|P U N J A B||
Monday, May 10, 1999
|SAD will suffer in LS
MANSA, May 9 Former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra, predicting the defeat of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, indicated that a split could occur in the party if Mr Parkash Singh Badal did not seek an apology from Bhai Ranjit Singh.
Amarinder mends fences
PATIALA, May 9 Punjab Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh has launched a 'fence-mending' exercise in order to gain support of all important leaders of Patiala parliamentary constituency.
|Cotton belt brought under
BATHINDA, May 9 Worried over the continuous fall in cotton production in the state for the past six years, the Punjab Agriculture Department has introduced the Lambi cotton project scheme in all seven districts of the cotton belt of state this year.
Water has sand,
dust and nauseating smell
lays stone of recycling project
more prone to heart diseases
to recontest Gurdaspur seat
SAD will suffer in LS
MANSA, May 9 The former president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, predicting defeat of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) candidates in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections indicated that a split could occur in the party if its president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal did not seek an apology from Bhai Ranjit Singh for his blunders.
Addressing a public meeting here today, Mr Tohra said that a revolution would come into the Shiromani Akali Dal if Mr Badal did not submit before Bhai Ranjit Singh who was "real jathedar" of Akal Takht on May 20.
He pointed out that whenever the president of Shiromani Akali Dal had gone away from the Sikh institutions, programmes, tenets and conventions then possibilities of formation of new Akali Dal within from existing party had become more strong. He added that Mr Badal had insulted the institution of Akal Takht by engineering the dismissal of Bhai Ranjit Singh from the post of Jathedar.
He disclosed that if the opportunity came for removing Mr Badal from the presidentship of party, a convention of Sikhs 'Sangat' would be held for appointing new president of the Shiromani Akali Dal. He added that Mr Badal had made Shiromani Akali Dal as his private limited company and made few persons its 'share-holders'.
Mr Tohra said that the SAD would suffer badly in the coming Lok Sabha elections due to 'misdeeds' of Mr Badal and the party would not win more than one seat. He alleged that Mr Badal was running the party affairs like a dictator and never consulted other party functionaries when he supported the use of Article 356 in Bihar state by the central government.
Mr Tohra pointed that no married Sikh could get baptised himself alone. He appealed to the 'Panj Piaras' to ensure that wives of Sikh leaders who were going to be get themselves baptised on May 14 were also baptised first.
He warned Mr Badal to
stop highhandedness of police forces which were
implicating religious figures in false cases. He added
that consequences of sending religious figures to 'jail'
would be dangerous. He added that Mr Badal was behaving
with Sikhs like a 'Mughal' king.
Amarinder mends fences
PATIALA, May 9 Punjab Pradesh Congress President Capt Amarinder Singh has launched a 'fence-mending' exercise in order to gain support of all important leaders of Patiala parliamentary constituency to strengthen the proposed candidature of his wife Praneet Kaur from this seat.
Foremost among these was a luncheon meeting with former Chief Minister Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at Chandigarh today, to break the ice between the two leaders and gauge the reaction of Mrs Bhattal.
The sources said discussion on adjustment with the CPI for the Bathinda seat and CPM for the Sangrur seat had also been held. It was also decided to discuss the issue at a broad based party level. Capt Amarinder Singh also held a meeting with Congress General Secretary Birdevinder Singh recently following the latter's recommendation that Mrs Praneet Kaur not be fielded from the Patiala seat. Talking to TNS, Mr Birdevinder Singh said the candidature of Mrs Praneet Kaur had been discussed and he had maintained that the pradesh Congress president would get bogged down to the Patiala constituency if his wife was a candidate. He said the issue was likely to be discussed in detail again.
However Capt Amarinder Singh has been successful in winning over many leaders of assembly segments of the Patiala parliamentary constituency who were earlier perceived to be indifferent towards him.
Senior leaders including former ministers Bhagwan Das Arora from Sunam, Jasjit Singh Randhawa from Ghanaur, Hamir Singh Ghagga from Shatrana, Harinderpal Singh Mann from Samana and Ravinder Sohi from Banur held a press conference yesterday evening and expressed complete faith in the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Randhawa said all of them would work for the victory of the Congress candidate chosen for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat by the high command. When asked he said Mrs Praneet Kaur was the ideal candidate for the seat as she was very "polite and social".
