|Saturday, January 15, 2000,
galore in Punjab
Tandon meddling in Sikh affairs,
MC hikes licence fee of architects
Airport project spadework on
Unique exhibition of antique
Facts concealed, says SGPC
Dissidents turn active
BJYM panel on ISI activities
Johar is Orissa Cong observer
Tussle over fish market
ICMR to fund university projects
Devotees throng Darbar Sahib
Budh trust seeks asylum for
Forum seeks Central rule in J
Transfers of doctors banned till
Sexually abused girl rescued
Illegal distillers arrested
One succumbs to head injury
A centre for repair of foreign
Rs 300 cr for Bathinda refinery
Beopar mandal for uniform sales
Holidays galore in Punjab
CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 When the Punjab Government talks of the fiscal crisis, a major portion of the blame for such a situation is invariably apportioned to the state pay commission whose recommendations have been implemented.
No wonder Punjab employees are the "highest" paid in the country. Once the anomalies committee report is received, and most likely accepted, the burden on the exchequer will go up further.
But one fact which Punjab seems to forget is the observation of the commission in respect of "holidays", "working hours" and "overtime allowance". The commission's specific recommendation in respect of "holidays" is "Punjab Government offices be closed on three national holidays, namely Republic Day, Independence Day and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. Simultaneously, an individual employee should be permitted to avail of a larger number of 10 restricted holidays, annually, to enable them to celebrate the festivals of his choice and other occasions of specific significance and interest to them.
"It has been recommended that except in the case of death of the President and the Prime Minister in harness and the Governor and the Chief Minister of the state, no holiday should be declared on the demise of any other leader or dignitaries".
If one looks at the Punjab Government calendar for 2000 the "holidays" indicated in red, blue and green strike first. The red are the Sundays, the blue Saturdays and the green the listed 26 holidays; had seven of these not been on either a Sunday or a Saturday, the total number of "official" holidays marking national days, religious and historic occasions, etc, would have been 33. Both Sundays and Saturdays account for 106 days. Added to these the 26 listed holidays and 10 restricted holidays each employee is entitled to avail of. Then it is not uncommon for the government to declare a "closed" day due to death of dignitaries or order "half-a-day" holiday to enable employees participate in one or the other religious procession; seldom do employees join such processions!.
Punjab has a five-day week. Reverting to a six-day week would be a "regressive" step as the pay commission itself has admitted. The commission has "disfavoured" payment of overtime allowance even where the same provision may have crept in inadvertently. This is payable only in respect of employees in the industrial establishments governed by the provisions of the Factories Act, the minimum wages rules, 1950, or similar provisions.
An adverse fallout every time government declares a holiday is the closure of private institutions from financial to educational. More often than not, the holidays are announced under the Negotiable Instruments Act.
The normal economic and academic functioning gets affected. At times even the courts have to toe the line, resulting in much harassment to the litigants, etc. All at what price?
A close look at the "official" holidays mentioned on the Punjab Government, 2000 calendar with a large picture of the Golden Temple reveals that while mentioning these, the dates and days against them the government has done a remix of the two streams of dates: "Nanakshahi" and the old "Bikrami" pattern. Which means both lunar and solar dates have been taken together. As a consequence, the state has had to declare January 14 also as a "holiday" since as per the old calendar the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh falls today, while, in the official calendar the date mentioned is January 5, as per Nanakshai Calendar. Thus, Punjab has had two holidays for the same purpose. In fact January 5 was observed as "official Gurpurb" of Guru Gobind Singh as per the directive of the SGPC.
The issue of calendar is live unfortunate and unresolved. TNS has studied both "jantris"; the one issued by the SGPC but witheld from distribution at the behest of Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh, who is opposed to Nanakshahi Calendar (Jantri); and the other by the Amritsar-based publishers, Bhai Chatar Singh-Jeewan Singh.
