|P U N J A B||
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
bodies starved of funds
objects to shifting of TB-infected cows
Union opposes Markfed decision
SAD (Badal) poll schedule
DC's on paddy harvesting
Course for police trainers start
Traders' memo against Mayor
2 killed in mishap
Rally against attack on scribes
Martyrs' to be honoured
Missing doctor's body found
Consumer bodies starved of funds
CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 The funds of the Punjab Consumers Redressal Commission and all 17 District Consumers Forums in the state have been frozen. The forums posts of ministerial staff have been abolished.
Mr Justice A.L. Bahri, Chairman of the Commission, says that the Commission is so cash strap that it was unable to buy postage stamps. It neither sends notices nor certified copies of judgements to people.
On August 23 the Commission was forced to take judicial notice of the scarcity of funds. In its order the Bench recorded: "For want of funds registered notices in the appeals are not being issued. Let notices of the appeals be issued by ordinary post. The matter will be re-examined after looking at the result of notices being sent by ordinary post."
Notices are sent only through registered post to ensure that these are delivered to the parties well in advance of the next date of hearing and parties appear in court on that date. Notices, if sent by ordinary post, are at times simply not delivered, while at others these are delivered much after the next date of hearing. In that case the Commission is forced to adjourn cases date after date. This leads to delay in dispensing justice to the parties.
Even for sending notices through ordinary post, says Mr Justice Bahri, the Commission had to borrow postage stamps from different District Consumers Forums. "Such pitiable is the position of funds with the Commission."
For lack of postage stamps, adds the Chairman of the Commission, they are not in a position even to despatch copies of verdicts to the parties.
Says Mr Justice Bahri: The Commission is flooded with letters from anxious litigants enquiring about the fate of their appeals. We cannot even reply to these letters because we do not have postage stamps."
To ensure smooth functioning of District Consumers Forums, the Commission had suggested to the state government to allocate to them need-based funds in the budget. For example, if there are 50 cases pending before a district forum, it should be allocated less funds than the district forum which has a pendency of 500 cases. This pragmatic suggestion was turned down by the government. On the contrary, it insisted and allocated equal funds to all 17 District Consumers Forums in the state.
With the functioning of the District Consumers Forum in each district, the workload of the Commission has increased considerably. To cope up with the increased work, the Commission had requested the state government to increase its staff strength. Instead of accepting the request of the Commission for increasing the staff, the government abolished on February 28 last year existing posts of private secretary, senior scale stenographers, clerks and even of sweeper and chowkidar.
The staff is so short at the Commission that on August 18 last the Bench had to adjourn all the cases. In its judicial order the Bench recorded: "Since one post of private secretary and one post of senior scale stenographer have been abolished and the remaining two stenographers are on leave, all the cases fixed for today are, therefore, adjourned to November 19 as no useful work can be done. Copy (of this order) be sent to the state government for information."
Repeated requests made by the Commission for the increase of the staff have been turned down by the government.
The Commission also failed to get process servers appointed, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the government. In the absence of process servers, the Commission has to depend on the Department of Posts for serving summons on the parties.
The statute under which
the State Consumers Redressal Commissions and
District Redressal Forums were set up provides that all
cases should be disposed of within 90 days from the date
of filling. In the absence of adequate staff and want of
funds even for postage stamps, can these courts dispose
of cases within the stipulated period?
Controversy over memorial chowk
PATIALA: The proposed move of the district administration to dismantle Children Memorial Chowk at Leela Bhavan and install traffic lights in its place in order to ease traffic congestion at the site has stirred up a controversy.
The Children Memorial Public School Trust, which had installed a memorial sculpture in the shape of a boat in memory of 22 children of Our Lady of Fatima School who were drowned in the Sutlej in September, 1982, is opposing the move. The trust contends the memorial is of utmost emotional importance to the parents of the 22 children who died in the boat accident and also to the management, staff and students of Children Memorial Public School which was founded in 1983 in memory of the children and any attempt to demolish the chowk and sculpture will seriously hurt their sentiments.
The district administration has drafted an elaborate plan of installing traffic lights and constructing slip roads in order to remove several bottlenecks occurring in the city. Out of these trouble spots, high on the list are the memorial chowk and the historic Fountain Chowk. While work will shortly start on the former, the district administration has for the time being stalled the move to dismantle the latter as there was stiff opposition from residents to demolish the beautiful Fountain Chowk. The administration has decided to widen the chowk and construct the slip roads to enable smooth traffic flow.