Mr Randhawa said a wrong impression was being created that they were not supporting the pradesh congress chief fully. He said Mr Raj Khurana, who is also perceived to be a supporter of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, was also of the same views. However, Mr Raj Khurana failed to turn up on the occasion although Mr Randhawa said he was scheduled to come.
Meanwhile in separate
press statements district Congress committee intellectual
cell convenor Sant Singh Ghaga has called for restraining
party office bearers from criticising each other in the
press. Pradesh Congress organising secretary Satwant
Singh Mohi accused former pradesh Congress chief Rajinder
Kaur Bhattal of gifting three Lok Sabha seats to other
parties and hailed Capt Amarinder for recommending that
the pradesh Congress go it alone in the state.
May 14 meeting to decide on
JALANDHAR, May 9 Decks for the expulsion of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra seem to have been cleared. The President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said that the Political Affairs Committee was scheduled to meet on May 14 to take a decision on Mr Tohras "anti-party" activities.
The Chief Minister, who has been dithering on taking disciplinary action against the dismissed SGPC President, briefing media persons, said here today that "time and again Mr Tohra has been given a long rope but his complete defiance of the party discipline cannot be ignored. The Political Affairs Committee will meet on May 14 to reach a decision and if the committee is not able to formulate a decision that day another meeting will be scheduled soon", he said.
Answering a query on whether he would "appear" before the sacked Akal Takht Jathedar, Bhai Ranjit Singh, before the May 20 deadline, the Chief Minister said: "Bhai Ranjit Singh is not the Akal Takht Jathedar anymore. And he has no locus standi to issue a deadline".
While indicating that Mr Tohra was welcome to leave the party, the Chief Minister said: "Its his personal choice and decision to quit the party".
While speaking on the alliance with the BJP in the forthcoming elections in September-October, he said the alliance between the SAD and the BJP would continue and both were committed to supporting each other.
When asked if former
Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral would contest with the
SAD-BJP support from the Jalandhar parliamentary seat, he
said: "Mr Gujral has not communicated his desire to
contest yet. And if we hear from him, a decision will be
taken after consulting party leaders".
Cotton belt brought under Lambi
BATHINDA, May 9 Worried over the continuous fall in cotton production in the state for the past six years, the Punjab Agriculture Department has introduced the Lambi cotton project scheme in all seven districts of the cotton belt of state this year.
Introduced last year in the Lambi area initially, (home constituency of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal), by the agriculture department, the Lambi cotton project brought good results and the average per acre cotton production in this area was more than the average per acre cotton production in other areas of state.
The cotton production this season which touched a record low of 4.90 lakh bales only forced officials of agriculture department to evolve the means and methods to stop the ever falling production of 'white gold', a major contributor to the economy of Punjab.
Official sources said that Lambi cotton project scheme had now been introduced in all seven districts-Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot, Ferozepore, Moga, Sangrur and Muktsar of the cotton belt as the first step to boost the production of cotton crop by checking attack of American bollworm and other pests with the use of integrated pest management and with providing best seeds, fertilisers and pesticides to the farmers.
Official sources said that villages selected under the project would be kept under constant surveillance by the agriculture development officers and adequate supply of seeds, water, fertilisers and pure pesticides would also be ensured.
The department had also asked the farmers to sow cotton crop early to get a better and bumper yield as the crop could reach their house much before the untimely rains hit the region.
Mr S.R. Ladhar, Deputy Commissioner, while stating that Lambi cotton project scheme had been introduced in Mohalla, Kot Guru, Dhunike, Nandgarh, Bandi, Faridkot Kotli, Jassibaghwali and Chak Ruldu Singh Wala villages said that soil and water test would be conducted in this villages, while the irrigation water had already been ensured in the adequate quantity.
He said that the Punjab Government had also set up block, district and state-level committees to monitor the growth of cotton crop and these committees had been directed to educate the farmers about the use of pesticides against any sort of pest attack.
