|P U N J A B||
Sunday, September 19, 1999
officers join AGTAC dharna
Traders, doctors hold protests
complain of shabby treatment
Dal (A) for Gurdwara Act
Sikh jathas to Pak after
Tohra sets up panel to study draft
Saplings being planted in big way
Telecom staff threaten to
Havildar cremated with full
Senior officers join AGTAC
PATIALA, Sept 18 Struggle of farm technocrats received a shot in the arm when all joint directors of Agriculture and chief agriculture officers cum district convenors of the Agriculture Technocrats Action Committee (AGT-AC) Punjab joined the dharna being held by AGTRAC in front of the office of the Director of Agriculture, Punjab in protest against the alleged high-handedness of the Vigilance Bureau during investigation of retired joint directors.
As per programme today was the turn of Hoshiarpur districts officers of agriculture, horticulture, Animal Husbandry and soil conservation departments. And they participated in the dharna en masse under the leadership of Dr Avtar Singh, state vice-president of the Plant Doctors Services Association.
Addressing the dharna Dr Arjan Singh Chandi, Dr Jasbir Singh Mahal and Dr Rampal, joint directors of agriculture, Punjab condemned the Vigilance Bureau for falsely implicating departmental officials who verified only 6213 metric tonnes out of 10,671 metric tonnes of phosphatic fertiliser in question by strictly following government procedure.
Addressing the agitators Dr Gurdial Singh Khehra, Dr Hardev Singh Atwal and Dr Sidhu all chief agriculture officers cum-convenors of AGTAC of Bathinda, Jalandhar and Muktsar districts, respectively, regretted that instead of withdrawing the false cases registered by the Vigilance Bureau against the departmental officials the same agency was implicating hundreds of them under the ongoing state-level inquiry regarding verification of phosphatic and potashic fertilisers. All these speakers called for long-drawn consistent struggle so as to make the government sit up and understand the problem in right perspective.
Dr Chaman Lal Vashishat, state general secretary the PDSA and Dr Balwinder Singh Sohal, state joint secretary, AGTAC Punjab in their addresses revealed that AGTAC had tried its best at every-level starting right from Director Agriculture, Punjab, Financial Commissioner Development, Chief Secretary, the Agriculture Minister up to the Chief Minister, Punjab with the help of documents, persuasions and reason quarters to make the concerned understand the procedure of verification of sales of subsidised phosphatic and potashic fertilisers wherein neither it was practically feasible nor officially required to verify the actual purchase and consumption of said fertiliser at the farmers level. They said it was only fertiliser dealers records and list of sales received from manufacturers through Director of Agriculture, Punjab and Chief Agriculture officers that were tallied and relied upon by the field officials. While doing so the officers concerned of Patiala district verified only 6213 metric tonnes of the said fertilisers and thus saved more than Rs 15 lakh of public exchequer out of Rs 36 lakh of subsidy amount that otherwise were accruable on 10,671 metric tonne.
In a press release Dr
Balwinder Singh Sohal, state joint secretary, AGTAC and
Dr Santokh Singh Chahal secretary PASA, Patiala informed
that various district units of AGTAC had been allotted
dates and this dharna would continue on all working days.
These leaders while demanding withdrawal of false cases
and relief in the onging vigilance inquiry revealed that
all farm technocrats of Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal
Husbandry and Soil Conservation Departments of the state
would wear black badges from September 20, 1999 for one
week in protest against the act of the Vigilance Bureau.
The technocrats representatives vowed to continue
the struggle to its logical end and warned that only the
government shall be responsible for the consequential
fall in production of crops due to the ongoing struggle
of the farm technocrats.
Graft case against medical officer
RAMAN MANDI (Bathinda), Sept 18 Shopkeepers and other traders here today staged a dharna in front of the civil hospital in protest against the alleged implication of a Senior Medical Officer (SMO), Dr Gurdev Singh Sidhu, in a false criminal case of corruption by a Chandigarh-based team of the Vigilance Bureau led by DSP Harjap Singh yesterday.