The latter has gone a step ahead. In the publisher's note there is a clear mention that the SGPC had decided to celebrate Gurpurbs etc as per Nankshahi Calendar from Baisakhi, 1999. However, the decision was not implemented. In the meantime the SGPC informed the publishers and others that the "Hola Mohalla, Diwali and Birthday of Guru Nanak" will be observed as per the "old" system. Since the confusion prevailed throughout the intervening period, the publishers decided to give a comparative chart (table) pertaining to birthdays, coronation and death dates of the 10 Gurus as per the controversial Nanakshahi (solar system) as well as the old (lunar system) based dates.
A study of the table shows that in respect of Guru Nanak the birthday falls on November 11 as per both the calendars, however, the death date is September 22 as per Nanakshahi Calendar and September 24 as per the old system. In respect of Guru Arjun Dev's martyrdom day, the Nanakshahi Calendar mentions the date as June 16, while the old Calendar mentions June 5; so does the state government Calendar. Even for Guru Nanak's birthday it mentions November 11. as a holiday.
Regarding Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom day, the Nanakshahi Calendar mentions November 24, while, the old one says December 1. The Punjab Government also mentions November 24 for Guru Gobind Singh's birthday the Nanakshahi Calendar mentions January 5, the old system says January 14, insofar as his death date, it is October 21 in Nanakshahi Calendar and November 1 as per the old calendar.
The dates in respect of all 10 Gurus' Gurpurbs clash in the two calendars (Jantris). Given the religion-political exigencies, the government is caught in a cleft stick.
A look at the calendar of the state government shows that March and April have the maximum closed days: 13 and 14 respectively. If one were to take two days off or leave in March, for 22 and 24, one can have a holiday extending from March 17 to 26; while March 17 is Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid), March 26 is a Sunday. Likewise, in April with just two offs, on April 10 and 11, one can be away on a "paid holiday" from April 8 to 16; April 8 is a Saturday, April 12, 13 and 14 are holidays on account of Ram Navmi, Baisakhi, and birthday of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, respectively.
Without having to waste any kind of leave, employees will have four days holidays in October from 26 to 29 (October 26 and 27) are Diwali and Vishwakarma Day).
Divali is on October 26, both as per the old system and the government calendar, whereas, the Nanakshahi Calendar mentions Diwali (Bandi Chord Diwas) on November 7 and Dashera on October 19, while, the same is mentioned as on October 7 in the old system and in the government calendar.
Barring some national days and festivals, most of the 26 (or 33) listed holidays are in respect of religious personalities and festivals.
When the government
bears the cross of a heavy financial burden on account of
pay and salaries (also pensions), will it not be prudent
to cut down on paid holidays as well and increase working
hours in view of public convenience? Better still,
rationalisation of human resource in and outside the
government is more important rather than opting for
Tandon meddling in Sikh
affairs, says Mann
MUKTSAR, Jan 14 Accusing the Punjab BJP minister, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, of meddling in Sikh religious affairs, the Akali Dal (Amritsar) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today asked the party to restrain its leaders.
Addressing a political conference here this afternoon, Mr Mann, a Lok Sabha member from Sangrur, charged Mr Tandon of meddling in Sikh affairs by opposing the implementation of the Nanakshahi calendar.
Referring to the self-immolation by a Sikh youth in Lucknow allegedly due to police highhandedness, Mr Mann charged the Uttar Pradesh BJP Government with committing atrocities on the minorities.
Mr Mann also cautioned
against the "hegemonic agenda" of the NDA
government that could lead to a conflict with Pakistan,
Mr Mann said his party would not let Punjab suffer on
account of an Indo-Pakistan war.
MC hikes licence fee of
AMRITSAR, Jan 14 Licence fee of architects has been enhanced by a new municipal council order. Earlier the licence fee was Rs 100.
According to the order, category A architects will pay a licence fee of Rs 1,000, category B an amount of Rs 500 and category C of Rs 250.
Mr V.K. Talwar, Municipal Town Planner, said the department would be less burdened with building plans that did not conform to the building by laws of the corporation. "This order can be termed as a penalising order for submitting building plans that do not abide by the building by laws and architects would be required to pay renewal fees of the same amount if their plans are faulty. Consequently, this will reduce the load of rejection and sending notices to defaulting architects".
The categories have been demarcated according to experience and qualification. The annual total income generated by this new order will be about Rs 1.14 lakh. The licence would be renewed annually.
