|P U N J A B||
Monday, November 29, 1999
handshake scheme being shaped
Stop abetting terrorism, Gujral
PGPC: Jagir Kaur to meet PM
SAD violated pact with BJP: Kaura
BJP expects fair share
Prof R.N. Dogra cremated
CM confirms corruption complaints
Mika sends crowd into frenzy
Spurious cloth racket unearthed
Development of Rajpura
Plan to improve phone services
Golden handshake scheme
CHANDIGARH, Nov 28 Punjab is all set for the second phase of fiscal reforms.
The correctives will apply to economic pricing of social and economic services, downsizing of the government, disciplining of the public sector undertakings (PSUs) and phasing out of the explicit and implicit subsidies and subventions, including the existing provision of "free" power and irrigation water to agriculture sector.
Informed sources told TNS that downsizing did not mean retrenchment but redeployment of employees and a ban on fresh recruitment. This is to be applied to both government departments and PSUs, which may entail mergers, partial or total privatisation, disinvestment and other such measures, including winding up of some.
In fact an attractive package on introducing the scheme of "golden handshake" is being worked out for the employees. The state also had a similar package for the employees of Punjab Roadways and the PRTC. A group of them willing to opt for voluntary retirement could be given buses at book value along with route permit to ply. Likewise on uneconomic routes where the state transport buses cannot serve the people a "km scheme" has been introduced, encouraging private operators to take on added responsibility and give the government its share, on a km basis. Such arrangement is more beneficial than government plying its own fleet.
The SAD-BJP Government seized of the fact that the PSUs were performing overlapping functions, were unproductive and not maintaining even proper accounts for a couple of years. A huge salary bill and government kitty not getting anything in return on big investments made by it in PSUs is a disturbing feature.
The grimness of the fiscal situation is now properly realised by the government. It is partly due to the results of the recently held Lok Sabha elections and also due to public outcry (including attacks by the Opposition and demand for within the coalition parties for funds for on-going development schemes) the government is now engaged in a serious business. Beginning September 15, a series of steps have been taken. In the first phase departments of Excise and Taxation, Revenue and Transport were tapped. These are expected to generate revenue for capital building and not for consumption as has been the practice for a couple of years now.
The government knows the reasons, results and remedies as to what went wrong where, why and how the same could be improved. Repetition of these will sound like a cliche but some illustrative facts have to be retold on how Punjab performs at present. This will indicate that decision-making in the second phase will be more painful requiring strong political will and quick, substantive correctives. Marginal or partial steps will not help nor will delay or dithering.
Punjab's contribution from its own sources to implement its plan schemes is (-) 110 per cent. To implement a plan scheme worth Rs 100 it has to borrow or raise a loan of Rs 175. In terms or money "free" power and water may mean a mere Rs 300 crore annually. But this single step symbolised much more: profligacy. A sobriquet that the government has earned.
Debt alone accounts for 40 per cent of the state domestic product. Debt servicing entails and outgo of 30.2 per cent. For every one rupee revenue earned debt repayments take away 30 paise.
In social and economic services being offered economic pricing is a major decision awaiting government approval. It has been calculated that recovery of cost for these two services was very low a mere 2 per cent for social and 11 per cent for economic services, excepting irrigation and power.
Insofar as the PSUs go, of the 35-odd such undertakings, 17 make marginal profit and the rest incur heavy losses. Cumulative losses as per audit reports (1997-98) add up to Rs 610 crore; and returns to the state for its investment (over Rs 3,393 crore) is a meagre 0.04 per cent. Hence the proposal on disinvestment and restructuring.
Punjab wants MVA amendment
CHANDIGARH, Nov 28 Punjab wants the revocation of the amendment made in the Rule 139 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act (MVA).
By amending the rule, the union government has allowed the owners to ply their vehicles by keeping attested photo copies of the route permits in their vehicles. In case of challan etc, they have been allowed to despatch the original copy of the route permit to the court or officer concerned within 15 days.
Taking full advantage of this amendment, certain transporters have started misusing this facility. Officials concerned in the Punjab Government said vehicle owners get more than one photo copy attested of their original permits and ply more than one vehicle by carrying attested photo copies. It becomes difficult for the Transport department officers to stop such an exercise.
Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, State Transport Commissioner, told TNS that he had written to the state government to take up the issue with the ministry concerned at the Centre for getting the amendment revoked. He said a number of cases of misuse of the facility provided by amending the rules had come to the notice of the authorities concerned during a special check made in the past few days.