Water has sand, dust and
NAWANSHAHR May 9 Residents of Adarsh Nagar, Arya Samaj Road, Ghas Mandi and Teachers Colony here have been complaining that the piped water supplied by the local Municipal Council was not fit for drinking as it contained sand, dust particles, web-like matter. They also complain that the water occasionally had a pungent smell as that of sewage and had nauseating taste. They experience congestion of throat after drinking the piped water, they said adding that they had not been using this water for cooking and bathing purposes for the past couple of weeks. Mr Rajinder Kumar Premi, general secretary of the local Citizens Welfare Council, said that though he had submitted a memorandum to the local Municipal Council, no steps had been taken yet so far to solve the problem. Residents have been facing a great inconvenience as they have to fetch water for use from houses having fitted filters, added Mr Premi. The contaminated water can cause out break of cholera, diarrhoea, jaundice and gastro-enteritis, but, while, the Municipal and Sewerage authorities are treating it as a problem more of psychological nature than a real one, the Health authorities have not taken any sample of water so far, to treat real cause of problem.
Mr S.K. Sahota, Executive Officer, Municipal council when contacted on phone said that it had been detected that some old, underground pipes had been damaged and checking was being done in the affected areas under the supervision of the Municipal Engineer. When, Municipal Engineer, Mr Bihari Lal Bhardwaj was contacted, he denied that any underground water supply damaged pipe had been detected. However, he said that a survey was being done in the affected houses and whenever a Municipal employee went to the houses of the affected residents, they found neither any foreign element nor any smell in the piped water.
The Sewerage Board authorities said that the piped water being supplied directly through the five tube wells was being chlorinated. The areas near the tube wells might be getting more dose of chlorine in their water so they had been complaining of smell.
Mr J.L. Mittal, District Health Officer, when contacted, said that the samples would be taken and people would be educated to use boiled water. He said that they were yet to place an order to get the supply of chlorine tablets. No case of cholera, jaundice, diarrhoea and gastro-enteritis had been reported yet, he said though he had no data available with him about the private nursing homes.
Ailing hospital of Garhshankar
GARHSHANKAR: It is the endeavour of the Punjab Government to provide "health for all by 2000 A.D. But health for all in this backward beet and kandi area, which came into existence as a tehsil in 1846 when the British annexed it, is a distant dream.
This is, because of the strange ways of the functioning of the Health Department. In order to revamp the health services, the state government took a loan of about Rs 420 crore from the World Bank on a short-term interest. The purpose of the financial aid was to improve secondary health services in the state and to execute this project a body named Punjab Health Services Corporation (PHSC) was formed. In the initial stages last year Rs 226 crore was spent and this year the PHSC plans to spend about Rs 126 crore to achieve the target.
The Civil Hospital here is a 50-bedded hospital and people of the town and adjoining beet area depend for their health needs on this institution. This temple of healing at present is itself ailing. Though on paper the government has posted staff from the Community Health Centre in this hospital yet due to an irrational transfer policy there is not even a single gynaecologist and paediatrician. Political and bureaucratic nexus is also partially responsible for it.
Surgeons have been posted in this hospital but they cannot do surgery under general anaesthesia as the equipment required for this is not in proper order. There is a need to either purchase new apparatus or get the existing apparatus repaired.
The Radiology Department too does not have the ultra-sound equipment.
What to talk of the facilities of treatment in specialised fields, patients do not get even cotton, bandages and medicines for simple and common diseases. The patients are forced to buy medicines at exorbitant rates from chemists shops.
Due to lack of a proper blood bank, attendants of patients have to run nearby places. Sometimes patients lose their lives in this effort to make arrangement for getting blood.
Sometime back the Deputy Commissioner laid the foundation stone of a mortuary, but the construction is yet to begin.
The generator set is out of order and in the case of power failure, the patients have to bear the sweltering heat as well.
Because of the hospital's floor level being lower than the main road, in the rainy season it becomes a breeding place for mosquitoes.
