sources said that there was an automatic "in-built" system for tripping of turbine following any sort of fault or rising of temperature beyond a certain degree in it.
Mr S.K. Tuteja, Chairman, Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) said that efforts were being made to find out whether it was a mechanical failure or human failure that led to the accident in the turbine. He said that the immediate aim of the PSEB authorities was to rebuild the turbine and get the unit to resume generation at the earliest possible. He said that the PSEB authorities had preponed the commissioning of the second unit of 210 MW by 15 days.
Mr Tuteja said that the process of commissioning of the second unit would be completed by the end of September 30. Earlier, it was to be completed by October 15.
The loss to the PSEB due to the mishap, although not assessed so far, will be several crores of rupees. The entire turbine will have to be rebuilt.
When the first unit was commissioned some months ago, it had started giving trouble. It took several weeks to stabilise. But at that time the plant authorities were more interested in keeping it running as the demand for power in the state had shot up due to the onset of summer and paddy transplantation.
As many as three Chief
Engineers, who served at the plant, remained in the
centre of one controversy or the other. One Chief
Engineer was given one year's extension in service after
the age of superannuation. But he had to quit midway of
his extended term. Another was sent on leave following a
controversy with regard to some construction work and
payment to a contractor. Yet another was suspended
recently. As the engineers' lobby demanded the revoking
of his suspension order, the PSEB authorities reinstated
accused of negligence
GURDASPUR, Sept 7 Mr Mohan Lal, Forest Minister, at a press conference last evening accused Chief Medical Officer for playing politics instead of improving health services in the district.
He accused the Chief Medical Officer of not attending to a patient, Tarsem Lal, son-in-law of Ms Raj Rani, president of the mahila morcha of the district BJP unit, who was brought in a serious condition to the hospital on August 31 and was referred to Amritsar where he succumbed to his injuries.
The BJP workers led by Mr Ravi Gupta held a demonstration in front of the hospital to protest against the "negligence" of hospital authorities.
Mr Kartar Singh Pahra, MLA, who was present during the conference alleged that Rs 44 lakh meant for district hospitals had been cornered by doctors. He further alleged that the team of the Health Department which took samples from Naushehra Majja Singh took Rs 1,200, Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,700 from three shopkeepers as gratification for not seizing their food samples.
The Cabinet Minister accompanied by local MLA held a press conference against an official for the first time in the district.
However, rebutting the charges, Dr Ajaib Singh Sandhu, Chief Medical Officer told newsmen here today that there was no delay on the part of the doctor to treat the patient and on ambulance driver for taking him to Amritsar. But he still had recommended action against the officials.
Regarding the controversy over Rs 44 lakh received by the hospital from the health corporation, Dr Sandhu said the money was directly released by the Managing Director, Punjab Health Corporation, and was spent by the engineering wing of the corporation.
Dr Sandhu alleged that the minister was antagonised as he did not alter a medico-legal case report of his relative from Rattangarh here inspite of his consistent pressures.
His relative was given the medico-legal report by the Medical Officer of Taragarh under Section 307, IPC.
People's Commission not needed:
NANGAL (ROPAR), Sept 7 Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the Chairman of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, Justice V.K. Khanna was appointed on the recommendation of Justice Kuldip Singh, who is now a member of the People's Commission.
Mr Badal said this, while talking to newsmen at Swamipur village, near here, after attending the fourth death anniversary function of Sant Mihan Singh of Nanaksar Ashram.
Mr Badal said that there was no need to set up the People's Commission when the Punjab Human Rights Commission was there to look into complaints regarding violation of human rights.
The Chief Minister expressed these views when his attention was drawn to a report that Justice Kuldip Singh had said that the People's Commission was formed when state government did not constitute a judicial commission, despite a promise by the SAD-BJP government.
Regarding the ongoing tussle among the Jathedars of the three Takhts, he said that the matter concerned the SGPC and he did not want to intervene.