On the basis of the original permit, only one vehicle could be plied and there could not be any misuse in this regard, he added.
During the special drive plying of illegal vehicles, especially buses on various routes, Mr Kulbir Singh said as much as Rs 55 lakh as fine had been collected by filing 3,265 challans. As many as 1,500 vehicles were made to pay the fine on the spot and the registration and other documents of 317 vehicles were seized during the special operation.
As many as 1,000
vehicles were impounded, he said and claimed that
following the special check illegal plying of vehicles
had almost come to an end. The special checking would
continue and pressure would be maintained to ensure that
no illegal vehicles plied.
Rode strikes a sober note
JALANDHAR, Nov 28 (UNI) Amid calls for defending the Sikh struggle launched by Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and the need to revive it by Akali leaders of various ideological shades, Akali Dal (Panthic) President and slain Sikh leaders nephew Jasbir Singh Rode today struck a sober note, urging Damdami Taksal chief Baba Thakur Singh to continue to exercise his influence on the Sikh youth to desist from "playing with fire".
Speaking at the marriage reception of Sant Bhindranwales son Inderjit Singh here, Mr Rode, said: "We have been restrained by Baba Thakur Singh from playing with fire and the serpent and I appeal to him to continue to exercise this restraint".
Quoting a couplet from Gurbani, he said sons of Sant Bhindranwale should not do anything to undermine the glorious heritage bequeathed to them by their father whom various Akali leaders had described as a "great warrior of the 20th century".
He said "his (Sant Bhindranwales) sons should not take any step which could undermine the legacy of the Taksal," once headed by Sant Bhindranwale.
But Radical Akali leader and now Lok Sabha member Simranjit Singh Mann stood insisted that "Sikhs are a sovereign nation".
Acknowledging the Sikh struggle fostered by Sant Bhindranwale, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) President said he alone in the 20th century "roused the sleeping Sikh community".
He alleged the Sikh leadership had committed a blunder during the partition in 1947 and had been enslaved since. "Only Sant Bhindranwale woke up the sleeping community to launch a struggle for independence," he said.
He alleged an "insignificant portfolio" had been given to the only Sikh in the Vajpayee Cabinet. This was an "insult to the Sikh community".
Those in power in Punjab are either weak or do not want a prestigious portfolio for their representative", he said. He held the Punjab Government responsible for allocating rent-free accommodation to former Governor BKN Chhibber whose hands, he alleged, were soaked with the blood of Sikh youth.
General Chhibber was a Corps Commander in the Western Sector when militancy was at its peak in the border state.
He alleged the Badal government was sitting over the inquiry report into the alleged killing of former Akal Takht Jathedar Gurdev Singh Kaunke asking as to why the government was not publishing the findings of the inquiry conducted by Mr B.P. Tiwari, a senior Punjab police officer.
"We will write to the National Human Rights Commission," he said, adding the commission could still order an inquiry in spite of a one-year time bar because Mr Kaunke, as per the Punjab police record, was only reported "missing".
Describing Sant Bhindranwale a "great warrior, a saint-soldier and embodiment of bhakti (spiritual) and shakti (temporal strength", Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal President Gurcharan Singh Tohra said: "He is still beholden to us in our hearts".
Akali Dal (democratic) President Kuldip Singh Wadala hailed Sant Bhindranwale as a "martyr". He, however, lamented that "we are back to the square one after a prolonged struggle".
Ruling Akali Dal MLA Malkiat Singh Kittu spoke on the occasion in individual capacity as he is related to the Bhindranwale family.
Minister of State for Agriculture Ajit Singh Kuhar left the function without addressing the gathering after blessing the newly wed couple.
Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader and Former MP Dhian Singh Mand took exception to the dominance of the show by a particular Akali faction. He did not name anybody but was apparently referring to Mr Tohras faction.
Sant Bhindranwales son Inderjit Singh was married yesterday to the daughter of Giani Joginder Singh who had led a band of Sikhs in fighting the Army at the main entrance of the Golden Temple during Operation Bluestar. Giani Joginder Singh had died in the operation.
Regiment officers rue Punjab
CHANDIGARH, Nov 28 The Punjab Regiment will soon be having a second regimental association consisting of pre-independence officers, when a group of 16 ex-regimental officers arrive from the United Kingdom on a visit to this country early next year.