On the other hand, the government medical services were paralysed in the entire district when members of the PCMS Association, Punjab, today observed a pen-down strike and staged a dharna in the local civil hospital in protest against the implication of Dr Sidhu.
The association in a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Government demanded that the case against Dr Sidhu should be withdrawn immediately and the members of the vigilance team who had beaten up and humiliated Dr Sidhu should be booked.
The association had also decided to boycott the three-day family welfare camp from September 23, which is to be inaugurated by the Health Minister, Punjab, Mr Manoranjan Kalia.
Tension gripped the town yesterday when the news of the alleged beating up of Dr Sidhu by the vigilance team which raided the civil hospital on a complaint of a woman spread. Hundreds of traders and shopkeepers came in front of the police station and raised slogans against the vigilance staff.
Dr Sidhu, who was under arrest and spoke to TNS in the police station, alleged that he had been implicated in a false case of corruption. He added that a woman came to him yesterday and threw some currency notes on his table for performing her operation. He said that he returned the currency notes to that woman through another person standing in his room, saying that these were not required.
When the woman was leaving his room, a few persons came into his room. They surrounded him and allegedly started beating him up. Then they took him to the police station but did not inform any member of his family about the arrest. The vigilance team, which revealed its identity after taking him to the police station, then proceeded towards Talwandi Sabo.
Mr Kamal Kant, President of the Beopar Mandal, alleged that Dr Sidhu had been implicated in a false corruption case and added that yesterdays incident proved that under the rule of Mr Parkash Singh Badal the dignity of traders and gazetted officers were not safe.
One of the vigilance officials who came on the phone when this correspondent contacted DSP Harjap Singh today refused to talk about the incident. He also said that the DSP would not like to speak to the press on any issue.
Dr Kulwant Kaur, wife of Dr Sidhu, had also approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the DGP, Punjab Police, and the human rights organisation last evening to know the whereabouts of her husband. The Deputy Commissioner and district police authorities were also contacted by the relatives of Dr Sidhu in this regard.
Meanwhile Mr Bhoj Raj,
President, Punjab State Pharmacists Association, Mr
Harjeet Singh, and Mr Harbans Singh, members of the ad
hoc committee, Paramedical Staff Association, have urged
the Punjab Government to launch an independent inquiry
into the incident and punish those guilty.
Thermal plant suffers 3.5 cr
ROPAR, Sept 18 The Ropar Thermal Plant (RTP) has suffered Rs 3.5 crore loss in the past five and half months of this year due to excessive auxiliary consumption, furnace oil consumption and demineralised water consumption which are essential for power generation because in the absence of these the plant can not be run.
Sources in the plant say the auxiliary consumption has risen from 7.77 per cent (1998-99) to 7.98 per cent this year. Likewise furnace oil consumption has risen from 1.22 millilitre per unit to 1.60 millilitre per unit and demineralised water consumption from 3.79 per cent to 4.38 per cent.
It is alleged that due to above factors and unaffective handling of the plant, the cost of generation this year is more as compared to the previous year. But plant authorities claim record generation during this paddy season, starting from June 1 to September 15.
Sources say the plant generated 27980 lakh units during this paddy season while 24200 lakh units and 26430 lakh units were generated during the corresponding period of 1997-98 and 1998-99, respectively.
Sources claim that this times record generation could have been bettered. Had the poor quality coal, shortage of coal and other avoidable factors like boiler leakage and unavailability of coal had not come in the way of generation as these factors several times led to the closure of units during this paddy season. They also alleged that due to poor maintenance of the boiler alone the plant suffered a loss of crores during the past one year.
A section of the plant engineers attributes record generation during this paddy season to the efforts of thermal plant engineers and employees as well as the Chief Engineer (System Operations) at Patiala who reportedly ensured stable voltage in the grid leading to less trippings in the plant units. This section also claims that during this paddy season only once five units of the plant tripped on July 10 as compared to trippings of 12 units and 18 units on different occasions during the paddy seasons of 1997-98 and 1998-99 respectively due to grid failure.