However, a senior
architect said although the order was appropriate, for
the purpose of registration under these bylaws, the
licensing fee would not be less than Rs 100 which would
be imposed by the municipal corporation. But architects
registered with the Council of Architects will be
exempted from it.
Airport project spadework on
THE upgradation of Raja Sansi airport at Amritsar to an international airport was conceived in 1997 by the then Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral. Since then the Rs 130 crore project has been kept in cold storage.
Ironically, just a month before the recent hijacking, discussions regarding the upgradation of the airport were started. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) had subsequently decided that the local administration, the Municipal Corporation, PUDA, the Panjab Pollution Board and the Panjab Environment Department (PECB) would coordinate to make the project viable.
In a list of instructions circulated to all coordinating bodies addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, the AAI has asked the local administration, the Municipal Corporation and PUDA to implement zoning of the area around the airport and also to issue the necessary notifications to all types of constructions in a radius of 20 km around the airport.
The instructions also include restrictions to be imposed on any construction especially industry in the vicinity of the airport. The most important areas for such restrictions would be in the approach and take-off funnels.
In a coordinating effort the Ministry of Environment and Forest has recommended the shifting of existing industries to make the area smoke-free for facilitating aircraft landing and taking off. Four-laning of the approach road to the airport is necessary and the notifications regarding constructions close of the proposed road after determining the safe distance by the Department of PWD are to be issued.
The instructions issued by the AAI demand strict and early compliance. Besides regulating the height of building near the airport the AAI instructions prohibit the setting of slaughter houses, garbage dumps and overhead water tanks. The owners of any structures in the control zone are required to procure a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the AAI.
The NOC would be given only after an undertaking by the owner that the owner or any other occupants of the structure in question would not complain or make claims for compensation against noise, vibration, nuisance or damage to them or their property.
Mr V.S. Mulekar (Airport Director) said "The ideal height of the structures can only be determined keeping in mind the elevation of Amritsar airport land which is about 600 feet from mean sea level."
"Structures like slaughter houses and garbage dumps that provide perfect fodder for scavenger birds have to be avoided at all costs. These birds are dangerous to the functioning of an aircraft. Also, smoke-emitting industries is an area that has to be dealt with firmly as smoke creates low visibility levels", he added.
The Municipal Commissioner Mr S.S. Rajput commenting on the scenario says the corporation is merely a coordinating department for the airport project and states "the four-laning of the approach road from Kithloo Chowk right up to the airport is to be undertaken by the PWD."
The Deputy Commissioner,
Mr Narinderjit Singh said "According to AAI
instructions the 20 km radius around the airport is to be
a control area throughout. It would also include shifting
of objectionable structures, height specifications
Unique exhibition of antique
PATIALA, Jan 14 Saada virsa our heritage a unique exhibition of antique utensils, music instruments, phulkari and folk motifs collected by Mr Sukhpal Singh, known more for his painting than antique collection, opened at Banasar Art Gallery, Sheesh Mahal, here today.
Sponsored by the North Zone Cultural Centre and supported by Visav Punjabi Sabhyacharak Sath (guild), the exhibition was inaugurated in a novel manner by popular Punjabi pop singer Harbhajan Mann. The singer inaugurated the exhibition in traditional Indian style by lighting a deewa and eating gur, and also by the now popular western style of cutting a ribbon and distributing sugar cubes and illaitchi, the organisers explained that by juxtaposing the two styles, they wanted to present the old traditional style of our culture vis-a-vis the new one adopted by the present generation.
The first impression one perceives of the antiques is that they seem to belonging to the Harappa-Mohenjadaro civilisation. One is quite surprised when the collector, Sukhpal Singh, revealed that the utensils were in use about 15-20 years ago, and many of these may be still functional in a few rural places. So fast has the kitchen machinery changed that utensils 20-30 years old are now considered safely antique.
One finds small lamps, that may have illuminated many a dark room in those early years. Then there are huge Karrahis and dabbas, all made of brass, that were handy in storing food or other eatables.