Deputy Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir says the dismantling of Children Memorial Chowk has become a necessity if the traffic problem has to be solved. He elaborates, "Vehicle from five different roads The Rajbaha, 22. No. phatak road, Leela Bhavan road, Baradari Gardens and the post office road meet at this point. The rush assumes large proportions when the railway barriers No. 22 and 21 are opened. This traffic again meets at the roundabout. Besides causing traffic jams several times a day, the road out of constant wear and tear has given way to deep potholes and cracks".
Mr Bir says only the installation of traffic lights at the site can solve the problem. He says when he was discussing the plan no one had said anything about the sentiments of the school trust. Keeping in view the larger interest of the public the roundabout will definitely be removed, but an alternate site for the memorial can be given. He says he is open to talks on the issue of providing another site for the memorial.
Mr Amarjit Singh Nakai, Chairman of the trust, who also lost a child in the boat tragedy, says the trust will oppose the dismantling order tooth and nail. "Our deep sentiments are attached to the memorial chowk. Every year on September 29 a function is organised in the sweet memory of our children at the roundabout. Special prayers are offered at the memorial. Parents visit the memorial on the birthday of their child who died in the accident.
Mr Nakai says earlier there used to be a marble stone sculpture at the roundabout. On the sculpture were inscribed names of the children and the details of the boat tragedy. This was shifted a couple of years ago to a triangular road divider at the Leela Bhavan crossroads. "Though we had opposed that move but the district administration insisted on its dislocation since they said the memorial obstructed the traffic as drivers were inclined to read the inscriptions", he adds.
He says at that time in order to pacify the trust the administration installed another boat-shaped sculpture at the roundabout from where the marble sculpture was shifted. He says it was promised that no one would now tamper with the memorials but now again there was talks of the roundabout being dislocated.
Mr Nakai says
considering the problems faced by the public the trust
may have agreed to shifting the memorial but what is the
guarantee that tomorrow the administration will not again
decide to shift it to some other place. He says "We
can't allow anyone to play with our sentiments in such a
PGCTA plea to VC on demands
PATIALA, Sept 13 The Punjab Government College Teachers Association (PGCTA) today appealed to Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia to respect sentiments of college teachers failing which they would be forced to agitate for their demands.
In a statement here association president Dr P.S. Bhatti said though the Vice-Chancellor had promised early action in respect of victimisation done to college teachers by his predecessor, no action had been taken in this regard.
Dr Bhatti said the association had submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor in May, 1999 highlighting debarring of college teachers from examination duty besides need for revision of remuneration. He said what to talk of early action even the memorandum submitted by the association was not traceable.
The PGCTA president said besides this not a single meeting was held with the association despite repeated requests. He said even the office-bearers of the association could not succeed in meeting the Vice-Chancellor.
He said the association
took a strong note of the treatment meted out to
government colleges affiliated to the Punjabi University,
Patiala and the association. He said it was unfortunate
that though government colleges constituted 80 per cent
of the colleges affiliated to the Punjabi University, not
a single meeting has been granted to the PGCTA despite
SPCA objects to shifting of TB-infected cows
JALANDHAR, Sept 13 (PTI) The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) today took strong exception to a blanket order by the Army Headquarters to directors of military cattle farms across the country to cast and shunt all animals found positive in tuberculosis test to the local gaushalas (charity cattle homes) saying the move might trigger an epidemic.
"All tuberculosis positive animals, which are declared positive to two pathological tests by central military veterinary laboratories will be cast and handed over to gaushala with immediate effect", "an order issued on June 8 this year by Deputy Director-General of Military Farms, Army Headquarters said.
The order was sent to directors of military farms at HQ Southern Command, HQ Eastern Command, HQ Western Command, HQ Central Command and HQ Northern Command apart from Commandant of Military Farms Schools.
The general secretary of the SPCA, Dr S.S. Bhatti, said the order issued by Brigadier V.P. Singh, Deputy DG of Army Military Farms was "most unfortunate" and made the cattle at the gaushalas most vulnerable.
"These TB-infected animals are being despatched to gaushalas without informing the latter's management about the disease", he told reporters here.
Mr Ved Puri, patron of the Military Farms Civilian Employees Union also condemned the latest "diktat to shift disease" afflicted cows to 'gaushalas'.