Stating this during the regiment's annual function held here today, Colonel of the regiment, Major-Gen S.K. Awasthy said the officers, who are now in their late eighties or early nineties were to arrive here on February 6. They would be taken to the new Punjab Regimental Centre at Ramgarh in Uttar Pradesh and later to the old centre at Meerut besides other places of interest. The bi-annual regimental meet had been re-scheduled to co-incide with the visit, he added. The visiting officers would leave on February 14.
A large number of serving as well as retired officers and their families attended the function. Among them was Lieut-Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, a former Colonel of the Regiment and known as the liberator of Bangladesh. Also present were seven officers from 3 Punjab the regiment's oldest battalion all of whom had the unique opportunity of serving together under one Commanding Officer, Col B.N. Bali, in the 1962 India-China conflict and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
Delving on the activities of different battalions of the regiment, Maj-Gen Awasthy, who is also the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, said that several battalions had performed commendably during counter insurgency (CI) operations in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the north-east. One of the battalions along the Line of Control, he said, was tasked with guarding about 70 km of the frontier. Other battalions including 9 Punjab, 13 Punjab, 15 Punjab, 16 Punjab, 20 Punjab, 22 Punjab, 25 Punjab and 28 Punjab have earned a large number of awards during CI operations. 24 Punjab, he added, won the largest number of awards for any unit during its tenure in the northern sector. Besides, one of its two Rashtriya Rifles (RR) battalions, 7 RR, was declared the best RR unit. This apart, one of its Territorial Army battalions was tasked with keeping the Manali - Leh highway open during the Kargil conflict. The battalion is expected to remain deployed there for some time.
Maj-Gen Awasthy said training facilities at the regimental centre had also been improved and a report by the Director-General of Infantry adjudged it the best.
Meanwhile, a number of serving as well as retired officers felt aggrieved over the failure of the Punjab Government to accord due credit to the Punjab Regiment one of the oldest and most highly decorated regiment of the Army and one which bears the state's name on its crest and shoulder tabs.
The president of the Chandigarh chapter of the regiment, Major-Gen J.S. Bhullar (retd), said the tilt against the regiment could, perhaps, be due to certain political compulsions as was apparent during the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations earlier this year. He added that even during the recent Kargil conflict the activities of another battalion were projected despite a battalion from the Punjab Regiment, which has over 90 per cent troop composition from Punjab, having performed commendably in the same sector.
Governor visits Amritsar
AMRITSAR, Nov 28 The Punjab Governor, Lieut-Gen (Retd) Jack Frederick Ralph Jacob, today visited this holy city and paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and the Durgiana Mandir. He also laid a wreath at Jallianwala Bagh.
Mr Jacob, who was sworn in as the Governor of Punjab yesterday, was accompanied by Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Dr Rattan Singh, Punjab Vidhan Sabha Deputy Speaker, Baldev Raj Chawla and Deputy Commissioner Narinderjit Singh.
At the information office of the Golden Temple, the Governor was honoured with a siropa and presented with a replica of Sri Harmandir Sahib by the SGPC chief, Bibi Jagir Kaur, amidst slogans of Bole so nihal. A number of Punjab legislators were present on the occasion.
In an informal chat with mediapersons, the Governor said his topmost priority would be infrastructural development of the state and better education.
At Durgiana Mandir, Governor was presented with a siropa and a memento by the patron of the Durgiana Mandir Managing Committee, Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, and its president, Mr Gopi Chand Bhatia.
The Governor was given a warm welcome at the Rajasansi airport while he was received by senior civil and police officials, including the Inspector General of Police, (Border Range), Mr Bakshi Ram, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Border Range), Mr Jasminder Singh. The Deputy Commissioner and Mr Narinderjit Singh.
The Punjab Government was represented by Dr Rattan Singh, Minister for Animal Husbandry, and Deputy Speaker Baldev Raj Chawla.
Stop abetting terrorism, Gujral tells Pak
JALANDHAR, Nov 28 (PTI) Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral said today Pakistan must immediately stop abetting terrorism in Kashmir for any India-Pakistan talks to be "meaningful".
"Pakistan would be well advised to stop abetting terrorism. Though New Delhi does not approve of the power shift in Islamabad by way of a military coup, we would like to engage Pakistan in a dialogue provided that it ends all support to terrorism," Mr Gujral said here.
"Geography is a fact of life. India and Pakistan are neighbours and people of both countries want better mutual ties. The regime in Islamabad must realise this," he said.
Mr Gujral said he supported the Indian Governments policy of condemning the coup in Pakistan while still expressing readiness for talks.
"We cannot overlook the reality. Talks with Islamabad do not mean recognition of the regimes legitimacy," he added.
The suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth denoted a credible messages sent out by 48 world powers in one voice. No lover of democracy can ever support any military coup." he said.
Talking about Punjab, Mr Gujral said he would try to ensure that each district in the state had a cultural centre.
"I earmarked money from my MP fund for cultural centres in Jalandhar and Kapurthala and land for these is being procured," he said.
"We plan to involve all Punjab MPs in the project so that each district could have a cultural centre of its own to give momentum to a movement to protect and propagate the folklore, dances, music and cultural heritage of Punjab," he said.
Earlier while speaking at a cultural conference organised to mark the first centenary birth anniversary of the late Chief Minister of Punjab Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir, the former Prime Minister said he was an icon of the Pothohari culture. He lauded the contribution of Giani Gurmukh Singh to the culture and polity of the state. He also asked the members of the Brotherhood to face the challenges offered by the new millennium and sustain the ethos of the Pothoharis in the new era.
Mr Gujral also released a set of four books authored by Giani Gurmukh Singh, a cassette comprising songs written by him and a directory of the Pothoharis based at Ludhiana. He was honoured with the Pothohar Gaurav Award.
Mr N.S. Nanda, President of the Brotherhood, also resolved to set up a Pothohar nagar near Ludhiana so that the community could flourish in a common geographical location.
Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, MP presided over the function and was presented the Pride of Pothohar Award. Former MP Jagjit Singh Anand and Dr Harnam Singh Shan were also honoured with the Pothohar Shiromani Award.
to mediapersons after attending the All-India Cultural
Conference organised by the Dhan Pothohar, Brotherhood,
Punjab, here on Sunday, Mr Gujral charged Pakistan with
disrupting mutual cooperation and peace talks initiated
by him during his tenure as the Prime Minister.
Pakistans misadventure in Kargil and the
enhancement of its terrorist activities in certain Indian
states was a breach of trust, he added.
PGPC: Jagir Kaur to meet PM
AMRITSAR, Nov 28 (UNI) SGPC President Bibi Jagir Kaur will lead a deputation of SGPC members and Sikh intellectuals shortly to take up the matter of Sikh gurdwaras situated in Pakistan with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Talking to newsmen here today, she said during her meeting with the Prime Minister, she would advocate the need for dissolving the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. She would also appeal to the Prime Minister to take up this matter with Islamabad.
"They had intervened in our internal religious affairs, she said, reiterating that the SGPC stand not to send any jatha for the pilgrimage of Sikh shrines in Pakistan till the matter was pending. "It is a matter of principal not a personal one," she remarked.
The SGPC had decided not to send any jatha to Pakistan to register its protest on the formation of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee early this year.
controversy over the Nanakshahi jantri, she reiterated
her stand that as the general house of the SGPC had
already accepted it by passing a resolution, the
remaining matter would be sorted out shortly. It may be
mentioned that Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Puran Singh had
imposed a ban on this jantri and advocated a discussion
on this issue.
Bid to hush up
ABOHAR, Nov 28 There is resentment against the SAD-led state government for the abduction of the only daughter of an influential landlord of Ramgarh allegedly by the son of an SGPC member and senior leader of the SAD.
The police, it is alleged, has not taken any step during the past 48 hours to nab the culprit.
Mr Sajjan Kumar Jakhar, General Secretary, PPCC, said here today it was strange that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who was here to preside over the golden jubilee celebrations of a senior secondary school had not taken notice of the abduction of the girl, a B.A. (Part 1) student, by the son of a senior SAD functionary.
Mr Jakhar said ever since Mr Badal took over as CM there had been a rise in the incidents of atrocities on women in the state. In Abohar sub-division, a Dalit woman was stripped and paraded at Bhangerkhera village. An attempt was made to deprive a widow of her property at Waryamkhera village. There had been molestation attempts in Shergarh and Maujgarh villages.
He alleged the SGPC members son had dared to abduct the girl at gunpoint when her family was mourning the death of her father. He said Jats of Rajasthan had also taken cognisance of the incident.
Senior CPM leader and a former MP from Rajasthan, Mr Sheopat Singh, condemning the incident, said the girl had been abducted to blackmail her family. The family, he said, owned more than 200 acres of prime land and the girl was considered the sole heir.
The Mahila Suraksha Samiti, at an emergency meeting last night, warned the authorities that any attempt to hush up the case under political pressure would be opposed. The Block Congress Committees and the Youth Congress also criticised the police for remaining busy in preparations for the CMs visit and not making any effort to nab the culprits. They urged Bibi Jagir Kaur, President SGPC, to expel the member whose son was involved in this incident.