Quite fascinating is the collection of Karchees and large bowls used for making food in a community kitchen or in large families during the joint family age. A small Belna with ghoongroos inside it was given to a new bride who rolled chappatis with it, and every member of the family knew food was about to be ready.
When the exhibition contained such small pieces of antiquity, how could it forget the inevitable display of atta chakki, charkha and Maddani, used to churn milk? The items have themselves become a major component of any exhibition on Punjabi heritage. So many calendar paintings and films portray scenes of village womenfolk chatting with other women while working on one of these. The exhibition also displays folk music instruments like algoza, chimta and dholaks. Folk motifs painted on walls by women folk and embroidery work were also prominent at its exhibition. Mr Sukhpal Singh said these old items could compete with any modern machinery in the field of durability. Such pieces antiquity, if not used, should at least not be forgotten and kept in museum, he observed.
Facts concealed, says SGPC
AMRITSAR, Jan 14 Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Secretary of the SGPC, who was restrained from functioning by the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, in a representation to the commission has alleged that the petitioner had concealed facts.
The commission, while admitting the application of Dr Bachan, has fixed the hearing for January 18.
Dr Bachan claimed that he was appointed as a "stop-gap arrangement" in place of Mr Kulwant Singh, who was continuing as secretary even after his retirement. He alleged that the petitioner, Mr Jaspal Singh, district President of the Sarb Hind Youth Akali Dal, had misled the commission that the appointment of Dr Bachan was made on a regular basis.
Hence the temporary appointment was not a violation of the rules and bylaws of the SGPC. He alleged that the petitioner had tried to get "political mileage" by making an issue out of a non-issue.
Mr Jaspal Singh had also challenged the appointment of Mr Hardip Singh, Chief Adviser, Chandigarh Sub Office, who was also restrained from functioning by the commission. Dr Bachan said that Mr Hardip Singh had already tendered his resignation on health grounds.
Meanwhile, a section of the Sant Samaj has urged the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Puran Singh to summon Bibi Jagir Kaur, President of the SGPC, to Akal Takht for allegedly violating its directive with regard to the controversial Nanakshahi Calendar.
Baba Mangal Singh,
acting President of the Sant Samaj, has alleged that the
SGPC had committed a blunder by implementing the
controversial calendar despite the fact that the Akal
Takht Jathedar has stopped its implementation.
Dissidents turn active
CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 After lying low for some days, MLAs opposed to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in his party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, have started holding meetings to formulate a strategy against Mr Badal.
Informed sources revealed today that at least two meetings had been held in the past two days. The Chief Minister is aware of such meetings and due to this very reason he rushed back from Muktsar to Chandigarh today after addressing a meeting at Maghi Mela.
One such meeting was held today at the residence of a senior leader of the SAD. There are at least 10 MLAs, who belong to the Tohra faction, but technically members of the legislative wing of the SAD are active against Mr Badal for the past many months.
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, a former Speaker, who has been perceived as a major threat and a focal point for dissident activity by Mr Badal, had been suspended from the party by the Chief Minister and his supporters. Mr Ravi Inder Singh has his own group of MLAs.
The sources said among the MLAs seen active against Mr Badal in the past two days include Mr Inderjit Singh Zira, a staunch supporter of Mr Tohra; Mr Baldev Singh Khaiala, who was ignored during the recent expansion of the ministry, and Mr R.S. Chajjalwadi and Mr Prem Singh Lalpura.
Gauging growing resentment among the party MLAs, Mr Badal recently expanded his ministry by inducting 15 ministers, thus raising the number of ministers to 41. He had to elevate all his state ministers as Cabinet Ministers under pressure.
As was expected that dissident activity in the SAD would restart after the ministry expansion, the meetings held in the past two days should be seen in the light of this, the sources said.
Sources said Mr Badal, as part of his political management and strategy to curb the growing dissidency may appoint some MLAs as chairpersons of government undertakings.
BJYM panel on ISI activities
PHILLAUR, Jan 14 The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha has constituted a core committee to observe activities of foreign agencies, including the ISI of Pakistan.
This was stated here today by the BJYM Punjab President, Mr Tarun Chugh. The first meeting of the committee will be held on January 25 in New Delhi. The Morcha will organise a national convention on "Terrorism in North-East" in Sikkim in February.