Earlier, addressing the congregation at the function, Mr Badal urged the gathering to follow the path shown by Sant Baba Mihan Singh.
Where numberless vehicles are
ABOHAR: "Babu", "Munjal", "Sodhi", "Benetton Colours", "Merrymood", "Fighters" and "Sweetheart", these are some of the names one can see on the numberplates of vehicles moving here for several months.
To move without a number on the vehicle is considered a status symbol here.
This town is known for having the maximum number of vehicles and arms as well in the district.
If the District Transport-officer (DTO) has to acquire buses or trucks for a rally sponsored by the ruling party, he or she will have to concentrate on Abohar only. A few days back, a dozen buses were reportedly acquired for transporting sarpanches and panches to the district headquarters where they were to be administered the oath by the Minister for Panchayats. This resulted in a dearth of buses for regular passengers.
Minors can be found driving vehicles openly in this sub-divisional town. No driving licence is needed a simple reference giving the mame of the head of the family would be sufficient to escape punishment from the traffic police. Driving licences are generally issued in two stages, first of all one is issued learner's licence, after three to six months, a permanent licence is issued.
Mr B.L. Khatri, convener of the traffic awareness programme of the Lions Club (Greater Abohar), says in UK or other developed countries one has to pass a written test. If a learner's licence is issued, the person would be a co-driver with any experienced licence-holder but no law persists here. Mr Khatri happens to be the first citizen who attended an international conference of the Lions Club last month.
According to a survey, a majority of the citizens here were having driving licences issued at Khadur Saheb, a new sub-division that is not even a part of Ferozepore division. Licences were issued allegedly through middlemen. The applicant need not go to Khadur Saheb.
A middleman on the condition of anonymity said the application form contained the address of any village with the remark the applicant was a resident of Abohar but now resides in Khadur Saheb sub-division.
Each applicant is considered trained so a permanent licence is issued in his or her favour by the sub-divisional office or licensing authority there. Hundreds of such licenses are allegedly issued from Khadur Saheb. None of the applicants had gone there. This created problems for the local authorities.
To streamline the system, a camp was recently organised with the help of the Bharat Vikas Parishad. Arrangements were made to complete all formalities under one roof. Doctors, two notaries members of municipal council provided free service. Even forms were distributed free of cost. Others had to buy the form at prices ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 10 each.
The SDM, D.K. Tiwari, and his staff was present despite a holiday. Only a prescribed fee was deposited. This camp affected the underhand business of middlemen a agents operating from the tehsil complex. The crowd was unmanageable because the citizens had for the first time realised the importance of a licence following directions issued by Mr Justice Swatantar Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. As many as 1600 learners licences were issued.
More persons are on the waiting list. Voluntary organisations have decided to organise one more camp to benefit the citizens and weed out corruption.
The citizens in a memorandum urged the state government to conduct an inquiry into the alleged malpractices going on in the licensing system at Khadur Saheb so that the basic purpose of enforcing traffic rules is not defeated.
enacts war scene today
ASAL UTTAR (Amritsar), Sept 7 The battle of Asal Uttar and its hero of the war Abdul Hamid will become alive tomorrow when the Army acts and presents the battle scene at the function organised to remember the martyrs.
The Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, is expected to attend the function.
It is for the first time that such a big function has been planned to commemorate the great hero of the 1965 war. Lt-Col D.K. Bhardwaj says the aim is to show how the great heroes laid down their lives to protect the nation 33 years back.
On the other hand, the war memorial of Abdul Hamid lies totally neglected. There is no one to look after or clean the structure. There is also no arrangement to light the memorial.
This is the place where men of 4 Grenadiers made the Pakistan forces run back in the second week of September, 1965 during the Indo-Pak war. It is more often known as the "Graveyard of Patton tanks" as seven tanks of the Pakistani Army were captured within 48 hours and three of them were destroyed single handed by the company quarter havildar Abdul Hamid. Abdul Hamid, the great hero kept continuously firing from his gun. As he was aiming at the fourth tank he was hit by the fire of another tank and killed. For his act of bravery he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra.
