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Tohra to face action after May 20
AMRITSAR, May 4 — The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to take disciplinary action against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former SGPC chief, after May 20. This has been confirmed by highly placed sources in the SAD.

Galliara scheme funds unutilised
AMRITSAR, May 4 — "An amount of about Rs 3 crore is lying un-utilised with Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, under the Galliara scheme (beautification of the Golden Temple surroundings) which should be deposited in the treasury at once and these funds may be made available to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation", thus read the proceedings of a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr R.S. Mann, Chief Secretary before the tercentenary celebrations.
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Punjab to break all records
CHANDIGARH, May 4 — Given the size, Punjab, perhaps, holds a record stock of foodgrain worldwide. Literally bursting at the seams with foodgrain, the state will put up its case before the Central Government tomorrow for quickening the movement of foodgrain to deficient states from Punjab.
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Nabha tense: temple panel flouts ban orders
NABHA (Patiala), May 4 — The district administration yesterday imposed prohibitory orders in the town which were flouted by the Temple Committee which has taken over the Shiv Durga Temple in the premises of the local Punjab Public School. The committee organised a "shobha yatra" which continued till late in the evening.

Waterlogging ‘to be poll issue’
BATHINDA, May 4 — Mr Hardev Arshi, Leader of the CPI in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today urged the Punjab Government to order a judicial inquiry into extraconstitutional killings in the state during militancy.

Major Dada cremated
JALANDHAR, May 4 — Raman Dada, son of a prominent business family here, died a soldier's death on May 2, fighting insurgents of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland in Biswanath Chariali reserve forest area in central Assam's Sonitar district. He was cremated with full military honours.

Case against Addl Director, 6 others registered
LUDHIANA, May 4 — The police today registered a criminal case against Dr P.K. Narang, Additional Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, and six other officials of the health department for their alleged involvement in a medicine scam totalling to more than Rs 1 crore.

Rs 10 cr sanctioned for Baba Farid university
FARIDKOT, May 4 — All decks have been cleared for the initiation of the academic session in the newly set up Baba Farid University of Health Sciences with the issuance of a notification regarding the affiliation of 25 medical colleges of Punjab to it.

Man kills wife
BATALA, May 4 — A woman was murdered by her husband and his sister-in-law, on May 1 according to police sources.

Decision anti-poor, say medicos
AMRITSAR, May 4 — The Medical Students Association organised a rally against the hike in fees and hospital charges by the Punjab Government in front of the office of the Medical College principal here.

Tehsildar held for contempt of court
LUDHIANA, May 4 — Mr Nirmal Singh, Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate, was today arrested for alleged contempt of court on the orders of Mr Justice G.C. Garg, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

HC directive to Deputy Commissioner on meeting of councillors
BATHINDA, May 4 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, not to hold a meeting of the municipal councillors of Maur Mandi for electing president and vice-president of the body. The meeting was to be held today.

Pollution detectors remain unmonitored
NANGAL, May 4 — The pollution detectors installed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board have remained unmonitored since the past eight months. Two pollution detectors were installed here by the board to check emission levels of three chemical plants — National Fertilisers Ltd Punjab Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd and Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd — functioning in the area.

Govt inaction irks teachers
JALANDHAR, May 4 — The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union has criticised the negative attitude of the Punjab Government towards the problems of 160 non-government affiliated colleges.

Take to cash crops, farmers told
GURDASPUR, May 4 — The Agriculture Department today organised a district agriculture camp to impart training to farmers regarding the cultivation of kharif crops. The Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal inaugurated the camp.

 
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Tohra to face action after May 20

AMRITSAR, May 4 — The Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to take disciplinary action against Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former SGPC chief, after May 20. This has been confirmed by highly placed sources in the SAD.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister and President of the SAD, during his visit to Amritsar on May 2, had indicated that the party "won't take any hasty step" against Mr Tohra. It would be taken at an "appropriate time" he had said.

The sources in the SAD said the Akali Dal had adopted a wait and watch policy as Mr Tohra had said that he would reorganise the party after the deadline set by Bhai Ranjit Singh for Mr Badal to appear before Akal Takht. Bhai Ranjit Singh had also said that he would announce a programme to "finish" Mr Badal politically and religiously if he failed to surrender before Akal Takht by May 20.

Mr Tohra had claimed that he belonged to a "real and mainstream Akali Dal" and would prove this point after the Lok Sabha elections. He said a campaign would be launched to make the Akali Dal a party of "workers" instead of "landlords".