Dr Bhatti said the Army's military farms, the single largest organisation in the country for cattle management and breeding, had zonal sanatorium farms at Phagwara (Punjab), Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) and Pune (Maharashtra) but with the latest order of transferring the TB-infected animals these would now be converted into normal farms.
He claimed that about 500 to 1000 tuberculosis infected cows were being transferred to 'gaushalas' posing "a great threat of spreading the disease among healthy animals as well as among human beings".
Military farms of the
Army are located at Guwahati, Jorhat, Bareilly, Tezpur,
Panagarh, Siliguri, Ranchi, Allahabad, Kanpur, Dehra Dun,
Jhansi, Luchnow, Agra, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Mhow, Ambala,
Jalandhar, Phagwara, Ferozepore, Pathankot, Dagshai, Yol
Camp, Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Srinagar, Pune, Deolali,
Belgaum, Secunderabad and Bangalore.
Union opposes Markfed decision
CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 The Punjab State Cooperative Markfed Employees Union has strongly opposed the leasing out of Markfed modern rice mill, Rajpura, to private parties. Mr Ranjit Goel, President of the Union said here today that the mill had been earning profit for many years. He said while the Markfed management had planned to set up four more modern rice mills in the state, it was surprising that it had decided to lease out the Rajpura mill.
He said the Rajpura mill had suffered a loss of Rs 1.40 crore due to mismanagement and large scale corruption. The union has demanded a high-level probe into the alleged mismanagement. He said the Markfed's Vanaspati plant, cotton seed processing plant and Markfed's refined oil and allied industries, Kapurthala, have incurred a loss of Rs 2.89 crore, Rs 1.72 crore and Rs 1.30 crore, respectively.
Due to heavy losses the
Markfed management could not finalise the balance-sheet
for 1998-99. Besides, the management has transferred a
large amount of Markfed funds to the state government for
SAD (Badal) poll schedule
CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 The Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal today announced the programme for organisational elections.
In a statement issued here today, Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, Secretary of the SAD, said that the election for the party president and other office bearers would be held on December 26 at Teja Singh Samundri Hall, Amritsar. Before the election of party president and other office bearers, the circle jathedars and district jathedars would be elected on November 14 and 30, respectively. The new membership enrolment drive, which was suspended due to the Lok Sabha election, has been resumed and it would continue till October 25.
DC's on paddy harvesting
LUDHIANA, Sept 13 Mr Arun Goel, Deputy Commissioner Ludhiana today asked the combine operators not to harvest immature paddy as it could not be marketed due to high moisture contents which would result in heavy loss and harassment to the farmers. Addressing a joint meeting of the combine operators and offices of the concerned purchase agencies and Agriculture Department, Mr Goel said that to identify the defaulter combine operation, registered would be maintained in each grain market and procurement centre in which the name of the combine operator would be recorded on the arrival of immature heap harvested by him and action would be initiated against him. He said that last year a large number of farmers had to suffer losses and harassment for bringing wet paddy to the markets. The Deputy Commissioner told them not to operate their combines in late and early hours as much higher moisture prevailed during this period as compared to the day time.
Mr Goel also directed officers of the different procurement agencies to give final touches to the arrangements in the mandis and keep staff ready for the purchase of the paddy whenever they got instructions from the government. He also appealed to the farmers to harvest paddy only when it was ripe and bring in the market after properly drying and cleaning so that they could get a good price.
The Deputy Commissioner
directed the Chief Agriculture Officer to depute the
staff of the department to persuade the farmers that
harvesting of the matured paddy was in their interest and
this would avoid unnecessary harassment. Among others who
attend the meeting were Mr K. Shiva Prasad, ADC Mrs
Gurmit Kaur DFSC and distt managers of the purchasing
Course for police trainers
PHILLAUR, Sept 13 A six-day course for trainees of the district police commenced today at the Punjab Police Academy here.
Inaugurating the course, Mr D.R. Bhatti, IGP (Training-II), said the police should change its style of functioning and behaviour with the changing time to win the minds and hearts of the people.
Mr Bhatti said the role of trainers was very important and the mission of the course was to train the in-service officials. He explained the different stages of training and highlighted the importance of the Gore committee report on police training.
Traders' memo against Mayor
JALANDHAR, Sept 13 A deputation of the Jalandhar Electrical Merchants Association and Traders Action Committee today met the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner Municipal Corporation after a rally in front of the corporation against the alleged disrespectful behaviour of the city Mayor, Mr Suresh Sehgal.