The emergency ward which
is proposed to be made in the close vicinity of the
residential colony of doctors will create a lot of
problems. Instead it should be made in the vacant rooms
of the hospital.
CM lays stone of recycling
JALANDHAR, May 9 The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today laid the foundation stone of recycling project to convert solid waste into an organic manure for use in agriculture fields. He then inaugurated a Rs 6 crore railway over-bridge near the Rama Mandi chowk. He also laid the foundation stone of Dr B.R. Ambedkar Bhavan.
Addressing a public rally at Company Bagh here after launching the public utility projects, the Chief Minister directed the local government authorities to prepare a long-term master plan for all cities to meet the futuristic needs of the 21st century. He said action on the project should be immediately started with the active involvement of elected bodies and also distinguished citizens of the towns. Unplanned growth of our urban areas had led to various problems like unhygienic living, spread of infectious diseases, traffic congestion and so on.
Stressing the need of launching a campaign for creating public awareness for cleanliness, the Chief Minister said mohalla-level sarai committees should be constituted to work as NGOs for undertaking the job. He also appealed to the people not to encroach upon government properties and asked the officers to take swift action in case of violations.
He disclosed that Rs 20 crore had been sanctioned for Domoria Bridge and Rs 10 crore for augmenting the water supply scheme in the city. All tubewells for drinking water should be installed within two months to ease the water supply position in these summer months, he said.
The Chief Minister directed the local government authorities to initiate action for setting up solid waste management projects in all municipal corporation cities like Ludhiana, Amritsar and Patiala followed by other towns having "A" class committees.
Announcing that the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, would visit Jalandhar on May 12, he appealed to the people to give him a rousing welcome.
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, Minister, Local Government, Punjab, said the solid waste treatment project here would be completed at a cost of Rs 5 crore within nine months. the entire technology backup for the project was being made available by M/s Excel Industries Limited, Mumbai. The Jalandhar Municipal Corporation would help and play an active role in making the domestic city waste available at the plan site regularly for a period of 30 years.
The capacity of the plant would be 300 MT waste intake per day. It would yield 75 MT per day of organic manure and when the need arose the plant capacity would be expanded. A large area under agriculture around the city would be a direct beneficiary.
Mr Tandon further said milk dairies and truck stands would be shifted to suitable places to check the spread of dirt and improve the environment. The single transit pass scheme recently introduced in Punjab had given a big relief to transporters and the trading community, he added.
Prominent among others
who spoke on the occasion were Mr Sarwan Singh, Phillaur,
Mr Manoranjan Kalia, both ministers of the Punjab
Government, Mr Vijay Chopra, Editor-in-Chief, Hind
Samachar Group, Mr Chander Mohan, Editor-in-Chief, Vir
Partap Group, Mr Suresh Sehgal, Mayor, and Mr G.S.
Narula, Senior Deputy Mayor.
Indians more prone to heart
AMRITSAR, May 9 The alarming increase in heart ailments, especially among urbanites, needs to be checked, according to renowned heart surgeon Dr Naresh Trehan, Chief Executive Director of the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi.
Dr Trehan, who laid the foundation stone of the Amritsar Heart Institute and Hospital here today, said the centre would work as a satellite centre of Escorts.
Addressing a large gathering, Dr Trehan said there was a need for a moderate life style to escape heart afflictions. City dwellers were more prone to heart ailments than the rural folk.
Research conducted by specialists at the Escorts Institute had revealed that Indians were genetically more prone to heart problems than any one else in the world. Growing commercialisation and disintegration of the joint family system were some of the reasons for tension in life, causing heart problems.
Besides, the high incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and rich diet had made Indians more prone to blocking of arteries, Dr Trehan pointed out.
The highest incidence of heart attacks was reported from Rajasthan and Punjab, primarily due to the eating habits of the people.
Talking to mediapersons, Dr Trehan, who had brought a team of specialists from Delhi, said recent studies had shown that women above 45 were more susceptible to heart ailments than those younger.
Dr Trehan said a number of new and safe techniques, including the angio-plasty and ballooning had been developed which were not only cheap but effective too.