The Badal camp wants that the blame should be on Mr Tohra for leaving the party in case he joins hands with the proposed third front being constituted by "like-minded" parties for contesting the Lok Sabha elections. In that case the Badal camp could go to the Sikh masses and say that Mr Tohra himself had left the party. This is the main reason that the party has not taken any action against Mr Tohra and his supporters so far though they have already launched a campaign against Mr Badal. Top

 

Galliara scheme funds unutilised
From Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 4 — "An amount of about Rs 3 crore is lying un-utilised with Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, under the Galliara scheme (beautification of the Golden Temple surroundings) which should be deposited in the treasury at once and these funds may be made available to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation", thus read the proceedings of a meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr R.S. Mann, Chief Secretary before the tercentenary celebrations.

This shows the indifferent attitude of the state government towards the completion of the scheme. Due to the unimaginative approach of the officials of the state government the last two phases of the Galliara scheme have been hanging fire. Though the first three phases of the scheme were completed during the Congress regime, the last two phases have been hanging fire since the formation of Akali-BJP government. The proceedings of the meeting, held at Chandigarh for raising funds for the tercentenary celebrations show how public funds were diverted for the gala event.

The proceedings further read "the Punjab Government is committed to the allround development of Anandpur Sahib and also organising special programmes in connection with the tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa. Therefore, the state government has desired that all public sector undertakings should contribute towards these projects".

Though the amount of about Rs 3 crore under the head of the Galliara scheme has been un-utilised for the past so many years yet it could not be transferred to the Anandpur Sahib Foundation due to procedural problems.

The hanging of the Galliara project has caused resentment among the residents here.

The Galliara scheme was started in 1988. It beautified the surroundings of Golden Temple with the completion of three phases. The fourth and fifth phases of the scheme included the beautification of the front portion of the Golden Temple complex. There was a plan to shift all 42 shops of the improvement trust to the area near Akhara Sangal. After shifting the shopping complex from opposite the Temple complex there was a scheme to plant ornamental trees apart from installing fountains etc.

The fifth phase of the scheme included huge and spacious parking for vehicles, including underground parking etc. There was also a plan to construct new roads.

However, due to a delay in starting work on the fourth and fifth phases, heaps of garbage could be seen at the sites. A portion of the site is also being used as 'open urinal'.

Mr Kulwant Singh, secretary, SGPC when contacted said an influential politician was behind the delay in completing the project. He said the SGPC had been urging the government to complete the project at the earliest for the past couple of years.

The Golden Temple Surroundings Committee alleged that it had been knocking at the doors of the state government but in vain. The committee leader, Mr Manjit Singh Bhatti, said the state government which claimed itself to be 'Panthic' had no interest in completing the project.

According to officials the project would be completed at a cost of Rs 10 crore.Top

 

Punjab to break all records
by Sarabjit Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, May 4 — Given the size, Punjab, perhaps, holds a record stock of foodgrain worldwide.

Literally bursting at the seams with foodgrain, the state will put up its case before the Central Government tomorrow for quickening the movement of foodgrain to deficient states from Punjab.

A high-level Central team, led by the Union Food Secretary, Mr R.S. Mathur, will land in Amritsar tomorrow to review the procurement and movement of foodgrain. Mr Mathur will be accompanied by the Managing Director of the Food Corporation of India, Mr S.S. Dawra, and other senior officers of the ministry.

In the countryside, especially areas adjacent to grain markets, one finds stacks and stacks of foodgrain. Already 68.19 lakh tonnes of wheat have been procured till last evening. Out of this 67.65 lakh tonnes have been procured by government agencies and 5,4239 tonnes by private traders.

In fact the initial target of procuring 70 lakh tonnes wheat by the government agencies will be achieved by tomorrow. Officials concerned say that all previous records are expected to be broken as far as procurement of wheat this year is concerned. Officials today revised the wheat procurement target and they say that now it would be around 75 lakh tonnes by government agencies by the close of the procurement season.

The previous record is of 72.99 lakh tonnes pertaining to 1995-96. Last year government agencies procured only 61.46 lakh tonnes as the wheat crop had suffered a setback in the state. Even wheat crop was poor in 1996-97, 1997-98 when procurement of wheat remained well below the figure of 60 lakh tonnes.

As regards arrival of wheat, so far Ferozepore is leading with a procurement of 10.25 lakh tonnes. Sangrur, which had remained on the top in the past years, is second with a procurement of 9.54 lakh tonnes and Patiala and Amritsar are on the third and fourth places, respectively, with a procurement of 6.53 lakh tonnes and 6.49 lakh tonnes respectively.

Till last evening the FCI had procured 20.08 lakh tonne, Punjab Food and Supply 4,06,019 tonnes. Markfed 14.64 lakh tonnes, Punsup 12.05 lakh tonnes. Punjab Warehouse Corporation 10.86 lakh tonnes and Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation 5.94 lakh tonnes. During the same period last year the procurement of wheat by all government agencies was 42.23 lakh tonnes. This indicates that the arrival of wheat in mandis this year is rather fast.