Mr S.K. Bansal, Chief Engineer of the plant, said rise in auxiliary consumption and furnace oil consumption was caused due to poor quality of the coal and wet coal, respectively.
Mr Bansal said that despite poor quality coal and shortage of coal, the plant had done record generation in this paddy season. He said the plant generated 8016 lakh units in June at a Plant Load Factor (PLF) of 88.35 per cent, 7601.80 lakh units at a PLF of 81.09 per cent in July, 8363.20 lakh units at a PLF 89.21 per cent in August and 3988.50 lakh units at a PLF of 87.93 per cent up to September 15. He also said the PLF of August was the highest since the inception of the plant.
Regarding loss due to leakage in the boilers, Mr Bansal said that it was a part of the system of a thermal plant. He also said that showing of poor performance of the plant was a propaganda of his opponents, against him.
He gave the credit of
record generation during this paddy season to all, saying
that it was a team work. However, he added that this year
voltage could not be low as the PSEB had been installing
capacitors in the field in the state.
Jathedars complain of shabby
LUDHIANA, Sept 18 It was a tough day here yesterday for the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.
Party Jathedars spoke out their minds at the meeting especially called for interaction and heart to heart talk with them by Mr Badal in the local Circuit House. In fact, Jathedars had a lot to say against the district officials and Ministers. And they did not mince their words against district administration and Ministers.
Their main complaint was that were not treated properly and with respect by the bureaucracy and by Ministers. They were often asked to bring people for party rallies from villages and orders of the party high command were obeyed by them sincerely. But when those brought by them to rallies ask for help for getting their various works done in Government offices, the officers concerned treat them shabbily.
Responding to complaints of party Jathedars, Mr Badal came out with a quick solution at the meeting. He announced that in each party circle, five important functionaries of the party would be issued party cards by the party high command. By presenting such cards, the card holders could meet any officer of the district administration to get the work of party activists concerned done.
Apart from this, party MLAs would be deputed to sit at district headquarters turn wise. Any party activist could approach the MLA on duty and he would ensure that genuine work of party activist concerned attendant properly by the official concerned. Likewise, party MPs would also be asked to perform such duty.
As far as approaching the party Ministers was concerned, Mr Badal said that district Jathedars of the party would get a list prepared and submit to Minister concerned for getting the job done. All party activists should approach the district Jathedars in connection with their any work related to any Minister, he added.
Party Jathedars told Mr Badal to strengthen the party at village and circle level. It could only be done by following the CPM Governments pattern in the West Bengal. The CPM had trained party cadres at village level who handle problems faced by party members at various levels.
Among those who participated in the meeting were MLAs, SGPC members, district Jathedars, circle Jathedars and other important functionaries. But Mr Badal preferred to hear circle and district Jathedars as he got little chance to interact with them.
Mr Badal told The Tribune that he had decided to meet party activists and district officials and officers whenever on visit to district headquarters. Why he has all of a sudden decided to tone up the party district units and administration in the state? To this question, he said that there was no special reason for it. When asked whether results of exit poll had made do him to so, Mr Badal said that exit poll result would be proved wrong when actual result would be declared.
Mr Badal told party office-bearers that he would direct all officers concerned with regard to card-holder scheme introduced by the party. He was quick to call the local district officer including Deputy Commissioner and SSP to brief them accordingly. They were told to give due respect to party office-bearers when ever they come to their offices for any work.
Another major issue
faced by Mr Badal here today was a dispute between two
groups of the district Akali Jatha. While one group
recognises Mr Avtar Singh Makkar as president of the
urban district unit of the party, other group recognised
Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia as president of urban district
unit. Both groups met Mr Badal separately. Mr Badal said
that dispute would be resolved soon.
Dal (A) for Gurdwara Act amendments
JALANDHAR, Sept 18 (PTI) Akali Dal (Amritsar) today came out in strong support of the amendments proposed by the Chief Commission of Gurdwara Elections Justice (retd) Harbans Singh in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, and accused SGPC President Jagir Kaur of telling lies by denying any prior consultations between the SGPC and Justice Harbans Singh.