On an emotional note, he revealed his family belonged to Sri Hargobindpur near Batala while his uncle lived in Patti. He said he was trying to pay back the debt he owed to his birthplace and the people of the area by setting up the institute here.
He said two small pegs could reduce the risk to heart. Elaborating, he explained it was the fried snacks along with the drink that harmed the heart.
The chief surgeon at Escorts said business executives always on the move and those in age group of 30 and 45 should go in for regular screening to rule out the chance of heart attack. He pointed that those with a family history of sugar and high blood pressure should be more careful.
Escorts would soon introduce the state-of-the-art equipment, including MRI and cardiac system, which would be able to detect blockage of arteries much before a heart attack occurred.
The essence of setting up cardiac centre was important in evolving a "perfect system" where everyone, from the lowest attendant to the top doctor, worked as a fully tuned machine. At such centres all staff had an important role to play in saving the patient.
AMRITSAR, May 9 (UNI) The "chest man of the world", Surinder Singh Azad has done it again this time writing an identical leave application in English simultaneously with his both hands.
The 57-year-old Azad, a superintendent with the Central Excise and Customs, who created a world record in 1990 when he expanded his chest to nine inches, demonstrated his new-found skill of writing with both of his hands at the same time here on April 27.
In the presence of Customs Commissioner (Amritsar Collectorate) D.S. Sra and the local representative of the Limca Book of World Records he wrote an identical leave application simultaneously in English at his normal writing speed with his both hands.
If this feat of Mr Azad is recognised it will gain him his seventh entry into the Limca Record Books, which is a record in itself. Besides the chest expansion record, Mr Azad holds the record of driving his Bajaj Chetak scooter in the fourth gear from Amritsar to Panchkula and back again. His 1977 model scooter had also recorded the highest fuel efficiency at the rate of 70 km per litre.
This customs diamond of the country had driven his scooter only in the fourth gear also finds his name in the Limca Book for almost slowest driving on a scooter.
In fact Mr Azad demonstrated the skill of his hands when a couple of years ago he mastered the art of finger shopping and clapping. According to the Limca Books entry Mr Azad has snapped his fingers 278 times per minute and the clapping record is 12 178 claps in an hour.
Not content at resting on his laurels Mr Azad who could only write with the right hand began practising to write with his left hand only last year. When his left hand became as efficient he started writing with both hands in English with the help of ball pens and fountain pens.
Tohra thick with forces
opposed to Sikhs: Bhunder
AMRITSAR, May 9 The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Rajya Sabha member, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, today cautioned people about the activities of the former SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, who had launched an mis-information campaign against the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. A confidant of Mr Badal, Mr Bhunder said that the decision to expel Mr Tohra and his supporters for anti-party actions would be taken soon and a decision to this affect would be announced by Mr Badal during the next few days.
Mr Bhunder was talking to The Tribune here today after delivering the convocation address at the local Khalsa College. The general secretary said that the alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party was unequivocal but did not rule out talks with other like-minded parties opposed to the Congress culture of opportunism to form a formidable front during the coming Lok Sabha election. With split in the party almost being imminent due to Mr Tohra and his supporters deciding to hold parallel celebrations at Anandpur Sahib Mr Bhunder felt that the SAD led by Mr Badal would win comfortably during the elections and maintain an edge over its rivals.
Mr Bhunder was confident that people in Punjab were able to defeat the forces led by Mr Tohra who already had aligned with the CPI and the CPM and was allegedly hobnobbing with the Congress which always had opposed the Sikhs.
The SAD general secretary answering questions about Mr Tohra supporting the erstwhile Akal Takht jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh said that during his own tenure Mr Tohra had replaced five Jathedars but no one raised any hue and cry and now since they had removed a Jathedar Mr Tohra was crying foul to garner support among the Sikh masses by misleading them.
Mr Bhunder was critical of the statement made by SAD (Mann) group MLA Mr Ajitinder Singh Mofar and wanted him either to withdraw his remarks about 'Khalistan' or resign from the Assembly.