Asked about the revising of the procurement target, Dr A.S. Chhatwal, Director, Food and Supplies Department, Punjab, said the Agriculture Department had estimated at the initial stage that around 70 lakh tonnes of wheat would arrive in the mandis this season. But that estimate had gone haywire as wheat was expected to touch a figure of 75 lakh tonnes given the current "arrival" trend in the mandis. Keeping in view, the estimate of procurement had been revised.

What is worrying the most is stacking of fresh stocks of wheat. Already 36 lakh tonnes of wheat was lying in the state before the start of the procurement season and already 68 lakh tonnes have been added to its during the procurement of wheat in the last days. Apart from this, 46 lakh tonnes of rice is required to be stored in roofed godowns till September 15 as by that date it will be converted from paddy to rice by millers.

Dr Chhatwal said on seeing heavy arrival of wheat, the Punjab Food and Supply Department had prepared a contingency plan to stack nearly 30 lakh tonnes of wheat at "available" places. "Our immediate concern is to move such stock out from the state before the onset of the monsoon. Apart from this we would like to move out the old stock of 36 lakh tonnes of wheat by June-end."

Dr Chhatwal added that the state government would urge the Central team to move out at least 12 lakh tonnes to 14 lakh tonnes of foodgrain, including rice and wheat from Punjab to deficient states each month in the current year. "If this figure of movement of foodgrain is maintained for a year it would certainly provide a some relief to the state as far as stacking of foodgrain in the state is concerned". Otherwise, the stacking of paddy during the kharif season would be a Himalayan task, he added.

In last year the average movement of foodgrain from Punjab to deficient states remained nearly six lakh tonnes each month. Following pressure from state government it was increased to 9.3 lakh tonnes in March this year but in April it came down to 6.79 lakh tonnes. This month the authorities concerned have planned to move 9.44 lakh tonnes but this target may not be achieved, keeping in view the prevailing trend.

Officials said that the movement of foodgrain from Punjab to other states should not be less than 10 lakh tonnes each month in any case.

Sources said that people in the state had retained about 65 lakh tonnes of wheat for consumption and the total output of wheat is expected to touch 140 lakh tonnes out of 33 lakh hectares which was under the crop.

The state government has urged the RBI to give Rs 700 crore more keeping in view the heavy arrival of wheat. An amount of Rs 2,700 crore has already been released by the RBI, it is learnt. Official sources said that all stocks of bags of wheat would be cleared from mandis in a next few days as the arrival of wheat has come down to about the two lakh tonnes daily from the highest 4.98 lakh tonnes recorded on April 15.Top

 

Hot & dry weather damaging crops
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, May 4 — The prolonged hot and dry weather conditions in the North-Western region of the country is causing substantial damage to the standing crops as well as the recently sown crops. Standing crops like sunflower, moong, sugarcane and recently sown ones like cotton, fodders like Bajra, early sown paddy, some varieties of citrus fruits will require more frequent irrigation in order to fight this hot and dry condition.

Sunflower, which is at the flowering stage, stands to be the worst affected with scientists predicting stunted growth. The recently sown cotton crop would face massive seed mortality, if frequent irrigation is not provided.

According to Dr S.S. Mathauda, an agronomist at Punjab Agricultural University, "The frequent irrigation of the fields would also not help as the scorching heat would damage leaves of certain plants," he said.

According to the information available from the Department of Agrometereology, Punjab Agricultural University, the day time temperatures, which have been ranging in between 42.5C to 44C for the past week, are 4C to 5C more than normal.

This year, the last significant rainfall received was on February 23, with no rainfall at all in March, April or May. Usually, the region receives about 26 mm of rainfall in March, 20 mm in April and 22 mm in May.

Dr S.S. Hundal, Head, Department of Agrometereology, said that this hot and dry weather was a result of the non-arrival of the western depressions. These are the wind systems that originate in the West, beyond Iran and enter the North-West India after crossing over Pakistan. This year the frequency of the western depression has been less and restricted only to the upper latitude like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. This is the reason for this prevailing weather condition in Punjab and Haryana," he explained.

It is learnt that the temperature was also 2C to 3C above normal this year in March and April.

Dr Hundal also pointed out that dust storms, with scattered rainfall, were expected in the coming week, which would help lower the temperatures.Top

 

Nabha tense: temple panel flouts ban orders
From Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

NABHA (Patiala), May 4 — The district administration yesterday imposed prohibitory orders in the town which were flouted by the Temple Committee which has taken over the Shiv Durga Temple in the premises of the local Punjab Public School. The committee organised a "shobha yatra" which continued till late in the evening.