The men of 4 Grenadiers under the command of Lt-Col F. Bhatty not only set the vehicles and tanks of the Pakistani Army on fire but also killed the General Officer Commanding and Commander of the Army artillery brigade of the Toofan Armoured Division. The Central government awarded the entire regiment the battle honour "Asal Uttar" which means "Befitting reply".
On September 6, 1965, 4 Grenadiers as part of 4 Mountain Division captured the Pannuan bridge across Kalia on Ichhogil Canal in Pakistan. However, they retreated soon, anticipating that the Pakistani Army would launch an attack on Amritsar, Hareke and Beas. To destroy the Patton tank Toofan armoured division of the Army, the battalion worked the whole night to complete the trenches and the weapon pits by the morning of September 8.
The next day the Pakistani Army opened fire, resulting in heavy artillery shelling from machine guns. Abdul Hamid decided to blow the tanks using the sugarcane fields as a cover to his jeep. Seeing the tanks set on fire, the Pakistani vehicles withdrew. The real climax was yet to follow, the Pakistani Army came with full strength to break through the battalion axis on the Bhikhiwind-Khem Karan road.
Interestingly, no function was organised last year by the Army to remember the great hero.
Teachers slam AIFUCTO
AMRITSAR, Sept 7 In a significant decision Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) has decided to disassociate itself completely from AIFUCTO or calling off the 26-day- old indefinite strike in alleged contravention of its executive held on September 4. It also decided not to respond to any call of AIFUCTO in future for its "treacherous decision".
It was also resolved that the GNDUTA executive would make efforts to form a federation of All-Indian Universities in consultation with PFUTA and other university teachers organisations to address the demands of university teachers. GNDUTA pledged to continue its struggle for the implementation of UGC recommendations and better service conditions, and to support FEDCUTA and other university teachers associations in this regard.
The general body meeting of Guru Nanak Dev University Teachers Association (GNDUTA) held here today strongly condemned the AIFUCTO leadership's to call off the strike without getting their demands accepted, as "stabbing in the back".
Dr Bedi, president, GNDUTA, alleged that the decision by the AIFUCTO leadership had been taken in contravention of the decision taken on September 4.
In that meeting, it had been decided unanimously that the strike would continue till the genuine demands of teachers were accepted. By calling off the strike the AIFUCTO leadership had betrayed the teaching community and failed to safeguard the interests of university teachers, it said.
The GNDUTA condemned the negative attitude of the HRD Ministry towards the long-pending demands of university teachers.
Keeping in view the interests of students, the executive decided to resume the teaching work with effect from September 8 and to compensate for the time lost due to the strike by taking extra classes to complete the syllabi in time.
LUDHIANA: Though dissatisfied with the agreement reached between the HRD Minister and AIFUCTO leadership over the issue of pay scales and other service conditions of university and college teachers, PAU teachers have formally called off their 27-day-old strike today. The general body of the PAU Teachers' Association (PAUTA) which met here today strongly condemned AIFUCTO for having succumbed to the government's pressure and withdrawn the strike in spite of an overwhelming response from the teachers across the country.
It was of the view that the strike should not have been called off unless the government had agreed to implement the pay package recommended by the UGC. The general body of PAUTA unanimously resolved that in future PAU teachers would not have any truck with the AIFUCTO. On the other hand, it resolved the PAUTA would make efforts to organise the university teachers of the country under one banner.