SAD violated pact with BJP:
HOSHIARPUR, Nov 28 Mr Jagmohan Kaura, General-Secretary of the state unit of the BJP said yesterday that the SAD was not complying with the agreements it had made with the BJP at the time of forming an alliance between both parties before the state Assembly elections in Punjab. Mr Kaura said this, while talking to reporters here.He said at that time of the formation of the SAD-BJP government, it was decided that the post of Deputy Chief Minister would be given to the BJP.
But Mr Parkash Singh Badal, he alleged, did not comply with the decision. Nor did he give due representation to the BJP in his Cabinet according to the strength of the party in the state Assembly at the time of the formation of his ministry.
Mr Kaura Mr Badal should now give due representation to the BJP by including at least its three MLAs in the proposed expansion of his Cabinet.
He alleged that the Chief Minister was posting and transferring Deputy Commissioners, SSP and other senior officers on his own without consulting with the BJP ministers.
The indisciplined attitude of two BJP ministers in the state had crossed all limits about which the high command had been informed, he said. After consultation with the high command, there was a possibility of getting ministers excluded from the Cabinet at the time of the proposed expansion of the state ministry.
Referring to publication of a news item in an English daily from Chandigarh regarding difference among the state BJP leadership, he said that the item was published at the instance of a BJP minister.
The state unit had
recommended to the high command to include a centre
leader of the party in the people committee constituted
in this regard. After receiving the report from the
committee, strict action would be taken against the
minister responsible for getting the item published in
BJP expects fair
share in Cabinet
PHAGWARA, Nov 28 The Organising Secretary of the State unit of the BJP, Mr Jagmohan Kaura, said here today that even if Mr Parkash Singh Badal filled only the vacancies of ministers in the proposed Cabinet expansion, the state BJP should be given three ministerial berths.
When asked at a press conference here this evening whether that would mean five berths if Mr Badal inducted 10 ministers, Mr Kaura quipped it just meant a reasonable share for the party. Our representation in the Cabinet was already poor, said Mr Kaura.
However, now political scenario had changed as 11 Akali MLAs had preferred to follow Mr Tohra and thus the BJPs representation in the Cabinet should be raised, contended Mr Kaura.
He, however, said that BJPs claim for the post of Deputy Chief Minister was also there as Mr Badal had promised it to the BJP. Even portfolios allocated to BJP leaders should be good, he demanded.
"We have kept the names of party probables ready and will convey these to Mr Badal at the time of expansion", he said.
When asked whether these were signs of cracks in the SAD-BJP alliance, Mr Kaura replied in the negative and asserted that the alliance was strong and there was no acrimony.
Six vacancies had been caused in Cabinet due to the resignation of five Tohra-loyalists and due to the death of a minister.
Mr Kaura also expressed hope that the SAD-BJP would contest the block samitis and zila parishad poll jointly. But made it clear that the BJP would contest samitis and parishad poll on its own if the SAD decided to field its candidates separately.
Prof R.N. Dogra cremated
CHANDIGARH, Nov 28 Prof Rajinder Nath Dogra, who died here last night, was cremated at the Sector 25 electric crematorium here this afternoon.
Several bureaucrats, judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, architects, planners and engineers attended the funeral.
Among those present were Mr K.S. Narang, a former Chief Secretary of Punjab; Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta; Mr M.N. Sharma and Mr S.D. Sharma, leading architects who had worked with professor Dogra; Mr S.K. Midha, Chief Architect, Haryana; Mr J.S. Kohli, a former Chief Engineer of Chandigarh; Mr Kuldip Singh, Superintending Engineer, Chandigarh Administration; Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Superintending Engineer, PGI; Mr Chander Mohan. Some eminent doctors of the PGI, including two former directors, Prof I.C. Pathak and Prof BNS Walia, and the present Director, Dr B.K. Sharma, and others, were also present.
The local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and his wife also attended the funeral.
Professor Dogra, who had worked for the Chandigarh Capital project in various capacities, including as Chief Engineer, was associated with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research as a consultant.
CM confirms corruption
ROPAR, Nov 28 As part of its campaign against corruption the state government has been revamping and strengthening the state Vigilance Department by making changes in its set up and functioning.
Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister, said the government had already shuffled some SPs of the Vigilance Department to wage a war against corruption. He said he would convene a meeting of senior officers of the department to discuss ways and means to check corruption on a large scale.