Mr Karnail Singh, President of the association, said when today about 200 electrical shopkeeper's had gone to give a representation to the Mayor regarding the demolishment of a shop at Phagwara gate last week, he refused to listen to their problem and did not come out of his residence. And after a long wait when he did come out, he blamed the traders saying.
"You are the same people who had protested against me in connection with octroi" and ordered his guards to push them out of the house.
2 killed in mishap
AMRITSAR, Sept 13 (UNI) Two persons were killed in a road accident near Sensra village in the district today.
According to the police here, Sukhjinder Singh who was driving a car over-ran and killed a cyclist before colliding with a tanker coming from the opposite direction.
Rally against attack on
PATIALA, Sept 13 The Barnala Journalists Association today held a rally at Barnala in protest against the recent attack on Mr Ajay Verma, a photographer of Desh Sewk, and others on September 5 at Faridkot.
Martyrs' to be honoured
CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 The Punjab Government has decided to honour the dependants of Kargil martyrs on September 28 at a state-level function here. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
As many as 99 soldiers from Punjab have laid down their lives while protecting country's international borders. As many as 35 families of dependants have already been given financial benefits. A three dimensional model would be prepared to highlight the Punjab's contribution during the recent Kargil war and it would be kept at the Indian Trade Fair scheduled to start at the end of this month.
Missing doctor's body found
HOSHIARPUR, Sept 13 (UNI) The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a 70-year-old doctor has been solved with the digging out of his body from the compound of his house at Rajpur Gahota village yesterday, the police said here today.
Tanda police station SHO Jaswant Singh said Maninder Singh and Kuldip Rai, two servants of Dr Ram Kumar Bhatara, were the prime suspects in the case as both were missing.
He said the house had been searched with cash and valuables missing.
The doctor who lived alone as his family members are settled in the USA was murdered on Saturday night and his body buried.
4 injured in mishap
PHAGWARA, Sept 13 Four persons were injured when a car in which they were travelling collided with a truck near octroi post on the Phagwara-Banga road yesterday.
School to be named after martyr
BATALA, Sept 13 (PTI) Government High School at Dera Pathana village in Gurdaspur district will be named after Kans Raj who laid down his life while fighting against Pakistani troops in Jammu and Kashmir on August 31.
Announcing this on his "antim ardas" organised at his native Dera Pathana village, 20 km from here today, Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon said a government dispensary would also be set up in his memory.
He also announced free higher education for the martyr's children and a suitable service to his widow.
Rape victim rescued
PHILLAUR, Sept 13 The police has rescued a 16-year-old girl from Panj Dehri village, near here, where she was gangraped after being sold to a villager for Rs 20,000. The girl was abducted from Gill Road, Ludhiana, on March 7.
The mother of the victim said her daughter had been missing since March 7 after she had left for work at a PCO. She alleged that the owner of the PCO along with two politicians had abducted and gangraped her daughter.
SFI seeks teacher suspension
AMRITSAR, Sept 13 The Students Federation of India (SFI) has threatened to launch a state-wide agitation if Dr Sewa Singh, a former Head of Library Science was not suspended for allegedly 'misbehaving' with a girl student of the department.
Mr Hardev Singh, state
general secretary SFI. in a written press statement has
said that the removal of Dr Sewa Singh as head of the
department was just 'eye wash'. He urged the
Vice-Chancellor to order a high-level probe into the
matter. He further alleged that this was not the only
case when a girl student was harassed by a teacher of the
university. Such examples were many. He alleged, he said
that a deputation of the SFI along with university
students would soon meet Governor and Chancellor of the
university to apprise him of the situation.
1,000 traffic violators
JALANDHAR, Sept 13 The traffic police has launched a campaign to implement the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding traffic rules and regulations under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
The court had ordered the compulsory use of safety helmets both by a driver and a pillion rider of a two-wheeler.
Jawan Bhag Singh cremated
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Sept 13 (UNI) A tearful farewell was given to martyr Bhag Singh at his native village, Pola, 19 km from here, today.
Jawan Bhag Singh was a wireless operator in Sikh Light Infantary Regiment posted in Assam.
He was killed during Operation Rhino at Kalia village in Assam on September 9 while fighting with ULFA extremists.
On behalf of the Punjab Government the Deputy Commissioner, Mr V.K Janjua, and Mr Sawarn Singh Chimarthal, district president of the SAD, were present at the cremation ground to pay last respect to the martyr.
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