Even though Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir said prohibitory orders had been imposed in Nabha and collection of five or more persons banned under Section 144, the orders had apparently gone unheeded with the police not taking any action against those participating in the "shobha yatra" organised by the Temple Committee and various social organisations.

The yatra was led by Swami Parmanand and Sadhvi Rithambara. Swami Parmanand sat is an open jeep accompanied by Mr Om Prakash Jindal, a BJP executive committee member, who is heading the agitation against the school management.

The Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said the prohibitory orders had been imposed as the situation had become "very tense" in the city. There was apprehension that the Temple Committee might lay the foundation stone of langar bhavan in the school ground in front of the temple.

He said the district administration had not taken action against the "shobha yatra" as the religious sants were "guests" who did not know the "ground situation".

Mr Bir also said the administration would not stop devotees from gathering in the temple complex where a "jagrata" was being planned. Swami Parmanand and Sadhvi Rithambara were to address the gathering.

He, however, said elaborate security arrangements had been made around the school premises to foil any attempt by the Temple Committee to lay the foundation stone of the proposed bhavan on the school ground.

The police presence around the temple complex would continue and the administration would not permit any illegal activity at the site. Senior civil and police officials had been posted at the site which had been barricaded to meet any eventuality.

The Deputy Commissioner said part of the problem had arisen due to laxity on the part of the school management in bringing the issue to the notice of the district administration.

However, school bursar Col J.S. Mann, when contacted in the absence of the principal, said the police had "failed to enforce" the prohibitory orders. The police, he said had remained a mute spectator to the blaring of loud speakers and collection of people in the school premises. He demanded immediate restoration of the school playground besides reconstruction of the wall demolished by the mob on April 3.

The Temple Committee has also taken a hard stand on the issue. It has said that the district administration is "provoking" the devotees by posting a large posse of police around the temple complex. It has announced that "kar seva" for the proposed "langar bhavan" had been postponed till May 9.

The Temple Committee has also demanded transfer of Nabha Station House Officer Gurbaz Singh and Deputy Superintendent of Police Gurbachan Singh "within 48 hours". It has said if this does not happen, it will call for a bandh in the city.

Meanwhile, "langar" is being served in the playground in front of the temple in the school premises. Religious programmes have been planned for the next three days. The Temple Committee is mobilising city residents in its efforts to "free" the temple.Top

 

Waterlogging ‘to be poll issue’
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, May 4 — Mr Hardev Arshi, Leader of the CPI in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today urged the Punjab Government to order a judicial inquiry into extraconstitutional killings in the state during militancy.

Talking to this reporter here, he pointed out that next of kin of a large number of persons killed allegedly by the police were still running from pillar to post to get justice.

He said the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had recently asked the Punjab Government to pay Rs 5 lakh as interim compensation to Gurmeet Kaur as her husband was allegedly killed in custody in Lehragaga police station when he failed to fulfil certain demands of the Station House Officer (SHO).

He added that this proved that the police had indulged in inhuman acts and a judicial probe had become necessary.

Mr Arshi alleged that the Punjab Government had bartered away the interests of the state to the Centre just to extract petty benefits.

He added that the Punjab Government had failed to get Rs 300 crore from the central government for compensating the rain-affected paddy and cotton growers.

He claimed that waterlogging in Mansa and Muktsar districts and the non-payment of compensation to the farmers for the loss of their crops would be a major issue in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He added that the ruling SAD-BJP combine had no explanation in this regard.

He alleged that people were not getting justice from the authorities concerned as the Punjab Government had failed to give a direction to the bureaucracy. The state government was facing a financial crunch due to fiscal management by the authorities concerned.Top

 

Major Dada cremated
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 4 — Raman Dada, son of a prominent business family here, died a soldier's death on May 2, fighting insurgents of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Biswanath Chariali reserve forest area in central Assam's Sonitar district. He was cremated with full military honours.

Raman Dada (30) was educated here in Apee Jay School and did his bachelors degree in commerce from DAV College. "But business did not interest him, his passion was to become a soldier, " says a shocked father, Mr Ravi Dada, while holding his one-and-half-year old grandson, Dhruv, who is confused by a large number of people in his house. Raman Dada had spent the last one month with his family. He left for Assam on April 1, never to return alive.