He said the Morcha had
prepared a national-level plan to fight against
terrorism. Mr Chugh said the Morcha would organise Seema
Jagran Yatra in border towns during March. The Morcha
would celebrate 100 days of the Vajpayee government at
all district headquarters, Mr Chugh added.
Johar is Orissa Cong observer
PHILLAUR, Jan 14 The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has appointed a former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, as party observer for Orissa.
Tussle over fish market
PATIALA, Jan 14 A newly constructed fish market near the animal husbandry office, Nabha road, here remains unused due to a deadlock between the state government and fish traders over the prices of shops and location far from the city.
As a result fish traders continue to function from an encroached piece of land opposite Rakhra cinema here, causing obstruction in the district administrations development and beautification plan at the site. The failure of the government and the traders to resolve the issue may also hit the huge amount spent on the new market, which may go waste if the market remains unoccupied for a longer period.
The deadlock is also causing continuous inconvenience to the staff of the district labour courts here, which is located next to the present fish market. It has to function amidst stinking smell of fish and litter spread by the shopkeepers. Even the drain which carries rain water of the city to Patiala Nadi gets choked and overflows due to the dumping of fish left overs and litter in it by fish sellers.
The new fish market was constructed about three months ago at a cost of Rs 40 lakh funded by the Centre. The market premises consists of about 60 shops with adequate water supply as well as parking space. The building was constructed with an understanding that the illegal fish market near Rakhra cinema would be shifted and that the space would be used for beautification and widening of the road.
Mr Chetan Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, Department of Fisheries said the opening of the new fish market is being delayed due the adamant attitude of the fish traders who are not accepting the prices of shops offered by the government. He said the traders want reduction in prices, which is not acceptable to the government.
Mr Amarjit Singh, President, Hindu-Muslim Sikh Issai Fisheries Union, said they had refused to take shops in the new market due to two main reasons. The shops have been priced too high for them. The government wants Rs 10,000 as security plus Rs 10,000 as annual rent with increase of 10 per cent every year. The government also wants commission or market fee of Re 1 per kg of fish sold. All these added together may put the monthly rent to more than Rs 5,000, which is too much for our budget.
He argued that while the present location near Rakhra cinema is almost in the centre of the city, the new market is far away from at least 70 per cent of the city. The traders fear loss of business as many fish and meat-selling shops are located scattered in the whole city.
Mr Amarjit Singh said they had demanded shifting of all meat and fish, shops to the new market if the government wanted them to vacate this land. Our condition was not acceptable to the government he revealed.
beautification or road widening plan of the district
administration, the fish sellers said they are
functioning from this location for the past 30 years and
the administration had forcibly removed them from here,
saying the place will be used for beautification.
ICMR to fund university
PATIALA, Jan 14 The Indian Council for Medical Research Director, Dr N.K. Ganguly, today offered to fund research projects of the Punjabi University while delivering the pharmaceutical oration 2000 in the university campus.
Dr Ganguly said drug research institutes should take the initiative in selling new ideas about drug research as well as fund advanced research in this field.
In his lecture Dr Ganguly said through computer-based drug designing one could arrive at three-dimensional structure of this motif as well as its receptor and confirm the structure through spectroscopy. He said a mimetic was being designed which would neutralise the effect of this bioactive molecule by blocking acid secretion. This drug will go a long way to give relief to people suffering from peptic ulcer and reduce the formation of gastric cancer.
In his presidential address, Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia said through this pharmaceutical oration, Punjabi University had tried to expose the pharmacists, physicians and biomedical scientists of this region to the first-hand experiences of an internationally reputed scientists involved in drug research. The University pharmaceutical sciences and drug research wing was doing pioneering work in the area of drug research teaching. He said it was perhaps the first pharmaceutical sciences institution in the country to introduce molecular biology and biotechnology programme at B.Pharm and M.Pharm level.