Mr Bhunder pointed out
talking about 'Khalistan' was against the very fabric of
the Indian Nation and none had the right to demand a
separate state which would undermine unity and integrity
of our country. He cautioned the people to be beware of
such leaders who in their bid for self glorification
raised such misleading demands.
Badal resorting to 'underhand
LUDHIANA, May 9 The Tohra camp in the Akali Dal today accused the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of using "underhand methods" to deal with the Sant Samaj which had aligned itself with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra.
In a joint statement issued here today, Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, a former MP, Mr Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, Mr Hira Singh Gabria, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Mr Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, MLAs, alleged that the Badal camp was responsible for the suspected sabotage of the car of Baba Sarabjot Singh Bedi, President of the Gurmat Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj, which had resulted in his accident.
Baba Sarabjot Singh was now fighting for his life in the local CMC Hospital.
They also alleged that Baba Darshan Singh of Dhakki Sahib, near Khanna, had been falsely implicated in a police case for his support to Mr Tohra and Bhai Ranjit Singh. They demanded his immediate release.
They objected to the reported meeting of Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, Punjab BJP chief, with Mr Badal a couple of days ago, demanding the replacement of Mr I.K. Gujral, with a BJP candidate in the Jalandhar parliamentary constituency. They asserted that Mr Gujral, during his brief tenure as Prime Minister, had done a lot for Punjab and should, therefore, be put up for this seat. The BJP, on the other hand, had "failed" to do or secure anything for Punjab.
They denied Mr Badal's
charge that Mr Tohra was hobnobbing with the Congress.
The fact of the matter was that it was Mr Badal who had
invited Congressmen to Anandpur Sahib and honoured them
on the occasion of the tercentenary celebrations of the
birth of the Khalsa.
Temple-school row continues
NABHA (Patiala), May 9 The old Nabhaites Association today demanded immediate reconstruction of the Punjab Public School boundary wall demolished by a mob on April 3, even as the self-styled committee of the Shiv Durga Temple demanded a wall be constructed behind the temple to delink it from the school.
The temple committee also claimed today that the ground in front of the temple belonged to the committee and that it would start "kar seva" on its own to construct a langar bhavan in case the district administration did not hand over the ground to it. It has opposed the reconstruction of the boundary wall around the temple and the ground in front of it and threatened to demolish any wall constructed by the school with the help of the administration.
The old Nabhaites and gathered here in response to an appeal by the school Principal, Col D.S. Khera. Around 200 old school students also attended the meeting which condemned the demolition of a section of the boundary wall and resultant trespassing and encroachment on the school premises.
The old students, however, did not undertake the dharna and procession as planned by them on the request of the district administration, even though they had taken permission for holding a dharna from the Sub Divisional Magistrate. Association President Anil Choudhary said it had been decided not to break prohibitory orders imposed by the administration by taking out a procession.
An old Nabhaite, Mr Satwinder Ahluwalia, said the basic purpose of the meeting was to show solidarity with the school and build public opinion in its favour. He said the association had committed itself to helping the school implement the court orders and if required would go in for a public interest litigation in the matter. He said it had also been decided to submit a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Lt-Gen (retd) B.K.N. Chhibber.
Association member A.S. Minhas said talks had been held with the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Capt R.S. Randhawa, who had assured them that the schools interest would be watched and the boundary wall would be rebuilt. He said the association had also been assured that use of loud- speakers would be stopped.
Association members said it had been decided that nothing could be offered to the temple committee which had taken over the temple in the school premises. "If at all they want to negotiate they should help in maintaining the status quo existing before April 2", president Anil Choudhary said.
However the temple committee has taken a belligerent stand and decided to oppose the reconstruction of the boundary wall. Committee vice-president Satpal Aggarwal told TNS that the committee was meeting the Deputy Commissioner in the evening to oppose any move to reconstruct the boundary wall.
Mr Aggarwal said the temple committee would be meeting to discuss its future plans. He said the ongoing religious sammelan would be tomorrow with a havan being held in the afternoon which would end presided over by Swami Parmanand.
Meanwhile the situation
has taken a new turn with Sadhvi Brahm Chetna, a disciple
of Swami Parmanand, deciding to take up permanent
residence in the temple from tomorrow till the temple was
delinked from the school.