The Chief Minister further said fresh guidelines and instructions would be issued to the vigilance officers. He said he had received complaints regarding corruption in the Departments of Transport, Irrigation and Agriculture.
Mr Badal stated that the government had taken a serious note of the snags occurring in power tunnels of Ranjit Sagar Dam (Thein). The government had been awaiting the final report of the high-level inquiry committee constituted for the purpose. On receiving the report the government would not hesitate to punish the erring officials responsible for the snags. The dam would start power generation in six months, he added.
The Chief Minister said appropriate action would be taken in the case of four former ministers, who were earlier indicted by the Lok Pal but cleared by the then Governor. The action would be taken in view of the decision to be taken by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha with whom the matter was now pending, he added.
In reply to a question, Mr Badal said the government was also reviewing the expenditure being incurred on the security of the VVIPs and the VIPs, and to reduce the same. He said adequate security would now be provided as per security threat to the person concerned.
He added that the SAD high command had not yet received any reply from Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and now an MLA from Morinda against the show cause notice issued to him by the Dal.
PHAGWARA: The Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on Sunday stated that the Cabinet sub - committee would meet discuss and decide the issue regarding the downsizing of the bureaucracy.
He was talking to mediapersons at the local JCT helipad.
However, Mr Badal added that there were so many legal points that stood in the way of downsizing.
On Punjab BJP Daya Singh Sodhis charge that the BJP had not been taken into confidence for the proposed Cabinet expansion, Mr Badal quipped that he had discussed the issue many times with Mr Sodhi.
On Mr Sodhis charge of ignoring the BJP for promotions of officers, Mr Badal stated that opinions from alliance partners were sought whenever necessary. However, certain departmental promotions were done routinely by top officers themselves, claimed Mr Badal.
Mika sends crowd into frenzy
PATIALA, Nov 28 Famous Punjabi pop singer Mika ruled the hearts for more than three hours in the Millennium Star Concert organised by Rajindra Gymkhana and Mahendra Club here last night to commemorate the club's centenary celebrations.
The concert was inaugurated by Ms Parneet Kaur, MP. It was her great grand father-in-law, Maharaja Rajinder Singh, who had planned the club and got it completed on November 27, 1899.
During the past year, the club organised several cultural evenings, besides competitions, to commemorate the centenary celebrations. The concluding ceremony featuring Mika was a befitting conclusion to the celebrations. Gauging the response and enthusiasm of the club members, Dr Bhupal Singh Bahia, President, and Dr Sudhir Verma, secretary of the club, respectively, said they were planning to extend the centenary celebrations to coincide with the celebrations marking the change of the millennium.
Though the star of last
night's show, Mika, arrived late by nearly two hours, the
audience comprising the elite of the city, especially the
youth, seemed to be ready to wait even longer. They were
bursting with enthusiasm to such an extent that they
began dancing 'bhangra' even before the singer had
started off the evening. The first few lines of the
popular number 'Sawan mein lag gayi aag' were enough to
send the crowd in a frenzy. The show went on till late in
the night. By then an exhausted Mika had not only sung
his songs twice or thrice, but also sung other popular
songs. When he finally stopped, the still-active crowd of
spectators dancing felt unhappy.
Fishing poses threat to Harike
MAKHU (Ferozepore): Fishing continues near the Harike wetland where migratory birds arrive around this time every year. Despite a threat to the ecological balance of the wetland on this count fish contractors continue with the operation, posing a threat to the migratory birds.
Even apprehensive wildlife authorities have urged the district police and the administration to keep a check on the contractors activities. Intrusion of fisherman engaged by the contractors in the wetland and subsequent loss of small fish that is food for several migratory birds is a cause of concern for the Punjab Council for Science and Technology (PCST).
Although fishing here is an offence that invites a minimum of one years imprisonment, a visit to the site revealed that the fishermen continue to boat through the wetland, an 86 km stretch. While contractors on their part claim that they are fishing in an area beyond the wetland zone and are using it only as a "shortcut way" to reach the actual site auctioned by the department of Fisheries, both the wildlife authorities and the PCST doubt their intentions.
Quoting a World Wildlife Fund document, a senior scientific officer at the PCST, Dr. Satnam Singh Ladhar, argued, "Their using the wetland stretch as a short cut way is only a ploy, whereas fishing continues even in the wetland lake".
Stating that the contractors were now under surveillance the Punjab Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr Balbir Chand Bala said, "In a situation like this, we cannot rule out fish poaching within the wetland area," adding that the Wildlife Department is considering to close the wetland route altogether for fishermen. Mr Bala, however, said they were helpless after the contractors moved a Patti court that granted them a stay for using the route.