He said the
cardiovascular pharmacology group was perhaps the first
in the country to publish their research findings in the
journal of cardiovascular pharmacology. The research work
of the departmental faculty had earned awards and
internation recognition. He said the department was
planning to patent its findings on diabetes-induced
neuropathy, role of resident cardiac mast cells in
ischaemic injury and development of non-peptide
angiotensin receptor antagonists.
Devotees throng Darbar Sahib
MUKTSAR, Jan 14 (PTI) Braving the cold, a large number of devotees thronged the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib here and bathed in the sacred sarover on the eve of Maghi early today.
They paid obesiance at the gurdwara and partook langar.
Maghi is celebrated every year in memory of 40 brave Sikh soldiers who deserted Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib but later at the instance of Mai Bhago rejoined the Guru at Muktsar, then known as Dhab Khiderana. They died fighting the Mughals. The Tenth Guru himself cremated the valiant soldiers.
A report from Sonepat said a large number of people took a holy dip in the Yamuna on Makar Sankranti today.
Deputy Commissioner B.S.
Sudan yesterday inaugurated a light and sound programme
presented by 100 artistes of the Punjab Public Relations
Department named "Sirhind Ki Dastan". An
exhibition depicting development and progress of the
state in various fields was also inaugurated by the
Budh trust seeks asylum for
JALANDHAR, Jan 14 The Budh Vihar Trust, Sofi village, and the Ambedkar Mission Society, Punjab, at a meeting here yesterday urged the Government of India to grant political asylum to the 17th Karmapa Ugeyan Trinle Dorje.
Mr H.D. Sampla, Secretary of the Ambedkar Mission Society, said members had requested strict security arrangements for the Karmapas safety.
They alleged that China itself was violating the principles of Panchsheel by committing atrocities on Buddhists in Tibet and violating human rights.
Forum seeks Central rule in J
LUDHIANA, Jan 14 The Lal Bahadur Shastri Social Forum has sought the declaration of Presidents rule in Jammu and Kashmir due to alleged failure of the state government to contain militancy and the threat posed to the countrys security by the large-scale militant activities in the state.
In a joint press statement, Mr Sushil Malhotra, President, Dr Shiv K Gupta, Secretary-General, and Dr Amritpal Singh, Secretary of the forum, have expressed concern over the killings of security personnel and civilians by militants in the state.
In a memorandum sent to
the Prime Minister, the forum has also urged Mr Vajpayee
to take effective steps for scrapping Article 370 on
Jammu and Kashmir to enable people from all over the
country to set up business in the state.
Transfers of doctors banned till
PHILLAUR, Jan 14 The Punjab Health Minister, Mr Baldev Chawla, has banned transfers of doctors and other staff working in civil hospitals and dispensaries till March 31.
Stating this while
talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Chawla instructed
all doctors and hospital staff to work honestly and
efficiently instead of approaching him for transfers. He
said his top priority would be to provide better medical
facilities to people in government hospitals and to put a
check on corruption.
Sexually abused girl rescued
LUDHIANA, Jan 14 A 19-year-old girl has been rescued from the clutches of a middleaged businessman who used to exploit her sexually, allegedly in connivance with her relatives.
According to the SSP, Mr Kuldip Singh, the girl, an orphan, was introduced to Rajinder Pal Bhardwaj by her grandmothers sister, Ram Bai, when she was 14 years old. Ram Bai would excuse herself, when Rajinder Pal came visiting, leaving the two alone.
Since her parents death, she was staying with her maternal grandmother, Yashoda, at Mata Nagar. Later, she was taken away by her maternal aunt, Babli, who provided for her education till class V.
After this, she was again spent back to her grandmother who got her a job as a part-time maid.
Rajinder Pal managed to "sweet talk" her into having a close relationship with him. In July 1995, he allegedly took her to a hotel and raped her, and threatened to kill her if protested. It became a regular feature as he continued to sexually assault her.
In January 1996, Rajinder Pal reportedly took her to his flat in Pitampura, Delhi, where he continued to abuse her physically and sexually.
The SSP said she eventually got pregnant and gave birth to a girl in November in Delhi. In 1997, she was brought back to Ludhiana and left at Bablis place.