Commissioned in 1991, he married Anjani, daughter of Retd Colonel H.S. Dogra. The colonel has already lost his only son Capt Rajesh Dogra, who was killed while laying ambush in the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

"My son laid down his life on the border in Jammu and Kashmir and now my son-in-law has become a martyr". Finding it a little difficult to speak Col Dogra said that both the deaths in his family were due to the political turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. He said, "The Army is always called in to combat the militancy when civilian initiative fails. But I have become a victim of militancy losing my son and son-in-law in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.

He looks at his young widowed daughter Anjani and says that though, she would get the declared benefits by the Army, the Assam Government should give some help as her husband died fighting the militants there. Mr Ravi Dada, too, feels that the Punjab Government and the Chief Minister should at least honour Major Dada of the 11th Sikh Regiment of the Army's 21 Mountain Division.

The funeral pyre was lit by Mr Vishnu Dada, younger brother of the deceased Lt General Kamal Davar, Core Commander, 11 Corps, Maj Gen R. Karthikeyam, Chief of Staff, 11 Corps, over 150 Army officers and nearly 400 jawans were present along with a large gathering of city residents.

Sadly, Major Raman Dada is the third Army casualty from here. Major Rohit Sharma (30), only son of a doctor couple, died on June 17, 1998 at Poonch, while 22-year-old Lt Sachin Khider of 12 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, was killed on October 31, 1998.Top

 

Medicine scam over Rs 1 crore
Case against Addl Director, 6 others registered
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, May 4 — The police today registered a criminal case against Dr P.K. Narang, Additional Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, and six other officials of the health department for their alleged involvement in a medicine scam totalling to more than Rs 1 crore.

Six others figuring in the FIR are Dr G.P. Chander, Civil Surgeon (Retd), Dr Harcharan Singh, the then Assistant Civil Surgeon, (ACS), Ludhiana, and now SMO, ESI Hospital, Phagwara, Mr Budh Singh, Chief Pharmacist, Mr Gurnam Singh, Pharmacist, Mr Satish Kumar Garg, Senior Assistant and Mr Rajinder Kumar, Assistant Controller (Finance and Accounts).

The case against them has been registered under Section 409 and 120-B, IPC, and Section 7/13 of Prevention of Corruption Act. Action against them, including suspension from service, has already been initiated by the Minister for Health, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, on the basis of a report of inquiry conducted into the scam by Mr G.R. Bansal, Joint Secretary, Health.

The inquiry into the scam revealed that Dr Narang and others had been purchasing medicines and medical items at rates 100 per cent to 200 per cent more than those prevailing in the open market for nearly three years. For instance, Ciprofloxacin plus Tinidazon which was available in the market. at Rs 3.10 was purchased at Rs 7.85 per tablet. Similarly, a tablet of Brufen plus Paracetamol was purchased for 84 paise against 34 paise available in the market. Capsules of Clox 250 mg were purchased for Rs 4.94 against Rs 1.84 per capsule available in the market.

The same modus operandi was adopted with regard to surgical items. BP apparatus mercury was purchased for Rs 850 per piece as against Rs 375 available in the market. Intravenous scalripvein set purchased for Rs 5 per piece against Rs 1.15 available in the market. Sterliser was purchased at the rate of Rs 1200 per piece as against 790 available in the market. As regards sponge holding forceps, they were purchased at the rate of Rs 125 and Rs 140 against Rs 45 and Rs 55 available in the market.

According to government instructions, the Civil Surgeon is competent to purchase medicines upto Rs 10,000 only in one go by inviting quotations. As regards purchases above Rs 10,000, tenders have to be invited.

The inquiry report revealed that the entire purchases were split up to the level of Rs 10,000 in order to avoid tenders. It was a calculated and deliberate action and by doing so large amount of government funds had been pocketed by the Civil Surgeon and his staff because the purchases made at the lowest quotations carried at least 100 per cent to 200 per cent more rates than the prevailing market rates.

In December 1997, medicines valuing Rs 5.88 lakh received by Civil Surgeon, Ludhiana, from the centralised store were shown to have been lost in transit as per entry made in the stock register. The report said it was astonishing to note that despite the fact that loss of the medicines came to the notice of then Civil Surgeon, no action was taken the matter was just hushed up. Thus, medicines and material around Rs 70 lakh were misappropriated by Mr Budh Singh, Chief Pharmacist, Mr Gurnam Singh, Pharmacist and it is felt that this much of huge loss and misappropriation could not have been caused without the connivance and malafides of the then Civil Surgeon and ACS. The ACS being the overall in charge of the stores was "definitely and absolutely held to be responsible."Top

 

Rs 10 cr sanctioned for Baba Farid university
From Chander Parkash and Romesh Gupta
Tribune News Service

FARIDKOT, May 4 — All decks have been cleared for the initiation of the academic session in the newly set up Baba Farid University of Health Sciences with the issuance of a notification regarding the affiliation of 25 medical colleges of Punjab to it.