Khanna to recontest Gurdaspur
GURDASPUR, May 9 Actor-turned-politician, Mr Vinod Khanna, former BJP MP from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, while talking to newsmen here today said the BJP as a party would fight for statutory provision in the Constitution to reserve the posts of President and Prime Minister for a natural born citizen only. In this context he said the Congress should refrain from projecting Mrs Sonia Gandhi as Prime Minister as only foreigner holding the post can be a security threat.
Mr Khanna said the Constitution of India prevents diplomats from marrying foreigners so that secret information of the country was not leaked.
Persons holding strategic offices like that of the President and Prime Minister have to safeguard the nation's secrets, he said.
Mr Khanna also referred to Ms Mayawati's speech in the Lok Sabha announcing that the Bahujan Samaj Party would abstain from voting. She misled the House as members of her party voted against vote of confidence.
Former MP said the BJP would hold a debate in the Parliament after elections regarding provision of Lok Sabha to be held only, after the completion of five years. If need be the BJP will bring a motion in the Parliament in this regard, he said.
He said the Opposition had engineered the fall of Vajpayee government because it was gaining popularity.
Former MP the Punjab government had purchased a second-hand bridge from the Army at a cost of Rs 2 crore for laying it on Ravi, near Kathlour in the district. The work on this project will be started soon, he said.
Major Dada's statue
JALANDHAR, May 9 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said a statue of Maj Raman Dada would be erected in the city.
Major Dada, who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting insurgents of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland in Assam on May 2, hailed from Jalandhar.
Mr Badal, who visited the family of Major Dada today, said his government would soon chalk out a special scheme for allotment of plots and other facilities out of the discretionary quota to the next of kin of such patriots.
PUCL seeks equal treatment
BATHINDA, May 9 The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has demanded that the Punjab Government should treat equally all its officers facing criminal cases.
In a press note issued here yesterday, Dr Vineeta Gupta, Member, National Council, PUCL, alleged that the Punjab Government had recently suspended a senior official of the Health Department due to some criminal case against him, while giving promotion to another senior official of the same department who was also facing a criminal case.
Action against poultry farm
KHARAR, May 9 The Punjab Pollution Control Board has written a letter to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Kharar, recommending action under Section 133 Cr PC against a poultry farm situated on Tira village creating nuisance through foul smell and breeding flies near the village.
According to a copy of the letter received here yesterday, the board has written that it received a complaint from the gram panchayat and others against the nuisance created by the poultry farm. As a consequence, the site was visited by an AEE of the board on December 18, 1998, and it was found that the poultry farm had become a source of house flies and foul smell for the residents and at that time the board wrote a letter to the SDM, Kharar, to take action u/s 133 Cr PC for the closure of the poultry farm.
The board has written that the residents again registered a complaint but no action was taken.
The board has again recommended action u/s 133 of the Cr PC to provide relief to the residents.
Meanwhile, the gram
panchayat, Tira, the Youth Welfare Club and the Youth
Welfare and Development Club, Tira, on May 2, wrote a
letter to the Punjab Chief Minister and many other
officers against some poultry farms set up by some
persons near the village, which had created nuisance for
Sant's supporters disrupt
KHANNA, May 9 Traffic on the National Highway was disrupted by followers of Sant Darshan Singh at Maqsudan for about two hours today. A group of 300 persons, mostly women, squatted on both sides of the GT road at Raddon village, 12 km from here.
They raised slogans in favour of the Sant and demanded his immediate release.
Meantime, Mr Karnail Singh Sekhon, President, Shiromani Akali Dal, youth wing, belonging to the Tohra faction, said the arrest of the Sant was intended to "discourage" followers of former Akal Takht Jathedar Ranjit Singh.
Leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) said the Sant had acted illegally and the government should forfeit his weapon.
Speaker denies report
CHANDIGARH, May 9 Apropos of the news item "Clarify stand, MLA told" appearing in these columns on May 9 the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Charnjit Singh Atwal, in a statement today said that the report was not correct as no explanation on the issue of "Khalistan" had been sought from Mr Ajit Singh Mofar, MLA belonging to the SAD (Mann) faction.