In a complaint to the police, the girl alleged that she was then, forcibly married off to Gurmail Singh of Bhamian village. After her marriage she gave birth to another daughter on October 17, 1998, who was sired by Rajinder Pal. However, she managed to escape from Gurmails house and went back to her aunts house.
Illegal distillers arrested
HOSHIARPUR, Jan 14 In a campaign against illicit liquor distillers and smugglers, the Excise and Taxation Department and the police nabbed distillers and smugglers in the Mund area of this district.
The Mund area in Dasuya and Mukerian subdivisions is known for illicit distillation of liquor and its smuggling.
Inhabitants generally do illicit distillation on the banks of the Beas and when a raiding party arrives, they jump in the river and escaped to Gurdaspur district. These distillers have been evading excise revenue worth lakh of rupees.
Mr C.D. Chamber, Asssistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, told this correspondent here today that during this operation, 150,000 ML of illicit liquor had been seized and four cases registered. Besides this, 60,000 kg of lahan, 21 working stills and 15 boats had been destroyed by the raiding party.
Gang of thieves busted, 6
SANGRUR, Jan 14 Mr Inder Mohan Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Moonak subdivision in this district, has busted a gang of thieves, according to Mr Arpit Shukla, the district police chief.
Six members of the gang
have been arrested. Those arrested are Kulbir Singh,
Raju, Rachpal Ram, Suresh Kumar, Prem Chand and Harvinder
Singh. All of them belong to Patiala district. Several
stolen items, including nine time pieces, watches and
sewing machines were recovered from their possession.
I killed in scuffle
FATEHGARH SAHIB, Jan 14 In a clash that took place at Mandi Gobindgarh town last night one person lost his life, while he was trying to save his cousin from being beaten up by a group of persons outside his residence.
According to information available, the group was beating up Sonu. His uncle, Mr Rajinder Kumar, heard his cries and came to his rescue. In the scuffle that followed he was stabbed to death.
Scribes hurt in mishap
AMRITSAR, Jan 14 Mr Sukhdip Singh Sidhu, a staff correspondent of a Jalandhar-based daily and his wife Navjot Sidhu, a Tribune correspondent were injured in a road accident last evening.
The couple was coming from Jalandhar when their car hit head-on with another car which tried to overtake a bus.
One succumbs to head injury
JALANDHAR, Jan 14 Two persons, one of whom died later; were found in mysterious circumstances with head injuries in the vicinity of Chokan village under Sadar police station last night.
According to the police the injured persons, who later were identified as Ranjit Singh, a worker at a store in the city, and Rachhpal Singh, a resident of Chokan Kalan were found lying in an unconscious state near Chokan village by Mr Harjinder Singh police chowki in charge. On inspection he found that both had received injuries on their heads and got them admitted to a hospital at Rama Mandi near here where Ranjit Singh succumbed to his injuries. The father of the deceased in a statement to the police, said his son and Rachhpal Singh did not knew each other and neither his son nor his family had an enmity with anybody.
A centre for repair of
PHAGWARA, (Kapurthala), Jan 14 This small township has over the years emerged as a major centre for the repair of all makes of foreign cars and other vehicles.
Residents of this town have a craze for imported vehicles in more ways than one. This can be judged from the fact that the city boasts of a sizeable number of imported cars, almost as many as those found in the rich cities of Jalandhar and Ludhiana.
According to an estimate, between 35 and 50 foreign cars are owned by residents of this township. Interestingly, though there is neither concentration of industry nor much foreign money here, as in the case of Ludhiana or Jalandhar, the factor responsible for its "four-wheeled prosperity" is the easy availability of spare parts and presence of specialised repair and maintenance facilities for all kinds of small and midium-sized foreign vehicles.
People from far and wide, particularly from developed cities like Chandigarh and Delhi, visit the city for the repair of their foreign vehicles. As a result, one can see vehicles like the BMW, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Pajero jeeps lined up in front of repair centres, some of which are now even involved in the sale and purchase of foreign vehicles.
"The affair of the city with foreign-wheeled beauties took off in the early seventies when possession of these was considered to be a top luxury and was more of a craze among the affluent and noveau rich. At that time, a family of mechanics envisaged a future in repair of such cars as their repair was carried out nowhere short of Delhi and Mumbai at that time," said a source.