The university authorities had decided to conduct various examinations in November and December this year of the 25 medical colleges of Punjab which would be affiliated to it on July 1, 1999.

Dr L.S. Chawla, Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, while addressing a press conference here today said six medical, eight dental, seven ayurvedic, three nursing colleges and one institute of physiotherapy and rehabilitation which were now affiliated to Punjabi University, Guru Nanak Dev University and Panjab University would be affiliated with this university on July 1,1999.

He added that apart from the academic examinations, the university would interview and do counselling work for admission in colleges of health sciences in the state through Punjab medical entrance test (PMET). He added that this year the PMET would be conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University on behalf of Baba Farid University.

Dr Chawla said Rs 10 crore had been sanctioned by the Punjab Government for this university. A sum of Rs 6 crore would be spent on acquiring about 122 acres of land, Rs 3 crore on the first phase of building and Rs 1 crore on routine works. He added that Rs 1 crore had also been given by the central government for setting up a library and informatic centre in the university.

He pointed out that all 25 colleges affiliated with the university would be provided with inter-informatics linkage and with prominent institutions in the country and abroad. He added that 20 senior members of the faculty would be recruited this month.

The university would lay stress on integrated research on allopathic, ayurvedic and homoeopathic systems to evolve better and effective treatment of various diseases falling in the grey zone area of medical sciences. The university would organise seminars at regular intervals at different places in the state to educate the public about the preventive measures to be taken to check the spread of different kinds of diseases.

Dr Chawla pointed out the list of 34 members of the Senate had been sent to the state government and it would be approved by July 19, 1999. He said the university would conduct about 100 examinations in 250 subjects for 7,500 students every year.

He added a Rs 500 crore plan for 15 years of the university had been sent to the Planning Commission of India. The blueprints of the buildings had been finalised and construction of various buildings would start shortly as the Rs 10 crore sanctioned for it would be released by the end of June 1999. Top

 

Man kills wife
Tribune News Service

BATALA, May 4 — A woman was murdered by her husband and his sister-in-law, on May 1 according to police sources.

Rajwant Kaur, alias Gorkhi, was married to Suba Singh, a resident of Kotli Surat Mallian, about 10 years ago. Nine years after her marriage she gave birth to a son, but lost her husband six months later.

She was then offered "chaadar" by her husband's younger brother, Pavittar Singh. But her tale of woes did not end here. She soon learnt that her new husband was having illicit ties with his sister-in-law Daljit Kaur, wife of Mangal Singh, elder brother of Pavittar Singh.

When Rajwant Kaur objected to the same, her husband began to beat her up.

On May 1, while Daljit Kaur caught, Rajwant by her legs, Pavittar Singh strangled her with a rope. They hanged the body by a "girder" to make it seem like suicide but then changed their minds and laid the body on the floor.

After this, they fled to Amritsar.

According to Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Batala, the police has arrested the accused., The two have confessed to the crime.Top

 

Decision anti-poor, say medicos
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR, May 4 — The Medical Students Association organised a rally against the hike in fees and hospital charges by the Punjab Government in front of the office of the Medical College principal here.

The students demanded withdrawal of notification in this regard. The Class IV Union of College Employees also supported the rally.

GARHSHANKAR (FOC): The decision to increase the fees of medical students as well as treatment charges in the states' three medical and two dental colleges has been flayed by all sections of society.

Congress leader Kanwal Singh, MLA Shingara Ram Sahungra, BSP General Secretary Avtar Singh Karimpuri and Marxist Darshan Singh Matto have termed the decision as "anti-poor and anti-Punjabis".

Senior Vice-President of the Punjab Samata Party, Mr Inderjit Saini, and Youth Samata President Harish Saini said instead of sharply increasing the charges for medical services, the government should review its populist policies like free electricity and water and the "shagan" schemes.

PATIALA (TNS): Various medical associations and social organisations today condemned the hike in medical service charges in government medical college hospitals in Punjab even as the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association welcomed the ‘rationalisation’ of charges.

The Patiala district committee of the Association for Democratic Rights condemned the unprecedented hike in medical service charges in government medical college hospitals in the state. Association President Sucha Singh Gill said it was ironical that the charges had been raised to shut the doors of government hospitals to the poor section of society.

The association said the hike exposed the hypocrisy of the government and also revealed its anti-people and anti-poor policy. The association appealed to all political parties, including the ruling party and trade unions, to rise above political considerations to oppose the anti-people policies of the government for the welfare of society.

The PCMS Officers Association of Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala opposed the steep hike in charges. The executive body of the Association appealed to the government to withdraw the undue hike. According to Dr D.S. Bhullar, president and Dr Ashok Kumar general secretary of the association.