We deeply appreciate and endorse sincere efforts of Justice Harbans Singh and the Gurdwara Election Commission (GEC) in contrast with the track record of the SGPC which undertook no such exercise in the past 75 years since its inception, Akali Dal (Amritsar) general secretary Jagmohan Singh said releasing a letter of party president Simranjit Singh Mann to Justice Harbans Singh in support of the amendment proposal.
Bibi Jagir Kaur, by claiming that the SGPC was not consulted by the GEC was only telling lies. Not only did she participate in a detailed briefing on July 5 at Chandigarh where Justice Harbans Singh apprised her on a clause-wise basis but also a complete copy of the draft notification was sent to her, Jagmohan Singh said.
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann,
however, urged Justice Harbans Singh to retain the
reservation provision for scheduled castes and women
keeping in view the ground level realities where
these strata of society have been lagging behind for
decades, but added that the logic advanced by GEC
was correct and proper.
Sikh jathas to Pak after
AMRITSAR, Sept 18 The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee which had decided not to send jathas to Pakistan in protest against the formation of the Pakistan Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee would review its decision in the light of the proposed meeting of an 11-member delegation led by its chief Bibi Jagir Kaur with Mr Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister of Pakistan in near future. The committee would send jatha to Pakistan in November to mark birthday of Guru Nanak Dev if Sharif gave satisfactory answer on the demand of disbanding the PGPC. She said that the executive committee of the SGPC had cleared names of the 11-member delegating which included a journalist. The names had been sent to the Government of India for clearance.
In another development,
Bibi Jagir Kaur has directed the three member SGPC
sub-committee to submit report on the charges against
Prof Manjit Singh and Giani Kewal Singh - Jathedars of
Kesgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively at the
earliest. A sub-committee was set up by the SGPC on
February 10 when Bhai Ranjit Singh the then Jathedar was
suspended. While Bhai Ranjit Singh was removed as
jathedar on the basis of the decision of the executive
committee held on February 10, the sub-committee failed
to submit report even after seven months. To a query.
Bibi Jagir Kaur said that action would be taken against
Giani Kewal Singh on the basis of the judgement of the
Punjab and Haryana High Court. Relatives of Giani Kewal
Singhs daughter-in-law, who had allegedly committed
suicide had filed a writ in the Punjab and Haryana High
Tohra sets up panel to study
LUDHIANA, Sept 18 The president of the Sarab Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, said here today that a five-member committee under the chairmanship of a former Advocate-General, Mr Gurdarshan Singh Grewal, has been set up to study proposed amendments of Sikh Gurdwara Act.
Addressing a Press conference here today Mr Tohra said the committee would recommend to the party that which amendments should be supported or opposed. He said his party would not give the right of making any amendments in the Act to the Union Home Ministry. It was an Act framed by Parliament and should dealt accordingly for making any amendments, he added.
He said political leaders had no right to interfere in the administration of Gurdwaras. It should remain with religious people.
Saplings being planted in big way
FEROZEPORE: With the participation of school-going children and villagers, the local office of the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) organised a series of tree plantation campaigns in July and August.
Tree plantation camps were organised at three villages, namely Nassera Khilchi, Ruknabegu and Ghall Khurd. The purpose of holding the camps was to promote afforestation and check the rising nuisance of pollution.
The school-going children and villagers were invited to every camp and were handed saplings to be planted by them at public places, including school complexes. About 1,300 plants of different varieties, including pipal, neem, mango and jamun were distributed.
At these camps the participants were apprised of benefits of trees to human being by speakers of IFFCO and the Department of Agriculture. The participants, specially children took keen interest in the entire activity.
According to the local Field Officer of the IFFCO, Mr Harmel Singh Sidhu, the fourth camp under the tree plantation campaign will be organised in February next. He says during every financial year, local office of the IFFCO organises four such camps and this practice has been going on for over a decade.