According to Dr R K Batra and Dr P S Brar, president and secretary of the PAUTA, the teachers were highly critical of the HRD Minister, Dr M M Joshi, who, they alleged, had not only "undermined UGC, a statutory body made by an act of Parliament but also hurt and humiliated lakhs of teachers engaged in promoting higher education in the country."
students block traffic
AMRITSAR, Sept 7 Medical and dental students held a massive rally in front of the Principal Medical College's office here today. Students marched from the Government Medical College to Government Dental College and Hospital, Amritsar in protest against the uncooperative attitude of the Punjab government towards their genuine demands. They blocked traffic at the Dental College Chowk for an hour. They were holding banners which were bearing their demands. They raised slogans against the Punjab government.
Medical and dental teachers also took part in the rally from this chowk rally marched to the office of Principal, Punjab Government and Dental College and Hospital where they gherao the principal and gave a dharna in front of his office.
The rally was addressed by Dr Prem Kumar (president, PCMS Association) who assured full support to teachers and students. If their demands were not met, association will support the three-day strike call given from September 10. The rally was also addressed by Mr Balwinder Singh Sandhu (president DSA, Punjab). Mr Harpreet Singh Gill (general secretary), DSA said if the genuine demands of our teachers and students were not met then they would paralyse the health services in O.P.D.s operation theatres and wards in all the five medical and dental colleges of Punjab government during the strike.
sangat urged to boycott Ajit
GURDASPUR, Sept 7 Mr Prem Singh Sandhu, secretary, Sikh Rehat Maryada Rakhyak Samaj, in a press release issued here today has appealed to the Sikh sangat to totally boycott the newspaper, Ajit, not give public and private advertisements to it and seek the removal of Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Editor of the newspaper, from the membership of the Rajya Sabha and chairmanship of the Anandpur Sahib Trust.
He also issued a legal notice to Mr Kartar Singh Pahra to contradict within a week his statement that persons who demonstrated against Mr Barjinder Singh and burnt copies of Ajit were only a handful of misguided persons.
GURDASPUR, Sept 7 The police has arrested Mastram, a Junior Engineer posted at Ranjit Sagar Dam, and recovered 300m of electrical wires, several 1000-watt bulbs, and 27 contacters from his house.
A case under Section 409, IPC, has been registered.
According to the SSP, another Junior Engineer had been arrested recently for allegedly stealing goods from the dam.
fiscal policy condemned
GURDASPUR, Sept 7 More than 100 BSP, CPI and CPM workers sat on a one-day fast in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today in protest against price rise, enhanced power tariff, bus fare and school and college fee.
Earlier, they held a rally in which more than 250 workers participated. Prominent among them were Mr Gurnam Singh Dheerowal, former MLA of CPI, Mr Amarjit Singh Kalar, district secretary, CPM, and Mr Ved Parkash, district president, BSP.
Addressing the rally, Mr Dheerowal condemned the fiscal policy of the central government and criticised the SAD-BJP government for hiking the power tariff which had prevented industrialists from investing in Punjab.
Punjabi channel programmes from
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 The Punjabi world channels round-the-clock satellite channel in Punjabi being promoted by Hyphen Communications with an annual budget of Rs 80 crore will start beaming programmes from November 1.
Aimed at promoting Punjabi culture and heritage all over the world, the channel management has plans to provide wholesome entertainment to the Punjabis in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa with serials, talks, news and bhakti sangeet.
Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Rabindra Narayan (Director Programming), said the channel would offer meaningful programmes. He also said that to commemorate the 300th year of the birth of the Khalsa, it had been decided to carry a logo "300 years of the Khalsa" on all programmes related to Sikhism till April 13, 2000.
Mr M Suneel, Managing Director of the channel, said by April 1999, the channel would cover the entire Europe, Australia and Africa. He claimed that the management was working in close coordination with the Anandpur Sahib Foundation for elaborate coverage of all events related to the celebrations in connection with the 300th year of the birth of the Khalsa.
service fined for delay
PHAGWARA, Sept 7 The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Kapurthala, has imposed a penalty of Rs 14500 on operators of a courier and cargo service for deficiency in service that caused financial loss, harassment and loss of reputation to the complainant.