Mr Amarjit Singh, whose family has been in the business of repair of foreign vehicles since several decades, said despite the market being flooded with an array of indigenous cars, car lovers still preferred foreign brands. This was the main factor responsible for the proliferation of foreign car repair centres in the town.
He said his father used to purchase old imported tractors and sell these after repairing them, earning huge profits in the process. Later, he shifted to the repair of foreign cars.
However, he added, there was not much charm left in the business as people had started going in for new vehicles instead of old imported vehicles.
As the repair business is on the decline, most of these mechanics have shifted to converting petrol vehicles into diesel ones, but that too is not much profitable owing to the availability of smaller and fuel-efficient vehicles on soft loans.
Explaining the problems being faced by the repair industry, Mr Darshan Singh, another mechanic, said non-availability of spares was the biggest hurdle. "As we get very old cars at our workshops, either we have to look out for spares in Delhi or fabricate these on our own here, which again is a tedious task. In case we fail to do so, vehicles remain grounded for months together," he said, adding that spares of foreign cars were too costly. According to him, all repair outlets in the city were getting around 300 vehicles for repair each month.
Mr Amarjit Singh said
the imported vehicles belonging to sants, deras and
religious institutions in the state and even far off
places, like Nanded in Maharashtra, are brought to the
city workshops on a regular basis and most mechanics did
not take labour charges from such institutions.
Rs 300 cr for Bathinda
CHANDIGARH, Jan 14 Bad news about much-talked about prestigious Bathinda refinery is that the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited has not succeeded as yet to have a joint venture partner.
As neither the Government of India nor the HPCL nor the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation have that kind of money to finance the project, it would cost anything between Rs 10,000 crore to Rs 12,000 crore.
Yet the good news is that the Centre has approved an expenditure of Rs 300 crore in addition to Rs 100 crore already spent on land acquisition and civil works to go ahead with other basic works. These are site development, tankage facilities and development of the infrastructure. "This is the net result of consistent efforts made by Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal", Secretary Industry, Mr Ramesh Inder Singh, told TNS.
As regards physical progress at the site, the possession of the land measuring 2,000 acres has been taken for which the compensation has been paid to the land owners. An 18-km-long boundary wall around the site has been constructed in a record period of 4 months. The requisite clearances, some 200 from different state governments are being obtained as the pipeline will pass through four states in order to reach Bathinda from Mundra. "Steps are being taken for the appointment of consultants for which the tenders have already been floated.
Work at the site is expected to commence soon with the putting up of the storage tank, construction of housing units, infrastructure development, internal roads and the green belt. The work on widening and strengthening of the 22-km-long approach road connecting Dabwali to the national highway is expected to be taken up shortly", Mr Ramesh Inder Singh said.
The HPCL plans to set up a 9 MMTPA grassroot refinery along with captive power plant of 140 MW capacity at Phulokheri, near Bathinda along with associate facilities, namely Single Point Mooring (SPM) and Crude Oil Terminal (COT) at Mundra, Gujarat, and a crude oil pipeline from Mundra to the refinery site.
The refinery is designed for processing 9 MMTPA of Arab medium crude with flexibility to process other crudes like Arab Light, Mixture of Arab Heavy/Arab Light and Arab Light/Bombay High.
The project cost is estimated at Rs 10,000 crore and the foundation stone was laid on November 13, 1998, by the Prime Minister. The project is expected to be completed within 48 months. Over 14 months have already elapsed.
The Punjab refinery project along with its associated facilities was approved by the union government in November, 1998.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests approval of the refinery as well as the power plant have been received. Action has been initiated for the appointment of consultants for front end engineering and design (FEED) project management consultancy (PMC) services.
Action has also been initiated for selection of process licensors for licensed units. A detailed route survey has been completed for the crude oil pipeline.
Beopar mandal for uniform sales tax
AMRITSAR, Jan 14 The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal has suggested that all the northern States should have uniform sales tax.
The president of the mandal, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, in a press note emphasised Delhi must accept the proposal so that other states follow suit.
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