The doctors said instead of giving free basic amenities like health and education, the government had commercialised the same which would adversely hit the poor.

The Punjab State Pharmacists Association, the Mehnatkash Sangharsh Kendra, Patiala and the Punjab School of Studies and Social Action here also condemned the hike in medical charges.

However, the Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association welcomed the rationalising of charges which it said would generate money to be used for improvement of facilities in the hospitals.

The association appreciated the decision of the government in exempting the government employees, yellow cards holders, emergency cases and 10 per cent genuine poor cases from these charges besides those suffering from diseases like leprosy, tuberculosis and blindness, association chairperson Amarjit Singh Sindhu said.

Dr Sidhu said the present charges were still lower than that of in the PGI, the AIIMS and the DMC. He said the association felt that the money generated was only sufficient to meet the running expenses of the hospital and that there was still need for investment in improvement of basic infrastructure for which the government support was urgently needed.Top

 

Tehsildar held for contempt of court
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, May 4 — Mr Nirmal Singh, Tehsildar-cum-Executive Magistrate, was today arrested for alleged contempt of court on the orders of Mr Justice G.C. Garg, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

According to information available here, Mr Nirmal Singh who was scheduled to depose in a civil case in the court of Mr Satpal, Judicial Magistrate, First Class, failed to appear despite the issue of bailable and non-bailable warrants against him on as many as six occasions.

The police inaction was discovered during an inspection of the court of the Judicial Magistrate carried out by Mr Justice Garg.

He ordered the immediate arrest of the Tehsildar.

The Tehsildar was later enlarged on a bail of Rs 5000.Top

 

Meeting of councillors
HC directive to Deputy Commissioner
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, May 4 — The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, not to hold a meeting of the municipal councillors of Maur Mandi for electing president and vice-president of the body. The meeting was to be held today.

The high court gave this direction yesterday on a writ petition filed by Mr Satish Kumar, who was elected president of the municipal council, Maur Mandi, on April 30, 1999, when the district administration declared that meeting as illegal and postponed it to May 4.

Issuing the notice of motion for June 1,1999, the high court directed the Deputy Commissioner that the meeting scheduled for May 4 would not be held on the basis of the contention raised by the counsel for the petitioner that the Deputy Commissioner had no jurisdiction to postpone a meeting where a president of the municipal council was to be elected.

Official sources said a meeting was convened by the Deputy Commissioner on April 30, 1999, for electing president and vice-president following the removal of Mrs Pushpa Devi from the post of president in the house through a no-confidence motion. Mr Upjit Singh Brar, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, was appointed convener of the meeting.

However, the meeting was postponed by the district administration by declaring it illegal. But 10 municipal councillors out of the 16, held the meeting on the same day and elected Mr Satish Kumar as president of the council and Mrs Seema Rani as vice-president. Mr Satish Kumar approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court when legal validity was not given to the meeting by the district administration.

Meanwhile, the election of the president of the municipal council, has brought to the fore differences among the senior ruling Akali Dal leaders of the region. While one section of the Akali dal is supporting Mr Satish Kumar the other is opposing him and they have not been able to reach an agreement even after the intervention of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.Top

 

Pollution detectors remain unmonitored
From Our Correspondent

NANGAL, May 4 — The pollution detectors installed by the Punjab Pollution Control Board have remained unmonitored since the past eight months. Two pollution detectors were installed here by the board to check emission levels of three chemical plants — National Fertilisers Ltd (NFL) Punjab Alkalies and Chemicals Ltd (PACL) and Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (PNFC) — functioning in the area.

According to sources in the District Environment Committee, the monitoring of pollution levels in the area is very essential due to leakage and emissions of toxic gases from these chemical plants. Toxic gases like sulphur dioxide, ammonia, chlorine and metric dioxide are among those which leak or are emitted by these chemical plants. Though the board representative has been giving repeated assurances at the environment committee meeting that the monitoring of gases will start no step has been taken till date.

Earlier, the pollution board had expressed its inability to monitor the detectors due to shortage of staff. They were later offered the services of Government Shivalik College students by Dr D.P. Singh, who is also a member of the District Environment Committee. The board is yet to take any decision on the matter.

The monitoring of emission of gases has become more pertinent, due to the presence of a white cloud over areas surrounding the factories these days. According to sources in the factories, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the presence of ammonium chloride in the air leads to the formation of a white cloud. The cloud is formed when the emission of ammonia and chlorine present in the air react to form ammonium chloride. Ammonium chloride leads to respiratory problems, especially among children.Top

 

Govt inaction irks teachers
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR, May 4 — The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has criticised the negative attitude of the Punjab Government towards the problems of 160 non-government affiliated colleges.