"Frequent movement of boats through the wetland scare away the birds, leave aside poaching", he contended.
While Mr Bala claimed that no case of fish poaching within the wetland had come to their knowledge, inquiries made at the local fish markets revealed that the species like rahu, katla and singhara from the wetland could be bought for a price.
Terming the contractors as "influential", sources in the Wildlife Department said the police help was needed to check the menace. "They generally have a strength of 500 fishermen with whom our departmental force is insufficient to tackle with", a wildlife official lamented.
Since the wetland remains a convenient route for fishermen to reach the fishing site, the problem is bound to remain for some time. It is in this light that the wildlife authorities are considering to close the route altogether through a notification. Though the officials are understood to have urged the contractors to take to the routes which are far off from the wetland lake, the fishermen are not agreeing on account of inconvenience.
A person,who identified himself as a partner of Mr Joginder Singh, a Harike-based contractor, told TNS that the wetland remains the most convenient route to reach the actual site of fishing. Denying that they were engaged in fish poaching within the wetland, he claimed "We are only using it as a short cut way".
The Deputy Commissioner,
Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, however, said he would take up the
matter with the Fisheries Department to check fish
poaching and alert his counterparts in Amritsar and
Kapurthala districts as part of the wetland falls under
their jurisdiction too.
Spurious cloth racket unearthed
AMRITSAR, Nov 28 A major racket involved in manufacturing and selling of duplicate woollens, terrywool and synthetic suitings was unearthed here recently by the police at the behest of reputed manufacturers of these products.
The SSP, Mr Parampal Singh Sidhu, in a press note issued here today said he had received a large number of complaints from the manufacturers of branded fabrics like Raymonds, Gwalior, Vimal, Grasim and others that certain local powerloom units were producing large quantities of duplicate stamped cloth to dupe innocent customers, thus causing immense harm to their brands.
Mr Sidhu pointed out that the police had launched a sustained campaign to unearth the racket and had arrested Rajinder Khanna and Gopal and recovered more than 5,000 metres of cloth with duplicate stamps. He added that the cloth which cost them about Rs 80 to Rs 125 per metre was being sold at Rs 500 to Rs 700 per metre, thus cheating the gullible. The police had also seized duplicate packaging material. The material was being sold throughout India as branded suitings, the SSP said.
Earlier, this month, two
other persons involved in a similar racket were nabbed
and cases under various sections of the IPC, were
registered against them. Mr Sidhu said some more arrests
were likely to expose the racket.
Chairs abound, but where are funds?
AMRITSAR, Nov 28 (PTI) Guru Nanak Dev University here has an abundance of Chairs, thanks to the knack of politicians to honour the legacy of every great human being, but they do not seem to have answers on where the funds would come from.
Even as the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal created one more Chair in the name of Baba Ram Singh, a Namdhari Guru, many of the existing Chairs were on the verge of being closed down for want of funds, university sources said.
The erstwhile Congress government had created four chairs of learning in the name of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Guru Ravidas, Namdev and Kabir in 1997 to "promote scholars" with an initial grant of Rs 7 lakh, but the present Akali government stopped the funding and the resources with the Chairs have dried up, leading to the prospect of their imminent closure.
With the Chairs facing the prospect of closure no research work has happened for the past three years, university authorities wonder what would be the fate of the new Chair announced by Mr Badal at a function at the university.
"All research has stopped and the Chairs are running just on paper. So precarious is the situation that they do not even have funds to buy stationery," the sources say.
A professor occupying one of these Chairs said Mr Badals announcement "was a mere political gimmick."
Development of Rajpura constituency
CHANDIGARH, Nov 28 The development works of the Rajpura constituency were reviewed by the Local Government Minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, here today.
It was observed that initial design of railway over bridge at Rajpura, had been changed by the railway authorities and it was decided that the same be finalised at a joint meeting between the railway authorities and state Public Works Department within a week, says a government press note.
The progress of six-laning of Rajpura-Patiala road (from Ambala railway crossing to Rajpura-Patiala bypass), was also reviewed. Mr Tandon said its estimated cost would be deposited soon with the state electricity department so that shifting of electrical poles and cutting of trees could begin.
The Chandigarh-Banur-Rajpura road would be repaired, to make it all-season road, at a cost of Rs 2.05 crore by March 31, 2000.