BATHINDA, May 9 Mr Bhupinder Sharma, Senior Vice-President, Janata Dal, Bathinda district, yesterday alleged that civic amenities provided by the local Municipal Council to residents were not adequate.
In a press note issued here, he alleged that though the council had been earning lakhs of rupees daily on account of various taxes, the roads were in a bad shape and half of the localities were without underground water pipes.
They preferred serial to exam
PHAGWARA, May 9 Viewers' addiction to the soap opera "Sri Krishna" telecast by Doordarshan from 9 am to 10 am can be gauged from the fact that two B.A(I) student of a college appearing in their annual exams left the examination hall and preferred to watch today's episode of the serial.
The exam began at 8.30 am and the two left the hall a little before 9 am and rushed home to watch the serial.
Withdrawal of rent-free house
HOSHIARPUR, May 9 Resident prevails among employees of Punjab Police, public undertakings, corporations, boards, local authorities/universities and other institutions against the Punjab Government for its revision of the rate of licence fee for government accommodation and withdrawal of the rent-free accommodation facility from April 1, 1999.
According to a circular issued by the Punjab Finance Department to the Director-General of Punjab Police, rent-free accommodation has been abolished. Every official using government allotted accommodation shall pay 10 per cent of his basic pay as house rent or licence fee. No official will be allowed free power and water supply in future.
The orders shall also be applicable to employees of all public undertakings, corporations boards, local authorities/universities and other institutions working under the control of the State Government irrespective of the fact whether they receive any aid from it or not. Where the facility or rent-free accommodation and supply of water/electricity has to be allowed under some constitutional obligation, the administrative department concerned will refer the cases to the Finance Department.
The above decisions shall be effective from April 1, 1999. Recoveries of house rent/licence fee for the month of April shall be made at the new rate unless specific concurrence of the Finance Department for making an exception is obtained.
GURDASPUR, May 9 The police today arrested Titu, a local resident and member of a notorious gang. According to Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, the police recovered 3 kg of poppy husk, a magazine and nine live cartridges from his possession.
The district police chief said other members of the gang, including Balbir Kumar Babbi, Raj Kumar and Tirath Ram, all local residents, had been arrested earlier.
A case under the NDPS Act and the Arms Act had been registered against the accused.
The SSP said the accused
had been absconding in a case under Section 399/420, IPC,
and the arms act registered with the city police here. He
was involved in a robbery at Thanewal village in 1990 in
which he murdered Ravinder Singh of the village.
Farmers forced to dump potato
MOGA, May 9 A large number of potato growers in the region have dumped their potato crop in the fields because of glut of potatoes in the markets and considerable fall in its price.
According to a survey of markets on Saturday the price of potatoes was Rs 19 for a basket of 15 kg.
Farmers said they had
suffered heavy loses in the cauliflower crop also due to
excess of it in the market. They said they had no option
but to dump potato crop as the market price of the crop
was not sufficient to cover even the transportation
Villager dies in custody
LUDHIANA, May 9 (PTI) An alleged custodial death of a villager has been reported under Samrala police station of the district, the police said here today.
Avtar Singh of Jaspalon village, who died in custody yesterday, was brought to the police station in connection with a murder case of May 7.
Case against scribe, probe
BATHINDA, May 9 Mr Yurinder Singh, SSP, Mansa, said today that SP (Headquarters) had been asked to inquire into a criminal case registered against a reporter of a Punjabi daily being published from Chandigarh.
Mr Yurinder Singh, said justice would be done in the case and law would take its own course.
It may be mentioned that Mr Balbir Singh Parmar, a reporter of Punjabi daily based at Sardulgarh, who had been booked in a criminal case, alleged that he had been falsely implicated into the case by Sardulgarh police of Mansa district on "diktats" of a senior leader of the ruling, Akali Dal.
He alleged that he had been booked in a criminal case as he was reporting certain facts from the Sardulgarh area, which was not liked by the leader.
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