Mr Surinder Mittal, member, consumer court, today said that penalty amount include Rs 8,500 on account of loss of interest and Rs 5000 as compensation to complainant and 1000 as cost of complaint.
The complainant had booked a packet through courier on October 29, last year from here to Bathinda for its delivery on October 30. However, the packet was delivered on November 20. As the parcel contained demand draft of Rs 6.63 lakh the complainant had to get duplicate draft incurring a loss of Rs 8500 as interest.
The operator of the courier service tried to befool the complainant by showing the false receipt of delivery of parcel on November 3.
lakh robbed from liquor vend
SANGRUR, Sept 7 Three unidentified robbers looted Rs 5.25 lakh at gunpoint from a liquor vend on Sekhan Road in Barnala, 30 km from here today Morning.
The robbers locked the three employees in a room after cutting the telephone connection. As generators were working alongside the vend due to a power failure, their shouts for help were muffled and the the employees were able to come out after forcing open the door only at around 9 a.m. one hour after the robbery.
Patiala range DIG Rajinder Singh visited the spot in the afternoon. He said the police was working on clues which could help solve the case.
backs people's commission
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today said that the people's commission was functioning under the best principles of law. Addressing a press conference here, Mr Mann said the commission was hearing cases of fake encounters, custodial deaths, disappearances and torture, all of which were strictly forbidden by the Indian Constitution and criminal law.
He said that the people's commission would also attempt to enquire into human rights excesses since 1984, which include the atrocities of the Barnala Government.
The findings of the people's commission might not be binding on the State Government but these would have a very strong persuasive and moral value.
Mr Parkash Singh Badal won the election because the Akali Dal had said that it would appoint such a commission. It did not keep its promise. The BJP and the Congress on the other hand wanted to get rid of it.
He urged Ms Luxmi Kanta Chawla, a BJP MLA, not to oppose the commission. He also warned the Congress that if the party continued to oppose the people's commission, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) would hold demonstrations whenever senior Congress leaders visited Punjab.
Moratorium on loan repayment demanded
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 The Movement Against State Repression (MASR), the organisation which brought debt related suicides in focus in Punjab, has urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to declare a three-year moratorium on crop loan repayment by farmers. The MASR has also urged for waiving the interest on loans taken by all farmers whose holdings are less than five acres.
Mr Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Convener of the MASR said here today that in the past 50 years the government had been talking about introducing comprehensive crop insurance but had failed to do so. Till such time a workable crop insurance scheme was implemented, the State Government should levy an additional per quintal insurance charge on grain procured by the Central Government from the state.
He said that this fund should be used to provide compensation for crop damage in the state. He said that the reduction of crop loan interest from 18 per cent to 17 per cent announced by the State Government was inconsequential. The interest on crop loan should not exceed 5 per cent. Financial institutions should be directed to take care of the village credit needs to prevent exploitation by commission agents.
The MASR convener asked the government to make families of suicide victims eligible for pension under the widow, destitute disabled etc pension schemes. It also urged the government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the families of farmers who have committed suicide.
PATIALA, Sept 7 State Bank of Patiala employees today held a demonstration in front of the bank's head office here in support of their demands.
The employees are demanding immediate recruitment of clerical staff as per government guidelines, giving housing loans to all eligible employees, notification of the posts of the junior management scale, medical scheme for the retired employees, allocation of 3 per cent of the net profit for welfare activities as per government guidelines and shifting the branches located in poor or dingy premises.
CHANDIGARH, Sept 7 A deputation of the Coordination Committee of Officers and Employees met Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, at Barnala yesterday and apprised him of the decision of the Centre to discontinue 52 ICDS schemes which would render more than 12,000 women without livelihood.
Mrs Pritpal Kaur, co convenor of the committee, said the minister had assured them that he would take up the matter with the Prime Minister and the Human Resource Minister.
Meanwhile, the committee has decided that they would start a "jail bharo" stir on October 12 in case their demands were not met, she added.
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