Dr V.K. Tewari, union general secretary, said here today that the unwarranted delay in the release of salary grant of more than Rs 24 crore held up for two years had created hardships for the teachers who had not been paid salaries for the past over four months under the grant-in-aid scheme of the government.

The union reminded the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of his commitment made to a deputation of managements, principals, teachers, non-teaching staff that the held up grants of Rs 24 crore would be released soon to ease the situation. The Finance Department had refused to release the grants despite repeated reminders by the Department of Higher Education.

Dr Tewari also played the delay in issuing notification on UGC revised pay-scales for non-government affiliated colleges. The teachers had been waiting for the benefit since January 1, 1996.

The union threatened to launch an agitation if the government failed to release the held-up salary grants and implement the revised scales within a week. The state executive committee would meet on May 9 to take stock of the situation and decide on the future course of action.Top

 

Take to cash crops, farmers told
From Our Correspondent

GURDASPUR, May 4 — The Agriculture Department today organised a district agriculture camp to impart training to farmers regarding the cultivation of kharif crops. The Agriculture Minister, Mr Gurdev Singh Badal inaugurated the camp.

Farm scientists of Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, emphasised the timely sowing and timely watering of crops, use of certified and disease resistant seed to get maximum yield, and minimum but balanced use of fertilisers and weedicides. They stressed the need to use latest machinery recommended by the university for the cultivation of crops.

Mr Badal said soil testing before cultivation of land was very important for getting optimum production and it also helped control expenses on cultivation of land. The Punjab Government had introduced mobile soil testing laboratories which would test soil of in the fields, he added.

Mr Badal said the cultivation of cash crop had already reached a saturation point and there was a need of diversification to augment the income of the farmers. In this regard he suggested bee keeping, dairy farming, pig farming, fish farming and poultry farming.

He said the shortage of power would be met by the end of June when Ranjeet Sagar Dam started generating power. He said Punjab would be surplus in power when Lehramohabbat-I and Lehramohabbat-II started generation.Top

 

Valmikis warn against temple's construction

Jalandhar, May 4 (PTI) — The Valmiki Dharam Yudh Morcha, a party claiming to represent Dalits’ interests, today criticised alleged efforts to raise a Shiv temple at the holy waterpool of a controversial shrine in Amritsar which it intends to "liberate’’ with the help of a ‘do or die’ army of vigilantes.

"The karo ya maro’’ (do or die) sena would resist any attempt to raise a temple dedicated to Hindu god Shiva at the shrine which is, in fact, the shrine of lord Valmiki, morcha president Devi Das Nahar said here.

He said any confrontation on the issue would lead to "disastrous consequences’’ and the government would be responsible for it.

He said at a function held at the temple last Thursday that the organisers of the shrine deliberately omitted to install a photograph of bhagwan Valmiki.’’ This is an attempt aimed at distorting history’’, Mr Nahar said, adding the morcha has vowed to liberate the shrine from what he called ‘Manuwadi forces’.

Mr Nahar, whose party has alleged that hundreds of acres of land belonging to the temple has already been sold off by its current management, demanded that the agreement reached at a tripartite meeting attended by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal be implemented immediately.Top

 

Land grab: case against retd SP
Tribune News Service

BATHINDA, May 4 — The police has registered a case against Rajinder Mittal, a retired SP, Darshan Singh Walia, president of a truck union, and two others under Sections 452, 506, 336, 380, 427, 148 and 149, IPC, and Section 25, Arms Act, in connection with the grabbing of a plot of Sant Singh, son-in-law of the late Teja Singh Dardi, vice-chairman, National Safai Karamchari Commission.

So far, no arrest has been made in this case. The other two suspects have been identified as Devinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh Walia.Top

 

Sant Samaj chief in ICU
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, May 4 — Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, president of the Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, who was injured in a car accident on Saturday evening, is in a critical condition.

According to doctors attending on him at CMC, the Baba is suffering from multiple fractures and trauma and has been put on the ventilator in the intensive care unit of the hospital.

Baba Sarbjot Singh, who was earlier admitted to DMC, was shifted to CMC today.

A staunch, supporter of the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, he played an important role in the parallel tercentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa organised by the Tohra faction at Anandpur Sahib.Top

 

Trees destroyed in fire
From Our Correspondent

MOGA, May 4 — A large number of trees belonging to the Forest Department were destroyed in several villages in this district including Langeana Nawan, Langeana Purana and Nathuwal in a devastating fire, according to reports reaching here.

The cause of the fire was not known and the loss was being assessed.Top

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