It was also decided at the meeting that six important through roads in the constituency be widened from the existing width of 10 feet to 18 feet by raising loans from NABARD.
To provide automatic
traffic control signals at Gagan chowk, Rajpura-Ludhiana
bypass and Rajpura ICL and for electrification of the GT
road, detailed estimates had been sent to the authorities
Plan to improve phone
ROPAR, Nov 28 The district telecom authorities have drawn up a plan to improve efficiency and provide uninterrupted service to the public in rural areas by providing a reliable medium to all rural exchanges through optical fibre cable in place of overhead and underground cable during the current financial year.
Stating this here today, Mr J.S. Sahota, Telecom District Manager (TDM), Ropar said the telephone exchanges at Gharuan, Ghanauli, the Ropar thermal plant, Sialba Majri, Khizrabad, Kainaur, Bhanupali, Sukhsal and Nangran would be linked through this medium in this financial year.
Mr Sahota said the department would also commission a new telephone exchange in a remote village-Khera Kalmot-near Nurpur Bedi this financial year with a view to providing telecom facilities in far-flung areas.
The TDM said the capacity of telephone exchange in the district would be further increased.
He said there were 6000 applicants till October 31 on the waiting list for telephone connections in the district. He said all applicants would be provided with connection, barring a few.
JALANDHAR, Nov 28 Modern educated women should emulate 'Durga' and endeavour to eradicate the evils in society. Education must equip them with knowledge and courage. Just as wealth must not be misused, similarly education must be used only for the good of society.
These views were expressed by Dr Bhai Mahavir, Governor of Madhya Pradesh, in his address to graduates on the occasion of the 24th annual convocation of Hans Raj Mahila Mahavidyalaya here today.
As many as 720 students received their degrees on the occasion. Meritorious students were honoured with gold and silver medals.
School lecturers demands
JALANDHAR, Nov 28 Resentment prevails among Punjab Government school lecturers against non-implementation of their demands which were agreed upon at an official meeting at Chandigarh on October 21 this year in the presence of Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh, Special Secretary to Education S.S. Gill and the Deputy Director, School, Administration, Dr Jagtar Singh Khatra.
The state president, Mr Jiwan Prakash Sharma, and general secretary, Mr Charan Singh, Government School Lecturers Union, Punjab, said in a joint statement here today that the Punjab Government and the Education Department should promote PES-II lecturers and headmasters in the ratio of 82:18. Since lecturers of the 1975 batch were still working in the post while headmasters of the 1990 batch had been promoted as PES-II, the ratio should be fixed at 82:18 for promotion.
Journalists seek cops transfer
ABOHAR, Nov 28 The Abohar Journalists Union at a meeting held here yesterday took a strong view of the attitude of Mr Raj Singh, in charge, CIA staff, here towards mediapersons and demanded his transfer.
Two reporters, Narender Jagga, staff correspondent of daily Ajit, and K.P. Soni correspondent, daily Jagran, alleged that the police officer had misbehaved with them when they visited the old kotwali on Saturday to get information about the arrest of some persons for allegedly possessing drugs.
Lok Adalat on December 4
AMRITSAR, Nov 28 The next Lok Adalat will be held at the sessions courts, here on December 4, 1999. Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also the Executive Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority, will preside.
This was stated here by Mr V.B. Honda, District and Sessions Judge, while presiding over the district-level free legal aid committee meeting held here yesterday.
Mr Honda said as many as 1,347 cases of free legal aid had been disposed of by the district-level legal services authority in the district so far.
Mr Narinderjit Singh, Deputy Commissioner, stressed the need of taking the scheme of free legal aid to the far-flung areas so as to benefit the poor and needy persons of rural areas.
Young girls body found
BATALA, Nov 28 (UNI) Body of a young girl, who was strangled to death after rape, was found near the Athwal canal under Ghuman police station on Friday, the police said today.
The doctor who conducted autopsy on the body in the Civil Hospital here yesterday said the girl aged 19 had been raped. She had died of asphyxiation.
Witnesses, who failed to identify the body, said a white dupatta was used to strangle the girl who was in a red embroidered suit and a blue shawl.
University plea to teachers
FARIDKOT, Nov 28 Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has appealed to medical college teachers to review their decision to boycott examinations scheduled to begin tomorrow.
| Haryana | Himachal Pradesh | Jammu & Kashmir | Chandigarh |
| Editorial | Business | Sport |
| Mailbag | Spotlight | World | 50 years of Independence | Weather |
| Search | Subscribe | Archive | Suggestion | Home | E-mail |