At the time of selection of villages for holding such camps, IFFCO officials are assured by the village residents that they would take full care of saplings to be planted till these are fully grown.
Mr Sidhu said there was
demand that camps should be organised at Mamdot, Ghall
Khurd, Ferozepore and Guruharsahai blocks which fall
under IFFCO branch here, but it was not possible in
practical due to certain limitations.
Telecom staff threaten to
BATHINDA, Sept 18 Members of the All-India Telecom Employees Union (Class-III and IV) have been staging regular rallies since September 7 here in protest against the alleged anti-staff and anti-customer policies of the district telecom authorities.
In a joint press note issued here today the union leaders Mr Udham Singh and Mr Thana Singh alleged that the frequent transfers of employees and shifting of telephone offices had adversely affected the functioning of the department and caused great inconvenience to the public.
They said the authorities had joined all complaint centres at one place which affected the fault repair service and causing delay in the removal of faults in the telephones.
They pointed out that the authorities were deliberately avoiding the holding of talks with the union and this created resentment among the employees. They added that the activities of the authorities showed that they were "forcing" the customers to opt services of the private companies.
Havildar cremated with full
PATHANKOT, Sept 18 Hav Prabadh Mahto of the 989 AD Regiment EME, was cremated with full military honours here yesterday. He was killed at Ramban in J and K. A large number of military and civil officers, including Officiating Commander of the 616 (I) AD, paid tributes to the deceased.
The body of Subedar
Dalip Singh of 10 Dogra, who was killed in an encounter
with militants in J and K was brought here yesterday.
There dreaded militants were killed in the encounter and
arms and ammunition including 3 AK 47 rifles, were
Register case against IRB Commandant: HC
CHANDIGARH, Sept 18 (UNI) The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Patiala, to register a case against Patiala IRB Commandant.
The case was to be registered against the Commandant under Sections 307, 325, 364, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code. He was accused of allegedly beating up and torturing Amarinder Singh Bedi, a student, after picking him up from the examination hall of the Thapar Engineering College where he had gone to write his common entrance test (CET) on May 30.
Mr Justice T.H.B.
Chalapathi while passing the order, directed the SSP to
transfer investigation of the case to the crime branch as
the alleged offence had been committed by a respondent,
who is Commandant of the IRB Patiala.
Govt order irks veterinary
JALANDHAR, Sept 18 The Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association has condemned the government orders empowering village panchayats to certify the regularity of the veterinary doctors and para-veterinary staff posted in the rural areas.
A meeting of the association which was held here today under the presidentship of Dr Nirmaljit Singh has condemned the government for its failure to provide basic amenities, to the rural masses.
Describing the move as a political stunt to win the sympathy of an uneducated villagers, the association emphasised that the doctors were simply being made a scapegoat in this political game of consolidating the rural vote bank.
Contribution to relief fund
LUDHIANA, Sept 18
Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor of Punjab
Agriculture University, and Mr Hari Singh Brar, president
of the PAU Teachers Association, and Mr Dharam Pal Maur,
president of the Employees Union, presented a draft of Rs
19 lakh to the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh
Badal, here this evening for the welfare of families of
Army jawans who laid down their lives for the country.
March against child labour
LUDHIANA, Sept 18 A non-governmental organisation, the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, here today organised march of children below 14 in protest against the increasing trend of child labour in the country.
Mr Jorawar Singh, a
spokesman for the organisation said that about 1000
children from all over the state participated in the
march. He said that today was Anti-Slavery Day, which was
observed as Anti-Child Labour Day by the organisation.
MOGA, Sept 18 Milkmen and owners of milk chilling plants all over Punjab yesterday decided to stop supplies of milk with immediate effect to all big concerns preparing milk products in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, according to a spokesman of the Milk Suppliers Association, Punjab, here.
Stating this the
spokesman said that almost all these bulk milk consumers
in these states had failed to pay their outstanding bills
running into crores of rupees and if these did not clear
their bills, they would stage dharnas in front of their
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